Disclaimer: Xena:Warrior Princess is a trademark of Renaissance Pictures. Story mine, main characters not. Women, sex, bondage, a whip and a black fur rug.
© September 1997 Charmer
This is the second part of a loose trilogy which began with "Killian's Way".
Gabrielle watched Xena from across the great hall.
There was no doubt about it, the warrior was magnificent. Her polished leathers had a deep, rich hue, and her newly-burnished armour gleamed coppery-gold in the bright fire light. A thick mane of dark hair tumbled over strong, bronzed shoulders, and eyes of the most stunning blue caught every flare in the torch-lit hall and reflected it with a natural intensity that burned like distant suns.
Gabrielle tuned out the meaningless conversation at her ear and gazed across the noisy firmament that was the royal court of Khedros. She sought those twin blue stars much as a navigator looks to the sky at night, finding her course there... her soul's true north, and the key to her home. More than that, Xena was her home; amidst the spirals of her life, the swirling cities, the winding roads... the warrior was the one place where the bard wanted to be.
And, Gabrielle concluded, right now my lovely home is utterly, utterly bored.
It would only get worse as the evening wore on, the bard noted, nodding politely into the relentless chatter at her side. It wasn't that Xena was unfamiliar with the courts of the rich and powerful. On the contrary, Xena was a natural leader. She'd had dealings with both gods and princes - she'd fought them, treated with them... killed some of them. The warlord had swept across nations with her armies, purple-bannered and as dazzling as any king here tonight. She counted such legends as Helen of Troy among her friends... and such conquerors as Caesar of Rome among her enemies.
No, Xena knew how to play at royalty; and this was, after all, a royal celebration. Two queens, three kings, and innumerable lesser lordlings were gathered in a palace that glittered with splendid finery, sealing their new axis with grand food, entertainment, and an ocean of excellent wine.
Did the benefits for trade and co-operation which these freshly signed scrolls promised warrant such extravagance? Gabrielle wasn't convinced. The populace were no doubt relieved that peace was guaranteed for a while. The lives of ordinary people would be safer and perhaps more prosperous without the threat of war. But would the villagers and townsfolk not begrudge their eminent masters some of this decadent luxury? After all, what were these rich princes celebrating? Merely their long-overdue commitment not to slaughter the inhabitants of each other's domains. The achievement was important, Gabrielle allowed, but she could well envision the people's weary, muted applause.
And Xena, having played a part in the negotiations which both her diplomatic skills and less-than-diplomatic reputation made invaluable, sat on an oak bench with her back against a table that was still piled with exotic, half-eaten fare. A silver cup was lodged at an angle in her right hand and its crimson contents swirled in a monotonous motion which spoke of the warrior's boredom like letters carved in stone. Xena's dismissive glances towards the fire-breathers who performed nearby told the world that she'd both seen and done it all before. Gabrielle smiled softly to herself, knowing that Xena's capacity to be entertained was curbed by her natural flair for being the entertainment herself in many instances, albeit usually more by default than by design. It would not do, the bard reasoned, to have Xena start an impromptu performance of that kind tonight. There were too many distinguished personages present, too many guards, and always the possibility that someone might take offence and revoke the treaty. Wars had been started over smaller incidents than the kind Xena was wont to provoke.
She would have to do something about it soon, Gabrielle decided, inclining her head in a feigned gesture of mild surprise as the conversation took another meandering turn. A number of well-dressed opportunists with more wine in them than sense had already propositioned the stunning creature in leather, and while Xena had so far refrained from breaking any noses, her rebuttals were becoming increasingly brusque. It would only take a couple more who were either too egotistical or too drunk to realise that the former warlord wasn't on for it, and Gabrielle would have an 'incident' on her hands.
The bard realised that she had to get Xena out of the way. Which meant that she would have to put her foot down.
With this in mind, Gabrielle politely excused herself from the pointless discussion and rose from her chair. She sauntered across the hall's huge mosaic floor, twisting a confident path between guests and entertainers, feeling subversively regal in her fine Amazonian garb. Just as Xena had polished up her armour for this occasion, Gabrielle had chosen to wear her queen's leather and jewellery. More than a few people gazed curiously as she passed by, their mutual smiles and whispers betraying a fascination with one so beautiful and yet so savage. In the grand halls of such nobles the Amazons wielded a wild and wanton reputation, and here strode their leader, flaunting her barbarity amongst the cultured hierarchy of civilised Greece.
