Journey of Love and Life Part 7
Gabrielle knew Xena wanted her to infiltrate Lothar's camp, to not be discovered but she knew in her heart the only way she was going to get through to Lothar was for him to see that Xena was a different person than the person who killed his brother. Only a person who knew her as well as Gabrielle did would be able to get through to someone who'd walked the path of vengeance as long as Lothar had. Sparing a thought for her lover hoping Xena was okay and not fighting anyone, she broke from the riders who had accompanied her to the outskirts of the area of Lothar's camp. Brushing aside their concerns that she was riding in there without a disguise she summoned all of her courage and her love for Xena and rode into the camp.
“Stop who goes there?” A patrol man asked her as she rode into what looked like a well organised camp, with at least 40 or 50 tents. She had known Lothar had a large army but hadn't conceived that it would be bigger than Athena's army. She looked at the man asking the question and tried to decide what she was going to tell him Hey I'm Gabrielle and I'm here to try to change your boss didn't sound like a good idea so she decided to just tell the man to take her to Lothar.
“I'm here to see Lothar, I have some information for him” Gabrielle told the man, happy to see her explanation had been accepted and she was escorted to Lothar's tent. She was pleased to see that he didn't seem to be as strategic as Xena, the tent she'd been taken to was obviously the commander's tent and if they did have to resort to violence to stop this war he wouldn't be hard to find.
“Commander Lothar, a woman is here, she says she has some information for you” the guard informed his commander and then bowed and waved her forward. Gabrielle stood there for a moment taking in the stance of the man before her, his shoulders weren't straight and he didn't carry himself with the same pride that Xena did. He was a tall man but only had maybe an inch more height than Xena, when he turned to look at her she registered the look of shock first and then realisation as he figured out who she was.
“So you are Xena's companion, and what have you come to tell me little girl?” Lothar asked sneeringly, not able to believe his luck, the key to his plans to destroy Xena had just walked into his tent, certainly Ares was smiling on him today.
“Well I'm glad we can skip introductions, I'm here to tell you that what you are doing is wrong and that in destroying Xena, you will also destroy yourself” Gabrielle started knowing she was nowhere near finished on this subject, Lothar looked like he would he would be a hard nut to crack but so had Xena been, and I've been chipping away at that shell of hers since the first time we met she thought knowing she would give her all to try and get through to this man, she had to for Xena and their child.
“Oh so you are here to tell me how much Xena has changed and that she isn't the same person who killed my brother, the same person I've been trying to find for years, and that now that I'm this close to getting vengeance for my brother's life, you want to take that from me?” Lothar yelled, wanting to scare this girl, who had dared to come here and try and change him, to try and take all that he'd worked for, all that Ares had promised him.
“Lothar you are kidding yourself if you think Ares cares about your so called vengeance against Xena, he has always been after her and he thinks if you take away from her the things she loves most, she'll go back to seeking the vengeance she sought for her brother's death and turn to him again, don't you see you are just a pawn to him, he'd do anything to get her back” Gabrielle told Lothar, seeing a little crack in his resolve knowing she'd gotten to him at least a little bit, I can do this she thought knowing that she had to, she had to get through to this man not just for Xena and their child but for Lothar, a man so blinded by vengeance, another person hate had taken over.
“What does it matter as long as I get what I want, and I want her to pay for what she did to my brother” Lothar cried, his heart clenching as he thought of his brother, who had been the one shining light in Lothar's otherwise dark life. His brother had kept him from becoming like his parents who had treated them so badly when they were children, his brother was all that stopped him from taking vengeance on them for the pain that they had caused their children. When his brother had died he had lost his light and joined the darkness his first act of vengeance had been killing his parents making them suffer the way he and his brother had suffered, and now all that stood between him and completing his act of vengeance was this girl.
“Lothar she has payed, believe me, I've been with Xena for going on four years now, I've held her at night when her nightmares take a hold of her, I've seen her constantly risking her life to try and redeem herself for all the pain she caused when she was trapped in the same cycle that you are trapped in now, I've seen the pain she has suffered as a result of her past, I've seen how it affects her every time another part of her past comes to haunt her, how it saddens her and how she may never forgive herself for what she did in her past, she carries the weight of the world on her shoulders, and so will you if you continue to do this” Gabrielle told Lothar tears coming to her eyes as she thought of all the pain Xena had suffered because of her past, because of her brother's death. She looked at Lothar and realised she was getting through to him, he looked confused and almost as though he was at war with two parts of himself. She quietly approached him and put a calming hand on his shoulder hoping he would listen to her, and really hear what she was saying.
“Lothar, Xena has walked the same path as you, her brother was killed by a warlord and it sent her down a path of vengeance, one filled with pain and it almost cost her, her soul, but then she met some key people who tried to help her break free from that cycle of vengeance, and it wasn't until we met that she finally broke free, she fights for good now, she will always be a warrior, but she is a warrior who learned to love, you see it was love that changed Xena, our love and if you take that from her, it will destroy her and all the good she can accomplish, but it will also destroy you, like it destroyed Callisto, she thought that exacting revenge for Xena accidentally killing her family would bring her peace but in the end it destroyed her soul, she found no peace, and she would have remained in hell if Xena hadn't saved her, Xena saved the woman who had a huge hand in killing her child” Gabrielle told Lothar no longer able to stop the tears from flowing as she thought of the woman she loved and of how proud she was of that woman, and how much she wanted Lothar to see her love for Xena and realise that Xena didn't need to pay for Lothar's brother's death. She looked over at the man to see tears in his eyes and felt hope for the first time that she might have accomplished her mission, to bring Lothar back from the brink of destroying Xena and himself.
