Disclaimers: See Chapter 1
Additional Note (Please read):This tale is tied in with, Xena & Gabrielle: A Turn of Fate. If you haven't read chapter 5 of that story, before reading this one. STOP! In the name of all that is holy and do so now for goodness sakes. Both stories are important when it comes down to the full plot. ;-)
Feedback, or comments welcomed at, Martinkendell19@yahoo.com
The Conqueror and Ri,
A Twist of Destiny,
Chapter 5: Trinity
Akemi strolled down the corridors of the castle to fetch the Prince of the Realm. While on route, she was stewing in disappointment because she hadn't gotten a chance yet to see the Lord Conqueror's nude body. Being her Chambermaid and lodged right next to her bedroom, Akemi was hoping for the opportunity to arise soon.
The young servant from Japa enjoyed combing her Lord's hair earlier. Akemi wasn't necessarily voyeuristic, but it did give her a fortuitous sight of the older ruler's cleavage through her royal robe, and Akemi was able to discern that the Conqueror had piercings on her nipples. Imagining the dynamic Conqueror's frame atop hers, caused concupiscence.
Instead of getting breakfast, which was a mistake because she was hungry now, Akemi lied to her Lord, in order to release herself sexually. With each stroke of her own fingers, the Japian woman pretended it was the Conqueror's, bringing her satisfaction. The Chambermaid was beginning to feel hard up again, so she tried to concentrate on the arch ceilings of the hallways, wondering how did the castle's attendants light the lanterns that were high up, until she arrived at the Prince's chambers. She knocked casually and waited for someone to answer.
"Yes?" The groom asked, opening the door.
"I am here to speak with Prince Lyceus on behalf of the Lord Conqueror of the Realm." Akemi proclaimed.
The servitor stepped aside to let her in.
"Wait here please." He said, going back to inform the Prince.
Akemi viewed the antechamber. It was a bit smaller in size compared to her mistress'. She pondered if it was due to rank or a choice of the Prince.
"The Prince of the Realm is prepared to receive you." The manservant announced out of nowhere, causing Akemi to slightly jump.
Ceasing her internal inquiry, she followed the man into the Prince's bedchamber. Lyceus was standing, still dressed in his brown tunic and trousers. He added a brownish vest to his attire, covering his top garment, and bronze gauntlets to cover his arms.
"Morning, Akemi." He greeted.
"Good morning, Prince Lyceus." Akemi returned with a bow. "The Lord Conqueror request your presence."
"Of course. Let's not keep her waiting." Lyceus replied.
The Conqueror's Chambermaid bowed once more to him, exiting the room together.
"How are you, Akemi?" Lyceus queried, as they walked to his sister's chambers.
"Fine, Prince Lyceus."
"I meant, being a servant to our Lord. Are you finding your tasks durable?" Lyceus reaffirmed his question.
"Yes." She gave a short reply.
"How about Ri. Are you two getting along well while doing y'all duty?"
"I have not seen her in as long as two fortnights, but yes. When we're together, we get along. She's very sweet and kind to me." Akemi responded.
The Prince smiled, thinking about his early meal with the petite strawberry blonde. "Ri's the sweetest, kindest person on Terra."
They continued towards their destination in quiescence.
The Lord Conqueror was scrutinizing her reflection in the mirror, undecided on what she wanted to do with her hair. She was unsure whether she wanted it pinned upwards in a royal style, pushed and tied to the back of her head, or simply leaving it alone.
'Screw it.' She gave up, allowing the tresses to remain dangling around her sapphire orbs.
Even in old age, her excellent hearing could hear footfalls stop at her antechamber door, followed by knocking.
Closing the closet, she made her way out of her bedchamber. "Come in."
Akemi came inside with Lyceus.
Finishing her formal address, Akemi pronounced, "My Lord, the Prince of the Realm, Lyceus."
Her younger brother also showed his respect by inclining his head. "Good morning, Conqueror."
"Thank you. You may leave us, Akemi. I will summon you when I am done with the Prince." The Conqueror told her Chambermaid.
"Yes, my Lord." Akemi curtsied and obeyed.
Both siblings watched the foreign servant walk out the chamber door.
"Beautiful, isn't she?" The older sister prompted.
