MYSTIC ENCOUNTER Part Two
by Anita Louise
Stepping to the doorway, Xena's eyes checked the area and came to rest on
the woman. She was standing by the corral fence, staring at the two horses
that were grazing inside.
Star turned and looked, when she heard the woman's footsteps approaching.
Forcing a smile she said, "Still no sign. I am beginning to believe they may
have run off together."
Xena stood next to her as she looked down at Star's worried face. She placed
her hands on the fence as she said, "I doubt that. They are all right you
know. I saw the two of them fight and I have to say a match made in..."
Star was becoming angry as she said, "Another world maybe but not mine!"
With a slight grin on her face, Xena said, "I think we will hear word soon.
It's kinda ironic, you are concerned about the two of them and in reality,
it would be the two of you."
Walking away from the corral, Star called back, "If that is supposed to make
me feel any better, well, it's not."
Xena turned and ran after the woman as they went back into the house.
Gabrielle moved slowly, her body felt radiant. She started to stretch out
her arms and suddenly stopping when she felt Ann's body next to hers.
Turning her head she found herself gazing into the very restful face of Sea.
She moved carefully as she gently made her way onto the floor. Trying not to
make a sound as she stood and turned once more to take in the lengthy form
of her friend. It had been a long time since she had seen the woman and
there had been moments she even wondered if they ever would meet again.
She sighed softly as she knew staying there was not an option. She had
wrestled with herself most of the night, all the time knowing she had to
find Star and tell her where Sea was. Placing her right hand to her lips she
placed a kiss, then blew it toward the woman before she turned and walked
Once inside the building, Xena pointed to the table and said, "Why don't you
go sit down, I'll get us some tea and be right over."
Star nodded as she plodded toward the table, seeming to have a heaviness in
each step. It didn't take Xena long to pour two steaming mugs of tea, and
she quickly made her way to the table. Staring down at the woeful look on
Star's face she said, "It's not as bad as you might think." She sat a mug in
front of the woman, then pulled out a chair and made herself comfortable.
Staring at the woman she continued, "Have to admit if it hadn't been for
Gabrielle, your friend would have met a much harsher beating."
Star raised her eyes as she gazed at the woman and said, "I know you are
right, but I can't help feeling a little loss."
Leaning back in her chair, Xena said, "No need to be, I have every
confidence in Gabrielle. Mark my words, she will be here and all will be
Star muttered, "When Pigs fly."
Laughing, Xena said, "At least you are now saying when. I'm really not that
bad to be around am I?"
Realizing she had been feeling so depressed, the woman might be taking it
personally she smiled and said, "Definitely not. You are one in a million
and if in another lifetime... "
Picking up the mug of steaming tea, she blew on it and said, "I'm just
having a hard time trying to understand the one I find myself in at the
moment. I don't even want to think about another."
Star couldn't help taking in the woman's essence as she said, "You know,
from all I have heard, you held yourself well in the square."
Xena answered, "Gabrielle is a good teacher."
"Maybe it is because you are a good learner, or, maybe it is the fact that
the other Xena may have some control over you in some unfathomable way."
Taking a sip of tea, Xena said, "Seems a little uncanny. I think I will just
believe it is Gabrielle."
Star had focused her full attention on the woman as she said, "You cut a
dashing figure in those leathers." She was pointing to the black leather
outfit that was laying over a chair.
Xena glanced in the direction as she said, "Thought I would surprise
Gabrielle. She told me this is what the Xena in her world wears."
If you plan on continuing to wear the outfit and get yourself into
skirmishes, I have no doubt, you will succeed. I think that people should
call you Xena, Warrior Princess."
Throwing back her head and laughing, Xena said, "I'm not a Warrior and in no
way a Princess."
Star reached across the table and placed her right hand on the woman's as
she said, "You fight like a Warrior and your beauty definitely befits a
Seeming embarrassed the woman said, "Thank you for your kind words, but I
think I will continue to be just Xena."
Getting to her feet, Star said, "You will never be just Xena."
They heard the sound of hoofbeats as Star exclaimed, "Maybe it's Sea!"
Getting to her feet Xena said, "Or, maybe it is Torris come to..."
Rushing to the door, Star said, "I hope not, sure hate to explain to your
brother who I am."
At this time, the door flew open as Gabrielle smiled at the two and said,
"Looks like you missed me."
Both women ran toward her as Star exclaimed, "Is Ann with you?"
Xena rushed past Star as she threw out her arms and hugged the woman.
"I...We've been so worried. Are you all right?"
Stepping back she forced herself to suppress a smile as her eyes touched on
Xena's, she said, "Probably better than I should be. I'm fine." Turning to
look at Star who was very apprehensive she said, "Sea is not with me. But I
can tell you where she is. You must hurry and go to her, time is very
Star stepped up to her as her eyes darted from Xena to Gabrielle. She took
in every fiber of the woman as she said, "I know you have been with Ann. I
don't want to know any of the particulars just tell me where I can find
Nodding she said, "You must promise me one thing."
Her eyes widened as she asked, "What?"
Smiling at the woman she said, "Never take for granted the love you share.
It might be time to let her know just how much you really care. It might be
time to let things progress."
Star stepped back and scoffed as she said, "I suppose an outsider feels the
need to tell me how to handle my love life. I believe we have handled it
just fine up till your interference."
Walking past the woman she walked toward the table. Glancing around the room
her eyes spotted the leathers. Walking over to them she reached out and
caressed the leather with her right-hand. Xena stepped up to her and said,
"I take it you like?"
Turning to stare at her she said, "Always have. Where is she?"
By this time Star had approached them as she said, "You need to take some of
your own advice, she is standing beside you."
Gabrielle gazed at Xena who was beaming all over with pride as she said, "It
is what was in the large pack you asked me about. I thought it would be a
Gabrielle walked over to a chair and sat as she said, "It was that. I
Star cut in as she said, "You thought the Xena from your world had made it
here just like you."
Nodding her head she said, "You certainly had me convinced." Her look was
deep and Xena avoided her eyes as she looked down and said, "I'm sorry."
Reaching out she placed a finger under the woman's chin as she tipped her
face up and said, "Look at me, I don't want to hear you talk like that. What
you did was daring and wonderful. Xena couldn't have done it any better.
She tried to smile as she said, "I'm going to go get something for you to
"No, not hungry. Please, don't run away. After I talk to Star and tell her
where she can find Sea, we need to speak."
Star walked up to her and said, "Then tell me woman! I will be on my way."
Gabrielle looked at her and said, "You need to be careful, they are looking
for you and Sea."
Nodding the woman said, "I will, now I must know where to find her."
Xena and Star listened as she softly told them what had happened. When she
was through, Star threw up her hands and said, "Thank you for being there
and helping." She reached out and grasped Gabrielle's right arm in
friendship. Then turning to Xena she reached out and hugged her as she said,
"Thank you, I pray the Gods are kind to both of you." They walked with her
to the door and before she stepped outside she turned one last time as she
gazed at the two and said, "Take care of one another. And Gabrielle, if you
can't get back to your world, ours really isn't half bad." With a broad
smile crossing her face she turned and mounted the horse Gabrielle had left
tied to the hitching post.
The two women stood and stared at the trail of dust as the horse and rider
disappeared from sight. Finally turning, they walked back into the building,
closing the door behind them. Xena had walked over to the hearth as she
said, "Why don't you get comfortable, I'll put some food on the table and
you can eat. Then if you really want to talk, we can."
Nodding, she walked toward the bed and sat. She struggled with her boots for
several minutes and finally let out a sigh of relief as they hit the floor.
Feeling herself falling back, she relaxed as her head touched the pillow.
Xena's humming was relaxing to her as she closed her eyes and succumbed to
the exhaustion she had been fighting.
Xena walked toward the table, though she carried several items in her hands,
her step was light and bouncy. Setting them on the table she said, "Better
come and get it, while the food is still hot."
As she turned to look for Gabrielle, she grinned when she saw her laying
half on and half off the bed. Walking over to it, she dropped to her knees
and grasped the woman's legs and raised them, placing them on the bed.
Gabrielle didn't stir, as Xena sat on the floor and gazed at the woman.
When Gabrielle woke, it was dark, there was the flickering of candle light
on the table and that was all. She looked around for Xena but the woman was
no where in sight. As her eyes grew accustomed to the dimness of the room
she spotted the ladder and walked toward it. Carefully taking each step, it
didn't take long to reach the top. She could see that a candle was almost
burnt out but gave enough light to easily spot Xena. The woman was laying on
her left side, curled up like she was cold and not a blanket on her. She
crawled over to her and stared at the woman's back, then reached down and
pulled the blanket up over her. Bringing her head down she placed a soft
kiss on Xena's cheek, then turned and made her way back down the ladder.
The next morning when Xena quickly made her way down the ladder she was
filled with excitement as she called out, "Gabrielle!" The woman didn't
answer and as her feet touched the floor, she immediately scanned the room
looking for her. The woman was no where in sight and her feeling of bliss
soon turned to panic as she screamed, "Gabrielle! Gabrielle!"
The door opened as the woman came dashing into the room, fear showing in her
eyes as she cried, "Xena!"
The two found themselves running into one another once more, only this time,
neither fell except into one another's arms.
As they looked at one another and laughed, Xena said, "I..."
Gabrielle's blue green eyes seemed to twinkle at her as she asked, "You
really thought I had left?
She nodded as she said, "You were worried about me?"
Stepping back, Gabrielle said, "Thank the Gods, you are all right."
Pointing to the table Xena said, "Shall we sit?"
The two stepped toward the table as Gabrielle said, "We are getting better,
this time we didn't fall."
After they had pulled out chairs and had sat down, Gabrielle said, "Sorry
about falling to sleep like that. Believe me, it has nothing to do with you.
Guess my body is trying to make up for..."
Xena cut in as she said, "Unendless nights of passion?"
Leaning back in her chair, Gabrielle said, "You certainly don't waste any
Xena raised an eyebrow as Gabrielle continued, "Things happened so quickly,
I was in the square and then..."
Leaning forward, eyes wide the woman asked, "And then?"
Reaching out she placed her left hand on the woman's as she said, "I don't
want to bore you with details. If you are thinking that Sea and I... Well we
didn't. That is all I have to say about that. How are you doing? I never
would have believed you could have fought like that. What will your family
Shrugging her shoulders she answered, "I stopped wondering what they might
say, the day you entered my life."
Gabrielle got to feet as she walked toward the hearth and said, "Is there
any port left?"
Shaking her head, Xena said, "No, Star drank the last of it. I've never seen
you drink anything stronger than tea this early."
Gabrielle was pouring a mug of the liquid as she said, "Don't usually, after
all that has happened, I guess I felt a touch of it would help."
Xena had started toward the ladder as she said, "It has been known to help a
lot of ailments, but the one you seem to be suffering... Well, it won't
Gabrielle asked, "What do you mean?"
Xena replied, "You want to go back but you can't find the way. Your body
aches from the loss you now must be feeling. There is no amount of port that
will ease that."
Gabrielle said, "I guess you have taken up the art of reading minds now."
She watched the woman as she started to climb up the ladder and called out,
"Where are you going and why?"
As Xena went to step up, she turned her head and stared at the woman as she
said, "Straighten the bed, you should have stayed last night."
Gabrielle replied, "You knew?
"Seems I always know when you are near. Be down as soon as I finish."
Shaking her head, Gabrielle slowly walked back to the table. She sat as if
the world was on her shoulders and leaned back in the chair. Life had become
so complicated and she missed the cave and the beautiful woman who made each
day worth waking. Her thoughts drifted back to the present as Xena's humming
floated down from the loft. Her eyes gazed toward it as she asked, "Need any
Xena's face appeared in the opening as she gazed toward her and said, "I can
do it myself."
Gabrielle grinned and said, "But it can be so much better with two."
Xena disappeared from view as she called out, "With so much going on maybe
you haven't had time to notice, but I think my brother may pay me a visit
Taking a sip of the beverage, Gabrielle replied, "Maybe it is time he knew
Xena had started back down the ladder and as her feet touched the floor she
said, "He will think you are Star and even if we should convince him you are
from another world, he will then think you are a sorcerer or worse. Face it
Gabrielle, this is a no win situation."
Gabrielle raised her cup toward the woman as if saluting as she said,
"Having you in my life is definitely a winning situation."
Not knowing exactly how to handle the woman's words, Xena chose to ignore
her as she stepped toward the hearth and said, "I think I will have some
tea." After she had poured herself a mug, she walked back toward Gabrielle.
The woman tilted her head and was staring at her. Xena thought for a few
moments then she asked, "Why are you looking at me like that?"
"So much has happened, I only hope that you are going to be all right."
Sitting down, she said, "You are confusing me, what do you mean?"
"If I can make it back to my world, I worry, will you be all right?"
Smiling she sat back in the chair and said, "I will be just fine. There is
someone I need to see at the Amazon Village, I will not be without friends."
Gabrielle was feeling badly at what she had said and looked away as she
said, "I know you have family and I am sure friends. Tell me about the
Amazon Village? Could this Amazon you speak of be Ephiny?"
Xena's mouth fell open as she exclaimed, "Is it possible? You know her
Nodding, Gabrielle replied, "I know Ephiny and I know something of her and
Xena's meeting when they were younger."
Xena had pushed herself away from the table as she began to walk away.
Gabrielle got to her feet and walked toward her as she said, "Xena, your
world is so like the one I come from, the people the land. I'm sorry if I
She turned to gaze at Gabrielle as she said, "It is really hard for me to
believe some of the things you tell me, but you seem to be so well informed.
I don't think I want to know anything more about your world."
Gabrielle waited for the woman to say something else and when she didn't,
she asked, "Why?"
"Because I might hear something that will influence me in some weird way. If
something has happened to Ephiny there, I don't want to know."
Reaching out she took Xena's left hand in hers and said, "She is fine, and
she loves you."
A smile started to etch its way across the woman's mouth as she said,
Squeezing the woman's hand, Gabrielle said, "Come sit back down. I promise,
no more talk of my world."
She walked slowly toward the table and as they neared she sat and said, "How
will you handle Torris?"
Shrugging, she said, "Guess when the time comes, I will figure it out."
Xena still had a very despondent look on her face as Gabrielle dropped to
one knee. She never released the woman's hand as her blue green eyes shone
up at the woman.
Xena said, "Get up, what are you doing?"
Gabrielle smiled as she said, "I may not be Mathias or even someone you
might have imagined yourself with, but, will you..."
Xena had grasped the mug of tea with her right hand and before Gabrielle
could finish what she was saying, the woman accidentally knocked it over
sending tea cascading onto the table then toward the floor. Gabrielle jumped
but before she could get out of the way, the tea had found its way onto her.
Xena jumped to her feet as she cried, "I'm sorry!" She had rushed toward the
hearth and came running back with a towel as she began to dab at Gabrielle's
leather breeches. Stopping when the woman reached out and grasped her hands
and said, "I'll take them off, maybe we can get the stain out."
By this time, Xena, was beside herself with anxiety as she said, "How could
I be so clumsy."
Walking toward the bed Gabrielle smiled as she said, "Have you got a pair of
breeches I can use?"
Xena walked toward a large wooden trunk. As she neared it, she dropped to
her knees and said, "I'm sure there is something in here. Might be a little
By this time, Gabrielle had removed her boots and stepped out of the pants.
She held them out in front of her and said, "Maybe if we try to clean them,
before the stain sets in. You know, there are easier ways to get me to
remove my breeches."
Xena was walking toward her, the woman carried a pair of striped cotton
pants in her right hand. She stopped and looked at Gabrielle and said, "I
must say, you look wonderful either way."
Gabrielle reached out and took the pants as she said, "You never cease to
amaze me, if you are not careful, you just might find yourself falling under
At these words, Xena's mouth fell open as she said, "Spell?" Then she
noticed the glimmer in the woman's eyes as she smiled and said, "I think I
already have. The next question would be, where are you in this fantasy?"
By now, Gabrielle had the pants on and was sitting on the bed pulling on her
boots. She looked at her leather breeches as she said, "Thought that was
pretty obvious, I was just about to ask you a very important question. It
has nothing to do with an illusion."
Walking over, she picked up the pants and said, "I'll be back."
Gabrielle called, "Where are you going?"
Before she walked from the building, Xena answered, "Into Amphipolis, to get
Before Gabrielle could say anything else, the woman was gone. She stood and
walked toward the table as she muttered under her breath, "You really know
how to spoil a moment. Hades with the stain, you just should have told her
how you feel."
XENA WARRIOR PRINCESS
By the time Xena arrived home it was late in the evening. After taking the
horse into the corral, she quickly made it to the house. She was surprised
that Gabrielle was not anywhere to be seen. After checking the place, she
went back outside and began to call the woman's name.
After several tries she went back inside and got the makings for a torch. It
wasn't long before she had it lit and decided to take a closer look around
the area. It was as she rounded the path that led down to the lake, she saw
the woman. She was sitting, knees drawn to her chest as she stared out over
Gabrielle heard her approach as she looked up and said, "You're back."
Stepping up to the woman, she placed the end of the torch into the soft dirt
and sat down beside her. Without looking at Gabrielle she said, "What are
you doing out here?"
Hugging her knees up to her chest, she answered, "Thought I would just sit
Xena had crossed her legs as she said, "I know it has to be hard, this is
where you entered my world. Are you sorry?"
Shaking her head the woman said, "Not that I came here, but, it seems to
have been to no avail. There is no sign of villagers and definitely no sign
of the mass."
Xena didn't say anything as Gabrielle continued, "I guess I am feeling a
little sorry for myself."
Xena moved closer as she placed her right arm around Gabrielle's shoulders.
"I have a confession to make and I guess this is a good time."
Gabrielle turned her head and gazed at the woman as she said, "Confess, I
can't think of anything you would need to confess about."
"Before you find that whirling mass or before you decide to take off on a
search again, I need to tell you..."
Gabrielle was very apprehensive as she said, "If there is work that needs to
be done, I'll do it."
"No, I feel I am falling in love with you, there, I've said it."
Gabrielle turned as she reached out and placed a hand on Xena's. "I have
loved you from the day you walked into my life."
Xena was giving her a perplexed frown as Gabrielle said, "Since that day,
right here. I'll never forget the look on your face when you saw me and I
mean all of me."
Xena smiled as she said, "It was a shock, not because of your beauty but one
never sees anyone like you, so relaxed out in the open."
"Well, my clothes were a little wet. Now, there is no hot coffee in your
hands so I feel fairly safe."
Xena removed her arm as she said, "I told you I was sorry."
Gabrielle stared down at the cotton pants Xena had given her to wear. They
had to be rolled up quite a bit as Xena was much taller than she. Reaching
out she grasped Xena's hand and said, "I wonder, would you find it so
difficult spending your life with me?"
Xena looked away as she said, "You don't know what you are asking."
Gabrielle said, "I think I do, I have, had enjoyed what time... This is very
Xena smiled as she said, "And if you find this thing, and go back. I suppose
we would have a long distance relationship."
Gabrielle sighed as she said, "All I know, is I am lonely and the feeling of
loss is getting bigger each day. I cannot sleep in the same building and
know you are just a few steps away."
Xena said, "Then sleep with me."
Gabrielle replied, "That is the problem, I can no longer just sleep by you.
Don't you know how much I want to hold you, kiss you. I need to feel your
touch, I miss it so much."
She stared at Gabrielle as she said, "Yes, because I have the same feelings.
I know it will not be anything new to you, but to me, it will. I, I'm sorry
but I cannot be a replacement for someone from your past."
Gabrielle raised the woman's hand to her lips as she said, "It will be new
to me. You are not a replacement.
Xena pulled her hand away as she said, "Can you tell me in all honesty that
if we made love you would not be thinking of your Xena?"
Gabrielle laid back on the ground as she stared up at the sky. Xena stared
down at her as she waited for an answer. Finally Gabrielle said, "When I see
you, I see her."
Xena looked away as she said, "That is what I meant, you would never love me
Sitting back up, Gabrielle said, "Gods, woman! What would you have me do,
erase my memory and see you as someone I never knew?
"That would be terrible but if you felt the same way then, I would know it
was me and not her."
Getting to her feet, Gabrielle reached down to help Xena up as she said,
"Let's just call it a night, I'm tired and I am sure you are also. We can
talk about this later."
As the two began walking back to the dwelling, Xena said, "I hope you are
not mad at me?"
Stopping she turned and took in the woman as her eyes rested on her
bottomless blue eyes she said, "I love you, you know."
They walked the rest of the way in silence.
Several more days had past and Gabrielle wasn't any closer to finding her
way back than before. Xena had taken the stance that she could not fully
accept the woman into her life as a partner until she could resolve certain
feelings she carried. Though they ate together and worked along side one
another, their togetherness ended at bedtime.
Xena had gone into Amphipolis for what she called necessities and she
decided it was time to pay a visit to an oracle that might still live in the
vicinity. Xena had told her they had an oracle in the area at one time but
didn't know if the woman existed anymore. She decided to take a chance when
Xena left for the village. She could not sit around the dwelling any longer
in silence. Gabrielle thought the walk would do her good. One thing she knew
for sure and that was, she had, had all the aloneness she could stand. With
each passing day, her heart ached more than before and the feeling of deep
loss kept overtaking her.
It was a pleasant walk, she feasted in the sounds of the forest and its
inhabitants. Stopping from time to time to watch a deer cross the path. She
was now staring up at the sky as it peeked down through the overgrown shade
trees. It was a lovely blue and as she gazed at it, she could feel the loss
deepening. The color, it was the same as Xena's eyes when they would tease
her with that look of love in them. Finding a tree stump, she sat and stared
around the area. As Gabrielle took in the large area of trees and shrubbery,
she felt like a very inconsequential person in an untouched world.
With each day, she felt a little of herself begin to slip away and she had
finally come to the conclusion something had to be done. If there was no way
back, she would be devastated. But if she was to stay in the world for
whatever time she might have left, she had to make some changes. It would be
as if she were reborn once more but it was better than what she had and that
was beginning to become nothing. She knew that each day Xena was moving away
from her, as the woman talked eminently about taking a trip to the Amazon
After she had rested she began the trek once more. It had been a long walk
but her legs were used to this and it was good exercise. She heaved a large
sigh when the lonely shack came into view. There were no signs of life but
that didn't stop her as she started her descent toward the bottom. As her
boots touched the level ground she picked up her step and soon found herself
standing at the front door. Hesitating then knocking on it, she waited to
see if anyone was home. She heard the sound of footsteps as the door opened
and a kindly looking woman stared at her. "Could I help you child?"
Gabrielle glanced around then said, "My name is Gabrielle and I have great
need to speak to the oracle if that is you?"
Smiling the woman answered, "Natajsa, please come in."
After she had entered the small room, the woman closed the door and stepped
behind her saying, "Come over to the table. Let me get a look at you."
Gabrielle watched her shuffle toward a large wooden chair as she followed.
After she had sat, the woman said, "Gabrielle, you have come a long way,
what can I help you with?"
Leaning back in her chair, she surveyed the small room and said, "Are you
Nodding the woman said, "Yes, you seem to be in great pain. Perhaps a
relationship that is not going the way you wish?"
Gabrielle replied, "This is ridiculous, if I can't understand what has
happened how do I expect a total stranger to help?"
Natajsa reached across the table and took both of Gabrielle's hands in hers
as she said, "Let me hold your hands, I will feel things you might not
Trying to pull her hands away from the woman, Gabrielle said, "I'd just as
soon you not know some of the things I am feeling."
Cocking her head to the right and never releasing Gabrielle's hands, the
woman said "What you want most is to go back home. You miss the statuesque
woman who shares your life."
Nodding, Gabrielle said, "Easy guess."
"And a woman named Sea, would that also be a guess?"
Seeming surprised at the woman's words, she said, "I...I know someone named
The woman went on, "You fear you will not see either women again. But one of
them or both of them are here in this land. You need to tell me what has
happened as I am getting mixed signs."
Gabrielle now had both hands free of the woman's grasp as she said, "I'll
tell you but you probably won't believe it."
When she was finished Natajsa looked at her and said, "I don't doubt you.
You do have a dilemma. Tell me, do you really love this Xena, as much as you
do the others?"
Getting to her feet, Gabrielle said, "You make me sound like some kind of
whore. There is love and then there is love you know."
The woman smiled as she said, "Sit back down, I know all of love and I know
from all I have felt from your hands, your love for this Xena and the woman
called Sea is almost equal. True, your feelings are a little different for
Sea and the two of you haven't united yet. But, you have pledged and in a
ceremony, so do not tell me it is so different." The woman watched as
Gabrielle sat, her eyes taking in every move the woman was making as she
continued, "Look into my eyes and tell me that you have not desired the
woman Sea. Do you ever feel your body warming when the woman is around and
have you not relished her touch?"
Gabrielle answered, "I'm only human, of course I desire the touch and
comfort of a friend. You make too much of this."
The oracle never moved as she said, "You have seen enough of the lands and
the people in both worlds. There really isn't that much difference. I know
you have probably seen the endless orgies that are held. People, lying with
whoever gives them pleasure at that moment. It is the way of the land you
Thinking over the woman's words, Gabrielle said, "Never thought of it like
Very few people ever experience the love you share. Your love for Xena grew
from a wide eyed innocent young woman who was in awe of this woman and now
to what the two of you have. It has taken your many travels to cement the
bond you share. I have no doubt there is love. All of this would probably
have continued in the same vein until Ann Bounty shanghaied you."
Gabrielle listened to the woman's words but she didn't want to believe what
she was saying. Gazing at her she said, "How can you be so sure about my
feelings? They are mine you know."
"When you speak their names, it is in your eyes, your mannerisms. Your body
gives you away and they are in your thoughts as we speak."
"I wake each day to see someone who looks like Xena, and I know I have grown
very fond of her."
