The Silent City

by Dr. Bob


Disclaimer: The following story contains some scenes of an explicit sexual nature between two women very much in love. There is also some violent content as well as adult language. If any of these things offend or disturb you, read no further.

Afternoon sunlight filtered down through the green canopy overhead, casting the small secluded clearing into a mosaic of light and shadow. A great horned owl perched high in the branches sat a lonely vigil, awaiting nightfall to begin its nocturnal hunting. A pair of grey squirrels chased each other around the trunk of a large oak, their fluffy tails waving back and forth excitedly. Their chittering being the only sound in the quiet glade aside from the soft humming of the lone young woman at the other side of the clearing.

She crouched near a low fire, tending to a large fowl pierced upon a spit. Leaning over, she used a ladle to stir the contents of a small pot. Fearing she may burn the thick broth, she used a stick to slide it to the side of the embers. She cocked her head as she heard the drumming of fast approaching hooves off in the distance. She looked over to her staff leaning against a tree a few feet away, taking comfort in its proximity. As the hoofbeats got closer, she was able to discern that it was only one horse. She smiled as another woman rode into the clearing on a light brown mare. Her smile broadened as she saw the armored woman look at her affectionately. She watched her as she dismounted.

"Hey, I was starting to get worried about you. You didn't say you'd be that long. Did you have any trouble?" Gabrielle asked, sincerely concerned.

Xena began removing the horse's saddle. "Well, I ran into a bunch of Scharian soldiers who were convinced I was a Vertovan spy." She looked over and saw the expression on Gabrielle's face, seeing the unasked question there. "I convinced them otherwise," not elaborating on the four she'd had to kill before the fools had decided to believe her. She placed the saddle, bit, and bridle with the rest of their things. She picked up a waterskin and walked over towards the woman and the fire. She sat down on a nearby log, watching Gabrielle intently. She hadn't been able to stop thinking about her since she'd left earlier that afternoon.

She smiled as her mind wandered over the past several weeks. It had been just over a month since they'd admitted the love they felt for one another. Their intimate relationship had grown from there. Waking beside Gabrielle every morning was like a blessing from the Gods themselves. Gabrielle's love had soothed the pain she'd felt for a long, long time. She'd come to accept her past so that she could start enjoying the present and look forward to her future; their future. They tended to argue more now. Usually about the other's safety. She didn't mind fighting knowing that the 'making up' made it worthwhile. Sometimes Gabrielle would start an argument over the dumbest little things, just as an excuse. She was happy to play along, however. Their lovemaking had also grown more....diverse as they became comfortable enough to share their quirks, as Gabrielle called them, with each other. Xena's mind recalled their loveplay that morning as she continued to watch the woman lean over the fire.

"What did you find out?" Gabrielle asked as she turned the spit slightly.

"It's worse than I expected."

"How much worse?"

As Xena watched Gabrielle's movements, she was having a little trouble focusing on the conversation. "Well...Scharios and Vertova are still at war. But now, all the smaller, neighboring lands have taken sides and joined the fighting."


"Who knows? To settle old scores of their own. To try and get in on the spoils. I don't know, maybe they were just bored." She quietly removed her sword, chakram, and cuirass as she watched Gabrielle stoop over the fire again. "I found us a relatively safe trail we can use. But, we'll have to travel all day and night. I don't want to stop until we're out of the fighting." She'd vowed to never again take Gabrielle into the middle of a war. Not after what had happened in Thessaly. If they didn't have to reach Antigonia by the end of the week, she wouldn't have even considered heading north at all. Her eyes narrowed as she watched the younger woman stretch.

"Hey, you hungry?" Gabrielle asked.

"Oh yeah."

The bard's eyes widened as she recognized Xena's tone. She turned her head slightly, barely looking back over her shoulder. Grinning, she bent over the fire much farther than she had to, thrusting out her rear. "Well, go ahead and help yourself. There's plenty enough for....Oooo!?" she jerked as she suddenly felt Xena's hands clamp onto her hips. She let out a low laugh as she felt the woman slide her skirt up around her waist and pull her underwear down. After stepping out of them, Gabrielle eagerly spread her legs as she felt Xena's hands slide up the insides of her thighs. She rested her palms on her knees as Xena began sliding a hand back and forth over the length of her vulva. She closed her eyes, concentrating on the feel of Xena's fingers working over her. She could feel herself growing wetter. Knowing Xena could also feel it excited her even more.

Xena lowered her head closer to Gabrielle's crotch, letting out a low sigh as she deeply inhaled her scent. She worked her tongue over Gabrielle's now-slick labia as best she could. She knew she could do it in an easier way on the ground, but the effort was part of the enjoyment. She sucked forcefully on her lover, causing Gabrielle to shudder and moan. Turning around and leaning backwards, she brought her mouth back to Gabrielle, thrusting her tongue deep inside. Her eyes narrowed again as she watched Gabrielle's head roll sideways, her eyes closed. She grabbed the younger woman's rear firmly with both hands, squeezing the firm flesh as she continued to work her tongue around inside of her lover.

