Abandoned Temple

Gabrielle sat up abruptly gasping for breath.  Looking at her surroundings it confirmed her fears.  Strong hands grabbed her by the shoulders and she looked up in horror.
Alti (laughing evilly): What not so happy to see me?

Gabrielle (struggling): Where’s Xena?  What have you done with her?

Alti (grabbing Gabrielle by the throat): You’ll see her when I’m ready.  For now though let me look into your soul.  Let me relive your greatest pain.  Have you felt what she’s felt?  Does it hurt when I touch her?  Do you feel her agony and her ecstasy (closing her eyes as she focused on Gabrielle’s pain?)
Gabrielle (yelling): You’ll pay for what you’ve done to her.
Alti (smirking): Tsk. Tsk.  No you and Xena will be the ones to pay for what you’ve done to me.

Gabrielle gasped and shuddered under Alti’s touch. 

South American Jungle

Varia (holding Gabrielle’s shoulders): What’s wrong with her?
Eve (shaking her head): I don’t know (brushing back her mom’s hair.) 

Janice (buttoning her shirt): She’s having convulsions.  What happened?
Eve (worriedly): I don’t know.  We gave her something to help her sleep and things were fine for a while.

Mel (holding her legs): Is she allergic to anything that you gave her?

Varia (frantically; holding Gabrielle tighter): No.

The convulsions suddenly stopped and Gabrielle’s body relaxed much to everyone’s relief.  There relief was short lived as they heard a loud roar and then hoof beats coming at them.

Varia (grabbing her gun and her sword): We got company.  Mel, Janice keep an eye on Gabrielle.  We’ll take care of our unwanted visitor. 

Abandoned Temple

Alti (dragging Gabrielle behind her): You want to see your precious Xena well here (throwing her in front of the altar where Xena was chained down.   Gabrielle covered her mouth at the sight of her lover’s beaten and bruised body lying helpless in front of her.)
Gabrielle (angrily): What have you done to her?
Alti (smirking): The question you should be asking is what I haven‘t done to her (laughing evilly.)  She calls for you no matter what I do to her.  She cries out for you, begging and pleading.  I think I may have found a way to break her as well.  Say good-bye Gabrielle (chuckling evilly.)

South American Jungle

Varia (diving out of the way as the Berserker flew past her): Son of a bitch.  Get off that dam horse and fight you coward.
Eve (jumping up and trying to kick him): Bastard (barely dodging the charging horse‘s hooves.)
Varia (scrambling to Eve’s side): Come on out of the way, as she pushed Eve sideways before the Berserker’s sword took off her head.)  How do we stop him?
Eve (shaking her head): No idea.  We can’t let him near mom though.  That’s what he wants.  I’ve got an idea.  It might buy us some time but then again maybe not.

Varia (readying her sword): I’m listening.  Although if you get hurt I’ll beat, your bum and so will your mother’s.

Eve (winking): You can beat me all you want later lover.  Ok this is what we’re going to do (readying her stance.)

Abandoned Temple

Gabrielle (struggling as memories assaulted her): You bitch I’ll kill you…

Alti (throwing her down): No, you won’t but you’ll wish you had.  Now here’s what I want if you ever want your precious soul mate back.  I want the exact location of the ambrosia. 

Gabrielle (looking at Xena then at Alti): Never.  You can kill us both but I’ll never give you that you bitch (the blow to her face threw her sideways landing her in front of the altar.  Looking up she reached for the manacles and called Xena’s name.  Only to wake up struggling for air back in the camp.)

South American Jungle
Janice (worriedly): Welcome back.

Gabrielle (panting): Where’s Eve and Varia?
Mel (wiping her forehead with a cool cloth): Taking care of some unwanted company.

Gabrielle (groaning, her muscles ached): Shit.  She’s making it harder and harder for us to reach the village.  She wants the Ambrosia…

Janice (puzzled): Then why is she trying to stop us.

Mel (handing Gabrielle some water): Because the harder she makes it for us the more she thinks, we’ll give it to her.

They heard yelling and something that sounded like a loud roar then everything went quiet. 

Varia (running into camp; she was bleeding from several wounds): He’s gone for now.

Gabrielle (reaching up as Varia collapsed next to her): Are you ok? Where’s Eve? (Noticing the gash on Varia’s bicep) what happened?
Eve (walking in): Right here.  No, she’s not ok.  The next time I tell you to move, move.  She decided to be stubborn and not get out of the way that’s how she got that (lightly cuffing the back of Varia’s head.)

Varia (ducking and grinning): I did move.  Not everyone can do those flippy thingies you and your mother can (teasing.)

Janice (mumbling): I can see where this might be hereditary (smirking.)
Mel (softly): Oh just hush up will you.

Gabrielle (taking a deep breath): So what happened to the Berserker?
Eve (soaking a rag in some water): Took off.  Here hold still…

Varia (wincing): Ouch, hey be gentle.  That’s my sword arm.
Gabrielle (teasing): Big tough Warrior whining about a little cut.
Eve (biting her lip to keep from laughing): True.  So, mom what happened to you?  We thought you were sleeping…

Gabrielle (shaking her head): I wasn’t sleeping you two knocked me out.  Paybacks Eve, paybacks.

Varia (flexing her hand): We didn’t knock you out…

Eve (leaning against her): Yes, we did and don’t try and get out of this….
Mel (shifting and pulling Janice against her): So what happened?
Gabrielle (softly): Alti had me through my dreams.  She’s more powerful now.  She’s got Xena and (biting her lip) Xena’s not doing so good (fighting tears.)
Eve (wrapping her arm around her mom’s shoulders): We’ll get her back. 
Gabrielle (closing her eyes): I know.  She’s got her in an old temple from what I could make out.  It didn’t look familiar but then I couldn’t see too much of it anyway.

Janice (thinking): Is there or was there a temple in the Amazon village…

Varia (trying to remember): Yes there was.  It was dedicated to Artemis and as time went on and the Age of the many Gods came to an end it was rededicated to the one God of Eli.  I think.

Eve (nodding): I think you’re right but why in an old abandoned temple.

Gabrielle (wide eyed): Because that’s where the ambrosia might be hidden.  That’s what she’s after.  Oh, Gods we are in trouble if she finds it.

Mel (wondering): Where is the ambrosia?  If it’s still there…

Janice (rubbing her face): If she finds it…

Varia (grabbing her gear): I’ll scout ahead

Eve (standing up): I’ll go with you. 

Gabrielle (standing stiffly): We’ll get the camp together and meet you two.  Don’t get to far ahead.  Ok.  (Varia and Eve nodded and after grabbing their gear and weapons took off into the forest.)

Abandoned Temple

Alti laughed as Xena flew through the air landing against the wall with a thud.  She groaned and shook her head.  Xena tried to focus and maybe figure a way out of this nightmare.  Every time that bitch came near her she either ended up in pain or reliving a moment of pleasure.  The unbalance was throwing her off not to mention how weak and tired she felt.

