A Past Remembered part7

by Anita Louise

Chapter Eighteen

Xena haunched down on an overhanging tree branch as she heard the sound of
an approaching rider. The sound was becoming louder as she prepared herself.
The second the horse passed, Xena jumped onto the back of the rider sending
him plummeting to the ground. As the man fell on his back the Warrior
straddled him, her fist raised in anger as the two stared at one another.
Xena's mouth fell open as she gazed at this man. His mustache had fallen and
was now dangling from his chin. She exclaimed, "Epinon!"

Epinon looked at her and cried, "Xena!"

Xena jumped to her feet as she reached down and grasped Epinon's right hand
pulling her to her feet and said, "Where is Gabrielle?"

Epinon reached up and pulled what was left of the mustache from her chin
throwing it to the ground. The woman's eyes darted around as she asked,
"Where is Ephiny?"

"I'm right here." The woman stepped out from behind some foliage as she
walked toward Epinon. Epinon rushed to her, flinging open her arms as she
met the woman in a warm embrace.

Xena watched the two, as she nervously shifted from one foot to the other.
Her eyes rolled as she said, "I hate to break up this warm reunion, but I
need to know where Gabrielle is?"

Epinon turned to look at the woman, her right arm around Ephiny's waist and
said, "I don't know where she is?"

Xena seemed to seethe as she said, "Don't know! You two were together!"

Epinon looked soulful as she said, "She was shanghaied."

She had barely gotten the last word out before Xena had grabbed the woman by
her neck raising her off the ground. Her usually calm blue eyes were seaming
with rage as she glared, "Shanghaied! How did this happen? If anything bad
has befallen her, you will be sorry!"

Epinon was attempting to breath as Ephiny grabbed Xena's arm, pulling it

down as she said, "Xena, let her go!"

Xena released her grip as Epinon fell to the ground coughing. She turned and
walked away from the two woman as she said, "Think your answer carefully
Epinon, it may be your last."

Ephiny had helped the woman to her feet as they both stared at the Warrior.
Epinon replied, "I know how fast you can kill, I'm not afraid to die. After
I tell you what happened, and you feel it's my fault, kill me."

Ephiny ran to Xena's side as her eyes searched Xena's for some glimpse of
sympathy. She reached out and touched the woman's right arm and said, "At
least hear what Ep has to say. I know in my heart she would not have done
anything that would have endangered Gabrielle purposely."

Xena stared at Ephiny then turned and faced Epinon, All right, tell me."

Epinon related what had happened and when she finished, Xena had pursed her
lips as she said, "By the Gods, Gabrielle has been shanghaied on the Pirate
ship, The Bounty. If anything happens to her, people will know what it's
like to feel the wrath of Xena!" She turned and walked into the forest.

Ephiny and Epinon stared after the woman. As they heard the shrill sounds of
an animal in pain. Ephiny reached out and held Epinon's left hand as she
said, "I know you have done all you could."

The sound grew louder and the two women shivered, they both knew it was
Xena, the woman was venting her anger and sorrow. They looked at one another
as tears formed in their eyes. Xena did not return to the campsite that
night and Ephiny and Epinon held a warm reunion.

The next morning the two were wakened by the sounds of a horse nickering.
They sat up and could see Xena petting the horse. Ephiny got to her feet and
walked over to the woman and asked, "Are you ok?"

Xena replied, "I will never be ok again until I find Gabrielle. I was
telling Savior good-by. You two go back to the village, take care of the
horse. If I can, I will bring the others back. I will not stop searching
until I find Gabrielle." She threw a leather backpack over her shoulder,
turned and ran from the camp, leaving the two women to stare after her.


The Warrior had been pacing herself as she approached the Olein, Plateau.
Xena stopped as she leaned over and began to take in deep breaths of air.
Feeling lightheaded, she sat down on the green grass. Removing the pack from
her shoulder she laid it down, and began to rummage through it. She pulled
out a small skin of water sipping the liquid that flowed. Her long legs and
powerful muscles had carried her to this Plateau. She slowly got to her feet
and walked over to the edge.

Below her was the city of Olympia and as far as the eye could see the Sea
Green waters of the Ocean. She inhaled as the smell of the Ocean penetrated
her nostrils. Xena softly said, "I know you are somewhere out there
Gabrielle. If the Gods are kind, you are ok."

The woman walked over to the pack. Reaching down she removed a piece of
material and as she opened it, she stared at the mustache Epinon had been
wearing. Xena walked until she came to the stream she had passed. She walked
over to the edge and stared down at her reflection. Set crossing her legs
and removed a small dagger from between her breasts. Reaching back, she
grabbed a handful of her beautiful long black hair and said, "Only for you
would I do this Gabrielle." She was meticulous and when she was finished
most of the hair laid on the ground. She gazed at the reflection of the
person staring back at her while running her hands through the short locks
that were left. "If I don't know you, I don't think anyone else will." The
woman placed the mustache in her right hand as she gently fixed it above her
upper lip. The man that gazed at her was a stranger as she said, "Xena is
gone, Zandar has been born."