Gabrielle let out a long soft moan as Xena began rhythmically moving her tongue in and out of her. She brought a hand up to her sweaty brow, suddenly feeling a little light headed. She wasn't sure if it was the heat from the fire, Xena's passionate ministrations, or a combination of the two. "Xena?" she asked softly.

"Hmmm?" the woman replied, her mouth full.

"Uhm..this fire'," she said before issuing another moan.

Xena pulled back momentarily. "So am I."

"No. Please, I'm serious. Can we move?"

Xena stood and slowly turned Gabrielle around, placing an arm around her waist. "Sure, I'm sorry." As she led her away from the fire, she lowered her mouth to the woman's, kissing her passionately. She pulled away slowly, looking into her eyes. "Feel better?"

Gabrielle smiled and nodded slightly, "Must've been the fire. Now, where were we?"

Xena grinned and lowered herself for another kiss as she untied Gabrielle's skirt, letting it drop to the ground. Her body tingled as she felt Gabrielle's tongue embrace her own. She slid her hands up and unlaced Gabrielle's top, breaking off the kiss to slide it over the woman's head. Smiling hungrily, she lowered her mouth to Gabrielle's beautiful breasts and closed her lips around one of her nipples. As she rapidly flicked her tongue across it, she felt it grow harder inside of her mouth. She quickly repeated the process on its twin. She looked up towards Gabrielle as she elicited another moan out of her.

Gabrielle's eyes narrowed as she lustfully looked down at her lover. She raised her left foot onto the nearby log, spreading her legs wide in invitation. She rolled her head backwards as Xena knelt and returned her mouth to her original task, her eyes closed as she felt the woman's tongue lapping at her clitoris. She raised an arm to her breasts, squeezing them underneath, rolling an erect nipple between her thumb and forefinger. As she felt Xena's tongue slide inside of her once more, she lowered her hands to the back of her lover's head, pulling lightly. She groaned as Xena grabbed her buttocks firmly, pushing her hips forward into the woman's face even further. Panting heavily, she ran her fingers through Xena's hair.

As her lips and tongue expertly continued to push Gabrielle onward, she once again squeezed the firm cheeks in her hands, feeling the muscles tense under her palms. She looked back up as Gabrielle whimpered several times before clenching her teeth and issuing a loud moan.

As the waves of an incredible orgasm washed over her, her head shot back and her body stiffened. She lowered a hand to Xena's shoulder to steady herself, her legs staring to tremble.

Xena sighed happily as Gabrielle's flavor washed into her mouth Sucking strongly, she was rewarded with another moan from the woman. Sensing Gabrielle's legs weakening, she gently eased her down onto the log while keeping her mouth in place. As Gabrielle finally quitened, Xena knelt between her legs and wrapped her arms around the woman. She grinned as Gabrielle leaned forward, bringing their lips closer together. She knew that Gabrielle liked to kiss whenever she'd finished pleasuring her. It excited the bard to taste herself on the lips of her lover. The fact that it excited Gabrielle, excited Xena.

Gabrielle wrapped her arms around Xena's neck as she slipped her tongue into the woman's mouth. They continued the passionate kiss for several moments, their tongues gently caressing each other. Sliding her hands down to Xena's shoulders, Gabrielle looped her thumbs under the straps of her armor and slowly began sliding them over.

Xena pulled back slowly and looked into Gabrielle's eyes as she felt the woman's fingers slide over her skin. She also knew Gabrielle loved to undress her. Personally, she rather enjoyed it as well. She pulled her arms up out of the straps and placed her hands on Gabrielle's shoulders as the woman proceeded to slide the leather armor down over her body. A tingle shot through her, watching Gabrielle's eyes stare hungrily at her breasts as they made their appearance. She rose slowly so that Gabrielle could slide the armor down passed her hips. She watched as Gabrielle knelt and pushed the leather outfit down her legs at which point she stepped out of it. She shuddered slightly as Gabrielle smiled up at her while running her fingernails up the back of her legs.

Gabrielle slowly moved forward as she continued to smile up at the woman. She closed her eyes and gently brushed her nose, mouth and chin through the dark hairs between Xena's legs, breathing in the musky scent of her lover as she continued to lightly stroke the back of Xena's thighs. She pulled away suddenly, turning her head as she sneezed.

Xena couldn't help giggling as she watched the woman brush her hand passed her nose a few times.

