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 firstname.lastname@example.org
The unimpressive autumn sun rose over the grey morning. A small detachment of a dozen soldiers from the Imperial Guard flanked the Conqueror and her family along with the Amazon Queen and her sisters. With their saddlebags sufficiently stocked with sustenance which would need to last them for the duration of the long journey ahead of them, they mounted their horses and commenced a moderate ride, so as not to exhaust the animals, due north to the Amazon enclave.
"How long before we get there?" asked the Queen just as they were leaving Corinth .
"We should be there in four or five days, provided the weather holds," the Conqueror replied.
As they were riding astride their horses, the Queen noticed her daughter's eye wandering time and time again to the bare breasts of the Amazons riding with them.
"Athena," the Queen whispered discretely to her ogling daughter.
But her daughter seemed engrossed and distracted by something far more alluring, it would seem, and didn't respond to her mother's call.
"Athena," repeated the Queen a bit louder than before.
Princess Athena sharply turned her head and seemed almost annoyed that her attention was forced away from its titillating objects.
"What?" she asked, irked.
"It is rude to stare," the Queen admonished her daughter, making sure she couldn't be heard by the party of Amazons riding with them.
"I wasn't staring," Athena vehemently rejected her mother's accusation.
The Queen gave the Princess a clear disbelieving look, which convinced her daughter there was no point asserting to the contrary.
"One simply cannot look away. The sight of breasts is so very engaging and… distracting," argued Athena in her defense.
The Queen and the Princess failed to notice two Amazons who were riding behind them, far enough but not outside of hearing range.
One of them led her horse to ride closely next to the other, close enough to whisper into her sister's ear, "Well, this golden apple didn't fall far from the Imperial tree," to which the other nodded her head in agreement as she regarded the young golden-haired Princess, censoriously.
"Observe my Lord," the Queen told her daughter and cast an admiring glance at the Conqueror, who was sturdily riding a few feet in front and to the right of them, conversing with the Amazon Queen. "My Lord maintains focus and practices self-control. Nothing distracts my Lord," the Queen said proudly.
Athena scoffed, "I venture to say focus or self-control has very little to do with it," she whispered, covering her mouth.
The Queen knew what her daughter meant. The Conqueror had eyes only for her.
By nightfall the Conqueror ordered her men to set up camp to the side of the road. Two soldiers of the Imperial Guard and two Amazons stood watch, with burning torches in one hand and drawn weapons in the other.
The Conqueror invited the Amazon Queen with the remaining three Amazons to join their bonfire. Supper was eaten in silence, save the natural sounds of a night beneath the stars.
Much to the Queen's dismay, The Amazons weren't what one would call talkative.
"Have you had occasion to seek treatment in the hospice in Thrace ?" she finally asked in the hopes that her question would ignite conversation, as she refilled her Lord's plate.
"We keep to ourselves, Majesty, and take care of our own," Antiope, one of the Amazons, was first to respond to the Queen's question.
"Our Shamaness, Smyrna heals our wounded and sick," Queen Melosa elaborated, sensing some asperity in Antiope's tone of voice.
"I should very much like to meet her and learn from her," Queen Gabrielle said enthusiastically.
"I am confident that Smyrna would be honored to share her wisdom with you, Majesty, and thrilled to borrow and benefit from your wisdom," replied the Queen as she put away her empty plate and extended her palms closer to the fire for warmth.
Queen Gabrielle turned to her Lord with a flask in her hand, "More wine, my Lord?"
"I shall take tea, my Lady," the Conqueror answered.
The Queen moved to squat over the fire. She grabbed the sooty iron pot by its wooden handle and carefully poured a steaming cup and handed it to her Lord.
"I admire your way of life from what little I've heard of it," the Queen told the Amazons when she returned to sit next to the Conqueror. "I was especially impressed by your resilience and perseverance holding your own against Caesar before he was defeated by my Lord."
"That is due to our surreptitious tactics on the battlefield, Majesty," Queen Melosa answered not without pride.
