by Xenaslaves

This story was written without the knowledge or consent of MCA/Universal and is not intended to infringe on any copyrights. This story is for intended for mature readers over the age of 18 as it contains both violence and explicit love scenes between two women. Be advised the story does contain sexual violence against some main characters! Please gain permission before copying and/or publishing any or the entire story.

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Chapter 8

Xena ran past most of the Amazons rushing over to Ephiny, who stood by the healer's tent giving orders. "XENA?"
Xena caught her breath slowly, reaching out to hold Ephiny's right arm. "Ephiny listen... You need to watch over Gabrielle. Don't let her out of your sight. Do you understand?"
Ephiny nodded, "I know Xena. I promise she'll be safe." Xena looked around to locate Shae by the edge of the trees giving orders and started to run. Shae was busy directing her Amazons to their designated spots, when she saw Xena's rapid pace towards her.
"Shae! Let's go. The armies at the edge of the trees!" Xena screamed. Shae rushed over to meet Xena half way. "Where's the Queen Xena?"
"With Ephiny!" Xena quickly blurted out. " We need to go now Shae!"
"I know Xena!" They jumped at the sound of Ephiny's voice crawling morbidly through the air.
Upon Shae's command, the Amazons ran towards the treeline, causing what seemed to be the entire earth to rumble as they left the sanctuary of their tents. The Amazon women could feel the passion of the battle pumping through them as though it were their life's blood. Callisto's army cried out as they constituted their counterattack from their camouflaged hide out. The Amazons took cover as they were bombarded with a stream of arrows. The arrows dropped down on them as if they were from the heavens. A few Amazons were struck with the deadly poison tipped shafts. Shrieks of pain rang out over the rumbling of the ever-advancing army. Callisto's army advanced from their lofty forest hide-out, approaching the Amazons with the same sense of rage displayed by Shae's band of flesh baring princesses of war. The two armies engaged each other furiously desiring to destroy the other with the highest amount of pain and prejudice that their souls could possibly create. Sarina, trying to protect the Queen, tried to drag her to the underground area. The army was approaching quickly and she had no time to argue. The Queen struggled against Sarina's grasp.
"Gabrielle...I promised! Please come with me!" Sarina pleaded. The Queen turned quickly jabbing an attacker rushing towards them with her staff. "No!… I can't…"
Sarina stepped in front of the Queen as she fought off two men with her staff. Striking them across the face, before turning back to face the Queen.
"Gabrielle!" Sarina yelled hoping to get the Queen out of her daze. "No Sarina. Don't you see?"
The Royal guards circled around the Queen, their swords drawn and ready for more attackers. Sarina was becoming very angry with the young Queen. "See what Gabrielle?" Sarina's face flushed with frustration. Gabrielle turned and swiped two attackers in the knees. "It's all about me…I can't hide from her."
The Queen yelled as she struck a man across the face. "Gabrielle!"
Sarina moved to the Queen's right side, absorbing the arrow that headed towards the Queen's head. She grabbed onto Gabrielle trying to keep her balance, before falling to the ground. The Royal guards got a tighter hold around the Queen, allowing her to care for Sarina. Gabrielle lowered to her knees, in a frantic state. "Sarina!" She cried.
"Taylor! Go get Ephiny. NOW!" The Queen screamed.
The young guard quickly obeyed leaving her post in search of the Regent. Gabrielle held Sarina's head in her arms, trying not to cause her any pain. Sarina tried several times to move, but was restrained by the Queen's strong grip. Gabrielle lowered her eyes to the ground. "I'm sorry Sarina... I'm so sorry."
Sarina raised her head slightly to spot Ephiny running through the morning mist. She was furiously killing off any opponent that dared to go near her. Ephiny's eyes locked at the circle of royal guards, protecting her lover. She rushed through, knocking two guards to the side.
"Sarina! BY the God's NO!" Ephiny fell to her lover's side examining the injury. "Get her out of here Ephiny!" The Queen commanded, getting the Regent out of her shocked state. Ephiny quickly picked her lover up in her arms. The Queen stood immediately, striking a warrior in the ribs. "Guards... Take the Regent and Sarina to safety.... Leave me." A few guards turned around quick enough to shake the their heads "no!"
"Gabrielle, we need to go to the underground room, where you'll be safe. DON'T argue with me."
The Queen turned her back towards the Regent. "No Ephiny. I have to go find Xena." The Regent was about to argue when she saw the Queen dash out into the fight. "Follow her!" The Regent screamed over to her guards. "Bring her back to me safe!" Ephiny yelled the Queen's name several times before running to safety with her lover and a few royal guards.

Xena could see Callisto by the edge of the river. She stormed her way through the warriors, stabbing anyone that got in her way. Shae saw Xena's vengeance driving her away from the battle and towards Callisto. She quickly jumped out of the tree, and raced towards her. Suddenly, she was stopped by a group of warrior's that came running out from around the corner. Shae fought aggressively as usual.
Xena's double somersault landed her directly behind Callisto. She counterattacked the sword that aimed at her neck.
"THIS ones mine boys... Stay away!"
With the command, Callisto's warriors vanished into the trees leaving Callisto and Xena alone. "Miss me Xena?" Callisto laughed at her remark.
Xena lunged forward with her sword, and Callisto turned and matched it. The two steel blades collided together with a thunder replicated only by Zeus' anger. Their eyes met. Xena could feel the hatred pumping through her veins, running hot. She raised her sword wheedling it down onto Callisto, like deaths cycle on a condemned man. Callisto blocked the attack. The two blades came together with a thunderous crash, a noise loud enough to be heard from the top of mount Olympus. Xena bent over in pain as Callisto kicked her in the stomach and pushed her to the ground. Xena's blood was boiling over with anger, but she needed to focus on the mission at hand. She threw herself to her feet and punched Callisto in the jaw with a force that shook the trees. "That's all you got Xena?" Callisto spoke in a sarcastic tone.
" Once I'm done with you XENA, I'll take your little bard as mine."
Although Xena's rage was nearly out of control she kept her wits about her. She knew Callisto would only use her anger as an advantage. Callisto laughed and swung her sword but Xena retreated from the attack with a double back flip. She returned the favor by throwing her chakram at Callisto, knocking the blade from her hand. Callisto quickly turned in the attempt to retrieve her weapon. Just then, Xena jumped between Callisto and her sword. The two powerful women locked eyes, having but one thought on their minds. Only one of them would walk away from this alive. From here on, they would have only their bodies to fight with. The two fortresses of strength locked arms. The show of power began. After struggling for a few moments, Callisto remarked, "Oh Xena. Your eyes are so beautiful when you're angry."
Xena flipped backwards, planting her foot on Callisto's chest throwing Callisto's body into a tree. The tree was incased in a thicket of sharp thorns. The impact startled the warrior for a few moments giving Xena the upper hand on the fight. Xena quickly lunged for her sword as Callisto lay on the ground. Her arms and legs were cut from the thorns. She looked down to realize the bloody mess she was, and laughed. Xena retrieved her sword. Tired and worn of Callisto, she returned to the spot where Callisto was desperately trying to regain herself. Xena was calm and deliberate she knew what she wanted. She wanted to take away Callisto's life giving breath and send her soul straight to Tartarus. Xena grasped the handle of her sword with both hands and raised it into the air preparing to drive the cold steel, like a spike, through Callisto's heart. Xena was inches away from Callisto's fatal wound, but suddenly she froze in place. She tried to move but couldn't. Ares appeared beside them, arms crossed, and a big smile across his face. Ares had frozen them both in place.
"ARES! Don't do this!" Callisto laughed at the situation, not being able to move herself. "ARES!"
"No Xena. It's not your time to revenge her yet."
"Ares, Release me NOW!"
"Xena, one day, you will need her. I can't let you."
Xena was so enraged with the situation that she lost control. She yelled out the Gods name repeatedly, loud enough that even the fighting warriors turned around to look. "Xena!" Startled, Gabrielle appeared at her side.
"Hi again Gabrielle. Back for more?" Callisto whispered. Gabrielle had no time to assess the situation she just reacted. She brought her staff down to meet Callisto's face. Blood quickly rushed out of her nose as the staff found its target. Callisto winced in pain for a brief second then quickly returned to laughing. "I love it when you're rough!" She roared. Gabrielle moved to strike Callisto again but was stopped by Ares' hand.
"Gabrielle Stop!" He demanded.
"Let her go Ares." The Queen commanded back. Gabrielle raised the staff up to Ares' face but he quickly grabbed it and threw it to the side. It didn't phase the young Queen. She stood directly in front of him, with rage building in her eyes. Xena couldn't brake contact with Callisto. She stared right through her, a look of vengeance in her face. She was in a catatonic state and her only focus was Callisto. Gabrielle softly touched the warrior's shoulder, "Xena? Ares release her."
Xena couldn't move, her eyes still fixed on her enemy. Callisto's eyes were directly fixed on the Queen. Admiring her from head to toe, making the warrior grow worse. The Queen knew what Callisto was doing, but tried to ignore her. Just the sight of her made her sick to her stomach. Gabrielle knew she had to find a way to get the situation under control. She worried that Xena had finally lost it. Xena stood there, gritting her teeth in anger as she struggled in an unsuccessful attempt to move. "Ares let her go!" The Queen yelled.
Ares stood there amused at the situation he had created. "Yes Ares. Let me go, so that I can continue my mission!" Callisto managed to say through her laughter. Xena's eyes were full of rage, her face turning pale quickly. She didn't seem to be breathing. It was as if the whole world now focused on her enemy. Gabrielle stood over Callisto's legs, so that she could be directly in front of her warrior.
"Xena look at me!" The Queen insisted.
"No, Get out of the way Gabrielle!"
"Xena no. Look at me, please!"
The last few words were spoken in a tone of panic. "Xena please!" Xena complied looking down at her love. Ares let out a loud sigh and raised his hand. This action freed Callisto and she started to rise to her feet. Gabrielle remained fixed on her warrior's eyes, "Xena. Just look at me."
Xena began to yell, struggling to free herself. "ARES NO... Don't do this. Don't let her go." Callisto smiled down at the bard and spoke.
"I'll be back my love. I promise!" She smiled a glorious smile and turned to run. Xena's breathing became heavy, as if she would explode with rage from this God's actions. Ares looked over at the warrior. "You'll thank me one day Xena." He crossed his arms and disappeared. Xena looked as if she was ready to run after Callisto the moment she was released. Gabrielle grabbed her by the arms, preparing for the impact of Xena's anger when she was allowed free.
Xena tried to shove Gabrielle to the side but didn't have the heart when she felt her lover's head against her shoulder. "Xena please, let her go." Gabrielle felt the warrior calm in her arms. She waited in her embrace until she heard Xena's heartbeat return to normal. "It's ok Xena."
Xena screamed in fury into the evening's sky. She was trying so hard to calm herself. She could feel the bard's body shaking, as was her own. Xena's eyes were glazed as she looked around the area, and frowned at what she saw. "Nothing but death around us, Gabrielle."
"I know Xena. I..."
"XENA...WATCH OUT!" The warrior's face jerked at the sound. She pushed Gabrielle to the ground and caught the arrow that raced towards her chest. The impact of it made the warrior jump back. Xena lunged forward to grab her Queen. She brought her to her feet and held her, as she remained aware of the surrounding. She saw no one around that could have shot it. All she could see was Shae running towards them. Shae stopped a few feet away and waited. Gabrielle broke out of the embrace and looked at her. "Shae are you ok? How's Sarina?"
"I don't know. Ephiny had her last."
"Sarina's hurt?" Xena's voice became frantic. " Yes she's hurt." Shae replied.
Xena locked eyes with Gabrielle.
"Shae, could you leave for a while. I need to talk to Gabrielle."
Shae nodded and rushed towards the healer's tent. "Gabrielle. I know what I need to do. I have to stop her. You need to stay here, and take care of the Amazons."
"Xena no. You can't go. Please don't do this to me." Gabrielle began to cry once more. She moved in to hug Xena wrapping her arms around her waist and resting her head on her chest. "Please Xena don't."
Xena closed her eyes at sound of her lover's pleas, before responding. "Then I'll find another way my love... I promise."

