This site has been moved to http://www.dreamwater.org/wolfsword/home.htm due to that irritating bandwidth problem
Legal Disclaimer: All characters from the TV series Xena: Warrior Princess are the sole property of Universal/Studios USA and Renaissance Pictures. I don't have a claim to them... *sigh* :) This version of events, however, is all mine!
Lyrics Disclaimer: I've nicked a few song lyrics from a couple of songs that I thought fit the mood. I don't mean to infringe on any copyright though; just doing it for fun! If you want to know where the lyrics are from then you can drop me a mail. But otherwise, I didn't see the point.
Violence Warning: Yep.. there's violence. Oh come on.. this is Xena we're talking about here! ;)
Sexual Warning: Well, considering the title, the fact that this is an Alternate website and that it's a Xena story kinda gives away that it's gonna be about two women who are in love. Needless to say; there'll probably be some sex scenes in the story. :)
Hurt/Discomfort Warning: If you're really sensitive to this type of thing, then it might be best to read something else. This isn't a light tale; although in some parts it is, mostly it's dark.
Author's Notes: I have a thing for seeing a couple of episodes, having a brainwave, then writing a story which goes steaming straight off the season storyline. As a result, this has very little relevance to any occurrences after the Second Season. Basically, Gabrielle is still an Amazon Queen, with Ephiny ruling as Regent. I guess you could say it takes place a little while after the events of 'The Quest' and 'A Necessary Evil'. Over here in Good Ol' England, we are severely behind, and those without Sky etc. have no hope! As you might be able to tell, I'm one of them. So I know there may be a few discrepancies throughout the story and feel free to tell me; but don't expect any changes if I think that it's necessary for the my plot line.
Anyway... after all that.. here we go! Presenting... my first attempt at Xena fan fiction.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Love's Test by Wolfsword
very different people
scared to get along
two hearts beat together
very special moment
turn a destiny
what some would say, would never change
changed for you and m e
it’s all in the way you look through your eyes
And when all is said and done
All of the fear and all of the lies
not hard to overcome
all in the way you look at it
makes you strong
we are one
are two very different people
much to overcome
why care for one another
there’s so much to be done?
sometimes its necessary
look how far we’ve come
could say, my friend, that it’s the end
a new tale has begun
it’s all in the way you look through your eyes
when all is said and done
of the fear and all of the lies
not hard to overcome
all in the way you look at it
makes you strong
we are one
moment in time
all the time we need
to make a difference
make it better
you and for me
you just believe
open your eyes
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
“So tell me, warrior. What are you scared of?”
asked a petite, blonde woman in a hushed voice as a shadowy form entered the
cave mouth, out of the dark night.
Her last words seemed to echo throughout the small
cave. A tall body sat down next to the young woman, dumping a supply of soaked
firewood next to the large rock, that they had built the fire against, to shield
it from the wind. The fire would dry the wet wood that had been brought in,
ready for later use. She heard the warrior sit back against the cave wall and
sigh. A few minutes went by in silence.
“Let me see your head.”
The smaller woman’s eyes shot open and she looked
at her companion. She was met with two orbs as blue as hers were green and
Gabrielle felt her breath catch in her throat. No matter how many times she
looked into those eyes, she knew she would never get used to the intensity she
saw there. But she loved the thrill that shot down her spine every time she did
it. She hadn’t heard Xena move, but somehow, the warrior had ended up opposite
“Is something wrong, Xena?” Gabrielle asked, as
Xena checked her wound.
Xena shook her head and moved back to sit next to the
bard against the wall. She stared at the blank cave wall in front of her.
Gabrielle was getting slightly worried about the warrior. She had hardly said a
word for two days and something was definitely bothering her. Gabrielle decided
to let it go for the time being. Besides, if she wants to talk about it,
she’ll talk to me soon, she thought to herself. Will she? Her
subconscious argued. It wasn’t like Xena would just ditch her in the next
village they came across. No, she’d been her sidekick for too long, a
part of her mind said. That’s all you are to her though isn’t it? A
sidekick, her subconscious whispered. Gabrielle shut off her train of
“Better a sidekick than nothing to her,” she
muttered to herself.
