for disclaimers see part 1

Yes there is violence, sex is hinted at and oh it's sex between two women.

If this bothers you is illegal there or you aren't 18 yet. Delete this now and find something else to read.


The Keeper of My Soul--Always 17

Author: Alex P.


As the dawn began to lighten the eastern horizon, it's arrival was announced by the crashing of the first rock of the day slamming into the upper portion of the west wall.

Leaving two lookouts, Xena and Gabrielle hurriedly got everyone else off the wall and into the compound. Taking advantage of the impromptu gathering, Xena called all the remaining women still capable of fighting together and began briefing them on what to expect.

In her experience as a Warlord and later as a commander, Xena had learned

that your people will fight harder for you if they trust you, and that lying to them about their chances wasn't the answer. Both soldiers and regular people handled themselves better if they knew the truth of their situation and telling them the truth, no matter how bad, showed that you trusted them.

In the end, Xena knew the truth of their predicament was better than hiding how bad things really were.

"Alright, I'm not gonna blow smoke at ya' here people," the warrior told the women gathered around her. "It doesn't look good for us. We are out numbered, out weaponed, and out classed. We might have been better off if

they hadn't come up with that damn catapult."

As if to emphasize her point, another rock slammed into the wet wall. Large cracks were beginning to appear in the already weakened structure.

"I figure we have maybe until noon or so before they breach the walls," she continued, looking around to make sure the women were listening. "You

women have done a great job and I'm sure I speak for the Amazons and my Queen when I say that I'm proud to have fought along side you, but the time has come to try to figure a way out of here."

Many of the women began to protest but were silenced when another stone hit the west wall and knocked a huge hole in it near the top.

"I know this fortress. It's been a long time, but I still remember some of it's special features," the ex-warlord looked at her audience and gave them an evil smirk. "Last night I had some of our Amazon sisters check out an old tunnel and the gods are smiling on us, it's still open. So I've come up with a plan, and if you'll all agree with it, there's a chance we can get out of here alive, at least most of us."

Xena looked over to her wife for support on the next phase of her plan.

"I want you to pair off and slip out of here," the dark warrior stated flatly, her tone showing she would accept no argument. "Rapa and Mallika will go through the tunnel first and hold the other entrance. Then I want you that are healthy enough, to lend a hand with the wounded. The wounded and non-combatants go first, then the civilian women followed by the remaining Amazons. I will stay here and cover your retreat."

She could tell by the looks on the women's faces that they didn't like the idea of retreating, especially the Amazon scouts, but none of them would dare question the Queen's Champion.

"Let's go, ladies," Xena ordered. "You've got to be well under way before

the next attack."

At her orders, the women scattered to gather their belongings in preparation for leaving. Gabrielle waited until all the others were gone before she approached her lover.

"I hope you don't think for one minute that I'm leaving here without you," she said, her determination clear in her voice. "Artemis herself couldn't force me away from your side. I almost lost you once, I'm not leaving your side now, so you can just get that thought right out of your

head, my warrior. Remember, where you go I go. We broke that rule and look

where it's got us. I'll never break it again." "Gabrielle, be reasonable," Xena pleaded as she gathered her weapons and headed for the walls. "You have more than me to think about. You are the Queen of the Amazon Nation and as such you owe it to them to get away from here safely. Besides, I'll be joining you as soon as the last woman is through that tunnel. I have a plan, but everyone has to be through the

tunnel first. Trust me, okay?"

Xena had used her trump card. After all of Gabrielle's preaching about trust between them, Xena had turned it around on her when she turned the argument into a trust issue. There was no way she could deny Xena's request now. Her mind worked furiously trying to come up with a counter-argument.

A smile slowly crossed her lips as an idea came to her mind; a way for her to do what Xena wanted her to do while allowing her to stay until the last possible minute.

"Alright, Xena, I'll do as you ask," Gabrielle answered softly, hoping Xena

would give in to her compromise. "But I'm not leaving until the attack comes. Then I'll do as you want and scoot down that tunnel."

Knowing that there was no possible argument that would change the little bard's mind, and actually surprised she'd gotten the compromise she got, Xena agreed to Gabrielle's terms.

After that, Xena drafted as many women as she could and had them making dummies to put on the walls until it was time for them to leave. As a final gesture, Xena had Gabrielle leave a message in Amazon battle code telling anyone that came here looking for them where the group was headed.

Things were actually going smoother than Xena had thought they would.

Only a few women remained when the attack came. By this time, most of the

west wall was a pile of rubble and as Xena expected, the enemy soldiers came over that way.

Fortunately, the wreckage of the wall allowed only two at a time to enter the fortress and Xena was making quick work of the attackers that came through.

She caught sight of her lover running for the tunnel entrance as she promised and the warrior gave a sigh of relief. A booming sound from the main gate told Xena that the mercenaries had brought up a battering ram to breach the main gates and, as she began to fall back, she saw Gabrielle

go down with an arrow in her thigh.

Xena turned and ran to her beloved just as a second arrow struck the bard in the shoulder. When she reached the wounded Queen, Xena knew the small woman was conscious when she heard some very unQueenly language coming from her bard's mouth.

"Hang on, love, I'll watch over you," Xena promised. "But you'll have to try to drag yourself to the tunnel. If I stop fighting long enough to help you, they'll have us."

"Don't worry about me," Gabrielle said through clenched teeth. "I'll make

it, you just watch out for yourself."

Xena had to chuckle at her bard's bravado and, holding a sword in each hand, the warrior turned to face the oncoming enemy using every technique she ever learned to take on the ever increasing numbers of opponents.

She was beginning to worry bout their chances of getting out when she noticed that Aentia and several of the unwounded Amazons had returned to join her in the fight.

"I thought I told you to get out of here," Xena growled, trying to hide how grateful she was for the help.

"You think I'd let you have all the fun," Aentia yelled as she thrust her sword through an attacker. "Besides, I'm not going to face the regent

alone and explain losing both of you. No way."

Xena laughed at her friend as she launched herself at three of the enemy. The sound of clashing steel rang through the air accompanied by the cries of wounded men and women. It was a grim and bloody fight with a terrible cost on both sides.

Then just when it looked like the battle would never be resolved, a familiar battle cry filled the air, over riding all other noises.

Suddenly the mercenaries were running over each other trying to get away as an entire company of Amazon warriors fell on the enemy from the rear.

Xena looked up and smiled as she saw their friend and Amazon regent Nikippa riding through the enemy toward her.

Just as the woman reached out to clasp Xena's hand, pain exploded in Xena's head and everything went black. The last thing she heard was Gabrielle screaming her name, then nothing.


END 17



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