by LA Tucker © 2002
It would probably be a really good idea to have read 'The Light Fantastic'
or its sequel, 'The Inside Out', before reading this, but in some ways,
it can stand on its own, so don't be afraid. Much.
This one is dedicated
to SEM, who recently introduced me to the joys of a good paddlin'.
against the Romans had been a hot, merciless, vicious one, just the
way the Conqueror liked them. What she didn't like was the fact
that for the first time in her seven year reign as Destroyer of Nations,
she, Xena, The Lord Conqueror of Greece (and all those other overtly
bloody titles tacked on to the end of her name), had not
personally led her troops into battle. She'd been reduced to directing
her various offensive sieges from within the castle walls of her finely
appointed, if a little dark and musty, fortress within Athens. Her battle
strategies were sent daily to the front troops by carrier pigeon and
terrified bottom-feeding lackeys, who were more frightened of the moody,
ruthless Conqueror than the thought of finding themselves at the business
end of enemy Roman swords.
The reason for
this first time absenteeism from the thick of things embarrassed the
Conqueror to no end. She found it so irritating that it was forbidden
gossip fodder within the confines of her castle and was not to be brought
up, spoken about, or dilly-dallied with, in serious or joking tones.
The reason for her distraction was not all that complicated. The
explanation was simple: She'd been caught off guard. There was dissension
in her ranks, and a few of her top generals had become traitors. The
treasonous dirtbags got together and secretly banded against her. Same
old, same old. However, the Conqueror had been caught flat-footed and
unprepared for it this time around. There were more than a few
whispered words within the castle walls attributing this lapse in concentration
to the fact that the Conqueror had been indulging in an inordinate amount
of carnal trifling with her new body slave, a lusciously appointed and,
on occasion quite mouthy, slip of a girl from Potadeia.
the mistress of all she surveyed, got shit-faced drunk this night at
a reception for one of her returning loyal field marshals, and retired
to her private chambers to sleep it off. Somewhere in the middle
of the night, she awoke and felt the desperate call of nature urgently
advising her to get up and seek out her chamber pot. When she did, unsteadily
rising from her opulent Conqueror sized mattress, she promptly lost
her usually arrow sharp bearings and tripped over her personal slave,
the aforementioned Potadeian girl. The poor woman was unfortunately
sleeping in her usual cowering position on the marbled floor, right
in the pathway to the pot. Ass over Grecian urn the Conqueror tumbled,
tripping in a very un-Lordly way, kersplat on the hard stone
of the floor. When the Conqueror tried to stand up, she found she couldn't
without wanting to scream bloody murder, and it was not the bloody murder
she usually loved to scream.
Her healer was
quickly sent for, and after fumbling around with her tender ankle, he
nervously announced that the ankle was broken in two places, and Xena
would be required to nurse the injured appendage for at least 10 weeks.
She scowled unmercilously at him, and he changed his prognosis to 8
weeks. One more death glare from the Conqueror, and that estimate
was reduced to 6 weeks. It was hurried prognoses like these, all
delivered because of intimidation and threat by a grumpy and lethal
Conqueror, that enhanced her quite false reputation as being the Known
World's fastest healer.
As the healer
scurried from her bedchambers, he saw that she had at least taken a
small bit of his advice. She was back in bed with her tightly bound
ankle elevated. The elevation was not provided by a royal, down
filled pillow, no, but rather by the raised rump of the red blonde body
slave who had inadvertently found herself in the way of a tanked and
Lord Xena, the
conquered-by-her-owndrunken-misstep-Conqueror, demanded the presence
of her advisor and despised oracle, Alti, before succumbing to sleep
that night. Alti, unscrupulous and ever plotting to attain the
kingdom for her own, eyed the reclining Conqueror and her trembling
body slave ottoman and hatched yet another in a long line of devious
plans. Throwing some foul smelling herbs into a wine goblet, and stirring
in some port wine, she promised the Conqueror that the resulting mixture
would hasten the healing process and let her sleep without much pain.