The red-headed bard smirked a little, enjoying the attention.
After much weaving she finally drew near. Gabrielle put one bare knee on the bench next to Xena and reached onto the table behind the warrior's back, selecting a piece of stuffed peacock.
'You think I can't see, don't you?' she said calmly, without turning her head.
The warrior craned to look up at her. 'What?'
Gabrielle refused to make eye contact. She nibbled a piece off the bone, and chewed daintily. A delicate swallow. 'You think I don't notice.'
Gabrielle twisted a little on the bench, so that she could speak more quietly. Out of the corner of her eye she noticed that a number of guests were watching them. 'You're itching to make trouble.'
Gabrielle pursed her lips a little. She placed a possessive hand on Xena's shoulder, relishing the pointed grins and comments this move generated. She lightly stroked Xena's bare skin with her fingertips, and pitched her voice deliberately low.
'I'm tired of this entertainment. I'd like some personal attention.'
Xena sighed. 'I can't leave, Gabrielle. Not yet,' and she took a swig of wine.
Gabrielle frowned and leaned in closer. 'Arrogant warlord!'
Xena stiffened, the cup still in her mouth. Gabrielle lowered her lips to Xena's ear, almost touching. 'I said I'd like some personal attention,' she repeated firmly. Shifting her position slightly, the bard brushed her leg against Xena's naked thigh.
Xena lowered the cup and swallowed hard. 'Now?' she breathed.
Gabrielle took the cup from her and sipped, then caught Xena's chin with her other hand. Her gentle touch was a stark contrast to the severity of her tone.
'I suggest you listen this time, warlord, because if I have to issue my next instruction more than once, there will be serious consequences...'
The warrior's eyes widened at the green ones glaring down at her.
Sure that she had Xena's full attention, Gabrielle continued.
'Go up to my room. You know what to do. Wait for me.'
The warrior's pulse quickened visibly in her neck. Gabrielle felt Xena tremble. She raised an expectant eyebrow.
A heartbeat later Xena was on her feet. Gabrielle caught her arm and whispered stern words against her cheek. 'Make sure you're ready by the time I get there.'
Xena nodded quickly, and Gabrielle let her go.
As the bard drained the cup she smiled. It never took long.
Gabrielle headed for the palace kitchens. She had already picked up two of the little extras she wanted - she liked to bring Xena something new each time. The bard had found a fine linen cloth, and stolen a peacock feather from a table display. Carrying them carefully, she entered the hot and heady atmosphere of the cooking halls.
'I'd like a fresh flagon of wine, please,' she announced.
One of the chief cooks hurried forward to respond.
'Certainly,' his tone was respectful as he waved at an underling to fetch the item. 'Is there anything else you need?'
Gabrielle thought briefly. 'Do you have any honey?'
Both soon appeared. The cook provided a small basket so that Gabrielle could carry her burdens. She thanked him and turned to leave, when something hanging on a wall by one of the fires caught her eye. A young lad who was turning a pig followed her gaze, and blinked in surprise when she reached up and took down a large spatula.
While the cook and the lad exchanged glances, Gabrielle examined the wooden paddle, flexing it experimentally between her hands.
'May I borrow this?'
The cook smiled. 'As you wish.'
Gabrielle left with her new possessions. Behind her, the man grinned broadly at the lad by the fire. The young spit-boy, delighted to be sharing this private joke with no less than a chief cook, fell into such a fit of giggles that he toppled off his stool.
Go up to my room...
Of course it wasn't really her room. It wasn't even their room. In truth, the room belonged to Queen Giona of Khedros, the woman to be credited with initiating the new alliance, and on whose second floor the guest chambers were located. But as Gabrielle pushed open the solid oak door, she knew that it became her's... as did all that was in it.
Like all the others in the palace, the chamber was large. A huge bed occupied the far wall, lavish and canopied. In the candlelight Gabrielle could see that several items had been laid out neatly across the covers. Other impressive pieces of furniture could not clutter a wide expanse of polished wooden floor. Chairs, heavy chests, solid tables - a thick oak beam bisected open space beneath a high ceiling. Now that could be useful...