“Did you say something?” Xena was looking at her
again, this time with a concerned expression evident on her striking features.
Gabrielle mentally hit herself. Great! Now she’s
gonna think that she’s travelling with a psycho who talks to herself.
“No. Nothing.” She sighed.
Xena sighed and rubbed her eyes.
“Look, I’m sorry if I’ve been a grouch these
past few days,” Xena apologised. She rubbed the back of her neck with her
hand. “You know, it’s that time of the month.” Xena cringed inside at the
lie. How could she tell the smaller woman about the thoughts and feelings
she’d been experiencing lately that were mostly based around the bard.
Outwardly, she tried to smile for the bard, who she knew was probably getting
annoyed with the silent warrior. Damn it, warrior. You think she’s gonna
want to travel around with a mute! She’s probably going to leave me at the
next village we get to, Xena thought.
“Its ok. I know I get really bad at that time
too.” Gabrielle smiled at the stoic warrior. She never usually gets this
way. She must be trying to make an excuse for wanting to leave me behind, she
thought miserably. Gabrielle got up, dragging the blanket that was covering her,
with her and searched through their satchels to find some food to take her mind
off her bleak outlook. It wasn’t working. Her mind kept drifting back to the
dark warrior on the floor. She couldn’t deny that she was attracted to her. Tartarus,
who wouldn’t be! But she just didn’t know what to do about it. Fear and
excitement coursed through her veins every time she came within touching
distance of the woman. If she did anything, it would mean jeopardising their
relationship as it was and Gabrielle was not prepared to do that. Not until I
know for sure, she mused.
Xena watched Gabrielle through half closed eyes and
wondered what was making the bard so agitated. She’s pissed off with you,
you fool she chided herself. She had to admit, that the focussed expression
on her face was very endearing. Every expression she has is beautiful to you,
warrior, she smiled. She tilted her head back and closed her eyes,
getting lost in the images her mind conjured up. She wasn’t surprised to find
the only thing she could think about was the woman preparing their sparse dinner.
Gabrielle’s face floated in front of her and she couldn’t help but smile
again. Her smile vanished as her thoughts turned to her present situation. She
knew she was drawn to the bard but not only because she was attractive, but
there was something else that the warrior couldn’t put her finger on. A number
of times, she had come very close to just leaning over and kissing the woman.
But she stopped herself before she did anything that would make Gabrielle hate
her or run out of her life.
Xena opened her eyes to see a small hand in front of
her face, strips of beef jerky in them. She took them and looked up to thank the
woman, but found herself captivated by eyes the colour of emeralds. In that
moment she realised what scared her the most.
‘I’m terrified of losing you’ they
both thought at the same time.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Xena blinked the sleep away from her eyes and watched
as the morning sunrays crept along the floor of the cavern. From where she was
lying, she could see to a great distance away out of the cave mouth. They were
lucky to find a shelter for the night when the torrential rain caught them by
surprise. Xena rebuked herself for not paying attention. She should have smelt
it in the wind that it would rain and found some sort of shelter sooner. But as
it was, she was too distracted by her musings to detect the obvious.
They had taken the shortcut over the mountains and as
they were beginning to descend Gabrielle had commented on the darkness of the
clouds above them. Almost as soon as the words had left her mouth, the sky had
opened and Xena was left trying to make sure that Gabrielle did not slip off the
side of the mountain and at the same time look for a place where they could stay
to ride out the storm. After several hours, through the driving rain, Xena had
spotted the cave and a few minutes later they stumbled into the black entrance,
Xena half carrying Gabrielle.
It was pitch black inside and the only way she could
see the cave was when a flash of lightening lit up the area. At first glance,
Xena had thought that it was someone’s lair, but a quick examination revealed
that the place was totally vacant. She had brought Gabrielle as far into the
cave as she could and sat her against the wall, on the floor and had started to
rub the smaller woman’s bare arms to warm them up, while she wondered how in
Tartarus she was going to get a fire to light in this weather. Then she noticed
a small ring of stones, behind a large clump of rocks, that she had not seen as
they entered the cave. A small pile of wood had been set inside the ring of
stones and she had debated with herself briefly on whether it was safe to stay
in there. Someone had obviously been expecting to return, but there was nowhere
else they could go. On top of the wood were two white stones and Xena had
quickly reached over and struck the two flint stones together, watching the
sparks come into contact with the dry kindling. The firewood had burst into
flames and illuminated the interior of their shelter.
