A Warlord's Vengance

by Marion d. Tuttle


Standard disclaimers: I do not own the charecters of Xena, Gabrielle or
any of the Amazons, allthough there is a creation or two of my own of
some charecters here the afore mentioned belong to Universal Studios.

This story does dipicte a loving and sexual relationship between two
adult consenting women. So if that is something that bothers you I
suggest you look elswhere for reading matrerial. Otherwise enjoy

Pacing up and down the corridor at a rapid pace seemed to bring little
peace to the agitated blonde Amazon. It was rare for any of the Amazons
to leave their own territory, but Ephiny and a delagation of ambassadors
had come into the village to attend a peace confrence. This was an
important meeting as it would insure peace among all the neighboring
villages and territories.

It seemed that everyone was anxous to have this treaty signed, everyone
except for Cyrances, at first it seemed like just little things were
bothering him. But his demands were becoming more and more outragous.
His last demand was to meet with the Amazon Queen herself,
his contention being that he was to important an ally to have to deal
with emissaries.

Ephiny had sent Solari and a party of Amazons to find Gabrielle and Xena
while she tried to keep a lid on Cyrances' ever growing anger. In the
past few days that had become increasingly difficult, she prayed to
Artemis that Gabrielle would be found soon. Otherwise Ephiny was afraid
a war might break out from Cyrances' ceaseless pushing on all sides.

Simalier thoughts were going through Solari's mind as she and her
contingeint of Amazons trugged through the jungle searching for their
Queen. She had a sinking feeling in her stomach that there was more to
Cyrances' desire to meet with Gabrielle then met the eye. it was common
knowledge to anyone that had any regular dealings with the Amazons, that
in Gabrielle's absence from the village. Ephiny held full power,as
Regent of the Throne. There was no reason to worry that their would be
desension with any decision Ephany ever made, she had the full support
of Gabrielle in her position and the entire Amazon nation knew and
respected that. But for some unknown reason this stubborn fool suddenly
insisted that he would deal with no one but the Queen. Solari wondered
if he was aware that he may well be incurring the wrath of the Warrior
Princess herself.

Hearing the first sounds of someone walking towards their campsite Xena
signaled Gabrielle to silence. Moitioning for the bard to stay where she
was, Xena silently made her way thorgh the trees to a brach that
overlooked the only path into the clearing. She didn't have long to wait
before a patrol of Amazons appeared from the trees. She had to hand it
to Solari, she moved almost without making a sound. Anyone else would
never have heard them. she lowered herself from the branches, so she
could meet them on the path. As the Amazons approched her she clasped
her hands above her head in the sign of peace. Just in case there were
scouts among the party that did not know her.

"Xena, thank the Gods we finally found you!"

"Solari, is there a problem?"

"Ephiny sent us to find you and Gabrielle. Is she back at your

"Yes, let's go back there, then you'll only have to explain what's going
on once."

Xena led the way back to where she and Gabrielle had made camp the night
before. Seeing the questions in the bards eyes the warrior shrugged her
shoulders. "Solari was sent out by Ephiny to find us, that's all I know.
She hasn't told me anything more, I thought you would want to hear
things first hand."

Gabrielle flased Xena a grateful smile, it was not that long ago that
the warrior would have just gotten the information from Solari herself
and tried to protect her by telling her nothing, or just the briefest
bits of information. This more than anything let her know that she had
the respect of the Warrior Princess.

They setteled themselves on logs around the fire pit, while Solari
related the events of the negotiations to Xena and Gabrielle. After she
had finished,Xena sat back, a thoughtful expression on her face.
Gabrielle cast a glance at the warrior. "What?...I know that look, and I
am going!...My people need me."

Xena raised her hands, "No arguments here Gabrielle, we are going. But
lets proceed with caution, there seems to be more going on here then
what appears on the surface."

Solari nodded in agreement. "Thats what Ephiny thought too, that's why
she sent me to find you."

Gabrielle thought for a moment about all that had been said, she trusted
Xena's instincts more than anything else. She had never known her friend
to be wrong in her gut reactions, but what else could there be. "What do
you think Xena? What could Cyrances possibly want aside from a meeting?"

"I'm not sure, but something tells me there is much more at stake here
then just a simple council of peace." Xena looked towards the western
sky. "We only have a couple hours of daylight left. Make your camp here
for the night Solari, and we'll get an early start in the morning."

Solari moved to gather her party together to form a group for hunting,
Xena and Gabrielle's supplies would not be enough to feed them all.
Noticeing that one of her young warriors seemed rather withdrawn, Solari
approched her. "What's wrong Falana? you've been extremley quite ever
since we left the village."