Gabrielle's gaze drifted down again. Xena was kneeling. The warrior waited on a thick fur rug which was the same luxuriant colour as her own tumbling hair. The bard wondered what beautiful creature the fur had once belonged to, and grew briefly wistful; but not for long. Xena was naked. Almost naked - but for four strategically worn pieces of dark leather.
Gabrielle shot the heavy bolt behind her and put down her basket. She crossed the room slowly until she stood in front of Xena on the rug, her booted feet almost touching the warrior's knees. Xena was resting back on her heels, and looked up to meet her eyes. Gabrielle thought she saw the suggestion of a smile at the corner of the warrior's mouth. The bard reached out and caught a handful of silky hair, then gently pressed Xena's cheek against her own leathered loins. She caressed the warrior's face with her other hand.
'Are you mine, warlord?' she asked gently.
Xena's reply was soft. 'Yes...'
Gabrielle increased the pressure a little. 'And do you want me?'
Xena's voice was slightly muffled this time. 'Oh, yes...'
Gabrielle used her grip to guide the warrior up onto her knees. She retrieved the linen from the basket - a thin, creamy piece with a soft texture - and wrapped it around Xena's waist, knotting it low on one hip as a loincloth. Gabrielle stood back and approved the result. She had been right. The pale colour offset the warrior's darker skin-tones beautifully, and the traditional border pattern in coppery thread at the hem was an elegant touch. Later, Gabrielle would be able to strip away the light garment with a flourish. Until then...
The amazon bard stepped behind Xena and began to examine the warrior's preparations. She checked the dark bands of leather on Xena's wrists and ankles. Each one sported a solid clip and a smooth bronze ring, stitched with secure thongs so that they could lie flat against the leather. Gabrielle smiled to herself when she felt the give in the band on Xena's right wrist. It was much too loose. She re-buckled it swiftly, tugging the cuff tight. Well, if Xena was in the mood to provoke her, Gabrielle could oblige.
'If you can't be trusted, you'll have to learn the hard way.'
She pulled Xena's arms back and snapped the clips onto opposite rings, instantly double-locking the warrior's wrists behind her back.
'Sorry,' Xena said coolly.
Gabrielle straightened, her feet astride Xena's calves. The warrior didn't sound that apologetic. Her narrowed gaze settled on the back of Xena's head. 'Did I ask you a question?'
A brief pause. 'No...'
'And did I say you could speak?'
Xena accepted her error eventually. 'No.'
Gabrielle locked Xena's ankles in a similar fashion. Xena's eyes followed the bard surreptitiously as she crossed to the bed. A few moments later Gabrielle returned, frowning when she saw the warrior's furtive glance.
'Not a good start, warlord,' she rebuked firmly, and pushed a narrow strip of fabric between Xena's perfect white teeth. The warrior inhaled sharply when Gabrielle drew the strip tight and knotted it at the back of her head, but she seemed to relax as another was lashed over her eyes.
Gabrielle eased the bound warrior down so that she lay helpless on her side in the dark fur. She remained crouched and waited as Xena's breathing steadied, watching the gentle rise and fall of her chest. She traced a tender finger across Xena's cheekbone, then down the side of her throat, smiling when the warrior released a soft moan.
'We'll see if you can do better later,' she said quietly, and stepped away.
The bard took her time. Xena could hear her - moving about the room, quietly adjusting furniture, smaller items. After a while she guessed that Gabrielle was changing her clothes.
Xena waited in a warm, velvet darkness. She felt mild air kiss her naked shoulder, and the fur's softness around her breast. She rested, eyes closed beneath the blindfold, knees drawn up a little, her own hair smooth beneath her cheek. Once or twice she flexed against her bonds, feeling the gentle give, and then the firm restraint beyond. She slipped deeply into the capture, wrapped inside its dusky womb...
'I hope you're not asleep.'
Xena moved her head a little to prove that she was not.
Gabrielle lay down on the rug next to her captive, balancing comfortably on one elbow. With her free hand she began to stroke the warrior's exposed torso. She moved her fingers slowly, tracing a delicate path between Xena's breasts and down to her naval. The firm muscles tensed in response to her touch. Gabrielle grinned.
'I like you bound, warlord,' she teased softly, 'I can do whatever I want with you.'
Gabrielle was rewarded by Xena's sensuous whimper.
