Disclaimers: I donít own them. MCA Universal and whoever else does.
This story is alternative meaning woman with woman action with an R rating for implied sex; violence and language.
This is the sequel to Resurrection; Tension and Release.  I would strongly suggest you read those first before reading this as there are some references to those stories.

My thanks to my partner Lou Ann who is my inspiration; my friend Kim who encouraged me to do this and to the cast and crew of Xena Warrior Princess especially Lucy and Renee.
Thank you for reading any comments or questions can be sent to
Xena-17@Juno.Com flames will be ignored.

The snow is falling lightly but the winds and the cold suggest a snowstorm is moving its way in. Itís another moon or a little more until spring. Weíve come a long way in three months. Weíre both extremely happy and have a lot to look forward too. Once the snow is gone and the weather starts warming up weíll be heading to the Amazons to help them out. We havenít heard from Varia and Eve in a little over two weeks but I sent a message yesterday. With all this snow and cold maybe they canít get a messenger out. I hope thatís it. I hope nothingís happened.
Weíll have a few new additions in a few weeks and weíve already talked about maybe getting a dog on the farm to help with the herding and watching the sheep.
Xenaís so much more relaxed now; so open and less intense. I see it in her eyes and I see it in her body language. I know she loves me deeply, Iíve always known and Iím ingrained in her soul just like she is mine, but since Jappa and Olympus and our time apart she takes more time out during the day just to be with me. And itís the little things that make me fall in love with her all over again. Sheís a wonderful partner; lover; friend and companion. She makes every moment special and even though Iím her equal in everything it still feels so good to be held in her arms to be held safe and secure.

Xena (walking out wearing only a short black robe): You alright?
Gabrielle (looking out the window and then at her lover): Yes. What are you doing up?
Xena (leaning down and picking her up then sitting with Gabrielle straddling her lap): Got lonely so I came out here to look for you (kissing up and down Gabrielleís neck and pulling her tighter to her body.)

Gabrielle (moaning and tangling her fingers in dark locks; even though Xena was almost 40 she had no touch of snow in her hair and she was more beautiful then the first day she laid eyes on her): You miss me (arching into the gentle but sure hands touching her sensually?)
Xena (standing with her in her arms): Yes for more than one reason (walking to their bedroom) but itís not just the physical (laying Gabrielle down and straddling her hips) itís the connection and the love I feel (almost falling forward as Gabrielle kissed her softly licking and nipping her bottom lip.)
Gabrielle (reaching up to run her hands across Xenaís chest): I know and I feel it too. Xena uh um (pushing her hips up to meet Xenaís hand.)
Xena (smirking): Relax love let me take care of you (reaching down and untying her robe.)
Gabrielle (taking advantage of Xena untying her robe and pushing Xena over on her back): No this time Iím in charge.

Xena (moaning as her hands were held at her sides): Oh Goddess (this was one of the many things she loved about her partner. No one had ever taken control for her own benefit and pleasure and Xena understood why. Gabrielle loved her completely and unconditionally that was what made all the difference with them.)

Gabrielle (smiling pleased that Xena was going to behave for the moment): Good you know I would never hurt you or allow anyone to hurt you my love (pinching Xenaís nipple between her thumb and forefinger) well except you did teach me (leaning down and licking the erect nipple and squeezing the other) the fine line between pleasure and pain (squeezing both breasts in her hands.) When Iím done with you, you can do whatever you want to me but for now (reaching between their bodies and touching Xenaís core feeling the wet heat and smirked wickedly.) Let me show you how much I love you.

Xena groaned as the love of her life took control of her body teasing and caressing. This was pure torture and she vaguely wondered if one day Gabrielle was going to kill her. Arching into the erotic touch and pleasure of her lover yep one day she was gonna kill her but oh dam what a way to go as she was teased to her limit. Xena whimpered as she lay back and stared up at the ceiling, bracing herself for what she had no doubts would be an extremely thorough ravishing. She was about to become the most satiated woman in the known world judging by the hungry lustful look in her partnerís eyes.
Xena lay in bed holding her soul mate against her chest. She loved these moments just cuddling and being with her partner. Imagine that the former Destroyer of Nations cuddling to a small blonde beauty. But she knew and understood why. Gabrielle had touched something inside her heart and soul and help eased the pain of so many years of torment and anger. She listened to the wind outside and the trees and then heard something else. She couldnít place it not yet anyway, looking at the light coming through the shutters she knew they didnít have much daylight left and whatever was out there was near the barn. Dam what would be this foolish to be out in this weather.
Gabrielle (stirring at the feeling of her partner tense): Mmm babyÖ
Xena (softly inhaling the sweet of her lover): Somethingís outside near the barn. Iím going to check it out.
Gabrielle (leaning over and kissing her soundly): Iíll go with you.

Xena (kissing her softly): No need for us both to get cold. Besides I canÖ

Gabrielle (pressing her fingers to Xenaís lips): No Iím going with you (sitting up and giving Xena a gorgeous view of her ass while she grabbed her thick winter pants and one of Xenaís sweaters.) Well come on Warrior Princess you going to lay there with your hand between your thighs all day or are you going to come outside and find out whatís out there so we can go back to bed and I can put my hand down there for you(smirking and walking out of their bedroom leaving Xena with her mouth hanging open.)

Xena (mumbling): Sheís going to kill me. (Grabbing her clothes and putting them on she walked into the sitting room and found Gabrielle holding both of their short swords and one of their lanterns.) Did I ever tell you that youíre a little vixen?
Gabrielle (smiling her nose wrinkling): Yep you did but you love me. Come on gorgeous letís go play in the snow.

Xena (growling playfully): Just you wait love. Just you wait (slapping Gabrielle on the ass and following her outside.)
They both took a deep breath the cold settling in their lungs and they stood their listening to the wind and the blowing snow. They heard something moving near the barn and Xena using hands signals suggesting they go slow. Weapons drawn they slowly made their way to the side of the barn. Their by the doors was a cloaked figure leaning on a horse.
Xena raised her hand and ticked off three fingers then with years of practice and being together they rushed the figure. Xena bringing the figure down on the ground and pinning the body beneath her frame; Gabrielle grabbed the horses reins preventing the horse from stampeding.

Xena (growling): Alright. Who are you and why are interrupting my afternoon (yanking back the hood.)
Xena and Gabrielle in unison ďVaria.Ē
Varia (laying back in the snow): Xena (her voice was hoarse; and she didnít look too good.)
Gabrielle looking at Xena then lead the horse in the barn.

Xena (moving off Varia then picking her up so she could lean against her): Varia easy itís ok. What happened and whereís Eve (fighting to keep the anger out of her voice?)
Varia (weakly): Slavers. Got Eve and some Amazons and some of her followers, they were camping outside our territory and then I donít know where they came from but they attacked.
Gabrielle (coming outside and kneeling down): Letís get you inside. Take care of these wounds. Then you can tell us what happened. Whereís Eve (worry in her voice?)
Xena (tensing her muscles and standing lifting Varia in her arms): Slavers got Eve some Amazons and some of the followers of Eli (walking through the snow carefully not to jar Variaís injuries.)
Once inside Gabrielle drew Varia a hot bath and took care of her wounds while Xena went out and tended to the horse. From the looks of both of them if they hadnít found shelter soon they both would have suffered hypothermia and possibly died. Xena finished with the horse then went to a panel in the wall and pressing her hand into it she revealed a hidden passage. Their in a chest lay her sword and Chakram and Gabrielleís Sais. Inside the house where the boot daggers they both carried and her breast dagger that Gabrielle had bought her so long ago. Anger coursed through her veins knowing what she needed to do. Would there come a time when these weapons could truly be hidden away until they were put to rest with their bodies.
Gabrielle (walking out in the barn with the Xenaís cloak and the lantern): Love talk to me.

