I love this part:) Disclaimer. Disclaimum. Disclaimdem. Don't own 'er. Don't own 'um. Don't own 'dem., K? MCA/Universal/Ren Pics, own Xena, Gabrielle, Ephiny, Solari, Eponin, Cyrene, Toris (Did I miss anyone?) and whoever else is mentioned on the show. All the other characters are mine. The premise for this story is mine. If you would like to borrow ideas or concepts please ask first. No dinars will be exchanging hands. In this little tale there are lesbian activities all over the place. If you like lesbians, and are familiar with their activities, grab a beer, turn on the game, and listen to Melissa. It will get you in the mood.

There is violence and sexual activity (Not at the same time. Some say, "Good." Some say, "Too bad.") There are battles and such and a little blood. All the things that go with war. There is graphic sex and a lot of love between consenting (BOY DO THEY CONSENT!) adult women in this story. If sex between consenting same sex (IF it's the same all the time it can be boring) people is prohibited where y'all live (And you know who you are.) go far away. If you are underage, run along and read about Janeway and Seven of Nine. Wait! No....read um....well not this. Othello. Yes! Read Othello. Yep.

Bad language alert: There are some mild swear words in this story. In context! If you can't handle the s**t word or maybe b***h, you need to run along 'cause warriors swear on occasion. No really, they do.

Spoilers: Yep. Season three references. Watch out!

There is a fair amount of humor here, too. If humor is legal in you area and is hard to find, look no further!

Special thanks go out to my heart buddies, Julie, Kimmie and Caprice. We share this strange obsession called Xena.

"Little Bits of Lightning" Written by Robin Lerner & Steve Booker

"Love at the Five and Dime" Written by Nancy Griffith

"We Will Rock You" Freddy Mercury

"Something in the Way She Moves" Written by James Taylor

"Born to Give My Love to You" Written by Pam Bunch, Pam Rose and Mary Ann Kennedy

This story was conceived after having read a wonderfully sad story where Gab dies in the end and you have to make up your own ending. Unfortunately, I can't remember the title. If you know it or you are the author, let me know so I can give you credit.

Send mailto:UgoXena@aol.com


And it goes like this.........

Stranger Paths

by Kandis Glasgow


The small young woman strode steadily along the mountain path to which she had been drawn. These days she didn't question the ideas that came to her mind, she simply followed where they led. She heard a voice that wasn't really a voice; it was more like someone making STRONG suggestions. O.K. It really was a voice and sometimes she felt an actual physical pull that she couldn't begin to resist. This little excursion had been one of those times. There had been occasions in the past, after SHE had come to her, that she had been prompted to learn certain skills and to go certain places. She had even learned how to fish although she had had a definite lack of interest in it in the past. But, things were different now and tonight was no exception. Without warning the prompting had come upon her and here she was. Full pack with things inside that she had no earthly idea what she would need them for. *This was just an ordinary camping trip. Right? Yeah, right. Why on God's green earth did she need her guitar? Hummm?? And why all the extra batteries? And a Walkman with tapes? What was up with that?* The tampons had been a sticking point. She wasn't going on any long trip with out them. She had been assured that she wouldn't need them. *Too bad, they are going!* *Whatever.*

It was like arguing with herself and she knew better. Tonight something was up and she didn't know what.


A few years ago, maybe three or four, a woman had come to her in a dream. She knew this was a dream but not a dream, maybe a vision. This woman was so beautiful that it took her breath away. Well, would have had it NOT been a dream. She was small and athletic like herself, and blonde too. Their hair was the same shade but the woman's was longer and shined as gold. Her eyes were of the softest shade of green. Candace had green eyes but not as light. Hers were more of a golden green rimmed in dark blue. She had been told in the past that they were mesmerizing. She had never really paid much attention. But the eyes that looked at her from underneath shimmering bangs were most assuredly mesmerizing. Then the woman had spoken to her:


"Yes. That's me" *Oh, like she didn't know that, DUH*

"I am Gabrielle. I don't have much time so I need you to listen carefully. This is all going to seem strange, but I need your help. Now, you have to agree with all of this so don't feel like you are being pressured, O.K.?"

"Uh. O.K." *O.K. dream lady. No pressure here. Nope. Just show up in my dreams asking for help and expect me to "just say no". Right. Nopressurenopressurenopressure!*


"Oh. Sorry. You were saying."

"I have been through Tartarus and high water to find you -- someone like you. I need to go back to a someone and a sometime and I need your body to do it. Sorry. Hang on to those questions. I can't answer them yet. There are many things that you and I have to do first. All I can ask is that you try to help me. I died when it wasn't my time, you see, and I think you can assist me. I have petitioned the council and they have agreed to send me back if I can find a person to be my vessel. This is so confusing even I don't know how to explain it"

"Your vessel?"

"I need your body to house my soul."

"Your soul?"

"Um Hum."

"And do what with it exactly?"

"Go back to Xena and the Amazons."

"Zeena and Amazons?"

"If you are willing, you and I will travel back in time and find them."

"You and I? Find a zeena, whatever that is, and Amazons in the past? This isn't making sense."

"Xena is a person not a thing."

*Of course. With a name like Xena what else could it possibly be?* I nodded my understanding and she continued:

"Your body, if you agree, will house my soul and your heart. You will still be all of you and be all of me at the same time. We will go back to the place and time after I left. If this all works as it should you and I will become one in mind, spirit and body. Let me show you."

Candace was suddenly inundated with the thoughts, memories and emotions of one truly dynamic personality. The one thing that stuck out in all of the turmoil was the love of this woman for one certain individual. A bond so strong as to defy death itself.

"Back off a little will ya?"


"I can feel why you want to go back, but this babe seems a little violent to me, scary even. I mean, dragging you behind a horse seems a little harsh. Are you sure you want to do this?"

"That was a different time and space. We have moved well past that. Our time together was cut short by an illness that I wasn't supposed to contract. Velesca had a hand in that I think. Look, my time with you is running out. You have two days to think about this. I will return then. I have to go."

Then as quickly as she had presented her-self she was gone. *WOW! Man, that was some dream!* She awoke in the morning with the flood of memories still running through her mind. The life she was seeing before her was amazing. It had been no dream. For two days she lived with this other woman's memories running through her head. This Gabrielle was kind warm and loving. She had known anger verging on hatred but had come through it in forgiveness and love. She had seen times of infinite sadness and times of joy unbounded. The joy was beginning to have a true and steady course in her life when that life had been cut short.

