WARNING: This story is respectful, clean and reverent, but does mention non-christian ceremony. If Ellen Craswell becomes Governor of WA, this story well could be illegal.
GABRIELLE'S LITTLE SECRET
copyright 1996 except for characters owned by Universal and Renaissance
Gabrielle shook her head. She knew how stubborn Xena was, but her oracle sense was acting up. She had to at least try.
"Hmm?" Xena was adjusting the saddle on the wildest looking horse Gabrielle had ever seen It glared at her with murder in its eyes and Gabrielle backed up a step, then another.
"Do you think this is such a great idea?"
"Gabrielle, I've ridden my whole life. What's one more unbroken horse? Besides, I want to win this bet so we can free that slave girl."
"Why not just bang everybody's heads together, like we usually do? You *want* to do this, don't you?"
Gabrielle looked around the camp at the warlord's soldiers. She honestly didn't even remember his name--just another warlord. But he had challenged Xena and she wouldn't back down.
He was over there by that big tree, sitting on cushions and drinking wine in the shade. the hairy fellow was big and tall and lazy. Gabrielle wondered why anyone would even follow him.
The slave girl whose freedom rested on this ride poured him some more wine. Her hand shook just a little. She was slender and red haired, a typical Macedonian.
Xena took the reins. Four burly soldiers held the horse down while she mounted, then let go. The horse stood perfectly still for a breath, then kicked its back hooves into the air. Xena hung on, her legs and heels hugging the wildly bucking body. Twisting and turning while bucking, the horse tried everything to throw Xena off. She still hung on.
Then the horse tried a new tactic. He ran full speed toward the tree the warlord was sitting under. He got up and ran, the slave girl at his heels. The horse scraped Xena off with a low hanging branch. She still hung on by the reins and one leg. Then, with a final buck, Xena flew through the air and landed. The soldiers and Warlord all laughed. Xena lay still. She was pale. Gabrielle knew she was breathing, but something was wrong. She ran to Xena's side. Blood flowed from her scalp.
Gabrielle felt with her fingers. Nothing seemed to be broken. She tested Xena's neck and then her shoulders. The right shoulder had broken, and Gabrielle didn't know how to set it.
"Oh Gods, let somebody know what they are doing!", she said.
The slave girl came near, kneeling by Xena.
"My mother was a healer. Let me help."
And she expertly set Xena's shoulder, then checked the rest of her body, even looking into her eyes.
"She's got what Mother used to call a bruised brain inside her head. She probably will be fine, but people have been known to die from these."
Her words sent a shock wave through Gabrielle.
"Die. No. I won't allow it."
Then she turned on the Warlord.
"You! This was your idea. If she dies I will make it a personal priority to haunt your dreams for the rest of your miserable life, and believe me, I know how to do it. Give me a place to take care of her and stay out of my way."
Her voice was three voices simultaneously and the Warlord's knees smote together. He had never seen Gabriele in her full power. Nobody had.
"Who is this woman?", he thought. Is she a Goddess is disguise?"
He snapped his fingers and his lieutenant appeared.
"Prepare quarters for Xena and this woman, then place two guards outside and let no one disturb them."
"Yes, Philemon." And he ran off to prepare quarters.
Philemon stood, looking at Gabrielle. She wasn't the same insignificant little girl who had walked into his camp with Xena. What was different?
She was at least four inches taller. Her eyes burned with green fire and she *shined*, especially around her hands. He just barely stopped himself from bowing to her. His soldiers were nervous around her too.
It seemed like hours to Pilemon before a tent was cleared. He had Xena moved in on a stretcher. Xena, the woman he would most befit by killing. But he didn't cross Goddesses. They had a mean streak.
In about two minutes after the tent flap closed behind Xena, the slave girl and the Goddess(?), a chant began. It rubbed on his nerves like a dull knife cutting through rope. And it went on and on. He covered his ears, then left the camp to get away from it.