Xena (taking a deep breath): How is she?
Gabrielle (setting the lantern down): Sheís got these gashes on her back theyíre not deep and they look almost faded and I think some of her ribs are cracked or broken. Sheís tiredÖ

Xena (looking at her; pain in her eyes): I thought we could hang up our gear and live our lives out in peace. It seemsÖ

Gabrielle (understanding and soothing her partner): No donít think like that. Xena, Eve our child is in danger. And the Amazons, we have to do thisÖ
Xena (slamming her fist against the wall): I know our child is in danger and so are our friends but I promised you no more battles. No more adventures unless we wanted them. It took us so long to get here and now this. I will rescue them but I thought I could turn my back on being a warrior settle down be with you.

Gabrielle (placing her hands on Xenaís): Weíll do this and then come home. Things will be ok I promise you. As for your promise I know youíve done everything in your power to reassure me and keep that promise but this is our life; our destiny and our path. Letís see this one out together.

Xena (pulling Gabrielle against her; needing her love; her strength): Youíre amazing you know that. I love you. And after we get Eve back and the Amazons home and the followers dispersed I might talk to Aphrodite and see if we can get some time up there with her in her home.
Gabrielle (smiling): I like that idea love and so would she. (Leaning up and kissing her partner softly) come on letís go inside and get some rest. Tomorrow weíll figure out what to do ok.
They wrapped their arms around each other and walked back to the house. They sat up in bed talking and talking about possible strategy back and forth.
The morning sun shone brightly and the snow glistened like crystals. Inside the farmhouse three figures sat around the table talking back and forth over the things that had happened in the past couple of months.
Xena (eating some of the oatmeal Gabrielle had made): Varia what happened out there. And why where there followers so close to Amazon lands. Eve lives there with you right? And what about the patrols; didnít anyone see anything?

Gabrielle (shooting her partner a look that meant be nice): Varia one thing at a timeÖ
Varia (closing her eyes): I donít know how they got that close but they did. They were fast vicious and we were surrounded. Eve and I had been out walking marking the territory boundaries in the snow. Our patrols didnít even get a warning out and then fighting. They were savages and the next thing I knew I was on my back and darkness enveloped me and then I was on the back of a horse tied down. I saw Eve on another horse unconscious. We were brought back to their camp and it was the most well organized military camp Iíve ever seen besides the Amazons.
Xena (interrupting): What did these guys look like? Did you see anything hear anything on why?
Varia (coughing): They were big muscular but solid and I mean solid they looked like walking walls. They had long beards and long hair. They wore these funny helmets and they had long thick fur cloaksÖ

Xena (squeezing the bridge of her nose): Wait funny helmets what do you mean? What did they look like?
Gabrielle (noticing the tension of her lover and the strain on Varia): Xena why donít you let her rest a bitÖ
Xena (shaking her head): Time is of the essence. We have no idea why these people are here or...Varia what did their helmets look like?
Varia (thinking): They were round and they had these horns on them like a bulls or something.
Xena (prodding for more): And you say they were like walking walls; gruff in appearance (Varia nodded.) Dam it all to Hades I hadnít thought they would ever touch Greek soil. They seemed to be content to stay in the Northlands (slamming her fist on the table.) Varia could you possible give me an idea on where to find them?
Gabrielle (placing her hand on Xenaís arm): Why who are they? Whatís going on?
Xena (softly): Those men are Vikings although why they are on Greek soil is beyond me. Theyíre ruthless. They fight for the shear pleasure of it and they enjoy a good bloody battle. But they are honorable.
Varia (not understanding): So why the rush?
Xena (snarling): Somethingís not right. I know the Viking people ruthless fearless fierce but honorable. The only reason they would take people against their will is for money or slaves. Either way things could get ugly

Gabrielle (thinking): Why?
Xena (shaking her head; planning): Because theyíll take them back to their homeland as slaves or worse. Then we will be up against one of the toughest armies Iíve ever known.
Varia (realization of Xenaís words sunk in): By the Gods. EveÖ
Gabrielle (reassuring them both): Weíll get her back but how did you escape.
Varia (softly): I just barely did. I figured once I got free I could get help then help Eve. I wanted her to go too but they separated us. They threw me in a tent and tied my hands to a pole. I worked on those ropes for a long time just waiting. When night fell one of them entered the tent and just smirked at me. Then he turned his back. I got up and grabbed the nearest thing I could for a weapon and I hit him with it. He fell like a sack and just laid there. It was quiet and dark out so I grabbed his cloak and took off out of the back of the tent praying for everyoneís safety and that I could get to you in time. There was a horse tied to a post alone so I grabbed its reins hopped on and took off deep into the forest. They sent some of them after me but I knew how to hide among the trees even on a horse. They went past me in the dark and I continued running parallel to them and avoided them for the night. Eventually I think they gave up. But I remember their cries they sounded so angry.
Gabrielle (gently): What about the lash marks on your back (when Varia blushed she turned and head and looked at Xena who was smirking?) Uh never mind.
Xena (proudly): Thatís my girlÖoaf (bending over as she was backhanded in her stomach.) What? What did I do (noticing Varia was blushing?) Nice color does Eve like it?
Gabrielle (smacking Xena on the arm): Knock it off. Varia itís ok nothing to be embarrassed about. Itís about love thatís whatís important.
Varia (softly): I love her. I miss her and I pray sheís alright (fighting the tears in her eyes.)
Gabrielle (understanding; if she were in Variaís place she would be feeling the same way): Weíll get her back I promise you. Weíll bring her home safely (hugging her tightly.)
Xena (realizing just how much the fierce Amazon warrior loved their child): Varia sheíll be alright sheís a tough woman. Now why donít you get some rest tomorrow at first light weíll head out.

Varia (standing stiffly): Thank you. Sheís lucky to have you two. Do you want some help with the gear?
Xena (shaking her head): No itís alright. Youíre pretty lucky your ribs werenít broken but you need rest ok. Go on with you. And Varia (she turned around) sheís lucky to have you.

Varia (nodding and walking to the sitting room): That means a lot Xena.

Gabrielle (looking up at her partner): Xena you are so bad.
Xena (pulling Gabrielle into her arms): But when Iím bad Iím good. Now since we have company how about we go out in the barn and have a roll in the hay and scare all the animals.

Gabrielle (laughing): Xena of AmphipolisÖ(yelping as she was picked up in strong arms and carried outside.) Youíre incorrigible.
Xena (smiling): Yep insatiable incorrigible lovableÖ
Gabrielle (playfully smacking her): Yeah and your ego is as big as Mt. Olympus.

Xena (arching her eyebrow): Yeah I got something else big too. You want to see it or should I get the whip out and you can punish me for my behavior (letting Gabrielle down gently.)
Gabrielle (smacking her on the ass): I should just punish you period love (leaning up and wrapping her arms around her neck.)
Xena (kissing her softly): A preview of my many skills than (thrusting her hips for emphasis.)
Gabrielle (giggling): Sure I think I need a review (capturing Xenaís lips with her own.) I love you (pushing Xena back into the hay.)
Xena (moaning as their love and bond surrounded them and she let go): I love you.
They traveled slowly on horseback listening and watching for anything unusual. They had at least a three day ride ahead of them.
Xena (holding up her hand): Letís take a break for a bit. Iíll go on ahead and check out the terrain see how much farther we can travelÖ
Varia (tense): Iíll travel all night if I have to, to get her back. We canít take the time out. The Gods only know what theyíve done to them by now.
Gabrielle (squeezing Variaís shoulder): Varia we have to rest or weíll be no good to anyone. (Varia struggled against her and she looked at Xena.)
Xena (grabbing Varia gently): Listen youíre a warrior and I know youíre worried but you have to separate your heart from all this Varia or you could get hurt or worse then what good would you be to anyone. I know itís hard Gods all the time with Gabrielle I wanted to rip anyone apart that stepped in front of me but I knew deep down inside that if I did that I would only end up getting hurt or making rash decisions that could have cost her, her life. So for now we rest and see whatís going on check out the terrain and then proceed ok (Varia nodded. Xena let her go watching her face seeing the same emotions she felt at one time or another.) Gabrielle Iím going on ahead keep an eye out and an eye on her.
Gabrielle (squeezing Xenaís arm affectionately): Be careful.