The bard played for a while. Her hand drifted down to Xena's thighs and lovingly caressed their smooth skin. She slipped her fingers between them, delighting in the warrior's quickening breaths. Her hand slid up beneath the loincloth and explored out of sight; meanwhile Gabrielle watched the reactions on Xena's face. The warrior fell onto her back a little, raising her knees as the bard's feathery touches climbed higher.
Hidden, Gabrielle's little finger braved the fluid slope to Xena's entrance, hesitated, then peered inside.
Xena arched. She pleaded through the cloth.
Gabrielle chuckled. Her little finger circled cautiously inside the rim, then withdrew, saving the rest of this wonderful exploration for a later venture. She retrieved her hand and licked her little finger once. She moved over Xena, where she released the warrior's mouth and stroked the same finger across Xena's tongue.
'You taste good, warlord.'
Xena sucked gently on the tip of Gabrielle's finger. A moment later Gabrielle withdrew it, leaned over and kissed her deeply. The blindfolded warrior responded, needful, craving her touch.
Eventually Gabrielle unfastened Xena's bonds and ordered her to her feet. She slipped the blindfold from the warrior's eyes and walked towards a large, wooden chair. Having removed her amazon clothes, the bard had donned a shot-silk robe of emerald green. Queen Giona of Khedros was clearly a woman who liked the luxuries of distant lands, and her tastes extended to the guest quarters. The exquisite garment draped elegantly from Gabrielle's shoulders and hips, catching her gentle curves. Its fine hem brushed her calves, and below her feet were bare.
'Pour me some wine,' Gabrielle commanded over her shoulder. She swept down into the chair, sinking into its upholstered cushion and arranging herself artistically across the polished arms. She watched Xena cross to a table and pour from the new flagon, and for the second time she congratulated herself on the loincloth. It hung beautifully on the warrior's tall, muscled physique. Truly inspired... and somewhat inspirational.
'Bring it here.'
Xena approached obediently with a full goblet. As she handed Gabrielle the wine she caught sight of the items on the small table at Gabrielle's elbow. The flicker in her blue eyes was unmistakable.
Gabrielle grinned and glanced at the table on her right. The peacock feather and the kitchen paddle were lined up along one edge. They lay side by side, like lovers... one soft, one firm... full of enticing promise.
The bard was convinced that Xena's erotic scent intensified at that moment. As the goblet passed from one hand to another she could taste the warrior's flavour on the air between them. Oh, this was going to be wonderful...
Taking the goblet, Gabrielle pointed to the floor. Xena knelt quickly, and when Gabrielle raised her heels she responded by turning sideways onto all fours. The bard placed her feet on the warrior's back, crossing them in a relaxed manner. She sipped her wine and picked up the peacock feather to study it.
Even in candlelight the colours were iridescent. The feather's green and gold seemed to shimmer with the gently moving flames, and the centre-blue lustre appeared to Gabrielle like a cool reflection of Xena's lovely eyes. Putting down her cup, she ran her hand carefully along the feather's edge, letting her fingers glide all the way up to its incredibly soft tip. The fronds were so fine, like wispy down. The bard's own green eyes sparkled.
The tip of the feather touched the back of Xena's thigh. The warrior drew in a sharp breath.
'Spread your knees for me,' Gabrielle told her.
Xena complied. Gabrielle let the feather slide to Xena's other leg, allowing it to rise beneath the hem of the loincloth. Xena shuddered a little.
Gabrielle moved the feather experimentally under the pale garment. She couldn't see exactly where her caresses were touching, but she was enjoying the results. Small tremors travelled through the warrior's kneeling form, and her breath quickened noticeably.
Suddenly Gabrielle paused, and let the feather fall away.
'Xena, do you think the treaty will hold?'
The warrior blinked. She turned her head to look up at the bard, whose face wore the usual thoughtful expression that characterised Gabrielle's concerns for the world at large.
Xena hesitated. 'Yes. For a while.'
'Why only for a while?' Gabrielle was curious.
'Khedros and Dhomokos are committed, but the other three are less reliable. And Leondari could be very unstable.'
'Oh yes, the old king did look a bit doddery.'
'The old king isn't the problem. It's his son they'll have to worry about, and it won't be long before he inherits Leondari's throne.'