Would she? NO. Could she lose the life she had now to embrace the soul of this woman Gabrielle and then make that life her own? Her life did not contain an overabundance of anything. She had no lover and her parents had disowned her when they found out her orientation. The change of culture would be the biggest sacrifice. She decided that if it meant exchanging the boring empty life she lived now to save Gabrielle's very soul, and perhaps her own life, maybe it was worth the risk. Gabrielle had assured her that she would retain all of her own thoughts, memories and emotions, but they would have to learn to live together in one body.

Gabrielle assured her that she could also turn back at anytime. The beginning would be the hardest part. Getting used to someone else's thoughts in her head might be a bit difficult. She COULD turn back if it didn't work. Why not? You only live once. Well, usually.

Gabrielle had returned as promised, in a dream /vision.

"I'm baaaack."

"You have been watching too many movies!"

"I had to do something while I waited. Have you decided?"

"Yes and yes."

"Yes, you have decided?"

"Yes, I will help you."

Tears welled up in her eyes. "Thank you so much. I can't begin....."

"Save it Gab. We have a whole lifetime to thank each other."

"Gab? Don't call me Gab."

"And so it begins.."

Gabrielle rolled her eyes and stated simply, "This is gonna take work."

When Gabrielle's soul had entered her, she found that the memories were gone. Gabrielle had explained that that was part of the deal. She would only get to work with what she could remember from the two days, and she wouldn't recall the strong feelings and emotions for Xena at all. She would know they were in love and joined. That was all.

"Gabrielle, will you remember?"

*Oh, yeah! You don't get to be privy to that information. You have to learn to love her with your own heart and not mine. You will know that we are to be together. All you need to do is fall in love with her and she with you. As for the rest, I'll provide you with all the information you need and will need. This is gonna be a bumpy ride!*

"Are you sure I can do that? Are you sure she will love me back?"

*You are so much like me that I can't see how she wouldn't and my soul will lead her to you. Trust me on that. That was a promise I got from Arphrodite. Soulmates don't just stop being soulmates. I think you will find that you will fall for her. I mean, by the Gods, she is beautiful!*

"Careful there, tiger! I can feel the lust from here! O.K. What happens if she's found someone else?"

*I went to her in a dream similar to yours and told her I would be back. Of course she's not looking for you, she's looking for me, if she's still looking. Oh boy. This could get complicated.

"Could get?"


"Big red truck, Gab.


"Never mind."


Candace continued on her path up the steep incline. It was beginning to turn dark when she came to the edge on an overhang. The sunset was breathtaking. She stopped to take in the view when Gabrielle's voice rang in her head. *Are you ready?* *Ready for what?* *THIS* With the last thought she was physically shoved from behind to fall over the edge of the cliff. She could feel the wind rush up to meet her. Screaming all the way down, she knew she was dead. The fall was a good 100 feet to solid rock below. *Suck!* she thought just before she hit the bottom.

 She wasn't sure how long she was out, but it was pitch dark when she came to. She stood up and looked to the stars to see if she could get an idea as to the time. If she was right, it was midnight or later. It was then that she realized that she felt no pain of any kind. *I should be a hurtin' unit right now. Big time.* "HUH! Amazing."

Suddenly, she heard rustling and torches lit the area surrounding her.

*CLASP YOUR HANDS OVER YOUR HEAD! NOW!* Candace complied with out the bantering that usually took place.

She lifted her head enough to see scantily clad women, wearing mostly feathers, dropping down out of the trees to surround her. *Oh, MY! This is interesting.* *Quiet!*

The women were speaking in a language that she didn't understand. She shrugged her shoulders and looked at them in confusion. *Candace let me*

Gabrielle took over some control and Candace realized that her partner knew this language and now it made perfect sense.

"Throw down your weapons."

"I haven't got any weapons."

"Under your coat, perhaps."

"No. None there either."

"Off with it." A very large woman pointed at her with a very sharp sword.

"No problem."

The coat was one that her mental counter part had chosen for them. Not exactly one she would have picked out to meet this particular group of women. It was a wool-lined, denim Levi's jacket with all of the Looneytoons characters embroidered on the back. Bugs and the gang were only one of the strange fascinations that she had acquired since the inclusion of Gabrielle into her life/mind/whatever. Ice cream was another of the other big ones, that and softball. She had never really cared for the sport before, but, oh my how things had changed. * What was it with Lesbians and softball anyway?* *Amazons.* *Huh?* *Not lesbians, Amazons.* *Same thing.* Her thoughts were interrupted by an sound coming from the tall blonde.

"Ahem! The coat."

"Huh? Oh, the coat. Right."

She took the jacket off slowly and laid it in the ground in front of her. It was promptly picked up by one of the larger woman and searched thoroughly for weapons. None were present and the woman handed the coat to the person who appeared to be the leader's personal bodyguard. *I would love to have a body like that guard me.* She was mentally chastised for the thought without really knowing why. *Stop that!* *Hey I can look!* *If you value your life, you'll look elsewhere!*

"Now the shirt."

Candace mentally groaned and physically winced at the request.

"Do we really need the shirt off? Hum. I mean, c'mon, do I look dangerous?"

All she received in response to her petition was a steely stare from "The Bodyguard".

She sighed heavily. She had NOT wanted to buy the sports bra she was wearing let alone show it to anyone. Now she was in front of perhaps the most gorgeous group of woman she had ever seen and had been nothing short of ordered to let them be subject to it. Slowly she reached up and pulled her sweater up and over her head. She heard audible gasps come from the majority of the group. Knowing that she was in no way THAT well endowed she was puzzled. As the sweater cleared her eyes she saw that they were staring at "the bra".

*Oh GOD! This sucks!*

She had been shopping in an Army surplus store when "she" had seen the thing. Green khaki and camouflage at that. Candace thought it to be the color of, well, puke really. It was by far one of the ugliest things she had ever seen.

"Buy it."

"Are you out of MY mind? That thing is ack!"

"We have to have it."

"WE have to? Well, I don't like it."

"Buy it. Buy it! BUY IT!!!"

