Disclaimers: See Part 1

South Carolina
The morning dawned bright and cool. Inside the kitchen three Amazon warriors were staring at a coffee pot trying to figure out how it worked.
Amarice (shrugging): Never seen one like this.
Epinon (rolling her eyes): And just how many have you seen.
Amarice (smirking): Oh a few.
Solari (pushing them both out of the way): I think it’s supposed to make noise and have a light or something.
Epinon (holding up her hands): Oh no. No, no and no again. The last time something was supposed to have lights and make noise I almost got ran over again no thanks to you and our Queen.
Solari (indignant): That was not my fault. If you had gotten out of the way then you wouldn’t have almost been run over.
Epinon (glaring): I tried to remember feather brain.
Solari (taunting): Who you calling feather brain? Leather bum….
Amarice (snickering): I can guarantee that she (getting glared at.)
Epinon (pointing her finger): Don’t you even think about it.
Xena (walking in): Morning. What’s the matter?
No one really paid any attention to her, they were to busy arguing over the coffee pot.
Epinon (still not looking): Can’t figure out how the coffee pot works.
Xena (throwing her hands up): You have to plug it in or didn’t they teach you that in domestics 101, leather bum.
Now everyone decided to pay attention. It was at this time Janice came walking in and moved to Xena’s side and wrapped her arms around her, nuzzled her face in Xena’s breasts and dozed right off mumbling something about couldn’t sleep with out you.
Epinon (trying not laugh at the petite blonde that was so not Gabrielle cuddling and nuzzling Xena’s breasts and Xena looked like she wanted to be anywhere but there at the moment): You sure know how to pick em don’t you. And just what um…
Solari (wide eyed): You’re healed.
Amarice (rolling her eyes and looking around for coffee mugs; since this stuff was invented Amazons got an earlier start then usual): Well that would be an understatement. Now just what are you going to do with her.
Epinon (teasing): Well who ever thought, Xena Warrior cuddle toy.
Xena (growling which caused Janice to cuddle closer if that was possible): Poni zip it.
Janice (mumbling): Shh I’m trying to sleep here. Or you could take me back to bed and (snoring lightly.)
Xena (biting her lip): Some things don’t change.
Solari (jumping in on the act): Cuddle toy or human pillow. Ephiny likes to do that when we…
Amarice (knowing how deep a whole her two companions were digging for themselves): We don’t need details.
Solari (snickering): Not with all the groaning and moaning.
Epinon (taunting): Yeah and your high pitched battle cries. So you going to take her to bed and tuck her in.
Xena (gently picking Janice up): Not a word. Or I’ll…
Epinon (teasing): Or you’ll what. You know how your Queen…
Solari (interrupting): Our Queen…
Epinon (nodding): Our Queen thank you, gets when you get agitated (pause) cuddle toy.
Amarice (counting her fingers): I’ll give em five more minutes before a fight or a run breaks out.
Epinon (taunting Xena as she walked down the hall with Janice cradled in her arms): Human pillow too…
Janice (mumbling): Snookums come back to bed with me.
That set Epinon and Solari into hysterics and as soon as Janice was set down on the couch rather abruptly, Xena turned and chased after them out the back door and across the back yard.
Janice (sitting up): What…
Amarice (rolling her eyes): You thought Xena was Mel and well you said some things and now all hell is about to break loose with those three.. Of course once Ephiny and Gabrielle get up they’ll fix it. Coffee’s on.
Janice (her jaw hanging open): I’m dead. I um uh and…
Amarice (nodding): Yep. Xena’s got a nice body but not as nice as Poni’s (winking.) You’ll be fine. Come on.
Varia (sitting up when she heard yelling): What the (and moved to look out the window) well I’ll be. Mom’s ok. I think well she is but uh oh. I’m not getting in the middle of this. And I can just imagine ooh that’s got to sting...
Eve (sleepily): Baby come back to bed. And what is all that racket.
Varia (folding her arms across her chest): Your mother is chasing Poni and Solari across the yard and into a mud puddle (wincing.) Ephiny and mom are going to yell at them for sure.
Eve (not fully awake): That’s nice now come back to bed and (realization dawning on her) what…
Varia (pointing out the window): A morning run courtesy of your mother.
Eve (jumping out of bed): I’m going to love to hear the excuse and how the…
Varia (kissing her softly): Let’s go check it out.
Eve (leaning against her and hugging her): You stay out of it. Don’t get in the middle of it you got me.
Gabrielle (was worried): No sign of Xena but she had heard yelling; as she opened the door Eve and Varia were walking down the hall): Hey morning. Have you seen…
Eve (kissing her cheek): Outside chasing Poni and Solari.
Gabrielle (wide eyed): What? How?
Varia (chuckling): Seems to run in the family ouch (bending over as she was swatted by both women.) What?
Ephiny (opening her door): Let me guess your Consort is better and all hell broke loose, smiling.)
Gabrielle (shaking her head): That about sums it up. What I want to know is how and what those other two did this time.
Ephiny (laughing): Seems as those three have a knack for getting into something.
Amarice (finishing up): So that’s how it all started and that’s what caused that in the first place.
Mel (nuzzling Janice’s neck): Who healed her?
Amarice (sipping her coffee): No idea. Been to busy here to find out.
Mel (looking out the window): They better not track all that mud in here. Or they’ll be cleaning it.
Amarice (laughing): That’ll be the day.
Gabrielle (walking in): Morning. Would someone mind telling me what’s going on?
Amarice (covering her eyes): Morning. What you see is what you get? Your consort is chasing my partner and Solari because of something that was said. That’s all I know.
Ephiny (pouring coffee for the four of them): Really. And you’re not involved this time (arching her eyebrow?)
Amarice (pulling out a chair for them): Not this time.
Gabrielle (groaning): Her and mud. I swear all right I’m getting them in here. Mel is there a hose I can use.
Mel (laughing): Sure around the side should be long enough.
Janice (evilly): Want help?
Gabrielle (smirking): Oh definitely. Varia get some towels for me.
Varia (standing): Sure (thinking...)
Eve (smacking her on the butt): Be nice.
Varia (kissing her softly): I always am love.
Mel and Amarice both rolled their eyes on that comment as Gabrielle with Janice and Ephiny in tow went outside to bring a halt to this morning’s antics.
Solari (ducking as Xena tried to grab her): You have to be faster than that. And it’s true. How many uh oh…
Epinon (looking around and jumping sideways): What? (Noticing Gabrielle and Ephiny outside) uh oh. Let’s go the other hey what’s the big idea (landing face first in mud and feeling Xena bounce off her and continue on after Solari.)
Solari (deciding which would be worst facing tall dark and deadly or someone with a hose; smirking she headed straight for Gabrielle and Ephiny): Less pain this way…
Xena (snarling): Not when I get done with you.
Janice (turning the hose on): Just squeeze the trigger. (Noticing two Warriors bearing down on them) and you better do it soon because here they come.
Ephiny (smirking): I don’t know what it is with them and mud.
Gabrielle (aiming the hose): Don’t worry this will make them think twice the next time (turning the water on) ooh that’s cold.
Solari (noticing the water being turned on and Gabrielle aiming it right for them decided to back off and let Xena get it): Come on I’ll be nice (stepping sideways as Xena went sliding by and got hit full blast with the ice cold water. If Xena was a teapot we would see it come to roaring boil.)
Ephiny (her mouth hanging open): Oh shit (giggling as Xena grabbed Solari around the waist and pushed her into the spray of water.) She’s sneaky, very sneaky.
