Godly Games

by Murphy

Disclaimer:  I do not own them! You know who they belong to! 

Violence:  There is some violence! Duh! It is a Xena story! 

Subtext:  It is a little Alt. Just live with it! 

Language:  Cuss words? You betcha!  

Notes:  This is my second attempt at a story! 

Thanks:  Thanks to my beta's Becky, Carl, and Bob (They know who they are), RedHope (Fight Queen!), MK, Sam Ruskin, LJ, Deb, Kamouraskan, Dorothy, Toto, and my Chia pet. I would like to thank the Academy, sorry, up too late!  Well, the idea for the story is mine! I just cannot spell! To all those want to be bards, but are too afraid: Just do it! If you need help, as you can see, you will get it! LJ!! More Queen!! Claire, stay naked!! Lawls?? Got Turnips?? Ex-Guards!! You all are the best! Ohhhhh. Mary D!! More Eva and Zoe!! Deb! Got pickles? 

Credits:  Poem, "Because You Loved Me," by the wonderful Trish Shields (ArdentTly). "THUD" Scene courtesy of LJ Maas!

Gabrielle and I had a wonderful visit with my mother.  Then we traveled a few hours to visit Gabrielle's parents.  Well, I should say I camped outside Poteidaia while she visited.  We have been married for a year now.  My mother has been supportive of us. Gabrielle's parents? Well, let’s just say that they hate me even more.  It’s just for a day, but I am just not in the mood to have daggers thrown at me, by her parent’s stares.

I was innocently brushing Argo; had the camp set up, fire roaring, when I got a strange feeling. All of a sudden, the world went black.

I woke up some time later, with one Tartarus of a headache, chained in a dungeon.  Giving myself a second to focus, I noticed whose dungeon this was. Tacky statues, everything in black, oh, I smell a rat!!

"Ares!!!" I yelled, "Where are you?  You son of a bacchae!!"  Oh shit, that made my head hurt worse.  I called for him several more times... nothing.  Whatever the bastard had planned, I was sure I would find out soon enough.  I let Morpheus claim me.

I was just hanging around for a bit (that gave me a chuckle), when a flash of light burst from within the dungeon next to me, and a person was thrown to the floor.  Trying to make out the figure in the next cell, I shrugged. It was just too dark to tell. I tried to make it out... it was...  Then, I had that feeling that I get when the ‘rats’ are around.  Just then, two more flashes occurred outside my dungeon bars.  There stood Ares and Strife.

"Hello, rat!" He turned to me.

"Rat??  Xena, it's not nice to call the God of War a rat," he said in a hurt tone.

"What am I doing here, Ares?  I’m so sick of your games!" 

"You'll find out soon enough, Xena."  Just as Ares was going to say more, Strife interrupted. 

"Can I tell her, Uncle?"

"No, you cannot tell her, Strife!"

"Why not, Uncle? I’m the one that caught the great Warrior Princess and Bard." With that said, Strife went flying across the room.

Then it registered, what he just said. Warrior Princess and Bard!! The person in the next cell was Gabrielle.  "Gabrielle?"  No answer!  "GABRIELLE??"  I panicked!  "Ares? If you or that little twit harm her in any way, so help me..."

"Relax, Xena," Ares said.  "She has a little bump on the head.  She'll be good as new in no time.  And since my nephew had to open his mouth about some of my surprise..." Ares turned around and glared at Strife.  "I might as well just tell you all of it.  You see, we Gods get bored easily, and once a moon we pick a mortal’s name to fight in a competition.  If the mortal passes the challenges, they fight against the champion and live another day. No one has made it so far. Hopefully my new champion will fare better." He chuckled.

Taking my eye off the limp form in the other cell, I looked at him standing there in front of me, all smug, and I told him: "Shove it, Ares. I’m not fighting for you or any other God just so you can get your rocks off."

"Ohhhh Xena.  I gave up on you a long time ago.  You are not fighting. Your pretty wife is.  Her name is the one that was picked; you’re just here as incentive.  I’m the lucky God to have picked her.  She has great potential, trained by the Warrior Princess herself.  This sort of makes me, what word would you use Strife?"

"The laughing stock of all the Gods," Strife said.

While Strife was flying through the air once again from one of Ares lightening bolts, I was busy trying to figure out how to get us out of this.  Once again, I looked at my wife lying on the ground.  ‘Oh Brie, when will they just leave us alone?’ I thought to myself.  I was so deep in my own thoughts that I did not feel Ares touch my face until it was too late.  I head butted him and he went down.

"For a War God you are such a wimp."  The last thing I thought before I hit the wall was, "I need a vacation."  

What a dream I was having, being unconscious has some benefits.  I was dreaming of our first time together. Who would have guessed that a certain bard could make the Great Warrior Princess scream so much?  How was I to know she was studying Amazon mating scrolls?  All the sweating, grunting, bedroll grabbing, and she’d only just begun!!  Arghhhhh. I was getting into my dream when something was pulling me out.  My name, she was calling my name. I woke up, groggy, to the sound of her voice. I turned my head some to see the prettiest green eyes looking at me with such concern.

"Xena?"  Gabrielle said. "Are you all right?"

I had to smile.   I was bruised, chained to a wall in a dreary dungeon, and I had to pee really bad, and she wanted to know if I was all right.

"Just dandy, dear.  How are you?" I asked.  I could not help being smart; which was not a good thing with the wife, because the pretty green eyes were now pissed.  She really hates it when I’m smart with her.

"Well you don’t have to be smart about it," spat one angry bard.  As I watched my wife walk around the cell, muttering a variety of swear words, all I could think of was: I really needed to pee.

Gabrielle finally calmed down.  The guards came and took care of our needs.  I could not make a move. Ares was smart.  Five guards came to unlock my chains, while two others had crossbows aimed at my wife’s heart.  Without my chakram, there was nothing I could do.  I emptied my bladder quickly, so I could get back to my wife.  This time around, I was put in my cell with only a long chain hooked to my left ankle.  They took my wife so she could tend to things.  This time I had the two guards with the crossbows aimed at my heart.  To my shock, when she returned, I could not believe what she was wearing. Rather, I should say, not wearing.

"By the Gods," I said.  "What are you wearing?"  She had only enough cloth to wrap around her chest, barely covering her breasts. She had on breeches, cloth going around each wrist, and her hair was tied back with some cloth.  All white. Her feet were bare.  Needless to say, if she sweats, all the known world will see what the Gods graced my wife with.  I was one very pissed off warrior.

"I was told to put this on.  They said if I didn’t, they would shoot you.  Xena, what’s going on?  Why are we here?  Last thing I remember I was at home, missing you.  I was sitting with Lila listening to her ramble on about another boy she fell for. Next thing I knew, I woke up here.  Who did this?"

 I could tell by the look in Gabrielle's eyes that she was very concerned.  She had every right to be.  Hercules told me one time about the challenges the Gods had on Olympus.  It made him even angrier with Zeus.  As his father explained it, "I cannot go against the other Gods’ wishes." Some king of the Gods, I thought, rolling my eyes.  Now my wife’s name is picked.

"I'll answer for you Xena," Ares said.  "You see Gabrielle, you are in what we call the Gods Games.  It keeps you mortals on your toes."  He said with a sickening smile, "I had the good fortune of picking your name. Now, you will be my champion.  Ah, before you say no.  You have no choice.  Fight or Xena dies." The two men with the crossbows made their point by cocking and aiming, ready for the kill.      

"Nooooo!" Gabrielle screamed.  "I’ll fight!  Tell me what I need to do." The entire time I’ve spent with Gabrielle, I have never seen her so scared.

"What you need to do is win," the War God said.  "You will have to compete in two fights.  You must win both to get to the champion round where you will face Bula.  She’s undefeated so far.  She’s a great warrior."  Hearing Bula's name made the blood drain from my face.  Think Xena think!  Then it dawned on me.

"Did you forget that Gabrielle is the Queen of the Amazons and Artemis' chosen?  She will not allow you to use Gabrielle like this!"  I said while grinding my teeth.

"Well you see Xena," he said smugly. "I made sure Artemis was busy for a while.  Seems she’s missing a lot of her Amazons and is having a hard time locating them.  Yep, she will be busy for a loooooooong time. Now, back to business."  He turned towards Gabrielle.  "Your first fight will be in a candle mark.  I suggest you eat and rest up; this warrior will not be easy.  They will get harder down the road, also, IF you make it." With that said, he laughed that awfully arrogant laugh and, with a blue flash, he was gone.

Now I was pacing back and forth like a trapped animal.  My wife will not survive this.  Fuck, fuck, fuck!  I bend down and with all my might pull on the damn chain around my ankle.  It did not budge!  FUCK!  I turned to look at my wife.  She knows I am afraid.  I will have to prepare her.  It is the only way for now.

