For full disclaimers see part 1.

I still don't own them and not making a dime. Sex and Violence Warning: There is a loving relationship between consenting adult of the same gender.

If you don't like that kind of thing or your under 18 then please go away until you are a man.

Still doing this for Niki.


For the Keeper of My Soul--Always  3

by: Alex P.


Gabrielle walked along, the collar chaffing the tender skin of her neck, the rope joining her to the woman in front of her and the one behind her. She felt herself lucky, at least the women she was attached to were Amazons and they had far more stamina than most of the other prisoners.

She also knew they were lucky that Karcax's men were more interested in the sale value of their female captives than what other benefits they might derive from the large collection of female flesh. Gabrielle had heard all the horror stories about how women were treated at the hands of warriors such as these.

Fortunately, their warlord had made sure their escort understood the consequences of damaging any of the women. They were more afraid of Karcax and his brutal idea of justice than their need to satisfy their libidos.

She kept her head down and concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other as the heat of the day beat down on her. Her mind wandered back to

her beloved Xena and she speculated on her warrior's reaction when she reached Ciros, and saw the carnage these men had left behind. She cursed the misfortune that had her here and a captive instead of at her lover's


Gabrielle's thoughts went back to the chain of events that had led her to be here, marching in a line of soon to be sold slaves. *******

As soon as Xena was out of sight, Gabrielle had turned toward the border of the Amazon Nation and set out--her escort of four scouts setting a faster than normal pace. She hoped that by the time they stopped for the night, she would be too exhausted to dwell on thoughts of her absent warrior.

Her plan was partially successful. When they did stop for the night, the little bard barely had the strength to eat before she crawled into her bed roll and fell into a deep sleep.

The only trouble was her sleep was plagued with disturbing visions of all the things that could happen to her or her lover that would keep them from their rendezvous at Ciros.

Her subconscious tried to wake her up, but because she was so tired, Gabrielle's mind couldn't awaken her until after she had watched Xena die for the fourth time. She woke up quietly weeping, trying desperately not to wake her traveling companions.

Unable to fall back to sleep, Gabrielle wrapped a blanket around her shoulders and stared deep into the dying flames of their campfire.

"Please, Artemis, watch over my Xena while we're apart," she prayed quietly. "I know you two don't think much of each other, but she means well and I love her."

A gentle breeze washed over Gabrielle's face feeling like the warm touch of her lover caressing her cheek. She smiled, knowing in her heart that her patron goddess had given her the promise she wished. Her mind was eased enough for Gabrielle to fall into a light but restful sleep, full of dreams of her warrior and the passion they shared--she could feel Aphrodite's subtle hand in that one.

The third night, the small party made camp on the Amazon side of the border. Gabrielle sent a runner from the border guards that intercepted them, to announce her impending arrival and that she had safely entered Amazon lands.

She reached her destination just before sunset the next day and was welcomed by the regent and two of the council members who wanted to begin her briefing right away.

Pleading exhaustion, Gabrielle managed to get them to agree to hold off on the briefing until the next day. The regent led her queen to her hut then followed her inside, curious why Xena wasn't with her.

"Alright, Gabrielle, spill it," the regent demanded her queen and long time friend. "Where's the long, tall, and gorgeous warrior babe?"

Gabrielle smiled at her friend, Nikippa, and had been glad when the council had agreed to make her regent at Gabrielle's request after the tragic death of Ephiny and Eponin's disappearance. She knew if she didn't tell her where Xena was, the always curious woman wouldn't give her a moments peace.

They waited while a young Amazon finished pouring two large mugs of tea, then Gabrielle sat down at the small table with her friend prepared to tell her everything she wanted to know.

"So come on talk woman, you now you will sooner or later," Nikippa said with a mock glare and failing miserably. "Stop wasting time and dish."

"Alright, Niki, geez you'd think it was some big catastrophe," the queen began. "I mean Xena doesn't go everywhere with me. We do have time apart once in a while you know."

"Yeah, yeah so you aren't joined at the hip," the tall thin brunette grumbled, the unquenched flames of her curiosity burning in her light brown, almost golden, eyes. "I know that better than anyone. Sooo, where is

my fantasy in leather?"

Gabrielle laughed out loud at her friend's description of her mate. There had been a time when Nikippa's good natured flirting would have made her nervous but she knew now that her friend lusted after her wife only to tease her. Now the only time Gabrielle was worried was when Nikippa didn't mention Xena at least once in a conversation.

"It's really very simple, Niki," Gabrielle began, smiling at her friends rapt attention. "My wife had something she had to do, and the message from the council said that it was urgent that I get here, so we split up and we are going to meet up again at Ciros, in a week or two."

"Oh well, I guess I understand," the regent said, a mischievous spark lit

up her eyes. "I guess this means I'll have to wait a little longer before

I can chase down tall, dark, and scrumptious and make her mine."

Gabrielle let out a surprised laugh and spewed the mouth full of tea she'd just taken in all over her friend.

"Great goddess, Gabrielle," the wet Amazon cried out. " I was just kidding, you don't have to spit at me."

Her friend's reaction caused the small blonde to laugh even harder. She didn't stop until tears were streaming from her sparkling emerald eyes and her sides ached from the exertion.

"You, my friend, are priceless," Gabrielle gasped as she wiped the tears still leaking from her eyes. "No matter how much I hate being here without my warrior, you know just what to say to make me laugh."

"I can but try. my Queen." The regent bowed her head slightly toward her friend.

"Cut that out,Niki. There's nobody here so calling me by name won't violate any ancient protocol. So knock off the "Queen" stuff and let's get down to the serious gossip that's going around."

Gabrielle knew, like any other leader, that sometimes camp gossip could tell her more things about her people than all the official reports combined.

She listened to the regent as she caught Gabrielle up on the latest rumors going around. The talk between the two friends went on until the wee

hours, when both women were yawning uncontrollably.

"I'm afraid I must call it a night, Niki," the small woman stretched, much to the delight of her friend as she let her eyes roam appreciatively up and down the queen's compactly muscular, but extremely feminine, body. "It was a long hard trip to get here and my body cries out for rest."

"Alright, Gabrielle," the regent agreed as she rose from her chair. "I'll

let you get to bed and see you tomorrow."

"Okay, good night, Niki," Gabrielle returned as she too rose from her seat to go to bed. "I'll see you in the morning and oh by the way Niki..."

"Yes?" she stopped at the door and looked back at her queen expecting to be dismissed.

"You were right, my beautiful warrior is scrumptious," the queen said with

a dreamlike quality in her voice and a sexy smile on her lips.

"I *knew* it-Damn!" Niki laughed half-heartedly. Knowing how alone her queen felt, she felt a pang of sympathy for the small bard. "I'll see you

in the morning and until then, sweet dreams of your beloved, my Queen."

The regent ducked quickly through the door before Gabrielle could scold her for using the "Q" word. As the regent made her way across the village to

he own lonely hut, she found herself looking up at the stars.

[[Great Artemis,]] the regent prayed silently [[Please let me find a love like the one shared by Gabrielle and her warrior Xena. It is the one thing I would wish for. If it is out there for me, great and merciful

Goddess, please show me where to look]]

A gentle breeze brushed across the lonely regent's cheek and slightly ruffled her long dark hair. She smiled, satisfied with her prayer, and continued on to her heart.

Unknown to the regent or anyone else this side of Olympus, events had already been set into motion that would answer a lonely woman's prayer and strengthen Xena's ties to the Amazons through her devotion to a certain short, feisty bard and queen.


    END 3



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