Full Circle: The Tale of Siian and Maiandria
Book One: WINTER
By: Susanne M. Beck (SwordnQuill)
Disclaimers: The characters in this novel are of my own creation but will most definitely bear a strong resemblance to the wonderful characters created for us by RenPics and the beautiful actresses who brought them to life for us. The story itself is owned and copyrighted by yours truly (that being moi) and may not be shared without my express permission, and so forth, and such like that there stuff.
Subtext Disclaimer: Yup, theres that too. This piece deals with the love and physical expression of that love, between two adult females. There are some graphic scenes located within this piece, but I have tried to make them as tasteful as possible so as to not offend anyones sensibilities. Let me know if Ive succeeded.
Genre Disclaimer: Im taking a bit of a turn here from my usual "present day" ubers to give you one that is in the past. Way in the past. Way way in the . . .well, you get the picture. I like to think of this as a "pre" Uber. Detailing, after a fashion, the lives of Xena and Gabrielle before they were Xena and Gabrielle. Heck, sounded like a fun thing to do at the time. J
Important Pronunciation Disclaimer: The name of one of the lead characters, as noted in the title of this here piece, is Siian. The correct pronunciationfor reasons which will become evident as this novel progresses-- is "sigh-ann", better known as "Cyane".
Serialization Disclaimer: Like Topsy, this story just growed. Its hit over 300 pages and theyve just started. For this reason, Ive decided to break it up into four books, named for the seasons that they travel in. All four books will be direct sequels of one another, continuing the journeys of these women until they reach their ultimate destination. This first book, Spring, is complete, down to the last punctuation mark. I will be posting it, as I always do, in parts, one part a night until its done.
Feeback: As always is more than welcomed. You can reach me at Swordnquil@aol.com with any comments, questions, concerns and/or criticisms.
The last thing the Priestess saw was a large fist swiftly enter her field of vision. There was a brief, sharp pain in the region of her chin, and then she felt nothing at all.
The onlookers gasped, and stared down at the ground, where Pavithra lay crumpled.
"You . . .probably shouldnt have done that," Asimi remarked softly.
"Why not?" Mali asked, teeth bared. "Im a barbarian. Its what we do."
Bending down, the Hun chieftain easily scooped up the body of the Priestess and slung her over one broad shoulder like a sack of grain. "Shows over, ladies. Time to take out the trash."
Shaking her head, Asimi brought up the rear of the small procession, herding the newcomers from the hospice and shooting an apologetic, concerned look over her shoulder before exiting.
Oblivious to anything else, Maia stood by Siians side, hands stroking her partners sweat streaked hair, trying desperately to ease her distress. "Im sorry, my love. Im so sorry," she whispered. "Please, its alright. Im not angry anymore. Please, Siian, shhh. Its ok. Shhh."
Beneath the balm of Maias soothing words, Siian slowly calmed her restless movements. Her good hand, however, remained tightly bunched in the furs beneath her, knuckles white and straining against her flesh.
Reaching out, Maia gently rubbed circles in the tense joint, brushing her fingers lightly over tanned skin, humming a lullaby shed heard once as a child and had never forgotten. Slowly, so slowly, she felt the bunched muscles give way to her gentle strokes. Siians fist gradually loosened, and Maia slid beneath it, gathering the larger hand into her own and clasping tenderly. "Thats right, my love. You just relax and concentrate on getting well. Im here, and I wont let my anger put you through that again. I promise."
She didnt receive an answer, nor was she expecting one. Smiling, she received the chair from Yanit and gratefully sank down in it, still holding Siians hand and stroking her hair.
Ill never leave you, Siian. Never.
With an innate ability common to animals and humans alike, Maiandria became aware of several sets of eyes upon her. Awakening gradually from a doze she hadnt been aware shed fallen into, she slowly lifted her head from the fur-draped table and, blinking, looked around. The hospice had gotten rather dark during her impromptu nap, but she could easily make out the faces of Yanit and Qian Xi smiling down at her from across the table. She returned the smiles reflexively, then turned her head slightly. Her heart suffused with warmth when she saw Siian also gazing at her, and her smile broadened into a full grin.
