“Just leave me alone, I don’t need your help anymore” Xena barked knowing she was angry and frustrated, but most of all scared. It had been two seven days since that awful news had come about Gabrielle’s village and she had been left behind with Lila. She knew that it wasn’t Lila’s fault and that she shouldn’t take it out on her, but she was too afraid and she didn’t know how to deal with that.
“Xena, she’s going to be okay, she wouldn’t leave you” Lila said knowing that the warrior was scared and was worried about what the stress of this situation was doing to the babies inside her. She was doing all she could to keep Xena calm, but the worry was beginning to get to the warrior and she could understand why. They hadn’t had word from Gabrielle in almost a seven day and the last word they’d had, Gabrielle had told them they were going to fight the band of warrior’s that had declared war on the Amazons.
“I’m sorry Lila, I guess I’m not dealing with this as well as I thought I would, I feel so helpless waiting here” Xena said as she broke down into tears and felt warm arms encircle her. She leaned into the warmth and allowed Lila to soothe her. It wasn’t long before the soothing circles Lila was making around her back caused a wave of tiredness to come over her. Lila gently laid her down and continued to stroke her hair, allowing the warrior to fall into a sleep filled with images of her absent lover.
Meanwhile far away on a battlefield a single woman continued a battle with a courageous leader that she’d come to admire but knew wasn’t going to stop until he was either killed or killed all of them. She continued to battle him even though she was severely fatigued and definitely not at her best. He continued to duck her blows proving his skill as a fighter but he didn’t have the reason to fight that she did. Images of her lover flashed in front of her eyes as she continued to fight him. Finally she saw the opening and knew that to accomplish the killing blow he would probably be able to get a good blow at her as well one that could very well kill her but she knew she had to take the chance, her energy was fading and the battle needed to end. Once he was gone the others would retreat and join other bands and not bother the Amazons any more.
She took the opening and thrust her sword into the area and saw the shock and surprise on his face and then felt the painful blow and gasped as he dealt his own blow. They both fell to the ground and the last thing she saw were his lifeless eyes staring at her before she succumbed to the blackness that was surrounding her. Her last thoughts were of her beautiful warrior and their children and of wanting to be with them.
“Gabrielle!” A young warrior cried out seeing her Queen go down, she watched as the bandit’s dispersed and called a retreat and rushed over to her fallen Queen screaming out to other’s for help. She quickly felt the Queen’s pulse and was pleased to find a weak pulse. The Queen was not dead but she was not in good shape either. Two other Amazon warrior’s joined her with a stretcher and they gently placed the Queen on it and took her to the healer’s tent as fast as they could without dropping the Queen.
“Gabrielle!!” Xena cried out sitting up wide awake after a terrible nightmare. She saw a light turn on and knew she’d woken Lila, but she couldn’t help it, tears were streaming down her face as the dream still stayed with her and her heart pounded in her chest. The babies began moving immediately reacting to her distress and she grimaced from their movements.
“Xena, are you okay I heard you scream out Gabrielle’s name” Lila said looking at Xena with worry etched clearly on her face. The strong warrior had tears streaming down her face and was rubbing her stomach obviously in an attempt to calm both herself and the babies within her.
“I saw her, clear as day, she was fighting this guy and she took a lunge at him while he took one at her, Gods Lila I saw the sword go through her, I have to go to her I know she’s hurt” Xena said beginning to get up only to be stopped by Lila’s surprising strength.
“No Xena, you go running off to that battlefield and loose these babies and she will not forgive you, you need to stay here, if something has happened to Gabrielle, we will receive word, but I am sure there is nothing to worry about, it was just a dream” Lila soothed, seeing the obvious distress on Xena’s face and decided to ask Rowan if he wouldn’t mind taking a small trip up to the edges of the Amazon’s camp and see if he can find out some news about Gabrielle. Xena had been having trouble sleeping and was becoming more distressed as time wore on. She was afraid that if Gabrielle didn’t return soon Xena would go into much earlier labour than they had expected and the babies lives would be in danger.
“You need to calm down Xena, for the babies, they need you to be calm so you don’t go into early labour” Lila soothed, trying to calm the warrior princess down even though it was no easy task. She continued stroking the warrior’s back as she lay there, still a ball of tension, but slowly she began to relax and after about a half a candlemark she was asleep again, all of the tension and worry leaving her face.
“Thank the Gods” Lila whispered as she got up from her chair and went into her bedroom. She looked at the man she had come to love and saw he was wide awake, and looking at her with worry.
“Is she okay Lil” Rowan asked worried about the warrior, they’d become good friends and even though Xena didn’t like it, he’d become fiercely protective of her. She was a very beautiful woman and she had a strength that he’d not seen in many women, but she was also vulnerable and it was that vulnerability that he was protective of.
“No she’s not Ro, she so worked up with worry about Gabrielle, I’m afraid all that stress is going to bring on the babies early, can you do me a favour love?” Lila asked looking at the handsome man lying in bed next to her; she still had to pinch herself to remind herself that he was hers sometimes.