Gabrielle's eyes narrowed as she looked up at the woman. "You think that's funny, huh?" Keeping her hands clamped on Xena's waist, she turned around and sat the woman back onto the log. She slid her hands down Xena's legs, stopping at the knee, meeting no resistance as she spread them wide. She brought her mouth forward and lightly traced her tongue over her clitoris, watching as it slowly emerged further from under its hood. She lightly sucked it into her mouth, looking up as Xena jerked. She slowly slid her tongue back and forth over it as she continued to suck gently. Watching Xena's head roll backwards, she softly rubbed the older woman's petal like labia between her thumbs and forefingers. She sucked forcefully as she pulled back slowly, causing the woman to issue a loud growl. Gently spreading Xena's labia apart, Gabrielle passed her tongue over the woman's now-slick opening, letting out a contented sigh as she savored Xena's salty taste. She slowly slid her thumbs into Xena, gently opening her wider as she pushed her tongue inside.

Xena brought her hands to her breasts, squeezing them together as she felt Gabrielle's tongue moving around inside of her. She realized again how good Gabrielle had gotten at that. "I guess it helps when you enjoy what you're doing," she thought to herself as she softly moaned the woman's name.

Gabrielle looked up and smiled as she heard Xena call her name. She rose up on her knees and placed her left hand behind Xena's neck, pulling her down into a kiss. As she lightly sucked on her lover's tongue, she slid the fingers of her right hand along the length of her vulva. She slowly inserted two fingers into Xena, feeling and hearing the warrior moan again. She broke from the kiss slowly, tracing her tongue over Xena's lips as she began to slide her hand back and forth. She stared into woman's eyes as she quickened the pace of her hand, watching them glaze over with lust. She lowered her lips to Xena's right breast, closing her mouth around the large areola, flicking her tongue over the erect nipple as she ran the fingertips of her left hand over the woman's other breast. She bit down lightly, pleased at the reaction she got from Xena. She moved her mouth to the woman's left breast as she lowered her free hand between her own legs. She immediately plunged two fingers into her and was soon matching the rhythm of her right hand. As she continued to fondle Xena's breasts with her tongue and lips, she felt the woman's fingers running through her hair. She tilted her head upwards and planted a long wet kiss on Xena's neck. She traced her tongue up and over the woman's chin, finally coming to rest inside of the warrior's mouth.

Xena slid her tongue along Gabrielle's as she felt herself nearing release. She pulled back and looked at her lover curiously as the woman, with a mischievous smile, straddled her right leg. A tingling sensation swept over her as she felt the warm wetness on her thigh. She closed her eyes as Gabrielle pulled her back into another passionate kiss. As Gabrielle's fingers continued to move inside of her, she brought her hands up to her lover's breasts, kneading them under her palms, rolling the hard nipples between her fingers. She let out a low chuckle as she felt Gabrielle slide back and forth on her leg. She sucked lightly on the woman's tongue, raising a hand to the back of Gabrielle's head.

Gabrielle quickened the movements of her hips and right hand as she lowered her head to the woman's shoulder, holding her tightly with her left arm. As she felt Xena tightening around her fingers, she sighed loudly, feeling herself nearing a climax of her own. She quickly brought her lips back up to Xena's as she came suddenly, wrapping her elbow around Xena's neck. She slowed her hips as she continued to pump her fingers in between the woman's legs. As she felt Xena moan into her, she also felt the wetness trickling past her fingertips. She brushed her thumb over Xena's sensitive clitoris as she made slow deliberate strokes. She pulled away from the kiss and smiled as she saw the look on Xena's face. She removed her slick fingers and brought them up between her and the other woman. Raising an eyebrow, she slowly brought them closer to Xena's lips. Just as the woman opened her mouth, Gabrielle brushed the fingers across the tip of her nose and giggled. Before Xena could get upset, Gabrielle playfully licked it off with her tongue.

Xena, now holding Gabrielle's hand, closed her mouth over the wet fingers, sucking on them lightly. She then brought her lips to Gabrielle's and kissed her once again, allowing their tongues to share in the taste as Gabrielle slowly slid off of her leg and knelt in front of her. She looked down and noticed the large wetspot on her upper thigh. She looked down at Gabrielle with a smirk as she saw the woman notice it also.

"Whoops," Gabrielle exclaimed softly as she shrugged. "I'll take care of it," she finally said with an impish smile. Pulling her hair back, she lowered her face to Xena's thigh and proceeded to pass her tongue in long strokes over the wet skin.

