DISCLAIMER: Xena, Gabrielle, Argo, etc. are ©copyright MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. I don't own them, I just play with them for a while and, like the good girl I am, I put them back when I'm done·okay, they get a little worn, but hey·I play hard! Absolutely no Copyright infringement was intended in the writing of this fiction. It's intended as flattery toward the creators, writers, and actors of the characters. All other characters that appear are ©copyright Devlin@xenafan.com. This story cannot be sold or used for profit in any way. Copies may be made for private use only and I'd appreciate if you included all copyright notices and this disclaimer.

VIOLENCE WARNING: There is violence (come on it's the Conqueror). The nature of the story is not nearly as dark as some Conqueror fiction, but it's essence is still the slave / master relationship that exists between Xena & Gabrielle.

TIMELINE: My own making. Xena is the Lord, Conqueror of Greece, but she is almost forty-five years old when she meets the slave, Gabrielle. Many of Xena's evil ways have been sedated, but not all. I call this Xena the "thinking woman's" Conqueror. She is a woman who wants to try to do the right thing, but doesn't always know how.

SEX: Yes, I'll have some, thank you. Ooops! I mean, yes there is. It is our favorite two Soulmates, after all. It's not gratuitous, but it is quite explicit when it gets going. This story shows consensual as well as non-consenting love (master/slave), sex and yes, even some light bdsm between two adult females.

HIGH ANGST WARNING: I was threatened within an inch of my life if I didn't start putting this disclaimer on some (all?) of my work. I will henceforth rate the angst content with sad faces, one being the lowest and four being the highest. This story earns: L L (2 sad faces for those without TT Fonts)

UNDERAGE WARNING: Hey, the Supreme Court said in Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union (1997) that laws against making available, online, certain "indecent" materials for those under 18 was unconstitutional·look it up! Besides, this is perfectly "decent." J

I only know how others feel about my stories from feedback. Let me know what you think...homophobes need not apply, however. I'm at: Devlin@xenafan.com

**Special thanks to Jim Kuntz for his permission in using any Lion of Amphipolis references.

The Conqueror Series

Tale One: Journey's End

By LJ Maas

Chapter 6: A Long Night's Journey Into Day


We walked through the halls and for the first time, I noticed that it wasn't really that quiet in the parts of the castle that I frequented, rather people seemed to make themselves scarce when I came through. Funny, but I never noticed that before.

I gave Gabrielle instructions on where she could and could not go. I didn't want her anywhere near the soldier's barracks; nor the training fields unless I was there to accompany her. I tried not to make it sound like she was a prisoner; instead, I explained that I had her own welfare in mind.

She followed me up a winding stone staircase to the farthest rooms at one end of the castle. I held the door open to my study as she entered, closing the heavy door behind her. I explained to her that this is where I could be found most mornings and evenings, even occasionally during the day. We passed by the ceiling high shelves that housed my library of personal scrolls. Many contained maps and war strategies from long ago, others were plays or histories that I found entertaining. I forgot about my slave's penchant for stories until she stopped and stared at the hundreds of scrolls lying on their sides in their leather cases.

"You said you could read, Gabrielle?" I asked with an amused grin. The girl's mouth hung open as she craned her neck to see to the topmost shelf.

"Yes, My Lord," Gabrielle replied softly.

"Then you may feel free to read my scrolls during your leisure time. My only rule is that you do not remove them from this room without my permission. Is that understood?"

"Yes, My Lord·thank you so much." She looked up at me and I had the feeling that for an adoring glance such as the one she graced me with just now, I would make a number of concessions to the way I lived.

"These are my private chambers, Gabrielle," I said, leading her through another doorway off my study. "When I meet with my advisors or am in a meeting in my study, and you need to speak with me, you will wait in my outer room or the bedchamber. Under no circumstances, do I want you entering my study while I'm in a meeting."

I tried to make it as clear as possible, without actually voicing my true concern. I knew how I could be, although I was usually oblivious to some of my temperamental ways until someone pointed them out. I was trying, a little harder every day, but when I dealt with the men and women who ran my armies or advised me about running the Empire, I could still be a little·how does Delia subtly put it? Yes, a little trying is the understatement that she chooses to use.