"Guard," I yelled.  I look away from my wife and ask this dung, "Who is her first opponent?"  A man named Lee, he said.  I knew of Lee! I met him while I was in Chin. I smiled because his weapon of choice is the staff, my bard’s choice.  Something in our favor! I turned back to my wife.

"Gabrielle, I know about your first opponent.  His name is Lee.  He is a staff master, and he is very good, but he does have some weaknesses.  I need you to listen, we only have less then a candle mark to prepare."  I walked over as far as my chain would reach, sat down on the ground, and started to train her as best I could.  In the mean time, the guards brought us our meal, if you can call it that. While we both tried to choke it down, I explained about Lee.

"He is tall and thin, but is very fast.  He has great skill.  His most popular move is that he fakes and tries to go for your knees.  Then, when you go to block, he goes for the deathblow to the head.  What you need to do is, when he goes for your knees, block, then move to strike at his ribs. That will make him hunch over and you can do a strike to his back. His biggest downfall is that he is too over confident. Do you think you can do this?"  I was trying hard not to let Gabrielle see my concern, but I cannot hide it. Gods, I hope he hasn’t changed too much over the years, for my wife’s sake.

"I can do it Xena," she said.  "Don’t be afraid, we’ll get out of this.  We always do."  Then she smiles, a weak one.  It is still enough to melt my heart. I wished I could go over there and hug her, damn chain. She reaches through the bars as far as she can until I am able to hold her hand.

"Love you bard," I say, with too much emotion. "I will find a way." We sat there the rest of the time in silence.

We both looked up when the guard came into my cell. "The God of War wants you moved," he said. 

Once again, the guards moved around me, while two have their crossbows aimed at Gabrielle. I looked over at my bard and I mouth, "I love you!!"  As I was being led away, I heard them in the background telling her it is time.  If this is a dream, By the Gods let me wake up now!!

 While the guards lead me down the hallway, I heard the crowd, and the closer we got to the arena, the louder they sounded. Louder and louder, cheering for blood.  It was hard for me to accept that Gabrielle could kill.  She does not take pleasure from it, unlike me.  Even now, there are times when I find it arousing, that dark side of myself takes over.  I have never seen that with Gabrielle.  She mourns the people.  I have sat and watched her. When the battle is over, she goes to the person she had to defend her life against, stares, and closes her eyes.  Either she is praying or trying to make sure she never forgets.  Then with tears, she helps me with the wounded.  That is why I love her so much. 

We finally reached the main part of the arena.  There is a cage on the side of the stone chair overlooking the arena.  I can see it all from here.  With a final shove, I was put in the damn cage.  Looking around I saw Strife, Hades, Discord, and Hephaestus, each in their own chairs.  Ares was nowhere in sight, but I could feel him.  There were about a thousand or better spectators waiting for the show.

"Welcome Xena," he said. 

Argh, that voice. I turn to see him smiling. I want to do nothing more than wipe it off his face or see how far his testicles can stretch up to his neck. 

"Now that is not a nice thing to think. You forget that I am a God; I can read your thoughts.  Sort of funny, you here and your little wifey doing the fighting."

Ares is nice enough to walk around my little cage while talking to me, now between him going in circles and eating that swill of a meal, my stomach was not in the best shape. Add the fact that my wife is fighting to the death. I gave Ares the only reply I could at the moment. It was perfect timing. He got to the point where he was right in front of me. Yep, spat up, right in the face of the War God. Score one for the Warrior Princess! I stood there feeling better, while the War God stared at me, very wide eyed.

"I am the GOD OF WAR," he says. Then in a flash he was gone. Ahhh, could life get any better than this?

I started to check out the place. Looking around, seeing the people place their bets, acting like this is a day at the theater. To the right of me are the Gods, sitting in their stone chairs. I have an overwhelming need to hit something.  Where is Joxer when you need him?  I glance down into the pit portion, where the fighters are to battle. I can see a variety of weapons, staffs, swords, daggers, spears, maces, and clubs.  A warrior’s wet dream! Only, it is my nightmare today.

Right then I heard the announcer. First up, is Discord's fighter against Strife's. Now, I did not know where these two Gods found these, chuckle, warriors! They are fat, bald, have no teeth, and fewer brains. To make matters worse, both men are in white loincloths. It is not a pretty sight. This fight is boring.  They are just basically clubbing one another. The booing from the crowd is loud.  I have more excitement picking my battle dress out of my behind after riding Argo too long. It is somewhat hypnotic if you stare for a while. The way their flab sort moves around like a wave. Shaking my head, I came out of the trance just to see Discord's champion win.  I think Strife's just died from too much movement. I watched the guards drag the dead man out.

I glanced to my right to see Discord take her victory bow and say something that Strife didn’t like. Great!! Lighting bolts everywhere. I continued to watch them pummel one another until a blue flash and Discord and Strife went flying, while Ares appears to take his seat. Gods! I have a bad feeling about this. I hear the announcer again.

"Next challenge, Lee verses Ares' bard." The crowd laughs. 

Okay, that made me mad, I glared over at Ares, to see him smile and wave at me. Just as I was cursing Ares’ parentage, I saw the guard lead Gabrielle and Lee into the arena. Lee was dressed in a white loincloth and matching headband.  Now the crowd was really laughing. I heard their snickers. That little blonde is a warrior. What was worse yet, was the men were whistling and saying obscene things to Gabrielle.  Mental note for when I get out of here: kick spectators’ asses!

I sat in the cage, my back against the bars, feeling them press into my skin. My eyes stayed pinned on my bard in the middle of the arena. She leaned against her staff, in a stance that showed she didn't care. That caused a grin to spread across my lips, because my wife knows how to play with her opponent's emotions. She’d picked up my style of fighting, as the days had passed.

I saw Lee come ambling up to Gabrielle, his staff in his right hand. He moved directly in front of Gabrielle, lifting his staff and settling in to a battle stance. He said something to my lover, but I was never sure just what. However, I did see Gabrielle's reaction, she’d only smirked and kept leaning against her staff, cocky as ever.

There was a bellow of a cry for the challenge to begin and I crossed my arms over my chest. In the back of my mind, I knew who would come out on the top in this fight. Still, what price would my bard pay, to win this challenge? That is what tugged strongly at me. But then again...Gabrielle is very bright and very creative with her fighting these days.

I watched Lee take a swing at Gabrielle, but clearly missed because she ducked out of the way.  So, Lee tried again at the stomach and my bard jumped back with her same grin. She was getting a feel for what Lee's brains were fighting with. I had to question Lee, he must of been sitting on his duff in Chin, if he's this weak with the staff now.

Lee swung again at my bard. In a blur of motion, Gabrielle had her staff moving and parrying each of Lee's moves. She then tried her own swing and was stopped each time, although I clearly saw a huge grin on her lips. She was toying with Lee, mentally just as much as physically. She was getting quite smart with her warrior side.   

With a huge sigh, my eyes flickered over to Ares, seeing the biggest shit-eating grin on his lips. The bastard! He knew Gabrielle's potential and that enflamed my anger even more. If I get the chance to rip that shit grin from his lips, I’ll take it; but currently my attention is back on Gabrielle, in time to see a blow connect to my bard's right arm.

Gabrielle simply jumped back and shifted her shoulder back. She twirled her staff, acting as if it didn't affect her. I knew it did. My wife went on the attack, with all her strength. She'd lost her grin.

Lee managed to break the Amazon Queen's defenses and only because she lost focus. Gabrielle soon found a staff in her stomach and it sent me standing in the cage, my hands curling tightly around the bars. My eyes narrowed at Lee's back and I only wished I had my chakram to hurl at his head. However, my bard recovered quickly and spun her staff again to give her time to collect herself. I saw my partner take a deep breath and I knew she was planning something. Gabrielle followed through with her plan by taking another step back, while giving a fearful look, but her eyes told a different story, they were lit with danger.

Lee must have been grinning, for he took a menacing step towards my lover, his staff up. He swung at Gabrielle and she reacted by jumping back in false fear. The crowd roared with laughter at my partner. I only smirked because I knew her plan.

The Amazon Queen took another step in reverse and soon found her back against the wall of the arena.

Lee yelled and charged with a fast attack, but ended up with a hurting stomach.

Gabrielle simply drove him back with two strong blows to the stomach. I almost laughed, seeing my wife's actions. She was good, very good, but what was even better, was when she came running towards Lee and planted the butt end of her staff in the ground. I soon saw her lifting herself and sending a direct kick to Lee's chest.

Lee went flying to his back, his staff hardly in his grasp. I wanted to shout to Gabrielle to tell her to take it from him, but I knew she'd never hear me over the cheering of the crowd.

My bard was now walking away from Lee with her staff still up. She stepped back and came into the center of the arena again. However, her back was facing me now.

Lee stood up with an angry look and faced his enemy again. He spun his staff and stepped up near Gabrielle. He yelled out something, spitting blood to the sandy ground. I couldn't hear my lover's response, but it did piss Lee off. He came charging at Gabrielle with a raised staff and narrowed eyes.