"FINE! Now back off. I will get you for this! I don't know how but I will"

"You'll thank me later!"

"Oh, I am just sure of that"

Now she knew that the thing was as bad as she thought. There were several whispers among the group and the tall blonde with the curls stepped forward. Ephiny had been carefully observing the strange woman. Her movements were so familiar but the queen could not place them. The muscularity of the visitor was not lost on her either. She may be small but Ephiny had a feeling that this woman would be a force with which to be reckoned were she angered. Perhaps she had no weapons because she had no need for them.

"You are not Amazon and yet you knew the ways. How is this?"

"To be honest, I'm not really all that sure, and I'll bet you wouldn't believe me even if I told you what I thought."

"Perhaps. I must say though that there was only one person bold enough to wear the, um, how to say this, "color" that you display. Our former Queen, Gabrielle."

*QUEEN!?? You didn't say anything about being a Queen* *I thought that it might scare you.* *Well, you were smart, weren't you? I owe you soooo big!*


"Well, a queen I am not. On top of that, I don't even know where I am."

"You are in the country of the Amazons. I am Queen Ephiny. And you would be....?"

"Oh my! Uh, I'm Candace. Pleased to meet you...Your....Highness..Majesty...Royalness...Most High Amazonianess. You know, you can stop me when I get to the right one." Candace flashed a big grin at the Queen and was met with stern look but in the eyes she saw amusement.

"Majesty will do. Your name is Greek. Humm. Well, Candace, is that a weapon over there?" The Queen pointed to a strangely shaped box that had a handle.

"Heavens no. That's my guitar."

"Geetar? What is a geetar?"

"Guitar. It's an instrument. Ya know...music?"

"Yes, we know music. Senar open the box."

The bodyguard stepped over and pick up the box roughly.

"Carefully!" The comment was met with a look of warning ".......please?"

Senar looked to Ephiny. The Queen nodded and Senar was more careful in the handling of the package. The woman tried to figure out exactly how the container opened.

Candace with a pleading gaze turned to the Queen and intoned softly, "May I?"

Ephiny again nodded approval. Candace stepped over to the case and leaned over it. Senar stood up, drew her sword and pointed it directly at the woman's neck. "Try anything and I'll have NO problem killing you where you are."

*How comforting.* *She is the Queens consort! You had best behave!* *Consort?* *later!*

Candace opened the case and pulled out the instrument. She was surprised that it had survived the fall. She was surprised that SHE had survived the fall. Or had she? Wow, so many questions.

"Interesting. It has the look of a lyre."

"The lyre is an ancestor, of a sort."

"I see."

"Play." It was not a request.

She sat down with the instrument and checked the tuning. Not, too bad. O.K. What to play for a group of Amazons in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere? *Love at the 5 and Dime* *Are you sure?* *It's my favorite.* *A love song? Not "We Are the Champions"?* *PLAY!!*

Candace was most definitely nervous. She picked out the familiar chords and, as the nerves were swept away, she began to sing with a clear and piercing voice:

'Rita was sixteen years, hazel eyes and chestnut hair,

She made the Woolworth counter shine..

And Eddie was a sweet romancer and a darn good dancer

They waltzed the aisles at the five and dime...'

When she was finished she looked up to see the looks on all of the woman's faces had changed.

"Something wrong?"

"No. You have a beautiful voice. Incredible! But that song. Some of it makes no sense at all. The love story is sweet no doubt, but what is a five and dime? And a steel guitar or a wool worth's counter. Is he the man the counts the wool to see what it's worth? And why in the name of the God's would you shine him?" The queen had a look of real confusion on her face.

Candace smiled and softly laughed. "I can't explain it all to you right now. I am very tired. If I can find refuge with you tonight I will try my best to explain it all to you in the morning."

"Of course. You may stay as long as you need. In payment you may gift us with your songs. If you could sing to us something we can understand it would be helpful."

Ephiny looked down at the small woman in amazement. The resemblance to Queen Gabrielle was remarkable and she was sure that her former friend had a hand in this somehow.

"Warriors, gather her things and make haste. We will be along behind you."

The women swiftly gathered the belongings of the small blonde and ran ahead.

*Warrior's! How butch is that? I am going to love this place!* *Wait 'til you see Xena. You think butch now....She'll put all of them to shame!*

Candace grinned a grin that almost hurt her face and the blush could have lit the sky.


The walk to the village was interesting if uneventful. She was herded between two large and well-muscled women. They were guarding her she knew, but she would like to have been no where else at the moment.

*What a great view!*

*YOU should check your libido at the door.*

*It's been a while dear.*

*Ya think I don't know that? Hum? Look Xena won't be around for a while, so let's try to keep things cool, shall we?*

*Why won't she be here? Aren't we going to send for her?*

*No. We can't.*


*She has to come to us. Rules of the game.*

*You think she will?*

*Oh, yes. She'll be here.*

*And you know this, how exactly?*

*She will be drawn by my soul. She won't understand WHY she has to visit the Amazon's, she will just have to come. No pun intended.*

*Riiiight. Okay Your Highness. Whatever you say!*

The party entered the village without any fanfare. Most of the women were sleeping and those that weren't were keeping watch.

As they walked across the compound a small streak of furry white lighting bolted in the direction of the women. Running straight for Candace, the dog took one leap and landed in her arms. She caught him deftly and was promptly covered in dog licks from one side of her face to the other.

"Hey, bud lighten up a little! Lord, do you greet all strangers this way?"

She began to laugh and looked around at the Amazon's standing around her. Their faces were filled with what appeared to be unbelief.


One of the warriors cleared her throat and answered the question, "That is Queen Gabrielle and Xena's dog, Lyceius. He likes no one. He'll bite if anyone tries to come near. Ever since the Queen passed, he has been hard to get along with to say the least. We wanted to destroy him but no one had the heart. Xena couldn't even do it, and he wouldn't go with her when she left."

"Uh..." Candace was at a loss for words. A rarity at best. For some unknown reason she looked to Ephiny for help.

"Candace, please follow me I will lead you to the guest huts." Ephiny spoke quickly to cover the onslaught of questions she felt would come.

The small woman nodded at the Queen and followed her and Senar to a hut near the center of the area. Lyceius was not to be left behind and followed the three to where ever they were going. His master was back and all was right in his world again. If a dog could smile he was doing just that.

