A Different Time, A Better Time
By: ARS WilliamsDisclaimer: Xena and all other characters from Xena: Warrior Princess are not mine, they don't belong to me. They belong to USA Universal Studios and all those other great people. All of the rest of the characters in this story are mine. There are also a few songs in the story, don't worry this isn't a musical. The songs aren't mine either.
Sex Warning: Yes there is some sex between a male and female as well as implications towards sex in this story. It wouldn't be a story with out a little lovemaking. <lol>
Subtext Warning: There's a little cursing but nothing to run home and tell mother about. And there is also reference to two women being together.
Chapter Eight: The War with Paxos and
the Connection of Soulmates
Back on Ithaca, the war was in full mode now. Gregory was the General of the army and he was good but Julian also made it so that Ulysses was in charge, especially because he knew his son was good at both fighting and strategic planning. Of course Virgil was at his side and though King Julian had soldiers to fight his war for him, he never had them do anything he wasn't willing to do himself and since he was still in very good shape, he went out and fought also. Some of the battles took place on ships while they fought in the water and others took place on land. Marguerite worried all the time about her husband and son being out there fighting, knowing that at any moment either one of them or both could be killed. Camilla often kept her mother company because they both needed each other for support and life just wasn't the same, she couldn't hang out with her friends all the time, not to mention she was worried about her father and brother as much as her mother was worried about them.
So they kept each other company and Marguerite dealt with matters of the kingdom that Julian couldn't see to while he was out there fighting and planning. Marguerite was in their chambers where she had prepared a hot bath for Julian and turned down the sheets since a soldier had informed her a while ago, that the fighting had ended for today. When she was done she walked over to the window and looked out at her beautiful island, the part that hadn't been touched by war anyway. As she stood there she thought about so many things, she then turned her head as Julian walked into the room. "Are you alright?" She asked her husband as she walked over to him and he nodded as he sat down in a chair and began taking off his armor. "I'm fine my love," he said and she looked at him and nodded then began helping him with his armor and they just worked in silence. "I bet you could use a nice hot bath and some hot food," Marguerite said and Julian nodded then looked into the eyes of his wife, his Queen.
"Ulysses is fine," Julian said knowing Marguerite wanted to know but was afraid to ask as she was every day. Marguerite looked into the eyes of her husband and nodded. "He isn't hurt?" She asked and Julian grinned a little as he shook his head, "Ulysses might have a scratch on him but nothing else. That boy is fast and deadly with a weapon in his hands when he needs to be, I see now why he was the best in his class and with Virgil at his back..." Julian said then shook his head and let out a breath. Marguerite looked at her husband then let out a breath and took his hand as she lead him towards the bath chamber, "I wish he didn't have to fight, I wish neither of you did, this war is senseless," Marguerite said and Julian nodded as he got in the tub. "Most wars are senseless my love, I tried my best to avoid this but sometimes men just get greedy and sometimes war is necessary for change."
Julian said then let out a breath as he leaned back and relaxed and Marguerite got down on her knees behind him and soaked a sponge then ran it over Julian's shoulders and back. "There can be change without blood shed," she said, "sometimes, but people choose to react before they think about the consequences of their actions. They'd rather fight to prove their point, than to sit down and talk about their differences or problems," Julian said then let out a breath as he felt Marguerite run the sponge over his chest. "Then there are those who want to make a point or take what they want by force which is what we have here, but there is no way I am giving up my kingdom. I really didn't want it to come to this, I've tried everything possible," Julian said. "I know you did and I'm not blaming you for anything, I just wish things didn't have to be like this. When I think about you and Ulysses out there fighting and killing people, knowing it could be possible that you could be killed yourself. I just...I just worry about you that's all," Marguerite said and Julian turned and looked into the eyes of his wife.
"I know you do and I'm trying to end this war as quickly as possible, so many lives can be saved," Julian said and Marguerite nodded. "I know," she said and Julian let out a breath, "I'll be finished here in a little bit," Julian said and Marguerite nodded then stood and walked over to the door and as she was about to walk out she turned and looked at Julian who had turned back around and was leaned against the tub. "What will you do Julian, if we win? What will become of Paxos? What will become of King Dartanion, his family and his people?" Marguerite asked and Julian let out a breath as he stared out into space. "Paxos will become mine and I will give Dartanion the choice of staying in his kingdom and becoming a Satrap, if he chooses other wise he will be exiled and I will find someone that I find worthy to rule in his place." Julian said and Marguerite looked at him then walked out of the room and headed back to the bedroom where she sat down in a chair and thought, because that's all she could do.
Meanwhile, Ulysses was finishing up with some last reports so that he could know how everything was going and when he and Virgil were finished they both headed to their rooms. Ulysses let out a breath as he got to his room where he took out his key to unlock the door and when he tried to do just that, he found that his door was already unlocked. He knew he locked his door before he left so he silently pulled his sword, then quietly opened the door and walked into his room, quietly closing the door behind him. He looked around the sitting room where he found nothing suspicious or out of place so he continued to his bedroom. When he was in his room he looked around then heard a noise coming from the bathing chamber, so that's where he headed. He was almost there when the person came walking out of the chamber and he pointed his sword at them, "gods Ulysses," Victoria said as she held her hand up to her chest, her heart feeling as if it were about to pound its way out, and Ulysses let out a breath as he lowered his sword.
"You scared me half to death," she said as she slapped Ulysses on his arm and he looked at her as he sheathe his sword, then turned and walked into his bedroom. "What are you doing here?" He asked her and Victoria looked at him, "well I thought it would be nice if you came back to your room to a hot bath, your bed turned down and..." she said then walked up to Ulysses as she looked into his eyes. "and waiting arms," she said and Ulysses looked at her then backed up as he let out a breath. "Victoria, as much as I appreciate the gesture, I don't think it's a good idea for you to be here," Ulysses said and Victoria looked at him. "Ulysses why are you fighting us, what we could be? I know you want me because I want you and all I want to do is make you happy." Victoria said and Ulysses let out a breath as he looked into her eyes, "I know and Victoria I'm sorry but I can't give you what you want. I...I don't love you like you love me," Ulysses said and Victoria looked at him, looked into his eyes where she saw that he meant what he said.
She swallowed hard and nodded, "well um..." she said then cleared her throat and Ulysses closed his eyes and ran his fingers over his forehead. "Um...I had a bath prepared for you and there's um...there's some food over there," Victoria said as she pointed to the table and Ulysses looked at her. "Victoria I'm sorry," he said and she gave him a small grin that didn't reach her eyes, "its okay, really. I shouldn't have come here, you were right it was a bad idea. I just thought..." she said then stopped as she looked at Ulysses. "Who cares what I thought, it was stupid and just a really bad idea," she said then walked over to a chair and picked up her cloak. "I really do appreciate the gesture," Ulysses said and Victoria nodded as she headed for the door. "I'll uh...I'll see you around," Victoria said then walked out of the room and Ulysses let out a breath as he heard the door close.
'Why does everything have to be so damn complicated?' Ulysses asked himself then let out another breath as he walked into the sitting room where he locked the door then headed back into his bedroom where he began to take off his armor and clothes. When he was finished he walked into the bath chamber and looked at the tub of steaming hot water 'well I shouldn't let this go to waste' he thought to himself, then got into the tub, moaning as the hot water hit and began to relax sore muscles. When he had soaked long enough, he began rinsing all of the blood, dirt and grime from his body, making sure he washed his hair real well as well. When he was done, he got out, dried off then wrapped the towel around his waist. He let the water out of the tub then walked into his bedroom where he sat down and began to clean his sword and armor and as he did that, all that was on his mind at that moment, was Xena. He wondered what she was up to and if she was missing him as much as he was missing her, he had just sent her a letter out a couple of days ago, so he was waiting for her return letter.
A half an hour later, Ulysses was finished cleaning his armor and he sat it to the side in a chair, since he knew he would be putting it back on tomorrow. His sword however, he placed next to the bed in case he would need it and he even placed a dagger under his pillow. He ate some of the food that had been brought to his room and had a drink of wine, he stoked the fire place a bit then took the towel off throwing it into a near by chair before he got into the bed butt naked as the day he was born. Usually he would put his pajama pants on but lately he had been sleeping in the buff and only he knew why. Ulysses let out a breath as he lay on his stomach, the sheet covering his butt as he hugged the pillow close to him. He closed his eyes and thought about Xena and when he fell asleep he dreamed of Xena, wishing he were there with her instead of in Ithaca fighting a war. He missed her so much it hurt and he didn't know that missing someone so much could hurt as bad as he was hurting at this moment.
The next couple of days passed and the battles were getting more and more dangerous to the point where they were even skirmishes in the middle of the night, Paxos trying to get the upper hand but unfortunately for them, Ithaca had Ulysses and some of the best war advisors. Most nights, Ulysses walked into his room and did the same ritual that he did every night, which was to strip himself of his armor and clothes, then take a hot shower where he let all of the blood, dirt and grime rinse off of him. When he was done he cleaned his armor, and sharpened all of his weapons especially his sword.
When he was finished he'd lie in bed and look at the picture of Xena, where he thought about her and fell asleep with her on his mind. The following day they had a war counsel, "my lord we can end this tomorrow," Gregory said and Julian looked at him. "He's right," Ulysses said as he looked down at the map where they had war pieces positioned from everything that was going on. Julian looked at his son, "if we position the men correctly and time everything just right, we can crush Dartanion's forces in a matter of hours." Ulysses said and Julian as well as all of the others on the counsel looked at him, "what do you have in mind?" Julian asked and Ulysses looked at his father then down at the map and began to explain to them what he was thinking and what he had planned. "You're going to cut off their retreat?" Gregory asked and Ulysses nodded, "stop them completely right in here, so that they won't have anywhere to go. Either they surrender or they die," Ulysses said and they all looked at Ulysses.
"My lord I'm not sure if this is appropriate, we don't slaughter people," Gregory said and Ulysses looked at him. "I'm not talking about slaughtering anyone, I'm just talking about ending this so that lives can be saved on both sides and we can all get back to some normalcy of our lives. This is the perfect plan and we have just enough men to pull this off," Ulysses said then turned and looked at his father who looked into his son's eyes, "if everyone follows my lead and does exactly what I say, we can do this, this war can be over by tomorrow," Ulysses said and Julian looked at his son then let out a breath as he looked out at the other counsel members who all had their reservations but none of them had any other better ideas. "Ulysses this is a big risk, you want us to use all of our men in this plan and if this goes wrong we will be in real trouble. We'll be left unprotected," Julian said then stood and walked over to a window where he looked out at his kingdom. "This will work, trust me," Ulysses said, "I don't think this is a good idea my lord, I have been in my share of battles and I will willingly give my life for you and Ithaca but this is too risky...its...its foolish my lord," Gregory said.
A few of the others agreed and Julian let out a breath as he thought about it and Ulysses shook his head. "You guys are going soft, if we don't do this we could be at war for months, years," Ulysses said. "That's better than losing all that we have," one of the men said and Ulysses looked at him. "Is it? Hundreds of lives will be lost, ruined, think about that." Ulysses said and before Julian knew they were all arguing back and forth, "ENOUGH," Julian shouted and they all went quiet. "This isn't solving anything," Julian yelled at them then let out a breath. "All of you leave me, you'll have the answer in an hour," Julian said and they all stood and began leaving the room, Ulysses included. When the door closed, Julian let out a breath and sat down in his chair where he began to think and look at the map to see if there was another way, any other options than the one that was now presented to him. "Well?" Virgil asked as Ulysses leaned against the wall and looked at his friend, "we're waiting to see what his decision will be," Ulysses said and Virgil nodded then looked over at Gregory who was talking with a few of the other war advisors.
"I take it Gregory didn't like the idea," Virgil said and Ulysses looked at his friend, "no, neither did some of the others. They're willing to let this war go one for months and months. The next thing you know we'll have another Trojan war on our hands. They think that I'm young and rash but they don't see that I'm doing this for Ithaca's well being," Ulysses said and Virgil nodded. "I know but you have to admit this plan of yours is very risky and very dangerous," Virgil said and Ulysses looked at his friend. "Would you rather we not do it Virgil? Just think about what the outcome will be," Ulysses said and Virgil nodded. "I know, I know, I'm just saying," Virgil said and Ulysses let out a breath as he leaned his head back against the wall. "I know it's risky and dangerous but I wouldn't have suggested it if I didn't think we were capable of handling something like this. We've already been in this war for almost four months and I'm ready for it to be over, so many lives are being lost and its not right, its not." Ulysses said and Virgil looked at his friend, "I know its not...I just..." Virgil said then let out a breath and looked at Ulysses who looked at him.
"I'm behind you all the way and to the end, you know that," Virgil said and Ulysses nodded. "I do, the same goes for me," Ulysses said then let out a breath and looked up at the ceiling. "Besides we can't go getting ourselves killed before you get married, I'm looking forward to being your best man," Virgil said and Ulysses looked at him then grinned at his friend. "You're just assuming that you're going to be my best man," Ulysses said and Virgil smiled at him. "Who else would you get? Gregory?" Virgil asked and they both chuckled at that thought. Ulysses let out a breath as he slid down on the wall and sat down on the floor with his knees drawn up to his chest so that he could rest his arms on them and Virgil joined him on the floor. "I see you didn't deny that you were getting married," Virgil said and Ulysses shook his head as he held the stone in his hand feeling Xena's presence.
"I love Xena so much and I have every intention of making her my wife, just as soon as this stupid war is over," Ulysses said and Virgil nodded. "Have you told your parents about Xena?" Virgil asked and Ulysses shook his head and let out a breath as he ran his fingers through his hair, "no, I'm trying to figure out how and when to tell them. I don't know how they'll feel about me marrying a commoner," Ulysses said. "I think that they would be happy that you're happy," Virgil said and Ulysses sniggered at that, "what makes me happy hasn't really been a priority as of late. Come on Virgil you know how it is, we are royalty and our parents, especially our fathers, don't want us to marry just anyone. Most marriages have nothing to do with love its all about who will profit from whom. If I marry this princess then we'll have this kingdom's alliance, if not then we could be at war," Ulysses said and Virgil grinned and nodded. "Don't have to be in Rome to have politics going on," he said and Ulysses nodded, "that's for sure," he said and they continued to sit there talking every now and then while they waited for the hour to be up.
When that hour was up everyone was back at the door and they waited a couple more minutes before they opened the door and walked in. Ulysses looked at his father who was sitting in his chair at the head of the table, "come in, I've made my decision," Julian said and all of the men came in and took their seats. Julian let out a breath as he looked out at his war advisors, the general of his army, who was a great friend as well as advisor, and his son whom he trusted with his life and Ithaca's well being. "This decision wasn't by far an easy decision, I know many of you have a lot of concerns about Ulysses' plan. You think its risky, foolish, rash and unsafe, well I would have to agree with you on that," he said and there were a lot of breaths of relief let out and Ulysses just continued to look at his father. "However, all those things this plan my son has come up with may be, it is the best course of action we have to end this war once and for all. So my decision is we will go through with this," Julian said then turned and looked at his son.
"Ulysses, since this is your plan you are in charge," he said and Ulysses looked into his father's eyes seeing the tremendous amount of trust that was being placed in him and he bowed his head in respect. "My lord..." a few began to protest but Julian held up his hand. "This is final and not up for further discussion, Gregory you will follow Ulysses' orders as if they were coming from my own lips," Julian said and Gregory looked at his king and bowed his head. "Now lets all head to the planning room where we will plan this out step for step and go over it until it is drilled into our heads so that there will be no mistakes," Julian said and they all stood and began to leave the room. When Ulysses turned to leave, his father grabbed his arm and Ulysses turned and looked into the eyes of his father, "don't make me regret this Ulysses. I've basically put the future of Ithaca into your hands, do not let me down, do not disappoint me." Julian said then walked up to his son until he was in Ulysses' face, "there's more than just your pride on the line here, you have people's lives in your hands now," Julian said and Ulysses looked into his father's eyes.
"I know and I understand, believe me I do. I promise you father, this will work and this war will be over and in a couple of days Paxos will be ours and things can start getting back to normal. So many lives will be saved doing this," Ulysses said and Julian looked at him. "And so many will be lost doing this," Julian told his son then looked at Ulysses a while longer before he walked out of the room. Ulysses let out a breath then closed his eyes 'give me strength Athena' he prayed then let out another breath before he walked out of the room closing the door behind him. Virgil got off of the wall and fell in step with Ulysses as they headed to the planning room, "so we're doing it?" Virgil asked and Ulysses nodded, "yes my friend we're doing it," Ulysses said and Virgil nodded and all was quiet as they continued to walk. When they got to the room they planned out everything making sure that they had everything covered, even the tiniest detail covered and when they did, Gregory, Julian, Ulysses and Virgil went to the soldier's barracks and had the men trained and went over everything with the captains and lieutenants.
Once they had drilled everything into the soldier's heads and made sure they understood everything, they all went and got some rest planning to get up two hours before sunrise to go over everything again so that it would be fresh in their minds. Ulysses and Virgil both practiced while Julian constantly went over plans with Marguerite sitting near by watching him. "Are you really going to do this Julian?" She asked and he let out a breath as he turned and looked at his wife, "yes I am. Ulysses is right about one thing, this war has to end. We've already been at war for four months, it doesn't need to last any longer, we don't need to keep losing and ruining more lives if we don't have to, if there is a way that we can end this, this is a way," Julian said. "But its suicide," Marguerite shouted then let out a breath as she walked over to her husband, "I love Ulysses and I trust him but this plan that he has come up with is crazy, its going to get you all killed." Marguerite said, "Marguerite," Julian said in a loving tone but she stopped him from saying anything else.
"NO," she yelled and he looked at her in surprise, "have either one of you thought about me and Camilla, what will happen to us if something should happen to you? What are we supposed to do Julian if you die? Hmmm? You tell me that, what are we supposed to do?" Marguerite asked and Julian let out a breath as he looked down for a moment, "you say if we win you will take Paxos and make it your own. What do you think will happen to us if we loose? Do you think Dartanion is just going to let us be? You're being gracious in saying that you will offer him the choice of being a satrap or exile. Do you think if you and Ulysses were both dead he would offer me or Camilla the same? He will have the opportunity to wipe out your line Julian and he would be a fool not to take that opportunity," Marguerite said then walked up to her husband and held his face in her hands as she looked into his eyes and he looked into hers where he saw so much love, concern and devotion towards him.
"I love you so much and I have such faith in you my husband but I am afraid. I'm more afraid for your life and Ulysses' than I am for my own. I am your Queen Julian and I will face death with you but what of your kingdom, what of your children?" Marguerite asked and Julian looked at her. "Everything will be fine," he told her and Marguerite shook her head as tears filled her eyes and Julian just embraced his wife in a hug where he held her tightly and she did the same as she shed tears, "I can't loose you," Marguerite whispered to him and Julian closed his eyes as he ran his hand over Marguerite's hair. "You will never loose me," Julian said and when the hug ended he pulled back and looked at his wife wiping her tears away with his fingers as he looked into her eyes. "But if I should die tomorrow..." he started to say and Marguerite closed her eyes and shook her head as more tears ran from her eyes. "If I should die tomorrow," he said again as he held Marguerite's face up so that he was looking into her eyes.