I squatted down and slid my hands down the bar, while watching Lee charge Gabrielle, but his attempt was in vain. My wife simply stepped out of the way and planted her staff off to her side. Her enemy never saw it and went tripping over it. Lee went skidding to the ground on his face. I chuckled while shaking my head. "Lee...you lost your touch."

"He has."

I glanced over to my right, to see Ares with his shit grin. It lit up his eyes as well. "Luckily, for your sake Ares." I said his name in anger.

"How do you figure, Xena?" He gave an innocent look.

My eyes narrowed and I replied with, "If she gets killed Ares...it'll be your death as well." I paused for effect. "No matter the godhood."

It seemed to have an effect on Ares because his eyes went to slits and he turned his head away. I gazed over to Gabrielle to see her still fighting Lee.

Lee was now down to his bare hands. My wife easily put distance between him and his staff. Between the warrior and his staff, was the Amazon Queen.

My lover gave a huge smirk to Lee. She listened to something the man said and answered with laughter. Gabrielle went on attack against Lee, easily taking him down. This left me sitting in the cage with a content sigh and a smug look. She'd learned from the best and the best only leaves their enemies begging for their life. That was exactly what Lee was doing by the end. Gabrielle simply left him with her mercy; she always left people with mercy.

The crowd was not happy. They wanted death. Gabrielle just walked away. The bad thing was that she turned her back on Lee to look up towards me. By the time I noticed the glimmer of metal, he was charging. Gabrielle must have seen the fear in my face! Before I could utter the words, "WATCH OUT!" Gabrielle swung around with all her might and struck a deadly blow to his temple. He went down hard and the crowd went wild, as I felt my wife's heart break. She turned back to me. I could see the sorrow in her eyes.

The announcer declared: Ares' Bard, the victor.

I watched the guards lead her away, my heart breaking along with hers. Then I turned to see that bastard of a War God wave to the crowd. Oh, when I get a hold of him!!  

I start to pace in my cage. I hope they give me some time with her before the next match. She will be going against Discord's warrior. The man had height, tons of weight, and strength.  He is slow though, no skill. He just stands there and clubs.

"Xena," he says as I shudder. "Didn't my little bard do well?" I rushed to cage just trying to get a hold of his throat.

"Ahh, temper, temper Xena." He said with that damn shit grin. "You know Xena all this time I wasted on you, when I could of focused on her."

Gods! The look in his eyes was one of lust. I closed my eyes tight, balled my fists up while he kept talking and tormenting me. I was thinking: testicles to neck, testicles to neck. I keep chanting that over and over until I noticed he stopped talking.

I open my eyes to see him standing there in front of me, looking pale.

My turn to have the shit grin! "You were saying Ares?" I have a huge smile now.  Ha, take that War God!!

"Ah, yeah," clearing his throat. "Her next opponent is Discord's warrior. Duncan is not much of a warrior. He can club well."

I cross my eyes on that comment.

"How do you think the little bard will do with this one?" He says while stroking his chin.

"Gabrielle is smart, she’ll use her head with this match." I say trying to sound confident.

"I want to see my wife. She will need my help." Okay, I was scared, but I wasn't going to let him know I was. 

"Xena, you know I can’t have my champion distracted before a fight." He gave me a smirk.

First thing that came to my mind was ‘prick.’ Boy did that smirk fade fast.

"No Xena, the little wife will have to go this one alone." He said sternly and disappeared.

Geesh, he was getting bitchy in his old age.

As I sat, defeated, in my cell I couldn’t help but wonder what she was going through. Knowing her, she had a good cry, tried to loosen her sore muscles, and was scared out of her mind. I was, of course, stuck here. ARGH!

About a half of candlemark went by when I heard the announcer say the match would start soon. My heart was racing. I needed to calm myself. Gabrielle is smart. She can do this. She has handled many men and women who where bigger then she was. Yeah warrior, keep telling yourself that, maybe you will believe it.

This is so damn frustrating! I stand up and start to pace again, when I hear the announcer call for the fighters to come out.  Discord's Duncan verses Ares' Bard. I move to the front of the cell and grip the bars.

Now I have to admit. It looked too funny to see the tiny little woman, and then look over to see this wall of flesh that is supposed to be a man. The crowd was laughing so loud at this. Glancing over to Ares, he looked a little embarrassed. Asshole! I turned back to my wife, she and Duncan moved forward for battle. The guards hand the choice of weapon. A club!! Just great! I banged my head against the bars!

Poor Gabrielle took hold of the weapon, and then turned and glanced up to me, looking at me like, what am I supposed to do with this?  I cannot hear a damn thing. I wished this crowd would shut up. Before I could mouth anything to her, Duncan started to speak. I couldn’t make out all the words, but I swear to you that I saw the hackles rising on one pissed off little bard. Oh boy, he was in for a hurting.

Now what happened next baffled me like the rest. Gabrielle said something to make him laugh then she tossed the club away and just stood there. Now I was screaming at the top of my lungs. "Gabrielle, have you lost your mind?" Her back still to me, the crowd is going nuts. All I could do was clutch the bars tighter and hope she knew what in Tartarus she was doing. I sure as Hades didn't! I was too involved in what was going on to notice Ares coming towards me. He looked more confused than me!

"What does she think she’s doing?" he asked, in a perturbed voice. "She better not make a fool out of me." He said briefly and turned to walk back to his chair.

I did manage to get out. "Too late, you were born that way." That time I did manage to duck out of the path of the lighting bolt, the guard behind me not fairing as well.  I looked over at Ares and did the only adult thing I could do. I stuck my tongue out at him.

I heard the announcer call for the match to begin. I look down and Gabrielle was still standing there, without her weapon. She had better know what she is doing or she’ll be eating my cooking for a week.

They started to circle.  They seemed to be talking to each other. The crowd did not like this. The booing was very loud. I was trying to read their lips.  With them circling like that I only got bits and pieces.

He said something about making her into a woman. I rolled my eyes, yeah a flat one.

Now she was facing me. She said something about an awfully large shelf for such a small tool. Chuckle! Oho, that made him mad. He took a swing at her, but she ducked quickly.

In all my life as a warrior, I have never ever seen the likes of what happened next. The crowd was quiet for a minute, just from the shock. Gabrielle, my wife, bard and soul mate, turned her back towards him still looking at him from the side and shaking her ass at the man, and from what I saw by reading her lips was, Nah, nah, you can't catch me tubby.

Duncan is yelling at the top of his lungs at Gabrielle, but it doesn't seem to faze her. She has something up her sleeve. Now the blubbery man was swinging his club at her, trying to catch her, saying something like, " I will kill you wench!" 

After I picked my chin up off the floor, I have to laugh. Here was this heavy man chasing this little woman. Duncan raises his club several times above his head as he is chasing her and each time he brings it down, he misses his target. This goes on for several minutes. I shake my head; I’m seeing a different side of my wife.

As the big man continues in his attack, I can see him progressively slowing his pace. When I look at Gabrielle, I see a broad grin spread across her face. This is what I get when I under estimate her. I look at poor Duncan, the way his legs rubbed together, and I was surprised they hadn’t caught fire. I looked up to notice that almost everyone, including the Gods, were all slack-jawed. I focused again on the fight. After about ten laps around the area, my wife was smiling, and Duncan was clutching his chest and breathing heavily.

Gabrielle turned to see Duncan leaning against the wall, his club on the ground, breathing very hard. She had a huge smile on her face. She picked her club up and walked over to him. He tried to punch her but, she just moved out of the way. I saw blazing green eyes. Oh ho, he is toast!

She says, "rape this," flips him off, and brings the club between his legs with all her might. 

Ohhhhhhhh, the crowd, and I say in sympathy. Yes, the eggs in that basket are now broken. I never heard a man hit such a high note. Well he can always start a new career as an Opera singer. Gabrielle threw the club down and the man attempted to crawl into the fetal position. She looks up to me as the announcer, in a cracking voice, tells everyone that Ares' Bard is the winner. The crowd, Gods and all, were dead silent. She looked up at me, as she was led away, fire in those eyes.

I shiver. If we survive this, with the battle lust she has, I will not be able to walk for a week. I lick my lips on that thought. 

Out of the silence, I hear Ares laughing in the background. Soon the crowd joins in. Discord is not a happy God. The laughter was halted by a screaming Discord.

"You failed me you worthless piece of dung!"

Then she sent a lighting bolt at Duncan, who is still in the fetal position on the ground. He was turned into powder in a matter of seconds. Ares starts to laugh again and so does the crowd. Now I know Discord will not challenge Ares, so she does the next best thing and send Strife flying through the air. She turns and walks off in a huff towards me. I could not help the smile I had on my face. Gabrielle shocked me like she did everyone else. Discord did not like my smile.

"Laugh it up warrior. Lets see how the little blonde does against Bula. My bet is she will be dead in a matter of seconds." She stands there taunting me.