Lord Xena would normally smell a rat, or a whole slew of rats, when
dealing with Alti, but she was still woozy from over-consumption of
spirits and deeply in pain, although she was loathe to admit it to anyone.
That would be UnConqueror-like, and she avoided that like the many plagues
that had infiltrated the Greek countryside over the years. She
sniffed the port mixture suspiciously, found that it smelled no worse
than any other concoctions containing mysterious Greek herbal ingredients,
and slugged it down as though she was a finalist in a drinking contest
the second time that night.
like a serpent from the room with a wicked smile turning up the corner
of her lips, and took a final glance back at the snoring conqueror and
the poor body slave who was propping up the broken ankle at the end
of the bed. Alti's eyes met those of the slave, and she winked at her,
thought Gabrielle, the unfortunate
slave-cushion, I hate to think what the Lord
Conqueror is going to be like in the morning.
awoke to an elbow nudging at her ribs, and fingers playfully tweaking
her nipple. She smiled, feeling the warm body beside her, and
reached her arms out and pulled the inviting form on top of her, opening
her weary eyes for only a second to recognize the fascinating and enticing
mossy green eyes of her sexy-as-Tartarus body slave, Gabrielle.
She pulled her in tighter for a very long and protracted kiss, and felt
the girl squirming above her. The squirming turned into slower writhing,
and some whimpering occurred. Just as the Conqueror was reaching her
hand around to capture a lush buttock beneath her palm, the writhing
ceased, and squirming began again, and then the girl pulled away from
her entirely. Then the unthinkable happened - the Conqueror felt
a sharp slap applied to her backside, delivered, astonishingly enough,
by her slave.
"Gah!" the girl
spat unhappily. "What the hell were you drinking last night? Brake
heard some more gagging and spitting noises, and she slowly opened her
inches from her face, and still loosely within her arms, was her slave,
Gabrielle. But when Xena blinked again, she noticed that there was something
quite different about the girl. Her hair was much shorter, and darker
than the night before when she'd had a wild sexual rendezvous with her
before leaving to attend the banquet.
"What have you
done with your hair?" the Conqueror asked, royally confused. She did
not like it when anybody did anything without her first ordering
them to do so.
"Oh, the roots
were showing," the girl said self consciously, fluffing her dark red
locks, "and I needed a trim. You got home so late last night, I guess
you didn't notice. Does it look OK?"
Xena, miffed that she had not been consulted about such drastic changes
in her favorite slave. "What is this 'OK'?"
The girl ignored
her question, and repeated the butt slap as before. "You're a supreme
grump this morning! And it's not like you to get drunk!
Did you and Dave get trashed down at the Embers?"
This was all
sounding Greek to the Lord Conqueror, well, except the Supreme Grump
part. She'd been called that before. It was, in fact, one of her many
the girl had pulled away, and was chattering away about something nonsensical.
The girl, quite the responsive spitfire between the sheets, and from
time to time a bit fiery with her speech, was not acting the way a subservient
slave should. As her eyes traced upward, Lord Xena was confounded to
tiles gracing a high ceiling, but instead, a very low ceiling, too close
for her liking. It was flat and white with an odd fixture hanging from
it. She squinted, and it was not a candled chandelier. No, it
had flat blades on it, going round and round dizzily as though pushed
by an unfelt wind. But then she realized that it was causing a
small breeze on its own, like the waving of palm fronds by body slaves
on a sultry afternoon. Her alcohol pickled brain was trying to
comprehend this when she felt a soft kiss on her cheek.
get your ass out of bed. We've got to get to the course in less than
an hour. We can share a shower. I'll get us some coffee; I set the timer
on the maker last night."
head turned left, then right and then she looked long at the naked slave
standing expectantly with her hand out to her, as if to help her out
of the ... bed?
her eyes a moment, and tried to think. Port, bladder, tripping, ankle
... She flexed both her ankles gingerly, they seemed fine.
Headache, healer ... Alti!!
(she allowed herself to call herself that, she was
one of the chosen few she allowed that honor), you're not in Athens
Now a common
observer to these events might think that this situation would be all
too much for Xena's port-sodden mind to handle, but consider the facts.