Epinon (running up and getting grabbed) Hey oh dam that’s cold shit…
Xena (dripping wet and stalking towards Gabrielle): Baby…
Gabrielle (putting the hose down): Hi love. Nice to see you on your feet.
Janice (smirking; well at least they were cleaner): And nice to see your face without all the mud.
Xena (growling): Gabrielle (purring) what’s the big idea.
Gabrielle (arching her eyebrow): Now love you were dirty and oh my oh yes (noticing how the t shirt clung seductively to her lover’s form) come to mamma…
Ephiny (shaking her head but smiling as her lover walked up to her): Hi baby did you enjoy your run?
Solari (biting her lip): Ephiny whose idea and why and what…
Ephiny (kissing her softly): You were filthy and we can’t have you tracking mud through the house. Now come on in and get something hot to drink and then go grab a shower. We need to start working on those scrolls.
Epinon (rolling her eyes): That was cold…
Xena (caressing Gabrielle’s face): Wimp…
Varia (walking out with a couple of towels): Here. Mel said she put some on the floor for you three to stand on and she doesn’t want you tracking mud through the house.
Solari (innocently): Would we do that…
Ephiny (loudly): Yes.
Gabrielle (taking Xena’s hand and kissing the back of it): Come on. I don’t want you getting sick.
Xena (kissing the top of her head): I won’t. Although coffee sounds good.
Janice (mumbling): And see how you got better.
Varia (smirking): And what’s this about a cuddle toy mother?
Xena (growling): Don’t go there feather head.
Epinon (laughing and opening the door): It was so cute….
Amarice (handing her lover another towel): Be nice.
Epinon (smirking and kissing her softly): Always am and besides it’s true.
Mel (looking up as she put several dishes on the table): Oh my. You got them good didn’t you.
Eve (laughing and pulling Varia to her side): It usually works out that way.
Varia (kissing the top of her head): So what can we do, without causing trouble to help around here.
Janice (looking at Mel and shrugging): I don’t know um Mel...
Mel (thinking): Well if you don’t mind there’s some stuff in the garage that needs to be disposed of. It’s all in a pile and I think you can just drag it out by the front gate it’ll be fine.
Gabrielle (patting Xena’s stomach playfully): You can manage that can’t you honey (teasing?)
Amarice (shaking her head): I hope they can without getting into to much mischief.
Epinon (retorting): As if…
Solari (snickering): Human cuddle toy taking out the trash…
Ephiny (cuffing her lightly in the back of the head): I really want to hear how that got started.
Janice (hiding behind Mel as Xena glared at her): It wasn’t my fault.
Gabrielle (wondering): What happened and why…
Xena (taking her hand gently): I’ll explain to you after a nice hot shower (pulling her gently along with her) if you’ll excuse us (and walking out of the kitchen, turning around) and if I hear one more word about that the next person will (gentle fingers silenced her.)
Gabrielle (softly): Hush. Come on you said something about a hot shower (leading her lover down the hall.)
Mel (shaking her head): Who started it?
Solari and Epinon all at once pointed to Janice.
Eve (rolling her eyes and sipping her coffee): Ok so what’s on the agenda today besides the four of you getting into trouble.
Ephiny (squeezing Solari’s hand): Not if they know better they won’t. We’re going to go over those scrolls and try to piece them together.
Amarice (smirking): I’ll supervise the troublemakers and make sure they don’t make to much of a mess (yelping as Epinon pinched her.)
Varia (shifting): Mel anything you need done around her we’ll be more than glad to help. (Solari stuck her tongue out at her and she flipped her off only to find her ear being pinched by her wife.) What?
Eve (gently but firmly): Behave...
Varia (pouting): But (seeing Eve arch her eyebrow) but and it well you know…
Janice (lighting a cigar only to have Mel take it away from her): Hey!
Mel (pointing to the door): Not at the breakfast table love. Besides you’re going out there to. You can help them get rid of some of the stuff and see what else might need to be thrown away.
Ephiny (smiling): Put em to work that might help (feeling her lover’s hands move lower) then again maybe not.
Xena leaned against the wall enjoying the feeling of Gabrielle in her arms.
Gabrielle (softly; rinsing her hair): Xena we have to talk about this. Even though you’re healed she still tortured you and I want to know what she did. You know it doesn’t help if it you hold it in.
Xena (closing her eyes; the images battered her mind at what had happened at the hands of Alti. She didn’t want to hurt her love. Didn’t want her to feel any sense of guilt that it was her images Alti used to torture her): Brie I just...
Gabrielle (turning and placing her hands on her lover’s upper arms): Xena please we’re stronger than that. I can put some of the pieces together and I know she used my images against you. That pisses me off more...
Xena (softly): Don’t you see I don’t want you to...
Gabrielle (reaching up and caressing her wife’s face): No. I can and I will. Just like you, just like all the times before and the times that will come. Talk to me.
Xena (biting her lip; then turning off the water and picking her lover up. Bending lower so Gabrielle could grab a towel for them she carried her into their room and set her on the bed. Grabbing one of the towels she began pacing): You saw every mark and every wound. And yes she used your images; our memories against me. It was the only way she knew she could to get to me. To put me at my weakest and most vulnerable. Sometimes, though it was just her inflicting the abuse. Other times it was her disguised as you, but my heart knew the difference.
Gabrielle listened wanting to hold her lover but knew after all this time this was how her strong partner dealt with things. Everything Xena revealed made her more angry and she wished that bitch wasn’t dead because now she would tear her apart with her own hands. The suffering Xena had endured had caused her heart to break and her head spin. When Xena finished she saw her grip the window sill in an effort to control her emotions. She would have none of that. She got up and wrapped her arms around the one who held her heart and soul and held on anchoring them both as Xena gave up the battle for control and cried out in anguish and sunk to the floor. Her head against Gabrielle’s chest and Gabrielle’s arms wrapped tightly around her.
Ephiny (holding her hand up to stop everyone from running into their room): If they need us we’ll be there. Give them some time. They need each other more than anything. Now let’s get some work done and wait for them.
Janice (turning the overhead light on): I get kicked out of the library to take out the trash.
Varia (looking around laughing): No just to keep us out of trouble.
Solari (looking at all the stuff piled up): That’ll be the day.
Epinon (rubbing her hands together): Where do we start?
Janice (looking from one pile of debris to the next): Save the tarps for dragging the heavy stuff out or a bunch of stuff. Take the heavier stuff first though then we’ll just go along.
Eve (knocking on Xena’s and Gabrielle’s door): Mother, mom hey Aunt Ephiny is wondering where you two are (waiting and when she didn‘t hear a response or anything she opened the door and walked in. Her parents were laying on the bed wrapped so tightly together that nothing could get between them. She knew they had both been crying. And knew the healing had begun.): Mother, mom (a strong hand grabbed hers and she was pulled on the bed.)
Gabrielle (softly): Shhh let her sleep.
Eve (understanding): Are things...
Gabrielle (caressing Xena’s back): It’ll take time but yes.
Eve (wishing she could get her hands on that bitch and just beat her senseless): Is there anything I can get you two?
Gabrielle (squeezing Eve’s hand): No but thank you for coming in to check on us.
Eve (smiling): It’s the least I can do.
Gabrielle (leaning back against the pillow): How are the scrolls coming?
Eve (looking out the window when she heard a loud bang): Good. Not much progress because nothing is in order.
Gabrielle (rubbing Xena’s back as she moaned in her sleep): Tell them I’ll be in as soon as she wakes.
