Disclaimer: The characters of Xena and Gabrielle belong to Renaissance Pictures and no infringement was intended. This was done in respect of Lucy and Renee.

Violence: none

Sexual content: If under the age of 18 or illegal in the area where you reside, please do not read. This contains love of two people of the same sex. Please go somewhere else and read.. there are plenty of fanficton stories out there to meet your criteria.

This piece was done as an inspiration to finish a painting by the same name, but the story developed and took on a life of it’s own, and the painting is yet to be completed. Comments to BBradley at branwynob@yahoo.com are appreciated. Or go to my URL for visuals; http://www.illuminatedfacets.com




Xena Harps Gabrielle of Flowers

By Betty E. Bradley

With respects to the Mabinogion and Taliesin

Once upon a time, before there was time…

The day dawned cool and crisp. Although the sky was clear and a brilliant blue, there was a vast emptiness of dark and sorrow surrounding the Warrior. She knew something was missing, a void in her life. She had been aware of that for quite awhile. Although she was tough and self-reliant there was a need in her life so strong, she searched unconsciously everywhere she went for that piece to fill the hole that had developed in her heart.

She had traveled alone, all over the inhabited lands, but she found no relief to her inner yearning. She had no army behind her anymore, they had left her, deserted her. She had had a strong masculine friend that had talked her out of a stormy past. A wild and hungry gaunt look filled the beautiful cerulean blue eyes. Everywhere she looked she found nothing to pacify her need. Of course she had "friends". People she knew from the "old days", and new ones she met on her journeys. But basically these were only acquaintances, she never let them close to her and see her inner hurt. Even though her sexual desires were satisfied by this one or that, always strangers, she never stayed with them or let anyone see the pain. She knew she could never be at peace until the other half of her soul was found. This is what she decided and what she constantly looked for.

So she had continued, through all seasons, traveling north this time, until she now was deep into the Celtic lands, on an island far in the northwest. She had picked up bits of knowledge on her journeys, always useful, from any of the wisefolk and shamans she happened to meet on her way. She did not search them out, but somehow they were aware of her need and looked for her. She had been to Asia, India, and all points in-between, Egypt, Cyprus and Crete as well as other areas around the Middle Sea and the Adriatic, Rome of course, and Greece (her homeland). The lands about the Dark Sea, Troy, Myceanea, Colchis, she had been to. She was well-traveled.

The Warrior looked around. This was an old land. The standing stones in the fields were as old or older than anything ancient in her homeland. The Season now, she reasoned was early Spring in this northern clime- Erin. It was later in the year than she supposed it should have been, like at home, but she had never been here before, so this was all so different. She really wasn’t aware of too much going on around her anymore because of her continuous conscious "haze". There was just enough awareness for her survival. She made a mental note, for the future, of this area though, just in case she needed to remember.

The trees and bushes were budding, the wild flowers starting to bloom. Everything was verdant on the first flush of springtime. A lushness in rich and brilliant colors surrounded her, almost making her dizzy from the intensity of it. Delicate and strong was the world surrounding her, blossoms and leaves of every conceivable color known to exist. They blended together into a kaleidoscope that moved and changed with every breath of air that floated around. And whipped into a frenzy when the wind picked up in strong gusts.

Now was the time she hurt the most. Rebirth of the world. A rebirth was needed for her too. She stopped and shook her head trying to get a hold of herself and access her surroundings to plan what she needed to do next. There was a small village ahead. She'd pause there awhile to replenish and refuel her basic needs.