The facts usually ran thusly: Xena had lived through odder situations
than this, well, maybe not nearly as weird, but pretty close.
The Gods of Olympus were always hanging about her in Ancient Greece,
playing games with her head, using her for their own amusements and
bored gratification. She'd lived through alternate universes before,
traveled dreamscapes, and fought adversaries on the very edges of reality.
The Gods, (pick one, pick any one) had put her in some pretty whacked
out scenarios one too many times, and she was bound and determined to
come out the victor this time as she'd done so in the past.
Now it was obvious
it was that twitchy witch Alti who was testing Lord Xena's mettle this
time around. It was not unlike what her insipid pain in the ass former
advisor, Callisto, had done when she had plotted for them to switch
All of her close advisors seemed to have it out for her, and
absurdly, the Conqueror rather liked it that way. Although the
Conqueror was still unsure which God had been responsible for sending
her to a time when she wore glass lenses on her face and she was obligated
to follow around a blonde, feisty, rolled tobacco smoking girl (in a
hat she referred to as a 'fedora') over the ancient ruins of Greece,
she felt confident that this too would pass. She knew that no matter
what trying scenario she would come up against during the time of her
trials within this new reality, she'd simply roll with the punches and
come out on top. She liked it on top.
So, the Conqueror
of Nations, Lion of Amphipolis, Destroyer of Nations, Lord Xena, and
whatever title had been tacked on lately was unconcerned about this
latest turn of events.
day in the life of the Ultimate Cranky Warlord.
Or so she thought.
on the edges of the first tee, watching her dazed lover fumble with
the ties on her golf shoes, finally just tying huge knots in them to
keep them on.
She poked Dave
in the ribs. "What the hell were you two drinking last night?
Something laced with PCP? She's so out of it today, I had
to dress her. And all of a sudden she doesn't like the way I make
her coffee? She needed honey in it? Have you EVER heard
of anyone drinking coffee with honey in it?"
stomach lurched at the thought as he studied his sister who'd stood
up from the bench and was now gingerly walking about in her spiked golf
shoes like a waddling goose. "Geez, well, it was the quarterly meeting
of the Chamber of Commerce, and we always end up drinking too
much. But it doesn't seem to me she really had that much, but
I lost count, and I think Jay Caesar kept ordering Sangria, and he and
Sara were shooting pool and ..."
He stopped his
explanation, and stared at his sister, who had put her hands in her
shorts' pockets and had pulled the linings completely out, and was intently
inspecting them. Chloe noticed his bewildered gaze and followed
it to see Sara, who was studying the pulled out material, tugging at
it, and flicking out pieces of lint, watching them waft to the ground.
They watched in confusion as she experimentally tucked the pockets back
in, and then slipped both hands inside and wiggled her fingers around,
a delighted expression coming to her chiseled face. She looked
up, saw them watching her, and she almost smiled. Almost.
her head. "She shouldn't be drinking while taking her meds; she knows
that. Look at her, she's still half pie eyed. She looks
like Cheech, or Chong. Or both of them. She's been acting weird all
Dave was back
to busily concentrating on not upchucking his recently eaten breakfast,
and really didn't pay much attention to Chloe's complaints. Mixing
pitchers of beer and sangria really wasn't a good combination, and he
silently vowed never the twain would meet again.
until the next quarterly Chamber of Commerce meeting.
huffed a clearly impatient Chloe. "Look who's coming! She looks half
gone too! Nifty. The first time this Spring I get to play 9 holes,
and I have to do it with 3 people who might puke in my golf bag at any
up, and carefully watched the form approaching them. The woman
didn't look too dangerous, although she had a formidable aura about
her and was pulling a bag on wheels behind her. As she got closer,
the Conqueror of Nations looked down at the older figure's hand, and
saw a stick, or a cloth covered spear clutched there, wrapped in multicolored
material. The older woman stopped directly in front of the Conqueror,
and stared her down with a bloodshot glare, and thumped her cloth covered
stick on the ground several times. Strangely enough, the Conqueror
felt a chill go through her spine, and she dropped her eyes in meek
deference to the glaring woman. The last time Xena had felt this kind
of power emanating from another human being was the last time her mother,
Cyrene, had yelled at her for burning down yet another hapless village.