She had turned around to find Gabrielle sleeping, but
she knew from experience that to go to sleep when freezing cold is certain
death. She had shaken the bard gently to rouse her, but the woman only murmured
in her sleep. Xena was getting worried and she quickly stripped her of all her
wet clothes and started to rub warmth into the small woman’s cold limbs. But
the rub had turned into a massage, which turned into soft caresses and soon Xena
realised that Gabrielle was not the only one who was getting warmer as it dawned
on her that she was holding a naked Gabrielle, who was now very much awake.
She had stopped immediately, before it went too far
and, satisfied that Gabrielle would not slip into a coma because of the cold,
she had turned and stalked out of the cave and into the pouring rain to cool
herself down. She had stayed out there for a long time, not caring that she was
soaked to the bone. She didn’t feel cold, in fact she felt like she had a
temperature. All she could think about was Gabrielle. Her eyes, her voice, her
laugh, her smile, her body… Stop! She
had forced herself to think about something else.
She could feel the rain easing slightly and in the
distance she could see the twinkling lights of the village that they were
heading back to. She had left Argo there, to recover from an illness while they
journeyed to a neighbouring town to sort out a problem. She thought of the
stable boy, a cocky teenager, and she had vowed that if her horse came to any
harm, she would throttle him.
She had heard a noise inside the cave and went back
inside to check up on Gabrielle. The sight she saw had stopped her in her
tracks. Gabrielle was sitting cross-legged before the fire, naked. Most of her
lower body was blocked from Xena’s view by the clump of rocks but from her
waist up, she had a full picture. The warrior could feel the heat building
between her legs and willed her eyes to look at Gabrielle’s face. She had seen
puzzlement on her companion’s face and had realised she was staring. Xena had
cleared her throat and apologised.
“Er, sorry. Erm, I’m gonna go see whether I can
find some more er, wood” she had stuttered as she backed her way out of the
cave and she had bolted back out into the howling wind and pitch blackness.
Xena was startled out of her thoughts when Gabrielle,
who had been sleeping with her back to Xena, turned over in her sleep and
stretched her arm across Xena’s waist, placing her head on the warrior’s
“Centaur’s turd,” Xena whispered to herself as
she stared up at the roof of the cavern, wishing her desire for the small bard
to fade. She looked down on the face of her Gabrielle. Her
Gabrielle? Where did that come from, she wondered. She watched as Gabrielle
smiled in her dreams. I wonder what’s making her so happy, she thought,
disbelieving the feelings of jealousy she was experiencing at the thought of
someone else being the centre of the bard’s attention. She felt the bard
snuggle closer to her and bury her head into the side of the larger woman’s
Xena closed her eyes and took three deep, calming
breaths, breathing in the sweet scent of Gabrielle.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Lying on the floor of the cavern, Gabrielle was at
the point between the dream-world and consciousness, her arm hugging a soft,
leather satchel. Her mind wandered back over the previous night, recalling the
sense of passion that had swamped her as Xena had stood at the mouth of the
cave. The sight had taken her breath away. The warrior’s dark mane was wind
swept and the rain had made her armour shine with a light glow. She smiled in
her state of half awareness, as she revelled in the feelings that the warrior
evoked in her.
Her smiled vanished as she remembered the strange
look that came over the warrior’s features, before she took off into the black
night. She remembered the feeling of helplessness as she stared out into the
dark night, wishing she could tell Xena what her heart screamed every time she
came near her. You can’t have her, her mind told her.
In the dawn lit cave, Gabrielle burrowed her head
closer into the leather satchel. It reminded her of Xena and it was as close as
she could get to being in the warrior’s arms. Suddenly, she had a strange
sensation that the satchel was breathing. Oh, Hades. Please, NO! Gabrielle
prayed to the God of the Underworld.
