The Language of Love

by Shortbard

© May 2001

Disclaimers: I was influenced by "When Fates Collide" and that leather suit of Xena's......You know, the one. Who could forget that sight…Xena in leather, on the dark horse. Anyhow, I had a dream about a pre-uber Xena type person and a Gabby type (similar to Janice Covington) and I decided to try to write an alternative fiction piece about it. It came out a little bit uber, a little bit pre-uber, and a tiny bit fantasy.

The usual disclaimers of fiction, inspired by the characters, Xena and Gabrielle on copyright infringement intended. Contains scenes of two women who love each other. So, there's a love story and some action, a little fantasy.........and I hope enough humor to entertain you for a little while.

Feedback is always welcome. You can reach me at It's the addy for my writing partner and me. Welsh Warrior and I have written a series of other uber fan fiction together, but this story stands alone and is all mine. It's not very long, just under 9,000 words, but it covers a lot of ground, as you'll see.

Part I

Chapter 1

I remember scraping the rock formation with the edge of my trowel and reaching for the soft brush I always kept in my daypack. There was a sound like rumbling thunder and crackling fire. The earth under my feet shifted suddenly, throwing me forward and down against the crevice in the wall.

My scream was swallowed up in the vast whirling updraft. I had a second or two to think about the expedition that I had been leading to this remote Greek Island and the archaeological discovery that I had wandered away to explore. Goodbye world, I thought. It's been fun while it lasted. At least I saw the start of the twenty-first century.

After seconds of chaotic tumbling, I was deposited on a rocky hillside, not unlike the one I had just left. The sky was still bright blue and the sun directly overhead. I examined my clothing and body parts for signs of separation and was happy to find I remained unscathed, my khaki cargo pants, olive green teeshirt and sturdy hiking boots were unmarked and fully functional. My sunglasses remained on top of my head and my trowel was still in my right hand. Alas, my daypack was nowhere in sight.

What the hell? Of all the damned luck. That pack had been with me on some very tough assignments. It and I had logged some hard miles all over the globe together. It contained my lunch, water bottle and wallet, not to mention my safari shirt and a change of underwear.

I stood and stared at my surroundings, taking note of the wildflowers, and weed-infested path rising upward to the crest of a hill. Might as well see what's up there, I thought. A breeze blew a strand of hair into my eyes and I pulled it back behind my ear, taking time to slip on the polarized sunglasses for protection. At thirty-five, I was already noticing fine lines at the corners of my green eyes. Even liberal amounts of sunscreen, moisturizer, and conditioner won't protect me from prematurely aged skin and straw-like blond hair. It was just one of the hazards of my profession: Have archaeological degree. Will wrinkle and bleach.

With an aggrieved sigh, I started up the path to see what was visible from the top of the hill. "The bear went over the mountain....the bear went over the mountain.....yada...yada....yada."

Chapter 2

The path wound around the hillside and vanished in the midst of a grove of trees. In the distance, I observed two men riding dark horses. They were covered in furs and metal plated armor, carried swords and crossbows, and were headed toward me at full gallop.

As I watched in disbelief, they armed their bows and trained them on me, shouting some sort of command in a language I didn't understand. I dropped the trowel and raised my hands in what I assumed to be a universal sign of surrender, but both arrows hit me on my left side with such force, I was knocked flat on my butt. The pain was so intense I couldn't comprehend what had happened at first. I rolled to my uninjured side and tried to sit up. One arrow had pierced me through the shoulder, next to my collarbone, above my breast and the other had penetrated my side in a fleshy part above my hip.

The injustice and shock of their hostile action briefly overrode my agony. "What the HELL's the matter with you? ....I was giving up, YOU ASSHOLES!"

By now, they had reined in their horses and were nearly beside me. I could see their beady eyes blazing behind the slits in their helmets. One of them raised his sword and prepared to slice me in two. They cursed again in the foreign tongue, apparently upset that they had pumped two perfectly good arrows into my carcass and I was still breathing.

From my vantage point on my knees, I caught a glimpse of a tall warrior astride a sleek, black horse, riding full-tilt toward us. Long, dark hair flowed down her back as she yelled and brandished a gleaming sword above her head. The two men took one look at her and fled. Either they were as astonished as I was to see a woman warrior, or they had tangled with her before and wanted no further contact.

In any case, the result was the same. They were long gone and I was dizzy from the sight of her and the loss of my own blood. She dismounted, removed her helmet, and treated me to the sight of the most astonishingly blue eyes that bored straight into my soul. I managed a brief smile and a painful groan as her strong arms braced me. Then, I passed out.

Chapter 3

I awoke in a cave with no memory of how I had arrived there. My body was stretched out on a bed of thick furs and the warrior woman was gently washing and cleaning my wounds. I stared, mesmerized, as her strong fingers rubbed the blood and debris from around the still embedded arrows. With swift movements, she broke the ends and hoisted me up to pull the shafts out from the back by grasping the pointed tips. I shuddered and bit down on a smooth piece of wood that she had tucked between my teeth. I groaned and sweated, then I cried like a baby. I knew the warrior was moving as quickly and as gently as possible. After each extraction, she murmured a soft word that sounded like, "gosh-tah."

