While helping Gabrielle to recover from her injuries Valeria reveals a part of her past that she had long denied existed.
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.
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.
After the rains stopped Gabrielle came down with a fever that wasn't helped much by getting soaked to the skin before we found shelter in the caverns beneath Mount Oeta.
So I foraged as best I could for the proper herbs and mixed them with water in a waterskin I heated over the fire and gave it to her at regular intervals for the next five days until it broke.
"Hi." She said weakly forcing a smile. "How long have we been here?"
"About a week." I answered softly sitting upon a rock nearby.
"My legs. They don't hurt anymore." She added surprised.
"I reset your bones while you were out and gave you some herbs to take the edge off the pain." I explained stopping short of rambling and saying that it had actually been Xena that had taught me how to do it.
"Thank you." She said with a warm smile that melted my heart.
"Gabrielle, I know of an Amazon tribe to the north of here. Their Queen Melosa is an old friend of mine and they have a great healer that can tend to you better than I ever could." I added knowing full well that this decision may lead to my execution but what did death matter as long as Gabrielle was safe there?
"Then what are we waiting for?" She said happily.
Knowing that it would be sheer madness for her to ride behind me I soon made a litter.
It was crude but effective against the rough terrain we had to cross to reach to Amazon lands.
As we moved I hung back with her and talked. My horse understanding my wishes continued on remembering the way we had to go from our many trips there before when it was our home many years ago.
"How did you end up in the service of the Conqueror?" Gabrielle asked as we entered the Amazon forest.
"I was taken by Mezentius along with Melosa's sister Terreis. She didn't survive the gladiator bout he'd planned for us against some celtic warriors but I did. I killed them both and then tried to escape but his forces caught me and after having me for their pleasure brought me back to let him have me himself." I began turning away from her to wipe a stray tear from my cheek
"You were a Gladiator?" She asked surprised.
"I killed I because I had to kill. My opponents became faceless and I became the most fierce Gladiator in all the known world which was what attracted the Conqueror's attention to me. She tried to buy me but Mezentius wouldn't let me go while he still enjoyed his fill of me. So she killed him and took me anyway. At first I found it odd that she wouldn't touch me as he had but soon found out that she needed my fighting skills more. She was raising an army to conquer the known world as Alexander the Great once had and she would succeed with my help." I finishing looking up sensing a presence watching us in the trees above.
"What is it?" Gabrielle asked afraid as a young flamed haired Amazon dropped down infront of me.
"Valeria, well look at you! A true warrior now." She said grabbing me in a rough bearhug and laughing happily.
"Gabrielle, this is Genia my best friend." I introduced them both and surpressed a smile as they sized up one another.
"Queen Melosa, will be pleased to see you again after all this time." Genia added cheerfully.
"I hope so." I agreed but the guilt I bore for Terreis's death momentarily overwhelmed me before we continued on to the village.
The village seemed smaller than I remembered but then again I was little more than a child when I was here last but the smells and sights were the same.
Training Amazons of all ages, the elders going about their daily business and the Queen heading straight for us.
"Welcome home, Valeria." Melosa said with a welcoming smile walking towards me regally.
"My Queen." I said bowing my head respectfully and giving the Royal Amazon tribute.
"Whose your friend?" She said gazing down at Gabrielle questioningly and the young girl sinking back into the litter afraid.
"This is my friend Gabrielle. We've escaped from the court of the Conqueror." I explained as she turned her stern gaze upon me.
"So, you finally came to your senses?" Melosa said smiling and laughing happily drew me into a hug and I knew Gabrielle and I would be safe.
Many months went by as I slowly taught Gabrielle to walk again with the support of a staff at the advice of Gienica the healer.
She was a kindly greying Amazon who had tutored me in my younger days and became a surrogate mother of sorts.
Soon she walked unaided with only a slight limp now and then to serve as a reminder of what had happened to her.
"Gabrielle, do you ever miss your family?" I asked as we watched the sun go down from the porch swing I made for us that hung down from a tree at the back of our hut.
"Sometimes but not as much when I 'm with you." She answered holding my hand tenderly.
"I never knew my own. My Mother died bringing me into the world and my father died long before I was born. I was raised here until Mezentius found me." I explained sadly looking back towards the village as long forgotten memories suddenly overwhelmed me and realised that my eyes were filled with tears.
"I'm sorry." She said comfortingly running a hand down my face tenderly as a few stray tears suddenly made their way down and captured my lips in a tender kiss that suddenly filled my heart with joy.
We had avoided making love in any form for quite some time preferring just to hold one another until we slept.
I suppose it was because we had been through so much in Corinth but tonight as soon as Artemis's moon rose we would become one again.
By now we were both sightly afraid as we entered the hut and silently removed our boots before sitting down together upon the edge of the bed a short distance away.
"You know that I love you." I whispered moving closer towards her and taking her hands in my own.
"And I love you." She responded in kind unable to look me in the eye.
"Then what's wrong Gabrielle?" I asked concerned as her head bowed further and her eyes suddenly filled with tears.
"The Conqueror she said that...whatever was good enough for her Queen was certainly good enough for her." She answered her voice barely rising above a whisper.
"She raped you because of what we mean to one another?" I realised drawing upon the many stories I 'd heard over the years of Xena's corruption that I had always chosen to ignore.
"Yes." She answered in a small voice.
"We don't have to do this until your ready. I 'd never hurt you Gabrielle." I said moving to hold her gently.
"Make love to me...please?" She asked after many moments had passed pushing me back upon the bed and quickly removed both our clothing.
This time our lovemaking was very gentle seeming to last forever and when we finally shuddered to completion there was darkness all around us but we saw only light of the Artemis's moon.
To be continued...
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