Falana reguarded Solari from the corner of one eye, not sure if she
should speak her true thoughts. She had been dealing with these feelings
for a long time, but had kept them to herself. She made the desicion
that it was time to make her veiws on this particulair matter known.
"It's bad enough that we have been forced to accept an outsider as our
Queen. but to take orders from that butcher Xena, who not only doesn't
have one drop of Amazon blood in her veins, but has never even
officially been initiated into the tribe...."

Solari felt her temper flare at the unwarrented attack on her friends.
It was true that when Terase had first bestowed her right of caste upon
Gabrielle with her dying breath, the news had not been well recieved.
Queen Melosa had grudginly accepted her because it had been her sister's
last wish. Even Ephiny, who had witnessed Gabrielle's attempt to save
the Princess' life and her acceptance of the right of caste had not been
easy to convince. She had held an admiration for Xena but had veiwed
Gabrielle as basically weak and a nusance.

Over time, the entire tribe's opinon began to change. The bravery
Gabrielle had displayed when the Amazons had joined forces with the
Centaurs to exact justice from the warlord that had murdered Terase, and
planned to frame the Centaur prince for the crime had been one of the
first steps in her gaining their respect.

But lately there had been a faction of the Amazon nation that were
thinking that Velaska may have been right in her views. The problem was
that none of these younger rebels had been around when Gabrielle and
Xena had first come to the village and had never gotten to know them,
except by stories and reputation. And in some cases the ocasional brief
visit. all they knew was that , Velaska, one of their own, had been
thwarted by someone that they had only heard stories about or seen

Struggiling for control, Solari began by addressing the issue raised by
the young Amazon. "Before I go on Falana, I want you to be aware that
what you just said could be considered treason. I will let it pass...
this time. Only because I don't think you are aware of the full impact
of what you just said. However, should I ever hear you make a statement
like that again, or hear of it. I will have you bought up on formal
charges myself, is that clear?"

The younger woman could only nod, she was so taken aback by the intesity
in her captian's voice. On a slightly softer note Solari continued on.
"I know your young, and that you were a follower of Velaska's. I also
know that she was very good at romatiaiznig the idea of war with the
Centars. But the truth of the matter is, war is something that should be
avoided whenever possiable, and bloodshed should always be the very last
resort, and only for self defense. Or in defense of those you love,
Gabrielle taught us that.
In her anger over her sister's death, Queen Melosa nearly had an
innocent Centaur prince named Phantes executed for the crime. When Xena
and Ephiny bought back proof of his innocence, Melosa was still not
convinced. She was lost in the desire to avange her sister's death. As
Princess, Gabrielle challanged Melosa's throne and power, choosing Xena
as her champion. It was to be a fight to the death, Xena could have
killed Melosa, but she didn't, she spared her life and asked for her
help to bring the real murderer to justice.
After the warlord Krysus had been brought to trial for the murder of
Treasa, Xena and Gabrielle returned rule of the tribe to Melosa, who
ruled with compassion and a fair hand, until the day Velaska struck her
done in combat."

Solari could see that Falana was trying to digest all the information
she had been given. "But Gabrielle is an outsider....."

"Gabrielle is your Queen! Not only is she your Queen, she's a damn good
one! She has been a fair and just ruler. If you will remember when
Velaska staged her rebellion for the throne, after she was returned to
power. She would have been well within her rights to order all of you
that had stood with Velaska excecuted, she choose to show you mercy

Falana hung her head, shame clearly written on her features. "Your right
about her mercy Solari, any other ruler would have had us killed, but

Solari could see that Falana still had doubts, but she could also tell
that she was starting to get through. She put her arm around the younger
woman's shoulders. "I know that some times when you have been told
things by someone you respect it is hard too beleive that they may have
been lies. Or that they may have twisted the truth to suit their own
purposes. But I will tell you this, I have nothing but respect for
Gabrielle, and for Xena too for that matter. The only commitment either
one of them has that runs deeper then protecting the Amazon nation is
the one they have to each other."

Falana looked at Solari with a puzzeled expression on her face, "You
speak as though they are lovers..."

At that moment Solari reilized she may have overstepped her bounds, "To
the best of my knowledge they are close friends and nothing more.
One thing you should learn if you want to be a good Amazon though is to
see things with your heart as well as your eyes."

Both women walked back to the campsite, Falana with a new resolve to try
and be more accepting of her young Queen, and Solari with a feeling in
the pit of her stomach that things still were not setteled.
when they arrived back at the clearing, Solari and Xena exchanged
glances. The warrior shared in the Amazons feelings that something was
not quite right. Xena motioned for Solari to walk with her. Before Xena
could speak Solari blurted out. "Xena I'm afraid I may have given Falana
the impression that you and Gabrielle are.... involved."