"I have made arrangements for you and Camilla and I promise you, Ulysses will be here to take care of you both should the Fates cut my line," Julian said and Marguerite nodded then leaned in and kissed her him softly but passionately. When the kiss ended Julian looked into his wife's eyes as he caressed her hair, "be strong my Queen like I know you are." He said then grinned as he caressed her cheek with his fingers, "that's one of the reasons why I feel in love with you because you are so strong, especially when I can't be. These 28 years have been the best of my life," Julian said and Marguerite nodded, "and the best of mine as well." Marguerite said and Julian looked at her then leaned in and kissed her again and this kiss was more passionate than the last. When it ended Julian placed a kiss on Marguerite's forehead then walked away to the bed where he sat down. Marguerite looked over at her husband then something came to mind, "I have one thing to do before I come to bed," Marguerite said and Julian nodded.
Marguerite walked out of their chambers and headed down the hall and around the corner until she came to the door she wanted to be at. She knocked hard on the door and after a minute the door opened, "mother, is something wrong?" Ulysses asked and Marguerite looked at her son then walked into the room without saying a word and Ulysses closed the door behind her. "Your father told me about your plan," Marguerite said and Ulysses looked at her, "I can see in your eyes you think it's a bad idea too," Ulysses said. "I do, Ulysses if this is a way to prove something to us or I don't know...do something, can you just please find another way to do it. You're going to get your father killed," Marguerite said and Ulysses looked at his mother, "mom I'm not trying to prove anything to anyone, I truly believe that this is the best way to end this and so does dad, that's why he agreed with me. As for getting dad killed, he can take care of himself quite well," Ulysses said and Marguerite looked at her son.
"Your father isn't as young as he used to be Ulysses, he just can't keep going out there fighting all those men at one time and for so long. He isn't as young as you are, I beg you for your sake and his, please rethink this plan of yours, tell your father you were mistaken, that you can't do this. There has to be another way," Marguerite said and Ulysses looked at his mother as he shook his head, "I've looked mother, father's looked, we've all looked, there isn't another way. The alternative will be to continue fighting and who knows how long that will last, our resources will eventually began to run out. We have to do this," Ulysses said and Marguerite looked at him and shook her head as she turned around and brought her hand up to her face. Ulysses looked at his mother and he couldn't stand to see her this way, so he walked up to her and pulled her into his arms, hugging her. "I promise you mother, dad will be fine, I promise you. This will go right and everything will be fine," Ulysses said.
"I can't lose him," she said and Ulysses closed his eyes and hugged his mother tighter knowing how she must feel, "you won't I promise," Ulysses said then placed a kiss on his mother's forehead. "I promise," he whispered to her once more and when the hug ended Marguerite told her son to get some rest and she left his room and headed back to hers. When she got there Julian was already asleep so she softly got into the bed laying on her side facing away from Julian. She found it next to impossible to fall asleep knowing what lay ahead tomorrow. Julian rolled on his other side and scooted up behind Marguerite wrapping his arm tight around her and inhaling her scent as he continued to sleep. Marguerite ran her hand over her husband's arm, then down to his fingers where she intertwined them with hers. Amazingly enough, ten minutes after being in his arms, she couldn't stop her eyes from drooping and after a couple of minutes of fighting sleep, she pushed back into Julian and dosed off. Back in Ulysses' room his mother's words continued to rang throughout his ears and he let out a breath as he lie in the bed and read Xena's letter that he had gotten a day before.
My Dearest Ulysses,
I say it in every letter and I'll continue to say it until I'm looking into your brown eyes and your arms are tight around me, I miss you. I miss you my love so much that it hurts and the only thing that comforts me at night is knowing that I'll have sweet dreams of you and that I feel your presence in the necklace around my neck. You'll be happy to know that Gemini is doing exactly what you asked her to do, she doesn't leave me alone for a minute and in times when I'm missing you so much, her presence is a comfort. You should see her and how she's grown, she can get onto the bed by herself now.
Life here in Amphipolis is good, nothing special going on here. I've been doing more and more things with Athena, there was one time that I really needed you here. The mission I had been on had been really hard on me and there were some things that happen that well, I guess I wasn't ready for and I didn't know how to deal with it but I've gotten through it. It would have been a real comfort though, to have you by my side, I know you would have made it all better. I miss having you hold me and me you as we stare into each other's eyes saying what we don't with words, with our hearts. I miss having your hand in mine as we walk, I miss hearing your voice, having you hold me when we sleep and still have you holding me when we awake. Oh how I miss you and I making love, not just the physical pleasure that came with it, which was great, but everything else as well. How our souls seem to meet and connect, us making love is a beautiful thing, that I hope to experience again soon.
I hope you're doing okay, I'm really worried about you and the fact that you're at war but I know you can take care of yourself. Just make sure you come back to me alive and whole. I love you so much and I can't wait until we see each other again. Be safe.
All my love,
Ulysses had been reading that letter over and over ever since he got it and this time when he was finished he walked over to his desk where he sat down and began writing a letter to Xena. When he was finished he sealed the letter with wax and his sealed then left his room and went to the message room where he made sure the letter was sent out as soon as possible. Once that was done he went back to his room and went over the plans in his head again then got ready for bed and went over the plans once more, making sure there weren't any loop holes or things that had been missed. Once that was done he went to his nightly ritual of pulling out Xena's picture and looking at it as he held the stone around his neck, "soon my love, soon we'll be together," Ulysses said then placed the picture back in his night stand, blew out the candle and turned on his side preparing to fall asleep, his hand holding the stone on his necklace.
Morning came all too soon and when Ulysses woke he stretched then began to do a few push ups to wake up all of his muscles. When he was done he stood and twists and turned. When he was finally done he wiped down his body then began getting dressed. Once he was dressed he began to put on his armor and when he was finished, he picked the stone to his necklace up and closed his eyes then kissed it as he thought of Xena. He placed the necklace in his shirt then picked up his sword and the belt that it was attached to and put it on, he then looked at his sword making sure it was okay then sheathe it. He looked at the rest of his weapons which was mainly knives and daggers then placed them all in hidden spots all over his body and others were plain to see.
When he was ready he headed to the soldiers barracks where he found there were others there as well, going over the plan to make sure everyone knew what they had to do. Julian was in his room getting ready with Marguerite helping him with his armor and when he was ready to go he spent the last few minutes he had with Marguerite and when his time was up she walked him to the door. When he opened the door he found Camilla leaning against the wall and she raised her head and looked at her father, "you'll be careful won't you?" She asked as she walked up to him and he grinned as he looked into the eyes of his daughter as he reached out and touched her cheek. "I will be careful," he said and Camilla looked at him then hugged him tightly, "promise you'll come back daddy," she said in a soft tear filled voice and Julian closed his eyes as he caressed his daughter's hair. After a minute he pulled back and looked at his grown daughter, "you've grown into such a beautiful woman, I'm proud of you my daughter," he said and tears began to roll down Camilla's cheek.
"Why did Ulysses have to come up with this stupid plan," Camilla said and Julian looked at his daughter, "no, don't blame him for this. He's just trying to end this so that lives can be saved," Julian said then let out a breath and looked at his daughter. "I love you Camilla," he said as he caressed his daughter's cheek and she looked at him, "I love you too daddy," she said and he smiled at that. "I haven't heard that in a while, usually when you wanted something," Julian said and Camilla looked at him. "I want you to come back unharmed," she said and he looked into her eyes, "I'll try, I'll try," he said then hugged his daughter once more. "Take care of your mother," he whispered to her then placed a kiss on her cheek, when the hug ended he looked into her eyes one last time then placed a kiss on her forehead. He began walking away then stopped and turned to look at his wife and daughter, Camilla having moved next to her mother.
He looked at them then turned and continued to walk away. Camilla turned her head and leaned into her mother who held her close as she watched her husband walk away, for what could be the last time she would see him alive. Julian made his way to the barracks and after that, time just seemed to pass by so quickly. After a while they moved out onto the battlefield where they went over the plan once more in the tent while the soldiers moved into place. "My lord the enemy is approaching," a soldier said as he ran into the tent and they all looked at each other. "Moment of truth gentlemen," Ulysses said, "you all know where you need to be, lets move out," Ulysses said and they nodded and left the tent. "Dad," Ulysses called as Julian was about to walk out of the tent, instead he turned and looked at his son. "I'm proud of you my son, prouder than I have ever been," Julian said and Ulysses looked into his father's eyes where he saw fear and love.
"This will work dad, I promise you it will. And when this battle is over today, you will go back to the palace and walk into mother's waiting arms," Ulysses sad and Julian looked into his son's eyes and grinned. "When this is all over we're gonna have to talk about how this change in you occurred," Julian said and Ulysses grinned. "I'll hold you to that," he said as he walked over to his father until they were standing face to face, "if something should happen Ulysses..." Julian said but Ulysses cut him off. "I'll take care of mother, Camilla and Ithaca," Ulysses said and Julian looked into his son's eyes then placed his hand on his cheek. "I'm so proud of the man you have become," Julian said and Ulysses looked at his father then grinned. "Don't go get yourself killed out there old man, you and I still have many arguments to have," Ulysses said and Julian laughed as he pushed Ulysses' head.
"I'll show you who's an old man, you just make sure you don't get yourself killed youngster," Julian said and Ulysses chuckled. "Oh I won't, I have too much to live for now," Ulysses said then winked at his father, who was trying to figure out what had changed his son so. Ulysses walked out of the tent and Julian followed behind him, both heading to their horses, "I'll be seeing you," Ulysses told his father and Julian nodded, "and I you," Julian said and Ulysses nodded then watched as his father clicked his tongue and began riding off on his horse. Ulysses let out a breath and looked at Virgil who came riding up next to him, "are you ready?" Ulysses asked and Virgil looked at him, "couldn't be more ready," Virgil said and Ulysses grinned at his friend then turned and looked ahead. "Alright, then let's make the Paxonians wish they had never waged war on us," Ulysses said.
"Move out," Virgil yelled and the men began to move on their
horses since Ulysses was in charge of the main force, which was the cavalry,
which in his plan would eventually turn into the infantry. It wasn't long
before everyone was in place and Ulysses was looking at the enemy who was
away, directly across from them, Ulysses had known they would come this way.
"Hold," Ulysses yelled to the men as he held up his hand while the other
the reigns of the horse who could feel the fever of battle and was showing
They were the best archers Ithaca had and even though the enemy was far away they were hitting their targets and in doing so the enemy began to attack and Ulysses signaled his men to do the same; the biggest battle that would end it all had begun. They were two hours into the battle and everything was going as planned, Ulysses' forces were now on foot and cutting down every man they came in contact with. "The king's forces are being surrounded," a soldier yelled and Ulysses turned and looked at the soldier then towards where his father should be and he did indeed see that they were being surrounded. "I have no idea where they came from my lord, it's as if they came out of no where," a soldier yelled and Ulysses just acted. He began to run, cutting down the enemy's soldiers who tried to stop him.
He saw an enemy riding towards him on a horse and quickly he looked around and found a spear lying on the ground, he ran for it and picked it up, then looked at the guy on the horse who was still coming and cutting down men as he did. Ulysses aimed the spear at the guy and then with all his might he threw it. The spear went through the man with enough force to knock him off of his horse and pin him to the ground. Ulysses held on tight to his sword and ran for the horse and when he was close to the horse, who was still galloping, he grabbed the horse's reigns and jumped up onto the horse. He rode the horse towards his father, cutting down the enemy who would dare stop him as he went, "Virgil," Ulysses yelled to his friend who he saw fighting and Virgil looked up at Ulysses. "To your King," Ulysses yelled pointing his sword towards where Julian was and Virgil nodded and was on his way there as well.
Ulysses rode hard and fast until he was there and he began cutting down men not even thinking about it, all he knew was that they were a threat. He saw his father being surrounded by a gang of men and he was trying his best to fend them off. Ulysses jumped down off of the horse onto a soldier who was about to killed one of Ulysses' men but no longer, since Ulysses' sword went through his back. Ulysses stood quickly and fought his way over to his father who had fallen to his knees, since he was hit from behind. Ulysses moved hard and fast picking up another sword on the way, as he fought to get to his fallen father, and when he was finally there he stood in front of his father fighting off all of the men who came at them from all sides. When he finally had a break, he grabbed his father's arm and tried to pull him up, "come on get up," Ulysses said as he used his strength to help his father up. "Get up, I promised mother I would bring you back to her alive," Ulysses said and Julian looked into his son's eyes.
"GET UP," Ulysses stressed and Julian looked once more into his son's eyes and then some where deep inside he found the strength to pull himself up using Ulysses' arm to help him. "Are you good to go?" Ulysses asked his father and Julian nodded, "just give me a sword and I'll be fine," he said and Ulysses nodded then turned around and ran his sword through a guy that thought he was sneaking up on him. Ulysses looked around for a sword and found one, then handed it to his father. "Need to signal the next wave of the plan," Julian said and Ulysses nodded and found a nearby soldier with a bow and told him to light it then signal the others to start the next part of the plan. The next thing everyone knew the sky will filled with arrows which were on fire at the end. When they hit the ground a circle of fire was ignited surrounding the enemy that had been pushed back into a spot where they would be trapped by the fire.
Ulysses brought his sword up and fought off another guy that attacked as he continued to defend his father who was getting his ground and fighting as well. They were back to back and doing well until Ulysses saw three guys that were getting ready to gang up on his father. Ulysses couldn't move as fast as he wanted to because he was fighting his own set of men in front of him, "dad look out," Ulysses yelled and Julian heard him but he was fighting and moving as fast as he could which wasn't fast enough. Ulysses slashed out at the last guy in front of him then quickly turned so that his body was in front of his father. From that point on everything seemed to move in slow motion, all Ulysses could think about was the promise he made to his mother and how much he loved his father. By the time his entire body was in front of Julian's, he felt a sword pierce his lower abdomen but his body still reacted and he ran his sword through the guy in front of him.
"Ulysses," Julian cried and Ulysses looked into the eyes of the guy who he just killed and the guy looked back until he fell back onto the ground, sliding off of Ulysses' sword and his sword leaving Ulysses' stomach. Ulysses stood there looking at nothing but his hand went up to his stomach and he raised his hand and saw that it was covered in blood. Ulysses could hear yells and screams all around him, not to mention the searing, hot pain he felt in his stomach but in his mind, there was still a war that needed to be fought and won and so far his plan was working excellently, they were winning. So he reached deep down in himself to call up what strength he had left and he resumed fighting. He fought hard and fast like that for at least another half an hour until there were a few soldiers yelling that they had done it, they had won. Some of the Paxonians were surrendering and the others that were trying to retreat were being cut off and in the end, they surrendered as well.
"We did it," Ulysses whispered. "My lord we did it, the Paxonians are retreating and I've sent forces to Paxos," Gregory said to Julian who smiled and nodded as they grabbed arms in a soldier's handshake. "You were right, Ulysses' plan was rash and it may have been foolish but by the gods it worked, it worked," Julian said with a smile and Gregory smiled and nodded as well. "Where is the great strategist anyway?" Gregory asked, "he's around here somewhere," Julian said as he turned his head and looked around until finally he spotted Ulysses and the smile he had on his face went into a frown as he saw his son drop to his knees. Julian ran over to Ulysses dropping down behind him and catching his son in his arms just as Ulysses fell back. "Gods, gods no," Julian cried as he looked down at his son, "Gregory get help," Julian yelled and Gregory ran and yelled to get help.
"Hang on son, hang on," Julian said to Ulysses who looked up at his father and grinned, "I'm alright, just a cut," Ulysses said and Julian looked down at the wound on Ulysses' stomach removing his hand so that he could see. "Oh gods," he said as he closed his eyes and shook his head, "its...its not that bad," Ulysses said then momentarily closed his eyes as the pain shot through him. Julian looked up as Virgil ran over, pushing his way through the mall crowd that had gathered around Ulysses and Julian. Once he was next to his friend, his brother, he dropped down next to Ulysses, "I was hoping it wasn't true," Virgil said, word of Ulysses being injured having spread faster than a raging fire. Virgil looked down at his friend and Ulysses opened his eyes and looked at Virgil, "are you alright?" Ulysses asked and Virgil nodded, "I'm fine, you?" He asked and Ulysses grinned, "I'm good," Ulysses said then swallowed hard and grimaced as his father pressed a cloth down hard on Ulysses' wound to stop the bleeding.
"This was meant for me, you got this protecting me," Julian said and Ulysses looked at his father, "its okay," Ulysses said and Julian shook his head. "No its not, I'm your father I'm supposed to be protecting you, not the other way around," Julian said and Ulysses swallowed once more as he felt himself becoming weaker, "I...I promised mother that I would bring you back alive and whole...I promised," Ulysses said and Julian looked down at his son and shook his head. "We have to do something," Virgil said, "I've sent for help," Julian said and Virgil shook his head. "They'll never get here, they're tied up at the front with the other wounded soldiers," Virgil said then looked around and found two horses wandering nearby.
Virgil ran over to the horses and pulled them over to Ulysses and Julian, "we'll have to take him there ourselves," Virgil said then leaned down and helped Julian help Ulysses' up. "Come on Ulysses I just need you to stand for a little bit," Virgil said and Ulysses let out a moan as he used what remaining strength he had left and stood up in his feet with his father's and Virgil's help. After that they helped Ulysses up onto the horse, "I'll take him," Julian said as he got onto the horse sitting behind Ulysses and holding on tight to him. "Yahhh," Julian said to the horse as he began galloping away, Virgil right behind him on his horse. The battlefield was littered with bodies, some dead and some wounded and they were all passed up as Julian tried to get to the palace where he knew there would be help for Ulysses. "My lord the healer will be waiting at Ulysses' chambers," Gregory yelled from a horse he was on.
Julian nodded and looked at Ulysses who leaned against him, "hang on son," Julian said as he continued on towards the palace. Back in the palace Marguerite and Camilla were sitting down at the table for lunch in the dinning hall which was deathly quiet with them both as well as everyone else thinking about the war that was going on. "My lady," a soldier called and Marguerite looked up as she saw the soldier running towards her and her heart jumped into her chest as she stood already fearing the worse. "My lady," the soldier said again in an out of breath voice and bowed before Marguerite who was standing and Camilla had stood and moved next to her mother. "What is it?" Marguerite asked and the soldier looked at his Queen, "the war is over, we have won," he said and Camilla let out a breath as she smiled. "Well that's great news," she said but for Marguerite something else was on her mind.
"What of Julian?" Marguerite asked, "my lady?" The soldier asked confused by her question, "the king, is he alive, is he hurt?" Marguerite asked almost in a panic, "last I saw the King was alive and well my lady," the soldier said. "And when last did you see him?" Marguerite asked, "when word spread that the war was ended," he said and Marguerite let out a breath of relief. Her relief did not last long however when she heard a commotion outside of the dinning hall. She left the hall with Camilla behind her and she followed the noise down the hall and up the stairs where she saw a group of soldiers. "What is going on here?" Marguerite asked as the soldiers made a path for her and when she was clear of them she stopped in her tracks at what she saw. Julian and Virgil were carrying Ulysses towards his bedroom and he lie limp in their arms.
"Oh my gods," Marguerite gasped and Julian turned his head and looked at his wife, "open the door," he said and two men opened the doors to Ulysses' room and Julian and Virgil carried him in, followed by Marguerite and Camilla. They placed Ulysses on his bed and Marguerite rushed into the bedroom, to her son's side, "where's Pyres, she was supposed to be here by now," Julian said as he ran his bloody fingers through his hair in a sign of frustration. Marguerite sat down on the bed next to Ulysses, removing the blood soaked cloth from his wound and tears fell from her eyes as she saw the damage. "Camilla get some water," Marguerite said then looked down at her son and grabbed a cloth from near by and began wiping his forehead removing sweat, blood and dirt.