Alti (strolling over to her and grabbing her by her throat): Now tell me where it is or you’ll experience more of what I have in store for you.

Xena (scowling): I’ve defeated you before.  Brie and I both have and we’ll do it again (her body convulsed in pain as images of many fights over her karmic cycle flashed through her mind.)
Alti (throwing Xena down): I think eventually you’ll change your mind.  I’ll leave you alone with your past (throwing her head back and taking a deep breath as the thrill of seeing her enemy writhing in pain raced through her.)

South American Jungle

Varia (kneeling by a tree and taking a sip of water): I think we’re close.  Only another half a day maybe. 

Eve (taking the canteen her lover offered her and sipping some): Then we have to figure out what we’re going to do (leaning in for a kiss, which Varia gladly obliged.)
Varia (moaning): Yeah um Eve…

Eve (moving her mouth lower): Gods watching you these past few days and oh sweetheart um…
Varia (pushing her against the tree): I know.  But right now, I just want to feel you.

Gabrielle (walking slowly through the thick vegetation): They’ll catch up.

Janice (looking to where they had left the horses): Where could they have gone?  And will the horses be all right?
Gabrielle (trying to concentrate): They’ll be back and yeah they’ll be fine.  Now quiet for a moment so I can try to remember where exactly that marker is hidden.

Mel (excitedly): Wow.  Um…

Gabrielle (smiling): Yeah.  It has the marks of the Highest-ranking Queen on it as well.  You wouldn’t know what it was unless you were looking for it.
Janice (puzzled): Who was the highest-ranking Queen well um you know…
Gabrielle (looking around): I was.  It was after that whole mess…

Mel (placing a hand on her shoulder): After, then but there’s…
Gabrielle (chuckling): Yes.  It was hard but she says she would go through that again just to prove herself.  Then there was our joining but there was also that ugly incident with Eve and Xena over Varia.  It got out of hand of course.

Janice (wanting to hear more): So what happened after ward?

Gabrielle (remembering those awful four days of her lover confined to their hut and the pain she was in and Eve constantly back and forth trying to get her mother to see reason and Gabrielle playing mediator; it was funny now but back then): It took them both four days to heal.  During this time, Eve came in to check on Xena and myself.  Xena told her how she felt about Varia and Eve refused to listen.  Things got dicey a couple of times but I know and so did Eve that Xena would never hurt Eve.

Amazon Village 2,000 Years Ago

Eve (yelling): I can’t believe you.  You changed why can’t she.

Xena (wincing as the stitches in her back pulled as she tried to sit up): Because I don’t trust her.  Look at what she did to you; your mom and never mind me.
Gabrielle (trying to diffuse the situation): Both of you knock it off (pushing Xena back on the bed.)

Eve (ignoring her mom): Oh is that.  Your pride got hurt because she tried to seduce your soul mate.  Was this before or after Helicon or was it at the time when you were to busy playing with Ares and ignored her (pointing at Gabrielle.)  Seems to me you were ignoring her plenty so what someone else came along.  She isn’t wearing a ring.

Xena (growling): Eve I suggest you shut up…
Gabrielle (standing in front of Eve): Eve you have no idea what really happened.  Please just back off…

Eve (backing up only to move closer to Xena): Why? She going to hit me or something.  She’s good at that and abandoning people too when they need them the most.

Xena (having had enough, she sat up fighting the pain and dizziness): Eve I’ve about had it with you and your mouth.  You either shut up now or walk away or…

Gabrielle (calling for two Royal Guards): Eve please.  Just let it go and Xena sit right there.  You move and you’ll be sorry.

Xena (snarling): You’re threatening me.
Gabrielle (shaking her head): No.  Xena just please.  You’re both angry and neither one of you two are thinking right now.  Lay down and Eve (turning and facing her daughter) stop egging her on (seeing Eve about to protest) I know but please.

Eve (shaking her head): Varia and I are together.  And there’s nothing you can do about it.

Gabrielle (reaching out for Eve): Eve come on…

Eve (shaking her head; fighting tears): No.  The only thing she understands is fighting.  So I’ll give you a fight.  I win Varia and I stay together and you stay out of it. 

Xena (angrily): And if I win, you and that Amazon slut are done (laying her head back on the pillow.)
Gabrielle (yelling): What the hell do you think you two are doing?  You’re each other’s blood and you’re fighting like this.  We’re supposed to stick together.  I won’t allow this.  Can’t you two sit down and talk about this. 

Eve (looking at Gabrielle; noticing the tears in her eyes): I’m sorry mom.  But one thing I learned from you both is that if you love someone sometimes you have to prove it.  I’m going to sit with Varia.  I’ll see you later (leaving with her heart heavier then it had felt in a long time.)

Gabrielle (sitting down; running her fingers through her hair): Xena I can’t believe you.  You’re going to challenge Eve’s choice of a partner.  She’s your daughter for crying out loud.
Xena (closing her eyes): Brie, Varia is no good for Eve…
Gabrielle (jumping up): How do you know?  And who are you to judge?  Why are you doing this? 

Xena (pointing her finger): Brie, Eve challenged me a few days ago you know that.  So I’m honoring her wishes. 

Gabrielle (having had enough): I can’t talk to you like this.  I can’t.  Since you’ve come back you’re I don’t know what’s going on with you?  I wish you would talk to me.

Xena (shifting): There’s nothing to talk about.

Gabrielle (wiping her eyes): Yes, there is but you refuse as usual.  I’ll bring your dinner later (storming out the door.)

Xena tensed as the door slammed shut.  She was hurting and couldn’t explain it.  Since she had come back, her emotions were so out of control.  She didn’t understand what was wrong herself.  But now she had her two most precious gifts mad at her.  She lowered her head on a pillow sighing.  Once the wounds in her back healed, she would challenge Eve and make her see reason.

Varia (sipping the tea Eve had made her): Eve you can’t challenge your mother.  She’ll kill you.

Eve (pacing): No, she won’t.  I don’t know what’s wrong with her but she’s more stubborn then usual and I won’t stand for the way she treats you. 

Varia (standing weakly; bracing herself against the wall to fight back the dizziness threatening to consume her): I won’t stand by and see you get hurt for me.  Maybe if….

Eve (turning around; facing her lover): No.  Don’t you even go there.  I would gladly go through what I did so I could end up here.  For the first time in my life, I’m happy.  I never had anyone love me or appreciate me the way you do.  I won’t allow anyone to come between us (placing her hands on her partner’s hips and steadying her.  She could see the strain on her lover’s face and wish she could take all this away.)
Varia (softly): They’re your parents Eve…
Eve (with conviction): And you’re the other half of my soul.  I don’t know how I know that but I feel it.  I want to be with you even if it means I have to go head to head with my mother.

Varia (placing a gentle kiss on her lips): It’s going to come down to that anyway. 