At first Xena was at a loss as to what to say, however it didn't take
her very long to recover "What do you mean?"

"She is under the impression that the two of you are lovers.." Solari
waited for the explosion she was sure would come, she was greeted
instead with a quite pensive warrior. "Did you hear what I said Xena?"

"I heard you Solari, I just didn't think any one noticed...."

This caught the Amazon off gaurd. "Are you saying that you and Gabrielle

"No... no we're not, but it's not because I don't want it that way. I
just don't think that Gabrielle feels the same way. I know she cares for
me as a friend... her best friend, unfourtunatly I think that's all it
can ever be."

Looking into Xena's eye's, Solari bit back the temptation to laugh. here
were two intelligent beautiful women that couldn't see what was right in
front of them. She knew that Gabrielle had held a very similar
conversation with Ephiny the last time they had been in the Amazon
village. Under normal conditions Solari would never venture to get
involved in her Queen's buisness on such a personal nature. But theses
where not normal conditions, there was something strange going on with
all of Cyrancus' demands and both Xena and Gabrielle needed to focus
with no distractions. She knew that a little gentle prodding might be in
order to get this issue setteled once and for all. "Have you ever told
Gabrielle how you feel?"

"I could never... what if she doesn't feel the same..."

"What if she does and is just wating for you to say something?"

The question hung in the air between them. Xena had always just assumed
that there could never be more then friendship between them.
Gabrielle's marrige to Perdicus had just reinforced that idea, her
dream was to marry and have children some day, Xena would not deprive
her of that. Besides Xena, although she would never admit it was
terrified of Gabrielle's response, if she poured out her heart to the
bard and was rejected, it would destroy her. She had never let anyone
touch her heart like Gabrielle had, and couldn't stand the thought of
losing her all together. No better to keep her feelings to herself and
have Gabrielle's friendship then nothing at all.

"Xena this is not my place, but I consider you and Gabrielle friends, as
one friend to another please think about telling her how you feel. You
can't go on like this you may not want to admit it but it is eating away
at you. I would hate to see it get to the point where it would cost you
your life."

This bought a reaction from the warrior, "It will never come to that! I
would never..."

"Relax Xena I didn't mean it that way. What I was getting at is there is
going to come a time in battle when your concentration wavers because of
this. You know as well as I do that in combat one wrong move can prove

Xena bowed her head, she knew her friend was right the time had come.
The only question remaining was how to go about it. She looked back up
at Solari, "Alright I can't argue with anything you have said, and I
know I have to tell her."

Solari could sense the turmoil Xena was going through, as much as she
wanted to tell Gabrielle, and as much as she knew that she needed to.
There was still a part of her that wanted to just bury theses feelings
and not have to face up to them just yet, because of the risk they posed
to their friendship. Xena was terriffied of losing Gabrielle completely.
"Well no point in putting it off any longer." Xena sighed let's go.

"It will all work out Xena you'll see."

"I wish i could be as certian as you Solari."

Having made the desicion now Xena was anxouis to get back. She knew it
wouldn't be easy but it had to be done and the sooner she started the
sooner it would be over. When they reached the clearing she came to
stand before Gabrielle. "Will you take a walk with me? I think we should

It was rare that Xena expressed an intrest in communacation, she was
usaully very quite especally when something was on her mind. Gabriele
could tell by looking at her that whatever she wanted to discuss was of
great importance to her. The bard was tempted to ask a barage of
questions before the even left they campsite, but thought better of it.
Xena was making an effort here and the last thing that Gabrielle wanted
to do was say something that would make the warrior retreat behind those
carefully constructed walls, that were so firmly in place. All she did
was nod and say "Sure Xena."

Gabrielle walked beside her friend into the woods still not saying a
word. She was determined to let Xena make the first move towards
talking. She was not sure what the warrior wanted to say, but knew that
it was weighing heaviely on her mind. She could sense that what Xena
need right now was the time and space to take this at her own pace. 'I'm
not going to push her.' the bard thought to herself.

Just when she had started to give up hope that Xena was going to say
anything they stopped, Xena pointed to the path up ahead. "There it is,
this will be a nice quite place for us to talk."

It was a small clearing, slightly smaller then the one where they had
left Argo and the Amazons. there was a small stream that feed into a
warm pool that shimmered in the fading rays of the sun.

Xena turned to speak to Gabrielle and the sight that greeted her nearly
stole her breath away. The last of the days glow was reflected in the
golden highlights of the bard's hair, giving the impression that she was
wearing a halo. Warm green lights were sparked in eye's that looked at
Xena, and for the first time she thought she really did see love there.
One look into that face that held so much love and joy in the world and
Xena knew that she had made the right choice.

