Disclaimers: The characters of Xena: The Warrior Princess and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, are owned by MCA/Universal & Renpics. No copyright infringement is intended in the making of this epic.
Warning: This story contains strong language and violence on every level; whether mentioned, implied, or acted out. It also contains graphic sexual themes between hetero/homosexual men and women. If you are not 18 to 21 years of age, or if this tale is not your cup of tea, nor allowed in your country/state, you should go now. I'm positive there are other bard's out there that will appease you, so leave this story to the mature audience.
Additional Note (Please Read): This story's a companion with my other tale, Xena & Gabrielle: A Turn of Fate. It is highly imperative that you read a chapter from both stories back to back in intervals between the two. You should always read the first chapter of, Xena & Gabrielle: A Turn of Fate, first, then the first chapter of this tale. Make sure you read both chapters of each story so that the stories' plot don't become confusing. I know that this type of story probably haven't been done before, but I promise (my hopeful readers) your time will be well invested.
Feedback or comments can be sent to, Martinkendell19@yahoo.com
Chapter 1: Commencement
The sky was clear. No stars or even clouds filled it as Aurora broke the dawn to make way for Helios.
Cerulean orbs gazed outside her balcony from within her Corinthian castle to stare at her beautiful garden. Spring was in the air, and the atmosphere was calm with a cool breeze. She watched the exotic flowers in the garden gently sway with the wind. A mixture of lilacs, viceroy tulips, hyacinths, and an assortment of others danced together.
She kept vigil, watching.
A dream, if not a nightmare, awoken her earlier than she wanted. Hypnos, the god of sleep had decided to remind her of the past trials she had endured for the last twenty-eight winters of her life. Every feeling from the emotional spectrum collided inside of her; from joy to laughter, lust to love, sadness to pain. Only to give way to anger and death.
The Oneiros wanted to show her all of it in dreams; how she picked up the sword to become a hero, nearly got destroyed for helping a foreign ruler, surviving, and in turn, caused the destruction of her enemies before conquering lands.
Then, she became known as the Lord Conqueror of the Realm.
Very few called her by the birth name Cyrene and Atrius, her parents of Amphipolis had given her. Even less people actually knew her real name. Ever since she became a master with weapons, strategies, and a tactician in battle, she'd gone by one title or another. A few years after she was essential in the defeat of the warlord Cortese, the villagers of her home bestowed upon her the first honorific title; the Lion of Amphipolis for her courage and extraordinary talents.
Still, even that battle brought forth tragedy. Losing not only dear comrades from her village, but her beloved brother as well. Agony didn't cease there, though. It became worse.
Her fateful day on a vessel sailing for Greece from Egypt landed her in the path of a young General of Rome. A very powerful man who damn nearly killed her. Betrayal, lost lovers, and death became all she knew.
All she know.
A year ago, she'd finally got vengeance against the vile bastard. It only cost her morals, and almost her honor as a warrior. The Conqueror could still hear her deceased, oriental lover's melodic voice in her head.
' Revenge is a double edged sword. So, after you lay your enemy's body in the ground, be prepared to lay your soul down as well.'
'You tried to save me from this path, didn't you, Lao 'Ma?'
The Conqueror kept her tears in check. It was far too late for self-pity. On the brightside, at least the Realm was in peace and have remained that way for the last three years. Taxes were low, though it was hard to do so, especially after the Peloponnese Purge the Delian League of Athens waged against Sparta, Corinth, and their allied city-states. The Purge effected the whole of Greece. If it wasn't for careful scheming, including extreme patience from the Conqueror, Greece could've became easy prey to all her enemies, and the biggest threat most likely would have been Rome.
By the Lord Conqueror uniting every major city-state under one banner, it easily disrupted whatever plan the Romans had. Once Rome lost their opportunity with Greece, the senate passed powers onto their favorite General, making him Dictator for life, sending him off to conquer Brittania.
Brittania was unlike the Realm of Greece before the Conqueror came along. Kingdoms divided in opposition to each other, allowed them all to almost be subjugated by Rome. It was a good thing the Conqueror had her eye on Brittania, too. Making contact with the Queen of the Iceni, Boadicea, after her puppet husband, Prasutagus passed away, changed the turn about of the war. Brittania's victory became Greece's victory as most of its land was annex into the Realm.
It was a devastating blow to the Dictator, Julius Caesar, who returned home for the first Cronus without acquiring new territory for Rome.
Later, Greece gained more lands, each with some amount of bloodshed. Macedonia, Mesopotamia, some lands in Turkey, and Gaul for her General of the Fourth Army, Vercinix. He was a great leader of Gaul, defending it from Caesar in the Gallic Wars. However, Vercinix lost and was almost publicly executed in Rome if not for the intervention of the Conqueror saving him en route to his ghastly fate. He then joined her army to help fight for Brittania.