Ulysses opened his eyes and looked up at his mother giving her a small grin, "I kept my promise," he whispered to her and Marguerite brought her hand up to her mouth as she cried. "Oh my son," Marguerite cried as she looked down at her son and then she was pulled up by Julian so that the healer could get where she was. "We have to get these clothes off of him and stop the bleeding," Pyres said, talking more to her assistants than to anyone else. They cut Ulysses' clothes off with a knife and as soon as his upper half was bare Pyres went to work with trying to stop the bleeding.
It had been a long day at the Inn and Xena was exhausted when the day was finally over. She took a hot shower then got ready for bed, "move over," Xena told Gemini who was lying in the bed like she owned it. Gemini looked up at her mistress then stood and moved over until she was closer to the wall which was usually Ulysses' spot. Xena laid down in the bed and let out a breath as she hugged her pillow to her; she closed her eyes and was asleep in a matter of minutes. She was asleep for about an hour when she began to have a very vivid dream. She found herself on a battleground and when she looked around she saw men fighting all over. She began walking around wondering why she was here and then after a few minutes she saw why. She walked over to where a gang of soldiers were ganging up on two men and she recognized one of those men as Ulysses.
"Ulysses look out," she yelled as she saw a guy approaching Ulysses from behind and Xena looked around in panic and tried to pick up a sword she saw on the ground to help him but her hand went right through the sword. She let out a frustrated breath then looked up just in time to see Ulysses run his sword through the guy that thought he was sneaking up on Ulysses. Ulysses pulled his sword free as he turned and slashed the guy's neck then continued fighting. Xena let out a breath of relief and continued to watch Ulysses as he fought and then she saw his attention turned to the other guy that was fighting back to back with Ulysses. "Dad look out," she heard him yell and that told her that, that was Ulysses' father he was trying so hard to defend. She could see there were too many men for his father and then she watched as Ulysses turned just in time to save his father's life, "NO," Xena yelled as she saw the sword pierce Ulysses' stomach but still he continued to fight.
When the soldier was down, Xena watched with her heart racing as Ulysses brought his hand up and looked at the blood on it. Xena ran over to him as if she could do something, "Ulysses," she called but he just looked forward then she watched a change in him as he gripped his sword tighter and began fighting again. When Xena saw this she let out a breath and thought he must be okay if he continued to fight but from then on she kept a very close eye on him. Xena let out a breath when she heard that the war was ending and that Ulysses' kingdom had won. Xena grinned as she walked up to Ulysses standing in front of him, "you did good my love," she told him and he grinned as he looked at her. "Not good enough," he said and she was surprised that he heard her but concern and panic began to take her as she looked down at Ulysses' wound and saw how much he was bleeding.
Ulysses then dropped to his knees and she was getting ready to call for help when Ulysses' father ran up behind his son catching Ulysses' in his arms. Xena got down on her knees next to Ulysses and she looked into his eyes as she held his hand and he grinned up at her. "I'm dreaming," he said and she grinned at him as she caressed his forehead and he closed his eyes at her touch. Xena stayed by his side until he was placed on a horse with his father and they rode towards the palace and then the next thing she knew she was in the palace watching as Ulysses' father and Virgil carried Ulysses into his bedroom placing him on the bed. "Don't leave me," Ulysses said to Xena who sat down on the other side of the bed next to Ulysses, "I won't," she said as she caressed his hair watching as his eyes closed.
Xena sat there and caressed his hair as she watched the healer work and then all of a sudden Ulysses' back arched off of the bed as he cried out in pain. The healer and her apprentices began to work faster and the next thing Xena knew everything began to fade out, "Ulysses," Xena called as she looked at him and she continued to call his name as the scene before her continued to fade away. "ULYSSES," Xena cried out then popped up in her sleep looking into the eyes of her concerned brother. "Are you alright?" Lyceus asked and Xena looked at her brother then around the room, "What..." she began asking and Lyceus looked at her. "You were dreaming, you were screaming no and for Ulysses. I was passing by when I heard you," Lyceus said and Xena ran her hands over her face and through her hair.
"Poor Gemini here was trying to wake you up but you wouldn't wake, I tried to and thought I would have to send for Corrinna," he said and Xena let out a breath. She then looked at Gemini who brushed her face against Xena's hands and Xena grinned as she rubbed Gemini behind the ears. "I'm okay Gemini," Xena told the wolf who continued to stay at Xena's side, "she doesn't think so and neither do I," Lyceus said and Xena just let out another breath as she ran her fingers through her hair. "What was the dream about?" Lyceus asked, "the dream was more like nightmare," Xena said then looked at her brother who was waiting for her to tell him. "I don't know...its bits and pieces here and there," Xena said, "then tell me what you remember," Lyceus said and Xena let out a breath and nodded as she pushed back on her bed until her back was against the wall.
"I took a shower, came to my room and laid down because I was beat. The next thing I know I'm on a battlefield and there are people fighting all around. I walked around trying to figure out where I was and what in the world was going on, when I saw Ulysses fighting, he and some other guy were being ganged up on. I tried to pick up a sword to help but couldn't..." Xena said then closed her eyes as she tried to envision the rest. "Then all of a sudden Ulysses turns to save the other guy and he's wounded...he continues to fight and I thought he was okay until all the fighting ended and he dropped to his knees." Xena said then opened her eyes and looked at her brother, "if I was dreaming, how is it that he saw me?" Xena asked, "and if it was only just a dream then how come it feels so real?" Xena asked her brother and Lyceus shook his head as he moved back by his sister, "I don't know," he said.
"It was so real Lyceus, I mean I watched as he got hurt and I saw all of the blood he was losing," Xena said then shook her head as she brought her hand up to her forehead. "He looked into my eyes and spoke to me and...I was able to touch him and hold his hand," Xena said then shook her head once more. "I don't think it was a dream, he's hurt and he's hurt bad," Xena said and Lyceus just pulled his sister to him wrapping his arm around her as he placed a kiss on her forehead. "I'm sure he's fine," Lyceus said but he wasn't convincing Xena. Lyceus kept Xena company a while longer then went back into his room and she laid back down in the bed attempting to go back to sleep but with Ulysses being injured on her mind she couldn't, all she could do was lay there and worry about him.
An hour later, Pyres was finished with Ulysses and she wiped her hands as she walked into the sitting room where Ulysses' family waited for news on how he was. "Pyres," Marguerite said as she stood up and Julian looked up and walked over to the healer, "how is he?" Julian asked and Pyres looked at them both, "his wound isn't that serious but he lost a lot of blood and infection is beginning to set in. I've given him some herbs to fight the infection and the oncoming fever and cleaned and stitched up his wound but there is nothing I can do about the blood loss. From this point on there is nothing more I can do but help Ulysses fight the fever so he has a chance of recovering, all the rest is up to him," Pyres said and Marguerite leaned into Julian's chest as she cried and he held her close to him.
"Can we see him?" Julian asked and Pyres nodded. Julian led his wife into their son's room and they walked over to the bed where one of the apprentices was wiping Ulysses' face with a cool cloth. Marguerite sat down on the bed next to her son taking his hand in her on and holding it, "I'm right here Ulysses, your father and I both are here," Marguerite said. "That's right son and we need you do get better, there's so much that we haven't done and talked about," Julian said as he sat down on the other side of the bed and looked at his unconscious son. "Remember you said there were arguments we still had to have...well I'm holding you to that son. You get stronger so you can come back and we can fuss and fight and your mother can stop us from killing each other," Julian said with a small grin and Marguerite smiled as she wiped her face. "That's right and your sister needs someone to argue with as well," she said then sat there and looked at her son.
"Come on Ulysses, wake up for me, wake up for your mother," Marguerite said and she waited a few minutes for him to wake up but when he didn't she brought her hand up to her face and began crying. "Shhh...it's going to be alright," Julian said and by then he had made his way over to Marguerite and was holding her in his arms. "He's going to be alright...our son is strong all he needs is some rest," Julian said trying to convince his wife and himself. They sat there a while longer and then Julian stood and went to get himself cleaned up before he had to handle business since the war was now over. His first priority was to get a report from Gregory on how many men were dead, how many were injured, what the damages were and how many prisoners they had, not to mention what was the status on Paxos since soldiers had been sent to take the kingdom until Julian could get there.
When King Julian had checked on his men and he found that everything was in order and when he knew all there was to know, he headed down to the docks with Gregory and about twenty other guards that weren't injured and they got on a ship and headed to Paxos. It would take then an hour to get there, but feeling confident, Ulysses had a ship with men waiting off to the side to take the kingdom when they won, not giving Dartanion any time to pull any stunts. "How is Ulysses my lord?" Gregory asked as he stood next to Julian who was leaning against the railing of the ship, looking out at the sea. "He was still the same before we left, unconscious because he lost a lot of blood." Julian said, "I'm sure he'll be fine, Ulysses is a strong man," Gregory said and Julian nodded as he continued to look out at the sea. "He saved me," Julian said, "my lord?" Gregory asked not really hearing Julian because he was walking away.
"I was being surrounded, they must have known who I was and thought if they could somehow kill me then they would win the war. Ulysses came out of no where and just jumped on the guys behind me and he started fighting and we fought back to back." Julian said then let out a breath as he stood up straight, "still they came and it seemed like for every man I killed five more came. There were just too many coming from every direction and I knew sooner or later one would get me but I was determined to go down fighting and taking some of those bastards with me. I don't know what happened..." Julian said as he shook his head. "The next thing I knew Ulysses was in front of me and I saw the sword hit him but he kept going and fighting," Julian said then looked at Gregory, "I thought he was alright," he said and Gregory looked at his King and friend.
"I'm supposed to be lying in that bed not him, not my child," Julian said, "it's not your fault Julian," Gregory said. Julian let out a breath, "I pray that this is the last war we have to fight, this one was so senseless," Julian said and Gregory nodded. "You did everything you could to prevent this war, it's my opinion that Dartanion just needed a topic to fight about so that he could start this war." Gregory said and Julian nodded, "I've figured that out as well, I've also figured out that Dartanion has just gotten greedy and he wanted Ithaca for himself. He risked everything and now Paxos is ours," Julian said. They talked a while longer until they reached Paxos and from that moment on it was all business. Horses and men were waiting for them and they took the horses to the palace where they proceeded to make their way inside to the throne room where they had cornered Dartanion, his family and other important people of Paxos, noblemen and their families.
Dartanion stood when Julian entered the room and he looked into Julian's eyes, "have you nothing to say Dartanion?" Julian asked, "what is there to say?" Dartanion said and Julian walked up to him as he continued to look into his eyes. "You started a war over something foolish that cost many lives and you want to know what there is to say?" Julian asked, "look around you, you have sacrificed everything, what about your family, your kingdom?" Julian asked and Dartanion looked at him then let out a breath, "it was a risk I had to take," Dartanion said. "Why?" Julian asked, "why did you wage war against me? Your kingdom and mine have been allies since our fathers ruled, we could have worked whatever was wrong out, instead you decided you wanted to go to war. You cost innocent people their lives," Julian said in a raised voice. "By the gods your foolishness and greediness may me have cost me my son," Julian yelled his eyes filled with anger and pain.
He looked at Dartanion who continued to say nothing then he walked up closer to Dartanion, "if he dies you'll wish your children had never been born," Julian said and for emphasis he kept eye contact with Dartanion for a while longer then turned and walked away. He walked over to the door and let out a breath as he closed his eyes and all he could see was Ulysses lying in his bed unconscious and his wife crying because she thought their son would die. "My lord," Gregory called and Julian opened his eyes and looked at his general, "are you alright?" He asked and Julian nodded, "what do you want me do to with them?" Gregory asked and Julian looked at him then turned his head and looked at Dartanion who was sitting down at a table comforting his wife and then he looked at Dartanion's three children, the two youngest were being taken care of by a caretaker but the oldest who looked to be about seventeen, sat there at the table and looked around, his eyes coming in contact with Julian's eyes but he didn't look away.
That reminded Julian a lot of Ulysses, who never looked down, who never backed down from anyone or anything. "Keep a very close eye on them, don't let them out of your sight, who knows what little plans Dartanion has cocked up. We'll be taking them back to Ithaca, Dumont will take over until I find a more permanent person depending on Dartanion." Julian said and Gregory nodded then bowed his head and watched as Julian left and he walked back over to Dartanion. "What is he going to do with us?" Dartanion's wife asked and Gregory looked at them, "as soon as Dumont gets here, who's a caretaker of sorts," Gregory said as he pulled up a chair and sat down. "You and your family will return to Ithaca with us...Paxos is now under Ithaca rule," Gregory said and Dartanion looked on as one of the soldiers tore down Paxos' flag and put up Ithaca's flag. He let out a breath and lowered his head and Gregory watched on as Dartanion's wife wrapped her arm around her husband as she leaned her face into his while running her fingers through his hair.
Julian made his way to Dartanion's office where he looked over some documents trying to figure out what was going on and what state the kingdom was in. When he was finished there he went to the archives and took a look there as well, hoping to find something, anything to explain Dartanion's behavior. "Yea," Julian answered as he sat at Dartanion's desk reading, he looked up when the door opened and one of his guards bowed then stepped to the side as a tall, medium built man with blond hair, wearing clothes of nobility stepped into the room. "My lord," he said as he bowed his head and Julian stood, "Dumont," Julian said as he approached him. "You know why I've called you here?" Julian asked, "I do my lord," Dumont answered and Julian nodded. "Then I need not tell you anything except for you know how I run things and how I like them to be ran. Treat Paxos and its people like you would Ithaca and your people," Julian said and Dumont nodded.
"It will be done my lord," Dumont said and Julian nodded, "good then I leave you to it then. Once I find a more permanent person for the position you will return to Ithaca. Understood?" Julian asked and Dumont nodded, "I understand my lord," Dumont said and Julian nodded then walked out of the office with Dumont following him. "Assure the people that nothing drastic will happen to them or their laws unless I feel the need to change them which I doubt. Also make sure the wounded are well taken care of," Julian said and he continued to tell Dumont things as they headed back to the throne room. Once there the doors were opened for them and they walked inside. Julian nodded to Gregory who stood and had the men gather Dartanion and his family, "as I said I want Paxos ran as if I were here running it myself," Julian said and Dumont bowed his head in respect and understanding.
"Well Dartanion I assume my general has informed you of what is about to occur?" Julian asked as Dartanion and his family were brought over to him and Dartanion looked into his eyes and nodded. "We're going to Ithaca but it's not clear what you're going to do with us once we're there," Dartanion said and Julian looked into his eyes were he saw fear but the fear wasn't for himself but for his family. "Do you think I'm taking you to Ithaca to kill you and your family?" Julian asked with a grin on his face and Dartanion just looked at him, "come now Dartanion, I'm not that kind of man, I thought you knew me well enough by now to know that," Julian said then turned and began walking out of the door. "Then why are we being taken to Ithaca?" Dartanion asked and Julian turned and looked at him, "we're going to have a discussion and depending on the results I get, you and your family just might see your home again," Julian said as he looked into Dartanion's eyes.
"Let's go, I have an injured son I need to check on," Julian said to Dartanion then looked at Gregory who nodded and they began to walk through the palace heading for the exit. Once they were out of the palace carriages were waiting to take them to the docks where a ship waited for them. When they were on the ship, they immediately left and headed back to Ithaca, like it took them an hour to get to Paxos it took them an hour to return to Ithaca. Carriages and soldiers were waiting at the docks for Julian and Dartanion's family. They were taken to the palace and once there they followed behind Julian who had soldiers running up to he and Gregory, left and right with reports. Julian had stopped in the middle of the hall and was giving orders when Camilla came running towards, "daddy," Camilla cried as she ran into her father's arms.
"Camilla what's wrong?" He asked her and then his mind immediately went to Ulysses, "Camilla is Ulysses alright?" Julian asked his distraught daughter who just continued to cry. "Camilla..." Julian said as he pulled her back, softly holding her face in his hands as he looked into her eyes. "Is your brother alright?" Julian asked and Camilla looked into her father's eyes as she shook her head, "his fever has risen and...and the healers can't get it down," Camilla said and Julian let out a breath. "Take them to their quarters," Julian told Gregory who nodded then watched as his king rushed off with Camilla to Ulysses' room. When they reached Ulysses' room they walked straight to his bedroom and once Julian was there Marguerite looked up from her vigil by her son's bedside.
"They can't get his fever down," Marguerite said and Julian nodded as he walked over to the bed, "I know, Camilla told me," he said as he sat down and looked at Ulysses while Marguerite dabbed his forehead with a cool cloth. "Pyres said that this could be the body's way of trying to heal itself but with Ulysses' loss of blood he..." she said but couldn't finish the rest. Julian looked at his son then shook his head as he reached for a near by basin with a cloth in it, he squeezed some of the water out and began dabbing the cloth on Ulysses' chest trying to help cool him down. Julian just sat there and tended to his son bringing the cloth up to his face wiping away some of the sweat, "this is an unusual necklace," Julian said as he looked at it and Marguerite looked at it as well. "It is, I don't even know where he got it from but it looks like it's broken," Marguerite said. "Or maybe a half of a whole," Julian said then they both looked up at Ulysses as he moaned, "Xena," he moaned.
"Ulysses...can you hear me sweetheart?" Marguerite asked as she wiped Ulysses' forehead, "Ulysses it's your dad...open your eyes for me son," Julian said and Ulysses pried his eyes opened and looked at his father. "Father," Ulysses whispered and Julian smiled and nodded, "yes son it's me and your mother's here too," Julian said. "That's right sweetheart I'm right here and all we want you to do is get better," she said and with his eyes half open he looked over at his mother then back at his father. "Xena," Ulysses whispered, "what son...I didn't hear you," Julian said and Ulysses closed his eyes for a few minutes. "Where is she?" Ulysses asked, "where is who?" Julian asked and Ulysses opened his eyes and looked at his father. "Xena...where is she?" Ulysses asked and Julian looked at his son then at Marguerite trying to see if she knew what he was talking about but she had about as much of a clue as he did.
"Ulysses we don't have any idea about what you're talking about," Julian said. "Xena...where is she? She was here, I saw her," Ulysses said and Julian shook his head as he looked down at his son. "No one's been here Ulysses except for the healers and your mother and I," Julian said and Ulysses shook his head. "No, she was here...I saw her," Ulysses said then began to struggle to get up. "Ulysses no, you need your rest," Marguerite said as she pushed her son back down on the bed, "I have to find her," Ulysses said as he continued to try and get up. "Find who? Ulysses there was no one here I promise you, now lie back down, you need your rest," Julian told his injured son and Ulysses shook his head. "She was here," he said and Julian pushed him back down to the bed. "Let me go I have to find her...I need her here," Ulysses yelled as he began to struggle.
"Go get the healers," Julian told his wife as he struggled with his son trying to keep him in the bed, "let go...I need her, I need her," Ulysses yelled and when the healers came in they all held him down as he struggled while Pyres fixed him something to calm him and help with the fever. "XENA...XENA...LET ME GO I NEED HER...XENA," Ulysses continued to yell as he continued to struggle and they forcefully made him drink what Pyres made and in a matter of minutes he calmed down. "Damn it," Pyres said and Julian looked up, "what?" He asked, "he tore open his stitches," Pyres said then let out a breath as she pressed a cloth to his wound to stop the bleeding and pressing down hard causing Ulysses to moan in pain.