Xena (mischievous): What trouble could I get into?
Gabrielle (backhanding her in the stomach): Donít go there Warrior Princess because (her teasing was silenced by soft lips capturing her own then Xena turned and walked off.) I hate it when she does that but dam that woman can kiss. (Pulling out some travel rations she handed one to Varia and then took one herself.) Varia how are things between you and Eve?
Varia (almost choking): Well um uhÖ

Gabrielle (understanding her discomfort): Oh come on now I know you love her. I mean how are you two settling in together that sort of thing.
Varia (swallowing): Good (she couldnít believe this here she was talking to her loverís mother about their relationship and she was missing her terribly.)

Gabrielle (smiling): Come on. Iím looking out for the both of you.
Varia (looking at the ground): I want to get your opinion on something but I donít want Xena to know just yet ok (Gabrielle nodded.) Iím going to ask her to join with me and be my life partner when we get this mess settled. (She expected to get yelled at; punched or a Sais shoved in her face anything but the fierce bear hug she got.) WhatÖ
Gabrielle (looking at her proudly): Thatís great what did you get her to ask a the joining bracelet or a ring?
Varia (smiling for the first time since Eve was taken): I got her a bracelet with a few precious stones in it and some diamonds its silver. Nothing fancy though. Eve isnít like that. I just want to give her something special.
Gabrielle (remembering when Xena gave her, her bracelet): Giving her something from your heart is special Varia.
Varia (biting her lower lip): Just donít tell Xena yet. Iíve got to get up the courage to ask Eve and well you know how Xena is.

Gabrielle (laughing she knew her partner all too well but also knew she would be happy for them): I wonít say anything but you have nothing to worry about Varia. True we have had a rough past all four of us but youíve changed and you love Eve thatís important to us. Just take care of her ok.

Varia (sipping some water): With my life Gabrielle.
Gabrielle (repacking their gear): And Varia you have my blessing and I know you will have Xenaís.
Varia smiled and repacked her gear. Xena came walking back with two pheasant in her hands.

Xena (putting the pheasant down and looking for scraps of cloth): Terrains pretty flat for the next couple of miles then it starts getting rocky. By then weíll be crossing into Amazon borders. Thereís not much in the way of shelter but I donít think weíll be getting any more snow. So itís up to you two. We can stay here make a lean too for the night or go on and just use what we have and what we find to keep warm.

Varia (thinking strategically): How much time would we lose if we stay here for the night and move on in the morning.

Xena (thinking): About a couple of hours. We would have to ride pretty hard tomorrow and the next day to be a their camp by nightfall.
Gabrielle (weighing their options): Xena what do you think is best? I mean you know these people and how they are and what they could do. Whatís the best option?
Xena (looking around the trees would give them the best shelter out here; they had food and plenty of supplies and she knew once they crossed into Amazon territory their would be some Amazons joining them): I think we should stay here rest up and prepare for the next few days. The closer we get the more the adrenaline will start pumping and I know weíll get some Amazons to join us. We have better shelter here and tomorrow we can ride hard resting a bit and pushing forward.
Varia (nodding): I could even ride on ahead and alert my sisters and get them ready.

Gabrielle (nodding): Alright itís settled we rest here and head out tomorrow. You go on ahead of us and alert them to our coming get the toughest you have. Iím not saying anything but we need people out here who arenít afraid of some cold rough weather ok. (Varia nodded) well Varia you got wood patrol Iíll set up the camp and get dinner started. Xena will see to the horses.
They set off to their chores and get things situated. Once the fire was going and dinner cooking over Xena began going through their weapons and armor. The leather pants she wore were snug fitting but line with rabbit fur as were Gabrielleís. They all had heavy cloaks and wore their armor underneath. She pulled out her sharpening stone and started on her sword and daggers.
Gabrielle (moving closer then taking the sword and stone away): Hi love.
Xena (smirking as Gabrielle straddled her lap): Love whatís up?
Gabrielle (licking her lips): I am and so are you. Did I tell you how much I love you (leaning forward and nuzzling Xenaís throat nipping it gently and smiling as she heard Xenaís playful growls and moans.)
Xena (tilting her head back to give her partner better access): You better watch dinner.
Gabrielle (teasing and untying the laces to her partnerís heavy shirt): Iím having you for dinner (sliding her hand inside Xenaís shirt and massaging her nipples.)
Xena (tightening her hold on her partner): Love as much as I would like to continue this oh Gods Brie (pulling her partner tighter against her as she captured her nipple in her mouth and began sucking rather forcefully. She pumped her hips upward urging her partner on when she heard someone clearing their throat.)

Varia (turning her head and checking their dinner): Sorry itís well dinner is about ready and I um wellÖ

Gabrielle (burying her face in Xenaís neck): Itís ok. Thank you.

Xena (groaning as the flames of her arousal coursed through her veins): Come on love we need to eat and get some rest we have a long day tomorrow. (Nuzzling her face into her hair) besides the sooner we get this over with the sooner we get home and relax.

Gabrielle (nodding her head): I know but it's kind of embarrassing when your daughter's girlfriend interrupts your intimate moment (shaking her head and moving off Xena's lap.)
Xena (smirking): True but you could always remind Varia of the marks on her back that should put a halt on the teasing (laughing.)
Varia (looking up from dishing out the pieces of meat that Gabrielle had cooked): It smells delicious Gabrielle. Is going to get real cold tonight thankfully though no snow.
Gabrielle (smiling and taking the dish offered her): You're right so I think we should try to sleep together as close as possible to conserve body heat.
Varia (understanding but not wanting to impose between them): I'll be fine I've slept out in conditions like this before and it was ok. We'll keep the fire going and I've got two extra blankets. (Not wanting to discuss the sleeping arrangements any further she changed the subject) so tomorrow I ride on ahead and alert the Amazons requesting some of them to go with us.
Xena (nodding): Yes but I want them to be able to hack it in this weather and survive. People who are used to the harsh conditions out here this time of year. We need to keep our focus on our surroundings and what's going on as we get closer to where the Vikings are. It's going to be bad enough when we go up against them we don't need to worry about frostbite or hypothermia.
Varia (agreeing): How many do you want to go with us? You two alone have taken on whole armies and Gods (watching as they looked at each other with knowing looks.)
Gabrielle (thinking): Get ten Amazons preferably ones that have no ties to the ones being held captive and ones who have some experience with surviving out in the cold.
Xena (strategizing): You and Gabrielle will each take five with you to lead into the camp and get the prisoners out. I'll be causing some distractions and making sure you all escape. We'll discuss a meeting point once we get close to the camp.
Varia (nodding): You'll be going in alone then (Xena nodded.) Shouldn't you take someone with you I mean they're pretty fierce and all judging by the looks of them I mean Iím not doubting your abilities and all itís just thatÖ
Xena (smiling and nodding her head): I understand but itíll be hard enough trying to get out the followers of Eli so thatís where you two come in. Besides I think I can handle a few fierce warriors coming at me (winking. She noticed Gabrielleís pensive look and gently taking her hand) weíll talk later love ok.
Gabrielle (thinking of their time in the Norse lands before when they separated then the horrors of Jappa and all the pain in between; she knew her warrior could take care of herself but still had that nagging feeling inside her): Xena itís just that I worry about you and (fighting her emotions.)
Xena (gently cupping her face): Hey whatís wrong Iíve never seen you like this. Gabrielle you know this is the only way to get those people out of there safely. Yes the Amazons and Eve can take care of themselves but you donít know what theyíve been through in the past couple of days. I just donít want any problems or someone to get hurt.
Varia (watching them and understanding how they both felt): Gabrielle has a point though Xena you will have no one at you back an (the glare she got from Xena made her cringe and she stopped talking and just ate the rest of her dinner in silence.)
Gabrielle (angrily): Sheís right you wonít have anyone at your backÖ.