Gabrielle slowly lifted her head from where she was
resting it. Shit was all she could think as two of the bluest eyes looked
down on her. She looked away, only to find herself looking at her arm, slung
across the warrior’s waist. She stared at it for a moment, before it sank in
and she quickly slid her arm off Xena and knelt up. She looked at the warrior
lying on the cave floor for a minute, who was looking at her again with an
expression that Gabrielle could not read. A few seconds went by as neither of
them said anything before Xena dropped her gaze, only to look away quickly and
At the same time, Gabrielle looked down on herself,
and realised she was stark naked. She cleared her throat.
“Er, I’m gonna check outside to see what damage
the night did,” said Xena, awkwardly
“Yeah, I’ll clear the cave up,” said Gabrielle,
equally as embarrassed “and erm, get dressed.”
Xena sat up and her face came within inches of the
bard’s exposed breasts. Xena’s centre was throbbing now and she knew her all
the bard had to do was move forward a tiny bit and her self restraint would
“Right,” breathed Xena, “I’ll be back soon to
help you.” Xena realised how that might sound to the bard. “Erm… with
clearing up the camp I mean.” Xena managed.
Xena tore her eyes away from the uncovered woman and
made a hasty retreat out of the cave, grabbing two water skins on the way.
Outside, she leaned against the side of the mountain, closing her eyes to try
and block out the feelings of desire that were coursing through her body. She
turned to face the rock face and looked for tiny streams making their way down
the mountain side and trickling over jutting out rocks. She put the mouths of
the waterskins to these rocks to collect the rainwater to drink.
When she was done, she stepped forward and sat down on the cliff edge and
looked down over the lip of the precipice. Below her, she saw a great expanse of
forest thinking to herself that it would have been safer to go through the
woods. She turned her head around to look at the path that they had walked to
get to the cave. That’s the last shortcut we ever take, she thought. It
was amazing that they had not fallen to their deaths. All it would have taken
was a small slip to send both of them over the edge.
She shivered at the thought of the bard having to die
“Cold?” asked a small voice from behind her.
Xena turned at the sound of Gabrielle’s voice,
slightly shaken that she had not heard her approaching. This thing she was
feeling was definitely having an effect on her to the point that she was losing
concentration. If it had been an enemy, she would not have had any defence and
could have easily been pushed off the cliff. Her face showed nothing of her
concern though and she smiled slightly at the bard.
“No, just thinking.”
“Oh? About what? Anything in particular?”
Gabrielle asked, sitting down, leaning her back against the cliff wall.
Yeah I’m thinking about how I would cope if you
left me, or died Xena
thought. She slid backwards to sit next to the smaller woman.
Gabrielle studied Xena closely, searching for any
sign that the warrior was upset. “Well, whenever you think it’s important, you
know you can tell me. I’ll try and help as best I can.” Gabrielle said,
“Yeah, I know that,” Xena replied, relieved. “I
promise, if there’s something bothering me and you can help, I’ll tell you.
You’re my best friend.” Xena laughed. “You’re probably my only
Gabrielle laughed as well. “Don’t be stupid. You
probably have more friends around the known world then I have hairs on my
“Ha, well you must be bald then.” Xena quipped,
grinning and tousling the bard’s golden locks. Before Gabrielle could
retaliate, Xena reached around and started to tickle Gabrielle unmercifully.
“OK OK! You win!” gasped Gabrielle, trying to
take deep breaths, but collapsing into fits of laughter instead, as Xena’s
long fingers found her most ticklish spots.
Xena subsided and let her friend catch her breath,
smiling childishly. She rested her head on the wall behind and closed her eyes.
Her senses were heightened and she could taste the freshness of the mountain
air. She could feel the bard’s closeness and she could sense Gabrielle watching
her. “See something you don’t like?” Xena teased,
her eyes still closed.
“See something you don’t like?” Xena teased,
her eyes still closed.
She felt the small hand heading towards her belly and
she caught it quickly before it had a chance to reach its target. Xena cracked
one eye open and squinted at the woman squirming around, trying to free her
hand. She laughed again and released her hold, the hand darting quickly out of
reach. When she looked over at Gabrielle she saw her friend pouting and rubbing
“Did I hurt you?” she asked, alarmed that she
might have hurt the woman.