"Gabrielle I have something to tell you and I want you to listen very
carfully, and not inturupt me until I'm finished. Can you promise me

Nodding her agreement she waited for Xena to continue. She countinued to
fight the impulse to question Xena, intuition telling her that this was
not the time to push.

Xena reached out placing a gentle hand on Gabrielle's sholder, "You know
that I have had the feeling that something is not right.."

Gabrielle felt a sense of disappointment, she had hope that Xena had
brought her out here to talk about things of a more personal nature. She
began to speak but Xena placed two fingers against her lips to quite
her. "Ssshh you promised, remember?" she countinued on looking into
Gabrielle's eyes. "That is only part of what I wanted to tell you. For
quite some time now I have been having feelings that I didn't know what
to do about. All this has just brought everything to the surface."

"Xena what are you trying to say?"

The warrior smiled at her friend, "I just can't keep you quite can I? I
wanted to tell you that you mean so much more to me then just a best
friend. I have fallen completley in love with you Gabrielle. And I can
only pray to the Gods that you can feel at least a part of what I'm

Gabrielle's eye's searched the brilliant blue of the warrior's eyes. She
felt almost as if her heart had stopped. The bard could not believe what
she was hearing. She had been desperatly in love with Xena, almost from
the first time she had seen her. But she had kept her desires to
herself, afraid of what her freinds reaction would be. Yet here she was
pouring out her heart to her, telling her that she felt the same way she
did. Gabrielle was afraid to speak or even move, fearing that she would
break the magic of the moment.

Xena moved closer to the bard drawing her into an embrace "Well have I
finally found a way to leave the bard speechless?" She tried to keep the
apprehension out of her voice, she still hadn't gotten an answer from
Gabrielle. Her greatest fear was that Gabrielle would not return her
feelings. She wasn't even aware that she was holding her breath until
Gabrielle began to speak, and she finally exhaled.

"Xena I have wanted to say the same things to you for so long know. I
love you too, you are the most important thing in my life. I would do
anything in the world to hear the words you just told me."

Words failed her, not that Xena was much for talking anyway, she was
more a woman of action. She pulled Gabrielle closer to her and lowered
her head until her lips barley grazed those of the bard. The kiss
started off as being very soft, almost questioning. It soon turned into
something much more, her tounge asked for and was granted entrance into
the warm cavern of Gabrielle's mouth. Xena felt Gabrielle's arm's creep
up around her neck and pulled her in closer. Her arms tightened in turn
around the bard's waist.

Xena's lip's traveled down the column of Gabrielle's throat, the fire of
desire was spreading through both women. The warrior felt a shudder pass
through her body. She pulled back enough to look into Gabrielle's eyes
while tenderly brushing the hair back from her face. "I want you so much
Gabrielle, please tell me that this is what you want too."

"Oh yes Xena, I do want you very much. I'm not sure what to do though."

"Just do what feels right Gabrielle I promise it will all come to you.
Any way you touch me is going to feel wonderful."

Xena ran her hands down Gabrielle's back and then up her sides, coming
to rest on her breasts, drawing a sigh from her. Gabrielle pressed
herself further into Xena's hand reveling in the feeling of the warm
skin through the light fabric of her shirt. She felt her nipples begin
to pucker and tighten in response. A moan started low in her throat.
Xena responded to the encorgment Gabrielle was giving her by deepening
the kiss.

A sudden thought occured to Gabrielle that put a bit of a question into
her mind. "Xena, what if some of the Amazons come looking for us?"

"I don't think that is going to happen. I talked to Solari before we
left, she is the one that finally convinced me that I needed to tell you
about my feelings. Once I made the decision to tell you I asked Solari
to make sure that we weren't disturbed, we have the whole night to

Gabrielle's eye's were alight with love at the fact that Xena had taken
the time and thought to ensure their privacy. It showed her that
although Xena may have just reached the conclusion she had been thinking
about it too, and wanted this to be specail for both of them. she had
one other question that needed to be answered though. "This is real? I
mean you aren't just saying this now because we may be heading into a
dangorus situation?"

Xena knew that the way she answered this question was going to have a
major impact on how their relationship developed from this point. "I
can't lie to you Gabrielle, the fact that I sense there is a problem did
play a large role in my deciding to tell you now." She saw a brief look
of hurt pass the bards features. "But, and this is a crucial but, I did
not just wake up and decided that I was in love with you this morning, I
have known it for a long time now. All this situation did was remind me
that with everything else we have been through I could not go into this
without telling you the truth."

She reached up and kissed Xena with all the desire and passion she had
felt for so long. It momentarily took Xena aback "What brought that on?
Not that I'm complaining mind you."