Eve (understanding): Take your time. We’ll be there for you.
Gabrielle (leaning forward and kissing her cheek): Thanks (watching as Eve left the room and shut the door quietly.)
Xena (mumbling): We need to get moving...
Gabrielle (pulling Xena tighter against her): No we don’t. You need time love and I’m here for you.
Xena (cuddling deeper into her wife’s side): I love you.
It was as simple as that their love could overcome anything and it would just like before, just like always.
Ephiny (pulling out a few scrolls): I don’t know what’s in here. I don’t even know if they’re in order. I do know that Gabrielle wrote some of these, the others I’m not sure. I know some things of Melosa’s might be in here and maybe all the way back to Cyane.
Mel (pulling out a few notebooks): Well we’ll write down dates and titles first then go from there. I can usually translate about four scrolls in a day depending on what shape the scroll is in and what dialect.
Eve (walking in): They‘re resting should be here in a while. Need any help.
Mel (looking up as Ephiny pulled out a few more scrolls): Yeah see if you can find some order to this please.
Ephiny (teasing): With her feather head that must be hard.
Eve (taunting): You should talk Aunt Ephiny.
Mel (laughing): She has a point.
Ephiny (laughing and swatting at her): And what about you, hmmm…
Mel (smiling): I know but you can’t help but love them. Janice has made me feel so many things I never thought possible. She’s not after me for my money or my prestige she just wants to make me happy. No one ever thought of my happiness before or just being with me. I knew when I first saw her that she was the one I was searching for my whole life. And my dad would have liked her.
Eve (sitting): Were you close to your father.
Mel (nodding): Yes. He never tried to make me be anything I didn’t want to. When he died a part of me died with him.
Ephiny (placing a hand on her shoulder): Most Amazons don’t know their fathers. We have a very tight community though that everyone in the village takes part in raising the children. So no child goes without. Nothing is taboo but there is a very definitive line of right and wrong.
Eve (nodding): I remember reading a lot about that and customs and history. Even though I never fully accepted my title of Princess I was proud to be a part of such a strong and powerful community.
Mel (understanding): I felt that too when we first started finding the scrolls.
Gabrielle (opening the door): Hey give me a little bit and I’ll be in to see if we can make some sense of all this.
Ephiny (softly): Brie it’s ok. She needs you now and you need her. We can handle this I’m sure.
Gabrielle (understanding): No we’ve talked a lot. Still a ways to go but she’s ok I just, (taking a deep breath) I just want to tear that bitch apart for this.
Ephiny (standing and wrapping her arms around her): Brie it’s ok.
Mel (rubbing Gabrielle’s back ): I called my friend earlier and told her that the patient was doing better but if we sill needed her to come then call her back and she would be right over.
Gabrielle (leaning forward and brushing back a stay lock of hair): Thank you. I’m just going to go and sit with her for a bit. Then I’ll be in.
Eve (shaking her head): Mom we can handle this. Jus rest for today ok.
Gabrielle (softly): We’ll be ok. Now let me go see where she went to.
Ephiny (shaking her head): I wish that bitch was still alive so I could tear her apart.
Eve (sitting down lost in thought): Me too. I wish there was something we could do to help.
Ephiny (rubbing her hand through Eve’s hair): Just be there for them baby that’s all any of us can do. But since we’ve got some semblance of order lets see what we have here.
Mel (eagerly): I’m all ears (picking up the notebook.)
Ephiny (unrolling a scroll): Ok this one is for basic coronation and Queen’s successor and in the event no Queen is appointed or present the person who can rule as Regent.
Mel wrote and listened asking a few questions to verify what Ephiny was saying. Eve rummaged through the scrolls looking for one in particular while they waited to hear what was going on.
Epinon (dragging a large metal chest): Where did this come from?
Janice (scratching her head): Not sure. I’m not sure whose family it’s from either. It’s empty though.
Varia (carry some old moldy rugs): Some of this stuff is ancient.
Amarice (sifting through another pile of debris): Yeah but I bet some make a good story.
Solari (dragging some broken furniture out): True but it weighs a ton.
Varia (coughing): Yeah and dusty. How long has this been here?
Janice (helping Varia): A while. I think before Mel’s dad passed away. I’ve checked everything over making sure there was nothing hidden. (Setting down her end of the chest) here let’s take a break. I really appreciate you helping me get this stuff out of here.
Epinon (pulling out another box of debris): We’ve got a few more hours and we’ll get through the worst of it. I wonder where Xena is.
Amarice (rifling through some boxes): Want me to go check.
Solari (pulling out another large trunk): Nah she’ll be down here as soon as she can.
Xena (shifting; caressing the blonde head against her chest and taking a deep breath; so many questions but all the answers didn’t make sense): I’m going out to help the girls.
Gabrielle (turning around): No. You need to rest, they need to understand that and if they don’t (soft lips silenced her.)
Xena (moaning; she was so grateful that this woman had come into her life so many years ago): Brie it’ll help get my mind off things. And you have things to do yourself my love.
Gabrielle (turning around; she wasn’t sure how far she could push her love but she didn’t want her to do anything but rest): Baby (leaning tighter against her chest.)
Xena (tightening her grip): Love it’s ok. I think working through some of this will help and you did make a promise love (kissing her again.)
Gabrielle running her fingers through long dark locks; she knew what her wife said made sense and with a sigh of reluctance she agreed but only for a little while.
Mel (wondering): So you have a Captain of the Guard and a Captain of the Royal Guard and a General that in times of war controls both sets of guards.
Ephiny (thinking): It’s set up that way so no one person has complete control of the stronger forces. A General is usually picked from a group of women and must past certain test and requirements. Some of the tests are written and some are physical. The Queen makes the final choice after hearing the council’s opinion.
Gabrielle (walking in): Then you have the Queen’s bodyguards. Four guards hand picked and trained to be at the Queen’s side at all times except when it isn’t necessary.
Mel (writing down notes): So there were a lot of positions and titles among the Amazon Nation. Was anyone ever forced into doing one thing if they wanted to do another. Or if they chose another path in life?
Eve (shaking her head): No. Even if someone had the build and abilities of a Warrior they could still be a cook or scholar or what you would call a lawyer today. Like Aunt Eph said nothing was taboo and nothing was frowned on if you wanted something.
Gabrielle (flipping through the pages): But every single Amazon was trained in the art of self defense, stealth and survival. When one was ready to be trained for war that responsibility was taken seriously and training began in earnest.
Ephiny (taking a deep breath): There were the written lessons in the morning and weapons training in the afternoon depending on the weather. Other times a group of students would be sent out into the forests to accomplish certain goals. If they passed they moved onto the next level if not then they went back and learned what they needed to in order to pass.
Eve (smiling; remembering some things): I remember watching the children play and sometimes there would be one that would be a little behind in some things and everyone would try to help that child achieve their goals.
Mel (surprise): Wow. Amazon life was a lot different for your children then the rest of society.
Ephiny (softly): It was at times. We were more interested in seeing a child do the things they would be good at instead of forcing them to be something they didn’t want to. Education was the first and foremost important thing for a young Amazon. Sure they had their chores but learning was more important for them.
Xena (leaning against a rock; enjoying the cool water against her skin): I have no idea. I went to bed and that was that. When I woke up well I’m sure you can imagine the surprise.
Varia (throwing a pebble): Yeah. You were pretty bad off last night...
Amarice (nodding): We’re just glad you’re ok (thinking; putting some of the pieces together) well mostly ok.