By the time she had arrived in the city, she had acquired the swagger she
had seen so many of the men use. Her first stop was to go down to the dock.
She needed information and anything she could pickup might help her in her

The man looked up from his parchment, he watched the well built man talking
to some of the men on the loading dock. He scratched his head as he tried to
recognize this good-looking man. He seemed to know the Dock area well and
was now heading in his direction. He looked up at the man and asked,
"Looking for something?"

The low voice that came from this man caught him of guard, "Yeah, looking
for work on a ship, one heading for Gaul."

He eyed the man and said, "Gaul? That is far away, not many ships going that

Xena could sense something as she said, "But?"

He continued, "The Raven, Captain Raven Blackirds, ship, could be sailing
that way."

"How do I find this Captain Blackird?"

He set the parchment down on a barrel and said, "I wouldn't want to be
hooking up with him, young man, The Raven, is a Pirate ship. It's only
second to The Bounty. Not the kind of fare you might be wanting."

Xena stared coldly at the man and said, "I believe that's my call, now tell
me where I can find this Blackird."

He replied, "A young one like you, with your build and muscles, could make
good money, working right here on the Dock. If it's a job you want, I have

Xena quickly answered, "I need passage to Gaul, now, tell me where I can
find this Captain?"

He shook his head and said, "What's your name?"

Xena replied, "Zandar."

"Well, Zandar, you will more than likely find him and his first mate at the
Crows Inn. It's at the end of the city. Now you be careful going to a place
like that, it is full of riffraff and some would soon kill you for taking up
the air they breath."

Xena thanked the man, turned and walked away. It didn't take her long to
travel the distance to the Crows Inn. Approaching the door, she stared up at
the weather-beaten sign. Her right hand reached up to press the mustache and
make sure it was still in the right place as she walked into the building.

Xena had frequented many taverns and Inns but this was a disgrace, The smell
of the place almost took her breath away. She stared around the room looking
for this Captain. Her eyes surveyed each table taking in the men that were
occupying them. Most looked like men who had been at Sea and were now
enjoying their leave.. She could tell by their dress and the weapons they
carried, they were cutthroats. The man at the Dock was right, she had better
be careful.

She walked around the room, heading for the bar. Through the smoke that lay
in the room she caught her first sight of the man they called, Captain
Raven. He was a tall man, muscular in build with silver hair and a ruddy
complexion. His eyes appeared to be dark, shaded by dark bushy eyebrows. He
was in a robust conversation with a stout man. His arms long, he seemed to
speak with his hands, as they constantly moved. A scraggy beard adorned the
man's face.

Xena walked up to them and said, "Are you Captain Raven?"

The two men stopped talking and turned their attention to the man that was
standing in front of them. The stout man drew his sword and said, "Want me
to send this one to Hades, Captain?"

The man reached out and grabbed his hand as he said, "Let's see what the
young man wants first." His eyes were cold and gray as he asked, "Who wants
to know? And why?"

Xena answered, "Name's Zandar, I am looking for passage to Gaul, I heard you
might be headed that way."

The two men laughed as he answered, "I'm feeling good so let me do you a
favor, turn around and go back where you just came from, there is no passage
on my ship for the likes of you."

He turned and started to talk to the man again as Xena coldly said, "About
that passage." He nodded at the man standing by him and he lunged at her.
She easily sidestepped his advance, turned and kicked him in the back
sending him plummeting to the wooden floor. The others had began to watch
what was happening and they all laughed. Xena leaned against the bar and
said, "Like I said, "I need passage to Gaul."

Before the man could answer, the one she sent to the floor had gotten back
on his feet and was charging for her again. Xena never took her eyes off of
Captain Raven as she struck her right arm out sending her fist into the
man's face. He stumbled and crashed to the floor. Captain Raven looked at
this man in awe as he said, "Have a drink with me, we'll talk."

The man poured a Goblet of Port and handed it to Xena and she pushed it back
as she said, "If it's just the same to you, I'll get my own."

His voice boomed, "You keep that up and you will not be long for this

Xena motioned for the man behind the bar to bring her another then turned to
stare at Captain Raven and said, ""I've heard stories about drugs and being

The man threw his head back and laughed, "If you didn't interest me so much,
I'd have you slaughtered where you stand."

Xena picked up her new Goblet took a drink and said, "You could try." She
raised her Goblet to the man and said, "An old custom, you drink from mine
and I'll finish yours."

The man smiled as he handed his Goblet to her. They clinked them together as
he said, "To a refreshing face among this rabble."

She followed him to a table and sat down, the man gazed across the table as
his eyes met hers he said, "Why is it so important you go to Gaul?"

Xena maintained her stare and said, "A woman, I hear she is in that area."

He bellowed for the man behind the bar to bring more drinks as he said, "I
know what you mean, but is any woman worth such a long and dangerous trip?"

She had a self assured smile as she answered, "This one is."

Captain Raven replied, "Travel on a Pirate Ship will not be easy, there are
many dangers as well as confrontations. Chances are we may run into The
Bounty. It was bad enough before."

Xena asked, "Before? What do you mean?"

He continued, "The Seas are alive with stories about the power and rage
these two women have dealt the unfortunate ship that sails into their

"Two women? I thought The Bounty was Captained by a lone woman."