Chapter 9

Xena and Gabrielle walked down the flight of stairs into the underground vault. Xena peeked in first to secure the area while she held Gabrielle back with one arm. She saw Sarina on the healers pallet by the corner, but Ephiny was no where to be found. Once she was convinced it was safe, she raised the curtain allowing Gabrielle access to enter. A soft sigh escaped the Queen's lips as she observed the number of Amazon's injured in this battle. The healer frantically ran from woman to woman trying to ease the pain of the injured. Gabrielle walked over to the young Amazon in the corner. She was lying against the wall holding her chest with both hands, gasping in pain. The arrow that had penetrated her lung was still lunged in her body. The Queen lowered to her knees to face the brave Amazon. "Natalie. I'm so sorry." The Queen softly began to cry. "My…queen." The young Amazon whispered. The Amazons soft hand grabbed onto Gabrielle's arm, as she began to speak.
"Thank the're ok." She said, choking at every word. Gabrielle returned the smile although inside she wanted to scream with anger. She knew the girl was going to die, and silently reflected. She did this for me? The Queen's anger turned into sadness as she watched the young girl slowly close her eyes and pass onto her death.
"I'm so sorry."
In the meantime, Xena had walked over to check on Sarina. The healer stood beside the injured Amazon tending to her wounds. The healer had slowly begun to wash the area around Sarina's injury when Xena placed her hand across her arm. "I'll do it." She caught the healer's eyes with her own. "Please."
The healer nodded her head and walked off towards the corner. As the healer passed the entrance she crashed into Ephiny who was rushing in. "XENA!" She yelled.
The Regent's voice caught everyone's attention, making the room instantly silent. The warrior turned slowly in the direction of the furious Regent. Gabrielle stood immediately and rushed to Ephiny's side.
"Why didn't you follow the plan Xena?"
Xena gritted her teeth at the question and looked back down at Sarina. "Why Xena? Explain to me how you could let her go?"
The Regents voice was raging with emotion and tears filling her eyes with every word. "Ephiny stop!" The Queen commanded as she jumped in front of the Regent who slowly advanced towards Xena. Ephiny raised her arm striking Gabrielle across the chest.
"Get out of the way!"
The Royal guards rushed in between them not quite sure of what to do next. Ephiny raised her arm in recognition that what she had just done was wrong.
"I'm sorry Gab… I…mean, My Queen."
The remaining guards that had filed around the Regent slowly backed away.
Xena had advanced towards Ephiny the moment she touched her lover but after seeing the Regent's regret she returned to her main concern, Sarina. Xena's eyes were looking down at the pallet, when she felt a hard kick to her lower thigh.
"Ephiny NO!" Gabrielle jumped in front of the Xena, gently checking the warrior for injury. Xena placed her hand on Gabrielle's shoulder, softly nudging her to the side. "Its ok Gabrielle, Let her talk."
Ephiny looked into the warrior's beautiful blue eyes. "Why Xena. Tell me why?"
Xena turned away from the Regent to focus on Sarina, when she felt Ephiny's second hit to her waist. Xena's hand quickly reached out to grab the Regent's neck. Ephiny squirmed at Xena's tight hold, but still continued to kick and scream. The surrounding Amazons watched in amazement at the events that were occurring. Gabrielle was so deep in shock, she didn't feel the hand that grabbed her shirt to move her out of the scene. Xena remained calm, as she tried to deal with the Regent's anger.
"Relax Ephiny and I'll let you go."
"Ahh. Xena. After everything! And you let her go."
Xena quickly pressed down on the hold around the Regent's neck , forcing her to her knees. "Relax Ephiny and I'll explain!"
The Regent slammed the warrior's hands away from her neck but remained on the floor, "Explain!"
Xena lowered to one knee as she spoke quietly. "I had no other option. She wasn't about to allow us to trap her. She stayed far..."
"No Xena. I'll never understand, how you could..." Ephiny lowered her head to rest on her bent knees before continuing, "after what she did to Gabrielle," she took a deep breath between her sobs, "and Sarina."

Xena stood, looking around for the healer as she allowed Ephiny some time on the ground to relax. She walked over to the healer cautiously, not quite sure of how the other Amazons thought of her at that moment. She spoke softly into the healer's ear.
"These arrows are poison."
The healer shook her head in acknowledgement. "Yes I know young warrior."
Xena's face tensed in anger at how calm the healer reacted. "WELL we...."
"Wait Xena. Let me finish. I sent Castera out a few candlemarks ago to the next village. She should return in a day's ride with the medicine." Xena thought for a moment of how pale Sarina had looked moments earlier. "That will be too late!"
The warrior growled in disappointment as she stormed out of the room. She walked through the deserted village quickly making her way towards the trees. The Queen dashed out after her warrior immediately. "Xena stop." Gabrielle yelled as she rushed up to Xena's side and grabbed her by the arm.
"What's happening to you Xena?"
Xena tore away furiously from her lover's hold as her eyes sunk deep into the shadows of the trees. "She's right Gabrielle. I should have stuck to the plan, but I let my anger..."

"Xena... Please don't do this to yourself. Don't do this to me." Xena looked down at her with utter shock, "Do what to you? This is all about protecting you." Xena eyes lowered to the ground. "I just wanted you to be safe Gabrielle, and all I've done is put you in more harm."
Xena started to walk away from the bard but hesitated at the sound of Gabrielle's cry. The Queen knew that the only way to get Xena back to her was to create a diversion. She wanted so much to keep Xena near her and not have her out on a killing mission. "Ahh!"
She cried once again as she tried to follow Xena. The warrior quickly turned and backtracked towards her bard. She placed her hands along the young woman's waist.
"By the Gods Gabrielle. What's wrong?"
Xena frantically searched the Queen's body for injuries. "It's just a scratch. It's nothing Xena." The warrior turned Gabrielle around to find a small gash staring at the top of her back and ending mid center. "Gabrielle!! Why didn't you tell me?"
Gabrielle grabbed onto Xena's hand softly. "It's ok Xena. It doesn't hurt much."
The warrior gently placed her arm around the smaller woman's shoulder.
"Let me take care of that Gabrielle. I'm so sorry. I should of...."
"Stop that Xena. I'm fine. You did everything fine." They walked slowly as they approached the Queen's Quarters, the warrior's arm safely securing the bard's body. Xena lifted the flap to the tent, and they entered. The warrior moved her over to sit on the pallet, then reached into their bag for some herbs. Gabrielle sat in complete silence as she watched the warrior she loved so dearly move quickly around her. "OK...lets see..." She reached behind Gabrielle and scooted her up to get better access to her back. " I need to take this off Gabrielle."
Xena's voice shook as she grasped onto the Queen's top. Gabrielle nodded and began to unlace it. "No. I'll do it love." Xena whispered as she moved over to face her Queen. Xena unlaced it slowly and precisely, never losing contact with those beautiful green eyes. The top came off quickly revealing the bard's young breasts, the warrior longed to touch. Xena closed her eyes at the sight, thinking back to that glorious evening the previous night.
"Xena?" The bard softly caressed the side of the warrior's face causing Xena to open her eyes. She smiled slowly at her beautiful woman before her, then moved over to concentrate on the area of the scratch. Xena grabbed a hand full of herbs and gently patted the injured area with it.
"Xena?" The warrior looked up slightly at the bard's face. "Yes Gabrielle."
"About Ephiny.... What she said... it was out of anger."
Xena softly responded, never once looking away from her work.
"Gabrielle she was right. "
The Queen sighed at the sound of her warrior's soft whisper. "Xena stop... Cover it up and come over here." The warrior complied by first covering up the gash and then moving to face her lover. Her breasts were still exposed for the warrior to admire. The Queen signaled for Xena to come closer then watched as her warrior obeyed. Once positioned between the bard's legs, Xena wrapped her arms around small shoulders to bring her closer. The feel of her lover safe in her arms made her feel warmth around her heart. Gabrielle rested her head on Xena's upper chest, and they held each other close.