A bright flash of light surrounded them and Solari shoved Janice behind her.
Aphrodite (looking a little disheveled and run down): Whoa chill...
Xena (now all the pieces fit): It was you and....
Varia (wide eyed): You’re mortal...
Aphrodite (wiping her eyes): Yeah and I’m banished. I don’t regret it though not when it came to helping my family.
Xena (squeezing her shoulder): We owe you a lot. Come on let’s go break the news to everyone else.
Epinon (taking Amarice’s hand): Why would they do that? I mean you have an oath to uphold.
Janice (slack jawed): I have a Goddess whose mortal and a bunch of people who are supposed to be well let’s not go there.
Aphrodite (walking up to her): Just like your little one huh Xena...
Xena smirked and nodded. The group walked into the house and went upstairs.
Eve had found the scroll she was looking for and put it aside. It was one of the happiest memories she had of the early time. The first of many ceremonies over the centuries and the most special.
Gabrielle (looking at Eve): And just what are you up to?
Eve (trying to look innocent): Nothing.
Ephiny (teasing):She is so like you in that regard.
Mel (shaking her head): And Xena...
Pounding feet and loud voices made her look up as the door banged open.
Janice (smirking): Um hi. Sorry to interrupt but we have a degoddessed Goddess I think...
Gabrielle (looking at Eve and Ephiny): A what...
Aphrodite (walking in): Hi.
Gabrielle (closing her eyes): Let me guess you healed Xena and they banished you.
Eve (offering Aphrodite a chair): Those son’s of bitches this is garbage.
Ephiny (shaking her head): I swear they need to learn some compassion.
Aphrodite (holding her hands up): It’s ok. Please let it be. I get to be with my family and stuff.
Mel (walking around the goddess; well former Goddess): I’ve seen paintings and I’ve read poems but nothing compares...
Aphrodite (smiling): Flattery will get you everywhere honey.
Gabrielle stood and looked out the window she was so angry at this injustice. How could anyone persecute someone for following their heart and helping someone.
Eve (placing her hand on Gabrielle’s shoulder): Mom...
Janice (leaning against Mel): Is there anything we can do?
Ephiny (angrily): Besides chopping them into itty bitty pieces that is...
Varia (leaning against the doorway): I’m all for it...
Solari (nodding): So am I...
Epinon (agreeing and pulling Amarice against her): You can count me in...
Xena (walking in the room and moving to Gabrielle’s side): It won’t solve anything. It’ll give us some satisfaction but we have to figure out a way to restore her powers.
Ephiny (teasing): You can put the pinch on them and then threaten them...
Everyone laughed and agreed to that idea.
Gabrielle (thinking): No. We all risk getting our future lives and our immortal lives banished forever. There has to be another way.
Aphrodite (holding up her hands): No I won’t have anyone risk anything for me. I’m ok with what’s happened. I don’t like it but I accept it. Now what can I do to help (looking around.)
Mel (stammering and trying to think of what the Goddess could do that wouldn’t result in a disaster): Um uh that is well...
Janice (snapping her fingers): Well that is I mean well she means...
Aphrodite (her shoulders sagging): It’s ok. I mean what skills do I have that can help you mortals. Well that’s ok I’ll just go find something.
Gabrielle (trying to stop her): Hey wait you can help us put these in order.
Eve (shuffling the papers): Yeah that would be a big help.
Ephiny (agreeing): A really big help.
Mel (sitting down with her notebook): Yeah it would.
Aphrodite (looking at everyone else in the room who were either shuffling their feet or whistling Dixie): It’s ok. I know but yeah I can help you with those.
Amarice (ducking out the door): I’m going to see if maybe we can make a bigger dent in that pile...
Epinon (following after her): Good idea (chuckling as Varia followed them out the door.)
Janice (helpfully): I’ll make sure that they um uh...
Xena (swallowing nervously as green eyes looked at her): Um uh yeah.
Mel (laughing and throwing her hands up): Warriors...
Ephiny (glaring at Solari): And what about you, Warrior...
Solari (sheepishly): Is that Xena calling me? Um later....
Aphrodite (puzzled): What...
Gabrielle (trying not to laugh): They don’t realize it but they had all just been had.
Eve (smirking): You got them out of our hair inadvertently.
Ephiny (biting her lip): And saved us a whole lot of trouble with keeping them in the house and out of trouble.
Aphrodite (not understanding): What...
Mel (running her hand through her hair): With them in the house they would be underfoot and well I’m sure you can imagine how much trouble they can be.
Aphrodite (puzzled): Huh?
Ephiny (sitting down): Never mind.
Eve (pulling out another pile of scrolls): Let’s get started on these and go from there.
Xena (hauling out an old table): How do you mortals accumulate this much stuff?
Janice (shrugging and pulling out an old set of luggage): I don’t know. I certainly don’t keep anything I don’t have any use for.
Varia (yanking out some machinery parts): What the hell did this go to?
Janice (looking): No idea.
Solari (picking up an old chair): This thing is ugly (nodding at the yellow upholstery.)
Janice (taunting): And leather everything is better.
Epinon (looking at her companions): Well at least it doesn’t stand out.
Amarice (smirking): Well when you get all serious about something and you polish your armor well that (yelping as Epinon picked her up in a bear hug.)
Xena (shaking her head): Come on we’ve got almost all of this gone. Let’s finish it up and call it a day.
Eve (stretching): Well we made a small dent.
Ephiny (agreeing and rubbing her hand across her face): That we did. We did good.
Mel (amazement on her face): There is so much history here. My God I knew a little about the Amazons but I never realized they were such an intricate community. It’s amazing.
Gabrielle (gently): Mel I know there’s a lot here and a lot of stuff has come to light but we ask that you be careful in what you reveal.
Ephiny (agreeing): Some people may think your nuts when you reveal some of the stuff and other well let’s just say some of it’s personal.
Mel (seriously): You have my word that I will be very respectful to you and your sister Amazons.
Eve (stretching): I’m going to check on our band of misfits and see what they’re up to.
Aphrodite (looking up from something she had been reading): I’ll come with you.
Janice (running across the yard): Dammit. I didn’t mean what it sounded like (laughing and nearly avoiding a flying tackle by Varia. I just said maybe you need to let out your leathers a little.
Varia (not mad at all): Just you wait blondie.
Xena (leaning against the railing with her arms across her chest): Dam she can run.
Solari (handing her a skin of water): You ok.
Xena (softly): Yeah. Dam she’s like a fricken rabbit.
Amarice (yelling at Epinon): You do get a little cranky sometimes love.
Janice (jumping over a fallen log): Sometimes. I think (colliding into something warm and solid.) Oh hi.
Eve (catching her balance and pushing them both out of the way): What happened now?
Varia (trying to grab Janice and finding herself face to face with her wife): Don’t ask. This little shit...
Janice (sticking her tongue out at her): It’s true...
Eve (rolling her eyes): Varia be nice.
Varia (smirking then grabbing Eve and putting her on her shoulder then grabbing Janice in a one arm bear hug): Tight and cranky...
Janice (giggling): No uptight and cranky...
Eve (shaking her head): Put me down...
Xena (laughing): Well that’s one way to do it. You’ve still got Poni to help ya...
Epinon (grabbing Janice): Uptight I’ll give you uptight you little shit...
What sounded like a loud horn stopped everyone real quick.
Mel (wondering what the hell was going on): I don’t even want to guess at what happened this time. Epinon can I please have my other half.
