Welcome to Branwyn of Llewelynns version of the Xenaverse,
alter ego of B-Bard, who had the nerve to actually ask for her own
Disclaimer: The characters of Xena, Gabrielle, Ephiny, Velasca, Boadecia, Argo, Hercules, Iolas and the rest you recognize from WXP and HLG all belong to MCA/Universal. The rest has sprouted from my collective body, mind and soul link to the Xenaverse and Branwyns hostel take over of my mind, when ever I get within two meters of my computer. No commercial profits intended or gained. I invite you to let me know what you think/feel about my story. Feed me: B-Bard@xena.com
Authors note: I would like to mention my thanks to the all inspiring author Marion Bradley, for feeding the Celtic warrior and Moon Priestess in me! Also I thank all Bards of the Xenaverse for their wonderful, inspiring work and sharing it on the net!
Sex, drugs and drum role: The stories are of a subtext friendly nature and contain expressions of love between consenting adult women, oh yeah! Actually, any form of true love goes. If you cant handle this, grow up! In your own pace of course, but I advise you to get on with it in this lifetime cause youre missing heaps. If you are unable to read this because of one law or another in your nick of the woods, do the smart thing: find something else to do; unite with like minded souls and try to do something about the damned law; immigrate to a more open minded place. Theres always a choice.
Spoilers: Nope, dont think its possible. Where I live were waiting for season four to start (aaaaaarrrrgggghhhh!... Compulsive Xenatics Anonymous I need you ) and Hero man Herc gets more media attention. Oh that damned patriarch of a society.
I let Velasca out of the lava pit for a bit and Id say this story is set after Dahawks first move and baby Hope is out of the picture. (floating off in a basket some where)
Amazon alert: Ephiny worshippers keep reading, shes in for a ride... twice.
In the twilight of my life, gazing over the familiar soft green hills that surround Avalon, thoughts travel back to a group of women I encountered oh, it seems life times ago.
This is a story of two nations that forged together;
...in a time that Avalon still had its purpose and power and Amazonia was still a magical domain where many stories came from, told by well travelled Celts who recognized the similar matriarchal blueprint of ancient life.;
...when the paths of Gods and humans were entwined with each other and gave a certain balance to lifes events.
This balance came to falter when the hearts of people turned heavy with discontentment, greed, anger and fear. Their respect for life poisoned by a growing evil, feeding on the darker part of human nature.
The events I will write down here in the hope they will never be forgotten, are tales otherwise passed down the Avalon blood-line by word of mouth.
For as long as I can remember its been done that way. I thought it was time to break our none writing tradition and record all I know and remember. Maybe,
just maybe the generations to come will learn that evil can be conquered by the heart.
As the once champion-rebel of Avalon, "oh my heart, my soul, where will you linger when Avalon withdraws into the mist for the last time?", I laid down my duties with no regret and chose to be the creator of my own destiny, so I thought.
Enough......now I will tell the tales of brave women ..............
Oh Avalon, My Amazon
(LOVE CONQUERS ALL OF US....ALL)
by Bronwyn of Llewlynn
It all started when a mother kissed the temple of her daughter and lingered there longer than the woman had intended.
The painful sting in her heart forced the woman to express the love she felt towards the red haired figure standing before her, when she would normally restrain from showing her feelings in a physical manner. Boadecia smiled, hoping in vain it would mask the pain and fear that was etched on her face. Her little girl was leaving.
The girl wrapped strong, toned arms around her mother and held her in a surprisingly gentle hug and whispered," Im scared too, mother."
Rhiannon sensed her mother knew more than she did about what was to come. Her mother knew more about Rhiannon than she did of herself. From this moment on, her life would belong to Avalon. All she has learned and was about to learn, was for the greater good. Of what?
Trying to keep the disappointment off her face, she begged to the gods silently. "Please let mother stand up to Eilan. You know as well as I do that this destiny thing is up to something or someone beyond Eilan. And what about me huh? No one has bothered to ask what I want, what I feel or need! I tell you over and over again but you never answer me....."
Rhiannon let the older woman go reluctantly and mounted the dark brown mare standing patiently behind her. She knew her mother had taught her all she could . Having to let each other go almost killed the both of them.
Boadecia watched her daughter ride off on the mare, which would lead her straight to The Lake and be of some use protecting her. The mare was spawned of her own battle mount Deirah, a beast you could count on. "Please Eilan, you have both of them now Dont break her spirit by forcing YOUR will on her. I swear Ill hunt your soul till the end of time sister of mine", she prayed in silence.
From the shadow of an old oak, Prasutagus watched the departing of Rhiannon, waited until she was out of sight and started towards Boadecia. He comforted her as best he knew how. Deep inside he could feel a deep sense of relief. Thank the gods that trouble attracting, pointy eared freak has gone, he thought to himself
To mark the High Priestess to be
Trees recycled their leaves over the next six seasons. Britannia was constantly under threat by one enemy or other. Boadecia called on her daughter now and then. Usually it was because the Leader of Icenian Celts could do with all the decent warriors she could get. Her need to keep in touch with the young woman was also flamed by the fact that Rhiannon was changing so fast. It was getting harder to recognize her, let alone really reach her, the short periods of time they shared.
Leaving her mother as an impressionable girl, the red hared youth matured into a tall, athletic and stable woman. The warrior way was still within reach at times her mother needed another good swords woman. It gave her a mental balance. Avalon was demanding on the girl. Seasonal visits to the Orkeneys, where her twin sister Vivian resided, provided her with very welcome news from round the planet. The islands also gave her a break from the exhausting lessons Eilan kept her busy with.
Rhiannon was being trained to become the next High Priestess of Avalon. The womans skills grew stronger and more varied as Eilan taught and influenced her as much as her niece let her. Unknown to all who had a stake in her future, Rhiannon was not feeling quite in place. The red head wanted to set off into the world, and be a warrior. Not stay in the small island and practice all this wishy-washy druids stuff. She loved her home land and kinfolk but something tugged at her soul. Something stronger than soil or blood ties.
"Boadecia was right. This young thing is a natural", Eilan concluded to herself as she watched Rhiannon master a new skill. She figured that the Moon Goddess would claim the young woman soon. "Beltaine I should think... yes ... I like Beltaine." Eilan made note of. Her own intuition was doing overtime and her usual cool, High Priestess radiance was fading and the student rapidly grew more able than her teacher. If only she could talk the girl into letting her warrior image go. "Boadecia, you stubborn piece of work, had to leave your mark all over the girl, didnt you. At least you couldnt refuse her like you did with Vivian, hubby saw to that." The Priestess cursed under her breath, walked over to Rhiannon and took hold of the young womans left hand.
Rhiannon stopped what she was doing, to find out what the old crow wanted of her this time. Ive almost had enough of this Avalon hocus pocus stuff, Rhiannon thought as a lung full of air escaped from her mouth in an impatient rush. "Patience you fool! Just sit it out till youve mastered what Eilan has to offer and then get the hell out of here girl", she remembered herself and looked over Eilans shoulder.
The redhead noticed that a handful of priestesses had gathered at the foot of one of the offer stones. They held the sacred attributes needed to tattoo the symbol of the Mood Goddess on someone and looked at her as if she was their target.
Eilan led Rhiannon to the offer stone that was covered in rusty stains and mosses.
The young woman sat down on the end of the stone and waited with a blank face.
She tried to think of a way to get away from the stone circle fast. Really letting her aunt have her way was never part of the plan.
"I have all the markings Ive ever wanted", she said as her face went the colour of her hair from the anger rising within. "I dont think that an all powerful Goddess needs the indigo moon-cikkel between my brows to be able to seek me out, do you? Isnt being the one mark enough!" Rhiannon knew her arguments fell on deaf ears but rambled on.
"By the way, I have these great tatts on my cheeks that only one other woman wears, you know and I dont want any more done on my face.... arent my ears enough punishment and what if Im not the one and for the love of Hearns freakin antlers I wanna"
slap....., went Eilans hand across the young womans face. Rhiannon sucked in air,
stood up from the stone, glanced at her audience with icy cold eyes, covered
her jaw and bolted.
Eilan warned the other women to let her go for the time been. "You will yield to the goddess my dear, you must. Its beyond your control ", Eilan said to herself as she started telling the other women to wait for her signal to continue the ritual at a later time. The older woman grabbed hold of Arafel without looking. The blond priestess looked at Eilan and nodded. The two women walked towards The Lake and sat down to talk in confidence.
Tricked or Chosen
All she could see were blurs of green bush and vague shades of red light that filtered through the trees as she ran to the point of flying. When her lungs started to burn so hot she couldnt breath anymore, Rhiannon dropped on all fours and howled. She needed to release some of the anger and frustration that was taking hold of her heart.
Crawling towards a stray stone to steady herself, the womans eye noticed a flickering of something under it. Her hands methodically dug around the shiny object just enough to get at it under the stones edge. The object cleared from under its hiding place as the red head pulled at it and rose to her knees. The cool metal felt empowering and familiar in her hands. "its uh a, uh, a sword?", she whimpered and swallowed hard.
"Humm hmmm, its the sword"
The wing-cheeked womans heart jumped at the sound of a voice.
She swung round fast and rose all of her full length, to take on the most intimidating pose she could summon up. Her half lowered eyelids shudder slightly as she faces
"Like I said", the old man continued and chuckled at the womans moves.
"Its the sword of Hearn the Hunter, yadayada so you be the chosen and yadayada
and so on, my beautiful ...Elfling". The man smiled at his Elfling and saw her anger slowly subside.
Rhiannons emotional barometer flipped from an almost blood thirsty rage to the little girl whod heard the story a zillion times before and was board silly mode. She grinned at the old man she knew as The Taliesin, relaxed a little and prodded at some dirt with the sword.
"You keep saying that... so Im an Elfling am I?" Rhiannon wondered out loud and speared the sword deep into the dirt, between herself and Taliesin.
As the red head looked at the blade still well at hand, her vision began fading behind thick tears. She dropped to the ground with a thud and found herself not being able to control the cries that came from deep within her chest. Leaning heavy on her arm that extended into a sword, knuckles white from holding on for dear life, consciousness left her.
"Yes, thats right and you will soon realize just what that means my girl." The old man grinned and sprinkled some violet dust over the two of them and they vanished.
Rhiannon woke with a jolt and a surging headache. "AUW!" Basalt can rip a girls butt to shredds! Oh, my head. Wait till I get my hands on you son of a Walkurie." She stated and the words came echoing back to her, which did nothing if not worsen the mean thump in her head. "So, Im in the cave....?," the groggy woman assumed. "Its cold, dark.......Im naked!" She found herself remembering on one of the rituals that would take place in this cave usually, say.... round about, "NOW..... IM HERE FOR THE GRABBIN NAKED HIGH PRIESTESS TO BE!? oh, sweet Ceridwen have mercy. Those two should start their own mind fuck club, far away from here... this feels more like being tricked, has nothing to do with goddesses. Its NOT on. EILAN, TALIESIN...I know you two can hear my thoughts during rituals, ITS NOT ON!" And the warrior,
High Priestess-not in your life-to-be started meditating.
