Characters and backstory from Xena: Warrior Princess are property of MCA/Universal/Renaissance. No copyright infringement is intended.
This is an original (I hope) work of alternative fan fiction. No profit will be gained from its production. This piece of fiction is copyright of the author.
There are depictions of love/sex between consenting adult persons of the same gender. If this is illegal where you live, you are underage, or this isn't your preference, then stop reading here and find something more appropriate to your tastes and/or laws.
There is implied violence in this story.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
Author's Note: Here's something a little different. My thanks go out to Garnet who helped me find all those little grammar bugs that seem to sneak up on me <G>.
Comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Letters to Ephiny
Copyright July 7, 1998
I have read the scrolls that you gave me the last time I visited with you and our sisters. I must say that I found them to be both fascinating and complex. When I first received my right of caste from Terreis, I really did not fully understand the journey upon which I had embarked.
But that fateful day that you came to me in my hour of greatest need, in the Nation's hour of need, the fact that I was responsible for a nation of warrior women, was almost as shocking as Xena's absence.
And now, after reading the scrolls of Amazon history and culture, I am struck by how our history has been based upon the strength of the reigning Queen. I am now, more than ever, beset by doubt and anxiety that I am not the right woman for the mask. If it were not for the encouragement and support of both you and Xena, I believe that I would have run away screaming from my responsibilities.
The fact that you stand by me and rule in my presence is more than I could ever ask of you, and yet, you go so much beyond friendship by assisting me in what has become a personal quest. Some day, when I believe that I am made worthy through experience, I will come to the Amazons and take my place beside you.
Until then, I am afraid, I am still a naive child, ignorant of the ways of the world, of the harsh realities of being an Amazon in a world where women are only expected to marry and have children. Xena saved me from that existence, and I shall continue to learn and grow at her side until we are ready to come home.
Artemis be with you,
First, to set aside any fear you may still have, I am doing much better since Thessaly. How is Xenon doing, by the way? I hope that he grows to be strong and brave like his papa. I hope that you, yourself, are feeling better. The loss of a loved one can be so confusing.
I have been there twice already. When I lost Perdicus, I wanted to seek revenge, to cool the rage that had claimed my very soul. When I lost Xena, I wanted to follow her. And yet, through it all, I knew that I had to continue, to follow the course I had set for myself the day that I began traveling with her. It is funny now, when I think back to it, that she was the one who got me through both times with my sanity intact.
I have heard rumors as far south as Mycenae regarding the events with Velaska and Callisto. Just the other day, Xena took care of a couple of petty warlords who thought to use our time of rebuilding to take advantage and capture our sisters. Only Xena's cold, warning eyes kept me from laying into them myself. Imagine me, the little bard from Potedaia, taking on a couple of brutes in defense of the Amazon Nation. I imagined it. I almost did it.
As for your worry, Xena is good to me. I think my dying has brought us closer to our own mortality. I had believed that she was unbeatable, and she had thought that with her smothering, she could protect me. We were both wrong. We are only human.
Realizing that, I believe that things will change between us. They have to. I learned that she is just like me, but with many more skills. You can laugh at that, it was a joke. And I think that she is beginning to accept the fact that I have to do some things on my own. I cannot learn from her example alone. I must live the lesson if I am to learn anything at all that would benefit me, her, and the Nation.
My love and Artemis be with you,
I am writing this letter because I know that the moment that either I or Xena step onto Amazon soil, we will be hunted. I for my judgement, and she for her blood. I am not sure if you can understand what I need to tell you, I am not sure if I understand it myself, but you must listen, and you must consider my words. Just know that I am healthy, if somewhat mentally exhausted, and I still travel with her of my own free will.
When I told you about the events that occurred in Britannia, I did not give you the truth. The situation, as I told you, was bad. But it was far worse than even I understood at the time. Xena had gone to Britannia to oppose Caesar. We traveled with a man by the name of Khrafstar. As was my nature, I trusted him. I trusted the fact that Xena and I would come back the same as usual.
I was terribly wrong on both accounts. I cannot put all the blame on her, however. I should have foreseen it. She has always carried this sort of anxious rage in regards to Caesar. I should have known that she would become preoccupied with helping Bodicceia defeat him. And at the time, I did not realize the danger in which I had placed myself.
Ephiny, that time in Britannia was many times over, worse than what Xena did to me. I do not know how it happened. I only know that I lost my blood innocence. My purity, as Khrafstar explained, was a sacrifice for his god, who I discovered firsthand, was more evil than any Greek god I have ever met.
I do not think that I will ever forget the mind-numbing horror of being violated by the foreign god's evil. I cannot even say or think his name, for fear that he will find me and hurt me all over again. His attack left me with the child about whom I told you.
The only way I know how to describe my pregnancy was freakish and odd. Never having been a mother before, I knew not what to expect. It was certainly not conceiving and giving birth within the span of one month. Add to that the unwanted attentions of the villagers and warriors who wanted to kill me, and the banshees (very strange immortals) who wanted to protect me, I was lost and confused.