Epinon (sheepishly): Sure depositing Janice at her feet.
Janice (laughing): It’s ok baby.
Mel (giggling): I know. But I’ve got lunch started and well I think all of you need to clean up (aiming the hose at Epinon and Varia and getting Eve wet in the process.)
Eve (protesting when Varia turned her face first into the cold water): Hey. I’m innocent this time.
Aphrodite (giggling and going over to Xena): That was mean.
Xena (shrugging): Nuh huh. Apparently Mel is still a little mad at Janice for something else she did. Not mad angry just mad I’ll get even one of these days and she just did.
Aphrodite (looking up into pale blue eyes): You doing ok Warrior Babe.
Xena (nodding): Yeah fine.
Aphrodite (putting her hands on Xena’s arms): Listen I don’t understand what happened but I’m here for you.
Xena (gently): It’s ok.
Gabrielle (walking up behind them and gently wrapping her arms around her lover): No it’s not. You’re hurting I can see it. Xena this won’t go away.
Xena (pulling away gently): I’m uh going for a walk. I’ll be back in a bit (seeing Gabrielle about to protest) Brie please I just need to think ok please.
Gabrielle (pulling Xena back to her): This is your family Xena. We all care about you. You need to find a way to get through this. I know we talked but I know you, you need to work it out somehow. Please...
Xena (sighing): I love you...
Gabrielle (understanding): I know and I love you. I’m here I always have been and always will be.
Xena (leaning down and kissing her softly): I know, I’ve just got to work through this.
Gabrielle (understanding): Sure but don’t be long (leaning up for a kiss which Xena gladly obliged. The rest of the world melted away and nothing mattered but those soft lips that could bring her to her knees. But now was not the time to think about that.)
Xena (softly; caressing her face): I’ll be back.
Gabrielle (nodding): Ok but don’t be gone to long (watching the lanky form of her love slip off into the woods.)
Solari (walking up to her wringing out her hair): Follow her.
Gabrielle (looking at Solari, Epinon and Varia): Yeah but not to close. Give her some space but keep an eye on her (grinning as they took off after her.)
Ephiny (wrapping an arm around her shoulders): Subtle and sneaky I like it.
Eve (smirking): That was one way to keep em on their toes.
Mel (wondering): You sent the three of them after her (pulling Janice closer ignoring the wet clothes.)
Aphrodite (understanding): It’s a warrior thing.
Janice (smiling as her lover caressed whatever bare skin she could reach): I can totally relate.
Eve (arching her eyebrow): Really this I want to hear.
Ephiny (snickering): She’s a fighter. You know the mold. They go off and brood then come back and act as if nothing happened.
Amarice (nodding): Yep. And those four together can brood pretty good let me tell you.
Mel (laughing): I can see that. Come on I’ve got chicken marinating and potatoes to do (Janice moaned.) Oh hush. You don’t have to peel em I promise.
Janice (shrugging): Sure you say that now but later on sweetheart please (trying to mimic Mel’s voice.)
Ephiny (laughing): That’s precious.
Janice (taunting): Keep it up.
Eve (teasing): Thought that was Mel’s job (ducking someone’s hand as it playfully aimed for her head.) Hey I’m only speaking the truth here.
Ephiny (wrapping her arm around her shoulder): Mind your manners pup...
Amarice (giggling): Eve as a oh hi (looking up into soft blue eyes.) Um never mind.
Eve (baring her teeth): Yeah I thought so....
Gabrielle (separating them playfully): Go to your corner children.
Ephiny (rolling her eyes): As if you should talk. You were our youngest Queen in the history of the Nation.
Mel (wide eyed): Really...
Janice (rubbing her chin in thought): That could come in handy...
Mel (kissing the top of her head as they walked into the kitchen): Really do tell.
Aphrodite (proudly): All those sweet young innocent bodies at your beck and call. (Thinking) why didn’t I do this sooner.
Gabrielle (waving her hand): I’m not going there.
Playfully bantering along with vague attempts at cooking and talking filled the air.
Xena (taking a deep breath): I seem to be cursed with see no evil; hear no evil and speak no evil. Come on out.
Varia (pushing Epinon and Solari back): Mother we’re just concerned.
Xena (turning around and facing her): I know. I just need some time.
Varia (realizing sensitive chat time): Listen I uh know you’re hurting. But you’ve been there for me over the centuries countless times. I thought maybe...
Xena (balling her hands into fists not to inflict pain but to control her emotions): Varia thanks but um I’ve got to deal with this.
Varia (not backing up) Yeah you have to deal with it but not alone.
Epinon (folding her arms across her chest): You’ve bailed our bums out of the fire enough times. You need to talk we’re here.
Solari (agreeing): Yep. So start talking.
Xena rolled her eyes and looked back at the water. She knew eventually she would have to come to terms with what happened and move forward. But how could you when you’re heart hurt and your reason for being was the image used to torture you.
Aphrodite (shivering): All those big butch women lugging around weapons high on something or other. No thanks. That was why my sister was deemed patron Goddess of the Amazons.
Mel (chewing on the end of the pencil): But you had a hand in relationships, right.
Ephiny snickered and so did Gabrielle. Eve swatted them both playfully.
Aphrodite (smiling): Of course. They may be big and butch but if I knew they were meant to be of course. Besides when Artemis got in a tiff about one of her Amazons being lonely and looking for love there was no place to hide.
Mel (thinking): Who was the hardest to put together? (Everyone looked at Gabrielle and burst out laughing.) What...
Ephiny (patting Gabrielle on the back): It’s just from what I’ve heard, seen and been told that Xena and Gabrielle were the most stubborn hard headed...
Eve (piping up): Love sick pair you ever seen.
Gabrielle (rolling her eyes): We were not. We were um well that is well hey it was like well um...
Mel (laughing): You were afraid a more intimate relationship would destroy the truest friendship you both ever knew, right?
Gabrielle (nodding): Exactly.
Eve (throwing her hands up): Well obviously it didn’t.
Ephiny (taunting): Then they find out they are eternal soul mates. But does that make it easier, no. Not with these two. Let me tell you Mel when they came to the village sometimes the sexual tension was so thick I could cut it with a dull dagger. And poor Xena...
Gabrielle (wide eyed): Poor Xena what about me...
Aphrodite (giggling): Oh no. My heart went out to Xena. That poor baby had to put up with not so innocent cuddling, touching, hugging and oh yeah. I’m surprised she didn’t just throw you down somewhere and devour you.
Mel (wide eyed): Xena never....
Ephiny (choking on her tea): Please. Xena may have at one time been ruthless not only on the battlefield (grabbing Gabrielle’s hand before she got hit) hold on. Like I said but when she turned her life around she was so caring and sensitive that those thoughts well I’m sure they crossed her mind but she never acted on them.
Mel (softly): So when did you two decided to move forward and when did you step in.
Amarice (excitedly): Ok so I just hold onto you real tight and relax.
Janice (zipping up her jacket): Exactly. You’ll like this. It’s like riding a horse only you go so much faster (grinning evilly.)
Amarice (climbing on behind Janice): Cool. I have got to get Poni one of these.
Janice (wondering): Um...
Amarice (shrugging): I can bend the rules a little bit (hanging on as the engine roared to life and they took off down the road.)
Varia (closing her eyes): I wish she was still alive because I would rip her apart. Mother have you told mom about this...
Xena (nodding and throwing another rock into the water): Yeah and that’s what makes it so hard.
Epinon (shaking her head): I think you two need some time alone just the two of you.
Varia (agreeing): That would work.