'Hmm.' Gabrielle pondered this, then her eyes came back into focus. She resumed her play with the feather. Xena readjusted instantly, lowering her head again. The warrior struggled to keep still as the bard tickled the sensitive skin behind her knees. The teasing fronds drifted higher again, and briefly found their way to Xena's centre. The warrior expelled a throaty cry.
'Quiet,' Gabrielle chided.
Xena trembled as the feather's tip traced random patterns on her inner thighs.
Gabrielle grinned. This was fun. The whole visit had been entertaining, in fact, and full of fresh experiences. She let the feather's tip fall to the floor again.
'Perhaps Queen Giona should look further afield for allies. She seems to have foreign tastes.'
Xena looked up again, realising the pattern. A wry smile tugged at the corner of her mouth. 'Yes, I noticed you trying to figure out which bits of that pomegranate were edible.'
Gabrielle grinned and poked Xena playfully with her toe. 'Hey, some of us haven't travelled as much as others, you know.'
'And you wouldn't touch those kumquats,' the warrior observed.
The bard looked a bit embarrassed. 'Well I wasn't sure. I thought maybe they were just for decoration.' She exhaled contentedly. 'I really enjoyed that wild boar though.'
'Yeah,' Xena sighed at the floor, 'and the game pie, the lobsters, the asparagus mousse, the cheesecakes...'
'Is there a point to this catalogue?' the bard murmured.
'Only that if it's not endless babble coming out of your pretty mouth it's endless tuck going in,' Xena smirked, just as the peacock feather resumed its course up her thighs.
The fronds instantly stilled against her skin. Xena froze. Uh-oh. She'd really mis-timed that one; good one, bard...
Gabrielle stood up. The warrior closed her eyes. Warm anticipation began to build from deep within her. She couldn't hear when Gabrielle put down the feather, but she could certainly tell when the bard picked up the kitchen paddle. The wood scraped briefly against the table's surface, hard and unyielding.
Gabrielle's voice brimmed with authority. 'Lean on the chair. You're going to need it.'
Merely knowing that the bard was about to punish her sent the warrior's pulse racing. She felt the blood pounding in her groin as she turned and bent over the chair, laying her cheek against the cushion and grasping the back legs with her hands. Xena sensed the play of air on her rear when Gabrielle lifted the loincloth and folded it over her back - somehow that exposure aroused her more than being simply naked.
The warrior found herself on the receiving end of a swift, hard spanking. The first few strokes stung, then it soon built to a fire which consumed her to her core. Xena moaned as the flat, springing surface scorched her backside, and she gripped the chair helplessly. She gasped when the fierce cadence sent jolts through her lower regions that made her spasm with arousal.
Gabrielle brought her efforts to a fierce crescendo, then she dropped to the floor behind Xena and brought her mouth to the woman's warm rear. Her tongue bathed the blushing skin, tasting the heat there.
As the bard's lips and teeth claimed the warrior's firm curves, Xena swore that her hot flesh had learned how to sing.
Leaning back, Gabrielle gazed upon Xena's displayed vulnerability. The warrior's liquid desire glistened between her thighs. Gabrielle couldn't help running her thumb along that glowing surface, drawing shudders and groans from the woman on her knees.
The bard's own heat was building rapidly. She stood and took hold of Xena's hair, pulling her up and away from the chair. She slipped into the seat herself, so that the warrior was between her knees, and gazed down at her. Xena's face was flushed and her pupils dilated with desire.
Gabrielle undid the sash on her robe and parted the edges, revealing her perfect nakedness beneath the green silk. 'That personal attention I wanted,' she said, her breath a little short from need and exertion, 'I'll have it now.'
Xena dived to her task instantly. Gabrielle sat well forward in the chair, leaning back, giving the warrior access between her toned thighs. Xena's mouth explored vigorously, slipping against moisture, sliding between Gabrielle's folds. The bard moaned with pleasure, her fair skin glowing pink as the bronzed warrior worked to please her.
Unexpectedly, Xena wrapped her arms under Gabrielle's legs and gripped her hips, lifting the bard to meet her hungry lips. Xena's practised tongue delved deeply, teased expertly, swirling Gabrielle towards an inevitable explosion. Sensing that she was in danger of losing control to the warrior, Gabrielle seized Xena's head tightly and drove her the final furlong, crying out with her climax and pouring over the woman beneath her.