Eve (kissing her softly): Then so be it.  I’m not giving you up without a fight love.

Varia (worried): If she hurts you then I’ll be next to challenge her.

Eve (placing a finger to her lips): No.  It’s between her and I.  And I’ll be fine.  Now let’s see about you taking a bath and then maybe (kissing the strong jaw and moving downward.)
Varia (groaning): I’m still a little sore but…
Eve (winking and turning around): Well then, you’ll just have to sit back and enjoy what I do to you.  (Feeling Varia shudder) yeah that’s it let me show you how much I love you (smirking at Varia’s trembling and moans.)

Tasha (sitting down): Well then, now that, that’s solved the challenge will be the day after tomorrow midmorning. 

Gabrielle (slamming her hand on the table): This is my family we’re talking about.  How can you sit by so causally and tell me about a challenge between my partner and my daughter.

Claris (rubbing the bridge of her nose): Because technically Eve is still…

Marquesa (jumping): She has no rights or claim to that title Quesa.  None.  She gave them all up when she became the Bitch…
Gabrielle (grabbing her dagger and slamming it into the table): Don’t even go there.  That is my daughter.  I gave her my right of caste.  Extenuating circumstances.  Besides Varia went through the whipping and branding for her and Varia pronounced Livia to death so Eve may live.

Tasha (sneering): Convenient.

Claris (trying to calm everyone down): Gabrielle is right and where is this getting us.  Nowhere.  We’ll talk about restoring Eve’s position….
Marquesa (angrily): A position that she should have never had in the first place.

Claris (pulling out some documents): A position she is entitled to (shoving the documents towards Marquesa.)  Read that.

Marquesa (glancing at the documents): The first one was in Marga’s writing.  The second one was in Cyane’s writing.  Signed by the council during Cyane’s rein): This is…

Claris (smirking): The documents proving Eve’s right of caste.  Marga signed this before her death.  Even though at the time she was angry with Eve, she still signed them because our nation is slowly dying. 
Gabrielle (hearing yelling and arguing outside; standing up): I’m going to go and see what that is.  Tomorrow we’ll begin making plans for the ceremony. 

Tasha (jumping up): So you can join with that bitch and we lose Varia to that (the hands gripping her throat cut her off.  No one had seen Gabrielle move.)
Gabrielle (feeling the presence of two Royal Guards behind her): Don’t talk about my family like that.  They have both done a lot for this Nation.  I will be joining Xena and Eve will be joining with Varia.  End of discussion….
Marquesa (jumping up): I challenge you for the rightful Honor of Queen, Gabrielle…
Claris (yelling): Marquesa….

Tasha (slumping in her seat): Then we’ll see who has the right to rule this Nation.  But if you lose you, Eve and Xena are banished from this village….
Gabrielle (sneering): And Varia will go with us.

Claris (not believing it): Marquesa, Tasha stop this….

Tasha (laughing): Fine.  Take the traitor and leave. 

Gabrielle (growling): And if I win Eve is given her position as Princess and I will rightfully assume the throne with Xena as my consort and Varia as Eve’s (slamming her hands down then walking out proudly.  She would win, she would not let Ephiny’s dream die.)

Eve looked out across the river her heart in turmoil; her head aching and her soul crying out for answers that seemed unattainable.

Aphrodite (materializing beside): Not unattainable little one.  Just not easy.  Nothing worth having ever is.

Eve (smiling): Hi.  Yeah it’s a real mess isn’t it?  There’s mom, mother, Varia, the Amazons and I don’t know what all else.  I’m questioning my calling in life.  I don’t know what to do anymore.

Aphrodite (thinking): Well your mom is going to challenge Marquesa for the throne, which will make things easier.  Your mother needs some sense knocked into her, which I can help you with and you and Varia well you two are meant to be but you have to find your own way with that. 

Eve (wondering): Help me.  Wait a minute. This is my mother we’re talking about…

Aphrodite (nodding): Exactly.  But see she’s angry.  She’s angry with herself and the hurt she’s caused you and the other little one.  When you challenge her, I’ll be there.  Trust me.  I want to see everyone happy.  Not fighting like this. It’s icky and just not nice.

Eve (thinking): You won’t hurt her, will you?
Aphrodite (waving her hand): As if.  Please.  She’s just needs to hear the voice of reason and I got just the thing.  Trust me ok kiddo (cupping Eve’s chin.)  For love ok.

Eve (smiling): Ok. 

Aphrodite smiled and kissed her forehead and vanished.  She had to go see her other little one.

Gabrielle threw another rock into the water and took a deep breath.  She was worried for her lover; her daughter and Varia and the fate of the Amazons.  If Marques

 assumed the throne, they would fall to the wind in a matter of time.  Not the legacy Ephiny wanted or Chulaba or Melosa for that matter. 

Aphrodite (stepping in front of her): Hey Queen bee.  You look like you could use a friend. 

Gabrielle (hugging her): I could.  You interested.

Aphrodite (smirking): Moi.  Yeah.  So what’s wrong (Gabrielle looked at her as if to say like you don’t know?)  Ok I do know but what can I do to help. 

Gabrielle (shaking her head): I don’t understand what’s wrong with her.  She’s not listening and she’s so angry all the time with Eve especially.  Ever since, we brought her back (thinking.)  Could that be it?  Could that be part of the problem?

Aphrodite (shrugging): You know the Warrior Babe better then anyone.  What does your heart tell you?
Gabrielle (determined to get to the bottom of this): I think it has something to do with what happened in Jappa.  I think it also has to do with Xena’s feeling towards me.

Aphrodite (not understanding): She like loves you little one. 

Gabrielle (shaking her head): I know she does but I think there’s some guilt there and she’s beating herself up over it. 

Aphrodite (nodding): Maybe.  Go on talk to her and if you need me I’m here, ok.

Gabrielle (smiling): Thank you. 

Aphrodite watched Gabrielle walk away wondering if she would be upset knowing she was helping her daughter and not telling her.

Xena sat in the bath trying to ignore the burning sensations from the still healing wounds.  They were better and wouldn’t scar but that dam brand would, not that she minded.  Taking a deep breath she relaxed and thought about the challenge with Eve.  She wouldn’t hurt her no, but she would make her point.  That Amazon had no business with her daughter and come Hades or high water she would put a stop to it.

Aphrodite (materializing; ignoring Xena’s nakedness): Well that’s nice.  Talk about the pot and kettle.  Unconditional love…
Xena (rolling her eyes): And just what do you want?  I’m trying to take a bath and…

Aphrodite (sitting on the edge of the tub): And ruin a chance at the reunion of two soul mates.  (Ignoring the glare) yep.  Another perfect match and you have to step in and play big mother to the little cub while the other mother is trying to talk to you and your being a hard ass.  What is the matter with you lately?

Xena (thinking): Look I can’t talk about it.  I have to deal with this on my own.  As for Eve and Varia, well we won’t go there now will we.

