Plight of the Amazons





All characters named from X:WP are the property of MCA/Universal & Renaissance.

No copyright infringement is intended in this fanfiction.

Some characters which will be obvious, are the creation of the writer.

This story has mild violence in the content - arrow wound and sword fighting.


"Xena, the land looks so barren since we were here last", Gabrielle told Xena as they walked right into the camp of Chilapa's Amazon tribe.

Meslena was first to see them and first to speak. "It's good to see you both" she exclaimed. "It's been too long."

"Yes, too long Meslena, how have you been?" Gabrielle told her Amazon sister as she smiled and hugged Meslina.

Xena continued to walk forward and stepped directly into the Queen's hut.

"Xena!" Chilapa exclaimed quickly as she realized who had just entered her hut unannounced. "Oh, Xena it is you! I'm sorry I wasn't told you were coming. No matter. I'm very glad you've come. You've heard what is happening, then?"

"Chilapa, where is your guard?" Xena asked angrily and without any response to Chilapa's greeting or her question. "Gabrielle and I just walked right into this camp without a sign of anyone keeping watch. What IS going on?"

"Oh, well you don't know then, do you Xena? We have had some very bad and hard times here. Most of my tribe are ill or weak from poor supplies. We have been involved in several small and harmful battles. We only post guard at night. The tribe is too weak to handle much time at doing watch and I'm trying to spare as many as I can to help in the camp. The children are the weakest, I'm sad to say."

Gabrielle and Meslena now enter the Queen's hut and it's apparent they have shared the same information. Gabrielle steps forward and hugs the Amazon Queen as Xena notices her companion has a very sad and worried look in her eyes.

"Where are the children, Chilapa?" Xena asked as she turned and briskly walked out of the hut. Chiplapa had to rise from her blanket and walk to catch up with Xena, just outside.

"Come, I'll take you to the children," Chilapa told the Warrior Princess as she directed her to the next hut.

Meslena and Gabrielle also followed and entered the hut next to Chilapa's. They all paused as they were stunned to find only four young children lying on rugs that were placed about onto the hard ground. The children all looked thin and weak, as well. They were quiet and did not appear to have energy to speak to the women standing above them. Xena began to walk about the hut and checked the pots and cups that were also lying about. She was angered and disgusted to see the poor conditions around the sick children and especially appalled by the filth.

"I want this hut cleaned up immediately!" Xena shouted angrily now and looked directly at Gabrielle.

Gabrielle now paused to look back at Xena with her eyes wide with surprise. Xena failed to speak a word or to make any motion of kindness toward the children. Gabrielle quickly noticed that Xenon was one of the children who was lying just in front of them. He had grown in hands length and it was apparent that he had matured a great deal since either Xena or Gabrielle last saw Ephiny's young son.

An Amazon who was not familiar to either Xena or Gabrielle slowly walked into the hut. She began offering drink to each of the children as she slowly and gently lifted each head. The woman then turned and looked first to Gabrielle saying, "You're Gabrielle.....the real Queen aren't you?"

Gabrielle stepped closer to the woman and with a questioned look, she then placed her hand on the woman's shoulder and responded, "Yes, I'm Gabrielle. I'm a former Queen. It was Ephiny that was the real Queen. I'm sorry we have not met before. What is your name?"

"I'm Erina, Ephiny's blood-sister. I'm from another tribe really but I came here to care for Xenon. I owe that much to my sister's child."

Gabrielle was really surprised at this news. It had never been mentioned that Ephiny had a blood-sister.

Xena walked quickly outside again and everyone then followed her once more to the center of the camp. Xena was still looking around and seemed very angry by all she had heard and seen.

"Chilapa, I am sorry to see this much suffering, I didn't know. There is no sign of battle here. What has happened to the supplies and the strength of the tribe?"

"Xena", Chilapa answered in a voice which sounded weak for the once heartily spoken woman. "The outter lands are no longer safe. We've battled many enemies since you were here last and many of our tribe are gone, some killed but so many died from disease. We just don't have enough Amazons left for a proper defense of the land and all the animal and food supply has been taken by pillagers."

Gabrielle, still thinking of the news that Ephiny had a sister and never told her, continued to look really worried as Chilapa talked to Xena.

Gabrielle stood next to Xena and finally gazed directly at her to say, "Xena, we have to do something."

"And we will!" Xena said strongly as she walked forward and began checking each woman about the camp and carefully looking into their eyes. All the Amazon's looked much thinner and their eyes indeed expressed how weak their bodies had become without proper nourishment.


Xena spent much of the afternoon checking the weak Amazon women all about camp. Just before the sun would set, Xena again entered the hut where the four children were lying and she observed Ephiny's sister, Erina finishing up effort to get the children to eat some broth.

Xena first would kneel down next to Xenon and slowly, she moved her hand through his long mane. He turned to look upward at the strong woman above him and he softly asked, "do I know you? Are you a new Amazon?"

"No, Xenon...I'm not," Xena told the young centaur. "I was a friend of your mother's and I once helped you come into this world."

The young centaur, whom all the Amazon's felt a special love for because he was the son of Ephiny, then drifted into a deep slumber.

Xena moved about the hut and checked the pulse and forehead of the other three who were all Amazon children.

"He's got a lot of Ephiny in him, that one," said Erina. "His life is torn as the child of a centaur and an Amazon," she commented.

Xena stood and walked over to Erina saying, "the hut looks better. We didn't know Ephiny had a blood-sister. I wasn't aware that Xenon was back in camp. He was with the centaurs the last time Gabrielle and I passed through here."