"I've known all along that I loved you, but I don't think I knew how
much until this very moment." Xena was rewarded with a brilliant smile
from her heart's desire as Gabrielle continued on, "I can't tell you how
much it means to me, that in the middle of everything that is happening,
you took this time to make sure we could be alone."

Without another word Xena picked Gabrielle up and carried her over to a
thick bed of moss. She followed her down to the ground covering the
bards smaller body with her own. Her heart was pounding so hard, Xena
thought it might shatter her rib cage. "I love you Gabrielle, more then
anything in this world."

"I love you too Xena."

Unlacing the front of Gabrielle's green top, she began slowly undressing
her lover. Her lips followed the trail being blazed by her hands,
bringing Gabrielle's desire to a fever pitch. She removed the last
article of clothing from the bard's body and sat back on her heels to
view the young blonde's naked form. She had seen Gabrielle unclothed
before, but for the first time she didn't feel as though she had to hide
the look of unabashed desire in her eyes.

Without breaking eye contact she began to remove the leathers from her
own body, until she was as naked as Gabrielle. She fell back into the
bard's waiting open arms and caressed her lovers body until both women's
breath was coming in short ragged gasps.

Slowly she brought her hand down to Gabrielle's center, the wetness that
she found there spured her on. "Gods Gabrielle, your so wet..."

"Please Xena... you feel so good...take me please..."

"With pleasure my love."

Xena's fingers moved to work their way inside the bard. Gabrielle was
tight around her and the heat was enough to make the warrior's hand feel
like it was on fire. She moved her finger's in and out of Gabrielle's
body in a measured ryhthem until she could feel the first waves of the
climax that was ready to claim her young lover. She incresed her tempo
until Gabrielle's body was shakeing with passion. As wave after wave of
orgasm overtook her, she screamed Xena's name to the heavens while she
tightened her hold around the warrior.

She cradeled Gabrielle against her, giving her time for her breathing to
return to normal, while she rained gentle kisses on her face. After
Gabrielle's heart rate slowly returned to a normal rythem she flipped
Xena over onto her back with a strength that surprised even her. "Now my
dear Warrior Princess, let's see if I can make you feel as good as you
did me." their love making went on long into the night.

Before the first grey streaks of light appeared in the pre dawn sky,
Xena nugged Gabrielle awake. "Come on sleepyhead, we need to get back to
the campsite and meet up with Solari. I want to get an early start back
to the village. We need to get to the bottom of this."

Gabrielle wiped the sleep from her eyes. She was forever amazed by
Xena's boundless energy. It seemed like Xena could go forever with
little or no sleep. She quickly gathered their belongings so the could
start back towards where they had left their friends.

When they arrived back at the campsite the were greeted with a scene of
turmoil. Solari was pacing the clearing in an extremly aggetated state.
Xena and Gabrielle looked at each other, confusion eveident on their
faces. "What's wrong Solari?" Gabrielle asked.

"I'm sorry your Majesty."

Gabrielle knew if Solari was using her title that something had to be
drastically wrong. She had never stood on formality unless custom called
for it in a ceramonial rite.

"Drop the formal address Solari, just tell us what's wrong."

Solari found it hard to meet Gabrielle's eye, she had the feeling that
there was a disaster in the making that she could have averted, but
didn't because she wanted to give the young Amazon a chance. "I haven't
said anything because I had had truly thought I had handeled the
situation. Falana and some of the younger Amazons that had followed
Velaska have been feeling desinsion. They veiw Gabrielle as an outsider
and as such unworthy to rule. I had spoken to Falana about this at
length, I thought she was begining to understand, but this morning they
are missing.

Xena scanned the area, this was getting stranger and stranger by the
minute. "Great! Just what we need! It wasn't bad enough that we had to
deal with Cyrances' demands and whatever might be behind them, know we
have to deal with a bunch of renagades."

Kneeling before Gabrielle, Solari bowed her head. "I will accept
whatever punishment you see fit for my neglegance my Queen."

"Solari you have done nothing wrong. Get up please, I am not going to
punish you."

Xena felt pangs of guilt for her outburst. "Gabrielle is right Solari,
We'll worry about what happened later, right now we need to get back to
the village. We need answers, and we won't find them untill we get back
and attend this supposed council of peace." the other Amazons finished
making their preperations while Xena spoke quitely with Solari.

"I'm sorry I jumped on you like that, it's just...."

"I know Xena, this whole thing has us all on edge." changeing the
subject Solari gave Xena a broad smile. "I take it last night went

"Very well" the warrior returned "But I don't like all the strange
things that have ben going on. too many coincideces for my taste. I want
you to help me keep a close eye on Gabrielle. I haven't waited my entire
life to find her just to lose her to some power hungry scheme."

