A Warlord's Vengeance Part IV
by Marion D Tuttle
Slandered disclaimers: As I have said countless times before, I do not
own the characters of Xena, Gabrielle, Argo, any of the Amazons, any
family members of the bard or warrior, there did I get them all? The
story idea how ever is mine and mine alone.
Sex disclaimer: Yes there is a loving and sexual relationship going on
between adult consensual women. If you happen to find this idea
offensive in any way then this may not be something that you want to
As always comments are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org
Reaching down she placed a light kiss on Gabrielle's lips. "Come on
sleepy head, today is going to be a long one. We need to get going I'm
sure Ephiny and Solari are already down stairs waiting for us."
She was answered by a muffled grumble, just before the bard opened her
eyes. In typical fashion Gabrielle looked deep into her warriors eyes.
Placing a hand on her cheek she told her "Xena, I know that we're in for
a fight. Just keep in mind, no matter what happens I love you. I
wouldn't change any part of our lives together...."
"Hey where is all this coming from? We are going to come through this
and then it is on to planning our wedding."
"I know, I just wanted you to keep that in mind." What Gabrielle wasn't
telling Xena is that last night after hearing what Ephiny and Solari had
to say she had seen some disturbing visions in her dreams. There seemed
to be no clear cut pictures to her own fate, but she had seen herself
lying on the ground being held in the warriors arms. A vision of a wound
that was letting out more amounts of blood then any mortal could survive
losing, in the region of her heart. In her dreams she had seen tears
streaming down the warriors face as she tried in vain to keep the bard
from crossing over. As Xena bent to care for her she was struck dead by
a blast from Velaska.
Xena could sense that there was more to what Gabrielle was saying then
she was willing to admit to at this point. Her own fears kept her from
pressing the issue, it wasn't her life she feared for but Gabrielle's.
She would do whatever it took to keep her lover out of harms way.
Both women trying to keep their fears and trepidation from the other
tried to keep things on a light note. Fastening her armour into place
Xena told Gabrielle "I'll go get Argo ready, do you want to go check on
Ephiny and Solari?"
Thankful for something that would distract her thoughts, even
temporarily she answered. "Yeah, we'll meet you downstairs in a few
"Good I want to get an early start, if I know my mother she will have
supplies packed and ready to go." Heading towards the door she paused
briefly to look back at Gabrielle. Green light met blue fire in a silent
communication of the love and commitment the two of them shared.
Only after Xena had left the room did Gabrielle let down the mask she
had been keeping on her emotions. The elusive visions still haunted her,
the thought of her own possible death was not the worst of her fears.
She had accepted long ago that by choosing to follow Xena her life could
be forfeit at any given time. She knew that by choosing to fight to
protect the innocent they each placed themselves in mortal danger each
day. Her greatest fear was the outcome to the village and most of all
These were the thoughts that ran rampant through her mind as she wrapped
on the door to her friends' room. Both Amazons were ready and about to
leave the room when she had arrived. Ephiny took one look at Gabrielle
and knew that there was something weighing on the Queen's mind. Knowing
they did not have the time for a long discussion here, Ephiny made a
note to try and get Gabrielle alone on the trail. It would take about a
day and a half to get to the Amazon village. Perhaps when they stopped
for the night it would give them a chance to talk.
"Is everything set?" Ephiny asked her.
"Yes Xena is seeing to Argo, she wants us to meet her downstairs."
"I'll go get our mounts ready Ephiny." Solari had noticed the tension in
Gabrielle as well, but like Ephiny she knew that this was not the time
or place to talk about it.
Entering the stables she saw Xena finishing her preparations with Argo.
Without turning Xena took note of her presence. "The sun will be up
"I know, everything is ready to go, why don't you go say good bye to
your mother while I saddle the horses."
A slight nod of understanding between the two warriors and Xena tuned to
leave the barn. As she was passing Solari she felt the Amazons hand on
her arm. "It's going to be alright Xena, we'll get through this and then
we will all celebrate your and Gabrielle's bonding."
"Thank you Solari, I've never felt like this going into a battle
A knowing smile touched her lips "That's because you've never been in
Xena had known all along that was the problem, but somehow hearing
Solari say it put it perspective for her. She had to do what she had
done in so many situations before, remain focused. That was the only
chance any of them had of meeting this threat of an angry Goddess bent
Entering the Inn Xena found her mother, as she knew she would waiting to
say good bye. Gabrielle was just releasing the older woman from an
embrace. Standing back as the warrior entered the room her intuition
told her that this was time that Xena needed alone with her mother.