Julian stood and walked to the side of the room where Marguerite sat in a chair keeping an eye on Ulysses, "do you have any idea about who this Xena woman is?" Julian asked and Marguerite shook her head, "no I don't but maybe Virgil does," she said and Julian nodded. "I'm sure he'll be here in a little while, we'll ask him then," Julian said and from that moment on they waited for Pyres to be finished fixing Ulysses up again and then they were at his bedside once more. A couple of hours later Virgil walked into the room and over to the bed where Ulysses' parents still sat, "how is he?" Virgil asked and they looked up at him, "he's lost a lot of blood and he has a very high fever," Julian said and Virgil nodded. "But he'll be okay right?" Virgil asked and Julian let out a breath as he looked down at his son. "We're not sure, only time will tell," Julian said and Virgil let out a breath as he looked down at his friend.
"Virgil can I speak with you for a minute?" Julian asked and Virgil looked at him and nodded, "I'll be right back," Julian told Marguerite who looked at him and nodded. Julian and Virgil walked over to the door and spoke in a low voice, "a couple of hours ago Ulysses woke up and his fever had him delirious. He was yelling for a woman, I believe her name was Xena," Julian said and Virgil looked at him then looked down. "Do you know who this woman is and what she means to my son?" Julian asked and Virgil nodded, "yes I know who she is and what she means to Ulysses but I can't tell you," Virgil said and Julian looked at him. "Why not?" He asked and Virgil let out a breath as he looked over at the bed at his friend lying there, "because its something Ulysses should tell you, not me," Virgil said and Julian let out a breath.
"I think we have a right to know, our son could be dying," Julian said and Virgil looked into his eyes. "You should have more faith in Ulysses, have more faith in your son, that he will pull through this. He's strong, so strong and he has a lot to live for now, he will pull through this, I truly believe that and when he does he will tell you what you want to know." Virgil said then walked away back over to the bed where he sat down at the foot of the bed and looked at his best friend lying there. Julian let out a breath as he ran his hand over his forehead then walked into the sitting room where he sat down on the sofa and let out a breath as he ran his fingers through his hair. He sat there and thought about his son and about the fact that he believed he should be lying there, not his Ulysses.
"My lord," Gregory said from the door and Julian looked up at his general, "yea," Julian asked and Gregory walked over to him. "How is Ulysses?" He asked, "he has a very high fever," Julian said and Gregory nodded then handed Julian some documents in his hand. "These are all the reports on the men and damages as well as everything that's going on in the kingdom," Gregory said and Julian nodded as he sat them down on the table. "I'll take a look at them in a little while," he said and Gregory nodded. "How are our guests?" Julian asked, "confused, Dartanion doesn't understand why you're treating he and his family so well." Gregory said and Julian nodded, "something's going on with him, there's something he's hiding. Send a message to Dumont and tell him to find out what he can, go through Dartanion's records, get the nobles, those closets to Dartanion, to help him find whatever. I want it done immediately," Julian said and Gregory nodded.
"It will be done," he said then left the room. Julian let out another breath and picked up the documents off of the table and began looking over them. When he was finished he sat them back down on the table then let out a breath as he ran his hands over his face feeling exhausted. Julian leaned back on the sofa just wanting to rest his eyes for a bit and before he knew it he had dosed off. Half an hour later Marguerite walked out of the bedroom wondering where her husband had gone and when she walked into the sitting room she found him asleep on the sofa. She walked over to the sofa where she sat down and placed her hand on Julian's thigh, "Julian," she called and he opened his eyes then sat up. "How's Ulysses?" He asked, "still the same, Virgil's sitting with him right now," Marguerite said and Julian nodded as he ran his hand over his neck and his wife looked at him. "Why don't you go back to the room and get some rest," she suggested and Julian shook his head.
"No, I want to be here in case Ulysses wakes up again not to mention there's too much that needs to be done," Julian said and Marguerite nodded. "That's what you have your advisors for, you've just spent the better part of the morning fighting hard in a war. There is much to be done I know but you won't be good to anyone if you fall from exhaustion and if Ulysses wakes up or there's any change in his condition, I'll send for you right away." Marguerite said and Julian looked at his wife and let out a breath because he knew she wouldn't let him get away with running his self ragged like this without getting any sleep, plus he knew he needed the rest as well. "Fine but I'll just lay here and get some rest, I want to be close by in case anything happens with Ulysses," Julian said and Marguerite shook her head at her husband.
"You're so stubborn and you wonder where Ulysses gets it from," she said and Julian grinned at her then closed his eyes as he leaned into her touch while she caressed his cheek. "He saved me," Julian said as he opened his eyes and looked at his wife, "that should be me lying in that bed not him. I was being surrounded and he just came out of no where and helped me. Get up he said, I promise mother I would bring you back alive and unharmed," Julian said as he looked at Marguerite and she looked down as she shook her head. "I went to see him, to beg him to tell you he was mistaken, that there was another way, that his plan was crazy and that it was going to get you killed. He promised he would bring you back to me," she said as she caressed Julian's face with both of her hands. "And he did," she said as she leaned her forehead against his and they looked into each other's eyes, "I just didn't expect he would neglect his own life to do so," she said.
Julian looked into her eyes and with his fingers wiped away the tears that rolled down her cheeks, "it's not your fault," he said and she looked at him. "And it's not your fault," she said and Julian shook his head as he looked down. "I should have done something more to prevent this war," Julian said. "What? What could you have done that you didn't already do or try? Our son lying in that bed is no one's fault but Dartanion's because he was the one who started this stupid war. It is not your fault nor is it mine or anyone else's," Marguerite said and Julian nodded then let out a breath and lay back on the sofa. "You're right I am tired," he said and Marguerite nodded as she stood allowing Julian to stretch his legs out and she sat down on the side of the sofa as she ran her fingers through his hair.
Julian let out a breath as he relaxed and in a matter of minutes he was asleep. Marguerite sat there a while longer then leaned down and placed a kiss on his forehead, "sleep well my King," she whispered to him then gently stood and grabbed the throw from the back of the sofa, placing it over Julian. When she was done she headed back into the bedroom where she saw Virgil sitting in a chair close to Ulysses' bed and he had dosed off as well. She shook her head at him 'men, always trying to be so macho' she thought to herself then sat down on the bed where she proceeded to wring a cloth out and wipe off Ulysses' forehead.
It was now morning time and no matter how Xena tried she just couldn't get that image of Ulysses lying sick in the bed out of her mind. She felt it in her heart that something was wrong, unfortunately there was nothing she could do. She was tired from last night because she hadn't gotten any sleep and now she was up and about doing the things that needed to be done around the inn. There was so much on her mind. All she could think about was that dream she had about Ulysses and about the fact that it seemed so real, that and he saw and spoke to her. She was wondering how that was possible if it were a dream and then she thought maybe her mind was just playing tricks on her, but if that was so, then how could she feel in her heart that Ulysses was actually hurt.
"Oh Argo, I don't know what to do or believe girl," Xena said to the mare as she rubbed her neck and the horse neighed at her and Xena let out a breath as she sat down on a bale of hay. Gemini came and walked over to her or as close as she could get with Argo butting her, "Argo stop," Xena said with a grin as she watch Gemini swing her paw at the horse. "Gemini," Xena called and the wolf walked over to her mistress placing her paws on Xena's thighs so that Xena could scratch behind her ears which Gemini loved. After a while Gemini wandered off while Xena continued to sit there and think, with only her thoughts and Argo, who butted her every now and then, to keep her company. Xena looked up when she heard a noise then stood when she recognized that noise as Gemini growling and a man cursing.
Gemini was growling as she pulled Maphias into the barn by his pant leg, "damn it...let go," he cursed as he tried to shake Gemini off and Xena grinned. "Gemini," Xena called and the wolf let Maphias go and ran over to her mistress, "that damn wolf is a menace Xena," Maphias said as he walked over to her then stopped when Gemini started growling and Xena grinned as she watched Maphias take a few steps back. "She wouldn't have been dragging you in here if you weren't sneaking around," Xena said and Maphias let out a breath. "I wasn't sneaking," he said and Xena looked at him as she raised an eyebrow and he let out a breath. "I was just trying to make sure you were okay," he said and Xena looked at him. "Why wouldn't I be?" She asked and Maphias hunched his shoulders as he looked at her, "I thought you might be wondering what was going on with Ulysses with the war and all," he said and Xena looked at him.
"Am I supposed to believe that all of a sudden you care about Ulysses?" Xena asked and Maphias shook his head, "no but I do care about you," he said and Xena just shook her head at him. "Look Xena I'm just trying to get you to see that Ulysses isn't coming back, I mean face it, the man is a prince, he's royalty and you are a peasant. What possible reason could he have to come back for you?" Maphias asked and Xena looked at him, "he loves me and I know that and I have no doubts about it." Xena said and Maphias nodded, "that may be true, but look at it this way, he's already lied to you once, what's to stop him from doing it again?" Maphias asked, "look I'm not trying to hurt you or make you doubt what you guys have, I'm just concerned about this fantasy world you seem to be living in. I just...I don't want you to be crushed if he doesn't come back, if you get a letter from him saying that what you and he had was nice while it lasted but he has to think about his future as king, a future that you're not in, that you can't be in because you're a peasant."
Maphias said and Xena looked at him, "and when that happens Maphias, you want me to look to you for comfort, to lean on your shoulder?" Xena said as she looked at Maphias and he looked at her, "there's nothing wrong with that," he said and Xena grinned as she shook her head. "You're unbelievable do you know that?" Xena asked him, "you had me Maphias but you weren't satisfied with what you had, you had to change me and when you saw that you couldn't, you left. Now you have come back to Amphipolis with thoughts that we can just pick up where we left off but I'm here to tell you that's not going to happen. You had me then threw me away, you don't get to come back and judge me and the man I'm with. I'm in love with Ulysses and nothing you do or say is ever going to change that. Face it, you didn't know what a great thing you had in me until you lost it," Xena said and Maphias looked at her and nodded.
"You're right, I didn't know what a great thing I had. I was stupid and foolish to let you go and treat you the way I did and I am so sorry for all that I have done. I will admit I want you back Xena but that doesn't change all that I've told you about Ulysses. Princes don't just marry peasants, so he may come back for you and you guys could have a couple more years together but when his family pressures him to marry, he's not going to look at you, he's going to look for a nobleman's daughter, royalty and face it you are anything but. I'm just trying to save you from the heartache," Maphias said as he looked at Xena a while longer then walked out of the barn. Xena let out a breath as she walked back into the stall with Argo and sat back down on the bale of hay, Maphias' words ringing loudly, over and over again in her ears.
Xena leaned over and placed her elbows on her knees as she ran her fingers through her hair as she sat there for a couple of minutes, her mind consumed by her thoughts. "Hey Xena are you in here?" Lyceus called and Xena let out a breath as she stood, "yea," she said and he looked at his sister as he walked over to her. "Are you alright?" He asked as he looked into her eyes and Xena nodded as she ran her fingers through her hair. "Yea, I just had a little visit from Maphias and his words shook me up a little that's all." She said and Lyceus shook his head, "he said something about Ulysses didn't he?" Lyceus asked and Xena nodded, "well whatever he said don't believe a word of it. He's just jealous that you're not his any more," Lyceus said and Xena nodded. "Come on, mom made some of those strawberry pastries we love," Lyceus said as he wrapped his arm around Xena's shoulders and she grinned at her brother as she walked out of the stable with him.
"You know it must be hard being the most beautiful girl around for miles and miles," Lyceus said and Xena grinned at her brother as she pushed him and he smiled at her. "I can say the same for you, you're the most handsome man around," she said and Lyceus grinned. "I don't think Toris would appreciate that," he said and they both chuckled. "You're trying to brush it off like you didn't have a girl in your room two nights ago," Xena said surprising Lyceus and he looked at her. "How did you...you didn't hear us did you?" Lyceus asked and Xena grinned at her brother, "no I didn't hear a thing...pookey bear," Xena said after she paused for a more dramatic effect and Lyceus closed his eyes. "You did hear us," he said and Xena smiled as she nodded. "Don't worry your secret is safe with me," Xena said and Lyceus nodded.
"You know you and Ulysses weren't exactly deathly quiet," Lyceus said and Xena looked at her brother, her mouth opened in surprise as she smiled. "Why didn't you say anything?" She asked and he hunched his shoulders, "I didn't want to embarrass you," he said, "but now that you've heard me I just thought I should tell you, you know for leverage," he said and Xena grinned at her brother as she pushed him. "You're so mean," she said and he smiled at her as he hugged her close, "only to you because I love you so much," he said then placed a kiss on her forehead and Xena grinned at her brother. They walked into the kitchen smiling and Cyrene looked up at her children, seeing the grins on their faces. "Okay what have you two been up to?" She asked him and they looked at each other then back at their mother, "nothing," they said in unison and she looked at them. "Uh huh...that last time you two walked in grinning like that you mixed glue and mud together and placed it in Toris' sheets.
Things were sticking to him for days," Cyrene said and Xena and Lyceus grinned. "Yea, that was pretty good," Xena said and Lyceus chuckled as he nodded his head. "Damn it," Toris cursed loudly from downstairs and Xena and Lyceus looked at each other then burst into laughter. Cyrene looked at her children and shook her head, "you two...I swear if you made a mess..." Cyrene said and Xena held up her hands as she continued to laugh. "We didn't do anything, I swear," Xena said and they turned their heads as Toris came up the stairs shaking his hand. "That damn window has a mind of its own," Toris said, "I think its broken mom," he said in a whining voice and Xena grinned at her brother as she walked over to him. "Clearly it's not broken or you wouldn't be shaking your hand like that," Xena told her brother then took his hand in her own. "Sss...easy...easy," he said and Xena looked at him.
"Oh quit being such a baby," she told her brother as she felt his hand to see if there was anything wrong. "Ly grab that jar in the cabinet over by the door and will you also grab that bandage." Xena said and Lyceus went to do as his sister asked, "see I knew it, something's broken isn't it?" Toris asked his sister and Xena shook her head at him, "will you stop being so dramatic, nothing's broken...sit down," she told her brother and he sat down at the table. "Mother can you bring over a bowl of cold water please?" Xena asked and Cyrene nodded while Xena sat down on the opposite side of the table. Cyrene brought the bowl of water over sitting it on the table between Xena and Toris and Xena picked up Toris' hand and placed it in the bowl, "oooh that's cold," Toris said and Xena shook her head at her brother.
"Thanks Ly," Xena said as Lyceus brought the jar and bandage over and he nodded then grabbed a chair and turned it around so that he was sitting in it with his chest to the back of the chair. "So Toris," Lyceus said as he looked at his brother, "what girl slammed your hand in the door this time?" Lyceus asked with a big smile on his face and Xena chuckled at him, "very funny Ly, very funny," he said then winced as Xena pushed his hand further down in the water. "Enlighten me as to why you have my hand sitting in a bowl of cold water," Toris said and Xena looked at her brother. "Well since you were clumsy enough to get your hand slammed in the window..." Xena said and Lyceus chuckled at that, "I'm trying to keep your hand from swelling, which is what the cold water is for."
Xena said and Toris let out a breath, "this isn't funny you know," Toris said to his siblings, "oh yes it is," Lyceus said and Toris swung at his brother and Lyceus moved out of the way as he laughed. "Shut up," Toris said and Xena grinned as she shook her head at her brothers; Cyrene walked over to the table with a towel in her hand which she handed to Xena then stood there with one hand on the back of Xena's chair and the other on her waist. "How did you slam your hand in the window?" Cyrene asked her son and Toris let out a breath, "I was trying to fix the thing since it wouldn't stay open by itself. I propped it up with a log while I looked at it and then..." he said but Lyceus interrupted him. "And then a pretty girl walked by and you were trying to talk to her and in the course of doing that, your elbow pushed the log out of the window as you stood up and the next thing you knew...BAM."
Lyceus said and for effect he slammed his hand down on the table causing some of the water to spill and Xena to laugh at him. Cyrene smiled at Lyceus as she pushed his head and Toris looked at his brother, "I'll have you know that she was an extremely beautiful woman," Toris said and Lyceus couldn't stop himself from bursting out in laughter as did Xena. "You should have kept that to yourself Toris," Xena said as she pulled her brother's hand out of the bowl then dried it off with the towel. When she was done she moved the bowl to the side then opened the jar and pulled some of its contents out and began rubbing it on Toris' hand. "Gods that stuff is strong," Toris said as he pulled his head back some and Xena nodded. "We don't want there to be any bruising so this will keep your blood flowing properly and also help heal any minor muscle damage there may be in there."
Xena said as she slowly massaged the green paste into her brother's hand and fingers; he winced some but as she continued to massage it in all he felt was this warm feeling and the pain began to recede. "That feels really good," Toris said and Xena nodded as she pulled on his fingers then massaged the back of his hand then his palm; Cyrene stood there watching her daughter as did Lyceus. When she was finished she looked at Toris, "move your hand around," she said as she put the top back on the jar and Toris did just that. "Whoa...that's a whole lot better Xena, thanks," he said and Xena nodded. "Put your elbow on the table, arm straight up and spread your fingers open," Xena said and Toris did exactly that. Xena grabbed the bandage and began wrapping his hand bringing the bandage between each finger, "this will just keep things tight and stop any swelling there may be, you can take it off in the morning."
Xena said and when she was towards the end she tucked the last piece by his wrist, "until then take it easy," Xena said as she stood and walked over to the cabinet placing the jar back. "And do us all a favor and stay away from the windows," Cyrene told her son and Toris nodded while Lyceus laughed. Xena smiled, "thanks Xena," Toris said and she grinned at her brother, "no problem. Just promise me if you see another pretty girl you'll lean out of a door and not out of a window to talk to her," Xena said and Toris looked at her. "Ha, ha," he said and Xena chuckled at her brother while Lyceus continued to laugh. "Hey if you think I'm being mean it's only because I love you," Xena said then pushed on his head and Toris grinned at her and nodded. "Yes well some of that love I can do without, like that thing with the bright red berries," he said and Xena thought about that then looked at Lyceus and they burst into laughter once more.
"Yea that was a good one," Xena said and Lyceus smiled and nodded, "you should have seen your face when you thought you were bleeding," Lyceus said and Toris shook his head at them. "You made me think I was having a moonly cycle," Toris said and Xena doubled over in laughter while Lyceus leaned on the counter as he laughed. "That was not funny, you really messed with my head for a second," Toris said and Xena looked at him. "For a second? Toris you were running around the Inn screaming that you had a moonly cycle, I think it was more than a second," Xena said once she got control over her laugher but when she said that it only made Lyceus laugh harder. "And...and then you...you looked at mother with such a serious expression and said I'm a girl and then the next thing we knew you passed out."
Lyceus said between his laughter and Xena nodded as she started laughing again, "mom tell them its not funny," Toris said and Cyrene turned her head around from the stove and looked at her son with a smile on her face. "Well you have to admit Toris it was a little funny," she said and Toris let out a breath of frustration. "You all just annoy me do you know that," he said and Xena and Lyceus grinned and nodded as their laughter died down. Toris shook his head at them and couldn't help but smile at them, "yea I guess it was a little funny," he said and they nodded then let out breaths as their laugher began to fade. The rest of the day was pretty much like this with them having a good time and when dinner time came around they had an even better time with Corrinna there and they talked about old times.
When night fell and it got late then Inn closed up as usual and Xena cleaned up. When she was finished she headed down to her room where she got ready for bed and Gemini looked at her mistress who laid down in the bed. "You really shouldn't get use to that spot," Xena told the wolf and Gemini looked at her then inched her way over until her head was on Xena's stomach and Xena grinned as she rubbed the wolf. "Your daddy should be back soon Gemini, hopefully real soon," Xena said as she petted the wolf then lay there thinking about Ulysses until she began to dose off. Xena was asleep for about two hours when she began to have another vivid dream. Xena found herself among what seemed to be clouds or maybe it was smoke, she wasn't really sure. "Now where am I?" She asked herself as she looked around then saw a bright light and a shadowy figure standing feet from it.