"The Amazons used Caesar's arrogance against him." the Conqueror explained to her wife , "The Amazons faked a retreat, only to turn together at the precise moment and attacked Caesar's disarrayed forces, who, seeing the retreating warrior women, had broken rank and could not provide a solid front to the advancing Amazons." The Conqueror paused and took a gulp of her tea. "A mistake I didn't make," she added soon after.
Some of the Realm's soldiers who stood by and overheard their Sovereign and Supreme Commander nodded their heads eagerly with arrogance spread upon their faces like they were so proud to serve under such brilliant Master, superior to all other leaders.
Upon seeing surprise across the Amazons' faces, aside from their Queen, the Conqueror went on to say, "A wise leader learns from his mistakes, but a wiser leader learns from those of others. I studied this battle before charging. In battle, when there is much running about and the soldiers fall into ranks, it means that the critical moment has come. When some soldiers are seen advancing and some retreating, it is a lure."
Princess Athena drank in the Conqueror's words. She knew that a day discussing warfare with the Conqueror was worth more than a lifetime spent in a military academy.
"Of course. No one wages war quite like the Lord Conqueror," Antiope commented, but the manner in which she uttered her words hinted heavily to the fact that she didn't intend it as tribute.
Queen Melosa comprehended as much. She turned to Antiope and said, "Antiope, you have disgraced both your sister-Amazons and me. Apologize to the Lord Conqueror, at once."
Antiope honored her Queen's command and apologized to the Conqueror.
"The Lord Conqueror was honorable enough to offer us an opportunity to surrender before any true bloodshed commenced. We were allowed our liberties, our own government and peace," said the Amazon Queen . "Need I remind you how Caesar's soldiers treated our younger sisters as opposed to the soldiers of the Realm?!"
Nevertheless, Antiope wasn't alone in her beliefs. At heart, between Caesar and the Lord Conqueror, most Amazons considered the latter to be, perhaps, the lesser of two evils although not by much.
"We best get some sleep," the Conqueror said after a few long moments passed in silence. "We have an early start through difficult and arduous terrain ahead of us tomorrow." The Conqueror rose to her feet.
All those around the bonfire stood as well.
"Good night, Majesties," the Amazons bowed before the Realm's Royals.
"Good night," the Royals replied.
In the privacy of their own tent, the Queen turned to the Conqueror and said, "They don't seem to like you, my Lord."
"As long as they obey me, I couldn't care less whether they like me or not," said the Conqueror as she began to disrobe.
The Queen poured some clean water into a copper bowl, then squatted before her Lord, took off her leather boots and began washing her feet.
"Is it their pride, do you reckon?" she asked, while her hands kept busy.
"They don't appreciate having any authority above that of their Queen." The Conqueror enjoyed the soft touch of her wife's soaped hands carefully massaging her feet.
The Queen washed off the thin layer of soap from her Lord's feet and dried them attentively between each toe.
"Now I'll do yours, my Lady," the Conqueror offered fondly and moved to kneel in front of her Queen and gave her the same caring treatment as she had received.
"Typically, the Amazons are an unruly bunch and they neither appreciate outsiders amongst their midst nor do they trust them," the Conqueror told her somnolent and pensively looking wife. "You look tired," she pointed out.
"I am, my Lord, and I can still feel the horse I've been riding on for the better part of the day between my thighs," the Queen chuckled.
As the Conqueror finished freshening her wife's feet, they laid themselves one next to the other atop the bedrolls. The Conqueror covered them both with a healthy coat of furs. "Press closer against me, love. It will get colder tonight." The Ruler's warm breath gently blew over the outlines of the Queen's perfectly sculpted ear.
The Queen needed no excuse to press harder against her Lord. "Your body is tense," she instantly noticed. "Nothing like when we are in Thira . "
"You have grown to know me better than I know myself," the Conqueror's alto voice played like music in the Queen's ear. "I feel most relaxed when I'm in bed in our villa at Thira when you're in my arms with nothing but the sea around us." She paused and then added, " Thira is secluded and so I worry less about your safety, my Lady."