He scowled and replied, "Seems the Captain has taken a shine to one of her
prisoners. From all I have been told the two are inseparable and both have
been seen boarding and killing. I hear they stand side by side. So this
voyage could be a hard one."

"Do you know what the other woman's name is?"

He replied, "I think they call her Gabrielle, but the Captain calls her
something else. Do not make a mistake, Sea is a force to be reckoned with."

Xena's eyes shot fire as she said, "Sounds like this Captain needs to be
taken down a peg. This does not scare me. In fact I look forward to facing

Their new drinks arrived as the man scurried off, Raven said, "Tell you
what, if you are so determined to do this, I'll arm wrestle you for the
trip. You win, you travel in style. I win, you do my bidding."

Xena answered, "Ok, best two out of three."

He nodded as they cleared the table and set their elbows on the wood.
Clasping hands and holding firmly to one another he said, "Now!" The two
battled back and forth, each was strong but before the evening was finished,
Xena had beat him and he grasped her arm with his right hand and said, "We
sail at Sunrise, either be on or you don't go." He stood up and walked to
the bar. Xena's arm ached as she stood up and started to the door. This man
was strong, he had come close to winning. She only hoped he meant what he
had said about the passage.

She walked back through the city, ignoring the looks she was receiving. She
raised her right arm and took a whiff as she pulled her head back and said,
"Disgusting, I smell just like that place."

She searched until she found a Tavern and entered, walking up to a table she
pulled out a chair and sat down. A kindly woman approached her and said,
"What will be your liking tonight?"

Xena smiled and said, "Just bring me some stew, bread and a Goblet of Port."

The meal was tasty and she enjoyed it as she hadn't eaten a good meal in a
long time. When she had finished she walked over to the counter and said,
"I'd like a room for the night." After she paid for it the woman showed her
to the room, turned and left. Xena opened the door and walked inside. She
felt uneasy as she entered it, the room seemed to focus in and out. She shut
the door as her eyes surveyed it. It was then she knew why she was feeling
the way she was. The room looked in every way like the room she had laid
Gabrielle to rest in. The things that happened on that day began flashing
through her mind.

There was a knock at the door as she took a deep breath and opened it.
Several woman were standing holding buckets of water as the one in front
said, "We have brought water for your bath." Xena moved so they could enter
the room. When they were through pouring the water she thanked them and said
she was just going to soak for a while. They left and she walked over tested
the water and began to remove her clothes. It took her longer to remove the
wrappings she had around her breasts. She had bound them close to try to
divert suspicion.

She heaved a sigh of relief as her ample breasts sought freedom. Stepping
into the warm water she slowly lowered her body as the warmth enveloped her
aching form. Xena laid back letting the water creep into her pores. It had
been such a long time, she had forgotten how really good it felt. After she
bathed she stayed in the water for sometime. Xena knew this probably would
be the last time she would be able to bathe like this for awhile. She closed
her eyes as her thoughts traveled back to the young woman she missed so
much. Although Gabrielle was not with her at that moment, she was in her
thoughts and in her heart. The words of Captain Raven were echoing in her
mind, 'The two are inseparable and both have been seen boarding and
killing.' She knew the man had to be mistaken, Gabrielle would never do
that, she would never join a Pirate, the bard hated the Ocean. If everything
went according to her plan, she would board The Raven and she knew somewhere
along the way she would meet up with The Bounty and a glorious reunion with
the Bard.


Chapter Nineteen

When Gabrielle woke, Sea was not in the cabin. She hurriedly dressed and
went topside to find the woman. As she hurried onto the deck, she ran into
Saxton who was on his way below. "What's your hurry Gabrielle?"

She smiled at him and said, "Looking for Sea."

He shook his head and said, "Don't you know?"

She asked, "Know what?"

He answered, "The Captain and several members of the crew have gone ashore.
They left in the middle of the night."

The woman's face immediately changed from one of excitement to
disappointment as she asked, "Sea left the ship last night? Why? She never
said anything to me."

He answered, "I never question the Captain, as close as you two are, I would
have thought you knew."

"When are they coming back?"

He walked past her and said, "Don't know, we were given orders to anchor
here till she returns." Gabrielle watched the man walk away as she walked
over to the rail and stared out at the form of land looming in the distance.
Why hadn't Sea told her she was leaving the ship? Why didn't she tell her
what she was up to? This was not like the Sea she had grown so fond of.

There had been ten turns of the sandglass and Sea hadn't returned. Gabrielle
paced the ships deck from stem to stern, she tried to keep busy but there
was just so much she could do before thoughts of Sea invaded her mind. Where
had the woman gone? Why didn't she tell her. She was beginning to feel

"Look Alive, Captain's coming!"

She heard Saxton's voice booming at the crew as her eyes lit up and a look
of anticipation crossed her face. She ran to stand by his side as they
watched the longboat pull up to the ship. Sea was standing, she had that
authoritive look about her face, her legs spread, hands on her hips as she
slung out orders. Gabrielle's stomach was in knots, she was full of
anticipation, she hadn't seen the woman for sometime. As Sea's right hand
grabbed the railing, Gabrielle reached out and grasped it. The woman stared
up at the Bard, then climbed aboard. Gabrielle waited for her to speak but
she brushed by her and walked up to Saxton saying, "Everything ok here?" He
nodded and she said, "Get the ship ready to sail, we are heading back toward
Olympia." She headed toward the cabin. Gabrielle stared at Saxton then she
hurried after the woman.