Shae rushed in to find Ephiny's head resting on Sarina's waist, her face overwhelmed with tears. She walked over and sat beside them, biting her lower lip as she snuck her arm around Ephiny's shoulder. "It's ok Ephiny...She'll be fine."
The Regent didn't respond to the touch, she only concentrated on her lover. Shae closed her eyes in sadness, silently praying to her goddess for help.
"Please leave us Shae. Please."
Shae wanted so much to comfort the Regent but an order had been given and it had to be obeyed "Yes Regent." Shae stood and walked out in search of Xena and the Queen. She noticed the Royal guards posted around the Queen's tent and proceeded towards them. Once she arrived she asked them to allow her in. Taylor, the new head guard, nodded her head in agreement. "One second Shae. Let me ask her." Shae complied with the guard's request, not wanting to walk in on her Queen again.
Taylor slightly lifted the tent's flap and called out the Queen's name. Xena quickly moved her head to focus on the entrance, "Hold On!" The warrior yelled.
She looked back at Gabrielle's face, then picked up the green top lying on the pallet and handed it to her. "Here Gabrielle, put this on."
The Queen sighed at the loss of contact of her warrior's body against hers as she grabbed it. She slid her top over her shoulders and began lacing it up. "Here I'll lace it my Brie."
Xena finished the task and helped her Queen to her feet. She looked over her lover's body for more injuries, before raising her hand towards the entrance. "Go on Queen. Your Amazons await."
Gabrielle's smirk turned into a frown. My Amazons? She thought silently.
The Queen came out to find Shae standing cross-armed by the entrance, her face lost in a daze. "Gabrielle. Where's Xena?"
"I'm right here Shae. What's the problem?" Shae gestured Xena to accompany her to the corner so they could talk in private. Xena responded to the request and followed the Amazon. "Xena. I wanted to let you know, I was leaving. I'm going to find Castera, and bring back the medicine sooner... I haven't told Ephiny because she has to much to worry about."
"Are you sure Shae?" The Amazon looked up at her with glazed eyes.
"I have to Xena… I'm worried about her. She left without me and…well…" The warrior lowered her eyes to the ground. "I understand Shae… Go find your friend and bring her back safe." Shae wiped the tears that slid down her face. "Take care of my Queen Xena."
The warrior half smiled, "I promise, I will."
Xena walked back into the tent and seconds later Gabrielle followed, "What was that about?" The warrior shook her head, " Shae's going out to find Castera."
The Queen looked up at her surprised. "Really? But we need her here?"
Xena shrugged her shoulders and replied, "she's worried about her Gabrielle… No one could have stopped her."
Gabrielle walked over to take a seat by Xena on the pallet. "But what if we need her?" Xena placed her hand on the Queen's thigh.
"You have me here…Don't worry."
"I'm not worried Xena."
After moments of silence the Queen found a way to break the ice. "I ordered some hot water for a bath." The Queen slowly inspected her warrior's condition.
"You're a mess Xena." The warrior softly chuckled before looking down at herself, "ya guess I am."
Xena sat there speechless, as her mind wondered in a new direction. She tried to look interested as the young woman rambled on about but her main concern was elsewhere. The warrior's face shined a look of confusion. Gabrielle stopped her talking and concentrated on her lover.
"Are you listening Xena." The warrior remained fixed on the table between them.
"What… huh" Xena's eyes burned with fury once again, causing Gabrielle to race to her side. "What's wrong."
"Nothing Brie…Why?" Xena got up and walked over to the table. "What were you saying?" Gabrielle lowered her shoulders as she walked away from her warrior.
"Wait. Wait.... Gabrielle...I'm sorry" The Queen turned to find Xena's pathetic little frown asking for forgiveness, and couldn't help but smile. The warrior grabbed the smaller woman's shirt and brought her closer. She slowly cupped the young face guiding it up to meet her eyes. "I'm really sorry. Forgive me?" She used that puppy-eyed stare only Gabrielle got to see. Gabrielle laughed as she softly patted her warrior on the cheek.
"I forgive...Now let's take a bath."
"Gabrielle?" Ephiny's voice called from the outside. Xena and Gabrielle turned to see the Regent pop her head in. "Can I come in?"
The Queen nodded her head after getting the visual ok from Xena's eyes. The Regent ordered the Amazons to come in with the buckets. "Here's the water for your bath my Queen."
The Regent walked over to Xena standing cross-armed by the corner. Ephiny didn't say much before bursting out into tears. "I'm sorry Xena. I... It's just."
Her head fell forward, and tears rolled down her cheeks. Xena and Gabrielle were by her side immediately, but the Regent pushed them away. She turned to walk towards the entrance, saying one last thing as she left.
" I just wanted... to... say sorry."
Gabrielle moved to follow her but was stopped by one of the Amazons arms.
" Queen...I'll take care of the Regent."
Gabrielle nodded in agreement, as she watched the two remaining Amazons leave the room.
Xena looked over to focus on Gabrielle's eyes that were now staring at the tub. She walked over to her, undoing her straps as she moved. It seemed like nothing else mattered when they were together. "Shall we?" She gestured her hand over to the tub, and watched as a smile overtook her lover's face. "Do you think she'll be ok Xena?" The concern in her voice was obvious. "Of course she will Brie…She just needs time."
Gabrielle moved to help her warrior with the armor as Xena's hands unlaced her green top. The Queen smiled as the fabric hit the floor and her warrior's eyes found their way to her naked breasts. A small blush possessed the warrior's face after being caught gawking once more. Xena's eyes found the same sexual stare from her love as she finished removing her armor. The armor hit the floor causing a soft shudder to run through her lover's body. The warrior lifted the shift over her head slowly and seductively, then bent down to unlace her boots as Gabrielle stood frozen, letting her eyes linger on her warrior's naked back. Xena looked up slightly smiling at the special attention from her lover's face. She tore off her shoes and crawled over to work on her bard's boots. Gabrielle messed around with her skirt, desperately trying to rip it off her body. She stumbled back as her warrior reached up to take it off herself. Xena, still on her knees, reached up and slowly slid her lover's breeches down. Her breathing got deeper as they got lower to reveal her lover's perfection. Once her Queen was completely naked, she moved in to wrap herself around her lover's waist. The warrior's face pressed tightly against Gabrielle's toned waist.
"Xena. Come on...Get up."
Xena groaned as she detached herself from the soft skin. She stood up, lowering her own breeches as she moved. They stood there breathless and still as they admired the beautiful woman in front of them. They would have stood there forever if it weren't for the cold air driving them both into the tub at the same time. They moaned as their cold bodies felt the warm water consume them. Gabrielle snuck in to rest her back on her lover's firm breasts as Xena's arm securely wrapped around her waist. "Mmm Xena."
The bard closed her eyes at the contact, allowing the feel of her lover's hand messaging her body to take her completely. Xena lowered her head to rest on Gabrielle's shoulder as she let out a soft sigh. "I want us to stay like this forever."
Gabrielle's body shook at the sound of those sweet words. She replayed them over and over in her mind as she allowed her warrior to hold her. Gabrielle's hands started to wonder under the water, softly caressing the warrior's thighs. Xena closed her eyes from the feel of her lover's soft skin and placed her lips to rest on her lover's ear. "I adore you Brie."
"I adore you more Xena."
The suddenly the Queen hesitated as her fingers caressed the scar tissue on Xena's skin. The warrior bit her lip, knowing what was going to happen next.
"Xena. Tell me what happened."
The warrior slowly grunted and moved her hand to rest on the bard's waist. "Nothing Gabrielle. It was just her way of "marking me," so she said. It's…nothing."
Gabrielle could hear the struggle in her lover's voice. "Xena I know you're not telling me everything. But I hope you know you can."
The young woman knew the desperation and embarrassment the warrior must have felt at that moment. They both shared it.
"Gabrielle… I told you, she lifted my shift and scratched me. Your making more of it then it is."
Xena raised her head from the bard's shoulder. "Now let me scrub your back, move up."
Gabrielle wanted to continue with the questioning but after Xena's obvious change of subject she decided to let it go. She'll tell me the truth when she needs to. She thought silently as she scooted up. Xena rinsed her lover's back, being careful of the injury. She was lost in her thoughts of whether she had handled that correctly. With all that had happened, she hadn't given it much thought of what to say about the scars. She hoped that Gabrielle would except that as an answer for now.
She washed her lover's shoulders lightly and slowly before moving her hands to rest on Gabrielle's upper chest. "Here... you could finish." The warrior whispered as she handed over the soap. Gabrielle slowly turned to her in confusion. "You could finish Xena."
The Queen slightly smirked, "it's ok to touch me..."
Gabrielle shifted slightly so that she could see those beautiful eyes better. The warrior's eyes dropped down to look at the water. "Did I do something wrong Xena?"
Xena's face jolted up to meet her lover's eyes. "Goddess No.. You make everything right." Gabrielle grabbed the warrior's hand and brought it up to her chest. "Then finish Xena…Please."
Xena's hesitation ceased at the touch of her lover's breast in her hand. She reached over and captured Gabrielle's mouth with her own. Her tongue gently caressing her lover's lips until they parted, allowing her full access. Xena moaned into her lover's mouth from the heat that built between her legs. The kiss went on for an eternity, as they each took turns entering the others mouth and slowly pulling out. The bard's hand running up and over the warrior's breast, caused glorious moans to escape her lips. Gabrielle tore away from her and nibbled lightly on the side of her lover's neck. Xena tilted her head back, closing her eyes in ecstasy from the touch. She slowly moved Gabrielle to face her completely before lunging in for those glorious full lips she needed so badly. The bard needed to be closer to her warrior. She scooted up to straddle her lover's thigh, making Xena respond with a soft grunt of approval. She wrapped her arms around Gabrielle, bringing her in tighter, as their lips continued to intertwine. Xena shifted her body bringing their breasts together as one. The hot contact caused them both to tremble with excitement, and anticipation. Xena's hand rubbed lightly against her lover's breast, teasing the erect nipple with her fingers. She thought of how much she wanted it in her mouth. The smaller woman's hips started to move slowly against her lover's thigh. Their lips slightly separated as they both gasped for air.
"Mmm Brie...You feel so..."
The Queen's tongue aggressively slipped into her mouth once more, cutting her off. Simultaneously they groaned into each other's mouth, as Xena tore away from those beautiful lips.
"The waters getting cold love...Let's get out." Gabrielle groaned in disapproval, her mouth presented a small frown. The warrior moved allowing Gabrielle to lift off of her. Xena quickly stood and lifted Gabrielle into her arms. She stepped cautiously out of the tub and moved over to the pallet. Gabrielle tried to fight her at first but after a few seconds liked the gesture of being in her warrior's arms. They both shivered against the evening air.
"Ahh Xena. It's so cold..." The warrior glanced over to meet her lover's eyes.
"I'll make you warm."
Gabrielle thought she would orgasm from those words alone... Her center ached to be touched. Xena lowered Gabrielle to the pallet and quickly covered her shivering body. The warrior rushed over to the table to grab the extra blanket and in one quick step she was scooting under the covers with Gabrielle. Xena quickly snuggled against her bard's warmer body, causing the Queen to shiver once again. "You ok Xe?"
Xena let out a long breath, unintentionally shivering under the covers.
"Yes love…I will be." Gabrielle waited for few moments for Xena to warm up. Then with no warning, she mounted her lover's body like a crazed animal.
Xena's shock was evident in her tone of voice. The young woman ignored the warrior's screams as she lunged in to continue her work on her lover's neck. She softly bit down on the skin, feeling Xena's body tremble below her.
"Umm Gabrielle."
The bard's knee found its place between Xena's legs, causing her to moan when she shifted her knee. Gabrielle's desire was overwhelming, like nothing she had ever felt. She began rocking her hips, instinctively pressing against Xena's center until the warrior got the hint. Xena raised her thigh to feel the wetness between her lover's legs and send Gabrielle's madness intensely over the edge. She aggressively grabbed at the warrior's breast, as she slid her center up and down her muscular thigh. Xena was inflamed with passion, her ache was incredible, her bard was incredible. The warrior lay there completely submissive as she watched her lover enjoy her body. Gabrielle moaned louder as the grinding increased. Xena moved against the rhythm, as she watched Gabrielle's seductive facial expressions. The Queen's back was arched, her head tossed back and her eyes closed. Her lips were slightly parted to allow the soft groans of pleasure to escape. Xena could feel the wetness between her own legs as powerful as the wetness she felt against her thigh. She closed her eyes to allow only the sensation of her lover's center pressed tightly against her. She could tell by the Queen's increased breathing that she was close to her release. She grabbed the small hips with both hands helping her rock against her thigh. Gabrielle lowered her torso to rest on her lover's firm breasts as she continued to rock. At the change of position, Gabrielle's upper thigh pressed aggressively against the warrior's throbbing sex. Xena gasped for air, before calling her lover's name.
Gabrielle was so involved in her sensations she didn't notice. She was to close to ending the ache between her legs. Xena pressed her hands to rest on her lover's lower back as they continued grinding against each other as one. The loud breaths turned into loud moans as they both got closer to their release. Gabrielle's head rested on Xena's mighty shoulders allowing her to hear every sound that escaped her lover's throat. The sounds were glorious, full of passion and want. She tried to slow down, trying to allow herself to hear these sounds as long as she could. However Xena's tight squeeze against her back pleaded for her to continue.
"Ahh, Gabrielle…don't stop...Oh Please"
She felt her body tremble at the sound of the warrior's voice "Faster Brie!"
Gabrielle slid aggressively up the warrior's tight skin, allowing her moans to turn into screams as the feeling inside her increased. The sound of Xena's sensual noises, along with the sensation between her legs left her helpless. She couldn't wait any longer. She quickly thrust one last time, and the overwhelming orgasm struck her. "MMmmm…XENA!" She closed her eyes, slowly rocking away the smaller waves that continued. She wanted to hear more of the warrior's soft moans. She slowly shifted herself onto her side and took her lover's lips as her own. Her hand slowly found its way to the bottom of Xena's waist to softly caress the warrior's tight curves. She wanted so much to be inside her warrior's walls, to feel the wetness that would consume her fingers and fill her desire. Her hand found its way into Xena's soft curls, then softly slid two fingers into her lover's warm opening.
"AH Gods Brie...Mmm"
Gabrielle shuddered at the sound, her ache suddenly returning to settle between her legs. She thrust her fingers in as deep as she could, groaning at the feel of her lover's wetness. Xena arched her back sending her soft breast to softly rub against her bard's mouth. Gabrielle had no hesitation when she took the erect nipple between her teeth, extracting another glorious moan. Her fingers thrust in once again, as she felt her warrior's walls tighten around them. The bard shuddered at the sound of her lover's sweet pleasure.
"Ahh Xena..."
The warrior's body moved with intensity as her hips left the pallet to feel her lover's fingers deeper inside of her. Gabrielle understood the body language and slowly moved to kneel between the warrior's legs, never once removing her fingers. She separated those muscular legs further with her free hand as she thrust in adding another finger. She watched as Xena arched her back once again, exposing the strong muscles across her waist. Her head tilted back and she closed her eyes, allowing herself to feel the sensation. "OH BRIE HARDER!"
Gabrielle's eyes rolled back as she watched Xena give herself completely to her fingers. Xena tightly grasped onto the covers that surrounded her with every new thrust. The Queen lowered her face to lie on the curves of the warrior's pelvic bone, causing her name to be called up to the Gods above. She lowered her mouth to where her hands were securely captured and placed her tongue on Xena's sweet sex. Xena's words turned into small pleas as Gabrielle's penetration became aggressively faster to keep up with the rhythm of her tongue. It was only a few moments before she felt the warrior tense below her and yell one more glorious scream to the goddess of love. The bard enjoyed her lover's juices in her mouth. She would have stayed there forever but moved when she felt the soft tugging against her hair.
She ignored her lover's plea, she wasn't nearly done with her yet. "Please...Brie!"
The warrior gasped for air as she spoke. The Queen moved her face up to see her almost unconscious warrior sprawled out on the pallet and smiled. She moved up to rest her head on top of her warrior's strong shoulder. "Mmm…that was nice Gabrielle."
Xena wrapped her arms tightly around the smaller woman's body, as she fought to regain her composure.
A few hours later the warrior awoke to find Gabrielle's lips slightly rubbing against her sensitive nipple. She looked down to meet those beautiful green eyes full of lust and desire staring back at her. Again? She thought silently, as the ache between her legs became severe once again.

A Few candlemarks later, the Amazons stood hesitant around the Queen's Quarters.
"My Queen?"
Taylor softly whispered as she moved the flaps open. She looked in to find light blue eyes staring straight at her. Taylor's eyes wandered as she observed the semi naked form of the warrior in front of her. Xena stood there half-wrapped in a light blanket, her nipples slightly showing through the thin fabric and her legs fully exposed.
Xena smirked up at the speechless Amazon. These women! She thought silently, shaking her head as she asked,
"what's wrong Taylor?"
"There's someone here to see the Queen." Xena's eyes narrowed into Taylor's glare. "Hold on... I'll be right out."
Xena quickly rushed over to grab her shift and a thicker blanket and Taylor's eyes intensely followed. The warrior placed the shift over her body, then together they rushed out.
"Watch Gabrielle!" The warrior commanded as she made her way to the mystery guest.
Xena placed the blanket around her shoulders and walked over to meet the visitor. As she got closer, her skin began to crawl with disapproval. No one knows we're here, she thought silently as she continued. From a distance she could tell the visitor was a woman, small in build, light blonde hair. She was cautiously approaching her when she heard her name escape the woman's mouth.
"Yes I'm Xena." The young woman was a little shorter than the warrior but was very muscular. Her light green eyes caught the warrior's attention immediately. This woman did seem very familiar to her.
"I'm Klara...From Potedia… I've been asked to find Gabrielle and bring her home."
Xena reached out grasping the young woman's arm. "Why? Is something wrong?" Xena's voice was shaking as she asked.
"Well. No. I mean I don't now... They didn't tell me much." Xena lowered her eyes to the ground, and slowly sighed.
"OK…Wait here. I'll get Gabrielle."
Xena turned quickly and ran towards her Queen fiercely. She rushed through the closed flaps and over to her sleeping Gabrielle. She lowered herself to her knees, dropping the blanket on the ground. Xena gently moved her hand against the bard's soft cheek, trying to wake her up slowly. "Mmm…Xe?"
Gabrielle muttered as she turned away from Xena, presenting her back to her. Xena placed her hand on her lover's shoulder and rolled her over to face her. "Gabrielle… Wake up."
The Queen groaned once more before opening her eyes to focus on her warrior. "Mmm…What Xena?"
"Gabrielle... please wake up. Listen to me."
The Queen heard the tension in her warrior's voice and quickly sat up. "Gabrielle...Klara from your hometown is here. She said they needed..."
"What! Klara?" Gabrielle jumped off the pallet quickly rushing around in search of her clothes... By the gods… If she finds me naked here with... "Relax Gabrielle… She's by the healer's tent..."
Gabrielle wandered if she had spoken out loud. It was amazing how well her warrior could read her. She calmed herself before allowing Xena to help her dress into her clothes. Once she was done, Xena put her warrior outfit on and they walked out together.