"You worry too much, my Lord," the Queen murmured as she took the Conqueror's arm and wrapped it around her own petite frame. "It must be exhausting. Nothing will happen to me or to us," she attempted to grant her Lord a cease from the constantly present concern.
The Conqueror sniggered, "You do realize that any plight that befalls us hence forth is your fault, don't you?"
Just before she gave rest to her eyes, a thought crossed the Queen's mind that her beloved Lord had always been in the belief that one can master their own destiny.
It took the traveling party another four days before it reached the outer borders between Amazon lands and the province of Thrace .
"We have arrived," Queen Melosa stated and dismounted her mare next to a low stone-made wall that looked almost improvised. A labrys was wedged between its hyssop covered stones, marking the land as Amazon territory.
As the Conqueror dismounted her horse, she glanced skyward to the heavy cluster of foreboding silvery clouds rapidly forming above them and muttered, "And not a moment too soon. It'll rain momentarily."
Princess Athena helped her mother off her horse while the Imperial guards were nearing the border in order to secure a perimeter around their Sovereigns.
"Majesty," Queen Melosa addressed the Conqueror, "Your men…"
Both Queen Gabrielle and Princess Athena didn't understand the meaning of Queen Melosa's cryptic words and turned to look at the Conqueror.
The Conqueror held Queen Melosa's gaze intently. The ever-present tension grew ten-fold. "Halt!" she finally issued her order to her men and the soldiers stopped their advance and awaited further orders.
"You will make camp here. You are to remain here until further notice," the Conqueror ordered them. "Under no circumstances are you to enter Amazon lands. Is that clear?"
"By your will, Majesty," the highest-ranking officer affirmed his Sovereign's command.
The Conqueror seized the opportunity to educate Princess Athena and so she turned to her and advised, "A Ruler's orders must be precise, clear and simple. If a Ruler's orders are misunderstood, it is the Ruler's fault, not his soldiers'."
"What about punishments, Majesty?" Athena asked.
"If soldiers are punished before they have grown attached to you, they will not prove submissive; and, unless submissive, then they will be practically useless. If, when the soldiers have become attached to you, punishments are not enforced, they will still be useless ," the Conqueror answered.
Two Amazons took the reigns from the Realm's Royals and led the horses behind them.
"Welcome to Amazon lands," Queen Melosa proudly extended her greeting to the Royal family as they crossed the Thracian border and into Amazon territory.
"What was the meaning of this?" the Queen whispered to her Lord and gestured her head back to where the Imperial Guard detachment was left behind.
"Back when I conquered the Amazon' lands and negotiated their peaceful surrender, I gave Queen Melosa my word that soldiers of the Realm shall not set foot on Amazon grounds without her permission as long as the Amazon nation keeps the peace and complies with the Realm," the Conqueror explained to her wife as they walked side by side.
A lightning tore the skies and soon after a thunderclap's roar followed, then a gentle tapping of raindrops against reddish-yellowing leaves commenced.
As the Queen of the Realm enjoyed the small droplets hitting her face, she couldn't help but ponder at how highly unusual was the peace treaty that had been struck between the Realm and the Amazon nation.
At that moment, a few feet ahead, from between the deciduous woods six Amazons emerged.
The seasoned Amazon warrior Queen finally smiled and her face seemed to brighten up. When both parties closed the distance between them, Queen Melosa turned to the Realm's Royals. "Majesties, your Grace. May I introduce to you my daughter, Princess Terreis," she said.
"Majesties, your Grace," the young curly redheaded Amazon princess bowed before the Realm's Royal family.
"A pleasure to meet you, princess Terreis," Queen Gabrielle offered to the Amazon princess, who was but a few years older than Princess Athena. She quickly took a shine to the young Amazon, who seemed to beam with goodness and great promise.
"The pleasure is all mine, your Majesty," princess Terreis smiled a brilliant smile of youthful exuberance and delight. "I have long desired to meet with the benevolent Queen of the Realm."
"Majesty," the Amazon Queen addressed the Conqueror as she was about to present her second in command. "I trust you remember Molpadia."