The gray haired woman 'humphed' at her, then continued walking over
to the man and the woman waiting on the little rounded hill with the
two little white pegs set in the ground.
Chloe knew Doris
was also at that 'meeting' last night, and gave her a quick once over.
Doris was leaning heavily on her umbrella, and she looked unnaturally
pale, her complexion reflecting the same tint as the grass beneath their
back with her hands perched on her hips and gauged the bedraggled appearance
of her three sickly, hung-over golfing companions and snorted in derision.
"That's it. First one to ralph on my new Nancy Lopez golf
shoes gets penalized three strokes! Got it?!"
Three sets of
bloodshot eyes nodded their tired acquiescence, although one set wasn't
entirely sure what that particular threat meant. She was soon
to find out.
was nothing if not a quick study. She merely watched, and mimicked
what the others were doing. Put a ball on a little pin, take a long
metal stick with a rounded/flat head on it, look down at it for an eternity
while constantly shifting your grip on the rough handle, wiggle your
butt like a dancing girl, look off into the distance several times over,
and then take a whack at the little white pocked ball. Piece of
baklava. Gabrielle, or Chloe as the other two were calling her,
seemed pretty proficient at getting the ball to go a long distance in
a very straight line. Once they'd walked with their rolling bags
to where their balls had landed, the Conqueror figured out that the
idea was to get the little white ball close to the hole with the flapping
flag in it.
Her ball had
stopped in the grass just in front of the man's and he said he was 'away'
and got to hit first. She watched the club that he used, and pulled
a similar one out of her bag, and did what he did, taking the stick
back and rather chopping down at the ball as if it was the head of one
of Caesar's invading centurions. The old woman and Chloe had hit
their first shots directly onto the short grass oval surrounding the
tiny hole, and they used flat headed sticks to try and push the ball
into the little hole. But this was after much walking about checking
the slope and distance of the surface of the grass. After they'd all
successfully knocked the little ball in, Chloe sniggered, and wrote
something on a card with a tiny yellow stick without ink, saying smugly
something about birds. No, it was her birdie. That, the Conqueror
was sure of.
Now what? Lord
Xena thought. She followed them over to another area, and saw
the two little white pegs again, and Chloe sticking a prop into the
ground. Oh, so they were to do this all over again, but the next flag
was just over that rise, she could just barely see it. This was a contest
of skill, Lord Conqueror Xena realized, one she might have enjoyed if
she wasn't in an alternate universe feeling like she'd licked the bottoms
of her troops dirty boots all night.
By the fourth
hole, the Conqueror, seeing no apparent danger of hidden Roman assassins
lurking in the trees lining the sides of the course, finally sidled
closer to Chloe, who was sucking liquid out of an odd clear container.
Chloe and Doris had already teed off, and were safely on
the green. Chloe offered the Conqueror the bottle, and watched
as she sniffed suspiciously at it, then took a hesitant sip. Discovering
it was nothing more (she hoped) than clear, cold water, the Conqueror
drained it, and handed it back to her with a smirk.
chided. "Good thing I brought a bunch of this with me. I figured
you'd be dehydrated." She rolled her eyes. "You haven't said two
words all morning. You feeling that bad?"
figured this hangover was a good cover for her apparent confusion, since
it really wasn't that far from the truth. She nodded, and then
turned her gaze to the man, who was putting his ball down so he could
hit it with the big club. He took a mighty swing at it, missed, and
the ball fell off the little stick it was propped up on.
"Who is that
again?" Lord Xena asked aloud, and then realized how stupid it sounded.
"I don't know,
I think it might be your brother, Dave. Not sure though, he looks
more like one of the Three Stooges right now."
Xena said doubtfully, squinting harder at the man. "Lyceus?"
uncomprehendingly at her, and then turned to watch a sheepish Dave re-tee
his ball. "Lyceus, who's that? I always thought Dave kinda looked
a bit like Kevin Kline."
finally managed to hit the ball, but it landed in a large round indentation
to the right of the green, filled with combed white sand. He swore,
and walked off towards it down the sides of the fairway.