Xena always had musical ability. She sang with a voice to match her beauty. For "beauty" was a small stab at a description of the warrior. She was a striking sight to behold, with long sable-colored hair that reached halfway down her back, wide high cheekbones set with amazing blue eyes and mobile dark eyebrows, an aquiline nose and beautiful full ruby-colored lips. Xena was blessed by a strong chin and jawline. She had lightly bronzed skin, naturally, not just because of years spent out of doors. She was quite tall as well, being over 14 cubits, but perfectly proportioned and full figured for her height The Warrior was broad shouldered and long bodied with a slim waist and hips that flared slightly to balance. Her legs were impossibly long with the flat muscles that belied her strength and grace of movement. She dressed in dark leathers, with bronze armor covering her chest and back. Arm bands and bracers covered her bare arms while knee high boots with greaves protected her legs. She had large hands, but they were in proportion to her body. Her fingers were well-shaped, extremely long and strong as steel. There were weapons attached to her person, which usually intimidated without her having to use them, most of the time. She wore a long dark cloak that reached the ground and covered up most of what her strong attributes were. But when she smiled, which was seldom now, her face glowed and her eyes twinkled. She had several smiles, from a small crooked grin, a large expression that showed off her perfect white teeth to the feral smile so many knew all over the Known World and had been benefit of it. Her face was very mobile and ran the gamut of expressions. Her laugh was deep and intoxicating when she was truly amused to a chuckle that could enhance. Xena was enigma to so many people. She could entrance and tease, but was dangerous to a fault But to herself she was simple. And so emotionally sad. It showed to everyone who looked her way, murmuring to themselves of what a shame it was that someone so beautiful could be so dark and unhappy.

She had not utilized her musical talent lately as when she was younger. She used to sing for joy and to please loved ones. She sang lullabies for Solon. But there was no reason to vocalize now. The centaur, Kaleipus, was raising Solon, her son. She had not seen him in years. And that was another time, and another life. Xena sang in honor of those who had died standing by their fiery pyres and she had made up little songs for the amusement of her brothers. But no longer. It seems as if all of the songs had been drained away from her life to add to the whole of her emptiness.

But this was a musical land she was in. She heard it everywhere. In the lilt of the voices of the people, in the wind and trees and just even the air was consumed with melodic sounds. Even the rain and storms played a symphony, of sorts .It finally filtered though her "haze". She listened, trying to absorb the lyrical vibrations into her very being and become part of it... to lose herself.

Out of curiosity she picked up a Celtic harp or clairseach (as the bards call it), in a small village she visited and traded gold coin for it to a craftsman of no small repute. It was an instrument of which the owner had died, and left no kin. For most harps were passed on from generation to generation, but since the previous owner had no relatives, the craftsman had inherited it. He had other harps he had created, so this small one was really of no great importance to him. It was quite a beautiful instrument nonetheless, with old designs over the entire body of it. It glowed with a patina created by loving hands over many years of fond embracing.

This triangular instrument had more strings than the Grecian lyre or even it’s relative and look- alike the northern crwyth., but Xena taught herself how to tune this ever-wayward instrument, after hearing another harp played and the scale run. At least this kept her mind off other things. It was a diversion, of sorts. It had a much different scale of notes, than the instruments she was used to. This one played melodic sounds on brass strings in scale-series of eight graduated notes, and the number of strings was 27 (a derivative of the magical 9). Xena picked out a song she remembered from long ago, very hesitantly. Not only was her ear good for warning of danger and hearing small whispers in crowds but also for music and remembering how some tune sounded, (and when the harp was out of tune, which was often).

Xena worked on technique, trying to lose herself, even to searching out an old Gaelic harper she had heard of, Fedlimid MacDaill.for some instruction. He was somewhat afraid of this tall dark female warrior and apprehensive about her desire to learn how to play the harp. But Xena convinced him of her seriousness in learning, and he relented. She knew she was capable of playing a difficult (to her) instrument, but she recognized the fact that a little help couldn't hurt and would probably get her to the point of respectability musically. She watched and listened, and took delight in even the smallest of improvements. She practiced over and over the same scale and elemental tune using the dexterity and strength in her wondrous long fingers until even the birds in the trees became bored and flew away. Eventually, with time and the determination she exuded, Xena became quite adept. She took to this studying as training to fight and honing her warrior abilities, and really lost herself into her accomplishments. Xena always strove for excellence in whatever she did.

She did not neglect her fighting prowesses. After watching the warrior work out with her weapons in the early mornings in secret, Fedlimid declared her to be the equal of the great CuChulain himself, in strengths, prowess and physical abilities. "Ahhhh", he explained to himself, "maybe the reincarnation of the hero of old."

This determination on her abilities of the harp took some while and the Seasons changed. A year circled and again Spring turned into Summer. When she thought herself ready Xena played for the old harper.

"You have done well, my child, in a short time. Usually it takes many, many cycles of years and moons of study to achieve the ability you have reached". Fedlimid was extremely impressed with her talent.