"I do," the Conqueror responded dryly and dispassionately.
"She will be at your Majesty's disposal for the duration of your stay," said Queen Melosa as Molpadia bowed before the Conqueror.
It was the way in which the lovely-looking warrior Molpadia straightened back upwards, casually allowing her woolen cape to fall back behind her shoulder, exposing a bare breast, and the manner in which she looked at the Conqueror, that made Queen Gabrielle sense there had been some shared history between her Lord and the Amazon.
Molpadia all but batted her eyelashes at the Conqueror and said suggestively sans any hint of shame or impediment, "It will be a pleasure to serve under you once more, your Majesty."
As years with her Lord had trained her, Queen Gabrielle absorbed the less than subliminal insult and held her head up high and didn't downcast her gaze. Her daughter's presence only made it all the more difficult. Her mind couldn't help but wander back to the time when the Conqueror had given her the isle of Crete, and how Lady Octavia, wife of the then governor of Crete , had practically thrown herself at the Conqueror.
The Conqueror ignored Molpadia's arguably subtle advances.
An older woman, a decade older than the Conqueror, came to stand next to the Amazon princess accompanied by her young apprentice. She was dressed slightly differently from the rest of the Amazons. Her entire body was covered from head to toe with animal skins. She was not armed. A staff with a peculiar looking symbol adorned with colorful feathers was clutched in her left hand. Another symbol was painted on her forehead with a brownish looking substance.
"And this is our Shamaness, Smyrna ," continued the Amazon Queen.
"Your Majesties," greeted Shamaness Smyrna and carefully inspected the Conqueror and the Queen that stood before her with wise eyes. "The Lion and the Lioness, the Ruler and the healing Queen," she stated, "I am deeply honored."
The stoic Conqueror was suspicious of the Shamaness, who spoke of her and her mate and looked at them as though she could see into them, and so behind unrevealing countenance, she equally studied the older woman.
Queen Gabrielle was profoundly moved by the Shamaness words, which gave her an odd sensation of being truly recognized. These were much more than empty platitudes she had grown accustomed to in all her years as Queen. She immediately acknowledged her powerful urge to get better acquainted with the Amazon Shamaness. "I regard healing as a sacred duty of those who are able to practice it. Easing the suffering bodies of the sick and the wounded is a great privilege," she said.
"Not just their bodies, your Majesty, but their souls as well," replied the Shamaness.
Knowing it was about to get dark soon, the Conqueror turned to the Amazon Queen, "Queen Melosa, lead me to where your consort and your sisters where attacked. I wish to examine the area," the Conqueror suggested as the rain began to intensify and create puddles of water on the ground.
"Of course, Majesty," Queen Melosa replied, "This way," she gestured with her arm. After a short walk near the edges of the woods, the Amazon Queen stopped and showed the Conqueror where the bodies had been found.
"There were no footsteps anywhere near the bodies. Nothing was disturbed. It seemed like they dropped where they stood as the arrows hit them," the Queen said. "We even covered the ground surrounding this area. There was nothing to be found. Not a single arrow missed its target, for we found none that weren't embedded in our dead. It is the same as the attacks near the other two borders."
The Conqueror lifted up her gaze and surveyed the treetops line. She had an eerie feeling as if she was being watched. The sounds of thunders and the rain drumming against the ground and the trees, and the wind blowing through the branches, made it difficult to see or hear properly. However, her sharply attuned senses were highly alert. She surmised that whoever it was that shot the arrows was very skilled and had probably done so from a vantage point on a tree high above the ground.
"Tell me, princess Terreis, are all Amazons born into your tribe?” Queen Gabrielle eagerly asked the vivacious Amazon princess, while her Lord was analyzing the surroundings.
“Most are, Majesty. Every spring, those of us who wish it leave the tribe to mate with men in order to conceive. Female issue are then kept with the tribe and male issue are left with their fathers. After the gracious Lord Conqueror decreed all slaves were to be freed from their owners, we took it upon ourselves to adopt the very few who ventured here and made them our sisters,” the young princess told the Queen.