Xena (trying to calm her): I wonít have anyone at my back but if I need you, youíll be there I know you will.

Gabrielle (shaking her head): You know I will but I worry about you. I worry about the fact that I might not be able to make it to you in time love. donít you see that? (Setting her dish down) Iím going for a walk I need to clear my head (she walked off without another word.)
Xena (shaking her head): Dam.

Varia (apologizing): Iím sorry I just wasÖ
Xena (holding up her hand): I know but it doesnít change the fact that sheís hurting right now.
Varia (defensively): I never meant to hurt her you know that. And you know if Eve heard you right now she would be upset with you too.
Xena (standing up): Varia Iíve seen things and done things and gone up against worst odds then this and half the time they were to protect her or save her (pointing in the direction Gabrielle had walked off) so donít tell meÖ

Varia (standing up): No Xena donít go there. Because and I know you might punch me for this but I love your daughter. And because I love her I care about her parents as well. I know how she felt that time we thought you left us for good. I donít want her to go through that again and I donít think Gabrielle will survive without you. You have a home and a family now. Itís time things changed.
Xena (angrily):You think that I donít know that, that I donít think about that. You think I want to hurt either of them. Iím trying to avoid another set of problems by doing it this way. Varia the plans are set the strategy is set you know what you have to do and I suggest you get to bed early because you are riding out first thing in the morning and I donít want to hear another word out of you about this you got me (and she turned and followed the path her soul mate had taken.)
She followed the footprints in the snow and then found Gabrielle in a clearing looking up at the night sky.
Gabrielle (softly): I remember the first few nights I spent with you. You pointed out all the constellations to me and the more time we spent together the more I learned. As time went on and I got to know you we used to tell each other what we thought they looked like.

Xena (softly leaning against a tree): Iím sorry I upset you. I just donít want anyone to get hurt including you.
Gabrielle (turning and facing her): And what about you. What about what I think? Donít go and try to pull that Warrior Princess act on me because it doesnít work not anymore.
Xena (stepping forward): Gabrielle I know you can take care of yourself youíre my equal in battle andÖ
Gabrielle (undoing her cloak and pulling out her Sais): Do you know that? Or are you just saying that Xena?
Xena (defensively): Baby you know I know that.
Gabrielle (holding up her Sais): Then prove it. Take me on now see how good I am.
Xena (holding out her hands): Brie, love come on this isnít necessary.
Gabrielle (stepping forward): I think it is. Come on Iíve never known you to back down from training me. Come on let me prove to you that I can take care of myself

Xena (shaking her head): Love you know that I know that you can.
Gabrielle (bringing her Sais up to attack Xena): Then letís go (slamming the Sais against Xenaís bracers as she defended herself.)
Xena (unsheathing her sword): This is unnecessary but if you want it you got it

Gabrielle moved forward Sais flashing as she met XenaĎs sword strokes. Xena grinned and launched herself forward with a series of sword strikes and found each of them neatly parried or blocked, she quickly twisted away from the blunt end of one of the sais, sliding just past her jaw line. Both warriors separated and began circling, each looking for an opening.
Again in the center of the field snow crunching under their boots their cloaks swirling around them, sword and sais flashing. They traded punches, kicks, parries and blocks looking for an opening. Xena smiled a feral smile knowing that she had trained Gabrielle personally and it was like fighting herself. She also knew she could take Gabrielle but didnít want to end it just yet. Her green eyes flashed with anger. She brushed aside a trickle of blood flowing from a cut above her eye. Xena grinned to herself.
Gabrielle lunged forward and Xena reacted with a parry but found empty space as the Gabrielle dived forward into a roll and came up under Xenaís sword with her sais in the warriorís ribs. Xena jumped back and struck out with her free hand catching Gabrielle in the face and sending her back a few feet. Gabrielle spit out blood and shouted and charged Xena catching her around the waist and bringing them both crashing into the snow bit women grunting as their weapons flew from their hands from the impact
Xena (softly): I love you.
Gabrielle (pressing her hands into Xenaís shoulders): Then let me protect you in battle.
Xena (feeling the cold ground against her back and her partnerís warm body against her front): I need you to get everyone out love.
Gabrielle (growling): Then promise me something (leaning closer to her partnerís ear before taking her earlobe in her mouth and nipping it.)
Xena (moaning; she was trying to retain some semblance of control): Anything (moaning as Gabrielle pressed herself against her.)
Gabrielle (smiling at her partnerís response knowing the kind of emotions she invoked in her partner even when they were training): No unnecessary risks in battle.
Xena (nodding and looking into her partnerís eyes): I promise.
Slowly they brushed their lips together forgetting about the cold; the battle to come and everything else for now it was about them and their love.
Varia closed her eyes and prayed for Eveís safety. She had heard Xena and Gabrielle and tears came to her eyes thinking of her love and how much she missed her now. Tomorrow she would bring her home. Tonight she prayed that the two soul mates would find some measure of comfort and safety before all hell broke loose tomorrow.
The morning air was frigid with dark clouds in the sky threatening with snow as they rode through the open fields keeping track of Variaís horse by the tracks left in the snow. She was well over an hour ahead of them but they would make Amazon Territory by late afternoon and then they would make camp and hopefully reach the Vikings camp by afternoon the following day.
Gabrielle (shifting in her saddle): Hey weíll be coming up on the forest shortly you want to take a quick rest before we enter the Amazon territory. (When no response was forthcoming she pulled her horse closer to Argo 2nd and gently brushed her partners leg through the thick leggings she wore. She could feel the energy coming off her partner in waves, anger; tension; rage and guilt were only a few of which she felt.) Baby talk to me (patting the firm thigh) please (pleading.)
Xena (stopping her horse): Sorry love Iíve just got a lot of my mindÖ
Gabrielle (looking up into soft blue eyes filled with so many emotions): I know you do and Iím here for you no matter what Xena. Donít you remember the promise we made to each other that no matter what we would always be together side by side through anything and everything Xena (clasping the larger hand in hers.)
Xena (kissing Gabrielleís hand through the glove): I remember it was one of many that Iíve been proud to have made with you. Itís just that something doesnít feel right. The Vikings in Greece; capturing Eve; the followers of Eli and Amazons. The Amazons I can see but not Eve nor her followers. Whatís the purpose? Whatís the angle? Thereís more of a risk than a benefit. I just canít see what theyíre after and what they want.
Gabrielle (squeezing Xenaís hand): I know itís just that I (stopping because she didnít want to voice her fears but knew she should.)
Xena (softly): Talk to me Brie (sensing her partnerís insecurities and fears.) Love I canít stand you hurting especially if thereís something I can do to help you or if Iím the cause.
Gabrielle (looking up): Itís just that Iíve had this sense of foreboding. Nothing specific just a general sense and Iím worried about you and Eve and Varia. I couldnít stand if anything happened to you again (this last part was whispered softly but Xenaís keen hearing picked it up. Gabrielle was swiftly pulled off her horse into warmth and strength and held tightly)
Xena (kissing the top of her head): Love itís ok. Everything will work out. Iíve promised you I wouldnít take any unnecessary risks in this battle and I wonít. I have too much going for me to do that not that I didnít before. Itís just now I realize a lot of things I didnít before and I wonít take this, what we have you or us for granted any more.
Gabrielle (nuzzling Xenaís neck enjoying the faint smell of sandal wood soap): Thank you. It just seems every time we get a few moments of peace and quiet something earth shattering comes along and Iím just wondering when we can retire. When can we say enough is enough. When can we hang up our weapons and just live our lives out in peace.
Xena (mouth hanging open; didnít she just say that the other day): What changed your mind? I mean not that I uh well you know (feeling soft lips claim hers.)
Gabrielle (easing back just enough to look into soft blue eyes):I havenít really. Iíve felt this way for a while now and thinking to the past few months on the farm just being with you Iíve thought that for a long time now. But I know we have a job to do and I just want to get Eve and everyone else out of there safely and go home. Our home. I figured you had enough on your mind without worrying about how I was feeling.
Xena (wondering where in the world her partner got that idea): Gabrielle what in Hades name made you think of something like that. Baby no matter what you come first. Youíve always come first. I know sometimes Iíve screwed up and got stupid and ignorant and everything you donít deserve but never ever think that you come second to anything. You are the most important thing in my life you are never second to anything love.