He did not realize the "hurry" that was unconsciously pushing Xena and her abilities. He listened with a dream-laden smile, and thought back to his younger days, then recommended that she perform for the Chief Druid, Cathbad, in the Sacred Grove. Xena was reluctant to do so, for she was no "bard" or even a performer - like a bear or a pet monkey. But after much persuading and encouragement from the old harper she went into the deep forest to the nemeton carrying the harp in its case on her back. And the Druid saw, with his inner wisdom, that she was in great need and invited her to play saying, " Come, come, my Attican Treasure, play for yourself, and you will be fulfilled."

So with much wariness, Xena sat down on the ground under a large tree that was included only on the outskirts of the grove. She chose not the oak, which was so sacred and central, but a tree heavy with fruit and of great age, that was nearly as large as the Grand Sacred Tree. It was dark and cool under the branches of this tree. The gray green shadows cast ethereal visions of the dark figure leaning against the trunk. Reaching for the leather case, she slowly pulled the instrument out of it’s dark home. The warrior-turned- musician fished out the key and settled herself, listening to the tuning. Turning the key where it was needed to raise or lower the pitch, she finally was satisfied all was in order. She sighed heavily and then she played.

Brushing her fingers lightly over the strings Xena became one with the harp and immersed her feelings with the music. Original tunes of her making and traditional ones she had been taught by the harper poured forth. The air around her became electric and hazy with tiny particles illuminating her. The music rang forth through the grove and even through the deep forests to the glades and dells. All living creatures stopped to listen.

Xena played from her heart and the hurt that filled it. Softly she began to sing - ever so slowly. Her voice grew with the crescendos as she struck chords and melodies on the harp. She sang of her life, her travels, her losses and her desires. She strummed as if her very being depended on this music.

"I sing of the land of my birth,

Where the vine of the grape

And the trees of olive and laurel

Grow everywhere.

The tall mountains of rock and snow

Rise up to kiss the bluest of skies

And the sweet winds from the sea

Embraces with warm breaths."

=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o= and she continued…..

"As a child I knew nothing,

But kept my eyes and ears alert.

Sweetness of days and nights

Were rent by the ugliness and death

Of Warlord Cortese.

And then I grew up."

=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o= a strong loud chord was hit with the sound of hoofbeats….

"Some had an army of horses,

Some had an army of men,

But I had an army of both

At my back,

As I took the Peloponen.

I gave them no quarter

As we tore through the land,

And behind all was ravaged

Nothing left but ash and sand.

I ignored all the voices

Of the living and dead,

As I swept through with my army

Creating devastation and dread.

Some saw an army of horses,

Some saw an army of men,

But all remembered both at my back

And began my darkest legend."

=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o= the tempo slowed and became remorseful…..

"I must forget the dark days

And move toward the light,

To push my conscience back a bit

And atone for ‘might is right’."

=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o= glissandos rippled over the strings and became soft….

"Such is my longing

For one to fill the void

That accompanies me everywhere.

And I grieve and cry,

Not knowing why,

For someone who never was there."



And suddenly all of her feelings and longings began to materialize from the flowers in the woods. The meadowsweet and broom, primrose and astilbe, the blossoms of the oak, chestnut, hawthorn and nettle combined with the cockle and bean. The flowers spun and circled and looped over and over, round and round to the rhythms of the music. They swirled as if caught up in a whirlwind and formed........ what?

Xena had closed her eyes concentrating and losing herself into the mesmerizing music. The beautiful sounds of her voice and harp wove the flowers into a form that could only come from her heart and mind. Something she had been dreaming of and waiting for was starting to take shape.

Lavender, pink, white, yellow and peach, red, rose, gold, blue and cream, purple, light and dark green, orange and scarlet; these were the hues and values of the broad palette of flowers and leaves that were drawn of their own volition from every wildflower and blooming tree and bush in the vacinity. Like a magical dance they drew together like magnets.