Then, she rubbed my back and helped me collapse onto the bed, where I panted and moaned in misery. The woman had removed my shirt and bra to afford her better access to my injuries. I felt embarrassed to be so exposed in front of a complete stranger, but I was in too much discomfort to protest. A blanket covered my stomach and legs. My cargo pants, boots and socks had also been removed. Except for a pair of French-cut, black, silk panties, I was naked under the fur covering.

A sheen of sweat coated my skin and I shivered violently. The warrior mixed a poultice of herbs and added it to a smelly mud-like paste. Then, she plastered it on both wounds and covered the upper one with strips of cloth which she wound across my shoulder at an angle, and around my torso, securing it under my breasts. This gave the appearance of a sports bra with one shoulder strap missing. The other wound was left uncovered. It was still oozing blood and some pussy substance that made me queasy when I looked at it. With lightning speed, my nurse tilted my head to the side so I could retch and vomit beside the bed and not all over both of us.

Carefully, she helped me roll onto my back, wiped my mouth and cleaned up the mess. Then, she took a cloth, moistened it in cold water, and placed it on my forehead. "No-nay," she said softly, brushing my bangs from my brow so they wouldn't get soggy. "No-nay, Kaylee."

I had no idea what that meant, but her manner was soothing, so I smiled until another wave of pain hit me. She moved to a small fire where a pot of water was boiling, added several dried leaves and sprigs of mint-like greens, and poured a mug of this 'tea' for me. I was still woozy or I would have studied the pottery for clues to my surroundings. Here I was, a scientist dealing with ancient cultures, and I lacked the ability to interpret the evidence presented to me. After the Iron Age, definitely, I told myself as I sipped the relaxing brew. The swords were iron and the helmets showed metalworking skills. Bronze? Silver? Tin? The beverage was settling my stomach and making the pain subside. It was also making me very drowsy. I decided to relax and just go with the flow. As frightening as my new surroundings might seem, I was being nursed by a beautiful woman. Things could be a lot worse.

My nurse was smiling and stroking my hair, murmuring that one word as she did so. "Kaylee."

Hadn't she ever seen blond hair before? "Call me whatever you like, honey. That smile and those gorgeous blue eyes can cure my pain any day of the week." Maybe I was dead and she was an angel in the form of a warrior woman. Or perhaps I was just in the midst of a pleasant dream. I grinned, as my last conscious thought registered a twinge of arousal. Jesus Christ, Jesse Hanson. You've just been shot twice, tossed your cookies and have a raging fever, but you still can get turned on by the sight of a beautiful woman in leather. My Gawd.....there's hope for you yet. I sighed deeply and let myself dream.

Part II

Chapter 4

When I opened my eyes next, daylight filtered into the cave. The woman had shed her leather and armor and was wearing a sleeveless cloth tunic, soft deerskin britches and moccasins. Her hair was braided and hung over one shoulder. She was tending something on the fire that smelled meaty and delicious. I had slept, so I guess it wasn't all a dream because it was all still real to me. I was aware of my painful injuries, but fascinated and distracted by the view of my rescuer.

Wide, strong shoulders, long, powerful arms with defined biceps and triceps, a trim, tapered waist......Gawd, I was drooling. While I admired her muscular rear and legs, I took stock of my condition. My bandage had been changed. Just a little bit of blood streaked the cloth over the hole in my shoulder. My side wound had been bound with cloth now, but still ached when I moved. This bothered me. I feared the wound would not close on its own because I kept opening it up when I turned.

As if reading my mind, my warrior nurse saw that I was awake and stood to gather her medical supplies. The biting stick was among the assembled items. This was not a good sign.

"Hi, beautiful lady." I smiled at my savior, trying to convey my thanks for all that she had done for me.

She seemed to process this message. Her smile was gracious in return. "Relo a tatum, Kaylee. Gosh-tah, Kaylee."

Uh..oh....the gosh-tah word again. That was delivered along with a big dose of pain the first time I heard it. I must still need attention. Maybe sutures or something.

She kneeled and unwrapped my shoulder dressing first. I watched her bright blue eyes and dark eyebrows as she probed the wound with her fingers. It only hurt a fraction of what it had yesterday. She made clucking noises through her teeth and went to take something out of the fire.

"Ya know, you're seeing me in all my splendor, here, and I don't get to see anything in return." I knew she couldn't understand me and I guess that helped make me bold. I did it to take my mind off what she had planned for me, too. That looked scary. When I was scared, I tended to make jokes. "You will be gentle with me, won't you, beautiful?"

She sat beside me and placed her hand on my left breast. I reacted to the sensation with a rapid intake of breath. "Whoa, sweetie, it's only our first date. Don't I even get a kiss or your name before we get to the feeling up part? Not that I don't enjoy it, I do. It's just that, well you haven't shown me yours yet and--"

"No-nay, Kaylee," she said. Then, she went to the fire and grabbed a rod with a glowing tip. Placing the bite stick between my teeth, she held my chest firmly with one hand and stabbed my wound with the red hot poker. Before I could do any more than groan loudly, she whipped it around to the back and pressed it against the exit hole.

