DISCLAIMER : The characters of Xena and Gabrielle and some others belong in their entirety to Universal/MCA, Renaissance Pictures, and all the other powers that be. No copyright infringement is intended. I wrote this story at the urging of my muse; it should never be used for profit.
This story is a sequel to the story “Lord Conqueror of the Realm”. I strongly recommend you read it first because in this story there are references to events which took place in “Lord Conqueror of the Realm.” Here is where you can find it:
LOVE/SEX WARNING/DISCLAIMER : This story involves both love and sex (at times some rough/raw play with very mild BDSM elements – all consensual - nothing severe) between two adult women. If you’re under 18 or if this type of story is illegal in the state or country in which you live, please do not read it.
SPECIAL THANKS : My humble most ardent gratitude to the excellent, most brilliant Beta reader Nancyjean whom I can't thank enough.
Comments, thoughts, questions & feedback : MOST WELCOMED – The more you write me, the quicker I post – I mean it!
Queen of the Realm
Written by WarriorJudge
The morning after the Conqueror's and the Queen's return from Thira, when the summer ended and autumn was fast approaching, a most unexpected guest arrived at the palace in Corinth, requesting an audience with them. After serving breakfast in the Imperial chambers, the Queen's ladies in waiting left the Royals to their own devices.
The Conqueror sliced open a ripe and juicy pomegranate and offered it to her wife.
The Queen reached over the table and took the offered fruit. "Do you intend on keeping me in the dark, my Lord, or are you going to disclose the identity of our guest soon?" She asked and licked the blood-red nectar from her lips, which accentuated their natural color.
The Conqueror leaned back against her chair and marveled at the sensual sight of her Queen gluttonously consuming the fruit's succulent seeds.
"How urgently do you wish to know, my Lady?" The Conqueror laid down her knife and folded her arms over her chest. A mischievous glint was evident in her eyes.
"Within reason, my Lord," the Queen applied her negotiation skills with a sealed face. She leaned back against her chair and folded her arms over her chest, mirroring her Lord's pose.
"And just what is the measure of reason, my Lady?” The Conqueror inquired, thoroughly enjoying the battle of minds.
Inwardly, the Queen contemplated the pending question, and when she formed a satisfactory answer, she curbed a smile and replied earnestly, "I am willing to part with seven hundred Dinars in exchange, my Lord. The province of Crete under my government is doing ever so well."
The significance of the sum stipulated by the Queen wasn't lost on the Conqueror. It was the exact and total sum she had paid the slaver when she had purchased Gabrielle to service her as a body slave many years ago.
"Seven hundred Dinars…" the Conqueror feigned genuine consideration and rubbed her strong jaw with her forefinger. She would grant a retort designed to provoke the Queen as retribution for teasing her about their ill-conceived past. "A tad miniscule, isn't it?"
Her Lord's tantalizing words played the Queen's humor but outwardly she remained cool. "Oh, I don't know, my Lord. If memory serves, you seemed to think that the suggested sum was a too steep a price to pay for me."
The Conqueror arrested a smirk at the Queen's razz and quickly replied, "I have no need for monetary gain, my Lady," then suggested offhand, "Perhaps a swift assignation in our bed before the meeting?"
"For a bit of information I would inevitably discover in just a short while!? I say, you think very little of my favors, my Lord," the Queen protested and a faint smile revealed the first chink in her armor.
The Conqueror could taste her victory. "A kiss, then."
The Queen weighed the offer on the table. It was all she could do not to leap over it and smother the tormenting Lord with kisses.
"Agreed," she finally stated.
The Conqueror unfolded her arms and let them drop to the sides of her body, mindlessly preparing herself to collect the agreed upon price. "You drive a hard bargain, my Lady," she concluded.
"I've learnt from the best, my Lord." The Queen rose to her feet, slowly moved from around the table between them, and steadily paced towards her Lord. Facing the seated Conqueror, she lifted up her dress, straddled her, feeling the Conqueror’s familiar bulge against her loins. With a determined touch of her hand against her Lord's jaw, the Queen pried it open. She leaned down and inserted a probing hot tongue to dance passionately inside the Conqueror's warm mouth. Leaving her Lord feeble and panting, the Queen triumphantly lifted herself off her and casually said; "It is now your turn, my Lord. We are expected downstairs."
It took the Conqueror, who had never been the victim of such ardent assertiveness, a few moments to recover from her Queen's dazzling kiss. "Right," she muttered once consolidation of mind was restored, "Our guest is Melosa, Queen of the Amazons."
"Queen of the Amazons," exclaimed the Queen of the Realm, "How exciting. I've heard of them and have always harbored a desire to meet with them."