Aphrodite (moving so she stood directly behind Xena): You changed.  You were given a second chance.  So why doesn’t Varia deserve the same thing huh?

Xena (not liking the Goddess behind her one bit): Because she doesn’t.  She never will….
Aphrodite (unafraid; leaning closer to her): Is it because she tried to bed your soul mate that, at the time was being ignored by her soul mate because her pride got hurt.  Or is it because she tried to seduce you too.  I think it was in the barn you even had your hands on her bum if I recall correctly. 

Xena (standing up): That situation was completely out of control.  I wasn’t thinking at the time.

Aphrodite (taunting her): It was ok for you to turn  your life around even after all you did and even after the time you almost lost control of your emotions and almost had your little bard for dinner without her consent….

Xena (angrily): Don’t go there (pointing her finger.)
Aphrodite (reaching out and cupping Xena’s face gently): Talk to me.  I’m your friend.  I want to help you with whatever is going on.  Is it Akemi?  (Xena shook her head) I helped bring you back and I want to help you now. 

Xena (fighting tears): I can’t…

Aphrodite (softly): Can’t or won’t.

Xena (moving away from her): Listen there’s nothing you or anyone can do to change my mind.  I’m challenging my daughter in the morning.  Thank you for your concern.  But I have to do this on my own.

Aphrodite (wondering where all the pain she had felt from Xena had come from): Ok.  I’ll give you your space but I hate to see either one of my two favorite mortals hurting.  I’ll be around.

Xena hung her head unsure herself why she hurt so much inside.  Why she was so angry?

Gabrielle (walking in): Xena (hearing something from the bathing chamber, she walked in to find Xena naked and leaning on the tub) hey are you all right?  What’s wrong?
Xena (shaking her head): I don’t know.  I don’t know (trembling.)
Gabrielle (reaching out for her): Easy.  Xena what’s going on?  Do you want me to get the healer?  (Xena shook her head) is it your back or the brand?  (Xena took a deep breath and when she looked up, she saw tears in her soul mate’s eyes.)  Xena talk to me (cupping her soul mate’s face gently.)

Xena (squeezing Gabrielle’s hand): I don’t know what’s wrong?  Ever since I came back, I just don’t know…

Gabrielle (taking a deep breath): Are you regretting….
Xena (with conviction): No.  No.  Brie I just don’t know what’s wrong with me. 

Gabrielle (grabbing a towel): Here let’s get you by the fire.  Maybe challenging Eve is…
Xena (her voice hard): No.  No child of mine (seeing Gabriele’s glare) ours (getting another glare) never mind.   You don’t understand.

Gabrielle (putting the teakettle over the fire): Then make me understand.  They’re helping each other heal.  They’re healing wounds from their past.  Varia has been…
Xena (angrily): Don’t Brie.  Just don’t. 

Gabrielle (not understanding): Xena whatever is going on I’ll be here.  I just wish you could talk to me about whatever it is love.
Xena (shaking her head and pulling her closer): I can’t I just (shaking her head.)

Gabrielle (rubbing her fingers through the long dark locks): Ok.  Ok.  Relax baby I’ve got you.  (She pulled Xena closer to her and took a deep breath.  Whatever was troubling her lover was serious and she wished she would talk to her.  This whole thing was a disaster. )

Eve (smiling as Varia held her tighter and whispered endearments in her ear): I’ll be fine.  I’ve got a plan and it will all work out.  I promise (turning her head to kiss the strong jaw beside her.)
Varia (shifting; minding the stitches in her back): Let me love you tonight please.  Let me take care of you…

Eve (shaking her head): You’ve been taking care of me sweetheart.  Very well, too I might add.  For now just relax (pushing Varia down gently and straddling her hips.)  That’s it let me love you (knowing her lover’s issues with control and how nervous she got) that’s it (undoing her top.)

Varia (licking her lips): Oh yeah (leaning up and found herself pushed back) baby (moaning as strong hands caressed her and loved her.)
Eve (moaning at the feel of liquid heat): Shh.  I’m here.  Let me love you.

Varia lost all ability to form a thought let alone speak and for once in her life gave up the control she had held onto so tightly for so long.

South American Jungle

Gabrielle (pointing): There’s the first marker.

Janice (leaning against Mel): I don’t see oh my (seeing the Amazon village in the distance.)  Dam.  It looks like its…

Mel (excitedly): As its still being lived in. 

Gabrielle (nodding): This is the last village and it has been left suspended in time.  In case, we ever wanted to return home.

Varia (moving closer to Gabrielle): What’s the plan mom?
Gabrielle (smiling): We go in there confront Alti get Xena back and find the ambrosia.

Eve (nodding): I’ll go get some help (kissing Varia softly) be careful and keep an eye on my mom.

Varia (hugging her tightly): I will.  Hurry up.  I have a feeling we’ll need all the help we can get (watching as her lover took off towards the portal.)
Alti (appearing; licking her lips): And you would be right.  (Varia moved to let Eve escape and get help and Gabrielle drew her sword and pushed Mel and Janice back.)  Now, now no need to be rude.  I’ve always wanted to meet your descendants Gabrielle.  Yours and Xena’s.
Gabrielle (growling): Where’s Xena?
Alti (laughing): Oh, she’s around somewhere.  You know what I want and I know what you want.  Why don’t we cut to the chase already?  I’ll you your precious Xena for the ambrosia.  I know you know where it is.

Mel (grabbing the staff Janice had thrown her): You won’t get your hands on the ambrosia (and found herself flying through the air and slamming into the tree trunk.)

Janice (yelling): Mel.  Why don’t you fight, you coward?

Varia (drawing her sword only to find she could move): When I get my hands on you, (yelling out as wounds opened all along her body and she fell clutching her side.)

Alti (smirking): Mmm not a bad idea (raising her hand and immediately Janice dropped to her knees clutching her head.)
Gabrielle (swinging at Alti): Let her go you bitch…
Alti (laughing): Give me what I want. 
Gabrielle (twirling her blade): Never.  We’ll defeat you like we always have. 

Alti (closing her eyes): Do you remember that fight?  Huh you got hurt didn’t you and Xena poor Xena (laughing as Gabrielle screamed in pain and fell to her knees.)
A voice from behind her made her turn and stop her assault for the moment “you’ll pay for what you’ve done here.”
Ten armed Amazons stood ready and waiting.  Alti posed a great threat even now in the afterlife and the mortal realm and no one would stand by and let her get away with it any longer.
Alti (sneering): This isn’t over.  Not by a long shot (vanishing.)

Eve (dropping to her knees): Varia (rubbing her face) I’m here.  What has she done to you?
Varia (coughing): Nothing I can’t handle.  She’s gotten pretty strong.

Ephiny (sheathing her sword): Dam it doesn’t look the same.  But yet it does.
Cyane (helping Mel and Janice to their feet): We get in that village and she’ll come after us.