As Gabrielle came down, Xena pulled back onto her heels, her head bowed slightly, her barely hidden expression triumphant.
Gabrielle caught her breath slowly, her loving eyes on the warrior.
'Pleased with yourself, aren't you?' the flushed bard said huskily.
'Well, I'll have to reward you for that. Would you like that, warlord? Can you submit to my reward?'
Two stout ropes were looped over the oak beam. Gabrielle passed them through the bronze rings at Xena's wrists and knotted them twice around the leather cuffs for good measure. Then she dragged them tight so that the ropes held Xena's arms wide above her head.
Below, Gabrielle found she had to be a little more resourceful. She anchored the rope from Xena's right ankle to the base of the bed close by, and drew the other out to the leg of a solid table. Pulling the rope out to her satisfaction she secured it with a clove-hitch. The warrior's body was drawn taut as her feet were spread apart on the floor.
Gabrielle circled close and captured Xena's breast with her hand.
'Are you still mine, warlord?'
'Oh yes,' Xena replied confidently.
Gabrielle arched an eyebrow. She squeezed a hard nipple between her finger and thumb, grinning when Xena closed her eyes and groaned.
'All mine?' she whispered, finding the other breast and giving it the same treatment.
Gabrielle marvelled at the warrior's physique. The flesh was firm, the skin smooth, the dark hair soft and luxuriant. She glided around behind Xena, allowing her body to slide across the other woman's. She raised her silk covered arms, letting the sleeves fall loose below her elbows, and pressed them sensually against Xena's own. She caressed strong forearms and biceps, and lay her cheek against the warrior's back.
What had she captured? Gabrielle could feel the muscles flexing across those powerful shoulders. Xena was like a prize gladiator, perfected by training, bound and on display. A rich Roman senator might sell all his possessions, and not meet the price of the creature Gabrielle could call her own.
'I'm going to take you, warlord,' she husked into Xena's ear.
Xena tensed. She pulled on her bonds, testing their strength. Gabrielle smiled. It was possible the warrior could break them - there was a first time for most things - but the bard didn't think that it would be tonight.
She circled in front of Xena again and kissed her passionately. With her feet spread the warrior was closer to the bard's height and she didn't have to lean far to meet Gabrielle's lips. Her restraints allowed her a little movement and it wasn't long before Xena's mouth grew hungry. Gabrielle soon found herself having to battle for control again.
The bard took two handfuls of Xena's luscious hair and held the warrior steady. Xena's tongue fought back, trying to lead the moist dance, and Gabrielle nipped the warrior's lip in a warning. Xena yielded, temporarily, letting Gabrielle's smooth probing take command once more, but inevitably she rebelled again, trying to possess the bard with her mouth.
Gabrielle drew back and gave her a knowing smile.
'So much for submission,' she said.
Xena's eyes flashed at that.
Ah, Gabrielle thought, it's beginning...
The bard crossed to the bed and surveyed the items laid out on top of it. She selected a smooth, leather-covered phallus. She approached Xena again.
'I told you that I'd take you, didn't I, warlord?'
The warrior's gaze landed on the object in Gabrielle's hand, and her jaw tightened. Her eyes met the bard's, and she smiled dangerously. That smile sent a thrill through Gabrielle's body. Xena was challenging her. A challenge to conquest. Oh yes...
Gabrielle stepped right up to Xena and seized her chin.
Xena said nothing. Her imposing stature said everything.
'I knew it couldn't last,' the bard taunted. 'You're incapable of willing surrender.'
Xena hauled on her restraints. Gabrielle resisted her sudden instinct to flinch from the angry struggles. Instead she stroked her hands over the warrior's taut body.
'That's why you have to be forced to it,' she continued, her voice quiet, compelling, 'given no choice...'
Gabrielle slipped her hand beneath Xena's loincloth and stroked her swollen desire. The warrior betrayed her need instantly, thrusting her hips forward to meet the intimate caress.
Gabrielle removed her hand. 'But as always, you'll be an easy conquest, warlord...'
Xena's glare was feral.
Gabrielle moved behind Xena again, and with a swift tug at the hip knot she stripped the warrior naked. The bard cast the cloth aside and examined Xena's rear. The skin was still beautifully flushed and Gabrielle gripped one cheek in her palm. Xena groaned at the contact.