Gabrielle didn’t answer and she turned her head
away from Xena. The warrior raised an eyebrow and studied the woman. Suddenly
she reached over with her arm and grabbed the smaller woman in a hug. “I’m sorry,” she whispered in her friend’s
“I’m sorry,” she whispered in her friend’s
“It's alright, just let me outta this bear hold!”
came a muffled voice, from where Gabrielle’s face was pressed against her
Gabrielle sat up, still pouting. All of a sudden, her
small hand darted out and a bunch of stones the size of pins were dropped down
the warrior’s armour. Xena gasped and then sat very still, waiting for the
stones to settle and then turned to glare at the bard, who had kept her wits
about her and moved a safe distance away. Gabrielle had her hand over her mouth,
trying to stop her laughter, but it wasn’t working, and small snorts were
escaping from her mouth. As the warrior stood to grab the smaller woman, the
sound of the small stones could be heard rattling about inside her armour. This
almost made Gabrielle collapse in fits of laughter. Xena glowered at her friend,
who was very swiftly backing away to the other side of the cave mouth. The
warrior advanced, awkwardly, and with every step, rocks rattling inside her. She
reached the cave mouth and stood for a moment outside, throwing a look that said
‘I’ll get you for this’ the bard’s way, before she entered to empty the
unwanted items from her clothing.
Should have seen that coming, warrior she
admonished herself. She reached around to unfasten the buckle holding her armour
in place, when she felt small hands take hold of hers and shove them gently
“Need some help?” Gabrielle grinned at the
Xena couldn’t help but grin in return. She watched
as Gabrielle undid all of the straps on her body armour, longing to take the
woman there and then. It seemed to the warrior that Gabrielle was teasing her. But
that can’t be, can it? she mused. Don’t be daft, dumbass. She loves
you as a sister. As soon as she thought that, she could feel her heart
breaking. I won’t push her away, Xena resolved.
Gabrielle could feel Xena’s eyes on her as she
unbuckled the breastplate. She longed to know what the stoic warrior was
thinking. Gabrielle recalled the total happiness that had enveloped her when
they were playing about. Nothing else had mattered but them and there was no one
else in their world. If I can’t have her, I’ll make do with what I’ve
The armour came free and Xena shook her leathers out,
freeing them of the tiny stones. Gabrielle grinned again and Xena looked at her
in playful disgust.
“You’re such a child, you know that?” said
“No more than you, my friend.” replied Gabrielle.
They looked at each other for a minute, trying to
read each other’s gaze, before Gabrielle broke eye contact.
“Shouldn’t we be going?” she asked, looking at
the sun begin to fall. “Helios is already half way through his journey, and
we’ve done nothing but muck about on a mountain top.”
Gabrielle walked out of the cave, leaving Xena
wondering whether the bard was being serious or not.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
“I do not muck about!” said Xena, as they
made their way through the forest.
“I cannot believe you’re still going on about
that!” Gabrielle said, shaking her head. “Ok fine, for argument’s sake,
you’re right. You do not muck about.”
“You’re just… in touch with your inner
child.” Gabrielle bolted as fast as she could along the track, hoping that
Xena wouldn’t chase her. She was wrong of course and she soon found herself on
the forest floor, pinned down by the larger woman who was tickling her.
Suddenly, she felt the playfulness halt abruptly and
she felt the change come over the warrior. Without warning, Xena took off at
full speed, Gabrielle only just managing to keep up with her. As Gabrielle
rounded the corner, she ran into Xena, who had stopped dead in her tracks.
In front of them, in the clearing, were three large
beasts surrounding a woman. Xena quickly pulled Gabrielle behind the screen of
trees. The woman was obviously a warrior and she stood facing the beasts, two
razor-sharp swords in each hand. She was breathing heavily, and a large gash
above her eyebrow showed up clearly, the blood running in a trickle down the
side of her face. Gabrielle could only see the backs of the creatures, but they
seemed to be communicating as their heads were tilted towards each other. They
seemed weary of the warrior, hesitant to attack.