"Our quarters are right there," she said pointing to a large hut very close by. "Should you need anything we are near. It is almost morning. Breakfast will be served soon. Do you wish to eat first or would you prefer sleep?"

They entered the hut and Candace saw that her jacket and guitar were there, but the pack was missing. *I'll worry about that later.* It was a cozy area and the bed called to her.

"I think sleep sounds like heaven right now. Will I be able to eat later?"

"Of course. Senar, will you leave us please? I need to speak with our guest alone for a moment."

Senar looked at Candace with definite look of distrust. Ephiny reached out and placed a hand on her lover's arm and nodded.

"I'll be RIGHT outside if you need me."

"My love, I will always need you."

The warrior was melted into putty and obeyed her Queen without another word.

"Wow! Very cool. Ain't love grand?"

"You speak so strangely. But I know who you are. Gabrielle?"

"Ephiny." With this the two women embraced like the old friends they were. "We should have know that you would figure it out. Just not this soon."


"This is soooo hard to explain. Gabrielle is here with me but I am me at the same time. We are two people in one body. I know all about you though. Gabrielle has told me just about everything I need to know. At least I think she has. Well, I hope she has. Has she?"

They proceeded to explain as best they could what was happening.

"So we can't summon Xena. This should be interesting. She has to figure out you are Gabrielle without anyone telling her? You know she will fight the feelings. By the God's this is sticky!" Ephiny was frustrated. She of all people wanted these two....uh...three back together.

"Eph? What gave it away?"

"Candace, do I call you Candace or Gabrielle?

"Call me Candace for now. No one can know who I, we, are… um … am.

"You look so much like her it's uncanny. But, in all honesty, the top was the first clue."

*Told ya!*


"The dog was a dead give away." Ephiny looked in the direction of the dog and Lyceius turned into one big wag.

"Way to go, guy." Candace smiled and Lyceius had the gall to look innocent.

Both of the women laughed and looked at each other. It had been a long time since the friends had been together. Too, long. There were so many things to ask and share but the time was wrong. Candace was exhausted and Ephiny had a nation to run.

"Get some rest. There will be guards posted outside but you will be free to do as you please. We have to make this look good you know."

"I know Ephiny. You know I will do anything that is needed of me. I have many skills" She said this with a huge grin on her face. "I can even ride now. Cooking, cleaning, building, anything. I will work the same as anyone here. Please ask. Oh, by the way, just where did those cute little warriors put my pack?"

"I'll have one of them bring it to you. Have to make sure your not armed you know. They can be over-protective can't they."

" If you were my queen I would be overprotective, too!"

"Candace, in a way you are an Amazon. You carry the soul of a queen within you. Even if you didn't, I am sure that you would be a positive addition to our nation. Be welcome and be at peace Candace. Good night."

"Good night, my Queen."

Ephiny looked into the eyes of this interesting woman and saw the seriousness of her conviction. She showed honor to Ephiny and it proved her worth.

*Well chosen, Gabrielle. Well chosen, indeed.* was the rulers final thought before she turned and exited the hut.


The Queen was deep in thought when her Regent interrupted her. The treaties over water rights in the region were becoming a headache to the reigning monarch. *Maybe I should go talk to Gabrielle... Candace. What Ever Her Name is. I need someone I can bounce this off of. She was, is, whatever, an expert at negotiations. And this is sooooo tedious. By the God's, for some excitement!*

"Your Majesty?"

Looking up from her work, Ephiny acknowledged Trésha with a nod.

"Xena is on the outskirts of the territory. Shall we escort her in?"

"She was right." Ephiny was truly amazed.

"Your Majesty?"

"Nothing, Trésha. No, it's not necessary to guard Xena. Have a team meet her at the outskirts of the village and have them escort her to my quarters then. After that please return to my quarters so that we may discuss this treaty. We need to be sure that there are no loose ends that could cause a uprising."

"As you wish."

*So, Gabrielle was right. Xena just can't stay away even if she is not herself, and she certainly is NOT herself* Ephiny laughed out loud. *I kill myself*

Senar entered the hut without announcement to catch her lover laughing. "What's so funny?"

"I really shouldn't tell you but I can't keep this to myself."

Ephiny proceeded to explain, as best she knew how, the situation and what was soon to transpire.

"Do you think Xena will figure it out?"

"Oh, yes. I think she will. I just don't know when. The hard part is that Candace doesn't have any feelings for her, so this could get, umm, interesting."

"Well, what woman here wouldn't want Xena? Present company excepted, of course."

"Of course." Ephiny smiled up at her lover. "You know Xena can be difficult to get along with, especially if she is trying to fight feelings. God's it took FOREVER for us to get those two together the first time and they knew each other for three years, two of which they were in love. Maybe, just maybe, when she gets it, she will make it easy on herself."

Ephiny and Senar looked at each other. "Nah." They said in unison and laughed.

Their laughter was interrupted by Trésha.

"You had better come quickly. Something is happening in the practice circle. A challenge I think."

*Gabrielle! But, who is the unlucky victim?* Ephiny was concerned but kept her thoughts to herself.

"Let's go." The three women lined out of the hut with Ephiny in the lead.


Sweat was pouring into her eyes as she worked. Mucking the stables was not pretty work, but it was work. Candace had told Ephiny that she would do anything, and anything was what she was doing.

*You have to start at the bottom.*

*I know, but this is a bit much don't you think?"

*You want the rest of the Amazons to respect you, don't you?*

*Oh yeah. I can see how THIS is gonna do it.*

*They will see that you are willing to do what is necessary to make the village run.*

*Maybe take down the Queen's pet just a bit.* The thought brought a smile to her face.

*Maybe.* Gabrielle laughed in her mind.

*Well, she could at least put me back in the kitchen.*

*After the last fiasco? I don't think they will ever let you near food again.*

*Hay! 'pun intended'.*

*Ha Ha funny. NOT!*

*The food was good. Ground venison on a bun.*

*It wasn't the food it was the name. Bambi burgers.*

*They didn't know what it meant.*

*Not until AFTER you told them the story. Good God's! You made some of the younger one's cry! Poor things won't ever eat deer again.*

*Well, how was I supposed to know?*

*Just leave the story telling to me and I won't try to sing!*

In the midst of her mental conversation she was unaware that she was being watched. It was not until Lyceius began to growl that she felt the presence of more than one person in the stable. She turned around and found her-self in the midst of a very nasty looking group of Amazons.