The oracle spoke, "There is fond and there is love. You can be fond of a pet
and surely you think more of her than a pet?"
Ignoring the woman's question Gabrielle said, "How about husband and wife?
By this time the oracle was enjoying this as she said, "Same thing, women
are promised before they are married. Their families already know to whom
they will wed. Children are a big reason for this. There is not much love,
not real love. The woman will do her duties and if she has a good husband it
can be a good life but not all are so fortunate."
Getting to her feet and pacing the floor Gabrielle said, "Then what you are
telling me is, this is a man's world and women are merely put here for their
"Don't misinterpret, there are strong women that will do the same thing.
Take your Xena for instance, if she is the warrior you say, she did not
become so until she bed many."
Gabrielle said, "That was in her past."
The woman replied, "Was it the past when she openly flaunted the love
between Ulysses and her?"
Shaking her head, Gabrielle said, "No, it wasn't that long ago. She's like
that, sometimes certain men..."
"Say no more, my child. It is plain to see she seems to like both and there
is nothing wrong with that. But if she truly loves you, you should be the
one she wishes to kiss, even in the open. There is nothing wrong in this, as
you tell me she loves you."
Truly despondent by now Gabrielle collapsed on a chair as she said, All I
really wanted to know was if there was a way back to my world? You have
filled me with so much doubt. I always looked at the world as a beautiful
place, I always felt things could be better I looked for the greater good."
"And you feel you have found it, in your friend Xena and the woman you call
Nodding, Gabrielle said, "Yes, they are good, but they are not the only
Natajsa said, "Think about your friend Sea, since the day the two of you
met, to your knowledge has she been with anyone or loved anyone other you?"
Gabrielle shrugged her shoulders as she said, "Up until I lost her at the
Falls, I don't believe so. I can't weigh one against the other."
Standing the oracle said, "That is not what this is about. You need to find
peace within yourself. You love Xena and you love Sea. Like I said in a
catalytic world such as ours, this is uncommon. To be able to find the love
of one but two, you are very fortunate and so are they. I will ask you this,
would you share their love with another?"
Gabrielle was very upset as she said, "They would never ask me to. I was
raised differently, I believe in true and deep love for..."
"For more than one?"
Starting toward the door, Gabrielle turned and said, "Yes, for them both and
if someone told me I had to chose one over the other I could never do that.
I would give my life for either. The feeling is different but it still is
love. If you are brought up in a loving family, you love your mother and
father as well as sister's and brothers. When you speak of love, remember
there are many kinds."
Natajsa called out to her before she left the room, "Heed my warning, you
will soon be met with a challenge and this may be the time to settle your
Leaving the building, she shook her head. Gabrielle started back up the
hillside as she quickly found the path and started back to the cabin. It was
getting late and the forest was now giving off a gloomy feeling as she
increased her speed. Her thoughts drifted to Xena, she wondered if the woman
had returned yet.
She had pondered the oracle's words over and over in her mind. Still ending
with the fact that she loved both women. She could not see either
disappearing from her life and maybe she was selfish but she had come to
terms with it. Her love for Xena would always be with her nothing would ever
change that. The deep caring she had for Sea was with her and even had been
the reason she took Ares and Aphrodite's crazy test. She would not be the
reason Sea ceased to exist.
She could see the lake in the distance and knew she soon would be back at
the cabin. Scolding herself she said, "You are thinking about Sea and you
should be thinking about Xena. Better do something real quick or you are
going to lose the woman to Ephiny again."
Heaving a long sigh she started forward once more. It was a lovely evening,
the stars were shining down upon the land and she actually found a lightness
in her steps. The smell of the lake water mixed with the forest greenery was
heavenly. As she neared the path that went by the lake she noticed the light
from a campfire and cautiously crept toward it. Thoughts were going through
her head as to who would build a fire out here this late. It definitely
wasn't Xena, she hoped it wasn't a band of mercenaries. She was not up to a
fight if she could help it
XENA WARRIOR PRINCESS
Sea had reined her horse in just miles from the cave. She climbed down, then
reached up and patted the animals neck. It had been a long ride, and she was
tired. It didn't take her long to unsaddle the horse and remove the bridle.
Once done, she let it graze and went about finding some kindling to start a
fire for the evening. Though the day had been pleasant, the night air was
cool and she found herself becoming chilled. Before long she had a nice fire
burning and had thrown a blanket on the ground. As she sat she rummaged
through the leather pack looking for remnants of food.
After she had her fill on dried meat, she lie back on the blanket and stared
up at the stars. They were all so bright as they sent their light down on
the land. She could remember many nights that she and Gabrielle had spent on
The Bounty just lying on the deck and staring up at the sky. The slow
movement of the ship along with the sound of water lapping against the hull
put them both at ease. Folding her arms across her chest, she smiled as she
could still see the two of them.
The woman was standing looking out the porthole when she entered the cabin.
Gabrielle turned smiled at her and said, "The waters are calm."
Stepping up to her, Sea replied, "They are that and the sky is beautiful
this night. Would you like to do something different?"
Cocking her head to the left, Gabrielle squinched up her nose as she said,
"Something different, do I get to guess what it might be?"
Sea's emerald green eyes teased as she answered, "Not that. I know better.
But it does involve lying next to me."
Gabrielle grinned as she said, "You certainly have my curiosity peaked, of
course, I'll try most things at least once."
Sea walked over and removed the large fur cover as she said, "Then follow
Gabrielle picked up her step as she ran to catch up to the woman. As her
feet touched the deck, she gazed around at the ship. Not spotting anything
different she turned and faced Sea as she said, "Things look the same, give
woman, what is this all about?"
Sea stepped toward the center of the ship as she tossed out the cover and
said, "Here, I want you to lie with me."
Gabrielle turned around as her eyes stared at the crew members that were
glancing toward them. She reached out and placed her left hand on the
woman's as she said, "Don't you find this embarrassing?"
Raising her right eyebrow, Sea gazed around and said, "No, they will go
about their business and leave us to ours."
Gabrielle stared at the cover on the deck as she said, "I like lying by you
but not with so many onlookers."
Sea smiled as she walked away and said, "Get comfortable, I'll send them all
below except for Saxton, he can stand at the helm and make sure we stay on
Dropping to her knees she watched as the woman talked to the men. It was not
long before they all disappeared below and Saxton stood at the helm smiling
toward her. Sea walked over and sat as she said, "There, just us."
Gabrielle listened to the water lapping against the hull and finally said,
"We could do this below you know."
Stretching out, Sea said, "Lie down, relax."
Grinning, she followed suit and as she lie next to the woman she asked, "All
right, now what?"
Placing her hands on her stomach, Sea answered, "Look up, there may never be
another night like this one."
Peering up toward the sky, Gabrielle gasped as she said, "It's spectacular.
The stars are so bright and in the distance, the colors."
Sea reached out and grasped Gabrielle's right-hand in her left as she said,
"Notice the dipper? Go to the end of it and what do you see?"
Gabrielle stared as she said, "A star."
Sea replied, "It is a star like none you have ever seen before, isn't it?"
Slightly nodding, she said, "Yes, it is so big and bright. This is heavenly,
I never know what you are going to do next."
Sea grinned as she said, "Keeps you on your toes, have to admit it is never
dull being around me."
Sitting up, she turned and stared down at the radiant face that beamed up at
her and said, "Never, but sometimes a little less excitement might be nice."
Sea was sitting now as she said, "Admit it, you thrive on the excitement.
The star, I call it Gabrielle."
Seeming embarrassed the woman turned her head away and stared out at the
water. The moon was illuminating everything and it was beautiful. It took
her a few minutes before she said, "A star, you named a star after me?"
Sea reached out and placed a finger under the woman's chin as she turned her
head to face her and said, "Don't you know it by now? Since the day you came
into my life, you have been my star. You have taken me from a dismal pirate
to a woman that has been reborn. In your eyes and in your love I have found
a new path. You are my steadying calm and will always be the light that
guides my way."
The woman's words left her speechless as she gazed into her eyes, eyes that
were reaching out and caressing her with each look. Sea didn't wait for
Gabrielle to speak, she brought her head down and placed a long and tender
kiss on the woman's lips as she pulled her down with her.
It was hard for her now to even think that the woman had been erased from
her mind. She was so vibrant and loving.
The sound of a night owl could be heard as she sat up and gazed around the
area. Shrugging her shoulders she assumed it was her imagination. It did
sound very much like an Amazon call and the only Amazon she knew in the area
was Gabrielle. It was too much to hope for. Gabrielle was with Xena and she
would never go off at night looking for her, after all, they all thought she
That was the main reason Sea did not go directly to the cave, she felt that
Xena and Gabrielle deserved privacy and she would not invade their home at
least not until morning. A broad smile crossed her face as her emerald green
eyes peered up at the stars. She was filled with anticipation and
excitement, the thought of seeing Gabrielle once more was music to her ears.
She closed her eyes with images of the woman playing in her head, she
drifted off to sleep.
The next morning, she readied the horse and started for the cave. She did
not want to waste anymore time. Her night of pleasant dreams were still
giving her a very pleasant feeling as she urged the horse faster.
Nearing the mouth of the cave, she stopped the horse and dismounted. Tying
the reins to a bush, she started the final walk. It seemed with each step,
she felt a tingle of excitement. Now as she stood at the entrance she was
all consumed with anticipation. Would they be happy to see her, would
Gabrielle even care and would Xena make her wish she had died? Taking a deep
breath of air she began to walk into the large chamber. "Xena! Gabrielle!
It's Sea, come to pay you two a visit!"
There wasn't any answer so she kept walking. She stopped and her eyes took
in the vast empty space. There was no one there and didn't look like there
had been in sometime. She began to search the area for signs of the two and
was just getting ready to give up when she spied the piece of scroll. It was
laying on a wooden trunk. Hurrying over to it she reached out and picked the
parchment up as she gazed at the scribing and read out loud, "Xena, if you
are reading this, I am not back yet." Sea grinned as she continued reading,
"Since you felt the need to go off and leave me here alone." Sea raised her
eyes and glanced at the room once more as she said, "Damn fool, Xena where
is your head?"
Then she began to read the scroll once more, "A woman named Lil from the
village of Larissa came here, she was looking for you."
Sea began to read it quietly and as she finished her voice became louder,
"So, warrior woman, if you are back, then it is your turn to wait for me. In
case you are wondering, I missed you, hope you miss me a little. Love G."
Sea caressed the scribing with her right-hand as she said, "I haven't come
back all this way to lose you now. I'm on my way, Gabrielle. I just hope you
are somewhere in that area." Sea set the parchment back on the trunk lid as
she turned and left the room.
The trip to Larissa took longer than she thought and while trying to find a
shortcut she found herself and the horse lost in a large thicket. She had
dismounted and tried to lead the animal but was not going anywhere and
finally stopped and stared at the mass of mixed shrubbery and vines. Her
body ached from the many times she felt the blows of the vines as she tried
to pass. For the first time, she was feeling lost and it was then she heard
the voice it was soft but it was clear as she heard the words, "Look up,
find the sun and find your direction."
Shaking her head she tried to clear it as she mumbled, "Gods, all you need
to do now is start hearing things." This was nothing like being on a ship
but she did try to peer up through the trees. There it was, the sun, she
turned slowly as she tried to get a fix on where she was. Suppressing a grin
she grabbed the reins and began to take the direction she felt was the right
one. It took a long time but they did finally make it from the thicket into
an open plain as she heaved a big sigh of relief. Sea checked each of the
horses legs as well as the hoofs before she mounted the animal once more
urging it forward.
Finally stopping near a river she decided to call it a day. She was tired
and knew the animal had to be. It wasn't long before she had a cheery fire
going and had laid out her camp. The sound of the water was inviting to her
and it didn't take her long to shed her clothes and step into the water. As
she neared the middle, the bottom left her and she felt her body going
under. Ann loved the feeling of the water caressing her body and soon
reveled in it.
Later when she was stretched out on the blanket she had spread on the
ground, she stared at her lengthy form, most people thought she was
beautiful but she had always seen herself this way so it was nothing special
to her. The only thing she did know was that she felt she had been born with
the knowledge of knowing how to manipulate men and women. Since early
childhood, it seemed her features had drawn them to her. Men especially as
most women looked at her as a threat to them. She never could understand
their reasoning in this, that is, until she was older.
The first time she had been shunned at a gathering by the young women, she
had been hurt. Her mother had tried to teach her all she knew of being a
woman and up until then she had enjoyed it. She remembered even then her
mother telling her how ravishing she was but to Ann she was just a girl,
growing up. The few friends she had were now shunning her and that was
something she would never forget.
Her mother had made a beautiful blue dress for her to wear to the harvest
gathering. She knew that there would be dancing and singing. Of course, the
meals the women served were also an incentive to go. Everyone from miles
around would be attending. The harvest was over and people could relax.
It was later than usual when she and her mother arrived, the festivities had
She never liked the way people stared at her mother but the woman ignored
them as she said, "Don't mind them, Caesar made sure I would never be
beautiful again but you my darling daughter will put them all to shame."
As they reined their horses in, they dismounted as her mother said, "We are
here, come child, enjoy the evening, the horses will be fine."
Ann had just dismounted and as her feet touched the ground, she found
herself surrounded by more men than she had ever seen in one place. All were
asking for a dance and many tripped over themselves to get her something to
eat and drink. She was taken aback by their amorous attentions but had to
say it made her feel good.
She danced the evening with many and had definitely enjoyed herself even
though she had been getting scowls all evening from the women. Much later,
she decided to take a breather and went for a walk. It was then she was
approached by several of the women and the one she called Megan stepped
close and said, "Does you mother get any of the money?"
Ann was perplexed as she said, "I don't know what you are talking ahout."
"Yeah, sure, it's obvious the way you are flaunting yourself out there. Must
be a tough decision trying to decide which man you are going to separate
from his money first."
Ann turned to leave and was confronted by several more as one reached out
giving her a shove as she said, "You are nothing but a whore Ann Bounty and
that goes for that crow of a mother you have!"
Ann saw red as she dove into the woman sending them both to the ground. She
would have won except she found herself being thrashed by the others. Their
fists and feet did their work well because they left the woman laying in the
dirt, face down and unconscious.
When Ann's mother found her later, she was appalled and wanted to call for
help but Ann shook her head and said, "No, mother, I have had all I ever
want to see of their kind of help. I want to go home, please." She had
broken into long sobs as her mother cradled her in her arms trying to
Ann heard a sound as her mind was brought back to the present and she called
out, "If there is anyone out there, better come out now or be sorry later."
There was no answer and she finally shrugged her shoulders and decided it
was nothing. She was dry by now and got up to put her clothes back on. She
preferred sleeping without them but where she was at the moment she felt it
was the discretionary thing to do. After she had placed several more sticks
on the fire she lie back down on the blanket. Her thoughts drifted back to
that time once more.
Things never were the same again, she and her mother had received death
threats and it seemed Caesar now knew where they were. With the aid of an
old friend, a sea captain named Posieden, and a friend, they moved. At the
time both women were heartbroken but it proved to be the best thing they
ever did in the long run. Spoon Island was a fantastic place to finish
growing up on and the people were wonderful. She had learned many things
there, and Posieden was always a ready and willing teacher. Her mother had
given up the thought she might wed some man of royal heritage and accepted
her for the tomboy she became. Smiling to herself she now thought, what if
those women hadn't been that way, would she now find herself with children
and a loving husband. Shaking her head she muttered, "Not likely. Get some
sleep Ann, for tomorrow you will see Gabrielle."
The ride into Larrissa didn't take long and that was probably because she
pushed the horse. When she reined the animal in as she sat on the hill
gazing down at the area, Sea was hit with the pleasing aroma of the ocean.
She enjoyed seeing the ships bobbing in the water and as she started the
animal downward, she could hear the sounds of hawkers coming from the
boardwalk. This was a pleasing feeling, and she felt she had been gone a
lifetime. Her eyes had searched for signs of her ship but she didn't spot
it. After she tied the horse up at the stable she asked if anyone knew of a
man called Lazarith. It didn't take long to get his address and she went to
seek him out.
When she spotted the man's dwelling she tied the horse and traveled the rest
of the way on foot. She did not want to give the man any chance of
disappearing on her. She kept to the trees and as she neared she went the
rest of the way on her stomach. Crawling like she had seen so many snakes in
the forests. She came to a stop when she could see the building directly in
front. Getting to her feet she covered the last bit of distance quickly. She
stood still, her back against the wooden building as she inched closer to
the only window she had seen. Taking a quick peek inside, she saw a man
sitting in a chair, he looked like he was dozing off. A smile crossed her
face as she started for the door and before he even knew what was happening
she had bounded through and was standing in front of him. His eyes grew wide
and he started to get up as he stammered, "Wh...What do you want? I am a
Ann reached out and grabbed him by his collar as she lifted him from the
chair and said, "I need information!"
His eyes dropped to the death grip she had on him as he said, "No need to do
that, what is it you want to know?"
Her face was full of rage as she said, "Tell me where Gabrielle is!"
He answered, "Gabrielle? She is wanted, she is an escaped pirate."
She felt an icy control settle over her fury as she sat the man back down in
the chair and said, "Pirate? What are you talking about?"
He managed to tell her what had happened and when he had finished she
stepped closer to the chair and said, "That is all well and believable
except she is no murderer. Gabrielle cares to much for life to just take
one. Now that you have told me your little story, suppose you fill me in on
her trip here with a woman named Lil and some villagers being missing."
He jumped to his feet but she shoved him back down and said, "Now, now,
don't want you running off just when I am getting to the interesting part.
Tell me and I might spare your worthless hide."
He tried to grin as he said, "This is a joke right?"
Ann reached down and removed a dagger from the inside of her right boot. She
brought it up to his throat and said, "This look like a joke?"
He shook his head and his eyes looked like they would pop from their sockets
at any minute. He cried, "Please don't kill me, I just went along, I didn't
even know what they were planning until it was to late."
Sea turned a corner of her upper lip into a sneer as she said, "My hand is
getting tired holding this knife and just may give in any minute, so I
suggest you talk fast!"
When he had finished and she turned to walk away she heard the sound and
looked down. The man was so frightened, he had wet himself and it was
pouring out onto the floor. She reached down and grasped a handful of the
hair on his head as she pulled his head back and said, "Be happy that is all
the body fluid you will lose!"
He looked at her and said, "What does the woman have to do with you anyway?
She won't be missed, from all I have heard, she has no one that will care."
She released her hold as she said, "That why I am here? She has many that
care for her, and this is from all of us!"
Her right fist struck him across the face, knocking the man unconscious. She
scowled at him as she turned and ran from the building.
Making it back to the horse she jumped onto the saddle once more sending the
animal galloping down a beaten path. As the wind blew her red hair back from
her forehead, she relished the coolness of the breeze on her face. The trip
had been long and her emotions were overflowing. She felt herself ache from
the pain of not knowing if Gabrielle was alive or dead. How could anyone do
this to her? And if there was a way, she would find out who and make them
The rider and horse had passed several people on the path. Ann was in such a
hurry, she paid them little mind except to yell, "Get out of the way!" She
really didn't care what they might be thinking because her mind was on one
thing and that was finding her friend. Reaching the area the man had told
her about she dismounted and left the horse. Walking toward the whirling
sound, she was amazed when her eyes first caught sight of the thing. It was
big and the noise it was making was nerve wracking. Standing tall she took a
deep breath and began to walk toward it. The loud humming sound was all she
heard as she felt herself being gripped by its outer rings. She felt a
coolness and the sensation of spinning as she suddenly felt her body falling
toward a lot of water.
XENA WARRIOR PRINCESS
Gabrielle had been watching the flames from the campfire as they leaped into
the air. She was wondering just who it might be as she carefuly edged her
way closer. As far as she knew there were not any campers in the area. She
and Xena had been the only ones to enjoy the serenity of the lake.
She heard a sound and crept lower, stopping behind a bush as her eyes darted
around looking for whatever made the noise. A low gasp rumbled from her
throat as she caught sight of the woman. She was tall, her body well defined
and the long flowing red hair that was cascading down upon her shoulders as
she shook her head was unmistakable. The woman had her back to her and it
was then she spotted the two marks. They were all that seemed to mar the
She began to slowly edge her way toward this person. Whispering to herself,
"Calm down, you don't want to scare her." Knowing what she had just said did
not make it any easier as Gabrielle found herself standing up and stepping
into the open as she said, "Sea, what are you doing here, and where is
Star?" She took a deep breath waiting for the woman to answer.
The statuesque woman slowly turned as she said, "If my ears are not playing
tricks on me, I pray the Gods it is you."
Gabrielle's eyes widened as she said, "Of course it's me, but what are you
doing out here?"
Ann's voice was strained and as their eyes met, the two women seemed to be
fixed in the moment. The silence was deafening and the looks on their faces
said it all. Gabrielle's eyes had dropped to the scar on the woman's stomach
and as she began to wipe her hands on her breeches she uttered, "Se..."
Before she could get the words out the woman reached out and wrapped her
arms around the Bard. Gabrielle felt herself being pulled into her embrace
and she fell into it. Her own arms were now wrapped around the curvaceous
body of Ann Bounty. Neither woman would let go as they clung to one another.
Gabrielle could feel the warmth of Sea's lips on her head as the woman
placed soft kisses and said, "Gabrielle, is it really you? I have searched
for you, I can't believe you are really here, and it's not a dream."
Gabrielle's cheek was resting above the woman's right bosom as she answered,
"If it is then I am having the same one. I have missed you more than life
itself. I have missed you so much! By the Gods Ann Bounty, my life has not
been the same." Overwrought as she began to choke up she continued, " How
could you just go and leave like that? I have blamed myself since that day."
Sea gently pushed her back and stood, staring down at the woman that had
stolen her heart so long ago. Tears ran down her face as she reached out
wiping them off and said, "You are my life. I vowed to come back to you and
it was the thought of seeing you again that kept me going. Never blame
yourself, it was my choice. It hurt me to know you were suffering and I was
unable to do anything to ease your pain."
She was taking in Gabrielle's clothes and the cutlass she carried on her
right hip as she said, "You are dressed like a woman who is ready for
Gabrielle's eyes twinkled up at her as she said, "Well, not everything, I
certainly didn't think I would feast my eyes on your body this night."
Taking a step back from her Ann grinned and said, "Sorry about this, but I
got a bit wet when I came through that thing and it dumped me in the lake."
Glancing down she realized she had grasped Ann's right hand with such fervor
it was changing color and she released her hold. Ann's emerald green eyes
sparkled down at her as she said, "It's fine, hold me as tightly as you
want. To feel your hand in mine, means I am alive once more."
Sea embraced the woman tightly and she could feel Gabrielle's body tremble
against hers as she said, "I didn't know if I would ever be lucky enough to
feel you against me again."
Gabrielle reached out with her left hand and touched the scar. "I'm so sorry
for this. I thought you were dead, everyone thought you were. Tell me,
Sea placed a hand on Gabrielle's as she said, Come, sit with me, someone
already had the starting of a bed of leaves, I just finished it."
After they sat, Gabrielle said, "I did it, the leaves, they were still here
from my plunge in the lake." The fire was sending out a warm glow and as
Gabrielle gazed at Sea she felt every fiber in her body giving in to this
remarkable woman. Sea had moved closer to Gabrielle and had placed her right
arm around her waist. Her skin still felt a little damp but it was not the
dampness that was sending signals to her body.
Sea gently pulled Gabrielle toward her. Bringing her head down, slowly her
lips found the woman's. It was a gentle touch, almost a hello from an old
friend until Gabrielle moaned and uttered, "Sea..."
Their lips crushed onto one another's with a fury of passion and love. Each
dancing in the passionate throes of a lost love returned. When they finally
pulled apart both were out of breath. And Gabrielle had melted into the
Ann gently pulled her down onto the leaves with her as she said, "I've been
denied for too long and I have a feeling tonight we will both give in to
what our bodies have been trying to tell us for such a long time."
Gabrielle's blue green eyes gazed lovingly up at the woman as she said, "As
much as I.. Sea I can't, it wouldn't be right."
Sea stopped and gazed down at her as she answered, "There has never been a
better time, who knows what tomorrow will bring, we may only have this
Gabrielle didn't move as her eyes followed the woman's fingers. Sea trailed
them along Gabrielle's cheeks then slowly onto her chest, stopping as her
hands caressed her breasts. Gabrielle writhed under the sensation as Sea
brought her mouth down on the woman's neck. She began to place gentle kisses
as she trailed her tongue, stopping at the ridge of her blouse Gabrielle
reached up and grasped one of Sea's hands as she said, "My body is weak, it
is failing me, I have lost all defense I ever had."
Gently, the woman's fingers worked their magic on each button and when she
was finished she gently brushed the blouse aside exposing Gabrielle's
breasts. She gazed at their beauty as she said, "From the first time I saw
you, it was your breasts that caused me to falter. You are so beautiful and
all I want to do is savor every second."
Gabrielle whispered, "Sea, why...?"
Smiling down at Gabrielle, desire heavy on her face she said, "It is a
boarding, we should have taken the first time." Sea slowly let her body fall
and lay gently on Gabrielle's as she said, "You bring my body to life, I
love you. If you want me to stop, just say so, I will, and spend the rest of
the night in the lake so just say the word, "stop."
Gabrielle reached up and caressed the woman's right cheek as she said, "We
may die tomorrow, I lost you once, I won't again. If this is what you want,
then I won't deny you."
She barely got the words out before Sea's mouth was on hers once again. As
she felt the fullness of Sea's breasts caressing hers, Gabrielle's voice
caught in her throat, her eyes taking in every curve, as her body began to
experience a rainbow of pleasure. A hint of color crept into her face as
Gabrielle whispered, "You make me feel as if it were the first time."
