A Warlord's Vengeance partV

by Marion Tuttle


Standard disclaimers: Xena Gabrielle and the gang are owned by the good
people of Universal Studios. This story and the ideas within however are
mine, no copy right infringement is intended.

Sex disclaimers: You know the drill by now, there are scenes of love and
sex between consenting adult women here. If your not old enough, this is
illegal where you live, or you just don't care to read this type of
material then I'm sure there are other things you will be able to find
that are more to your taste.

Authors note: I want to thank everyone for the positive responses that I
have received to this story. I always like hearing from people that have
read my stories. As always comments are welcome at

Dedication: I don't normally do this but it is a bit over due, I feel
mention should be made and acknowledgement given to my Angel. Not only
is she the woman that inspires many of these stories, she also puts up
with my moods while I'm writing them. If Gabrielle is Xena's "light"
then she is mine.

Gabrielle sat with a completely stunned look on her face, this was not
the first time in their travels together that the bard was not able to
follow Xena's line of thought. But never before had she been so totally
blown away by something the warrior had said. "What are you saying

"It's quite simple really the only way to avoid a bloody battle with
Velaska is to give her what she wants. So that is what I intend to do."

"Have you been eating poisonous mushroom? What she wants is the complete
surrender of the Amazon nation, not to mention me dead."

Xena moved closer to her lover, sitting down next to her she began to
explain. "Gabrielle you know better than almost anybody things are not
always what they seem. As you said Velaska wants to subjegate the
Amazons and to see you dead. All we have to do is make her believe that
she is getting exactly that."

Hearing the explanation Gabrielle relaxed a little bit, at least she
didn't feel now like Xena had lost her mind. "Do you plan on asking
Artemis for help?"

The blue in Xena's eye's turned cold and grey at the mention of the
Goddess' name. "No I don't, it's not like she has been a big help so

Solari and Ephiny came upon the pair just as Xena had uttered that last
statement. The warrior had told Solari about her idea when they were
trapping in the woods, she in turn had told Ephiny. While they both
agreed it was a good plan they were still a little uncomfortable to hear
Xena mock their patron Goddess. "Xena I wish you wouldn't incur the
wrath of the Gods we have enough trouble as it is."

Xena was just about to answer when a voice behind her spoke instead "No
Ephiny Xena is right."

They all looked to see the moon Goddess herself standing before them,
she repeated "Xena is right, there is only one way to beat Velaska."
Turning to the warrior she added. "And you are going to need my help
Xena, weather you want to admit it or not. I know what your plan is,
it's a good one but a mere mortal, even you can not pull this off."

Xena considered what Artemiss had said, she made some valid points about
the plan having a much better chance of success with divine
intervention. She still was skeptical though. "Why the sudden interest
Artemiss? You have been rather conspicuous by you absence through all of
this. Now all of a sudden are you are ready to lend a hand. Why now?"

The Goddess was as tall as Xena and regarded her with a mixture of
annoyance that she dare speak to her in such a way, and respect for all
the warrior had done and would do to protect her chosen Queen. "I will
allow your insolence this one time only because I know that you dealings
with my brother Ares as left you with a right to be distrustful of the
Gods. Make no mistake though I am here to help, my first and only
concern at this point is the protection of my Amazons and my chosen
Queen. There is a reason that I waited until now."

Still on guard Xena went on to explain her plan for the benefit of those
in their group that did not have divine insights. What Velaska wants is
to see Gabrielle dead and the entire nation to surrender to her rule. If
we convince her that there was more rebels then her little band at that
there was a revolution right here in which Gabrielle was killed, and the
nation as a whole knew now that Velaska was meant to be their true
ruler, we will have a chance to trap her."

Ephiny was the first one to comment, not thinking of the possible
consequences of incurring the warrior princess' wrath "Are you crazy
Xena? There is no way..."