"You better hope not Discord, because as my history has shown, you don’t want to make me angry! If something happens to me wife, everyone here, including Gods, will lay dead at my feet." I growled at her, gripping the bars of the cell tighter.

She steps closer to me in challenge. "Funny, being threatened by someone in a cell." She growls back, stepping even closer.

The more time passes in my life, I am learning that more than half the Gods are not so bright.

"I have something to tell you Discord?" I say with a smile.

She then folds her arms in front of herself and steps even closer. "What’s that Warrior Princess?" she asks mockingly

"I have long arms stupid." With that said, I got a perfect punch to her jaw sending her flying into the pit. Then something registers to my brain, ah yes pain! Ouch! I stand there shaking my hand hoping it is only bruised and not broken. I feel Ares come towards me; I turn to look, holding my hand.

He has a huge smile and is still chuckling. His smile fades and he says without turning around, "Don’t even think about it Discord." He turns with a bolt ready in his hand. She was ready to turn me into toast. "Go have your tantrum, be calm for the next fight! You lost fair and square so deal with it." He said strictly.

She left in a huff of light and he turned back to me. "That was some stunt the wife played, the next match she won’t be so cocky." He said with a cold tone.

"I will have the guards escort you back to the dungeon so you can counsel her. I know you’ve had run ins with Bula, so you can teach the bard some moves. No funny business Xena, or you’ll both end up dead, and I’ll make sure you watch her die first." Then he walks over to the guard, whispers something, and is gone before I have a chance to blink.

The guards approach me. One unlocks the cell, while two hold swords on me, as another has a crossbow pointed at my heart. Nice to be popular!!

As I am walking back to the dungeon, I am thinking how to tell Gabrielle about my past with Bula. I cannot tell her the whole truth; it’s too painful for even me to remember. I need to just be with my wife, to tell her how much she means to me. I have an aching in my heart that she will not make it. No, No! She will! I wipe the tears from my eyes as we near the dungeon door. I walk in to see her pacing the floor.

She stops and looks at me. I thought for sure that Ares would chain me in the cell next to her again, but to my surprise, they open her cell and push me in. She runs right into my arms and I hold her tight to me. Gods, it is the best feeling. I feel the wetness on my neck and she is shaking. I pull her tighter to me and try to comfort her. After a few minutes, the shaking lessens and she is calmer.

"Gabrielle, we don’t have much time. My--"

I was stopped in mid sentence by a kiss that made me turn into jelly. Mmmm, I do not want this to stop. A tapping sound on the bars brought me back.

"You are to train, not kiss," The guard said, and then walks away.

I growl, but he is right. Her lips try to take mine again, but I stop her.  "Gabrielle we need to talk." I move her back with my hands on her shoulders. "There is nothing more I would rather do than to kiss and hold you, but we need to talk about Bula, she’s your next opponent."

She looks at me, and can tell that I’m scared. She raises her hand up and gently caresses my cheek. I try to stop it, but a tear slides down my face. She wipes it away.

"I love you Xena," she said to me in a calm manner. "We have been through so much in our time together. This is just another test that we’ll come through standing tall, so no sadness. Tell me what I need to do."

I am older. I am a warrior. I have seen so much destruction and terror that it would make the hardest of men fall to their knees. My heart and my soul are in pure darkness.

I sit here holding this woman in total awe. Many believe that I am the strong one. They are so wrong.

We spend the time talking and I try to coach her as much as I can. If I tell her my true past with Bula, Gabrielle would not be able to think. Just thinking of her and my past is too much for my heart to handle. Now the person I love more then life is going against that evil bitch.

Bula makes Callisto look like a Hestian Virgin. I try to explain to Gabrielle that she must take this fight very seriously; Bula is very smart, with a short fuse. I sigh heavily.

"Xena, can we just spend this time together." She looks at me. She is so tired.

"Sure," I tell her. "Why don't you put your head in my lap and try to rest," I say as I stroke her hair. "How are you feeling? How's the shoulder?" I take a peek at her should to see a bruise forming.

"I'm fine Xe, just tired," she says as she lays her head in my lap.

I stroke her hair praying to whoever will listen not to take her from me. All we want is to have a life. Is that too much to ask for? Then she grabs my hand and gives it a kiss.

"We will make it through this Xena. I will be moody probably bloody and all banged up, but nothing a little of your loving care won’t take care of. So just hold me and relax." She said peacefully. I smile at this.

"You know how to make me smile, my bard." I get a smile from her at that.

"I’m not good with words like you are." Gee, that’s an understatement, I think, rolling my eyes. "While I was waiting for your next fight, I sort of came up with this poem. It’s not as good as something you would write, but..." I am stuttering like a fool. I feel her shift in my lap. She is now lying on her back looking at me.

"Xena would you just tell me." She says, a little short, but I will let it slide. I had to chuckle.

"Ok, here goes." I caress her face and look her right in the eyes.


For all those times when I was alone

Feeling lost, needing to atone

You were there right from the start

Holding tightly to my heart

Though I didn't know it then

I need that closeness once again

For all the things I know you are

You are my life, you are my bard

Because you loved me.


Being there and being strong

Knowing that we both belonged

Doing what you knew was right

Never giving up the fight

Knowing you could trust in me

It was you love that set me free

From the love, that fills my heart

I swear that we shall never part

Because you loved me.

We both have tears in our eyes, she sits up, and we hold each other tight.  She pulls back and gives me another wonderful toe curling kiss.

"You know warrior, you are turning into a real mush ball."  She has such love in those eyes. Before I could answer the smart-ass bard, she gives me another kiss. Gods!! Is it getting hot in here???

As my leathers were getting tighter on my body, the guard taps the bars again. Before he utters a word, I say while grinding my teeth. "If you do that one more time, you will be wearing my Chakram up your ass!!!"

The guard knew I was serious and I watched him back away.

"It is almost time for the fight to begin." He said, while a yellow streak went down the front of his pant leg.

"Then, when it is time you come for us, other wise FUCK OFF!" I feel Gabrielle touch my cheek. I look down to her. In the background, I hear the guard walk away.   

"You know what warrior?" She said, sitting in my lap facing me and wrapping her legs around me. She bends her head and puts her lips to my ear nipping it lightly.

"What’s that?" I managed to squeak out.

"You should save your strength my love, because after all this is over," she emphasized by sucking on my ear, "this little bard will want to play ride the warrior for hours." She gave me a little bite there.

"Oh Gods!!" Very hot, very hot warrior here.

"Well, I need my energy now." She gives me a peck on my cheek, stands up, and starts to stretch. I stand quickly and give her a swat on the butt.

"Tease," I say, still very flushed. She chuckles at me and starts to stretch more. In that outfit! I growl and start for her when I hear Ares.  Son of a Bacchae!!!

"I sent you to help my champion out, not to get laid." There's that damn smile again. I pull Gabrielle to me. Press her back to my chest tightly as Ares walks through the bars to us. He steps closer looking Gabrielle up and down, smiling. I place my arm around her waist as a signal to him; MINE!

"Are you happy to see me Gabrielle or just cold?"  He is staring at her chest.

I fly out from behind her and am met by a lightning bolt, sending me into the wall.

"Xena!!!" Gabrielle is by my side helping my to sit up.

"Don’t push me Xena, it’s time for the match."  Then he was gone in a blue flash.

Gabrielle helps me to stand up and stays there until I get my balance. Gods, I am getting too old for this. I move my neck around to crack the vertebrae back into place, when the guards open the cell. I turn to her and pull her to me, kissing the top of her head.

"I love you, you better win this, because I can’t go on without you." My voice is shaky, but this time I hold the tears.     

"I love you, too, and I am not going anywhere warrior, you’re stuck with me." She pulls back to look at me, stands up on her tiptoes, and kisses me. By the time she pulls away, the guards are in position to take me back to the cage in the arena. One last kiss and I go with them. I try to keep my eyes on her as long as I can. When she is out of sight, I hear her yell.

"Remember, you’re stuck with me."

As I walk through the door to the arena muttering, "smart ass bard."  I swear I hear her chuckling.

Shaking my head and rubbing my nose, we finally step out, and I hear the roar of the crowd. Once I am placed in my cage, I feel that I can panic now. I pace around until I hear the announcer say that the fight will begin. Hades undefeated champion Bula, the crowd goes wild with that, verses Ares Bard. There’s the laughter. Gabrielle will never get a break.

I move to the front of the cage and grip the bars tight. I have to keep telling myself to breathe, and then I see her. All my nightmares come back. I am shaking. I was young, so young.

Bula steps out to the roar of the crowd. Raising her arms in the air, wanting more cheers. She turns and notices me. She smiles and my heart stops. She is about my height, slender with muscles. Her brown hair and very dark eyes stand out with the outfit she is wearing. Guess the Gods pick white for an effect, makes the blood show up better.