Xena (throwing another rock): And how would we do that. There’s too much work to be done. The scrolls, Aphrodite and Mel and Janice need some stuff done around here as well.
Solari (shifting): You and Gabrielle need time alone. Whatever comes up we can handle.
Janice (rubbing her hand over her face): Mel is going to kill me...
Amarice (watching the cop walk back to them): And Epinon is going to kill me.
Officer McAffery (handing Janice her license): Janice I know Mel is going to beat your bum over this. I’m letting you off easy cause her father helped mine a while back. I suggest you two get back to the estate and think about not pulling a stunt like this again (handing her a ticket for unlawfully carrying a passenger.) $20 fine and no points.
Janice (smirking): Thanks Lara. We owe ya one in fact this Friday why don’t you bring your partner up for dinner at our house.
Lara (pulling down her glasses): I’ll get back to you on that. Just behave yourselves. It was nice meeting you Amarice. See you ladies later and hopefully the next time you won’t be in trouble.
Amarice (shuffling her feet): Oh we won’t be.
Janice (taking a deep breath): Let’s get back to the estate and try to suck up.
Amarice (thinking): I won’t be able to sit for a week when Epinon gets through with me.
Mel (hanging up the phone): I can’t believe it. I’m going to strangle her.
Gabrielle (thinking of how much their descendants had in common): Well it could be worse.
Ephiny (shaking her head): Oh no. Don’t even say it.
Eve (chuckling): What does mother call it?
Aphrodite (wondering): Oh I know (pausing) something about the Gabrielle effect.
Mel (giggling): This I want to hear.
Ephiny (trying to avoid the playful swat): Well it goes like this ouch hey...
Gabrielle (laughing): I’ll give you, you want to here this.
Eve (moving out of the way): It starts hey watch it. I’m innocent in all of this.
That had everyone laughing and playfully tussling with each other.
Xena (walking around the piece of machinery): Nice. Very nice.
Janice (smiling proudly): Yeah got it brand new and just oh you want to go for a ride....
Mel (walking around the corner of the garage Janice Covington Pappas you are in so much hot water. You know better...
Janice (gulping and seeing Amarice trying to walk away): Now baby...
Epinon (looking at Janice then at her wife): What happened...
Solari (wondering): What did you two do now?
Varia (shaking her head and wrapping her arms around Eve): Hi baby.
Eve (thinking): You weren’t a part of this...
Aphrodite (laughing): Not this time. It seems those two got into trouble all on their own.
Gabrielle (shaking her head): And don’t blame me.
Ephiny (looking at the bike): Nice. Very nice.
Mel (shaking her head): In the house Janice. You could have gotten hurt and so could have Amarice.
Janice (kicking the dirt): But baby...
Mel (pointing): I told you the next time you got a ticket on that thing what would happen...
Xena (whistling innocently): I would move if I were you.
Gabrielle (patting her arm): Yes you would.
Amarice (trying to sneak away only to be caught by Epinon): Aww Poni come on ouch hey...
Epinon (lifting her over her shoulder): Come on you and I have a lot to talk about (swatting her on the ass playfully.)
Aphrodite smirked as she watched the two couples go into the house the smaller two in trouble with the bigger two.
Ephiny (wondering what to do that wouldn’t make the Goddess feel left out or unwanted): Hey you said that you might give us some insight on a few things that only Goddesses know so maybe....
Aphrodite (understanding): Go on. I’ll be fine. I saw a few books in the library and maybe I’ll just read a while. Didn’t get much of a chance when I was the Goddess of Love. Maybe I’ll find some that will help me understand what it’s like to be mortal.
Eve (taking Varia’s hand in her own): I think we’ll join you (come on reaching out and taking Aphrodite’s hand.)
Varia (biting her lip in frustration she really wanted to go spend some time alone with her partner but understood her intentions): Sure yeah um...
Aphrodite (patting her on the back): You’ll get your reward later (winking and following Eve into the house.)
Solari (tugging on Ephiny’s hand): Come on that’s our cue.
Gabrielle (turning to face her soul mate): Come on you and I are going to go down by that stream and talk.
Xena (biting her lip): I’m ok. I just need some time...
Gabrielle (reaching up and touching her face gently): Xena this is me you’re talking to. I love you and I want to help you heal. Now come on.
Xena (wrapping her arm around her lover’s waist): Ok but I’m telling you I’m fine.
Gabrielle (looking up): Fine right. Tell me another one Xena.
Xena (sitting down in front of a large tree): I can’t.
Gabrielle (sitting cross legged in front of her): Can’t or won’t. We’ve been through so much and the only reason we’ve made it this far is our love.
Xena (taking a deep breath): I know I just don’t want to hurt you.
Gabrielle (taking the larger in her own): You won’t. I know it wasn’t me and so does your heart. She beat you and forced you using my image, our memories.
Xena (fighting tears): That’s what I need to get my head wrapped around.
Gabrielle (moving to straddle her lover’s lap): Our love is stronger than that.
Xena (rubbing Gabrielle’s arms): I can’t get the images out of my head. It hurts here (touching her chest) as much as here (tapping her head.)
Gabrielle (pulling her tightly to her): Let me in love...
Xena (softly; biting her lip): Brie...
Gabrielle (kissing her neck): Let me love you. Let go baby please (pushing Xena on her back and caressing her gently.)
Xena (her mind in conflict; one part of her wanted this; wanted to feel her lover; erase the hurt and pain; the other part of her wanted Gabrielle to stop): Baby I don’t know if I can...
Gabrielle (looking into soft blue eyes): Trust me. I won’t let you fall baby. I love you.
Xena (understanding): Love you too (and gave her heart and soul up to the only person that had ever really loved her.)
Janice (laughing as Mel tickled her): Stop I won’t do it again I promise.
Mel (playfully swatting her ass): No you’ll just do something else just as dangerous or something to cause me more gray hair.
Janice (softly): What gray ouch hey whoa hello (eyeing Mel’s cleavage.)
Mel (seductively): Something you want...
Janice licking her lips and arching her back): Oh yeah...
Mel (undoing her top): You going to do that again.
Janice (begging): No baby please (moaning as long fingers caressed her bare skin.) Yes Mel...
Mel (smiling): That’s my girl (moaning as she felt soft lips seize hers.)
Amarice (moaning and trying to get her breathing back): Oh Gods (trying to take a deep breath.) Dam what you do to me....
Epinon (softly; cradling her against her chest): You ever do something, no, never mind you probably will so I won’t even say it. Amarice I just couldn’t take it if something happened to you. Please try and be more careful.
Amarice (trying to take a deep breath): I’ll try.
Epinon tightened her hold on the smaller woman and said a silent prayer to whoever was listening to keep an eye on her rambunctious lover.
Varia (flipping through the book obviously bored out of her mind): I’m going downstairs and see what’s for dinner.
Aphrodite (trying to make heads or tails out of what was in front of her): I can’t believe people actually wear this type of thing (holding up a magazine that had ads for lingerie. I thought...
Eve (chuckling and making notes): You would be surprised how far things have come Dite. Lingerie isn’t just for the Goddess of Love anymore. People use it to entice their partners...
Varia (stretching): Among other things. I’ll be downstairs.
Eve (tilting her head back for a kiss): Keep out of trouble.
Varia (moving her mouth lower to tease her lover’s neck): I’ll try.
Eve (moaning): Baby...
Aphrodite (smirking): Please. Like I haven’t seen that before. Hades (smirking as Varia leaned in for another kiss.) Nice technique. And I know where Eve got that from (laughing as Varia nearly fell over.)