Gabrielle (sipping some water): That’s what she wants.  And that’s what we’ll give her.
Epinon (shaking her head): No way.  Xena will have my hide that’s for sure.  There’s got to be another way.

Gabrielle (looking at the village and the women surrounding her): Then we’ll camp here and make plans for tomorrow.  Yakut (smiling) glad you’re here.  Make a charm circle.  That should keep her out. 

Yakut (nodding): I’ll get right on it.
Ephiny (yelling): All right let’s get settled here.  Two guards on the first watch.  Keep your eyes and your ears open.  Alti’s got help and she’s stronger now then the last time we faced her.
Mel (worry and concern in her voice): The last time.  Oh my…

Janice (wrapping her arms around her): Don’t worry, love.  We’ve got help and we’ve got a plan.

Ephiny (wrapping her arm around Gabrielle): What happened?  And where’s Xena?
Varia (folding her arms across her chest): Well let’s see, Alti’s here, brought back another berserker, Xena’s been kidnapped, we’re helping our descendants and you’re here.  (Scratching the back of her neck) did I miss anything?
Eve (smacking her on the ass): No wise ass.

Ephiny (laughing): We’ll get Xena back.  And put a stop to her.  Mel and Janice I presume reaching out her hand; smiling as light blue and green eyes that resembled her closest friends greeted her.)  Ephiny Queen of the Southern Tribes and Regent to Gabrielle.

Janice (smiling): Dr. Janice Covington and Melinda Pappas.  But I’m sure you knew that.  And what’s all this about stopping Alti again.

Mel (shaking Ephiny’s hand): Yeah and why is she back causing all this trouble.  Seems as she would learn her lesson. 

Yakut (walking up and shaking her head): Yakut. Shamaness of the Northern Tribe.  I’ll tell you about Alti and answer some of your questions.  And she doesn’t learn, never.  But we’ve stopped her before and we will again. 

Gabrielle (looking up at the sun, which was descending): Ok tomorrow we get in the village and put a stop to her.  For now, let’s rest and get some plans together.

Ephiny (nodding): We’re going to need it.

Abandoned Temple

Alti (smirking at the blood dripping from the knife): She’s close.  You can feel her (running her finger down the furrow of scratches on Xena’s thighs) she’s so much a part of you isn’t she.

Xena (looked up with her good eye; snarling): No matter what you do to me, she’ll stop you.  She’s stronger then you and it scares you (yelling as wounds opened on her back.)
Alti (laughing): I’m going to kill you slowly and painfully and she’ll have a front row seat to it (placing her hand on Xena’s throat and moving another hand between her thighs.)  Tell me do you like it when she controls you; takes you like the whore you are (smirking as she teased her captive; smiling at her futile struggles.)  That’s right fight me, it makes things so much sweeter (laughing evilly as she slammed two fingers inside Xena relishing in the constant struggle between pain and pleasure.)  Oh yes I can see what she sees in you (enjoying the glare directed at her from one blood shut blue eye.)

South American Jungle

Gabrielle shivered even this close to the fire.  She would sit up most of the night worrying for her lover’s safety.  She could feel the pain her soul mate was in and felt helpless.  There was nothing she could do.

Ephiny (sitting beside her): Brie.  What’s going on?  You’ve been quiet and haven’t touched your dinner.  Xena will have my hide if you don’t take care of yourself.

Solari and Amarice joined them holding up a wineskin.  Yakut added more logs to the fire knowing exactly what her Queen was going through. 

Yakut (softly): Through their bond, which is so much stronger than our own with our soul mates she feels everything Xena is feeling but to a lesser degree although in some cases it comes just as strong as if she were there.

Solari (sipping some wine): Dam.  Brie we’ll get her back.  I promise you.

Amarice (grumbling): I don’t see why we don’t just go in there and storm the temple.  There’s got to be a way to stop her (ducking as Ephiny tried to cuff her.)  What, I’m just stating the obvious.
Ephiny (chuckling): Still reckless and restless as ever.  We can’t do that.  We don’t know what’s she’s done or what she’s planning to do.

Eve (walking up and sitting next to Gabrielle): Mom saw her last night through the dreamscape.  Xena’s in pretty rough shape.

Epinon (standing behind Amarice and caressing her shoulders): Then what’s our plan. 

Ephiny (staring into the flames): I don’t know yet…

Gabrielle (running her fingers through her hair): I’ll surrender myself in exchange for Xena…

Eve (shaking her head): No, you won’t.  That’s what she wants and if you do that then…

Amarice (wide eyed): No way.  Xena wouldn’t want that.  I get my bum kicked enough by her during training.

Ephiny (standing up): No Brie.  No, I won’t let you….

Gabrielle (losing patience): And what would you do if it were Solari.  Huh?

Ephiny (looking at her lover then at Gabrielle): I‘m sorry.  It’s just you’re the only one who’s ever defeated her.

They heard some loud rumbling and what sounded like heavy machinery.  Amarice and Epinon stood up to go and check it out.  Not liking the noise in the least.

Solari (biting her lip): Brie all we’re trying to say is Xena’s hurt.  You go in there and tackle that bitch Alti and you get hurt and Xena’s not at her fullest she could get hurt or…

Gabrielle (running her hands through her hair; nervously): If she dies in this realm then her spirit exists no more….

Yakut (understanding): Yes but by keeping you safe our chances….

Eve (finishing her sentence and locking eyes with her mom): Increase.  We have to defeat Alti; save the Amazon village and get mother out.  I can go in with Varia, Amarice and Epinon while the rest of you get her out here and distract her.

Amarice (running up): We’ve got problems.

Ephiny (glaring at her): Well take a few Amazons with you…
Epinon (shaking her head and moving behind her lover): Um well that noise we heard is the heavy equipment they’re using to tear down this forest…

Janice (adjusting her shirt and walking slowly): And anything in their way. 

Solari (smirking at the sight of a very flustered Janice that looked very similar to her Queen): All better (snickering…)
Ephiny (smacking her arm): Behave.

Janice (grinning and lighting a cigar): Actually I do.  And Mel is sleeping like a baby for once.

Gabrielle (bit her lip): More information than I need to know…
Ephiny (teasing): Well you do know Amazon custom states…
Solari (piping up; realizing what everyone was trying to do): You can always have someone…
Eve (trying not laugh): Take care of any frustrations (though she knew that no matter what neither of her parents would do that to each other just like she wouldn’t do that to Varia or vice versa.)
Gabrielle (standing up): Thank you but no.  I’m going to go take a look around and speaking of frustrations where’s Varia.

Eve (concern): Mom are you we were just trying to…

Gabrielle (holding up her hand): I know, now where’s your other half?
Eve (pointing towards the village): Scouting.  Planning, plotting. 

Ephiny (teasing): And you’re sitting here.

Eve (nodding): I have things well under control.  When she gets back…
Amarice (leaning against Epinon): Oooh someone’s going to…

Epinon (clamping her hand over her mouth): Hush.