Xena closed her eyes and relaxed as Gabrielle continued to groom her like a cat. She jerked when she suddenly felt the woman's tongue on her still sensitive labia. She looked down at Gabrielle's smiling face. "C'mon, let's go get washed up." She stood and took Gabrielle by the hand, leading her to the abandoned well they'd found earlier that afternoon. Although the well itself was in decrepit condition, the water at the bottom was cool and drinkable. The bucket that they'd found nearby had a few holes in it, but the leak was slow enough that it was still almost full by the time they hauled it up. Xena pulled on the rope hand over hand as she looked over at Gabrielle a few feet away, staring up into the trees. Pulling out the bucket, she stared at the water inside for a moment, thinking. Reaching a quick decision, she sighed, shrugged, and doused Gabrielle with the contents. Grinning, she tossed the bucket back down the hole as she listened to the bard's colorful tirade.


Gabrielle finished drying the utensils and packed them into a large leather pouch. She looked up at Xena, sharpening her sword nearby. "How was dinner?"

"Very good. As usual," she replied sincerely, returning Gabrielle's warm smile.

"You said you'd found a safe trail or something?"

"Yeah, there's a pass through the hills north of here that extends for miles. The terrain is pretty heavily forested and rocky. Not something you'd want to march an army across. Besides, there's no strategic value to it. I figure we should be able to get through without incident." She rose and walked over towards their things.

"You said we'd have to travel all day and most of the night?" Gabrielle asked as she leaned back against the nearby log.

Xena replaced the whetstone in her saddle bag and sheathed her sword. "No. I said all day and all night."

Gabrielle spread her arms out to the side, trying to appear sensual. "Well, I guess we should make good use of tonight."

Xena smirked as she turned and spotted Gabrielle's posture and expression. "I think maybe you should get some sleep." She turned and walked over to Argo, pouring out a small pile of the sorghum she'd bought in the last village they'd passed.

Gabrielle quickly slipped off her top and skirt and reclined back against the log with her legs slightly spread and arms folded over her stomach, leaving her breasts uncovered. "I'm not really that sleepy."

Xena smiled as she scratched Argo's muzzle. She started walking back towards her. "Let's see how you..." She stopped her sentence and froze in place, her eyes going wide as she stared passed Gabrielle's shoulder.

Gabrielle saw the look on her friend's face. "Xena, what's.."

"Gabrielle, remain absolutely still. Don't move an inch." She crouched down on all fours and slowly crawled closer to the woman, who was now wide-eyed herself.

Without moving her head, she tried looking out of the corner of her eye to whatever Xena was staring at. "It's another snake, isn't it? Damnit! I hate snakes!" she whispered loudly as her heart started beating faster. A week earlier, Xena had killed a large poisonous snake only a foot away from her head as she'd slept. The sword stroke had awaken her to see the serpent's head wriggling on the ground a few inches away. As Xena crept closer, still staring over her shoulder, she closed her eyes tight. "Is it big? Is it poisonous? Hurry up and.."

"Shhhhh," Xena whispered as she came closer.

Gabrielle remained silent and kept her eyes shut as she felt Xena draw closer. "Why doesn't she hurry up and kill it!?" she thought to herself as she held her breath. Her eyes suddenly snapped open as she felt Xena's lips press against hers. She spun her head around quickly, looking back at the log for the snake. She turned back around slowly, her eyes narrowing as she saw the impish grin on Xena's face.

"Urrrrrrgghhhh!!" she growled loudly as she rose and stomped off several yards. "That...WASN'T...FUNNY!!" she shouted as she balled her fists at her sides.

Xena spread out a blanket in front of the log as Gabrielle continued her tantrum. "Uh...Gabrielle? Did I ever say there was a snake?" she asked calmly.

"No! But that's what you let me think!!" She watched as Xena started to undress, smiling up at her. She spun around and crossed her arms. "Hah! Don't even THINK about it!"

Xena smiled as she watched Gabrielle. "C'mon and lie down. I thought you said you wanted to make good use of tonight?"

"I did. But now, sleep doesn't sound like that bad an idea," she commented as she continued to stare off into the forest.

Xena smirked as she looked up at the woman, knowing how things would go next. She knew Gabrielle wanted to make love as much as, if not more than, she did. But, she would play stubborn for as long as she could, trying to make her feel guilty. Narrowing her eyes, she sat with her legs folded in front of her. She had been wanting to try something for the past several days on her, and it certainly seemed like the perfect time. Gabrielle had been getting her to do whatever she wanted for a long time with her manners, gestures, and expressions, regardless of whether she was doing it intentionally or not. Xena wanted to see if it worked both ways. "Please Gabrielle. Come and lie down," she said softly in a very timid and innocent voice. She smiled as she watched the woman's head turn slightly. She used the same tone, "I'm sorry."

Gabrielle swallowed as she listened to Xena's voice. She'd never heard her speak like that before. Something about it sent shivers through her. She turned slowly and looked down at Xena. Her face held an innocent expression which, while very out of place on the woman, aroused Gabrielle immensely.