When she entered the cabin, Sea's back was to her, she was going through
some parchments that lay on the desk.


"Yes, Gabrielle, what is it?"

Gabrielle approached the woman and said, "I've been worried, you didn't tell
me you were leaving the ship."

The woman turned to face the Bard, her veneer was somber as she said, "Get
used to it, I am the Captain and what I do is my business. There was no need
to worry about me, I can take care of myself."

The words were like a slap in the face as Gabrielle took a step back and
said, "I care about you."

Sea's stern look appeared to be failing for a moment then the woman said, "I
am taking you back to Olympia, from there you will be on your own. I had no
right to think you would want to stay with me." She turned and left the

Tears shone in her eyes as she watched the door close. Her body was filled
with so much pain at that moment she thought she would die. What had she
done to turn this woman against her? She stayed in the cabin for a long
period of time before she walked up on deck. It would be hard to see the
crew staring at her and even harder to see the woman she cared so deeply
about, regard her as if she wasn't there.

Gabrielle worked on the ship along side the men, getting the riggings ready,
hoisting them, and maintaining the ship. From time to time she would glance
toward the Helm and catch a glimpse of Sea. Several times their eyes met and
she turned away. The pain that richoceted through her body was unbearable,
she had never had a feeling like this in her life. She only hoped it would
ebb away soon. She was helping Saxton roll up some Hemp when the man looked
at her with sympathy in his eyes and said, "What has the Captain so upset at
you? I have never seen her like this"

Gabrielle answered, "I don't know."

After mess that evening, Gabrielle went down to the cabin, Sea was standing
looking out the porthole. She turned when she heard the door close and said,
"You worked hard today, you must be tired?"

Gabrielle bit at her lower lip and said, "No harder than anyone else. Want
to tell me what has you so upset?"

Sea walked up to her placing her right hand on Gabrielle's shoulder and
said, "Nothing, why don't you get some rest, I have things to do topside."
Before Gabrielle could say anything the woman was gone. She waited for Sea
to return but finally gave in to the sleep that invaded her body. Sometime
during the night, she heard the cabin door open and close. She felt the
presence of someone and as they sat on the bed she knew it was Sea. The
smell of grog was heavy on the woman. She had managed to remove her boots
and fell back on the bed. Gabrielle didn't move, she had been sleeping on
her left side, her face to the wall. Sea groaned several times then rolled
over and placed her right arm around Gabrielle's waist. The warmth of the
woman's body against her's caused chills to travel her body, at the same
time she felt a warm feeling flooding it. She placed her right-hand on Sea's
and said, "Are you ok?" There wasn't any answer, so for that moment she
closed her eyes feeling secure in this woman's embrace.

The next morning, Gabrielle awoke to the sounds of water splashing up
against the ship. She looked around the room, it was empty except for her.
Sea was gone again. As she dressed she wondered if she had dreamt the
woman's arms around her last night. It didn't take long for her to make it
up on deck and find Sea standing at the Helm. She walked up to her and said,
"Good morning."

She acknowledged the Bard but that was all. Gabrielle walked over to her and
said, "I can't take anymore of this. Tell me what I have done, I will
change. Your ignoring me is cutting deep."

Sea gazed at her and said, "You are not the only one that is hurting, it is
tearing me apart to be taking you back. I know that is what you want. If I
distance myself from you maybe I can make it through my loss of you."

"Gabrielle replied, "Life is so short, why must we hurt one another so. I
won't lie, I love Xena but I also know I love you. At least don't shut me
out completely. About last night, I felt I was home again, in your arms."
She turned and walked away leaving Sea to look longingly after her.

As the days passed, the ship was coming closer to Olympia. Gabrielle had
found out that Sea had met with envoys of Captain Blackird, the time she was
gone from the ship for so long. They had made a deal to join forces. She now
knew one of the reasons she was heading for Olympia was to meet with Captain

Sea had at least begun to talk with the Bard, she still tried to keep her
distance but the tension wasn't as bad as it had been. Gabrielle could see
the city of Olympia looming in the distance as she walked up to Sea. The
woman smiled down at her and said, "It won't be long, you will be on a
journey of your own, to find the woman you love."

Gabrielle sighed as she said, "You are so much like Xena, both of you are so
thick at times, you never get it."

Sea replied, "I don't even want to know what it is I don't get.
Gabrielle..." Her voice was soft and caring, the dullness had left her eyes
as they sparkled into Gabrielle's, she said, "This is really for the best, a
life with me onboard The Bounty, may one day end in tragedy, there is a big
reward on my head and anyone caught with me would see the same fate. I will
always love you but you must go home to Xena You must go while I still have
the courage to send you."

Saxton had dropped anchor as the longboat was lowered over the side.
Gabrielle watched all the goings on as she said, "What now?"

