THE YOUTH OF THE NATION
Mandatory disclaimer: I don't own the characters Xena and Gabrielle, those rights belong to Universal and whoever else can make a legal claim to them…Not that I wouldn't mind owning them. Please don't sue me either, because after all what are you going to get from me? Not much I can assure you. Also this story is basically PG 13. Thanks everyone for reading the first part and if you want to contact me you can do so at Kialon_young_amazon@yahoo.com
The warrior touched a finger to the blood and rubbed it between her thumb and forefinger. "It's Human blood." She unsheathed her sword and looked down the over grown path and then turned to the bard and the young girl. "Gabrielle you stay back with Kialon." Gabrielle stepped forward and tried to catch her partners arm.
"Xena what in Hades is going on?" Kialon was now fighting the urge to demand an answer.
"Just get back with the girl for right now." The older woman past by the horse and ducked into the path taking big strides.
"Gabrielle what does Xena think?" the brown eyes on the girls' face were now full of worry.
"Kialon, I don't know, but I do know Xena knows what SHE is doing." The bard was still holding her staff in both hands ready to protect herself and the future Amazon from any attack.
Xena had only gone a few paces down the trail when she heard faint breathing. She quickly moved aside an over hanging tree limb. It was, she concluded, Kialon's sister, Teganus. She was badly beaten and even though the small woman was still breathing, it was very shallow breaths. Xena placed her sword back into its sheath and bent down to asses the damage. When she touched the girl no movement came in reply. "Come on Teganus, your ganna be just fine. Hang on okay." The woman had at least four broken ribs, a concussion, and fractured left wrist, but was lucky that's all she had gotten judging by the state she was in. The woman, though small, had a very muscular body and if she would have been attacked by one or two renegades she probable could have handled the situation. The bruises on her arms and legs told the story of a woman being bound and beaten. When the taller woman decided it was okay to move the beaten woman she carefully placed one arm under her knees and another under her arm and around the woman's back. "Okay Teganus I'ma get you out of her but you have to help me out. Listen you have to wake up…" Xena lifted her and turned to get out of the woods while they were in such a vulnerable state. She didn't weigh much and Xena cleared the forest in a matter of second. When the girl saw Xena come out of the woods holding Teganus she jump down from her horse at once.
"Teganus!! Xena she can't be…no she's not!!" The small warrior had tears coming down her face and the bard caught her and held her.
"Shhh…it'll be okay Xena's going to do all she can." The two were now on the floor, the bard holding the other girl back.
"She's not dead Kialon, but you have to let Gabrielle help me, I need her right now." The young girl wiped her eyes and pushed away from the green eyed woman. Gabrielle got up and quickly walked over to the warrior.
"Xena, I'll get the bandages and a fire started. I'll send Kialon for some water, it'll do her good." Kialon got up with three of the water skins and headed off for the creek.
"I think she was ambushed. She needs her ribs wrapped and these cuts and gashes cleaned." The older woman grabbed a cloth, started cleaning a few of the deep gashes, and tried to get the girl to wake up again. Kialon brought the water back and put it to boil over the steadily growing fire.
"Is she ganna…" the warrior cut her off.
"No, she's going to be just fine. I'm glad we found her though, it could have been worse. Do you know who could have done this?" Xena was still dressing the woman's wounds with the help of the bard at her side.
"She didn't leave with anybody, but she might have met someone on her way across the valley." Kialon was holing her sisters' hand and trying to help the two women as much as possible. The tall woman stood up and poked the fire with a long stick then tossed it into the fire.
The camp site was made and over the fire was a pot with a savory smelling liquid in it.
"Her breathing is fine, she should be up before long and when she does Kialon you give her some water, can you do that for me?" Xena walked over with a water skin and handed it to the young girl with sympathy in her eyes. She walked over to her companion and put her hand on the shorter woman's shoulder. "How are you coming along?" She bent down next to Gabrielle and rubbed her thigh unnoticeably. Gabrielle sighed and looked to her lover.
"I'm okay Xena I'm just worried about Kialon, maybe we shouldn't have brought her with us. What if…" she couldn't get the words out.
"I won't let anything happen to any of us, the cowards will have to get through me first. You know that." The warrior pulled the bard away from the pot and embraced her for what seemed like forever. The pot was pulled off the fire shortly afterwards and herbs where added.
"I'll get the bowls. Can you tell me where they're at?" The older of the two women pointed at a saddle bag draped over a rock near the edge of the camp site. "Thanks." She stood up and brought back all of the bowls from the bag then handed them to Gabrielle.
"Hey are you sure you're okay?" the bard asked the future Amazon.
"I'm fine, just a little worried about Teganus. Gabrielle I want to find the people who did this to her, will you help me?" The young woman knew that she would find the cowards with or without her.
"I'll help you." The word came out even without the slightest thought to what Xena would say. It was understood they both felt the same.
"You don't know how much it means to me." She gave Gabrielle and Xena a hug then sat down to eat her soup. All three ate quietly waiting for some signs of Teganus waking up, but none came. Kialon stood up and placed her bowl on a rock next to her, and then she walked over to the two women who were now in quiet conversation. "You two need a brake please go down by the lake and cool off. I'll watch over my sister, she's doing fine." The bard stood up to protest.