*Need to start watching my back better.* She chastised herself.

"So, Trésha has you cleaning up after the animals. That's appropriate for a Celt." The largest one of the group spoke with disgust.

"I beg your pardon?"


*Where did she get the idea that I'm Celtic?*

*Must be the accent. You had to come from somewhere. Ephiny told them I am sure.*


 "Well, Celt." The woman practically spit the word, "I am sure that taking care of the animals is all they could find for someone your size anyway."

The group of young women laughed at this comment.

"First off, I have a name, it's Candace. Second, is it me or is it my nationality that bother you the most?"

"It's little pissants like you that think you can just come in here with no real skills at all and just make yourself at home! At least they found the right place for you. You can't make us weak that way."

"Real skills?"



*Oh, I'm calm.*


"Yes. Warrior skills! Battle skills! We have to be able to defend the nation. With midgets like you, how do you propose we do that?"

"Midgets? Uh huh. And in your infinite wisdom, you think size has everything to do with these skills you are speaking of."

"That, and proper Amazon training, neither of which you have."

"O.K. Let me see if I have this correct. Because of my up bringing, I have never had the proper training to acquire such skills."

"You may have, but your size makes them useless."


*Oh! THAT IS IT! I wanna kill her, ya know!*

*Well, she's pissing me off now!*


"Really? Huh. Tell you what......uh" Candace pointed at the harassing young woman.


"Kayla, why don't you put your dinars where your mouth is."

"What do you propose?"

"Right now, in the practice ring. You and me. Staffs. First to score three blows wins."

Kayla smirked. *I couldn't have planned this any better. Time to kick some Celtic butt.*

"Name your stakes, Celt."

"First, you call me by my name. Second, I win you finish my work here and fix me dinner. That includes cleaning the rest of the stalls and grooming the horses. You name your stakes."

"Okay. I win, you leave here and don't come back."

"I think your stakes are a tad higher than mine, but I accept."


*Candace! What are you thinking? You can't accept that bet!*

*I can and I did. I'll just have to win won't I. I told you I'd get you back. Pay backs are hell, eh Gab?*

*Getting me back is one thing. This is crazy!*


What the unfortunate Amazon was about to learn was that Candace had studied martial arts and weapons for 10 years before Gabrielle ever came along. When the bard had joined with her she gained the practical fighting skills that she had lacked. Combined they were almost unbeatable. Master Lee had been impressed with her skill before Gabrielle, but after she came he was astonished. Yes, she was small, but mighty, very mighty.

The group of young women piled out of the stable. Candace and her faithful follower with the tail, were close behind the group. It was obvious to the others in the compound that something was up. A group of onlookers began to gather and trailed them to the practice ring.

Eponin was in the ring with group of young girls maybe 12-16 years old. She was teaching them the skills that they would one day need to defend themselves, the village and the nation if need be. She saw the group coming and waved to the class to stop and step aside. The two opponents entered the ring side by side.

"Kayla. Candace. What is the meaning of this?"

"I have challenged the new comer and she has accepted. If she loses, she leaves."

"Candace, do you accept this challenge on good faith and accept it's consequences?"

"I do."

"Candace, name your stakes."

*She knew this was a bet. How sly.*

*Never underestimate the sneakiness of an Amazon.*



"Dinner and a movie."

Eponin shook her head in confusion. "Say that again?"

"She must fix me dinner and take my duties at the stables for a week ."

"Dinner?" Eponin was confused.

"A week? You said nothing about a week!"

"Oh. Did I forget that?"

"No matter. You won't win. I accept."

"Very well. I will judge." Eponin took control of the challenge. "Weapons?"

"Staff." Kayla was pleased that Candace had chosen her weapon of expertise. What she didn't know was that Candace was going to kick her ass.

The two women were handed weapons and stepped in to the middle of the ring. Candace began to twirl her staff to get a feel for its weight. 'Every weapon has a different song,' Master Lee used to tell her. 'Listen and let it sing to you.' She cleared her mind of all that was going on around her. Gabrielle stepped up mentally and started bringing to their memories all the moves that Xena had taught her. This was going to be interesting. They had practiced for three years learning how to work in unison so that it was now second nature. It was the practice of years at the hands of an accomplished Korean Master brought together with the best training anyone could have ever had. The training of the Warrior Princess. *BRING IT ON!!* They thought in unison.

They were unaware that Queen Ephiny, Champion Senar, and Regent Trésha had heard the commotion and were now observing the activities.

"Do you wish me to stop this Your Majesty? Kayla is one of our best fighters, and I wouldn't want Candace to be injured."

"I don't think that will be necessary Trésha. I think our bold warrior is in for quite a shock."

Trésha raised and eyebrow at this but held her peace. The monarch MUST know something.

The two fighters in the ring began to circle each other. Kayla took the first offensive and Candace parried with ease. The smaller woman stepped forward and took a quick fake jab with the end of her staff and Kayla went for a full block and was caught off balance. Candace dropped with her staff in hand to balance herself on the ground, she threw out a leg behind the taller woman and swept her to the ground. She hadn't fallen all the way down before Candace was standing over her. She gently tapped Kayla on the shoulder and stated:

"That's one"

Eponin agreed and signaled one point for Candace.

Kayla was angry now.


*Good. She will lose some focus if she is angry. When in battle, keep your head so you can KEEP your head.*




The angry Amazon came at Candace with full force now. She swung the staff straight at Candace's head over hand. Candace threw her staff up and blocked the blow. The force of it broke her staff in two. Eponin look to her to see if she would call for another weapon. Candace didn't even look at her. The weapon didn't matter. The battle was the same. Kayla swung the staff again and Candace blocked out to the left side with one of the short sticks. The Amazon thought she saw an opening and started to throw a kick that was blocked out to the right with the other stick. This left the woman twisted and vulnerable. Candace took advantage and threw a powerful round-house to Kayla's mid-section. The force of the blow sent her all the way across the ring. Candace walked up, tapped her on the shoulder with one of the two short sticks and said:

"That's two."

Eponin smirked this time and agreed to the point.