"Have you, now?" the Conqueror raised an ebony eyebrow, and pursed her lips. She turned away from the Queen and walked over to her desk.
"Their way of life is quite intriguing, don't you think?"
"I do, my Lady." The Sovereign put her crown on top of her head.
"Have you any idea as to the reason for this visit, my Lord?" the Queen asked and covered the distance between herself and her Lord.
The Conqueror took the Queen's crown in both hands and gently placed it atop her Queen's head. "None," she replied.
"Scarce is known about them," the Queen pointed out, concerned that she might not be sufficiently prepared for the meeting.
"They reside in a forested enclave between three of the Realm's provinces: Macedonia, Moesia and Thrace," the Conqueror explained.
"They never sent a representative to our wedding or to the banquet in honor of our daughter's birth," the Queen recalled.
"Theirs is a reclusive culture, which I respect," the Conqueror replied and offered her arm to the Queen.
As the Royal couple made their way to the Great Hall, the Queen went on to inquire, "Are they under our reign?"
"Of course they are. Many years ago, before I conquered Macedonia, Moesia and Thrace, the Amazon nation suffered greatly at the hands of the Romans, who had attacked their lands regularly. After I conquered these three providences, the Amazon nation was taken under my rule. They pay taxes to the Realm like all provinces and in return they enjoy my protection and the peace which I provide."
"May I ask, my Lord, how is it that the Amazons are being governed by a queen of their own rather than a governor of the Realm's nobility?"
"A clever question, my Lady." The Conqueror complimented then answered, "I value their unique traditions."
The Conqueror's answer surprised the Queen, but the Conqueror's words that followed put a rapid end to the surprise, "I also thought that the Amazons would be more amiable to my will if their own queen were to rule them, rather than my own appointed governor."
As they walked together side by side, the Queen was bothered by the gnawing feeling that there was more to it than the Conqueror led on.
"You have come into your own power, my Lady," the Conqueror acknowledged with a private whisper.
"I hope you welcome it, my Lord," the Queen replied and gazed up to look at her Lord's unrevealing profile.
A few moments passed before the Conqueror returned the exact same words that the Queen had said to her at the breakfast table, "Within reason, my Lady."
When they've reached the Great Hall, Princess Athena joined them.
Once the Royals took their seats at their thrones, the ceremony master announced the arrival of Queen Melosa of the Amazons. The doors were flung open, and the Conqueror's advisors, military commanders and secretaries who attended the forum, even the guards, sharply turned their heads to the entrance in anticipation, riveted. Amazons made a rare sight.
A woman with colorful fillets in her dark hair, about the Conqueror's age, confidently strode into the Great Hall, accompanied by five women who strode behind her. She was dressed in a short thin tunic with one breast bare, woolen trousers, a cloak and ankle-high fur topped boots of untanned hide and with upturned toe. A labrys was tucked in her leather belt.
The way that the Amazons were dressed, the manner in which they carried themselves, the fact that they were armed, all captivated Queen Gabrielle and left a profound impression on her. They seemed proud, brave and independent in her eyes. They struck her as women who master their own fate. She had never before seen such women, aside from her Lord and her daughter. She didn't recall ever seeing women warriors in the Realm's military forces. Knowing her Lord, she was positive that it wasn't for lack of equal opportunities but that women abiding by society's customs and demands simply didn't enlist. In that regard the Amazons piqued her interest as well.
"Queen Melosa," the Conqueror addressed the Amazon Queen.
"Your Majesty," the Amazon Queen bowed before the Conqueror, as did her entourage.
The Conqueror rose to her feet and stepped down from her throne as a sign of exceptional respect.
"I introduce to you - my family," the Conqueror arced her hand widely at the direction of her wife and daughter, still seated on their thrones, then added, "My pride."
The double meaning of the word 'pride,' which the Conqueror had chosen to use in reference to her family, didn't elude Queen Gabrielle as she carefully studied the group of women that stood before her, mesmerized.
The Amazon Queen bowed before the Queen of the Realm, "Your Majesty," then bowed before Princess Athena.
Queen Gabrielle and Princess Athena imitated the Conqueror's gesture of respect, rose up and walked to stand to each side of the Conqueror.
"Queen Melosa," Queen Gabrielle addressed the Amazon, "It is a great honor to welcome you to Corinth."
"The honor is mine, your Majesty. Your beauty, wisdom and grace precede you," Queen Melosa returned the honor.
Queen Gabrielle regarded the seasoned Amazon leader, "Thank you, Queen Melosa."