"I will remember, My Lord." Gabrielle added, finally, bowing her head under the weight of my stare. Perhaps I gazed too long, but I believe it was the first time that she ever initiated any words, without me asking her a question first.

"Very Good." I replied and walked through my rooms to the door that led to the back hall. Directly across from the door to my bedchamber was the entrance to Gabrielle's rooms. The housekeeping staff told me earlier that they were finished and only awaited my approval. I had no idea what they didik in my absence and I didn't want Gabrielle to be disappointed. That's an odd thought, isn't it, wondering if my slave would like her rooms? Gods, the girl's probably slept in the stables at times. I shook my head and decided to preface entering the room with a few words anyway.

"Gabrielle, these are to be your rooms. If·well, if you don't like something, just tell me·and I·well, we'll fix it, okay?"

"Of course, My Lord."

I have to say I was a little impressed myself. The message I sent ahead, when we were in Thessaly, was to Delia. I asked her to fix the rooms for a woman to reside in. She took me at my word and the area was indeed lovely. This door opened into a small sitting room, slightly smaller than my study. Another door led into the bedchamber.

I couldn't help but smile as Gabrielle's mouth was hanging open again, not much, but her lips were parted just enough to make her look rather irresistible. She turned around and around and finally stopped to look at me. Gods, I wish I could get her eyes to focus on mine for longer than a heartbeat. She bows her head the moment she catches me watching her.

"Are you sure, My Lord?" she asked.

"Am I sure about what, Gabrielle?"

"This is where you would have me stay?"

"You don't like it?" I misunderstood her reaction and of course, the first thing I always did was react defensively.

"Oh, it's beautiful, My Lord, but·too beautiful for me," she added this last very softly.

"Not to me." I said, almost as if to myself.

I couldn't even be sure why I said this aloud. She was a beautiful girl, but to tell the truth, the words I just said to Gabrielle were as close as I'd ever come to telling any woman she was beautiful. Compliments weren't exactly my style, as most people already knew. Try as I might, words of endearment simply didn't come flowing from my lips. There have been times during my life, when I have wanted to say these kinds of things to a woman, but my tongue grew heavy and I was at a loss. Now, standing in front of this young slave, who has already made me feel more human than I ever have, I wanted to tell her, praise her, and commend her. I had to admit that I didn't know how. How can you imitate something that's never been shown you in the first place?

"Come, Gabrielle," I said, thickly. "Our dinner should be arriving soon."


I sent for Gabrielle some time ago, and I was sure she was waiting patiently in my bedchamber by now. There seemed to be an enormous amount of work to catch up on and as soon as I would say, only one more scroll, another would jump to my attention.

I already bathed and sat at my writing table in my long robe, jotting down notes and setting up a schedule to hear petitions, day after tomorrow. My mind kept returning to the small blonde that I was certain waited in the next room. It was an unusual habit I was getting into. I hadn't had sex in nearly a whole season, and only sporadically for the season or two before that, but since I'd taken Gabrielle as my slave, I enjoyed her talents every night. It was a strange need that drove me, but the pleasure this woman brought to my body, was something I truly never experienced before. I could see the addiction beginning, yet I was helpless to stop it.

I gave up on concentrating on the words before me, rising and snuffing the candles out. I quietly opened the door between my study and bedchamber. The silence caused me to wonder whether Gabrielle fell asleep waiting for me, but knowing my young slave, I found that unlikely.

I found her standing at the window, the moonlight brightening her features, spreading an ethereal glow around her. She was breathtaking, and I thought I'd never seen such a magnificent sight. I don't know how long I paused in the doorway, but she didn't hear me step in. Her face had that relaxed set to it, just as it did when she slept. When she knew I was there, when anyone was there for that matter, she became nervous, a slight tension added to her facial appearance.

She turned slightly and caught me out of the corner of her eye. Just as she was about to kneel in front of me, I stopped her.

"No. Stay there, just as you are."

I put out the one lamp that was lit, leaving the two candles burning at the bedside.

"Turn around, Gabrielle, and face the window." I commanded and she returned to her former position.