"Quite so, but not more gorgeous than Ri." The younger brother stated, observing the empty cups and plates that were left on two trays atop the table. "Speaking of your Handmaiden, will she be aiding Akemi in her duties today?"
The Conqueror was taciturn in her response.
"No. Ri is studying. I gave her a few days off." She used the same lie she'd given Meleager.
Lyceus was becoming agitated. 'Not only will you decline to tell me you're sending Ri away, but you're willing to not be truthful with me too.'
The Prince noted the warrior apparel of the Conqueror. His eyes were fascinated by the chakram and the Lion blade, just like when he was a teen.
"Is there a war or skirmish happening that I am unaware of Xena, because you look dressed for battle?" He inquired, sarcastically.
"I'm not at all surprised you wouldn't know what's taking place inside or outside these walls." Xena countered. "Maybe I have spoiled you too excessively."
"Spare me, Xe." Lyceus argued, knowing she hated the shortening of her name. "I may not have military knowledge like you, but, along with your training, Meleager has taught me well to use a sword, and I do know some things. For instance, why is Tessa teaching a class today? I seen how she acts with the Fifth Army. You know her temperament is a tad rampant."
"My, my." Xena was amused, letting the name she disliked pass whilst sitting down on her divan. "Seems I have been premature in my opinion of you. Who did you hear that from?"
'It's the pot calling the kettle black.' Lyceus criticized himself as he begun his fabrication. "Denizens of the castle talk, Xena. Tessa shouldn't be hosting the students. Not even for a day. It is really Clydmus' class."
"It was Clydmus' decision."
"What? I thought he loved teaching his pupils?" The Prince was confused.
"He does, but 'the little ingrates', his words, not mines, are getting on his nerves. They are more preferably interested in learning about weapons of war, rather than the greek alphabet and how it's applied to writing." Xena confirmed. "Though I don't know why, Lieutenant Tessa of the Fifth Army accepted Clydmus' offer to show them a few displays on the subject."
"Ri's going to be there also." Lyceus revealed.
Xena stared into the Prince's eyes. "Really?"
"Seems you're not knowledgeable of everything either." Lyceus unintentally earned Xena's disfavor. "So much for her studies. I assumed you knew."
"I bet you I'm aware of something you're not."
'I've already been apprised by Ri that you are sending her to the Academy in Athens.' Lyceus mused with a smug grin. "Yea, what's that?"
"I was gonna go with you, but since you are being a smart ass, you're going to the Agora by yourself." Xena made clear with glee.
"The Agora!" Lyceus was displeased, but he didn't want his older sibling to see. "Good. I wanted to take more of a role in the administration of the Realm anyway. What better way than dishing out the law to rule breakers."
Xena started to laugh with abandon.
"You think that's it? Dealing with citizens that disobey the rules of the Realm? I stand corrected; you truly aren't cognizant of the responsibilities you appertain as Prince." Xena arose to her feet, and Lyceus acknowledged she was shifting into full Conqueror mode. "It is now that Cronus deems you to play some part in government, commencing today. Go back to your chambers, take that vest off, put some armor on, arm yourself with a sword, and prepare to go to the Agora. I'm sure you are not informed about how to deal with every crime committed by criminality, so General Nale of the First Army will accompany you."
Prince Lyceus was disquieted.
"That is all." The Conqueror avowed, as she sat down again.
Lyceus bowed in obedience.
On his way out his sister's chambers, he gave a false smile. "Thanks for conferring me a helper, but for the record, it was unnecessary."
After closing the door outside the hallway, Lyceus' facial expression dropped.
Because of the task the Lord of the Realm commanded, one word silently erupted out of his mouth, "Shit."
Two wooden swords, including the remaining pieces of the wooden practice dummy, that was carved in the shape of a human, were gathered up and placed to the side, courtesy of the classroom assistant, Iona. The young fifteen-year-old was very useful when it came to being demonstrated on. Her, along with the rest of the class was thoroughly shown defensive moves. How to block, parry, absorb the blow of your opponent as well as where to attack vital spots offensively, like the top of the head. From injuring the brain to severing the throat's main arteries, or decapitating the neck altogether.
