Violence and lots of it. This is a Xena story after all. Though most of the ouchy stuff in this story is written as comedy.
Subtext - There is no subtext in this story at all. It's all main text. There are a whole lot of women in love with other women in this story. If you have a problem with that, read something else.
Thanks to my girl for the editing and to my mate, Nic. This story was originally started as a birthday present for the Xena fan that has everything. So Happy Birthday Nic. Sorry it's not gift wrapped!!
Any comments are welcome. You can e-mail them to me at email@example.com
XENA and the Fairy Folk.
By S King.
CHAPTER THREE. The weird shit hits the fan!!
Xena hadn't slept really well. She was standing outside the Inn in golden morning sunlight that promised a beautiful day ahead, with her back resting against the inn wall, that was still cool from the night air. The dirt road in front of her ran through a town not that different to any other town she and Gabrielle had ever been in; stone and mud brick buildings with thatched roves, a square with wooden stalls and the local merchants already setting up their wares for the day. A couple of mangy dogs were sniffing through rubbish behind one of the buildings, one of the local women was flapping her apron to shoo them away, a couple of kids running around. "Nothing special".
Gabrielle was in the stable stuffing the last of their things into Argo's saddle bags. "How are you this morning girl, hope you're in a better mood than your mother. Woo boy she tossed and turned all blasted night, even after I gave her a sleepy time tea. Wished to heck I knew what had her britches in a bunch". The Bard was like a dog with a tick, once she got an idea in her head she just had to keep scratching at it. That is until she heard cries from outside and recognized the distinctive sound of Xena's battle cry. "Oh come on its a bit early dontcha think". Gabrielle grabbed her staff and ran from the barn determined to give whoever had disturbed the peace and quiet a "bloody good wallop".
Nic had entered the town from the opposite end from where Xena was leaning on her wall. She was leading a grey donkey with a very small person on it's back. A person who was wrapped in a cloak with the hood up hiding their face. The tall brunette spotted Xena and waved, then turned around to say something to the passenger. Xena saw the hood look up in her direction, an image of piercing green eyes flashed through her mind and the warrior had the distinct and unsettling impression that someone had just looked into the deepest recesses of her soul.
It was that split second of distraction that delayed Xena's razor sharp senses from kicking in as soon as they should have. As she was shaking her head to clear it a band of renegades came ridding up the road directly behind Nic, her donkey and her hooded friend. Swords out and horses foaming at the mouth, they were galloping full pelt. Xena saw Nic spin around in surprise and heard the frightened screams from the villagers in the market place. "Oh Hades". She snapped out of it and leapt into action, mentally kicking herself for allowing her mind to wander.
Unleashing her war cry and bolting down the dusty road the warrior launched herself into a mighty forward flip that took her right over the heads of Nic, her donkey and her hooded friend. Unsheathing her sword while she was in a tight airborne roll and bracing her legs for the impact of the lead raider's chest under her feet, Xena came out of her roll right on target. The only problem was, her target was not where he was supposed to be and Xena was left midair with nothing to land on. A silent second later and she was sitting in the dust in the middle of the road, slightly winded with Nic leaning over her. "What is it with you two and sitting in the dirt?"
"What the…" Xena's voice trailed off as she slowly looked around. She was sitting in front of two neat lines of horses and raiders that didn't seem to be moving very fast at all. In fact both riders and horses were sound asleep. One raider at the back of the group slowly slid off his horse, and kept snoring face first in the road, one foot still twisted in a stirrup. With little puffs of dirt rising up with every exhalation. Xena leapt to her feet still expecting an attack and spun around a couple of times to get her bearings, sword still drawn and bristling with aggressive energy.
That was the sight that greeted Gabrielle, as she ran up to join the warrior and their new friends. Her gaze took in a dozen or so sleeping horses topped with riders doing same, one very confused and pissed off looking Warrior Princess and some guy snoring in the road. Not to mention Nic, her donkey and her hooded friend. "What the……" Her voice trailing off as she looked around.
When the Bard had heard Xena's battle cry she had grabbed her staff and ran from the stables. Running up the road she had seen the raiders, she'd seen Nic spin around in surprise and had seen Xena launch into her flip. Gabrielle had expected this encounter to be much like any of their others. "Xena leaps in, Xena saves the day, Xena leaps out. I get to whack a couple of guy's, you know the usual". Now she was standing in the middle of chaos, with a Warrior Princess who had totally lost the plot.
Xena had felt Gabrielle run up and it had intensified her confusion and embarrassment. The last thing Xena had wanted, EVER WANTED, was for "her little bard", to see her totally out of control of the situation, ANY SITUATION. It was totally less than warrior princess-ish. "WHAT???!!!!; WHAT the Hades is going on here??!!." Xena stopped yelling as her focus shifted to Gabrielle and the stunned look on her face. Trying to get herself back under control the warrior's gaze shifted from Gabrielle to the little group standing in the middle of the road. Nic, her donkey and her hooded friend.
"So did anyone see what happened here?" Xena started closing in on the tall and suspiciously quiet woman. "Surely you saw something; raiders do not just nod off in their saddles on the way to plundering a defenseless town." Nic shrugged innocently. "I have no idea Xena, I didn't even hear them until they were almost on top of us."
"So what about you then", Xena whirled around to face Nic's mysterious friend. "You see anything?". Gabrielle had been watching Xena wide eyed and concerned. The last thing they needed was for the warrior to scare the poop out of their new friend before they could even meet. She stepped forward and put her hand on the enraged warriors arm. "Xena don't you thing we should take care of these guys first? We can sort out what happened after that."
Gabrielle had an idea about what had happened, but she was certainly going to keep it to herself for the moment. As she had been bolting up the road behind a flipping Xena she had a vague memory of seeing a hood lift up and look in the direction of the raiders and of hands coming out from a long cape and making a circular gesture in their direction. The next thing she knew, the raiders were fast asleep and Xena was landing on her butt.
"Come on Xena, I can't do this alone." Tugging on the stunned warrior's arm, Gabrielle dragged her away from Nic's friend and in the direction of the sleeping raiders. With a bit of prompting from the bard, Xena started dragging raiders from their horses and dumping them fast asleep in the middle of the road. Gabrielle enlisted Nic's help and the two of them went down the line tying their hands together with rope borrowed from a local merchant. After the whole group had been lashed together in one long chain gang, Gabrielle went to find the local authorities. Not that she had to go far. There was quite a crowd of villagers milling around watching the show unsure of what had just happened, but knowing that they had just been saved somehow from being attacked.
Gabrielle spoke to the village head who decided the best thing to do was to leave the raiders where they were (under guard of course) until they woke up and then get them to walk themselves to gaol. The horses were rounded up by some of the villagers and led away to be corralled and all that was left for the little redhead to do was deal with Xena and there new traveling companions. Judging by the look of the little group that waited for her at the side of the road that wasn't going to be easy. Nic was standing quietly talking to the hooded woman whom Gabrielle could only assume was Bride. Xena had stalked off a while earlier to retrieve Argo from the stables and was now standing away from the other two and leaning face first into the golden mare's neck. "Oh Hades. Well isn't this going to be fun," mumbled the Bard as she walked over to collect her Warrior, Nic, Nic's donkey and Nic's hooded friend.
Continued in Chapter Chapter 4 of XENA and the Fairy Folk. 'A 'pleasant' evening under the stars.'
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