Sea answered, "You come ashore with us. Then, you go your way and we'll go
about our business."

"You would dismiss me so easily? Gods, Sea!"

Sea bent down and placed a soft kiss on her forehead as she said, "Let's

Gabrielle sat staring at the form of this incredible woman as she said,

She turned and left the front of the boat, walked back to where Gabrielle
sat and plopped down. She raised her left arm to the sky and said, "It's a
beautiful day."

Gabrielle's look became serious as she said, "This is happening so quick,
there are so many things I need to say."

Sea smiled as she gazed into the Bard's blue green eyes, "We've said all we
need to say, tell Xena when you see her, never let you out of her sight
again, next time I will not let you go so willingly."

Gabrielle replied, "You may never believe this, but this is the hardest
thing I have ever done."

One of her men called back, "We are approaching land, get ready to go

Sea touched Gabrielle's right hand with her's and said, "This is it."

Her men pulled the boat on land as they waited for Sea and Gabrielle. The
two women stood staring into one another's eyes as Sea said, "Go with my
love." She turned and walked toward her men who were waiting at the boat.

"Surrender or die!" The words bellowed out at Sea as she turned to see
Gabrielle in the hands of a soldier. He held a knife to the woman's throat
as many more stepped from behind the rocks their weapons drawn. Sea gasped,
"Gabrielle..." There were to many of them and she threw down her sword as
her men followed. Their leader walked up to her and said, "I will be
rewarded for this. The mighty Sea Troll and her mates, my prisoners."

Sea scowled at the man as she said, "How did you know I would be here

He laughed and said, "Captain Blackird, he told us how to find you."

The woman cursed as she said, "Let the woman go, she has nothing to do with
me. She was a prisoner and has earned her freedom home."

His right hand struck the woman with such vengeance it knocked her off her
feet as Gabrielle screamed, "Sea! Don't hurt her!"

The man turned to look at Gabrielle as he said, "Just a prisoner, I think
not, take them all to the prison!"

Sea was jerked to her feet as they pushed her past Gabrielle, the woman gave
her a look she had seen Xena give her before.

The two women were thrown into a cell together and when they hit the floor,
they both rolled. Gabrielle crawled over to Sea and said, "You're hurt, is
it bad?"

Sea set up and said, "Just my honor. It's not easy being the most feared
Pirate on the Ocean. That Bastard!"

Gabrielle replied, "You mean Captain Blackird?"

"I should have known the deal he proposed was to good to be true. I have to
get you out of this."

Gabrielle leaned against the cold steel bars as she said, "We need to get us
all out of this."

Sea glanced around at the smallness of the cell, it contained a clay pot,
and a bare wooden bench, there were no windows. She rose to her feet and
began to pace the room. Gabrielle followed suit as she said, "I'm sorry."

Sea turned to her and said, "Sorry, what in Hades for?"

"If it wasn't for me you wouldn't have set sail for Olympia."

The woman snarled, "In case you weren't listening, I made a deal with that
sniveling coward, Blackird, l would have come here anyway. This is no fault
of yours."

The coolness of the room was penetrating their bodies as Gabrielle said,
"The least they could do is give us some blankets."

Sea laughed as she replied, "You haven't been held prisoner much have you?
We are just lucky to be breathing, and for how much longer I don't know."

They heard the clanging of metal doors and the footsteps coming their way as
they turned to face the impending men. Before long several torches lit up
the area as the Captain of the Guards walked over to the bars and stared in
at the two women. Sea walked over to the door and said, "Let Gabrielle go,
she has done nothing, it's me you want anyway."

He laughed as he said, "That's right, but now I have two for one." He turned
to one of the men and said, "Read it."

The man stepped forward as he unrolled a parchment and read, "Sea Troll, and
Gabrielle, you have been found guilty of pirating on the high seas. You will
be executed tomorrow at first light. This is to take place in the town

Sea grabbed for the man and said, "Haven't you any compassion, this woman
was in the wrong place, she has family, let her go home to them."

Gabrielle stepped forward and pushed the woman back as she glared into the
man' eyes, "Maybe I haven't been a Pirate, maybe I haven't done the things
you are accusing Sea of, but if I had it to do again I would. I will only
die once, but I will hate you forever. If Sea dies, so do I."

"No, Gabrielle, take it back." Sea was amazed at the courage of this woman.

The man laughed as he said, "Try to get a good nights sleep ladies, for
tomorrow you visit Hades." He turned and left followed by the others.

Sea reached out and grabbed Gabrielle by her right arm as she said, "What
were you trying to do get us killed?"

Gabrielle replied, "Sounds to me like that is what they have in mind

Sea grabbed the bars and shook them. She paced the room stopping long enough
to kick over the wooden bench. Gabrielle watched the woman until she
couldn't stand it anymore and stepped in front of her as she said, "Stop it!
This isn't helping."

Sea stared at her in the darkness of the cell and said, "Who is it hurting?"

Gabrielle cried, "Me, it's hurting me. I hurt inside every time I see you in
pain. Please come sit down, try to calm yourself."