Sitting cross legged and hands together, index fingers pointed to the earth, a green glow started to surround her form, coming from within the woman.
Her voice echoed back from the cave walls like a mantra; "Fire...Water....Earth...Air...Metal, Elements that be, fill me, serve me.
Mother of all, Goddess of the Moon, I call you....Ceridwen, Rhiannon, the unspoken one, the three who are one....I invoke thee, I invoke thee..."
"If I am your Chosen One, show me NOW, give me a sign, a token, mark, anything........" A long silence fell as the green light beamed powerfully in the cave.
"There, you manipulative fools..... hear this, know this.
No doubt in my being that Im NOT the Chosen One, just your chosen one. I will play my part in the bigger picture and what that is...... Im sure my namesake and your Boss will guide me. My role in your little drama has just been made null and void. He, Taliesin, youll dig this, old man....." Rhiannon started another mantra;
"Hearn the Hunter, I invoke thee, Cybele Earth mother, I invoke thee, Rhiannon face of the Moon, I invoke thee.. I ask for the power to serve my heart and extend my knowledge and skills to all who need it, unchained by boarders..... If I am to serve Avalon, let it be as a warrior. I know the Romans are a growing threat and there is plenty else I can do..... I do care for this place and who live here, I just dont want to be part of a plan set up to fail from the beginning.
If this is not the way I must be, please let me go, help them let me go, help me get out of this death trap of a cave...By my ancient blood right I beseech thee....." The cave grew silent again.
Rhiannon came back to herself slowly and felt a cool metal and antler bone resting across her knees. The sword of Hearn. A few paces away, laid over a chest was an outfit of green leather. A cloak of woven wool the colours of Boadecias kilt, a silver Tork with matching arm braces and some other trimmings. Next to the chest stood a pear of hind leather boots, both baring an imprint of the moon-cikkel. A torch was jammed between some rocks. "So be it" , the red head sighed.
Winding her way out of the cave, up a steep path Rhiannon could start to make out sounds coming from outside. In the opening of the rock face stood a pale, bleeding Arafel.
Before the blond collapsed on the ground, Rhiannon caught the woman in her arms and laid her down gently. "grh..greehh....Amah....zon....wants..Gahbr....rielle.. help themmhmm ...need the wah..warrior ....are yhou th warrhh." Arafel let out a last rattle of breath and blood.
Rhiannon let go of the dying heap of priestess as her eyes caught the scene outside the cave. Everyone who called themselves true and loyal to Avalon, all who had come to witness the ritual calling of a new High Priestess of Avalon, were lying scattered across the field in front of the cave. Amidst them all stood one, hysterically evil laughing Amazon Warrior.
The wing-cheeked, self reclaimed warrior stood numb, Hearns sword hanging in her palm. Her breath was shallow and she staggered backwards into the now very attractive cave, and waited.
Elemented, dear Velasca, Elemented
As Rhiannon had expected, the Amazon came looking for her.
"Hey little priestess not so High and mighty, where ya hiding? Dont irritate me you shit.
Tell me where Gabrielle is, cause if you dont.... you die. And who gets the credit for slaying the famous air headed Avalon bunch.... and its main gal that smells real weird by the way....yes my beautiful freak, Gabrielle wins again! Shes here on this stupid island somewhere, I can smell her.", Velasca states loudly as she winds down into the heart of Avalon.
"Light as air, fast as water, light as air, fast as water......
"Hey, Rhiannon, youre beginning to piss me off here. Where in Hades is that mortal vermin?" The Amazon came stomping into the core chamber.
Light as air, fast as water, light as air, fast as water, light as air......."
"Avalon bids you a very, very warm welcome and farewell." Rhiannon whispers to the fuming Goddess and like an arrow from a bow, shoots herself from the chamber, snatching Velascas dagger from its place as she passes the Amazon.
Outside the cave the warrior Celt carved a moon-cikkel between her brows with the stolen dagger and invoked the elements before the lunatic woman could figure out whats going on. Arms and hands raised to shoulder height, eyes focused on the moon she chanted, "Moon Goddess, watcher and guardian of the elements, I invoke your power in me, fill me. Take this offering from a mortal. Is this what you wanted of me?"
The moon turned a dark crimson red and the cave matched its shade, as well as the Tork and arm braces the warrior wore.
Rhiannon could feel her body growing cold and numb. The stone walls that had led to the heart of Avalon melted and sealed in the Amazon. The stone giant hissed as mist pulled towards its heating surface like a magnet.
Velasca was harmless once again, although this not to the knowledge of the now unconscious form that is Rhiannon, dead to the world lying before the smoldering heap of rock.
Brian chamber monologue
The warrior woke groggy and stiff from lying in one position, for how long she wasnt quite sure. The woman sat down on a heap of rocks and focused on what was going on around her.
Priestesses were helping each other clear up the field. Some were crying. The baffled Celt cried along with them for sheer relief. A few women were wounded and five had succumbed to mortal amounts of lightning and fire bolts.
"thank the Gods that Avalon women catch on quick! They link together a mental plan and melt into one action. When shit hits a tornado, they hit the deck. Thank Ceridwen only a hand full got killed and dozen or so got hurt. Gotta love those ladies, well, Id like to know love or do one or twoho ha, oohh Balls of Epona, did a horse run me down or what? My head hurts just thinking of physical action. Ive got to get off this island, then off the eh, Island and on a boat tooooo, where? Amazons, where do they come from already...mum told stories boutm, trees, forest huts and short skirts and drums and come on brain dead.........ah... Gotta find out if I helped an innocent woman and this Gabrielle has some serious explaining to do or shes a black soul that wanted to harm my sisters, who are Avalon. Cant think clearly, gotta rest, eat! Shit, cry....... mom"
From the mists of Avalon to the misty mainland
In the crowded streets of Londinium, Rhiannon bargained herself a place aboard a ship as help cook. The captain, a strong, friendly man, came from Gaul and made sure the crew didnt get rough with her. The Celt made sure her ears were covered by hair or a hat. At home they would attract the kind of attention she didnt need right now.
The voyage wasnt bad and the multi-cultured crew gave her fresh information on the various Amazon tribes. Especially when she sang for the men in the less stormy evenings.
Getting off Avalon was the pits compared to this splash in Llyrs big gulp, or Poseidons realm as the Greeks called it. The red warrior laughed aloud as she remembered her efforts. To summon the boat, the only boat that could get her off the sacred soil, she had to go back and face Eilan once more. Only the High Priestess knew how to summon the boat. The old crow was furious at her for messing up the grand drama she had foretold. The older woman had already started the rough outlines of her next act and expected Rhiannon to take her place at Eilans side. The selfish bat could then access her pupils powers freely, as she had intended to eventually do, all along. Rhiannon had to use physical force and pry the chant out of the old woman. "I ll find out the whole story and warn you and help you fight the Amazons, or make friends with an Amazon Bard Queen called Gabrielle and maybe, just maybe, start a new life. One way or the other. The Avalon gang can get along without me while I follow MY dream for a change. And thanks mom, for telling me the stories. Hope your heart finds the light while time heals your loss of Prasutogus." Rhiannon smiled at the thought of her mother.
The ship came to port in mist covered Gaul territory. Besides a couple of thugs roaming for food, coin or prejudice related intentions, the road to Greek country was like a big picnic to the geographical naive Celt. She soaked up the different cultures she crossed like a new born, first realising that what it sees is really there. She stopped at an inn somewhere around Corinth for some cider and bread. The red head started to wonder if she would ever find this Queen Gabrielle.
The inn held a collection of men of the macho kind. Rhiannon settled into a booth near two, more fluffy-energy oozing examples. They nodded at her. The bigger one gave her a warm smile, like she remembered him of something. The smaller blond man winked at her with his hearts wisdom glowing from behind friendly eyes.
The Celt relaxed and became very involved in the cheese and bread that a servant threw in front of her. Celts were not at all strange to the Corinthian public she soon realized. She had managed to get hold of some dinars, singing at taverns and inns on the way to Amazon territory. People were helpful and kind, when you respected their ways. Actually finding Amazonia would be the real challenge. Villagers she had questioned on the subject, had gone a little pale and walked away. Rhiannon had decided that the eaves drop approach, plan-b, would become effective immediately .
"The names Iolas and this big bag of cuddly bones is my best friend and travel bud Hercules", the blond man beamed as he spoke and gave his bud a punch in the ribs.
"Oehai, eh, Hi, Hello", the gentlest face she had ever seen on an man turned to face her and smiled again.
Rhiannon extended her lower arm to Hercules, then Iolas and smiled at them.
She suddenly remembered one of Boadecias stories and her smile grew wider.
"So you wouldnt happen to be The Hercules Ive heard bout." Her face still cracked in an grin. "So Ive not lost me mother tongue atta whole!" The red head slid to the booth were the men sat and poured some cider from their tankard as her minds eye filled with pictures of Eire. She flung her head back and closed her eyes to savor the memories for a moment.
"Not from these waters then.......eh, stranger?" Iolas guessed with a question mark for a face, also nodding and pointing to Hercules in an answer to her inquiry. His eyes also rested to the side of her face long enough for her to realise her ears were showing.
"Not all together no. Im Rhiannon of Avalon, pleased to meet you both. Im honoured."
The Celt stated and locked onto Iolas warm gaze.
"Eire". Hercules vocalized with difficulty. He looked through the warrior sitting across the table instead of at her.
"Dominated by Britannias finest blood I would say. But I see the recollection of Eire pains you Hercules." Rhiannon answered to unspoken thoughts and questions, of herself and the big man. " I am the daughter of Boadecia of Britannia and an Ancient One, an Elf to be exact, native of Eire. Never knew the man, sorry to say Dont know much bout the Elf hereditary for that matter. The rest Im inventing along the way, looking for a...friend." The Celt looked at her beaker and sighed. "So much for eaves dropping then, gullible fool."
"And the Avalon factor you mentioned earlier?" Iolas interrupted.
"Oh, that" Rhiannon kept her eyes focused in the cup in her hands and replied. "My mother and her sister take credit for that. My life was planned out by the High Priestess of Avalon, mums sister. I was to follow her footsteps but bolted before things got to far from my heart." The woman took a sip of cider and waited for their reaction. "For sure these men mustve come upon their share of weird and funky blood crossed Beings? " She asked herself.
Hercules was the first to break the silence. "Do you have a place to stay for the night?
Iolas and myself are staying at my brothers stables. Youre welcome to share with us and a couple of horses and Peghe, eh parasites."
His friend looked wide eyed at him before walking out if the inn door.
Hercules was looking more like himself now with a goofy, oeps smile plastered on his face.. Rhiannon decided to make use of the offer and followed the men out. "So there are horses, a warm, comfortable stable hey, and....." The Celt sighed and almost skipped alongside Iolas.
New found wings
"And Ive got strange connections. Didnt feel like mentioning your brother is the bloody King of Corinth! Anything else ya fgot to tell me?" Rhiannon edged the big fellow into conversation as they entered enforced dwellings.