A dark winglike brow arched over a crystal blue eye, but before Xena got
the chance to speak Solari placed a calming hand on Ephiny's arm and
spoke "Xena it's just that this plan sounds so far.... I mean first of
all Velaska won't just take our word for it that Gabrielle is dead she
will want proof. Not only that but do you really think that Velaska is
going to belive that we have all just decided to bow to her after
everything we did to fight against her?"

"I had planned to show her Gabrielle's body, there is a plant, if the
extract from this plant is administered correctly it makes the person
that it has been given to appear quite lifeless. No heartbeat are
breathing can be detected, there is no lasting damage. It just places
the body in a state of suspension. Once Velaska saw what appeared to be
Gabrielle dead she would think the spirit of the tribe had ben broken
from within."

Ephiny began to calm after hearing this explanation, what Xena was
saying made sense. One question remained though "It sounds like it could
work Xena, what I don't understand is why Artemiss says this will not
work without her."

"That's what I would like to know." Xena turned towards the Goddess.

"That is a fair question, let me answer it with one of my own. Xena do
you really think that Velaska is going to be satisfied to just See
Gabrielle's body? She is going to suspect a trick. If this is to work as
well as you want it to she should see Gabrielle killed. You know that I
can help you make it look like Gabrielle has actually been killed and
still protect her."

"How do we know why can trust you?"

"Again given your dealings with my brother that is a fair question,
however what choice do you have? Your plan might succeed without me,
Velaska may be fooled but the odds are against it. Are you willing to
take that risk?"

Gabrielle interjected her thoughts here "Xena, Artemiss is right about
Velaska. You said it yourself when she first became a God we needed to
have Callisto there to fight her. She must be stronger now then she was
then, don't let your distrust of Ares blind you."

"You always know just the right thing to say." she reached out and
lightly brushed her hand across Gabrielle's cheek. "Alright Artemiss
we'll do it your way. But so help me if this is a trick...."

Artemiss levelled a look at the warrior to let her know she meant
business "I told you, I am just as interested in protecting Gabrielle
and the Amazons as you are. I had my reasons for letting things go on as
long as they have. You may not understand them or approve of them..."

"I'm curious to know what those reasons might have been." Xena

"I knew how things would turn out with Cyrancus from the start, I had to
find out if you were going to be a fit bond mate for Gabrielle." She
could see the anger coming into Xena's eyes "Before you lose your temper
let me tell you this. You bravery and courage in battle were never in
question. I had to know that you would put protecting Gabrielle above
all things, I know now that you will. When all this is over I will be
present at the ceremony to bless your bonding myself."

The anger left Xena as quickly as she had begun to feel it. She wanted
more then anything in the world to believe that this one time the Gods
were not playing some kind of twisted game for their own amusement.
Seeing the soft look she received from Gabrielle left no room for any
emotion in her heart but the over whelming love she felt for this woman.

"I have a gift for you both." the Goddess said "I was going to wait
until after the ceremony to do this but I think you could use it now.
Take my hands." Both Gabrielle and Xena each reached out and took one of
the gloved hands offered them. With a wink to Solari and Ephiny she said
"Don't worry about them they'll be fine and I will bring them beck in
time to leave in the morning." With that all three women disappeared in
a shower of light.

They reappeared in a small isolated clearing, a stream reflected the
light from the moon casting the little valley into a study in shadow and
light. The air was tinged with the perfume of flowers, and the stars in
the sky looked like thousands of diamonds against a back drop of black
velvet. "What is this place?" Xena asked

Gabrielle let out a slow breath, "It's beautiful."

"This is my gift to you both, one perfect night. For tonight there is no
outside world, no band of renegades and no angry Goddess gone mad to
deal with. It is just the two of you, relax and enjoy. I will be back to
get you in the morning."

Xena started to protest but she saw the look in Gabrielle's eyes. "We
need this Xena, ever since...well you know we've had almost no time to
ourselves. So much has happened..."