It was as if they were not human, but at the same
time, they had to be. They were naked except for a fine down of black hair that
ran over their upper body, and their skin tone was the colour of charcoal. Their
legs were muscular, and from the waist down they had course, thick fur covering
their skin. One of them had a single line of silver fur down the length of its
back. They were well over 7 feet tall and their bodies were very well built.
Gabrielle had never seen anything like them. Or felt anything like them. The
creatures exuded a sensation of terror, and Gabrielle understood why Xena had
stopped so suddenly. The sheer power of the beasts filled the clearing and
Gabrielle now noticed how silent it was. No birds sang and even the wind had
died down. It was as if they had stepped into another dimension.
It was then that Gabrielle noticed something writhing
around on the ground in front of the woman-warrior. Her eyes widened as one of
the creatures bent down to pick it up and she saw what it was. One of their
species' arms had been severed from the main body, but somehow, it was still
“Hey, am I interrupting something?” Xena stepped
out from behind the tree and leaned against it, in full view of everyone.
One of the creatures turned its head and stared in
the direction of Xena. Gabrielle remained still and barely dared to breathe. She
hadn’t noticed Xena move. The silver-stripe beast sniffed the air and motioned
to the other two, who started to advance towards Xena. They had full view of the
creatures now, and Gabrielle saw the hatred burning in their red eyes. She felt
like she wanted to scream, but she saw that Xena could not possibly take on two
of the large beasts and so stepped out on the other side of the tree, her inner
terror submerged as adrenaline rushed through her body.
“Am I allowed to join the party too?” she said,
The woman across the clearing, darted her head back
and forth between the two other women. Don’t they know the danger! She
“Where the Tartarus do you think you’re goin’?”
shouted the woman, suddenly, sensing the severe risk that the other two women
were in. “Don’t think I’ve damn well finished with you yet! As far as I
can tell, its one to me, and zero to you so far, you pieces of centaur’s
Xena noticed the creatures halt in their path and
twist their heads to snarl at the woman.
“Yeah, that’s it, you half-wit chimps, give it
your best shot!” she taunted.
The silver-stripe standing in front of the stranger,
lost its temper, and leapt towards warrior on all fours. The jump carried the
creature high above the warrior’s head and the two other women watched as, in
mid air, the creature revealed long, silver claws that extended from its
fingers. As it descended, it slashed at the woman, who sidestepped swiftly and
brought one of her swords down at the place where its elbow was. The creature
howled, as the blade cleaved through skin, bone and muscle easily, leaving the
arm hanging by a small amount of tissue. Blood gushed from the wound, spraying
the forest floor a reddish-purple. It howled its fury at the woman, who stood
her ground, seeming unwilling to kill it unless it attacked.
By this time, another creature had leapt to deal with
Xena, who had swiftly drawn her sword and the other advanced on the small
blonde. The beast made a swipe at Xena’s head, but she ducked, the claws of
the creature shredding the side of the tree-trunk she had been leaning against.
Xena brought her sword up to slice its belly open horizontally but she quickly
found that she did not even make a scratch in its skin, almost as if her sword
was blunt. The creature seemed to laugh, as a rumble came from its throat and
slashed again with its claws. This time, Xena swayed and back-flipped three
times to get further away from the beast, thinking furiously. How can I fight
a beast that I can’t even harm!?
Mean while, the third animal had advanced on
Gabrielle and she was using her staff to parry each swipe from the animal, but
she could not find an opening to damage the beast. Gradually, the creature was
pushing her back towards the tree-line, and slowly entrapping her. Suddenly, she
feigned to the right, then striking swiftly to the left with all her power. The
staff connected with the beast’s torso, Gabrielle feeling several bones
crunching on impact. Instantly, the creature bellowed with pain, its scream
reverberating around the clearing and began to attack with renewed vigour. Its
vastly superior strength was taking its toll on the bard, who was tiring.
Suddenly, she found her back up against a tree trunk, and realised that there
was nowhere left to go. The beast grabbed her around the neck with one large
hand, its finger curling all the way around her neck and lifting her easily a
metre off the ground. It seemed to be laughing at her, watching the life seep
out of her.