Hercules stopped, faced the curious woman, opened his arms invitingly
and said, "Shoot!"
The red head lowered her head for a heartbeat, looked up at Hercules and let him know she was charmed by his openness with a wide grin. "As you were, friend. Dont mean to storm the castle like that. Just worried if I should know bout protocol n all. Wanna blend, hard as that can be at times. At home they want folks to act like sheep, when ever some loud , big shot fart is around... no disrespect intended to your brother, mind."
"None taken." Hercules replied. "What so ever, the big fart brother is out yonder and we pretty much have the place to ourselves. You know, the three of us and some h.."
"Y re not my type, the pair of ya, so relax big fella, relax." Rhiannon interrupted when she saw the man blush shamefully. "I trust three is safer than one, being a lass n all.
I trust ya."
Iolas led the way into a small courtyard at the side of the main building and opened a door. The stable was sturdy and spacious. A fire burned in the center, horse boxes to the sides, some occupied by mounts and fresh straw as far as the building stretched. Coming from a sealed box, seen from the corner of her left eye, the red head heard a soft constant twitching sound that reminded her of feathers ruffling. The building was saturated with a sweet, musky scent. "Parasites my foot Hero Man. Youve stashed some animal in that box, Ill bet." the woman noted to herself.
The two men eased into a routine and made a comfortable place to eat and rest up.
Some of the Kings guards patrolled the grounds, with his Hero brother in for the night.
Rhiannon laid out her bedroll, kept her leathers on and got under the plaid she used as a blanket. Hearns sword by her left shoulder, she pretended to fall asleep after wishing her companions a peaceful night.
In a low voice, "So what do you think Herc. Whats an Avalon babe doing out here? Iolas asked his friend. Come to think of it....stick her in Gabbys outfit and think her hair a couple of tones lighter and you gotta admit theres a res.."
"You have an...ah, active mind my friend." Hercules chuckled and continued, "but I see what you mean. Although, this warrior has the same height as another warrior we know. Bit more woman coming at you if shes into Xena s kind of action. Not that Gabrielle cant suck a hard punch. With or without the staff. But why this Elfling person is here, I have no idea? I do know that these half breeds as some might call them.... us, have about as much as a rough time over there, as I sometimes do here! Ill giver her the b of the d, until she invents otherwise."
Iolas looked over to the sleeping form of Rhiannon and took his companions word for it.
"Im with you pal, and now get some shut eye cause Zeus wont tolerate us coming late.
You know how he hates it when Pegasus hooves touch land for too long. The dumb animal gets cocky." He sighed and rolled himself into a pile of straw. "night Herc."
"Good night Iolas, tomorrow should be fun." Hercules replies, sprawls out on a horses blanket and dozed off with a grin.
As the two heros fell into the arms of Morpheus, Rhiannon waits until she could hear two steady, deep breathing patterns of sleep and started to meditate.
"Light as air , soft as water, light as air, soft as water, light as air...."
The stable bathed in a green glow as the woman chanted to herself, "soft as water.."
Half a candle mark further, like a feather floating on a breeze she headed towards the sealed horse box.
Brain chamber dialogue
"Hi there horsihh................ arent you a divine looking, double pare of trotters!
And wings to go hey.....Okay here goes horse shit....." Rhiannon started chanting under her breath: "Epona, I invoke thee, by the spirit of the uncloven hoof, let me enter this beast. Let me borrow and meld with his mind, his essence. Great Pegasus yield, yield to our unity, knowing I mean you no harm."
The woman mounted the animal from her slightly elevated position and dug her heals deep into its flanks.
The beast stood perfectly still, twitching its wings.
Rhiannon repeated her command and still nothing happened.
"Say please lady."
"Oh, its you... but how ca..."
"Zeus made me!"
"Yes and did a nice job too, but how can you be discuss.."
"Zeus, God-Boss, horsie to celtie."
"T is that simple, hold on!"
"Wooouuuaaaahhh, the dooooooor."
The warrior all but caught a glimpse of Iolas jumping and stomping around in the courtyard and Hercules smashing his fist into the stable door. Pegasus lifted off with profound wing strokes and was above the clouds in what seemed a heartbeat.
"Where to m lady?"
Easy for you to say
"Ephiny!" a smothered under six feet of horny Warrior, Bard snarled at the Regent from their seat in the food hut.
"What did I do or not do now my Queen?" Ephiny asked as she threw back some stray curls and blushed, looking straight at the woman she seemingly interrupted.
"That, stop staring and get some of your own...... girlfriend" her Queen added and returned to biting her lovers earlobe.
Ephiny took her eyes off the Bard and her demanding drapery, moving her head finger length at a time, intoxicated by their display of love. "Easy for you to say Gabrielle, how long has it been since I.." her thoughts were blown to molecules as she heard a loud voice slap around her ears.
"Can we have some privacy here?" Gabrielle asked with a fake smile to go with it before the raven haired woman reclaimed her mouth.
"For Zeuh..... its a public place........ girlfriend! Get a room already." The Regent gulped down her wine and strode out of the quarters.
To catch a Queen
Slightly dropping from their safe height, winged horse and rider hovered above the heart of the Amazon village.
"So the Queen is not here all the while. Who would be in charge? Plenty of guards round the longest hut to the right. Proud Amazon woman coming out of the hut,,, good, shell do."
"Swoop Peg, swoop!"
"What do we say, Rhi, what do we say?"
"Please Pegasus swoop, lets catch us a Queen by making her come to me for this beauty on legs."
Ephiny walked, deeply centered in her own thoughts, across the village square.
(what really happens now requires proper explaining of quantum mechanics. But The Moon Goddess would have my hide if I spilled the beans here. Sorry folks, more Avalon hocus pocus stuff we wont bother bout. Branwyn..down girl)
In between blinks, the Amazon finds herself being lifted by the scruff of her neck, planted on a white flying blob and float off into the sky.
Rhiannon grabbed hold of Pegasus mains tight as the beast swooped down on the absent minded Amazon. She picked up the bundle of surprised woman and pulled her up front.
Pegasus yielded to her command to lift up as the red head caught sight of the Amazons face. "hello there precious, cant take it all in jet can we." The Celt giggled and droped the killer-Amazons dagger she retrieved earlier into the dirt, where the curly hared Amazon had been standing.
The winged horse flew them to a field, three days walk from the Amazon village.
"M lady, t is here where this winged horsie gets off, God-Boss on line and he is not a happy man. Tell Epona, t was a ride... linking up with a kindred spirit. Tell him.... any time!"
Rhiannon slides down from Pegasus back, holding on to the Amazon to break her fall.
"My heart thanks you, my people thank you, I hope the Amazons will at hind sight.
Epona on your way, divide and sever the link, beast be off."
"Oh, lha di dha, these girls are tough...Elfling."
"If you say so Pegasss....WHAT?"
The snowy white horse is a dot in the sky, when its last word sinks in.
Go and get whah, whohe, after it.. THAT!
Leather dug into dirt, hands clenching fists full of it, Xena was down on her knees and cried, "there, sob, goes our, sob, break."
Gabrielle stood beside her looking from left to right with fire spitting eyes.
Her staff flew dangerously close to her Consorts dark crown as the Bard couldnt figure out whether to scream or scream even harder.
"Guards, Guards, Guaaards!" The Queen howled.
"Gabrielle!" Xena voiced loud to snap the blond out of her daze.
"Honey, you and me, with Argo, after whah, whohe...it, that! I have a strange feeling about this. The sooner we get Eph back, the faster we get to... you know." The Warrior explained to her lover with a lop sided grin and put an arm around her startled wife.
"Everybody hold it, freeze!" The Amazon Queen commanded over Xenas shoulder her chin rested upon.
"Thadda girl." Xena chuckled to herself and looked round at the gathered and confused Amazons, "turn on the royal stuff."
"Now listen up, me, Xena, Argo, out of here, get My Regent back, rest safe guards the
village, might be more of...them, clear?" Gabrielle stated some what out of breath.
"I go where the Queen goes.... where The Regent goes..... Royal Guard... remember?" Solari protested, stepping forward, hands buried in hips to back up her line.
The Queen plants her staff down with a thud, "NO."
Etiquettes of a Celt
A pale and restless Rhiannon put a light sleep spell on her captive, the moment Pegasus was out of site and the Amazon started to realize something really, really strange had overcome her. The woman reduced to a heap of skin and leather at the slightly nervous warriors feet. The Celt sat her up against a tree near the clearing where the winged horse had left them. She tied the Amazons hands on her back with a belt. Leather straps bound her ankles together. A shard of plaid serviced as a gag. The Amazon started to come round as Rhiannon got a fire going.
"Hmmmnh, hrr, oohwwwhelleghrraah." The Celt heard coming from the tree.
Ephiny struggled against the tight restraints and fell over on her side, giving up what she knew to be a lost cause. "hhhhuuwwh wwhhnn."
"Dont know if winning is the point here." The red head replied, kneeled and pulled the Amazon upright.
"I apologize up front for snatching you like that. I usually pay my apponents the respect of a fare fight. Cant afford the luxury in this time and space." Rhiannon told
the Amazon to her face and straddled the womans legs. "I mean you no harm woman. No harm at all, for I pray to any God who will listen to help me, see the truth here Amazon! I need your side of a story, need to tell you my side and hope you know the point to it all or at least some of it."
"I am going to take the gag off now" Rhiannon let the Amazon know and placed a hand over her heart before doing so and says, "I come to you for help, may it be in a hostile manner. I apologize once more." The gag came off.
Rhiannon stood up to get some water for the silent and confused Amazon.
Ephiny gulped down the fluid offered to her eagerly. After catching her breath she stared at the Celt and with a stoic voice and complementary face, starts, "Who are you... Pegasus... how, why, what story?"
"Who I am is difficult. Rhiannon of Avalon will do for now.
Pegasus....., borrowed him...., courtesy of Hercules and his "bud".
How? Know bout quantumn stuff....?"
Ephiny shook her head once.
"Didnt count on it. Why is good!" the Celt swayed a finger at the sitting woman. "Why is to the point." Rhiannon started pacing in front of her captive.
"The proof of my story should now be in the hands of your fellow Amazons.
Its like this, some medium height, brown hared, blood thirsty, out of her brain Amazon,
for some reason I have yet to discover, found her way to Avalon, a sacred place on Britannias soil... trashed what ever was in front of her. Lucky for most of us sisters," the Celt added to appeal to the listeners apparent sense of gender loyalty. "we had a few tricks of our own and now shes part of Avalons symbolic heart. A rock, once cave...deep in the earth, melted in to be exact."
Rhiannon sunk to her knees, hands covering her face and broke down into tears.
She had been so focused on getting to Amazonia, that the journey had left her little time to feel. Pushed down anger, frustration and guilt fringed relief caught up with her as soon as the words from her mind connected to the pit of her stomach.
After she had regained control, the Celt swiped her face with the back of her hands and looked at the other woman with a lost expression.