"Hey!" she said, happily, squeezing the hand she still held in her own.
When there was no response, her smile faded, her brow furrowing as she looked deeper into the vibrant, electric blue of the warriors eyes. Siians expression was somewhat dazed, and there was a sort of profound innocence in those eyes, an innocence Maia had never before seen in the self-possessed and normally stoic woman.
A heart which had soared now plummeted with the implications. Shed seen such looks before, on the faces of full grown adults with the minds of children. Whether damaged at birth, or from some profound head injury later in life, they all bore the same innocent expression so at odds with their age and stature. The one now gracing the face of the woman whom she loved beyond measure.
Frightened, she looked back her friends for an explanation.
"Take your ease, my friend," Qian Xi softly stated. "It is a side effect of the herbs weve given her for her pain. It was a rather large dose."
Yanit snorted. "Always the gift of understatement, Qian Xi. We gave her enough to fell a team of horses, and shes still awake."
Turning her attention back to Siian, Maia lifted her free hand and gently stroked the bangs from her forehead. Her palm slid down to cup an angled cheek.
Siians eyes fluttered closed as she leaned into the warmth of Maias sweet caress.
After a moment, Yanit cleared her throat; a bit uncomfortable witnessing such intimacies, yet at the same time, loathe to disturb them. When Maia looked up, Yanit smiled grimly. "The swelling to her hand and leg has gone down a great deal. Qian Xi, however, isnt yet strong enough to conduct a healing. In order to keep Siians bones from mending badly, we are going to have to straighten and tightly splint them until Qian Xi is able to use her gift again. It is . . . a very painful procedure."
Maia swallowed hard, then nodded. "I understand."
"With your bonding," the Shea continued, "it will be painful to you as well."
"I know." Green eyes swept over Siians peaceful face. "Id bear all of her pain, if I could."
An idea came to her then, and when she looked back at the two healers, her expression was firm, resolute. "Will it cause her too much pain if we sit her up, just for a minute?"
"What are you proposing?" Yanit asked.
"You help sit her up and I get in behind her so I can hold her. You do what it is that you have to do, and Ill help her deal with the pain."
"What you ask is very dangerous," Qian Xi stated. "Youre untrained in such a task, and still weak from your earlier ordeal."
Maias eyes narrowed. "I dont care. Can it be done?"
Reluctantly, Qian Xi nodded. "It can be done."
"Then lets do it."
Yanit and Qian Xi exchanged a very long look. Siians sister nodded, once, and the Shea let out a breath, shoulders sagging. "Very well," she stated in a tone which indicated the situation was anything but. "Cori! Gather your fellow apprentices and come in here. We are in need of your help."
All of the women were gentle incarnate, yet Maia could feel the agony flaring like a sunburst through the bond she and Siian shared. The warrior made not a sound as her body was positioned and repositioned, though everyone could see the sudden sheen of sweat that dotted her face and chest with the effort of keeping silent.
Maia leaned back against the wall of the cave, padded by some thick rolled furs at her back and neck, and accepted Siians limp weight easily onto her chest and belly. Her arms came around the lean, muscled waist, and her hands linked in a secure hold. Under any other circumstances, she would have been quite warmed by feel of Siians naked body in her arms, but the constant rolling pain swept any feelings of sensuality completely away.
Qian Xi gently placed her sisters head against Maias shoulder, face turned inward to nuzzle against the smaller womans neck and hair. Maia tilted her head so it lay against the crown of Siians dark hair, and inhaled the warm fragrance of her loves skin, using the sensation of Siians soft breath against her neck to push away the sharpest of the pain assailing them both.
"Are you alright?" Qian Xi asked Maia.
Her eyes closed, Maia nodded.
"Then if you are ready, we can begin."
As Qian Xi walked to the other side of the table, Siian tilted her head back and opened her eyes. The movement of her injured limbs, gentle though it was, had cut through the sedating influence of the herbs shed been given, and her mind regained its focus, which was reflected in her gaze. "Maiandria," she breathed, feeling the warm glow surrounding her, dulling the pain to a more manageable level, at least for the moment.