Xena somehow managed to suppress a feral smile as she saw the look on Gabrielle's face. "Please don't be angry with me Gabrielle. I promise I'll be good." She blinked her eyes a few times and pouted slightly. She smiled as she watched the younger woman shudder and turn away. "Yes!!" she thought to herself. She decided to press the advantage. "What's wrong? Don't you like me anymore?" She quickly removed the smile as she watched Gabrielle look her way once more.

Gabrielle swallowed again as she looked down at Xena, her heart beating faster. Seeing and hearing the woman, whom she'd seen fight toe to toe against Ares himself, talk and act that way, was making her VERY.......horny.

Xena cocked her head slightly, still looking very innocent. "I'm sorry. That was a bad thing for me to do. Please don't be angry."

Gabrielle took a hesitant step closer. "Don't..don't do..that."

Xena cocked her head to the other side. "Don't do what?"

Gabrielle stepped closer, swallowing again. "Don't do..THAT."

"What?" Xena asked, biting her lower lip to stop from smiling as she read the desire on Gabrielle's face.

Gabrielle practically jumped onto Xena, pushing her back onto the blanket and kissing her fiercely. She lay on top of the woman, working her mouth over Xena's passionately as she squeezed her large breasts. Bracing herself on her elbows, she kissed her way down Xena's neck as she plucked at her lover's hard nipples. She continued kissing Xena's soft skin moving down over her breastbone. She squeezed Xena's breasts against her cheeks as she worked her tongue in between them.

Xena grabbed two handfuls of blanket as Gabrielle continued to `maul' her breasts. She'd never seen the woman that excited. She moaned softly as Gabrielle's lips, teeth, and tongue began working on her sensitive nipples. She placed her hands behind her head, giving the woman free access to her chest. She arched her back as Gabrielle began sucking on one of her nipples forcefully. Grinning slightly, she cried out softly, "Ooooo, Gabrielle!?" in the same voice she'd been using. She looked up as she felt Gabrielle pull away, seeing the lustful look on her lover's face. "What?" she asked softly.

Growling, Gabrielle backed up and then drove her face into the patch of dark hairs between Xena's legs. She pushed her tongue as deep as it would go as she locked her arms under and around Xena's thighs. She felt Xena's hips pull away slightly. She flexed her biceps harder, pushing her face into the woman further, growling again as she heard Xena issue a deep moan. She brought her left hand down and began pinching Xena's clitoris between her fingers as she continued to thrust her tongue inside of her.

Xena moaned loudly as she felt herself racing towards a climax. Every time her hips would jerk away, Gabrielle would pull her back, attacking her more fiercely. She surrendered herself to the woman's merciless onslaught, bringing her hands up to squeeze her breasts. She drew in a sharp breath as she suddenly felt Gabrielle suck heavily on her clitoris while thrusting a few fingers into her. Her lungs pumped harder as she neared the edge. Feeling Gabrielle's tongue slide into her once again pushed her over. Her body stiffened as she came. She arched her hips, slightly raising her pelvis off the ground as Gabrielle continued to devour her. After several seconds, she eased back down, breathing through her mouth as Gabrielle's tongue made long slow strokes over her vulva. Grinning again, she concentrated on not laughing while saying, "Oh Gabrielle, that felt sooo good."

Gabrielle's eyes narrowed again as she looked over the dark fur at the woman's face. Taking one last swipe at her clitoris with her tongue, Gabrielle crawled up Xena's body, stopping with her face above her lover's. She let herself rest on the woman's body, feeling their breasts press against each other as they kissed again. After kissing for several moments, Gabrielle raised herself to her knees and looked down at Xena with a raised eyebrow.

Smiling, Xena eagerly nodded at Gabrielle's unasked request and slid down until the woman was right over her face.

Gabrielle slowly spread her knees father apart until she felt Xena's mouth press against her.

Xena inhaled deeply as her nose passed through the patch of fine golden hairs covering Gabrielle's crotch. She lightly brushed her lips over the woman's already slick labia. The warrior gently pinched the thin folds between her lips, tugging on them gently. She slowly ran her tongue over the younger woman's opening, smiling as she heard her release a lingering sigh. She slowly brought her hands from behind Gabrielle.

As she felt Xena's hands on her waist, she reached down and took them in her own, lacing their fingers together. She smiled down at Xena's confused look and shook her head, "Uh-uh. No hands," she said softly. She let out a purr as she watched Xena's eyes narrow and felt her tongue push inside of her. She rolled her head back as Xena's lips and tongue worked over most sensitive areas for several glorious moments. She opened her eyes and looked down as she felt Xena try and pull her hands closer. "Hey? I said no hands." She pulled Xena's hands back and placed them on her hips. Still smiling, she lowered her own hands and used her fingers to spread her labia apart, exposing the light pink skin inside.