The woman slowly walked into Callisto's castle, scared of what was to come. She made her way down the long hall, then suddenly turned to stand directly in front of Callisto's door.
Callisto sat by the edge of the pallet, mending her open gashes, Xena so gladly gave her. The stinging in her nose from the bard's violent hit, reminded her of the glorious anger she had caused the Queen to possess. There was a soft knocking at the door.
"Come in." She said as she brushed her hair from her eyes. The woman at the door slowly approached her and kneeled by her feet. "Callisto...We need to talk. I think..."
"Don't think woman.... Just tell me what happened."
"Well the Amazon Queen is still alive and so is her warrior champion."
"Yes" Callisto whispered as she adjusted her nose. "I know."

"Look Callisto…I don't think these plans are going to work. I'm backing out." Callisto's eyes narrowed into the young Amazon's face, a slight frown of disappointment possessed her. "But...You can't. We're almost there. You'll see."
Callisto scooted her body down to sit cross-legged next to her accomplice and lover. She moved her body so that her back faced the woman. "Fix this will ya." She pointed to one of the scratches irritating her back. The woman placed her strong arms around Callisto's shoulders bringing her in closer.
"Not now." The irritated Callisto whispered. She wasn't in the mood to play any sexual games. Her only concentration was on the warrior princess and her little bard. The Amazon sighed and continued her work on that deep gash. "Take this off Callisto."
Her voice shook as she spoke. Callisto laughed as she complied, and took off her leather top. Her thoughts raced on what she had just done. "What's so funny?" The Amazon softly asked.
"Everything." Callisto readjusted herself as she scooted closer to the woman.
"When Xena and the Queen find out what I had you do in Potedia..."
A small smile arose across her face. "Then I'll have them both."
The Amazon sighed, and lowered her eyes with guilt. "Yes love…You got them good."

Chapter 10

Something's wrong if Klara traveled all that way to get Gabrielle. Taylor thought silently.
Xena walked out of the tent first, then the Queen appeared beside her. Gabrielle looked a bit different this morning. Taylor curiously inspected the Queen with her eyes, noticing nothing visually different except the blanket she wore around her shoulders, shielding her from the cold air. It was something in the way the Queen carried herself. Taylor contemplated the Queen's unfamiliar attitude in her mind for several seconds before realizing the difference. Maybe it was the puppy eyed glare that shined off her Queen's eyes, directed towards the warrior princess. Taylor smiled at her glorious discovery before returning her attention to the situation at hand.
"Queen Gabrielle? Where are you going?" Taylor asked.
Before the Queen had a chance to answer, Xena gave an order to a young Amazon standing by the head of the guards, "find Ephiny for me."
The young Amazon looked over to Taylor for permission, before running into the heart of the village in search of her Regent. Taylor moved to face her small Queen eye to eye, a worried look overtaking her warrior face. "Is everything ok Gabrielle. Why are you leaving?"
The Queen wrapped her arm around Taylor's small waist, "It's nothing...Just need to go home for awhile."
The Amazon nodded in agreement, then signaled for the other Amazons to gather around her.
"Inform the town's counsel, we're leaving today to escort the..."
"NO Taylor." The Queen interrupted. "I don't need any guards. You're needed here to help the injured." Taylor began to shake her head in protest, "but my Queen..."
"That's an order!"
Xena flashed a wicked smile when she saw Gabrielle take an authoritative tone. "I don't want anyone following, understand?"
Taylor's face still held a look of confusion. Her job was to protect the Queen, but what if the Queen ordered her not too?
"Don't worry. I have Xena with me." Gabrielle looked over at her warrior, "she's almost her own Army." The Queen giggled at her smart remark, then smiled when she saw the soft shade of red overtaking her lover's face. She would have stared longer but a sudden interruption tore her attention elsewhere. "Xena...Gabrielle...Where do you think you're going?" The Regent asked as she strolled over to stand by Xena's side.
"Back to Potedia, Ephiny."
Ephiny lowered her eyes to the ground "but we need you here Gabrielle." Xena slowly invaded the conversation, placing her hand on Ephiny's shoulder as she spoke.
" Ephiny we need to check on her family." After a moment, the Regent smirked, then nodded her head in agreement, knowing she couldn't convince the young Queen otherwise. "Well then, Taylor gather up the..."
"No Ephiny. I'll watch over Gabrielle." Xena interrupted.
Ephiny brought her hands up to her face, and slowly rubbed her tired eyes. "Look. I have no time to argue. Amazon law states that an Amazon guard must follow the Queen when she's in danger." She softly sighed before continuing, "You need to take someone..." She looked around at the young faces, trying to determine her best option. "Where's Shae?" The Regent asked as she looked around confused.
"Shae left last night to help Castera on her return." The warrior explained.
"What? Why didn't she tell me?" Xena moved over slightly to focus her eyes on the whining Regent.
" She told me not to bother you. You had enough to worry about."
Ephiny pointed to the Amazon standing next to Taylor, "Eileen... You need to go with them."
The Amazon's face lit up at the Regent's request. It would be a privilege to guard her Queen and travel with the widely known Warrior Princess. Her face presented a tiny smile, as she moved over to stand next to the mighty warrior. Eileen's build was tall and slender, close to the same body type as Xena. Her light blonde hair contrasted beautifully with her light green eyes. Ephiny moved over to stand in front of the warrior. "I am sending you with one of my best, she one of Shae's favorite fighter." Ephiny moved in closer so that her mouth almost rested against the warrior's ear. Gabrielle felt a burst of adrenaline rush through her at the sight of another woman so close to her lover, but remained calm. Xena caught the reaction from the corner of her eye and silently thanked the Gods for such an adorable woman. Xena patiently listened as the Regent whispered into her ear, then nodded as the two detached from the tight position.
"Good luck my Queen." The Regent lowered her head in respect before storming off towards the healer's tent to check on her lover. Gabrielle softly smirked, then brought her attention back to her Royal guards.
"Where's my friend from Potedia Taylor?"
"She left a little while ago, said to catch up to her."
Gabrielle sighed. She was looking forward to seeing her old friend. "You both ready?" The Queen asked trying to maintain eye contact with both Xena and Eileen. Once they nodded the Queen grabbed her bag and walked over to the horses as they silently followed.

The day continued to get colder, with slight rains from the heavens falling down on them. The Queen was obviously worried about her parents and in a rush to get there, so they didn't stop for shelter. Xena rode in front with her lover snuggled closely against her back. Eileen rode behind them at a slower pace allowing her to guard the back areas as Xena guarded the front. Eileen was far enough behind to allow Xena and Gabrielle to talk softly to each other during their voyage. "Xena?"
"Uh huh?"
"What did Ephiny tell you?"
"She just asked me to protect you."
"That's it?" The Queen smiled at the cute gesture from her Regent. "Nothing else?"
"No love. She told me to make sure you return safely." Xena moved her head so that her eyes could focus on her lover's face. "I told her I'd die before I'd let you get hurt again."
Gabrielle sighed, "don't talk like that Xena." Xena smiled at the bard's remark, as a wave of a mushy love overtook her body. The Queen's hold around the warrior's waist got tighter, causing Xena to question the action.
"Gabrielle, something wrong?"
"Xena? I'm worried," she said in a whisper. "This all seems to strange...I think we should turn back."
"Gabrielle listen. They probably heard rumors about you being with the Amazons and wanted to see you."
The Queen softly sighed, "Yes but... something's not right...Why didn't they send Lila?"
"I don't know Gabrielle…"
Xena remained quiet letting her own thoughts obsess her mind, while her Queen rested her forehead against her strong back.
Eileen remained quiet as well, thinking how lucky they both were to have each other. In her young lifetime she had only fallen in love with two people. It was badluck the two women happen to be the Amazon Queen and Warrior Princess. Oh well… my warrior's out their somewhere. She thought silently, as the soft rain began to fall once again.

They got to the village the next morning, exhausted and hungry from the long journey. They had stopped once since they left the Amazons for a short nap, which only the Queen and guard got to enjoy. Xena had stayed up admiring the stillness and beauty of her young lover. They were outside the village when they realized the quietness around them, which was unusual for the town of Potedia. They were just outside the entrance when Xena's hand signaled for Eileen to stop her horse and wait.
"Wait here Gabrielle," the warrior whispered before she dismounted and moved closer to the front gates. She was half way there when what seemed to be the entire male population stormed out. In an instant, the three of them were surrounded and Xena turned at the sound of Gabrielle's scream.
"DON'T touch me!"
Xena could see the large man's tight hold on Gabrielle and started to run towards her when she felt a hand against her back. She quickly turned, slapping it to the side, and grabbed her attacker. Her mouth dropped and the grip loosened when she saw who her attacker was. It was Gabrielle's father who had snuck in from behind. Xena backed away from him, before she looked back to see about Gabrielle. "Kiris, stop!" Her father commanded. "Bring Gabrielle to me!"
The tall man who held Gabrielle nodded and proceeded to move the Queen over to him. Gabrielle's face was that of utter shock, as she struggled within the tight grip against her arm.
"LET ME GO!" She screamed. "Father...What do your think you're doing!"
"AHHH!" A young man's scream made everyone stop and turn. He fell to the ground from a blade penetrating through his shoulder. Eileen laughed at the pleading man's reaction before she continued to move. Eileen was determined to get over to the Queen in whatever manner she needed to. Regardless if it meant killing everyone in sight.
"Eileen stop!" Xena's voice was full of anger and confusion. She raised her hand signaling for Eileen to calm herself. " Just stop."
Eileen saw the serious look radiating from the warrior's eyes and placed her hands in the air. She dropped her sword, but even then, no one dared to approach her. Gabrielle was practically dragged over to where her father stood.
"What are you doing Father?"
Her father yelled out for Lila who was standing by the entrance with the rest of the town's curious watchers. She quickly made her way through the crowd and took her place beside her father. "Take your sister inside." He commanded, his eyes locked onto Xena's powerful face.
"Father no! What's this about?"
"Be quiet Gabrielle. I heard what this monster did to you! Callisto and her friend told us everything!" The father's eyes never once moved from Xena's face. "Don't worry daughter. I won't let this Xena character hurt you again."
"WHAT!" Gabrielle's scream was heard throughout the village walls. "What are you talking about!"
"Gabrielle. Now that's enough!"
Xena's face tightened with rage, and her eyes presented a dark warlord gaze. "Xena?"
Her father moved in closer to the warrior. "Callisto told us what you did to her and my daughter." His face began to sweat with anger, his eyes full of rage. "You will pay for your crimes."
"Father no... Xena only protected me. You have it all wrong..." The father reached out grabbing his daughter by her short top, "I said be quiet Gab..."
Xena's hand dashed out to grab his wrist, causing him to lose the grip. "Don't touch her like that!" She yelled before drawing her sword at the 10 men that tried to attack her from behind.
"Wait!" Gabrielle screamed. "Everyone STOP!" She moved to stand in front of her father, tears clouding up her eyes." Father, it's true what you heard, but it wasn't Xena.... It was Callisto... She..."
Gabrielle suddenly decided not to continue when she heard her mother's soft cries in the corner. The Queen felt embarrassed that her mom knew what had happened to her. Regardless if it had been Callisto or Xena. Her father reached down to cup his daughter's face. "It doesn't matter Gabrielle. Xena has brought you nothing but pain. Now get inside!"
"No!" She screamed as she stepped in front of her brave warrior. "I won't do that father."
"Grab her!" He yelled. Xena fought the urge to fight the crowd, it would mean hurting to many of Gabrielle's friends and family. She just stood there, sword in hand, frozen with defeat. She watched as her father and friend grabbed a hold of the young Queen then felt her lover's soft hand grab onto her.
"Xena no. Don't let them take ME PLEASE!" Xena looked deep into those tear stricken eyes, "Gabrielle. Please don't cry... I'll be back for..."
Her father aggressively moved in-between them, his face staring straight into Xena's eyes. "No! Leave now and never come back!"
"Father NO!" The Queen cried..."Please don't!" Xena looked over his shoulder to focus on her lover's eyes once again. "I *will* be back Gabrielle. I promise!"
After saying that she turned and slowly walked away from the crowd. She stopped for a brief moment to whisper into Eileen's ear before she took off running. The Queen's cries intensified as she moved further away. The panicked screams of the young Queen were enough to drive Xena into a world of madness. How could she leave her? Part of the warrior's heart yelled for her to Go BACK! The further she ran the more distant the cries became, but she knew those cries would haunt her forever.
Xena's hair lashed against her skin as she ran, not quite sure where she was going. She needed to escape from the reality she called life. Was it a test of love? Was she cruelly being put through this to pay for her previous crimes? The cold air against her face made her skin crack but she ignored the pain and continued to run. She went faster and faster, like an uncontrollable force, searching for a freedom that didn't exist. Her thoughts became overwhelming, the sounds of her lover's cries haunting her more than ever. Her deep breaths slowly turned into screams of frustration from the awful pain that was forming quickly within her.
I won't stop until I find Callisto, she yelled silently in her mind. The grass had a slight glaze from the previous day, giving the atmosphere a nice soft glow. But nothing mattered. Nothing was beautiful without her Gabrielle.
"I'll be with you again my love..."
Suddenly she seemed to be racing back into her past crimes, memory by memory. All she could do was run, faster and harder to try and escape them, but she couldn't. How lost she felt without Gabrielle by her side. She must hate me she thought. I just left her there... Her eyes started to fill with tears but she quickly stopped herself from crying.
It's better she's not with me when I get revenge on Callisto, she rationalized.