A smile touched her face, her bard was pleased with this gift. It was
the first time she had seen Gabrielle truly smile in days. If this was
going to make her happy then Xena would accept. "Thank you Artemiss."

The Moon Goddess just nodded, it was becoming more and more clear to her
that Xena was the perfect mate for her chosen Queen. "Until morning
then." With those last words she was gone, as quickly as she had come.

The warrior stood looking at the way the moonlight highlighted
Gabrielle's hair. Everything about Gabrielle seemed to be more
pronounced tonight, the gentle light in her eyes, the softness in her
smile. Everything worked together to slowly steal Xena's breath "You are
so beautiful Gabrielle, even this place that is near perfection pales in
comparison to you."

Moving to embrace her warrior Gabrielle whispered in her ear "I knew you
had many skills, but I didn't know you were a poet too."

"Nah I just got lucky, you inspire me." She bent her head touching her
lips to the bards. "Let me show you how much."

The pressure of Xena's lips against her own was having an effect on her.
Any lingering thoughts she may have been having of the problems they had
temporarily left behind vanishing. They were rapidly being replaced by
thoughts of Xena's hands all over her body, followed by her tongue and
lips. Gabrielle sank down to the ground bringing Xena with her,
returning her kisses with equal passion.

Flames leapt between the two women as they let the love and desire they
felt for each other pour fourth. "I love you Gabrielle, I need to make
love to you right now."

Gabrielle's throat felt tight from the excelled rate of her breathing.
All she could do was gasp her answer. "Yes Xena.... please take me..."

Never breaking the contact she had with the bards lips, Xena's hands
began the loving task of unlacing the front of Gabrielle's shirt.
Expertly removing the cloth, she gave her hands free rain to roam across
Gabrielle's breasts. Her palms grazed the hardened nipples drawing a
ragged moan from the bard. Arching her back to increase the contact,
Gabrielle felt the familiar ache starting to move to all parts of her
body. The heat the warrior was causing felt like a flame that was about
to consume her. "Xena... please..."

"Ssshh my love, I'll give you everything you need." Xena could feel the
heat building in her own body. Part of her wanted to devour the bard, to
totally consume her. But tonight she wanted to take her time. She wanted
to do more then join their bodies, she wanted to join their very souls.
Her hand moved down to cup the bard's mound. The soft hair brushed
against her hand, her keen warrior senses had already told her, by scent
of Gabrielle's desire before she had even touched her. Her hand however
was telling her just how much her lover wanted her.

Gabrielle's raised her hips to meet Xena's hand, she couldn't wait much
longer. She tightened her grip around the warriors back drawing her
closer still. She wanted every part of her body to be in contact with
Xena. She felt the warrior slowly start to enter her, first with one
finger then two. The fullness she felt in her body was matched only by
the fullness she felt in her heart.

"Gods Gabrielle you feel so good." Xena whispered in her ear.

"So do you my warrior." Unable to keep her desire in check any longer
Gabrielle shifted her body so that they were lying side by side. Xena's
hand still keeping up it's rhythm was driving her closer and closer to
the edge. She wanted to feel the warrior fall into that bliss with her.
Her hand reached out and worked it's way under Xena's leathers and
breeches. "I want you to come with me."

Xena was so close to orgasm already, the sound of Gabrielle's voice and
the touch of her hand pushed her over. "Yeeess... Oh Gabrielle...
that's it.."

They both reached the peak at the same time and collapsed against each
other. Holding each other tightly in their arms they layed together
waiting for their breathing to slow, and basking in the love they found
in each other.

"Remind me to thank Artemiss."

Gabrielle raised her head and looked down at the warrior, surprise
clearly written on her features. "Xena I don't think I have ever heard
you utter a word of thanks to the Gods in all the time we have been

She smiled lightly "None of them as ever done anything for me worthy of
thanks before." was her simple reply.