"I thought you just said no hands?" Xena asked curiously.

"I said you couldn't use yours."

Xena smirked up at her before raising her mouth back to the woman's opening.

Gabrielle lowered her hand again and spread her lips apart. Smiling mischievously, she lowered the finger to Xena's mouth, letting her lick it several times. She then pulled it back up and began rubbing her clitoris, cooing happily.

While she continued to lap at the soft pink flesh, Xena felt a tingle between her own legs as she watched Gabrielle fondle herself. She lowered her hands and inserted two fingers into her. She noticed Gabrielle's breasts rise and fall with her quickened breathing. She watched the woman's fingers intently as she pushed her tongue inside her once again. As Gabrielle moved her fingers faster, so did she. The passionate cries which signaled Gabrielle's impending orgasm were also pushing Xena towards one. She watched Gabrielle's body tense as she suddenly tasted the woman's release. She closed her eyes as she continued to pump her fingers into her.

As Gabrielle's breathing slowed, somewhat, she looked down and saw that Xena's eyes were closed. Looking back over her shoulder, she saw why. She carefully climbed off of her and pulled, with no small effort, the woman's hands from between her legs.

Xena's eyes opened as she stared up at the smiling woman with a bewildered expression. "Gabrielle, what are you..."

"Get up," she interrupted the warrior as she placed her hands on Xena's hips.

Still a lot confused and more than a little frustrated, Xena complied and allowed Gabrielle to position her on all fours. Her confusion and frustration quickly vanished as Gabrielle, kneeling along side, spread her legs apart and lowered her mouth between them. She groaned as she felt her lover's tongue push its way inside of her.

Gabrielle slid her tongue in and around Xena's moist opening for several minutes, pleased by the sounds the woman emanated. Pulling back, she reached under and slowly pushed three fingers into the woman, chewing her lips as she watched Xena lower her head to the ground and rest it on her crossed forearms. She began rapidly pumping the fingers into her as she planted several wet kisses on her firm buttocks. Before long, she watched as Xena began thrusting backwards against her fingers, moaning loudly. She brought her left hand around under Xena's stomach and used it to rub her erect clitoris. As soon as she touched it, Xena grunted and arched her back. Gabrielle felt Xena constrict around her fingers right before she came. She slowly moved the fingers back and forth as orgasmic waves continued to washover her lover. Rubbing Xena's rear, she raised her right hand to her mouth, happily licking her fingers clean. Cocking her head slightly, she looked down at Xena, her head still resting on her arms. Feeling a mischievous urge, she smacked the woman on her left cheek, smiling as Xena immediately pushed herself up onto her hands. "Did you like that?"

"Yes," Xena admitted hesitantly without turning around.

"Yes...mistress," Gabrielle corrected her as she kneaded the reddened flesh, feeling a little brave.

Xena looked back at her over her shoulder with a raised brow. "Yes...'MISTRESS?'" she asked.

Gabrielle, suddenly questioning her judgement, bit her lip and nodded not so assuredly.

Xena's eyes narrowed. "Oh I don't think so," she said right before she spun around and grabbed the startled woman.

Gabrielle squealed as she tried to get away from the warrior. Her heart raced faster as Xena pulled her back towards the nearby log.

Sitting down, Xena lay Gabrielle down over her lap, holding an arm across her back, pinning her in place. "So? You're into spanking, huh? Well, let's see if you get as good as you give." She squeezed Gabrielle's firm cheeks while letting out a deep laugh.

Gabrielle, struggling to no avail, looked back over her shoulder at the woman. "Please don't. Please, please, please. I won't do it again. Please," she continued to beg profusely.

Xena paused and lowered her hand, trying to determine if Gabrielle was playing along or was serious. From the woman's persistent struggles, she thought maybe she was.

"Please don't. Please, I'll do anything."

Xena chuckled once. "Anything?" she asked.

Gabrielle nodded. "Anything you want. I promise."

Xena released Gabrielle, watching as the younger woman backed up a few feet, staring up at her. "You should be careful Gabrielle. That's a dangerous word to be throwing around lightly."

Crawling forward slowly, Gabrielle knelt before Xena, looking up at her seriously. She placed her hands around the woman's waist and spoke softly, "I love you with all of my heart and I trust you with my life. I would do anything and everything you ask of me."

Seeing the complete sincerity in the woman's expression, Xena raised a hand to her cheek. "Just love me, Gabrielle."

"For the rest of my life," she answered softly as she leaned forward and kissed her lover tenderly. She hugged Xena tightly as she rested her head on the woman's shoulder, pressing their bodies together, feeling Xena's heartbeat against her chest.

