A Warlord's Vengeance PartII

by Marion D Tuttle

Disclaimers: Xena, Gabrielle, Argo, their families and the Amazons are
all property of Universal Studios, no copyright infringement is
intended. This is not written for profit but for fun. There is a loving
relationship depicted between two adult consenting women that does get
graphic in spots. So if that sort of thing is not your cup of tea I
would advise you to choose other reading material. Any comments or
questions may be directed to mariontuttle@hotmail.com. I love feedback
so let me know what you think. Now on with the show.

They had ridden on through the day until the sun was hanging low on the
horizon. They had agreed before setting off from the Amazon village that
they wanted to get as close to Potidiea as they could before nightfall.
They plan was to get a good nights sleep and face Gabrielle's family
fresh in the morning. Instinct told them that the bard's family was
going to be the toughest ones to tell about there plans. Xena had the
feeling that her mother would understand and even be happy for them, but
Gabrielle's parent's, well it was going to take some work to get them to
accept this.

Xena's ears picked up the faint sound of rushing water and headed Argo
in that direction. Gabrielle knew immediately where Xena was headed, she
had come there to think many times as a child when she had wanted time
alone to think, away from all the buzz of village life. She knew the
spot was secluded and that they would not be interrupted. That was a
fact that she was very glad for because she had a few things she wanted
to talk to her lover about.

Ever since they had left they village that morning Gabrielle had sensed
a tension in Xena, at first it was nothing out of the ordinary. Xena was
always alert and aware of her surroundings, especially when they were on
the trail. However as the day had worn on Gabrielle sensed a stiffness
in Xena's muscles and an increasing distance that was beginning to
concern her. She was starting to wonder if Xena regretted making such a
public declaration of her feelings by asking her to become her bondmate,
or even if she was regretting having asked her. 'Could it be that she
decided that I am not what she want's after all?' Gabrielle caught
herself thinking.She had to shake these thoughts out of her head, she
was going to drive herself crazy if she didn't. 'I will talk to Xena
after we sett up camp, there's no point in worrying about anything until
we can talk' she told herself.

They arrived at the river bed Gabrielle remembered from her childhood,
this had always been a place where she had been able to collect her
thoughts and make sense of things. It was this very spot she had come to
the night before she had left her home to follow Xena all those years
ago to seek guidance from her inner self. This would be the perfect
place to talk over whatever might be troubling her warrior.

"There isn't much light left." Xena observed, bringing Gabrielle's
thought's back to the here and now. "Why don't you set up camp while I
have a quick look around and find us something for dinner." Xena smiled
at her and Gabrielle realized that was the first time she had seen her
smile all day.

"Xena is there something you want to tell me?" that had slipped out
before Gabrielle had a chance to think about 'Damn it, that's right put
her on the spot and make her retreat further.'

"No Gabrielle, I'm fine."

The bard considered this clipped answer. 'Way to go Gabrielle, could you
have stuck your foot any further into your own mouth? Oh well I've
opened it up may as well go ahead with it now.' she tried to chose her
next words a little more carefully. "O.K. maybe that was the wrong way
to put it. What has been on your mind all day? And please don't tell me
nothing because I know something has."

"Gabrielle it's nothing really..."
The young bard felt as if a hand were squeezing the very life from her
heart. She was terrified of the answer to the next question but she had
to ask. "Are you having second thoughts?"

Xena arched a dark brow at her "Second thoughts?"

Gabrielle's frustration was mounting "About us Xena! I know when you
asked me....Well there was so much going on , and it happened so fast.
I just wasn't sure if you were thinking...."

Xena couldn't believe what she was hearing she moved to gather her lover
into her arms and brush the tears away that were starting to form on her
lashes. "No Gabrielle it's not that. By the Gods, don't you know how
much I love you? I have just been thinking of you parents reaction. What
if they won't accept it. I know I told Ephiny we would just have to wait
and see when she asked us how our families would take this, but I have
been thinking about it all day. I don't want to take your family from
you Gabrielle, if they can't deal with us...."