Smiling at the woman, Sea whispered, "It is, this is something I have
dreamed of doing for so long, I want to feel and experience everything. With
you, my life begins anew." Sea began to glide her tongue in a circular
fashion, savoring the woman's neck then she slowly traveled down to
Gabrielle's waiting nipples.
She felt she would faint from the sensation she was experiencing. She
thought she had managed the sensations well, that is, until Sea's right hand
reached down and loosened her breeches. It was at this time she succumbed to
the overpowering feeling of lust and love.
Much later as the two women lie, each spent, Sea held out her right arm and
said, "Come, lie on my shoulder. I want to hold you next to me.
Snuggling close to the woman, Gabrielle felt the warmth of her skin and
listened to her heart beat as she placed a tender kiss on Sea's chest. Sea
moved contentedly as she said, "I desire you in my life. My prayers and
dreams have been answered. If we shall never be together again, I will die a
happy woman. You are my hope my salvation and my love, you are the light
that brought me out of darkness, you are my Star." She turned her head as
her right hand tilted Gabrielle's chin upward, she kissed her gently.
When Gabrielle stirred, she stretched and said, "Good morning." Turning her
head she realized she was by herself. Quickly sitting up she gazed around
the area, there was no one to be seen and she jumped to her feet. Reaching
down she picked up her clothes and began to get dressed. She was sitting on
the tree trunk, pulling on her boots when she heard the beautiful humming
drifting toward her. Standing, she started to walk toward the sound.
The bushes began to rustle and within moments, Ann Bounty stepped into view.
As their eyes met, she smiled and said, "You are even more radiant in the
morning sun if that is possible."
Dashing up to the woman, Gabrielle said, "I was worried, I woke and you
weren't there, I was beginning to fight the idea it had all been a dream."
As Sea stepped up to her she leaned over and placed a tender kiss on the
woman's forehead and said, "It wasn't but I will always feel our being
together is a dream."
Gabrielle swallowed as she said, "You did it again, you have such a way with
words. Where did you go?"
"Thought I would check the area out, see if I could scare up something to
eat. I am ravenous, I don't know about you." Her eyes had been taking in the
woman's form and was now transfixed on Gabrielle's breasts.
Gabrielle placed her right-hand on the woman's as she said, "We really need
to talk, talk Sea. What did you find?"
Ann grinned as she said, "Nothing, some pretty country here, reminds me of
certain places in our world. Tell me, you have been here for awhile, where
is this and how do we get back?"
Tugging on Ann's hand she answered, "Let's get back to your campfire. You
are never going to believe what I am going to tell you."
Enjoying the feel on her hand as Gabrielle tugged, she followed and said,
"All you have to do is ask, I will follow you anywhere."
Stopping, Gabrielle gazed up into Sea's emerald green eyes and said, "I
fear, you are a woman in love, it's not good."
Bringing Gabrielle's hand to her lips, she caressed it as she placed a
tender kiss and said, "You are right and we both know, it happened the day
we met. Such fire in those eyes, so much contempt for me, I was overwhelmed
by you then and still. Why do you say not good."
Turning she started walking toward the camp once more as she said, "Because
it cannot be, we can't just go on like there is no one else in our lives."
Sea didn't reply, she chose to enjoy the time watching Gabrielle as the
woman walked in front of her. She was so intent in doing this she didn't
realize the woman had stopped until she collided with her. Gabrielle reached
out and said, "Don't be staring like that, I feel as if I have no clothes
Ann glanced to the right then she brought her full attention back toward
Gabrielle as she said, "Then why put them on?"
Gabrielle grinned as she said, "Because I think that a few others might
stare at me like that."
Sea was standing beside her now as she said, "Definitely don't want that.
What have you been doing here? Don't tell me you have been spreading your
charms and have so many suitors I will have to stand in line."
Starting to head toward the campsite once more, she answered, "Yeah, sure,
like a woman like you would stand in line."
Sea only had to take longer strides to catch up with the woman as she leaned
forward and whispered in her right ear, "I am but a woman whose heart lies
at your feet. I would stand in line but I can guarantee it would be a short
Gabrielle turned as she reached up and touched her ear. She smiled and said,
"I suppose, the short line would mean, it would be just you?"
Impulsively standing on her tiptoes, she placed a kiss on Sea's cheek as she
said, "And if I did?" Then she turned and ran toward the campsite.
When Sea walked into the camp, her eyes caught sight of Gabrielle, the woman
was sitting on the tree trunk waiting for her. She picked up her step and
approached the woman as she said, "If you did, I would do all within my
power to change your mind. I'm ready, tell me what you have been up to and
all about this place."
Stretching out her right-hand Gabrielle said, "Take my hand, come sit down
and get ready for a weird story."
Sea had sat on the ground at Gabrielle's feet and when she finished telling
her what had been going on with her, she looked up and said, "You are right,
it is weird, hard to believe we could have look alikes. I find that
chilling. This Xena, have the two of you..."
"No, she may look like her but she's not. I will admit though, I have grown
fond of her. She is Xena and she isn't."
Sea got up as she sat beside Gabrielle she said, "What of the real Xena? Why
did she go off and leave you?"
Shrugging her shoulders she replied, "I don't know, Diana said she shouldn't
bring me because it might spoil what she was going there to do. Xena and I
travel together so if they saw me they would assume she was close by."
Touching Gabrielle's right-hand, she said, "Hades be damned, I would not
leave you behind. You are smart enough to keep to the shadows, if that was a
problem. Where was the woman's head?"
"Don't be angry at Xena, maybe she was beginning to think of me as a chain
around her neck. I know before I met her, she came and went as she pleased.
It's possible she is just having a problem with what she would call letting
her independence go."
Seeming skeptical Sea glanced away as she said, "If she did, it was a stupid
move. You would never be a burden and I would cherish every second we could
"You know, you have a certain charisma and when I am around you, I fall
under your spell."
Grinning, Sea replied, "In case you haven't noticed, so do you, and I have
been under your charms since the minute our eyes met."
Standing, Gabrielle took several steps then turned and said, "Really? That
why you took the sword into your hand and tried to..."
Approaching Gabrielle, Sea reached out and touched her chin with a finger as
she said, "Succeeded as I remember. But, it was you that wanted to resist."
Gabrielle stared at her as she said, "I was frightened, you were formidable,
and I didn't want to die."
"I would not have done that, I might have made you beseech me a little. See
what you have done?"
Shaking her head Gabrielle replied, "What?"
"Before you were through, I was the one beseeching, my heart was in your
hands. I haven't met anyone since that can handle me in a situation like
Gabrielle stared at the dying fire as she said, "It must be your celtic
heritage, you are so full of skillful flattery."
Sea replied, "Where you are concerned, I speak the truth. Don't you know by
now how important you are to me?"
Nodding she said, "Yes, I think we should go and see if Xena is back yet.
She isn't going to believe her eyes when she sees you."
Sea walked over and began to throw dirt on the fire as Gabrielle went to
help. When they were finished and all that was left was a little smoke, Sea
turned to Gabrielle and said, "You haven't said anything to her about us
Grinning impishly she said, "Oh yes. Prepare yourself Ann Bounty." She
skipped off and within seconds, Ann found herself chasing after her calling,
"Gabrielle, wh... Gabrielle?"
When they were within walking distance of the cabin, Sea reached out and
grabbed Gabrielle's left shoulder as she said, "Should I prepare myself for
a confrontation? Do I need to fight for your honor?"
Trying to suppress a smile, she answered, "She fights as well as Xena." Then
she started to walk forward again. Sea hurried to catch up to her and as
they stood in front of the door, she began to clench and unclench her hands.
Gabrielle reached over and grasped her right-hand as she said, "It will be
all right, you two will be able to settle it amicably I have no doubt."
She reached out and opened the door as she called out, Xena, I'm back and I
have brought a friend."
Sea whispered into her left ear, "Brought your love."
There was no answer and she walked around the room calling the woman's name
several more times. Finally climbing the ladder to the loft, she was
starting back down when Sea called out, "Maybe this note she left might
Quickly making it to the floor she hurried toward the table and said, "She
left a note? What does it say?"
Handing it to her she said, "Seems she is gone."
Gabrielle pulled out a chair and sat as she read quietly and when she was
finished she said, "She saw us. Gods what she must think."
Sitting in a chair beside her Sea said, "She saw someone. Could have been
the other two or even you and Sea. Ironic don't you think?
Staring at her she said, "What do you mean?"
"Well, if she saw the other two or you and the other one, regardless she saw
us one way or the other. This could get to be very confusing."
Sitting down, Gabrielle gazed at the note and said, "She said she had gone
to pay a visit to an old friend."
Reaching out she patted Gabrielle's right-hand and said, "She also states
you and she need to settle things. She did sign it love. It seems you have
captured the Xena in this world's heart also."
Getting to her feet, Gabrielle said, "I'll go fix us some tea."
Sea stood as she said, "I'll go get some water."
As Gabrielle walked toward the hearth she said, "I'll see what I can find,
put something on the table, you had said you were hungry."
Sea had picked up a bucket and before she turned and left the room, she
said, "I said I was ravished and food was not exactly what was on my mind."
"You know how I get when you are like that, better stick your head under the
water and come back to the reality of things."
"Going to get the water right now. And having you here with me is as much
reality as I need." Gabrielle watched her leave the room, then she turned
and went back to finding something for them to eat. As she worked around the
area, putting food on dishes, she smiled to herself. She knew she shouldn't
be having the feelings she was but they were there and growing stronger
XENA WARRIOR PRINCESS
The door opened as the ravishing woman stepped into the room. Her green eyes
scanned the area before she said, "Where's Gabrielle?"
Linden looked up from a parchment she had been trying to make out. Finally
setting it down on the small wooden table she said, "She left with several
of the men, they went to check out the encampment near the river."
Reaching down Ann unbuckled the leather belt that held her sheath and
cutlass. Then she stepped toward the wooden rack on the far wall and hung
them over a hook. Linden had been entranced by the woman's movements and
when Ann turned after hanging the belt, Linden said, "You wear them well, if
one didn't know better, they might think you were born with the sword on
Ann approached the table as she reached out and moved a wooden bench, then
sat. She gazed at the woman and said, "Believe it or not, I was born bare
just like any other baby, nothing special."
Linden got up and walked toward a small wooden cupboard. She moved several
things before she started back carrying a bottle of port and two goblets. As
she reached the table she set the bottle down and said, "You look like you
have had a hard day. From the road dust on your clothes and the yearning in
your eyes, it might get even harder. Will a drink do until she returns?"
Ann managed to control a grin as she said, "I could use that, thanks. "After
sitting back down on her wooden chair, Linden poured two Goblets, then
handed one to Ann. She accepted it and waited for the woman to pick hers up
then she said, "To the movement."
The woman raised her goblet toward Ann as she said, "To you and Gabrielle
for all your assistance."
Ann hadn't realized just how thirsty she was as she took a lengthy drink
then said, "I think I needed that. Tell me how long has Gabrielle been
Linden's eyes seemed to dance as the woman said, "Several days, it is quite
a trek and if they find anything, I'm sure it will take longer."
Ann had been staring at the parchment and finally asked, "What is that?"
Linden took a drink and said, "It's a map of sorts, you and Gabrielle have
been so busy stirring up the Athenian troops, they have doubled the bounty
for you both. It is getting harder and harder to keep you hidden. I fear
there will be someone who will want the money and may turn you in."
Grumbling to herself then looking at Linden she said, "That wouldn't be very
The woman rolled the parchment up as she said, "It is a sad land we seem to
live in most people work hard just to maintain a family. The Athenian Army
has taken so much from our people and our lands, there is such dissension
among us. You and Gabrielle have been a breath of fresh air to our people.
You have managed to attack and divert their men. And the money pouches you
have confiscated have helped the people more than you might know. Athens
will probably send more men and we know that some of our people will pay."
Holding the goblet in her right-hand, Ann stood and began to pace the room.
She turned and said, "Tell me what you would have us do? If it is in our
power, we will."
Linden stood as she said, "You both have done enough, here, take the map."
Ann stared at the woman's hand and said, "What would I want with a map of
Placing the parchment in Ann's left hand she answered, "When Gabrielle
returns, I will see the two of you are taken there."
Ann was very confused now and she said, "Wait a minute, you are telling me
you are taking us to this place, why?"
"Because, you need to lay low for awhile. The villages are full of tales of
the beautiful woman with flowing red hair, along with her friend and their
daring escapades. They say the stories have reached Athens and maybe as far
as Tunisia. You are a sight, Ann Bounty when you sit that black stallion and
I pity the poor fool that might try to cross swords with you. It will just
be for awhile. They will never think of looking for the two of you there."
Ann started to object as Linden said, "That yearning in your eyes, there
will be no one there to interfere, think about it." She opened the door and
left the room. Ann stood staring at the parchment, a twinkle began to set
into her eyes as she walked toward the table and poured another goblet of
port. Taking the parchment and spreading it out she began to examine this
map of sorts.
Gabrielle stood brushing the golden palomino. The horse seemed to be
enjoying it as it tossed its head and nickered. She smiled and patted the
animal with her left hand as she said, "You like that huh? Don't tell anyone
but Sea likes me to brush her hair also."
The lone woman stood among the group of trees as her eyes watched Gabrielle.
She seemed to be riveted and her eyes never strayed. The horse began to
whinny and was becoming restless as Gabrielle said, "Whoever you are, better
come out before I decide to come and get you!"
She turned to gaze in the direction of the trees and within moments, the
woman stepped into view as she exclaimed, "Please don't hurt me, I just
wanted to see what Golden Hair really looked like."
Trying not to smile and fighting every inch her lips would make, she said,
"Golden Hair huh? This is one for the scrolls. Don't be frightened, I won't
hurt you, you can come closer."
The woman had a slender face and it held an apologetic look as she
stammered, "I'll get into trouble if they find out I came here, I'm sorry."
Gabrielle had set the brush down and was focusing her full attention on the
petite woman. Holding out her right-hand she said, Gabrielle, and you are?"
She smiled as she grasped Gabrielle's hand and said, "Trina, I...I am with
the people at the river."
"Come sit down with me, and tell me why you were hiding there watching."
Trina nodded as she followed Gabrielle to a blanket that had been spread out
on the ground. She sat after Gabrielle was seated and said, "You are
Gabrielle had been taking a drink from the water skin and when she finished
she said, "No, but what makes you say that and tell me about yourself."
"You are more beautiful than any of the stories. I have heard so many of
your courageous victories. My friend Chelsa, has told me of the time you
helped free them."
"Them? You will have to do better than that."
The people at the village of Orlan, had been besieged by the Athenian
troops. My friend was one who owes her life to you."
Gabrielle could see the images playing in her head, it was as if it was
yesterday and she remembered Trina's friend. The men were ruthless and
weren't satisfied that they had taken all the peoples food and money, they
also were bent on raping all the women. Gabrielle could hear the sound of
her own teeth gritting as she said, "I remember it well."
Trina was fidgeting as she said, "I, I just wanted to see what you really
looked like and to thank you."
Leaning back on her hands, Gabrielle gazed at the woman and said, "I hope I
haven't disappointed you, see, I am just a mere mortal. Why did you call me
Trina smiled as she gazed at Gabrielle and said, "Because, when you ride the
golden horse, with your hair blowing in the breeze, it catches the suns rays
and it is golden. Don't you know what a dashing figure you and the animal
Shaking her head she answered, "No, now Sea, she would take your breath
Trina looked down as she said, "If I might be so bold, you are speaking of
Ann Bounty aren't you?"
Nodding her head Gabrielle answered, "The one and only."
"Well, I think you are wonderful." Without hesitation she leaned over and
kissed Gabrielle on her right cheek then hurried to her feet and ran away.
Gabrielle sat up as she brought a hand to her cheek. Her look was of
bewilderment but the woman's actions did make her smile. She lie back on the
blanket and stared up at the sky with a feeling of contentment. She wondered
if Sea had returned yet and if she was all right. Her thoughts drifted back
to the day they found themselves embroiled in the resistance.
Xena hadn't returned and they both knew they couldn't stay at her place any
longer. The chance Torris or anyone else might come upon them was too great
a risk. They filled several leather packs and began their trek toward the
ocean. There was alot of country they would have to pass through and neither
wanted a run in with the Athenian Army or any of its people unless it was a
They had stopped to rest and were leaning back against a large boulder when
they found themselves encircled by people wielding weapons. Beaming she
remembered, it probably wouldn't have happened if the two hadn't become so
distracted. Laying her hands on her stomach she softly said, "When I am
around you, Ann Bounty, seems I easily am."
The people turned out to be Linden and some of the resistance. They mistook
them for Sea and Star. Linden was happy to see the two once more and it
seemed they had no choice but to go with them. Now, she was glad they did,
for sometime the two of them had a place to stay and both had become
prominent in the movement. They, along with people of the resistance, struck
out at the oppressors in every way they could. And made a name for
themselves that was now known across the lands.
When Gabrielle, and the four men that had ridden with her to the settlement,
arrived, she left the men at the villagers camp and had taken her horse into
the forest. She never did like to camp around a lot of people and trusted
her horse to let her know if anyone was prowling about. She had noticed the
way several of the men had stared at her the short time she was at their
camp. This made her feel uncomfortable. She smiled to herself because she
knew how Sea would handle the situation. As she closed her eyes her thoughts
took her back to the day that Sea had told her about Lila.
The two women had gone back to the lake primarily to check around and see if
they could find anything that might resemble the mass that brought them both
to this world. Their search was futile and finally Ann collapsed on the
ground and said, "I give, I have no idea why you were coerced into coming
here. I only know it is my love for you that brought me. I fear we may never
find our way back." Gabrielle had sat down beside her and as she gazed at
her blue green eyes Ann said, "Would it be so bad? Our not being able to get
back? We do have one another."
Turning her eyes away from the woman's, Gabrielle stared out at the water
and said, "Being with you is wonderful, but, I need to know what happened to
Xena, I need to know why she left me like that."
Managing to smile Sea said, "I know, you will probably never be at peace
with yourself until you do. I wish I had the answers but I don't." She got
to her feet and said, "The lake is calm, it is a warm day, I think I will
take a swim."
Gabrielle stared up at the woman, and was surprised at how easily Sea had
rid her body of the clothes that had become her mark.
Getting to her feet, she said, "You amaze me at how easily you can shed your
clothes and feel so at home."
Sea reached out and placed her forefinger on Gabrielle's chin as she said,
"We came into the world like this, it is a feeling of freedom, nothing to
bind me." She turned and ran into the water."
Gabrielle watched the woman swim and it was magical, even in the water. Sea
seemed to control it like she did everything else. Sea was waving her
right-hand as the woman called out, "Come on in, it feels marvelous."
Gabrielle shook her head and said, "You enjoy, I don't think I had better."
Sea was on her back now and she was swimming backwards as she called, "Come
on, water is so conducive to..."
"I know, and I have a hard enough time controlling myself on land. I'll just
sit and watch."
Sea waved as she turned and started back, she was getting close to the shore
when she suddenly went under. Gabrielle laughed, "Come on Sea, that was real
cute but enough."
In a few minutes, Sea came back up, she was spiting water as she called out,
Gabrielle! No joke..."
She disappeared once more and by now, Gabrielle was running toward the
water. It didn't take her long to swim out to where she had last seen the
woman. Taking a breath of air she dove under, she could see her left leg was
tangled in a mess of line. Probably something that had been tossed out to
She swam toward the woman and pointed up as Sea nodded. Gabrielle swam to
the surface and took a deep breath of air then dove back down to the waiting
woman. Nearing her face, she brought her head down and placed her mouth over
Sea's, letting the woman draw air from her, then she swam back to the
surface and replenished her air supply. Diving back down, she found the line
and tried to untangle it from the woman's leg. She finally reached down and
removed the dagger from the inside of her right boot and cut the line. She
was relieved when she felt it give and this enabled her and Sea to swim
toward the surface. Once on the surface, Gabrielle had swam close to Sea and
was holding her right arm around the woman's waist as they both treded
water. Sea looked at her and said, "Thanks."
Gabrielle replied, "Don't ever scare me like that again. Next time we go
together." They began to swim toward shore. And they were both relieved when
their feet were on solid land once more."
Sea had dropped to her knees as she coughed up water. Gabrielle walked
toward her, out of breath she fell to her knees and said, "Are..." She began
to cough heavily as Sea reached up and patted her on her back and said, "I'm
fine, maybe a little embarrassed but other than that, fine. How are you?"
Gabrielle stared down at her wet clothes as she said, "Wet, in more ways
Sea smiled as she said, "Let's get back to the cabin, I'll get my clothes on
and we can leave."
While Sea was doing this, she took off her boots and let the water run from
them. then she slipped them back on and got to her her feet and said, "I'm
ready, I've seen enough water to last a long time."
The two were happy to see the cabin and when they were inside, Sea said, "Go
take those clothes off, I'll get the fire going again, make you a cup of hot
Gabrielle started toward the bed as she said, "You need to change those
clothes also, they are wet now. And, I need to have a look at that leg."
Sea put wood on the fire as she stood and undressed. Then she found several
towels and limped toward Gabrielle. She had removed her clothes and was
sitting on the bed. Gabrielle looked up to see a towel flying toward her as
Sea said, "Here."
Catching it she stood and said, "You did it again."
Sea stepped up to her and said, "Got in trouble?"
Shaking her head Gabrielle said, "Well you did that, but I was referring to
the fact once again, I have cast off my clothes and you have had something
to do with it."
Tossing her head and letting her damp hair fly about her shoulders, Ann
said, "Accept my apology? You are out of breath, my body has been stretched
to its limit and I can think of more lovely ways in which to spend our
Gabrielle reached out and pushed the woman as she fell back on the bed. Sea
stared up at her in amazement as Gabrielle said, "Let me." She brought her
towel down softly on the woman's chest. Her hands moved it slowly, letting
the material glide across Sea's breasts. She found herself entranced at
Gabrielle's boldness as she lie, feeling Gabrielle's fingers tracing magical
lines over her body.
Gabrielle had been smiling and as she got to her feet she said, "There, I
certainly think that was a lovely way to spend my time." She walked toward a
trunk and took out a shift and slipped it on over her head. Sea was standing
as she said, "The water is probably warm by now, I'll go get the tea."
Gabrielle had approached her once more as she said, "Your leg is swollen,
sit back down, I'll get some ointment for it.
Sea limped over to her shift and pulled it on as she said, "I'll do it, only
because it is bothering. I can put on the ointment."
Gabrielle had gone to the hearth and had fixed two mugs of hot tea as she
carried them toward Sea. Handing one to her she said, "Here, drink it, I'll
go get the ointment."
Sea watched her climb the ladder to the loft, her eyes never missing a step.
She took a sip of tea then set the mug on the floor and laid back on the
bed. Her struggle under water had taken more of a toll on her than she
thought and she felt weary."
She didn't even know she had drifted off to sleep until she felt Gabrielle's
fingers applying ointment to the cuts on her left leg. The gentle sensation
chased even the sleepiness she had been feeling away. Her eyelids fluttered
several times and then she found herself staring down at Gabrielle. She was
sitting, concentrating on her leg as her fingers traced the lines of the
cuts. Realizing Sea had woke she smiled toward her and whispered, "Hi."
Sea held out her left hand and said, "Missed you."
Gabrielle grasped her hand and gave it a squeeze as she said, "Haven't been
anywhere, except right here beside you. How are you feeling?"
An impish grin crossed Sea's face as she said, "You know how I feel."
Gripping Sea's hand she smiled at her and said, "Even when you are feeling
badly, you never let on, always making with the light talk."
Sea looked away as she said, "There is something I need to tell you."
Gabrielle's eyes were all consuming as she said, "Is this where you tell me
it has been grand but..."
Looking at the woman once more she said, "With you, there will never be a
but, I will cherish you all the days of my life and more. But you might not
always feel the same toward me."
"I'm ready, hit me with your best shot."
Sea was sitting beside the woman as she placed her right arm around
Gabrielle's waist she said, "I told you about the woman that found me and
how she helped save my life."
Gabrielle nodded and said, "You did, and I will be forever grateful to her."
Sea thought for a second then she said, "I left out a really big part."
By this time Gabrielle was very interested and was beside herself with a
look of anticipation as she said, "Tell me, what did you leave out?"
"I forgot to tell you that this woman has a good friend and it was she that
tended to me, that helped me recover, she took each step with me. She was
Gabrielle reached up and grasped Sea's right hand and said, "Who? A person
that would give so much of their time to you sounds like a wonderful woman."
Sea gazed into Gabrielle's eyes as she said, "It was Lila, your sister."
The silence was deafening and it was awhile before Gabrielle turned
completely and stared at Ann. Her words were soft as they built, "Lila,
she...she never said a thing, why didn't she tell me!?"
Sea shook her head as she answered, "I only know she didn't know about me
for awhile and then she became involved in trying to save my life. When I
regained consciousness, I know she talked about you all the time. She tried
everything she could to get me to remember you."
"If she tried so hard, did you?"
Shaking her head Sea said, "No, I had no memory of the past only the
Gabrielle listened while the woman told her all she knew and when she was
finished, Sea gazed at Gabrielle and said, "There, I've said it, I wanted
you to know everything."
Gabrielle stood and walked toward the hearth, she poured another mug of tea
then turned and walked back toward the woman. Sea finally said, "Say
something, I hate it when you get like this."
She walked back over to the bed and sat, turning to stare at her friend she
said, "I'm grateful, someone found you, I'm happy they cared for you and if
it had to be anyone, you are fortunate it was my sister. Lila is the most
caring individual I have ever known."
Sea looked at the mug Gabrielle was gripping, she reached down and grasped
her hand and said, "The mug, your grip is so tight, it might break."
Looking down at Sea's hand on hers, she said, "Didn't realize. I guess I am
just hurt, that I never knew, that no one knew. Gods, Sea, we all cared for
you, we all grieved."