It was the Conqueror's
turn, and she propped up her ball, and grabbed a numbered stick out
of her leather bag.
a seven iron, not a wood on this hole," the old woman, Doris, murmured
with a definite shake of her head.
numbered stick she had gripped in her hands. She was using something
Chloe had called a 5 wood, and it had worked just fine at the last hole,
so why change now?
the woman's comment, and wiggled her hips, glancing out at the fluttering
flag, setting her feet.
"Too tight together,"
interjected Doris again.
her stance, glared at the older woman, and looked off again to see where
the little flag was situated.
to hook it, turn a little." It was Doris again. Chloe was
standing off to the side, watching the show between the two women, mightily
stifling a giggle that was begging to burst forth.
of Nations shifted regally and got into her stance again, but not before
squinting threateningly at Doris. She looked down at the little ball,
then out at the flag, then down at the little ball again, trying to
get her grip comfortable.
your left shoulder. You're gonna pull the shot."
Lord Xena deliberately
lifted her left shoulder with exaggeration, so it was almost touching
her ear lobe, and then sneering at the old woman, dropped it down to
the exact same position as before.
disapprovingly and bit her lip. "Well, at least keep your head down."
Xena took one
more look toward the flag, then looked at Doris, and with slow deliberation,
twisted her head back and forth and up and down. There were quite audible
grinding cracks of vertebrae popping and falling into place, and at
the sound of it, Doris' face paled, and she shut her mouth.
One more practice
swing, and then the Conqueror stepped up to the ball, got everything
adjusted and swung. The ball went flying to the left, dropping to hit
the ground a good 30 yards past the flag, and bounced into some high
grass far behind the green.
ferally growled in frustration and refused to look Doris' way. She leaned
down, whipped her broken tee out of the ground, and stomped off with
the two women trailing behind. But her keen sense of hearing brought
these words to her ears, and she flinched in irritation.
"She never listens
to me, either, Doris."
was kicking irritably through some tall underbrush on the side of the
fairway of the 6th hole, fruitlessly looking for her lost golf ball.
Chloe insisted it was too important to lose without a thorough search.
Xena had been disinclined to look so long for it, but when she found
out she would be penalized in her score for losing it, she trudged off
while the other three headed onward to the clipped green and finished
she heard the noise, a constant buzzing whine approaching ever closer.
She raised an eyebrow, grabbed a club for defensive purposes, and forgot
about the missing ball. The noise grew progressively louder, and her
posture stiffened in readiness for what she was sure was an ambush,
although the odd sound was not something she was familiar with.
Over a nearby
hillock, she finally spied the source of the incoming attack. She peered
at what appeared to be a small approaching chariot, with a sole warrior
on board, but the vehicle was propelled on its four small wheels without
the aid of any slaves or horses.
dismissed the mystery of the vehicles source of the propulsion
as the form of the person steering it came into focus. An Amazon!!
Lord Xena's mind warned. Her senses on full alert now, Xena stood boldly
waiting to see what weapon the curly headed Amazon would brandish. But
as the cart got closer and closer, Xena saw that the Amazon woman was
not alone, no, Lord Xena's eyes were transfixed as she realized that
there was a small bundle belted into the chair next to the woman. The
bundle was looking at her with gleeful eyes as the vehicle pulled up
to a stop in front of her.
A baby! Lord
Conqueror blinked dumbly, and she guessed its age at just around the
six moon mark. A baby with hair as dark as Xena's, but with soft curls
framing its rounded, smiling face. The child looked like it was quite
delighted to see the Conqueror, and Xena frowned in response. She then
felt the eyes of the Amazon coolly staring at her, and she turned her
attention to her, ready for almost anything.
The Amazon regarded
her closely, a smirk on her face and a snort coming from her mouth.