“You are right Gabrielle, I've been so blinded by my hatred for her, I never came to terms with the fact that Damon my brother attacked Xena, he was a soldier in her army, and although he probably did the right thing going against who she was then, he attacked her, she was one of the best fighters in the known world, he had to have known he wouldn't win, Gods what have I done” Lothar cried, realising all that he had done because of his brother's death, all of the death and destruction he had caused. Suddenly he remembered Ares telling him to send some men to attack Xena, that she was weakened because of her pregnancy and that this would be the best time to attack.
“Gabrielle, I just remembered, I sent about a hundred men a few candlemarks ago to attack Xena, they should have engaged them about half a candlemark ago, you should go to her, now they were given strict instructions to attack Xena as much as possible, I am so sorry I know both of you will never forgive me if something happens to her” Lothar told Gabrielle worriedly, he knew he had a long way to go still but his anger for Xena was gone, and he wanted nothing more than to turn back time and stop this attack from happening, even though he wasn't intent on extracting his revenge anymore it still might happen.
“Oh Gods, no I have to get to her, she promised me she would only fight if she was directly threatened but if you ordered your men to attack her as much as they could she'll have no choice, Gods it will take me at least a candlemark to get to her by horse, she could be-” Gabrielle stopped herself from saying her worst fear and tried to think of how she could get to Xena and then she remembered Athena telling her that if Xena was in danger to call her.
“Athena come to me Xena is in danger I need you to take me to her” Gabrielle asked almost shouting the words, as her fear grew for Xena's safety, she almost fainted with relief when Athena appeared and quickly took her hand. The tent they had been in disappeared and then they were on a battlefield, her eyes found Xena immediately doubled over in pain, collapsing to the ground. Her heart in her mouth Gabrielle ran to Xena's side frantically checking her love for wounds, until she saw her warrior's hands wrapped around her stomach, and realised it was the baby that was in danger. She looked into Xena's eyes and saw the pain in those beautiful baby blues.
“Gabrielle – the baby” Xena got out before the pain became to much for her and she passed out unconscious before Gabrielle. Gabrielle felt tears begin to form in her eyes but she quickly blinked them back as she screamed for Athena to come to her again. As Athena appeared one look at Xena lying there unconscious was all it took for her to transport them to the healer's cabin in Amphipolos.
“By the Gods what happened? Gabrielle?” Ryane asked as she took in the unconscious form of Xena and the obvious look of panic on Gabrielle's face.
“I think she's losing the baby, she was in a lot of pain when i got to her, I haven't checked her for bleeding, Gods this cant be happening” Gabrielle told Ryane who nodded and quickly went about assessing Xena's condition. She frowned when she saw that Xena was bleeding and not too lightly, she felt along Xena's abdomen and felt a contraction begin and confirmed that Xena was losing the baby, her body was already beginning the process to expel the baby from her.
“Gabrielle I'm so sorry, you are right she is losing the baby, her body is already getting ready to-” Ryane said sadly but was cut off by an angry Gabrielle.
“No I am not going to let her lose this baby, Athena you are a God, you have to save the baby, she will never forgive herself for this if she loses the baby, please do something” Gabrielle asked tears flowing from her eyes as she thought of the pain this would cause her love, her strong warrior had already lost a son and now she was going to lose a baby she never expected to have but had already come to love.
“You didn't have to ask me Gabrielle I've already started the process, I need to be alone with her for a few minutes to finish this, I wont let her lose this baby, Gabrielle it's too important, please believe me” Athena asked half her mind already on the task of saving the baby, that Xena was only a few minutes or so away from losing, in her mind she could hear the baby's heartbeat slowing as it was losing its battle with death. She ushered them out of the room and looked at Xena, even though the woman was unconscious a tear slid down her face as though she could tell she was losing the child she wanted so much. Athena placed her hands on Xena's abdomen, on the place that the child was and began the process of healing whatever damage the child had endured, and then she placed a protection barrier around the child to make sure this never happened again. It would only last while the child was still inside Xena, a necessary thing she should have thought of before, but she had hoped Xena wouldn't have needed to fight.
Finally the process was finished and a healthy strong heartbeat was sounding in her head, she spent a moment just watching Xena, the strong woman she had admired so much, and probably always would, a mortal who had the admiration of more than a few Gods, when she felt it and wondered why she had never felt it before. Maybe it was because she had never seen the woman so still, or been able to be this close to her, but she could feel the immortal blood pulsing through those veins and she smiled, she'd always known there was something special about this warrior, and now she knew what it was.
“You can come in now, I saved the baby she is resting comfortably now, I think she needs to be treated for a few cuts and minor abrasions but thats it” Athena told Gabrielle and Ryane, seeing tears of relief form in Gabrielle's eyes, as they locked on her, and she saw something she hadn't seen from a mortal in a long time, gratitude, it was a strange feeling for her to have done something so unselfish for a God she had never seen but knew existed.
“Thank you Athena, you don't know how much this means to us” Gabrielle told Athena, surprising the Goddess by hugging her, expressing the gratitude she felt in the best way she knew how. Then she walked over to where Xena was lying and sat beside her taking he hand in hers, kissing it gently not wanting to wake her slumbering warrior princess. She layed her other hand on the warrior's abdomen, feeling the place where their child rested safely now, and felt more tears begin to fall. She heard Ryane and Athena leave the room and she laid her head next to Xena's feeling peace finally knowing both her warrior and her child were safe.
Continued in Part 8
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