"I'm sorry, you were not notified, there is nothing I would have desired
more than to have opened my eyes and seen your beautiful face peering down
at me. Fates play cruel games sometimes and it was not to happen not then
anyway. Do you hate me?"
Taking a sip of the tea, she stared at the mug and said, "No, why should I?
It wasn't your fault you fell under my sister's spell."
Sea suppressed a grin as she said, "Do I see more green in those blue eyes
Raising her head she stared at the woman and said, "If you are asking me if
I am jealous you and Lila almost... I don't even know how to say it."
Sea grinned as she said, "I feel grateful that you would even care."
"I care, but you are free and able to pick whoever you desire. I was just
surprised when you told me how you felt about Lila, that's all."
Sea whispered into her right ear and said, "I didn't know about you, you
should know by now, my heart will always belong to you."
Grinning, Gabrielle said, "Your flattery has once again made me speechless."
Ann dropped to the floor on bended knees as she said, "I vow my love to you
Gabrielle of Potidaea and will always."
Trying to suppress a grin, Gabrielle reached out and grabbed Sea's right
hand as she said, "Get up, I can't fight it any longer, I am just thankful,
you are alive and well."
Ann slowly got to her feet as she reached out and pulled Gabrielle to her.
Wrapping her arms around the woman she said, "I will do whatever you will,
when ever you want, just ask."
Laying her head on the woman's chest, Gabrielle whispered, "I know."
The cracking of a twig along with the whinny of her horse brought her back
to the present and she was on her feet in seconds as she reached for her
cutlass and brandished it through the air.
XENA WARRIOR PRINCESS
Within seconds two of the men she had traveled with came into view. They
looked like they had been in a battle and when they saw her going through
the movements with the cutlass they cried, "It's just us!"
She lowered the blade and asked, "What is wrong?"
Silan the man in front said, "There were too many of them, they attacked
when no one expected."
"Who attacked? What happened?"
He continued, "Soldiers, I guess, maybe mercenaries, they didn't stay around
for anyone to ask."
Gabrielle watched the men as they fell to the ground, she laid her cutlass
down and ran to them. Silan had a deep cut on his forehead and she grabbed a
cloth and began to put pressure on the spot as she said, "Tell me, what
It took both men each talking in quick sentences before she realized that a
group of men had attacked the people at the river. She looked at Silan and
said, "Keep pressure on this, how are the people?"
After placing his right hand on the cloth, he answered, "Many are dead some
wounded and one is gone."
Gabrielle had been standing, her hands on her hips as she turned and stared
down at the two men. Her eyes went from one to the other as she asked, "One
gone? What are you babbling about?"
He grimaced and said, "The young woman called Trina, they took her."
Gabrielle walked over and picked up her cutlass and slid it into its sheath.
The man looked at her and asked, "What are you doing?"
She already had placed a blanket on the horse and was now throwing the
saddle up as she said, "Going after her."
They watched as she bridled the animal and as she led it away Silan called
out, "It is foolish, there are too many and you will just go get yourself
killed or captured like her."
She had already mounted the animal as she smiled down at them and said,
"Then that will be my problem won't it? Tell Sea and Linden what has
happened here." She yelled as she urged the animal forward, leaving a trail
of dust behind her.
She followed the bottomland for miles, stopping from time to time to check
the ground. She could see from their tracks the men were in no hurry.
Mounting the horse once more she glanced around the area and she could see
to the right a vast expanse of rich grasslands. She was happy that their
tracks led to the left because they would have spotted her easily the other
direction. Gabrielle didn't know how long she and the horse had been moving,
her only thought was of the young woman Trina. She seemed so fragile and she
didn't want to see anything happen to her, she knew all to well what men
like these did to satisfy their pleasures.
She slowed the horse when she came to a deep and narrow valley. Climbing
down she surveyed the area, haunching down she reached out and felt the
ground. Getting to her feet she looked around, her eyes caught sight of a
bottle. Walking over she picked it up and from the empty contents she
assumed they had stopped for something to drink. Stepping the area off, she
noticed signs of footprints and marks in the dirt where bodies had reposed.
This told her they had stopped to rest. Taking the water skin from the
saddle she took a drink, moved her shoulders as if trying to wake them and
mounted the animal once more.
She followed a small path through the thick underbrush until she came to a
slope that fell away abruptly to the rivers edge, staring down she could see
there were bushes growing down to the water. What trees she could see had
been stripped by a recent wind and they seemed to fall toward each other
dark and menacing in the fading light.
An immense stillness seemed to control the land, the sun had fallen behind
the right side of a gorge and the shadow of the bank crossed the water so
fast it was like a quick step from light to darkness. The beginning of
duskiness was put out over her like a blanket.
Gabrielle knew better than to venture into the canyon, instead she reined
the horse away as she took a path upward. It was a hard climb and the animal
stumbled several times but it was her will to get to the top that kept them
both going. She could see where the path would run onto a plateau and
stopped the animal as she climbed down. Leaving the horse to graze on sparce
grass, she continued the climb on foot. Creeping slowly she managed to near
the top without incident, as she stood on the plateau she saw rolling hills
wherever she looked with huge outcroppings of tall trees towering
everywhere, it all seemed primitive. Turning to gaze in the other direction
there were canyon walls with clinging gardens of moss, ferns and
She could see the high cliffs, blanketed with fragmented stone and what
looked like paths of places that were made of stone left by someone in a
different time. It was a magnificent sight and she was beginning to feel
Men's voices in a loud discussion made there way to her as she turned and
gazed toward the sound. She quickly fell to the ground behind a large stone.
Several men were standing in the narrow opening by a bush, one of them was a
man with a huge scar on his face. They stood for awhile visiting, seeing the
place bare and no sign of a human being near they called back to the other
men who were now coming into the clearing. It seemed they had left their
horses on a small plateau where there was a small amount of grass. Gabrielle
gasped when she saw them lead the young woman, Trina into the open. The
woman's dress was torn and upon her face were tell tale signs of a struggle.
The beauty of it had been marred by several welts and Gabrielle had to
control her temper, for all she wanted to do was slay as many of them she
could. She kept telling herself, must get Trina away first.
It wasn't long before the men had set up camp. They had a large campfire
heating up the area and had grouped near the fire eating and drinking.
Gabrielle watched as one of the men dragged Trina toward a large boulder and
pushed the woman to the ground as he towered over her saying, "Move from
there girly and you will wish you were dead!" His laughter seemed to linger
as he walked away. Gabrielle peered around the rock as she gazed toward the
woman. Trina was in the throws of fear as the woman tried to muffle her
cries. Tears fell from her eyes in a downpour as she lay her head in her
hands and wept.
Gabrielle could feel her heart reaching out toward the woman as she slipped
back behind the stone, waiting for the right time. The men had been
carousing and it was plain to see they felt safe and secure. After all, no
one in their right mind would be foolish enought to follow them this far.
Gabrielle had been sitting on the ground, her legs stretched out as she
stared up at the sky, there was just enough moonlight to allow her to do
what she had planned and little else. The sky had darkened and except for
the noise the men made, it was a rather quiet night as she watched the
clouds drift across the sky with a cold, slowness. She only hoped she could
convince Trina to leave and not say or do anything that would bring the
wrath of the men down upon them both.
Her mind would drift off from time to time to the woman she had grown to
depend on. She had not been happy when she found herself in this world, she
missed Xena but now she had uncertain thoughts about the woman and wondered
if Xena even missed her. She had left her so readily, and to this day, she
still felt the pain of it.
When Sea entered her life once more, it was like a blessing. She never had
been the best at words, but she was elated to know the woman had survived.
The fact that Sea had traveled to see her and then wanted to find out what
happened, made her feel even more strongly toward the woman. She had
forgotten how dashing, and charismatic Sea was. Even in quiet times and
there had been many, her look would reach out and grasp Gabrielle with such
emotion it would leave her weak in the knees. There was no doubt about it,
she held deep feelings and respect for the woman.
The crackling of the fire brought her attention back to the present as she
peered around the stone once more. The men had laid down and were either
asleep or passed out. She smiled as she began to crawl toward the lone
figure of the woman. Slowly she edged closer and closer. When she was within
inches of her, she reached out and placed her right-hand over Trina's mouth.
She had been sleeping and this brought her wide awake, as her eyes grew so
large Gabrielle thought they might pop from their sockets. The woman tried
to scream but Gabrielle had a good hold over her mouth. She leaned over and
whispered in the woman's right ear, "Shh, it's me Gabrielle, I'm come to get
you out of here. Don't make a sound."
Trina nodded her head as Gabrielle took her dagger and cut the ropes that
bound the woman. She reached out and placed her hands on Trina's shoulders
and said, "Look at me, my horse is just down the path, take her and go back
to the camp."
Trina's eyes darted around as she whispered, "What about you?"
"I will follow, but if I'm not there soon, leave, it will do neither one of
us any good if we both get caught, now go."
Trina nodded as she crawled away. Gabrielle watched and then she began to
slowly follow the woman.
The man's commanding voice was gruff as she heard the words, "Look what we
have here boys!"
In an instant she kicked backwards, hitting the man on his right knee as he
yelled and fell to the ground. Raising her body upward and using her hands
as props, she propelled the length of her legs toward the man's face. When
her boots, collided with his nose, she could hear the cracking of his facial
bones, as he fell in a helpless heap. She was on her feet just as quick and
drew the cutlass, ready to stand off the men that were running toward her.
Their swordmanship left a lot to be desired, probably because most had been
under the influence of grog. She was thankful for this, as she raised the
cutlass to stop several that were aimed at her head. The darkened night gave
way to metal on metal and the sparks that lit up the area each time they
struck. Gabrielle had defeated the first group and was taking a deep breath
as she waited for the ones that were advancing toward her back. She knew
they were coming and as they lunged, she leaped, somersaulting over their
heads and landed behind them. After several high jumps and spins, she had
disabled many, but they kept coming.
Trina had stood in the darkness watching the fighting. The woman was a sight
to behold, she had never seen anyone who could fight like that and still
remain standing. The ground was soiled with the blood and bodies of the men.
But, still more came, and they outnumbered Golden Hair. She couldn't help
but worry for the woman's safety.
She took one last look and it was then she saw two men grab the woman from
behind, as she fought with three that had confronted her. One of the men had
managed to kick the blade from the woman's hand. And as it dropped to the
ground, his fist lashed out hitting her across the left side of her face.
Trina gasped but it was then that Gabrielle used the men and their hold on
her against them. She pushed herself against one's body, pulling herself off
the ground, she threw both feet forward hitting the man in the face. The
blow knocked him backwards, and at this time she jabbed an elbow into the
abdomen of one of the men that had a grip on her. In surprise, he released
his hold, leaving only the other man holding her and she finished him in an
instant. Trina turned and ran in the direction Gabrielle had told her to go.
The sounds of fighting and screams fading into the background.
Gabrielle had just knocked down one of the men and was getting ready to
bring her right fist down on his face when she heard the snap before she
felt the leather fangs wrap around her ankles sending the woman plummeting
to the ground. Before she could reach down and unwrap the leather, she found
herself being pelted by fists and boots. The gruff voice bellowed, "Get
A goliath of a man stepped forward, reaching down he removed the leather
that was wrapped around the woman's boots. The large scar on his face seemed
to smile as he said, "Get her to her feet, and stake her to the ground. I
want this one to be immovable when she wakes."
Two men reached down and picked up the unconscious woman, as they carried
her toward the dwindling campfire. He watched as his men drove four stakes
into the ground then tied the woman's wrists and feet to them. After she had
been secured, one of the men walked up to him and said, "She fights like a
demon, who do you think she is?"
His lip curled up into a snarl as he said, "That's the pirate, known as
Golden Hair, she has caused Athens alot of trouble. There is a nice reward
for her capture."
The other man stared down at the battered body of the woman as he asked,
"Alive or dead?"
The large man walked over and knelt beside the woman. He reached out his
right-hand and brushed the side of her face as he said, "She has to be alive
to stand trial, no one said what condition. Actually she is lucky to be
alive after the damage she has done here."
The thunder of hoof beats could be heard as the people looked up to see the
cloud of dust following the riders. The first animal to come into view was a
black stallion as it slid to a stop. The tall woman that set the animal was
wearing a pair of black leather pants, a black leather top and black boots.
The cutlass that hung from her waist gave her an ominous presence. Within
seconds she had flipped forward out of the saddle, somersaulting over the
animals head as she landed to the front of the horse.
The people stood in awe as they watched and before long the other riders had
caught up to her and were now bringing their animals to a standstill. Sea
stared up at Linden as the woman dismounted and said, "Where's Gabrielle? I
want to tell her."
Linden looked at one of the elders as she walked up to the man and said, "We
need to speak to Gabrielle. Where is she?"
Sea could feel the hair on the back of her neck begin to rise as an uneasy
feeling began to travel her body. She walked up to the man and said, "I can
see your look, tell me where she is? Has something happened to her?"
He muttered, "It wasn't our fault."
He hadn't finished the statement before she had grabbed him by his collar
and jerked him toward her saying, "If you have harmed her, you will pay."
Linden stepped forward and grabbed Ann's hand as she said, "He is just a
villager, release him." She looked at the man and said, "It is imperative
you tell the woman."
At this time a young woman stepped through the throng of people as she said,
"You are the one called Ann Bounty, a friend of Golden Hair?"
Sea nodded as she said, "You know something, can you take me to her?"
Trina told them what had happened and by the time she was finished, Ann was
already in the saddle. Linden looked at her and asked, "What are you doing?"
"Going after her, she risked her life for the woman, the least I can do is
the same." The black horse reared on its back legs as its front hoofs cut
through the air. And in an instant the horse and rider were a cloud of dust.
Linden and the riders that rode in with her mounted their horses as they
It had been a bloody battle but it didn't last long. Gabrielle had made
certain of that, the skeleton of troops that fought back were no match for
Linden and her troops. And anyone unfortunate enough to step between Ann and
her trek to Gabrielle never lived to tell about it. As Linden watched the
statuesque redhead fall to her knees and cut the ropes that were holding
Gabrielle, she could see the deep concern on the woman's face. Sea had
placed her left ear against Gabrielle's chest, looking for signs of life.
When she heard the heartbeat, her face shone with such happiness. She gently
picked the woman up and held her in her arms as she said, "Got to get her
out of here."
Linden had a litter made and Gabrielle was placed on it. Sea looked up at
the woman and said, "I'll walk beside it."
Linden gazed at the look of love on the woman's face as she stroked
Gabrielle's forehead and whispered, "It's all right, I'm here, you're going
to be o. k."
The woman stood regally on a high cliff, staring out at the incoming surf as
it pelted the shore line. The wind had grasped her flaming hair and sent it
flying about her head. She reached up from time to time to brush strands
back from her face.
The sound of seagulls flying overhead caused her to look up as she smiled at
their playfulness. Even the birds seemed to be in love in this enchanting
place. A warm feeling crept over her, as she threw out her arms and danced
in a circle. She was enjoying the feeling of the wind on her body and the
freedom she experienced since they came to this island.
As she slowly fell to the ground she thought back to that time.
Linden and some of her followers had made certain she and Gabrielle were
taken there. Leaving supplies for them and making certain the two were
settled in before she left. When the woman and her people were getting ready
to leave, she turned and looked at Sea and said, "She may not make it. Her
injuries are bad."
Sea could still see herself staring down at the concerned face of the woman
as she replied, "We have been through so much, she would not leave me now.
She had stood and watched them as they boarded the longboat, then hurried
back to the wooden shack. Linden was right, Gabrielle's injuries were many
and though she was worried, she did everything she could to stabilize her
and care for her friend. She had been unconscious for sometime, and when she
sat beside the woman and held her hand she fought to hold back tears.
Gabrielle's face had been battered, but it was her body that seemed to have
taken the worst blows. She had a broken right leg, and cuts and bruises
adorned her chest and seemed to travel her body like it was a path that was
put there just for them. Ann had set the leg, tended the cuts and bruises.
She did everything she could to keep Gabrielle safe and warm.
She would talk to her constantly, and even attempted a few lyrics. She was
close to giving up hope of ever seeing those brilliant blue green eyes
looking at her again. And then it happened, Ann had just returned from
gathering a few provisions, coconuts, oranges, and several fish she had been
lucky enough to snare in a trap she had thrown out into the water. Walking
into the room, she walked over and had just set the items on a wooden table.
When she first heard the low moan, she thought it was the wind as it had
kicked up outside. Then she heard it once more and this time she knew it
wasn't the wind. Feeling her heart leap into her throat, she turned and
gazed toward the bed. If her eyes weren't playing tricks on her, she thought
she saw the woman move.
It took her two strides and she found herself kneeling beside the woman. She
reached out and held Gabrielle's left hand in hers as she gently caressed
the woman's forehead with her right-hand. Her eyelids fluttered as she
gradually opened them, she seemed to be dazed as she said, "Don't feel so
good, where, what..."
Sea smiled as she softly said, "Shh, you're here with me, that's all that
Gabrielle started to move as she cried out in pain and fell back on the bed.
Sea stared at her and said, "You were badly injured when you went to help
the woman, Trina. It's all right, they won't hurt you or anyone else ever
again. You need to rest, get your strength back."
Gabrielle squeezed Sea's hand with hers as she whispered, "Missed me huh?"
She closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep, this time in a peaceful
Sea lowered her head and laid it on Gabrielle's chest as she whispered,
"Thank the Gods, you've come back." The tears she had been holding back had
finally surfaced and she cried herself to sleep, listening to the heartbeat
of her friend."
XENA WARRIOR PRINCESS
Now, as she leaned back on her hands and stared at the beautiful waters that
surrounded the island she felt at peace. Gabrielle had recovered, it had
been a long hard convalescence for the both of them. Gabrielle trying to
become whole again and her taking every step with the woman. They had leaned
on one another for strength and comfort. The first time Gabrielle had taken
her first steps without Sea's assistance was a memorable day. She would
never forget the look of love that shone from the woman's blue green eyes.
Sea was so happy for her and had to admit a little of the happiness was for
herself, because the fates had allowed the woman to fully recover and return
Gabrielle had been sitting on the beach, her toes digging into the warm sand
as she stared out at the vastness of the ocean. She enjoyed watching the
waves start to roll toward shore, then disipate. The first time she and Ann
had walked down to the beach she was mesmerized by the water. It had the
greenest hue to it and was so clear. She had never seen water that looked
It seemed as if it was just yesterday, the first time they walked along the
sand. Gabrielle had been walking for several weeks and was still unsteady at
times. She was leaning on Sea's right shoulder when they approached the
area. Gazing at the water the first thing she said was, "The water, it is so
Sea smiled as she said, "Let's sit, Linden told me this area is called,
Emerald Bay. She said it acquired its name because of the water color."
Gabrielle had sit with Sea's assistance and said, "Do you suppose, there is
real treasure out there?"
Smiling the woman sat beside her and said, "Not out there, but surely right
here." Her green eyes gazed at her as Gabrielle said, "If there is a
treasure in this area, it is you Ann Bounty. I wouldn't mind doing a little
diving out there, just to see what I might find."
She smiled to herself as she remembered Sea's look as she stared out at the
She had told Sea that there was something she had to do and it was a
surprise. And as she thought about it, she felt it was probably good the two
had some quiet time apart. Sea had been with her steadily and she felt the
woman probably could use time to herself.
On Linden's last visit when she brought them supplies, she had taken the
woman aside and spoke to her about a surprise she wanted to give Sea. Now,
she sat on the lonely stretch of beach waiting for signs of the longboat to
come into view.
The two women hadn't had a lot of time to search the island, they had stayed
close to the shack. But now that she was feeling better, Sea had been trying
to get her to go on an excursion. Of course, Linden telling them about the
island might have had a lot to do with it. She had told Sea, she would love
to go but not until after she was finished with something. Keeping a
surprise from the woman had turned into a job because at every turn she
tried to find out just what Gabrielle was talking about. She almost got it
out of her this very morning and she hoped to be able to share her surprise
with Sea soon.
She had to admit that Sea's suggestion of an excursion sounded interesting
and she had not been getting a lot of exercise. From everything that Linden
had told them the island held a wealth of things. From an abundance of plant
life to the lizard she was not looking forward to seeing.
When she spied the longboat, she stood and waved. Before long, they were
nearing shore and several men had jumped out and pulled the boat onshore.
Linden jumped down and hurried toward her. As she neared, she threw out her
arms and hugged Gabrielle as she said, "You are looking better each day. I
can see the pink coming back into your cheeks. I will assume it might have
something to do with Ann."
Smiling, she stepped back and said, "You already know the answer to that,
did you bring it?"
Linden looked despondent as she answered, "I know how badly you wanted to
give it to Sea this day, but, it will have to wait. The metal you want the
sword to be forged from has not arrived yet. As soon as it does, Joel will
make the weapon. I think you should take the trip with Ann. The two of you
go explore the island and when you get back, the sword will be waiting under
Grinning, Gabrielle said, "I'm saddened I couldn't give it to her now but
later will be fine. I will take her up on the offer, we both need to get out
and this will be a good chance. Tell me, how is the young woman, Trina?"
Linden looked at the men who were standing at the boat as she said, "She is
fine, thanks to you. But I have to tell you that Athens has now tripled the
reward for the both of you. You will need to remain here a little longer."
Gabrielle thanked the woman as Linden turned and walked back to the boat.
Climbing in, she called out, "Have a great time, see you soon."
Gabrielle watched until they were well on their way then she turned and
started toward the shack.
Nearing the building, she knew that Sea was home because she could hear the
woman's humming. She found herself picking up her step as she hurried toward
the wooden shack.
Sea looked up when she entered the room and said, "Well, I have been on pins
and needles all day, where is it?"
Smiling, Gabrielle stepped further into the room and said, "Didn't make it
this time, maybe next."
Sea had stepped up to her and said, "You wouldn't be toying with me now
She reached up with her right hand and placed it on Sea's left cheek as she
answered, "I would never do that to you, well, not over this. I do have a
Her emerald green eyes danced as Sea raised her left hand and grasped
Gabrielle's and said, "I am willing to do your bidding, what is your
After Gabrielle told her she was ready to take the trip with her, Sea was
ecstatic as she reached down and wrapped her arms around Gabrielle's waist
and said, "Then let's do it!"
"Yo... You mean now?"
Beaming down at her, she answered, "There is not time like the present.
Where do you want to start first, at the fjords?"
Shrugging her shoulders, Gabrielle said, "Wherever you want, I'll follow you
Sea had walked over to a far corner and said, "I have several packs ready,
If you are up to it, I say we go now."
Sitting down on the bed, Gabrielle said, "Sounds good, just let me get my
boots on. Don't want any crawly things thinking my feet are going to be
their new home."
Sea had placed the packs on the floor in front of the woman as she grinned
and said, "Or a slimy lizard?"
Gabrielle made a face at the woman as she finished pulling her last boot on
then said, "Ready, lead on Captain."
As they started out, Sea was carrying most of the equipment on her back.
Gabrielle insisted on carrying her blanket and several water skins. It was
late afternoon and Sea felt they could make it to the closest inlet before
darkness settled in. It was a beautiful walk, the jungle was teeming with
beautiful species of plant life. They hadn't been walking very long when Sea
turned to her and said, "Let's rest by that large tree, you are out of
breath and it will take time to get acclimated."
Nodding she removed her blanket from the leather strap around her back and
laid the water skins on the ground. Checking the area first, she sat and
said, "I've never felt this useless."
Approaching the tree, Sea reached up and removed a beautiful orange flower
from a branch and said, "You are never useless, you had bad injuries, it
will just take time. Before long, I look to see you swinging on one of those
Gabrielle glanced upward as her eyes took in the long heavy vines, then
said, "I like the ground too much to be flying around on any of those."
Sea knelt down beside her and placed the flower over Gabrielle's right ear
and said, "There, a beautiful flower for a beautiful woman."
Gabrielle looked away, as she said, "Sometimes, you are overwhelming. I love
you for it but I could never reciprocate that way."
Sea had stretched her legs out as she leaned against the tree trunk and
said, "Just seeing the look in your eyes, is enough. You reciprocate many
other ways and I find them all delightful. Better drink some water, we will
have to leave soon if we are going to reach the inlet before darkness
After they had rested, the two began their trek once more. And true to Ann's
word, they reached the inlet as dusk was starting to settle on the area.
Ann found a sheltered stretch of the beach and had set up camp there for the
night. Gabrielle was ready, she was tired. The horrible beating her body had
taken, seemed to still be causing her problems. She never felt her body so
weak before. Sea told her it was because she had been idle for so long and
would be fine as soon as she got her self back into shape. The woman had
started a nice campfire and she had laid the blankets on the sand.
Gabrielle had sat and removed her boots, all the time looking around the
area. She watched as Sea finally sat and said, "Nothing seems to bother you
aren't you even worried it might crawl in here?"
Laughing she gazed toward Gabrielle and said, "Wouldn't dare, if it did, it
might be our next meal."
Scrunching up her shoulders, Gabrielle uttered, "One way to kill an
Sea tossed a leather pack toward the woman as she said, "There is some dried
meat in there, eat, you need to keep up your strength. We have a long hike
As the warmth from the sun settled on the sand, it didn't take long before
it found the two women. They had been laying close, oblivious to anything
around them. Gabrielle's head was on Sea's right shoulder and the women were
enjoying their time together. Sea glanced toward the east and said, "The sun
is out, hope you didn't get too cold last night."
Snuggling against the woman, Gabrielle said, "No, slept like a baby."
Sea grinned as she said, "Maybe one who has a stomach ache, you fidgeted all
Gabrielle sat up as she stared down at the woman and said, "All right, this
lizard thing has got me going."
Sea was sitting by now as she said, "For someone who can fell armies, a
silly lizard seems to have you jumping through hoops."
Getting to her feet, Gabrielle stared at the area and said, "You are right,
an army I can see, but..."