"What can we do for you, Queen Melosa?" the Conqueror asked.
Queen Gabrielle thought she noticed a mild tension between her Lord and the Amazon Queen, and couldn't help but wonder as to its cause.
"The edges of our hunting grounds surrounding our lands aren't safe anymore," declared the Amazon Queen.
"In what way?" the Conqueror inquired.
"In the past moon, eight of our sisters have been killed by unmarked arrows. One of them was my second in command and consort, Hippolyta." Upon mentioning her consort's name, the Amazon Queen's voice quavered.
"My sincere condolences, Queen Melosa," the Conqueror offered.
The sturdy Queen quickly composed herself. "Thank you, your Majesty."
"Marauders?" the Conqueror suggested.
"As your Majesty knows, we pay our taxes in hides and wood to the Realm via the governor of Thrace. Had it been marauders, the optimal timing for a raid would have been then. However, the attacks took place during routine functions and nothing was taken, your Majesty," replied the Amazon Queen.
"Were all your sisters killed near your boarder with Thrace?"
"No, your Majesty, only three. Two others were killed near our border with Moesia and three others near Macedonia."
The Conqueror clasped her hands behind her back. "What do you suspect?"
"With all due respect, your Majesty, perhaps one or all of the provinces surrounding our lands wish to encroach on our fertile territory and expel our nation from its lands. After all, it is a man's world, right?" claimed the Amazon Queen.
"Wrong. It is my world, and in my world the governors under my rule ought to do as I command. These are serious allegations." It was clear that the Conqueror did not appreciate Queen Melosa's allegation.
"Forgive me, your Majesty, but someone out there is slaying my sisters and I don't know who or how to protect my sisters. There is tension near our boarders, and the situation is tenuous at best. I dread escalation and further bloodshed."
"Very well. You are all welcome to dine, wash yourselves and rest from your long journey. We shall reconvene here at midday, by which time I shall render my decision," the Conqueror concluded.
"Thank you, your Majesty." The Queen of the Amazons bowed before the Realm's Sovereign, and accompanied by her entourage, all vacated the Great Hall.
"Leave us," the Conqueror ordered all present in the Great Hall.
When the Conqueror remained alone with the Queen and their daughter, she seated herself heavily upon her throne, deep in thought. Queen Gabrielle and Princess Athena waited silently for her words.
"It is a conundrum," the Conqueror finally let out, still pondering, as if she was talking to herself. "Who stands to gain the most should such conflict escalate?" The Conqueror's mind was reeling, but viable answers escaped her.
Queen Gabrielle was troubled as well, for it was her sister the Lady Lila who governed the province of Macedonia, which boarded with the Amazons' forests. She was almost too timid to raise the issue with her Lord, though she was convinced that her Lord had already considered the matter.
"You don't suppose, my Lord, that Lila has a hand in it, do you?" Queen Gabrielle finally presented the question, not without a grain of concern.
It seemed like the very mention of Lila's name rattled the Conqueror. "I haven't forgiven her, her slight against you, and if it weren't for her kinship to you, my Lady, she would have been stripped of her position along with her family, if not worse."
It had been Lady Lila who had disclosed the fact that Queen Gabrielle had been the Conqueror's body slave to her youngest son. He later repeated that unpleasant truth to Princess Athena, who up until that point had been unaware of her parents' dismal past.
The Queen approached her Lord's throne and stood in front of her. "I know, my Lord, and I thank you for respecting my wish to withhold retribution," she said.
"Your sister, my Lady, is resentful and vindictive. I have no doubt in my mind that she envies you still." The Conqueror regarded her beloved Queen, who stood before her, and frowned.
"She has since come to understand her misdeed and atoned for it, my Lord. Lila no longer bears any ill-feelings towards me, I assure you." The Queen sounded convinced enough.
Not so the Conqueror, though."You have the most extraordinary capacity to be blind to your loved ones' shortcomings and improprieties, my Lady," she said with an unreadable tone of voice.
The Queen was uncertain as to whether her Lord's words were meant to sing her praises or scold her for lack thereof.
Princess Athena, who momentarily believed that her presence was all but forgotten by her parents, was fascinated by the rare occasion of watching them conducting what seemed to be a private conversation.
"Nevertheless," the Conqueror continued, "Your sister doesn't strike me as one to have the necessary stoutheartedness to commit such violent acts or order such violent acts be committed. Agrippa, her husband, is governed by her and is a poor hunter. He lacks the grit to take the life of an animal, let alone the lives of fierce women," she surmised.
Inwardly, the Queen sighed in relief, but it was short lived upon hearing her Lord's next words.