“You want me to head to the Amazon Village to find out what I can about Gabrielle, I’ll leave at first light” Rowan told her, guessing correctly the favour and was surprised when he felt her wrap her arms around him and draw him to her. Soon they were kissing passionately and showing each other just how much they loved each other.
Back in the Amazon camp, warriors and medic’s rushed around the place trying to find all of the things the healer requested to help their Queen. She was very gravely injured and the healer thought it a miracle that she’d held on this long. She was doing all she could to stem the bleeding and treat all of her other injuries. She knew their Queen was strong but she knew nothing short of a miracle would save her.
“Stay with us my Queen, your people need you” The healer whispered as she set about her business of trying to save the Queen’s life. She was doing her best to make sure she had everything on hand should anything else come up during the next few hours. No life at that moment was more important than the Queen’s.
Four candlemarks later the healer left the tent where the Queen was laying still unconscious and still miraculously alive. The healer had done all she could the rest was up to the Queen now. She hoped their Queen could fight through these next few days, if she did she had a fighting chance of making it. She called to the highest ranking warrior left alive and began speaking to her.
“She is still unconscious I need you to send word to Lila, her sister, Xena need’s to know what happened, but whatever you do don’t let her come here. When Queen Gabrielle is stable enough to be moved we will organise for her to be transported to the Amazon Village. I don’t know how long it will take for her to come out of this, if she even makes it, but the Queen is strong and she has much to live for” The healer said sadly, looking at the young Amazon, who had been the one to see the Queen go down and nodded.
A rider was chosen and headed out immediately, to bring word to Lila and the Queen’s consort of her injuries. All of the Amazon’s left alive huddled around the tent where the Queen lay, chanting softly trying to let her know they were all there and that the tribe wished her to return to them.
Xena heard the sound of the horse thundering into town long before anyone else and got up as fast as her rather large body allowed. Groggily she walked out of the cottage and onto the road near Lila’s home. She almost fell to the ground when she saw the young Amazon warrior on horse approaching Lila’s home. She felt strong arm’s catch her and sank gratefully into them.
“What news do you have” Rowan asked worried about the woman in his arms. He had heard the horse as well and heard Xena walk outside. Curiosity had made him follow her and he had just seen her stumble and rushed up to catch her. He looked expectantly at the young Amazon warrior, probably no older than 16 summers old.
“Xena, the Queen has been injured, very badly, she is alive but is unconscious, the acting Regent told me to tell you that they will be bringing Queen Gabrielle to the village as soon as she is stable enough for travel, but she begged you not to try and travel there in your condition, she feels that what is keeping our Queen alive is that she knows you and the babies are safe, and she has you to live for” The young Amazon warrior told Xena seeing tears on the strong warrior’s face and had to look away. She heard a noise and watched in horror as Xena collapsed into Rowan’s arms, shock causing her to lose consciousness. She watched as Rowan gently lifted her up and carried her to the healer’s hut and went inside and got Lila so she could come with them to the healer.
The healer examined Xena, checking the babies and trying to feel for signs of distress. She’d been told of the situation and reasoned that the shock had overcome the warrior and her body had forced her to take an unannounced nap to try and stop the shock from being passed onto the babies.
“She’ll be fine, I’d say that the shock of your news just overcame her and her body to protect the babies forced her to take a nap, she’s sleeping, I’ll keep her till she wakes up and then you should both take her home and make sure she rests.” The healer told both Rowan and Lila. She knew Xena was more stubborn than most of her other patients, but she also knew the warrior would not risk these children.
“We will, healer, do you think she would be able to travel, should Gabrielle’s condition worsen, we know she’d want to be with her” Lila asked, her own worry for her sister very much in her mind, she knew that Xena would be extremely upset when she awoke and also knew she’d want to get to Gabrielle, she didn’t know if they would be able to stop her from travelling.
“I’d advise against it, but if it was absolutely necessary yes, so long as you take her in a cart or wagon of some sort, travelling on foot is out of the question as is on horseback” The healer told them, feeling for all of them. She’d known Gabrielle as a child and also now as an adult and liked the young woman very much, she had been very happy to hear of her relationship with the warrior and of the impending addition to their family. She very much hoped that the young Queen would be alright.
Lila and Rowan kept watch over Xena, knowing that when she awoke she would need them. They were both very worried about Gabrielle, but had both suppressed their own fears and worries in order to be able to be there for Xena. In her condition this could be very bad for her and they knew it as going to be hard to convince the warrior not to go after her love.
Xena slept for another four candlemarks and it was late afternoon when she awoke. She looked up at Lila and Rowan and crumpled into tears immediately, all she had dreamed of was Gabrielle, of that moment when she had been hurt, she’d known the dream had been more than just a dream.
“She’s tough Xena, she’s a fighter and she’s got you and the babies to fight for, she won’t leave you I know it” Lila said as she stroked the warrior’s hair, knowing this soothed the strong woman. She kept doing this until Xena had calmed a little and then she felt Xena move out of her grasp.
“The healer said I couldn’t travel didn’t she?” Xena stated more than asked. All of her being wanted to go to be with her love and hold her hand and will her to come back to her, but she had the babies to think of too and she knew that if she travelled now she could put their lives in danger. It was so unfair and she blew out a breath of frustration at feeling so helpless.