"Jesus H. Christ!....Oh, Gawd!" I had spit out the bite stick and was panting rapidly, my chest heaving in shock. I must have looked ready to pass out again, because the warrior pushed me back onto the bed. My flesh was still sizzling, the smell turned my stomach, but I kept from vomiting by breathing through my mouth until she had covered the wound with herbs and mud paste and wrapped fresh bandages around me. We eyed each other uneasily for several seconds, while she examined the wound in my side. Again, she made clucking noises through her teeth, gathered more supplies, and sat down beside me.

"No-nay, Kaylee," she whispered, starting to reach for a thin piece of bone and some stringy gut-like material.

"No, No! No 'no-nay Kaylee'....Please....No!" I whimpered in vain, sweat coating my body like a second skin. She placed the stick between my teeth and patted my cheek. I felt hot tears spill onto my face.

My warrior nurse was not to be denied. With great care, she dabbed my hip with a cool clear liquid that numbed the area long enough for her to take four or five stitches in front and the same number in back. I was wrapped with clean cloth and propped against a pile of furs to rest my weary body from the assault. Gawd, what manner of torture would she dream up next?

To my great delight, she removed all traces of medical paraphernalia and washed her hands and face before scooping out bowls of stew for us both to eat with chunks of coarse, dark bread. We sat opposite each other, nodding and smiling as we chewed. She took immense delight in my hearty appetite, though most of the solid stuff went into her bowl. I was left with an island or two of meat in an ocean of broth, and soggy bread, the equivalent of a post surgical, soft-food regimen. I praised her often for the delicious food, though I had no idea what animal had given its life so that I might be strengthened. It was probably better that way.


Chapter 5

Early the next morning, while it was still dark, I had the strength to pull myself up out of bed and limp over to the pit that was functioning as the toilet. All my other trips had been with assistance from the warrior. It gave me great satisfaction to let her sleep a little longer.

I paused on my way back to bed to gaze at the woman in repose. In the light of the glowing campfire embers, her face was strikingly beautiful. High, pronounced cheekbones, wide smooth forehead, dark eyebrows and a slender, straight nose all combined with those clear, blue eyes to make a very attractive image; one I had been dreaming about since the day she had rescued me. She was the most pleasant thing about this totally unreal state I found myself in.

One blue eye was staring at me, now, so I waved and shuffled back to my pile of soft furs. With a sensual moan and stretch, the warrior slipped from her covers and pulled on a tunic. Merciful heavens, the woman gave me quite an eyeful of delectable skin before the tunic fell into place. I smothered a moan of my own.

This was the first day I had awakened before her. She was usually dressed and cooking breakfast before I had even noticed it was daylight. I kept a covert surveillance on her as she picked up a leather pouch and further clothing, grabbed a soft towel-length piece of cloth, and exited the cave.

Curiosity overcame me. What did she do in the hour before dawn? If I had the energy, I vowed to find out. A thick staff had been cut and carved for my use as a walking aid. I grabbed it and hastened to the cave entrance. Her back was just visible moving toward the east along a ridge. I took note of the path and went back to find my cargo pants and boots. The warrior had cut up my bloody tee shirt to salvage clean parts for bandages. I was modeling a more abbreviated dressing now, so I had cut a piece of deerskin into a vest to protect my modesty. Just for good measure, I added a thin fur cape over my shoulders.

I made my way over the ridge and downward. At the bottom of the hill I could see the warrior about to step into a pool of steaming water. A hot spring! Oh my aching body.....what I wouldn't give to take a nice warm bath about now. And to be forced to sit beside a naked warrior beauty? Oh, well, if I have to... Would my nurse allow such an intrusion on her privacy? There was only one way to find out.

Chapter 6

Alas, the quiet interlude I had envisioned did not go according to plan. My foot slipped on some loose gravel and I started to slide and roll toward the water with very undignified speed. The warrior stopped her soaping long enough to look at me in alarm, but by the time I had surfaced after the horrendous entry I made into the water, she was giggling instead.

"Very funny, Blue Eyes," I sputtered. The water was shallow enough for my short stature. I needn't worry about drowning. The warrior slid beside me and put a comforting arm around my waist, checking to see if I had been further injured or disturbed anything that was healing. Yes, a little TLC, thank you very much. Satisfied, she smiled and handed me a cloth and some herbal smelling soap.

"Kaylee, usha da meet." She pantomimed the scrubbing of her body and then pointed to my hair. "Sella usha wonen?"

I took the cloth and soap gratefully. The pleasure of being able to clean myself and the thought of this beautiful woman hovering beside me naked was enough to send my senses into high alert. I peeled off my vest and pants, tossed my boots onto the bank and lathered myself enthusiastically.

"Sella, usha wonen?" She asked again in a soft, sensual voice. I stopped to try to fathom out this latest vocabulary puzzler.

"Sella?" I asked.

"Zee, Sella!" The woman pointed to herself. "Sella."

Oh, it was her name. I pointed to her, smiling. "Sella," I repeated.

She nodded her head. "Zee."

Zee must mean yes. I tried out a few combinations. "Kaylee," I said pointing to myself.

"Zee," she replied.

I pointed again to her. "Sella."

"Zee." She hugged me happily to her chest. Oh, my Gawd. I wasn't prepared for such an enthusiastic reaction to my mastery of three words. That's okay, though, honey. Keep rewarding me like this and I'll be the best linguist you ever saw.