Bula and I grew up together; we sort of had a hate/hate relationship. Anything I did, she had to do better, or try to. We were the only tall girls in our village. Now, all my nightmares from Amphipolis and the Cortese attack came flooding back all at once.  This is one story not even the Gods themselves know. I have spent all my life trying hard to forget it. Now it is staring me right in the face.

Bula blows me a kiss and turns to wait for Gabrielle to appear. I am not sweating and shaking very hard. People do not think I am human, or at least they do not treat me like I am. I hate to break it to everyone, I am. Behind this cold, heartless bitch exterior, lays a woman with feelings. I feel like I am sixteen all over again.

There was a time where I was an innocent girl, full of hopes and dreams. My biggest worry was not letting my mother find out what kind of trouble I got into that day. Fishing with Lyceus is what I spent most of my day at. It all came crashing down in a blink of an eye. Even then, I had a tiny bit of light. Once I met Caesar, my soul died.

Then this loud mouth, beautiful, blonde, green eyed, with one hell of a temper woman, came into my life and gave me back something I thought was gone for sure. My soul.  I look down to see Gabrielle appear. My light. She looks up to give me a brief smile. Gods!!!

Bula notices the smile and turns to me, then back to Gabrielle. Breathe, Xena, breathe. Gabrielle moves into place. If I remember right, Bula's choice of weapon was always the spear. I watch as she walks around looking at the weapons. She looks over at Gabrielle, then turns to look at me. She smirks, and then waves her hand to say she chooses no weapon. The crowd goes wild. She walks back to her spot. It is Gabrielle's turn to choose. Is it too much to pray for a catapult to be handy? Come on, my bard.

My bard chooses nothing. Smacking my head into the bars cursing up a storm, I look back down as they start to circle. The crowd is going wild, and my heart is pounding in my chest so loud, it sounds like it is coming through my ears.

As they circle, they are talking. When I get a glimpse of Gabrielle's face, I see that she is upset. Bula is just smirking at her.

Bula does a quick punch to Gabrielle's face and her head snaps back from the force. Then she does a roundhouse kick to the right side of Gabrielle's head. My bard goes down hard. If I clench the bars any tighter, my hands will go through them. The crowd is going wild, with Bula, prancing around enjoying the cheers.

I watch as Gabrielle tries to get up on all fours, she is very wobbly but makes it. She shakes her head and spits on the ground. It is bloody. She looks up and has blood running out of her nose and there is a small cut on the right side of her head above her eyebrow.

You can tell she is still dazed, but being the stubborn bard she is, she sits up still kneeling with a smile on her face. She wipes the blood from her face with one of the cloths that are around her wrists.

Bula turns towards Gabrielle, grabs her by the hair, and whispers something to her. Whatever she said made Gabrielle's eyes wide and she looks up to me in dismay. All I can do is hold on to these damn bars and growl. Then Bula brings a knee to her face and she is down once more trying to crawl away, the crowd cheering loudly.  Then everything freezes in place.

"Xena!!" I turn to see Ares approach me. "You had relations with that woman? Why didn't you prepare Gabrielle for that?"

Ares is a little mad at me right now. I have no words to tell him. I do not even move my eyes from Gabrielle. Ares then faces me and grabs both my hands that are wrapped around the bars. He begins to talk again through gritted teeth.

"The words she speaks to Gabrielle are killing her! She can’t concentrate." We are looking eye to eye. "What? Was it your warrior’s pride that you couldn’t tell your wife the truth? Didn’t you want the wife to know how much of a slut you were?"

Ohhh, that did it. I pull one of my hands free from his grasp; grab a hand full of War God hair, and slam is head as hard as I can into the bars. I did not let him go, I kept his head to the bars and growled at him.

"You listen to me you self centered bastard! I did not sleep with her! She raped me! I was sixteen!" My voice was cracking from way too much emotion. The War Gods mouth went open. "It was a day before Cortese attack my village. She was Cortese’s lover and my greatest rival. They caught me while I was working in the fields. I woke up tied to a post and at her mercy." I am shaking. I guess Ares must be in shock, because all he can do it look at me. See, told you I was human at one time.

"That’s when I heard about his plans to attack Amphipolis." A tear rolled down my cheek. "If it wasn't for Lyceus she would have killed me. That’s why Cortese killed him, because he saved me you bastard!" With that statement, I let Ares go, falling back onto my knees, crying.

After Lyceus saved me, I did not have time to think about my attack, my first experience. I had to save my people. We didn’t have time to really plan for the attack, that’s why we lost so many. I lost my best friend and hero, Lyceus. After all of that, I was numb and just did everything I could, not to remember. That’s when the Warrior Princess was born and most of my soul died.      

"How could you keep this from the Gods?" His voice was full of amazement.

I looked up through teary eyes. "I have many skills." I say with a very shaky voice.

Ares is just looking at me oddly. "You could of told me before--"

I interrupted him there.

"Before what you jackass?" I scrambled to my feet and walked towards him. I poked him in the chest.  "Before you kidnapped me, then my wife?" I poked him again. "Make her your champion against her will?" Double poke.

"ENOUGH!!" He backs away rubbing his chest.

Wimp! I shout, inside my head.

He looks at me and snarls. "Let’s see how smart you get when she rips your wife apart!"  Then he was gone. The cheering of the crowd brings me back. I look down to see Gabrielle crawling away trying to get some distance so she can regroup.

Bula looks up to me again. She lifts her arms in the air to silence the crowd. Once they are fairly quiet, she walks toward me looking up. She is very cocky; she doesn’t feel threatened by Gabrielle at all. Big mistake...huge mistake!  

As Bula gets closer, I look to see Gabrielle trying to get her head straight. Then I hear Bula speak.

"Xena, my love." 

Oh, I want to vomit. I glance to Gabrielle, that statement brought her head up fast. She looks at both of us, in shock.

"It’s been a long time. How is Cyrene doing?"

I look at her with an expression of pure disgust. "Fuck you! You, she beast from Tartarus!" I spit at the ground and she just laughs.

"Now, that’s not a nice way to speak to an old friend." She looks at me with those dark eyes of death. "I haven't seen you since poor Lyceus was stuck with an arrow." I went insane when she said that. I gripped the bars and shook them.

"You bitch! You killed him! You and that bastard killed him." I can feel the darkness within me struggling to come out. My rage. Just when it is about to consume me, my light fills my vision. I glance to see Gabrielle stand. She is looking up at me with tears. I fall down to me knees again and weep, still holding the bars. Gods, I am getting pathetic!

"So, this is your little bard from Poteidaia?" She half turns to point at Gabrielle.

Only our family, a few close friends, and the Gods know that she and I are joined. The rest of the world knows us as the Warrior Princess and her Bard. Bula looks over to the Gods.

"You mock me by this so called challenge." She snarls at them, and then turns her attention back to me. Cocky bitch.

"I see that your little friend doesn’t know the truth."

With all this talking the crowd is getting restless for some action. One spectator was foolish enough to boo. Bula walks over to the weapons and grabs a dagger.

"I want silence!"

She then throws the dagger and it embeds itself perfectly in the spectator’s heart. Let’s just say, after that, you could hear a fly fart in that arena. She half turns again so she can converse with Gabrielle and I. She focuses on Gabrielle first.

"Gabrielle is it?" 

My bard balls up her hands into a fist and nods. Please do not let her find out this way.

"I want to tell you a story. I am no bard like yourself, but this will hold your interest." She says smugly.

"You see I grew up in Amphipolis, also. I knew Xena since we were children. Hated her from the first moment I laid eyes on her." Bula turns fully to Gabrielle and circles her.

"Xena and I competed at everything, she was always better." She glances at me before continuing.

Gabrielle raises her eyes towards me and I mouth, "I'm so sorry," and I let the tears flow. We keep eye contact as Bula continues to circle and speak.

"Until one day, when we were sixteen summers old, I was able to get my revenge."

That caused Gabrielle pull her eyes from mine to watching Bula. My bard is clenching her fists tighter.

"I was being courted by a man named Cortese. He was a great warlord, had such great plans to take over many towns. One was my home town."  She stops circling and leans toward one of Gabrielle's ears. "Amphipolis!" Still standing at Gabrielle’s side, Bula looks up at me.

"I told Cortese I would help him, on one condition, that I could have Xena." 

Gabrielle and I make eye contact again, now we both have tears in our eyes. Some warrior I am, stuck in a cage on my knees, balling like a baby. If it weren’t so heartbreaking, I would laugh at myself.  Bula's words are sinking in. Gabrielle's chin is quivering, those pretty green eyes full of tears. Bula begins to speak again.

"He granted me my condition. We waited until Xena went into the field to work. She was captured before she knew it. Back then, her skills weren’t as good as they are now." Bula circles Gabrielle once more.

"I had her tied up before she came to. I taught Xena who was better, over and over until I was too tired to continue."