Gabrielle (looking down at the ground): Pretty stupid huh especially since I should know better.
Xena (cupping Gabrielleís face in her gloved hands): Yes because I love you more than anything ok. And itís not stupid your just being you. And I know you and I know I should say something more often than just in moments like these. So no more second guesses. If something is bothering you, talk to me or if you canít get my attention just grab a frying pan and whack me with it, ok love.
Gabrielle (nodding): The same goes for you Warrior Princess (smiling as their lips met and for a moment just that small moment all else ceased to exist except their love. When breathing became necessary they broke apart and smiled at each other.) If this is what I get for feeling unsure I might do it again.
Xena (shaking her head knowing it was Gabrielleís way of letting her know things were ok): You never have to have a reason for that my love. I would happy to indulge you anytime my Queen (smirking.)
Gabrielle (understanding that they did need to get a move on): Better get moving. I want to get this over with and go home. Iím missing that warm bed already (holding onto Xenaís shoulders and she was gently deposited back in her own saddle.)
Xena (taking the horseís reins in one hand and playfully patting Gabrielleís thigh with her other hand): Gabrielle you hardly have ever slept on the mattress most of the time you sleep on me or draped across me or some where with me.
Gabrielle (smiling at the thought of some of the very pleasant activities that precluded those positions): Um yes but always seem to enjoy it my love (smirking mischievously.)

Xena (playfully): Yes well um maybe you can remind me later what some of those were (and took off in a gallop laughing.)
Gabrielle (realizing Xenaís intentions; shaking her head and urging her horse to race after her partner): One of these days Xena youíre going to get it.
They raced the horses through the well worn path in the woods realizing they were closer to Amazon lands then they thought at first. Hopefully they would meet up with Varia and her troops soon. Time was of the essence and they still had no idea why the Vikings were here or what they were really after and why now when they had to constantly watch out for bands of Roman soldiers running across much of the known world.
Xena (an idea hitting her): Love (stopping her horse and waiting for her soul mate to show up) you alright (as Gabrielle pulled the horse along side her.)
Gabrielle (nodding): Fine whatís up?
Xena (looking at the sky then back at her partner): Something just occurred to me and I wonder why I didnít think of it before.
Gabrielle (shifting in her saddle to get a water skin out of her pack): Ok (sipping some of the water then handing the skin over to her partner.)
Xena (taking the skin): Thank you. Iíve come up with a possible reason as to why the Vikings might be in Greece. The Romans might have traveled and conquered as far as North as Denmark and where we fought with Grindel. Either way we got to get our people out of that camp. Gabrielle listen to me please (looking into soft green eyes) Iím going to ride on aheadÖ
Gabrielle (angrily; her eyes flashing many emotions): No you arenít. You are not going on ahead of me or the Amazons. Never again Xena (reaching out to touch her partnerís arm.)
Xena (taking her hand): Gabrielle please. Iím going on ahead scout the perimeter (which made Gabrielle laugh.) What? Whatís so funny?
Gabrielle (catching her breath): You are still not going on ahead of me Xena. Do you remember what that actually meant at one point. I can just see you now big tough Warrior Princess with her hands in her breeches moaning andÖ(she found herself pulled off her horse and pressed against the nearest tree.) Whoa hiÖ

Xena (pressing her body tightly to her partnerís): And if I remember correctly you were there on your bedroll with your own (her mouth was seized in a passionate kiss.)
Hands moved under the heavy cloaks to touch and tease; their bodies pressing tighter together so there was no room between them. Their breath coming in pants as tongues dueled playfully for dominance and a gentle rocking began pressing their hips together.
Gabrielle (breathlessly): I donít want you to go on alone.
Xena (kissing her neck and tracing her ear with her tongue notice Gabrielle shiver slightly): Cold love?
Gabrielle (shaking her head) Definitely not and you know it. Just your touch alone sets me on fire (pulling Xenaís cloak so it covered her partnerís back better and covered her a little as well.)
Xena (smiling): And I can say the same for you. (Reaching her hand down between them and undoing the ties on Gabrielleís pants) I want you (sliding her hand inside) I need you (touching silky warmth) I love you (strong hands gripped hers.)
Gabrielle (loving the feel of her partnerĎs hands): Sweetheart not here and not now please. Besides you are not going to distract me (leaning up and nipping Xenaís bottom protruding lip) and go off and do something I donít want you to alone. And that isnít going to work anymore so put it away.
Xena (playfully pouting): Brie please I donít know whatís going on or why they have Eve her followers and Amazons. Iím just going to go on ahead do some pokingÖ
Gabrielle (interrupting): Bust some heads; cause havoc and expect me to believe you would actually sit outside their camp unobserved and watch everything going on with out itching to be fighting with them.
Xena (taking a deep breath): Itís the only logical solution and besides itís going to take another day just to get near their camp and lay out a plan. With me riding ahead itíll knock off part of that extra day and we can implement a plan as soon as you and the Amazons show up.
Gabrielle (frustrated but knowing her partner was right): Xena you promise me no heroics; no busting heads and no getting into the thick of battle without me or the Amazons backing you up and give me both of your hands (Xena gave her a confused look.) I know you and how you can get when youíre trying to protect me or Eve. Please (smiling as larger hands engulfed her own.) Promise me youíll be careful.
Xena (understanding so many unspoken words between them): I promise and you be careful.
Gabrielle reached behind Xenaís head and pulled her down for a gentle yet passion filled kiss. Then watched as Xena straightened and went to the horses she took a few things off her horse and put them on Gabrielleís and Gabrielle smiled noticing she took another lighter cloak with her and a few of the food bundles.
Gabrielle (holding Xenaís horses reins): Iíll see you tomorrow and be careful.
Xena (mounting up): I will you too. I love you and weíll bring them home.
Gabrielle (nodding and patting Xenaís leg): I love you.
She watched her partner ride away until she could no longer see her and then mounted her own horse and headed towards the Amazon village. As she got closer she noticed the warning signs and various markers.
She stopped the horse and dismounted drawing her sword then slamming the blade into the snow as four Amazons descended form the trees. She gave the sign of peace and watched as they removed their masks.

Kestra (bowing her head): My Queen youíve arrived safely but where is your Champion?
Gabrielle (motioning for them to rise): Sheís rode on ahead to get a layout of the camp and wait for us.
Rayne itís good to see you doing better (remembering the young Amazon from the last time they were here when her mother was killed in the battle at Helicon. And Jade and Jinx (they were twins with a very mischievous personality but both were very promising with the sword and cross bow.)

Rayne (bowing her head): And it is good to see you although I wish it were under better circumstances.