She seemed to realize that her move had been a trifle over-friendly and released me. I patted her arm and continued to smile. "Okay, need to panic. I won't bite, well hardly ever."

Then, she pointed to my hair and the soap. "Sella, usha wonen?" At the last word, she touched my hair.

"Sella wash hair? Is that it? Sella wash Kaylee's hair?" I pointed to her and to my hair, trying to wrap my mouth around the combination of her words to tell her I'd love to have her wash my hair or any other part of me. "Sella usha Kaylee's wonen?" She nodded. I nodded. "Zee."

Well it wasn't brain surgery, but we managed to get my hair washed. And then, I took a bold step and asked if Kaylee could 'usha' her hair. Sella agreed with a shy smile. Afterward we stretched out on our furs, in clean tunics and let our hair and wet clothing dry as we watched a glorious sunrise. My warrior nurse had a name. Sella. It was as beautiful as she was and seemed to fit her strong, powerful persona, too.

When the sun had risen enough to bathe us in its golden rays, Sella lifted a strand of my hair and let it trail through her fingers. "Kaylee," she murmured and looked at the sun again.

A wave of desire washed over me, then. I realized my name had been inspired by the color of my hair. Kaylee, she had called me. It must mean sunshine. Gawd, I think I'm fallin' for this woman. This is insane. I don't know where the hell I am or if I'll ever return to familiar surroundings, but all I can think of is how I'm lusting after this tall, gorgeous woman. Dare I make any further moves? We're only inches away, we've seen each other naked. Cripes, we've washed each other's hair. In some cultures that would practically make us married. I gazed into those sparkling blue eyes, now just inches from my own. I wonder if she'd be willing to try a little kiss?

I leaned in to breathe her sweet, herbal skin and she gave me a look. Her lips parted in a gentle invitation. I took a deep breath and slid my arm around her neck. She leaned in further. I closed my eyes and kissed her as briefly and tenderly as possible. Her lips were soft, velvety caresses upon my mouth. When I pulled back, smiling, she lowered her head and returned the favor, kissing me more forcefully, letting her tongue touch the edges of my mouth and venture between my teeth. I groaned and let her tongue explore as much as it wanted. Then, she welcomed me with a delighted growl. We chuckled and came up for air. "Sella," I murmured. "You are one hot kisser." I wondered if we dared move a step further. My hand reached up to touch the soft mound of her breast. I heard the hitch in her breathing. "Oh, you like that do you? Well, there's plenty more where that came from."

She brought her hand to my breasts and rubbed gently. I moaned in pleasure, making her growl again. Wonder if she's a top or a bottom? She stood and grabbed my hand, leading me back to the cave in great haste.

A top.......definitely a top.

Part III

Chapter 7

We took two steps into the cave and stopped for another kiss, this time our tongues had free rein and our hands roamed wherever they felt the need, under our tunics being the location of choice. I was panting and so very ready for some horizontal action, but Sella stopped and stood still for a few seconds.

Not't tease me like this. "Sella, what's the--" Her hand wrapped itself across my mouth and she drew me close. Her head shook silently. I was to shut up because something was happening. Damn it, of all the times.......Now, I suppose I'll wake up or be transported back to the Greek island, never having slept with this woman.

She marched me quickly to a dark part of the cave, leaving me with my trusty staff and one final breath-taking kiss. Then, swiftly and silently, she pulled on her armor, grabbed her weapons and took off with her horse. I waited a suitable amount of time, probably a minute or two, and then tiptoed to the opening of the cave. There was nothing to see. Whatever had spooked her was happening someplace else. If I strained hard, I could hear some sort of commotion from beyond the ridge to the west.

Jesus. Life with her is never dull. I put my hand on my chest and willed my heart to thump at a less frantic rate. Alas, it took the rest of my body a little longer to lose the passion it had built. A cold shower would have helped, but I dared not leave the premises. Sella seemed quite adamant about my staying put.

The afternoon wore on, darkness fell, and still she did not return. I began to worry. What did I know of her and her world? Except for a handful of words, I could not communicate with her or anybody else. Had those men who shot me returned with reinforcements? Was this an ongoing feud between them and Sella? Did Sella have friends or relatives near-by? Was there a town or village around these parts? And where did Sella learn to kiss so well?

There were too many unanswered questions. I set about tending to cave chores while I pondered my situation and my future. The fire needed more wood. A pot of something should be heating for tea or dinner or whatever. Was there anything left in our dried food supply? I found enough for a thin soup and started it simmering. Some flat cakes of a very grainy texture were edible, if I soaked them in the soup first. There was plenty of water in the skins. I hummed as I shuffled from one spot to another, feeling stronger and healthier today than I had in several days. Maybe it was the promise of a new level of closeness in our relationship.

Sella had rescued me, saved my life and nursed me back to health, or at least, set me on the road to recovery. I owed her everything. What will our lives be like now that we'd just about decided to add a sexual intimacy to the mix?