"I'm not equally sure the same applies to their sons, though," the Conqueror stated considerately.
"What do you intend to do, my Lord?" the Queen asked, not entirely untroubled.
A few long moments passed in silence before the Conqueror granted her answer. "Athena and I shall leave Corinth and head to the Amazons' forests at midday. It ought to be quite a learning experience for her," the Conqueror decided and averted her gaze to her daughter.
The Queen's heart churned in her chest when her Lord excluded her from joining the journey to the Amazons' lands. "May I join you as well, my Lord?"
"It might not be safe for you, my Lady," the Conqueror explained her decision.
"I am safe the most in your presence, my Lord," the Queen argued. "Please," she then said with pleading eyes.
The Conqueror bore a suspecting glare into her Queen then slowly smiled half a smile. "I wonder," she said thoughtfully and covered her jaw with her fingers as her elbow rested against her throne's arm, "if your desire to join me has more to do with you not wishing to part with me, or your wish to study the Amazons more closely?"
With a wily smile, the Queen slowly and deliberately perched herself atop the Conqueror's lap and held her gaze. "Athena," she called out to her daughter, never breaking eye contact with her Lord, "Excuse us, and on your way out, please inform the ceremony master at the doors we are not to be disturbed. Your Sire and I wish to be alone."
Athena scoffed and rolled her eyes back in her head. "Honestly!" she breathed. "As if you haven't just gotten back from Thira!" she scolded them for what she considered her parents' unbridled and even adolescent behavior, but secretly, as most children one could imagine, she felt joyous and secure to see unadulterated affection blossom between her parents.
As she reached the entrance, Athena heard the Conqueror lightheartedly complaining to her Queen, "Your daughter is an ill-mannered brat, my Lady."
To which the Queen responded matter-of-factly:
"You are as much responsible as I am for our daughter's upbringing, my Lord."
Then there were no more words.
Come midday, the Amazon delegation headed by their Queen returned to the Great Hall after enjoying the Realm's hospitality.
"Queen Melosa, I will tolerate neither murderous acts being committed against the Amazon nation and its Queen consort nor any attempts to disturb or disrupt order and peace in the Realm. Further investigation into this matter is warranted, and given the gravity of the situation I shall handle this matter personally. Her Majesty the Queen and her Grace will join me."
"Thank you for honoring us, Majesties," Queen Melosa bowed respectfully.
"Very good. We shall head to the Amazon's lands tomorrow at first light. In the meantime, you are all welcome to stay as our guests at the palace," the Conqueror adjourned the meeting.
In light of the Queen's desire to join them to the Amazons' lands, a regent had to be appointed to handle the Realm's affairs during their absence, and so soon after the meeting had ended, the Conqueror summoned her governor to Athens to the Corinthian palace. Just after dark, he appeared before her.
The respectable, silver-haired Nobleman Timaeus met with the Conqueror in her study. The soft, warm firelight emanating from the burning torches around the chamber walls made him appear younger than his years. He had fought alongside the Conqueror in the battle for Athens, in which he had sustained a severe injury to his left leg, which had rendered him limping to this day. He had been one of the very first to support the young deliverer, the redoubtable warrior from Amphipolis. In return for his support and loyalty, the Conqueror had appointed him governor to Athens ever since it had been conquered by her. In years when the Realm had no Queen, whenever the Conqueror had been absent from her throne, whenever her presence had been required elsewhere, it had been the trustworthy Nobleman Timaeus who had managed the Realm in her stead.
Once matters of the Realm were thoroughly discussed and set aside, the Conqueror invited Nobleman Timaeus to join her for a drink by the burning hearth.
The Sovereign leaned over the small wooden table between them and poured spirits into both their goblets.
"Thank you, Majesty,” the old nobleman said and took the goblet into his hand.
“You’re welcome, Nobleman,” the Conqueror replied.
“I was hoping to meet her Majesty the Queen,” he said sincerely and regarded the Conqueror, who emptied her goblet and poured herself a second drink.
“I’m afraid her Majesty has already retired for the night. A long journey awaits her tomorrow.” The Conqueror leaned back into the armchair and leisurely twirled the drink in her hand, observing the whirlpool she created in her chalice.
“Of course, Majesty. My mouth still waters whenever I think about her stock. Do you remember, Majesty, last year when we went hunting together?”
The Conqueror laughed.
“Her Majesty refused to surrender her recipe to my cook,” he joined the Conqueror in laughter. “She persisted that if I wished to enjoy her stock I must invite your Majesties for hunting more often, and was very adamant about it.”