A huge smile broke out on the ruler's face. It felt really good to take back another prize from that Dictator, just like it felt good with Gaul's annexation into the Realm. The expression of the Conqueror's turned a bit melancholy when she thought about the latest location that was absorbed into her Realm.
The majestic Chin.
'I've kept my promise, Lao 'Ma.' She regarded bitterly. 'Your son still lives.'
Once again, the Lord Conqueror considered her immaculate garden of Corinth, comparing it to her Realm. Soon more flowers would bloom like her citizens, but it would also take much more effort to keep the plants healthy, and strong. If she was not up to the task, the gorgeous display could decay and fall apart.
'I'll never let that happen.' She swore, clenching her hands into fists. 'Never.'
The Lord Conqueror would cease the overflow of conquered lands in advance of it getting oversized and overreaching herself. Besides, to her, the Realm was flourishing. From trade, to employment, and with the newly discovered platinum orbs found in Laconia near Tegea, money, even weapon crafting, was now lavish.
What more could she want? She was content with everything other than her love life, but that was another thing altogether. She had already felt the icy cold hands of love twice. With that aside, her Realm was what she concentrated on mostly. She was happy with what she had gained.
"Why can't Rome be contented?" She mused aloud.
As that thought occurred, the Conqueror realized Helios was shining down on her. She had been profoundly consumed by her deep dwellings in cogitation that Cronus inexplicably passed her by. When she awoke from her sleep, she gave herself a bath before standing on her bed chamber's balcony in only her aqua robe, which reminded her of the beautiful eyes of the young girl she'd saved eleven years prior. Damp hair tangled uncomfortably on her covered shoulders and back, causing her robe to dampen.
Deciding to return inside her chamber, she called for her maid, "Akemi."
"Yes, my Conqueror." The exotic almond-eyed woman answered, entering from her room that was adjacent to her Lord's.
The Conqueror secretly appraised her Chambermaid's look. The young woman from Japa still wore her dark-blue colored shift that was sleeveless and strapless, but it covered her small breasts, accentuating them. Akemi also wore a dark sheer cloth, circling her back shoulder blades to the front.
'If only I was younger.' The Conqueror thought.
Akemi bowed her head when she got closer to the Lord of the Realm. "My Lord Conqueror, how may I be of service to you?"
The youthful voice jolted the older woman into action.
"My hair." She started to tug on it. "In my old age, I totally let Cronus slip by me. I need a quick comb through it."
Akemi bowed again before retrieving the comb. "As you wish, Lord Conqueror."
The Conqueror left out her bed chamber, trekking into her outer antechamber, which served as her workstation for personal and public affairs. It was used as a living room area for relaxation and eating, too. Only a few were allowed to enter.
She slowly sat down on one of the long, soft, black sofas. Akemi made her way behind her to begin working on combing the black and silver streaked tresses. The Conqueror relaxed while her maid gently, but thoroughly, combed her hair.
"My Lord Conqueror?"
"If I may be so bold, you may be old in age, but you are still truly magnificent." Akemi asserted, still combing the damp strands of hair.
The Conqueror wished someone else would say those exact words to her. Although she accepted Akemi's compliment, even cherished it, there was another younger woman she yearned to hear sweet nothings from.
"Thank you Akemi, but flattery will get you nowhere." She jested.
The young woman chuckled.
"No, my Lord. Not flattery, but truth." Akemi hesitated briefly, then went on professing, "You have such a powerful aura about you. It draws others into you. That's how vast your energy is. When you came to my country and liberated me from my father, Yodoshi, I would have been a slave for you when I first seen you. I still would."
The Conqueror rumination went back a year ago after she completed her most important mission and successful assassination ever. The Conqueror decided to take a detour when she left Rome. She sailed passed Chin, farther east to the land of the Rising Sun.
Whilst there, the Lord of the Realm met a Shogun named Harukata who was the leader of another set of warriors she had never encountered before called Samurai. He showed her their unique ways and wide range of weaponry; yumis, wakizashis, tachis, tantos, naginatas, kusarigamas, a lot of staffs, and the sword that really interested her.
The Samurai showed her how efficient the blade was in quickness and grace over a lot of other swords in the world. She stayed in Japa for nearly three moons, until she felt she spent enough Cronus there and had to return to her Realm. Before she left, Harukata presented her with a custom katana of her own. It was forged in the heart of the mountain, Hiratagachi. The Conqueror thanked the Shogun, and went on her way.
Before she could step onto her ship, she saw a man throw a woman to the wall and slice her down, ending her life with the same blade she had come to admire. When he grabbed Akemi to do the same thing, the Conqueror literally flipped.