She looked up at me and I dropped my head in shame. She starts to laugh. I can hear Gabrielle weeping now.

"You want to know what else sweet bard? Lyceus, the bastard, freed my prize, so I got even by putting an arrow in his heart!"

Before I had a chance to look up, I heard the most gut wrenching scream come from Gabrielle.  Bula stood back in amusement, but this was no joke. I have never seen Gabrielle with such a look of pure rage, in all this time we have been together. She lets out a few more good yells then takes a deep breath and brings her fist up to her eyes. She pulls her fists away and looks right at Bula.

"I have something to tell you." She says to Bula with a very shaky voice but an eerily calm tone. Bula stood there with her arms across her chest, as Gabrielle slowly walked up to her, my bard’s chest heaving.

"She's my wife!"

Then, she backhands Bula across the face, but she didn’t stop there. Gabrielle was a blur of punching kicking, head butting fury, to a very stunned Bula. Bula didn’t have a chance to even breathe. One last kick to the face and the undefeated champion was on the ground. What happened next, terrified me. Gabrielle went to the weapons rack and grabbed a sword, and then she turned to stand over the dazed Bula. The crowd is still too scared to make a sound.

"You don’t have the guts," Bula says, still a cocky bitch.

My bard hesitates.

"What's wrong Gabrielle? Can’t get the picture out of your mind of me taking Xena, over and over while she’s screaming no?"

Gabrielle hesitates too long and Bula throws a handful of sand in her eyes. She smacks the sword from Gabrielle's hand and kicks her in the stomach to send her backwards, hunched over and gasping for air. I taught Gabrielle that if you get sand or dirt in you eyes, cry...do not rub. Rubbing only makes it worse.

Bula gets up and kicks her in the stomach again, sending Gabrielle into the weapons rack. Oh Gods, Gabrielle is not moving. I start to yell her name when Bula steps in my line of sight.

"Pretty little whore you have here, Xena. Never figured you for the marrying type."

I watch as she bends over my wife.

"You touch her, you die!" I grit my teeth and glare at her.

She stands and grins at me. She moves toward me with Gabrielle behind her.

"Maybe I can have some fun with her huh? Just like I did with you," she taunts me. "Bet I can make her scream more then you ever did."

Now, she and I were so busy threatening each other that neither of us noticed Gabrielle move. I was so wrapped up in my hatred of this woman that I underestimated Gabrielle once again. Damn this will be another thing to make up for to the wife. What happened next, took us both by surprise. The crowd was still too scared to make a peep

Bula receives a tap on the shoulder; she turns her head right into one hard swinging, bard fist to the jaw. Bula goes down like a sack of dried fruit.  Standing was one bloody faced, pissed off bard with a sword.  Once again, I stand in my little cage with my chin to the floor in shock, dark green blazing eyes boring holes through the fallen bitch.

Bula is laying on her back as Gabrielle step forward.  I don’t know if it was her cockiness or just sheer fear, Bula didn’t move, as Gabrielle stood above her, with the sword ready.  Bula looks at her and has the nerve to utter Mercy.  Anyone who knows Gabrielle and the kind of person she is, well, that hit her right in the heart.

Gabrielle starts to shake with her eyes welling up with tears.  She takes a step back, her chest starts to heave up and down hard, and she looks up to me.  Well needless to say, I start tearing up also. 

Even after all she has been through, she still makes me smile. She mouths, "Mushball."

I break out into a crying giggle.  She drops her gaze from me to Bula, takes a deep breath and turns. 

I am yelling, "NOOOOOO!" 

I hear Gabrielle speak.

"Did you show Xena mercy? Lyceus? Or any other victim of yours over the years?" Gabrielle still has the sword in her hands with her back to us. 

Bula takes this opportunity to reach for a dagger that fell when the bard went sailing into the weapons rack.  She stands and smiles, figuring weakness.  She is very wrong.  Many have fallen to my bard because in their arrogance, they mistook her compassion for life, as a sign of weakness. Fools!  I was one of them at one time.  Now I see her as the strongest person I have ever met, it just took me a long time to see it.

"I knew you were weak!"  Then she charges Gabrielle with the dagger ready to kill. 

I am livid now!  I am screaming as loud as I can. Gabrielle turns around and buries the sword in Bula's gut, all the way through, until it can be seen coming out her back. Bula drops the dagger, as blood pours from her mouth. Gabrielle’s chin began to tremble as she stands, holding the sword.

I hear her say, "This is for Xena, my wife."  She lifts the sword up higher in Bula.  "This is for Lyceus," raising the weapon even higher.  Bula is screaming as my wife slices through her. "This is for all of your victims!"  One last jerk of the sword, and Bula lets out one final scream, and falls to the ground.

Gabrielle stands there for a moment sword in hand covered in blood.  She looks up to me, opens her trembling mouth, but cannot make the words.  She falls to her knees and weeps.  The crowd just sits quietly.  Some are crying with her.  The announcer declares Ares’ Bard the victor and new champion. 

Ares, the smug bastard, stands, wanting cheers from the crowd.  They comply with his wishes, with roaring applause. Gabrielle is still kneeling and rocking herself, weeping.  All I want to do is hold my wife. I am alarmed to see a sudden flash next to her; it is Aphrodite. Wonderful!  Another friggin’ God!  I can’t hear a damn thing over the crowd.

Gabrielle lifts her head up and they talk.  Aphrodite says something, then bends and touches Gabrielle, making her glow.  I watch as the glimmering fades. She is healed, but is looking at herself, checking to make sure all her stuff is in place.  With Aphrodite's powers, you just never know what will happen.

"Aphrodite!" I turn to see Ares glaring at her.  The crowd quiets down, so we can hear. "What do you think you’re doing, this is none of your concern," he growls.

"Take the brick out of your butt big brother, I just saved your pitiful, War God, ass."  Then she folds her arms in front of her in an, I am not impressed manner.  "If Artie find her little Queeny, looking like a wagon rolled over her, you are so dead."  She disappears from the pit area and appears next to Ares. 

"Oh, and Ares?  Artie found her Amazons in Apollo's temple.  She mentioned something about seeing if she can fit a staff up your ass," she said with a huge smile. 

All Ares did was roll his eyes. Strife and Discord started to laugh and went flying through the arena. The other two just cleared their throats and left in Godly flashes.  Aphrodite then turns, and walks toward me.

"Hey, warrior babe, bars just do not suit you."  She snaps her fingers and the cage opens. "Go to the little wifey. She’s like, really bummed." 

I step out, saying thank you to her, and flip down into the pit.  We flew into one another’s arms and held tight. I started to cry, telling her that I was sorry, only to have her silence me with a finger on my lips. 

"Shhh, it’s all right, Xena," she says to calm me. "We have plenty time to talk about this when you’re ready.  Just know that I love you and we will work through it."  Then she kisses me. 

I don’t know how she does it.  She manages to make me fall more in love with her everyday.  We’re so busy talking and comforting one another, that we missed Artemis arriving with Zeus.

"Ares, you slimy slug of a God."   Ares goes flying through the air, into the wall. Ohhh, she is pissed.  "How dare you touch my Amazons?"  He goes flying again and lands in the pit.

Artemis appears in front of him and picks him up by the front of his vest. "You even have the balls to touch my Chosen, my Queen!"  She pulls back her arm ready to deck his wimpy ass and I stop her.

"Let me, please." 

She smiles and says, "By all means." 

Artemis hands him to me. I deck him, hard, and he goes flying.  The crowd applauded.  I quickly move toward him. "Hey, Ares, remember what I wanted to do with your testicles?"  I smile and continue to walk in his direction, "Lets see if those babies can stretch." 

He turns pale, squeals like a little girl, and disappears in a blue flash.  Damn!  I never get to have any fun.  I turn back to my wife and Artemis, who are laughing and applauding.  I am polite, if nothing else. I bow to them.

I wrap my arm around my wife, and ask Artemis if she can get us the Tartarus out of here.  She said we could have the use of her main temple, where we could relax and have the necessary time to heal some of our emotional wounds.  She also informed us that Ares went too far, and with Zeus' permission, these Godly Games would be put to an end.  We gave her our thanks and were in the temple in a Godly flash.

I look down at my wife, an expression of love and devotion fixed on my face, but I notice an all too familiar gleam in her eye. No, it is more than a gleam. It is an all out, I can’t wait to get you naked, somewhat brazen look. "Oh, Gods," I think, as I feel a sharp jolt of desire land directly between my legs. Now I have to deal with one battle lust-ridden bard. A big smile forms on my lips, with that thought. Hmmm, a win/win situation if ever I saw one. I grinned down at her, in unspoken acknowledgment of her desire. I silently agree with her undeclared request and my smile grows larger.

"Can you handle this, Xena? Will it bother you?" Gabrielle rasped, in a throat already husky with passion.