They both drifted into a blissful sleep. Morning would come soon enough,
and with it the return of all their problems. But tonight they had been
blessed with one perfect night. The last thing that the bard remembered
seeing was a sky filled with brilliant stars. She drifted into sleep
thinking that they were certainly beautiful, but they paled in
comparison to the light that shown from her warrior's eyes.

The morning rays broke through the trees casting their perfect little
valley into brightness. Droplets of dew on the plants caught and
reflected light from the rising sun, turning each droplet of water into
a small rainbow. The air was not cold but had a crispness to it that
made waking up a pleasure.

Xena was the first one to wake up, she brushed the hair away from
Gabrielle's face and placed gentle kisses on her eyelids. "Time to get

Still half in the realm of Morpheus, Gabrielle stretched, not quite
ready to open her eyes. A smile playing around her lips, she bent down
to whisper in Gabrielle's ear. "If you don't get up I'm going to dunk
you in that stream."

The bard's eyes flew open, she was met with sparkling blue that the Gods
must have borrowed from the skies. "You wouldn't...."

A dark brow arched, it was obvious Xena was trying to hold back a smile
"Oh wouldn't I?" She began to scoop the bard up in her arms.

Thinking of being dunked in the cold water was more then enough to
motivate the bard into action. She sprang to her feet "Ok ok you win,
I'm up."

Their light banter was interrupted by the appearance of Artemiss
"Unfortunately ladies it's time to return to reality."

Xena moved forward to stand before the Goddess. "I want to thank you for
last night, but your right the sooner we get moving the sooner we can
get back to normal."

Gabrielle couldn't help but roll her eyes at that last statement.
"Normal for us, or normal for the rest of the world?" Her smile the one
thing that betrayed the tone of her voice.

Artemiss extended her hands, as she had the night before to both women.
In a flash they were returned to the clearing where they had left Ephiny
and Solari the night before. They were greeted with smiles from their
friends. "Everything is ready to go." Ephiny told them signaling to
where the horses stood waiting. "We should be getting to the village
just before noon."

Xena's eyes looked towards the sun. "Good, the first thing I want to do
is talk with Falana. She may have more information that could be useful
if she's in better shape." She turned towards Solari. "I'm going to ask
you this because you are the one that has been closest to this girl. Do
you think she can be trusted?"

Solari felt a slight hesitation, the last thing she wanted to do was
make another mistake in judgement that would place Gabrielle in even
greater danger. She had given a lot of thought to that very question
herself, and the one answer that she had kept coming back to was that
the girl was telling the truth. She may have been confused in the
beginning, even going so far as to join with and lead some of the
rebels. But Solari believed that she had changed her views, the beating
she had received only served to support that theory. "I believe her
Xena, she came to me when she was having doubts before everything broke
lose. When we first came to find you and Gabrielle to meet with
Cyrancus. That's why I thought it so strange that she disappeared with
the rest of them. Her story makes sense, and if you could have seen the
condition she was in when she made it back to the village..."

Xena clasped her friends forearm in a warrior's handshake "I trust your
judgement Solari, I'll talk to her. Anything she can tell us will help."
They mounted and headed off towards the Amazon village. The warrior
could feel her lover tense behind her. "How you holding up?"

"Alright under the circumstances, I must admit I feel a little edgy
about standing in front of a firing squad of archers to make it look
like I am being executed for betraying the nation. If it was anyone but
you holding the bow..."

"If you are having doubts Gabrielle, tell me now. If you don't think you
can do it.... just say the word and we'll find another way." The
unspoken question that laid between them was 'You do trust me don't

As if sensing this Gabrielle said out loud "I trust you with my life
Xena...literally. It's still a little unnerving though."

"I understand, for once though I think I trust what a God has told us.
Artemiss wants to protect you and the rest of the Amazons, she will make
sure you stay safe." She felt the bard's arms tighten around her from
behind. She knew in her heart that this woman was her life, and she
would do whatever it took to keep her safe.