Varia (muttering and shaking her head): Um uh (and flustered walked out of the room.)
Eve (licking her lips): Definitely later.
Aphrodite (looking through another magazine. I can’t believe love has turned into a materialistic well I can’t think of another word. It’s the heart and soul and passion...
Eve (nodding): Oh yeah and lots of it.
Solari (rinsing her hair): You’re going to kill me one of these days baby.
Ephiny (opening the shower door): Well you’re the one who wanted to...
Solari (shaking her head): Oh no don’t go there. Uh huh behave and keep your weapons were I can see them.
Ephiny (licking her lips): What weapons...
Solari (teasing): That one right there.
Ephiny (wrapping her arms around her neck): Mmm remind me to do something about it later.
Solari (shutting off the water and then picking her lover up): How about right now I return the favor.
Ephiny (relaxing into the strong embrace): Mmm sounds good.
Xena (looking at the book then at her wife then at her daughter in law): Ok so we’re making a roast for dinner and what else....
Gabrielle (reaching up): Trust me on this will you.
After they had spent some time cuddling and working things out Gabrielle and Xena had gone back to the house trying to figure out what to do for dinner. They both felt at peace and their world was slowly coming back together.
Varia (pulling things out of the freezer): Will this work...
Gabrielle (looking at what Varia had): Perfect ok here’s what we’re going to do. Varia find me a large roasting pan and Xena get the potatoes and start peeling. (Xena groaned and banged her head against the counter.) I don’t want to hear it now move that cute ass of yours.
Xena (taking a deep breath): I swear Brie...
Varia (looking in the cupboards): Yeah and in several languages too I might add.
Gabrielle watched intently as her soul mate and daughter in law were back to their usual light banter and playful demeanor. She knew her lover had a long way to go but it was a start. Following the directions in the book she began making dinner.
Epinon (towel drying her hair): I smell something cooking.
Amarice (moaning and burying her face deeper into the pillow): Not moving.
Epinon (rubbing her back): Yes you are. I’m hungry and I know you are too...
Amarice (burrowing deeper into the covers): No one else is running around so let me sleep and you go check it out hey whoa why is my pillow and blanket moving (relaxing into strong arms.)
Epinon (laughing): Because you are going to take a quick shower then get downstairs.
Amarice (giving up): Ok but you owe me later.
Mel tied her hair back and placed a gentle kiss on her sleeping lover’s lips. Shutting the door quietly she ran into Ephiny in the hall and followed her down the stairs.
Gabrielle (stirring something in the pot): Hey everything ok.
Mel (noticing the pleasant aroma of food cooking): You’re making dinner thank you. We could have ordered out or something. You didn’t have to through all this trouble.
Ephiny (looking at the cook book): Knowing Brie it was to keep a certain bunch of trouble makers out of trouble.
Gabrielle (biting her lip): Something like that. Anyway it was no big deal Varia and Xena helped. Its been quiet....
Mel (wide eyed): You mean those two.
Eve (walking in with Aphrodite following behind her): Which two and what did they do?
Gabrielle (smirking): Xena and Varia they’re just out doing something or other.
Eve (heading for the door): I’ll just go find them and see what they’re up to.
Mel (watching her walk out the door): She’s so like you in so many ways and like Xena in others. It’s amazing.
Ephiny (agreeing): When Eve was born it was one situation after another. They never got the chance to raise her.
Mel (understanding the what if’s and could have’s): She’s a remarkable woman.
Gabrielle (wistfully): That she is.
Varia (scratching her head): I don’t think it’s supposed to do that...
Xena (getting on the back): Come on chicken little. Just a little ride around the estate.
Varia (backing up and shaking her head): I think Janice would have a slight problem with that.
Xena (licking her lips): Ok you sit here and I’ll go have some fun...
Eve (walking in the garage): Nope mom wants you in the house.
Varia (looking at the floor): I’m going ouch hey (rubbing her arm.) What did I do?
Eve (shaking her head): For whatever part you were involved in.
Aphrodite (walking out): Hey Brie wants you three in the house. Everyone else is downstairs.
Xena (running her hand over the bike’s chrome): I’m going.
Aphrodite (watching Eve and Varia walk into the house): Actually I just wanted to see how you were feeling?
Xena (stepping out of the garage and shutting the door): Better. Brie and I talked and things are good.
Aphrodite (reaching out and touching Xena’s face gently): Are they?
Xena (nodding and taking her hand into her own): Yes. Come on. Eve’s got a surprise for everyone after dinner. Then tomorrow we have to figure out a way to get your powers back.
Aphrodite (wrapping her arm around Xena’s waist): Not to worry. I have everything I need right here with you girls.
Xena (chuckling): You might come to regret that someday.
Aphrodite (winking): Never.
Dinner was delicious, but what made it more interesting was the playful banter; teasing, arguing and horsing around. But Mel had the last say the four culprits were to clean up the kitchen and do the dishes then join everyone else in the sitting room. They swore and complained but one look from each of their other halves and they moved rather quickly.
Eve (holding the small pile of scrolls and notes in her lap looked up as everyone came in): I took the liberty of finding the actual ceremony and the days that preceded and followed it.
Mel (leaning back and wrapping her arms around Janice): I think everyone’s here
Eve (looking around the room): Ok this will shed some light on a lot of things and hopefully give us a clue as to where the ambrosia might be.

Amazon Village 2000 Years Ago
The challenge had been made and Gabrielle reinstated as Queen. With that out of the way, now was the time to plan for the ceremonies for two couples.
Gabrielle (applying some poultice to Xena’s bruises): What do you mean you saw from Eve’s standpoint and Varia’s standpoint someone can change?
Xena (turning around and taking Gabrielle’s hands into her own): For ten years Brie I raped , pillage, razed to the ground (swallowing the lump in her throat) and tried to conquer Greece. I was about to end it all on a fall day when I heard yelling. When I got to the source of the noise I saw this brave little blonde standing up against a bunch of slavers. I don’t know how or why but you ended up following me and staying with me. As time went on I fell in love with you, although I didn’t have any idea of what love was. My point Brie is, for everything I did, the evil I caused, the darkness I allowed to nurse and fester inside my soul is nothing compared to what Varia did even though she tried to kill you and Eve. I was given a second chance she deserves one too (looking up to see green eyes filled with tears then strong arms wrapping around her. They held each other secure in the knowledge of each other and their love.)
Eve (nuzzling deeper under the covers and closer to her partner if it were possible): Love you.
Varia (stroking soft skin): Love you too. I wonder what happened with that fight. It seems like your mom was going to beat your bum but good. Then all of a sudden...
Eve (pushing herself up): Someone stepped in. Divine interference if you will.
Varia (looking into grey blue eyes): What? Who? Oh wait a minute Aphrodite, right? (Eve nodded.) So well that explains a few things then (closing her eyes and moaning as soft lips began a teasing exploration.) Baby...
Eve (moving to lie on top of her partner): Just lay back and enjoy. I have to work out some of this excess energy somehow.
Varia (wrapping her arms tightly around her partner): I have a few ideas myself (flipping Eve over onto her back and began a thorough exploration of her lover which led to both of them yelling each other’s names.)
Gabrielle (running her fingers through Xena’s dark locks; admiring the look of contentment on her partner’s face as she lay in her lap): I never thought I would be this happy. And look at you, you never thought it either. (A knock on the outer door and she looked up) come in.