It seemed close to a candlemark before she suddenly stopped to catch her uncontrollable breath. She slowed her pace to a fast jog and eventually to a fast walk. She wasn't sure where she was or how she got there. All she could see was a nice stream, with soft blue waters consuming it. She walked up slowly, and took a seat by a small log, before placing her head to rest in her hands. Different ideas and plans raced through her mind of how to find Callisto. She couldn't return to ask Ephiny because the Regent no longer remembered the location. The Regent had only found it the first time with the help from their Goddess. Xena thought about calling Athena, or even Ares, but her trust in the Gods was slim. She would have to rely on herself for this one. She figured she'd travel village to village flirting with the local warriors to get some information. She closed her eyes, feeling the tiredness that overtook her from lack of sleep. She knew she wouldn't sleep until she had Gabrielle safely in her arms once again.
Gabrielle! She rubbed her tired eyes, fighting with all her strength to keep the tears from overtaking her.
A branch lightly snapped in the background causing Xena to jump to her feet into a fighting position. She scanned the area quickly and saw no sign of intrusion but she knew someone was there. "Come out! I'm not in the mood to come find you!"
She continued to scan until she found a particular point where she saw a figure behind the trees.
"Come OUT!" The figure slowly emerged, her hands high in the sky, expressing she meant no harm to the warrior.
Shae's face turned into a small smirk. "Yeah, who'd you think it was?"
Xena reached out to grab a hold of Shae's tight top. Her face pressed up aggressively against Shae's scared face. Their lips were only inches apart, causing Shae to slightly tremble from the close contact.
"Don't you ever...Ever sneak up on me again! Understand?"
Shae nodded her head in agreement before feeling Xena's slow release of her shirt. Shae watched the warrior as she walked away, placing her head in her hands.
"I'm sorry Shae. I'm just..." Her muttered words were left unfinished. Shae walked over to the warrior's side. "It's ok Xena. I saw what happened... I'm here to help."
Both warriors moved over to take a seat on a log overlooking the water, silence overtook them as they sat. Xena grabbed a small branch and broke it before throwing it into the calm waters.
"Shae? Why were you following me?"
Shae softly coughed before she replied to the soft-spoken question. "I saw the three of you leaving and decided to follow from behind in case you needed me."
Xena softly grunted, "So you saw everything huh?"
"Yes Xena. I did. I think you made the right decision."
"So you want to help?"
"Yes. Anything for my Queen."
Xena ran her hand through her thick black hair before standing. "Let's go then!"

Shae didn't question where they were going. She just followed in the direction the warrior went. They traveled for a half a day in utter silence. Xena was lost in her own torturous thoughts about Gabrielle, while Shae was wrapped up in her own obsessions. Every movement the warrior made was leaving her completely breathless. AHH. Stop...What's wrong with me? She silently told herself as she walked faster to catch up. She moved up beside Xena, slowly finding her breath from the stride it took to catch up to her.
"Xena. Where we headed?"
"You'll see," was the reply she got and decided not to push the warrior further.

"Gabrielle, calm down!" Eileen yelled as she grabbed a hold of the Queen's arm. The Queen violently hit her hand away, then moved back. "Wait Gabrielle, please relax!"
The Queen rushed away from her Amazon and moved over to the corner. She slowly allowed her body to slide down to the floor.
At that instant Lila slowly appeared by the door only to receive a flying object that struck her across the chest from her angry sister. "Gabrielle. Stop!"
Eileen looked over at the shocked sister. "Lila could you please leave us?"
Lila nodded her head, and stormed out without saying a word. Eileen loudly sighed before trying again to approach her frantic Queen, surprisingly Gabrielle allowed her to come near. For the last candlemark it had been nothing but screams and tantrums. Eileen really had no idea how to react to the crazed young woman. She slowly moved to her and took a seat by her side. "Gabrielle, talk to me."
The Queen's shoulders shook violently from the streams of tears possessing her young face. She couldn't even stop for a moment to explain. Her emotions were too much at one time. She stayed in her safe position, her head resting on her bent knees and her arms tightly securing them. Eileen looked down at the floor, remaining as silent as possible. She realized the Queen needed to have her own release and then she would talk to her.
"They took her away from me Eileen..."
The Amazon softly returned the whisper as she closed her eyes at the sound of her Queen's soft voice. "She'll be back...You know that..."
Gabrielle's cries became frantic once again, and her breathing sped up. Did I say something wrong? Eileen thought.
"She might not make it back." The Queen softly responded. "You have to help me get out of here, Eileen."
"Gabrielle, I can't. You know that."
"It's an order!" Gabrielle raised her head to look straight into her Amazon's eyes, "from your leader!"
Eileen gently nodded her head, then watched as Gabrielle lowered her head to rest on her knees once again. I wonder what Xena's doing? What if she hates me? She thought silently as she allowed her tears to sneak up on her once again.

Xena and Shae reached the village by nightfall and walked into the first establishment they saw which was a dirty old bar. Before they entered, Xena looked over to focus on Shae's eyes. "Let me do all the talking...ok?"
Shae nodded her head in agreement, allowing a soft sigh to escape her lips before looking away. Xena walked in first, allowing Shae to enter behind her. The bar was filled with ugly old men who instantly got quiet at the sight of these two glorious women entering. Xena walked straight through most of them, carefully guarding her friend behind her, as she headed towards the small table at the back of the room. This way I can keep my eye on everyone, she thought silently. Once they were seated, they watched as the noise began to circulate around the room once more. "MEN," Shae softy said, as a tiny smirk possessed her face. Xena didn't remark to the comment but instead flagged down the waiter and watched as he rushed over.
"Two glasses of port." She said as she placed the money on the table. "Yes my lady, I mean warrior." As he walked away Xena allowed the same comment to escape her lips.
"Argh, Men."
Shae softly laughed as she moved in closer to sit by the warrior. Xena noticed the sudden shift but said nothing. She figured Shae must feel intimidated by all the gawking eyes, and felt protected by her side. The waiter quickly brought the drinks over and placed them on the table.

After a short period of time Xena decided to circulate the room to find information on Callisto. Xena had only been away from the table for maybe a minute, when she heard Shae's battle cry and the loud slam against the wall. She quickly turned to see Shae's angry face staring down at the scared old man. "Don't you ever do that again!" She yelled. Xena was by her side in a flash. "What happened?" She asked as she helped the old man to his feet. Shae moved over to hit him once again but was stopped by Xena's mighty arms. Xena grabbed Shae by the waist bringing her closer. "That's enough Shae." Xena knew it was mostly the alcohol that was driving Shae to react that way. It wasn't until tonight that she saw Shae drink so much in her presence. Shae struggled a few moments against the warrior's body as the entire bars eyes watched in fascination.
"Shh Shae… Let's go!"
Xena held the angry warrior tightly in her arms, allowing her to struggle against her body. She placed her arm around the angry Amazon's waist. They walked slowly past the drunken men, kicking the few that tried to approach. When they got to the bottom of the stairs, Shae placed her head to rest on Xena's shoulder, muttering a few unrecognizable words. Xena smiled, when she realized how much her friend had to drink. About 6 ports, she thought silently as she began to laugh. Her concentration shifted when she felt her friend slowly falling to the ground.
"Whoa… Wait Shae." Xena quickly picked her up in her arms and continued towards the room at the end of the hall. It took her a few tries to get it open without dropping the Amazon. Once inside she walked over to the pallet and lowered the drunken woman to the bed. She moved to rise when she felt Shae's hand come up and grab her.
"Wait," she cried. Xena slowly knelt on the ground beside her, feeling her own dizziness from the alcohol arising. "What?"
Shae sat up and turned to face Xena so that their faces were inches apart from each other. "I have to tell you something." She said softly, as her eyes lowered to the floor in regret.

Chapter 11

Shae attempted to move closer to Xena, but lost her balance and fell straight into the warrior's arms. Xena tried to move back to avoid the drunken Amazon but failed as Shae fell, causing the warrior's arms to give out. When she realized her weight was lying comfortably on the warrior's body, she smiled. How many times had she dreamt of a night just like this?
"Do you mind?" Xena growled as she proceeded to try and push the Amazon off her. Shae quickly straddled the tall warrior, placing her hands to lie on either side of the warrior's head. Xena flinched, wanting to toss Shae off, but didn't. Something within her told her to be patient with the young Amazon. "Shae... Come on. Move over, I need to get up."
The warrior reached up, pushing against Shae's strong shoulders to find the Amazon had no intention of moving. "Xena listen..." "Wait! Shae, get off of me...then we'll talk" Shae lowered her eyes to rest on the warrior's beautiful breasts, ignoring the words of caution. Mmm! If only she didn't love that brat of hers. The silent reflection took the Amazon off guard. Brat! Since when do I call my Queen...
"Shae! NOW! You have one warning!"
The Amazon shook herself out of her daze, returning her glare to rest on the warrior's soft lips.
"That's it!" Xena attempted to push Shae off her but was stopped by the Amazon's strong hands. Xena's eyes shined pure amazement at the strength Shae suddenly possessed as she slammed the warrior's arms back onto the rough floor. Xena motioned to struggle against the hold, when she realized, the unfamiliar glare coming from her opponent. Shae's eyes had completely darkened and her face looked as if the blood had been drained from her body. Xena knew she'd be able to toss her off if she needed to, but decided to wait and see what the Amazon's next attempt was going to be. She knew in the pits of her soul, this was the work of a God. Shae bit down on her lower lip, knowing the warrior was getting furious. How far could she push Xena before driving her completely mad with anger?
"Look warrior princess, you're suppose to be mine!"
Xena's breathing was suddenly enhanced with the words, "Shae! ENOUGH!"
"Forget your brat!" Shae yelled before tightening her grip on the warrior's arms. "WHAT?" Shae lunged down towards the warrior's lips, capturing them for a split second before she was tossed over to her side. The Amazon felt the tight grip against her arms, forcing her to turn over on her stomach.
"Wait!!... Wait. Hold on!" Shae pleaded.
Xena struggled to keep her anger under control as she held the Amazon beneath her, gripping the Amazon's wrists as she straddled her lower back. "Don't move Shae...." The Amazon let out a soft moan of pain, before speaking.
"I...I… Xena! What are you doing?"
Xena could tell this wasn't the same woman who held her down moments earlier. She suddenly felt guilty for hurting the young warrior and loosened the grip, before moving to lie beside her.
"Shae...turn around!"
The Amazon slowly obeyed, wiping her tears as she moved. The cold floor against her back caused her to shiver uncontrollably, as she tried to focus on Xena's face. "Sorry. I don't know what came over me. I... don't...."
Shae sat up quickly, still keeping her tight fix on the warrior's eyes. "Xena I'm sorry."
Shae lowered her eyes to the floor, "But I need to tell you something."
The warrior nodded as she waited for Shae to continue, "Go on, I'm listening."
Xena was utterly confused at the odd behavior, but decided to play along with the Amazon's game.
"Come closer," was commanded, as her puppy eye glare made it irresistible for Xena to say no. Maybe she knows more then she's letting off, Xena thought cautiously, before taking the Amazon's offer.
"No more games Shae.... Got it?"
The Amazon nodded her head before trying to continue. Xena waited patiently, listening to the soft cries that overtook the Amazon once again. The warrior placed her hand on the Amazon's shoulders, comforting her. "Come on Shae. Relax and..."
Shae quickly clenched her hands to her chest, making them both jump back from the shock of it. "What's wrong Shae?"
Shae closed her eyes, gritted her teeth and held onto her chest. "Ahh, I don't know. ... It just hurts!"
Xena tried to feel around the Amazon's defined shoulders searching for the cause, but was pushed away by mighty hands. "No! I'm fine Xena. Please just listen." The warrior moved forward to place her ear against the Amazon's lips, and listened as Shae softly whispered into her ear.