"I've heard a lot about you and Queen Gabrielle. Ephiny and I parted when we were quite young. I guess she never forgave my choice to go with the Eastern Amazon tribe rather than remain here. There was a conflict for me that Melosa's family reigned here for so long. I was surprised to receive word a few months ago that Ephiny had a child. I heard also that he was treated as an out-cast by the centaurs. Tyldus has become very unhappy with the lands about here and he blames this tribe for the scarce animal meat and nourishing foilage."

"What about the other tribes in this area? I know many were scattered and there is much more land that rightfully belongs to the Amazon Nation than this one area, " Xena asked Erina.

Both women then walked outside to join Gabrielle, who was standing near the large campfire in the center of camp.


Erina told Xena as Gabrielle listened that, "the other tribes are involved in a civil war among themselves. With such limited supplies for all, they have begun to fight and now there really is no more connection or loyalty between the camps."

Gabrielle listened carefully as Erina spoke of the other Amazon tribes nearby. She still presented a very worried look as she looked upward to Xena and told her, "Chilapa and I have talked, Xena. I still have the right to elect a new Queen in my place. Chilapa wants to step aside and suggested that you lead the tribe out of this mess. Will you, Xena? Will you do that for Ephiny?"

"Gabrielle, I gave my word to Ephiny that I would not stand by and watch the fall of the Amazon Nation. Besides being weak, they have all lost their passion for defending the land. I would've gladly give up my life for Ephiny but I do not need to be a Queen to do what has to be done here."

Xena then walked away from the warm feel and glow of the fire and went into Chilapa's hut.

"Gabrielle," Erina said to the Amazon now standing near the fire alone. "You were Ephiny's good friend. I know she helped you after you got the right-of-caste from Terreis. You were more of a sister to her the last years of her life than I. Won't you please help her tribe now and especially, save her only child?"

Gabrielle turned to face Erina and answered, "I loved Ephiny. Yes, it was her that showed me the way of the Amazon. I was so young back then and I knew nothing of the troubles for Amazons or even the technique to fight like one. Ephiny gave me my first staff and it served me well for a long time. Xena won't back away from this trouble. She and I will help all we can. You'll see."

Chilapa had readied her hut for Xena and Gabrielle to stay the night. Although feeling weak herself, she told Xena she would stay in the hut with Meslina and she had posted a guard at both ends of the camp. Xena gave a nod to Chilapa who then left the hut. Xena slowly sat down on the side of the small bed which was across from a temporary bed Chilapa had made up for Gabrielle.

There is much to do, Xena thought to herself. She was in the hut alone, for what seemed like a long time, just thinking about the situation at hand, Finally, Gabrielle entered the hut for the night.

Gabrielle readied herself for bed and had not spoke because she did not want to disturb Xena's thoughts.

"I'll be out early Gabrielle. I'm going to the centaurs camp at first light, " Xena said just before lying down and closing her eyes.

Gabrielle softly blew out the only burning candle and then lies quiet, herself. She felt too consumed with worry to question her companion any further and had so many things running through her mind. It seemed a very long night to Gabrielle as her mind wondered with thoughts of Ephiny and Xenon. She mentally reminisced of all the times she had shared at this Amazon camp and her dear friend. By the time the morning light barely began to shine into the hut, Xena had risen and gone.


Just after first morning light, Xena left camp to visit the centaurs. Gabrielle decided to rise early and make ready for the day. Her mind wandered back to the times she had helped at hospitals and also the help she had received at the hospice where she awoke after falling with her daughter, Hope into the fiery pit.

Her thoughts were interrupted by sounds of the other Amazon's now stirring about outside.

Gabrielle completed getting dressed and went to find Chilapa. When she arrived at Meslina's hut, she was told that Chilapa had gone to check on the guards and that she was overdue.

Screams! There were several shrill screams heard all through the Amazon camp. Gabrielle and Meslina quickly ran outside.

They saw Chilapa and another Amazon named, Selaska slowly walking into camp and the taller Amazon was carrying one of their sister's limp in her arms.

"What's wrong? What happened?" Gabrielle asked as she ran quickly toward the women. Selaska carried the limp body of the smaller woman to the center of camp and lay her down onto the ground.

Chilapa looked very tired and told the entire Amazon group, now gathered, "the pillagers attacked. I charged down upon them from the trees but one of them had already ran his sword through her. By the time Selaska got to her, she was gone."

Both of the women's eyes were filled with tears as Gabrielle now could see that it was Brianna who had been killed. Gabrielle gazed upon her dead Amazon sister and first noticed how young and gentle her face appeared. She recalled Brianna clearly from the past and her mind drew a picture of this young woman who once was among the group of Amazon's Pompey had captured.

"The pillagers are growing in number," Chilapa told Gabrielle. Erina had joined them now and looked on sadly as they all now stood in silence.

Suddenly, Xena walked back into the camp guiding a packhorse just behind her. Xena dropped the reigns and stepped quickly over to where the fallen Amazon was lying. Xena immediately looked with question at Gabrielle.

Gabrielle looked back at her companion and in a shaky voice told her, "The pillagers attacked again, Xena. Chilapa says they are growing in number. She and Selaska couldn't save Brianna."

"Chilapa, see that the supplies on that horse are placed safely. Gabrielle, come with me," Xena ordered in a strong voice as she turned and walked into the Queen's hut.

Gabrielle felt surprised that Xena made no mention of the fallen Brianna but she knew it was not a time to question Xena's actions. She paused only briefly and then followed Xena into Chilapa's hut.

Xena was now pacing about with her hands on her hips. She still seemed angry and Gabrielle chose to stand quietly waiting for Xena to explain what was on her mind.

"I have to build a defense of this village. I cannot leave camp again and loose any more of the able bodied Amazons, Gabrielle. I need you and Erina to go and locate the tribe that use to be east of here." Xena told Gabrielle. "Despite the civil wars, all the Amazon's are going to have to unite if they are to defend these lands and survive. I was only able to get the centaurs to share enough supplies for a few days. The time is short."