Their brown-haired substitute teacher went into vivid, gory details concerning penetration of the abdomen, listing the liver, kidneys, lungs, and most effectively, the heart. She described the blood-lost and dismemberment of the human appendages while she chopped the practice dummy's limbs off, before the head met decapitation by her labrys too. This act compelled some of the younger preteens to almost lose their breakfast. Nonetheless, one older teen couldn't resist bolting out of the classroom to regurgitate the contents of his stomach. Iona faired better than the practice dummy, although she kept rubbing her hands together because they still stung from the impact of her teacher's strikes with the wooden sword.
Dark green eyes glanced at the blonde teenager who had her long hair tied back in a pony-tail just like her mother, the General of the Sixth Army. Tessa's twin axes were sheathed in their normal place on the side of both hips as she shifted her gaze off Iona to the main attraction, and the primary reason for her substitution in Clydmus' stead. The Conqueror's adorable Handmaiden.
Ri was highly engaging, finishing her tale that was based around a foolish king that asked the god of wine for the power to turn everything he touched to gold. Not only dazzled by the loveable voice of the aspiring bard, but by her appearance also, for Ri was adorned in a turquoise dress that was embroidered with gold designs. It was an encomium for her eyes, and her strawberry blonde hair, which was pinned up with two curled locks hanging down on either side of her pretty face. The dress' length stopped above her ankles and her black sandals. The straps of it athwart each other on her back, allowing all to see traces of her smooth skin. To Tessa's eyes, Ri certainly didn't dress like a servant. She looked more like a noble woman, if not a princess.
The Lieutenant of the Fifth Army never got a chance to meet Ri, other than asking her to tell a tale to the class. She heard others speak highly about the petite, younger woman though, with the exception of General Draco. He told her how the Conqueror rescued her from slavers whom were once a part of her growing army during her quest to rule all of Greece.
'I wonder if she's really a maiden?' Tessa ruminated. 'Cause I would be most gracious to relieve her of the title.'
"After Apollo, the god of Helios, was professed the victor over the minor god Faunus, Midas refused to recognize the winner, because the sight of Apollo's golden aura and lyre put him in mind of his foolery years before. The Lord of Helios and music wouldn't leave such dull ears unpunished. So at a word from him, Midas' ears were transformed into elongated furry ones. Now every musician could clearly see he had the hearing of an ass." Ri recited.
The students burst in laughter with applause.
Ri took a bow, questioning, "Do anyone want to tell me the moral of Midas' tragedy?"
"Yeah." A student called out. "Don't ever get involved with quarrelsome gods. They might turn you into an... An ass."
The class began laughing again.
Ri's chuckle made her nose crinkle. "Perhaps you are right, Virgil. We must always remember the gods demand that humans must defer to them at all Cronus, no matter how petty they may seem. He's not the only one, but in this story, Midas is a prime apotheosis of what will happen if you don't. His avarice caused him to transmute the many things he cherished into gold. Kindly, Dionysus reversed the charm, however, King Midas was angry and bitter at anything that looked like the color of golden yellow. He went as far as insulting Apollo after he was declared the victory in the music competition over his patron god, Faunus, and in turn, was transmogrified. In the end class, don't ever disrespect a god because they could possibly..."
"Turn you into an ass!" The whole class shouted in merriment.
"Alright." Tessa restored order. "I hope you all have learned a lot today. Class dismissed."
All the students congratulated Ri for telling a wonderful, funny story, and begged her to do so everyday, before heading to their next classes. Virgil gave her a big hug in advance of leaving too.
Iona was the last to show her appreciation. "You are amazing, Ri. I want to stay and chat, but I have to go. I can't be late for my architectural class. I'll stop by your chamber later."
"That'll be great." Ri agreed, giving the girl an embrace.
"And thank you, Lieutenant Tessa. I can't wait to tell my parents what I have been taught by you." Iona asserted, running out the door to her next class.
"At least someone thanked me. I was starting to feel invisible with you getting all the attention." Tessa jested, turning on her own charms. "But what can I say, you are awesome at storytelling. What else are you good at?"
Ri thought about it. "I don't know. I'm good at cooking, cleaning. Oh, and serving our Lord the best I can. Well, I use to."
Tessa was perplexed. "What do you mean?"
"Never mind." Ri quickly caught herself from saying more.
She didn't want to elucidate on the Conqueror's arrangements for her in Athens.