Getting to her feet, Sea cut in as she said, "No buts, it is just something
on four feet, maybe a longer tail than most but still..."
On her feet now, Gabrielle said, "All right, I promise, no more talk of
lizards. After all, I have you to protect me."
Sea had been trying to get a fire going as she turned her head and looked at
Gabrielle she said, "You know I would protect you from anything I felt might
harm you but I draw the line on a lizard. This one my dear, you will have to
handle all by yourself."
Gabrielle was extremely tense as she said, "Thanks, thanks a bunch."
Sea laughed as she went back to starting the fire. After she finally got it
going, she walked over to Gabrielle and asked, "How about fish?"
She had just pulled her boots on as she looked at Sea and said, "Sure,
sounds good, how are you going to do that?"
Sea walked up to her and placed a finger on Gabrielle's nose as she said,
"Not me, you. I'm going to go scare up a couple of coconuts." She was
striding toward a crop of palm trees before Gabrielle could utter her
Sea stood on a high tree branch, watching Gabrielle. She would give the
woman credit, she would try anything. She was just teasing about the fish,
but actually hoped Gabrielle might try it. The exercise would do the woman
good and she just might surprise herself.
Gabrielle had removed her boots and made a spear from a piece of drift wood
and her dagger. Sea grinned as she watched the woman wade into the water.
Gabrielle made many lunges into the water with the spear but always came
back empty. Sea started to climb down, she would pick up the two coconuts
she had confiscated and go help the woman.
It took her a little longer than usual to get back to the camp and when she
walked onto the sandy beach and started toward the surf, Gabrielle was
nowhere in sight. Sea was carrying something in her leather shirt, as she
hurried toward the camp yelling for the woman.
Gabrielle looked up from the fire when the woman came into view. The smile
that crossed her face was radiant as she said, "Sea! Going topless today?"
Sea stopped as she stared down at her breasts then said, "Nothing wrong with
it." Her eyes immediately went to the spit over the fire and the fish that
were on it. She dropped to her knees and said, "You caught fish."
Grinning, Gabrielle replied, "You did say fish, right?"
Smiling she said, "Right."
Gabrielle stared at Sea's shirt and asked, "What do you have in the shirt,
Sea set the shirt on the sand and as it fell open, a large green lizard
crawled out. It stood staring at Gabrielle as she screamed.
Not only did the woman jump back, the lizard retreated as Ann reached out
and grabbed it.
Gabrielle stuttered, "Yo... You... How could you? You scared me to death."
Sea was holding the reptile under it's stomach, with one hand under it's
neck as she ginned, "Well if it will make you feel any better, you scared
the lizard out of several of it's lives."
Regaining her composure Gabrielle stepped closer as she eyed the thing. She
would cock her head to the right and the reptile would follow suit. After
staring at it for a length of time she looked up at Sea and said, "Actually
its kinda cute."
Before she knew what was happening, Sea reached out and placed the reptile
in Gabrielle's arms and said, "Here, you two get acquainted, I'll get my
shirt back on and see about breakfast."
It wasn't long before Sea had placed the food in front of Gabrielle and
said, "Fish is ready." She laid a coconut on the sand and cut threw it with
one quick chop of her sword. She handed half to Gabrielle and said, "Here,
the milk is good. and when it is gone we can eat some of the meat and take
the rest with us, It's even better dried."
Gabrielle looked at the fish as she took a small piece and tasted it, then
said, "You didn't think I would catch any did you?"
Sea had started to sample the fish as she said, "Thought you would have a
hard time. Actually I was looking for an excuse to put my arms around you
once more. Showing you how to fish has always been an experience."
After Gabrielle took a drink from the coconut, she stared down at the lizard
and said, "Now you have done it, it thinks we are home or something. Do
Lizards eat fish, what do they eat?"
Sea moved closer as the side of her body touched Gabrielle's she leaned over
and placed a kiss on the woman's moist lips and said, "Definitely not
coconut. Try, vegetation, spiders, insects, maybe even fish."
Gabrielle tossed the reptile several pieces of the fish, it caught the meat
then turned and scurried away. Both women shrugged their shoulders and said
in unison, "Not fish."
Later when they had picked up camp and were getting ready to go, Sea looked
at her and said, "What about it?"
The lizard seemed to be taking every footstep Gabrielle took. It might have
taken it longer but it always ended up in her proximity. She looked at the
reptile and said, "Guess we leave it, must have a home."
Gabrielle dropped to her knees followed by Sea as she reached out and
caressed the top of its head and said, "Sorry little fella, we have to leave
The reptile ambled up to Gabrielle and laid its head on her right knee. Sea
reached out and touched her on her right shoulder as she said, "Looks like
you have a lizard."
Gabrielle looked at her and said, "Very funny." She had been staring at the
reptile as she said, "It does have eyelids, and look little ear openings."
Sitting down beside the woman Sea reached out and picked the lizard up as
she held out one leg and said, "And look, even claws."
Gabrielle stared at the claws as she said, "This one is friendly, I suppose
there are others?"
Setting the tough skinned reptile on the ground she turned her attention to
Gabrielle and said, "This is only a baby."
The woman's eyes widened as she said, "It's big enough, you mean they grow
Grinning the woman answered, "Sometimes to be longer than me."
Gabrielle was standing as she wiped her hands on the sides of her pants and
said, "I'm ready to leave, if this is a baby, I don't want to meet its
Sea picked the lizard up and said, "I'll take it back where I found it, you
bring the packs."
Gabrielle watched the woman walking away and couldn't help but feel a chill
when she saw the reptile in her arms. It didn't seem cute anymore and its
long tail swinging back and forth, didn't make it look any friendlier. Sea
had accomplished one thing, she wasn't worried about a lizard any longer and
she knew her friend had to be funning her about the larger one. She grabbed
the packs and ran to catch up to the woman.
They easily outran the reptile and soon found themselves far away from that
Gabrielle was standing looking down at the narrow inlet of the ocean that
ran between the cliffs. It was a spectacular sight and she decided to sit
and wait for Sea to return. The woman had gone on ahead to scout for their
evening camp and she chose to stay back and take in the beauty of the fjord.
She had enjoyed the time with her friend they had traveled the island
extensively, it was remarkable there were so many different regions. There
was the forest which was thick, and its limbs were so heavy they caused a
canopy, leaving little open space. Then below that was a second canopy which
was created by other smaller trees and vegetation. Usually below the second
canopy the forest floor was dark because most of the light had been blocked
out by the layers of trees.
Then there were the sandy beaches where the palms blew beautifully in the
breeze. Here you could see the sunlight penetrating to the forest floor and
here the ground vegetation became thick. Gabrielle had asked Sea about the
species of plants that were living on the branches or the sides of tree
trunks. They never seemed to touch the ground but appeared to thrive on the
trees. Some looked like ferns, and beautiful flowers.
The denser part of the area, had numerous species of vines. Some were large
woody vines that covered their way to the tops of the trees. It had been an
enjoyable trek, she had seen many things and was still trying to take them
all into her memory.
They had seen long narrow deep sea trenches. And then they saw what looked
like could be a volcano. Sea had noticed raised beaches uplifted, folded and
broken layers of earth and rock, she had pointed these out to Gabrielle. The
ground was covered with luxuriant vegetation. On their travels, they had
seen many beaches and lots of subtropical bushes, clear streams and geysers.
Sea told her Linden had said that the area the volcano was in was called,
"The Land Of The Long White Cloud." This was because of the stream of white
cloud that formed along its crest.
The island was surrounded by continuous sandy beaches and sand dunes that
were whipped up by the westerly winds. What she loved most were several
lakes and waterfalls. She had spent some quality time there with Sea and she
knew she would never forget it.
She sighed as she thought to herself, the island held everything anyone
would ever want except home and she missed it more everyday. She loved Sea
but she needed to find out what happened to Xena. She felt if she never
found out, it would haunt her the rest of her life.
XENA WARRIOR PRINCESS
She had been lying back on the ground, listening to the sound of the water
crashing against the cliffs and gazing at the beauty of the sky. The trip
had helped her regain her strength and she could now hold her own against
anyone, even Sea. A slight smile crossed her face as her thoughts went back
to the sand dunes.
It had been a long walk and both women were tired. Sea had paused near some
tall grass and Gabrielle was just grateful to rest. They had covered a lot
of territory since early morning but she thought this was an unusual place
Sea had been lying on her right side as she stared at her and said, "Come,
sit, rest those beautiful legs. Each day I see them getting stronger. Are
you feeling better?"
She had walked over and sat down as she laid her leather pack on the ground
and answered, "Much better, probably could even beat you in a race."
Sea was now sitting as she said, "All right, you're on."
She had gazed at the woman perplexed as she said, "What are you talking
Sea pointed to the large sand dunes that were a short distance from them and
said, "Race you to the dunes, over the top then back over and here."
Heaving a large sigh, Gabrielle said, "You have had a little to much sun, we
are both tired, and that is quite a distance, plus running through sand like
Sea grinned as she said, "Not up for it huh?"
Gabrielle watched the woman remove her boots as she began to do the same.
Sea was standing, taking in large breaths of air as she said, "Anytime you
Getting to her feet, she stared at the woman and said, "Ready!" As she took
off leaving Sea staring at her. The woman smiled and let Gabrielle get a
good distance ahead before she ran after her. She had been listening for the
sound of Sea's feet hitting the sand but didn't hear anything until the
woman somersaulted over her head and landed directly in front of her.
Gabrielle yelled, "That's not fair."
And as Sea started up the first sand dune she called back, "I suppose your
Gabrielle was within reach of the woman's feet and she dove forward grabbing
Sea by her ankles. It threw her off balance as she fell face first into the
soft sand. She felt her body sliding down toward Gabrielle's and just let it
go until she stopped. And it was as Gabrielle started to go past her, she
threw out her right arm and tripped the woman. And as Gabrielle started to
roll down the mound of sand, she grabbed Sea and the two of them rolled over
and over to the bottom.
Gabrielle looked up to see her friend straddling her stomach and she didn't
look like she was going to move anytime soon. She had reached up and tried
to push the woman off as she said, "That wasn't nice."
Sea grabbed Gabrielle's hands and held them as she beamed down at her face
and said, "Oh, and you are the perfect image of a good sport?"
Moving to the left then changing course, Gabrielle managed to throw Sea off
balance and the two fell to the right only this time she came out on top.
Sea would not let go of her hands, and the two women found themselves
laughing at one another. Finally Gabrielle said, "I'm sorry, you would have
won easily, only because your legs are longer than mine."
Smiling at Gabrielle she said, "All this time I thought you liked them."
Sea rolled and when she did, Gabrielle went with her and once more she found
herself on the bottom. She had been laughing so hard, all the strength she
had was gone as she said, "I concede, you win, you win."
Sea leaned over and gently pulled Gabrielle's arms back over her head, then
pinned them to the sand. Her face possessed a look of mischief as she said,
"If I win, I get to claim the prize."
Gabrielle gazed at her and said, "We never mentioned a prize."
"Oh but I just did." She brought her head down as her lips sought
Gabrielle's in a soft, yet pleasing kiss.
Gabrielle's feeble attempt to struggle was well noticed by Sea. She sat up
and released the hold on her hands as she whispered, "You know you love
every minute of it." With those words, she jumped to her feet and said,
"Come on, I've got something to show you."
The woman had pulled Gabrielle to her feet as she asked, "You found a place
for camp? Is it far?"
Shaking her head, she pulled Gabrielle along with her as she said, "Let's
get our boots on and we can go."
They had started down an incline and were heading toward a field of tall
grass. As they neared the bottom, Gabrielle reached out and grabbed Sea's
right arm and said, "The grass is magnificent, look how it seems to dance in
the breeze but we have no horse, no need to look for grass."
Turning to bring her eyes into contact with Gabrielle's, Sea replied,
"Haven't you ever had grass tea? Best stuff." Gabrielle was exhibiting an
unbelievable expression as she said, "No, are you teasing me again?"
Shaking her head, the woman said, Come on, it's not that far."
Picking up her step, she tried to keep up with Sea's lengthy legs. Though it
looked like flatland, she was surprised when they suddenly came to the end
of it. The two stood as she stared down at the rock formation that lay below
them. Grabbing her left hand, Sea began to move downward as she said,
"Almost there, you are going to love it."
Once they were at the bottom, Gabrielle turned slowly as she stared at the
different rock formations. It was pretty but she had seen rocks before. Her
face held a serious look as she said, "They're nice, but, you dragged me all
the way down here to see this?"
Grinning, Sea answered, "You will do anything I ask, won't you?"
Pursing her lips she stared at the woman and said, "I, guess, you have never
led me to think otherwise. Yes, yes I would."
By this time Sea had grasped both of Gabrielle's hands in hers as she said,
"Then close your eyes, and trust me to lead you for a ways. Promise me you
will only open them when I say."
Nodding her head she said, "This had better be good."
"Trust me, it is. If you are not totally happy about it, I give you
permission to do with me what you will."
Beaming, Gabrielle softly said, "Better be careful with statements like
that, never know what I might decide to do."
Leaning over and whispering in her left ear, Sea said, "I'm still waiting."
The sound of the two women laughing was all that seemed to be heard in this
tranquil area. The two women now stood, with Gabrielle in front of Sea. The
woman had her hands over Gabrielle's eyes and was standing behind her.
Gabrielle said, "I hear water, sounds like it is cascading. You found
Removing her hands, Sea replied, "Open them."
She was amazed as she stared out at the water cascading down into a hot
spring. There were beautiful flowers growing along the edges of the rocks.
The water seemed to pool up on a flat rock and then cascade down into the
springs like a gentle rain.
Sea placed her hands on Gabrielle's shoulders as she said, "You like? I
thought you might like it but never thought it would take your words away."
Turning, she gazed up at the ravishing woman she had grown to love as she
said, "It's beautiful, too beautiful for words. I love it, thank you."
"You're welcome but thank the gods, I had nothing to do with it. I think the
warm water will help you ease out a few kinks."
Nodding, she sat down on the ground and began to remove her boots. Sea stood
as she watched the woman remove her clothes and walk into the water.
Gabrielle had leaned back in the water as she called out. "It's heavenly,
come join me."
Sea sat as she stared at the beautiful woman and said, "I am just content to
watch you. It is perfect now, you were what was needed to make it that way."
The water was refreshing and felt wonderful. She had been tired but as the
warmth of the water caressed her, she felt revitalized. She stared at the
voluptuous woman that sat with her knees drawn to her chest. Sea was so
beautiful, words would never express the charisma that she exuded. She
thanked the Gods each day for allowing the two of them to meet.
Sea had noticed the deep and tender look Gabrielle was giving her as she
called out, "You keep looking at me like that and I might get the idea you
Swimming toward her, she said, "I have no secrets when I am around you. If
you won't come in, then I am coming out."
Sea had grabbed a blanket and held it up, wrapping it around the woman as
she stepped out of the water. She had walked over to some kindling and wood
she had set up when she was there before and within a few minutes she had a
cozy fire burning. Turning to gaze up at Gabrielle she said, "Come over here
and sit, you will dry of quickly."
She had tossed out the other blanket as Gabrielle stared at her and slowly
lowered her body toward the blanket. Her eyes never leaving Sea's as she
sat, then she handed the blanket that was covering her to the woman and
said, "It's wet now, need to get it dry."
Taking it, she placed it over a rock, near the fire then turned to stare at
the glow from the campfire as it danced across Gabrielle's form. Gabrielle
held out her right-hand and said, "There's nothing else to do, come, sit by
She reached down and grasped the woman's hand as she gave it a squeeze and
said, "I need to get some of this dirt off." She released her hand and
walked toward the springs. It wasn't long before she had removed her clothes
and stepped into the water to enjoy its soothing touch on her very tense
By the time she decided to come out, Gabrielle had pulled the blanket around
herself and was fast asleep. She put more wood on the dying fire and laid
the other blanket down. She had been quiet as she sat and watched the flames
leaping into the air. After her body had dried some, she laid back on the
blanket and closed her eyes.
Sea had also been thinking back to their time at the hot springs, it was a
wonderful ending to what had been a glorious trip. It was a good feeling to
know that there had been no one to fight, no one to cause them trouble.
There had just been the two of them, on a journey of discovery. She heard
the sound of the oars pulling through the water and looked up to see Linden
waving toward her. She had told Gabrielle she needed to make a trip out to
the ship and the woman was fine with it. She told Sea that she would just go
listen to the sounds of the ocean at the fjord, it would give her some quiet
"I hope I haven't kept you?" Linden's voice boomed out as Sea shook her head
and headed toward the longboat. Once she was inside, they turned the boat
around and started back toward the large ship that was anchored close by.
After she had sat, Linden looked at her and asked, "Does Gabrielle know what
you are doing?"
Shaking her head she replied, "No, there is no need at this time. Is the
woman on board?"
Linden nodded as she said, "I don't understand why you felt the need to talk
to an oracle. Things seem to be going good for the two of you."
Sea turned her head and gazed back at the island as she answered, "They are,
better than I might ever have wished."
Linden could see the woman was not going to tell her anything as she sat and
stared out at the water. Once they were aboard, she took her to her cabin
and said, "Her name is Leeana, tell me when you are ready to go back."
The small framed woman looked up when Sea entered the room. She stood and
said, "It is a pleasure to meet the notorious Ann Bounty. Come sit, tell me
what seems to be bothering you."
After Sea told her how she and Gabrielle found themselves to be in her
world, she expected the woman to look at her in disbelief, she didn't. The
oracle stared at her and asked, "Your love for this woman is deep, so why
would you give her up?"
Sea moved uneasily on the wooden chair as she said, "It is, never have I
felt like this for another mortal. I love her enough to let her go if it
will make her happy."
Leeana was gazing at Sea's slender fingers as she said, "What does she say?
Have you told her?"
Shaking her head she replied, "No, because I am not sure this is the type of
whirling mass that will actually take us back,"
Tipping her head to one side the woman said, "It could just be a swirl of
death and if the two of you jump into it, you will perish."
Getting to her feet Sea began to pace the room as she said, "Don't you think
I have thought of that. I would rather lose her to another than to death."
I can only tell you that what you are talking about is risky and foolhardy
at best. Forget your world, you both are here now, live your lives the way
Sitting back down, she gazed at the woman and said, "She still holds onto
the hope she will see Xena once more, she has a deep hurt where the woman is
concerned. I don't think Gabrielle will ever get over this."
The woman reached across the table and grasped both of Ann's hands as she
said, "I know your love is true, the love the woman has for you is also.
What you are planning is not the wisest thing. There have been many that
have taken someone with less reason. I must tell you this."
Sea leaned forward as she asked, "What?"
Staring into Sea's emerald green eyes the woman said, "If it happens and the
two of you are fortunate enough to get back to your world, you must know one
thing, once you are there, everything that has happened to you here, will be
Sea pulled her hands from the woman's grasp as she said, "So we both die in
a whirling pool of water or we survive and what we have here is gone?"
Nodding her head the woman stood and said, "It is up to you, only you can
make the decision. I suggest you tell Gabrielle as soon as possible."
Sea thanked the woman and left the room. When she spied Linden she strode
toward her and said, "I'm ready."
Linden gazed at her with a questioning look on her face as she said, "Did
you get the answer you wanted?"
Biting her lower lip, Sea answered, "I got an answer. Let's get back, I need
to talk to Gabrielle."
Gabrielle was now back at the shack, she wanted to made sure the surprise
she ordered for Sea had arrived. It had, and now she stood staring down at
the sword. The craftsman had done a better job than she ever thought he
could. The metal was shiny and new, it was inlaid in gold. There were three
gigantic waves each moving toward the handle and at the very top was a star.
She smiled as she softly said, "I hope you like it."
She pulled out a chair and sat as she scribed a note to Sea. When she was
finished she rolled it up and placed it next to the sword and pulled the
blanket up over it.
When Linden waved good-by to Ann, she said, "Think about it, it's not such a
bad life here in our world. If you are gone the next time I come by, know I
wish you both well."
Sea waved at her then turned and hurried toward the shack. She smiled when
the building came into view. Her mind wondering if Gabrielle had returned
yet or was the woman still on the cliff. As she hurried into the building,
her eyes searched for the woman but she was no where in sight. Gabrielle had
been there though because there were candles burning on the table and she
had left something laying on the bed. Sea walked over and bent down to pick
up the pack from the bed and it was then she felt something hard under the
Drawing her sword she stepped back and slowly eased the blanket off. Her
eyes grew wide as she stared at the gleaming masterpiece that shined up at
her. She had never seen a sword of this caliber or beauty. The magnificence
of the waves and the lone star gave her chills, it was then she saw the
parchment, she picked it up.
Her eyes gazed at her friend's scribing as she began to read the words out
Precious love, you've held my life within your hands, taught me how to live
again. Only you there, when I needed a friend. You have believed in me
through good and bad times. This sword is for you, and know it was made with
gratitude and love. May the Gods bless you, because I know they have me, the
day you came into my life." She felt herself tearing up as her voice caught
in her throat and through teary eyes, she continued, "My love, whenever I
felt weak, you built me up and gave me faith. You gave my life back to me,
precious friend, with you I know I will always have a friend. You're someone
who I can count on to walk a path with me, that sometimes bends and curves,
because the road ahead I cannot see. Without you in it, my life has no
meaning in this time. How can I repay you for having faith in me. May the
Gods bless you, you make me feel reborn, for the Gods have blessed me by
allowing me to know you. Love, Gabrielle"
Sea felt as if all her strength had been drained from her legs as she
crumbled to the floor. She sat staring at the parchment, the tears were
flowing at this time and she doubled over. The realization of what they had
along with the thought of losing it was just too much.
Gabrielle came dashing into the room, a radiant smile crossed her face as
she said, "Sea! You've returned." Immediately she spotted the woman on the
floor and ran to her. Dropping to her knees she cradled Sea in her arms and
said, "What, what happend?"
Sea gazed at her and said, "Thank you, it is more than I would ever expect."
Reaching out she brushed several tears off the woman's cheek and said, "If I
had known it would do this to you, I would have got you bottle of port."
Pulling away from Gabrielle, she stared at her and said, "You are trying to
make light of it, don't. I love the sword. You may never see Ann Bounty turn
to mush again so relish it. Gabrielle of Potidaea, I don't need a sword to
tell me how much you care, I always knew."
Grinning, Gabrielle said, "I have an ulterior motive you know, every time
you wield the sword, I hope you think of me, and the love that put it
together for you."
Reaching out she placed her right hand on Gabrielle's and said, "I will."
She held up the parchment and said, "This is what brought me to my knees. It
is beautiful. So I guess you know how you can take me to my knees from now
Gabrielle crawled toward her as she said, "Seems I have you there now, Ann
Bounty, surrender or pay the price." She reached out and pushed Ann back as
the two fell onto the floor. Gabrielle was lying on top of Sea as she
lowered her head and placed a succulent kiss on the woman's lips.
Sea reached up and gently pushed her back as she said, "Do you know what you
Gabrielle traced the woman's lips with her forefinger as she whispered, "I
do, but, I would never do it against your will. You've but to push me away."
Her mouth sought Sea's with a thirst and hunger that had been denied.
Sea laid the parchment down as she said, "You have broken through my
defenses woman, I will not withhold the love I have for you any longer." She
met Gabrielle's kiss with one of longing and desire as the two succumbed to
a love they might never know again.
XENA WARRIOR PRINCESS
Chapter Twenty One
The next morning, the two awoke in one another's arms. They were in bed, and
their clothes were strewn out on the floor. Sea gazed at Gabrielle as she
ran her fingers through the beautiful strawberry blond hair that fell about
her shoulders. She laid her head against the woman's and said, "I love you."
Gabrielle placed a soft kiss on Sea's neck as she said, "I feel it too, I
think you're pretty wonderful."
They had lay like that for sometime and finally Sea turned onto her side and
said, "Last night was all I could have hoped for and I have fought myself
Gabrielle sat up as she stared down at the woman and said, "I, I... You are
trying to tell me it's over. I can't believe it."
Sea was sitting by now as she said, "Never, if it were up to me, we would be
like this for the rest of our lives. In love and making love. But I have to
tell you something."
Gabrielle reached out and touched Sea's face with her right-hand as she
said, "Gods, Sea, are you trying to tell me you are ill?"
Managing a smile the woman shook her head and said, "No, unless you call the
deep love I have for you an illness. I need to tell you I may have found a
way for us to get back to our world."
Gabrielle's eyes lit up and as a big smile crossed her face she said, "Tell
me! When.. Where do we go?"
Sea had placed her feet on the floor as she said, "I'll tell you, but you
have to promise me you will listen to everything before you say anything."
Gabrielle nodded as she said, "I promise."
When Sea had explained everything to her, Gabrielle sat and stared at the
woman as she said, "Some choice, either I jump into the mass and die or live
and forget everything that has happened here."
Sea approached her and sat down beside her as she said, "We have had the
best of both worlds. At least we won't forget we know one another."
Gabrielle had been staring at the front door as she said, "We have
encountered so much in this world, new friends, we've even found one
another. It would be hard to just forget it ever existed."
Sea turned to gaze at her and said, "It is up to you, I will do whatever you
Gabrielle stood and walked across the room, then turned and said, "I can go
by myself, there is no reason for you to take the chance on perishing."
On her feet by now, the woman walked up to Gabrielle and said, "If I cannot
have you in my life in someway, I would rather be dead. If your decision is
to go, then we will both go."
Gabrielle answered, "I, I need to think about it. I really am worried about
Xena, I need to know if she is all right. It still pains me to know how she
just left like that."
Sea reached out and touched her right-hand as she said, "If you decide to
stay, could you live with not knowing?"
Shrugging her shoulders she said, "I just don't know."
Sea walked over to the door and said, "I'll be at the cliff, let me know
what you decide."