"Welcome back. Ephiny for now." The curly blond spoke and matched her captors speaking tone. "And welcome to Amazonia. Yes..., less hostile would have worked for me. By the sounds of it, youre talking about someone we refer to as someone dead and trapped in lava, thank Artemis. Alive, known as Velasca. She tried to kill our Queen. Not exactly the kind of Amazon we think of as One of Us. We got rid of her, so we thought and then theres the Ambrosia, long story. Gabrielle can better tell you. Thank You for your sacrifice................sealing her in again! Of why she was in Avalon and how she got out of the lava pit, I have no idea."
At the sound of the name of that Bard, the Celt rose to her feet, walked over to Ephiny, drawing her sword.
With one move the Amazon was cut loose and on top of a startled red head, pinning wrists to the grass with one hand, Hearns sword in the other on the Celts neck. The Amazon breathed onto her captives ear, "I feel for your situation Avalon woman, but youll have to stand before my Queen and answer to the charge of kidnapping her Regent! Now will you cooperate or do I return the bondage thing and kick you to the village?"
On her back under the Amazon, Rhiannon tried to refocus and found that impossible to do during the first set of deep breaths she managed to inhale. "Breathe Elfling, breathe." She focused on the Amazon s forest brown eyes and inhaled deeper. "This is making things worse... and ooooh, those eyes. Cooperate, yep, just a tick," Rhiannon blinked a few times, swallowed her thoughts down hard and looked at the face, hovering over her.
"I give up and go see your Queen Gabrielle. She said with a husky voice and swallowed again. "Ephiny....bout the tying up........." Her brain interrupted her speech again. "Not now." Not required." The Celt ended, totally out of air.
"And she melted Velasca into a deep cave on Avalon. Im sure shes talking about Velasca." Ephiny finished her summery of recent events and scoped the room for reactions. Her statement was made on behalf of the Celt, now guarded by two Amazons in a corner of the conference hall.
To the Celts amazement, her former captive spoke from her heart and not from a bruised ego. The women gathered in the hall, all Amazon warriors as far as Rhiannon could figure, were discussing the matter, mumble style, as if she wasnt in the room.
"Where is the brat?" Xena came through the hall door with a boot flying in first, pushing Eponin aside in her stride towards the crowd.
"Eph? I dont understand, how can you be in two pla.."
"Listen first Xena, shes not a threat to Gabrielle, trust me here." The Regent interrupted the six foot rage on legs.
"That remains to be seen Regent." Solari added herself to the scene but lowered her head when she met her Regents warning stare.
"Would someone please fill me in already." The raven haired woman snarled at no one in specific, eyes rolling up impatiently.
The Amazon collective started to discuss and argue with each other to the point that shouting was a better word to describe what was taking place.
Rhiannon giggled softly. "Hello ladies, over here. Questions directed to me are an option. Yoehoe. Not a dead legend yet girls....right here."
Quiet people...... what in the name of Zeus is going on here?" Gabrielle shouted as loud as her voice permitted, standing on a table with hands around her mouth.
Xena leapt over to the table, helped her Bard down and felt her rage subside at the site of this beautiful woman. She tried to smile and take matters to a calmer pace.
"Gabrielle, Ephiny has managed to reverse the situation and has brought her kidnapper in. They must have passed us some where on the way back." The Warrior grinned at Ephiny and winked. There seems to be some confusion about her identity. Some think cross bread of Celt and some Eire race, Eph says shes from Avalon." A trace of mischief danced round the raven haired womans mouth. "I think shes a warrior of some sort, judging by her moves on Pegasus."
"All of the above, Warrior Princes." Rhiannon stated proud from her place, away from the center group.
With eyelids drawn to a slit, the Warrior scoped the hall and stoped at a tall shadow at the far end of the room. The strangers face was cloaked by shadow but the voice had a familiar ring to the dark hared woman s ears.
"Bring the woman here." Gabrielle demands.
The Bard studied her Consorts face as the Warriors eyes grew wide with a mixture of recognition and surprise. Her puzzled eyes analyzed the woman brought before them.
"Unless shes found the spring of eternal youth thats not Boadecia. Shes got Bos cheek marks for sure. Yes..... shes......... Oh.......Ares in Tartarus......who again. I know her!
Moon-cikkel on the boots, yep Avalon babe, a moon crazy warrior...no doesnt quite ring a bell but its that weird Island were talking about. What else, shes in my good book for taking care of Velasca for one. Must tell her that!"
"Thanks for taking care of Velasca. I believe you dropped this dagger."
Xena broke her stare and smiled at the woman. The Warrior pulled Velascas knife out of her left boot. She slid it to the center of the table her lover was standing on, so all the Amazons could see for themselves.
Gabrielle invited the Celt to the food hut for a meal and a serious talk.
"And you are?" Rhiannon inquired.
"Gabrielle, Amazon Queen!" the blond woman answered and blushed.
At the other end of closure
Done telling her story in finer detail this time round, Rhiannon felt relieved.
It took most of the energy she had left not to burst into tears again. The Queen had poured her two beakers of port so far. The tangy liquid had gone straight to her head.
She noticed a puzzled pair of blue eyes, frequently flashing at her and decided to give the clueless Warrior Princes a break.
"Hey, Xena.." Rhiannon let out with a small burp. "Picture this, battle field, the usual.
Bunch of berzerk Scots to the left, garrison of Boadecias troops right. You at the head of her men. Young girl runs out of your garrison pointing a sword at the Scot head fart
and all goes a-wire. You lunge out to her, she ducks and fits you with a tailor made black eye. You lunge at her again and crash on top of the young thing and break her arm landing. She....."
Yeah, yeah...... which one are you then, Viv or.....oh, no. Youre Red Terror Rhi! The Warrior interrupted, jumped from her seat, leapt to the Celt and folded her into a bear hug. "What in the name of Tartarus are you doing here girl?" Xena asked, holding the new found piece of her past tightly. Worried about the answer and her decision to greet the woman as if she were an old army mate.
Gabrielle and Ephiny were looking at the two hugging and wrestling women before them with astonishment.
The Celt broke away from Xena and caught her breath, leaning against the table the select group was sitting around, avoiding direct eye contact with the Warrior who had let her go a little to sudden.
"Your Highness," Rhiannon panted and the Bard interrupted, "Gabrielle, please, call me Gabrielle."
"Gabrielle" the Celt said politely and bowed her head, not looking away from the blond womans gaze. "I know Xena from the time she was part of Boade."
The Warrior nudged the talking red head into her chair and took over, "Boadecia, the warrior woman we helped scare off Caesar a while back." Xenas voice went soft and quivery, "An event that I do not care to linger on for personal reasons." She looked over to her soul mate for reassurance and sat down.
The Bard blew her lover a kiss and nodded, in aid the now sitting woman continued her story.
"I do wish to share a story of my past that I am proud of and feel good about sharing. I hope someday someone or thing drops by, so to speak, to remind me of it. Never the less, this is a part of my past Im not sure how to feel about. It will help Rhiannons case though......" Xena started to fidget with the straps of her leathers and took a deep breath. "So she kidnapped Ephiny. The Regent is unharmed and the kid had no other intention than find out the truth. Seems to me, shes the one tacking the risk here." The raven haired woman stated to her growing audience.
"I was wandering all over the known world, lost in darkness and ended up in Albion. Up north-east in Britannia. "Xena cleared her throat. " I was fishing unknowingly on Boadecias land and was being spied on by a young girl. I caught the kid and before I knew it, her mother had an arm and blade round me. The kid: Rhiannon. The mother: Boadecia, leader of Celts. What the older woman saw in me I dont know, but she let me hang with her army. She was taking back some land from the Scots. Eventually she let me join her ranks and taught me some moves." Red Terror Rhi, as the kid was known, had a major crush on me if I remember correctly," Xena smiled at the Celt nervously and continued, looking over to her Bard. " She was never far from me and I stuck close to Boadecia, because of my less than honorable plan to take over her army and do some of my own damage. After investing a couple of seasons with the older woman and her family, getting to know them pretty well, I possponed the take over. They were getting through my emotional walls, and I.... liked it. Specially the kid got under my skin. She liked me even though I ignored her at first. The kid.."
"Hey, Warrior Princes," Rhiannon interrupted and almost shoved the woman off her seat," drop the kid thing already! I wasnt a kid and you know it. You were just five summers and a bit older, woman." The Celt feigned an angry expression and looked Xena in the eyes. "You were angry at the world and everything on it. At the same time you let your guard down to a younger woman, who didnt take that anger personally and let out a part of the real Xena. A lot like the Xena I see here now. Mom was a fool for trusting you completely. She thought she could again in Gaul. Even I could see you werent ready to surrender to any sort of authority completely."
The red head paused and took a sip from her beaker. She chuckled soft as a cats purr and looked at Gabrielle, who gazed at the Warrior with a loving smile. The Queen was taking in this new information on her wife, her face almost materialized the way she felt about the Warrior. "Now that has to be a pare of deeply in love eyes, my youth Hero has found a mate who doesnt get spooked by this stuff to quick, lucky thing." The women thought to herself and wanted to finish what she had started to tell, in the now, over crowded food hall. She noticed all eyes were on her and Xena and broke into a cold sweat.
Gabrielle had studied the faces of the two women centered in more attention than either of them obviously could handle and helped out gladly, "So you two go back a way, huh?" The Queen took her lovers hand in her own and waited for Xena to look at her before she spoke any further. "Do you two want some time to talk in private? My, our quarters are available to you. Share the rest of the story later if you both wish." The Queen had the distinct feeling that the Celt was just shy in her new surroundings and wasnt struggling for words. Neither was she really angry. Her Consort on the other hand was struggling to no end. Xena s expression had changed to the stare into oblivion and keep control mode. The blond leaned into her lover and whispered against the Warriors lips, "I want to hear the rest my love but I dont want it to become a torture for you. Take your time and focus on who you are now. Come back to me my heart." Gabrielle finished with a kiss.
A sigh of relief came from the Celt. Ephiny stepped close to her, offered the woman her hand as a sign of peace. In return Rhiannon clamped her hands over her head to seal the unspoken truce between the two of them and to her own amazement, winked at the Amazon, who mirrored her stance.
The gentle pressure of her Bards lips, brought the raven haired woman back to herself and she nodded. Looking over at Rhiannon to check that she wasnt going to deck her from behind, Xena trailed along behind Gabrielle like an obedient wife.
Gabrielle excused herself, Xena and Rhiannon. They left the food hut escorted by Ephiny and Eponin. Amazons went about their way and got back to evening routines.
Solari waited until the hall was empty and sat down to think. "Did I see that Elf-thing make eyes at our Regent..."
Babes in Arms
"Give us five Rhi." Gabrielle asked the Celt, opened the door to the royal quarters, encouraged Xena to walk in, followed her love and disappeared.
"Take all the time you need Gabrielle, all the time you need." Rhiannon replied at the vanished Queens request. "Ill be standing right here appreciating your.....drop dead beauty of a Regent. Kay, while you go feel up your lassie." She thought, standing on the porch before the hut and winked at Ephiny again, wondering why she couldnt keep her eyes off the woman.