The tightness that had gripped Gabrielle's chest began to ease, this was
something she could handel, Xena did love her it hadn't been said in
haste. She held Xena close to her, "There is nothing they can do or say
that will change my mind. I love you, and I intend to spend they rest of
my life with you it's as simple as that. If that is a problem for them
then they will just have to find a way to deal with it."

"But they are your family.."

She pressed two fingers against Xena's lips to stem the protest. "You
are my family, and the sooner my parent's accept that the better of we
will all be."

Gabrielle held Xena close to her, she could still feel some tension in
her. "What else is there?" The bard asked massaging her love's shoulders

Xena gazed lovingly into deep green eyes that had captured her heart and
soul. A small chuckle escaped her, "I can't hide anything from you can

"No you can't so don't even try, tell me what's bothering you."

"I'm still bothered by the disappearance of Falana and her friends.
Solari is a little unsettled by it too. It would just make me feel a lot
better if we could find out what happened to them and where they are

Gabrielle hadn't wanted to say anything but the truth was she had been
having similar thoughts. She had wondered what had motivated Falana to
feel the way she did. After they had gotten through everything with
Cyrances Gabrielle had spoken with Solari, there were still a lot of
unanswered questions. What was the reason for the sudden discontent
among some of the young Amazons? And not the least of which, what had
caused Cyrances to act when he did? True he had acted to avenge what he
thought was a grievous wrong done to his brother. But it had been years
since that had happened, why had he waited all this time before taking
any action?

All these thoughts began to leave her mind as Xena started to kiss her.
The warmth and firmness of Xena's lips on hers had a way of making her
forget everything. She felt herself being lowered to the fur pelts they
had been using for bed rolls on cold nights. "I only want to think of
one thing right now Gabrielle, that's how much I love you."

Feeling the warmth spread through her body, Gabrielle wanted nothing
more in that moment then to be claimed by her warrior. "Please make love
to me Xena."

It was a request she didn't have to make twice. Xena's questing hands
found their goal shielded only by the thin layer of cloth that was
Gabrielle's shirt, as if by magic the bard's cloths disappeared and
before she even realized it she was laying naked in Xena's warm embrace.
She could tell from the hunger of her warrior's kisses that she was in
for a long night.

Back at the Amazon village Solari and Ephiny both were pacing the length
of the floor to their hut, consumed with thoughts of the missing
Amazons. Shortly after Xena and Gabrielle had left a note had been found
pinned by a dagger to the Queen's door. It boar a short cryptic message
"Don't make the mistake of thinking this is over." It wasn't clear
whether this was meant as well intentioned warning or a threat.

"Tell me again about the conversation you had with Falana." Ephiny urged
Solari, "Maybe there is some clue there..."

Solari ran her fingers through her dark hair, she had racked her brain
over that conversation ever since the morning she, Xena and Gabrielle
had awoken to find them missing. Try as she might she couldn't think of
anything new. "I thought I had gotten through to her, she seemed to be
much more accepting of things after we talked. I just don't understand

Ephiny could could see the hurt expression on her lover's face, it tore
at her heart to think that Solari was being eaten alive by feelings of
guilt that she may have missed something that would put gabrielle in
danger. trying to comfort her the regent stood before her placing a hand
on her shoulder. "Sol, you did every thing you could, said all the right
things. How could you have known what if anything Falana and her friends
were planning?"

"I still feel as though I failed, I have one primary function as Captain
of the Royal Guard. That is to be aware of any potential dangers to the
Queen and prevent them. I may have missed one that was right under my
nose. Not to mention what happened with Cyrancus....If it hadn't been
for Xena's quick thinking, Artimiss only knows what might have

"You can't go one like this Solari, your going to drive yourself crazy
if you start second guessing yourself at every turn."

"I know your right, but still..."

Her comments were cut short by a commotion outside the hut. They ran out
to see Falana, on they ground beaten and bleeding. She was having
difficulty breathing from broken ribs. Solari knelt down and cradled her
head in her lap, holding a water skin to parched cracked lips. "What
happened Falana? Who did this to you?"

Her voice was weak "You have to stop them Solari, it has gotten out of
hand. I tried to explain...." the effort to speak was to much for her
and she passed into unconsciousness in Solari's arms

"Help me get her inside Ephiny." she looked up to see that there was
some hesitation to help.