"Akemi, you are not a slave, nor would I ever want one." She replied, returning from her wonders. "As you should know, I abhor slavery. It is abolished here in Corinth and Athens. Hopefully one day I will make it so throughout the entire Realm."
"I know, but-"
"Akemi." The Lord Conqueror said more sternly, sensing the conversation was going somewhere she didn't want it to. "We'll never speak on this again. I have to get myself ready. Are you done?"
"Yes, my Lord." Akemi assented sadly, reluctantly stopping the movements of the comb.
"I'm really in a rush. My Chancellor will be here shortly. Will you remain here to receive him while I change?"
"Surely I will do what you command, my Lord." She agreed with a smile.
"Thank you, Akemi." The ruler told her, her gratitude.
The Chambermaid simply bowed submissively.
The older woman traversed to her bed chamber. The Lord of the Realm knew she had to deal with one important meeting, so she would leave the Agora cases to her Chancellor. She quickly slid the robe off and slipped on matching undergarments.
'Seems some habits from Chin will always stay with me.' She cogitated happily.
Next, she put on black leather trousers that was lined with silver on the sides, adding a silver-colored tunic to compliment it as well. When she was done tucking her tunic inside her leathers, she laced up her dark boots.
"Lord Conqueror, the Chancellor of the Realm has arrived." Her Chambermaid's voice was heard through the closed double doors.
'I wonder what he'll have to say.' The Conqueror grinned to herself. "Let the Chancellor know I'm on my way."
"As you command, my Lord." Akemi's muffled voice responded.
Checking her image over in the mirror, the older woman felt she looked good for forty-three winters. Moving the raven and silver hair from in front of her face, the Lord Conqueror exited her bed chamber to find Akemi gone. Instead, in her place was a man with much more silver hairs than herself.
"Alright Old man, what have you done with my Chambermaid?" She teased.
"You're still going to call me that? You know, you're getting up there too in age." He prolonged for effect, grinning. "Young lady."
The Conqueror strode up to him in haste.
"Meleager." She hugged him warmly.
Meleager returned the gesture. "Xena."
Again, only a few people knew her by that name or called her by it. Meleager earned it since it was he who taught Xena the way of the sword when she was fourteen, and he... A much younger man, yet Xena called him Old man even then, also. It became a term of endearment.
"I have news, my-"
"That can wait." Xena interrupted him. "First tell me how was your vacation for the last fortnight?"
Meleager fumbled a bit.
"Oh, Xena it was swell. I mean it. I... I didn't want to come back. Especially here." He laughed nervously.
Xena laughed along with him, mostly at how short he tried to sell his story.
"Well you know you can retire." Her laughter ebbed away. "You'd more than earned it."
Meleager became adamant, "No, no. My place is by your side. Always."
An overwhelming feeling raced through Xena, embracing him again. "I love you, Old man."
"And I you." He concurred.
Xena offered him a seat on the sofa. After he sat, so did she.
"Now, tell me about your trip alone." She beamed, not letting him off the hook easy.
She already knew what he had done.
Meleager looked a tad bit uncomfortable.
"Meleager?" Xena inquired softly.
"I didn't... I never left the service of the Realm, Xena."
"What? I told you to take a break at my expense. To breathe, to live, to leave this Realm and its affairs. But what do you do." Xena feigned being confused to egg him on. "What did you do?"
"Xena, I know you aren't penurious. You will share every and anything with those you care for." Noticing the smirk on Xena's face, Meleager realized he was being duped. "You already knew."
"Gods, you should see your face." Xena burst in mirth.
"Glad to amuse you, Conqueror." He responded tersely.
"Stop being grumpy." Xena asserted, just as Akemi stepped back in with two trays filled with egg whites, meats, bread, a variety of fruit, and two ornate cups of milk.
Akemi set the trays down onto the table and bowed to her betters. "Morning breakfast, my Lord Conqueror and, Chancellor. Will there be anything else?"
"Thanks, I'm okay." Meleager affirmed.
"No, we'll be fine, thank you." The Conqueror proclaimed. "Akemi, why don't you go get yourself something to eat. You've been attending me ever since you woke."
Akemi curtsied and left the chambers.
Once she had left, Xena eyed Meleager digging into his food.
"What? I was hungry. I figured you were too, so I asked your Chambermaid to bring breakfast."
Xena smiled, picturing how antsy Meleager must have been when he relayed the task to Akemi. Then, her smile was gone as she focused on the matter at hand.
Meleager noted the change of Xena to the Conqueror, and knew they had to get to real business. Setting his utensil down, he gave the Lord of the Realm his attention.
"We will forget the fact you tried to lie about taking vacation and instead went to Rome. Tell me Chancellor Meleager, what have you learned?" The Conqueror spoke with authority.