Jade (retrieving the Queenís sword): Would you like us to escort you to the village my Queen.
Gabrielle (sheathing her sword): Iíll be alright thank you though. Will any of you be coming with us?
Rayne (nodding): Yes Kestra and I will be joining the other Amazons going with you The preparations are almost all set. Weíll see you later my Queen.
Gabrielle (nodding and mounting her horse): Make sure you stay warm alright (she tapped the horses sides and rode towards the village. Once inside the gates she halted the horse as she saw many members of the tribe awaiting her arrival.
Varia (walking across the compound): Gabrielle thereís tea and some fruit and cheese and once your refreshed weíre ready to go just awaiting your orders (politely addressing the Queen of the Thessalian Amazons.)
Gabrielle (nodding and handing the reins over to another Amazon so the horse could rest for a bit): Varia thank you. Whoís going with us and has there been any word? Also be advised Xena is now heading towards the Vikings camp to check things out and get an idea on how we can get everyone out safely.

Lin Chi (a Queen from the tribes in Chin before they came here): Gabrielle good to see you again. Iím sorry though that it has to be under these circumstances and Iím sorry Xenaís daughter was among our sisters when she was captured.
Gabrielle (defensively): Eve is my daughter just as much as she is Xenaís. And theyíll all be fine. I actually worry more about her followers then I do any of the Amazons or Eve.

Claris (a Queen from one of the Celtic tribes): True like many of us who have found our bond mates in this village their children become ours. Will you be staying on after everything is settled.
Gabrielle (knowing how much the united various tribes needed her because of her experiences and life): Xena and I will talk about it we were supposed to be here in the spring (walking towards the dining hut) but first lets get ourselves settled and make plans to bring everyone back here safely.
Loud cheering answered her and began chanting her name. An hour later the horse refreshed and herself as well Varia ten Amazons and herself were mounted on horse back and heading out the gates. She knew each of the ten Amazons with her and knew their strengths and weaknesses as well. They were under her command now and she had told them it was a rescue mission get their sisters and the followers and Eve out safely and quickly with as minimal injuries as possible none would be preferred but she knew warriors and how sometimes their violence didnít always equal level headedness. They rode through the snowy forest keeping their eyes and ears open. Gabrielle looked up at the sky knowing she wouldnít see her partner tonight and hoped and prayed she had found shelter and was keeping warm and dry. Varia called out to the other Amazons telling them to keep their eyes open for some sort of shelter against the elements as they would have to be making camp soon.
Xena lay on her stomach watching the camp below her when she felt someone beside her and in reflex grabbed her Chakram and rolled over to face her opponent.
Aphrodite (wearing pink furs and boots): Whoa chill blue eyes.
Xena (rolling her eyes at Aphroditeís choice of colors): Dite get down they hear you and theyíll start killing prisoners.
Aphrodite (smiling): No they wonít. No one can hear us. But Eve knows your near . Besides I came to help.
Xena (grabbing her arm): Well then get down and pay attention (realizing her mistake as the Goddess landed half on top of her.)
Aphrodite (giggling): Ooh Warrior Babe a little one on one time with moi. Iím honored. I had heard your um appetite was varied.
Xena (growling): Remember Gabrielle your best friend, my wife (growling.) Short blonde hair even shorter temper and those Sais can be used for making us both pin cushions. And sheís got her sword too and I would hate to think what she can do with that.
Aphrodite (pinching Xena playfully): I remember sheís a cutie. You two are the most perfect example of unconditional love in a long time. Iím sorry I just wanted to help lighten the mood a little. Besides for a mortal youíre absolutely gorgeous next to me of course.
Xena (rolling the Goddess off her gently): Thanks I think but stay down and keep quiet and change the color scheme a little bit. Bright pink in snow stands out like a Virgin in a room full of Warlords.
Aphrodite (snapping her fingers and changing her clothing color to dark brown and dark green); You would know that wouldnít you (teasing.)
Xena (shaking her head and moving back to her position): I wonít answer that. Good choice now stay down and let me work.
Aphrodite (moved next to her): So what we looking for.
Xena (softly): Where there weaknesses are? Open space inside the camp; tents guarded a little to loosely; problems among the ranks stuff like that. Who taught you about dressing like a warrior or moving like you did?
Aphrodite (trying to pay attention to the camp): Artemis and Athena. We were pretty close I mean as tough as they were we had some good times and all (fondly remembering both her sisters.)
Xena (thinking of her brotherís Lyceus and Toris): Iím sorry about what happened. If there had been another wayÖ

Aphrodite (biting her lip): Xena itís in the past. I tried to tell them to leave you three alone. But no one would listen to me. Iím not a warrior so it didnít matter to them. They thought emotions made you weak and stuff. I told them to leave you alone I didnít want anyone to get hurt but especially Gabrielle.
Xena (puzzled): Why Brie I mean other than the obvious and Iím grateful you thought of her like that because you know when it comes down to it I would give my life for her.
Aphrodite (nodding): I know thatís one of the reasons I interfered when I did bringing you back and all.

Xena (wondering): Aphrodite there wouldnít be something youíre hiding from me now would there? (Aphrodite shook her head no) you sure (a nod) ok but if you want to talk about it Iím listening. (She couldnít put her finger on it but something was up with her friend.)
Aphrodite (pointing her finger): I think I got something (Xena looked up and followed the direction of the Goddessí finger) see those two guards down there well I think thatís where Eve, the Amazons and Eveís followers being held (motioning to two well guarded tents.)
Xena (smiling): If youíre right itíll make my job a whole lot easier.
Aphrodite (grabbing her arm): What do you mean your job? Gabrielle is going to use you as a pin cushion for that plan of action and you know it.
Xena (wrenching her arm loose): She knows about it already and she understands. The Amazons and Eve can take care of themselves the followers of Eli Iím not sure what skills they possess. Or even if theyíll fight.
Aphrodite (thinking): I can help.
Xena (arching her eyebrow): Really this I want to hear.
Aphrodite (backing up): I just want to make sure no one gets hurt again or that something doesnít happen to you.
Xena (understanding): Alright letís get back to the horse and find somewhere to camp and weíll talk about this. Iím doing this for Gabrielle..
Aphrodite (smiling): I know and I just want you to know Iíll always be there for her although I hope it isnít anytime in the near future.

Xena nodded and walked to where she had tied her horse Aphrodite followed closely behind thinking of telling Xena what she knew and the secrets she had kept guarded all these years.
Camp had been set up; watches settled and posted; dinner taken care of and plenty of wood for the fire stacked. Gabrielle sat wiping her sword and her Sais down thinking of her partner wondering just what mischief she was getting into. This was the first time since that awful time they separated to work out her own feelings and she remembered all the talking; the pain shown in those beautiful blue eyes and how the Goddess of love not only brought them back together but had helped heal their wounds from such a dark time in their life. She closed her eyes and bit her lip remembering another dark time in their relationship that had almost cost them everything. But they had to go through the bad to see the good and see what a gift their love was and how special it was. And she wouldnít trade anything for what they have. There were no regrets ever.
Varia (walking up to Gabrielle with a mug of tea in her hands for them both): Hey you alright?
Gabrielle (shaking her head): Yeah um sureÖ
Varia (sitting down and handing her a mug): Listen I know weíve had our differences but Iíd like to think now weíre friends. If something is bothering you Iíve got two broad shoulders.

Gabrielle (sipping the tea): Thanks and we are friends in fact IĎm about to become your mother in law (laughing at the look on VariaĎs face, she reached out and grasped her shoulder.) I know itís just Iíve been thinking about Xena and some times in our lives that were pretty hard. Then I think of Eve and see a grown woman in front of me when she should be a child. So much has happened and I wonder when will we get a break.
Varia (looking up at the night sky): I wish I could just come up with a solution to help you but I canít. I do know Eveís turned out to be a great woman someone whom I love and would give my life for. Sheís very special to me. She talks about you and Xena a lot. I know she misses you both.
Gabrielle (smiling): Sheís so much like XenaÖ
Varia (chuckling): And you (at Gabrielleís disbelieving look) seriously. She has that same mischievous smirk; she can tell tales of adventures and battles like you; she does a wonderful job with sensitive chats and she Ďs very perceptive; and she can hold her own in a fight just using defensive maneuvers. But thatĎs not all though but I think you know that and so does Xena. She has a lot of you in her too. I donít know all the details but I do know she regards you both as her parents. And that gives her the best of both worlds.
Gabrielle (nodding): Iím just glad sheís found someone to love and care for her and letís her have her dreams.