"Help me!" Solari snapped "I realize you think she's a traitor and she
may not be your favorite person right now, but she may be the only one
that can help us protect Gabrielle. At this point she is the only one
that has any answers!"

That seemed to jar Ephiny into action, they tried to be as gentle as
they could. They agreed that the wisest thing would be to put her in
their hut, for several reasons. Not the least of which was it was
closest and the less distance she was moved the better. Laying her one
the bed both women looked at each other concern clearly evident on their
faces. It was becoming clearer and clearer that this was far from over.
the most important thing right now was getting Falana to wake up, that
may be the only way to get the answers they would need.

Morning broke over the horizon finding Xena and Gabrielle wrapped in
each other's arms. After making love long into the night they had fallen
into an exhausted sleep. Xena was the first to wake as usual, but this
morning she didn't hop up and start preparing their gear to leave the
camp site, as was her practice. she propped her head on one elbow while
looking down at the face of her sleeping lover. At that moment her heart
felt more full than it ever had. They had gone through what seemed at
times like a gauntlet to get to this point. xena was happier than she
had ever been in her life, she just wished that she could pinpoint the
feeling that was nagging at the back of her mind. She had told Gabrielle
that it centered around the missing Amazons, and that had been the
truth. But there was more to it then that, there was something else at
play here, and it had Xena worried.

Raining gentle kisses on the bards face she waited as Gabrielle slowly
began to move. When she opened her eyes Xena was met with the most vivid
green she had ever seen anywhere. The sight was almost enough to take
her breath away. "Good morning sleepy head." Xena smiled at her "Time to
get up and get moving."

Gabrielle tried pulling the covers over her head to block out the light
while she mumbled "Just once can't you sleep past dawn?"

Xena got up from their bed roll, "Come on, todays the day. Besides the
sooner we get started...."

"I know the sooner we get started, the sooner we will be over it."

Both women knew that today was going to be a trying one, but it was
something that needed to be done. "Remember what I told you as we were
leaving the village? No matter what happens Gabrielle, I will always
love you."

"I'll always love you too Xena. Now and forever."

They quickly gathered their gear together, speed coming from years of
practice. Once they had everything loaded Xena mounted Argo and reached
her hand done to Gabrielle, helping her up behind her. Xena was never
much for prayer to the Gods but she did cast her eyes skyward and ask
whatever God might be listening to grant her the strength to get through
this day.

Descending the final hill on the road into Potidiea, Xena felt her
tension begin to build. Judging from the way Gabrielle's arms tightened
around her waist she could tell that her lover was feeling the pressure
too. Giving her forearm a reassuring squeeze Xena urged Argo forward.

Entering the town they were met with many familiar faces, reaction to
xena was still very mixed in this town. They were all grateful for the
fact that she had saved them from Draco and his army. But old fears died
hard and many of the villagers still viewed Xena as the 'Destroyer of
Nations'. As much as Gabrielle tried to change their opinions, some
still clung to their distrust of the warrior. Looking around her as the
entered the town Gabrielle thought to herself 'No wonder Xena hates to
come here, every where she looks she sees someone that sees her as she
was, not what she has become.'

That was the exact thing that was going through Xena's mind as they rode
on. 'These people may never accept me, but for Gabrielle's sake I will
find a way to deal with it.'

They made their way through the village until the came to a stop in
front of Gabrielle's parent's home. Just as the had dismounted from Argo
they turned to see Lila running towards them from the barn "Gabrielle!!
We didn't know you where coming! how long are you planning to stay?"
Embracing her sister Lila turned to say hello to Xena. Of all of
Gabrielle's family Lila was the one that was warmest to Xena whenever
they visited.

Xena smiled at the younger woman she showed the signs of becoming a true
beauty, like her sister. "How have you been Lila?"

"I've been well." turning back to Gabrielle she said excitedly, "Mother
and father will be so happy to see you." I small sense of fear crept
into her voice as she asked. "Everything is alright isn't it? You didn't
come home because of a problem did you?"

