A Different Kind of Rift
Disclaimer: The characters and situations of "Xena: Warrior Princess" are property of MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures, and are used without permission. This story, and any other characters contained herein, are property of the author, and should not be reused or retransmitted or posted on the Web without the authors (my) permission.
Warning: This story contains violence and its often-gory aftermath. If this bothers you, read no further.
This story also depicts a relationship of love between two women, both consenting adults. If this bothers you please read another story.
Spoilers: "Deliverer", "Gabrielle's Hope" and "Debt"
This story takes place directly after Gabrielle's Hope.
>From the depths of my soul, I cry for you, Only wanting to believe in your love.
Gabrielle returned the smile from Meridian as Agnor returned from the tent to see what was keeping his friend. "There you are? Best we be getting something in that stomach of yours before it starts up and alerts the Romans of our camp." Agnor stated with a sly grin. Gabrielle rolled her eyes at his attempt at humor.
"Would you care to join us Meridian? Agnor or Samos may know of this friend of yours." Gabrielle replied with a smile.
"Yes if you're sure you don't mind?"
"Come now, we better hurry if we intend to fill our stomachs before we meet with Boadicea." Agnor stated gesturing the two ladies to enter the tent.
After filling their plates with what food was offered the three made their way to the table where Samos was already finishing off his meal. "Ah, that sure tasted better than that gruel we had been eating on ship. "Oh.. so out gathering more strays I see?" Samos offered eyeing Meridian.
Gabrielle spoke up as she set her plate down beginning to introduce Meridian. "Excuse his manners Meridian, Samos has a tendency to start off on the wrong foot." Gabrielle stated as she was reminded of how she and Samos first met. Gabrielle leaned over and spoke as if to whisper in Meridian's ear. " His bark is really worse then his bite, he is actually a pretty decent fellow." Gabrielle stated with a wicked grin knowing Samos was close enough to hear every word. Meridian giggled quietly eyeing Samos. " To answer your rude question Samos this is Meridian we just met. Meridian is looking for some friend of hers and I thought that you might know of ..Him? Gabrielle stated looking to Meridian for confirmation.
"Yes, him." Meridian replied swallowing a sip from her cup of ale.
Introductions made Gabrielle began eagerly devouring her meal. Gods, I didn't realize just how much I missed real food. "So, Meridian is it, does this friend of yours have a name." Samos stated.
My friend is Khrafstar, have you heard of him?
Hearing his name everything in Gabrielle's world just stopped as several desperate thoughts all at once converged in to her mind. "Khrafstar!" Gabrielle said just above a whisper as she looked intensely at the plate in front of her, afraid to make eye contact with anyone as several emotions fought for control over her.
As all eyes found themselves on Gabrielle, Agnor and Samos knew that something was wrong, sudden tension showing in her face and body. Meridian spoke up finishing her bread and cheese seeming oblivious to the tension, "Yes, my friend name is Khrafstar he was in Greece searching for more volunteers to assist in the rebellion. Actually he is the priest of our temple. The temple of the One God which Caesar has seized. Do you have news of him?"
Gabrielle's knuckles where white as she held her fork tight as she tried to take anchor herself. Gods, how do I tell her, " Oh yes I know of him my best friend savagely killed him thrusting her sword through his chest as he was kneeling helplessly on the ground and by the way I don't even know why?" Did she say he was a priest? Sweet Artemis what have you done Xena! Then knowing what she had to do Gabrielle took a deep steadying breath as her eyes reluctantly wandered to her two friends as if to find the courage to tell Meridian.
"Gabrielle are you all right?" Agnor asked his voice filled with concern for his new friend.