Turning towards Ephiny she said. "Everything else is ready let's go see
if their is anything we can do to help Solari."
A moment of quiet hung between mother and daughter as Gabrielle and
Ephiny left the Inn. Cyrenne was the first one to break the silence by
asking. "How bad is it really?"
A quick search of her mother's features told Xena that nothing would do
hear but the truth, any attempt to soften it would be seen through.
"If it were just a band of renegades with an ax to grind, I wouldn't be
concerned. But if Velaska is indeed back, and she was the one behind
fuelling Cyrances' rage, then none of us will be safe until she is
defeated and contained."
"I trust you have a plan?"
"I do, it's risky but it is the only way."
"I still say it would be better if you were to stay here....."
Having heard her mother's plan the night before about setting a trap for
Velaska in the fire pits beyond the village Xena was not willing to risk
the safety of the entire village. "No Mother, I will not put your life,
or the life of everyone here in danger. Velaska will not come here
unless we are here. She has no enemies here. She wants revenge against
Gabrielle, me and the Amazons."
Her instincts as a mother where to tell her daughter that it was fool
hardy to go ahead with a plan that at least on the surface appeared that
she was rushing headlong into a trap that had no possible end but her
death. But she had learned that underestimating Xena was a very
dangerous thing for her enemies to do. That was what the warrior was
counting on. Velaska considered herself invincible by virtue of the fact
that she was a Goddess. She may even view the fact that she had escaped
from the lave trap Xena had placed her in as continuing evidence that
she could not be beaten in he end.
"I still don't like this, but I know you have to do what you feel is
Seeing her mothers distress Xena tried to comfort her. "I learned a long
time ago mother that you can not hide from your problems. Not to mention
the fact that there are many lives at stake here not just mine, if
Velaska is successful she will lead her followers on a bloody rampage in
search of more power. It's the need of the greater good, you taught me
that. I lost sight of that for a while, but I know it is the only way."
Blue eyes so like her own reflected back to the warriors "Xena I know
there was a time when I denied you, I want you to know that is behind
us. I am very proud of the woman you have become."
Faint light was beginning to filter through the windows of the Inn from
the sun as it crested the horizon. "It's time, we need to go."
Hugging her daughter to her Cyrenne told her daughter. "Be careful, I
don't want to lose you again."
Taking one last look at her mother Xena turned to go out into the stable
yard. Ephiny, Solari and Gabrielle stood beside the three horses waiting
for the warrior. Both Amazons mounted their horses, coming to Argo Xena
swung up into the saddle, reaching down she pulled Gabrielle up behind
As they road out of sight Cyrenne watched until horses and riders
disappeared over the horizon. She hadn't said anything in Xena's
presence, knowing her daughter's disdain for the Gods. Now that she had
left Cyrenne sent a prayer out to keep her daughter and her companions
safe. "Artemiss, as patron Goddess to the Amazons, please protect hose
that have set out to do battle for your cause."
They spent most of the morning traveling in silence, each woman caught
up in her own thoughts. Each of them had played a fairly major role in
bringing Velaska down the last time. A chill passed along Solari's spine
as she remembered the diversion she had helped to engineer. When they
had presented Ephiny on her knees to Velaska tied in what appeared to be
an effort to appease the Goddess. Of course it had been a carefully
planned ruse, but she still remembered the fury in Velaska's eyes when
she realized she had been tricked. She was still convinced that the only
reason Velaska had not taken the time to destroy them all then and
there, was her all consuming desire to find and kill Gabrielle.
Ephiny had her own recurring thoughts of her last encounter with
Velaska, if Gabrielle was the person that the angry Goddess hated the
most, then Ephiny ran a close second. Her declaration that Gabrielle,
and not Velaska was the true heir to the throne upon Melosa's death had
earned her the undying hatred of Velaska.
Xena could sense that there was tension in both women when she suggested
they make a brief stop to rest the horses and eat. She wanted to make
sure that everyone was of the same mind going into this. Gabrielle had
sensed that there were some tensions in their friends as well. When Xena
looked in her direction the unspoken question in her eyes, Gabrielle
nodded her agreement. They had to be sure, Xena spoke straight to the
point. "I know that what we are about to do is dangerous. It could well
mean the death of one or all of us. If you have any second thoughts you
have to tell me now. I'll think no less of you for it, but I need to
know that you are as committed to this plan as Gabrielle and I are."