Varia (jokingly): As if. When she sets her mind on something sheís really determined sort of like a Warrior Princess and Battling Bard I know. And if I tried to stop her she would make my life miserable not to mention that I would probably have to answer to you and you have to admit sometimes you can pretty intimidating (chuckling.)
Gabrielle (playfully): All I know is you better not wait to long to make your proposal to her or you me and intimidating will be very close friends.

Varia (understanding): Iíd give my life for her and I live for her Gabrielle. Sheís made me a better person. Sheís a wonderful woman (seeing Gabrielle tense) whatís wrong?

Gabrielle (softly): XenaÖ

Xena (holding out her sword): Alright whoever you are come out.
A bright flash of light and a figure in a hooded cloak stood in front of her. Aphrodite had an idea of who it was and it was nothing but trouble.

Loki (pulling back his hood): Hello Aphrodite what brings you out of bed?
Aphrodite (glaring at him): What brought you out of your hole, creep?

Xena (snarling): Listen I know who you are but why are you here interrupting my nice quiet evening?
Loki (holding up his hand): You shouldnít have come and you shouldnít interfere where youíre not wanted mortal (his hands formed balls of fire which he aimed simultaneously at Xena which she dodged then debris hit her in the face knocking her back a few paces) Iím not Ares I wonít pull any punches (ducking as she swung her sword at him that would have taken his arm off albeit temporarily.)
Xena (growling): Anyone can be killed mortal or immortal alike (jumping sideways as another fireball was launched at her.)
Aphrodite (seeing the illusion): Xena no wait stop. Heís a god and he loves to play tricks on human minds. Xena no (watching as Xena jumped the wrong way to avoid what she thought was a fireball aimed for her chest only to land in the way of another one that was the real thing that hit her head on and knocking her back 50 feet or so.) Dammit leave her alone.
Loki (snickering): So she has gone soft must be the blonde between her legs or all that preaching she listens to from her sniveling brat no matter I got what I came for (leaning down he picked up Xenaís discarded Chakram which had fallen from Xena hands when he had hit her and vanished before Aphrodite could stop him.)
Aphrodite (shaking her head things were really bad now): Dam the little one is going to kill me for sure and you (walking over to Xenaís side and kneeling beside her) what a mess (noticing the burn mark on Xenaís chest above her leathers; the black eye and small gash on her face) dam sheís going to use us both a pin cushions.

A taller figure stepped forth from the shadows wearing gold armor; his hair light blonde and curly and a shy reserved manner.
Figure (kneeling next to them): Maybe I can help. She is after all family.

Aphrodite (jaw hanging open): Where have you been? We could have used your help a while back. And donít even go there when she finds out the whole truth of this mess things are going to get ugly not to mention what Gabrielle will do as well and I wonít even mention Eve or her partner.
Figure (smiling): Relax sister. Sheíll think you helped her and if you donít tell them anything theyíll never know. (He leaned over Xenaís body and placed his hands on her chest) just hold her still havenít done this in a while.

Aphrodite (rolling her eyes): As if. Please theyíve been through so much and they donít have many people left. Wouldnít it be better if they knew, (when he looked up she pleaded) please.
Figure (closing his eyes and concentrating a light emanated from his hands and healed Xenaís wounds): You care for them very much donít you sister.
Aphrodite (nodding): And you care for all mortals thatís why you gave them some of your gifts. Thatís why you walked away when you heard of the twilight. (Looking at him as he turned his back) you may not care about Xena but think of your daughter. The woman you have looked out for time and again Youíre the one who saved her from the lave pit and youíre the one who helped them in Illusia. If youíve ever loved your daughter then come forward with it. Let them know the truth (reaching out and grabbing his arm) please brother sheís your child after all and you know who Xenaís father is the only other one who knew was Ares (pausing) and Athena.
Figure (hugging her tightly): Watch over them both. Let me think about this. You do know what youíre asking donít you. There will be many questions of why I let them suffer, or her father (pointing to Xena) let them suffer as they did at times. And why is the messenger of the one god their child.
Aphrodite (understanding): Cause our time has come and gone. Weíre fading out in all cultures and in time weíll be only memories. Thatís why you went into hiding isnít it (a nod) promise me youíll look in your heart for the answers. Besides me and Cupid you also always had a soft spot for mortals and I know you still do.

Figure (shaking his head): I know but maybe itís best she doesnít know she killed her own father in battle.
Aphrodite (waving a hand over Xena so they could talk without fear of waking her): But they were after her child and her partner, your daughter. Come on bro you know what happened; you know no one would listen and I donít think he knew she was his and if her did it didnít matter in the end.
Figure (taking a deep breath): That has always been our biggest downfall our infidelity. Our curiosity with mortals has led to more wars and destruction than plague and disease alone. I have to think about this. I donít want to put them in any more danger than they already are.
Aphrodite (hesitantly): The battleís been decided already hasnít it?
Figure (looking up at the night sky): No. Not yet but if she doesnít listen to her heart it could very well be. I have to go.
Aphrodite (hugging him tightly): Donít stay away so long next time and please think about what Iíve said. Theyíve suffered so much and been through more than anyone I know. I know you love her and I know youíve done whatever you could when you could. You always followed the rules (smiling) well most of the time.
The figure nodded and disappeared into the night leaving Aphrodite wondering what was to be the outcome in all of this. Behind a tree another cloaked figure watched then leaned to the raven on his shoulder whispering a command and the bird flew off into the cold night. This was an interesting piece of news.
Back at camp with the Amazons everyone was pacing keeping their ears and eyes open looking for signs of impending danger to the Queen.
Varia (adding a few more logs to the fire): So you and Xena are true soul mates destined to be together in every life and beyond for eternity (Gabrielle nodded) it still doesnít explain how you can feel her well whatever you felt.
Gabrielle (holding her hand near the fire): I think part of it is this (showing her the scar from Them Bones, Them Bones) and the other part is we were in each otherís bodies; been through a lot and we trust each other so openly. We have a bond but to give you an explanation I canít. I know during some of our adventures we learned a lot of techniques with meditation and breathing and stuff like that. Maybe thatís where itís from. I donít care somehow sheís a part of me the best part of me and I know her feelings; her emotions whatís on her mind (at Variaís widened eyes) no I canít read her thoughts but I do know what she might be thinking. Like if sheís angry with herself or me, although that doesnít happen that often with me I mean; or if sheís excited about something or sheís well whatever. Somehow I just know and so does she with me. Like I said weíre the best parts of each other.
Varia (shaking her head): I just find it hard to understand. I mean weíve all heard the stories and things but Iíve never seen it actually happen or like with you just now. Do you feel each otherís pain as well I mean when one of you is hurt.
Gabrielle (thinking to the times it had actually happened like now): Well not like she does when she gets hurt its more like a dull ache in the area sheís injured.
Varia (thinking of Eve): Gabrielle you and Xena have something special and youíve given me something special and I will always try and do my best by her side. You alright now I mean isÖ
Gabrielle (nodding; she hoped Xena was alright because right now she could feel that Xena was alright.) Yeah sheís alright. Varia why donít you get some sleep. Tomorrow is going to be pretty busy (watching as Varia stood up) and Varia I know you will. Just remember if you ever need anything donít be afraid to come to me or Xena alright. (Varia nodded and went to her bedroll; by now most of the Amazons had settled down in their furs or were taking the first watch.)
Just outside the campsite a hooded figure watched them.
Figure (whispering in the wind): Youíre partner is fine and so are you. I wish I could have been there my child in your times of hardship but you have never been alone (with that he vanished.)
The morning dawned clear and bright but still cold with storm clouds threatening snow. Xena and Aphrodite were by the campfire talking rather loudly.
Xena (angrily): You let me sleep all night. Do you realize what could have happened? (In truth she had slept like a baby and woke up refreshed and nowhere near as sore as she should have been from the fight last night.) Why was my Chakram taken, the powers have been neutralized and only Gabrielle Eve and myself can yield it. And I thought you couldnít heal mortals withoutÖ
Aphrodite (understanding but time was of the essence): Xena just accept and letís get moving. I wonít let anything happen to you or Gabrielle if I can help alright so leave it at that and letís move it. Loki took your Chakram to try and gain an advantage. Thatís all I know. We have people to rescue and stuff to do so letís haul out or is that fall out.
Xena (perplexed): Dam somethingís not right and itís fall out what happened to well the um how to put this mildlyÖ
Aphrodite (understanding and smiling): Ditzy; blond; airhead pain in the arse Goddess?
Xena (smiling sheepishly): You knowÖ
Aphrodite (holding up her hand): Itís ok. We all have to do certain things in life ok. Youíre a Warrior and a dam good one at that. I have to do what I have to do. So letís fall out (grabbing a saddlebag to throw on the horse when she felt two strong hands take it from her.)
Xena (shaking her head): Watch out I donít know what the Chakram will do in the wrong hands but it is a very deadly weapon and thank you. I donít know about you but I have to get something to eat and get my gear together. I donít know about you but I could eat a bear.
Aphrodite (smiling): Say no more (and waving her hand Xena had a virtual feast of hot food in front of her.) Iíll brush down Argo 2nd for you while you get something in that gorgeous body of yours (patting Xena playfully on the arm.)
Xena (hoping her partner was eating as good as she was): Thanks. You think you can do this later for about oh 20 people.
Aphrodite (brushing the horseís tail): Of course.
Xena finished her breakfast, made sure the fire was out then looked around for a spot she could rendezvous with her partner and the Amazons. Finding one she altered her plan only slightly.
Xena (pointing to a small hill with a couple of trees to use for cover): Aphrodite you see that hill over there, thatís where I want you to take Argo and wait for Gabrielle and the Amazons they should be here by noon. Iím going to go and get some diversions ready (smiling evilly.)
Aphrodite (looking around): And how will we find you?
Xena (smiling): Donít worry Gabrielle will. Just keep your eyes open and if you run into troubleÖ