After a long, quiet embrace, Xena pulled back and looked into Gabrielle's watery eyes. "I think we really should get some sleep. We can wash in the morning."

Gabrielle smiled up warmly and nodded.

Xena balled up a spare blanket into a pillow. Looking over at the fire, she decided she'd just let it burn itself out. Laying back, she held her arms open to Gabrielle, knowing how the woman liked to sleep.

Smiling, Gabrielle snuggled up next to Xena with her cheek against the woman's chest. She sighed as she felt Xena's arms around her. "Good night, Xena."

Xena smiled and kissed Gabrielle on the top of the head. "Good night...mistress."

Gabrielle giggled and kissed Xena on the neck before settling back against her and closing her eyes.


Xena lightly pulled on Argo's reins, whispering for the animal to halt near the top of a large forested hill. She carefully turned and looked back at Gabrielle. The woman's head rested against her shoulder as she slept. Xena kept a hand over Gabrielle's arms which were wrapped around her waist. She turned back and looked out across the valley. The flames from the small town a few miles away rose high into the air. She could faintly hear the sounds of battle drifting up from somewhere in the darkness below. They'd managed to travel throughout the day relatively unmolested. A few hours before dusk, they'd run into a small group of Scharian soldiers turned highwaymen. It didn't take long before the ones left standing fled in search of easier prey.

She watched as another fire flared to life off in the distance. Her mind wandered back to the years that she'd led an army of her own. Toppling rulers as she saw fit. Sacking villages for whatever she needed to keep her army fed and supplied; like some giant creature whose sole purposes were to consume everything in its path and grow. As she watched the second fire spread, she realized the creature still existed. It now went by different names and had different faces, but it existed all the same. This war she was watching before her was made up of two different sides with several factions each. All with their own personal agendas. Years ago, she would've strolled in there with her army and allied herself with the stronger side; the Vertovans, probably. She would've let them fight the majority of the battles and then turned the factions against each other, allowing them to weaken themselves even further. Finally, her army, well rested, could've had complete control over the entire region within a month. She lowered her head as she remembered the lust for power that had consumed her. A hunger that could never be sated.

Her melancholy was broken as she felt the younger woman stir behind her. Smiling, she looked back at Gabrielle as the woman raised a hand to wipe her eyes. "Hey, good morning," she said softly.

"Is it morning yet?" the bard asked, finally looking around.

"No, we still have a few hours before dawn. How'd you sleep?"

"Not very good." She reached down and untied the waterskin from the back of the saddle.

"I'm sorry my shoulder isn't more comfortable." Xena offered sarcastically.

"You're shoulder's just fine." She kissed the woman on the back of the neck before continuing. "It's the rocking that keeps waking me up." She tied the skin back in place before wrapping her arms back around Xena's waist and laying her head against her. "How much longer before we can stop?"

"A while. We'll have to walk in a little bit and let Argo rest." Xena smiled as she heard Gabrielle mumble something. She was tempted to stop and let her sleep comfortably, but the shouts and sounds of battle below were growing louder. She turned Argo back towards the trail and lightly urged her forward.

* * *

Xena smiled as she looked across at Gabrielle, watching her yawn once again. The woman leaned on her staff as she walked, her eyes half shut. Xena moved closer and placed an arm around her shoulder. "Hey, you ready to stop?"

Gabrielle looked up at the woman, her eyes opening wider. "Really?!" she asked hopefully.

Xena smiled affectionately and kissed her on the forehead, "Yeah, I'm pretty sure it's safe."

Gabrielle let out a loud sigh. "Thank the Gods. I think I'll lay down right here in the grass." She started to crouch down but stopped as Xena pulled her back up to her feet.

"No. C'mon, we'll find a better spot than this." As Gabrielle walked forward, Xena stopped to check Argo's left front leg, noticing the animal was limping slightly. "What's the matter, girl?" She reached down and lifted the horse's hoof, smirking as she noticed the stone lodged under the shoe. She used her dirk to pry it out as Argo waited patiently. She called out to Gabrielle, "Hey?! I think there's a small town a few miles away towards the northwest, do you want to try and make it to a REAL bed?" She looked back up the trail when Gabrielle didn't answer her. She saw her standing at the top of a small rise, staring off in the distance. "Gabrielle, what is it?" When Gabrielle still didn't respond, she walked up the gradual slope towards her, a bit concerned. "Gabrielle, what's wrong? Didn't you hear...," she let her sentence trail off as she saw what had grabbed the woman's attention.

Across the shallow valley, stood the ruins of what appeared to be a small city. The remnants of a large wall protruded from the surrounding forest and several large buildings could be seen over the green canopy. It had obviously been abandoned for a very long time as evidenced by the surrounding vegetation's efforts to reclaim it. "Where did THAT come from?"