"Xena," Gabrielle responded, "are you sure Erina should go with me? After all, she's not from my tribe, like Selaska."

"I need Selaska. She is one of the stronger women and I know she can act quickly if I need. Erina mentioned being part of the tribe in the east. I need her to go and get them here, now!"

"Okay", Gabrielle responded. The once Amazon Queen was now only concerned with saving her sisters. She knew it was not a time to question Xena and directed her own focus to the journey facing her and Erina. "We'll leave immediately, Xena. I'll gather our supplies and then go. Please tell Xenon I'm thinking of him," Gabrielle told Xena as she gave a quick hug to her companion and then left the hut.

Xena also walked out and went directly to the hut where the children were still being cared for.. Xena again bent down on one knee and checked the pulse of Xenon. He was partially awake and he looked up directly at the strong Warrior.

"Xenon. It's going to be okay. You have many here that care about you. Gabrielle is also thinking about you. I need you and the others to eat some of the broth that I'll have sent to you, okay?" Xena spoke gently now and then turned to check each of the other three Amazon children.

Gabrielle and Erina gathered only meager supplies and left quickly on their journey to find the Amazon's in the east.

Xena walked outside and told Chilapa to have someone give all the children as much broth as they would eat. She began giving instructions to the able bodied Amazon's and ordered certain placements of wood for fires around the perimeter of the camp. Xena had assigned Meslina to guard the hut where the children were resting. She told Meslina, "no matter what, you protect the children. I'll protect the camp." Meslina nodded and went directly to her post.

Chilapa and two other Amazon's carried Brianna's body into a hut and readied her for the period of mourning.

Xena walked over to Selaska, now in the center of the camp and told her, "You are a strong one. Have your sword ready and beware of any sounds near the camp. I don't have enough women to stand guard so the fires will make us look stronger in number than we really are. Those pillagers aren't going to settle for just the fields around much longer. They could attack at any time."


Gabrielle and Erina had made good time after leaving camp and they had put a lot of distance behind them by the mid-afternoon. Erina led them forward since she had traveled this direction earlier in the season when she left her tribe to go and care for her sister's child, Xenon.

Erina paused to tell Gabrielle, "there is one river nearby that may have risen since I was by this way before. We will have to find the walking bridge just ahead, in order to cross."

Gabrielle turned her head left and right as she checked for any signs of trouble along the way. She responded only briefly to Erina, "we need to find the bridge quickly. Xena said that time was very important."

Suddenly, several arrows came flying in the direction of Erina and Gabrielle. Both quickly turned but neither could see the attackers. Erina ran forward as Gabrielle knelt behind a nearby bush for cover. Erina stepped behind a rather large tree as an attacker approached her from behind and she screamed loudly. Gabrielle jumped instinctively and ran toward Erina but a sharp pain caught her left side and she fell downward to her knees.

Gabrielle was able to gather herself from the shock and pain as she stood to face a second attacker now standing in front of her. She had removed both Sais and fought off her single attacker, rendering him wounded and unconscious. She then turned to see that Erina also had been able to fend off the first man that attacked and she was now binding his hands with vines.

Gabrielle suddenly felt a weakness overcome her and she realized the sharp pain in her side was an arrow that had pierced her body. Her hand felt the warm blood flowing profusely from the wound. As Gabrielle again dropped to her knees falling forward only balancing herself with her arms, Erina arrived to help her.

Erina lifted Gabrielle carefully and drug her slowly to the tree that she earlier used as her own protection. She leaned Gabrielle gently against the tree and then went back quickly to bind the hands of the second fallen attacker.

Erina returned to Gabrielle's side and pressed both her hands onto the wound trying to slow the bleeding. Erina, had a surprised and worried look as she told Gabrielle, "there must be others nearby. We have to get to the bridge, Gabrielle."

With a very weak voice, Gabrielle told Erina, "I've seen Xena remove an arrow. You will have to push the shaft through."

"No, Gabrielle," Erina answered, "there is no time, this arrow is too close to your liver. If I pierce that, you'll die painfully. The arrow will have to be cut out, but we must go now, we must go quickly."Erina snapped the arrow only leaving part protruding from Gabrielle's side.




Gabrielle only gave another very weak look and wrapped her arm around Erina for her help to rise and walk forward. Gabrielle's thought was how much Erina resembled Ephiny and her strength now felt like that of her blood sister.
They were able to reach the bridge before the attackers could follow. Erina stopped

only briefly to clear the footsteps from the trail by waving a tree branch over any signs of their direction.

Gabrielle sat near the walking bridge still feeling woozy from the blood loss but anxious to cross and find the other tribe. Erina worked quickly to tear her clothing and press hard onto Gabrielle's wound. She made a mudpack to control further vascular flow and wrapped Gabrielle's side before proceeding across the bridge.

Back at camp, Xena had joined Chilapa in Meslina's hut to discuss plans for guarding through the night. Xena told Chilapa, "Meslina and Selaska are our strongest two. I've had the others place the wood for campfires to keep the camp well lit during the darkness. I don't recall seeing Selaska here before. Gabrielle thinks she's from this tribe, is that right?"

"Selaska chose to join my tribe," Chipala told Xena. "She was among a group that passed through two seasons ago. She was once a warrior but had settled with a village in the north just before they came south in search of new homeland. She began to be of great help in our defense and stayed on after her group left."

Xena did not appear surprised to learn that Selaska was a warrior and responded to Chilapa, "that explains it then."

Xena then left the hut and once again walked to speak with Selaska and inquire on any stirring about the camp.