Hearing the soft whisper, Maia also opened her eyes, and was immediately caught by the beauty and wonder that was the warriors expression. Their gazes met, and locked, and the world beyond them disappeared as they stared, unblinking, into each others eyes.
The first hint of pain, as Qian Xi began to manipulate Siians crushed fingers, was easily battled down, but it soon increased in intensity, becoming harder to fight. Both stiffened against it, becoming bathed in sweat, and it took everything within the warrior not to pull away and exact blind and bitter vengeance against her tormenters.
Feeling Siians control begin to slip, Maiandria quickly brought forth a memory, one which she silently shared with her beloved. And with no more effort than the simple sharing of it, both were instantly transported back to the mountaintop where theyd shared their first sunset looking out onto the horizon and the endless possibilities laid bare before them.
The memory was so vivid that each could feel the cold wind ruffle through their hair and clothing, could sense the others nearness and warmth, could hear the sounds of night-birds calling out as they prepared for the hunt, and the silence of the sun as it sank behind the trees.
Turning the memory into something more, they faced one another, and came together on the barren, snowy plain. Bodies met in gentle welcome, arms embraced and caressed, and lips met and tangled together in a kiss filled with warmth and healing and love.
The others looked on in awe, caught up in the magical energy of this mystical bonding, an energy that extended to them all, and filled, somewhat, the vast, empty reserves that had been taken from Qian Xi. The healing wasnt perfect, as it might have been otherwise, but bones ground near to dust managed to reform, and with the help of Qian Xi and Yanit, were aligned perfectly with their mates, starting a fusion that would eventually, with time and good fortune, lead to limbs as strong and healthy as they once had been.
Qian Xi worked quickly and efficiently, keeping her mental and emotional shields down and letting the healing energy flow into her. Her movements were precise and without hesitation, and together with Yanit, they were able to straighten each finger completely, and tightly splint it so that the real healing could begin.
Siians leg was more problematic. The bones had been badly broken, and were horribly misaligned. Wincing against the tremendous pain she knew she was causing, the young empath sunk her fingers into the still swollen flesh and manipulated the shattered bones until the warriors leg lay as straight as she could make it. The splinting was a rapid process, and soon both women knew they had done as much as they possibly could.
Until Qian Xi was able to perform a more adequate healing, the rest would be entirely up to Siian and her unstoppable will.
With a sigh of vast relief, Yanit stepped back from the table and stretched her cramping arms high over her head, groaning with relief as the overworked joints popped back into place. Less effected than the rest by the energy flowing through the room, she looked around at her companions, and a rare smile softened the harsh planes of her face.
As if realizing, somewhere beyond thought, that the task had been completed, Siian and Maia drew each other from the warm nest of their shared memory. It was hard to leave such a magical place, but each knew to the bottom of their souls that they could return there at will, and so the parting, though bittersweet, was easily done.
The pain returned then, but it seemed an unimportant, negligent thing when placed against what they had just experienced. Siian slowly turned her head, and fixed eyes filled with gratitude and simple love on the women who had given their all to her.
"Thank you," she whispered in a voice harsh and strained, and stayed awake just long enough to see the answering smiles on the faces of her saviors before her eyes fluttered closed and her head rested back against the strong, warm shoulder of her souls twin.
A soft whisper of movement drew Maias gaze from the woman lying so trusting against her. Her eyes brilliant with unshed tears, she smiled as Qian Xi approached and drew a thick, soft fur over them both. "Today is the day for miracles, it seems," Qian Xi said softly, smiling.
"Your hair," Maia whispered, noticing the snowy streaks for the first time.
"A remembrance of what happened here that I shall proudly bear." Straightening, her face became somber. "Thank you, Maiandria. This day, you saved the one thing I could not be without. You gave her life, and comfort, and shelter, and for that, I will forever be in your debt."
"And I in yours, my friend." Tears spilled over as Maia smiled. "I think that between us, we make a pretty good team."
"So we do," Qian Xi agreed. Stepping back, she surveyed the scene before her. "Will you be comfortable like this? She is likely to be asleep for a long time."