As the night wore on, I started having different concerns. I sipped the soup and dunked the leathery cakes. The meal rested heavily in my stomach. What if she doesn't return to me? I had no weapons except the staff, I did not speak the language and I had no idea where I was or if there were any other females here besides the two of us. Maybe her desire for me was purely a matter of arithmetic. Maybe, she wanted a female to warm her bed and I was the only one in her world. I don't know what she thought of me, but I could honestly say that she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. Now, thanks to that thought, my body was heating up again. Oh, yeah, I had been attracted to her from the beginning. Who could resist the leather, the eyes, the body? Even in my pain, I felt aroused when she touched me. Gawd, what do I do if she doesn't return?

I must have dozed, sitting right beside the fire with the empty soup bowl at my side. When I heard a moan and a scraping sound coming from the cave entrance, I was suddenly on full alert. My staff kept me company as I edged carefully through the shadows to see what manner of trouble was there.

Sella stumbled heavily toward me. I was so grateful to see her I didn't realize at first that she had been injured. The blood on her armor, clothing, arms and legs told me the battle had been hard-fought. I couldn't tell if she had won or lost. She groaned when I helped her sit down.

"Easy, easy there. I've got you. Let me have a look."

I helped her stretch out on her bedroll and brought a torch closer to survey the damage. It looked very ugly. I had to swallow repeatedly to keep from throwing up. Concentrating on her needs helped. We got her gear off and tossed it all into a pile to be cleaned later. I took the soup pot off the fire and heated fresh water for cleaning the blood and gore from her body. As I worked, part of my body reminded me that just this morning I was hoping to see her naked and in bed.......but dear God, not like this. This was cruel and evil. Sella needed a doctor and I was the only one around. Heaven help her.


Chapter 8

"Kay...lee," she gasped, as a spasm of pain hit her.

"Shhhh. Don't talk, Sella. Save your strength."

Her eyes squeezed shut and she took several long, slow breaths, then seemed to calm herself enough to help me mix medicinal herbs for a poultice and separate others for a pain reliever. Through lots of sign language and a minimum of words, I realized I was going to have to stop the bleeding and close the wounds after cleaning and disinfecting them.

"Shit," I muttered under my breath. "Well, okay, I saw you do most of it for me, I guess I can manage. Just don't pass out on me at a critical stage, okay?" Her eyes were moist.

I prepared each site by cleaning it carefully of dirt and blood, then sprinkled the healing mixture over it, wincing when Sella groaned. It was hurting her, that was obvious, but she nodded and tried to smile her approval.

Then, she pointed to the fire. I had stalled long enough with the herbal dusting and the hot water. The pain killer had been consumed. There was a long gash on her leg to sew up and an injury on her right upper arm near the shoulder. The hot poker part was needed for a knife wound near her left shoulder.

My hands were sweaty as I drew the rod out of the fire, eyes fixed on the red, glowing tip. I placed my hand on her chest to steady her, momentarily distracted by the firm, smooth, feel of her skin. Oh Gawd. It wasn't supposed to be this way. We were supposed to be under that fur sweating up a storm, doing incredible things to each other.

I held up the poker and looked into Sella's blue eyes. "Zee?" I asked. I didn't know the word for 'ready,' a questioning 'yes' seemed to be the closest thing.

She nodded and bit down on her small, smooth stick. "Zee," she hissed.

When I applied the poker, two things happened. Sella passed out and I started to cry, convinced I'd killed her or at the very least caused her unbearable pain. In just a few minutes, she'd revived and was reassuring me, taking precious reserves of strength to brush the tears from my cheeks and squeeze my hand.

Blubbering and sniffling, I cauterized the bleeding wounds and sewed up the gaping ones. I was so thankful her face had been spared. She'd suffered only a bruised cheek on that otherwise gorgeous mug of hers. The more I wrapped bandages around her wounds, the more my hands shook. I guess it was a delayed shock at the thought of losing her when I'd only just found her.

What would I do if she died? She was my guide in this strange world. I had about decided that somehow I had been taken back in time to the Post-Hellenic period of ancient Greece. I didn't know if I was still on the island of Limnos in the North Aegean or if I was some other place. I vaguely remembered reading tales about a force of Amazon women who lived on Limnos during the time of Jason and the Argonauts. They, according to mythology, had murdered every man on the island except for the king, who had been put into a boat by his daughter and spared. Could this warrior woman be a descendant of these women? Were they real after all?

Oddly enough, I did not worry too much about answers to my questions. I had no fear of the unknown while Sella was with me. Her courage was my strength. It would sustain me through any calamity. It was only the thought of living here without her that terrified me. Was that love? Had it happened that fast and that completely?

Sella gave me non-verbal instructions in medical clean up procedures. Then, while she pointed and repeated new words, I was able to fix us a meal. Another dose of pain killer, and she was ready to sleep. Her final gesture before closing her eyes was to beckon to me. When I leaned closer, she gave me a gentle kiss on the lips.

"Thank you, Kaylee," she whispered with tears in her eyes.

I smiled, delighted that she had mastered an English word or two. "You're welcome, Sella. Sleep well."

She took my hand and brought it to the bedroll beside her before letting go. Her expression was wistful.

"I don't....You want me to sleep next to you? Keep you company?" I pulled up the fur covering and tapped the empty place as she had.

"Zee. Forsham, Kaylee?" I think that new word must mean... please.

I removed my boots, pulled the tunic over my head and curled up beside her. "Zee," I murmured, happily. "Sweet dreams, my warrior."