"Do you think that's what is behind this?"

"Yes I do, someone has a plan. We just have to find out what that plan

After final preperations they set off. they were a little more then
twelve hours from the village if they kept a steady pace, they hoped to
make it ther before dark. they traveled on through the day, the whole
time Xena was never far from Gabrielle's side.

Solari watched her two friends with a mixture of happiness for them and
what they had finally found together, and worry that were walking right
into a trap. She could only hope that Xena's "Many skills" would get
them through.

Cyrances paced the length of his tent, he looked at the soilder that had
been brought before him in disgust. "You were supposed to arrange an
'accident' for the Amazon Queen before she even reached the nation's
borders, and even as we speak she is probably meeting with that bitch of
a Regent Ephiny."

"My Lord, with all due respect, not only is she guarded by the Royal
Amazon guard but by Xena herself."

"Fool! Did you not plan for that? You should know, better then most that
Xena NEVER let's the little Queen too far from her protection. That is
why I choose to do things in this way, rather then stage an all out
raid. By having people on the inside I would be able to have someone
gain thier trust and carry out my plans with out them having any idea
who was behind it until I was ready to let them know." His rage was
threatening to overtake him, "Leave me! I need time to think!" He was
left alone to his thoughts. He had sworn revenge against everyone that
had been involved in what had happened, Especalliy the Amazon Queen and
the Warrior Princess. He would bring them down if it was the last thing
he ever did.

In the royal hall of the Amazon village Xena and Gabriellewere greeted
by Ephiny. "It's good to see you both again, I just wish it were under
better conditions. It seems every time we see each other lately there is
some crisis involved."

"I know Ephiny, maybe after this is all over we can spend a little time
here catching up." Gabrielle cast a glance at Xena to see what her
reaction to this would be. She was greeted with a brilliant smile from
her warrior.

"Sure, and maybe in your capacity as Regent we might be able to persuade
you to officiate at a certian ceramony." She noticed the look of
complete surprise from Gabrielle. "Do you mean what I think you mean?"

"Yes I do." She droped to her knees in front of Gabrielle and took her
hands in her own. "When all this is over Gabrielle will you do me the
honor of becoming my bondmate?"

The young Queen couldn't keep the tears of joy out of her eyes as she
said, "Yes Xena, I would proud to be joined with you." Xena rose from
her knees to gather Gabrielle into her arms, the kiss they shared began
to deepen in it's intensity. To save them from an embarrasing situation
Ephiny discretly cleared her throat to get their attetion.

"I am very happy for you both, and I would like nothing better then to
be the one to join you together. But let's get this little mystry out of
the way first, shall we?"

Both women blushed at how close to the surface their passion for each
other was "Your right Ephiny." Gabrielle said "I know I won't feel right
until we get to the bottem of this."

Solari entered the room bearng a scroll. "Cyrances has sent a message
requesting a meeting tommorrow."

All four women looked at each other wondering why Cyrances seemed to be
in such a rush. And more to the point how he seemed to be aware of
almost the moment that Gabrielle and Xena had arrived. Gabrielle was the
first to speak, "Solari, send the messenger back with an acceptance of
the meeting. But not at Cyrances' camp, here in the village with Xena
and the royal guard present."

Xena raised a questioning brow at Gabrielle, what she had said made
perfect sense. But Xena had a nagging feeling that this was a mistake.
After Solari left she turned to Gabrielle. "Are you sure you want to do
it this way?"

Gabrielle couldn't understand why Xena was questioning her judgement on
this. "Isn't that what you would do? Keep your potential enemy on your
home ground?"

Sensing her lovers frusration, Xena moved to put her arms around
Gabrielle "I didn't mean to upset you. what you did was excactly right,
it's just..."

"Just what?"

"My instincts tell me there is a lot more going on here then any of us
could even begin to guess."

They spent the rest of the afternoon preparing for the next days
meeting, going over all the points Cyrances had raised as wanting to
discuss with Gabrielle. Xena,Gabrielle and Ephiny had hoped by reviewing
everything that he wanted, it might shed some much needed light on the
situation. All it succeded in doing was adding to their confusion.

Looking up from her reading Gabrielle's confusion was mirrored in her
eyes. "I don't understand it." she said "There's not one single thing
here that you don't have the autority to deal with Ephiny. Why should he
be so adamant about meeting with me?"

Xena was becoming incresingly anxious about that very thing. Allthough
she had many questions of her own the last thing she wanted to do was
add to the bard's aggetated state. What Gabrielle needed right now was a
distraction to get her mind of the problem at hand before she drove
herself crazy. The warrior immediatly recognized the irony in that
thought. Normally it was Gabrielle that was trying to get her to relax.
Under any other conditions Xena would stay focused on a problem until a
solution was found, but something told her that Gabrielle was nearing
the breaking point.