“Yes Xena, she did, she said if absolutely necessary if Gabrielle’s condition worsened you could, but only if absolutely necessary, we have to make sure these babies don’t do any surprise appearances” Lila said patting Xena’s stomach reassuringly. She knew that the warrior ached to be with her bard, but she also knew Xena loved these children and wouldn’t risk their lives doing something foolish. If worse came to worse they would find a way to get Xena to Gabrielle, but they weren’t there yet.
“I feel so helpless, she’ s never been in battle without me, I should have been there” Xena said as she slammed her fist onto a table and felt a bit of satisfaction as pain registered from the blow to her hand. She remembered the babies and tried to calm herself, taking deep breaths in and out until she felt a bit more calm.
“I know you feel helpless Xena, but getting yourself worked up is not going to help Gabrielle or the babies, now lets get you back to the house and fed, then you can rest and dream of being reunited with Gabrielle, I know she will be okay Xena, she loves you way too much to leave you” Lila tried to reassure Xena as they helped her off the cot she had been sleeping on. They slowly walked to Lila’s house and uncomfortable silence hanging over them. Xena was silent during the meal also and Lila was beginning to get very worried. Before she went to her room to lie down Xena motioned for Lila to come to her so she could speak to her.
“I’m sorry I’ve been acting so bad, I just love her so much, it’s so hard knowing she’s hurt and I can’t be there to help her, I promise I will not run off I know I have to worry about the babies now and make sure they don’t come early, will you forgive me?” Xena asked looking at the ground and then was surprised to be enveloped in a hug by her sister in law. She leaned into the hug gratefully not realising how much she had needed one.
“Xena you are our family now, we are here for you, get some rest and if you need me just call okay” Lila said guiding Xena to her room. When the warrior was safely snuggled into her bed, she walked out of the room tears glistening in her eyes at the vulnerability Xena had shown her. She knew this was hitting Xena very hard and she knew they were going to have their work cut out for them to keep her calm in the next few days. Xena was only seven and a half moons pregnant if she delivered the babies now, they would almost certainly die. They had to make sure she didn’t deliver for at least another two seven days. Lila prayed to whatever God had given them these children that he wouldn’t take them away from them and would keep her sister safe.
Gabrielle awoke briefly to a wall of pain and tried to call out Xena’s name before the pain overwhelmed her and she lost her battle with consciousness again. The healer walked over to look at her, sighing deeply when she noticed that the colour of the Queen’s cheeks were still deathly pale and she was not getting any better. She had been briefly waking every two or three candlemarks in the last day and she had thought it was a sign that the Queen was beginning to recover, but her paleness was still there and it was clear that she had lost too much blood and her body was fighting to stay alive.
“She needs a transfusion” Aphrodite said as she appeared to the healer almost scaring the poor woman witless. She looked at her friend and gently took her hand, wishing she could give her the blood she so desperately needed. She had been watching over her little friend ever since the battle had taken place, hoping to stop her from getting hurt, but she had been unable to stop this and she was very unhappy. It was not supposed to happen this way, she and Xena were supposed to live happily ever after.
“I don’t know how to do that, do you?” The healer asked after regaining her composure, immediately recognising the Goddess of Love, but her concern for her patient winning out over her shock at the Goddess’ appearance.
“Yes, but it’s not something easily taught, plus we need a match and it’s not that easy to screen people yet, gather all of the Amazon’s that are still alive and healthy, it is the only thing that will save her” Aphrodite said looking at the healer with respect, she had expected her to be afraid or show some other kind of emotion but she could tell her concern for her patient was foremost in her mind.
“Yes Goddess, I will do as you ask” The healer said rushing out of the room, to find the Amazons, leaving Aphrodite with Gabrielle. The blonde goddess looked over her friend in sadness, hoping her plan would work, but knowing her chances of finding a match for Gabrielle in a group as small as these Amazon’s would be slim. She took Gabrielle’s hand into hers and kissed it gently giving some of her power to the young woman to try and keep her going long enough for her to be able to give her plan a try.
“Stay with us little one, Xena needs you” Aphrodite said as she waited for the healer to return. The healer rushed into the doorway a moment later, a little breathless and motioned her outside. She walked outside with the healer and saw a group of 15 Amazon’s kneeling on the ground near the tent.
“Rise great Amazon’s there is no need to bow before me, I am only the Goddess of Love” Aphrodite told them and then walked among them using her power’s to scan each one to try and find a match, she was pleasantly surprised to find one and picked her out of the crowd and sent the other’s to their duties.
“You have been chosen to give the Queen some of your blood, your sacrifice may save her life, I warn you this is a dangerous task, but one that if it works will save the Queen, do we have your permission to proceed?” Aphrodite asked and breathed a sigh of relief when the girl nodded eagerly.
Two candlemarks later they began the procedure and after that it was a waiting game to see if it would work. Aphrodite continued her watch over her little friend, willing the procedure to work, knowing it would at least be a few days before they would know. She smiled as she looked at her little friend and sat there thinking of how this one young woman had changed her so much.
Continued in Part 6
Return to the Academy