Chapter 9

During the night, her hand slid gently across my side to rest lightly on one breast. I felt a growing warmth spread from that spot to one centered between my legs. The warmth became an ache, an undeniable need that kept me awake and sweating in sweet agony for hours.

I wanted to feel her body tremble at my touch and revel in the pleasure that my tongue could excite in her. I wanted to feel her inside me, making me wet with desire. It had been a long time since I had been in a relationship. My emotional involvement had never been quite this strong at such an early point in the game. Usually, I kept my deep feelings to myself as long as possible and just sought some casual coupling at first. Before we ever took our clothes off, I made sure there was mutual agreement that it would be a no-strings kind of involvement.

I rarely felt strong attachments to the women I bedded. I guess that was why I had been alone so much of my life. This was so very different. Right from the start, I felt something when Sella rode to my rescue. Since I had arrows sticking in me at the time, I figured it was mostly gratitude and relief toward my benefactor. As time went on, however, I realized it was a much stronger sensation I was experiencing.

This woman was doing things to me with every look, every touch, every casual gesture. I was on fire with physical need, but I was affected in an emotional way, too. I cared for Sella, cared about her and wanted to be a major part of her life. If I had been able to look at my situation rationally, I'd have seen how ridiculous it was. I didn't know anything about this place or about her, really. What was she doing here, living apart from others? Why did she fight? Did she have any family? I knew so little about this whole environment. It was so illogical to even consider that I could fall in love now, and yet, I believe I truly had. The only thing I feared was not being worthy of Sella's love.

Slowly, I covered her hand with my own, keeping them both securely in place over my breast. Then, smiling, I willed myself to dream of a time when Sella would be well enough to take her subconscious actions further.


Days blended smoothly into weeks after that first terrible night. Sella improved rapidly. She had remarkable healing powers beyond herbal medicines and my inadequate, but well-meaning nursing skills.

We fell into a routine of cooking, cleaning, wood gathering, hunting, swimming, vocabulary lessons and becoming best friends and companions. With her help, I learned to kill and cook small game for our nourishment, gather berries and roots for alternative food sources, scrape hides or sew up skins to make clothing, and use a staff, albeit clumsily, to defend myself against possible enemies.

During the time I was learning these skills, I was also becoming more conversant in her language and she in mine. We often butchered both to form sentences that we could understand. Usually, when we lacked the words, we could make each other understand by gentle looks and gestures. My favorite form of communication was nearly silent anyway. We found to our mutual delight that kissing and cuddling in the evenings or early mornings could be a most rewarding form of communication. As Sella gained her full strength and my stiffened side and shoulder regained former flexibility, we discovered we were ready for an active and lively sexual relationship.

It happened for the first time quite naturally.

Part IV

Chapter 10

We sat side by side in the shallow water of the hot spring after our baths, sharing lingering kisses, letting our hands roam freely over our bodies. As our breathing grew labored and our actions more intense, Sella stood and pulled me out of the water. With a lusty cry, she rushed us up the hill toward the cave, stopping briefly to collect our clothing and drying cloths.

Breathless, we collapsed onto our combined bedrolls, tossing the clothing aside hurriedly. I stared longingly at Sella's muscular body. Her tanned, smooth skin showed only a trace of the injuries she'd suffered during her many battles. Shyly, I touched the scars on her arms, shoulders and legs, placing gentle kisses over each healed wound.

Sella took me into her arms and kissed the hollow of my neck causing goosebumps to erupt along the surface of my skin. My breathing became ragged. Slowly, torturously, we slid our fingers along the planes and contours of our naked flesh, glorying in the wondrous tingling such actions produced. Desire intensified, magnified.

Our lips began a slow and careful journey of exploration, our tongues dipping and darting over ridges of teeth and into the sweet, moist recesses of mouths that demanded communion on a primitive level. The tender, tentative assault grew bolder. I swallowed Sella's groan and added one of my own. She nipped and tugged gently against my lower lip, her breath tasting of mint and warm, mountain air.

My senses reeled at the pressure of her body against mine. We'd seen each other naked before, but never quite like this. We knew this time, there would be a special connection, this time there would be love and need involved, and no arrows to remove or bandages to apply.

Sella shifted her body so we could stretch out fully, to experience the comfort of hearts beating in time and breasts and bellies molding together in perfect symmetry. I felt safe and protected for the first time in my life. I was home.

Her hands were on my breasts, I placed mine on hers. We moaned in wonder at the sensation. Then, she dipped her head to deliver wet kisses where her hands had been, bringing my nipples to rigid attention. I let my mouth cover one of her firm, ripe breasts and plied the other with my fingers.

"Oh Gawd," I whispered.

She laughed deep in her throat, feeling the power her lips and fingers had over me.

I broke away from her long enough to take some steadying breaths. The damp spot I left on her breast made her shiver. " good," she gasped in appreciation.

"Sella, so hot," I responded. "My mind just turned to mush."

From that point on, it was a joyful melding of loving and sharing the best we had to give each other. Slowly, with great care, our two bodies became one soul, one mind, one heart, one spirit. Our shouts were joyous. I thanked God, several times, for this amazing woman. Her taste, her touch, her warmth... gave me comfort and delight. I knew we were from two different worlds, but it felt as though we had found each other again after a long absence. We had 'come home.'