She stood up and held her hand out to the bard. "Come on, let's go get
something to eat and a little rest. Ephiny would you have a tray sent to
our hut? I think Gabrielle could use a break."

Ephiny nodded her approval, she was glad to see that Xena was placing
Gabrielle's needs above all else. She watched her two freinds depart,
still she was plaqued by the feeling like Xena that something was
very,very wrong.

For Xena's part her only concern at the moment was getting Gabrielle to
relax. When the tray of food arrived Xena greeted the young Amazon with
a smile. "The Queen needs to get some rest. Please see that we are not
disturbed unless it's an emergancy.

Turning her attention back to the bard, Xena noticed a look in her eye's
that made her breath catch in her throat. There was no mistaking the
look of desire in her eyes.


"Xena I know what you are going to say, that I need to rest. But I'll
tell you what I need more then anything else in this world right now is
to feel you love me."

The attraction was too strong for the warrior to resist. Before she even
had time to think about it she was across the room and kissing Gabrielle
until they were both breathless. "Gods Gabrielle, I want you so much."

"Take me, my warrior. Make me yours and yours alone."

Lowering the bard to the bed Xena procedded to do just that. They made
love to each other pouring every bit of emotion that they had silently
held in their hearts for so long into it. Eventually Gabrielle gave in
to exhaustion and fell asleep in Xena's arms. Xena lay awake studing the
features of the woman that had become more important to her then her
next breath. This was the way Solari found them when she entered the


"Ssshh, this better be good Solari." she whispered, the irratation clear
in her voice at haveing thier privacy invaded.

Solari procedded on "We are under attack at our northern boarder."

"How many men?"

"It's a small band, but they took the watch completley by surprise. It
was almost like they had been laying in wait. Ephiny sent me to find

"Let's go outside... I don't want to wake Gabrielle."

They left the hut, mounting their horses the headed off towards the
scene of the invasion. Details were not important right now, the main
concern was protecting the village and turning back the attack. There
would be time enough later to gather information. they arrived at the
border to find about 15 men that had managed to disable a fair number of
Amazons. When Xena began to fight see was preplexed by the fact that the
soilders were obviously not fighting to their full abilaty. It was
almost as if they were more intrested in detaining her then beating her.

Looking across the clearing she saw that Solari was in much the same
position, the men were not trying to engage her in full battle, just
keep her busy. Alarms started going off in Xena's head.."Gabrielle..."

A noise alerted Gabrielle the fact that she was alone in the bed but
there was someone in the room with her "Xena?"

A cloacked figure stepped from the shadows. "No my dear Amazon Queen, I
am not Xena."

"Who are you, and what are you doing in here?"

He sneered at her showing her the contempt he felt for her. "All in good
time your majasty. But for right now, I ask the questions!" He asked her
in harsh tones. "Do you remember the punishment brought about to a
certian man because of you and your freinds meddelsome ways?"

Gabrielle opted to put up a brave front. Animals like this feed off
other peoples fear, she was determined not to give hime that power over
her. "You'll have to be more specific, Xena and I have helped to bring
many people to justice."

"Isn't it funny?" he scoffed "How two people can have such diffrent
veiws of what is just! Your meddeling in affairs that were really none
of your buisness cost my brother his life in a councel of Amazon and
Centaur law. He died because of your interferance, when all he wanted to
do was bring unity to this land,"

A wave of dizziness threatened to overtake her as the realazation of who
this was hit her. There was only one man that he could be talking about.
"Krysus was your brother?"

"That's right Gabrielle, you mean to tell me that you and the great Xena
never made that connection? I'm dissapppointed, maybe I have been giving
you both to much credit all theses years. After all once I devised this
plan for vengance, it has been all too easy to carry out. You both
followed right along with what I had in store for you without
even knowing it."

She was tempted to tell him that they had been suspicious from the
start, but she didn't want to reveal too much. Where was Xena? part of
her felt a mounting fear that something had happened to her, the other
part knew that Xena was safe. 'If something where wrong I would feel it,
I know I would' she told herself. She decided her best bet at this point
was to try and stall for time. "We knew that Krysus had a brother, but
stories said that you had died a heros death fighting the battle of

"Well as you can see, reports of my death were greatly exaggerated. I
tried to be the heroic warrior, fighting for the little people all those
noble causes, and it got me nothing. I decided that the only way to make
it in this world was to play by my own rules."

"I see, and look at what that attitude did for your brother!"