"With her in my arms? I couldnt be anything less."
Maiandria awoke from her light doze feeling as if somehow shed been interred within the heart of the sun itself. The length of Siians body, where it pressed against her own, was searing. "By the gods," she whispered, "youre burning up!"
"I know . . .fever . . .its good . . ." came Siians raspy voice, disjointed from the high fever.
"Good? How can a fever this high possibly be good?"
"Burns off . . .toxins . . . ." The warrior struggled to sit up, her good hand gripping the edge of the table. " . . .crushing you . . . ."
"No. No, Siian, its ok. Youre not crushing me. Its ok." The struggle to keep the warrior still was, however, a fruitless one, even weak as she was, and Maia finally surrendered and climbed off the table. "Cmon, lets at least get you down flat where youre more comfortable."
"Not flat." Using her good arm and leg, Siian propelled herself backward on the table until her back was resting where Maias had been, against the padded wall of the cave. "Better."
Maiandria eyed the warrior critically. Bathed in sweat, she was pale as a ghost with the exception of two spots of color on her cheeks, bringing out even more the vivid intensity of her dazed blue eyes. "Im going to get Yanit."
"No." Siian reached out for Maias hand and grasped it. "No healer. Stay. Please."
Though Maia looked confused, Siian couldnt explain. Couldnt explain that, with the combination of the injuries shed sustained, and now the weakness from the fever, she felt a vulnerability shed never experienced before. A vulnerability that left her feeling weak, and lost. It was something she didnt have the strength to push away or cover up. And because of this, she felt acutely uncomfortable, which only added to her misery.
The thought of facing anyone other than Maia, even her beloved sister, was more than her waning strength and wounded psyche could handle.
She cursed herself for not being able to put those thoughts and feelings into words. Words Maia deserved to hear.
One day, she vowed. One day Ill be able to tell her that only with her does my weakness somehow feel like a strength.
Though Maia didnt hear, she understood. And she smiled, squeezing the hand which lay in her own. "Im not going anywhere," she promised, meaning every word.
Siian could do nothing else but nod, and Maias smile faded, becoming a worried frown as her cool hand laid itself against the warriors forehead. "Siian, if you wont let me get Yanit, you need to tell me what to do to help you. A fever this high cant be good if it lasts too long."
"Herbs . . .by the brazier . . . . Tea . . . ."
Nodding, Maia released Siians hand and walked quickly to the brazier. Sure enough, there was a cup of premeasured herbs waiting, and water was warming on a grate placed over the coals. Practiced hands joined the two ingredients, releasing a pungent steam, and soon thereafter, the tea was made and ready to be consumed.
Siian nodded her thanks and took the steaming mug into her good hand, sipping the hot brew quickly, glad for the moisture if not the taste.
Even that small action winded her, and when she was finished drinking, she slumped back against the cave wall, panting lightly. Still, she managed to dredge up a smile from somewhere to give to her concerned partner, inwardly pleased when she saw the tense lines of Maiandrias face relax somewhat. "Thanks."
Returning the smile, Maia took the empty mug. "Welcome. There must be something else I can do for you."
Siian shrugged. "Just have to wait for the fever to break."
Looking around the room, Maias gaze alighted on a tall clay jar that she knew held fresh, cool water. Next to the jar lay several linen towels. "Maybe I can help it along," she said thoughtfully. At the warriors raised eyebrow, she nodded toward her findings. "A bed bath. Might cool you off a little."
Siians small smile grew, and a twinkle entered her eyes. "Might heat me up."
Catching on, Maia flushed a vivid scarlet. "Maybe," she returned, regaining some of her wits. "But I dont think its possible for you to be any hotter than you are now."
Siians eyes widened in surprise, then narrowed in frank speculation.
Maias blush reappeared. Ducking her head, she looked at Siian through her lashes, a sweet, almost shy smile on her face.
The warriors heart and eyes warmed at the sight and, reaching out, she captured Maias hand and brought it to her lips, pressing a tender kiss into the knuckles. Then, turning the hand, she placed the young womans cool palm against her heated cheek, then moved her head slightly to place another kiss in the center of Maias palm.