"I love you warrior princess." was the simple response.

"And I love you my bard." They continued on until the noticed that they
had reached the borders of Amazon land. All four women thought it
strange that the had not yet been greeted by any border guards. The hair
was starting to stand up on the back of Xena's neck, something was

The closer they got to the Amazon village the quieter it became Xena
raised a hand to call their small party to a halt. She dismounted from
her horse looking for any signs of a disturbance. "Velaska is already in
the village." she stated matter of factly.

"How can you tell?" Ephiny asked

"There are no guards on patrol, no runners have come out to meet us. For
the Queen to be this close to the village and no escort sent out...
there has to be a problem."

Considering everything that Xena said Gabrielle posed the question,
"What do we do then? I can't ride in there with you like this and expect
to still pull off the plan. It's clear that I haven't been your
prisoner. Velaska is never going to believe that the three of you turned
against me without witnessing the betrayal we had set up."

Xena knew that everything Gabrielle said was true, there was no way the
could make things work the way the had planned. "Gabrielle's right, it's
to much of a risk for her to go into the village now. Velaska will
insist on carrying out the execution herself if she has secured the
village. I won't risk Gabrielle's life like that."

A new plan was all ready starting to form in Xena's mind. "Solari you
stay here with Gabrielle, there are some caves not to far from here I
used to use as a place to lay low when my Army had been overactive and
needed to stay out of sight for a while."

"Your not leaving me behind..." Gabrielle started to object.

"Gabrielle it's to dangerous for you to come with me...."

Their conversation was interrupted by the appearance of Artemiss
"Gabrielle, I know how you feel about staying here, but I agree with
Xena. Your safety has to come first. If Velaska succeeds in killing you
the Amazon nation will fall to her. That can not happen, you are fated
to be the ruler of my Amazons."

Frustration was mounting in the bard. "I know what your saying makes
sense, I just hate the feeling of sitting here feeling helpless."

Xena leaned done to kiss her lover lightly on the lips. I promise
Gabrielle,I'll get back to you as soon as i can but Velaska has to be
stopped once and for all." Drawing Gabrielle into her arms she held her
close. Kissing her one final time before turning to leave she said "Stay
here with Artemiss and Solari, I'll be able to concentrate better if I
know your safe."

With a final glance back at the light of her heart, Xena turned and left
the cave with Ephiny. Gabrielle watched her go, everything in her was
telling her to go with her lover. She turned her mind to all that had
been said though they had needed to change the plan for defeating
Velaska so many times. She had no doubts as to Xena's ability to handel
any situation. She felt a cold knot of dread in her stomach though. She
turned to tell Artemis of her fears and was shocked breathless to see
Velaska standing over the form of an unconscious form of Solari. "Well
Gabrielle long time no see. Let me think the last time we saw each other
you and your dear friend Xena dumped me into a pit of lava. Pity you
both choose to make an enemy of me. If only you had turned over the mask
of queenhood to me none of this would have ever happened. In a way I
guess I should thank you, after all it was you that led me to the
Ambrosia. If it weren't for you I wouldn't be a God."

Gabrielle backed away from the angry Goddess before her. "How did

A twisted smirk, that was almost like a parody of a smile graces
Velaska's lip's. "Why I posed as your dear Artemiss of course! I knew
that the only way to get you alone was by making Xena think I was here
to protect you. I hadn't counted on her leaving Solari behind but that
really was not much of a problem. Now Xena will come back to find you
dead, I really wish I could see the look on her face when you die. But
I'll settle for finally being able to give you what you so richly

Gabrielle tried to hold down the fear she was feeling, she may be about
to die. But she would not give her enemy the satisfaction of hearing her
plead for mercy, or seeing her terror. She squared her shoulders and
looked Velaska straight in the eye. "I may not stand a chance against
you. Even though you are a God I will not be a willing sacrifice."