“That is very honorable and compassionate of you,” the Queen said. “And if you had to tell me in a nutshell about the Amazons' way of life, what would you say?"
"Ours is the way of sisterhood. We love and protect each other. We live for one another," answered the princess without a moment's hesitation.
To the Realm's Queen, the young princess seemed very warm-hearted and welcoming. She then realized that she had judged the Amazons solely by what could be seen on the surface. True, they were tough, strong and appeared a tad aloof, but there was much more to them than that. What stood at the base of their existence was mutual caring for each other. That thought led her to further wonder how she was perceived by others around her. Being Queen of the Realm, at the very top of the world placed a substantial distance, which couldn't be ignored or bridged, between her and those around her. People could only be a certain way with her because of her station. If someone thought ill of her she would have no way of knowing, because they wouldn't dare tell what they really thought of her to her face.
"Arrows! Take cover!" the Conqueror's voice blasted over the roar of the thunder and the impending storm.
Not a moment passed before the first unmarked arrow hit the ground where Queen Gabrielle stood. Mortified and out of sheer instinct, the Conqueror sprang towards her beloved and swiftly extended her arm to grab her wife and guide her to safety.
"Athena!" the befuddled Queen exclaimed in terror.
From the corner of her eye, the Conqueror saw their daughter taking cover behind a wide oak tree. Athena's warrior instincts were indeed honed to perfection.
"She's safe!" The Conqueror concisely informed her wife with an urgent tone of voice, as her grip closed around her spouse's wrist.
The Amazons were too far away from their princess to grant any help with the arrows shooting all around her. "Protect the Queen," Molpadia shouted to her sisters, who with all the frenzy obeyed immediately and grabbed their Queen, who fought against them as she was trying to get to her daughter. The Amazons along with their Queen quickly dispersed into the woods and took cover behind the tree trunks.
At the same time, before she allowed herself to be pulled away by her protective Lord, Queen Gabrielle threw a quick glance at the Amazon princess, who stood glued to her place by panic not two paces away from her. To her horror, she saw princess Terreis suddenly plummeting to the soaked ground beneath her with an arrow embedded deep into the side of her abdomen.
Without thought, Queen Gabrielle acted upon her instincts as well. She managed to forcefully tug her hand and release it from the Conqueror's grasp, grateful for the rain that made her skin wet and slippery, which enabled her to do so. She dropped into the mud, pressed her hands against the wound, attempting to stop the blood oozing from it, covered the Amazon princess with her own body, and closed her eyes shut.
As soon as she registered the absence of her Queen's hand in hers, the Conqueror abruptly spun on the axis of her heels. The sight of her Queen protecting the young Amazon with her own body, with arrows flying close by around her and landing but a hair away from her, made the Ruler's heart freeze its beatings in a chilling fright.
There was no doubt in the Conqueror's mind as to her next course of action. Instantaneously, she darted back to where her Queen lay amidst the arrows and kneeled next to her. She simultaneously caught two arrows, which were veering in midair towards her Queen's back, one in each hand. But, a third arrow, which was launched at the same time as the other two but from a different direction, pierced clean through her left bicep and the side of her light armor till its sharp metal head lodged itself between her ribs.
The injured Conqueror laid her bleeding body over her Queen, shielding her from harm. As she placed her cheek over her Queen's, she saw that her Queen's eyes were tightly shut as if preparing her body to be pierced. "I'm here now. You're safe," the Conqueror whispered calming words into her wife's ear, as she saw two streams of blood tainting the puddles beneath them. She hoped none originated from her Queen. She was thankful, though, for her extraordinary abilities that enabled her to protect her love, and for the rain for effectively masking her tears.
Beneath the Conqueror, the Queen suddenly began to tremble, not out of fear for her own life or for the life she was protecting, but for the life of her lover.
A few moments passed and it was quiet again. There were no further soft sounds of arrows cutting through the autumn's air, nothing but the sounds of nature's tremulous mood could be heard. The vicious attack was finally over.
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