Oh yea, I thought, having my beautiful wife, who just happens to be insane with desire, ravish me about eighty different ways...yea, I can see how that might bother me. Then again, could I handle it? That was another story altogether. However, I am the Warrior Princess. Never let it be said that I didn’t give my all for the greater good...and I could just tell, this was going to be great and very good!

I opened my mouth to speak, just as Gabrielle looked my body up and down, licking her lips in anticipation. Oh, Gods...I could be in trouble here, huh? I possessed a sudden inability to speak.

"Well?" Gabrielle stood there, straining at the proverbial bit, waiting for an answer.

I swallowed hard. I could do no more than nod.

Artemis must have had Aphrodite in to decorate for us, because Gabrielle was suddenly pulling me toward a huge sunken tub, the steam, and the scent of lilacs rising into the air around us. I looked to my right and there was the largest, softest bed I have ever seen. Oh yea, I can see where this could be quite bothersome.

Gabrielle was deep in the throes of a very intense form of battle lust, but I had to hand it to her, she was tense and in control. Me? I would have been bending her over the table, fucking her like crazy by now, but not my bard. She only spoke in monosyllabic words, but she was definitely in control.

She pushed me back into the table and dropped to her knees.

"Lift." She ordered and I felt my breeches pulled from my raised hips.

I spread my legs, thinking we were finally getting to the good part. She bent down to quickly remove my boots, and then rose up again, simply smirking at my obvious look of disappointment. She removed every piece of my armor, and then reached around me to loosen the laces of my leathers. She was going so slow it was driving me crazy; this woman had obviously not experienced enough battle lust! I mean, shouldn’t she be taking me now or something?! By the Gods, she was even carefully folding everything up and placing it in a pile on the table.

By the time Gabrielle was finally removing my leathers, I was feeling rather warm. The light sheen of sweat that began to form on my body caused my shift to stick to my skin, the leathers adhering to the cotton. My bard had to literally, peel the leathers off me. Of course, this meant her hands slid down my skin in a most delicious manner, so I wasn’t about to complain...much. I still felt Gabrielle was moving way too slow to satisfy me, so once she moved to place my leathers on the growing pile on the table, I reached out to help by starting to pull my shift off.

Gabrielle reached over, fast as lightning, and sharply slapped my hands away from my body.

"Ow!" I yelped.

"No!" Gabrielle said at the same time.

I looked up at her, rubbing my sore hand. Note to self...make sure you make the wife pay later for that knuckle rap thing.

"You’re mine tonight," she growled fiercely, "and there are rules."

"Rules?" I answered weakly. I might be a little out of my depth here, and with my own wife.

"Oh, yes," Gabrielle purred, and then in complete contrast to the gentleness of her tone, she clenched the front of my shift, just above my breasts, in both hands, ripping the material from my body.

"Oh, Gods!" I moaned, as the cool air hit my fully exposed body.

I felt my nipples harden immediately. I watched as Gabrielle took in the same sight. Again, the picture of my wife, licking her lips and staring at my breasts just about undid me. I swear those dark nubs grew harder and longer, simply from Gabrielle’s stare. It was as if they were extending out, trying to reach her. I bet that’s what she thought too, as she growled again, and attacked my chest.

There wasn’t one damn thing that was tender about it. She sucked like a starving newborn, and I loved it. The sucking soon gave way to small nips, and finally, full-fledged bites.

"Oh, Gods!" seemed to be the only phrase I was capable of uttering. I think I must have been subconsciously thanking Artemis and Aphrodite.

Gabrielle pulled away with what seemed like a great effort, backing up a step, and taking a few deep breaths. I was half sitting, half lying on the table, my hands behind me, holding me up, as Gabrielle took control of herself again. Gods, she was good.

"Get in the bath." She ordered.

For some reason I felt like this would be a good time to just obey and not to question the why of it all. I went to stand and I had to reach back out to the table, it seemed as if someone stole my kneecaps. I slunk into the steaming water, which did absolutely nothing to stop my raging libido; neither did the fact that Gabrielle was now removing what little clothes she had on, standing before me completely naked.

"Oh, yea." I groaned softly.

Gabrielle smiled at that, but it wasn’t one of her I’m filled with the light smiles. This one was more like; I could be Najara’s evil twin, kind of smile.

"See something you like, Xena?" she asked, stepping down into the marble bath.

I reached for her immediately. Bad move. Gabrielle’s hand came at me again, striking me atop already sore knuckles.

"Ow. Damnit. Why do you keep doing that?" My frustration level was beginning to show.

"Because, I told you before...there are rules."

"Well, would you mind letting me in on some of these friggin’ rules?" I questioned, impatiently.

Again, with that smile. I was quickly losing some of my ire as she stepped toward me.

"You exist only for my pleasure tonight." She began.

I grinned up at her as she moved closer with every word. Her pleasure...oh yea; I could live with that.

"You will not touch me unless I command you to, and then it will be exactly as you are instructed, or your punishment will be swift."

Punishment, I thought, raising an eyebrow...this could be interesting. Suddenly, though, the thought of punishment sent a very tiny shock of fear running through my body.

"I will touch you whenever and wherever it pleases me to do so. I will take you in any fashion that strikes me."

I swallowed and it made an audible gulp. By this time, Gabrielle was still standing, straddling my seated body, the soft curly hairs of her mound within striking distance of my tongue. I closed my eyes to the temptation. I felt my head jerked back and up, Gabrielle’s strong fingers entangled in my hair.

"Can you handle that? Will you obey the rules, Xena?" she asked. Najara...definitely a crazed Najara smile.

 I was actually thinking about it, wondering, not if I wanted to. Gods that was a given, but if I could. Could I let Gabrielle be in complete control? She decided to sway me with my one weakness...pleasure. She jerked my head to the right and my line of sight was immediately focused in on the small table that sat beside the bed. How was she able to see that and not me? The table held an assortment of toys that made my mouth, along with another part of my body, water.

Gabrielle leaned down to speak into my ear, her breasts very nearly brushing against my cheek. "Would you like me to use those on you?" she asked.

I nodded my head enthusiastically, my tongue unable to form the words.

"If you won’t obey, and you won’t accept your punishment, Xena, then I’ll use them on myself tonight, and you can become close friends with your hand. Do you understand, my Warrior?" she asked, licking all along the edge of my ear. I lost it when I heard her final command whispered in my ear.

"There will be no safe word tonight, Princess." Nope, not Najara, more like Hope...yea, definitely Hope.

"Yes, yes...yes..." I kept moaning, as Gabrielle sat down in the bath, straddling my thighs.

She went about washing both our bodies. My hands clenched into fists under the water, so as not to give in to the temptation of touch. I was amazed at Gabrielle. I was reduced to a blabbering idiot, and she was the one with the raging case of battle lust. I couldn’t understand it, until I felt the play of her leg muscles against me. Gabrielle was trembling all over, her muscles tense, and bowstring tight over her entire body. She was shaking with the attempt at control.

"Gabrielle," I finally found the words to say in a raspy voice. "Something is going to explode if you don’t expend some of that energy, and I’d rather it not be the top of your head."

She looked up at me and I saw something new there...fear.

"I’m...I’m afraid of being so out of control. I’m afraid that I’ll be too...too rough, that I’ll hurt you." She finished, lowering her eyes.

Gods, what a time to have to explain the pleasure/pain concept. "Gabrielle...don’t you know that every once in a while...well, I...I like it a little rough." There, I said it. Now she’ll think I’m some insane sex pervert. I didn’t have too much time to think like that, though.

Before I could barely take a deep breath, Gabrielle’s hands were entwined in my hair and she was taking my mouth in a kiss that was downright amazing. By the Gods, where did she learn that? I gave in to the intense pleasure, feeling a rush of wetness between my legs that had nothing to do with the bath water.

"Get us out of this tub." Gabrielle commanded.

I certainly didn’t have to be asked twice. My wife wrapped her legs around my waist and I stood up, lifting us both. I had her lying on the bed in record time, but suddenly I was the one looking up at the ceiling. My wife was all over me, but there wasn’t one part of my body that wanted to complain. Well, maybe my hands. It was killing me, not being able to touch her the way I wanted. Nevertheless, Gabrielle was in charge, and she more than rewarded me for complying.

So it began. Candlemarks passed; while I experienced pleasures that don’t often come to a warrior like me, well, not without shelling out some pretty heavy dinars in an upscale brothel in Corinth! When Gabrielle reached for the first toy, I moaned loudly, and she hadn’t even touched me with it yet. That girl took me, about every way I ever fantasized about, and a few I’d never dreamed of. On my back, stomach, all fours, you name it. I didn’t even know what half the items on the small table were for; but once I felt them in action, I thanked the Gods that Gabrielle knew. Another note to self, find out how your wife knows about all of these things!

With every orgasm, and I lost count a long ways back, I felt a little more sapped of my natural reserves of strength. Gabrielle, on the other hand, seemed more energized with every climax she experienced. Oh, I am so in over my head with this woman!