"Good Gabrielle, try to fight me it will make my final victory over you
that much sweeter."

Xena and Ephiny arrived at the Amazon village and were surprised to see
that activity was going on as normal. There was no appearance of a
battle, no one seemed to be in a state of distress. It didn't make any
sense. Turning towards Ephiny Xena asked "Where is Falana staying? I
want to talk to her."

"When Solari and I left to find you we left her in our hut. The healer
was taking care of her there."

Nodding Xena headed in that direction, before she got to far she felt
Ephiny reach out and stop her. "Why do I have the feeling there is more
going on then even you have told me?"

Xena's answer was simple "Because there is."

Ephiny was left to wonder about the cryptic meaning behind the warrior's
words. She had learned a long time ago to never underestimate Xena. She
had made that mistake once when they had first met, she would never do
it again. There was a nagging doubt there but she would just have to
trust that the warrior princess knew what she was doing.

Opening the door slightly Xena noticed the small form of a young Amazon
in the far corner. The light inside the hut was very dim, and the
corners cast into shadows. She couldn't tell at first whether or not the
occupant of the chair was asleep. The rise and fall of her breathing
patterns soon told the warrior that the girl was in fact awake.

"Yes Xena it's me, I've been expecting you to come."

Xena, still not sure if she could trust this young Amazon did not want
to tip too much information. "I heard you took a bit of a beating."

"You heard right." Suddenly the resolve she was trying to hold broke,
and tears began to stream down her face "Xena I am so sorry, I thought
by following Cyrances when he was talking about avenging his brother and
returning Velaska as the rightful Queen I was doing the right thing. He
made it sound like Gabrielle had no business being an Amazon much less
our leader. He said she was weak and that she was just a puppet for you.
That through Gabrielle, you wanted to use the Amazons to build a new
army and resume your reputation as "The Destroyer Of Nations." I swear I
was just trying to do what I thought was the right thing."

Coming to stand before the young girl Xena put an arm around her
shoulder. In that moment, she knew that she was telling the truth. "I
believe what you're saying Falana. It does no good to rehash what has
been, the important thing now is to stop Velaska."

"Where is Queen Gabrielle?"

"She is back at the caves." Xena was about to tell her that she had
heard Velaska was here in the village when Falana spoke.

"You left her out there alone? Velaska is sure to go after her!"

Xena left the hut, telling Falana over her shoulder. "Find Ephiny, tell
her to gather up the royal guard and meet me back at the cave."

Mounting Argo Xena rode like a mad woman back towards the cave where she
had left Gabrielle. In her mind, her plan had been sound. Beat her heart
beat wildly with all the thoughts that had raced through her head. She
reached to opening of the cave, her blood pounding in her ears now. This
had to work, it had to her life would be worthless without Gabrielle.

The scene she came upon was one that froze her blood in her veins.
Velaska, standing over the body of her beloved bard, a bloody dagger in
her hand. Sensing her presence, the Goddess turned around. "Xena so glad
you could make it. All your plans, all your preparations.... for
nothing. You really didn't believe you could outsmart a God did you? Oh
I know you've done it before, to others and even to me. I learned my
lesson though and I will never underestimate you again. I though about
killing you too, but I know it would be an even greater pain for
Gabrielle to bear in the after life if she knows I have made you my
personal slave. She will never find any peace."

Xena looked at the woman turned Goddess, her greatest desire was to run
her sword through the Former Amazon. She knew that it would do no good
though. "Well you finally have what you wanted Velaska." Xena told her
in a flat toneless voice.

The Goddess looked at the warrior with a perplexed look on her face.
"What Xena? No declarations of revenge for me having killed your little
friend? No plaintive wails over her dead body for you lost love?"

The silence hung thick in the air until a voice from behind Velaska
snapped her attention around. "Who's lost?" Her expression went from one
of smug satisfaction to awe struck confusion. Standing before her was
Gabrielle. She swung back around to where she had left the bard's body.
nothing was there.