'I do believe you enjoyed your punishment,' Gabrielle teased as she guided the phallus between Xena's moist folds and impaled her from behind.
Gabrielle timed her movements carefully, though the warrior's body clearly ached for release. Xena fought the ropes in an effort to follow the smooth, pumping action, trying to bring herself down hard against each thrust. Her breath came in shuddering gulps as she struggled for control, but the bard held back the pace.
When Gabrielle withdrew the phallus Xena let out a gasp of dismay. Gabrielle forced her head back and spoke into the warrior's ear, her tone commanding.
'I'll get you higher, but you know what it entails.'
Xena hissed and screwed up her eyes.
'So what will it be, warlord? The whip?'
Xena inhaled painfully, fighting herself, and nodded. She hardly trusted her own voice.
Gabrielle took pity on the warrior. 'Shall I gag you?'
Gabrielle fastened the strip of cloth tightly in Xena's mouth, noting the warrior's jaw muscles clench around it like a bit. She pushed Xena's hair forward, then left to retrieve the whip from the bed. The clever weapon felt familiar in her hand and she let the coils tumble free.
The bard positioned herself carefully, measuring the length of her throw. She didn't want the lash to encircle the woman's body. She cracked the whip once, practising her wrist action, and saw the warrior respond to the sound.
Gabrielle concentrated, and drew back her arm.
Her stroke was precise. The whip raised a clean, horizontal welt across Xena's upper back, where it would just stay hidden by the top of the warrior's leather tunic.
Gabrielle drew her arm back and wielded the whip again. Perfectly aimed and perfectly weighted, the lash left another crimson kiss on the smooth, bronze skin, just below the first.
Xena arched and growled.
Gabrielle smiled. Xena would feel those fine brands under her leathers for a couple of days. What would people think, if told that beneath her battle dress the warrior wore the welts of a whipping from her bard?
Gabrielle suspected that some folk wouldn't be surprised. She had noticed the subtle smiles, particularly in taverns. Xena would return from a dangerous errand later than she had promised, and Gabrielle's worried wait would express itself in a public dressing down. How quickly on such occasions did the warrior turn playful and hasten the bard upstairs for an evening of novel passion?
Gabrielle delivered a series of careful strokes, building a parallel pattern down to the middle of Xena's back. She paused, watching her captive's fists clench around the ropes, then let the leather fly again to sting the warrior's glowing rear.
Two more such lashes and Gabrielle knew that Xena was on the brink. She dropped the whip and hurried forward, seizing Xena once to kiss her helpless lips, then dropping onto her knees.
The bard pulled Xena towards her and invaded her aromatic folds. She sucked at Xena's nectar, tasting liquid passion and the ripeness of her desire. Her finger rediscovered Xena's entrance and blazed a courageous path inside, while lips, teeth and tongue all urged the warrior upward to a summit that pierced the skies. Xena threw back her head, her feet left the floor, and a carnal howl ripped through the night as the warlord was re-tamed.
Few of the candles still flickered by the time Gabrielle held Xena in her arms on the huge, richly-draped bed, watching the live shadows close in around them. The warrior's breath was warm against her breast - still shallow, but calmer now. Gabrielle kissed the dark forehead tenderly, and let the warrior's soft lips suckle the edge of her thumb.
'Thank you,' Xena sighed against the bard's sweet skin.
'Anything for you, my love.'
Xena turned her face up and gazed into Gabrielle's eyes. She smiled.
'Am I yours then, amazon bard?'
'Still mine, my angry warlord.'
Xena held out both wrists. Gabrielle raised an eyebrow, then smiled, and began to unbuckle one of the cuffs.
'No...' Xena whispered.
Gabrielle stopped, and her brow creased in puzzlement. 'You want me to bind you?'
Xena's eyes were soft, appealing. 'Yes... tonight I want to dream of you...'
Gabrielle felt delicious warmth envelop her heart. Gently, she bound Xena's wrists once more, and closed her eyes as the warrior curled into her embrace.
A minute later, Gabrielle opened her eyes again.
Damn. I forgot to use the honey!
The bard was annoyed with herself for a few moments, until she glanced down at her sleeping companion, and realised the possibilities for breakfast...
This story is the second in a loose trilogy, and is continued in "Firm Aim, Fine Timing"
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