Gabrielle, after giving me a few precious moments to renew myself, began grinding her mound into me. I became addicted to the pleasure of it all and spread my legs further apart, wrapping them around her thighs to encourage more contact. She rose up on her hands and stared down at me, raising an eyebrow in caution, but still allowing me this small bit of retaliation. That’s when I made my big mistake.

I groaned as she swirled her hips into me, but it wasn’t enough and I wanted to come again. I reached out and grabbed her ass with both of my hands, pressing our bodies together. Gabrielle wanted to groan in pleasure. I could tell by the look in her eyes, but she quickly took back her control. She froze and I knew I was in trouble.

Grabbing my wrists, she brought them over my head and held them there. "You know the rules," she said with that evil smile.

Gods, that expression on her face, it was almost as if she couldn’t wait for this to happen.

"Are you ready to be punished?"

I was still breathing hard when she released my wrists and rose from the bed. I watched as she crossed the room to one of the draperies that were pulled open, separating this room from the bath. Gabrielle tugged hard and ripped the silken cord from the cloth, the curtain falling closed. I felt my eyes widen when I saw my wife walking toward me with the cord in her hand and that, Hi I’m Hope  leer on her face.

"Gab-ri-elle..."I drawled, partly out of warning, partly out of something that felt a lot like fear.

"Do you trust me?" she asked.

Gods, how do I answer that? "Of course, I do, it’s just that--"

"Do you trust me not to hurt you?" she smiled after she asked that. "More than you’d like, anyway?"

What could I say? I loved her with all of my being. She was the only person I would ever allow to love me this way. I trusted her with my life, but could I do this...not be without some small measure of control? I thought about that, and realized that Gabrielle would do it for me. Hades, she had done it for me.

I leaned back on the bed and raised my arms over my head, in about as submissive a posture as I’ve ever been. She saw the willing surrender and for a brief moment, my Gabrielle’s smile shone through. It was very brief, though!

She lay on top of me once more and began wrapping the cord around both my wrists. She then tied the cord to the end of the bed and I tugged experimentally. Gabrielle sat back on her heels, between my open legs and watched as my eyes went round. I cursed myself for teaching her how to tie those knots. She had me in a choker knot, one that tightened up if I struggled against it, but instantly loosened once I relaxed. I pulled again, just to be sure, and felt the cord binding my wrists tighten. Two things happened then. One, I admit, I panicked a small bit. Secondly, and this one surprised even me, I felt extremely aroused. Nerve endings that were dull instantly sparked to life, skin that was cool and dry from fatigue, immediately became heated and sweaty. Nipples were brought to attention, the flesh surrounding the tips, pebbling, and growing hard.

Gabrielle was still kneeling between my legs and I tried to bring my own long legs around her and draw her to my need. She raised an eyebrow at my actions.

"Don’t make me tie your legs, too." She said in a low, seductive tone, running her hands along the taut muscles in my thighs.

I groaned aloud, equal parts pleasure and frustration.

"That’s just what you’d like, isn’t it Xena?" Gabrielle questioned, knowingly.

The vision popped into my mind, just then. Me, spread eagle and tied to the bed, completely and utterly helpless before Gabrielle. I had to admit that it was a fantasy that I kept locked deep inside. I never thought I would ever be able to give up enough control to ever make it a reality, but here was the opportunity. I began to rock my hips as the little fantasy played to life in my mind’s eye. My body gave me away. No matter how I might deny it, Gabrielle could see the truth. I looked at her, my wife’s eyes fixed between my legs, as I felt my juices flowing from me in a spasm of intense arousal.

Gabrielle reached out her fingers and let them slide along the wet length of my sex, causing my hips to shoot up from the bed. She sucked on those fingers as she rose, and made her way around the room, collecting two more of the red, silken cords. I was whimpering in a combination of delight and fear by the time I was tied up. Gabrielle left slack in the cords at my legs. They were tied to the outside legs of the massive bed, and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t bring my legs anywhere close to closing.

That's when Gabrielle dove in, her warm tongue plunging straight into me. I cried out and thrust my hips at her face, encouraging her to continue. She lapped up the wetness, but I only produced more, and she finally began sucking on my enlarged clit, bringing me so close. All at once, she pulled away and I practically screamed. I felt like crying at this point, I was so ready. She had me so close to my climax, I could have reached out and touched it.

Again, I cried out in disappointment as she jumped up from the bed and grabbed the last item on the table. Oh, Gods! I should have known she would save this for last. My wife finished strapping the leather harness to her body, the long phallus covered in seamless soft leather. At the last minute, I saw her grab a small device and place it up under the harness, against her. She rolled her fingers, moving the wooden piece around obviously looking for the right spot. She moaned in pleasure and I knew she found the spot.

My wife positioned herself between my legs and began a most heartless teasing motion with the object against my drenched sex. I moaned, groaned, and bucked my hips, but Gabrielle wouldn’t go any further than right inside my entrance. She reached down and the torture began on my breasts. Sucking, licking, biting, Gabrielle had me torn between thrusting with my pelvis and arching my back.

"Gabrielle..." I panted, tears squeezing out from the corners of my eyes.

She looked down at me and smiled, in obvious pleasure herself.

"All you have to do is ask, Xena." She said.

"Inside...me...oh Gods, yessss!" I exclaimed as she penetrated me fully. Only problem was that she wasn’t moving.

"I can’t read your mind you know. Talk to me, my Warrior."

Talk?! Now, she wants to talk? It dawned on me just what Gabrielle was doing. This was her control...words. Her domain to control was the words I would speak.

"In...in and out." I gasped and immediately she set a seductive pace, her hips thrusting into me. "Ohhhhhh!"

"I...faster...Gods, Gabrielle, faster." I moaned and she complied.

I could see my climax from where I lay, it was there, building inside me, and I knew it would be one Tartarus of an explosion. Without warning, Gabrielle stopped all motion. I really was going to cry this time.

"How bad do you want to come for me, Xena?"

"Bad...oh Gods, very bad!" I cried out, trying to move my hips to get some motion going. I could see Gabrielle’s glazed over eyes; she wanted release as badly as I did.

"Tell me again, Xena...how bad do you want it."

It finally got through to me what she was asking, Gods, what a time to play mind games. Gabrielle was going for the ultimate control...she wanted me to beg. I knew it and she knew it, but I wasn’t about to give in all that easily...I still had some pride left. It was being slightly overpowered by my libido right about now. It was just really small, and buried really deep but dammit, it was there!

"You don’t want to beg me, do you Xena?" she asked, leaning forward, causing the phallus to slide deeper, the harness pressing in against my clit.

"Ohhh...Gods." I clenched my teeth and shook my head back and forth.

Gabrielle reached out and ran her tongue across my nipple, then pulled the flesh between her teeth.

There was no way I was going to beg. I am the Warrior Princess, I do not beg for sex, even from my wife. Okay she is gorgeous and hot, and, Oh Gods, why is she pressing into me that way. I will not beg. I have pride. I have never had to beg for sex in my life and I am not about to start now...just let her try to outlast me!

"I want to fuck you until you scream, Xena." She whispered in my ear.

"Oh Gods, yes...please, baby...yes, fuck me, Gods above, please do me, Gabrielle...please...I’m begging you, please, baby!"

Okay, so much for the old warrior control. Hey, anybody who thinks they can do better, has not been tied to a bed and screwed for twelve hours by an Amazon Queen!

By the time these thoughts were spinning around in my head, Gabrielle was making her promise come true. That woman, bard, Queen, warrior...well, she made me scream, all right. The only satisfaction I got in regards to my pride, was hearing Gabrielle scream even louder than me...right before I passed out.

Blissfully asleep, I hear her call my name. Gulp!!!

"Xena??" Oh Gods!! She cannot not possibly want more, okay warrior, think! I will let her think I’m still sleeping. Yeah! Okay! Here we go, snoring louder!

"Xena!" Slap. "You are not fooling me warrior! Remember I am your wife," she was nice enough to remind me.

"Ouch!" I yelped after she pegged me on my ass. I turn to her a glare.

"You have been hitting a little too much lately!" I respond.

Now I feel like a heel. She is crying. I turn to pull her close to me. She told me about a dream she had about me, what Bula did to me. For the first time in my whole life, I allowed myself to feel something about that. She and I talked for hours. Laughed and cried. After Gabrielle and I finished talking, she fell asleep again and I was left to my thoughts. 

There was one time in my life when I just wanted to give it all up and die. I am so glad I didn’t follow through with that. Look at all that I would have missed. Sometimes people are so caught up in their own pain, they forget that there is always a light; you just have to look. I thank the Gods everyday for mine.

We decided to send a message to Gabrielle’s parents to let them know that she is okay. We now wanted to head to the Amazons for a visit first. I look down at the woman I love and think, PAYBACKS, BARD!! Life cannot get any better than this. With that peaceful thought I snuggled closer and let Morpheus claim me.



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