Now Kayla was humiliated. *No more being nice.!*

Staff in hand she began to circle around her opponent. She was trying to get Candace to follow her in her circular motion. Being well trained and patient, Gabrielle was alert and knew the old trick.

*Don't follow her. She's trying to make you dizzy. Brother!*

When it became obvious that Candace wasn't taking the bait, Kayla attacked her from behind. Candace was prepared. She jumped high avoiding the swing that came at her feet. When she landed she spun and swung a blow straight at the end of Kayla's staff. The weapon went flying outside of the ring. The Amazon that caught it began to throw it back to Kayla, but Eponin waved it off.

"It was fairly dislodged."

Kayla looked at Candace who was now the only of the two combatants armed.

"Honor before victory." Candace said, with Gabrielle's agreement, and threw her weapons to the ground making the contest a hand to hand duel.

The small women knew that they had to keep this from being a wrestling match, and that this bout needed to end quickly. The key to fighting a taller opponent was to crowd them and take the force of their strikes away. Candace moved in, but kept far enough away so as not to be grabbed. Kayla took a chance at a roundhouse to the midsection. Candace saw the telegraphed move and countered as she had thousands of times before. A jumping spinning back kick caught Kayla squarely in the chest knocking her into the air with a landing good ten paces away.

Candace walked up to her, crouched down and said "I think you owe me dinner."

Eponin laughed aloud at this last comment and said to the small blonde, "Well fought Candace! You are truly a warrior with honor."

"I would use my skills to defend any of you to the death if your nation will but have me."

"That decision is up to the council, Candace, but you have the Queen's favor and mine also. I am sure a petition has been placed. You will know soon."

Kayla walked slowly toward the victor. If a person could walk with their tail between their legs, she was doing it now.

"Candace, I apologize for the harsh words I spoke to you. You are a brave and honorable woman. You didn't have to drop your weapons. You disarmed me in fairness. Why did you?"

"It wouldn't have been an even contest then. Where is the glory in victory if it's not an even battle? Now, if you had truly been an enemy it may have been a different story. You were only my opponent in a challenge. My life was not at risk merely my pride."

"I sure took beating today." Kayla said sheepishly.

"The best way to get over that is to be a friend to the victor. What do you say? Truce?"

"Agreed." Kayla nodded and extended her arm to Candace. It was accepted graciously.

"Hey, don't you have some work to do? Oh, and trout for dinner sounds good."

"Fine. Your place or mine?"

"Say again?" *Uh oh!*

"For dinner. Shall I cook at your hut or mine?"

"Yours I think." *That way we can leave if we need to.* *Good strategy!*

"Very well. I will send for you when it is prepared." Smiling, Kayla turned and walked away.


*Oh boy.*

*No Shit!*

*I hope she doesn't get any ideas.*

*Ditto! Good Gods! What were you thinking?*


*That's what I thought.*


Ephiny, Senar and Trésha approached with smiles on their faces.

Ephiny was the first to speak to the victor, "I believe congratulations are in order. You fight very well. Almost as well as Xena." There was a teasing tone to her voice. If Gabrielle didn't know better she would say that her friend was insinuating something.

"Let's not push it." Senar interjected with humor in her voice.

"No! Let's not. I have a feeling I am going to have quite a reputation to live up to without comparisons to a true warrior."

"You are a true warrior from what I have seen here today. I would be proud to fight at your side." Trésha stated this with a force that could almost be felt.

"I am honored by your words, Trésha. I pray that I never make a liar out of you."

"Not likely." Trésha gave her a look of obvious admiration.


*What is it with you?*

*Chicks dig warriors.*

*Oh yeah. That's it. You're too much sometimes.*

*Is that sarcasm I hear?*

*Me? Noooo, not me.*


Ga…..Candace," Ephiny had almost slipped. "There will be a gathering later tonight. After you have finished eating, will you please entreat us with some music?"

"I would be pleased. Thank you for inviting me."

"You are quite welcome." The Queen had replied with a devilish look on her face and Gabrielle knew there was something afoot but didn't know what.

"Love songs, that is if you know any that make sense."


"Great! See you then." As they walked away, Ephiny grinned at Senar who looked very confused.


*What is she up to?*

*You caught that, too, HUH.*

*She had better not be trying to set me up with anybody. Man! Chicks are all the same. Always have been always will be. Matchmaking and gossip. Can't even get away from it two thousand years in the past. What is up with that?*

*Being a little harsh, aren't we? Besides Eph knows the score. She won't try to set you up. However, I don't have any ideas about what she IS doing.*

*Listen, I'm just trying to get this right. How do you know I'm even gonna like this Xena?*

*You'll see. Boy, will you see!*

*Uh Huh.*


"Come on Lyceius. Let's go lie down. Sounds like we have a full night ahead"

The stocky, little white dog, with the big attitude, followed behind the short little blonde with the same traits.


The sun was beginning to gently set on the western horizon when Xena, strolling along side Argo and her offspring Bard, came to the Amazon village borders. It was so hard for her to come back to this place. She wasn't really sure why she was even here, she just knew she had to be here. The incident with Gabrielle and the horse not to mention the fact that she had whacked the queen, then Regent, gave her cause for hesitation. She had been here since then but only with Gabrielle. That was the main reason she had stayed away so long. She had brought her lover here to die and be given an Amazon funeral. The painful memories threatened to rush up and drown her. If it had not been for the escorts that came to her side, she would have turned and run back the way she had come. Xena greeted the three women with a nod and walked with them in silence. She knew they didn't trust her.

*With good reason. I still can't believe I attacked Ephiny. They wouldn't hesitate to kill me if I pulled that again. Hades, I'd kill myself if I pulled something like that again. I'm lucky Eph is so forgiving.*

'Wait here." One of the guards put up a hand to Xena indicating for her to stop.

Xena complied patiently. She was a different person now than she was before Gabrielle's death. The darkness in her had threatened to over take her as she had expected that it would. But something happened to change that. Gabrielle had come to her in a dream telling her to have heart, that she was coming back. She didn't really believe it, but it made her realize that if the bard were to come back she couldn't let the darkness win. It was out of respect for Gabrielle's memory that she had put away her weapons and had gone home. She still worked out hard and honed her skills, but she had learned to settle down a bit.