Tousling her sister's hair Gabrielle smiled into eye's so like her own.
"No Lila, there is no problem, but we do have news. Don't worry though,
it's good news." Her hand brushed against Xena's shoulder, "At least we
think it is."

The gesture was not lost on Lila, the look that passed between her
sister and the warrior, rivalled Zeus' lightning bolts in intensity. She
could only guess at he news that her sister might have for the family.
"Mother is in the kitchen, why don't you go ahead and surprise her. I'll
help Xena get her horse settled."


Xena leaned over and whispered in her ear. "It's alright Gabrielle. I
have the feeling Lila has something she wants to talk to me about. If
she is going to be my 'sister-in-law' I'd better make a good start with
her." She gave her bard a reassuring wink to let her know thatshe really
was ok with it.

"If you say so Xena, I'll be in the house if you need me..."

She turned and walked toward the house, leaving her sister and the
warrior alone in the barnyard. Never one to beat around the bush Xena
went directly to the point. "What's on your mind Lila?"

"You don't waste anytime on idle chit chat do you Xena?"

"No I don't, I like to be direct."

Lila regarded Xena, she could she the sharpness of the warrior that had
saved them years ago. But there was something there that had not been
before. The few times they had returned to the village since Gabrielle
had left with Xena she had noticed it more and more every time. It was a
softness that was missing before, and it never showed more then when she
was looking at Gabrielle. She had seen it again just now , she had
wondered before, but now she was sure.

"You love my sister don't you?"

Xena had suspected that Lila had figured something out, but she was
still taken aback by the girls statement. She decided best to be honest
and deal with the question right now then to try and put her off. "Yes
Lila I do love Gabrielle, very much."

"That's why you came back here isn't it? To tell the family."

"Right again, now it's my turn to ask a question. How do you feel about

"What I think isn't important."

"It is to Gabrielle, so that makes it important to me."

Lila took a long look at Xena, it was true at first she had hated the
warrior, blaming her for her sister's choice to leave home. But she had
talked to gabrielle the last few times she had seen her, and the scrolls
her sister had sent her from various places in her travels with Xena
always seemed to reflect how happy she was. Even when Gabrielle was
writing about a problem they might be facing a battle or trying to work
through a situation they had been faced with. The basic feeling of being
happier then she had ever been in her life came through. She knew that
Xena was responsible for that, and the bottom line was she could not
hate some one that her sister loved that much.

"I see the way you make Gabrielle feel." she started "I also see the way
you try to protect her. I guess what I'm trying to say Xena is I can
tell that you are what my sister wants, and all I want for Gabrielle is
that she be happy." She surprised Xena by hugging her "Will you give my
the honor of being the first to welcome you into the family?"

"You don't have a problem with me and Gabrielle being together?"

"Like I said, I want Gabrielle to be happy. I see now she never would
have been if she had stayed here. I think I'm beginning to understand
her a little better."

Xena felt as though a weight had been lifted from her shoulders. "Well
Lila, there is one other thing I should tell you then." she opened her
arms to the young woman as a brilliant smile lit up her face. "I always
wanted a little sister." She hugged Gabrielle's little sister, all the
time wondering if the rest of her family would be this accepting.

She wasn't going to have long to wait, as she stepped back from Lila she
looked up to see the bard coming from the house, tears streaming down
her face. Rushing to Gabrielle's side she drew her into her arms. "What

Gabrielle was trying to keep control in her voice but her grip was
slipping and she was trying to gulp air in through the sobs that were
coming ever faster. "It was awful Xena, I didn't mean to tell them
straight out like that it just..." the sobs began to take over.

"Slow down Gabrielle, tell me what happened."

"Can we just go Xena. I'll tell you everything but right now I just need
to be away from here." She looked at Lila through tear swollen eyes "I'm
so sorry I wanted...."

For what was probably the first time in her life lila felt an adult bond
with her sister "I understand, go now let me see what I can do here."


Xena stepped in "Gabrielle I told Lila about us, I know it may not have
been my place.. I'll get Argo."

Gabrielle looked back to her sister she couldn't believe that Xena had
told her everything and she was still showing them support. Lila
misunderstood the confused look on her face as her being angry with Xena
for having said something. "Don't blame Xena Gabrielle. I had my
suspicions and I asked her point blank if you two were lovers all she
did was give me an honest answer to a question."