She turned in her seat and spoke as she began unfastening the baby from
Peachy. Both grown D'Amico siblings tied one on last night,
huh? Chloe must be one happy little camper with you today, huh,
Einstein? And I'm not even going to ask why you're looking at me like
I'm someone out of the 'Twilight Zone'," she said with clearly amused
derision in her voice, aimed at the Conqueror as she hefted the baby
out of its small seat and into her lap.
know quite what to say in reply to that, but she surely didn't appreciate
the Amazon's tone of voice. Her mind was too muddled trying to place
the Amazon's face, comparing it with the ones she had met and tussled
with in her earlier up and coming nasty warlord years. Cyane? Ephiny?
The woman with
the baby looked like an odd combination of all of them, and Xena's
defensive posture stiffened even more, but then she looked back again
at the grinning baby in the woman's arms, and her fierce countenance
softened. The baby's big blue eyes were glued upon the suspicious but
fascinated Conqueror, and she heard the Amazon speaking again, this
time to the both of them.
The Amazon bounced
the baby on her lap and cooed affectionately to it. "Well, kiddo, you
get to go with your big dopey Aunt Sara now, Momma's got to head off
to class. Your Daddy obviously forgot that he promised to baby-sit you
today, huh?" With one arm holding the child, she reached down to the
floor beside her, and lifted up a blue sack with a bottle attached to
the side, and a few thick white garments stuffed inside. She pulled
a pink bundle of material out of it, and tossed it to the Conqueror,
who caught it without thinking. "There's the sling, you can either wear
it, or make that red-eyed husband of mine haul her around. You've only
got a couple more holes to go, right?"
Lord Xena looked
at the bundle of material in her hands. Sling? What? She was
studying it so intently she let her guard down and didn't see the woman
approaching her with the baby in her arms and the diaper bag slung over
her shoulder. "Here," the Amazon said as she dropped the bag on the
grass, "let me help you put it on. You never have much luck putting
it on by yourself." But then she stopped, seeing the odd look in the
Conqueror's eyes. "Hey, do you need to take your shot first?" The baby
gurgled in her arms and stretched out its pudgy little arms towards
croaked as she replied in embarrassment,, "Uh, I lost my ball."
The Amazon laughed.
"They went on without you, huh? Well, ya big dummy, just drop another
one -- they'll never know, will they? Good Lord, Sara, sometimes I think
you're just as brilliant as Elmer Fudd, ya know?"
Conqueror knew that this was a blatant insult, but she bit her tongue
in deference to the presence of the baby. She quietly retrieved an extra
ball from her golf bag, took a stick and chipped it towards the green
as the other woman and baby watched. With some measure of satisfaction,
the ball landed on the empty green, not too far from the flag. Apparently
her companions were waiting for her near the beginning of the next hole,
and had missed the lucky accuracy and skill of the shot.
The Amazon had
none too surreptitiously invaded her personal space, and had taken the
pink sling and was fitting it over the startled Conqueror's head and
shoulders, fixing the straps quickly as the Destroyer of Nations stood
stock still. The next thing the shocked Conqueror was aware of, the
baby was being fitted to the front of her, its legs slipped through
two holes in the carrying device. Lord Xena stood like a statue, her
chest now covered by a squirming, burbling baby girl who immediately
latched her chubby little hands onto the Conqueror's long black hair.
The bag with the extra accessories was also handed to her, as Xena's
eyes locked on the shining eyes of the small and very happy little baby.
She eyed it curiously and her face softened even further, and she was
unaware that a goofy grin was forming on her lips that soon erupted
into a full fledged, loopy smile as she blinked at the wriggling child.
The Amazon moved
back to the cart, noting with bemusement the matching silly smiles on
both niece and her mesmerized Aunt. She started the cart to whining
again, and pulled away, waving to both Xena and the child. "See you
later, you two. Bye, Vivian!!" She couldn't help herself; she just
had to throw in one more dig at her hung-over sister-in-law, glad that
her daughter was still too young to understand her off color language.