Walking up behind her, I stopped when I was still a handbreadth away. I reached around and undid the knot at her waist that held the robe closed, and then slid the soft silk from her shoulders, revealing the even softer skin of her body. The candles flickered in the half dark and the flames appeared to be licking along the planes of her back. The analogy brought to mind a desire to run my own tongue along the course of those copper flames, and of course, since that's what I desired, that is exactly what I did.

The taste of her skin was something I was acquiring a definite craving for. I started at her shoulders and fed my need for her with my lips and my tongue, allowing only my fingertips to graze across the satiny skin, burnished a dark bronze color from the flame of the candles. All the way down I worked myself, finally slipping out of my own robe, and letting my bare skin glide against hers on the way back up. I moved the hands that were splayed across the backs of her thighs around to the front, pulling on her hips to press our bodies together more firmly.

I could feel my own breasts sliding against the skin of her back, the hard points of flesh becoming increasingly sensitive as my arousal intensified. I brought my hands up the front of her body, stopping to cover both breasts with the palms of my hands. This small woman wasn't immune to physical pleasure, as I felt by the way her flesh pebbled and grew harder, her nipples tightening and elongating even more as I rubbed my palms in lazy circles. No sound came from her, and I was becoming accustomed to this too, even though it continued to trouble me in no small way. I had no fear that we would someday get beyond it. I grasped her nipples between two fingers and squeezed, pulling gently at the same time. No languid moan met my ears, but Gabrielle's head tilted back until it was resting on my shoulder.

I guessed that it wasn't so much the fact that my lovely slave felt no pleasure after the many years her body was used, and most probably, abused. I supposed that it might be because no one ever gave her pleasure. Master's who own body slaves are only concerned with meeting their own needs, their own desires. If they were interested in pleasing someone else, they would take a lover, not buy a slave. Who would care about bringing a slave to her climax, to show a slave the tender affection necessary to produce feelings of satisfaction and contentment?

I smiled against the skin of her neck as I leaned down and kissed the warm flesh, pulling into my mouth and sucking until I could feel the blood pulse against that spot quicker. Yes, who would think it exciting to be able to bring pleasure to a slave, besides an old, worn out warrior?

I pressed my lips to those of the slave who had her head swept back, in seeming invitation. I let the fire of my arousal carry me away, until I could feel Gabrielle returning my kisses. I grasped the hand she kept at her side and brought it to the back of my neck, encouraging her to massage the flesh there. When I released her hand and left it to seek the curves of her flesh, I felt her nails, rake through my hair, up along my scalp, then down again to teasingly run her index finger along my ear.

Gods, how could the woman possibly know how that little move would affect me? I groaned aloud as I felt goose bumps rise up along my arms. It was almost otherworldly, the way she knew what would bring me pleasure, and when.

I used both my hands to explore the front of her body, lingering longer on the spots that caused my young slave to take in a sharp breath or that encouraged her to press against me to prolong the feeling. I broke away from her mouth reluctantly, wanting to taste more of the skin beneath my hands. While my fingers moved lower, drawing imaginary patterns down her belly, my tongue reached out to glide across her shoulders, and then up along the corded line of her neck. My tongue reached an earlobe to tease, just as my fingers reached past the golden patch of curls and along moist inner folds. I felt Gabrielle take in a deep breath, but it was a few long heartbeats later before she released it.

"Gods, you're so wet," I breathed into her ear, swirling the fingers of both hands into her wetness. Again, she allowed no sound to escape her lips, but I could feel the little jerking motion she made, trying, unsuccessfully, to control the shiver than ran the length of her body.

That's when I felt the words come to me. I was no bard, far from a poet, but never in my life was I even aware of the things I was about to confess let alone speak them aloud.

"Do you know how beautiful you are to me, Gabrielle?" I asked; placing small kisses along the outside edge of her ear. "Do you know how good your body feels against mine?" I punctuated this last question by grinding my own wet center against the smooth flesh of her backside.

Once again, I reached out my tongue to taste the saltiness of her skin. "Gods, you taste so good. I need to know if you taste this good everywhere."