Sea walked over and sat down on the floor as she said, "I'm sorry, I'm not
used to being locked up and I'm definitely not used to being told I have
only one night left of my life. I always thought I would die at sea, the
result of a lucky swordsman. But to die in a public square by having my head
loped of while all these people stand around like I'm some blasted
recreation for them. It's driving me crazy."

Gabrielle got to her feet and took several paces as she said, "In case you
haven't looked, you are not alone in this, so if your head is going to be
loped off, I guess that is what is in store for me also."

Sea jumped to her feet as she reached out and grabbed the woman and said,
"I'm sorry, it was thoughtless of me, I have been thinking about myself and
this has to be doing the same thing to you. Forgive me."

Gabrielle turned and faced her as she said, "If I have to die, then I will
be proud to die by you." Sea gathered the woman in her arms drawing her
close as she said, "Dear, dear, Gabrielle, I have been such a fool. Your
reference to my being thick, I think I understand it now.


Xena had enjoyed the feel of the Raven as it sped through the water. The
crisp taste of salt and sea spray was a feeling she had forgotten. The
Captain seemed to be all right, he treated his men with respect and they
gave it right back to the man. They hadn't been out to sea very long when
she overheard several of the men talking. She was close enough to pick up
their conversation. "I hear they will die tomorrow."

A lower voice answered, "I'll bet it was a sight to finally see her caught."

Xena stepped out as she said, "Tell me boys, see who caught?"

They all glanced at one another then one said, "Sea Troll and her friend."
He laughed and the others joined in. Xena stepped close to the man, she was
holding a strand of Hemp as she said, "Sounds interesting, I could use a
good laugh."

Xena sat and listened to the man as he told of Captain Blackirds betrayal.
It was all she could do not to give herself away as she said, "To bad about
all that bounty."

The men stared at her and asked, "Bounty? what are you talking about?"

Xena told them that all the Bounty that was on Sea's ship was probably now
being held in the Prison in Olympia. The men's faces showed greed as one
stepped forward and said, "How does one go about getting this?"

Xena replied, "We have to go back."

He replied, "Impossible, Captain will not turn around especially since it
was him that turned them in."

Xena seemed to seethe as she said, "Are you going to keep doing his bidding
or get smart and go back for all that bounty. It's just waiting for you."

Another man replied, "What about the Amazons?"

Xena asked, "Amazons?"

He continued, "Yeah, we got them aboard, taking them to Gaul."

Xena replied, "They will still be there regardless if we go back today.
Think about it, me, I'm going back."

She walked away leaving them in deep conversation. Xena glanced around the
ship, then she went below. Slowly she made it to the cargo hold. One of
Blackirds men was standing in front of the door as she approached. He looked
up and said, "Zandar, you are in a restricted area, the Captain will not
like it, better turn around and go back."

Xena somersaulted through the air as her feet made solid impact on the man's
face sending him reeling back into the door, his limp body slid to the
floor. She reached down and took the key from his belt. Turning the key in
the lock she slowly opened the door. It was dark inside but she could hear a
few sounds. She stepped back out and took a torch from the wall then
re-entered the room.

Holding the torch above her head she surveyed the room. There they were, the
Amazons, and in the far corner she saw a beautiful palomino as she walked up
to the women and said, "There isn't much time, we have to get out of here
and back to Olympia." They asked why this man, they didn't even know, was
willing to risk his life and she said, "It's me, Xena." She pulled the
mustache off and they all stared in disbelief. Xena handed the key to the
first one and said, "Release the others." She walked to the end of the room
as she neared the horse she said, "Argo, old girl, I've missed you." The
horse looked up as it's eyes widened, it snickered and she reached out and
threw her arms around it's neck. "I can tell, you have missed me too."

Xena filled the women in on what had happened as they slowly left the room.
One by one they took down the men, the Amazons were now heavily armed as
Xena made it to the Captains cabin and yelled, "Captain Blackird, it's
Zandar, there is trouble, you'd better come out and see." The man ran from
the cabin right into the drawn swords of the Amazons.

Some of his men had joined Xena and the women, those that refused were
shackled and taken to the hold. As Captain Blackird walked past Xena he
stopped and stared, "I should have had you killed that first night."

She smiled wickedly and said, "But you didn't." She reached out and touched
the tip of her sword to the man's throat and said, "My best friend is one of
the prisoners that is being held in Olympia, you turned them in. If I don't
get back in time to save her, I promise you, you will get to Tartarus
quicker than you think."


Gabrielle set shivering, Sea had been pacing the cell again as she turned
and walked back over to the woman. She knelt down and said, "Is there
anything I can do?"

Gabrielle replied, "Tell me this is all a nightmare, and I'll wake up and it
will all be gone."

The woman sat down and placed her right arm around the Bard's shoulders and
pulled her close. "You are cold, maybe if we sit like this, our bodies will
give one another warmth."

It was so quiet that there was an eerie feeling in the room. Sea could sense
her own body becoming cold as she said, "There is no getting past this, we
will die tomorrow. I will be prepared as long as I know you are all right."

Gabrielle sobbed softly as she said, "I don't think I can be as brave as
you. An arrow, anything but the ax."

Sea tried to comfort the woman but she, herself was fighting a fear that was
mushrooming and she hoped she would be able to control herself for
Gabrielle. Gabrielle laid her head on the woman's shoulder and said, "I hope
that Xena will be happy."