"Thanks for inviting me. I must go, though. I have my own learnings to keep up on. I've enjoyed your presentation on sword use, and..." She grinned, crinkling her nose again. "The evisceration of the wooden dummy."
"You're welcome, but the honor's all mine." The brunette didn't want her opportunity to end, grasping Ri's hand gently. "You look absolutely radiant. I can understand why it took you a while to get here. I surmised that maybe you weren't coming."
Ri blushed. "Thank you. Sorry about my tardiness. I have to say, you look different without your brown armor."
Releasing the Handmaiden's hand, the Lieutenant of the Fifth Army glimpsed her own white tunic and brown trousers that had two big circular holes on the outside stitching to show off the creamy skin of her legs. "I'm surprised you have ever noticed me, but are you nicely telling me you don't like my appearance now?"
"No." Ri cleared the air by explaining in a bardic fashion, "What I was getting at is, you are beautiful Lieutenant Tessa. Your green irises, although dark in tone, they shine like emeralds."
Tessa could only gawk into Ri's orbs like an idiot, unable to find her tongue for speech. She had been with many men and women. Conquered many conquests, but not one of them coaxed her to feel what the trim, strawberry blonde did, and with just mere words.
As Ri turned to exit, Tessa finally realized the moment was fleeing. "Talking to someone like that, I would think you were flirting."
Ri twirled, smiling while walking backwards. "I'm only being truthful, Lieutenant Tessa."
When the Handmaiden disappeared in the hallway, Tessa exclaimed out loud, "By Queen Juno, I'm so going to fuck her!"
The Conqueror stood on the dais in her large Corinthian Throne Room as her General of the Fifth Army, decked in his polished brown armor with the insignia of his rank emblazon on the right side of his chest, walked through the entryway. Once he got closer to her, he saluted.
"General Darnelle, I wasn't expecting you. Did you abscond your drills on the training field to come here; leaving your wife stuck with both your army and hers?" The Conqueror jokingly asked.
"I couldn't resist wanting to hear the babble Brutus' envoys have to say." Darnelle grinned. "Glaphyra will understand."
His Lord smirked. "I assumed you felt I was too old and feeble, incapable to take care of myself during this meeting."
"Older you are my Liege, but you're able to keep up with us young folks. You don't need me to protect you at all."
"You are six years younger than me, General. I doubt that moderates you being a part of the younger folks. Also, you are correct; I do not require your protection. I have Corinthian Guardsmen for that." The Conqueror retorted.
Darnelle exaggeratedly looked around the gothic chamber. Besides themselves, it was empty of any other person. His sight returned to the Conqueror, conveying what was obvious.
She rolled her blue eyes and sat on her regal, silver throne. "I wanted to have this colloquium alone."
"I have taken the liberty of welcoming them into the castle. They're outside the corridors. I can bring them in and take my leave, if that's what you command, my Lord." Darnelle insisted.
"You're already here now. Show them in, General."
"Yes, Conqueror." Darnelle smiled.
Joyously he opened the oak doors for the two men. Cassius Longinus and Markus Pindarus entered behind the General, espying the dimly lit chamber, noticing how different it was from the splendor that was Rome. The stone walls were dark, creating a sense of gloom, and in the center, sitting on the only embellishment of the entire spacious room, was the Lord of the Realm in the flesh. Wearing stylish armor, she appeared just like her name around the known Terra suggested and more.
"My Lord, I introduce to you, the Envoys: Gaius Cassius Longinus and his slave, Markus Pindarus." Darnelle imparted, standing beside her.
'A slave?' The ruler of the Realm cogitated, keeping her stoic expression as she glanced at Darnelle who was smirking.
"Thank you for receiving us Lord Conqueror, but couldn't it have been in a more lively setting?" One of the men with sandy hair and boyish features, queried, not fully knowing, nor caring about the Conqueror's reputation, because all he knew was Rome. "With all the money you have, it's a bit disappointing you would keep such an impecunious looking chamber to accept important people like my Master."
'Starting off badly.' The Conqueror groused, whilst Darnelle's smile grew wider, ascertaining what she was musing.
The two men were dressed almost identically like Roman Consuls. An unknowing individual wouldn't be able to tell that one was a slave with their expensive red and white striped togas promoting some sort of royalty.