"How??? I killed you! Your dead!"

Artemiss materialized before her. "No Velaska, you thought you did they
fact is I was posing as Gabrielle while she was safe further back in the
caves. We knew the only way to beat you was at your own game!"

"What makes you think you have beaten me, I'm still here I can kill her
right now!"

"Gabrielle down now!" Xena pulled back the bow and let it fly it hit
it's mark true and straight. The arrow knocked the Goddess back just as
she light a spray of fire lose from her fingertips aimed at the bard.
Gabrielle's quick reflexes in reacting to Xena's warning moved her just
out of harm's way.

Velaska slumped forward after falling to her knees, her eyes filled with
disbelief. She was gasping for breath. "Hinds blood..."

Xena stepped forward at the same time that Gabrielle ran to embrace her.
"That's right Velaska, Hinds blood." She looked done at the dying
Goddess, she was about to say something when Gabrielle spoke. "I'm so
sorry it had to come to this Velaska."

"Don't....want....your...pity" she gasped out. Those where the last
words Velaska spoke before the life left her body.

Burying her face in the crook of Xena's neck Gabrielle shed silent
tear's "Ssshh it's going to be fine, it's all over." Xena soothed her.

"That's not why I'm crying." Gabrielle told her "My sadness is for all
she could have been if she hadn't let evil and greed rule her heart."

The warrior lightly kissed her love on the top of her head. "That's why
I love you, you always look for the good in everyone. Even if there is
none to be found."

"There is good in everyone on some level Xena, some people just need
more help to find it then others."

Artemiss stood before both women "And now you know why I have chosen her
to rule over my Amazons. Her heart is what gives them hope, it is what
saved you Xena. Now there is the matter of the two of you being joined."

Xena and Gabrielle looked up at the Moon Goddess, her words bringing
their thoughts back to the plans that they had put off for so long.
Looking lovingly into the bards eyes Xena smiled. "That's assuming your
Queen still wants my for a lifemate Artemiss."

That remark earned her a playful swat on the arm "Just try and get away
Warrior Princess."

"Never my love, my heart is you willing captive."

After returning to the village they were met not only by all the Amazons
that were anxious to hear what had happened and how Velaska had been
defeated. Their families were there to, Cyrenne rushed to embrace both
women and was met by an equally exited Hecuba as she to moved to greet
her daughter and the woman that would soon be a new member of her

They had expected to see Cyrenne there, but seeing Gabrielle's family
came as quite a shock. Considering the way they had left things in
Potidiea, Gabrielle had never expected to see her parents again.
Allowing her Mother to draw her into an embrace she felt the emotions
welling up inside her. It was true that in her travels with Xena she had
become a very strong, capable and independent woman. She had gone from a
naive village girl to the Queen of the Amazons. She was all of that, but
in that very moment she was a little girl that wanted nothing more then
to be held by her Mother.

Tears of happiness filled both woman's eyes as mother and daughter were
reunited. "I'm so happy to see you Mother, I thought you would never..."
Her voice was cut off by the emotions she was feeling.

"I couldn't lose you. I may not understand, but it's clear to me that
you have chosen to make your life with Xena. I know now that if I want
to have you in my life I have to accept that." Still holding her
daughter in a tight embrace she turned her words to Xena. "I am counting
on you warrior to protect her and keep her safe."

"With my very life Hecuba."

Gabrielle looked over to see her Father and sister talking. "What about
father? Is he willing to accept Xena as my mate?"

"It may take him a while longer to come around completely Gabrielle."
Her mother told her "But he is trying, he knows that if he does not
accept this he will never see you again. I know he hurt you deeply with
some of the things he said. You have to understand this came as a shock
to both of us...I'm afraid neither of us handled it very well."