"Oh, hi Xena" Selaska said as Xena approached. "I was hoping you would give me a chance to talk with you. Your legend has traveled far and I'm proud to meet the warrior I once feared meeting in battle. I heard you now fight for the greater good so I figured you'd show up here with Gabrielle sooner or later."

Xena looked directly into the eyes of Selaska who stood equally as tall and said, "I'm interested that you are a warrior. I thought as much for some reason."


Just after Xena confirmed that Selaska had previously been a warrior herself but had joined up with Chilapa's Amazons just two season's back, she went to check on the sick children of the camp.

Xena quickly noticed that Xenon was no longer lying in the hut with the other children. She turned immediately to Meslina who was standing guard to ask, "where is Xenon?"

"He's gone to find Chilapa. Don't panic Xena, he's feeling much better. He wanted to ask about Erina. They didn't have much time to talk about his Mother and he wanted to learn when Erina would return," Meslina explained.

Xena noticed the other three children also looked better than when she arrived. Apparently the supplies she received from the centaurs had helped.

Erina and Gabrielle had made it safely across the walking bridge that led them closer to the eastern Amazon tribe lands. Gabrielle's wound was throbbing but the bleeding had slowed a lot after Erina's mudpack.

"We should make camp on this side of the river Gabrielle," Erina said as the sun was beginning to lower across the mountains edge.

"Not yet Erina. I want to cover as much ground as we can. The Pillagers could be attacking my sister's camp anytime. They won't be long before taking your tribe's lands after that. I can't let either of those things happen," Gabrielle told her new sister and friend.

The lay of the land became more difficult for Gabrielle to walk because each step seems to heighten the throbbing in her side. She could feel the piece of arrow still polking in her side like a sharp knife cutting fish, she thought. In her mind, Gabrielle was determined not to let Erina know she felt weak and nauseated because she wanted to reach help quickly. She kept her focus on having promised Xena as well as concern for her own tribal family.

Darkness came much sooner than Gabrielle had hoped and the path ahead of her was impossible to see or so she thought. Erina knew it was time to stop and take rest just as Gabrielle suddenly collapsed without speaking a word.

Erina readied an area quickly and made a warm covering for Gabrielle from branches. She didn't dare build any fire for fear the two attackers from earlier could still be looking for them. She layed down close to Gabrielle and quietly rested.

Xena walked the perimeter of the camp to insure no sound or Pillager was near. She came upon Xenon just as he was about to re-enter the hut where Meslina had prepared another small amount of food for the children.

"Xenon," Xena called gently before he entered the hut. "You know I'm really glad to see you feeling better. Have you been okay?"

"Yes," Xenon replied, "I'm glad you came Xena. I feel much safer now. You saved me and my Mom before and I know you will save us all again."

"I'll do what I have to, Xenon," Xena told the young centaur, "I promised your Mother that I would NOT let the Amazon's die. Go now, have some warm food. I want to see you really feeling well tomorrow."

Just as Xena turned, Selaska had walked over and gave a her a very concerned look. She told Xena, "there was some stirring just over in that direction," as she pointed eastward.

Xena paused and gave a careful listen but could not hear anything herself as Selaska then told Xena, "You are very lovely. I'd heard that as well along with the tales of your raids and it was hard to picture. The legend of the battle at your homeland Amphipolis left you quite a reputation, as well. Have you ever been back to your home?"

"Yes, I go home. My Mother is still in Amphipolis and my homeland is still very important to me," Xena strongly explained to Selaska as she asked, "were you in any battles where I might have heard of you?"

Selaska stood silent and without answering then whispered, "Shhhh...shhhh, that sound. I hear that sound again."

"I think you and I should use the trees to our advantage, Xena. We can see what that sound is and be sure the camp is clear," Selaska said as she walked toward the edge of camp.

Xena followed the warrior and she too continued to listen closely for any sound or sign of movement. Both Xena & Selaska quickly climbed and squatted in the top of a large tree. They used their eyes to scout for any signs of danger. The fires around the camp were lit and the light was helpful and cast a glow onto the face of Selaska as Xena's back was turned in the other direction.

"I don't see any trouble here," Xena whispered to Selaska who was very close to her and curiously looking around.

Quietly, Selaska moved even closer to face Xena on the large limb and softly told her, "I know I heard something. It couldn't have been game because there isn't any around but some fowl still stir about. You climb well, I see what I've heard is true."

"What you've heard?" Xena questioned, as she seemed startled at the remark by this woman appearing her equal in the skills of an Amazon.

"I heard you were an Amazon at heart but would never commit. We should get back into camp. The noise was surely only a fowl. I'll go back now," Selaska remarked.

Both strong and tall women leaped down from the high branch and both had noticed the similarities in themselves. Xena continued to have some question in her mind about this warrior called Selaska, but there was no time to talk with her further just now.

Xena walked in the direction of Meslina's hut once more to speak with Chilapa as Selaska went back to her post and continued her guard of the camp.

Again, Xena spoke immediately on entering the hut, asking Chilapa, "did Selaska have any belongings when she arrived?"

Chilapa paused but answered, "yes, she had several packs. Her things are in the supply hut. What Xena? What is it you're thinking?"

"I'm thinking I would have heard of her by now," Xena said with a snap to her voice. "I'll check that later. Right now, I need you and I to plan for the remaining supplies and tomorrow if the night passes without trouble."

Eastward still, Erina had only rested her eyes and listened through the night to insure she and Gabrielle were not discovered. Gabrielle had not stirred much at all and when Erina touched her forehead, it was warm with fever.

Gabrielle opened her eyes from Erina's touch and took a long breath before sitting up. "There's enough light. We need to go now, " Gabrielle exclaimed as she stood up but sighed from feeling so shaky.