The Conqueror averred, "Ah, you must be the slave, Markus Pindarus. To answer your question, this room has remained in the same state it was in when I had conquered Corinth. I have altered nothing but the throne chair, which I am seated on. I can't distinguish why you were brought here, masqueraded as an envoy, but if you insult me again, it will be for the last."
"A thousand pardons, Lord Conqueror." The long brownish-haired Cassius apologized for his slave. "Pindarus is my most loyal servant, so I decided to bring him along with me. Considering the dark Cronus we are living in, one must not choose his companions lightly."
"Keep a leash on your thrall, Cassius. I've met two people named Marcus that I have actually liked. One is a Roman politician, and seeing how you people have an infinitude for the name, that's a big statement. The other had neither the skin color or the same fickle behavior as most of you Romans." She expressed, remembering the only man she had ever fallen in love with.
"That didn't stop you from collaborating with Marcus Brutus in the assassination of Caesar." Cassius shot back.
"That was business. I had to let Caesar know I keep my word. Just like I truly want to keep this meeting as brief as possible. So, what is it Brutus wants?" The Conqueror inquired.
Clearing his throat, Cassius began to speak straight to the point. "Brutus, also myself, still see the tyranny of Rome. It did not end with the death of the Dictator, and soon, either Marcus Antonius or Octavian will plot their ascension to become Emperor of Rome; eradicating the standings of the Republic. Surely you can see how that will affect your Empire."
"I do. It seems you and Brutus have come to that conclusion too. Is that why he's shouting my name all over Crete?" The Conqueror questioned, acrimoniously. "He premise I will join him and you to form a dependant trinity?"
"Lord Conqueror." Cassius was adjuring her. "Antonius and Octavian will go to war with each other. Brutus has seventeen legions. I have twelve at my disposal, and with your resourcefulness, we could be invincible."
"I am invincible!" The Conqueror roared, arising from her throne. "I don't need either of you. You both need me. That's the main reason of you seeking my aid. You can cease your wordplay of appeasement, Cassius. The only thing I want to hear from you is the location of your brother in-law, Brutus."
"He's in Crete, my-"
"I know that, imbecile. Where at in Crete?"
"On the island of Dia." Cassius revealed.
"Make it known to him that I'll be paying him a visit." She warned.
Next, the Conqueror gave her General a signal.
"Your audience with the Lord Conqueror is over." He declared to the pair of Romans, directing them out of the room.
Pindarus couldn't halt thinking about how some old bitch disrespected his Master and Rome. A place that was far grandiose and who citizenry were more civilized than Greece's; a backwards country.
Without thinking, Pindarus stopped mid-step and faced the Conqueror. "My Master has come to speak with you, and you treat him in such a way."
"Enough, Markus. Let's go." Cassius ordered.
"No, Master. She should be ashamed to call herself a ruler." Glaring into the Conqueror's eyes, he shouted, "You're no better than Caesar himself!"
'Just went from bad to worse.' She unsheathed her shining Lion blade.
Darnelle knew what it meant when she drew her blade in anger; it meant you were dead.
"It appears you dote on your slave too much for his own good. Sadly you'll have to get another." The Conqueror claimed, moving menacingly towards Pindarus.
Cassius gave his former slave a pitiful look.
He knew he could do nothing, mouthing the words any human in bondage would be excited to hear, "You're free."
As Darnelle led Cassius out of the Throne Room, Pindarus tried to travel with them, until his arm was gripped tightly. He caught the dark leer of the woman he'd unfortunately insulted twice, suddenly becoming aware of his dire situation.
"Master, no! Please, Master!" The newly freedman cried at the closing doors, before he turned his head back to the Conqueror, imploring her with tears in his eyes, "Please, you don't have to kill me. I have learned my lesson."
"Hush, Pindarus. I'm a woman of my word." The Conqueror confessed, slashing his windpipe in a flash.
The General of the Fifth Army came back into the gothic chamber to come upon blood that flowed from the lifeless body on the floor.
"I think Cassius really was fond of him, my Liege. I swear by Pluto, I seen him shed a tear." Darnelle swore."Have someone remove his body and tidy up. They can give the remains to Cassius for all I care. I'm going to bathe." Sheathing her blade, the Conqueror walked past him, saying, "I have a date with my warhorse."
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