She squinted her eyes trying to see who that was but she couldn't so she walked over there but was being careful even though this was a dream, she had decided that she had already had one strange dream where people were being killed, what was to stop her from having another one? When she was close enough she saw the back of that person's head and she could tell that whoever that was, was a man and the closer she got the more the recognized the back of that person. "Ulysses," she called out and he turned and Xena smiled when she saw that it was indeed Ulysses and he smiled as well. Xena ran the rest of the way to him where she jumped into his arms and they held each other tightly, "oh I've missed you," Ulysses said as he held Xena and she just closed her eyes and held him tighter. "I've missed you too," she said and when the hug ended they pulled back and looked at each other.
Xena had her hands on the sides of Ulysses' face as she looked deep into his eyes, "this isn't real, this is a dream," she said and Ulysses grinned as he leaned in, preparing to kiss her. "Then it is a good dream," he said and Xena grinned then closed her eyes and moaned as his lips touched hers and they shared a soft tasting of lips. When the kiss ended Xena looked into the eyes of the man she loved, "this feels so real," she said and Ulysses nodded then leaned back in and kissed her passionately and Xena moaned as she took air in through her nose. Her fingers ran through Ulysses' hair and he moaned as he tasted her lips and when the kiss ended, Ulysses leaned forward and began placing kisses on Xena's neck and she moaned as she tilted her head back while she ran her fingers through his hair. "If this is a dream I hope I never wake up," Xena said and Ulysses raised his head and grinned at Xena and she grinned back as they leaned in for another kiss.
When Julian woke, night had fallen and he sat up on the sofa and ran his hands over his face then looked up as healer assistants ran in and out of Ulysses' room. He immediately stood and walked quickly into the room, "what's going on?" He asked and Marguerite raised her head and looked at her husband, tears streaking her face, "his fever is rising," she said and he walked over to the bed watching as Pyres forcibly poured an herbal mixture into Ulysses' mouth then rubbed his throat so that he would swallow. "We just need to keep him cool, we're in for a long night," Pyres said as she stood and then her assistants pulled the sheet back off of Ulysses and placed a large, cold, wet towel on his chest. "Keeping his chest and head cool is what's most important," Pyres said and Marguerite nodded.
"What can we do to help?" She asked and Pyres looked at them, "well we have to keep him cool, so that means constantly applying these cold towels and wiping his body down with cold water. It's the upper half of his body that we have to keep cool, so from his stomach on up, wipe down his arms and his neck, we just really need to break the fever," Pyres said and Julian and Marguerite both nodded. The night moved on and they all continuously changed the cold towels on Ulysses' body that eventually got hot with Ulysses' fever. Camilla came in and took over for her father while he had to go and see about some things. Camilla was sitting on the side of the bed wiping down Ulysses' arm with a towel when she noticed his tattoo and tried to read it.
"Dangerously in love," she said, "what?" Marguerite asked her daughter and Camilla looked at her mother, "that's what his tattoo says, Dangerously in love and then there's a dash and an X behind it." Camilla said and Marguerite looked at his arm, "Xena," Marguerite said. "What?" Camilla asked and Marguerite looked at her daughter, "it was something your brother said earlier when he was awake. He called out for a woman named Xena," Marguerite said. "Who is she?" Camilla asked and Marguerite shook her head, "we don't know," Marguerite said and they continued to wipe his body down with Pyres keeping a constant eye on him. As it got later his fever was not breaking and Pyres was becoming even more concerned, "his breathing is getting shallow," Pyres said as she placed her hand on Ulysses' chest and by then everyone was in the room, from Ulysses' parents, his sister, Virgil and even Victoria who had come to sit with him.
"There must be something more we can do," Julian said to Pyres who looked at her king, "I'm sorry my lord, if there were something more I could do then I would do it. I'm afraid it is out of our hands now. What we can do is continue to keep him cool so that if he should come out of the fever, there won't be any permanent damage but it's all up to Ulysses now." Pyres said and Julian ran his fingers through his hair as he looked over to the bed where Ulysses lay. The more time that passed the worse Ulysses became until his parents thought that they were going to actually loose their son. "Ulysses, please, please don't leave us, your father and I love you so much. Please come back to us son," Marguerite whispered to her son as tears rolled down her cheeks and she looked at him as she ran her fingers through his damp hair.
"Ulysses..." Julian said as he sat on the side of the bed, looking down at Ulysses, holding his son's hand in his own. He looked at Ulysses then let out a breath, "if I ever thought in a million years that this war would cost me what means the most to me, I would have just given Dartanion the kingdom." Julian said and tears came to his eyes as his mind replayed when Ulysses saved his life. "I am responsible for you lying in this bed in more ways than one," and at that moment a tear fell from Julian's eye. "But I promise you, I swear to you that I will make it all right, I will make everything right if you will just fight son, fight and come back to us. We love you Ulysses, we love you so much," Julian said then looked down for a moment as a few more tears fell and after a minute he looked at his son, "I love you," Julian said then leaned forward and placed a kiss on Ulysses' forehead.
"You're a strong man Ulysses, don't let this beat you. Fight, fight this and come back to us. I know you can do it, please fight for me." Julian whispered in Ulysses' ear then placed another kiss on Ulysses' forehead as he shed a few more tears. Ulysses opened his eyes to find himself in a cloudy place and he looked around but couldn't really see anything. "Where am I?" He asked himself then saw the clouds part and as they did he saw a bright light beginning to emerge. "Well I guess I'm supposed to go this way," Ulysses said to himself and that's the way he began to walk. The closer he got, the brighter the light became and he began to feel this warm sensation inside of himself. He could sense that whatever this light was, wherever he was going, it wasn't a bad place, in fact he sensed that it was good.
Minutes later he finally made it there and to Ulysses it was strange that the light was so bright but it wasn't hurting his eyes. He stood there and looked into the light, then closed his eyes and let it bathe him and when it did, he felt so happy, so carefree, like everything would be alright. Ulysses felt a pull from the other side of the light and he looked at it a while longer, getting ready to walk into it when he heard a familiar voice call his name. "Ulysses," the voice called and he turned around and couldn't believe what he was seeing. "Xena," he said then smiled as he took a couple of steps forward and she walked over quickly to him and jumped into his arms; they both held each other tightly as they hugged.
"I've missed you," Ulysses said, "oh I've missed you too," Xena said as they hugged each other more tightly. When the hug ended they pulled back some and looked into each other's eyes. Xena smiled as she placed her hands on the side of Ulysses' face, "this isn't real, this has to be a dream," Xena said and Ulysses smiled at her as he looked into those gorgeous blue eyes. "Then it is a good dream," he said and Xena grinned then closed her eyes and moaned as Ulysses kissed her and she returned the kiss with much enthusiasm. When the kiss ended Xena looked into the eyes of the man she loved and gently shook her head, "this seems so real," she said and Ulysses grinned then leaned forward and reclaimed Xena's lips in a passionate kiss.
They both moaned into the kiss and Xena stepped closer and she ran her fingers through Ulysses' hair and when the kiss ended, Ulysses leaned forward and began kissing on Xena's neck. Xena closed her eyes and moaned, "gods I hope I never wake up," Xena moaned and Ulysses raised his head and grinned at her and Xena grinned back as she leaned in and reclaimed his lips in a very passionate kiss causing Ulysses to moan and pull Xena closer to him, mashing their bodies together. As they kissed, Ulysses could still feel the pull from the light and he ended the kiss and looked into Xena's eyes, "what's wrong?" She asked him and Ulysses looked at her, "I...I don't know," he said then turned and looked at the light. "What's that?" Xena asked as she looked at what Ulysses was looking at and he shook his head then turned and looked back at Xena.
"I think I'm supposed to go there," Ulysses said and Xena looked at the light, "don't you feel it? The light, it's so warm, and I feel so happy when I get close to it." Ulysses said then turned and looked back at the light, closing his eyes as he basked in all the great feelings. Xena looked at the light and she didn't feel any of what Ulysses was feeling, on the contrary she felt that she wasn't supposed to be there and she felt fear for Ulysses if he should walk into that bright light. She felt that if he did, she would never see him again and that frightened her more than anything in the world. Ulysses opened his eyes and began walking towards the light but he only took a few steps before Xena grabbed his hand stopping him from going any further.
Ulysses turned his head and looked at Xena, "its okay," he said and Xena shook her head as she walked up closer to him. "No its not Ulysses, I get the feeling that if you go there, where ever there is, you won't come back and I will never see you again." Xena said and Ulysses looked at her giving her a small grin, "Xena that place is no threat, I sense nothing wrong coming from there. Trust me its alright," Ulysses said then began to turn but Xena grabbed his hand tighter then walked up closer to him placing her hand on his arm as she looked deeply into his brown eyes. "Do you trust me?" Xena asked Ulysses and he looked at her, "of course I do," he said and she continued to look deeply into his eyes. "Then trust me now, close your eyes and feel what I feel when I look at that place," Xena said and Ulysses looked at her then let out a breath and closed his eyes.
Feeling what Xena was feeling wasn't a hard thing to do when he concentrated on it and Xena watched as his brow scrunched up as he began to feel the fear she felt when she thought about Ulysses going towards the light. He opened his eyes and looked at Xena, "but why don't I feel that?" Ulysses asked and Xena shook her head, "I don't know but what I do know is that I love you so much Ulysses and I can't bear the thought of losing you or of never seeing you again. I am so deeply in love with you," Xena said and Ulysses grinned as he placed his hand on Xena's cheek. "As I am with you," he said and Xena grinned at Ulysses then closed her eyes as she rubbed her face against his hand then placed her hand on his hand and held it as she kissed his palm and he watched her, that small act feeling him with such love for Xena.
"We both made promises and we promised each other that we would never leave the other, that not even death could separate us," Xena said and Ulysses nodded. "I remember," he said then looked down for a moment. "But the way I just came from seems so dark, cold and alone and I'm not sure if I'm able to make it back," Ulysses said and Xena looked into his eyes. "You are never alone Ulysses, as long as I am in your heart I am with you always," Xena said then held out her hand to Ulysses and he looked at her and didn't hesitate or even think about placing his hand in hers, he just did it because he knew it was the right thing to do because that's what his heart and soul told him. Xena grinned as she looked into his eyes, "trust me, everything will be alright," Xena said and Ulysses gave her a small grin and nodded.
He and Xena walked hand in hand, side by side, back into the cloudy atmosphere and away from that bright light. They got deeper and deeper into the fog and then suddenly Xena disappeared, "Xena," Ulysses called as he turned his head looking for her. "Remember, I am always with you my love," Ulysses heard Xena's voice say and he let out a breath and closed his eyes, placing his hand on the stone on his necklace where he felt Xena's presence, her love for him. Keeping his hand there he continued to walk deeper and deeper into the clouds until it became dark and he felt himself begin to fade away. Back in Ulysses' room, Ulysses' breathing had gotten really shallow and like Pyres said there was nothing more that could be done. Marguerite sat on one side of the bed holding Ulysses' hand as she looked down at her sick son, fearing that these would be her last minutes with him.
Julian sat on the other side of the bed with his head bowed as he thought about Ulysses and prayed to Athena to help his son. All of a sudden Ulysses' breathing picked up and Julian raised his head and looked at his son and Marguerite looked at him as well, "Pyres," Julian yelled and the healer walked into the room followed by Camilla, Virgil and Victoria. "His breathing," Julian said and Pyres placed her hand on Ulysses' chest and indeed his breathing was better, it was stronger as was his heartbeat. "Xena," Ulysses moaned and Marguerite looked down at her son then rung out a cloth and began wiping his forehead. "Ulysses can you hear me?" Pyres asked and Ulysses moaned, "Ulysses open your eyes son," Julian said as he stroked his son's hair and Ulysses moaned once more but this time managed to pry his eyes open. Marguerite and Julian both smiled as they looked down at their conscious son.
"Its hot," Ulysses said and Marguerite grinned just happy to hear her son's voice, "that's because you have a fever," Marguerite said. "Here, try to drink a little water," Julian said as he picked up a cup of cool water and he helped Ulysses raise his head as he brought the cup up to Ulysses' lips. Ulysses sipped down some water and when he was done he lay his head back down and let out a breath, "how are you feeling?" Pyres asked Ulysses who looked at her through half open eyes, "tired," he said and Pyres. "Well rest is the best thing for you right now," she said and Ulysses nodded then swallowed as he closed his eyes and before anyone knew it he was gone back into unconsciousness. "I wouldn't worry, like he said, he's tired, I would imagine very tired with his loss of blood and this high fever which we have to continue to treat and we want to keep him in this good condition."
Pyres said, reassuring Marguerite, Julian and the other's before they all began to panic and worry once more. So for the rest of the night they treated his fever with herbs and by keeping him cool along with making sure that his wound wasn't infected and keeping it that way by changing that bandage when it seeped through and keeping a good healing salve on it. By early morning his fever had finally broken and now he was resting comfortably. "My love why don't you go and take a shower and get some rest," Julian told Marguerite who was sitting by Ulysses' bed side while she rubbed her neck. Marguerite looked up at her husband and let out a breath, "but Ulysses..." she began. "Ulysses will be fine, Pyres has assured us that he's on his way to getting better, especially now that his fever has broken. He's sleeping right now and probably won't wake for a while, you can at least get in a couple of hours of sleep and I'll sit with him until then."
Julian said and Marguerite let out a breath and nodded as she stood and Julian walked her to the front door placing a kiss on her forehead before she left and he closed the door behind her. Julian walked back into the bedroom where he sat down in a chair close to Ulysses' bed and he let out a breath as he looked at Ulysses who was resting comfortably. Julian leaned his head back and closed his eyes as he thought about all that had to be done today and about the fact that he needed some rest as well but for now he would have to settle for a little shut eye in the chair he was sitting in. Julian sat there for about ten minutes thinking about Ulysses and how happy he was that he hadn't lost his son. After that he dosed off and that light sleep soon turned into a heavy sleep. Three hours later Julian woke to Pyres dropping a cup on the floor.
He sat up in the chair and ran his hands over his face, "I'm sorry my lord I didn't mean to wake you," she said and Julian shook his head as he stood and stretched. "That's quite alright Pyres, I needed to get up anyway," he said and when he was done stretching he walked over to the bed and looked down at Ulysses as he ran his hand over his forehead feeling the coolness. "How's he doing?" He asked and Pyres looked at him as she began to change the dressing on his wound, "he's doing well. When he wakes up we need to get some liquids in him, maybe some broth if he's able, but the best thing for him right now is bed rest," Pyres said and Julian nodded. "Yea," Julian answered when there was a knock at the door, he looked at the door as it opened to reveal Gregory, "my lord," he said as he walked into the room a little and bowed his head.
"Gregory how is everything?" Julian asked and Gregory nodded, "well my lord, though there is much that needs to be done," he said and Julian nodded. "How is Ulysses?" Gregory asked and Julian grinned and nodded, "he is much better, his fever broke this morning and now he's resting," Julian said and Gregory grinned as he nodded. "That's great to here my lord," he said and Julian nodded. "Was there something you needed?" Julian asked and Gregory nodded, "I'm afraid so, there are quite a few things that require your attention and your attention only. I've held them off as long as I can," Gregory said and Julian let out a breath as he nodded. "I understand and thank you, I'll meet you outside my room in an hour," Julian said and Gregory nodded his head then turned and left the room and as he left Camilla came in.
"Good morning dad," Camilla said as she walked over to her father placing a kiss on his cheek, "good morning sweetheart," he said. "How is Ulysses doing?" She asked and Julian nodded, "he's doing pretty good. Listen can you sit with your brother for a while? Your mother is resting and I have some urgent matters I have to take care of," Julian said and Camilla nodded. "Sure, that's no problem," she said and he nodded. "Great, Pyres won't be far if you need her and when he wakes up send someone for your mother. And also get him to drink some water when he wakes," Julian said and Camilla nodded. "I got it dad," she said and he grinned at her then placed a kiss on her forehead, "I have no doubt," he said and Camilla grinned at her father then watched as he walked out of the room and she sat down in the chair he was in earlier.
When Julian made it to his chambers, he walked in quietly, making sure not to disturb Marguerite if she was still asleep, which he found she was. He quietly moved around the bedroom, undressing himself and putting on a robe before he took out some clean clothes to wear for that day before he went into the bathing chamber, to the shower stall. He cut the water on to the temperature that he wanted then placed his clothes off to the side as he grabbed a large towel to dry off with. He took off his robe placing it on a hook on the outside of the stall before he walked in closing the door behind him. Julian let the hot water beat down on him and he let out a breath as he ran his hands over his face and through his hair. He then placed his hands on the wall in front of him leaning forward, so that the water could beat down on his neck, shoulders and back.
He stood there for a while longer then began to bathe himself. When he was done he got out, dried off and began to get dress. Once he was done, he walked back into the bedroom, sat down on the sofa and put on his boots. He then brushed his wet hair back and let out a breath as he looked at his sleeping wife, who looked so peaceful and unworried, like he knew she had been for a long time, he knew the past months had be really hard on her. He had about a half an hour before Gregory would be at his door so he stood and walked over to the bed gently getting in behind her. He gently scooted up behind her and wrapped his arm around her where he proceeded to lay his head on the same pillow her head lay on. Marguerite moaned as she ran her hand over Julian's hand and clothed arm.
"Is Ulysses okay?" She asked, "he's fine, go back to sleep," he softly said as he wrapped his arm tighter around her, closing his eyes as he inhaled her sweet scent. He let out a breath as he felt Marguerite fall back to sleep and he lay there luxuriating in the fact that he was holding his wife even if it were only for a little while. When it came time for him to go, he eased himself away as to not to wake her but she woke anyway when he was no longer holding her. "Where are you going?" She asked as she rolled onto her back and looked at him and Julian looked down at her, "I have some things I need to see to but you sleep a while longer, Camilla is with Ulysses," Julian said and Marguerite looked at her husband. "What about you? Did you get any rest?" She asked and Julian grinned at her, "I got a few hours of sleep, came back here took a nice, long, hot shower then laid down a while longer with you. So I feel pretty rested," he said and she nodded.
Julian looked at her then leaned down and kissed her softly, when the kiss was over he looked into her eyes as he ran the back of his fingers over her cheek. "Go back to sleep," he whispered then kissed her softly once more before he stood and walked over to a chair where his sword lay. When he had his sword on he looked towards the bed and saw that Marguerite had fallen back to sleep and he grinned as he quietly walked out of the room into the sitting room. When he opened the door he saw that Gregory stood in the hall leaning against the wall waiting for him. Julian shook his head as he softly closed the door behind him then locked it. "What's first?" Julian asked as he and Gregory began walking and Gregory began telling him all what had to be done today.
Two more hours passed before Marguerite woke up. Once she was awake she sent for some food and ate then got dressed and headed back to Ulysses' room. She walked into the room to see Camilla sitting on the sofa reading a scroll and when her mother walked in she looked up. "Hey mom," Camilla said and Marguerite grinned at her daughter as she walked over to the bed sitting down on the side to check on Ulysses. "Hello Camilla," she said then looked at her daughter, "how has he been?" She asked, "he woke up about an hour ago for a couple of minutes, enough for me to get him to drink some water and for Pyres to give him something for the pain. He asked where you and dad were and I told him you were getting some rest and dad was off doing king stuff. After that he fell back to sleep and Pyres changed his dressing then left," Camilla said and Marguerite nodded.