They could clearly hear two gasping women spend a little quality time on each other against the door and Gabrielle mumbling to her Warrior. The guarding curly haired Amazon blushed and fixed her gaze on the stairs. Eponin tried to suppress a giggle and looked at her boots.
"Why cant I relax around this Avalon woman?" Ephiny reflected on new feelings she could not make sense of, leaning from one leg to the other on the porch. "She kidnapped you moron, of course youre still tense...... looker though....... Bad Amazon, hurry up Gab."
A few drips of candle wax later, the door flew open and the three waiting women jumped to attention. "At ease ladies and Rhiannon welcome in." The Queen spoke, face flushed a healthy red and extended her arm as invitation. "Eph, join us, Ep, goodnight sister."
Xena was lighting candles all around their hut. She took one look at the Regent whos gaze was resting upon the Celt and for the entire afternoon had not left her former abductors side. Red Terror Rhi was as confident as the Warrior remembered she could be, stealing glances at the nervous Amazon. Xena encouraged the women to sit on the furs and pillows scattered across the floor by getting comfortable herself and patting a fur. A fire was blazing in the hearth.
Gabrielle settled down against her Warriors back and pulled the hesitating Regent down with her. "You are part of this situation too, Eph. Dont you want closure!" She asked her sister Amazon lovingly.
"Lets not blow this all out of proportion, Xena let me help out and tell them." Rhiannon said and found a sheepskin to sit on, up against a wall, legs stretched and relaxed.
"No." The Warrior replied determined, sliding an arm around her wifes waist.
Ill tell the story..."
"Talk TO each other, dont try to tell a story. Help each other." Gabrielle took over when Xena paused to breathe.
The Bard turned to face her lover and continued, " Xe, talk to her as a warrior, former lover, or as an enemy here to make piece for all it will help, to inspire your tongue. Talk to her, not to some far off horizon. I believe you can do it." And she kissed the vulnerable woman, shivering at the touch of the gently exploring tongue that greeted her own.
The Queen eased away from Xena and glared over to Rhiannon with eyes so icy, they seemed to almost freeze blood. "Hey Celt! No teasing my Warrior Princes. Im on to you kid!" More than you can fathom right now. You are a piece of work arent you. Try any stunts on my wife, Regent and land again and I cut Xena the Conqueror loose on you. You dont want that, I tell you. I however sense that this is not your intention and you are quite lost to yourself dear. You have nowhere to go either I suspect. Humor me and help out here."
The Bard realized she was sitting up, leaning on her fists, snapped out of her Queen mode and closed her eyes to reconnect head with heart. She looked back up at Rhiannon and continued, "Sorry..... you scared me with the Pegasus stunt and......" she looked over to Ephiny and swallowed hard, "I hadnt realized how hard it got to me till now. And I do resent you toying with Xena."
The Regent crawled to her friend and Queen and locked the woman in her arms for a brief moment. "Im here Gabrielle." She breathed into her friends ear.
Xena waited for the women to settle down again and the Celt to remember to
breathe. She resumed her hold on Gabrielle, inhaled her wifes scent deeply and asked the red head, "Where do we start?"
"Where ever you want my friend." The woman replied.
"Friend? You can call me a friend after all that Ive done to your mother and sister." Xena said surprised at the younger womans words.
Rhiannon only nodded and invited the Warrior to her heart by opening her arms wide.
Xena looked down for a drip and explained to her friends and soul mate.
"I got board after nearly two seasons, staying on in Albion. Bo was getting prepared to
sack a fortress the Scots had backed her ally off the last autumn. I thought it would make a good head quarters for a while. I wanted power and was about to get it.
I had seduced Vivian, Rhiannons twin sister for kicks, play rolled the mysterious warrior for Rhi to stroke my ego and played nice to their mother. Viv was a little manipulator like me and we got bord with each other quick. Pretty clueless huh." The Warrior sat up, pulling Gabrielle in her arms and nuzzled the Bards neck, trying to steady herself and wait for reactions.
Rhiannon watched Gabrielle close her eyes to saver the intimacy and subtle, non-verbal plea from her lover. The Bard gently started to rock her Warrior and whisper sweet nothings to the woman.
"Xena," Rhiannon interrupted the lovers before her, and also caught Ephiny withdrawing her eyes from her the moment she spoke. The red head opened her arms once again. "I knew Vivian was a tease and lost in her version of reality, where physical release was identified as love. That lesson can be a struggle, I am finding out for myself. She recovered, so did you by the looks of it, and theres hope for me yet!"
Xena smiled warmly at the Celt and answered in a low voice, "Got the guts...? Go the distance friend, go the distance."
"You regard me as a friend after what I did to you?" The Celt knew it was her turn to
do some confessing. "I knew you kidnapped me to force mother out of her position and take over her army. You thought I worshipped you but I played you for selfish reasons too. I knew drink worked like an aphrodisiac on you. Knew you wouldnt hurt me...or mine for that matter. I worshipped the freedom you represented to me... wanted you to be the one to help take away some doubts about, you know... "
"Yes Rhi, I knew." Xena barged in on her before the younger woman thought of another set of doubts and continued, "Im glad to have obliged, friend. It wasnt all bad, from were I stand. Thank you for being there to reach me in a moment of total darkness. That you have in common with my Gabrielle, as well as the gitter and chatter thing . I think we can rise above the events in our past. You are welcome to stay here." The warrior met her wifes green pools for confirmation and went on, "as long as you need to. Now, catching up to do....Rhi, this is my wife, and Amazon Queen, you ve already had access to the Regent, so to speak. Eph, get the port and some beakers, weve got some making up and toasting to do."
The gathering in the Queens quarters went on for two rounds of candles and several skins of port. Through out the village tongues were wagging and Amazons let their imagination fill in the blanks of todays adventures.
Just before dawn, two spent women lay in each others arms, talking about the events that night.
"Xena." The Bard lay draped over her lover and asked. "Do I remind you of ...her?"
The warrior snuggled up to her wife tighter and replied. "No Gabrielle, she reminds me of you."
I had never gone the distance before. Didnt know how, I thought and I had accepted that as one of my human weaknesses. The Elfling in me knew better but was never let out long enough to have effect on my ways nor did the human in me want it to. That part of me scared me witless. Mother always looked afraid when I asked about Elfs.
Living life the warrior way and having Avalon s arms around me for so long, all but the few physical features of the Elfling in me, were reduced to a small ache in my heart every now and then. Nothing in all the known and unknown world could have prepared me for what effect she would have on me....all of me...
"Bout the matter of our Champion
*Excuse me dear colleague, might I bother you for a bit?* Ceridwen directed her words to a concentrated woman in front of her.
*Just a drip, sister.* Artemis hit her target with divine ease and turned to her visitor.
*What brings you to my part of the great cosmic puzzle?* the Goddess of the Hunt asked the Moon Deity.
*Bout the matter of our champion, here to let her off the hook and take care of Eire related.... eh, quantum.* the dark eyed woman scratched her head and wondered how she would explain her way out of this part.
*I know when Im spiritually out ranked...besides, I owe you one for Velasca.* Artemis said and restrung her bow. *Be my guest, suppose Ill see you at the Big Gathering later.* Then little specks of gold dust were all that was left of the Huntress.
The air before Ceridwen started to ripple and drift towards the hut where her Champion was out cold from the alcohol consumed that night. *Now its up to you my chosen one.....remember who you are......*
Fitting in between a pillow and a hard place
Rhiannon did her best to be useful around the Amazon village. She practiced sword drills with Ephiny and Xena, when the Warrior was not otherwise engaged. From The Queen she learned about Amazon customs and rituals and vice versa. Hungry for knowledge she devoured her guests library. The Elfling felt a sense of peace when she was with the Queen. Gabrielle was objective towards the Celt and after a while, treated her as one of her subjects, with love and wisdom. All she requested in return was a few of her guests native songs, round the fire at some occasions and her participation in guard duties. Rhiannon found it hard to let go of the place for she knew she must return to her sisters some time, in the near future. The Queens hospitality didnt make it any easier.
Amazon life was not so different from the way she and her sisters lived on Avalon, except for the celebrations frequently visited on her hostess. Rhiannon found them to be more relaxed and exotic. The openly shown affection between women was not custom to her. Priestesses put their sexual energy to more of a cosmic use and kept interaction strictly physical. Love and affection were considered as distractions. The festivities, Avalon style, were rather formal and always the music, dancing, food and drink were influenced by mind altering herbs. This would give Eilan easy access to her priestesses energies. Rhiannon did not compare worlds. She sucked up each new detail of her new dwellings and friends varied lives. The red head started to wonder if this felt like home and lived for the moment and lovined all of it. Her heart on the other hand was growing restless, like a child coming out of a bad dream. The Celt started meditating daily before sleep to keep control, wanting to find some reason to stay longer and leave, all at the same time.
"Eochaid Ollathair, Eochaid Ollamhata.... whats happening to me? I find myself among friendly souls and am treated like one of their own. I dont deserve it.
What do they need a freak like me for. What do I need them for? Why am I so restless? Im still here.....why?" Rhiannon lay on her back, staring at roof timbers thinking to herself. She had been offered a room in Ephinys hut and had accepted with mixed emotions. For three moons now she had listened to the Regents nightly sounds. By day the Amazon was never further than a stones throw away from her, studying her every move, questioning her about her world and life.
"Avalon......Avalon......... Eare...... nothing makes sense anymore.... Amazonia....Albion....... No, mother will have me back on that damned, mist covered rock in no time just to avoid my questions. Orkeneys... and let Viv fix me up with some fella.....outf the question and what in Tir fTauthas name will I do in Eare? Go looking for papa Elf......... hahaha. Taliesin has covered that base and hes too strong for me. Now I am so far away from Avalons core, the tricks get harder to do. Even meditating........ Oh, Elfling you pour thing. Dont be so sorry fr ya self. Time to cross Llyrs watery back and let the sisters know all is well and the Amazons mean them no harm, suppose Im still their champion .......then what, why is knowing my heart so hard? Did I just call mi self an Elfling? " the agitated Celt rolled onto her side and tried to get some sleep.
Maneuvers of a Regent
"Queen to Regent, Helloho in there.." Gabrielle sang and waved a hand in front of her hypnotized friend. "One more treaty to look over and sign. Then you can go run around our enchanting guest again....okay Eph?" She added with a giggle, noticing that her Regent was still far away.
Ephiny snapped out of her daydream and quickly looked over the scroll that Gabrielle was holding out to her, deliberately avoiding eye contact.
"Do you think we have led past lives Gabrielle?" the Amazon asked her friend in a matter of fact tone and kept reading the scroll.
"Hmm" the Bard started to pace slowly in front of partner at law, looked over to the woman avoiding their usual closeness and answered, "I think so, yes. Couldnt tell you how, why or any of that, but yes I do. A point to life is figuring the message out I guess." Gabrielle walked over to the Regent and cupped the other womans chin in her hand to gain access to troubled, teary eyes. "What is it Eph? Talk to me?"