Gabrielle wanted to reach out and tell the woman to stay, that everything
would be all right. But, she couldn't get herself to do it and sighed as she
watched Sea walk away from the building.
Sea had been standing, as she watched the seagull's flying overhead. Her
mind was all jumbled with thoughts of Gabrielle and what was coming. She
knew in her heart, the woman would chose to go back. Xena seemed to have a
strong hold on the woman but try as hard as she could, she could not bring
herself to be upset. Since she came to this place, it had been more than she
had ever dreamed. The woman she had grown to love, loved her and she would
take that to her death. A slight smile crossed her lips as she said, "I
always knew it, even back there. So I am ready to take the trip back, at
least I won't lose her for good. She will always be my friend, that is if we
don't die trying this."
She heard Gabrielle when she was coming up the path and turned to gaze in
that direction. And as the woman neared she already knew what her decision
was going to be. Forcing a smile she said, "I take it, we are going to give
it a try?"
Nodding, she answered, "I will, but you must stay, I don't want to see
anything happen to you."
Sea stepped up to her and said, "We go together. Without you here, I would
cease to exist. I hope Xena soon realizes what a gem she has in you."
Gabrielle reached out and hugged the woman as she said, "Can we go now?"
Sea was shocked that Gabrielle wanted to go so soon and asked, "Now? Why not
She gazed up at her and said, "Because if I wait any longer I won't go."
As Sea held her close, she had to fight the thoughts that were trying to
invade her mind. It was a fight with herself, she could be selfish and see
to it that Gabrielle stayed or she could do the noble thing and let the
Gently pushing the woman back she said, "Now, it is, do you have everything
you want to take with you?"
Nodding her head she replied, "I have you, there is nothing else here."
Sea reached down between her breasts and brought out a delicate shell
necklace. "I made this for you sometime ago, wanted you to have something
from our trip."
Gabrielle reached up and touched it as she said, "It's beautiful, thank
Sea slipped it on over the woman's head as she said, "I too had something
ordered for you, it will not be here till next week."
Gabrielle whispered, "I have all I want. I have you, and this beautiful
It took quite awhile to walk to the spot where Sea had spied the swirling
mass and as they neared Gabrielle held her hand to her ears as she said,
"It's so loud."
Nodding, Sea pointed toward it and said, "There it is, looks just like the
one we came here in."
Gabrielle took one step forward as she stared at the thing, it was barely
off the cliff and over the water as she said, "It's too frightening. If it
is not the right thing, we will be plunging to our death."
Sea reached out and held the woman as she said, "It is a decision we will
have to live with."
Gabrielle shivered and sighed as they stared at the whirling mass.
Sea turned her around and as they faced one another she reached up and
traced Gabrielle's face with a finger and said, "I hope the gods are smiling
upon us. I want you to know, no matter what lies ahead, my heart will always
go with you."
Her blue green eyes were misting up as she said, "I love you Sea."
Sea lowered her head and placed a gentle kiss on Gabrielle's quivering lips
then said, "And I you. I will keep this parchment and treasure it as I will
you always." She took Gabrielle's hand in hers and said, "Shall we."
The two women leaped out as their bodies were swallowed up by the whirling
mass and soon disappeared.
The sound of birds singing in the trees and the warmth of the sun slowly
brought the two women around. They were laying on their backs, their hands
still locked in a vice like grip. Sea groaned as she moved her legs.
Gabrielle opened one eye and stared at the sky. She felt a hand in hers as
she turned onto her side and gazed at the long form of the woman she never
thought she would see again.
Sea was sitting by now, she stared down at her damp clothes, and realized
her hand was not free. Turning to see what had hold of it, her mouth fell
open as she said, "Gabrielle! Thank the Gods, but where did you come from?"
Gabrielle was sitting as she released Sea's hand, her eyes widened as she
exclaimed, "Sea!" The woman passed out.
Getting to her knees, Sea crawled over to her. She reached down and raised
her head, placing it on her lap. Gently tapping the woman's face, she said,
"Gabrielle, wake up."
She had been doing this for what seemed an eternity but probably wasn't more
than a few minutes when the woman opened her eyes and stared up at her. The
warmth from Sea's face radiated down to Gabrielle as she said, "Don't pass
out again. It's really me."
Gabrielle sat up as she got to her feet and said, "Sure, just like on the
ship, you're here and then you're gone."
Sea was standing beside her as she said, "Look at me, I'm real. No more
images. Gods woman what can I do to convince you?"
Gabrielle reached out and pinched Sea's right arm and as the woman yelled,
she beamed at her and said, "Well, that is a start, images don't have
Rubbing her arm, Sea pursed her lips, then raised her shirt and said,
"There, see it, the scar."
Slowly reaching out with her left hand she placed it over the scar, as her
blue green eyes began to mist, she uttered, "It is you."
Sea wrapped her arms around the woman's waist and drew her close as she
said, "Yes, it is."
Gabrielle stepped back as she said, "I prayed to anyone that might listen. I
even offered my own life that you might return. I even took this test that
Ares and Aphrodite were involved in."
Grinning down at her, Sea asked, "You did all this for me?"
"Yes, I would have done anything to have been able to have you back in the
world. I, I have blamed myself over what happened at the falls."
Reaching out and caressing the woman's face with her right-hand, Sea said,
"Never blame yourself, it was my decision and only mine. We need to get away
Gabrielle stared around then said, "All right, I have no desire to be caught
Sea cut in as she said, "That is one thing I forgot to take care of, no
bother, it can be done later. Right now, I think we will be better off the
further we get away from here."
Gabrielle looked at her and said, "How did you survive? I looked everywhere
as did the others."
Her eyes scanning the area she answered, "It's a long story, tell you later.
But there seems to be something bothering me." She reached down and pulled
out a piece of folded parchment that had been placed between her breasts.
Staring at it she said, "Wonder what this is?"
Gabrielle stepped close to her and said, "Maybe a love letter from an old
Squinching her nose at the woman, she opened the parchment with anticipation
on her face. As she held it out, it was blank, whatever had been on it must
have been washed away by the water. She dropped the parchment to the ground
as Gabrielle said, "Too bad, might have been interesting. Now, tell me
again, are you real or a figment of my imagination?"
Reaching out she touched the woman's left hand and said, "Oh I'm real all
right. Let's go see if Xena is back yet. I'll tell you the rest of the story
on the way."
Hurrying to keep up with the woman, Gabrielle said, "Can't wait to hear this
one Ann Bounty."
The two had been traveling most of the day, stopping long enough to find
water and something to eat. Gabrielle had been astonished at Sea's
revelation and wasn't quite sure how to handle the fact it was her sister
that had a lot to do with the woman's recuperation. She found herself
staring at the statuesque woman as she walked in front and her mind would
drift to thoughts of Lila and Sea together. She would catch herself shaking
her head and muttering the word, "Nah."
Sea had stopped several times to turn and stare at her as she asked, "Nah
Seeming embarrassed she would tell the woman she had been talking to
herself. Sea would smile then turn and continue and she would find herself
slipping back into the same thoughts.
It took them longer than she expected to make it back to the cave and when
the area became recognizable she said, "Looks like we are almost there."
Sea had stopped as the woman stared toward the cave and said, "I'll stay
here, if Xena is there, don't want any trouble."
Stepping up to her, Gabrielle said, "What kind of trouble are you talking
Sea smiled as she said, "For one, the beautiful necklace you are wearing,
did Xena give that to you?" Gabrielle shook her head and said, "It is like
your parchment, I have no idea where it came from, it is beautiful though
don't you think?"
Nodding, Sea answered, "Yes, It looks like something I might give you. I
sail the ocean you know, sea shells, Xena just might take offense. Then, you
have been gone for awhile and you show up with me, not conducive to a
Her face was serious as she stared at the woman and said, "I see your point.
All right, you wait here, I'll go in and talk to Xena. Then I want you to
spent the night at least. There is so much we need to talk about and I know
Xena will have questions. After all, you did save her life."
Nodding, Sea replied, "I'll be right here." She walked toward a large flat
rock and as she watched the woman, Gabrielle smiled toward her then started
toward the cave.
As Sea went to sit down, her sword hit the side of the rock. She reached
down and withdrew it from its sheath. With amazement on her face she gazed
at the beautiful hand crafted weapon. Her fingers traced the waves and when
they stopped at the star, she felt more confused than ever. This was not her
sword, but how did she get it and where did it come from?
When Gabrielle approached her, she never even heard the woman, she was so
engrossed in the detail of the weapon. She heard the words before she even
knew Gabrielle was back. "It's lovely, did Lila give that to you also?"
Standing, she turned her attention to Gabrielle as she said, "No, it is not
the weapon I left there with. Something has happened not only to me but to
you and it leaves me feeling confused."
Nodding as she approached her, Gabrielle replied, "I know, I have been
trying to make some sort of sense to what has happened but keep coming up
with nothing. That will have to wait though, Xena is not back and there has
been no sign she ever did return. The note I left for her is still there."
Spying the woman's total collapse, Sea reached out and grabbed her.
Gabrielle fell into the woman's arms as she cried, "She doesn't care, I have
been such a fool."
Trying to comfort her, Sea held her close as she whispered, "It will be ok,
don't give up on her, it is hard for me to admit this, but the woman loves
Staring up at her through tear stained eyes, Gabrielle said, "Yeah, that why
she left me? That why she hasn't returned? She might care but in and on her
Sea finally convinced Gabrielle to go back into the cave and leave the woman
another note. She told her to tell Xena they were going to go see Princess
Diana and find out just what happened. Gabrielle didn't want to do it but
finally did and when she was finished she asked Sea to stay the night there.
The woman shook her head and said, "I couldn't sleep there, knowing Xena
might come in at any minute and think you and I, well you know."
Seeming to enjoy the woman's uneasiness Gabrielle sided up to her and said,
"In a way, it would be the truth."
Noticing the glint in Gabrielle's eyes, Sea replied, "If I am going to die,
the least we could do is make it the truth."
Gabrielle had been dancing around as she said, "Wonderful, I feel wonderful.
I know it is you because there is no other who would dare to make such
Cocking her head to the right she grinned at Gabrielle and said, "Who said I
She stopped as her eyes reached out to Sea's then she said, "I know. If you
won't stay here then where?"
Glancing at the setting sun, she answered, "As I recall, there is a creek
not far from here, we could stay the night there and continue on tomorrow."
"All right, just let me go back and get a few things, you could come in with
Shrugging her shoulders, she followed the woman into the cave.
Gabrielle had laid out their camp and was just putting a pot of water near
the campfire when Sea walked back into the area. She gazed at the woman then
began to step toward her and said, "I see you have everything shipshape."
Beaming at the woman, Gabrielle said, "At least we can lie down and sleep
without wondering where we are. In case I haven't said it, I am so happy to
Sea walked past her as she stared at the small creek and said, "You have and
I know how hard it has been for you. It has been the same for me." She
turned and gazed at the woman as she said, "I hope this all comes out all
right, you and Xena."
Gabrielle was standing as she threw several blankets onto the ground and
said, "How do you do it?"
Sea looked at her quizzically as she said, "What do you mean?"
Gabrielle's eyes were taking in the length of the woman's body as she said,
"Look so good in skin tight clothes."
Staring down at her leathers, Sea grinned and said, "It doesn't help when
you go get wet and then let the clothes dry on your body. Have to admit it,
this is the tightest they have ever been."
Gabrielle walked up to her and said, "They fit you like a second skin,
brought you a shift, so take them off and change."
Accepting the shift Gabrielle was handing her she said, "My body thanks you.
Have you always been so authoritarian?" She winked at her and said, "I might
grow to like this new trait."
Gabrielle had changed into her shift and was sitting on a blanket as she
said, "Mother always told us to watch what we might ask for because it could
come true. I think the water is warm enough, ready for some tea?"
Sea had managed to wiggle out of her leather pants as she said, "Could use a
drink right about now, didn't find any port back there did you?"
Shaking her head, Gabrielle crawled toward the fire. She took two mugs from
a pack and said, "Bet you are glad, the shirt is laced uh? Otherwise you
might have to cut it off and that could be dangerous."
Sea had been unlacing the front of the leather shirt and as she pulled the
last strand of leather through, she stared down at Gabrielle and said, "I
think you are enjoying this all too much."
She had laid the clothes over a rock as she slipped the shift on over her
head then turned and walked toward Gabrielle. She had been pouring tea into
the mugs and glanced up to see if the woman had succeeded in removing the
leather shirt. She sat, her blue green eyes taking in Sea's beautiful shape
as her mouth fell open. The glow from the campfire was sending out a radiant
light and in the darkness, the woman's magnificent form was silhouetted.
Dropping to her knees, Sea reached out and cupped Gabrielle's chin in her
right hand as she said, "You keep your mouth open like that and some flying
insect might drop in."
Gabrielle handed a mug to her and said, "You make quite a statement in the
glow from the fire."
Sea took the mug as she sat down, crossed her legs and said, "The night is
beautiful, we are both alive and as soon as we find Xena, all will seem
right in this land." She blew on the hot liquid as she continued, "When I
gaze at you, I see the fairest, most beautiful woman in all the lands, so,
beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We have traveled together long enough
to know one another well and still I find times when I look at you it is
like being reborn for the first time."
Gabrielle was sipping her mug of tea as she leaned back against a rock and
said, "I think if I am fortunate to know you the rest of our lives, I will
always be in awe of your beauty and charisma."
Sea set the mug on the ground as she walked over and laid down on a blanket.
Turning onto her side she said, "And I you, better get some sleep, we have a
long day ahead tomorrow."
Gazing toward the woman, Gabrielle smiled as she said, "I will, good night."
XENA WARRIOR PRINCESS
Chapter Twenty Two
The busy sounds of men embarking in their longboats as they pulled their
oars through the water and the bustling voices of sea merchants hawking
their days catch, slowly brought the woman's thoughts back to the present.
Gabrielle had been sitting on the pier, overlooking the ocean, it was a
pleasant day and the few light winds that would grasp her hair and send it
flying only made her enjoy the feeling more.
They had made it to Diana's and when she found out what had happened, Sea
had been the one to steady her. She'd become so angry and wanted to lash out
at anyone and it was the man Lynal she had decided to take her wrath out on.
Shaking her head she could not understand what these women saw in the man
but Sea readily defended him.
Now she waited for the woman to return from a meeting she was having with a
ships captain. They knew where Xena had been taken and needed passage to
Tunisa. Gabrielle knew that Sea would manage it, as she seemed to be able to
handle everything, with finesse and style.
Spying the longboat pulling into the bay, she got to her feet and headed
toward it. Sea jumped into the shallow water and strode toward her. As she
neared, the woman waved and she asked, "Miss me?"
Gabrielle'e eyes wandered past her to the waiting men in the boat then back
to the woman as she said, "Always, what did you find out?"
Sea reached out and placed her right arm over Gabrielle's left shoulder and
said, "He has agreed to take us aboard. I did a favor for him once and he is
only repaying the kindness.
Nodding, Gabrielle said, "When do we leave?"
Sea turned to gaze back at the boat then said, "Now, they only wait for us
to come aboard. Are you ready?"
Gabrielle answered, "Ready as I ever will be."
They turned and started toward the longboat and once both women were
onboard, the men rowed it toward their ship.
Once their feet touched the deck of the ship, a man walked toward them, his
right hand outstretched as he said, "So, Ann Bounty, this is the other
passenger. If you follow me, I will take you down to the hold."
Once the man had left, Gabrielle turned to Sea and said, "What is this? The
cargo hold, don't they have any cabins?"
Walking toward a large wooden crate the woman sat as she stared up at
Gabrielle and said, "Best thing for us. We are out of sight, the less know
about us the better. Sides. we each have a rope hammock to sleep in, and he
will see we get food and water."
Staring around the room, Gabrielle walked over and sat down beside the woman
as she said, "Sorry, I am so used to The Bounty, you are right, the fewer
that know about us, the better. Never slept in one of those before, is it
Grinning, Sea replied, "Probably spent a lot of time on the floor, they move
with your body and if you don't get in just right, they will turn and dump
Throwing her hands into the air, Gabrielle said, "At least it won't be
Standing, Sea walked over to the rope hammock as she said, "Glad to know
that having this will keep things from being dull."
Gabrielle was on her feet by now as she stepped up to the woman and said, "I
didn't mean it that way. Sea, being with you is never dull, as a matter of
fact, usually my emotions are so overwrought, I..."
Reaching out Sea placed her left hand on the woman's as she smiled and said,
"I was just teasing." She grabbed the rope and said, "Let me hold this, and
you step over then sit down, very carefully."
Gabrielle did as the woman instructed and soon found herself lying
comfortably. She was feeling very confident as she crossed her feet and
said, "This isn't so hard." At this time it rolled and sent her flying to
As Sea reached down to help the woman to her feet she bit her lip trying to
keep the laughter from edging its way-out. "Here, let me help you up."
Gabrielle stood, brushing her pants with her hands as she glowered at the
hammock, then said, "Don't you even say one thing."
Raising both hands into the air, Sea replied, "Not a word." Then turned and
walked back over to the crate and sat.
They could tell by the movement of the ship, they were in deep waters and
seemed to be moving at a good clip. Gabrielle had surveyed the entire hold
and was disgusted at some of the things she had found. Sea had told her to
just relax and it was then, a knock came on the door as a large man walked
into the hold. He carried a platter of food and two goblets of drink.
Walking toward a wooden crate he set the platter down then said, "Captain
said to enjoy and if there is anything the two of you want to just ring up."
Sea nodded and after the man left, she turned to gaze at the platter of
steaming food. "Better come over and eat."
Gabrielle plodded toward her, as she said, "This room, leaves a person with
not much appetite."
A slight smile crossed the woman's face as she said, "Do it for me, when we
get to Calico Jacks new hideaway, I will need you and all your strength to
help free Xena."
Picking up her step, she walked up to Sea and replied, "All right, let's see
what we have."
The trip had been long and the two women were beginning to get
claustrophobic. Gabrielle had been pacing the floor as she said, "I can't
stand it anymore, being shut up down here, I need to feel the mist from the
water and breath the air once more."
Sea had approached her as she reached out and grabbed the woman by both
shoulders and said, "Stop it! Don't you know this is driving me over the
edge also. It is not the best, but I feel we will be there soon and we don't
need some greedy mate turning us in to Calico. I don't know about you, but I
definitely want to be on the other end of the sword."
Thinking for a few minutes as she stared up at the set face of her friend,
she replied, "You are right, I'm sorry. I will do better, it's just, I find
little sleep at night, that thing won't stay still and the first thing I
know, I find myself on the floor. Why can't I just sleep on the floor?"
Grinning, Sea answered, "You can, but you will probably have a few sleeping
Her blue green eyes gazing into Sea's she said, "What do you mean?"
"Well, there are probably a few furry rodents lurking about."
Gabrielle stepped back as she drew her sword and held the handle in both
hands as she said, "Rats, I hate rats."
Reaching up and grasping Gabrielle's hands, Sea said, "They are more afraid
of you, now put that away before you go hurt someone and I don't mean a
Gabrielle put the sword back into its sheath as she said, "I don't mean to
be like this, It's so hot down here, sometimes it is hard to breath and it
reminds me too much of the place I was in when I was shanghaied."
Sea reached out an drew the woman close as she hugged her and said, "Where
was my mind, I hadn't even though of that. I'm sorry."
Letting her head rest on the woman's right shoulder she said, "I'm the one
who is sorry, it could be much worse, I could be alone and in chains once
more. Gods, Sea, can you ever forgive me?"
"Nothing to forgive, there are many who would have probably gone over the
edge by now. I'll talk to the captain." Sea dropped to the floor as she
pulled on Gabrielle's hand and said, "Come, sit here with me. I know I have
been trying to avoid our touching, more for me than you. I have always told
you how much it pains me to have you close and not."
Dropping to her knees, she sat beside the woman and said, "I was beginning
to think you abhorred me. Reaching out she drew Gabrielle close as she
whispered in her ear, "You excite me, I cherish our friendship and don't
want anything to come between that."
Smiling as she laid her head on the woman's shoulder Gabrielle said,
"Nothing ever will."
Sea had spoken to the captain and he made arrangements for the two women to
come topside after all the crew had gone below. He made it a point to man
the helm while the two women walked the deck. And it was on a beautiful
night the two had been standing as they gazed out across the moonlit waters
that Sea turned to Gabrielle and said, "I may want you in my life, but I
want to see you happy so I want you to know I will do all in my power to see
the two of you are reunited."
Gabrielle reached out and grasped Sea's right-hand as she said, "Just don't
tell me we won't be friends, I could never take that."
Leaning over she placed a soft kiss on the woman's forehead and said,
Gabrielle turned away as she said, "Didn't Mary and you love one another?"
Ann Laughed as she said, "It was my first taste of it, yes, I held strong
feelings for her but she betrayed me. The feelings were not shared in the
Gabrielle had turned back, her blue green eyes were wide as she said, "What
do you mean?"
Ann stepped up to her and placed her arms around the woman as she whispered,
"Let me hold you, if only for a moment."
Gabrielle found herself falling into this magnificent woman's embrace as she
answered, "I always feel safe and secure in your arms, your love reaches out
and cradles me."
Sea placed several kisses on the woman's forehead, then said, "Since the day
I met you, my arms only long to hold you." She heaved a large sigh and
continued, "I know it cannot always be so and if anyone else asked me about
my relationship with Mary..."
Gabrielle hugged the woman tighter as she whispered, "I know, and it was
insensitive of me, forgive me?"
"No need to apologize, when there is love, there is trust and I trust you
never to tell anyone what I am about to tell..."
Gabrielle reached up and placed her right-hand over the woman's mouth as she
said, "You don't need to."
Sea reached up and grasped the hand in hers as she said, "Yes, I do. Let's
Sea had been staring off into space. She finally turned and faced Gabrielle
as she said, "When I met Mary, she was in the middle of a brawl with several
brawny men. It didn't take long before their women friends joined in the
ruckus. I stood and watched as she did battle, all the time admiring the
woman's mettle. Before you say anything, she was a vision to my tired eyes,
we had been sailing for months and I was weary. Yes, I was taken by her
Gabrielle smiled as she said, "Reminds me of someone."
Ann patted Gabrielle's right-hand as she continued, "The woman had taken
down a lot of them but she was finally cornered and had become the main
focus of their blows. I couldn't take anymore and so I stepped in. It didn't
take the two of us long to mop the floor with the blaggards. Anyway, that is
how we met."
Gabrielle said, "Mary can fight, that much I know. It would have been a
fight to have seen."
Sea pursed her lips as she said, "A fight is a fight some better than others
but if you can walk away, that is the important thing. When I offered to
help tend to her abrasions she refused and it was in that moment I could see
myself. This woman was so like me, it was uncanny. We became friends and I
talked her into using all that rage she seemed to have pent up, on the
ocean. She was a sight to behold when we boarded the merchant ships, Mary
Ready thrived in the feel of conquest and annihilation."
"I hadn't been captain of "The Bounty" long, my island feelings were still
with me and I still held many things in great esteem that my mother had told
me. I guess you might say I longed for a deep and fulfilling love. So when
this woman became part of my life, I slowly found myself feeling things for
her that were not just friendship. It was after a conquest of a fat merchant
ship, when we had all gone over to this island to celebrate. Mary and I left
the crew and found our own beach. We built a campfire and had enjoyed the
port we brought with us, then, we decided to go for a swim. Afterwards, when
we were both exhausted and laying on two blankets stretched on the sand, it
Gabrielle looked away as she said, "I, I don't want to know."
Sea, soughed as she said, "Well, it did and I fell in love with her that
night. There wasn't anything I would not have done for Mary, we were like
one. You see, my love for her was pure but to Mary love meant something
else. We had met Calico Jack and though I was new at this pirating, I didn't
like the man and Mary knew it, but she still chose to stay behind at a party
he was throwing."
Gabrielle shook her head as she said, "I don't understand, if she loved you
how could she do that? I would think she would have valued your feelings."
Ann replied, "I later found out that Mary's version of love was a lot
different than mine. You see, I feel if two people love one another, they
will work to keep the relationship, not one giving all. It should be a give
and take union. One person should not be the one to give while the other
takes, it should be equal. Each should be aware of the other in all things
and especially their feelings. I do not care if my love has other friends,
even things to do but I will draw the line if they are taking me for
granted. Always consider the other person, never tell them, this is the way
it is, you either accept it or that is that. Because, as much as I love you,
I would walk away. I have been hurt deeply once and will not again."
Gabrielle felt a tear fall from her left eye as she said, "I would never
hurt you not knowingly. Sea, when this happened with us, it was an
unforeseen act. I would never have put myself on a pirate ship, and now I
find times I long to be aboard "The Bounty."
Sea had reached up and wiped the tear away as her soft lips caressed the
spot. "Never cry, over what has happened."
"I want you know that if I were never to see you again, I would never forget
you, that is how deep within my heart you are." Gabrielle choked on the
words as she managed to say them.
Sea thought for a minute then she said, "And you mine, but, Mary did not see
things that way. Calico offered her a chance to captain one of his ships and
also a large share of the bounty he planned on taking. Her head was full of
thoughts of power and the love we had was not powerful enough to rise above
her worldly desires. She betrayed me to this man and it was "The Bounty"
that he planned on attacking. The day Mary turned on me and held that knife
to my throat was a black day. I had never been so devastated in my life. The
hurt and anger was all consuming. It probably was all that kept me alive.
So, even though Mary has come around, I still have ill feelings over what
happened and I don't know if I will ever completely forgive her."
Gabrielle sighed as she said, "The person you are talking about is not the
one I have come to know, Mary has changed and I know she regrets what she
did to you. Ann, you are that part of her life that she keeps hidden from
everyone else and only in quiet moments will she let it out. She has told me
how she feels about you and hopes that someday you will forgive her."