Both Amazons took in everything that the warrior had said Ephiny stood
and clasped Xena's hand. "I think I can safely speak for Solari on this,
Gabrielle is our Queen. We are sworn to protect her, with our lives if
necessary. Not to mention the fact that you have been a true friend to
the Amazons Xena, you have risked your life for the good of the nation
more than once. We will be behind you and do whatever it takes to carry
out this plan."
"Ephiny said everything there is to be said. Velaska must be stopped!"
Xena and Gabrielle both felt more at ease after hearing their friends
declaration of support. They had no real doubts about it, knowing that
Ephiny and Solari were true Amazons whose main concern was for the
entire village. It just felt better hearing them say it.
They ate a quick meal of dried meat and bread and after giving the
horses some water they were on their way again. Riding behind Xena
Gabrielle let her hands wander from Xena's waist to the top of her
thighs. She leaned forward to whisper in the warrior's ear "I love you."
Xena turned in the saddle enough to give her a light kiss "And I love
you too." Just the love that shone from the bard's eyes was enough to
make her breath catch in her throat. She thought she was thinking it to
herself but the question came out. "What did I ever do to deserve you?"
The simple answer came from Gabrielle "You saved me."
She returned her arms to the loose grip she held on Xena's waist, this
was not the time or place to start something that neither one of them
could finish. She did allow her self to relax and mold herself against
Sensing her lovers thoughts Xena told her "Soon my love, this will be
over and we can get on with out lives."
They rode on through the rest of the afternoon, Solari rode ahead to act
as scout while Ephiny was watching for attacks from the side. Xena and
Gabrielle stayed to the back to ward off any rear attacks. It was late
afternoon when the reached a clearing that had a small creek running
through it, Xena called ahead to Signal their friends. "This is a good
place to make camp for the night, it well give us some time to hunt for
game and restock our supplies before it gets dark."
Dismounting Xena and Gabrielle each went about their normal routines to
set up camp. Each had specific jobs and years of traveling together had
bought them to a point where they worked as a unit. Ephiny volunteered
to help Gabrielle finish with the set up while Xena and Solari took care
of the hunting duties. She saw this as her chance to talk to Gabrielle.
Xena and Solari headed towards the woods to see what they would be able
to find for dinner. Giving them enough time to make sure they were out
of ear shot, Ephiny turned to Gabrielle. "Now care to tell me what's
Not wanting to be drawn into a conversation about her fears the bard
tried avoiding the question. "I don't know what you mean, I'm just
anxious like everyone else about meeting Velaska again."
Deciding to take another approach Ephiny moved closer to Gabrielle,
placing a comforting arm around her shoulders. "Gabrielle we are all
worried about what is going to happen that's true, but something more is
on your mind." Trying to put her friend more at ease. "You aren't doing
yourself any favors, or us for that matter by holding whatever it is
inside. We need to be focused on the task at hand, whatever you are
worrying over is going to keep you from doing that."
Tears began to stream down the bard's face unchecked "I'm so afraid..."
Ephiny spoke to reassure her "We all are."
"No, you don't understand. It's not myself that I am afraid for. It's
Now Ephiny was truly perplexed. "Your right I don't understand, If any
one can pull this off and bring Velaska down it's Xena."
In a voice that Ephiny could barely hear "I had a vision, a dream
actually but it was so real.... I had been wounded, Xena was trying to
save me...When she was working on a wound I had received her thoughts
strayed from the battle......"
"Gabrielle it was only a dream."
"Ephiny, my dreams have a disturbing way of becoming reality, I saw
Xena's death...When she was trying to help me Velaska killed her."
This put a whole new light on things, if Gabrielle's fear for Xena's
life couldn't be brought under control it could jeopardize them all. She
had to find a way to bring her Queen's anxiety under control.
"There is a way to change the outcome of the dream."
"We need to tell Xena what you dreamt."
The idea was not one Gabrielle had any fondness for "I don't see how
that can help."
"Think about it, if Xena knows she will be more on her guard. Remember
when you told me about the fight against the Persian army and the dream
you had then?You told Xena then, and by knowing what to expect, Xena was
able to avoid having her throat slit."