Cyrene was thrilled to have her home and Toris was still a pain in the butt brother but she was happy to spend life with people who loved and understood her. Cyrene was almost as crushed at Gabrielle's death as Xena. They had leaned on each other's hope and had learned to go on. Xena had had no interest in romance in the three years that had passed. The thought of being with someone other than her bard was sickening. Xena could tell Toris was beginning to worry about his sister. He was almost passing out with excitement when Xena had announced that she was going to visit the Amazons. No doubt he thought she would meet someone. He was ever the optimist. She, on the other hand, was still confused as to why on Gaia's green Earth she was here.

*Maybe I need vacation. Yeah, that's it. I need a vacation. HA!*

While she was waiting she couldn't help overhearing some of the excited conversations going on around her.

"…..and that sweep! Did you see it! She made it look so easy."

"I know. Who would have thought one so small could deliver a kick like that."

"…..threw Kayla half way across the ring. Did you see the way she handled that staff? Gaia! She was awesome! I haven't seen that since Queen Gabrielle!"

"I think she likes me."

"She doesn't even know you."

"Yeah. Well, she will."

"…dinner with Kayla."


"....So lucky. Wish I had been the one to challenge her. I could get used to her standing over me like that."

"You are sick."

"Oh! Like you wouldn't like that!"



Xena grinned at the conversation. *Someone made a lasting impression. She had to be good to have the Amazons talking like that. Good as Gabrielle, huh? She had to be better than good. I wonder who it is.* Xena didn't get a chance to finish her thoughts before the guard returned.

"Follow me."

*The guards are as pleasant as ever I see.*

She allowed one of the guards to take the two horses while the others led the way to Ephiny and Senar's living quarters. She stood outside while she was announced to the queen. A guard returned and held the flap aside for her. She entered the hut and was welcomed with smiles and friendly faces. She was now glad that she had come. She had missed her friends and had not even been aware of it.

"Xena, welcome back!" Ephiny stood and greeted the woman with a warm embrace.

Xena returned the hug with almost the same enthusiasm. "Ephiny, it has been too long."

She looked over to Senar. This warrior had wanted to send out a war party to avenge the attack on the village, Gabrielle and her partner. She supposed the latter had been more of a reason for the desire. Xena nodded in respect to Ephiny's spouse. "Senar, thank you for allowing me to visit."

"Xena, the past is just that, the past. You have been through what we all hope will never happen to us. You have lived on with dignity and honor. I think you are quite welcome in our village. Know that I welcome you."

Senar put out her hand to have Xena willingly accept it.

"So, Xena, what brings you here?" Ephiny knew better than Xena why the warrior was here, but this could be interesting.

"You know, I'm really not sure. Things are going well at the inn and life has been quiet. Mother is well and sends her greetings. Toris is a pain but is a huge help to mother. I couldn't ask for more."

Ephiny looked at the warrior with the insight of a dear friend. "Xena. You are among friends here. We know the pain you feel still. We have kept tabs on you through travelers and traders. There is no one in your life, so you could ask for more."

"I just don't have the heart for it, Ephiny. I only have half a heart left to give and I seem to be being selfish with it." The tears threatened to fall as she spoke. With a quavering voice she whispered. "I can't, Eph. I just can't. I have tried but the feelings just don't let go."

"I understand. I have suffered the loss of a love. I know the pain takes a long while to heal. Enough of this. We are pleased that you are here, for whatever reason. Why don't you get washed up and eat a bite. We are gathering tonight for music. There is a new woman among us that plays an instrument you might find fascinating, and she sings like a siren. Join us?"

"How could I resist and invitation like that? By the way, it seems that you have another one here that is very well versed in the staff. I heard some of the others talking about her while I was waiting. Maybe I can meet her later and we can talk weapons. It has been a while since I had a decent sparing partner. If I am sweet enough perhaps I can talk her into getting 'sweaty with me.'" Xena raised her eyebrows a couple of times in quick succession and smiled with a goofy grin.

"I will make sure that you are introduced." Ephiny didn't want to spoil the surprise that the two women were one in the same. *I am sure she would LOVE to get sweaty with you.* "I'll have a bath drawn for you. I think a good soak to your head will do you wonders!"

"Your Majesty you spoil me! Oh, I almost forgot. I brought Argo's off spring, Bard. I promised Gabrielle that I would bring her first foal to you. Sweet little two year old. A little high strung on occasion, but the right rider will make a prize of her. I gotta hit that bath. Until later." Xena smiled, turned and followed the guard out to her hut.

"Oh, Xena. You are in for a BIG change of heart! And you need it Warrior Princess. You need it!" Ephiny could feel the electricity in the air.


Candace didn't get any sleep during her nap. After her bath she had laid down fully intent on drifting off to the peaceful land of the Sandman when Gabrielle became agitated.

*Will you calm down please. What is up with you all of sudden?"



*Uh HUH. She is nearby. I can't tell if she is in the camp or just close, but you will be meeting her soon. Probably tomorrow. This is it -- the moment of truth.*

* Oh good. Make me nervous. Thanks.*

*Calm down. She won't be here until later. You have time to get yourself out of the Kayla, Trésha situation.*

*It's not a situation. I'll just tell 'em, "Hey I'm waitin' for Xena, so back off!" Yeah, that'll work.*

*By the Gods! I worry about you.!*

*You picked me because I'm just like you. What does that say about you? HMMMM?*

*This is not 'Analyze The Amazon' hour!*


They both decided that there was no use trying to get any rest. Candace got her guitar and started to pick out a new tune she had had on her mind.

*Hey! I like that. We need words. Just the right words.*

*I'll keep playing, while you think.*

*I have listened to the sound of a lonely night.

Gone a thousand miles through a storm filled sky.

Looking for some light

Never dreamed of turning back

But faced the wind instead

Because I knew somewhere you'd be waiting there

Down the road ahead......*

*Oh, this is gonna be good!*

*You really are a great writer. Wow! Is there some meaning behind this?*

*Oh yeah! But I'm not telling you. It's a surprise.*

*Why am I suddenly scared?*

*Trust me. Have I ever led you astray?*

*Well, only that one time when you whacked that girl at the bar. I 'm lucky she didn't poke my eyes out.*

*She was kissing you, and I didn't hit her that hard.*

*Was I fighting it? And tell me, does it really matter how HARD you smack someone you are kissing for them to get the idea that you may be a complete NUT!?*

*She was not your type.*

*Oh, and you know my type?*



*I love you Candace.*

*Bite me Gab.*

*Let's finish this song, O.K.? Truce.?*


They got so lost in the writing and perfecting of the music that they were creating together it was a surprise when the messenger came with the announcement that dinner was served.