The warriors belonged to an order called the Pierced Heart. They swore to protect the world from the prophesized birth of evil, and I am afraid that I beat them all. I named my child Hope, for she was to me, a symbol of the good that could be had out of the nightmare Britannia had been. To this day, I am not sure if I did the right thing. My fear is like a live serpent that coils within my belly and gnaws and gnaws until I feel as though I am about to be consumed.
But at that moment in time, I believed that I was right. The warriors told me and Xena about their legend, that a child will be born of the dark, and that the child would be evil and bring about the death of the world. I could not believe that they were talking about my child. If you could only have seen her then, Ephiny, I believe you would have understood. She was so precious.
Less than a day after her birth, however, things happened so fast, that I'm not even sure if could recall them for you. Xena, suspicious by nature, listened to the tales of the warriors, and when she believed that the prophesy was unfolding, she sought to end the evil, to kill its source. She believed the evil was in my daughter.
I suppose now, looking back and considering recent events, it was possible. But then, I knew only a mother's instinct to protect her child. I ran from her. My best friend, my family, became the enemy. I ran, and when I could no longer run, I used the skills she had taught me, and I tricked her. I lied to her. As I told you, I told her that Hope had died. To save my child, I had told her that I had thrown my daughter off of a cliff.
In reality, I had set her adrift in a basket upon a lazy river, praying to the gods that some nice family would find her and teach her how to be good. How I prayed that she would be good. Obviously, my prayers were not answered.
Do you remember the little girl to whom I was speaking in the merchant's store? That was my daughter. My Hope. My relief at seeing her alive blinded me to the truth of her nature. She knew me so well. She knew what exactly to say to make me believe her. I had thought that Callisto wanted to harm her, so I sent her to be safe with Solon. I thought that I was being a good mother.
I was so wrong. She was working with Callisto. She wanted to destroy all of the children in the village that day. What she accomplished was so much worse. How I wish I could go back to that day and tell Xena the truth of what was going on. But I was so afraid for the little girl I thought to be innocent. Ephiny, I gave my daughter the opportunity to kill Solon. It is because of me that a sweet boy is dead. And what hurts most of all, is that he was Xena's son.
Only a few people knew that truth. She had given Solon to Kaliepus so that her son might grow up to be spared her past. For eleven summers, he was healthy, happy, and relatively safe from his mother's enemies. Callisto, however, was no common adversary. Together, she and Hope killed the one person that meant the most to Xena.
And in turn, because of my lie in Britannia, because of my reluctance to voice the truth later, I finally found the one person who could come between Xena and me. Me. I tried to apologize, but I should have known better, that when Xena is in a pain so great, that she needs time alone. That was why I went back to Amazonia. I knew my fault. I needed to purge myself, as well as give Xena the time she needed.
The fact that she came to me so violently should shock no one. It is the way that she deals with emotional pain, for she knows no other way. Look at what happened when she lost her brother. I suppose I should be grateful that she only attacked me herself, and not the whole Nation with an army. Part of me wants to believe that she was justified, that the pain I suffered was nothing compared to what she must have felt as she cradled her son's dead body. My physical wounds healed, even if by some miracle of the gods. The mental ones, like hers for Solon and my betrayal, and mine for my lack of courage to tell her the truth and to protect my daughter, are the ones that bruise a soul for a lifetime.
So, Ephiny, do not blame her for her actions. Those who truly know her would have been surprised at the restraint she showed. Yes, restraint. Only you and I truly suffered at her hands. I have forgiven her, for I understand her reasons. I can only beg your forgiveness that you also, clear her of blame. I know that for an Amazon warrior, forgiveness for such an act of brutality towards your Queen would be unthinkable, but I am asking as a friend, as a sister, that you consider it.
Until then, Ephiny, I am afraid that I cannot return. If I have learned anything from this tragedy, it is that I am miserable without her. I would suffer any Tartarus to be with her. If that means that I must forfeit my caste, then I will. I would gladly give you my mask to spend the rest of my life at her side.
My love and Artemis be with you,
Once again, I have discovered my own mortality. Do not fear, I did not die. I only came close. If it were not for Xena, I surely would have been resting on the other side. And because of it all, the most amazing thing has happened. The unthinkable, the incredible.
I think that I have fallen in love again, Ephiny. I have found someone to whom I could dedicate every word of prose and poetry that I write. I have lost my heart, my soul, to a warrior. I never thought that I, someone who tries to live her life by a code of peace and love, would fall for someone who lives life with a two foot sword.
I know, quit babbling and give you the details. Would you believe that I have been traveling with the most incredible woman for the past two and a half years? I mean, I have always known how special she was. I have always admired her many skills. I am awed by her daily struggle with the darkness she fights, especially since I have seen that darkness firsthand. But one day in Tripolis, when Greece was threatened with annihilation by a brutal Persian army, I saw a vision of an angel, and she wore black leather.