We kissed tearfully when we could love no more. I smiled and she smiled. We were truly and exhaustedly fulfilled. "Thank you, Sella, for sharing with me the gift of your love, of your body. You are so powerful, so passionate, you make me the most wonderful way."

She smiled and licked some of the sweat between my breasts and neck. I shivered and moaned.

"Mmmm." Sella smiled, her eyes closed.

"Mmmm, indeed," I said. "Are you asking for more? Just give me a minute ...or two."

We sighed in blissful satisfaction, kissed again, and fell into a brief, but much-needed sleep.


Chapter 11

When we awakened, the sweat had dried on our bodies and our skin had cooled. We wrapped a light fur around our shoulders and began to kiss and caress our way into another session of love-making. Sella and I took turns coaxing and touching, twisting our bodies into sweaty tangles over and over again.

She explored and loved every inch of my body. I probed and tasted all there was to know of hers. By the time we had finished, our bodies held no secrets. We lay entwined and spent, in a comfortable, relaxed embrace. My cheek lay on her breast, my arm draped across her stomach. We murmured tender endearments to each other before sleeping the rest of the afternoon.


During the days and weeks that followed that first intense awakening of our love for each other, Sella and I shared chores, conversed, and devoted our non-working time to enjoying our deepening physical attraction for each other.

Often while eating a meal, we'd feed each other fruit or chew on opposite ends of a strip of meat until our lips met in a satisfying kiss. Then, we'd giggle and try another morsel. Sometimes our meals seemed endless, but we were blissfully ignorant of elapsed time during those lazy days of our burgeoning love.

I should have been concerned about this strange ancient world I had entered so unexpectedly, but having Sella share it with me reduced my fears and altered my perceptions. I came to regard that period of my life as a kind of Brigadoon, as if the land I discovered myself in, was one that magically appeared every hundred years or so for a brief time, and then vanished in a hazy fog. I really didn't care if I ever returned to my previous world as long as I could be with Sella. If I worried at all, it was to think that somehow I might be transported back to my world without her.

It was a sunny, beautiful morning, when my worst fears were realized.

Part V

Chapter 12

I was washing clothes near the hot springs, while Sella, dressed in full weaponry, set off on her jet black stallion, Pen Mar, to hunt for our dinner. 'Pen Mar' meant fast runner, I think.

The sun was warm on my bare arms. I remember shading my eyes with my wet hands from time to time to search for Sella on the hillside, along the ridge, or any place within the wooded area surrounding our mountain sanctuary.

Suddenly, she was galloping Pen Mar straight down the hill toward me, pursued by dozens of armor-clad soldiers, who shouted and cursed and waved their swords and bows at her back.

Before I could react, Sella leaned down and hoisted me up, nudging the stallion into a full gallop across the path away from our cave and into the woods. I gripped her waist and buried my head between her shoulder blades, my heart keeping time to Pen Mar's pounding hooves.

We managed to lose part of the force that followed us into the woods. Sella picked a rocky outcropping on which to dismount and launch a counter attack against the dozen or so who remained on our trail.

She slashed with her sword, kicking and punching any who got too close, and seemed to know just when to dodge a speeding arrow. Her prowess was thrilling to witness. If I hadn't been so scared for us both, I'd have been enthralled to watch her body twisting and thrusting, her powerful muscles straining to maneuver and free us of this deadly menace.

She dispatched the dozen closest to us, but there were others closing in, cutting off our escape routes. I found a stout tree branch to swing as a staff and used it to good effect against one or two of the slower moving attackers. I sensed that Sella's strength was waning and looked in her direction just as she must have reached the same conclusion. We were going to die if we remained here.

"Kaylee, come!" She mounted Pen Mar swiftly and kicked away two struggling soldiers.

I delivered a final blow to one persistent foe and grabbed her arm, throwing myself across Pen Mar's back, scrambling to hold on as we raced off in another direction.

After a quick glance to determine that we still had dozens of mounted soldiers after us, Sella slipped down a narrow trail between two mountains and halted beside a sharp crevice in the rocky surface. It looked vaguely familiar. If I gazed beyond and downward, I could identify the path I was walking on that first day when I was shot by those two men. How did she know exactly where to find this spot? Had she always known about it?

I looked at her, trying to phrase the question and saw a determination in her blue eyes. I sensed what she was planning and I wanted no part of it. "No, Sella.....please no."

She put two fingers against my lips, signaling no time for argument.

"Forsham, Sella......I want to be with you. Don't send me back!"

"Shhh, Kaylee...Jesse, you must live." She kissed me deeply and desperately.

I started to cry and pound on her chest in frustration. "Don't do this to me!"

"Jesse, zee. Sella loves you. You must go, Jesse." She kissed me again, squeezing my shoulders, hugging me to her breast in a fierce embrace.

"No, I can't. I love you, Sella. Please, come with me."

"Watch, Jesse. Watch at sunrise. Sella will be there like the sun. Sella will love Jesse always. Not here, but soon." She stroked my hair and kissed my forehead. We could hear the soldiers climbing up the rocks toward us. An arrow struck Sella in the leg. We both cried out.

"Jesse," she gasped, "with hair like sunshine. Go, be strong for both."