The Conqueror brushed her fingers through her ebony long hair. “You mustn’t take it to heart. It means that her Majesty is quite fond of you. Besides, she wouldn’t let our own cook have it for the same reason.”
The Nobleman’s laughter intensified and he began to choke and wheeze. The Conqueror poured him a second drink as well and put the goblet in his hand, then reached over the table between them and tapped upon his back, till he calmed. When the merriment subsided, it became quiet again save for the crackling sounds of the fire.
“If you’ll allow me, Majesty… On a personal note…” He downed the spirits, which soothed his sore throat, preparing himself courage-wise for what he wished to say to his Sovereign.
The Conqueror averted her eyes from the hypnotizing fire and fixed it on the Nobleman. “You are free to speak you mind, Timaeus,” she said and laid down her drink.
“Back at the meeting…” he began, “the one where your Majesty decided to marry the Queen,” he sounded hesitant.
“I remember,” the Conqueror confirmed with something stern in her tone.
“Back then, I admit, my opinion was one with my fellow noblemen. I was in the belief that the late Princess Lao-Ling was a better match for your Majesty, and a greater contribution to the Realm, but I have since come to realize that your Majesty was right and I was wrong.” The nobleman paused, as if waiting to study his Master’s reaction to his latest statement before proceeding.
But the Conqueror’s face remained sealed and gave nothing away. “How so?” she simply asked as the hearth’s flames flickered in her eyes.
"Her Majesty has proven to be compassionate and gracious towards your Majesties' subjects. In building the hospices and academies throughout the Realm, her Majesty has bettered the lives of the commoners to no small extant, and in doing so, the commoners not only bear awe and admiration towards you, Majesty, but genuine adoration. And if you’ll forgive me, your Majesty, if I’m overstepping my bounds…” he said carefully, and assessed his Sovereign's countenance intently for the slightest of shifts.
The Conqueror waved her hand at him, spurring him to continue.
"Her presence in your Majesty's life appears to have made your Majesty seem…" the Nobleman paused as if trying to pick out the best words possible, "less angry," he finally let out.
The Conqueror returned her gaze back to the fire, while the Nobleman waited anxiously for her response, wondering if he had made a major error in speaking his mind.
The Conqueror balled her hand on which she wore her seal ring into a fist. "Let us hope others don't share your view," she muttered eventually.
A few more moments passed between them in silence. When the Nobleman stretched out his legs in front of the fire, he grimaced in agony. “These old bones!” he blasted.
“Time stops for no one, old sport,” the Conqueror said, then added ponderingly, “Not even for the Conqueror of the Realm.”
The Nobleman chuckled and cleared his throat, “Your Majesty is young still.”
“Of the entire Realm’s nobility’s lies, yours I like best,” the Conqueror said and smiled kindly.
"Grey has yet to invade your Majesty's mane and not a wrinkle is evident upon you. Time fears the great Conqueror," he said.
The Conqueror rose to her feet. "Lady Satrina will show you to your quarters for the duration of your stay in Corinth, Nobleman."
"Is Karpa no longer your Majesty's steward?" the Nobleman asked with a tad of surprise.
"Old Karpa passed away five moons ago. He served me well till his last day on this earth. I appointed Lady Satrina as steward of my household," the Conqueror replied.
The Nobleman stood up not without difficulty, "Poor dear old Karpa," the Nobleman mumbled and shook his head as he felt death biting at his heels.
“Extend my apology to your dear wife for depriving her of your presence in her bed," the Sovereign offered.
"Unfortunately, Majesty, at my age I have no more use in my wife's bed. Please extend the same apology to her Majesty."
The Conqueror slightly nodded her head in approval.
"May I ask, your Majesty, when should I expect your return from the Amazons’ lands?"
"Not before a fortnight and no longer than a moon, Nobleman. I shan't be detained long," the Conqueror informed him.
"Very good," he grunted when he shifted his weight from one leg to the other. "As always, I am honored by the great trust your Majesty places in me and I shall devote my entire industry to perform my duties to the best of my abilities."
The Conqueror gestured her thanks with another nod of her head. "What are your thoughts regarding these recent events near the Amazons’ borders?"
"I wouldn't hazard to guess, Majesty. That is why your Majesty is the Lord Conqueror of the Realm and I am but your Majesty's humble servant," he adulated and chuckled with a low tone of voice.
The Conqueror received his latest remark in good humor. "Good night, Nobleman," she bade him before joining her wife in the Imperial chambers.
As she furthered away from him, he bowed before his admired Sovereign as deeply as he could to the point of suffering pain on account of his aged and tired back. "Good night, Majesty," he responded.