She walked over to the sofa where she sat down on the other end and began talking to Camilla. Marguerite made it a point to check on Ulysses every half an hour to make sure he was okay and that his fever hadn't come back. While they taking care of Ulysses, Julian and Gregory were out in the villages and towns assessing the damages and he gave the builders their orders on what they were to do. Julian grabbed some lunch in between what he was doing but never really stopped for a break since there was so much that needed to be done. When Ulysses woke again, it was an hour before dinner and this time he was able to stay awake for about fifteen minutes which was long enough for him to drink some water as well as a little chicken broth. Pyres talked with him to see how he was doing and what he remembered, trying to asses his mental health as well as his physical health. Virgil came by and kept Ulysses company for those last few minutes he was awake before he was knocked out again from the herbs Pyres had given him and for the fact that he needed rest.
When Xena woke from that dream, she didn't feel as disturbed and afraid as she felt from her previous dream. As she lay in her bed in the dark room, she felt that everything was going to be alright now, that Ulysses was going to be alright. Xena brought her hand up to the stone on her necklace and closed her eyes as she felt Ulysses and it wasn't long before she fell back to sleep. When morning came she went back to her regular routine of running and exercising which she never really stopped but now she could concentrate more fully on it. When she was done she came back to the Inn, took a shower, helped her mother prepare breakfast then sat down and ate with her family.
As usual she helped her mother with the Inn and when lunch came, instead of eating with the others, she fixed something for herself then saddled up Argo and took her for a run, of course Gemini who was still a cub tried to keep up with them which she often managed. They ran for a good while until finally Xena stopped by a stream where Argo and Gemini could get a drink of water and Argo could graze while Xena sat under a nice shaded tree where she ate her lunch and Gemini caught her lunch. When she was done, she leaned back against the tree, closed her eyes and just relaxed as the wind blew over her body and she could now relax more, since her mind was somewhat at ease about Ulysses' wellbeing.
"I see you're enjoying your time off," Athena said as she appeared and Xena grinned and nodded. "Yea, something tells me it'll be a while before I get any more leisure time like this." Xena said and Athena grinned, "well it won't be a long time but your intuition is correct. "After a week of training, I have another mission for you," Athena said and Xena opened her eyes and looked at the goddess. "How bad?" Xena asked, "not bad at all, I'll give you the details while we train so you can know what to expect," Athena said and Xena nodded. "Athena how is Ulysses?" Xena asked and Athena looked at her chosen, "I was wondering when you were going to get around to asking me that," the goddess said and Xena just looked at her. "He is doing much better thanks to you," Athena said, "me? What did I do?" Xena asked and Athena grinned at her, "you saved him Xena.
That dream you had was more than a dream. Ulysses stood at the window into the Elysian Fields and had he would have walked in, he would have been dead now." Athena said and Xena looked down for a minute then back at Athena, "then that other dream I had was more than a dream as well? Ulysses really did get hurt," Xena said and Athena nodded. "Yes he did but as I said you have saved him, he was on the edge of death and you pulled him back. He'll be just fine now," Athena said and Xena let out a breath and nodded. "That's good to know," Xena said and Athena grinned, "in your heart you already knew that Xena, when it comes to your love for Ulysses you'll learn to listen to your heart." Athena said, "I'll see you bright and early in the morning," Athena said then disappeared before Xena could comment on that.
Xena grinned as she shook her head and relaxed for ten more minutes before she rode Argo back to the Inn then let the horse walk around in the fenced in yard Toris and Lyceus fixed for her. It gave Argo room to run and walk around in instead of being cooped up in the barn all day. When Xena got back to the Inn she continued to help her mother and before she knew it the day was gone. That night when she fell asleep it was with sweet dreams of Ulysses on her mind. When morning came she was ready for her training with Athena. Time seemed to flash by because a week quickly passed by and Xena found herself packing for her next trip. When Athena explained to Xena that all she had to do was escort a group of temple virgins to one of Athena's temples, it seemed easy enough but she had never been around a group of virgins before to know how much trouble they were.
When Xena arrived at the village where the virgins were and she met them all she let out a breath, "oh boy this is going to be a long trip," she said to herself. There were twelve of them all together and they all rode in the back of a wagon with Xena taking point on Argo to make sure things were safe. The whole day they complained about everything from the heat, down to all the rocks on the road that was making the trip in the wagon very bumpy. They made camp an hour before the sun began to set and of course the virgins had something to say about sleeping on the ground. "I'll be back," Xena said as she stood, "what, you're going to leave us here by ourselves?" The head priestess asked and Xena looked at her, "Tamalacus is right there," Xena said as she pointed wagon driver and the priestesses looked at him then back at Xena.
"He's not a warrior," she said and Xena let out a breath, "look I'm not going far. We are well hidden and Gemini will let me know if anyone else is even close around. So don't worry, I'll be right back," Xena said and one of the priestesses went to say something but Xena didn't give her a chance, as she walked away into the woods. When she was away far enough, she let out a breath as she sat down on a boulder, "you didn't tell me virgins could be so annoying," Xena said and Athena smiled at her as she appeared in front of Xena. "All priestesses are annoying to you," Athena said and Xena hunched her shoulders, "well these are working on my last nerve, complaining about everything," Xena said and Athena nodded. "They're Aphrodite's priestesses, I'm protecting them for her, while she deals with a problem," Athena said and Xena looked at Athena.
"How can they be Aphrodite's priestesses when they're virgins?" Xena asked and Athena grinned, "losing their virginity is part of their initiation to becoming priestesses," Athena said and Xena started to ask another question but decided against it and Athena grinned when she saw Xena shake her head. "Who's after them anyway?" Xena asked, "Ares," Athena said and Xena looked at her, "doesn't he have anything else better to do?" Xena asked and Athena nodded, "Aphrodite turned one of his best upcoming warlords into a love sick fool and now he's getting back at her by having his men kidnap her priestesses and plans on deflowering them all himself." Athena said and Xena raised an eyebrow at that, "has it occurred to any of you gods, that you guys have some serious issues?" Xena asked and Athena chuckled at that, "we do indeed," Athena said as she grinned at Xena.
"Anyway I'll be keeping a close eye on things to make sure Ares doesn't try anything underhanded, which knowing him he will," Athena said and Xena nodded. "Yes well, I can be underhanded as well," Xena said and Athena looked at her chosen and nodded. "I know," she said with a grin then disappeared and Xena let out a breath as she thought about heading back to the camp. 'Maybe I can just gag and tie them down the rest of the way' Xena thought to herself, "don't even think about it," Xena heard Athena said, her voice ringing through the trees. Xena shook her head as she made her way back to the camp, she wasn't sure if she could take another week of this, which was how long it was going to take them to get to Athena's temple.
Three days passed and Ulysses was indeed doing a whole lot better. His fever hadn't come back, his wound was healing nicely and he was now eating a little more than broth. He still slept a lot but that was to be expected, especially with Pyres continuing to give him herbs to help fight off fever, infection and to help with the pain which all had the side effect of making him sleep. When he was awake he was awake for a half an hour to an hour at the most, and during those times he would sit up in bed with his back propped up on pillows. He was never alone or lacking company since every time he woke up his mother was there, sometimes his father, Camilla was there and sometimes Virgil. He talked to them all, especially Virgil and his father who kept him up on what was going on with the kingdom and he often asked his father what he had planned for Paxos and King Dartanion and his family.
Julian would tell him as far as Paxos went, it was now under Ithaca rule but as far as knowing what to do with Dartanion and his family, he was still working on that. He wasn't sure what to do with the former King of Paxos, he didn't have the information he needed but hopefully he would have it in a couple of days. Until then, Dartanion and his family were basically treated like guests in Julian's palace except for the fact that guards went with them everywhere and kept a constant eye on them. Another day was passing and Ulysses passed it with sleeping but on this day when he woke just before lunch he saw a face at his bedside that he didn't expect. "Hey," Victoria said as she sat down on the bed and he looked at her, "hey," he said and she looked at him. "Would you like some water?" She asked and he nodded then watched as she poured him a cup of water, he eased himself up on his elbows then took the glass from her and drained the cup before handing it back to her.
"Thanks," he said as he lay back down and she nodded, "you're welcome. So how are you feeling?" Victoria asked and Ulysses let out a breath as he looked at her, "tired but the pain has lessened up a little," he said and Victoria nodded. "I was really scared when you got hurt and then when they couldn't get your fever down," Victoria said and Ulysses nodded. "It was a scary situation," Ulysses said. "I'm glad you're okay and that you're getting better," she said and Ulysses grinned. "So am I," he said and Victoria grinned at him. "I'm surprised you're talking to me, you know before this you were still pretty angry with me," Ulysses said and Victoria nodded as she looked down for a moment. "I know," she said, "then what's changed?" Ulysses asked and Victoria looked up at him, "Ulysses I'd like to think that you and I have become great friends," she said and he looked at her and nodded.
"I'd like to think that as well," he said and Victoria nodded, "I'm ashamed for the way I acted, I let my emotions control me but the fact is, I may have been angry with you but you are still my friend and I still care deeply for you. And when I heard what happened to you...everything else didn't matter. All that mattered to me was that you were okay, all that other stuff was pointless," she said and Ulysses looked into her eyes and nodded. "You're a great friend Victoria," he said and she grinned at him although she was crying in the inside. Victoria sat there and talked to Ulysses a while longer, helping him when lunch was brought in. Virgil came around lunch time and talked with Ulysses as well and when Victoria left to go see about something, so was the excuse that she gave, Virgil looked at Ulysses who let out a breath as he looked up at the ceiling.
"You know when you were delirious with fever you called out for Xena," Virgil said and Ulysses looked at his friend. "I remember seeing her here," Ulysses said and Virgil looked at him. "Your parents asked me who she was and what she meant to you," Virgil said and Ulysses looked at him intently. "And what did you tell them?" Ulysses asked and Virgil let out a breath, "I told them that I knew who she was and what she meant to you but I wasn't going to tell them. I told your father that you should be the one to tell them," Virgil said and Ulysses nodded. "You're right and I will, just as soon as I'm not stuck in this damn bed and I'm awake for more than an hour," Ulysses said and Virgil grinned at him. "Well get in all the rest you can, there's a lot that needs to be done and trust me there will be plenty enough work left for you," Virgil said and Ulysses grinned at his friend even as his eyes began to droop and Virgil saw he was trying to stay awake.
"Rest, I'll see you for dinner," Virgil said as he stood and Ulysses nodded then closed his eyes and Virgil grinned when he saw Ulysses fall asleep and from there he left the room. "You're healing remarkably fast," Pyres said as she checked Ulysses' wound having changed the bandage on it. "Well I guess it helps to be in good shape before I laid near death's bed," Ulysses said as he sat up on the side of the bed. Two more days had passed and he had gotten his strength back and was doing as much as walking around his room, since that was all he was allowed to do. "And where do you think you're going?" Pyres asked Ulysses as she watched him put his shirt on, "I'm going for a walk," Ulysses said, "oh no you're not, you could reopen those stitches, not to mention you're too weak."
Pyres said and it was as if she were talking to herself as she watched Ulysses, who picked up his boots then raised his leg to put them on and tie them. "Hey what's up?" Virgil asked as he walked into the room and Pyres let out a breath as she looked at him, "thank gods, maybe you can talk some sense into him. He's thinking about going for a walk in his condition," Pyres said and Virgil walked over to Ulysses who looked at him. "Don't look at me like that Virgil, I'm tired of lying in this bed and I'm tired of being in this room. I just want to take a short walk in the garden," Ulysses said and Virgil looked at him then turned and looked at Pyres. "What if I go with him to make sure he doesn't overexert himself and if anything should happen I can get him back to the palace quickly?" Virgil suggested and Pyres looked at the both of them then let out a breath as she threw her arms up in defeat.
"Fine, its not like if I told you no you would listen, but the moment he gets tired he should rest and take it easy, I don't want him to reopen those stitches." Pyres said and Virgil nodded then looked at Ulysses who gently stood up as to not jar his body. Virgil walked side by side with Ulysses from the moment they left the room to the moment they were in the garden and even then he didn't leave his side. However with Ulysses not back to his full strength and still being in some pain, the walk was slow but Ulysses appreciated it, anything was better than being cooped up in his room all day. "So I take it you're feeling much better," Virgil said to his friend and Ulysses nodded. "Yea, remind me not to get stabbed in the stomach any more, it's a horrible place," Ulysses said. "I think it's better than your heart," Virgil said and Ulysses looked at him, "you have a point there," he said and they continued to walk and talk until they reached a bench that sat in the garden and they sat down.
"I haven't had any messages have I?" Ulysses asked and Virgil shook his head, "no and I've been checking for myself," Virgil said and Ulysses nodded then let out a breath. "Even though the war is over there is so much more that needs to be done before I can return to Amphipolis." Ulysses said then let out a breath as he looked up at the sky, "Virg I miss her so much," Ulysses said and Virgil nodded, "I know you do and I'm sure she misses you the same. But just think of it this way, the sooner you rest, you'll get better and you'll be able to help us around here, especially your father and then you'll be able to go to her." Virgil said and Ulysses nodded, "is that your subtle way of telling me I need more rest?" Ulysses asked with a grin and Virgil grinned at him, "hey, its better than saying 'Ulysses you need to lay your ass down' or sicking your mother on you," Virgil said and Ulysses chuckled and nodded.
They sat there in silence for a few minutes both having things on their minds. "You know we have been in wars and battles before and I understood how precious life was but it never really effected me until now." Ulysses said and Virgil looked at him, "what do you mean? Because you got hurt in this one?" Virgil asked and Ulysses shook his head, "no. I've never really had anything to lose until now or anyone who really needed me. I mean yes my parents, Camilla and you would miss me but you guys don't really need me, not in the way that Xena does, in the way that I need her. Over the months that I've gotten to know her and fallen in love with her, I have shared my heart, body and soul with her in a way that I had never shared with anyone else before." Ulysses said and Virgil nodded, "you guys have a strong bond I understand," Virgil said and Ulysses shook his head.
"I don't think you do," he said and Virgil looked at Ulysses, "when my breathing started getting shallow, I woke up in this cloudy place and there was this bright light. I walked towards it and the closer I got the more pull I felt from it. When I was finally standing in front of it I just felt so happy and so at peace and I was ready to walk into it when I heard someone call my name and when I turned around it was Xena." Ulysses said then turned his head and looked at his friend, "she came to me and saved me, I was about to walk in to what I'm assuming was the Elysian Fields and had it not been for her I would be but a memory right now. Our bond is stronger than you know, it's stronger than we know," Ulysses said and Virgil looked at him.
"Well I don't think it's a bad thing, the bond you guys have, I mean you are in love with each other. Maybe this is just proving to you that you guys are meant to be together," Virgil said and Ulysses nodded. They sat there a while longer then began making their way back to the palace where they ran into Camilla and Victoria. "Hey, I didn't know you were up and around," Camilla said to her brother and he grinned at her. "Well you know me, I can never stay still for long," Ulysses said and Camilla grinned and nodded. "So where are you guys headed?" Victoria asked, "back to my room," Ulysses said. "Well we were just going to grab a bite, why don't you join us?" Victoria suggested and Ulysses looked at Virgil who looked back at him, "it's up to you and how you're feeling," Virgil said.
"Well I'm feeling up to grabbing a bite to eat," Ulysses said and Virgil nodded, "then I guess we'll join you guys," Virgil said and they nodded and began walking towards the dinning hall. When they got there, Ulysses found his parents sitting at their table, "Ulysses you're up," Marguerite said as she looked at her son and he grinned and nodded. "Yea, I was tired of being cooped up in that room so Virgil was kind enough to walk with me in the garden," Ulysses said as he eased himself down in the chair and his father looked at him. "How are you feeling son?" He asked and Ulysses nodded as he looked at his father, "I'm feeling pretty good," he said and Julian nodded as he poured Ulysses a glass of water. "Thanks," Ulysses said and Julian nodded, "so how have things been going with Dartanion?"
Ulysses asked and Julian looked at his son, "well he's still hiding something but little by little we're discovering things. Something's telling me though, that he chose this war as a last resort for something that's going on in his kingdom." Julian said and Ulysses nodded as he ate on a cherry, "so have you decided if you're going to let him become a Satrap or not?" Ulysses asked, "depending on what more I find out, then I'll talk it over with the advisors, I'm hoping you can be there to tell me what you think," Julian said to his son and Ulysses looked at him and nodded. "Of course," Ulysses said, ten minutes passed by and they all sat at the table and talked while they ate. "I have to get back to work," Julian said as he stood then leaned over and gave Marguerite a soft, brief kiss. "I'll see you later," he told her and she grinned and nodded.
"You take it easy," Julian told Ulysses as he placed his hand on the side of Ulysses' face and Ulysses grinned and nodded. When Julian passed by Camilla he placed a kiss on her forehead before he headed out of the dinning hall. Marguerite sat there a while longer watching her children talk and laugh and she looked at Ulysses, watching him smile and laugh and she just thanked the gods that he was here sitting at the table, able to talk, smile and laugh. "Mom," Ulysses called and Marguerite looked at her son, "yea?" She asked, "are you okay? You were just sitting there staring at me," Ulysses said and Marguerite grinned as she nodded. "I'm fine, I was just thinking," she said and Ulysses looked at her and nodded. Ulysses sat there for about five more minutes talking with Virgil, Camilla and Victoria before he turned and looked at his mother again.
"Hey mom will you walk with me back to my room?" Ulysses asked and Marguerite looked at him, "sure, are you feeling okay?" She asked and he grinned and nodded as he stood, "yea I'm feeling fine, just a little tired," he said and Marguerite nodded as she stood as well. "I'll see you guys later," Ulysses said and they all nodded. Ulysses and Marguerite walked out of the dinning hall and headed back to Ulysses' room. "So what were you thinking about like that, back in the dinning hall?" Ulysses asked his mother and she looked at him, "you, how close I came to losing you and how happy I am that you are alive, that I can sit across from you and watch you smile and laugh." Marguerite said and Ulysses nodded, "I'm happy that I can do those things as well," Ulysses said and Marguerite nodded.
They walked in silence until they reached Ulysses room and when they walked into the room Marguerite closed the door behind her. "Ulysses...I'm sorry," she said and he turned and looked at her with a confused expression on his face, "for what?" He asked and she let out a breath as she looked at him, "for asking you to risk your life just so that I didn't have to be lonely," she said and Ulysses grinned at his mother as he headed into his bedroom and she followed him. "Mother you have nothing to be sorry for, you didn't ask anything of me that I wasn't willing to do." Ulysses said, then sat down on his bed and began to unbutton his shirt, "I would gladly give my life for dad, he is the heart and soul of this kingdom as well as our family and I would hate to see a love like what you and he have, destroyed," Ulysses said and by then he had his shirt all the way undone and slowly took it off, as to not jar his stomach.
Marguerite walked over to the bed and helped Ulysses with his boots, "still, I feel that in some way I told you to sacrifice your life so that your father may live. It's important Ulysses that you understand, that was never what I was asking you to do, if anything, I was asking that you take care of yourself and look after your father in the process." Marguerite said to her son and Ulysses nodded as he laid back on the bed letting out a breath because he actually was quite tired. "Mom I know and I never once thought that's what you were asking me to do. I didn't go out there with the thought in my mind that I would have to give my life for my father, I went out there with the thought that I had so much to live for and so did dad and that, that war was going to end that day. And when it ended, dad would walk back into the palace and into your arms and I would see you smile again and our family would still be whole," Ulysses said and Marguerite looked into her son's eyes where she definitely saw a change.