Eileen stood cautiously against the wall, reflecting on how she would rescue the Queen from her own home.
"Gabrielle wait. Not yet!" The Amazon whispered as she saw the Queen reach for the door handle. Eileen moved forward to stand by the Queen's side, so that they could both listen at the door. It was obvious that someone still remained outside. The soft whispers of Gabrielle's father speaking with her crying mother could be heard, making the Queen's heartache with agony. She never thought she could hurt them so severely, and in such a manner. Gabrielle slowly wiped the tears from her face, as guilt of her parent's pain overtook her. "Not yet Eileen." The Queen moved towards the pallet, "let's wait until they're asleep."
She looked up, catching the Queen's glare staring back at her, and smiled. The Queen noticed the Amazon's eyes radiating a beautiful light of hope, and felt a sense of pride she had thought she'd lost. It amazed Gabrielle how most of her Amazons shared that common light, one she was only used to seeing in the eyes of her lover. She smiled at the sense of safety that overwhelmed her. "Thank you Eileen."
The Queen reached over to the Amazon with a gesture of a hug, causing a soft sigh to escape Eileen's lips at the contact. How the Amazon had dreamt of holding the Queen in her arms, protecting her.
"Eileen?" The Amazon was so lost in her daze, she hadn't realized the Queen had moved away and was staring oddly at her. "Eileen?" The Amazon turned to focus on those beautiful green eyes staring back at her. "Are you ok?" The Queen questioned.
"Yes… Sorry I…Uh..."
Gabrielle couldn't help but smile. It was known that most of the women in the Amazon camp loved the Queen. She figured Eileen was a bit shocked with the physical attention, and so she ignored the reaction. The Queen's gesture left the Amazon full of the desire to reach out and return that warm embrace. Gabrielle smiled at the response not realizing she was torturing the young woman. Gabrielle placed her head to rest on her Amazon's strong shoulder, making Eileen feel as if she was going to collapse from fear. She knew she had to comfort the Queen no matter what the consequences, even if it was pure agony, a cruel tease. When Gabrielle closed her eyes, she felt as if she was in the arms of her warrior. I miss you Xena. She thought silently as a new tear rolled down her face. Eileen smiled at the realization that she held Gabrielle in her arms, comforting the now crying woman. The Amazon only concentrated on her breathing, knowing the last thing she wanted to do was look foolish in front of Gabrielle. Eileen tightly wrapped her arms around the smaller woman's body, holding her close as they waited for the right opportunity to escape.

Close to a candlemark later, they heard soft footsteps approaching the door. This caused Gabrielle to jump out of Eileen's arms and towards the swinging door.
"Gabrielle, I brought you some food." Lila whispered as she hesitantly poked her head through. She smiled at her sister's reaction, knowing very well why Lila acted this way. Gabrielle knew she had lost it earlier, and wanted nothing more then to apologize, but not now. They had more important things to talk about. "Lila, are mother and father asleep?"
Lila nodded her head before she felt a cold hand against her shoulder move her in.
"Lila, how many guards are outside?" Gabrielle cautiously asked, frightened at her sister's next reaction. "Oh no Gabrielle. I'm not helping you. It will really hurt Mother if you go."
Lila moved to leave when she felt the tight grip from Gabrielle's hand against her shirt.
"Wait… please. Let me explain." Gabrielle cried.
After seeing the bard's shaken condition, the sister had no choice but to listen. "Ok Gabrielle explain."
"Lila…" Gabrielle's eyes started to water as she continued, " when we were young, we would talk about finding the other side of our hearts... Remember?" The soft tears turned into a soft cry, and her breathing increased making it hard for her to continue. Her face began to turn pale as she attempted to tell her sister her secret.
Lila softly wiped the tears from her sister's eyes, "Gabrielle. Please relax. I'm listening..." "Do you remember Lila?" The bard asked as she aggressively pulled her sister closer, getting her full attention. "Yes Gabby, of course."
Gabrielle's eyes narrowed in to capture her sister's hazel eyes. "Xena..." she softly sighed before continuing,
" Xena's the other part of my heart Lila..."
The bard watched as her sister's facial expression went from shock to utter disgust. "Lila... Please look at me."
Lila began to cry after hearing Gabrielle's honest words. She couldn't tell if she felt anger or happiness for her sister.
"Sister please. Help me!" The Queen's eyes focused in on her sister's face. Lila silently reflected before answering, although most of her yelled 'no' she found herself nodding 'yes'. Gabrielle reached out and took her younger sister into a tight embrace.
"Thank you Lila, Thank you."
At the sound of Eileen's cough, the two sisters tore apart, and concentrated on the waiting Amazon.
Lila began to explain the locations of the various guards as Gabrielle moved to take the Amazon's side.
"READY?" Eileen asked before reaching for the door. The Queen nodded, swallowing slowly, before moving in behind Eileen. The Amazon quickly opened the door, striking the guard in the back before jumping on him, knocking him unconscious. Lila rushed over to her parent's bedroom and kept watch as Eileen and her sister made their way through the kitchen area and out the back door. The difficult mission would be getting through town unseen. Gabrielle wrapped a black blanket over her head as she and Eileen quickly rushed through the town square praying to Artemis they wouldn't be seen. The town was quiet, making the escape easier than expected.
Once they reached the edge of the village, they took off in a frantic pace towards the trees. Gabrielle ran with all her strength, trying to escape the awful pain she felt in her heart. She allowed her thoughts to circle in her mind. I'm the Amazon Queen for goddess sake. How dare they tell me what to do? How could they separate us?
The bard tried to snap out of the daze by concentrating on her strong warrior, but it made it worse. How she missed her, the warrior's soft voice whispering in her ear, telling her everything would be ok. Gabrielle tried with all her strength to remain calm as she continued to run, faster then anyone had before. The Queen was so concentrated on escaping she didn't notice Eileen trailed from behind. She slowly came to jogging speed as she waited for the Amazon to catch up. Once they were sure it was safe, they stopped by a tree to catch their breaths. "We…need…Amazon Village." The Queen tried to speak as she gasped for air.
Eileen silently nodded as she placed her hand across her chest, emphasizing she was also out of breath. Gabrielle scanned the area to notice that they were in a beautiful secluded area, far enough from her hometown. She contemplated if to continue or stop for the night. Considering they were both exhausted, she decided on setting up camp.
"Let's camp here." The Queen said in more of a statement then a question.
"But what about...."
"It's ok. They shouldn't notice I'm missing till morning. We'll be gone by then."
After the Amazon's soft nod, Gabrielle looked down at herself and noticed she had only grabbed one blanket for their trip. She sighed at the realization that they would have to share it to keep warm, and silently shrugged. She was so relieved to be out in the open once again, that nothing really mattered.
It was a cold evening and Eileen wanted to make sure the Queen remained warm, so she went off to gather wood for a fire. Gabrielle froze in place as she allowed the pain in her heart to consume her, "I'll be with you soon Xena," was whispered before the Queen made her way towards her Amazon.

Xena and Shae remained tightly positioned on the floor of the secluded area. Shae's words were slow and precise, making it obvious that she was rethinking every word that escaped her mouth. The warrior listened patiently as the words slowly built the puzzle she had longed to put together. Xena felt as if the room was spinning faster with every spoken word from the Amazon. Shae's words started to mix together causing Xena some confusion. Was it her? Why couldn't she understand the Amazon...? Something was definitely wrong with the situation. Xena tried to remain focused, as she shook off the dizziness that threatened to overtake her. Suddenly Xena jerked back, automatically pulling herself out of the daze as she looked into the black stricken eyes once again.
The warrior noticed Shae had repositioned herself and sat there staring straight into her eyes. Time had definitely gone by without Xena realizing it. Xena tried to move but found her limbs had gone numb, along with her body. What's happening to me? She thought as she struggled to free herself from the invisible restraints. Shae lunged in for another kiss, practically forcing herself onto Xena. The warrior reacted by pushing her back then Xena felt the strong palm strike her across the face, and looked up. Once the realization sunk in, that Shae had just struck her, Xena attempted to strike back. But by the time Xena reacted, Shae had jumped up and staggered out of the room, leaving the warrior confused and alone.
Xena wanted to go after her but couldn't. She could only sit there, waiting for the dizziness to disappear once again. She reached up to caress her face, hoping the stinging would go away soon. She didn't understand why the Amazon would have struck her. The warrior found herself in a secluded room, sitting cross-legged on the floor, as she carefully replayed what Shae had whispered in her ear. Why would she tell me she loved me...? And that she was sorry? Xena's heartbeat began to increase quickly, as a huge smirk overcame her face. Shae had randomly told her a location before she moved away. What was Shae doing? Where did those directions lead? She questioned to herself softly before jumping to her feet, preparing to rush out after the Amazon.
However something stopped her and she froze in place allowing her mind to wander. She started to question the Amazon's true motives, as she ran through all the clues she had gathered within the last moon. Her eyes suddenly darkened, and an expression of pure evil possessed her defined face. This isn't about love at all... She laughed loudly at her thoughts, "This is all about deception!" she yelled.
She began to scream with anger, loud enough so that everyone in the inn could hear her. Her mind raced into overtime, as her thoughts of revenge became aggressively violent, causing her to smile... a glorious smile of hatred and vengeance. "You'll pay for this ARES! Just as soon as I figure out what you've done!"
With that she quickly stood and stormed out of the room, rushing through the crowded bar, spilling a few drinks in the process. The drunken fools all rushed to the corner walls to avoid the enraged warrior as she pushed the stupid men to the sides and headed towards the door. She ran through the entire village before stopping at the feet of a young man sitting on a wooden bench.
He was about 17 summers old, shoulder length black hair with beautiful green eyes radiating back at her. He was frightened when he saw the mighty warrior racing towards him and still continued to shake with fear. Xena quickly realized this and lowered to one knee so that her height wouldn't intimidate the young boy. "Do you have parchment?" She asked. The boy nodded his head, reaching into his bag for his spare paper. She softly placed her hand to rest on his shoulder.
"I need you to do me a favor?"
"Anything Warrior Princess... "
"Shh.. don't think of me as that.... I'm a friend." She smiled at the young boy and watched as the fear drained from his eyes. "I need your help..."
The boy nodded his head as he listened to the strict orders from the older woman. She spoke slowly as he wrote the information down on a parchment, trying to gather every word.
"Ok now go... It should take you close to a day to reach them... Take that horse over there," she said pointing. He quickly nodded his head before he ran in search of the Regent, Ephiny. Xena watched as he quickly made his way down the path and smiled to herself. It was amazing how much the young boy reminded her of Gabrielle. She sighed, trying to shake off the memories of her lost love. Need to stay focused. She repeated to herself silently as she made her way into the forest.

Once Eileen and Gabrielle were both seated comfortably by the fire, the Amazon turned to see the soft glow radiating off her Queen's face. She's so beautiful. She thought silently, before returning her gaze to the fire. Judging from the sad look on the Queen's face, it was clear she was thinking about Xena. Eileen sat lost in her own thoughts about her lost love, when suddenly she heard Gabrielle's soft sigh, "Gabrielle?"
"Umm. What Eileen?"
"You ok?"
"I will be...I have to be."
Eileen smiled, as she saw the glimpse of hope take her Queen's eyes for that brief moment.
"Yes you will... my Queen."
Gabrielle turned away from the young Amazon, to face the darkness that surrounded them. She remained fixed on the sounds of the soft winds, placing her mind in a semi hypnotic state as she thought about Xena. So much had happened to her in this last moon, leaving her confused and alone within her own soul. It was like someone opened her eyes to the mystery and love two women could share together, but also showed her the pain of involvement. Why is this happening to us?
Gabrielle physically felt her heart break from the thoughts running through her mind. What did I do? I finally make her mine and then lose her. She suddenly jumped at the sound of the Amazon's gentle voice.
" I'm gonna lay down now." The Amazon whispered, her eyes still fixed on the fire. Gabrielle unwrapped the blanket from her shoulders, "Me too... Or at least try." She said as she yawned. Gabrielle placed the blanket over both of their bodies and she faced one direction while Eileen faced the other. The Amazon allowed her eyes to close after hearing her Queen's slow breathing, indicating she was asleep.
They slept for close to a candlemark, before Eileen was jerked out of her sleep by a dreadful pain at her side. She sat up immediately, clenching her hands to her chest, as she attempted to cry for help. Unfortunately nothing escaped her lips, she could only gasp for air. The Queen slightly moved at the sound yet didn't awake. Eileen felt the pain lower to her stomach when the Queen accidentally brushed up against her. She softly shook her body trying to make it go away, but it got worse. What's happening to me? She thought silently as she allowed the pain to overtake her completely. She lowered her head to the ground, gasping in agony as she started to cry.

Eileen opened her eyes a candlemark later, and the pain was gone. Was it a dream... had she passed out? Nothing made sense to the young Amazon, as she glimpsed over to check on her Queen.
All of a sudden she found herself placing her arm to rest along the smaller woman's waist to bring her closer. Gabrielle abruptly turned to look at the dazed Amazon.
"What are you doing?" The Queen said in a half asleep, half-shocked state. Eileen softly smirked before moving her hand to softly brush against the Queen's breasts. The bard jumped away from the movement and sat up. "EILEEN!" Gabrielle attempted to stand when she felt her body being pushed against the ground. The Queen panicked when Eileen moved on top of her, holding her beneath her strong Amazon body. The bard became speechless as Eileen lunged down to roughly bite the side of her delicate neck. Gabrielle screamed in pain, "XENA!"