"I'm not upset with Xena, I'm just surprised at your reaction.
Pleasantly I might add." a small smile touched her lips.

Lila leaned in to whisper in her sister's ear "To tell you the truth so
was I, at first. But the more I see you together, the more I know this
is right."

The two sister's hugged as Xena came out of the barn she had gotten Argo
ready in record time. it was clear to her that gabrielle needed to be
away from here as quickly as possible. She reached down to the bard,
pulling her up behind her they turned to leave. before nudging argo
forward she mouthed a silent thank you to Lila. "Be good to her Xena."

Xena clucked Argo forward she could feel Gabrielle clinging to her. Her
initail reaction was to take her lover in her arms and comfort her, but
she knew that what Gabrielle needed right now was to put as much
distance as she could between her and her family. They rode on in
silence for almost an hour before Xena drew argo to a stop. She
dismounted and helped Gabrielle done beside her. She had felt the
wetness of gabrielle's tears on her back as they rode, but it wasn't
until she looked at her bard until she saw the extent of her heartbreak.

"Are you ready to tell me what happened?"

"Xena, why can't they just accept that I am not they perfect little girl
they want me to be?"

The warrior was at a loss for words, normally Gabrielle was the one that
did the comforting with words Xena was more a woman of action. But in
this instance she was unsure what to do. She held Gabrielle in a tender
embrace, stroking her back to let her lnow that she was there.

"You still haven't told me what happened love. You weren't in there very
long, I thought we were going to tell them together. I didn't want you
to have to face their reaction alone."

Gabrielle was trying to gather herself together, even the long ride
through the woods had done little to settle her. "I didn't plan for it
to happen the way it did, everything just went so fast. As soon as I
walked into the house and greeted my Mother, Father came into the room.
His immedieate response was to tell me that it was well past time that I
had come home, he thought I was there to stay. he started talking about
a man in the village that he had told about me. He was already making
plans to have him over for dinner and introduce us."

Xena could feel her blood boil at the prospect of "her bard" being fixed
up with some farmer. but for Gabrielle's sake she did not comment. "Was
there anything else?"

Feeling a shudder pass through her Gabrielle contined on. "Oh there was
more, if it had just been talk of having dinner with some farmer I could
have dealt with that. what really ripped into me was when he started
saying that I was lucky that any man would even consider looking at me
after al the time I have spent trapsing across the countryside with..."
she disolved into tears again.

Xena knew she was not going to enjoy hearing this, but Gabrielle had to
get this out. It was obviously something tat was going to eat away at
her until she did. "What did he say Gabrielle?"

"He called you a murdering harlot Xena! When I tried to defend you, by
pointing out it was you that saved this village from being enslaved and
butchered at Draco's hands, he just said that you must have had your own
reasons for that. I didn't want to do it but before I knew what was
happining I blurted out that you weren't that way, that I knew how
loving you could be, that we were in fact lovers. When I said that he
told me that I was trash and no longer his daughter and to get out of
his sight. He also said that since I had shamed him in the worst way to
never show my face in his home again."

This speech left Xena shaken, she was torn between wanting to hold
Gabrielle and comfort her and wanting to ride back and tear Gabrielle's
father limb from limb. The fact that he had choosen to blaken her name
with insults made no diffrence to her, except for the fact that it had
upset Gabrielle. What had her on the edge of violence was what he had
said about her beloved bard. suddenly Xena was hit with a twinge of
guilt, was this her fault? In her selfish desire to be with Gabrielle
had she taken her family away from her? "I am so sorry." she whispered

Gabrielle picked up the sound of Xena's near silent apology, she looked
up at her through tear stained eyes. "What in the name of all the Gods
are you sorry for?"

"You have lost your family because of me." she felt the guilt begin to
settle over her.

This brought about a change in Gabrielle, gone now were the tears in
thier place was the look of a very determined young woman. "You listen
to me Xena, I pray that my parents will eventally come to accept us as
well as Lila did, But if that doesn't happen and I do lose them it is
because of their own prejudices and refusal to accept the truth. Not
anything you have done, is that clear?"