Gabrielle was chanting from the very center of her being. The chant filled the tent and the tent was the universe. The slave girl took up the chant and kept it up. Gabrielle laid down with one hand on a tree branch she had cut and shaped into the rough outline of a hobby horse. She put her other hand over Xena's solar plexus. She could feel the weak vibrations mingled with warmth from Xena's body. She sent healing energy throughout her hands, closed her eyes and journeyed.
The Upper World--the same bright colors that hurt the eyes. Butterflys flew. Gabrielle took the tree branch and mounted it like a horse. They rode fast and furious to a land with stumps, nothing but stumps--all clear cut so that not one blade of grass remained. She searched the area and found a wooden box. She opened it and Xena came out. Gabrielle placed Xena in front of her on the hobby horse and rode like lightning toward the earth, like a thunderbolt into the tent--crashing into herself and Xena and lying very still.
After catching her breath, Gabrielle sat up and blew into Xena's heart, then she gently sat her up and blew into the crown of her head. She laid Xena down again and passed out.
Demeter was standing before her. Gabrielle knelt down.
"Greetings Great Mother."
"Am I still in trouble? I've been trying to make things up to you, you know. I've protected the crops and..."
"You knew you did wrong when you destroyed my shrine. I punished you. But what you did today shows that you are comming into your power. Humans will never understand you. I cannot take you to Olympus, for the blood of the Gods flows too weakly in your veins. Your mother was my daughter. You are like her, while your sister is fully human, and very like her father.
You must be careful, Gabrielle, to use your power for good. I have seen into your heart, and it is pure, but your thought are not always. It is not for you to extract punishment. You are on earth to heal, and to help Xena, for she, although human, is our chosen hero. And, yes, you must still protect the crops, for with power comes responiblity. Things will go easily for you today, but not everyone will recognise who they are dealing with. Farewell, little one."
And Demeter disappeared.
Gabrielle sat and thought about how much responsibilty she had on her young shoulders. She had to make up for the evil of her father's house, to guard her own actions, and to help those who needed her. It was a good thing she was the granddaughter of a Godess. She was tempted to tell Xena sometime, but knew that it was entirely out of the question. Then she opened her eyes and looked into Xena's blue ones.
Xena was propped up on one elbow, smiling at her.
"Ya know, it's kinda handy having a shaman for a best friend."
"Especially when you keep taking chances. You lost the bet, by the way."
Xena frowned, looking at the slave girl.
"I know. I'm sorry Tasceaie. I did try."
"I know you did. I'm resigned to my fate, but thanks for trying."
Xena stood up, only slightly wobbly on her feet. Gabrielle stood too, even though she was exhausted. They hugged, then walked out of the tent.
Philemon had returned just in time to almost pass out when he saw Xena. He looked wildly at Gabrielle--afraid. His mouth was dry.
"I owe you something, Philemon.", said Xena, and she dug in Argo's saddlebag, taking out a fancy, gold wire affair that looked like a butterfly. She handed it to Philemon. He turned it over in his hand.
"The emblem of your rank."
"Former rank. I'm not using it and never will again."
Philemon turned it over and over in his hand, nervously looking at Gabrielle. Finally he knelt before her.
"Neither will I ever use it. I'm disbanding my army and going home. You can have the girl." Then he handed the emblem to Gabrielle. She gently put her hand on his shoulder.
"If you do this of your own free will, I am proud of you."
And he walked off to do as he said. Xena cocked an eyebrow at Gabrielle.
"What have you been telling him, Gabrielle? He acts like you're some kind of Godess."
Gabrielle tossed Xena her emblem. She caught it in one hand and returned it to the saddlebag. As Philemon disbanded his army, Xena told Tasceaie the good news. And she immediatly headed for home before anyone changed their minds. Xena and Gabrielle walked off into the sunset, arm in arm.
"Are you going to tell me what kind of wild story had this kind of effect?"
"I thought I'd keep you in suspence."
Xena laughed. "Oh, you'll tell me sooner or later, you always do." And Gabrielle smiled to herself.
This story is dedicated to Lucy Lawless. May she heal quickly and perfectly, and know how much we all love her. Anya Dot Tethl(respect for kindred) simahoyo ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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