At the same time the Queen and Eileen had set up camp, Xena sat by the campfire alone for the first time in two summers. She built a warm fire where she sat crossed-legged starring deeply into the burning flames. She silently reviewed all the information she had pieced together from this puzzle. Thinking back to when this first started, she remembered when she and Gabrielle visited the Regent and Sarina at the Amazon village. She remembered something had happened, but what? She played with a small branch, breaking small pieces off before throwing them into the fire as her mind began to wander. Zalis! The branch dropped to her feet and her eyes widened, as she thought back to that night by the campfire. She thought about the events that occurred that night with Zalis... The playful glares, Zalis had towards Gabrielle. The obvious jealousy Zalis had because she knew Gabrielle was hers. Xena scratched the side of her face with her fingers. Ahh Xena... This has nothing to do with her. Think! Think.... Shae was the one that saw us off the next morning as we made our way to the village... Xena raised an eyebrow at her own questioning, Shae did seem nervous! The warrior got up from her comfortable position and started to pace around the fire slowly. She gently sighed as her mind continued to search for bits of evidence to this story.
She must be involved... But how? Ares? "ARGH" Come on Xena think. So we leave two days ago to Potedia.... Shae had left the night before, but hadn't returned by the next morning...Then she pops up and says she was following us?
Xena moved the bottom of her palm to gently rub against her tired eyes. The lack of sleep was starting to play mind games with her. She closed her eyes and reflected. All she said was she loved me and that she was sorry... Was sorry? Xena raised her eyes to the sky, partly wanting to call the God of war for some answers, but decided against it. She re-thought the directions Shae had silently whispered into her ear... What trap are you leading me into Shae? She kicked some dirt into the light flames, watching the dust that came up around her.
I should have followed her. Ahh! This doesn't make any sense! Just have to wait... Wait until the message reaches Ephiny. Then I'll find her.
She suddenly lost her train of thought when an awful pain struck across her chest. It was as if something reached in and grabbed her by the heart, squeezing it tightly in it's hand. "Gabrielle!" She frantically began to scream into the night's sky. "GABRIELLE!"
She yelled it over and over, feeling a pain that made her know something was happening to her love. She could feel it close to her heart as if it was happening to her. She clenched her hands to her chest, feeling an overwhelming sense of fear. What's happening to me? she thought silently. She lowered to her knees, placing her head to rest in the palms of her hands. The warrior let out a soft groan, trying hard to hold back her tears from the overwhelming feelings of guilt.
"Ahhh! Gods…WHY?" She grabbed her ribs tightly, trying to take away the cramp that struck her. Her hands felt a numbness she couldn't explain. She tried several times to shake it off, but was unsuccessful. Suddenly her face jerked to the right, and she felt the slight stinging re-emerge.
" What's happening?" She screamed, as she allowed her body to fall to the ground. She felt helpless and alone as the overwhelming sense of fear consumed her. "Gods... GABRIELLE, Where are you?"

"STOP Gabrielle, don't fight me!"
"Get off Eilee..."
Gabrielle was aggressively slapped across the face once again. "SHUT UP! I told you not to talk!"
The Queen struggled under the hold of the Amazon for several seconds before her pleas turned into loud cries. "WHAT are you doing EILEEN!"
The Amazon ignored the words as she tore the bard's top from her shoulders. "NO! EILEEN STOP!" Gabrielle tried with all her strength to push the Amazon off, but couldn't. Her arms were pinned above her head with one of Eileen's strong hands. Eileen placed her weight on Gabrielle, which made it impossible for the bard to escape. "WHAT in HADES is going on!" "That's it! I warned you QUEEN!" Gabrielle felt the third strike to her face more violent than the others. Eileen saw the Queen's sudden shock and smiled, as she tore the remainder of the bard's shirt off. "Gods... Please no." Gabrielle cried.
Her face was stinging horribly from the hard strikes. Gabrielle tried to look into the Amazon's eyes, trying to understand this madness that possessed her. She didn't understand what was happening to her. Why was it happening again? All she saw was darkness, not the normal green eyes she was used to seeing. It didn't matter, nothing mattered. The Queen's main concern was getting this woman off of her, but how? She aggressively rocked her hips forward hoping the movement would cause Eileen to fall to the side, but it didn't. She opened her mouth to scream when she felt the strong fingers around her lips once more. Eileen watched as the Queen closed her eyes at the contact, trying desperately to hide the tears running down her pale face. The Queen's soft whimpers slowly quieted, as if she had surrendered to the Amazon. This caused Eileen to smile as her hand ventured to lie on the soft mounds of skin across the bard's chest. Gabrielle shifted her eyes to stare into the dancing flames of the fire, when she felt the ache coming from her breasts. Shae pinched the nipple aggressively between her thumb and finger causing Gabrielle to moan, from the exquisite pain of her touch. Eileen tried with all her strength to stop herself, but couldn't. It was as if she had no control of her actions. She forced her hand off the Queen's mouth, and loosened the grip on her body, as she tried to understand what she was doing.
"Please Eileen... Don't do this." The Amazon looked straight into Gabrielle's eyes, and smiled before she lowered to capture those glorious lips she desired so much. The taste of her young Queen was extraordinary. She moaned into her captives mouth before tearing her lips away to proceed to the neck.
"Please...Don't." The young Queen desperately pleaded, making the Amazon pull away. Eileen knelt over her frightened Queen, startled by what she had just done.
The natural color of her eyes returned quickly as she stared at the Queen's tear stricken face. Both remained completely still, trying to take in what had just occurred. Eileen tried to control her rapid breathing but was having difficulties. She loosened the grip on the Queen's hands, giving Gabrielle enough time to push away and escape. The Amazon began to feel the pain in her stomach striking her as she lowered herself to ground, her arm wrapped securely around her own waist. Gabrielle jumped back from the sight, before she stormed off into the dark woods. Her only hope was that she could run fast enough to escape the crazed Amazon. She turned only once to find that Eileen was chasing after her, quickly catching up. Gabrielle sped up the pace, trying desperately to lose Eileen within the darkness of the trees. She jumped over a small boulder, almost tripping as she landed but continued on, determined to escape. Suddenly she felt her body jerk back, as Eileen grabbed her skirt, causing Gabrielle to fall back onto the Amazon. They both hit the cold ground simultaneously, groaning from the impact of the fall. The Queen crawled away immediately, trying to escape before Eileen could take her again. The Amazon remained on the ground, fighting her own demons, as she yelled for the Queen to run. Gabrielle was full of fear and hatred for the Amazon. "Never again!" She screamed, as terror ran through her from the thought of someone violating her once again. " can't escape me!" was yelled as Eileen got up to pursue her.

Xena remained on the ground breathless from the multitude of feelings that had raced through her. She couldn't understand what had just occurred. She didn't realize she had felt every ounce of pain the Queen had just experienced. She was confused and angry, her only thought was to run... Run far into the safeness of the trees... They both rushed through the heart of their own wilderness, both minds thinking of each other as they ran through the low branches of the trees. Gabrielle knew she was close to the Amazon village and only hoped she'd make it there in time. She could hear the soft screams behind her. Frantic angry screams from the person who had just tried to harm her. Faster Gabrielle, faster. She thought silently, before her foot tripped over a branch and she tumbled to the ground. Her face struck a small branch, which opened a small gash across her forehead. She lay still for a few moments before raising her hand to cover her bleeding injury.
"By The GODS! Please help me!" She softly whispered, then broke out into tears. At the same time Xena had fallen to her knees, in total defeat. She raised her hands up to the heavens above, as she allowed the soft tears to trail down her face. My Gods! What's happening? She thought silently. "Gabrielle... Where are you?" She slowly closed her eyes as she prayed to the God of the Amazons to protect Gabrielle. At the same time, the Queen allowed her gaze to rest on the moon's reflection, as she prayed to the Goddess Athena to help her find Xena.
Callisto placed her hands to rest on her visitor's strong shoulders. She sat down behind him, patting him on the back to turn around. He did, allowing his glare to rest on the well-defined shoulders of his prized warrior. "Ares! Come on. What did you expect me to do?"
"Ahh I don't know. This is not working!" He said, as he refocused his stare to the corner of the room. "All I wanted, was to get Xena by my side once again... and for you to have the bard but…"
The God of war quickly stood, moving to the opposite side of the room before pacing. "Look Callisto. ALL I was supposed to do was put a spell on the two woman so that they'd bring Xena and the brat here..." He shook his head with annoyance. " But NOOO! You had to go screw up the plan."
Ares looked at her with a serious demeanor. "The plan was, I'd find two Amazons that loved them. Then you would seduce them, taking their bodies as yours. With the help of my spell and your sexual persuasions, they would follow your every command until death. But something's wrong! Something about you didn't make them stick to the plan." He ran his hand through his thick hair. "But what?"
Callisto just stood there and shrugged trying her hardest not to break out in laughter. "Don't look at me. I did my job at seducing them and very well might I add. It's your spell that's backfiring not my expertise."
Ares smirked, before brushing his hair from his face. "Shae only managed to daze Xena for under a minute... and Eileen. Well there's still hope for her. BUT THAT'S NOT GOOD ENOUGH. We should be expecting a visit from Xena, now that your love toy, Shae, gave her our directions!"
"Yes, she'll be punished Ares... Look we still have a chance with the other Amazon. She's with the Queen right?" The warrior moved in closer to the God, "Why don't you do something useful and make sure the Amazon brings the brat here. Come on Ares, we don't have much time!"
Ares crossed his arms as he continued to stare back at her. He moved in to narrow in on her face, causing her to take a step back. "I'll go check on Eileen... You need to prepare in case we have to use your plan." He smiled as he turned to walk away from the warrior. Callisto's face shined with excitement from his last statement and she moved to follow. "Really? My plan to..."
"Shh. Enough Callisto. We'll get them... one way or another."

Chapter 12

The Queen remained completely still against the cold ground, listening carefully for the footsteps of the threatening Amazon. Gabrielle rolled over on her knees staying crouched on the ground as she listened for Eileen's location. She thought about remaining still, hoping that the Amazon would pass her by, but knew it would be risky. She crawled over to a large tree, where she took shelter behind its enormous trunk. Her chest instantly expanded, allowing deep breaths to escape her lips as adrenaline rushed through her veins. All she could hear was deafening silence, causing a slight panic to arise within her. The only noise heard was her jagged breath that mixed comfortably with the morning breeze. She shivered from the cold air against her naked skin. Eileen had ripped the shirt off her shoulders, leaving her legs and upper body exposed to the cold air. Her only source of warmth was the remainder of the skirt around her waist. She wiped away the blood above her right eyebrow and silently hoped the injury would stop bleeding. She closed her eyes as the pounding remerged within her head, making her forget everything surrounding her.
Her soft skin now bore the characteristics of a warrior. Scars now matched the ones her warrior princess possessed, emotionally and physically. Her warrior? Gabrielle slightly frowned at the thought of her warrior. She moved to look at her surroundings, but saw only the dim shadows of the trees. Her breathing had returned to its normal pace as she moved slowly from her crouched position and stood. She thought about techniques Xena had taught her when listening for intruding noises. Xena had taught her so much. Once she thought it was safe, she began a fast stride towards the direction of the Amazon village. She tried not to make a sound as she raced through the open areas amid the trees. Her heart beat rapidly with the fear of being caught. She could see the morning sun making it's way through the night sky as she ventured quickly through the unending space. She sighed in relief, knowing she was getting closer to her territory, when she hit the area crowded with larger trees. The high branches made it hard for her to run without cutting the sides of her bare arms. Her only goal was to reach the outside of the forest, regardless of her condition. She was close to making it outside the forest, when she heard the sound of a branch snapping behind her. She turned frantically to find Eileen standing by a tree, smirking back at her. Gabrielle was frozen in place, her body shaking in panic. Her last reaction before freezing completely was the placing of her arm across her naked breasts.
"You thought you could escape me?"
The Amazon laughed softly. "There's no escaping Gabrielle." Eileen started to walk over to the Queen who was at a standstill, watching as her fate played itself out. Once Eileen was inches away from her Queen, she reached out aggressively grabbing the young woman by the arm. The pain caused Gabrielle to groan in agony before she lowered her body in the direction Eileen commanded. Once Gabrielle was lying flat on her stomach with her arm bent uncomfortably behind her, Eileen smiled at her victory. Now she could have her! She thought to herself, as she lowered her body on top of the Queen's.