Ann scoffed as she said, "Well, that day will never come because the line
from love to hate is thin and we crossed it a long time ago. I do however
thank her for being there to help you."
Gabrielle smiled as she laid her head on Sea's left shoulder and said, "I
only know that I will always be here for you. I thank the Gods, you have
Sea held her close as she whispered, "My lovely Gabrielle, I know you had a
lot to do with it and I thank you. "
Gabrielle whispered, "We both have come face to face with Calico and the
times were not the pleasantest, I feel we are in for the fight of our
With a loving smile crossing her face, Sea replied, "You are right but we
will be together and I have confidence we will survive. I will do all in my
power to see you are safe."
Gabrielle stared up at her and said, "Shh, at this moment and time, my life
is in your arms."
Feeling the closeness of the woman, Sea said, " My arms were lonely until
you. I just never realized how lonely. If all we will ever have is this
minute in time, my life is complete because I know you love me as I do
Gabrielle had closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep. Sea held the woman
close as she whispered, "It's better you never heard the words." She had
been staring off at the looming coastline and knew that they would be in the
vicinity by early morning. The captain had already informed her he would set
the two ashore in a cove miles away from the pirate capital. She thanked the
man for that. It would be a momentous day and she hoped the two of them
would be able to succeed where many had failed. Calico was a devious
opponent and she was not looking forward to confronting the man at least not
until she knew Xena and Gabrielle were far away.
XENA WARRIOR PRINCESS
Chapter Twenty Three
It was the constant rolling under her that brought the woman around. Her
head ached but no more than her body. Slowly she tried to sit up, but found
herself falling back down. She lie, her right ear on the floor as the sounds
of swishing were becoming clearer.
Trying to shake away the cobwebs that kept trying to envelop her, she made
another attempt to sit. This time she succeeded but had to fight the
darkness that was trying to overtake her once more. She brought her hands up
toward her face and it was then she realized, they were shackled. The
heaviness caused her wrists to ache, as she heard the sound of the chains.
She reached out feeling the chain as she followed it with her hands.
Stopping when she realized it led to her ankles and more shackles.
She also realized her leathers were gone, as well as her boots. In the dim
light of the room, she could now see all she was wearing was a dark gray
There was little sound except for the lapping sound and she knew all to well
what that was. Somehow, she feared she now found herself on a ship and had
no idea who's or even why. Her eyes were becoming more accustomed to the
lack of light and had now surveyed the area. Having spent time in the past
on ships, even one of her own. She deduced it was probably the cargo hold
but she could see little cargo. Leaning up against the wooden hull of the
ship, she shut her eyes and let her mind drift.
The day the pigeon arrived at the cave was one of the most memorable ones
she had ever had. She and Gabrielle had been home for a short time and had
been discovering many wonderful things about one another. They had relished
in the hot springs, frolicking in the water and enjoying the sheer pleasure
of one another's company.
Xena smiled as she remembered that day. She still could see the two of them
as they laid on the fur bed drying one another off. Gabrielle had been so
warm and tender. When she had insisted upon drying the woman, Xena objected
but the Bard had a way about her and soon Xena gave in to her soft caresses.
They started out laughing and teasing but the closeness the two shared soon
gave way to a beautiful awakening of their bodies.
The love they gave to one another on that day was a love they knew they both
would never forget. Then the pigeon arrived with the message from Diana.
Gabrielle's face had fallen when she heard Xena read the message. And the
woman was devastated when Xena informed her she was going but alone.
Cursing under her breath, Xena said, "Damn fool, you had it all and you
Opening her eyes she stared out at the darkness and felt several tears
travel down her face. "Gabrielle, will you ever forgive me? Gods, will you
even miss me?"
Laying her head back against the wooden wall, her mind drifted back to that
day once more.
Diana had mentioned in the note that bringing Gabrielle might not be a good
idea. She said that everyone knew the two traveled together and if they saw
her they would know that Xena was near by. With a heavy heart, she chose to
tell the woman to stay behind.
When she rode off on Argo, leaving Gabrielle behind, she felt badly. And
could still see the woman as she waved to her. She was so beautiful, with
those blue green eyes that caught the sun and sent the warmth of it to her
every time she smiled. Her long strawberry blond hair, glimmering in the
rays of the sun as a soft breeze tossed it about the woman's head. And the
most perfect figure she had ever seen. She remembered stopping the horse
once as she gazed back toward the cave and even in the distance she could
see the woman's form. She felt a piece of her heart start to crack as the
all consuming pain of missing the woman had already taken its hold on her.
If she could have done it all over again, she would have sent a note to
Diana telling her she was unable to do this, unless the Bard went with her.
Sad to say one cannot go back and now she found herself alone in this hull
of a ship.
Hearing a noise she opened her eyes and stared toward the sound. Before long
several long tailed rats came scurrying into the open as she yelled, "Get
out of here, I'm not your meal ticket!" They darted back into the darkness
but their sounds were still audible and she knew they were just marking
Remembering the trip to Diana's turned out to be more prolonged than she had
planned. It took her longer to handle the situation. She was now anxious to
get back to the Bard. Diana had insisted she stay for a royal feast they
were having in her honor and she had told the woman, "no." The woman was
peprsistant but it was Philemon's good friend Lynal, that finally convinced
her. When all three ganged up on her, Lynal, and Diana, with her father's
help, convinced her to stay.
Even now, she had to admit, Lynal had a certain way about him and she was
always up to having a handsome man like him pay her all his attentiveness.
It was when she was biding them all good-by that a messenger came for her.
The robust man was out of breath as he fell at her feet gasping for air.
When she was finally able to get him to speak coherently she was told that
Gabrielle had been kidnaped. The festivities immediately stopped when she
grabbed the man by his collar and raised him from the floor, as she let out
a blood curdling scream. He dangled in the air, his feet flailing back and
forth as she glared at him and said, "Who and where!" After he told her all
he knew, she let his body fall to the floor with a loud crash. Then she
turned to stare at the onlookers that were intently watching her. They tried
to comfort the woman but she shrugged them all away as she jumped onto
Argo's back and ran the horse from the area.
She didn't give herself or Argo a rest until late in the day. The wheezing
of the horse made her realize they needed to stop. She quickly dismounted,
and reached up to touch the lathered neck of the palomino. Argo was
standing, splatter legged, her head hung low as she heavily breathed. Xena
cried, "I'm so sorry, girl."
She unsaddled the animal, then removed the bridle as she fell in a heap on
the grass. The pain was all too real to the woman even now. She had rested
for a short time, then she went on, on foot. Leaving the Palomino to find
her way home. She took the water skin and that was all as she pushed herself
harder and further.
She didn't know how long she had been running, until her legs gave out from
under her and she found herself plummeting to the ground. Getting to her
knees she felt her body shaking. She could feel her heart pounding, like a
drum in her ears, as she sat back down. Reaching out she retrieved the water
skin as she brought it to her mouth and took the last drops of liquid then
tossed it aside.
She rested just long enough for her heart to steady some and then she was on
her feet, increasing her pace toward Gabrielle.
The rats had returned and were getting even braver as they approached her
feet. Her thoughts vanished, as she leaned forward, stamping her hands on
the floor and yelling at them. At first they stared but the rattle of the
chains prompted their retreat. Leaning back once more she cried,
"Gabrielle." And her thoughts went back to that time.
The messenger had told her that Gabrielle had been captured by Talmadeus,
and if she wanted to see the woman alive again she had better hurry. It was
well into the night by the time she saw the lights from the campfires.
Leaning over she grasped her knees and gasped for breath, trying to ignore
the deepening fear that was overtaking her.
The men shouted when she entered the camp and they stood armed as she walked
through the line of them. No one stepped up to stop her but they stood
ready. Before she reached the large tent, she stood tall, and posed for
anything as she called out, "Talmedus! I'm here you bastard, let Gabrielle
The tent flap opened as the man stepped out. He had a crooked smile on his
face as his eyes surveyed the woman. "Xena, so nice of you to come."
She scowled at the man and said, "Cut the crap, where is she?"
He smiled as he said, "You really didn't think I would have her here did
She took several more steps toward him and said, "Either she shows herself
or I do some real serious damage."
Throwing back his head he said, "You do, and I will see to it personally she
meets the end of a dagger."
The man never even saw the high jump as her two feet plummeted into his
face. This snapped him backwards as he fell against the tent. In an instant
his men charged her, weapons drawn and she met each one with a wrath
Talmadeus had never seen before. The sound of arms being snapped was
riveting as Talmadeus watched his men fall to her blows. It was as she had
one of the men in a strangle hold that Talmedus called out, "Xena! If you
don't believe I have her then you tell me, who does this belong to?"
He tossed something toward her as she sent the man she was restraining to
the ground and caught it in her left hand. Talmadeus held up his right-hand
as he looked at his men and said, "Let the lady have a look."
They backed off as Xena held the amulet in her hand and pressed it to her
palm. She uttered, "This is Gabrielle's."
He smirked as he said, "How do you think we got it. Now, enough of this
brutality, either you drop your defense or you will never see your dear
She turned her head as she glanced around at the men. Many were injured and
some were laying limp on the ground. The man stepped toward her as he said,
"Well, what is it to be?"
She dropped her sword as she said, "Can I see her?"
The man nodded to his men and they immediately overpowered the woman. Of
course this was relatively easy as Xena did not put up a fight. Talmadeus
stepped up to her, a grin on his lips as he said, "You are my prisoner now
Xena and you will see your friend when I am ready." He stepped around her,
his eyes taking in every inch of the woman as he finally stopped in front
once more. She grimaced as the men grasped her arms, burying their fingers
into her skin.
Talmadeus stared at the men and nodded as they twisted her arms bringing
them behind her. She had been in very similar situations and knew what the
man was going to do. It was fear for her friend that refrained her from
doing anything. The man's right fist struck out with such force it not only
snapped her back but the men that were holding her as well. They loosened
their grip as she shook their hands off. Talmadeus smirked, "Come on, hit
me, it will end it for Gabrielle but then maybe you don't care as much for
her as we all think."
Xena didn't move except to reach up and wipe the blood from her lip. This
time his smile was sadistic as he struck her again. She staggered but stood
her ground. His men started to grab her once more as he said, "No, leave
her, I will enjoy beating the Warrior Princess as she stands and lets me do
it. You all are a witness to this, Talmadeus has finally taken Xena down."
The man's fists struck out with a pent up fury as her face and abdomen felt
his wrath. She didn't know how many times the man had struck her but she was
thankful for the blackness when it finally overtook her and she felt the
pain no more.
She had taken a horrible beating at the man's hands and her body was now
paying for it. Her face throbbed as did most of her body. Now she found
herself on a ship and there was still no sign of Gabrielle.
She had no idea how long they had been at Sea because where she was there
was little light. Her body gave her little relief and she shed many tears
over the pain, the pain of never seeing the Bard again. Her biggest fear was
not for herself but for her, where was she and she prayed to the Gods, the
woman was all right. Would Gabrielle forgive her, could she forgive herself
for wanting to hang onto her independence in someway. She knew now, she had
been wrong and might never be able to rectify what she had brought upon
herself and her friend.
As the time passed, she found herself listening to the lapping of the water
and soon discovered she was able to tell just what kind of water they were
going through. The rats had been all she had seen of life except her own.
And she now found she was able to get to her feet and slowly walk around the
She was hungry and thirsty and had even tried to catch one of the rats. The
animal scurried away from her and all she grasped was the tail as it slid
from her hands. The many days with out food and water had now sent her into
a heap on the floor. Her lips were dry and cracked and she feared she would
die from the lack of nourishment and water.
Since she had lost track of time, she had no idea whether it was day or
night. It was as she lay in a fetal position, and had lost all will to
survive that she heard the sound of the door opening. Not even having the
strength to look up, she didn't move. A man stepped into the room, he was
holding a torch in his left hand. A woman stepped in behind him as she
glanced around the area until her eyes fell on the Xena.
She walked up to the pathetic figure as she reached out with her right foot
and threw her onto her back. Xena moaned but didn't move as the woman called
back to the man, "Give me the water."
He stepped up to her and handed her a water skin. She raised it above Xena's
face and let it fall down on her. When the water hit her she opened her eyes
and tried to catch it in her mouth. Dropping to her knees the woman reached
out and placed her left hand behind Xena's neck as she raised her head.
Holding the water skin to the woman's mouth she said, "Drink."
Xena took several deep gulps, then began to cough. as the woman holding the
water skin said, "Slowly, drink slowly."
She didn't let Xena drink much before she took it away and let her head drop
to the floor. By this time the woman had made her way back beside Xena. She
sat down and said, "Names, Asterea. From the looks of you, I'd say if we
hadn't come in just now, you wouldn't be around much longer." She nodded
with her head and motioned to the man. He left the room and returned shortly
with a bowl of porridge. Handing it to the woman, he said, "I'll keep watch
outside." She nodded as he left. Turning her attention to Xena she said,
"Better eat something, You have been wasting away to nothing in here."
Lowering her eyes, Xena looked at herself then said, "Where am I? Where is
Asterea raised a spoonful of porridge to the woman's mouth as she said, "Eat
now, save the talk for later."
Having gone without food for so long, the woman almost had to force feed
her. When she couldn't get Xena to eat anymore she said, "We should be there
in several days."
Xena's translucent blue eyes met hers as she said, "That why you are giving
me something to eat and drink? Can't have the prisoner dead, probably won't
get as much for me."
Laughing, Asterea got to her feet and said, "I'll be back." She turned and
took the torch that had been hanging on the wall with her as she left. After
the door was closed again, Xena bent over and heaved what food she had just
When Asterea visited her later in the day, she immediately had a man clean
up the area. Xena stared at her never saying a word. Asterea walked up to
her and sat, she reached out and touched Xena's left cheek as she said,
"Actually you look pretty good considering the beating you took from
Xena didn't say anything and the woman turned her face so she was staring
into her eyes. "You may not like me Xena, but you will put up with me."
Xena sneered, "There's nothing I know of that says I have to care."
The woman smiled as she said, "Your face is swollen, you have a swollen area
around your left eye. You must care otherwise you would be dead by now."
Xena choose to ignore the woman, as she said, "It's Gabrielle, isn't it.
Must be some strong love there."
For the first time, the woman could see a glimmer of light in Xena's eyes as
she said, "Tell me, is she all right?"
Nodding her head Asterea said, "As far as I know she is. By now, I'm sure
you have realized this was all an elaborate plot to capture you."
"Then Gabrielle, she was never captured?"
The woman laughed as she said, "No, she went on a mission in your place.
Stepped right into it. It was through our doing and we know where she is,
so, it will be easy to end her life. Don't be attempting any heroics. When
the food is brought to you tonight, eat and try to keep it down. The rats
down here are fat enough." She got to her feet and left the room.
By the third day, Xena was feeling better and thought she just might live
but for what she had no idea. She had been alone for so long, she actually
looked forward to the woman's frequent visits. Her eye sight had grown
better and with the assistance of the torch she had finally gotten a good
look at the woman. She had long brown hair, that was unkempt. Dark eyes that
were cold and showed little emotion. Her nose was snubbed but, her lips were
full. What skin she could see was tan and leathery. The hands that fed her
for so many days were slender. And when she stood, she was leggy. Asterea
had told her she was second in command of the pirate headquarters in Tunis.
This did not set well with Xena but there wasn't anything she could do about
it. Her wrists and ankles were so sore by now from carrying the weight of
the shackles on them, she wasn't sure she would ever be able to get her full
XENA WARRIOR PRINCESS
Chapter Twenty Four
She could tell by the movement of the ship it had slowed. Carefully pushing
her body up against the cold damp wood, she sat, her eyes taking in the
room. The cargo hold had been her living hell for sometime and she had even
become used to her furry friends. Even sharing her sparse meals with the
Her body had taken many brutal blows but she had to admit she was feeling
better. The woman Asterea had since become a daily visitor and tried as hard
as she could to get acquainted with Xena, however, Xena didn't trust her.
Xena had seen women like her, and many were worse than the men they
supported. She had informed Xena she was being taken to the new pirate
headquarters of Calico Jack. It was awhile before she put the name with the
man and when she did, the cargo hold felt her wrath. This was the man that
had caused Gabrielle so much pain, and the stories she had heard from Ann
Bounty did not bring any good thoughts of him to her mind.
She had brought her knees to her chest as she stared down at her wrists. Her
tirade only succeeded in making them more sore and bloody.
Taking a large breath and exhaling, she said, "I don't know where you are
Gabrielle, I only hope it is far enough away from this man's grasp."
The cabin door opened as Asterea stepped into the room. She was followed by
several stocky men. Xena raised her eyes toward them as Asterea walked
around the area surveying the smashed up room. She strode toward Xena and
towered above the woman, her cold eyes glaring down at her. "Looks like I
got here just in time. From the appearance of this room, it wouldn't have
been long before you might have taken enough of the hull apart to have
escaped. Of course, with the weight of the shackles and chains, you probably
would have been shark bait." She drew her cutlass as she pointed it toward
the woman and demanded, "Get to your feet, we have arrived and Calico is
anxious to see you!"
Using the wall as support, Xena pushed herself until she stood in front of
the woman. Taking one step forward, she stopped as the point of the cutlass
touched her chest. Xena glared at the woman and said, "Go ahead, I have
nothing to live for anymore, do it."
Asterea gestured toward the two men as she stepped back and said, "Take
They stepped forward and grasped Xena's arms as they pushed and dragged the
woman from the room.
A long wooden plank had been placed from the ship to the pier and she found
herself being forced down it. Her eyes darted around the area, they ached as
the sunlight found its way upon the translucent blue orbs. Though it pained
her to open them, she had seen enough to know that the men and women who
watched were every bit cutthroats.
As their feet reached the bottom, the men pushed her forward, stumbling,
then catching her balance. Gabrielle had told her about Calico and through
squinted eyes, she saw the man approaching. He was a tall, strapping man,
his jet black hair was combed back from his head giving an oily sleek
appearance. It seemed to rest on the back of his neck, the mustache
Gabrielle had told her about was gone and in its place was a jagged scar
that ran diagonally across the area. He wore large boned earings and it
looked to her like he was taking this pirate thing a little too far.
His eyes were expressionless, as he surveyed the woman, stopping when they
met Xena's. He reached out and ran the palm of his right hand down the side
of her face as he sneered in a low steely voice, "So, this is what a Warrior
Princess looks like!"
She tried to shake his rough hand away as she glared, "You try living in a
rat infested cargo hold!"
His laugh was chilling as he walked slowly around her. Coming to a stop as
he stood in front once more. Xena's eyes had taken in the man's mannerisms
and wanted just once to be able to reach out and stop his arrogant walk.
He glared at her as he said, "Seems it hasn't taught you any manners." He
nodded his head and at the same time she felt a sharp blow to her legs that
sent her plummeting to the deck on her knees. Xena's face stopped just short
of the man's scruffy black boots. Slowly raising her head she could see that
his striped trousers were torn as they laid on the arch of his boots.
Calico reached down and grabbed a handful of her hair and pulled it back,
raising her head, his manner was imposing as he said, "I own you, you will
get used to it." The woman's bottomless blue eyes showed little signs of
fear as he struck her across the side of her face and said, "Get her out of
The men that had been holding her reached down and pulled her to her feet as
they led the woman away.
She was taken to a prison cell not much different than any she had been in
before. They had to half carry and drag her because the blow to her legs had
done enough damage that she was unable to walk. She found herself being
pushed into the cell and as the door clanged shut, she fell to the floor.
She had laid there for a few minutes before forcing herself to sit up. She
was angry, angry at herself for getting into the spot she was in and because
she had left Gabrielle. Her thoughts were on freedom but she had no idea how
she was going to accomplish this. The man Calico Jack was ominous and evil,
she did not think she would last long at his hands.
Gabrielle was standing in the room, she had been pacing as she turned and
stared out the open window. She and Sea had been able to find the shack the
captain had told her about and they were now trying to formulate a plan that
would get them into the city without being caught.
Sea had been gone since early morning and she was beginning to get worried.
She feared for Xena but couldn't help but worry what might happen to Sea if
the man got his hands on her again. She was relieved when she saw the tall
form of her friend step into the clearing. The woman sauntered like she
hadn't a care in the world. She held her head high and the sun catching that
beautiful cutlass the woman carried at her right hip sent off a radiant
Sea looked up when she saw Gabrielle hurrying toward her, she stopped and
said, "Has something happend?"
Shaking her head the woman beamed at her and said, "I was just worried
that's all, where have you been?"
Sea smiled as she said, "Let's go in, you will be surprised at what I have
Once inside Gabrielle turned and said, "Tell me, what?"
Sea stepped toward a wooden table as she said, "Maybe you had better sit
A look of apprehension crossed the woman's face as she said, "Something has
happened to Xena!"
Sea was pointing to a chair as she said, "Sit."
Gabrielle did as she gazed up at the woman and said, "All right, give, what
"It seems our old enemy, Calico has been busy. From all I have been able to
discover Xena is alive. The woman has been beaten but we both know how
strong she is. Anyway this is the disturbing thing."
Gabrielle leaned forward in the chair as she said, "Tell me."
Sea continued, "We both know that Xena has made a lot of enemies." Gabrielle
nodded as Sea continued, "Seems the man has put Xena up for auction. The
person to pay the highest price gets to do with her what they want."
Gabrielle was on her feet by now as she stammered, "Gods, she has made many,
and anyone of them would like to get their hands on her. Sea, we have to get
her out of there."
Nodding as she walked over to a wooden cupboard she said, "I know and the
sooner the better."
Sea brought back a bottle of port and two mugs and as she set them on the
table she said, "Better have a drink."
Gabrielle watched the woman pour as she said, "It's going to be pretty bad
Pulling out a chair the woman sat as she said, "Not impossible though. I was
able to waylay one of the men heading for Calico's stronghold." She held up
a parchment as she said, "He was carrying this invitation to the bidding."
Gabrielle reached over and took it as she said, "Words cannot even come
close to how I feel about Calico. You say you waylaid a man, where is he?"
Sea took a drink then said, "Let's just say no one will hear from him
She had been staring at the scribing on the parchment as she said, "What
good is this going to do us, neither one of us is a man named Forben?"
Sea grinned at her as she said, "With a little work it can happen."
Gabrielle got to her feet as she handed the parchment to Sea and said, "I
don't see how."
Downing the port in her mug, Sea answered, "Seems to me, you carry out this
man thing real well. You certainly fooled me when we met."
Turning to stare at Sea's beaming face she said, "Well. it would be pretty
hard making anyone think you are one. But if I have to masquerade then so do
Cocking her head to the right she said, "What do you mean?"
Gabrielle walked over and sat back down as she said, "You walk in there like
that, and within seconds you will have your hands full fighting off men.
Most because they want to ravish your body but Calico because he wants to
Pouring herself more port, Sea replied, "If I can't pass as a man, can't go
as myself, what do you suggest?"
Grinning as she held up her mug, Gabrielle said, "My concubine."
Sea had taken a drink as she sputtered, "What?"
Gabrielle had gotten to her feet and was walking toward the woman as she
stepped behind her she said, "Face it Sea, Your figure, your hair, even with
my talents, I couldn't make you look like a man. Don't tell me you wouldn't
even consider being you know?"
Sea raised her head and stared up at Gabrielle as she said, "I can see
myself in your arms and if it must be as your concubine, I can live with
that. Just don't go passing me around, I might get angry."
Gabrielle had reached out as she ran her hands through Sea's long red hair
and said, "Have to do something with this though."
Reaching up she grasped Gabrielle's hands and said, "What's wrong with the
Walking around the table and coming to stop in front of Sea, Gabrielle
answered, "Nothing, it is probably the most beautiful hair I have ever seen,
Sea, it is your trademark. How many women have you met that have hair even a
little like yours?"
Thinking as she pursed her lips, the woman shook her head and said, "Guess
"That's what I mean, I do have an idea though. According to the invitation
you took from the man called Forben they will hold this auction soon. We
need to get things together and get in."
Leaning back in her chair, Sea said, "I am not looking forward to you
getting yourself into his hands. We both know how devious he can be and if
something should happen, I know I could not stand to see you hurt."
Gabrielle stared at her, the woman's chin was set as she said, "I won't be
and neither will you, we must think positive. Now, come with me woman."
Getting to her feet Sea asked, "Where are we going?"
Grinning as she grabbed Sea's right hand she said, "To put some dull on that
gorgeous head of hair."
Gabrielle had just put the finishing touches on her character when she heard
the bedroom door open and close. She turned as her mouth fell open she
exclaimed, "Now, this is a woman!"
The dashing figure of Ann Bounty was now a woman drapped in a long dress,
she wore a shawl over her head with a veil that crossed her mouth. Sea
strode up to her as she said, "Whats up? You act like you've never seen your
Her tongue traveled the inside of her cheeks, her jaw set, the woman was
trying to hold back the grin that was creeping up on her.
Sea had placed her hands on her hips as she said, "All right, do I have
something on backwards?"
Clearing her throat, Gabrielle stepped up to her and said, "No, actually,
you are a vision. Just a surprise, I have never seen you in a dress before."
"Yeah, well I used to wear them all the time, got in the way when it came to
climbing the mast or hoisting a sail. My men would never think of me as
their captain if they ever saw me in this getup."
"See your point. I just have one little suggestion."
Sea lowered her head as her eyes burnt into Gabrielle's she said, "Oh, and
just what might that be?"
Stepping back, she said, "It's your walk, try to be more dainty."
Sea reached up and removed the veil as she said, "Dainty is it? Maybe we
should think this over, I be the man and you do the dainty part."
Grinning at the woman, Gabrielle replied, "Too late for that, I only hope
there is no one at this auction that knows the real Forben."
Sea walked over and sat as she stretched out and placed her long legs on
Gabrielle's chair. She walked toward her and said, "Sitting like that, is
not what a lady would do."