They remained that way for several moments until Maia, noticing anew the unnatural heat radiating from Siian, reluctantly pulled away. "Let me get that bath ready."
Siian simply nodded, and relaxed, as much as she was able, against the cave wall, pale eyes following Maiandrias every move.
Grunting softly, Maia lifted the heavy water jug and poured a stream of clear water into a simple, but large, wooden bowl sitting on the floor beside the jug. Nearby were several small cloth sacks containing herbs which had been crushed into a fine powder. Picking one up at random, she untied the simple drawstring closure, and inhaled a musky, exotic and entirely pleasing scent that very much reminded her of Siians own natural scent.
With a small smile, Maia poured a small amount of the powder into the water, then stirred with her hand until the herbs dissolved and the water became clear once again.
Humming softly, she replaced the herbs, threw several soft cloths over one shoulder, picked up the bowl, and walked back to the table where Siian lay. Placing the bowl between the injured warriors legs, she lay the cloths behind it, save for one which she held in hands. "Ready?"
For a brief second, Siian considered relieving Maia of her duties. After all, she reasoned, shed been bathing herself since shed gotten out of swaddling clothes. Injured, sick, or fit and healthy, it was one intimacy shed never allowed another. Not even Qian Xi.
The look of calm purpose on Maiandrias face, however, stopped that notion unuttered, and Siian settled for a brief nod and a small quirk of her lips.
"Good. Now I just want you to try and relax and let me do all the work. The waters going to be a little chilly at first, but with your fever, it should warm up quickly, ok?"
In lieu of a verbal answer, Siian closed her eyes and rested her head against the caves cool wall.
Well recognizing the awkwardness of the situation, Maia began to talk. She kept the topics carefully neutral, her voice a calming drone. Wetting, and carefully wringing out the cloth, she gently bathed Siians sweating face, then moved to her neck before starting on the broad shoulder of the warriors uninjured side. A long, muscled arm was raised, and bathed with long, soothing strokes of the cool, damp cloth. Each finger was tended to with loving thoroughness.
Every so often, Maia would look up, judging the effects of her actions. Siians eyes were closed, and she seemed relaxed, as if this sort of thing happened to her every day, which the young empath was relatively certain was not the case.
Replacing Siians arm at her side, Maia wet a new cloth, and paused, staring down at the long, tanned expanse of flesh before her, and seeing, for the first time since this all started, Siian the woman rather than Siian the injured warrior.
A thousand conflicting emotions rushed through her, none staying long enough to be pinned down and named, let alone analyzed. She flushed hot, then cold, then hot again. Her heart bounded in her chest so hard that she was sure that its echo could be heard bouncing off the cavern walls.
Even horribly injured and extremely feverish, Siians body was a thing of beauty. Strong, taut, muscled, and awesomely fit. With tempting curves which naturally drew the eye and held it fast. The thought of drawing her fingers over the supple curves and planes, feeling the silken skin as it glided beneath her touch was enough to make her feel light-headed and dizzy.
With a sharp mental rebuke, she drew her eyes away, drawing in a deep breath and letting it out slowly.
Biting her lip almost hard enough to draw blood, she reached out and tentatively drew the soft cloth over the warriors upper chest. Then, teeth clenched so hard she feared theyd crack, she moved lower.
When Siians breasts responded naturally to the cold water, Maia pulled away as if burned, nearly dropping her cloth.
Feeling the abrupt motion, and garnering its cause, Siian opened her eyes. Their gazes crossed, locked for a moment, then broke away as Maiandria stared down at her feet, embarrassed down to the very depths of her soul.
Siians slightly husky voice floated softly on the still air, drawing Maias gaze back up. The look of absolute adoration in those vibrant blue eyes drained her discomfort entirely away, and she beamed helplessly in response, her smile lighting up her entire face.
Maia nodded, temporarily forgetting how to form words.
An eyebrow was raised. "You sure?"
"Yes. Yes, Im fine." She cleared her throat. "Now."
With a small smile, Siian closed her eyes again, and relaxed, giving her body up to Maiandrias gentle care.
To Be Continued
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