"Can you make it? You have fever," Erina told Gabrielle.

Gabrielle looked to the ground and found a long and sturdy walking stick to use for balance. "I'll make it, let's go," she replied.

Erina again led the way as she and Gabrielle resumed their walking toward the east in search and desperation to find her former tribe.


The morning was very long and hard for Gabrielle from the pain and now a fever plagued her aching body all over. Several times Gabrielle would think of slowing and wanting to have the arrow shaft removed from her side but knew the time would risk her tribe and Xena. She followed Erina and only had stopped once to drink some water.

Just before a clearing that lie ahead, Erina stopped and placed her hands together above her head. Gabrielle felt comfort to see the sign of the Amazon's once again and did likewise. Two women jumped down from the trees and stood before them. Their masks were smaller and made differently than those Gabrielle had first seen when she met Terreis so long ago.

One of the women stepped forward and hugged Erina as she lifted her mask and told them, "Welcome. Your sisters child must be better Erina, it's good to have you back."

Gabrielle wanted to greet these Amazon's and tell them quickly of her tribe's plight but, severe pain then darkness overcame her and she fell unconscious onto the ground. Erina and both of the other Amazons ran quickly to help Gabrielle.

Just before daybreak at Chilapa's camp, Xena had risen early. She had already checked on all the children and insured they all were doing well before she went to relieve Selaska standing guard.

Before Xena could assemble her weapons and leave Meslina's hut, Selaska entered saying, "all is quiet Xena". You and I should talk."

Chilapa had gathered some of the other Amazons to direct them to clear the burned wood and prepare to make new fire stacks. Many of the women were feeling stronger from the warm food and rest but supplies would only last through the day. Chilapa walked to the hut where Brianna still lie in mourning and to prepare for her funeral pyre that afternoon. Chilapa had hoped that Gabrielle would be returning for Brianna's passing since she still felt that Gabrielle was the true Queen of this tribe.

Selaska seemed hesitant as she spoke to Xena, telling her, "I'm troubled. Just as you, being a warrior has not been an easy life. I can kill in an instant but I cannot seem to find any warmth in my heart. I have never felt as I do since you arrived, Xena."

"What are you talking about?" Xena almost in a shouting voice replied to Selaska, "look..., we don't have time to talk about this. Just because the Pillagers did not attack in the night, the danger is great. You get some rest. I'll talk with you later."

Xena grabbed her sword and Chakram as she briskly walked out of the hut and went to join Chilapa to be sure the days work was being done for the Amazons. The camp was in need of much re-building since the attacks had damaged many of the small huts. These were needed since the clouds indicated more shelter from rain would be needed soon.

Erina and the two Amazon's from her tribe had carried Gabrielle to their camp. One of the Amazon's there had some experience with cutting out an arrow and she prepared Gabrielle. Apparently the fever and determined efforts of the day had taken toll on Gabrielle and she did not even awake as the Amazon fired the knife.

Gabrielle did give a wince when the woman made the incision but with ease removed the remaining part of the arrow that had pierced her side. The pain was sharp but Gabrielle then felt some relief as now only the fever left her feeling weak and sick. The next moment of pain was the worst yet as the woman cauterized the wound. Gabrielle gasped and tears of pain flowed but only briefly. Gabrielle suddenly thought of Xena and the time she had pulled the arrow through and held her so warm and tight. Her thought was how much she wanted to have Xena's strength now.

"Thank you," Gabrielle quietly told the woman who nodded and gave back a brief expression of appreciation for the kind comment.

Erina had informed her tribe of the plight facing Gabrielle's Amazon sisters and the threat that the same Pillagers posed to their land. All the women moved quickly to gather weapons of bows, arrows, chobos and staffs in preparation to go and help their fellow Amazons.

Erina joined Gabrielle later and was surprised when she asked her, "how much daylight do we have?"

"Gabrielle, you have fever. You can't travel anymore today," Erina told the determined Amazon.

"Oh yes I can. Can you get me some willow bark tea? Is your tribe ready to travel?" Gabrielle said as she saw the walking stick in the corner of the hut. "Bring some torches, we'll travel in the dark this time. Let's go!" she exclaimed to Erina.

Erina seem to know the voice of an Amazon that would listen to no argument and she went quickly to find some willow bark tea for Gabrielle.


Chilapa's tribe worked well through the day and made ready many of the huts that had been harmed in battle. One special pile of wood was now made ready in the center of camp as Chilapa planned to go forward with the pyre for Brianna. "I see no need not to wait for Erina and Gabrielle," Xena told Chilapa. "Gabrielle has gone through a lot and she will understand what has to be done."

Chilapa, Meslina, Selaska and all the women of the tribe gathered and proceeded to watch as the fire burned the body of Brianna. Xena sang the funeral pyre in a soft voice as she mostly looked at Xenon who surely was thinking of his own Mother, Ephiny.

When the funeral was complete, Xena left the center of camp and walked alone into Meslina's hut. She was surprised when Selaska entered and asked if she would like something to eat or drink. "No. No I don't," she told the other warrior, "I want to save this tribe. When that is done, I can focus on other things."

A lot of screaming and noise began to be heard from outside, Xena turned and both she and Selaska ran to find that several Amazons were now involved with fighting a group of Pillagers.

She and Selaska drew their swords and moved quickly into the battle. Selaska took on several of the men and her sword was quick and accurate with each swing. Xena saw one Pillagers heading from behind Meslina and she rushed forward to run her sword through him.

Chilapa had drawn her chobos and was able to fight off several as she shouted to some other members of her tribe to let go of their arrows.

The attack of these Pillagers seemed to come in groups as there would be a pause and then another fierce swarm of men with swords and battle cries to fight to the death.