Clearing her throat " Aaa.. Yes .. I'm ok." Gabrielle sputtered as she turned to meet Meridian she could see the concern and confusion in her eyes. Gently Gabrielle reached for Meridian hand placing her own over hers. "Meridian, .. I don't know how else to say this.. Your friend is.. is dead." As Gabrielle saw the sadness in Meridians eye's she rushed on " I'm sorry .. I can tell you his death was quick." Although I could never tell her that his death was painless, Gods help me. As Gabrielle closed her eyes as she saw Khrafstar's death replay it self in her head. "I'm so sorry "
"How?.. When? Meridian desperately whispered as she pretended to act startled at the new of his death. Of course she already knew the fate of Khrafstar, but it was vital to her plans to play Gabrielle for all she was worth. Yes, all this had come to her in a dream some time ago, most likely the day he was killed. She was visited by the vision of a dark hooded figure that told her of Khrafstar's failed plan. Giving her the knowledge to make her own plans for this innocent. She knew of her coming and the part Gabrielle would play in the divine entrance of the Great Dahak. She would not fail her Master!!
Just as Gabrielle was about to explain one of Boadicea's men interrupted " Boadicea will see you now!"
"Alright we will be right there?" Samos replied realizing the tension in the room. "Meridian will you come with us I am sure Boadicea also wishes to here about what has happened to Khrafstar." With that they all stood and somberly headed for Boadicea's tent.
Boadicea was counseling with her lieutenant on the current state of Caesar's army. As they entered she quickly finished her discussion and dismissed her lieutenant. "Now lets us hear your news of Caesar.." Looking up Boadicea noticed for the first time Meridian's presence. "What are you doing here?"
Samos explained "Ah.. Boadicea I asked that she joins us .. it seems Gabrielle has also has news of Khrafstar and Meridian being one of his friends and followers I thought it best for hear to hear this as well."
As all eyes turned once again to Gabrielle she gathered her thoughts to explain. How can I tell you.. Artemis give me strength. No, I don't know why Xena did this and until I find her I needn't tell them everything. "I was traveling with a friend when we came across Khrafstar and some other prisoners of the Romans. Khrafstar had refused to cooperate and was killed. Then I had heard that Xena was heading to join Caesar. As you know Boadicea, Xena is an incredible warrior and if she truly joins Caesar your up against more then just the Romans."
"So you risked your life to bring us word that Xena was joining Caesar? I use to know Xena.. and as I recall she has no great love for that bastard. Why would she join him?" Boadicea stated with and air of accusation.
"I am an Amazon as you can see and I am aware of how dangerous Caesar will be if he leaves Britannia to purse his quest of conquering. The Amazon's would be a prize for Caesar should he reach Greece and I do not intend to allow him to attack my sisters. As to why Xena would join Caesar I truly do not know but IF it is true then you will need all the help you can get."
"Alright, I will take you at your word For Now. Boadicea spoke with menace. "Samos, Agnor see that Meridian is escorted back to her people." Turning to Meridian, Boadicea grasped her hand " I am sorry for your loss, Khrafstar was a brave man. I am in your debt for your loss, you and your people have my word that we will do what we can to save your temple."
Somberly Meridian bowed her head to Boadicea and turn to leave. As her eyes tracked to those of Gabrielle, their eyes met and she lifted her head to give Gabrielle a sad smile " Thank you for bringing us word. May our God bless you the rest of your days." Gabrielle returned her gaze with a numb acknowledgment as she fought to maintain her composure, fighting back tears. Then Agnor approached Meridian and draped his arm over her shoulder escorting her out of the tent with Samos following.
"As for you Amazon, you are welcome in my camp. I understand that you are excellent with a staff and we could use your help in training some of our newer soldiers. I will send word for our men to keep watch on any ships arriving for Xena. I can not say I believe Xena would join Caesar.. but if you are right we will need to take action quickly if this ..is true. Go now I have arranged a tent for you, and as an Amazon Queen I would be remiss in not treating you as a honored guest." Boadicea stated sharply as she waited for the bard's reaction.
"H.. how did you know I was their Queen? Gabrielle stated in a surprised voice.