Cyrances felt cold rage flow through him, "My brother was a man of

Gabrielle threw catuion to the wind, "Really what is so honorable about
arranging the murder of an innocent woman and then trying to cast the
blame on someone else!"

"Krysus was intrested in uniting this region under one ruler, too bring
an end to the wars that had raveged this valley for years."

Her temper was starting to flare now "With himself as ruler right? your
brother was not intrested in peace and unity, those things are never
brought about by murder and lies. He was a power hungry warlord, plain
and simple!"

His anger was fast overcoming his judgement. "What you think at this
point is immatireal my dear Queen. Now that I have you I can demand
that the Amazons turn Xena over to me so that I can deliver a little
justice of my own to both of you. This will also leave me in a position
to demand the unconditinal surrender of the Amazon nation if they ever
hope to see you alive again, of course they never will...."

A voice rimbled from the doorway, "I wouldn't count on that if I were

"Xena! How long have you been there?"

"Long enough to know that if you are foolish enough to try and fight you
will never leave this village alive."

A sneer curled his lips "And just what would you sugest I do? Give
myself over to the tender mercies of Amazon justice? I've sen first hand
how you harlots dispense justice, no thank you!" He drew his sword in
preperation of a fight. "If I must die it will be as I lived as a
warrior, not some sniveling coward standing before you with my head
bowed awaiting your judgement."

Xena did not want to kill this man, something told her that he was
driven by a twisted version of the past as seen through his brothers
eye's. If the could reach him maybe they could avoid useless bloodshed.
"Don't be a fool Cyrancus, at this point you are really guilty of
nothing but bad judgement and stupidity. Unlike your brother who planned
the murder of an Amazon princess and then tried to lay the blame on a
Centaur prince."

Cyrances looked, for the breifest moment like he might actullay be
condidering Xena's words. His demenor changed in a split second, he
lunged towards Gabrielle with his sword rasied. Before anyone else had
the chance to move Xena had buried her chauckram in his chest propelling
him backwards into the wall, he slumped forward slowly the life leaving
his body. His last whispered word, "I'm sorry I failed you, my

Xena rushed forward to hold Gabrielle, "Are you o.k.? He didn't touch
you did he?"

Gabrielle was shaken but otherwise fine, "No Xena...I'm alright, but.."

"But what Gabrielle?"

"What a waste, I think he truely believed that his brother was good and
that what he was trying to do in Kryses' name was justified."

Xena wanted to comfort Gabrielle, but she was at a loss for what to say.
she herself had given in to darkness in a quest to avenge her own
brothers death. Her actions after the raid on her home village had set
in motion the events that had twisted her into the hate filled, blood
hungry warlord that she had been.
In a sad way she could identify with Cyrances, but she wanted to make
sure that Gabrielle didn't bear the weight of guilt from his death. dear
sweet Gabrielle, who always saw the good in everyone would feel the loss
of a chance for him to turn his life around and become good again, as
Xena had done.

She could already see signs of regret forming on Gabrielle's features.
"I know what your thinking Gabrielle, and I understand. But you have to
look at the truth, he was becoming as big a monster as is brother before
him. He would not have stopped once he started done that road, he was
already lost."

The bard raised her eye's to those of her lover "I know Xena, you gave
him a chance to chose, he made the wrong choice. He's in the hands of
the Gods now, only they can decide what will happen to him." She moved
closer into Xena's arms, desperatly needing the security and warmth that
she knew she would find there.

The rest of the Amazons had discretly departed bringing Cyrances' body
with them. Both women laid back on the bed feeling the drain of all they
had been through. Holding each other close they gave in to Morphuses'

In the morning, Ephiny came to see them and found them preparing Argo's
gear. "Your leaving? What about the bonding ceremony?"

Xena looked up from her packing "Oh we still plan to do that, but this
encounter with Cyrances has shown us just how important family is. So we
both decided to tell our families first and give them a chance to join
in the celebration with us. I would feel better too if we could find out
what happened to Falana and the Amazons that left the camp. Something
tells me this is not quite over yet."

Ephiny considered what Xena had said, she had yo admit she was more then
a little conerned about that herself. not wanting to say anything at the
moment though that would add more worry she asked about their plans to
see their families."How do you think they will take it?"

"I have no idea, but there is only one way to find out."

Ephiny helped them with the last of their preperations, Xena mounted
argo and pulled Gabrielle up behind her. "We'll be back in two moons
time Ephiny." With that Xena turned Argo and headed down the trail.

Xena could feel Gabrielle's arms wrapped around her from behind, she
covered the bard's hands with her own. "Gabrielle I want to tell you
something. No matter what happens from here on in our lives I want you
to always remember that I love you."

Gabrielle hugged Xena, "I love you too Xena."


alt fic index <> homepage