Gabrielle spoke without looking away. "You see it too? Good, I thought I was imagining things. Look at the size of it." She looked up to Xena. "You've never seen this place before?"

Xena shook her head and replied softly, "No."

"Do you want to get a closer look?"

Xena stared down at the woman, seeing no sign of the fatigue that had been there only a short while before. She looked back at the huge grey stones which made up the high walls of the forgotten metropolis. She had to admit that her own curiously was piqued as well. "Okay, let's go."

The pair walked down the small hill and started across the large field. As they pressed on, they soon realized that the city was farther away than first expected. It's sheer size had made it seem much closer than it actually was. Walking through the waist-high grass, they continued to make their way towards the large archway marking the city's main entrance. As they drew closer, a sense of awe crept over them, feeling somewhat dwarfed by the huge grayish monoliths.

Xena marveled at the workmanship and sheer effort it must've taken to lift the huge stones into place. She noticed several large breaches in the walls where the ancient stonework had crumbled away. As they cleared the grassy plain, she noticed that its edge ran parallel to the front wall of the city which was about thirty or forty feet away. The ground changed to gravelly soil as they drew closer to the entryway. Staring upwards, Xena estimated the top of the archway had to be at least eighty feet high. A dozen questions streamed through her mind all at once. Who built this place? Why had they abandoned it? Why had she never seen or even heard of it before?

Gabrielle walked over to the side of the archway, her eyes drawn to a series of worn runic symbols. "Xena, look at these." She peered closely at the strange writing which appeared to travel up the entire archway. "Even if it weren't so weathered, I still probably couldn't read it. I've never seen anything like this." She traced her fingertips over the chalky looking stone. "I think...this is some type of marble."

Xena scraped the blade of her dagger across the stone and nodded. "It's marble, but none like I've ever seen before. Where did it all come from?" She walked back towards the center of the entryway, studying the ground closely.

"What is it?" Gabrielle asked, walking closer towards the woman.

"I think I can make out...hoof prints. But it's hard to tell with this rocky soil. It might not be anything." She looked into the interior of the city. A wide street continued straight for several hundred yards before ending in a pile of rubble from a collapsed structure. Large buildings of the same grey marble fronted the thoroughfare on either side. She started walking forward but stopped as she felt Argo's reins draw tight. She turned and looked back at the animal. "Well, c'mon," she instructed as she lightly tugged on the reins. The animal snorted loudly before hesitantly following them inside. Xena noticed that the streets, apparently once cobbled, were now overrun with weeds.

Looking to both sides of the large avenue, they could see a smaller side street running along the length of the wall. More large structures fronted those streets as well. As they continued on, the clip-clop of Argo's shoes striking the stones echoed loudly off of the bare walls around them.

Xena's eyes narrowed as she looked around her. Something was bothering her about this place, but she couldn't exactly figure out what it was. And THAT, bothered her even more. She walked faster to keep up with Gabrielle who was staring upwards at the tall structures to either side. As they reached the large collapsed building, they went around it's crumbled base, walking into a narrower side alley.

As they made their way back around to the main street, Gabrielle turned to Xena. "Have you noticed that none of these buildings seem to have any doors or windows?" she asked softly.

"Yeah, I did." She smirked as she looked back down to the younger woman. "Why are we whispering?"

Gabrielle shrugged as she continued to stare up at the large buildings surrounding them. AI don't know. It just seems...appropriate."

Looking back down the large street, Xena had to agree. "Yeah, I guess I know what you mean."

As they continued deeper into the city, the road elevated slightly. They soon found themselves walking over a wide artificial lake. Gabrielle walked over towards the edge of the causeway, staring into the murky water a few feet below.

"Stay away from the edge, Gabrielle," Xena warned as she came closer.

Gabrielle suddenly backed up a few quick steps. "You think there's something alive in there?"

Xena looked at the stagnant, muck-covered surface, judging the water to be only a few feet deep. "I doubt it. But if you fall in, that filthy water could be just as dangerous." She turned in a slow circle as she looked at the expanse of the city. She imagined she could see the throngs of people walking through the streets. Children laughing and playing in the clean water. She closed her eyes and listened to the noises of the crowd. The shouts of merchants and tradesmen hawking their wares. She opened her eyes and took in the city once again as it truly was. The eerie silence seemed like a tangible presence in and of itself.

"Xena, what is it?" Gabrielle asked softly, looking up at the woman.

Xena snapped out of her trance as she looked down at the woman gently holding her hand. "I was noticing the silence. You would think to hear at least the calls of a few birds or the drone of insects. But...there's nothing."

Shielding her eyes from the glare of the sun, Gabrielle looked towards the far edge of the lake where several large structures stood. "Now that you mention it, I haven't seen a living thing since we got here."

Continued - Part 2