Gabrielle (shaking her head): I’m going to go check on a few things.  I’ll see everyone in the morning.

Ephiny (watching her go and wrapping her arm around her partner): This isn’t good.  Alti, Xena kidnapped, and them over there trying to tear the forest down. 

Solari (staring into the flames): We have to stop Alti, those idiots down there and rescue Xena, save the village.  No problem.

Eve (closing her eyes in thought): I can take a few Amazons and try to find the back way in. 

Ephiny (shaking her head): Absolutely not.  We can’t risk you getting caught too.  Alti will use that against us.

Yakut (thinking): Wasn’t there an underground passage into the village at one time.

Solari (her eyebrows furrowing in concentration): Used to be but it could have collapsed or…

Eve (smiling): It might still be there.

Janice (standing): I’m going to go and check on Gabrielle.  Then turn in.  If I’m needed for watch send someone to get me.

Ephiny (standing and placing her hand on her shoulder): Thank you.  You are more like an Amazon then you realize. 

Janice nodded then said her good nights and followed Gabrielle’s trail.  She found her talking to Varia just a ways beyond the camp.

Varia (pointing and talking animatedly): I’ll go but I would rather be here where I’m more useful.

Gabrielle (pinching the bridge of her nose): It won’t take long.  Just sabotage one of those machines and we’ll be all set.  Then get back here as quick as possible.  Amarice will go with you.  Ok.

Varia (nodding): All right.  Not my choice…

Gabrielle (patting her arm): I know but I need you to do this. 

Varia (hugging her tightly): Just watch out for Eve.  I’ll see you in a bit let me go tell her and then I’ll go take of those idiots and be back.

Gabrielle (smiling): Be careful.

Varia nodded and tool off back towards the campfire.

Janice (walking up to her looking out over the jungle): Everything ok.

Gabrielle (pointing): Those men down there need to be stopped.  Varia and Amarice are going.  Once that’s done, we’ll get into the village.

Janice (softly): It must be hard for you going back to some painful moments…
Gabrielle (rubbing the ring on her finger): And the most wonderful one of my life.  Xena and I had our ceremony and so did Varia and Eve.

Janice (wondering): What about the challenge?

Gabrielle (taking her by the arm gently and walking towards Janice and Mel’s sleeping bags): Let’s get comfortable and I’ll tell you.  I can’t sleep anyway. 

They sat on the blankets Janice resting on her elbows and waiting.  Gabrielle took a deep breath and slowly as if she were living in that time and witnessing it for herself, she listened to Gabrielle’s story.

Amazon Village 2,000 Years Ago

Gabrielle (softly, remembering that morning like it was yesterday): It was a beautiful morning or it would have been if not for the heaviness settling in my chest for the challenge of that my soul mate and my daughter.  And the challenge between a sister Amazon and myself for the right of the throne.  I watched as Xena crossed the courtyard every bit the Warrior Princess she is.  Her sword held in its scabbard, her back straight and stiff.  Her jaw set and her eyes were like two glaciers.  Eve came from the other direction with Varia’s hand on her arm.  They were talking and I noticed the sword strapped to her back.  It was of Amazon design.  I swallowed hard and prayed to any God that might be listening that neither of them would hurt the other badly.  I loved them both and I hated to see the friction between them.

Gabrielle (placing her hands on both of their arms): Xena of Amphipolis and Eve of Thrace.  My Champion and my Heir.  My soul mate and my daughter.  I hope you realize this is absolutely unnecessary but if you chose to go forth, I ask that you both pull your blows. 

Xena (eyeing Eve): This is necessary.  But you have my word, my Queen I won’t do anything other then what is necessary to make her understand.

Eve (softly; biting her lip; her mom’s support was cold comfort that she was taking on one of the toughest women in history, her mother): Only what is necessary my Queen. 

Gabrielle (taking a deep breath; she heard the chants; the yells; she could feel the adrenaline): No blows below the waist; no summersaults either (glaring at Xena) you’re in no shape for that.  First, one to pin the other wins.  On my signal (raising her hand) I love you both and wish you wouldn’t do this (this was said under her breath so that only Eve and Xena could hear, she dropped her hand) begin. 
Xena drew her sword and met Eve’s first oncoming blow.  She could feel the concentration and strength and grinned proudly.  She had no real intention of hurting of Eve just make her understand that Varia wasn’t right for her.  Their swords met again, clanging and glinting in the sunlight.  Eve feigned for Xena’s right and at the last minute pulled her blow and smacked her in the side with the flat part of her sword.  Xena was quick to retaliate hitting Eve in the upper arm with the pommel of her sword.  It was poetry in motion a deadly dance and if anyone knew, better they would say that both of them were out to kill the other. 

Varia watched apprehensive that her lover would get hurt.  She knew Xena and she knew her fighting style.  She also knew Eve was a defender and not nearly, the swordswoman Xena was.  Wincing as Eve fell from a vicious kick from Xena then cheered as Eve stood up and proceeded to knock Xena down. 

Gabrielle bit her lip.  Senseless and stupid.  Why does it always come down to who’s stronger?  She looked around as she felt something, someone watching and her skin prickle but couldn’t find anything out of the ordinary.

Aphrodite watched with keen interest wondering why mortals always had to prove themselves in this manner.  In her opinion, it was barbaric and senseless.  Oh well she had a tough; hard headed; pain in the ass Warrior Princess to make see reason.  Waving her hands, she smiled as she did just that.

Xena had Eve’s wrists in her hand and was trying to dislodge her sword.  After that, she would just pin her down and oh, Gods it was like the rush after a really good night with Brie.  Her whole body trembled and felt the ground coming up to meet her.  Waves of images and memories flashed through her mind.  Gabrielle’s reluctance to leave her despite her threats and warnings.  Gabrielle’s acceptance of her past no matter what she discovered.  Their forgiveness after their painful rift and the discovering of their true feelings for each other.  The first night they made love and both realizing they had never understood the true meaning of the word or what it meant until they laid in each other‘s arms.   Then the memories switched and Xena saw Eve as a baby holding her in her arms.  Watching Gabrielle take care of Eve.  Those few days after she had returned when it was just the three of them together.

Gabrielle nearly ran over to help her lover, wondering what had happened.  She was almost positive that Xena had Eve and it would only be a matter of time before Xena won.  But then suddenly Xena dropped to her knees holding her head in her hands.  Eve stood waiting, watching not understanding if it was a trick or her mother had been hurt somehow.

Xena felt the tears stinging her eyes at what a fool she had been.  How she had thought that Varia didn’t deserve the love of her daughter.  When in truth she was the one who didn’t deserve the precious gift that was Gabrielle.
Eve (softly): Mother what’s wrong?
Xena (weakly; looking up at her daughter; she threw the sword to the side and held her arms up in surrender): I yield (hoarsely.)
Eve (nearly fell over; she had never known her mother to give in like this): Mother…
Xena (swallowing hard): I yield Eve (looking into bluish green eyes.)
Eve (slamming her sword into the dirt burying it up to the pommel): Mother it’s ok (kneeling down and wrapping her arms around her.)