Xena lay on the ground feeling awful, as frightful sensations raced through her. She felt strange pains in her arms and legs causing her to twitch uncontrollably, as overwhelming deluge of feelings of loss and suffering exhausted her. The pain in her right arm caused her to groan in agony, from the awkward position Gabrielle was in. She inhaled as she attempted to pull herself up from the ground, but found she couldn't. Instead, her body allowed her only to rest her back against the cold earth, causing small shivers to run up and down her spine. She tried to clear her mind of the awful feelings of torture that had suddenly struck her. Her breathing turned into soft gasps as she opened her eyes to focus on the morning light.
"My Gods! What's going on?"
She softly asked before reaching the edge of her tolerance. Her soft cries suddenly intensified as she felt the strange sensation against her chest. Her mind raced at the sound of Gabrielle's screams, completely audible yet nonexistent. She rolled her eyes back, as she clenched her hands into the dirt around her. The veins in her neck strained against the surface of her skin as she tried with all her strength to hold back her screams. She raised her hips up slightly off the ground, feeling her body convulse without control. Xena jerked her face to the right, suddenly flashing into the scene happening between Gabrielle and Eileen.
Her mouth dropped at the sight. She could see woods... and trees... and focused to see Gabrielle...
She struggled against her own body, trying to get up but found she couldn't. She could only lie there, as the feelings of her lover's battle became her own... and the fear returned. "Gabrielle!"
"XENA!" The Queen screamed as she struggled frantically against the Amazon's tight hold. "No please, Eileen get off me!" she whimpered.
"Shh Gabrielle!" Eileen placed her knee against the bard's lower back to keep her under control as she reached up to grab her victim's arms. The Queen felt the strained pressure against her chest as it was dug deeper into the earth. Her face was pushed aggressively against the ground, making it hard for her to breathe. Gabrielle struggled against the hold momentarily until the pain shot up her back from the knee pressed against it. It seemed the harder she struggled the more pressure was applied, leaving her to surrender as Eileen tied her hands together with a tight rope. Gabrielle gritted her teeth from the discomfort, quietly pleading for it to end. She lay still, feeling the sensations of the Amazon's rough hands against her soft body. Once she was securely tied, she felt powerful strength against her waist as Eileen turned her over. Eileen quickly straddled the young woman, a smile radiating from her Amazon face. "Ahh. That's it my Queen, don't fight me."
Gabrielle hysterically began to cry, engulfed with anger and rage. What had she done wrong? What evil plan was behind this? She tried to remain quiet as she felt her Amazon sneak securely between her legs to lie comfortably above her. Eileen held the tied wrists with one hand, as she lowered herself to reach Gabrielle's ear.
"Shh. You're destined to be with me...Let it happen," she whispered, before biting softly against the bard's neck. Gabrielle trembled at the touch of the foreign lips against her skin, and closed her eyes. Eileen traveled down the side of her neck, leaving a small trail of wetness as she made her way to the waiting breast. The Amazon sighed at the sensation of being so close to her Queen, hearing the soft whimpers of agony escaping Gabrielle's lips. The sound made her wet with desire. Wanting to torture her Queen further, she raised her eyes to look at her victim's expression before gently biting down on the hard nipple. Gabrielle arched her back at the contact, pushing her breast harder into the Amazon's soft lips.
"AHH GODS No. Please..." Her cries faded into the air as the strong hand covered her screaming mouth. Eileen blissfully continued her mission around the bard's breast, mesmerized by the murmured cries of the Queen. The sound of Gabrielle's anguish made the experience deliciously exquisite for the young Amazon. Her body hungered for release as she began to grind her center against her Queen's womanhood. With every thrust the bard's legs were spread uncontrollably further and Gabrielle's struggle intensified. Gabrielle moved her face slightly allowing her just enough freedom to violently bite down on two fingers, almost drawing blood. Eileen jumped up in pain, holding herself up with her right arm as she remained securely between the bard's legs. Gabrielle utilized her body to scoot away from Eileen, before using her legs to strike the Amazon straight in the face. At the impact, Eileen fell back against the ground, giving Gabrielle the opportunity to turn, struggle to her feet and run. She untied her wrists as she headed back in the opposite direction, as Eileen jumped to her feet to follow.
Xena suddenly felt her body returned to normal as a rush of adrenaline raced through her. She jumped to her feet, wiping the tears from her face as she made her way back through the forest, back to Potedia. With maniacal movements, she hurried through the lower branches of the woods, with the purpose of finding her love. Her breathing turned into raging pants as she forced her legs to go faster.
Gabrielle screamed at the sound of the Amazon behind her once again. The sun had made its way out, leaving a morning glow for her to run through. Escaping now would be harder then ever, no place would be safe. She ran for close to a candlemark, using her strong legs to guide her. She wanted to stop and regain her breath but she couldn't, it would mean her capture once more. Tears ran uncontrollably down her face, as she continued. The soft cries of the Amazon behind her, haunting her every move. It was obvious by the louder screams that Eileen was getting closer, the Amazon's strength surpassing her own. This had to be the works of a God, Gabrielle thought before making a sharp turn around a tree. Knowing her legs would give out eventually, the Queen thought to surrender once again, but instead focused on her destination, the Amazon village. Don't stop. Gods don't stop. She repeated to herself quietly.
She turned quickly to check on the Amazon's position, when she suddenly struck someone, and was tossed back onto the ground. She covered her face with her arms, crying hysterically for Eileen to have mercy. The Queen abandoned any thoughts of rescuing herself. Instead she waited on the ground quietly, waiting for the Amazon to attack once more.
"Gabrielle!" Xena's voice startled the bard out of her sheltered self and made her look up at her warrior. "Gabrielle?" Xena was on her knees, her warrior hands resting on the sides of Gabrielle's face.
"Who did this?"
The warrior's anger was evident through the furious tone of her voice. The young woman felt strong hands grab her around the waist, bringing her up to a sitting position. Xena watched as her lover's eyes moved to the ground and continued to cry silently. "Brie?" Xena looked up at the sound of breaking branches to see the Amazon's startled face looking back at her. "XENA? Where in Hades did you...."
"God Please no." Gabrielle softly whispered.
At the sound of the Amazon's voice, Gabrielle panicked. She started to cry harder as she attempted to jump to her feet to escape. Xena looked down at her and grabbed Gabrielle by the shoulders. "SHH... Wait Gabrielle." Her young lover was in shock partly believing Xena was an illusion. She wanted to keep running, to get as far away as she could from the crazed Amazon. "Eileen. Please don't hurt me!" she whimpered. Gabrielle fought aggressively against Xena's arms causing the warrior's eyes to water in fear. "Shh. Gabrielle... It's me..."
"Something wrong Gabrielle?" Eileen yelled sarcastically. The Queen's soft whimpers continued, as the shaking re emerged at the sound of the Amazon's voice. Xena's eyes darted up to focus on the black stricken eyes of the Amazon, anger obvious in the warrior's stare. Eileen's face glowed with pure rage as she watched the loving affection directed towards her Queen. Her body was fully possessed with a hunger to ravish Gabrielle, and tear her from the warrior's grip. But even a possessed soul knew better than to mess with the warrior princess. Xena held her lover tightly, glad to see she was no longer struggling against her grip. Xena's eyes bore onto the smirking Amazon as she tried desperately to restrain herself from attacking her. She wanted to jump up and kill the Amazon that remained fixed on her eyes but couldn't. Instead she tried to use her soft voice to calm her lover, as the glare directed at the possessed Amazon turned into one of death. "Gabrielle... Please come back to me," Xena whispered as she gently stroked the back of her lover's silky hair.
The bard remained on her knees, with her head securely placed against her lover's shoulder. She started to relax in her arms, as Xena continued to talk. Eileen stood there as if waiting to continue her game. The anger boiled through Xena's veins, her face twitched slightly with her rage.
I'll get you. She thought as she cradled her lover's head against her body. Xena made an attempt to pursue the Amazon but the sad cry from Gabrielle's lips kept her on the ground. Her mind was screaming for revenge. Every living creature would feel the wrath of Xena's rage, once she sought vengeance. Eileen laughed down at Xena and the Queen, as she turned to run in the opposite direction. Xena jumped to her feet from reflex and started to run after her but Gabrielle screamed her name and the warrior quickly backtracked over to her. Xena took her lover into an embrace then slowly lowered the woman onto her back. She knelt besides her, holding her lover's small hand within her own. The Queen covered her eyes with her arm, as she lay crying in her own pain and happiness. Xena softly caressed her waist, lightly touching the wounds along her body. "Gabrielle...Please love... look at me."
Gabrielle slowly removed her arm from her eyes, as she looked up to meet Xena's. The warrior could only sigh, her mouth seemed to open but no sound escaped. The only way Xena could express herself was through her tear stricken eyes, which she had lowered to rest on the ground beside her. "I'm sorry I left... I'm so sorry."
Gabrielle's gaze, remained fixed on the warrior's expressions, but her face was devoid of any emotion. She was definitely in a state of shock. The coldness of her body made it obvious to the warrior, that Gabrielle needed time to recover. Xena lowered her arms, placing one underneath Gabrielle's neck and the other under her knees. The warrior lifted her partially nude lover in her arms and slowly made her way towards a safer area in which to care for her. The sounds of the local stream were within the range of the warrior's hearing, but they still were a good distance from it. Xena walked slowly, her eyes never leaving her lover's beautiful face. "Gabrielle?" she whispered in hope she would respond, but she didn't.

Eileen dashed through the forest violently striking at the trees that got in her way. Her hunger for the Queen had grown incredibly, as had her anger. Where in Tarturas did she come from? She asked herself quietly. "AHHH...Xena. You'll pay for this!" she yelled as she forcefully made her way through the forest. She ran for two candlemarks before entering a grassy area just outside the trees. She would have continued, had she not fallen after colliding with the large man she had run into. She glared angrily up at him, prepared to fight then noticed who it was.
"Ares? What..."
"Shh. Get up!" He lowered his arm to help the Amazon to her feet, but she refused his help. She jumped up immediately to square off with his eyes. Her eyes were full of rage and violence as she spoke. "Get out of my way GOD!"
Ares slightly smirked at her remark before placing his hand on her defined shoulders. "Lets go...Amazon."
She didn't have a chance to struggle against his touch, before they disappeared into the morning air.

Shae was walking through a village when the god of war appeared at her side. He was holding the struggling Amazon she recognized as being her favorite fighter. Shae looked up at him with pure disgust, "Leave me alone! You've already caused enough damage!"
Ares laughed loudly before looking over to comment on Eileen's unbecoming actions. Eileen was screaming at the top of her lungs. "Enough ARES!" Shae jumped back surprised at her friend's change of behavior. Ares slapped the hysterical Amazon across the face before returning his gaze to Shae.
Shae moved closer, attempting to free Eileen from his hold, but was grabbed with his free hand. "So you figured me out huh?" He asked. Shae's jaw tensed up at the sight of his conniving face, her body raced with anger. She wasn't a stupid person! She knew something made her act that way towards Xena... and who else but Ares could have done it? She tried to detach from his grip on her, spitting at him as she struggled against his hold. He laughed at her futile gesture before the three of them disappeared.
Xena placed her lover delicately on the ground before rushing over to the stream for some water. The sun was shinning brightly in the sky, as a light breeze ran through the morning air. Xena used her hands to cup some water, then placed her hands over her lover's face. She slowly wet her lover's body, caressing her as she continued. Gabrielle slightly moved at the touch, causing Xena to wander why she didn't awake. She tried nudging her out of the daze, but received no discernible response. She lowered herself to sit cross-legged beside her young lover, hoping to the Gods that Gabrielle would come out of it soon. She concentrated on deciding what her next step would be. Part of her wanted to rush out and extract the revenge she craved.
However, the thought of putting her lover in danger made her hesitate. She wanted to take her lover far away from this land, to a place where they would be safe. Her only option would be to wait until she awoke, and then she would decide what to do next. Her thoughts instantly ceased at the sound of the soft whimper that escaped her lover's lips. "Gabrielle?" Xena's whisper was quiet enough so that only Gabrielle could hear it. She repeated her lover's name several times before Gabrielle finally opened her eyes and looked back at her. "Brie..."
"Shh. It's ok. I'm here now." she said, slowly moving Gabrielle to a sitting position. The Queen was partially dazed as she responded to the warrior. "Xe…na... Are… You...Ok?" The warrior ignored the soft-spoken words, as she brought her lover into a tight embrace. "Gabrielle... thanks the gods you're ok!"
She remained locked in the warrior's strong arms, feeling the comfort she had forgotten. She sighed quietly before moving away from the tight grip. Her eyes met comfortably with the light blue passage leading into her lover's soul. She became lost in the warrior's embrace. A slight whisper escaped her soft lips, enticing the warrior to meet Gabrielle's gaze.
Blue eyes met green in what seemed to be the passage of safety and comfort. They stared into each other's eyes, finding the hidden motives and feelings of love and neither one was able to speak.
"What happened Gabrielle?" The Queen's eyes shifted when the embarrassment of what had occurred struck her. "I...I...don't..." Gabrielle broke away from her lover's arms, her eyes fell to the cold ground that surrounded them.
Before Xena had a chance to respond to the actions, a branch snapped in the distance causing them both to stop abruptly and look up. The warrior's long arm slid across the bard's shoulder blade as she focused all her attention on the intruding noise.
"Stay here Gabrielle."
Xena darted up from the ground, engaged in a fighting position as she made her way towards the intruding noise.

Meanwhile, Ares took Shae and Eileen for a secret meeting with the crazed Callisto. The second part of their plan would soon be complete.

Continued in Part 3

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