Meleager wasn't too surprised the Conqueror knew where he had gone.
He answered back dutifully, "As the Realm already knows, Octavian, Marcus Antonius, and Markus Lepidus, formed a second Triumvirate a couple of moons after Julius Caesar's death."
Meleager took a moment to drink some milk to clear his throat. Once he was done he continued, "Well, like the first Triumvirate, this one is dissipating faster than Mercury. With Caesar dead, Brutus thought he could sway his fellow senators to damn the Dictator. It didn't work, and Julius was deified."
'Better him to pretend to be a god in Pluto.' The Lord Conqueror mused blissfully.
"When that happened, Brutus at least felt he would be accepted into the Triumvirate with Octavian, and Marcus Antonius. Wrong again. They placated Brutus until they could move full force against him, getting the senate to name him as prime conspirator in the death of Caesar. Now Brutus is on the run, hiding in Crete, making noise about you helping him to make Rome a republic again." The Chancellor elucidated.
"Stupid, silly Brutus. I should have killed him also." The Conqueror averred in frustration.
She nodded her head for Meleager to continue.
The Chancellor of the Realm avowed, "Lepidus has been forced out the Triumvirate into exile. Marcus Antonius is in Egypt with Cleopatra VII."
The mentioning of the land of Pharaohs brought back terrible memories for the Lord Conqueror. She could still see the many faces of her dead friends, hear the dying screams of her fiance, and feel the explosion that she knew had taken her life.
"My apologies, Xena. It was not my intention to cause you discomfort." Meleager was deeply concerned for her.
The Conqueror composed herself. "I've read reports Marcus Antonius went to Egypt. I know he is in the palace playing house with that Grecian whore for a queen. The Egyptian people deserves better. She has sired children with him as well."
Meleager discerned all too well the Lord of the Realm's anger and animosity towards Cleopatra. She'd used the Conqueror for her own gain and threw her to the sharks in the end.
"They have two now, and rumors are, one's on the way."
"I know. Not only did she sire a child by Caesar and had Caesarean, but now twins; Alexander Helios, and Selene Cleopatra the Younger by Marcus." The Conqueror sneered. "She thinks her children are gods."
"Is there anything that doesn't get beyond your notice?" Meleager asked.
The Conqueror shrugged her shoulders. "What's happening in Rome now?"
"Octavian wants power." Meleager stated. "He is requesting the senate demands Marcus' return to Rome. Once back, I believe Octavian will oust him and try to take full control over Rome."
"I understand you have sources for getting information, Meleager. However, how did you come across these details?"
"Cicero, my Lord."
"That's funny. He sent me this information also." The Conqueror confirmed.
"I told you to go on vacation. What was I supposed to do without my strong right hand? Imagine my surprise when I read in his missive you were in Rome with him."
"Still one step ahead of me." The Chancellor's expression turned somber. "I fear for Cicero. I tried to get him to come here with me, but he refused."
"He is intelligent. I believe Cicero can take care of himself well enough." The Conqueror refuted.
"Perhaps you are right. Do you think Rome's civil war will spread to us?" The Chancellor queried.
"I prepared for this. Vercinix will return to Corinth now that the Fourth Army has safeguarded Gaul. Darnelle, along with Glaphyra, is out with the Fifth and Sixth Army, keeping them from getting lazy during peace."
"Draco and Palaemon?" Meleager asked.
The Conqueror smirked. "And here I thought you knew everything."
"Well I don't, and you'll find out in old age some things slip pass you." He confided.
"Oh, believe me, I know." She remembered losing a candle-mark earlier in her wonderment. "They're in Egypt. How'd you think I got the intel on Cleopatra and her husband, Antonius."
"Keep your friends close." Meleager started.
"And your enemies far away from you." The Conqueror finished the phrase.
They both shared a laugh together, before the Lord of the Realm got back on subject.
"As long we stay ahead of the curs, we can handle them as they come. Rome will fight each other and if they stay out of our way we won't have to crush them. General Draco, along with General Palaemon, will express my commands to Egypt, and hopefully everyone will know their place."
"Brutus will reach out to you sooner or later." Meleager said.
"I'm aware. I have a meeting with his two subordinates when Helios is high."
"Do you think it's a trap?"
"They wouldn't be dumb enough to try anything here, and if they are, they'll suffer gravely for it." The Conqueror recalled an important issue she wanted her Chancellor to take care of. "You will handle the affairs of the Agora today."
"Come on, Xena. I was hoping to rest. I had a long trip. Can't you have the Prince take care of it?" Meleager complained."You should have thought about that before you jilted your vacation, Old man. Think of this as commencement." Then she ruminated on what her Chancellor had inquired. 'Where is Prince Lyceus?'
To Be Continued...
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