By this time Sea seemed to be enjoying this as she stood and walked up to
Gabrielle, bringing her head down, she placed her mouth at Gabrielle's right
ear and whispered, "But, I'm no lady, I'm your whore."
"Oh, and I suppose you would know exactly how my whore would walk?"
Reaching out she placed her right arm around Gabrielle's waist and said,
"Among other things, this could prove very interesting."
Pulling away from the woman, Gabrielle turned and said, "We can take one
pack, nothing else. Where is your sword?"
Sea reached down and lifted the skirt of her dress and Gabrielle could see
the sword was in a very good spot. She turned her head and said, "Then there
is nothing left but to do it. Sea, all things aside, thank you for helping
The woman's emerald green eyes beckoned to her as she said, "I will always
be at your command. Let's go."
It had been quiet and Xena actually enjoyed the serenity for she knew full
well, it would end and soon. She knew the man Calico Jack had to have an
ulterior motive when he set about his plan to capture her.
She had lost track of time, being in the darkened cell and when someone
entered the area carrying a torch she looked away. The footsteps stopped in
front of the cell door and she turned her head to see who it was. Asterea
stood gazing in at her, she reached down and unlocked the door as she said,
"Xena, have you had time to get used to your new home?"
She sat up and just stared, she didn't trust the woman when she visited on
the ship and definitely didn't at that moment.
Asterea stepped into the cell as she said, "Get up!"
She stared at her feet for several moments then she forced herself to stand
as she said, "Why? So you can get the pleasure of knocking me back down?"
She approached the woman with a weary look in her dark eyes as she said,
"Mistrust, I wouldn't do that not now anyway. I have come to get you
"Prepared for what? Have you all had your fun and now plan on ending my
The woman reached out as she touched the cut lip that Calico had given the
woman. Xena could feel her body tense up and the muscles in her jaw could be
seen tightening. She glared at Asterea and said, "Get it over, the less time
I have to spend with him and his kind the better."
A sadistic look played on the woman's face as she said, "Now, now Xena if
not for me you would be fish food. Calico has arranged an auction. He has
invited many of your enemies. He plans to auction you to the highest bidder
and what they do with you, well, that is their business."
Xena spit at the woman and as she reached up and wiped her face she said,
"Have to do better than that. You will come with me, I think a bath, some
clean clothes. This should make you presentable to them."
Xena held out her shackled hands as she said, "Kind of hard, bathing with
The woman reached out as she grasped the chain and said, "You're not the
only one who has many skills, let's go!"
Sea and Gabrielle had little trouble entering the pirate stronghold, the
second they saw the invitation, they let them pass. Sea did not enjoy all
the remarks they made or the roving fingers that seemed to find their way to
her body. She was polite enough, but stopped each and everyone.
They had been given one of the rooms over the tavern and both were happy to
sit down and count their blessings to have made it that far. The two women
had decided once they got in, they would set about trying to get the
different bidders to mistrust one another. The first thing they wanted to do
was create dissension among them.
Knowing they had little time, they picked this evening to end their
campaign. Before they went out the door of their room, Sea reached out and
grabbed Gabrielle by her right shoulder as she said, "You are not doing a
good job watching your concubine and she wants to tell you, the next time
one of those good for nothings touches me, I will kill him."
Gabrielle stared up at the woman as she said, "Keep your veil on, I won't
let it happen again. They are just so fast."
They discovered that evening that there were several there they knew and did
all within their power to keep a good distance. Gabrielle pointed out,
Cortese, Dionara, Draco, Kirilus, Krykus, and Menzentius just to name a few
and she knew getting them to mistrust one another would be easy. The two had
worked most of the night, letting their little stories filter down to the
right people. They had been sitting at a table drinking a goblet of port
when Calico Jack walked into the room. He carried an aura of command as he
strode up to the bar and said, "Where is this Forben?"
Immediately fingers in the room began to point toward Gabrielle. Sea reached
out, touched her on the right leg as she said, "Watch it." She nodded as she
stood and said, "That would be me. Is there a problem?"
He had been leaning on his left elbow and when he saw the man stand, he
started to walk toward him. As he approached he eyed the woman that sat near
this man and said, "Names, Calico Jack, just wanted to welcome you to the
bidding, I hope you have brought a good amount of money."
Gabrielle was rigid, as her eyes met the man's, and in a voice so low, it
startled Sea, she said, "I have."
He walked over to Sea as he reached out to remove her veil and at that time
he found Gabrielle's sword meeting him as she said, "Off limits, I hope you
He stepped back as he said, "For now, but don't tell me a small man like you
can really handle a woman like this."
Her right-hand shot out as she jerked Sea from the chair and pulled her to
her chest as she said, "I don't hear the woman complaining." Before Sea
could say anything, Gabrielle threw her onto the table and as her back hit
the wood, she leaned down and placed a long succulent kiss on the woman's
neck. The man seemed to be astonished that one so small could have the
strength to do this but his surprise turned to admiration as he said, "I can
see the whore, will succumb to you. This pleases me, but, if you should ever
decide to add her to your bid, I certainly would think about it."
Gabrielle had helped Sea to her feet and still had hold of her arm as she
said, "It will take a lot for me to give up my time with her." She reached
up and touched Sea's chin as she said, "I have need to talk to this man, go
to the room, prepare yourself."
As Sea gazed at her, the woman's emerald green eyes shot fire as she nodded,
turned and left the room. Many of the men shouted obscenities at the woman
as she hurried past and as Gabrielle's eyes came back to the large man
standing near her, her thoughts were of Sea and what she would encounter
when she got back to their room.
Calico pointed to a chair as he said, "Sit, drink with me."
If there was anything she would rather do, it was be far away from the cold
vibes she was picking up from this man. But, she sat back down and said,
The two had had several drinks and when Calico downed his last one, he
stared across the table at her and said, "Tell you what, you tell me you
will consider throwing the whore into the bidding and I will give you an
advance look at what you will be bidding for."
Sitting back in her chair, her eyes never leaving the man's she contemplated
his words then finally answered, "All right, I'll think about it, and from
me that pretty much cinches it."
He stood as he said, "Follow me."
They walked through the darkened streets, streets that were lined with
torches in strategic locations. She felt her skin crawl, to be so near the
man and not run him through with her sword was a battle she was fighting.
Each time she would think about it, Sea's face and her words would come back
to her, "Be careful, I don't want to see either of us at his hands again."
The man stopped to talk with several guards as one opened a large steel door
and let them pass. Then they walked down a tunnel, stopping at a cramped
cell. He held the torch up as the light luminated the area. Her voice caught
in her throat when she saw the woman lying in a heap on the dirt floor.
Calico took out his sword and ran it across the bars as he yelled, "Wake up
Xena, you have a visitor!"
He reached down and unlocked the door then said, "Go in, I'll give you a few
minutes to examine the merchandise."
He turned and walked away, leaving the torch in a holder on the wall.
Gabrielle watched the slight movement of the woman as she seemed to struggle
to sit up and without hesitation she rushed in, falling to her knees she
reached out to help her. It was at this time she found the woman's head
coming down upon her's and all she saw were stars and felt the sensation of
She was thankful the blow hadn't knocked her out because she saw the
manacled hands heading toward her face and reached up grabbing them.
Gabrielle thought at that time she was going to have to make peace with what
life she had, because she knew the strength her friend possessed. Oddly
enough, she seemed to be able to avert the woman's blow and with one good
push, Xena fell backwards. Getting to her knees she crawled toward the woman
and as she gazed down at the beaten face, tears began to well up in her
eyes. "Xe..Xena, it's me. I'll kill those bastards for what they have done
to you, Xena?"
The brilliant translucent eyes seemed to be clouded over and when she looked
at Gabrielle, they showed no sign of recognition. She could hear the man
returning as she reached out and caressed Xena's face with her right-hand
and whispered, "It will be all right, we will get you out of here." She got
to her feet and walked from the cell as Calico came into view. His eyes
darted to Xena than back to her as he said, "Seems you have gotten off to a
good start if you are going to own this one, the first step always is to
teach them who is boss. Let's go, there is more drinking to do and I have to
prepare for tomorrow."
With one last look at the still form of her friend, she said, "I'm ready."
XENA WARRIOR PRINCESS
Chapter Twenty Five
When Gabrielle finally made it back to their room, there were a few hours
left of darkness and the day she had been dreading was soon coming into
view. When she left Xena, she had made an excuse to Calico and then went
about talking and planting the seeds of distrust among the warlords. Both
women felt this would cause friction.
Slowly opening the door she crept into the room. Laying her sword on a
table, she sat and removed her boots. Standing as she reached out and
pinched the flame that was burning on one candle, she felt the woman's body
heavy against her back. Her lengthy arms wrapped around her as she whispered
into Gabrielle's left ear, "I have prepared myself and waited."
Turning she felt her breasts rub against Sea's as she said, "About that, I
"Don't tell me my master has water for knees, I await your command, do with
me as you will." Sea's voice was low and sensual as Gabrielle reached out
and tried to push the woman away. "What has gotten into you?"
Softly Sea whispered, "We have prying eyes, the picture on the wall, mustn't
keep your public waiting."
Gabrielle glanced around the room but in the darkness she couldn't see
anything as she said, "Are you sure?"
Stepping away from her, Sea replied, "Yes, just promise me one thing, don't
be rough this time."
Gabrielle's eyes had grown accustomed to the dark and she could see the
statuesque form of Ann Bounty, she was standing beside the bed and the woman
didn't have a stitch of clothing on. Gabrielle approached her all the time
her eyes darting around the room and as she reached out and pushed the woman
back onto the bed she said, "It's a hard night you are asking for, my love,
it's going to be one you have never had before." She lowered her body on the
woman's as her lips sought Sea's."
People had begun to gather early and the square was filling up. Gabrielle
and Sea had managed to find a good vantage point as they surveyed the goings
on. They watched as Calico rode into the area on a white stallion, and waved
at the people as he jumped down from the animal's back. There was a lone man
standing beside two posts that had been placed into the ground.
Gabrielle found herself falling as she sat and said, "I don't know if I can
Managing a smile, Sea found herself sitting beside Gabrielle as she said,
"You will, after last night, I think you can do anything you put your mind
Gabrielle turned to stare at her as she said, "About that..."
Reaching out the woman placed a finger on Gabrielle's lips and said, "You
were wonderful. Now, put all that energy into making sure Xena gets out of
"What? No, I want to help. I won't go off and leave you here alone."
"Dear sweet Gabrielle, I will be fine, it is Xena that needs your help. When
this all starts and it will, you get her as far away from here as you can."
A worried frown shown on the woman's brow as she said, "And you, what about
"I will be there as soon as I can. If something should happen and I don't
make it, go with the captain. Don't try to argue this, just do it."
Gabrielle looked away as Sea added, "Please."
Nodding her head the woman said, "I will, but it doesn't mean I will be
happy leaving you behind."
The growing noise from the crowd below them brought their attention to what
was happening. Two large men were dragging Xena into the square, they
secured her wrists to the ropes that hung from the posts. They stepped back
as the woman swayed trying to stay on her feet. Sea reached out and placed
her right arm around Gabrielle's shoulders as she said, "I know, it hurts to
see her like that, just try to think ahead, the two of you will have some
quality time coming and soon."
Nodding she said, "Thank you."
They crawled away from the area, knowing they needed to get down and join
the growing crowd of onlookers."
Calico had started the bidding and at first it seemed to be going well, that
is until one of the warlords accused him of rigging the auction. Before
long, they were pushing, shoving, and accusing one another of cheating. Sea
had been standing behind one of the men and when he turned his back, she
tossed a stone and hit his steel helmet. He turned and scowled at her but
she went into her frail woman phrase as she pointed a finger at the warlord
standing near. The man attacked him and soon swords, and fists were flying.
Sea motioned with her head toward Gabrielle and said, "Now!"
It took two swipes with her sword and the ropes fell to the ground.
Gabrielle reached out and balanced the woman as she yelled at Sea, "I've got
her, let's leave!"
Sea had tossed a cloak toward her as she said, "Put this over her and get
out of here!"
Nodding, she placed an arm around Xena's waist and said, "Lean on me, we're
Sea stood and watched until they were out of sight and as she went to turn,
ran face to face with Calico. She could see the blood vessels in his face
bulging as he glared at her and said, "Looks like your friend has taken the
woman and left. Seems the only right thing to do is take you in her place."
Sea reached down and ripped the dress as she pulled it away from her body.
The woman was wearing a pair of tight leather pants and a lowcut blouse. His
mouth fell open as he stared at the transformation and said, "Who are you?"
Reaching up she removed the shawl and veil. Her radiant red hair fell about
her shoulders as if sighing in release, he drew his cutlass and cursed, "Ann
Bounty! I'll see you and that friend of yours in Hades!" He lunged and she
deftly jumped out of his way. Her sword in hand she wielded it through the
air in dazzling movements. He stood and scoffed, "You're real good at show,
how about one on one standing still?"
She glanced at the weapon in her hand then bowed as she said, "Here I
His feet propelled him forward in two quick steps he lunged as his sword cut
through the air only to be met by hers as she stopped his thrust."
Their swords were touching, as they walked a tight circle. His dark eyes
trying to burn holes in hers but the green in her eyes seemed to send the
glare back even more intensely. Calico sneered, "I owe you!"
Smiling, she replied, "And I you."
The man struck out with his left fist, sending it smashing across the side
of Sea's face. The blow knocked her back and at the same time she saw the
man charging once more. Moving her face as his blade whizzed past, she
brought her left leg up and sent a sharp blow to the man's stomach. He
staggered, then jumped forward, sending his full body weight onto the woman.
This caused her to fall backwards and the two landed hard on the ground. He
raised his right fist and sent it flying across her face once more, snapping
it to the side and in that moment she brought her legs up and wrapped her
feet around his neck throwing the man backwards. The two were back on their
feet in an instant and as he slashed his sword through the air he said, "You
Sea leaped into the air and somersaulted over his head, propelling her feet
against the rock wall, she catapulted back as her feet landed on the man's
shoulders. Losing his balance and reeling from the blow he fell. Sea fell to
the side and was back on her feet in seconds. Calico shook his head and
slowly got to his feet, staggering he turned to face her once more.
Facing the man, she smiled wickedly as the cutlass in her hand weaved back
and forth. "I've waited a long time for this."
He scowled at her as he said, "You and your friend will be sorry you stepped
into my world."
A low sound emitted from her throat as she began to watch the man, he was
cunning and she knew she had to watch her step. He made a quick thrust to
her right and as she reached up to stop it, he rolled, striking her ankles,
sending her to the ground. His move surprised her as she cursed herself and
quickly got to her feet. Calico charged toward her as he yelled, "I will
His sword thrust to the left and she met it with a downward swipe. He
feigned to the right and once again she seemed to know what he was going to
do. Calico's face was red as he clinched his teeth and said, "You do not
Her sword touching his as she flicked it to the side and said, "You are used
to people taking your blows, but that will not be me."
She could see the rage building up in his face and it was at this time his
sword cut through the air in a circular fashion as it swooped down toward
her ankles. Sea's jump into the air seemed like something she did all the
time, it was quick and all he met was air as he bellowed, "Damn you Ann
Some of the people who had been fighting were now watching the amazing
swordplay that was taking place. Most amazed at the athletic ability of this
woman. Calico's swings were becoming wild and the woman seemed to jump them
as if she was playing a game of jump rope with a child.. Perspiration was
running down the man's face as he lunged toward her and said, "Stand still!"
She stepped toward him and stood as he stopped and stared around then said,
"If that was all it took!" His movement was jerky as he thrust toward her
chest and she easily moved her body as the blade swished past. Cursing he
charged once more, again, she sidestepped and all his blade lit on was air.
Looking at the man she thought he might have a heart attack, he was so
angry. She loved it because the more incensed he became, it made him
careless. She noticed his eyes as they darted toward her right. The sword in
her hard swirled as she suddenly brought it down and sent it backwards, the
cry as the shining metal cut a path into the oncoming man's stomach was
gruesome. She was withdrawing her weapon when Calico dove forward and
grabbed Sea's ankles, throwing her to the ground. Managing to get to her
knees, she looked up and it was at this time she saw the impending metal
coming down toward her head. Raising her sword, she stopped the descent, but
Calico was strong and had stepped nearer as he glowered down at her and
said, "Hope you have said all you good-bys, because this day, Ann Bounty
will be your last!" Sea could sense she was losing ground as she looked up
and managed to catch the rays from the sun on her sword, sending a bright
light into the man's eyes.
He faltered for an instant and in that moment, she brought her right knee up
with lightening speed, into his groin. The minute Calico felt the pain, he
dropped his sword and fell to the ground writhing in agony. Sea reached down
and grabbed several locks of his hair as she raised his head, and said,
"This isn't over, there will be another time. Be thankful I have to leave."
She turned and ran from the area leaving the fighting far behind.
When Sea arrived back to the shack, she stopped and took several breaths of
air. She was still feeling the excitement of the battle and was looking for
the two women. Stepping into the room her eyes fell on them. Xena was
sitting on the bed, she was oblivious to either one of them. Gabrielle
looked up as she approached and said, "She doesn't know me."
Sea dropped to her knees and stared up at the woman. She gently placed her
right-hand on the Xena's forehead and tilted it back. "They have given her
some kind of drug. I'm sure something to keep her tranquil. Soon as it wears
off, she will know you. And I am sure with your assistance, her wounds will
heal. She will be all right"
Gabrielle reached out and placed her right-hand on Sea's shoulder as she
said, "Thanks to you."
Getting to her feet she turned and gazed at Gabrielle and said, "Thanks to
the woman that loves her so deeply, she would not see her die."
Sea walked toward the doorway as she said, "I'll go wait for the longboat,
they should be coming soon. Because if they don't, Calico will have people
looking for us and we could all end up in his hands again."
Nodding, Gabrielle said, "I'll walk you out." She glanced back at Xena then
followed the woman from the room. Once outside she touched Sea's right-hand
and said, "I couldn't have done it without you."
Grasping her hand in hers, Sea brought it to her lips and placed a tender
kiss as she said, "And I couldn't live if I didn't know that somewhere in
this land there was you. Go back to Xena, I'll whistle when I see them."
Gabrielle watched the woman saunter from the area, then turned and went back
True to his word the captain sent a longboat to the island to pick them up.
And they had been sailing for several days. Sea spent a lot of time up on
deck, she didn't care if anyone saw her now, what they had gone to do she
and Gabrielle had accomplished.
The sound of water splashing against the hull was a pleasant one and she was
looking forward to finding Saxton and The Bounty. Having been given another
chance at life, she had so many things she wanted to do. She knew one of
them would be visiting her mother on Spoon Island. Her thoughts drifted to
the beautiful area and she could now remember a friend of her mothers
telling her the island was once called, Emerald Bay.
She had seen little of Gabrielle since they had been onboard, the woman
seemed to spend every waking moment with Xena. And on this particular day
she had been thinking about a lot of things as she hurried below to talk to
the woman. Sea paused at the door to the cabin when she heard Gabrielle's
voice. She peeked in and could see the woman was on her knees, she held
Xena's right-hand in hers and was caressing the woman's forehead with the
other. "You're going to be just fine. And as soon as I get you home, we have
a lot to catch up on." The woman's words were soft and warm as she gazed
tenderly at Xena.
Xena stared at her as the woman said, "You must...hate..."
Gabrielle whispered, "Never, I love you and I can't wait to show you how
much." She rested her head on Xena's chest as Sea backed slowly away.
Several more days had past and Sea was becoming bored. She walked over to a
wooden barrel and seeing a role of hemp laying on it, she picked it up.
Sitting down on the deck, she began to braid it. So much had happened and
she needed to do something to keep busy. Mainly she wanted to rid her mind
of the beautiful strawberry blond that kept invading it. She was deep in
thought as her fingers magically worked the hemp when the soft words echoed
down to her. "There you are, I've been looking for you."
Gazing up she could see Gabrielle beaming down, the woman looked even more
beautiful than before. Gabrielle sat down beside her and said, "I have never
known you to be at loss for words."
Setting the hemp down, she turned to gaze at the woman and said, "You always
leave me speechless. But I do recover quickly. Seems you are lost."
With a perplexing look, Gabrielle replied, "Why do you say that?"
Looking away, she answered, "Because you have spent every moment with Xena.
Won't she miss you?"
Leaning back on her hands, her eyes never leaving Sea's she said, "I'm
sorry, but her injuries are bad."
Nodding Sea replied, "I know, and I am glad she has someone like you to care
Sitting up, Gabrielle reached out and grasped Sea's left hand in her's and
said, "Sea, don't ever think I don't care..."
Patting her hand, Sea cut in and said, "I will always carry in my heart the
feelings you have for me and I you. There is no need to do or say what you
are about too."
Gabrielle reached up and caressed the side of Sea's face as she said, "No
one can ever take you from me, wherever I go, you will be here." She lowered
her hand and placed it over her heart."
Sea had turned and was facing Gabrielle, her eyes glimmered from the rays of
the sun. She grasped Gabrielle's hand and held it tightly as she said, "When
Xena is better, I hope the two of you get time to discuss your problems. I
know she loves you, and have no doubt how you feel about her."
Laying back on the deck, Gabrielle said, "Lie by me, like old times."
Though she wanted to fight it, Ann felt herself falling backwards as she
said, "Maybe when Xena is better and you two have tired of one another."
Gabrielle turned her head and grinned as Sea continued, "Well, can take a
break from one another you can come visit mother and me at the Island. Xena
is also welcome."
Reaching out she touched Sea's hand and answered, "It is a heaven and I
would love to come visit. Your mother will be so happy to see you. Sea?"
Grasping Gabrielle's hand, she answered, "Yes."
With a slight squeeze on Sea's hand, she replied, "About that night."
Sea was sitting now as she stared down at Gabrielle and said, "Many things
could be said about that night and all wondrous. I know it was all acting,
if Calico had any idea what we were up to, we would have ended up with
Gabrielle was sitting as she stared into Sea's warm eyes and said, "I have a
feeling, it was not all acting."
Impulsively Sea leaned down and kissed her, it was brief but the message was
there as she said, "I am not one to kiss and tell."
The two lay back down as Gabrielle sighed and said, "Thank you again, for
being there, and for helping me. Now, woman, I just want to lie beside you,
listen to the sounds of the water. Xena is sleeping and I have missed you."
Sea smiled as she lie back down and said, "Would you lay your head on my
shoulder once more?"
Within seconds, Gabrielle laid her head there and said, "We must talk about
Sea looked over at Gabrielle, she was fast asleep. She knew the closeness
she was feeling she would not know again for a long time. With a feeling of
contentment, she drew the woman close and shut her eyes.
There was a knock on the door and Gabrielle walked over and opened it. The
captain was standing there as he said, "I thought I would tell you, we will
be arriving soon."
She smiled at him and said, "Thank you, Is Sea coming down?"
He stepped back as he said, "You don't know?"
She pursed her lips and said, "Don't know what?"
He replied, "She left the ship several days back. Said she had things to do
and told me to make sure you and Xena arrived safely." He turned and left.
Gabrielle walked back toward the beautiful woman who had captivated her
heart so long ago. Xena gazed up at her and asked, "It's about Sea isn't it?
Nodding, she answered, "Yes, she has gone."
Xena held out her right-hand as she said, "It is the way she wanted it. I
also know the bond the two of you have is strong and you will see one
another again, of this I am sure."
Gabrielle placed her right-hand in the woman's as she said, "Thank the Gods,
you have returned to me."
Shaking her head Xena said, "Thank you and a woman I am proud to call
friend, Ann Bounty."
Gabrielle gazed at Xena as she sat down beside her and said, "I wonder if
Argo has found her way home yet? I think the minute you ease your body into
the springs, it will be rejuvenated."
Managing a smile, Xena whispered, "Only if you are with me."
Grasping Xena's left hand in her's she replied, "Always."
The people in the village of Potidaea were busily going about their business
when the lone rider came into view. The dark horse stepped high as it made
its way down the dirt street. Though the horse was magnificent, it was the
tall women that sit regally upon its back that caused them all to stop and
The winds had picked up some and seemed to enjoy grasping the woman's
flowing red hair and send it flying about her head. She was oblivious to
them as she reined the horse in and jumped down. Tying the reins to a post,
she started toward one of the buildings.
Lila had just set the table as she turned to her mother and said, "I hope
you like what I have prepared."
Her mother smiled as she said, "I know we will and daughter, you have made
the right choice when you accepted Milos proposal of marriage."
Her eyes seeming sad as she looked away she said, "I know."
It was at this time a loud noise was heard as the front door flew open with
such force it was knocked from its hinges. They looked toward the sound to
see what had caused the damage. Her father had drawn his sword and it was
then they could see the statuesque woman standing in the doorway. She seemed
to be silhouetted in the light as they stared at this beauteous figure. Lila
grabbed her father's hand and said, "It's all right father, I know her, it's
the woman, Ann Bounty."
The man stared as he said, "Whoever you are, that was a good door you just
Ann turned to gaze at him and tossed several dinars his way as she said,
"This should take care of it. Now, if you will excuse me, your daughter and
I have some unfinished business."
Lila had backed away as she said, "Now, now, Ann, don't do anything rash."
Ann smiled as she stepped up to Lila and said, "If your mother and father
will bid us good-by, we have things to discuss." She reached out and grabbed
Lila and within seconds the woman found herself lying over Ann's right
Lila was taken aback and more surprised than she ever had been as she yelled
at Ann, "Put me down, this instant!"
Sea nodded toward her parents as she held Lila tightly and said, "You need a
change of scenery and I know an Island that will give us both that."
Her parents ran to the door as they watched the woman mount the horse and
gallop it from the village, their daughter still yelling as they heard Ann
Bounty say, "You will love it."
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