I was pushed into the crevice as I fought to remain. Several more arrows slammed into Sella's body, but she smiled one last time, then turned to utter a blood-curdling scream and strike out with her sword at the closest attacker.

My world tumbled and whirled at a sickening rate after that. I cried and shouted and then a total darkness swallowed me.


Chapter 13 (Conclusion)

It has been several months since my visit to that other world, or dream, or whatever it was. I tried in vain to forget Sella and the love we shared. I tried to return to my job on Limnos. My co-workers greeted me when I showed up at the camp. They listened to my bizarre tale and treated me as though I'd suffered a major head wound, one that had rid me of all semblance of sanity.

At least my day pack had been right where I left it. The water bottle inside was still cold to the touch. I couldn't explain my experience, I didn't even try. My grief was all-consuming. I cried easily and lapsed into long periods of morose silence. Why had she sent me back? If it had been my choice, and only one of us could have been saved, I'd have picked her. The world needs women warriors. There can never be too many of them. Broken down archaeologists are a dime a dozen. You can find them in corner bars all across the country. I should know.

Finally, I went home to wander about my native New England countryside in a camper-topped pickup truck. The weeks dragged on. I drove from campground to RV park, never staying more than a few days in one place, often drinking myself into an exhausted stupor at night. I was a relic, a wasted, empty shell, no better than the cracked and sun-bleached flotsam that washed up along the beaches I roamed each morning.

Many times, I longed to walk right into the roiling, angry surf and let it swallow me whole, but the thought of Sella and her last words held me back. "Watch the sunrise. Sella will be there." How was that possible? She didn't exist in my world.

Dawn was breaking on another fruitless day. I crawled out of my sleeping bag, took a shower in the campground facility and dressed in wrinkled cargo shorts and tank top. The ocean breeze whipped my hair in all directions. It needed to be cut, or tied back or braided. I didn't have the energy. Mechanically, I set up the single burner stove and made coffee, then rummaged through my belongings for a doughnut or muffin, finding only a single, very ripe banana.

I spread out my blanket, tucked my bare feet under me and sipped the hot black beverage without really tasting it. A painful flashback of Sella offering me porridge with honey flooded my senses, but I shook my head to eliminate it.

A loud roaring of some sort of vehicle sounded on the road in back of me. I ignored it, preferring to wallow in my isolated misery. After peeling the banana halfway, I stuffed a bite or two into my mouth and chewed.

"Excuse me."

I jumped as a female voice intruded on my thoughts. "Jesus, you startled me!"

"Sorry, bike's tire is losing air. I wonder if there's a phone around here I could use?"

I forced myself to turn around and face the woman and her motorcycle. The sun was about to rise and I wanted to concentrate on the horizon. She was tall, dark-haired, dressed in a sleeveless leather vest and black jeans. As she approached me, she smiled, revealing luscious, full lips and even, white teeth. Her face was quite attractive, beautiful in a dangerous, exotic way. Her skin was deeply tanned and smooth. Black, wrap-around sunglasses covered her eyes. When she took the glasses off, I gasped. The most intense, blue eyes stared back at me. We sized each other up for several seconds and then she gifted me with a smile that stretched all the way to the corners of those sparkling baby blues. I hadn't seen another pair like them since.......

My heart began to flutter. What was happening here? This woman reminded me so much of Sella, they could have been related. There was an unspoken bit of chemistry working between us, too, like we'd known each other for ages, even though we just met.

"May I sit with you for a minute?"

I brushed sand off one side of the blanket. "Okay."

She stretched out her long, booted legs and gave a contented sigh.

I swallowed. "Um...I'm sorry, I missed what you said before. You're bike has a problem?"

"Yeah." She looked at me, shading her eyes from the full force of the rising sun. "The tire's going flat and I could use a phone if there's one around."

A shaft of gloriously bright sunshine enveloped us.

"Well, there's one at the campground office. I'm sure you could use it. In the meantime, would you like some coffee and half a banana?"

"Love some." She took the cup I offered her and broke off the remaining chunk of banana, licking her fingers as she chewed.

"I'm Jesse Hanson." I held out my hand.

She gripped it firmly and grinned. "Tracy Wilson."

We finished the coffee and started back to the campground office, talking easily, smiling often, the bike and its tire almost forgotten. We'd gone maybe thirty feet beyond the camp headquarters, when I halted and turned us around. "I'm not usually this absent-minded," I said, laughing.

Tracy shook her head. "Nor am I. I'm usually very focused, it's required in my line of work."

"What do you do?"

"Security mostly. Personal protection.......body guarding...that sort of stuff."

"Oh, I see."

We paused and I waited while she made the call.

"They're sending a truck out from town. It's a new tire, so I hope it can be repaired."

"You're welcome to wait in my camper until they get here."

"Thanks." Her voice dropped seductively. "I'd like that."

Tracy halted as we stepped through a patch of sunshine on our walk back to the beach. "Jesse, this is going to sound like a pickup line, but...did anyone ever tell you that your hair looks just like sunshine?"

We both smiled and time seemed to stand completely still. I could feel the warmth of our connection, a chain of loving heartbeats, crossing time and space all the way back to a small mountain cave on an island in the Northern Aegean. "As a matter of fact.......I think you're the only one."


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