She grinned at him then shook her head, "we really have to talk about how this change in you occurred," Marguerite said and Ulysses grinned at his mother. "Sure but later, I'm kind of tired right now," Ulysses said and Marguerite nodded as she stood then leaned down and placed a kiss on her son's forehead. "Thank you for what you did, what you sacrificed but don't ever do it again," Marguerite said to Ulysses as she looked into his eyes and he grinned at her and nodded. "Yes ma'am and you're welcome," Ulysses said and Marguerite grinned at her son. "Get some rest, I'll see you later," she said and Ulysses nodded then watched as his mother walked out of his bedroom and when he heard the door close to the sitting room, he let out a breath and just laid there and stared up at the ceiling.
After a couple of moments he reached over to his nightstand, his face turned up as a slight wave of pain went through him, he opened the drawer and pulled out his picture of Xena. 'I miss you so much my love' Ulysses thought to himself then eased himself on his side and continued to look at Xena's picture as he thought about her until he dosed off, which didn't take long. Another week passed and Ulysses was still taking it kind of easy but since his wound was mostly healed up, he went for light jogs and did light exercising, trying to get himself back into shape. He also helped his father out with things concerning Ithaca and now Paxos, which helped to take a lot of the pressure and stress off of his father. Ulysses set up the security of Ithaca, again making sure everything was going well and then he saw to the security of Paxos and of course Virgil was always at his side to help him.
When he had some free time on his hands, he either spent it getting a little rest, since sometimes he still tired easily depending on what he was doing. If he wasn't getting some rest, he was taking walks in the garden, sometimes by himself and other times with Camilla or Virgil and sometimes even Victoria. He was taking a walk in the garden by himself when he noticed Victoria sitting down on the bench looking out at the water in the pond. "Victoria," he called and she turned her head and looked at him, "what are you doing out here?" He asked and she looked at him, "the same thing you are I suppose," she said and he looked at her then walked over to her and sat down next to her. "Are you okay?" He asked and she nodded as she continued to look out at the water, "I just have some things on my mind," she said and Ulysses nodded as he looked out at the water.
"Don't we all," he said and they sat there in silence for a few minutes. "Is it something you would like to talk about?" Ulysses asked her and she let out a breath as she looked down for a minute then looked at Ulysses. "Can I ask you a question?" She asked and he looked at her and nodded, "of course," he said and she nodded then let out a breath. "Why is it that you don't want me?" She asked as she looked into his eyes and he was surprised at the question, especially since he was caught off guard. "I mean, is there something about me that you don't like? We have so much in common and we understand each other or so I thought, but what I don't understand, is why you don't want me, why you don't love me like I obviously love you?" Victoria asked and Ulysses let out a breath, "Victoria I thought we had passed this, I thought you understood that my decision not to be with you has to do with me and not you."
Ulysses said and Victoria stood and looked at him, "Ulysses we both know that's a load of crap," she said and Ulysses let out a breath. "I don't believe that, there's something else, there's something more that you're not telling me, because if what you said were true, you wouldn't have been interested in me in the beginning. And if you were treating me like any other girl, you and I wouldn't have been together as long as we were and you wouldn't have cared about my feelings." Victoria said and Ulysses shook his head as he stood and looked at her, "you believe what you want, but I tried to tell you in the beginning, I tried to warn you that I wasn't looking for anything permanent with you or any other woman." Ulysses said, "so, you're going to stand there and tell me that you had no feelings for me what so ever, that you don't still have feelings for me?"
Victoria asked and Ulysses looked at her, "no I'm not saying that. I will admit I had feelings for you when we were together, strong feelings of adoration towards you, what we shared and the great friends we had become but I'm not going to confuse that with love. Victoria I couldn't love anyone back then with the way I was, with the things going on in my life and how confused I was. That's why I tried to tell you before we started what we did, that I could not give you what you were looking for, what you wanted." Ulysses said and Victoria looked at him, "I know, believe me I know and I tried my best not to get attached, not to fall for you but I couldn't help myself, the heart wants what the heart wants." Victoria said, then took a few steps forward, "and my heart wants you Ulysses," Victoria said and Ulysses looked into her eyes then shook his head.
"I'm sorry," he said and Victoria let out a breath as she turned and walked a couple of feet away. "Victoria I can't and never will be able to give you what you want," Ulysses said in a gentle voice and after a moment, Victoria turned and looked at him, "who is she?" She asked and he looked at her, "who is who?" He asked and Victoria looked into his eyes as she took a step forward, "who is the woman that you are in love with?" She asked and Ulysses let out a breath, "Victoria," Ulysses said in a voice that said he wasn't in the mood for this, especially since it wouldn't help matters any. "Her name wouldn't happen to be Xena would it?" She asked and he looked at her with surprise in his eyes, "I guess it is," she said and Ulysses looked at her. "How did you know?" He asked and Victoria let out a breath, "a day a go I came to see you but you were asleep and as I turned to leave, you whispered her name and there was a grin on your face when you said it."
She said and Ulysses let out a breath as he looked down, "by your reaction I guess it's true," Victoria said then sat down on the bench. "You don't love me and never will because you're in love with someone else," she said and Ulysses let out a breath as he looked up at the sky wondering what he should say or do. "So what does she have that I don't?" She asked, "Victoria please lets not go there," he said and she looked at him. "No, I want to know. She must be an extraordinary woman to have a prince fall in love with her," she said and Ulysses let out a breath. "So what is she, a nobleman's daughter or a princess?" Victoria asked and Ulysses looked at her, "you really want to know?" He asked and she looked at him, "yes, I want to know," she said and Ulysses nodded. "Alright, she's neither," he said then held up his hand before Victoria could say anything else.
"And I'm not having this conversation with you," Ulysses said and Victoria jumped up. "You owe me this much," she said in a forceful tone, as she walked over to him and he looked at her. "I owe you nothing and I'm not going to stand here and talk about my relationship, so you can stand there and criticize it and the woman I'm with. This doesn't concern you Victoria, so leave it alone," Ulysses said as he looked at her and she looked at him. "I gave my heart and body to you, so I think I have a right to know who you've thrown me away for," she said and Ulysses looked at her as he took a step forward. "I said leave it alone," he said with finality in his voice and eyes and Victoria saw that and she looked at him as she folded her arms across her chest. Ulysses looked at her a while longer then turned and headed back to the palace.
When dinner time came around, Ulysses headed to the dinning hall with Virgil and they talked as they walked there. When they arrived they headed straight to their table, where their parents and Camilla already sat getting ready to eat. "Ulysses," Camilla called and he looked at his sister, "yes Camilla," he answered and she looked at him. "I ran into Victoria later on today and she told me about an interesting discussion you and she had," Camilla said and Ulysses looked at her. "And as I said to her, it is not open for discussion," Ulysses said and Camilla looked at him. "I disagree, you have made it a point to hurt my best friend over and over again," Camilla said. "I haven't made it a point to continue to hurt her. I care for Victoria, really I do but only as a friend. I don't know how many times or how many ways I can tell her this. Every time I think that she understands, she comes back and starts the whole thing over again," Ulysses said and Camilla looked at her brother.
"You started this Ulysses," she said and he let out a breath as he looked down for a moment, "I know and I'm regretting this and the fact that she is hurting." Ulysses said, "well if you are, then you would tell her what she wants to know. Who is this Xena?" She asked and Ulysses looked into his sister's eyes, "Listen to me well Camilla, we are not having this conversation," he said and she looked into his eyes. "Oh yes we are," she said and he grinned at her then leaned back in his chair. "Who is she?" Camilla asked again, "Camilla," Julian called and she looked at her father, "your brother is right, this isn't up for discussion," he said and Camilla looked at her father. "How can you say that? I'm tired of him hurting her, so I want to know who she is right now and what makes her so much better than Victoria."
Camilla said half talking to her father and half talking to Ulysses, who she directed the last part to. "As I said before, I don't make it a priority to hurt Victoria, I wish we could just be friends and she would let this go but she won't. You want me to stopping hurting her but this information that you and she just have to know, will do just that. So please for her sake, leave it alone," Ulysses said as he looked into his sister's eyes. "He's asking you nicely and I'm telling you, leave it be Camilla," Julian told his daughter and Camilla looked at her father then let out a breath. "This is some bullshit," Camilla said as she stood, "Camilla," Marguerite said, surprised and both appalled at the language her daughter just used and Camilla didn't say anything else as she walked out of the dinning hall.
Ulysses let out a breath as he picked up his glass and took a drink and he sat there thinking about his sister and Victoria but most of all, why his father had come to his defense. When dinner ended, Ulysses headed back to his room, where he sat down at his desk and began to write a letter to Xena and when he was finished, he sealed it with his seal then took it to the message room. When that was done, he headed back to his room, where he got ready for bed then laid down and it didn't him long to fall asleep. The next morning, he went for a light jog then back to his room to get cleaned up before he headed to breakfast. He met his mother and father half way there and when they entered the dinning hall and walked over to the table Camilla was already sitting there eating her breakfast. However when they arrived she used her napkin to wipe her mouth then stood, "where are you going?"
Marguerite asked her daughter, "I've lost my appetite," Camilla said as she looked at her father and brother then left the table. Ulysses let out a breath as he ran his fingers through his hair, never had he seen his sister so mad at he or his father. When he was finished his breakfast, he left and began heading to do some work, "Julian, we need to talk to him about this. Camilla is right about one thing, we need to know who this woman is and what she means to Ulysses," Marguerite said and Julian nodded. "I know and we'll talk to him in a couple of days I promise, I'm just trying to get things situated around here, with Dartanion and with Paxos. It's been almost three weeks since the war ended and there is still so much that needs to be done." Julian said and Marguerite nodded, "it doesn't take much to start a war but it takes a whole lot to fix the damage that one has caused," she said and he nodded. "We have court later on today," Julian told his wife and she grinned and nodded, "I'll be there," she said.
Once Xena was done with this mission that took longer than she expected because for one, the priestesses were a real pain in the butt and they caused a whole lot of trouble and secondly Ares, wanted those priestess more than either Athena or Xena anticipated. However much a pain they were, she enjoyed her time traveling the countryside, tricking and fighting Ares' men, not to mention Argo and Gemini enjoyed the time away from Amphipolis as well. Two weeks later, Xena returned home where she took a day off to rest and clean her gear and on that day she wrote a letter to Ulysses, having gotten both of his and read them. Her letter would be a couple of pages long as she wrote about how much she missed him and wished he were there, the things that were going on around the Inn and telling him about the last mission she had been on. When she was done she sealed it with her seal and took it to the docks, where the message would be sent off.
When that was done, she took Argo for a run along with Gemini, who ran next to them, trying to keep up and she was also turning out to be a great hunter. When the day was over, she went back to helping her mother out around the Inn, but her mind was still very much on Ulysses, wondering when he was going to come home back to her. Maphias was still bothering her, about how Ulysses would do this and that but she put up with him and ignored his comments, although some of them were hard to ignore because they played on the insecurities she had in the back of her mind, concerning her relationship with Ulysses. In any case, it caused her to be quiet, as she thought about it all and began to wonder if he were ever going to come back, but whenever she had those doubts she would think about Ulysses and all they shared and know that what they felt for each other was real and nothing and no one would ever be able to take their love away.
When lunch time came Xena really wasn't that hungry so she took an apple and went to the barn with Gemini following her. As usual she sat in the stall with Argo and as she sat there she read Ulysses' last letter smiling as she read it.
It has been a Tartarus of two weeks and the only thing that has gotten me through it is thinking about you. I read and re-read your letter smiling as I did, especially when you say you feel like the love we have is out of a poem by Sappho or Sophocles. I smile because I feel the same way, yet that doesn't surprise me. You and I often feel the same things, I want what you want, you need what I need; I guess you can say it's a circle of love where we complete each other. As I write you this letter, I am sitting on the balcony in my room and I look up at the stars and think of you. I sit here and think of something romantic to write you. A poem or something that you will love that will make you feel my love and longing for you through the words that I write. Its funny, I used to write songs and the love songs I wrote were usually how I felt or how I wanted to feel and the words came so easy to me back then. But now, now that I have finally found true love, now that you have captured my heart, I am at a loss for words.
Then I don't think that's all together true, I think its more like the love that I feel for you is so much, so wonderful, that I can't possibly put it into words. How can I possibly put into words the millions beyond millions of things that I feel, just when I see your face or hear your voice? How can I explain how I fall into your beautiful eyes when I look into them? That only love could allow me to see the things I see in your eyes and know that how you feel about me is true. How can I tell you, how I feel when you smile at me? It's like the sun shinning down on me and my soul lights up. How can I explain how your touch affects me? The warmth and love that I feel, just from a caress.
Tell me how can I explain the love we make? How I feel when our bodies are touching as well as our hearts and souls. There are no words to describe how I feel about all of these things, no words that will scratch the surface of my love for you. Yet I am filled with this intense need and desire to give you everything you want and need. I want so much to tell you how I feel, to write you a beautiful piece of poetry, that you will remember, always keep and think when you read it years from now, that this is how much I loved you and smile years from now, when I wrap my arms around you to feel how much I still love you but by then our love will have grown to an epic love, a love greater than even the gods themselves. So as I look up at the stars and see your face, you give me inspiration to write down the words that I wish I could speak to you now at this very moment. And these words that I write come from my heart and this is truly how I'm feeling; I'm no Sappho but I hope you like it.
It is strange to think I haven't seen you in a month. I have seen the new moon but not you. I have seen sun sets and sun rises but nothing of your beauty. I miss you like the sun misses the flower, like the sun misses the flower in the depths of winter. Instead of beauty to direct its light to, the heart hardens like the frozen world your absence has banished me to. The pieces of my broken heart are so small that they could be passed through the eye of a needle but hope guides me. It is what gets me through the day and especially the night. Hope that once you are gone it will not be the last time I look upon your face. (A Knight's Tale)
Well that's all I have for right now but in our continuing letters I'll write more just so you will never forget how I feel. Where ever you are I hope you are alone when you read this because I know you'll be smiling. No, in fact I hope you're not alone, then everyone that you're around will know my love for you and that only I can make you smile, the way you are right now. I can see it in my mind now and I smile to myself. Any way, I don't want to make this letter too long so I'll end it now by saying I love you, I miss you, I can't wait to see you and you'll be in my heart. Always and forever.
The King of your heart,
As usual when Xena finished reading the letter she was smiling and thinking of how much she was in love with Ulysses and how much he was obviously in love with her. 'The King of my heart, I like that' Xena thought to herself then let out a breath as she stood and began brushing Argo and when she was finished she headed back to the Inn.
It had now been three days later since Ulysses and Camilla had their argument and Camilla was still not talking to her brother and father, avoiding them both. The last thing Ulysses wanted to do was alienate his sister but he really didn't want to discuses the situation with her. As far as he was concerned this was a private matter that she and Victoria didn't need to know about, not until he was ready anyway. It was a couple of hours after lunch and Ulysses had a little time to himself so he went to his room to lay down on the sofa. His wound was almost fully healed but he still tired easily but everyday he pushed his endurance just a little bit until he could get back to his old self. He had dosed off to sleep when there was a knock at the door which woke him. Ulysses let out a breath as he sat up on the sofa then stood and went to answer the door, "mom, dad, what can I do for you?"
Ulysses asked, since his parents stood on the other side of the door. "We need to talk son," Julian said and Ulysses nodded as he walked back over to the sofa and Julian closed the door behind him. Marguerite sat down in the chair and Julian sat down on the arm of the chair both looking at Ulysses, who looked at them. "What's on your mind?" Ulysses asked and Julian let out a breath as he looked at his son, "your mother and I don't quite how to ask you this or go about asking you," Julian said and Ulysses looked at them both. "Is there something wrong?" Ulysses asked and Julian shook his head, "no everything is fine," he said and Ulysses nodded. "Are either one of you sick?" Ulysses asked, "no, its nothing like that sweetheart," Marguerite said to her son. "Okay if its not that, then is there something going on with the kingdom that I don't know about, I mean are we in some kind of trouble?" Ulysses asked and Julian shook his head, "no son we are doing well as far as the kingdom is concerned, we couldn't be more financially stable."
Julian said and Ulysses looked at them both, "so if it has nothing to do with the kingdom or our family, then that can only mean one thing," Ulysses said and he paused as he looked at his parents. "It has to do with me, doesn't it?" Ulysses asked and Julian looked at his son, "yes it does," he said and Ulysses let out a breath as he ran his fingers through his hair. "Okay what now?" He asked, "Ulysses I never thanked you for saving my life, you sacrificed yourself for me and thought nothing of it," Julian said and Ulysses looked at his father in a weird way. "You're my father, saving your life required no thought. I love you and that's all there is to it, you would do the same for me," Ulysses said and Julian looked into his son's eyes. "Indeed I would," Julian said then stood and walked over to Ulysses, where he sat down next to him on the sofa and turned to look him in the eyes. "You are my son, my first born and I love you as only a father could love his son that he's so proud of. Anything you ask of me it is yours."
Julian said and Ulysses looked into his father's eyes then grinned as he looked down for a moment. "You know it's funny, when I left, I thought I would never here those words from you, that you are proud of me." Ulysses said and Julian nodded as he placed his hand on the side of Ulysses' face, as he looked into his eyes. "I am proud of you my son, I'm proud of the man you've become, the great prince you've turned out to be and the great King I know you will be. I've always been proud of you Ulysses," Julian said and Ulysses grinned. "Even when we're at each other's throats?" Ulysses asked and Julian grinned, "especially then, those are the times when I've been most proud of you because you stand up to me, speak your mind and let me know, the strong man that you are."
Julian said and Ulysses nodded, "then I speak to you as the man I am now, what have you and mother come here to ask me?" Ulysses asked as he looked at his father then his mother. Julian looked at Marguerite, who cleared her throat as she looked at her son. "There was a lot going on with you when you left and your father and I admit that instead of making the matter better, we made it worse by not really listening to you and what you were trying to tell us. We won't make that same mistake again," Marguerite said and Ulysses just looked at continued to listen. "That tattoo on your arm, will you please tell us what it says," Marguerite asked and Ulysses looked confused. "You guys came here because you wanted to know what my tattoo says?" Ulysses asked, "we're getting to what we really came here to ask you about, just please bare with us and tell us what it says."
Julian said and Ulysses let out a breath and nodded, "alright, it says Dangerously in love," Ulysses said and Marguerite looked at her son and nodded. "Then there is a dash, then an X," she said and he looked at his mother. "Camilla noticed it when she was helping to keep your fever down," Marguerite said. "Okay but what does that have to do with anything?" Ulysses asked, "Xena," Julian said and Ulysses looked at his father. "You called her name out quite a bit when your fever was high," he said and Ulysses hunched his shoulders. "So?" He asked, "so, we were wondering if you would tell us who she is and what she means to you?" Marguerite said to her son and Ulysses let out a breath, "Ulysses we know this is not something you really want to talk about with us but we would really like to know," Julian said and Ulysses shook his head. "No its okay, I should have told you sooner rather than later, I was just waiting for a good time and to be honest I didn't know quiet how to tell you."
He said then let out a breath as he began to tell his parents of Xena, "I left here feeling alone, empty and lost and I was looking for what I was missing. It seemed that something was calling to me but I didn't know what. I didn't know what I was looking for until we stopped in Amphipolis. Virgil and I were escorting a guy and his family there since the roads they were taking could be dangerous and were. When they were there safely, we went to look for an Inn, when I ran into the most beautiful woman," Ulysses said then chuckled at himself as he looked down for a moment. "I actually thought she was a goddess," he said and Julian grinned at his son. "Her name was Xena and she stole my heart the moment I looked into those gorgeous blue eyes of hers," Ulysses said. "This was the first time I was actually afraid to talk to a woman. There was just something about her that made me weak in the knees and my heart race a mile a minute.