The colorful blossoms dove and rose and formed a beautiful figure a little over 12 cubits tall, with large grass-green eyes surrounded by thick lashes and surmounted by inquisitive brows. She had fine long red-blond hair that reached down to the center of her back, curling slightly by its weight. Her face had a wide-eyed innocence, yet compelling. Her mouth was a delicate pink, and between that mouth and nose was a deep indention. Her nose was rather short and turned up slightly at the tip, her lips were full, though not perfectly mirror imaged on the top. That created interest when she smiled and lit up her face. The world seemed to stop when she smiled. Her skin was not the purest of white, but like ivory, with a softness and richness that belied her curves. You could tell that in time her skin would turn golden. Strangely, there was a mole on her abdomen below her right breast. It sort of reminded of a center of a blossom that had not totally immersed itself. And her breasts! They were not heavy or small but well formed like apples. Deep rose aureoles and nipples accented them. And though she was "born of flowers" with no human parents, she had a deep-set navel, shaped like pi. Her curls at the apex of her center were golden. All the colors blended and meshed as if on a canvas, but the flowers created substance and depth and roundness of form. So petite and well shaped was the figure! You could almost pick out the individual type of blossoms by their initial color that had formed her. The air was magical with mist and the aroma of all the flowers.

The Warrior continued her heart-wrenching tunes, and then opened her eyes from curiosity of the soft wafts of swirling air she felt against her skin and gasped involuntarily. For before her stood a beautiful young woman smiling seductively at her. She was not a child, but a young girl in the flush of beauty and sexuality. She glowed with an inner light composed of all the colors from the blossoms. She was almost iridescent, yet flesh and blood,...definitely flesh, bones and blood. Innocent, yet knowing, an enigma of sorts. But she showed a sense of strength and determination that was her inner fiber (that was the way of the oak). The girl was the unconscious dream of Xena, the Light of opposition to her Darkness.

Xena sat wide-eyed, her fingers still pulling on the brass strings instinctively, but her eyes and mouth were gaping wide. "Who is this?", and "Have I done this?", she wondered aloud barely audibly, still creating melodies on the harp, because she was afraid that if she stopped the "apparition" would disappear.

Determinedly the old Druid laid his hand on Xena's shoulder and she stopped playing. He said, "Well done. You have created your heart’s desire and the other half of your soul that you have been searching for, for so long." He continued, "Warriors like you are Fire, blazing hot and Druids are simply the firetenders. We stoke in accordance with instructions from the gods. We must act often beyond our instructions to ensure that the blaze doesn’t consume everything. You," he gestured towards Xena, "have an internal fire, burning brightly. Do not let that flame flicker out, as there will be a long time before one can come to equal it again." Cathbad continued, "The inner fire of your heart created this being, to be the piece that compliments you. Your craving demanded it be so." He answered her subconscious question before it came to voice. The Warrior drew her eyes away from the girl with great difficulty and looked up at the Druid with the question in her eyes of "how did you know?" He smiled down at her and just nodded his head. The Warrior looked at him and knew why, now, she had traveled so far north. For to achieve this type of magic was unknown in her homeland.

She turned and smiled at the girl showing her perfect white teeth while her intense blue eyes were glowing. Then a tear slowly crept down her cheek and dropped. She thought her heart would burst.

The dark haired woman laid the harp down carefully. The warm glow of the wood gleamed bringing out the designs of swirls, circles and zoomorphics ingrained upon it. This was an especially endearing instrument to her now. It had been a part of a miracle. Then she stood up, towering over the small, taught perfectly formed figure... and reached out her hand. Trustingly the girl took hold of it in her small hand, never breaking her eyes away from the beautiful woman’s face, and came up to the Warrior putting her other hand on Xena's arm. Xena pulled her close and kissed her lightly on the forehead. Her tears flowed. She just held the girl tightly in her arms while shedding drops of joy, relief and unreleased love into the blond hair below her chin.

The Warrior couldn't believe what had just happened. Or even her luck. "I DO have many skills", she murmured basically to herself, inhaling the invigorating perfume. Such a beautiful companion to be born of her heart's desire. This girl was a Leanhaun Sidhe of far-famed beauty brought to life again, or a statue by the famed Praxiteles from her homeland that had come alive. By reality she was a combination of both, by HER desires.

"Do you have a name?" Xena hesitantly queried. The girl opened her beautifully-formed lips and answered, "Um-umm Gaa...uh...breeee....elle", with a relieved sigh. "Gabrielle. Yes...I think…that sounds… good." She spoke softly basically to herself. Though these were her first words, speech was not a problem for her. Gabrielle's voice had a melodic lilt to it that was quite pleasing. She had the scent of all the flowers emanating from her that affected Xena like heady wine. It was her "special" perfume that would last her always.