Aphrodite (grinning): Donít worry Warrior Babe Iíll be just fine.
Xena nodded and taking a few things from the saddle bags and putting them in her knapsack walked into the forest. These Vikings wouldnít know what hit them or where they were coming from. She hoped. She was uneasy knowing Loki had the Chakram and she wanted to know why he had it.

The Viking camp was indeed well guarded and they had separated Eve from the Amazons and the Followers of Eli from them.
Eve was alone praying, feeling one of her motherís was near when she felt a cool breeze caress her cheek. Looking around she saw a figure standing in the corner a hood over their face. She presumed by the build and stance of the figure it was male.
Eve (softly): An angel or aÖ.
Figure (holding out its hand): A friend (softly.) Be vigilant Eve there is much more here at stake then just rescuing your friends. They will be here shortly. The battle must be won or all else will be lost.

Eve (noticing the figure start to fade): Wait. What do you mean all will be lost?
Figure (turning to face her): Your motherís Chakram is in possession of one who will use it to hurt and destroy people.

Eve (closing her eyes remembering the stories behind the powers of the Chakram and knew if it fell into the wrong hands what could happen): Thatís great and how did this happen? My mother would never let that weapon fall into the wrong hands and only three people can wield it my mother is one of them. (The figure went to interrupt but she raised her hand) wait how did you know about what happened with my mother.
Figure (taking deep breath): I was there but couldnít intervene until her adversary had left. I have a vested interest in both of your motherís but I canít say what because if this knowledge falls into the wrong hand then there will be chaos for them both.
Eve (not understanding): Who are you? Why are you here (moving towards the figure) I know youíre a god but which one? And what interest do you have in them? So help meÖ
Figure (backing up): Eve please you donít know what your asking? And I give you my word my intentions toward them are noble.
Eve (pleading): You canĎt explain or you wonĎt explain.
Figure (reaching out and caressing her cheek): I wonít you have my word but I must go my time is short and there are things I need to keep an eye on. Be vigilant in the next few hours Eve (and he vanished.)
Eve was pondering over the whole meeting when she heard voices outside her tent. Unfortunately it was one of the guards but at least he was carrying a tray of food in for her. It didnít make sense why capture people only to feed and take care of them but then nothing in the past four days made any sense.

Gabrielle and the Amazons had met up with Aphrodite and were heading further into the forest toward the Viking camp. Gabrielle vaguely wondered what her partner had up her sleeve but figured whatever it was she would find out soon enough.
Gabrielle (holding up her hand and stopping her horse): Alright hereís where the rendezvous will be. Tether the horses and get whatever gear is necessary. I want two Amazons to stay behind guard the horses and wait for each group. Varia pick four to go with you and Iíll pick four to go with me. Keep your ears and eyes open. We donít know what the situation is and we donít how everyone has faired in the past couple of days. Lessa and Terris gather some wood. Rayne Vandal and Trin get a space cleared for a few furs to be laid out just in case. Aphrodite youíve seen the camp can you draw us a map so we can figure out where everyone is to be positioned. Kestra you and Lias get the medical supplies out and get them settled. Now all I have to do is find Xena and we can get underway once weíre set here.

Aphrodite (smiling and raising her sword): If no one minds I can get you right to her. I know she missed you and she probably needs to talk with you about the Chakram which was taken last night.
Gabrielle (wondering): What do you mean taken? VariaÖ
Varia (shaking her head): Go on weíll wait right here.
Gabrielle (smiling): Thank you Iíll be back with Xena. Ok Iím ready (and she vanished in a flash of light only to land on something warm and hard that was shaking with laughter.)
Xena (laughing and tightening her hold on her partner): This is a very nice surprise (adjusting her legs so Gabrielle could lay between them.) And how are you this morning (blue eyes shining with love and devotion?)
Gabrielle (wiggling around to get comfortable and getting a low moan from Xena): You like that huh?
Xena (grinning mischievously): I like very much my love (leaning up and kissing her softly.)
Gabrielle (returning the kiss feeling the desire and passion between them flare up deliciously): Mmm once this is over with you are mine Warrior.
Xena (understanding but pulling away reluctantly): Iím already yours my love.

Gabrielle (pushing off hr partner):Ok how many are in the camp and where is everyone being held? And whatís this about your Chakram?
Xena (standing and wrapping her arm around her partner): Thereís about 40 or so Vikings typical weapons swords; spears and crossbows. They also have something called a war hammer. Itís pretty heavy and self explanatory just donít get too close if someone is swinging that. Thereís three tents scattered across their camp. The one on the far left Iím almost positive is the one Eve is in. That one (pointing to a tent with three guards surrounding it has our Amazons and that one (pointing to a long one with several guards surrounding it) has the Followers. We need to get those guards distracted then get in and get everyone out quickly and safely. As for the Chakram I donít know. Loki the God of mischief has it but why I donít know.

Gabrielle (looking up at her partner whose face was tense): Hey weíll get it back and things will work out just remember your promise to me.
Xena (solemnly): I will an you remember your promise too.
Hands entwined they made the short trek back to where the Amazons and Aphrodite were waiting. It was time to discuss tactics and strategy. With the sun high over head and weapons drawn they made their way to the perimeters of the Viking camp to rescue Eve their sisters and the Followers of Eli. Everyone praying that they would all return home tomorrow safely.

Continued

Xenaís Girl




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