"Bye, Asshole! Take care of your niece, willya? Don't be selling
her off to any passing Gypsies!" She didn't wait for an answer. Chuckling,
she waved, turned the vehicle and drove off.
the vehicle retreating for only a moment before the baby ensconced on
her chest yanked painfully on her hair again. She tapped the baby gently
on the nose, and murmured, "Sell you off? Perish the thought,
little one. No one should sell off anyone as cute as you ..." She hoisted
the bag more securely on her shoulder, tossed her club back into the
rolling stick bag, and with a light step now in her stride and a steadying
hand on the baby's butt, walked off towards the hole where her ball
lay, sure of achieving her first par of the day.
Xena was quite
exhausted. She was lying sprawled on her back on a couch in a
large sitting area in what Gabrielle/Chloe had referred to quite cryptically
as their 'Home Sweet Money Pit'. It was only shortly past midday,
and the Conqueror couldn't remember feeling this tired in a long time,
not even when she'd led her troops into battle against a particularly
pesky contingent of Romans led by that tenacious brute, Brutus.
As she lay staring
at the ceiling, she listened to the calming sounds of Chloe humming
off tune in another room, cleaning up after their lunch of what Chloe
had described as 'PB and J' sandwiches. The Conqueror had quite
liked the sticky and sweet substances spread between slices of bread
that were thicker than her usual repast of pita. Xena downed three of
the sandwiches, smacking her lips after the last one, and washed it
all down with a fourth mug of ice cold milk. They talked briefly
about the outcome of the 'golf' game, and Xena swallowed back more than
one smile at the proud way the little redhead boasted proudly of her
numerous 'birdies'. The Conqueror was content in knowing she had
at least bested her 'brother' Dave in achieving a lower tally of strokes.
given up custody of the baby to the doting and proud father, and
for the duration of the remaining holes, she found herself
relaxing and actually enjoying the company of the three strange individuals
who teased her for her mis-hits, and praised her for her improvements.
She actually listened to the older woman's tips on the optimal methods
for holding the clubs, swinging them, and choosing the correct club
for the distance to the hole. They all parted company after playing
9 holes, and a somewhat disappointed Conqueror silently wished she could
play 9 more. That number sounded better to her for some reason.
Nine holes didn't seem like enough of a challenge.
the room, and grinned cheekily at the tired Conqueror, and without asking,
she moved in between her legs, and lay down gently on top of her, letting
her head rest on Xena's shoulder. Xena shifted a little to accommodate
her, and quite without thinking, kissed the redhead softly and wrapped
her arms around her in quiet contentment.
"Nap time for
Noo-Noo." Chloe murmured sleepily, and although the Conqueror
didn't understand exactly what the sentiment meant, it made her feel
happy, and soon, both women were gratefully snoozing away the rest of
the early spring afternoon, wrapped gently in each other's embrace.
When the red
blonde woke up, snuggled deep into the covers, she found herself
in the middle of the large bed, her arms wrapped tightly around a pillow.
She blinked until her eyes got used to the late afternoon light streaming
in the windows. She stretched, and saw her still sleepy eyed lover
standing quietly in front of the large window, looking out over the
land that stretched far beyond the horizon.
Lord Xena glanced
at her, and saw those green eyes staring questioningly at her.
She smiled, and motioned for the redhead to join her at the window.
and wrapping the sheet modestly about her, made her way over to stand
behind the Conqueror, ready to assume a submissive pose at her mistress'
feet. But surprisingly, before her knees could begin their bend, Xena
casually reached out, and put her arm around the startled slave's shoulders,
and drew her near.
better than to speak before she was spoken to, and resolutely kept her
mouth shut, although she was already bursting with curiosity at the
Conqueror's strange behavior.
But the behavior
just kept getting stranger and stranger...and stranger yet.
Lord Xena used
the redhead as a human crutch for her injured ankle, but also unexpectedly
ran an affectionate hand through Gabrielle's long soft hair as she spoke.
"See out there, Gabrielle?" she said, motioning to the endless green
of land outside her fortress window. She saw that Gabrielle was
looking, so she grinned and continued. "All of that is mine. All of
it. It is Greece. It's just ..." Her voice faltered, and
she cleared her throat as she gathered her thoughts, "a waste.