I talked to her, asked her out for dinner and so we began to get to know each other. Her mother owns the Inn there, so I asked could Virgil and I hang around and do some things around the Inn and help her sons in the fields. We did that and everyday I spent time with Xena, before either one of us knew it, days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months and before we knew it we had fallen in love with each other." Ulysses said then looked at his parents as they looked at him, "so she is responsible for this change in you," Marguerite said and Ulysses grinned and nodded. "She is, she told me that I had to stop running from my problems and fears, to face them head on, to face you head on," Ulysses said as he turned and looked at his father. "I needed to face you head on, so that you could see the great man I had become, that I don't need to be dictated to like a child," Ulysses said and Julian nodded.
"So she's a commoner," Julian said, "no she's more than that," Ulysses said as he stood and looked at his parents. "She is an extraordinary woman, strong minded and strong willed. She has so many talents and she is Athena's chosen," Ulysses said and Julian looked at his son as he stood. "She has been chosen by the goddess?" Julian asked and Ulysses grinned and nodded, "she is a great woman father and you want to know what she means to me. She is the Queen of my heart, my soul and I love her with all that I am," Ulysses said as he looked into his father's eyes and Julian looked into his son's eyes then at Marguerite who stood and walked over to them. "If you meant what you said, then as soon as things are settled with Paxos, I would like for us to go to Amphipolis so you can meet her," Ulysses said as he looked from his father to his mother pleading with his eyes. "I don't see why not, it would be a pleasure to meet the woman who has stolen our son's heart," Marguerite said as she stood close to Julian wrapping her arm around his back and placing her hand on his chest.
"Your mother is right. Everything with Paxos should be finalized in two more weeks, by then I'll be able to leave Camilla and Gregory in charge of things while we are gone." Julian said as he placed his arm around Marguerite, "I don't know if Camilla will agree to that," Ulysses said. "Don't worry about Camilla, we'll talk to her and explain things to her but she's right, you should tell Victoria, she needs to know and she should hear it from you," Marguerite said and Ulysses looked at his mother and nodded. "Alright I'll tell her but in my own time," Ulysses said and she nodded. "Well that's all we wanted, we'll see you for dinner," Julian said as they began to head to the door and Ulysses nodded as he with his parents to the door, closing it behind them.
He let out a breath when they were gone then sat back down on the sofa, 'well at least that's over with and it wasn't half as bad as I expected it to be,' Ulysses thought to himself then laid down for about a half an hour before he headed to his father's office, where he and a couple of advisors talked about some of the changes that would be made concerning Paxos and from there Julian and Ulysses went to talk to Dartanion, to see if they could get any more out of him. Julian had also asked Marguerite to see what she could get out of Dartanion's wife, which was nothing, since Dartanion rarely told her whole stories about serious problems such as these, with Paxos. When dinner time came, Camilla was actually talking to Ulysses though she didn't mention the argument they had or what their parents spoke to her about. A couple of days passed and King Julian did learn a little bit more of what was behind Dartanion and the decision he made to start a war. He had the former King of Paxos brought to his office and confronted him on what he knew.
"Have a seat Dartanion," Julian said and Dartanion looked at Julian then took a seat in the chair in front of Julian's desk while Julian sat on the edge of the desk. "Leave us," Julian told the guards who bowed and walked out of the door closing it behind them. My spies have learned quite a few things since I have taken over Paxos. For instance, I have learned that your kingdom was doing well with everything, including trading so there was really no reason to start a war over it," Julian said as he looked at Dartanion who looked at him then looked away. "I also know you're not the type of man to be greedy or bite of more than you can chew. Which leads me to wonder, what would make a smart man such as yourself and a great king, wage a war with a neighboring kingdom, with whom you have no problem with?"
Julian said and Dartanion continued to look away, "then I asked myself, why would I do something like you have just done? And the only reasonable answer I could come up with, that would cause me or a man such as yourself to do something like this, would be to protect that which he loves and cares for the most. Your family and your kingdom," Julian said and Dartanion turned his head and looked into Julian's eyes, "let's say you are right. What would you do to this man and his family, to his kingdom?" Dartanion asked and Julian looked at him, "still concerned about your family and kingdom, although you are powerless to help either one? Definitely not the type of man to do what you have done," Julian said then let out a breath and walked behind his desk looking down at his documents.
"Let's say that I have information as to what made this man act the way he did," Julian said, "then you would do well to burn that information, forget what you know and never speak of it again." Dartanion said and Julian looked at him, "What has you so afraid Dartanion? What has made you surrender your kingdom to me in a last effort of protection, without being obvious?" Julian asked and Dartanion looked into his eyes, "please Julian for both of our families sakes, forget about what you have found, what you are getting yourself into is unlike anything any of us have ever dealt with." Dartanion said, "damn it Dartanion," Julian said as he became frustrated about what Dartanion was keeping from him, sensing that it was dangerous and he felt that he really needed to know what it was. "You have involved me in whatever it is that's going on. If you needed my help, why didn't you just come and ask for it?" Julian asked. "Because I couldn't," Dartanion shouted as he stood and looked into Julian's eyes where Julian saw a great amount of fear.
"I couldn't alright, so I did what I had to do to protect my family and my kingdom and I have it from a good source that you won't be bothered by this threat, not yet, not when you hold so much power." Dartanion said and Julian looked into his eyes, "what have you gotten me in to Dartanion?" Julian asked as he looked into the man's eyes, wondering what could cause as much fear as he saw in his eyes. "I'm sorry Julian, this was the only way to save what I love most," Dartanion said then let out a breath as he sat back down and ran his fingers through his hair. Julian let out a breath and looked down at the documents on his desk then back at Dartanion, "there will come a time when you will have to face this fear that has been instilled in you. I can not fight or help you fight an enemy I know nothing about," Julian said. "Every night I pray to the gods that we won't have to fight them at all, that they'll just go away and leave us be." Dartanion said and Julian looked at him once more and let out a breath.
"Dartanion you are a friend but my kingdom and my family comes before anything else. I understand that what you did was for the good of your kingdom and family but that does not change things. You started a war," Julian said and Dartanion nodded as he looked into Julian's eyes, "I understand and I take full responsibility for my actions, I just ask that you don't punish my family for my choices," Dartanion said and Julian looked at him. "You and your family will be fine Dartanion," Julian said as he stood with a document in his hand then held it up for Dartanion to see. "This is a proclamation stating that Paxos now belongs to me and is under Ithaca rule. I am appointing a Satrap to see to the things that I cannot, obviously I can't be in two places at the same time and I don't think Marguerite would appreciate us moving to Paxos."
Julian said then sat the parchment down as he sat on the side of the desk and continued to look into Dartanion's eyes. "As I said before, I can't return your kingdom to you nor do you want me to. I am however, willing to appoint you as the Satrap and you would see to things as you usually did but in the end all of the major decisions would be left up to me. You would have to send weekly reports and there will be surprise inspections, if I find that there are laws and rules that need to be changed or corrected, then I will do as I see fit. For the most part Paxos will stay as it is but there will be some things that will be changed," Julian said and Dartanion looked at him. "Now the question is, do you want to be a Satrap for Paxos?" Julian asked and Dartanion looked at him, "can I think about it?" He asked, "you have one day," Julian said then stood and walked back behind his desk.
"After that, if you can't make a decision, I will appoint a satrap of my choosing and you and your family can either chose to stay here on Ithaca or go somewhere of your choice." Julian said then sat down and Dartanion looked at him then stood and headed for the door, "Dartanion I need your decision an hour before lunch tomorrow," Julian said and Dartanion nodded then walked out of the door and was escorted back to his room by the guards that brought him to Julian's office. Julian sat at the desk reading the report from his spies on what they found, "come," he said when there was a knock at the door. Ulysses walked into his father's office, closing the door behind him, "I saw Dartanion just left," Ulysses said and Julian looked up at his son and nodded. "Did you get anything out of him?" Ulysses asked as he sat down in the chair and Julian let out a breath as he leaned back in his chair.
"He basically admitted to starting this war out of fear, fear for his family and for his kingdom," Julian said. "What is he afraid of, that we would have taken it from him?" Ulysses asked and Julian shook his head, "he won't tell me who he's afraid of or for what reason. Whatever the cause is, it has instilled a great amount of fear in him and I believe in his wife as well," Julian said. "So what? He started a war with us so he wouldn't have to fight one with whoever is scaring him?" Ulysses asked and Julian shook his head, "well that's part of it and the other part of it is that he says that he has it on good authority that whatever the threat, it won't be bothering us none too soon because of the power we hold." Julian said and Ulysses looked at him, "what power?" He asked and Julian shrugged his shoulders, "beats the Tartarus out of me. Dartanion might know but he's not saying anytime soon," Julian said.
"So has he agreed to be the Satrap for Paxos?" Ulysses asked, "he hasn't said yes or no. He wanted some time to think it over, his fear might cause him to reject the offer though." Julian said then leaned forward placing his folded hands on the desk as he looked into his son's eyes, "whatever his decision, I want you to handle the security on Paxos. I want to know what and who comes and goes and make sure we have some of our best spies over there. I want to keep a close eye on things, I'm going to find out whatever is going on, so we can at least have a head's up if we get in trouble." Julian said and Ulysses nodded as he stood, "it will be done," he said then headed for the door. "Oh and mother told me to tell you don't be late for dinner," Ulysses said with a grin and Julian grinned back as he nodded then watched his son leave his office. Julian let out a breath as he looked down at the documents before he stood and placed them in a box which had a lock on it.
He walked over to one of the book cases in his office and took a couple of scrolls off of the second highest shelf. Once that was done he pulled the large stone out of the wall which was a small compartment where he placed the box, then placed the stone back and finally the scrolls. When he was finished, he saw to a couple more things that took up his time quite nicely and before he knew it, it was time for dinner. The next day came and it was two hours before lunch when Dartanion informed Julian that he had his decision so Julian called a meeting with all of his advisors, including Ulysses. Dartanion sat two chairs down from Julian, "what is your decision?" Julian asked and Dartanion let out a breath as he looked into Julian's eyes, "I agree to be the Satrap," he said and Julian nodded. "And you accept and understand all the conditions which will go with the position you have accepted?"
Julian asked and Dartanion nodded, "I do," he said and Julian nodded then signed the bottom of the parchment he showed him yesterday. When he was finished he pushed the parchment over to Lucius who signed it, then pushed it over to Ulysses who signed it, and lastly it was handed to Dartanion, who signed it as well and then the document was passed back to Julian. "You and your family will return back to Paxos first thing in the morning, I'm sending a few of my junior advisors with you and they'll stay there for a couple of weeks to make sure things are running smoothly." Julian said and Dartanion nodded, "thank you, you have showed me more kindness and mercy than I deserve," Dartanion said and Julian looked at him. "Take care Dartanion, just because you have done this, does not mean that threat you fear is still gone. If you know anything or if you need my help, please ask for it," Julian said and Dartanion nodded then bowed his head in respect, "of course my lord," he said and Julian nodded then looked at the gentlemen sitting at the table.
"Gentlemen this meeting is adjourned," Julian said then turned and looked at Lucius, "I need to speak with you," Julian said and Lucius nodded and stayed behind once everyone was gone. "What can I do for you my lord?" Lucius asked and Julian looked at his head advisor and trusted friend, "in a week or so, Ulysses, Marguerite and myself will be traveling to Amphipolis. It seems my son has fallen in love and wishes us to meet this woman. Camilla will stay here and of course since she will be my only blood family left here, she will rule while I am away. You and Gregory will help her and make sure everything runs smoothly," Julian said and Lucius nodded. "Of course," he said, "so is this thing with Ulysses and this woman serious?" Lucius asked and Julian shrugged his shoulders, "I don't know but knowing Ulysses and the infatuation my son has for women, I doubt so. This is his first time being in love, I'm sure in time it'll pass," Julian said and Lucius nodded as he looked at Julian.
"You sound as if you don't want it to work out," Lucius said and Julian let out a breath. "Its not that I don't want it to work out, it's that it can't. She's a commoner, a peasant and though I don't have anything against them..." Julian said and Lucius nodded. "You don't have to explain, believe me I understand," he said and Julian nodded. When Ulysses left the council room he headed to the garden where he had another appointment. He walked into the garden where he saw Victoria sitting down in a chair talking with Camilla. When he walked in they both looked up, "you wanted to speak to me," Victoria said and Ulysses nodded. "I'm gonna go inside," Camilla said as she prepared to stand and Ulysses shook his head. "Its okay you can stay," he said and she looked at him as he walked over and sat down in the chair across from them.
"Victoria it's important to me that you understand that you are very important to me and I care for you deeply. I love you as a close and dear friend but that's all that can ever be between you and I and that's not because I have found someone else. It really does have more to do with the man that I was then, when you and I got involved and the man that I am now. For my part, it was wrong of me to take from you what I did and use you for my own purposes, I needed a shoulder to lay on and you were there and you understood me and what I was going through. You are a great friend, I don't doubt that." He said and Victoria nodded her head, "but being friends is all you want from me," she said and he looked at her. "Yes I know, is that all you wanted to tell me?" She asked in a bitter voice and he looked at her and let out a breath.
"I asked you here because I felt that you needed to know that there was another woman in my life and you deserved to hear it from me and not someone else." He said and she looked at him, "so you're going to tell me about her now?" She asked and he looked into her eyes, "only if you really want to know but I don't think me telling you about Xena is going to make you feel any better or settle things between you and I." Ulysses said and she looked at him, "I think it will settle things," she said and he looked into her eyes and saw that she really wanted to know so he let out a breath and nodded. "As you already know her name is Xena and as I told you before, she's neither a nobleman's daughter or royalty, she is a commoner," he said and Victoria grinned an ironic grin as she turned her head to the side and Ulysses paused for a moment but continued.
"She lives in Amphipolis where her mother owns the inn and her brothers tend to the fields. She is a strong woman in both body and mind and she is extremely beautiful. She has many talents..." he said but didn't finish since Victoria cut him off. "What does she have that I don't? What made you choose her over me?" She asked and Ulysses let out a breath as he looked at her, "I'm not going to tell you that," he said. "And why not?" She asked, "because I'm not going to help you beat up yourself or destroy yourself, the person you are, because you're trying to please me. I'm tired of hurting you Victoria and it seems every word that comes out of my mouth lately, are words that are hurting you." Ulysses said and Victoria shook her head as she stood, "you know what? It's fine because it's your loss. You chose a peasant over someone like me, I may not be strong in body but I am in mind and I have many talents, not to mention I've had more than my share of men who've told me that I'm beautiful.
I love you Ulysses, the gods know I do but I'm tired of being hurt by you. I should've listened to Camilla when she said you were just using me, that you would throw me away like you did all the others, but I was stupid enough to think that it would be different with me because I wasn't as stupid as those other girls. It turns out I'm worse than they are because I fell in love with you and you wanted nothing from me but my body." She said as she looked at Ulysses and as she stood there she shook her head as tears filled her eyes when she thought about how stupid, foolish and gullible she had been. "Victoria," Ulysses said as he stood and took a step towards her but she backed away from him, "no, don't touch me. Don't even come near me," she said and he looked at her as tears rolled down her face. "I hate you," she said then stormed back into the palace and Ulysses stood there looking at the place where she once was and then he closed his eyes as he thought about what happened.
He opened his eyes when he felt a hand on his arm and turned his head to see his sister, "you tried," she said and he looked into her eyes. "I never meant to hurt her," he said and Camilla nodded. "I know but it's just going to take her some time to get over this, she doesn't really hate you Ulysses, she's just really upset." She said and he let out a breath and nodded, "I'm gonna go see about her," Camilla said and Ulysses nodded. "Will you be okay?" She asked and he gave her a small grin as he nodded, "yea I'll be fine, go and see about her," he said and Camilla nodded then turned and headed back into the palace. Ulysses was upset that he had hurt Victoria like he did and that she was so upset with him but by the end of the week, his world brightened up when he got a letter from Xena. He received it just as he was walking back to his room from dinner and when he got it, he rushed to his room, quickly got ready for bed then walked out onto the balcony where he sat down on the ground, broke the seal on the letter and began reading it.
He was basically smiling throughout the entire letter, from the moment she told him how much she missed him, up to the part where she was telling him about her last mission with Aphrodite's virgin priestesses. Ulysses reread that letter two more times before he went to bed. Usually he would write to Xena as soon as he got her letter but he thought since he would be seeing her soon he would surprise her that way. He placed her letter in a special box where he placed the rest of the letters she had written him, then pulled out Xena's picture and looked at it. "Goodnight my love," he whispered to it, then placed the parchment back in the drawer. That night he went to sleep with Xena on his mind as he often did but on this night, he dreamed great dreams of her.
A week passed by quickly for Ulysses and everyday it got closer to the day he and his mother and father would leave to go and see Xena, the more excited he became. It had been a month since the war and Ulysses was completely healed with a thin, white scar where the wound was. He now went for runs and did his regular exercises, he even sparred with Virgil and some of the soldiers. Things were going well on Paxos and even better on Ithaca, so Julian agreed that they would leave two days from now and Ulysses couldn't argue with that. Virgil however, had to convince his father to let him go and it finally came down to him telling his father, he was a grown man and he would do what he pleased without asking his father for permission. That of course started an argument between Virgil and his father. Ulysses was still upset that Victoria wasn't speaking to him and she was definitely avoiding him since he didn't see her at breakfast, lunch or dinner.
He would ask Camilla if she were okay and all she would say, is that she's working through it in her own way and in her own time. He just wished she would understand but when he thought about it from her view, he could understand how she was feeling so he gave her the space and time she needed. He just hoped that hopefully she would come around because he meant what he said, she was indeed a great friend and he cared for her deeply. It was two days before Ulysses would leave and he was already packing. He still had some of his clothes from when he stayed in Amphipolis, so he packed them and some of his regular clothes that he wore around home. "So Ulysses, are you ready to go?" Virgil asked his friend since they were on the second day and would be leaving early the next morning.
"Man, I'm more than ready," he said and Virgil grinned as he nodded. "I can't wait to get some of Cyrene's great cooking," he said and Ulysses grinned at him. "Xena makes the best sweet rolls," Ulysses said, "you mean the ones with the strawberry filling?" Virgil asked and Ulysses grinned and nodded, "those are good," he said and Ulysses nodded. "So she can cook?" Marguerite asked her son and Ulysses nodded as he grinned, "can she cook? Once you've tasted her and her mother's food, you'll be wanting to get rid of our good for not cooking as well as they do." Ulysses said and Virgil chuckled at that. That evening, he asked Camilla about Victoria one last time and she told him the same. Ulysses just hoped that things would be better when he came back. When morning came, Ulysses was up bright and early and he went for a quick run before he came back to his room, where he took a quick shower, then got ready.
He and his family had a quick bite for breakfast and then once Julian made sure everything was in order and things would be taken care of while they were gone, they left the palace where two carriages waited for them. Of course since they were royalty they wouldn't be traveling alone, seven of the best royal guards would be traveling with them for their protection. The carriages took them to the docks where they boarded their ship, and once their belongings were on the ship, they began to sail away and they were on their way to Amphipolis.
Chapter Nine: Reunited
Positive and Negative feedback is welcomed and much appreciated.
So please let me know how I'm doing
and if there is anything more you would like to see.
Return to the Academy