Ephiny shook her head out of Gabrielles gentle grip, kept shaking it vigorously and staggered backwards. "Cant, dont know how. All flashes and no clarity." The Amazon cried and hurried out of the Queens library. Under siege by a random attack of emotions, she went straight to the practice fields and challenged Xena into a sparring dual.
When Ephinys moves got less focused and more like what her Bard would call, a frustration punch up, Xena dragged her sparring partner to a barrel of rainwater and dunked the curly head into it.
"Cool off........ then we talk!" The raven haired woman commanded to the now gasping and dripping Regent. "I see that your effort has not had any effect so far, my love." The Warrior thought as she held Ephiny down a little longer the second dunk. "dont know if my warrior talk will do the trick either.....here goes." Xena lifted the womans head up by the hair and looked into blinking, angry eyes.
"Lets go for a walk Regent." Xena said with a voice that let the Amazon know resistance was futile and shoved the woman towards where the forest grew thicker, away from the village and its curious inhabitants.
"Talk!" Xena commanded and took position walking slightly behind the Regent. "Rage will hurt you and your Amazons. You dont want that Ephiny. I know you better than this, come on, talk to me woman!" the Warrior ended, exaggerating her impatience with the Amazon.
Ephiny shook water out of her ear, lifted her face red with fury up to Xena and shouted as loud as she could, "WHY ME...huh...WHY?"
"Whats got n into you Eph, is it that bad?" the raven haired woman placed her arm around the Regents shoulders, voice tone now low and confidential. "Think Ill drop the Warrior thing now." She softened her face and waited for Ephiny to talk.
"Why do I always have to fall for everything non-Amazon/human, that comes within sight. Why does it always have to be so...so different." Ephiny looked helplessly at Xena and went on. "Why didnt she kidnap Solari... or anyone other than me...huh... Im the flaming Regent for Artemis sake. I cant be distracted by all this...... I cant..." the regent sank onto a tree trunk and pulled the Warrior down with her. "I cant do this, not again."
"Rhiannon is not Phantes, my friend." Xena said as she cradled the Amazon in her arms and tried to be of some comfort. "Dont compare, just try to figure out what you feel. Thats hard enough, I know. Then find out how she feels before jumping to any conclusions Eph." The Warrior did her best to sound optimistic. She knew very well how hard it was for the Amazons to accept Ehpinys feelings for a Centaur. At least Phantes was from around here.
The Regent got up from the trunk, looked down at Xena and tried to smile for her friend. With a broken voice she spoke, "Guess I m just scared, sorry you ended up as my punching bag." She dropped herself next to Xena again and leaned her head on the Warriors shoulder. "I have to get back and apologize to my Queen as well, thanks Xena!"
As the Regent strode off to see her Queen, Xena stayed put for a while and thought about what Ephiny had just revealed to her.
"Cant say I blame her.....Red Terror Rhi isnt going to let up that easy though...
Poor Eph, shes in for a tough ride... Your Celt doesnt know who she is herself and you want her to tell you if she feels.... anything for you huh..... shes too busy finding herself.
I do see the Elfing is effected by you my love struck friend.... dont think shes aware of it ....yet!" Xena rose to her feet and casually walked back to the village, humming a tune to herself. "Trust your heart Eph..." Some how she figured that the two women were in for a struggle.
Learning is Remembering
Rhiannon was helping out in the kitchen, cooking up the evening meal when Solari came looking for her. The Amazon woman gave her the once over and glared, disapproval advertised all over her face. "The Regent wants to see you, now!" Solari snarled at the Celt and walked off.
The red head grinned and poked her tongue out when Solari turned her back.
The remainder of the cooking Amazons giggled and waved towards their leaving sister, gesturing the Celt to follow her.
Rhiannon let Solari gain a good head start on her so she had time to think but didnt get far when she picked up a conversation coming from Argos stable.
"...shes in the kitchen."
"And Eph?" Gabrielle asked her Consort impatiently.
"I dont know Brie... I thought she was with you." The Warrior replied bored.
"They are as blind as we were, and clueless." the Bard added with a giggle.
"At least Eph is waking up. Dont know if the Celt will crack so easy."
"Look love, I think wed better not interfere anymore, even though I owe Eph for opening up my eyes to your love and Rhi for a whole lot too, but..."
"Xena....its all right. The way I see it is that Rhiannon of Avalon has the right to some privacy, as long as that kind of freedom doesnt hurt my Amazons. Her intentions still seem honorable towards us. No reason to invade her mind, when her actions speak for themselves." Gabrielle interrupted her lover. "The woman is obviously going though a rough time in her life and needs friends. Ephiny can take care of herself......" the Bard paused a while, "I would like to know more about why the Celt is changing, have you noticed that her....how do I put it? " The blond paused again.
Rhiannon picked up her speed to close in on Solari and prayed to herself, "So the Amazon babe has got the hots for me..... Artemis, Ceridwen have mercy on an Elfling, dont complicate things even more......!
The two woman arrived at the Regents quarters. Solari knocked and entered.
"The woman you requested me to fetch, my Regent." The Amazon told her Highness.
"You want to ask me some more questions or learn another song perhaps...I know a great tear teaser and.." Rhiannon was cut off buy the door slamming shut under Ephinys arm.
"NO...this time you listen to me, sit!" the Amazon Regent spoke, ignored the Celts attempt to be casual and pointed to a bench. The woman sat down next to the clueless red head and took a deep breath to steady her nerves. She started to talk, voice breaking due to the lump she felt growing in her throat.
"Ive been having these strange dreams, ever since you showed up in my life.
What are you doing to me Elfling?" Ephiny asked, tears rolling down her cheeks. Her face betrayed the surprise at hearing her own choice of words.
Struck by how vulnerable and frustrated the Amazon was, Rhiannon felt tears of her own form behind her eyes. Tears of recognition. She slipped her hand over that of the Amazon and squeezed it gently.
"I dont know what to tell you." The Celt started and faced the shaking woman beside her. "I am a descendant of the Ancient Ones by the blood of Boadecia, Avalon Priestess
and part Elf, also an ancient breed. You almost know everything I remember bout the first parts and Im Not doing anything to you aided by what I have learned as a warrior or a priestess. The Elf part is a total blank to me and frankly, scares me witless." She ended out of breath.
"You dont remember anything.....at all. Didnt your mother tell you anything?" Ephiny asked, locking on to the Celts eyes, searching the womans face for some answer. Anything that would make what was happening, make sense, put it in some sort of perspective.
"Welcome to the familys secret Ephiny. No again, sorry!" Rhiannon replied bitterly, bowed her head in shame and covered her face with her hands.
Ephiny realized the woman was suppressing her sobs by the way her body tensed up.
She wanted so much to comfort this woman. The Regent nearly leapt from the bench with surprise when the red head continued to speak.
"Tell me your dreams. I can at least listen and try to help you..... friend." Rhiannon smiled at the Amazon, flinging back her thick red hair. "If you want...?"
Ephiny got up and fetched some beakers and a canister of water. She needed time to de side were to start. "How do I do this without scaring her even more or making a fool of myself?" The Amazon sat down again and poured the Celt some water, then fixed herself up with a beaker full.
"This is pretty personal stuff. Are you sure?" the Regent asked to be sure.
The Celt nodded.
"Its one dream actually, in different variations. We...eh, you and I, that is...
kind of like....fall for each other. Over and over again. Like...past lives..." Ephiny stopped and looked away, afraid of her listeners response.
"Snakes?" Rhiannon uttered and stared into space, taking in the Amazons words.
"What?" The Regent sighed.
"I just saw snakes... In your dreams, do you have snake tattoos around your wrists?"
"Yes...does that mean anything to you....?" Ephiny repeated anxiously.
The Celt slowly stood up as if hypnotised. She walked over to a window and opened it for a breeze of fresh air and turned her head to face the other woman. "If what you say is true, your dreams may teach me how to remember. You are receiving the dreams from the part of me I do not know and can not reach on my own." The standing woman sighed and opened her mouth to speak again.
"Something tells me Rhiannon, Avalon Priestess knows what to do now and that scares ME witless!... I must first let you know about the latest dream. Last nights variation."
Ephiny let the Celt know and before the woman could react, continued. "The better choice of words would be: the here and now part I am beginning to understand. It grows stronger as we speak. Dont ask me to explain that because.." She paused to focus on the dream instead of her pounding heart and continued with a trembling voice, "going on intuition here." The Amazon took a deep breath and continued. "I m falling in love with you...again, but must be patient....wait, for my lover has lost her way and cant see me.....me!" It was the Regents turn to fight back her tears.
Rhiannon walked to the silently crying woman and folded the Amazon into her arms, from behind. "I hear you woman... I cant reach you as far as you need me to. Im sorry lass, Im sorry." she whispered into the ear of the shivering woman as Ephiny surrendered to her sorrow.
Before the Celt realised what is going on, Ephiny struggled free from their embrace,
turned to face her and slammed her up against the door. Her face features grew serious and her eyes seemed darker. With a husky undertone she breathed into one of her captives pointy ears. "Let me reach you instead... let me in Elfling."
The Amazon leaned into the Celt and their lips locked like a volt.
Rhiannon felt like she was falling into a deep pit, while surges of lightning raced through her veins. Barely standing the exquisite torture of old and new feelings and images starting to overtake her senses, she pushed the other woman away. Far enough to get out of the Amazons hold on her and out the door.
"Breathe dumb woman...slow, deep breaths...one...two...three...good girl.
Now go back in before her heart breaks." The Celt helped herself refocus on breathing and reentered the Amazons quarters. As her eyes readjusted to candle light, the red head could make out the Regents form, draped on her cot.
"Ephiny....thought Id pass out on you there, sorry." Rhiannon offered in explanation of her action. "Whauw!" She walked over to the bed and sat down beside the crying Amazon Regent. She stroked her curls and let the Priestess come forward.
"There is another way to go about this Amazon." Avalons knowledge crept up from the back of her mind and guided her new approach. "First I must return to my sisters and let them learn of my findings. I must also renounce my function as Priestess of Avalon." Rhiannon slid her legs on the bed and wrapped an arm around the now heavily panting Amazon, and continued with a slightly trembling voice, "I have served them as Champion and will return the sword of Hearn the Hunter... God I owe a favor to. I intend to pay both mother and Vivian a visit to find out more of my ancient blood ties. By the Gods I will find out this time! I have the best purpose life has on offer. The unconditional love of an Amazon. I am changing and must find out what that means first.....then return to you whole and free to follow my heart. If you still want me by that time..."
Ephiny wanted to cry out loud so bad, she thought she would drown in her own tears or die fighting them. Her thoughts spun into a downward spiral.
"So shes leaving... she almost passes out from my kiss...slips out...returns as Avalon chick and talks about leaving on this quest..... what about me... dont my feelings count.........doesnt she get it that what she is doesnt matter, let me in damn you."
The Amazon sat up and fell for the ocean green pools, that belonged to the woman before her, all over again. She tried to kiss Rhiannon but the woman placed a finger on her lips and talked some more. Ephiny sat there numb, just letting the Celt soothe her hunger for any kind of closeness with words and promises. Tears slowly subsided and the Amazon regained her control, nestling herself against the Celts body and relaxed.