Xena felt a sense of love and fulfilment wash over her, unlike anything
she had ever felt in her life. She didn't know what she had done to
deserve this amazing woman that had become such an important part of her
life. All she knew was that she would be forever thankful to whatever
power had brought Gabrielle to her. Before she could give voice to what
she was feeling she felt Gabrielle's warm lips pressed against hers.
Feeling the first stirings of desire she was torn, there was no doubt
that her body wanted the bard. Her mind however was telling her that
taking Gabrielle at this time would be a mistake. She reluctantly broke
contact, drawing back to look into Gabrielle's eye's. She saw desire
there but she also saw the deep hurt and anguish of her family's

"Gabrielle, the Gods know I want you." she started "But for tonight,
just let me hold you."

At first Gabrielle started to protest. "Xena, I want you to know that
what my family said doesn't make any diffrence in the way I feel. I love
you, I always will."

"I love you too, that's why I want to just hold you. I want you to know
that it is not just about sex, like your father would have you believe.
What you are feeling right now is hurt and pain from what he said. You
want me to take you to prove he was wrong, but I don't want to do that."

Gabrielle looked up at her, uncertianty showing on her face. What was
Xena saying? Had her father's words changed the warrior's feelings? Did
she regret that they had become lovers? Before she could ask any of
these questions out loud Xena countinued on.

"I never want our love making to be about 'proving a point'. When I make
love to you it comes from deep inside here." She placed Gabrielle's hand
over her heart "This is what I want to give to you when we are together,
I will not let your family or any one else turn what we have together
into something tawdry. I need to know that you know that."

Tears began anew in Gabrielle's eye's, but this time the were tears that
were bought out by the overwhelming love she felt for this dark warlord
turned champion. "How is it you always know how to do just what I need
you to do, even when I'm not sure myself what I need?"

A small smile played around Xena's lips "I have many skills." she moved
to strech out their bed rolls and then returned to pull Gabrielle down
beside her. "And on that subject I think what you really need right now
is some rest, it's been a long day. We'll head out for Amphipolis in the
morning." She held the bard in her arms listening to her breating untill
it became deep and steady. Once more she gave thanks for this woman that
had brought so much light and love into her world, and prayed that
tomorrow would be a better day.

While Xena and Gabrielle slept, Solari and Ephiny were pacing the floor
in Cyrenne's tavern. Both women had ridden hard to get there and the
strain was beginning to show. while they were wating for cyrenne to come
down stairs they contined the disscussion they had been having ever
since they left the village.

"It is not our place to tell Xena's mother about her relationship with
Gabrielle Ephiny."

Ephiny had been trying to explain her position to Solari and was getting
a little more then frustrated at the fact that she couldn't seem to make
her lover see the laogic in what she was saying. "Under normal
conditions I would agree with you, but you know as well as I do that
there is much more at stake here than a little embaressment. If what
falana told us is true then Xena and Gabrielle's very lives could depend
on getting this information as quickly as possiable. We know they are
coming here, and we have to tell Xena's mother something."

"I know your right about that, but still somehow it doesn't seem right"

The Regeant could feel her patince slipping "What would you suggest we
say? Oh hi Cyrenne we were just in the neighborhood and decided to pop
in and say hello. By the way any idea when Xena might show up ? We have
a jucy little tidbit of gossip about some renagade Amazons that are
thinking about using her and Gabrielle for wall plaques."

"Sarcasem does not suit you Ephiny."

Feeling a bit of remorse for useing so sharp a tone with Solari she
apologized. "I know and I'm sorry, believe me if I thought there was any
other way to do this I would. But it's best that Cyrenne know the truth
up front, we don't know what is going to happen next. That band of
rebels could easily be on their way here even as we speak. It's better
if Cyrenne knows exactly what she may have to deal with, if Xena were
here now she would agree with me."

Solari finally admited that Ephiny may be right. "Allright I can see
your point, but that doesn't mean I'm comfortable with it."

Having won her argument Ephiny softened a bit. "I understand, I wish we
didn't have to do it this way but..."


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