Returning home from a training exercise in Thrace Valeria hears that Gabrielle is about to crucified for treason and quickly rides to save her beloved.
Contains some strong scenes of sex and violence.
This story is based on the Xena timeline set up in the Hercules episode Armageddon Now part 2 and the premise that Gabrielle and Xena don't know one another and are completely different people.
Website: Claire's Stories and Poetry
I had just returned from a three month training exercise with the army in Thrace and had not seen or heard anything from Gabrielle since my wedding day.
I'd expected nothing from her because i knew i had wronged her terribly by not telling her of the Conqueror's plans for me but i'd received a scroll from Xena which said that she had freed her and allowed her carve out an existence in Athens as a bard.
I was happy for her but with her gone i now felt so alone back home and would have traded my soul to be at her side in an instant if any Goddesses listened to my hearts true desire.
This home...The Conqueror's home...My home now...Truly felt like a prison but it wasn't Xena that made it so.
It was me.
It was nearing mid-afternoon and Xena still hadn't come to see me in my chamber.
I understood that she was busy running her empire but this was the only place that we ever really got to talk to one another and if im honest i missed that while i was gone.
So, i decided to go look for her and immediately ran into Darphus who took delight in telling me that Xena was about to execute 'my' Gabrielle for treason in the square.
"Bring me my horse!" I cried running out into the courtyard and the stableboy Darius quickly saddled my black stallion and brought him to me.
"Open the gate." I ordered to the soldiers positioned either side after i mounted determined to ride through whether they opened it or not and they quickly did as i asked without hesitation.
We leapt carts and darted in and out of alleyways to find them in the centre of the city to see Alti standing by Xena's side as my beloved was being hoisted into the air upon a cross.
There was a painfilled scream that sickened my soul and then i saw that her legs broken and she had tears running down her face.
The crowd parted for me and both the Conqueror and her Priestess both stepped back when they saw me angry for the first time.
The urge to look behind me could not be ignored and i swallowed in horror as i saw hundreds more like her men, women and children already dead.
"Cut her down. I said cut her down!" I ordered angrily and could see that the soldiers were torn between doing the Conqueror's bidding and my own.
"No? Then i'll do it." I said taking throwing up two daggers i'd taken from the soldiers as i left the palace and catching her gently as she fell into my arms.
"Valeria...I knew you'd come." She said weakly her eyes filling with tears before she blacked out from the pain.
"How dare you defy me!" Xena said angrily her eyes filling with rage.
"As Queen i have that right. Especially when you try to kill the woman i love!" I countered gazing down at Gabrielle tenderly.
"She has been firing up the people to revolt against us." She explained trying to sway me.
"And your proof is where?" I asked believing none of it.
"My sources in Athens told me of thinly veiled threats in her stories." The high priestess explained moving closer to the Conqueror.
"There you have your answer." Xena said taking the hand of her priestess.
"Then I can see i'm no longer needed here." I said angrily turning my horse to leave.
"You'd give up all this just to be her whore." She called after me as i began a slow trot through the parted crowd.
"I'd rather be her whore than yours." I called back spurring my horse into a gallop and soon found my out of the city and realising we were free.
As the rains began Gabrielle i found shelter in a cave which looked like it normally sheltered travellers caught in a storm.
She was still asleep as i laid her down upon the ground in my bedroll and rummaged in my saddlebag for some herbs i'd picked up in Thrace that would take away her pain.
"Valeria!" She gasped suddenly coming to and crying out in pain.
"Here. Take this." I urged holding them out to her and watching as she slowly swallowed them and then drank hungrily from my waterskin.
"Much better." She said taking a few deep breaths and smiling at me warmly.
"Where are we?" She asked looking around at unfamiliar surroundings.
"A long way from Corinth. We're in the caverns below Mount Oeta." I explained.
"That really is a long way." She exclaimed surprised.
"Well, when you think the Conqueror's after you. You'd be surprised at how fast you can move." I said wryly and smiled as my eyes filled with tears and then continued speaking. "I'm sorry for what happened to you Gabrielle."
"It wasn't your fault. The Conqueror and the High Priestess wanted someone to be blame for losing you." She said sympathetically.
"And they chose the person i loved most in the world to vent upon." I answered regretfully knowing that there was some truth in her words.
"You love me?" She asked surprised wincing with pain as she tried to move towards me while i made a campfire made up of dry sticks i'd found at the back of the cavern that would keep us warm throughout the night.
"I always thought that my heart was hardened after years of war and conquest but from the first moment i saw you Gabrielle i began to love you with all my heart." I answered surprising even myself with the sheer magnitude of those words.
They seemed to give her some peace as i soon saw she was sleeping and began the heartrending task of resetting her bones.
TO BE CONTINUED...
Return to the Academy