The Celt looked at the woman in her arms. Empowered by a connection she felt growing, that could only be described as love, she lightly kissed the Amazons curly crown. A little voice from the depth of her Elfling soul cried for recognition.
Ephiny was overcome by exhaustion and Morpheus stepped in.
The God of sleep had been having a hard time catching the foreigner woman over the past fortnight.
Listening to Ephinys breathing pattern, the Celt made note to herself to ask Xena for a serious workout in the morning. Now she needed to release some of the stress of being unsure about everything, including how to leave this wonderful woman alone, untill she left without going insane. Rhiannon let go of the sleeping Amazon and crept out of the hut, strolled around the village for hours thinking up a plan. She crept back to the hut and laid down in her own cot. The human part or her anatomy finally relaxed after cultivating herself to a climax. "Hands on deck..."
Oh Avalon, my Amazon
Rhiannon woke with a scream, soaking wet and tangled in sheets.
A candle mark before dawn, the Celt had dozed off, right into the heart of a nightmare.
Now she was on her knees, next to her cot with the sheets around her legs, sword in one hand, growling like a wild cat.
"Its all right, Rhiannon. Its all right." Ephiny talked softly to the woman on the ground as she closed in on the sword carefully, realizing a dreaming Celt might be a dangerous one.
Solari and Leah rushed into the room. The Regent quickly stepped between the alarmed guards and the red head with her hands raised.
"Its all right, shes dreaming... nightmare. Ill take care of it. Leave us please." the Regent commanded her guards in a stern voice.
"I killed them all...... I killed them....." the Celt panted hard and collapsed under the weight of total confusion.
Ephiny took the sword out of the unconscious womans hand and lifted her back onto her cot. "Sleep now restless one, sleep." She whispered and settled herself next to the red head. "Im here if you need me...Im here love." The Regent noticed that the sleeping woman s skin had a slight green glow and glistened with pearls of sweat. The Celt started to mumble in a language she could not understand.
The Regent slipped from the bed gently, walked over to the door and ordered Solari to get Xena and a healer.
"XENA" Solari yelled as she ran towards the practise grounds. "Eph needs you, like right now. Ive got to fetch the healer. See you later." The Amazon voiced to the worried looking Warrior as she took a deep breath and bolted off.
Xena dropped her sword , replaced it with her chakram and sprinted to the Regents quarters.
Ephiny waited for help holding on to the now shivering Celt with one arm, soaking down the womans face and neck with a wet linen rag in the other.
"Gods, what is going on inside you my brave one?" the Regent asked out loud. "This reminds me of when I tried to help Phantes fight off his nightmares. Phantes would try to suppress parts of his Centaur nature for my sake and pay for it at night. Let go woman! To all Gods that will hear me, help her let go.." Let go Rhiannon, only you can set yourself free." She continued thinking out loud.
"Let go of what?" the Warrior asked, standing leaning against a wall.
"She first has to find out what to let go of Eph." Xena concluded.
Ephinys heart raced but she didnt look over to Xena, who had startled her, making her presence known. The Celt was waking up and the Amazon kept her eyes on the womans fever plagued face.
"Who are you?......I know you, but who are you? How can I know you, how can I want y.."
The Regents private thoughts were interrupted by the healers apprentices hands descending on the Celts face.
"My Mistress is on retreat. I can see the woman has a fever but thats all."
The young student healer looked anxiously from Xena to Ephiny. "I think Xena is the better choice. Youve been to her land, you must know something about her?" She chattered on nervously.
Xena stepped towards the bed, stood looking at the Celt for a moment and said in a matter of fact way, " Eph, keep her comfortable. Sponge her down to help break the fever. Ill make her some willow bark tea. As for the physical side, Im as much in the dark as young Lheta here. Mentally, Id say shes suppressing something and running from it...... herself all at once. I know shes part Elf. Dont know what that means. Maybe shes finding that out right now..... this is were I need my Bard...be right back." And she wandered off.
Ephiny had kept her eyes locked on the Elflings face as Xena had said something about a Bard. "Leave us, the rest of you. You heard the Queens Consort." She excused Lheta and Solari with a wave of her hand.
Rhiannon opened her ocean green eyes. Coated with tears they looked up at Ephiny.
The Celts face disclosed her fear and confusion. The Amazon stroked the wet cheeks with the back of her hand and spoke softly, "Where did you go my Elfling?"
Voice quivering the Celt replied, "Oh Avalon, my Amazon." And the woman floated out of consciousness.
Debts and Promises
"I WILL go with you and thats final!" Xena yelled at Rhiannon, taking on her Warrior Princes pose, legs spread, arms crossed, eyes narrowed to slits.
"I need to see for myself that Velasca is harmless, for good. Your dreams might be a warning and you know it." The Warrior hissed through her teeth. "Besides" she added in a more friendly tone, " I owe your mother and Viv."
"Tomorrow, two candle marks after dawn, be ready Warrior Princes." The Celt let her relentless escort know. "Now say goodbye to your lass and let me get on with things. And do remember to thank the Queen for me and let her know I will return you safely." she grinned at Xena and returned her attention to a list of harbors.
Ephiny tried to surprise the Celt before she could protest or run from her. The Amazon slipped her hand around the reading womans neck, tangling her fingers in the thick red tresses of hair and pulled her in for a passionate kiss.
Rhiannon took one look into the Amazons eyes and saw desire beaming from the womans pools, ducked, turned and ran as far as her legs would take her. She didnt get very far before Ephiny caught up with her and got chased all over the village center square.
"Do you give in? Ephiny panted out of breath, lying on top of the Celt, holding her down like a wild animal.
Rhiannon kept struggling under the weight of the curly haired woman, and shook her head from left to right, avoiding a pare of hungry lips. She wanted desperately to surrender to this beauty and almost did when Xena stepped in and pulled Ephiny off her.
"Ladies, you might like to continue this conversation somewhere else? The whole village is watching and getting restless." The Warrior said in a low commanding tone.
Ephiny pushed Xena aside in her disappointment of the womans intervention and strode off in the direction of her quarters
The Celt stayed lying on the ground, totally out of breath and covered her face with her arms.
"Shows over Amazons." Xena yelled to all the women standing around the square and scoped the area to see if they would react.
Women hurried back to their activities and the raven haired woman knelt down by her old friend.
"You all right Rhi. Can I do anything to help you?" The Warrior asked the exhausted Celt and brushed aside some red strands of hair out of the womans face.
Rhiannon reached out an arm to let her friend help her up. She looked at Xena, shook her head and followed the path that led to the Regents hut. Over her shoulder she mentioned to the Warrior, "I hope your Queen is good at mending a broken heart."
"Oh, for the love of sweat Artemis, please Gabrieh..." Xenas voice gave up on her as she surrendered to her Bards gentle love making. It felt like a sacred ritual being performed for her souls safe return, by her personal Goddess from Potedia. Xena was being taken to the edge of no return by her lover, over and over and over again.
Gabrielle lay between the Warriors legs and played around the swollen nub with her tongue relentlessly, while she slid three fingers in and out of her lover in slow a motion.
The blond heard her wife beg and plead for release from the sharp edge between pain and pleasure, replaced her tongue with a thumb and held it still. The fingers inside her Warrior softly caressed the veins there, throbbing just two digits deep. Gabrielle draped her naked flesh half over the trembling Warrior and leaned up on one elbow.
"Look at me my love," the Bard asked tenderly and kissed her lover gently. "come for me Xena..." and started to circle her lovers clit with more pressure and a tad faster. Gabrielle leaned into the climax yearning woman, penetrating her deeper still and froze when Xena yelled out Argos name and jumped up at the sound of hooves galloping by their hut. Then the Bard screamed.
"THAT DAMNED HORSE, ILL MAKE JERKY OUT OF IT ANY DAY NOW!"
The Warrior collapsed the moment she tried to get up from the bed with a loud thump.
"Beeeh... righh... backhh..." she panted, leaning on both hands and knees to a now very angry Bard and wobbled off with great effort.
The cool night air aided Xena to regain her edge as she managed to move faster and more focussed on her mounts familiar sounds. The Warrior picked up speed, off towards the Regents hut, climbed up on the roof, ran over its rim and jumped onto Argo effortlessly, behind a startled Celt. She grabbed the red head by the scruff, dragged her off Argo and into the nearest public hut. She shoved the woman onto a hair. Then tied her to it with the string of Rhiannons bow as she ordered two guards to keep her in sight at all times. Finally she rode her horse like mad to her lovers quarters for urgently needed release.
After a few moments of her lovers frenzied feral attention, the Warrior shot off over the edge of her orgasm and became one with her soul mate and the universe.
Going home to come home
Xena had two horses prepared and rations to last at least a fortnight, lovingly packed by her Bard. She now kept her wife trapped between her harnessed body and Argo, kissing the young woman senseless. Meanwhile the sun had well passed the noon.
Ephiny had spent most of the late morning calming a sore, furious Elfling down and ended up having to tackle the red head to stop her from attacking Xena, Solari and a defenceless log. When the Celt finally did relax a little she found herself being drawn to the biggest distraction of all. Her body ached to dissolve into this restless Ancient soul.
A few times she had made a move on the Celt but ended up confusing the woman even more than she already was. Talking didnt help either. She changed tactics and stayed busy packing. The Regent wanted to drive Rhiannon out of the village, only for the woman to return home to her that much sooner. She didnt want to waist another precious moment on tormenting goodbyes.
"Xena, time!" the Regent yelled to the orally occupied Warrior and took one last look at Ephiny. Her heart felt like it would burst. Last nights dreams had plagued her with erotic images of this Amazon Regent. In the dream Ephiny wore the marks of an Ancietn One. Slender blue snakes curled round her wrists. "How can I know you... who are you?" Rhiannon thought to herself and put on a brave face and said farewell to her hosts.
"Come home to me whole my love." the Amazon said to her Elfling and tried to seal all the love she felt for the woman in one long, searing kiss.
Rhiannon let her this time.
Xena turned out to be the perfect travel companion.
She left me alone to my thoughts and concentrated on getting us to Britannia in one piece. This proved to be a challenge the closer we got to the Isls. I became completely useless to anyone, including myself.
The change had started. The Elfling was being reborn and reintegrated.....
Sharp pains in my back appealed to the healer side of my escort all the way across the seas and kept us immobile in an obscure village just off Britannias coast for a moon. Renting a tacky, rat infested room from an even filthier looking inn keeper. I was scared and completely in the dark about the metamorphose I was undergoing. Xena used pressure points to dull the physical pain and told me some of Gabrielles stories and poems to keep my mind occupied. I had no time or strength to give Ephiny much thought, come to think of that particular time.....
a Phoenix trapped in her ashes
Laying on a litter, pulled by Xena for the remainder of their journey to Avalon, made the Celt cranky and impossible to deal with. The exhausted Warrior put down the litter gently and looked back at the strapped in woman. She massaged her arms a short while and wanted continue following the trail to Avalon when the younger woman called her name in a gasp.