Xena (softly; hugging Eve tightly): I realize now how wrong I was.  You have my blessing with Varia.

Varia (sliding to a stop in the dirt and looking at the scene in front of her): Dam you scared me out of five years of my life.

Xena (looking at Varia): You take good care of her.  She’s one of a kind.

Gabrielle (walking over holding two water skins and a towel): Well I’m glad to see that neither of you two got hurt.  What happened?

Xena (standing stiffly): Got some sense knocked into me is all.  Brie can we go somewhere and talk.

Gabrielle (checking over Eve and noticing she couldn’t even get between Eve and Varia): Yeah sure.  But I have the challenge with Marquesa this afternoon.  You two go on and get some rest.

Eve (kissing her on the cheek): Thank you (and bowing respectfully) my Queen.

Varia (bowing her head): My Queen.  I’ll tend to your daughter.

Gabrielle (smiling): Go on get.  Just be back here later on.

Mel (wiping her eyes): That is so sweet.  So Aphrodite showed her that despite the past what’s in your heart is what matters most.

Gabrielle (smiling): Something like that.  Although Xena and I didn’t know it at the time, it was Aphrodite that interfered.
Janice (smirking): So did you talk.

Gabrielle (grateful that the night sky hid her blush): You could say that.  I found out what was bothering her as well and then we spent some time reassuring each other that from now on no one or nothing came before us.  And we would talk about decisions more and not just jump into things.

Me (wondering): So what happened with the challenge?

Gabrielle (smirking): I won of course but she tried to cheat.

Xena (holding Gabrielle close until someone called the challenge; they had spent several hours talking then had made love beneath a tree; reconfirming not only their love but their connection; she felt as weak as a newborn colt but couldn’t believe how much energy her partner had): Be careful. 

Gabrielle (leaning up and kissing her soundly): I have you to take care of me. 

Xena (moaning into the kiss): Yeah you know I will…

Gabrielle (taking Xena’s sword): She wants swords.  I feel better knowing I have a part of you with me.

Xena (smirking proudly; truth be told she looked like the cat that ate the canary): I’ll always be a part of you.  Brie be careful you’re not used to the weight and feel of it.  I know you can handle yourself in battle but (soft lips silenced her with a gentle kiss.)
Gabrielle (softly): I’ll be fine.

Eve (walking up to them with Varia in tow; they both looked much better; less stressed): Everything ok.

Varia (whistling): She’s out for blood and she fights dirty.  Be careful my Queen.
Gabrielle (hefting Xena’s sword): I will (she walked into the ring apprehensive; her adrenaline pumping; as senseless as it was this challenge had a lot on the line): Marquesa…

Marquesa (smirking): Gabrielle.  Carrying the traitor’s sword, I see.

Gabrielle (angrily): She is not a traitor.  And once I win, she’ll be granted all privileges and rights as set forth by law not only as my Champion but my Consort as well.

Marquesa (shifting her sword from hand to hand): We’ll see. 

Diteria (approaching them; she was a healer but very impartial to the fight that was why she was chosen to judge it): You both know the rules.  (Raising her arm) fight honorably and fair (dropping her arm) begin.
Xena tensed as her lover’s blade met that of Marquesa’s.  Marquesa was taller and outweighed her soul mate by a good forty pounds.  But Gabrielle had her speed and agility on her side and years of training with one of the toughest instructors in all of Greece.

Gabrielle dodged the blow aimed for her ribs and lashed out with her foot catching Marquesa in the knee, knocking her down.  Marquesa wasn’t about to take that and play nice.  Grabbing a handful of sand, she threw it into Gabrielle’s face.

Xena lunged at the ropes only to feel Eve’s hands on her chest and Varia’s on her shoulders.  That bitch.  She felt the anger rising and was wondering why no one called Marquesa on that.  She looked at Diteria plaintively and Diteria yelled loudly for the two women to back off.  Xena breathed a sigh of relief then felt Eve and Varia relax their hold.
Eve (trying to calm her mother): Easy.  Mom’s ok.  That was dirty.

Varia (agreeing): Very dirty.

They watched as Gabrielle got her bearings and brought her sword down across Marquesa’s exposed shoulder.  Her blade came up and she shoved Gabrielle backward then began jabbing at her face and head.  Gabrielle blocked most of the blows but Marquesa did get a few in.  Throwing her sword down she brought her hands in front of her and tackled Marquesa hitting her in the chest.  They rolled in the dirt each one trying to pin the other.  Then using a maneuver Xena had taught brought her hand down and grabbed Marquesa’s kneecap pressing two fingers into it.  Marquesa groaned and snarled knowing what Gabrielle was doing.  Either she let go of Gabrielle now or she would have no feeling below her knee.  Gasping she pulled back attempting to roll to the side but Gabrielle moved quickly and had her in a headlock.
Gabrielle (grunting and panting with the strain of holding onto the thrashing woman): Yield.
Marquesa (spitting): I would rather die than watch those two traitors become part of the Amazons.

Gabrielle (angrily): Dammit.  I don’t want to kill you.  Yield.

Diteria stood over them praying that Marquesa would be smart and yield.  She watched the struggle and wondered how anyone could be so stupid.
Xena held her fingers at the Chakram she didn’t trust Marquesa as far as she could throw her. 

Gabrielle (pleading): Marquesa for God’s sake yield.  I don’t want to have to kill you.

Marquesa (snarling): Never.  (She worked her fingers free and grabbed a dagger hidden in her boot and lunged for Gabrielle’s arm.)
Gabrielle pulled her arm back in pain noticing the dagger sticking out of her arm.  She heard a whizzing noise and saw Xena’s dagger sticking out of Marquesa’s hand pinned in the dirt.

Diteria (having had enough): Gabrielle wins.

Yells and cheers went through the watching Amazons.  Gabrielle rolled to her back taking deep breaths.  Then she felt her lover’s strong presence and strong arms cradling her gently.  She saw Eve hold out a water skin and Varia standing behind her.  Then several other Amazons came running up cheering and yelling praises loudly.

Rayne (kneeling next to Xena): Glad to see you’re ok although Xena’s interference might have been….

Xena (growling as she pulled Gabrielle into her arms): Was needed.  The fight was over Marquesa lost and she still she tried to kill Gabrielle.
Diteria (coming over with her satchel): That looks pretty nasty, my Queen.

Tasha (standing next to her): It seems we have some things to consider.  You fought honorably like a true Amazon.  Marquesa cheated in the end.  We’ll meet later on.  (Proudly) Gabrielle has taken back the throne of the Amazon Queen.  (Cheers and yells for Gabrielle went up many yelling Gabrielle’s name.)  It seems to me that I owe you an apology. 