The memory flashed before Gabrielle's eyes, when she told Xena she had
not intended to for fear the warrior would insist on them leaving so she
could get Gabrielle to Thessaly. She had been trying to convince the
bard all along that her life was more important. It wasn't fear for her
own safety that had motivated Xena's desire to leave, but her
unwillingness to let Gabrielle die. It had worked out for the best
though, as Ephiny had reminded her Xena's life had been saved by the
information. The other fear still nagged at Gabrielle. "That's not all
"What else is there?"
Gabrielle averted her eyes "If I tell Xena what I saw in my dream she
will not want to fight. She will be concerned about me, the dream with
the Persians was different. In that on I saw no danger to myself just to
Xena, so she was able to protect herself. If I tell her that I saw what
might well be my own death, you know how she will react."
Ephiny stopped to consider what Gabrielle had said she hated to admit
it, but it was true. Xena would go ahead with the plan regardless of any
personal danger, but if she thought that Gabrielle would be hurt she
would never allow it to be carried out. "Alright I'll give you the fact
that telling Xena what you foresaw may not be the best idea."
Gabrielle thought for a moment "There is nothing else that we can do,
Velaska has to be stopped. If she isn't she will create havoc throughout
the entire Amazon nation."
Their conversation came to an abrupt halt when they heard Xena and
Solari returning from their hunting expedition. "We found some herbs
that will go great with this rabbit." Xena said as she laid down the
bracer of rabbits they had caught.
"I'll get dinner started." Gabrielle said, taking they cleaned meat and
placing it over the fire pit on a skewer. Xena noticed that the tension
that had been in her lover was still their, if anything it was worse
then it had been. She cast a glance at Ephiny wondering if Gabrielle had
confided in her friend. Felling the need to be close to the bard she
squatted next to her at the fire. "I hate seeing you like this, if there
was any way that I could have prevented it..."
"Xena we have been through this all before. I am responsible for my own
choices, I chose to leave Potidiea and follow you. You did not put me in
this position, I have been with you and continue to stay with you
because that is what I want."
Glancing towards the flame Gabrielle continued on in a softer tone.
"Xena if something happens to me I want you to promise me that you will
keep fighting to save the village and yourself...."
"I can't promise you that."
"We have talked about this before." Xena knew that Gabrielle was
referring to the persian invasion, suddenly a revelation came to her.
"You've had a dream about this haven't you?"
Trying to look anywhere but at the warrior Gabrielle thought about
denying it, but knew that there was no way she could lie to Xena. She
uttered a barley audible "Yes"
"Tell me about it."
"It was just a dream Xena, it doesn't mean anything."
Xena knew there was more to it then that. Gabrielle did not over react
to simple things. There had to something going on that she was trying to
hide. "Gabrielle, I need you to talk to me. You have to tell me what's
Looking into deep blue eyes she knew there was know holding back, she
would have to tell Xena everything. She sat back on her heels and taking
a deep breath launched into the story. Leaving out none of the details
she told Xena in graphic detail about the wound she had received, Xena's
efforts to stem the flow of blood and the death blow Xena received. When
she was done her shoulder's slumped forward as if she had a weight on
them. "I can't stand the fact that I might be the cause of your death."
Understanding now what had been plaguing the bard things became clearer
to Xena. She had bared the guilt on more than one occasion in recent
history of being the one that had placed Gabrielle in harms way. All the
trauma of what they had been through Dayhok, Hope, Illusia, Gabrielle's
decision to let Cracus die in rome, Her sacrifice to death and return
when she had taken Hope into the fire pit to save Xena. It all came
crashing back on her.
She pulled Gabrielle into the comfort of her arms "I know what it feels
like to belive that you are the one to bring harm to the one you love."
Gabrielle started to protest "Xena I don't want you to blame
Holding on to the bard she quited her by placing two fingers over her
lips. "Let me finish, I know what your feeling it is a burden no one
should ever have to carry. But what if I told you there was a way to
change the outcome of your dream?"
"If you don't get hurt in the battle I won't be distracted by it, and if
there is no battle you won't get hurt."
Confusion was written across the bard"s features "I don't understand...
Velaska has to be stopped..."
"And she will be, but not by a battle. Velaska won't stop in battle
until she butchers everyone she see's as an enemy if she is engaged in
an open battle. I know that now, there is only one way to stop her."
Instead of getting clearer Xena's meaning was becoming more and more of
a mystery. "How do we stop her then."
The stoic warrior mask was firmly on place. "By giving her exactly what
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