"Gabrielle, huh? Well, I guess that surely fits.... for you have been born of music,... and flowers", Xena said.

"Whatta... um.. what.. what are… you called?" Gabrielle asked the Warrior.

"Xena", she answered simply.

"Ohhhh", Gabrielle said, "this… would make a good story. I think I have a lot of those I've been saving for a long time... just being a flower and all..."

Xena laughed. She was giddy, so happy her heart overflowed. She hugged Gabrielle tightly, never really wanting to let her go. "Oh my Treasure, my Heart!", she exclaimed, "You can be the one who entertains from now on!" Xena lifted Gabrielle's face to hers, tho' she did bend down to her a little, and kissed her on those soft sweet-smelling lips, but jerked back suddenly, as this girl was an innocent and her life and teachings were in Xena’s hands. She must control herself in spite of her happiness.

"What’s… what’s the matter Xena?"

The warrior sighed resolutely. The other half of her soul finally being found, Xena was now whole. And more at peace than she had been since she was little. She gazed intently into those clear green eyes trying to show her feelings through her own azure orbs. Her heart pounded and it was difficult for her to breathe. The Warrior could no longer hold the words or feelings inside.

"I love you Gabrielle. Forever and ever." She smiled as she continued from her innermost thoughts, " You are my Light. You complete me."

There! She had said it .It was the hardest thing for the warrior to ever admit, even to herself. And she had waited all her life to be able to utter those words.

Gabrielle cocked her head and smiled. For her loving heart was filled to overflowing,

"Gosh, you're beautiful!", she said as she stepped back and her eyes took in every inch of the tall woman who had held her. "I... I love you too Xena. You brought me life. We will be together for always. I have waited for you forever to find me."

Gabrielle tore her eyes away from the beautiful dark warrior and looked around at the surroundings. For it had grown into an early Summer twilight and there was a misty fog slowly creeping along the ground.

"Uh... Xena, do you have something I can put on? It's getting rather chilly."

Xena picked up her cloak from the foot of the old fruit tree and fastened it around her love, holding her closely for her to share her own warmth.

Xena turned to thank the Druid but he was nowhere to be seen, it was as if he had himself turned into one of the stately trees. ‘Hmmm’. She silently mused. ‘This is indeed a most mysterious place,’ looking around with her eyes taking in every tree, bush and other living thing.

She gathered up the harp and case and with her arm around Gabrielle’s waist she guided her to where she had stashed her belongings. Gabrielle was having difficulty walking and maneuvering the forest floor, so Xena just swept her up in her arms effortlessly and walked on.

"You get a ride," she told the blond.

Her charge now held the harp against her body, tenderly.

Smiling up at Xena she said, "What do we do next? Where are we going?"

"To get you some clothes", she answered smilingly, "before you catch a cold."

"What is that?" Gabrielle queried.

"Clothes or a cold?"

"Both. Uh – I have an empty feeling inside me –what does this mean?"

"Gabrielle, I think you may be a wee bit hungry". Gabrielle’s stomach chose that time to make itself known with a not so quiet sound. The thoughts of food made Xena’s stomach answer with a small growl as well, as she chuckled to herself.

Oh, it was going to be quite a night, she could tell. Her charge was feather light in her arms, but Xena knew she couldn’t carry her all over Eire. Not that she didn’t want to, it just wasn’t practical. Gabrielle was a perfect fit in her arms after all.

They traveled into a village, or tuath, close by and Xena purchased a skirt, tunic and boots for the girl, plus some food for both of them. Gabrielle’s eyes were wide in wonder as she looked at everything and everyone, but her questions were muffled by the food she was cramming unto her mouth.

"Ofhm this, ummm, is ummm soo good!"

"Not so fast, Gabrielle, chew… chew before swallowing."

The blond did slow down a bit, but the amount of food she consumed really surprised the warrior who just watched her wide-eyed, grinning.