As I continued to circle her swollen clit with the fingers of one hand, I brought the other hand up to my lips and licked the girl's essence off the fingers that were teasing her only moments before. I closed my eyes at the taste of the ambrosia-like substance, but I was still able to hear the tiny gasp she couldn't hold back. I pulled her chin back and kissed the tilted head again and again, sure that it was one of the few times she'd ever been kissed by someone who had her taste coating their lips. She was responding quite nicely to this turn of events, but when she grabbed a handful of my hair and pulled my mouth against her harder, sucking on my tongue, while it explored the sweetness of her own mouth, the powerful motion gave me cause to wonder who was attempting to seduce who, here.

I was hesitant to enter her. Although I wanted nothing more than to feel her contract against my fingers as she climaxed, I wondered if she would receive as much pleasure from an act that her body had been used for repeatedly. I know people would find it an insane thing to do, ruminating over how best to pleasure your slave, but I could no more explain it, than stop it. I decided to see if I could get my young slave to decide.

I resumed the tactic of massaging those drenched folds with both my hands. Once my fingers moved to concentrate on that very sensitive area of flesh, I felt her hips thrust forward against my hands. I rewarded the girl's motion by teasing her entrance and pressing down harder with my thumb against her clit. Since her forward behavior was being permitted, Gabrielle reached behind me and slid her hands up the backs of my thighs, squeezing the flesh of my buttocks. An utterly carnal groan escaped my throat and I ground myself against her harder.

"Show me, Gabrielle. Show me where you want to feel me." I whispered in her ear.

Her nails ran along my backside and I groaned again. Gods, the woman had me dripping wet with just a few touches. I repeated my verbal request and flicked my thumb across her clit, just as I used the same motion with my tongue against her ear. She moved her hands around and slid them along my forearms and down over my wrists.

"Oh yes, that's it·come on, Gabrielle·show me what it takes to make you feel good." I murmured, unsure whether I could put my own excitement off until the girl could be coaxed into revealing her desires.

Just as that thought entered my head, Gabrielle slid one hand down until her fingers mingled with my own in that abundant wetness. She wrapped her fingers around those of mine that rested just outside her entrance and pressed them into her deeper. I made up for Gabrielle's silence by moaning my pleasure and entering her the rest of the way.

I pressed two fingers deep inside her, sliding them out and replacing them with three fingers. That's when I kept repeating the motion, feeling her hips slowly begin to move in the steady rhythm my hand set.

"Oh, that's it. Is this what you wanted, Gabrielle? Hhmm, me fucking you, like this?"

In the past, part of my power game was always to give a woman exactly what I knew she wanted, and then have her admit it aloud. It used to excite me to hear them begging for what I knew I already wanted to give them. Somehow, I didn't have the heart to do that with the woman who had such little pleasure bestowed on her in her life.

When Gabrielle nodded her response, I felt like she just screamed her answer out to the heavens.

It didn't take long, but I was in no hurry. I penetrated her again and again with my right hand, while I let the fingers of my left slide across that very swollen clit. A usual, Gabrielle's body told me more than her vocal efforts. She clamped her hand strongly around my wrist and I felt her body stiffen, her inner muscles clenching then releasing my fingers, thrust deep inside her. I felt a rush of warm liquid cover my hand, just as her knees felt like they were giving way. I locked one arm around her waist and gently eased my fingers from inside of her.

"It's all right, I've got you," I whispered, lightly kissing her ear.

I stood holding her like that until I felt my own desire rising insistently and demanding more attention. I pulled her back to the bed and I sat on the edge. When I turned my slave around, I could see that her face was still flushed and I was getting to enjoy the look of blissful confusion my attentions caused her. She dropped to her knees, sitting back on her heels, knowing I would allow her hands on me. She ran them up the tops of my thighs, massaging the muscles under her fingertips. It was when she ran her nails along the inside of my legs, down toward my knees, that I lost my composure.

"Oh yes. Touch me, Gabrielle." It wasn't a command, more like a whispered plea and I think we both knew it.

"Where would you like to be touched, My Lord?" she asked in response, and I saw that gleam of bedroom power creep into her eyes, but I was absolutely incapable of doing anything about it.

"Anywhere," I leaned back on both hands as she rose up on her knees. As she moved her lips in to capture mine, I could hear the rapid beat of my heart. "Everywhere." I managed to say, as her lips covered my own.