I have always looked upon Xena's beauty as a god's gift, most likely Aphrodite's, for I cannot tell you how many men and women have fallen under her spell. All she has to do is look at them. A smile will melt any suitor into a mindless puddle upon the floor. And now, I am almost giddy to realize that I can be counted in those numbers. Perhaps I had been too close to her. Perhaps I had been observing her with the eye of a bard for so long, that I did not see her as the passionate woman she is. But on that day, when she fought off the Persian advance army, I saw her with the eyes of a woman who desired her.
I suppose I must tell you that I was shot with an arrow. A poisoned arrow. Xena wanted to take me to Thessaly to get an antidote, but I argued. At the time, I saw her as putting me above the greater good, and of that, I am truly not worthy. I am only one. Athens is the heart of Greece. She relented and in the process, managed to find the antidote that the Persians carried in the case of an accidental shooting among their own. She is so incredible.
She was fluid grace, primal fury, and an unstoppable force. She scared them, I think. She sent them running home. My one, big, bad, beautiful warrior sent the elite of the Persian army packing. I cannot tell you her parting words to them, for I went unconscious. And you know how verbose she is. Perhaps some day, like in fifty years, I will manage to pull them out of her.
The moment that I felt the bitter tang of the medicine upon my lips, I awoke to the most beautiful sight. Exhausted, sweaty, and smiling so warmly, she welcomed me back to the land of the living. For a moment, I had thought that we had both died, but she saved Greece, saved me, and did it all with only a minor sword wound to show for it.
And she was so modest about it. I think that endears her to me even more. So many warriors I have met in my travels have been boastful and proud. But Xena is different. She knows what she can do. Most of Greece knows what she can do. But she never praises herself. I am glad that I have the distinct privilege of doing so for her. All the known world must be told of the woman with whom I could not help but fall in love.
I believe, Ephiny, since you have assured me that Xena will no longer be hunted by my sisters, that I shall bring her home to meet the family. As if half of the Nation does not already feel the way I do.
I have not told her. I do not even know if her affections run any deeper than that of family or friend. She is not prone to words nor sentiment, but there are times when I think I see a spark of something in her eyes that is so different from what those baby blues usually convey. I cannot find the words to tell her, and I am shocked to find that I am too shy to even comprehend action as my course of admission. Well, I have contemplated, but that is a scroll of another name, and not appropriate for this letter.
I suppose that I shall play it by ear. I will watch her even closer, now. I must learn to read her mind. I must satisfy myself with loving her from afar, for the time being. Eventually, though, she will come to realize what she means to me, and when that happens, I will hold my breath in agonizing anticipation.
Wish me luck.
With my love and Artemis to guide you,
I am writing this letter to you, and I hope that I can find a messenger to deliver it. I think Xena has taken me to one of the most remote regions I have ever seen. Miles and miles of uncultivated fields and meadow, as far as the eye can see, are our only companions. The sweet morning songs of the early birds, the gentle kiss of the midday breeze, the stars at night in the celestial blanket, are even more precious than before our latest adventure.
Ephiny, I do not know if stories have reached the Nation or not. Perhaps you heard about Hope's rebirth, of her father's attempts to come into the world. I do not know what games in which all the players were involved, but when it came down to my warrior's life, I made my choice.
My daughter is finally dead. For the greater good, for the love that sets my soul afire, I took her to her end, as well as my own. I was dead until Xena bargained and fought to win me back. Getting the details from her is harder than solving the Sphinx' riddles, however, so suffice it to say that one day I was dead and walking in the Elysian Fields, and the next, I awoke to salty tears and desperate kisses.
She loves me, Ephiny. I cannot believe that she feels the same for me. She did so many things that she despised to get me back. She told me that she had simply refused to go on without her sidekick, but I was able to see through her attempt at humor. She was feeling strong emotions, and as usual, she was trying to hide them.
All I had to do was touch her. I reached up as she was talking, and I traced her lips with a finger. They were so soft and I was mesmerized by the way that they stilled and then trembled. And then, she kissed me. It was an affirmation of life, of love, of our commitment to remain together. Only our type of union, changed.
We still have not consummated our relationship, however, and I promise not to tell you all the gory details when we do. I do not know what I was thinking. Just because Xena was fighting goddesses soon after her return from death, does not mean that I, a mere mortal, am able to do the same. So, we have been holed up in this little cabin she found, for the past three weeks. I would have thought that her wanderlust would have prompted a resumption of our travels by now, but she insists that my full recovery is more important. My warrior, my love, will forever be gallant to the end.
Ephiny, why is it that only when faced with death, do we face that which we fear the most?
I hope to visit soon, so that you might see that I am, indeed, doing fine. You had better warn the cooks, because as soon as my beautiful doctor gives me the all clear, I am going to celebrate like never before.
My love and Artemis guide you,
The end (for now).
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