After Gabrielle had gotten her fill, casually, with both of them laughing and giggling together, they walked hand-in-hand to the nearby loch for the "first" bath. Since it was still summer the brunette thought Gabrielle’s education, including hygiene, should be forthcoming. (Besides harping and singing can be exhausting, dirty work.) They played and frolicked in the water, Xena even giving the young girl her first lessons on how to swim. Gabrielle loved the feel of the cool flowing aqua on her skin and reveled in it. Xena set about working up a lather in the girl’s hair and playing "catch-the-soap" game as the bar squirted out of their hands. They laughed and giggled as they played and frolicked in the water. Gabrielle wanted to experience more, more. She seemed disappointed when the warrior decided it was time to get out.

"You’ll turn into a prune, Gabrielle", the warrior intoned. "Your skin will get all wrinkly."

"But this is so much fun, Xena. I could stay here forever."

"I know, I know. But we’ll come back, I promise. You’ll be able to swim like the fishes before long."

And with that, Xena softly touched both of Gabrielle’s eyes with her wet fingers, and lightly grazed her lips with hers. Gabrielle opened her eyes to gaze into the blue lights that held her own green ones, then clasped Xena’s hand to be pulled gently out of the loch.

Afterwards, though invigorated by the refreshing cool water, both reclined on the mat of soft moss on the bank, drying each other off with small bits of cloth. Gabrielle looked into Xena’s eyes, smiling deeply, as Xena finished drying the girl’s muscled legs and well-formed feet, she kissed each toe. Xena carefully pushed Gabrielle on her back and climbed up her body until she captured her lips in a soul-wrenching kiss. She had moved her hands to the sensitive breasts and began circular lazy arcs around the nipples, which were becoming hard.

Stopping to catch a breath, "Xeeaa..nnaaa… do you know what I’m feeling right now?"

"Uh huh," the warrior answered, reaching in for another kiss.

"I’m quite warm and the feeling is like sparkles all over…"

"You’re feeling pretty good to me too," Xena replied smiling wickedly.

She slowly had removed the cloth and had replaced it with her hand. Her other hand had snaked it’s way behind the girl until she was supporting the light weight of the blond. Gabrielle was not going to be left out – she explored Xena’s body with her eyes and hands in complete wonderment. Gabrielle’s comprehensive abilities were astute. She gave as good as she received. Xena growled softly and slid down until she had captured one breast with her mouth. She began to make wondrous, magical love to Gabrielle’s breasts with her lips, tongue and teeth. The girl just gasped, trying to catch her breath.

"Xena," Gabrielle barely whispered, "what is this called we’re doing?"

"Sex, Gabrielle… sex," the warrior drawled between kisses, "ummm really, it’s making love. Sex with someone you care about… and love. This is called making love."

"More…" the blond pleaded, "much, much more, please.," as her back arched into the kisses. Her green eyes became almost black with desire.

Xena grew thoughtful and insightful, saying to herself ‘I’m about to "deflower" this girl of the flowers.’ As she leaned in for a deep soulful kiss from the innocent’s mouth, a light of the future gleamed before her eyes and all she could see now was Gabrielle. The light was this girl, this Gabrielle. She knew what course she had to set for the two of them. She continued the kiss, more deeply than she had ever kissed anyone before. Her soul entered Gabrielle during that kiss, and Gabrielle returned hers to Xena.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Another day, another revelation and discovery: Storm clouds were gathering over the green-visaged island and they prepared for cover, laughing as they ran hand in hand to the shelter of an abandoned herder’s hut. Just as the first of the large drops fell they gained entrance to the safety of the long disused dwelling. The storm passed as quickly as it had come, but with terrible flashes of lightning during the brief rainfall. The sun came out and a rainbow joined earth to the sky. The couple came outside holding hands into the fresh sweet-smelling air and looked up at the beauty that was there for them to behold.

Standing behind Gabrielle, with Xena’s long arms wrapped around her waist, "Years ago, before anything," Xena leaned down to say in Gabrielle’s ear, "Earth and Sky were one, loving each other in all ways. They were joined together in a tender perpetual embrace Their bodies encompassing all things, male, female, light, dark, earth, wind, fire, water, human, beast, grass and trees. Then one of their children grew angry and jealous of the time they spent with each other, in each other’s embraces and strove to separate them. He, the oak of the forest, pushed and struggled, lifting up his branches higher and higher while implanting the roots deeper in the Earth until finally the parents were apart for all time. But their love was still there. The longing was still there. So a connection was formed, after a rainstorm, that renews the life of Earth. The colored leash reminds them of their connection, which was so brutally taken from them. That is still here, after ten times ten thousand years to this day, for all to see and remember the love that they have for one another."