Xena would catch Selaska in the corner of her eye, fighting strongly as she could handle many of the attackers without assistance. Xena continued to swing her sword with super mortal power as she lifted it above her head and chopped down on a tall Pillager approaching Chilapa.

Everytime that the women would think the battle over, another few men charged the camp. This went on well into the night and some of the Amazon women were hurt badly or they were loosing strength to continue.

Xena would calm the camp between the attacks and help the injured to safety as did Selaska who continued to prove being an equal warrior. Meslina had kept the hut safe where the children now huddled in fear and awaiting someone to come and tell them it was over.

Just when Chilapa began to think there was no end in sight, battle cries of many Amazon's were heard. Dozens of small masked women had arrived in camp and began joining the latest battle and killing or capturing the remaining Pillagers.





Xena realized that the eastern tribe of Amazon's had made it just as daylight was breaking and she quickly began looking for Gabrielle. She didn't see either Gabrielle or Erina among the women who now were helping to secure the camp. Everyone was busy helping the wounded into huts and out of the rain that no one even realized had begun earlier. Xena stood cold and wet and severely feeling a knot inside when she heard a soft voice behind her say, "Xena, they are here." Xena spun around to find Gabrielle leaning on a tall stick and looking terribly weak. "Are you hurt?" Xena spoke in panic.

"No, I'm okay Xena. I'm glad we arrived. It looks like you've had serious trouble too," Gabrielle told her mate.

Selaska now walked up next to Xena saying, "all is secure now." as she gave a strange look of surprise to Gabrielle.

"It was too close," Xena stated, "Selaska was a great help. She has the strength of 10 men. Her sword is as sharp as mine," Xena continued as she looked over toward the other warrior.

"I'm glad you were here, Selaska. I feared we would not make it in time. There are some others to follow with supplies. How are the children, Xena?" Gabrielle asked.

Xena seemed to hesitate with an answer and then said, "They are good. Xenon is a real dear. Why don't you get out of the rain and go see him now."


Just after Erina's eastern Amazon's arrived and helped fend off the Pillagers attack, Xena had suggested Gabrielle go and see Xenon. She remained standing in the pouring rain with Selaska.

"You, come with me!" Xena ordered as she walked to the Queens hut where she & Gabrielle had chosen to stay as Chilapa had strongly suggested. Selaska followed Xena who walked forcefully into the hut and turned quickly to face Selaska.

"You have some nice warrior skills," Xena told Selaska, "but I'm not so sure you don't like to fight as a sport."

"That's not why I fight," the tall and dark-haired Selaska replied, "The choice to fight was not a question for me. All of my family are warlords or warriors. It wasn't meant for me to be any different."

Surprisingly, Xena accepted that answer and just as she flipped her long wet hair from her face, she placed her long arm on Selaska's shoulder and said, "I've seen many other women warriors and none have the quickness as you. You can help this tribe end the suffering," Xena stopped speaking, and turned to see Gabrielle had entered the hut.

"Oh, I'm sorry to interrupt," Gabrielle told Xena as she was + E(@ؼ\PCbPp3UUUUUU432b]z A}3Pu5qJwa_]Hw2;brYO%5*?W#/?($ŷĽ2ҷCx83Pw`Zra6^$iA :|%-&OP 8=#NB8At$T% un: 6-%$?~m1[`n'eš_(a^6E=[Đ>+ʴ߮Q4hŷAX >88 A}=#f?Ɗ_m her chills brought on by the rain. Xena turned to her with a look which appeared to be guilt and then told Gabrielle, "We were just exchanging some warrior stories."

"Xena," Gabrielle said softly, "you seem taken by Selaska. Why did you send me off so quickly just then?"

Gabrielle was obviously upset that Xena had not expressed relief or mentioned she was pleased about her bringing Erina's tribe back in time to help with the battle against the Pillagers. Gabrielle's mind was thinking of her own suffering from the arrow and the strength it had taken from her to manage the return journey.

"Gabrielle, I was only talking with Selaska. She fought with a very familiar style. You don't look well. Perhaps you need some rest," Xena responded as she once again walked out of the hut to join the other Amazons.

Gabrielle sat surprised and alone. She chose not to tell Xena of her arrow wound just now since the tribe had much work to attend to following the long and gruesome battle. Gabrielle's thoughts were Xena will organize the camp and that the fresh supplies should arrive before darkness.

Feeling weak, Gabrielle was lying down when Erina entered the hut to offer more willow bark tea for Gabrielle's mild fever. "Here, you need to drink this," Erina told her as she handed her a cup. The taste of warm liquid felt very soothing to Gabrielle as she took a second sip. Erina waited and then quietly said, "that other warrior, the one named Selaska is quite a woman isn't she?" "Yes, Xena seems to be impressed with her," Gabrielle stated. "There's something about her I don't feel right about," Gabrielle continued to explain as Erina stood above her again strongly resembling Ephiny.

"No!" shouted Selaska as she wasn't pleased with how the dead Pillagers were being dragged to a single pile. "What?" Xena asked her in surprise of this action. "They deserve proper burial," Selaska told the two Amazons clearing the camp of the bodies. "Don't interfere Xena," Selaska said, "I might act quickly to kill but I've seen too many die. They should be disposed of properly. Their hunger made them thieves not wild animals."

Xena seemed surprised at this statement by Selaska and began helping to place the bodies for burning. Chilapa had joined them and explained that the Amazons from the other tribe were being settled in and of how pleased she was with their Queen agreeing to form an alliance. The next step was to survive the sounds and smell of burning flesh as they disposed of the Pillagers who had ravaged their lands and took advantage of all the supplies.