Sea replied, "From all you have said, she is a strong woman, she will be all
right." Sea brought her head down and placed several kisses on the top of
Gabrielle's head.

Gabrielle set back as she tried to see the woman's face in the darkened room
and said, "I'm sorry it couldn't have been the way you wanted. I will always
carry you in my heart."

Sea replied, "Of all the people in this world, if I had to be smitten, I'm
glad it has been you. You have changed my life in many ways, my men think
for the better. I know it has been the best day in my life and every day
after with you in it. My regret is, if I could have taken it back, the day
you were shanghaied..."

Gabrielle reached out and cupped the woman's chin in her hand as she said,
"Could haves are in the past. I will die tomorrow knowing I have shared a
part of your fantastic life. I want you to know, I am proud and happy to
have known you."

Sea reached up and grasped Gabrielle's hand and said, "And me also, I love
you woman." Gabrielle's eyes never left the woman as Sea leaned over and
pressed a gentle kiss on the Bard's lips then said, "Now, come lay with me.
For tonight, we can lay close and try to shut out the impending daylight. If
my last thoughts have to be, let them be that I shared my last night with
the most beautiful woman in the world."

Gabrielle started to say something then she smiled as Sea lay pulling her
down beside her.


Chapter Twenty

The loud clanging sound of metal on metal brought the woman out of a
pleasant dream. Gabrielle opened her eyes, gazing into the face of the woman
she had come to know so well. Sea looked so peaceful. The Bard touched her
with her left hand and softly said, "Sea. I think it's time."

The woman's eyes shot open as she sat up. Her attention focused on the Bard
as a smile played on her face, "Did you sleep all right?"

"Never better, had to be the company, sure couldn't have been the lousy
arrangements. I hear sounds and they seem to be getting close."

Sea helped her to her feet and pressed her right hand in Gabrielle's as she
said, "We've said our good-bys. If I can, I will try to meet you on the
other side."

Gabrielle pressed Sea's hand reassuringly and said, "I'll be waiting."

The sound of heavy footsteps and the voices of the guards were getting
louder as the two women fixed their gaze on the oncoming doom.

The first person they saw approaching the cell was a tall man, he was
dressed in black and wore a dark hood over his head. He was accompanied by
two guards. The man approached the cell as one of the guards said, "The
Executioner would like for you two, to make peace with yourselves, is there
anything you wish to declare?"

Sea stepped back and said, "I have nothing to say to the likes of you."

Gabrielle followed as she defiantly glared at this opposing person, "Do what
you feel you have to, we have made peace with what is important to us."

The guard laughed, "You act like you have no fear, this will change when
your head is on the block."

The two women said nothing, they just looked at one another. The Executioner
unlocked the door as a guard said, "Sea Troll, step out."

Gabrielle looked horrified but the woman smiled reassuringly saying, "It
will be all right."

Stepping from the cell the guard said, "Put your hands behind your back."

Sea glared at the quiet figure of the Executioner as she let them bind her
hands behind her. Then the man said, "Gabrielle, step out."

Gabrielle swallowed hard as she stepped out of the cell standing by Sea. The
man said, "Put your hands behind your back." She glanced over to Sea who
nodded and she let them tie her. When the guard was finished he said,
"Because you have not been with this filthy pirate for long, you have the
right to request a hood be placed over your head."

Gabrielle's blue green eyes shot sparks at the man as she said, "No! I want
the last thing I see to be this woman."

He laughed and said, "It's your head. Come on you two, the blade is getting
duller as we speak. Besides, you already have a large crowd gathered, they
are waiting for the entertainment." As Gabrielle was pushed past the
Executioner she felt a strange sensation and knew it was because of this
ominous person.

The two women were paraded past the men in the prison as they threw
indignities at them. After they climbed the steps from the Dungeon to the
top floor, a guard walked over and unlocked the main door. He reached out
and pulled open the door at the same time he found himself confronted with a
mass of pirates. They were yelling and flailing swords as they barreled past
the man. The fight was quick and before long, the pirates had taken over the

Ashur walked up to the Executioner and said, "Me and my men are going to go
hunt that Bounty." He signaled to his men and they all ran after him.

Gabrielle and Sea stared at one another as Sea leaped into the air throwing
her body feet first into the Executioners stomach. He groaned as he doubled
over and fell back against the wall. Sea had regained her footing and lashed
out at the man again this time he dodged the woman's attack and met her with
one of his own. Gabrielle ran to help Sea, she kicked out at the man as he
struck out sending the Bard falling to the floor. She rolled and was on her
feet instantly. The Executioner reached up and pulled off the hood as she
said, "Gabrielle, it's me!"

Gabrielle's mouth was open as she stared at this tall man, he sounded like
Xena but he didn't look like her friend as she said, "Who are you?"

Xena laughed as she said, "It's the hair, Gabrielle, think long black hair,
if nothing else look into my eyes."

Sea was ready to attack once more as Gabrielle said, "All right, I'll look
into your eyes," She stepped close as her eyes met the crystal blue eyes of
this man. The minute they met, the eyes took her into them, she felt the
warmth and softness of someone she felt she would never see again and she
cried, "Xena! It really is you. Thank the Gods!"