As Xena and her foe circled each other, she saw
Gabrielle’s danger, the beast holding her about the neck above the ground, out
of the corner of her eye. Bile rose in her throat as she realised she could not
reach the bard before the animal strangled her to death. The beast came at her
again, its claws ready to puncture her flesh. She ducked, jumped and swayed,
each time, avoiding the animal, while she edged closer towards the other beast,
suspending a kicking Gabrielle.
Suddenly, she saw a blur pass her vision on her
right. Leaping backwards from her foe, she watched as the stranger sliced
through the creature’s neck, a bluish flash flowing along the sword blade as
it touched the creature’s skin. The creature stood motionless for one second,
before pitching to the ground, the head rolling away, stopping before the
stranger’s feet. Gabrielle dropped to the ground with a thud, gasping for air.
Xena’s forehead creased in thought, as she and the
other beast stood watching each other, waiting for the other to make the next
move. A second later, she unhooked her chakram and sent it flying, striking two
tree trunks. Before the creature could react it sliced through the throat of the
animal, severing its neck. She caught her weapon as the creature fell to its
knees, clutching its neck as its life flowed from it. She looked down at her
weapon, noticing a bluish tinge along the outer edge, which was quickly fading.
The remaining beast, the silver-stripe, realising
that it could not possibly take on these women when two of its comrades had
already fallen, stumbled backwards, holding its half severed arm, staring at the
three women. It swiped the ground, and picked up the arm that Gabrielle had seen
moving and then turned and bounded into the forest, disappearing within seconds.
Slowly, Gabrielle stood and leaned back against the
tree. Silence reigned for a full minute before anyone said anything. Xena was
staring at the motionless creatures on the floor, while the woman on the other
side of the clearing lowered her weapons and sunk to a kneeling position, her
sword blades crossed over her knees, her eyes closed. Gabrielle looked at the
stranger. She was dressed in a green tunic, with woollen trews, which met black
leather riding boots. Her jet-black hair was tied back in a tight ponytail.
There were splatters of the reddish-purple blood that came from the creatures on
her clothes and the cut above her eyebrow was still flowing. After a while, the
stranger opened her eyes and tore a strip of cloth from the edge of her tunic,
using it as a bandage for her wound.
Gabrielle walked over to the stranger, who looked up
as she got nearer. The bard saw the warrior’s eyes for the first time, which
unsettled her. They were the unusual shade of gray, and in the sunlight, as she
looked up at Gabrielle, they seemed almost transparent.
The stranger did not break eye contact for a few
seconds, her features showing slight confusion, before her eyes widened slightly
and she stood up, sheathing her two swords. She then bowed in the traditional
Amazon way, to honour royalty, bending down on one knee, head bowed, her right
hand clenched over her heart.
“Your Highness, forgive me. I did not know it was
you. Please, accept my sincerest apologies if I have offended you.” The
woman’s voice was rich and melodious.
Gabrielle stood flabbergasted and speechless.
“Offended me?? How in the… What could you… Don’t… Don’t kneel,
Gabrielle took hold of the woman’s arm and helped
her to stand. The stranger met her eyes and Gabrielle saw a slight realisation
“How do you know me? Have we met before?”
“No, your Highness.” The woman shook her head,
“I have seen drawings of you, though and I have heard much about the Amazon
Queen of the Southern Tribe.” She paused. Then looked up as she spoke, her eyes sparkling. “Who
could mistake such a beauty?”
Is she flirting with me? Gabrielle
“Please, just call me Gabrielle. I’m sure we
would both feel more comfortable with that. Who are you?”
“So, the rumours are true,” stated the warrior,
ignoring Gabrielle’s question.
“You are not like other Amazon Queens. I have heard
that, you have a
very different approach to your status. I think most agree that it is a
welcoming change, to have such a likeable sovereign.”
The Amazon bowed again.
The Amazon bowed again.
Gabrielle was speechless for a moment at the
statement and at the very courteous person before her, but she couldn't help
thinking that somehow, there was a hint of humour in her tone.
The woman broke eye contact and looked over the
Queen’s shoulder. Her eyes met Xena’s as she walked towards the two and
Gabrielle noticed the recognition in the woman's gaze, a shadow passing over her
beautiful face. Xena’s brow furrowed in confusion as the stranger smiled, almost sadly at her.
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