Gabrielle (wincing as Xena pulled out the knife and cleaned her wound): Just learn that there are other factors surrounding things and not always a one sided opinion.  I’m going to rest and clean up.  We’ll meet before dinner.

Claris (smiling): Of course.  We have many things to discuss mainly naming your joining ceremony.

Janice (wide eyed): So that’s where that scar is from.  Dam.  Thank God, Xena was there. 

Gabrielle (smiling): Yeah.  I won but Marquesa wanted to stop me.  She didn’t listen to the voice of reason. 

Mel (wondering): What happened?
Gabrielle (smiling): We planned our ceremony and got Xena resident status as well as Eve and her position as Princess reinstated.

Ephiny (walking over): And like a true Amazon, she united everyone and broke up the factions built out of insecurity and mistrust. 

Mel (looking up): Everything ok.

Janice (standing): I’ll take watch for a bit.

Ephiny (putting her hand on Janice’s arm): No need.  Just came over to check on the Queen.  You should be resting, tomorrow is going to be a long day.

Gabrielle (nodding): I know.  I’m worried about Xena.  And I’ve been reminiscing.

Ephiny (sitting down): Gabrielle, Xena will have my head if you don’t take care of yourself. 

Gabrielle (understanding): I know.  Get some rest.  Tomorrow is going to be tough.

Mel (snuggling into Janice’s arms): We’ll get her back and stop Alti.

Abandoned Temple

Alti (dragging Xena to her feet, the sunlight was streaming through the open windows): Let’s see her decision when she sees you hanging like a side of beef shall we.

Xena (growling): She’ll stop you.  The Amazons will stop you (pain exploded in the side of her face; she felt the blood run freely and bit back the groan threatening to escape.)
Alti (dragging Xena by the chain around her neck): You know what I love most.  The fact that I have centuries of your karmic memory to use against you (pulling her out into the sunlight.)  Mmm (looking around noticing some wood and rope) oh this couldn’t be more perfect. (laughing evilly.)

South American Jungle

Mel looked around her noticing the Amazons; their masks; their weapons at the ready and Ephiny and Gabrielle making plans.  Janice was off somewhere scouting around and there was still no sign of Amarice or Varia.  She noticed Eve pacing a few feet away and walked over.

Eve (stopping): Hi.

Mel (noticing the sword and the armor and the mask): Hey.  We ready.
Eve (nodding): As ever.  Mom’s got a plan and Ephiny does too.  The whole thing hinges on getting my mother out of there first though. 

Mel (nodding): That could be a problem though…

Eve (closing her eyes): It could be.  Alti doesn’t fight fair.  The last time we went up against her Varia ended up spending several weeks in the hospice.  And she never laid a finger on her.

Mel (softly; putting her hand on Eve’s shoulder): She’ll be ok.  And I guess as her descendant I have a job to do as well (patting the gun on her side.)  My job is to look out for you.

Eve (understanding): It is but you won’t be doing that.  You and Janice are going to be the ones to get Xena and get out of there.  Leave Alti to us.

Gabrielle (walking up to them): Ready.

Eve (nodding and pulling the mask over her face): As I’ll ever be.

Gabrielle (patting her arm and pulling her own mask down): Be careful, both of you.

Mel (following them): I can see why you wear those things, they would scare someone.

Gabrielle (laughing): True if someone didn’t know what they were.

Ephiny (unsheathing her sword): I’ll take five and see if we can get in through the tunnel.  Then regroup and fall in behind.  You take the rest and start coming through the front.  We’ll bring her home.

Courtyard of the Amazon Village

Alti smirked and laughed as Xena gasped in pain.  The cross was a good idea if not a sentimental one.  She had all the cards and couldn’t wait to see what Gabrielle would do for her precious Xena.

Ephiny thanked Artemis that the tunnel was still intact.  Signaling her group of five Amazons followed behind her.  So far, things were looking up.

Gabrielle held her sword at the ready, watching and listening.  Behind her and to the sides she saw her Amazons moving in shadow.  Mel and Janice stayed close to her and followed her every move without question.

Ephiny saw the end of the tunnel and breathed a sigh of relief.  Her relief was short lived though as she stepped out of the tunnel and beheld the sight in front of her.
As Gabrielle came around the side of the temple, she nearly fell to her knees.

Alti (looking around): Oh, I know you’re all out there.  I can feel you.  I can feel your fear.  Like what I have for you.

Eve (groaning): By Eli.
Mel (fought the urge to be sick): My God.
Janice (rubbing her back): How could she?
Gabrielle (angrily, fighting tears): Xena….

Ephiny (gasping, feeling someone slam into her back as the scene unfolded in front of them): By Hades domain that bitch.

Solari (steadying her lover): Fuck…

Gabrielle looked to her right; seeing Ephiny’s group and held up her fist in a sign of waiting to see what Alti wanted.

Alti (laughing and pacing in front of Xena): I know you’re out there.  If you want Xena to live then I suggest you hand over the ambrosia.  (Moving in front of Xena) I can see what you see in her Gabrielle.  Or is that Queen Gabrielle.  She has got such passion and strength (Twirling the dagger in her hand) now where’s the Ambrosia?

Gabrielle (eyeing the shamaness and her soul mate): You’ll never get it Alti.  Never.

Eve (signaling the Amazons to spread out): Mom what are we going to do?
Gabrielle (eyeing her lover’s body; noticing the marks; noticing her pain; she could feel it and knew if they didn’t do something soon; Xena would die in both realms): We’ll think of something.

Alti (producing a hammer): I’ll give you an hour.  Then I’ll break her legs and you can watch her die slowly and painfully.

Ephiny (closing her eyes): Oh Gods.

Solari (holding her hands up as several Amazons stepped forward): Hold.  Steady.  We can’t risk Xena.

Eve (softly): By Eli, she’s suffering.
Mel (fighting tears at the hopelessness of the situation): There’s got to be something we can do.

Yakut (placing her hand on Gabrielle’s shoulder): Just give us the word.  We would gladly offer our lives in Xena’s place.
Gabrielle (shaking her head; thinking): No.  No one will die today.  There’s got to be something we can do (she saw Alti move and her muscles tensed she winced as fresh wounds opened on her lover’s body and she fought the tears harder, trying to maintain control.)

Alti (smirking): Slowly and painfully.  It means I can have a lot of fun now doesn’t it (bringing the hammer up): On second thought I’ll give you less than an hour to find the ambrosia or you can watch her die (she swung the hammer shattering Xena’s legs.)  Your Champion will be dead unless I get that ambrosia.
Gabrielle screamed and fell to her knees as the pain her lover was feeling slammed into her.
Eve caught her and held her wondering how they were going to get out of this one.  It seemed hopeless as she looked around noticing the Amazons and their descendants ready to face an evil that was beyond anyone’s comprehension.


Xena’s Girl

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