As the afternoon came to an end, the other eastern Amazons arrived with reinforcements and many baskets full of hearty supplies to feed both tribes. Gabrielle had only rested a short time and then joined Chilapa to organize the women and sort the supplies so they would be preserved.

Gabrielle watched as Xena & Selaska were working about the camp together and it made her feel very knotted inside. Again, her mind remembered how she had wanted it to be Xena who held her close when the pain of her wound was so bad her own tears felt cold. Her heart was filled with hurt that Xena had not come back to the hut during the afternoon. Darkness was upon them again and Gabrielle wanted to tell Xena more about the other tribe and how wonderful this alliance was for the Amazon nation.

Xenon had come out into the camp area after the rains had stopped completely. He was a fine looking centaur and his hair was light and curly just like his Mother. The other children joined him in some brief play to kick an animal skinned ball around. Erina watched her blood sister's son enjoying life and health once again.


Gabrielle and Chilapa spent much time talking about the tribe, the funeral for Brianna and the alliance with the eastern Amazons as night surrounded the camp. Gabrielle felt a real ache in her belly and it wasn't from the arrow wound but the pain of the distance she felt from Xena on this day.

Gabrielle and Chilapa had gone to finish securing the new food supplies. Gabrielle was packing things carefully in the supply hut as her mind wandered to a feeling of jealousy. She pushed her thoughts away but they returned to her as a feeling of self-pity. Here she had traveled so far and after being wounded she had pushed herself harder than ever to get help for her Amazon sisters and to help Xena to save them all. Since here return, Xena seemed more occupied with Selaska than to take time to show her any appreciation or just a brief mention of a job well done.

Gabrielle strayed from packing and began looking about at the other packs and supplies lying about the hut. She came upon some unusual looking bags with symbols that she'd only seen used by warlords during battle.

Gabrielle turned to Chilapa to ask, "whose supplies are these?"

"Oh, those are some things that Selaska brought when she came here two seasons ago," Chilapa replied.

"She just came two seasons ago? Right. I thought she was a tribe member but I guess I wasn't thinking back clearly with all that was going on when Xena and I arrived," Gabrielle spoke with surprise in her voice. Just as she finished speaking, her hand came upon a silver mask located in the sack she was checking before Chilapa explained they were Selaska's bags.

"The mask of Cortese!" Gabrielle shouted, as she stood frozen and looking with panic in her eyes toward Chilapa.

Chilapa sensed Gabrielle's shock and with pause said, "Cortese? Who is this Cortese?"

Gabrielle's mind really raced as she griped the mask in her hand. Questions consumed her thoughts of why Selaska would have a mask just like those of the men who were responsible for the attack on Xena's homeland. She allowed her mind to jump back to feeling jealous just moments before and realized she could not mis-judge what she had found.

"Chilapa, do not speak of this mask or Cortese for now" Gabrielle told her Queen as she placed the mask back gently into the bag. "I won't" responded Chilapa as she realized Gabrielle had something really important on her mind but knew Gabrielle would tell her when she found the time right.

Gabrielle left the supply hut, walking rather quickly even with the soreness she still felt in her side. She did not see Xena near the campfire now blazing in the center of camp. Selaska was standing near the camp's entrance as she had stood to guard camp two nights earlier.

Gabrielle went to the Queen's hut where she found Xena sitting on the side of the bed appearing to be deep in her own thoughts.

"Gabrielle," Xena spoke as she recognized her mate entering the hut. "Are you feeling better? I was worried about you."

"You were worried?" Gabrielle replied in question since she didn't feel concern from Xena earlier.

"Well of course I was worried. I wanted you to get some rest before you and I talked about your journey and the other tribe. Erina is a lot like Ephiny, isn't she?" Xena continued to speak as she unlaced her boots and sounded very tired herself.

Gabrielle stood stunned for a moment as she began to feel guilty for having doubts of Xena spending the afternoon working with Selaska. Without thinking further, Gabrielle asked, "why didn't you come by the hut all afteroon, Xena? You were with Selaska enough time" she continued with harsh voice and had let that last remark slip in her conversation.

"You're angry. I can tell you're angry" Xena snapped at her companion. "I thought you'd want some time with your Amazon sisters after resting. Selaska and I had a lot of work to insure greater safety for this camp. I think any Pillagers that escaped have chosen to flee the area but one can't be sure."

With that, a silence took over the room as Gabrielle prepared her blankets and sat down while still feeling soreness from her wound. She still was suffering from the injury and wanted to blurt out her experience to Xena but hesitated. Gabrielle turned her thoughts to that mask and wondered if her telling Xena would seem an act of jealousy or wise at this moment.

Xena laid back and gave a sigh of also being weary from the nightlong battle and long days work.

Gabrielle continued to keep an eye toward her companion as she had so many thoughts still running through her mind about Selaska and that mask.

"Gabrielle," Xena whispered. "You did good today."

Gabrielle hearing Xena's words began to cry. She could no longer hold all the racing thoughts or the swell of her emotions to herself.

Xena rose and went to kneel over Gabrielle, lifted her up slowly and then embraced her tightly as she asked, "what's wrong?"

Gabrielle lost her emotions and began to pour all her thoughts out to Xena. She told Xena about the journey, her arrow wound and the pain and how she felt empty and hurt when Xena shunned her off after the battle. Gabrielle even confessed to feeling jealous of Xena's attention to Selaska.

"Gabrielle, you know you're the best thing in my life," Xena exclaimed to her mate. "By the gods you should have told me you were hurt. I would have stayed with you, don't you know that?"

Gabrielle pulled back from Xena's embrace as she gathered herself to say, "Xena, there's one other thing you need to know."

"Okay, tell me" Xena said softly.