"I'm just happy that you are all here. Xena I need to talk to my

Xena cast a glance over at the man that had hurt Gabrielle so much with
his rejection of her. She wanted to spare her lover from any more pain,
she knew though that Gabrielle had to deal with feeling she had before
they could move ahead. Nodding her head in understanding she whispered
"I'll be right here if you need me."

Gabrielle approached her father, she was intercepted by Lila who greeted
her with a strong hug. She returned the embrace, looking towards her
father the whole time. She was unsure of whether it was the lighting or
if her father did indeed have tears in his eyes. "Daddy...."

Sweeping his daughter into his arms he held her closely "Gabrielle....
I couldn't let you think I hated you for the rest of your life...."

Her tears were flowing freely now. "Can you accept my choices Daddy?"

When he smiled Xena could see from across the courtyard where Gabrielle
had gotten her winning smile from. "I guess I will have to, if I want
you in my life." Leaning closer he whispered so that only she could
hear. "If you had to fall in love with a woman I must admit you did pick
a magnificent one, even taking her past into consideration."

She threw her arms around her father "Thank you Daddy!!"

Ephiny and Solari entered into the reunion with a message sent from
Artemiss. In respect the knelt before their Queen as Regent Ephiny was
the one to speak. "Artemiss has decided that in this instance the
purification rites are to be bypassed. Xena has more then proven herself
worthy to be the Queen's Consort. She has also decreed that she herself
will bless this union, Queen Gabrielle you are to pick the witnesses
that will attend the ceremony so it can take place immediately."

Stepping forward Gabrielle took Ephiny's and Solari's hands. Asking them
to rise from their kneeling positions. "I know that as Queen I could
order this of you both, but I want to ask on mine and Xena's behalf, as
equals and friends. Will you stand in the temple with us as witness to
our union?"

Both women answered together "It would be our honor!"

Since only the couple themselves and the two chosen witnesses were
allowed inside the temple during the actual ceremony, the remainder of
the Village and guests prepared the feast in the royal pavilion. After
what had seemed like an eternity the door swung open and Ephiny and
Solari stepped out into the sunlight, followed by the newly joined
couple. Among cheers and applause Ephiny raised her hands calling for
quite. "As the Queen's Regent is my honor and pleasure to present to you
our Queen Gabrielle and her Consort Xena Warrior Princess. May the Gods
bless them with long lives filled with as much love as the feel this

No one was really sure, and would not dared to comment on it if they had
been. But their were some that swore at later times that the saw a
slight blush on Xena's cheeks.

The feasting went on long into the night until Xena came to her new wife
and said. "I love that fact that our families and friends have been able
to come together to wish us well. I know it makes you happy, but I want
nothing more in this world right now then to be alone with you."

"I feel the same way my dear warrior."

Their wish was answered in the form of the Moon Goddess appearing before
them. Kissing Gabrielle on the cheek she said "I have one final gift for
you both, a wedding present if you will."

Xena started to protest "Artemiss you have done more then enough, we
thank you..."

A chuckle escaped her. "Even now you resist taking anything from me
Xena, don't worry I am not offended. Please allow me this there are no
strings attached I promise. I only wish to send you both back to that
perfect clearing for some time alone. You have more then earn the right
to an uninterrupted honey moon."

She was still a little unsure of accepting the Goddess' generosity until
she saw the light reflected in her wife's eyes at the thought of having
some time alone together in such a perfect setting. "ALright, you have
shown me that there is at least one God on Olympus that I can trust."
With a wave of her hand they were gone, she would leave a message
explaining that Xena and Gabrielle were gone to start their life
together so no one would worry. She smiled to herself at the fact that
after all that had happened the bond of love that had been forged
between theses two had grown stronger. She could rest now knowing that
her chosen Queen was not only happy but with someone that would stand by
her and protect her forever.

The end

Well that is the end of this story, for those of you that have followed
it thank you for your patience in waiting for each installment. I
welcome any comments at mariontuttle@hotmail.com

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