" Well Gabrielle of Poteidaia, friend of the Warrior Princess, I make it my business to know of such things. I also have heard of the tales of the Warrior Princess and her bard. I also know of your reputation as an honorable and fair Queen of the Amazons. Get some rest now and we will talk further in the morning." As Gabrielle tried to absorb all of this she was drawn from her thoughts as Boadicea turned and spoke in a manner calm yet frightening "And Gabrielle..I EXPECT that when we speak again you will give me ALL the details of what you REALLY know, do we understand each other?" Gabrielle could only nod her head understanding that her life depended on telling her the whole truth. Boadicea called out to one of the soldiers guarding her tent and ordered him to escort Gabrielle to her tent, turning she followed him out as Boadicea lieutenant reenter to report.
Turning to her lieutenant Boadicea spoke watching as the bard cleared the entrance. "Have two of your best keep an eye on her, I am not sure what she maybe up to but Xena betrayed me once. I will not let it happen again."
The quarters that Gabrielle was given were luxurious considering what most of the soldiers and inhabitants of the camp were allowed. The tent contained a small table, two chairs and a small pallet. On the table was a small bowl of fruit and several candles.
As Gabrielle approached the table she noticed that parchment and a quill were also provided. Gabrielle picked up the parchment closing her eyes at the feel of the parchment. It seems live forever since I have written anything. Too much to write and I don't seem to know where to begin. The toll of the journey was catching up to her quickly as her mind wander back over the recent events. Then her mind focused on the look on Meridians face when she told her of Khrafstar's fate. "WHY!!" she spoke sharply allowed. This was the only word that she could wrap her mind around. "why " She sat down heavily on the chair as her emotions broke through her exhausted mind. Bending down Gabrielle crossed her arms and laid her head down gently as tears poured from her torn soul. Crying herself into exhaustion she fell into a restless slumber.
Striding deeper into the woods Meridian once again turned to insure she was not being followed. As she approached she could hear the worshipers that were posted as sentries alerting the others of her arrival. Passing through the fullness of the dark trees she came to the clearing. Since Caesar had taken the temple this is where they had come to worship their god, The Great Dahak. Sentries had been posted to insure that no one interrupted their ceremonies.. and if some poor fool chose to come this way he had been made a blood sacrifice for their God.
Entering the ceremonial grounds the others quickly gathered around her. They all seemed to beg the same question. "Has the innocent arrived!?"
"Yes!!" Meridian announced with great enthusiasm "She is here and soon we shall celebrate the arrival of the gateway from which our Great Dahak shall make his presence upon this world!" The others began a low chant as they gathered in a circle around Meridian as two of the worshipers removed her dark cloak replacing it with the scared blood robe of the now dead priest. The robe itself was washed in the blood of each sacrifice to Dahak; it is said this evokes the protection to Dahak's priest.
Raising her arms she began to chant with the others in a language only known to them, only known to darkness. Then as the chant wore on and the moon became cloud covered a name could be heard.. it was Gabrielle
As the candlelight flickered out bringing total darkness, Gabrielle's head slightly stirred. She could hear faint voices in her head but she did not recognize the words. Sinking deeper into Morpheus's realm she could see a figure in the darkness, outlined in shades of gray. The figure came nearer as the chanting grew louder, gliding smoothly along the darkness nearer and nearer. In the blink of an eye the figure was suddenly facing her. Tall wearing a dark robe with the cloak pulled forward making the figure anonymous. Her pulse began to beat more rapidly as her breaths grew quick and short. Feeling fear that she never thought possible she reached to the cowl of the cloak her hand trembling, pulling the hood back swiftly to reveal.. Xena a wild and wicked smile on her face, her eyes blacks as night. Suddenly Xena's hand reached up with a long silver blade gleaming, laughing menacingly Xena brought the blade down to bear on Gabrielle chest! "Xena!! Nooooooooo!!"
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