"Kialon you know we can't…" The young girl raised her hand.
"No you two go." Xena stood up and grabbed her lovers arm.
"Kialon, I don't think we should leave you here alone, even if the lake isn't that far from here. What if Teganus wakes up?" The girl knew they both needed some time alone and she did know what to do.
"If she wakes up I'll get her some water and try to feed her some soup. Now, I know what I'm doing can, you two just go." She smiled at the two lovers in admiration.
"Okay but we won't be long, just long enough to wash and come back to check on you two." The warrior walked over to the pot and pored some soup into a bowl to cool for Teganus. "If she wakes up it'll be ready."
"Take all the time you need, please." She took the bowl and sat it next to her empty one. The two checked on Teganus once more then walked down to the lake with two make shift towels in hand.
"That was really nice of Kialon. She will make a great Amazon one day." The taller woman agreed.
"But you know what I think would even be nicer?" She grinned at Gabrielle and tickled her side.
"XEEENNNAAA!!" She squeaked and ran down to the edge of the lake with her lover in chase. Xena reached her and before her companion could get one word out in reply she had her arms around the bards' waist and locked her in those baby blue eyes. "Xena…"
"Gabrielle, why is it always about talking with you" she joked then chuckled. The dark haired woman bent her neck and grasped her lovers' lips in hers. Both of the women dropped to the ground. The younger woman straddled her partner and Xena leaned up to hold her head against the bards beating heart. "I love you." The words that came so easy held such a big meaning.
"I love you too tiger." On the banks of the lake and under the stars the two women enjoyed the serenity of the deserted lake.
They finally got around to washing up when they realized they should get back to the two sisters.
"I'm sure they're fine. I bet Teganus is up by now. I've been listening for any sound of trouble." The older woman cuddled with the bard once more before heading back up the trail. She put her hand around the shoulder of her lover and pulled her close. The shorter woman tucked her head under the warrior's chin. A few seconds later they were back at the camp site. They walked in to see Teganus eating soup and talking a little. Kialon was hesitantly explaining how she got there when the two women walked up.
"Hey, Xena you were right, she's up!" The girl was happy to see them and to see her sister was okay. "Teganus this is Xena," she nodded towards the tall warrior, "and this is Gabrielle, Queen of the Amazons." For once it was not "Xena: warrior princess" but now Gabrielle knew how it was to be announced in such a way.
"I'm glad you found me, I appreciate everything your doing for me and my sister here. She's a good kid, a little talkative and competitive, but nothing to wrong there." Xena and Gabrielle looked at each other knowing they each shared one of those traits.
"Hey now, I get it from you." The older sister just smiled and asked for more water.
"Teganus what happened." Xena finally asked her after the soup in her bowl was gone and she was resting again.
"I don't really remember much…" Her eyes got big then looked at Gabrielle. The bard's eyes frowned back at the young woman's. "They…they were looking for you." When these words recapped the battered woman's lips Gabrielle grabbed her partner's hand and swallowed.
"What do you mean looking for her?" The taller woman was now putting her guard back up.
"Why would they want me?" Gabrielle was now worried again.
"They attacked me on my way down the valley, about ten or eleven at the time. I did get a few of them down, but I was no match for fully armed men." She stopped to remember the details, they were only coming back pieces at a time. "I remember they thought I was an Amazon and wanted me to tell them where my queen was. I had no idea what they were talking about. They decided to beat it out of me." She stopped again not remembering much more of the event. I was only tied up for a few candle marks then ordered to be released by…" The young woman couldn't remember who it was, who had tortured her and didn't believe her. "I was on my way back home when I couldn't go anymore. I tried to crawl off the trail in case they came back, but…"
"Its okay you can rest now." The warrior was trying to calm her down and relax before she collapsed again. The girl's sister was rubbing a cool cloth on her neck.
"It's going to be fine Teganus we're going to find them for you." These words didn't bring any comfort to the girl as intended.
"NO! You can't go to them! I'm sure that's what they want!" The woman tried her hardest to make these words come out with the right enforcement.
"She's right Gabrielle until we find out what we're dealing with we need to stay away from trouble." The two lovers held hands and the older woman tried to reassure her partner things were going to be fine.
"I remember it was a women…" came a faint voice from the make shift bed.
Kialon offered more water to her sister.
"If you don't get some rest I'll show you a beating." The young girl pulled up the blanket on her sister's neck and gave her one more sip of water before the hurt women fell asleep. The two women walked over to there sleeping quarters and held each other.
"Xena we can't go find these people with Teganus or Kialon. They both are not fit to do that."
"Your right and when I go you're not coming either. I'm not taking any chances." The bard pulled back and looked into her lovers face.
"You must have got hit on the head or something, because I would never leave you."
"Gabrielle if they are looking for you its best if I bring you three to the Amazon's, and you know I'm right." The shorter girl now tucked her head under Xena's chin and sighed.
"If you think its best, then the village is about another days ride. We can get there before dusk tomorrow."
Kialon unrolled her sleeping fur and laid it next to her sister's bed. She couldn't sleep, but instead looked up at the stars trying to find her favorite pictures in them. Meanwhile the lovers, cover in their fur blanket, tried not to thing about the days ahead.
To be continued
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