"There's a mask in the supply hut. It's a mask like those of Cortese's soldiers. It was in bags belonging to Selaska" Gabrielle explained as she looked so sad into Xena's glowing blue eyes.

"Let me see your wound," Xena stated as she made no reply of what Gabrielle had just told her about the mask.

"Xena, don't you care? There could be an explanation but I had a very uneasy feeling about Selaska right off," Gabrielle continued speaking as Xena went about checking her side.

"The wound looks good. Someone had the skills of a healer," Xena then replied as she also checked Gabrielle's forehead to find no sign of fever. "I'll handle this Gabrielle. It was interesting to me to find a warrior with skills like Selaska. I guess I let her courage impress me but I have to know why she has that mask. You keep still. I won't be long."

Xena stood, tightened her bootlaces, picked up only her sword and left the hut. Gabrielle could hear her own breath sounds as she felt concerned because of what she had just told Xena.

Selaska turned and smiled as Xena approached. "All is quiet here," she told Xena who noticed Selaska gripped her sword in hand.

"You seem ready. Why the sword out of your scabbard if all is quiet?" Xena asked.

"I take no chances after that battle" Selaska replied.

Suddenly Xena pointed the tip of her sword upward and close to the throat of the warrior who stood her same height. "Don't you need your mask!" Xena stated angrily.

"No, no Xena I don't. So you know," Selaska stated with no surprise in her voice. "The mask of my brother, Cortese. That name still runs through you, doesn't it Xena?"

Selaska took one step back and now pointed her sword as high as Xena's. They began to parry and their swords clanged out loudly to break the night's silence. Xena began to circle as did Selaska and the two swords hit so hard there were sparks flying in the air.

Xena flipped across the tall warrior and landed to face her from the other side but Selaska turned quickly and again blocked Xena's forward motion. Suddenly Selaska got the advantage and threw her strong leg to kick Xena directly in the stomach. Xena kicked back with two kicks catching Selaska once in the stomach and the second on her shoulder. As Selaska spun around, she flipped over Xena and landed close enough to grab Xena from behind and wrap her strong arm around Xena. She raised her sword to Xena's neck.

"Stop!" Gabrielle shouted as she ran toward the two women.

"Selaska don't do this" Gabrielle pleaded.

Xena took the opportunity of the interruption and spun out of Selaska's arm lock as she gave a mighty knee lift hitting directly into the belly of the threatening warrior. When Selaska doubled over from the air leaving her lungs, Xena lowered both of her arms down hard on the back of Selaska's neck and she hit the hard surface dropping her sword. Xena stomped her foot firmly and directly in the middle of Selaska's back and then lowered her sword very close to the jugular vein on the neck of the warrior she had defeated.

"Go ahead. Take my life Xena" Selaska spoke in a choking voice. "You have the advantage. Take it!"

"No. I won't do you that favor," Xena told the temporizing warrior. "I'll let the authorities deal with you. I don't appoint myself judge and jury anymore. You came here to kill me, didn't you?"

"Yes,....oh yes, I wanted to gain your trust and respect first. Then I would have killed you" Selaska told Xena while her hands were being tightly bound behind her own body.

Gabrielle stood with a look of relief as she watched Xena walk the warrior woman to Meslina's hut. Chilapa was still awake and surprised when Xena entered and shoved Selaska down onto the floor.

"See that she's guarded until daylight" Xena stated to Chilapa. "Seems she befriended you and your tribe only to get to me. I'll turn her over to the proper authorities at first light."

Xena watched Selaska carefully until Chilapa could order two of her Amazons to come and take charge of the subdued but angry warrior woman. Xena then went to join Gabrielle at the Queen's hut.


Xena entered Chilapa's hut where Gabrielle was waiting and lying prone on the bed.

Xena sat on the bed beside her companion and speaking in a seriomic manner she said, "we do seem to find our share of troubles, Gabrielle. Today you became the champion and I learned about blind loyalty."

Gabrielle now felt very relaxed and replied, "we all have an intrigue of others sometimes, Xena. I guess I understand better now how I made you feel about Najara. What counts is how we feel about each other."

Gabrielle sat up to place her arm around Xena who felt her companion's forgiveness without saying anymore words to her about Selaska. Gabrielle smiled as Xena turned and raised a seductive eyebrow.

"We need to get back to Eve soon. Seeing Xenon and knowing he is cared for by Ephiny's real sister has been good," Gabrielle expressed as the thought of Xena's baby entered her mind.

"Yes, that will be nice. I'm sure my mother and she are fine. I've realized that I want her to know the ways of the Amazons as you learned," Xena surprisingly told Gabrielle.

"Not the ways of a warrior?" Gabrielle asked.

"No, not the ways of a warrior. You've shown me a better way and I want my child to be like you" Xena explained. "I once wanted to be like you but the fates had other plans for me. It is you, Gabrielle that I want to charge with teaching Eve. I'd like her to become an Amazon Princess with your blessing. Would you do that for her?"

Gabrielle was overwhelmed with surprise and emotion brought on by Xena's question and compliment that she teach Eve the traditions of the Amazons. Xena had never commented much about her getting the right of caste from Terreis or the sad time that she led her tribe as Queen following the death of Ephiny.

"Gabrielle" Xena continued, "this alliance and Chilapa's plans will help to rebuild the Amazon nation. When the time comes for Eve to step into being an adult, she should have the best of both of us. A warrior's life is lonely and has many troubles. Eve has an up-hill battle because of my past and a special purpose for her future."

Xena paused and said, "She has a good soul like you. You don't need to say anything. We shall go and get Eve after we rest and then we will return here where you are rightfully Queen."

Both Xena and Gabrielle turned to one another and tightly embraced each other as small tears were flowing slowly down their cheeks.


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