Rayne (bowing her head): My Queen the council’s meeting and they’re demanding your presence as well as your Champions (trying not to look at the couple.)
Gabriele (kissing the top of her partner‘s head): Any idea what it’s about?
Rayne (shaking her head): No idea. But they’re yelling about something.
Xena (mumbling): Uptight featherheads (realizing who was in the room) present company excluded.
Rayne (smirking): I’ll be outside (trying not to look as Xena stood up completely naked oblivious to the effect it was going to have on her. She turned quickly ran into the door jamb and then ran out the door.)
Gabrielle (laughing): You’re so bad. Let’s go see what the council wants then maybe come back here and (winking.)
Xena (kissing her softly): Thank you. For everything, for putting up with me and making me see reason.
Gabrielle (understanding): Xena that‘s why I‘m here. Just like you’re there for me (kissing her softly then began looking for her clothes.)
Xena (washing her face and running a brush through her hair): I’m going to take a look around then I’ll meet you in the council hall. Ok?
Gabrielle (wrapping her arms around her partner): More than ok. I love you.
Xena (kissing her softly): Love you too (turning to move only to find her partner wouldn’t let her go and then found those perfect lips seizing hers and giving her a kiss that sent her senses reeling. Not that all of Brie’s kisses didn’t it was just lately her mind had been elsewhere.) Um not that I mind but whew...
Gabrielle (still holding her lover): No matter what you’re my soul mate; my lover; my best friend and my champion in one delicious package.. And I’m here for you love.
Xena (caressing her cheek): Always baby (Gabrielle stepped back and she immediately felt the loss of contact but knew there were things that had to be taken care of before they could have some quiet time to themselves.) I’ll see you in a bit (dressing then grabbing her weapons and with a smile left their hut.)
Gabrielle licked her lips and smiled. Then proceeded to get dressed herself. Determined that no matter what happened she would make her partner understand that no matter what things would be all right.
Eve (holding Varia’s hand as they walked across the compound): Wonder what the fuss is about?
Varia (shaking her head): No idea. (She noticed everyone else going about their business and things seemed quiet.) We’re about to find out.
As they turned the corner they saw Xena coming from the opposite direction and Varia smiled although inside she was wondering what she would to her despite everything that had happened.
Xena (softly): You hurt her you’re dead (and went inside the hall.)
Eve (shaking her head): So help me I’m going too...
Varia (laughing): Eve she wasn’t threatening me. She accepts things and she’s just telling me something I already know (leaning down to kiss her.)
Gabrielle (teasing): Alright get a room already.
Varia (looking up and licking her lips): Later maybe.
Eve (looking at her mother’s bandaged forearm): How are you feeling?
Gabrielle (walking with them): Better. You’re mother and I had a long talk. Now we have to go see what the council is yelling about. (She saw her soul mate standing with Rayne and Kara talking and pointing at things.) I hope she’s not up to something.
Xena (looking to her right and smiling at her lover): Hey. Just explaining how to tighten the watch without stretching our guards any more than we have to.
Rayne (pointing to the scroll): We have two open areas that are hard to patrol because we need more people near the front here and this open pass here.
Gabrielle (looking at the scroll): We need to discuss this. That’s two to many spots not guarded. But first let’s go see what the council has to say.
Varia (holding the door open only to find a strong hand on her shoulder): Hi.
Xena (letting Eve and Gabrielle go in front of her): I’m sorry for being a bitch and acting like a protective mother bear. I just want her happy...
Varia (nodding): And I’ll do my best Xena you have my word.
Xena (nodding): Good.
Gabrielle (waiting as Varia and Xena walked in): Ok. Now that we have the issue of the challenges behind us let’s get down to business...
Tasha (standing): With all due respect my Queen I challenge Xena for the right to join with you.
Eve (closing her eyes and muttering): By Eli...
Varia (defensively):You can’t...
Xena (lunging forward): What...
Gabrielle (placing a hand on her partner’s chest to restrain her): What are you talking about? (Xena was trying to get around her) sit down love.
Lin Chi (taking a deep breath): The rules are clear. She is not an Amazon.
Everyone was arguing and pointing and Gabrielle cleared her throat listening.
Claris (trying to sound impartial but really wanted to see Gabrielle and Xena join): Well she found some law that states that only an Amazon may join with the Queen. With any other Amazon it doesn’t really matter The law was put into place to prevent an outsider to attempt a take over.
Varia (rolling her eyes): That is the biggest load of horseshit I’ve ever heard. Let me see that. (Grabbing the paper she began reading and felt Eve rubbing her arm, looking up she threw the paper down) dammit.
Eve (picking it up and glancing it over): Shit...
Xena (still trying to get around Gabrielle): You want a challenge I’ll give you one.
Tasha (standing): It’s not that simple Xena. You see you have to go through some other rites and tests to make sure that in the event you do beat me in a challenge, you are fit to be the Consort to the Queen. As of now your engagement is null and void. Until you meet the challenge you have no place by the Queen’s side.
Xena (taking a deep breath; she wanted to throttle her ass): Fine. Tomorrow morning first thing. You and I.
Tasha (sliding a piece of paper to Gabrielle): And these are the rites and tests she has to pass in order to seek your hand if she beats me.
Gabrielle (with conviction): Oh she’ll win because otherwise I will not be joining with you or anyone else for that matter. Only with my soul mate. And then I will take my family and leave.
Claris (softly): You would surrender your throne for the woman you love.
Gabrielle (heading for the door): Yes I would (and left leaving Varia, Eve and Xena standing there wondering what to do then followed her out.)
Lin Chi (defiantly): She has no business as Queen.
Claris (standing): Of course she does. She beat Marquessa in fair combat.
Tasha (sneering): You’re either with us or against us.
Lin Chi (shuffling papers): We’re only doing what’s best for the tribe.
Claris (shaking her head): By trying to tear them apart. That isn’t what’s best. Xena has always been here to help us and...
Lin Chi (standing): Keeping our Queen away from us. We need a full time ruler and our ruler needs someone who has the best interest of the Amazons at heart.
Gabrielle sat by the river throwing rocks and listening to her partner’s pacing.
Xena (stopping): I’ll get us out of here. We leave tonight take the girls and head east. We can reach the sea coast and secure a boat and never set foot here again.
Gabrielle (shaking her head): That’s not the answer.
Xena (kneeling next to her): Then what is. You saw those challenges Brie I can do those and the combat but for what. Why?
Gabrielle (softly): Because of our promise to Ephiny. I will not stand by and watch someone who is so greedy for power take over the nation. And I will not have anyone tell me I can not marry my soul mate caressing Xena’s face gently.)
Xena (kissing her palm): Then what do we do...
Gabrielle (with conviction): We’ll find a way. I promise we will find a way...
Eve stood pouring over scrolls and making notes on another pile of papers while Varia sat on a bench wondering just what her partner was up to.
Eve (holding up a document): I found it...
Varia (sitting up straighter): Found what...
Eve (smirking evilly): The answer to our problem and little miss attitude’s challenge. I’ve got the answer (folding papers up and heading for the door.) You coming I don’t want you to miss the fireworks.
Varia (nodding): Whatever it is your up to I hope it works.
Eve (turning and kissing her softly): Oh it will..

Will Xena and Gabrielle get to join? Will Eve and Varia?
Will Aphrodite get her powers back?
Does Eve truly hold the answers and solutions to the problems at hand?
Will Gabrielle hold the title of Queen?

Find out in the next Chapter of Herstory...

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Xena’s Girl