Xena reached out and untied the Bard then turned her around and gazed into
her face as she said, "You are a sight, when I look at you, you take my
breath away." She threw her arms around the woman hugging her. Sea watched
the two of them and then said, "When you two get over this touching reunion,
how about untying me?"

Gabrielle pulled away from Xena and walked over releasing the woman. Xena
stepped up to them and said, "I take it the two of you have become close?"

Gabrielle began to stammer and Sea said, "She didn't have a choice. You are
lucky to have her be a part of your life."

Gabrielle smiled at Xena and said, "Xena, I want you to meet a woman that
can even handle Posiden, she is wonderful and so much like you."

The two women's eyes met as they clasped arms. Xena stepped back and said,
"I'm just glad I found out in time and was able to stop their so called
entertainment. Come on, we have to get out of here." They ran from the
building into the oncoming daylight.


The Sea Gulls could be heard flying above, the sun was now at it's mid peak
of the day. The sounds of waves washing on shore then ebbing were sounds Sea
listened to as her eyes closed. She never thought she would ever hear them
again, much less see them. So for that moment with her eyes closed she
savored every sound and smell.

"Dinar for your thoughts?"

Sea opened her eyes to look into the smiling face of Gabrielle. She quickly
glanced around as Gabrielle approached and said, "If you're looking for
Xena, she's not far. She knew I needed to talk to you." She sat down on the
sand by the woman.

Sea smiled and said, "You look well."

Gabrielle replied, "Do me a favor?"


She reached over and touched Sea's right hand as she said, "Take care of

Sea replied, "The same for you, never let Xena veer too far, you two have
something special and although I was able to share a part of your life, I
always knew she was there. Take care of each other."

Gabrielle was quiet for a moment then she said, "Until we meet again." She
placed a tender kiss on the woman's cheek as she jumped to her feet and
hurried off.

Sea raised her right hand as she touched the spot and murmured, "Until

She heard the sound of someone approaching as she jumped to her feet.
Rounding a bend in the beach, she could see the woman walking statuesquely
toward her. Sea smiled as she approached and said, "Good day Xena, if you're
looking for Gabrielle..."

Xena's eyes sparkled as she said, "Not looking for Gabrielle. I wanted to
talk to you."

Sea sighed as she said, "I suppose this is the part where you tell me how
terrible I have been to Gabrielle and took advantage of her kindness, then
proceed to try to beat me up."

Xena laughed as she said, "Although the answers might be interesting, I
prefer to believe Gabrielle when she tells me you two are just friends,
close, but friends. I want to thank you for being there for her, for helping
her through everything... If you hadn't, God's, I shiver at what could have
happened to her."

Sea smiled, "Believe me when I say, it was my pleasure. Xena?"

The woman raised her right eyebrow and said, "Yeah?"

"I don't want you to take this wrong, but very seldom in life does a person
meet their soul mate, for you and Gabrielle it is wonderful. Never take for
granted the love you two share. It could be taken away so suddenly."

Xena reached out and clasped her right arm as she said, "Thank you for
caring, we have unfinished business to take care of and then we are going
home. I will never let her out of my sight again, at least if I can help it.
I'm glad I had the opportunity to meet the amazing Sea Troll."

Sea smiled as she answered, "And I'm extremely happy to have finally met
Xena, The Warrior Princess."

Xena started to walk away then she said, "The Amazon's are happy you are
going to be taking them close to their home. If they want you to stay, take
them up on their offer, there are some really nice women there. And after
all, Gabrielle is their Amazon Princess."

Before Sea could get a word out the woman had run down the beach and was out
of sight. Sea played the woman's words through her head, 'Gabrielle is their
Amazon Princess.' This was something she definitely wanted to hear about.


Xena reined Argo to a stop over looking the city of Olympia as she set
staring down. Gabrielle asked, "Xena, why are we stopping?"

Xena reached back and said, "Let's get down for a minute."

Gabrielle slid to the ground as Xena followed. She dropped Argo's reins,
Reached out and put her right arm around the Bard as she said, "Thought you
might like to watch it sail."

Gabrielle looked away then focused her gaze down past the city, to the wide
expanse of ocean as she watched The Bounty sail from port. Xena reached out
and brushed a tear from the Bard's cheek as she said, "It's all right to
cry. Thanks to Sea, you are back in my life."

Gabrielle turned to face her and said, "Xena, there is something I need to
tell you."

Xena placed a finger to the Bard's lips as she said, "Shh, the only thing I
need to know is you are here with me and we are going home. This time,
things will be a little different."

Gabrielle smiled up at her and said, "Different?"

Xena grinned and her eyes spoke volumes, There's a question of throwing out
one bed and testing out the other. We have the best part of our lives to
look forward to. Have I told you lately how important in my life you are to

Gabrielle replied, "There is no need, I know, I prayed I would see you one
more time."

"Well, you got me woman, let's go home I can't wait another night." She
leaned down as her lips met Gabrielle's in a soft yet passionate kiss that
told both of times to come.

The End

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