Now, I've had some ideas, and I want you to listen to them, OK?"
Gabrielle dazedly. What is this 'OK'?
Lord Xena continued,
giving the slave a gentle reassuring squeeze. "I think 18 holes would
be perfect. I've already called for the royal groundskeeper to
come up later and I will give him the general plans. And the royal
seamstress, she's coming up, too, to help me devise clothing with cloth
holders at the interior of the hips, a place to pocket small items.
And sticks with a cloth dome on them to protect a person from the rain
or harsh sun. And perhaps to make you what is known as a 'ball
cap'. You will look simply adorable in ball caps, I think."
for a moment, and Gabrielle's eyes widened, and she swallowed hard.
Adorable? Did she say she thought I was adorable?
But she didn't have time to ponder that idea, because the Lion of Amphipolis
was speaking again.
"And boots with
spikes on the bottom of them, Gabrielle. No, not for battle, but
for a better grip when walking in the slick grass. And I've called for
the weapons maker, too, I think we'll take some of the excess swords
we've got stockpiled and have him refashion them into clubs."
was truly confused. Clubs? Why would the Conqueror want
to take sharp swords and dull them into clubs?
to be getting cheerier as she shared her plans with the slave tucked
so comfortably in her embrace. "All of this fighting and warring.
I just can't see ... spending so much money on it, so much time or lives
on it any longer. That nasty bugger Caesar can keep Rome, I don't want
it anymore. If he keeps to his side of the sea, I'll keep to mine. And
those Amazons, I mean, how bad are they, really? They keep to
themselves, they dance rather nicely, and well, some of them don't seem
so bad, huh?"
echoed Gabrielle's mind. She was starting to think that maybe
the Conqueror had not only sustained an ankle injury the evening before,
but had also taken a mighty crack to her noggin.
proved Gabrielle's hypothesis by quickly placing a sweet lingering kiss
on the slave's lips, and then hugging her even closer to her.
Gabrielle found herself reacting to the Conqueror's kiss by wrapping
both arms around her, and to her surprise, the Conqueror didn't pull
away, but seemed to appreciate and enjoy the closeness, and expressed
her acceptance of it with a vulnerable sounding sigh.
thing, Gabrielle. This slave thing, it's just so ... barbaric,
isn't it? More trouble than its worth, and who would want to take
sweet little children away from their mothers and fathers? Much
less grown-up sweet things like you. No, slavery, its got to go."
Both the Conqueror
and Gabrielle turned together as the seamstress, weapons maker and groundskeeper
entered the chamber, followed closely by the Conqueror's personal cook,
holding a tray of odd looking stuffed pita sandwiches. A white
smile emitting from the Conqueror's face nearly blinded them all, and
they pulled up in stark surprise.
all of you, sit down," as she motioned them to the large table near
the window. "You too, Cook. I trust you had success in making
my concoction? The mashed nuts and fruit spread?"
and swallowed as she deposited the tray upon the table. Another
slave entered, and while they were all sitting down at the table, all
of them uncomfortabe, the slave poured them all a tall goblet of ...
thought the former slave Gabrielle. Not port, we've ... got
milk? She shook her head, and dared let out a bemused chuckle
as the Conqueror bade them all to lift their beverages in the air in
Lord Xena said
quite solemnly as they all touched goblets, "Here's to green grass,
blue skies, family and friends!"
"Hear, hear," they
replied, and took a refreshing drink.
Lord Xena, Conqueror
of Nations, Previous Supreme Grump and Future 6 Handicapper, raised
her goblet again, and tapped it against Gabrielle's in a private toast.
"And here's to you, my little love. Soon, I know, you will be swinging
a club yourself, and easily besting me. And I promise you, right here
and now, that I won't mind a bit."
And in the coming
months and years, Gabrielle found that the Conqueror kept her promise
made to her on that spring day. Never once did the Conqueror complain
when Gabrielle consistently beat her with her assortment of clubs. Not
even when a smug Gabrielle, now quite talkative and secure in the solid
reality of their ever blossoming love, bragged on endlessly about her
Happy Halloween! LA
to the Academy