I leaned back further, onto my elbows, and simply enjoyed the feel of her slight body as she lay across mine, her kisses turning hungry as she knowingly matched my desires. Her lips ran along my jaw and when her tongue found its way to my ear, I let my head roll back and gave everything in me over to the young woman between my legs.

She ran her tongue in a random design along my shoulders and down my chest. She took small little nips of my skin with her teeth, and I grunted in pleasure and surprise with each tiny bite. By the time those lips wrapped around a very aroused, dark nipple, every pull of the skin into that warm inviting mouth of hers, was felt directly between my legs.

I was pretty much moaning nonstop as she slid her tongue down my belly, her hands squeezing my thighs rhythmically. She lay numerous kisses on the dark triangle of hair and without any more preamble than that, she buried her face in my cunt.

"Gods!" I cried out, already thrusting my hips up hard to meet the tongue that lapped at my center. "Oh, Gabrielle," I groaned, placing one hand behind her head to position her exactly where I wanted her.

The sounds she was making as she ate me did nothing to quench the roaring fire in my belly. She felt my increased wetness and the quick shudders my muscles were making. She raised her fingers to enter me and I pushed the hand away.

"No·just your tongue. Yesss·oh, Gods·just like that." I relaxed into the exquisite touch, simply letting her carry me to my destination.

When I at last arched my back and cried out, one orgasm blended into another when she slid that tongue into me as deep as she could. I shook and moaned for a long time, slowly coming back to reality by the gentle touches of her tongue as she lapped up the juices my excitement created.

It seemed long moments went by while I calmed myself, lying there with my eyes closed, trying to begin to breath normally again, before I realized Gabrielle was no longer touching me. I opened my eyes to see that she was on her knees, waiting for either another command or a dismissal. Even she knew what it would look like were she to spend the night in my bed here in the castle. She was not the Queen, even though she occupied the Queen's chambers. She was a slave, and although I would be likely to forget that fact, she would not.

"May I do something more to please you, My Lord?" she asked.

I dropped my head to the bed and raised my arms up to cover my eyes.

"No, Gabrielle·thank you. You are dismissed."

She left without saying another word and I lay there awake until the candles burned out of their own accord, leaving me in a blackness that matched my mood. It was sometime before I realized that my body would not give in to Morpheus and I rose to work in my study.


I should have been able to escape to the realm of Morpheus, blissfully sated after an evening's passion with my talented body slave, but even now, sleep eluded me. For reasons that I could neither understand, nor care to admit to, slumber was not to befriend me easily. I read a few scrolls by the light of the candle, it being some time since I read for no other reason than it pleased me. I dressed and walked the darkened corridors of the palace, even strolling outside across the dampened fields of grass.

I cannot explain what possessed me to do what I did next, only that somewhere, a few candlemarks before dawn, I grudgingly realized, or admitted, what the cause of my insomnia was. I knew what it was all along, didn't I? I was just too stubborn to admit it. It was rather like having a toothache or receiving a slight injury on the training field. If you ignore it, the symptoms might possibly go away. If you admit it, even if only to yourself, then you're forced to go to the healer and do something about it. If only there were a healer to free me from the pain, I was in now. If only there were some herb or elixir, I could mix up, to relieve me of this new ache, which sat like a heavy weight upon my chest.

She was the cause of my inability to sleep, but there was no sense in lying to myself. I grew so used to sleeping with Gabrielle, that it was apparent I merely missed the girl in my bed. I knew I was growing accustomed to her, but I never thought her loss would affect me in this way.

So, I find myself in a position that instills feelings of comfort and embarrassment in equal measure. From the darkened corner of her room I stand and watch her. I've been standing here, motionless, and watching her for over a candlemark now. She must have been exhausted when she returned to her own bed. She wore no shift, as though she simply fell onto the mattress, pulling the sheet over her. I stared at the slight figure, lying there so silently, a look of peace gracing her features. Her chest rose and fell in a soft, steady rhythm and I felt a strange sensation of contentment wash over me.

Gabrielle, as the fates would have it, felt another's presence in her room and she awoke with a startled expression on her face. As she looked around, I saw her lean over and light the candle at her bedside. I stepped back further into the shadows, silently watching. When her expression went from one of sleepy disorientation to fear, I didn't have the heart to conceal myself any longer. I took a step forward, letting the light from the flickering flame announce my presence.