"Xenah, the pains gone!....get me out of this contraption...now" Rhiannon said, losing her patience fast.
"Hold your horses, let me examine you first Rhi." The Warrior replied with an equally impatient tone and started to free the woman from her bindings. When Xena slid her hands lightly over the womans body, she noticed muscles and bones that werent there before. Rhiannons collar bones, shoulder blades and back muscles had grown into a different shape. Between her shoulder blades a pair of green wings, the size of a hand had been etched under the first layer of skin.
Xena fell back on her behind in astonishment. When she landed on the forest floor, her jaw dropped and she just stared at the Elfling. The younger woman had the most delicate green shimmer about her, that seemed to radiate from her skin.
"What?" The Celt questioned the Warrior who seemed to be in a trance.
"I dont know" Xena replied with a concerned voice. "I honestly dont know Rhi."
Xena explained the physical evidence of her change and described the magically appeared tattoo.
Rhiannon got up from the litter, pulled her clothing straight, then fell over the sitting Warrior in her attempt to draw Xenas sword and go clobber a tree.
"No you dont." The raven haired woman breathed between her teeth and took hold of the frustrated woman. "If you want answers, I suggest we head straight for Avalon. Ill check up on Velasca while you do your thing and we split to go drill Boadecia." Xena finished, nodding, pleased with herself. "Focus Rhi, Focus!"
Trusting Gods, the Girl and Quantum
"I know its your choice but dont you want to do this with a little more style?" an amazed Warrior asked the woman crouching next to her, behind some rocks.
Rhiannon remained silent for a while and thought about what Xena was saying to her.
She looked out from behind their hiding place and took in the majestic view of The Lake.
"The lets kill m all Conqueror really isnt there anymore huh? Want to help me put a manipulative old crow out of position anyhow? With a little of your quick thinking and surprise tactics, my knowledge of Avalon stuff and the help of some Gods or elements. It might work! What do you say my friend? The Celt grimaced at the Warrior and waited for her response.
"No killing right, just altering this Eilans amount of influence!" Xena asked to be sure.
"But asking Gods for help isnt my style kid."
"Xena, how do I put your mind at ease on this one?" Rhiannon looked out over The Lake, scratched her head and readjusted herself against one of the rocks. "I dont invoke a God directly you see. I summon up the power they represent, IN me. Quantum overrides us all. If I direct that kind of energy on anything with intentions that do not correspond with the greater picture, it repeats on me in three fold. Does that make sense?"
Xena smiled at her companion and nodded, some relief visible on her face.
"Forget about the Gods for a moment. Do you trust ME, MY intentions Xena?"
Rhiannon asked seriously, reaching out to the other womans hand and holding it in anticipation of her escorts decision.
Xena looked down at the Celts hand which was laced with small scars and calluses, squeezed it gently and nodded again.
"Let me meditate myself into Priestess mode for half a candle mark or so. Join me if you like, It is full moon tonight. Hows that for divine intervention. We make a grand entrance and end this now." Rhiannon stated and started chanting, barely audible.
The thick mist surrounding the island of Avalon seemed to dissolve as the boat carved through The Lake. Xena got out of the boat first and dragged it higher up shore and gave the Elfling a hand. The younger woman had colored emerald green from head to toe and her features appeared sharper. Her cheeky ears poked though red strands of wavy hair and her fingers had grown long and slender.
Xena took one of the womans hands in her own and whispered humbly, "How beautiful you are Elfling, Good Luck!"
Rhiannon kept her eyes focused on the misty bank before them and froze, all but squeezing Xenas hand to a pulp. From the mist a group of figures were starting to appear. "Slight change of plans Warrior, get behind me."
Not quite adjusted to the role switch it took Xena a blink to oversee the situation and wait for further instructions. She was on the Celts territory now. "If Brie could see me now, she must go nuts wondering what my brain will conjure up every time we are in harms way!" She thought to herself and registered a second flow of adrenaline rushing through her system.
Dampened by the fog a low familiar voice greeted the women by the boat.
"Welcome back my little Elfling, you too Warrior Princes. You two kept us waiting long enough."
"Taliesin, whats going on here?" Rhiannon let out her amazement in a high pitched voice and drew her sword in haste.
"Come warm yourselves by the fire dears and Ill let you in on some of the events that took place since you left us, Rhiannon." The old man stepped clear of the mist and smiled at the prodigal Priestess. "Tut tut Elfling, Hearns sword can not be used against his Druids."
"Why should I trust anything you say Taliesin, based on what...."
"Its all right Rhi." the dark tone of a females words overpowered the young Celts frail, frightened voice. "Come here my child." Boadecia walked from her misty cloak with arms wide.
Rhiannons heart stopped for a beat and she jumped into her mothers arms, crying for joy and fear at the same time.
Xena stepped back a few paces to give the women some space but was grabbed by the wrist and pulled into the embrace by an ecstatically grateful Boadecia. Feeling some what awkward she joined in.
"Lets go to Vivians hut, shell have a fire blazing and plenty of mead. Catch up time."
The Leader of Celts extended her invitation, wrapping her strong arms round the new arrivals and lead the way.
Xena listened carefully to the Taliesins explanation of how the former High Priestess of Avalon was now trapped together with Velasca, the result of her greed.
"Explain this to me again, in laymans terms this time round." The Warrior took a gulp of honey wine from the drinking horn offered to her and looked at the Druid with a lost expression.
She had left Rhiannon with her family to check out the rock Velasca was supposedly melted into. To her expectation, the Taliesin accompanied her as a guide.
The old man smiled at Xena with a trace of mischief round his mouth, sat down on a bench by the rock face and started over. "Let me put it this way Warrior, the powers that Be have replaced Eilan because she no longer suited the greater good. Velasca came in handy I suppose, like a decoy. They are stuck in the rock, draining each others powers and keeping the stone around them from melting so they can get out. The perpetual motion of greed dear." The man paused and stroked his streaky white beard. "I simply got to Boadecia before she could kill her sister for abusing her daughter, persuaded her to cooperate with me. I lost my faith in Eilan long ago and planned to stop the egotistical, bitter womans plan to strip the new Goddess on the block of her powers and reign supreme. Rhiannon was merely a puppet in her game. Over the time the Elfling was being trained in Avalon, I managed to turn the girl on her mentrix. This took little effort for the womans heart is pure and she recognized Eilans true colors. Vivian, Rhiannons human twin has been prepared and educated as new High Priestess of Avalon ever since I was instructed to overthrow Eilan."
Xena stared into the distance with a blank face as the Druid spoke to her.
"Sounds about right. The same old... same old. Gods and humans and mixtures of all species, trying to effect life any way possible, good or bad. Sometimes we are helpless pawns, other times we have some illusion of control. I hate that, I hate that, I hate that." The Warrior shrugged her shoulders to shake off the anger she felt rising within, took a deep breath and pictured her Bard before her minds eye. A smile crept up on her and she confronted the now silent old man.
"Maybe you can help me with another mystery... Lord Quantum?" Xena asked the man and winked to get across the irony intended.
The Druid started to clap his hands and giggle. "Good Warrior Princess... you are getting the hang of it. Dont take it all so serious. Behind all disaster lays a cosmic joke." The Taliesin commended her attempt to be funny. "You wouldnt be referring to the mystery that is Rhiannon now, would you?" He asked, got up, lifted his long tunic up to his knees and trotted off in the direction of Vivians hut. "Follow me!" the running man yelled over his shoulder to the confused Warrior.
"Crazy old fool.... trust you as far as I can throw you!" Xena thought out loud, first making sure he was out of hearing range and then followed him.
Her mothers daughter
"ARE YOU HAVING ME ON MA?" The now blackish, green colored Rhiannon screamed after the pacing Boadecia, punching the older womans ribs from behind. "You knew all this and let me go. What kind of a mother are you?" The Elfling panted with a shrieking voice, sank to her knees and leaned back on her heels. "You let me go......" voice breaking and tears burning as she surrendered to overpowering emotions, stirred by her mothers words.
Boadecia leaned down and pulled her child to her feet and tried to hug her. Rhiannon wasnt giving in easy and flung a couple more fists at her. The older woman just tightened her arms around the Elfling and explained.
"Please love, I didnt know all of it I swear. I didnt know until Taliesin stopped me from trying to kill Eilan with my bare hands. After I received a parchment from Arafels mother with word of the girls death, I snapped out of mourning Prasutogus and decided to go take a look for myself. You were already gone. We had to deal with Velasca and Eilan before going after you. They would have destroyed everyone. The Mood Goddess appeared to our aid and promised to guide you back here. You are her Champion Rhi, you and Vivian are the chosen Moon children." Now Boadecia was crying in her daughters arms. "Can you forgive me for keeping silent all these seasons?"
"Mother, we were all used. Doesnt that teach you anything? Drop the self inflicted guilt thing." Vivians voice of reason butted in. "How about letting the last skeleton out of our family closet while you are confessing. Are you going to tell her of Eanfled?" The young woman tapped her heel impatiently, steeling glances of her reflection in High Priestess robe from a mirror on the wall.
"Whos Eanfled?" Rhiannon eased out from the comfortable safety of her mothers arms and blinked away the moisture, clouding her vision. "Mother?" Anxious green eyes flashed at the Older Celt.
Your fathers eyes
"Im off to tease a Warrior Princess, ladies." Vivian said grinning at her kinfolk.
Reacting to her sisters sour face, "Dont worry little Elfling, I wont be to harsh on her." She laughed, made a pirouette in front of the mirror and slammed the door behind her as she left.
"The little blood sucker, havent the sisters of Orkney been able to kick that mean streak out of her?" Rhiannon picked up a stray boot and threw it after her sibling.
"Shes letting off steam, before the big ritual. You know that Rhi. Xena can stand up to Vivian just fine on her own." Boadecia spoke warmly to her daughter. "Come and sit out on the porch with me love. Its a beautiful night. I need to tell you some things about yourself."
The two women went outside, carried two stools with them and got comfortable.
The night sky was metallic blue and the stars shone dim above them. A full moon rising stole their power. She covered the island in flickering patches of shadow and light, chasing each other over the soft hills of Avalon.
Rhiannon inhaled the musky night air and waited for her mother to speak.
Every cell in her body tensed in anticipation of what Boadecia was about to reveal.
Boadecia gazed into her childs anticipating eyes, leaned over and rested a hand on her knee. "You have your fathers eyes. Every time you looked at me from the day you were born, up to now, I felt his presence." The Leader of Celts stood up, kneeled in front of her child and continued.
"Your father is Eanfled, gate keeper of the Dream Stone. Prasutogus and I got lost there once, on our way home from celebrating Shamaine with Eilan. You were conceived the night before Eanfled let some Elves escort us back to The Lake shore." The older woman stopped and bowed her head to hide the tears, burning in her eyes.
The Elfling clamped her hands together in her lap and waited for her mother to continue. Rocking back and forth numbly and looking down at the kneeling woman like a prisoner waiting to hear the sentence.
End of part one
Part two Within the realm of flying coming soon!