Gabrielle’s eyes went wide and she smiled at the thought of this love and the symbol of Love Everlasting. "Ohh, that was lovely Xena," she exclaimed turning in her partner’s arms, "I want to remember that always as a sign for our love as well."

Xena smiled with the largest, warmest expression she had, for she knew she had become one of the luckiest people on earth. She could do anything- ANYTHING – with Gabrielle, her heart and soul, by her side. She leaned down and placed a kiss on the girl’s temple.

So they traveled together over Eire, visiting many places… old before time was recorded… and seasons passed. They came to know each other well. Xena taught Gabrielle so many things, including how to defend herself, and the joys of their own pleasures and gratifications. And in return Gabrielle entertained the warrior with stories, of her own imagination, as they were walking and at night before sleep took them, curled in each other’s arms. Gabrielle also learned how to draw and hold an audience with her stories, and they benefited from the generosity of folks who appreciated a good tale.

Although they were happy in the magical land, Xena finally decided it was time to venture to the south and her homeland around the Middle Sea. So on the coast, near the market town of Baile Atha Cliath, where the rivers Liffey and Pottle empty into the sea, they booked passage on a ship and sailed with the evening tide.

As Xena held Gabrielle in front of her, both wrapped in her cloak, they stood on the deck of the ship looking back at the retreating emerald isle, her eyes filled with tears and they overflowed making rivulets down her cheeks, eventually dropping into Gabrielle’s hair. The aura and perfume that was Gabrielle rose and filled the warrior’s head like a drug. She closed her eyes and sighed.

"Why are you sad, Xena?"

"This place is so special and magical," she murmured in the blonde’s ear."I will never, ever forget it. It brought me my light and purpose to being. It brought me you."

Gabrielle thought wistfully, and said, "I should be sad too, but I’m not. This was my birthplace. I’m really looking foreword to the new places we are going. Especially with you, Xena. You’re my best friend. Don’t ever leave me or send me back. I don’t know what I’d do or how I’d live without you."

Xena thought about this and took these words to heart. She hugged Gabrielle to her body tighter.

"I’ll never leave you, Gabrielle. Not even in death will I ever leave you."

The island slowly slipped from view on the other side of vast waves of water.

As they traveled southward on the Swan Road towards their destiny, Gabrielle looked up at Xena and said, "Hey, Xena, wanna hear about how in a very green land, far, far away a song brought life to a bunch of wildflowers?"

Xena ‘s face just broke out in a huge smile, while her eyes took on a dreamy cast.

"Sure, Gabrielle. Tell me about that time."

Gabrielle spoke up brightly. "Well, it was a cool crisp morning in the Season of Spring when a dark warrior came into this new land, looking for…………….."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

They knew that instinctively they had many lifetimes to explore each other ahead of them. And experiences to share. The love they bore each other would continue to grow day by day and last to the end of time. So they looked at each other and smiled, and to Xena, Gabrielle's smile was the sweetest she had ever beheld, and she knew she would defend and protect this girl with her very life. Xena had so much to teach Gabrielle and things they had to learn together. And people to introduce her to. They were friends, playmates, lovers and soulmates, sharing everything in their lives.

Xena leaned down, with a playful glint in her eye, started humming a tune and then broke into a teasing ditty; "There was a little flower, Sitting in her bower, Waiting for her….hmmm….hmmmm…hmmmm…hmmm."

Gabrielle turned and smacked Xena on the arm. "Ow", the warrior whined." What did you do that for?"

The blonde faked annoyance asking, "What’s the rest of the limerick Xena?" But then grinned up at the warrior. Xena grinned too saying, "oh you can finish it Gabrielle" and grabbed her partner around the waist and swung her around and around until they both fell on the ground giggling and laughing. The fun that was incorporated into their serious lives made each day easier to cope with. They teased each other privately whenever they could. It was a way to relieve the outcomes of the dangerous dilemmas that life had to offer. They then looked to their future, optimistically, laughing and embracing each other, awaiting what comes…………………..



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