"My Lord." She exclaimed, starting to rise," "how may I serve you?"

"Relax, Gabrielle," I said, moving closer to the bed. "I have no need of you in that way." I pacified her.

The strained silence persisted as I stood awkwardly, wondering if I should explain my reason for being there, although somewhere in the back of my brain that tiny voice told me that I was, after all, the Lord Conqueror, and why in Tartaurus should I have to explain myself to anyone? As always, Gabrielle was one step ahead of me.

"Are you troubled, My Lord?" Gabrielle's soft voice inquired.

Gods, I wasn't sure how to answer that question. I was troubled in a big way, but could I admit that? Would I be opening the gates and giving this small slave some power over me, if she knew my weakness, especially if that weakness turned out to be her? Would Gabrielle think I was being foolish, even worse, losing my mind? I wanted to talk to her. I wanted it so badly. How arrogant of me to think it a weakness to care for someone. My shaking knees were proof of just the opposite, and I began to wonder if even I held enough strength to voice my needs and fears.

I moved forward and sat at the end of the bed, just opposite, but facing away from her. "I·I·" I cleared my throat and tried to begin again. "Sometimes I·being alone at night. I mean, with you in here and me over there·sometimes I wish it were different." I said heavily.

I wasn't sure if she understood what I was attempting to say, Hades, I didn't even know if I knew what I was trying to say. I just didn't have enough practice at this and I cursed my inability to feel anything for anyone for so many seasons. My abilities as a ruthless warrior may have led me to conquer a good portion of the Known World, but they left me ineffectual at building something worth holding on to. Gabrielle's soft voice stirred me out of my self-recriminations and her words contained a quiet strength that I found odd, coming from her.

"There are times, My Lord, when the only thing necessary to bring comfort to a person's soul, is the sound of another's heart, beating along with your own."

The deeply profound statement from my young slave should not have taken me aback. I ought to know by now, that Gabrielle is nothing, if not unpredictable, but the depth of her understanding for my plight caused me to look at her in a new light. When I didn't move or make any attempt to speak, she continued.

"I may be very unworthy company, My Lord, but perhaps·perhaps if you were to lie here, Morpheus would beckon you."

When she looked over at me and I turned to see her face, I saw those eyes that could never quite meet my own, and I think that we both knew, that in her company is where I wanted to be anyway. Without removing my clothes, I made a move to lie back on the large bed, but realized that I still wore my boots, wet and muddy from my walk outside. This was my slave and my bed, it should not matter to me where I place my dirty boots, but acting that way to make a point just didn't seem worth it with Gabrielle. To the outside world, we were slave and master, but in the privacy of our rooms, the lines were blurring more and more everyday.

I pulled off my wet boots and lay down atop the covers. Gabrielle pushed the sheet from her body, knowing it was the proper behavior for a slave, not to cover herself in my presence. It seemed like I was doing a lot of things lately and not understanding my behavior, but when I grasped the end of the sheet and pulled it back up to cover Gabrielle, I knew exactly why I did it. If I wanted this girl with the submissive nature to start respecting herself, then I needed to treat her that way in kind. In this instance I felt she was reaching out to offer me comfort and friendship, me, her master, someone she really only had to tolerate with a closed mouth. If she could offer up this olive branch, then I would try to graciously accept it the way it was intended.

"Roll over, Gabrielle, facing away from me." I said, knowing it was neither a command nor a request, but something in between.

She rolled over onto her side and I pulled the sheet up further, tucking it around her. Then I draped an arm around her waist and felt her settle her back against my chest. The warmth against me felt so relaxing.

"Goodnight, Gabrielle."

"Goodnight, My Lord."

It took only moments for me to drift off and when I didn't wake the next morning until the sun's rays shot into my eyes, I knew that tonight, things would be different. Hades could take propriety, convention, and any other long-standing bit of protocol I was damaging. I no longer cared what this looked like to others. I didn't care what people would think or say about such an arrangement. This girl will share my bed tonight and every night thereafter until I deem it no longer so.

I silently dared for anyone who had doubts about my sanity, to give voice to their concerns·to my face.

To be continued in Chapter 7: To See A World In A Grain Of Sand

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