"Oh, gosh. I lost track of time. Can she wait fifteen minutes? "

The messenger rolled her eyes as if to say, "Women!"

"I have to get ready. Please???"

"I'll convey the message of your...tardiness."

"Thank you. I'll only be a few minutes. I promise."

"It is not to me that you need make promises. Tell it to Kayla." The messenger turned in a huff and let the flap fall in a rather brusque manner.

"Goodness. Temper, temper!"

Candace quickly removed her clothes and went to the wash basin. The water was not warm but it would have to do. She added some wild flowers and lavender to the water and washed up. She then went to see what outfit she could wear that would look attractive and yet not alluring.


*Nah. Do you still have your Levi's?


*Wear those and the green silk shirt.*

*I had better not spill on it. That thing cost a mint!"

*Well then be careful when you eat and not the mess you usually are.*

*Ha ha. Funny girl.*

As she was walking out Lyceius started to follow her. She caught him up and put him on the bed. "Sorry guy. You have to stay here 'til later. I'll come get you after dinner." He looked none too pleased but stayed anyway.

Candace felt a tad foreign in her own clothes but they looked good on her. The green set off the color of her eyes and hair, the jeans set off other…ummm…features. She took no notice of this, but the rest of the village did as they watched her pass by.

*What? They have never seen a woman before? *

*It's the jeans. I am so good.*

*If I didn't know better I would say that you are up to something!*

Gabrielle was up to something, but that was not for Candace to know. The bard knew that Xena was in the camp. It was all she could do not to drag Candace to her hut. She couldn't do that. No, this had to look like a chance meeting. Technically it was going to be. She just had a plan up her sleeve. She knew that Ephiny set up the little get together tonight as a "let's just see if the sparks fly" kind of thing. She could always depend on her friend to read her mind even if it was in someone else's head.

Candace arrived at Kayla's hut full of apologies.

"Kayla. I am so sorry. I was writing on a new song and time just seemed to......." She motioned with her hand to indicate what time had done.

Kayla didn't even hear what the blonde woman was saying. She was just staring at her. Her beauty had caught her off guard. Kayla had admired this woman from afar that was part of the reason for the challenge this afternoon. She was having a hard time being in the same camp with her. She thought it would be easier to have her gone than to have to live with the feelings that were coursing through her. Now the blonde goddess was right here, and the big strong warrior girl with the big mouth had no idea what to say.

".....wasn't really sure. I could come back some other time if this is a bad.......Hello? Kayla? Earth to Kayla. Come in Kayla."

"Huh? Oh I'm sorry. You just look so.....different."

"Well, a bath and cleaning off layers of horse manure will do that to a person."

"I didn't realize...." *How beautiful you are.* She couldn't say it.

"Didn't realize....what?"

"Umm.. nothing. Are you hungry?"

"Famished!" She like her counter part had a huge appetite.

"Good. I was glad to have an excuse to go fishing today. Thank you!"

"I love fishing! We should go some time."

*Watch what you say there, Tiger. She likes you! And not a little.*

"That is a plan. Shall we?" Kayla motioned to the entrance to her hut.

"By all means."

Candace was not really prepared for what she saw upon entering. There was a banquet laid out on a richly woven floor weaving in the middle of the room. This banquet was in her honor she knew. There was fresh fruit, different cheeses, breads, wine and in the middle two of the biggest trout she had ever seen. Candles warmed the atmosphere and incense filled the air with fragrance. There were pillows strewn about the room and blankets folded and laid here and there. Strangely enough there was no table in sight.

*Oh this is bad.*

"Please sit." Kayla motioned for them to recline.

"Would you care for some wine?"

"Just a little bit."

Kayla proceeded to fill the large goblet to full and handed it to the musician.

"What are you trying to do? Get me drunk?"

"Not at all. After the day you had I thought perhaps you needed to relax."

*Oldest trick in the book. One of the oldest lines, too. You need to relax. Sheesh!*

*I can handle this.....*

*Handle away.*

"I don't think I need to relax quite this much. Will you please pour some back?"

"As you wish." Kayla was obviously disappointed but complied with her request.

* I "wish" I could run out that door and not look back.*

*Ya know, she is kinda good lookin'*

*Oh NO. I didn't live three years in your head for you to fall for the first Amazon that gives you the time of day.*


*Not funny.*

"Kayla, I really appreciate the great spread, but it seems like you went to an awful lot of trouble."

"I would like to try to make up for the earlier misunderstandings. I feel horrible and I didn't mean anything I said. I think I was trying to impress my friends and it got out of hand. I truly apologize. This is my way of trying to make up for it. Am I forgiven?"

"Well, I will have to say that honesty is one of your strong points. You're forgiven except for the stuff about my size. Say anything like that again and I'll really get mad, and you wouldn't like me when I'm mad." The look on her face was serious and Kayla didn't know what to think until Candace burst out in laughter. "Do you really think I have never been called short? That was not the worst insult I have ever suffered. I think I KNOW I'm short. Big red truck!"

"Big red what?"

"Nothing! Let's eat. I'm starved."

The dinner was absolutely wonderful. She had never had such an array of different tastes that melded so well. The wine set off the flavor of the fish and fruits. The cheeses were mild and full of flavor. She was impressed.

*This woman will make someone a fine wife. Warrior Wife. Kinda has a ring to it.*

*Oh brother.*

They laughed some more at the days events and Kayla took some well natured ribbing. The conversation turned to some of the other women in the compound and what skills they possessed. The wide variety of talents was fascinating. But then, Candace supposed that they would have to be to make a community run. The blonde singer had made a few friends but had not had the time to get to know everyone on a personal level. She had taught them the fine art of softball and had gotten to know a few of the women through the games that were now being played on a regular basis.

*What did I tell you about softball and Lesbians?*

*Amazons! They are not from Lesbos.*

*That's right. Sappho is NOW. How cool is that!?*


She had taken the time to teach them a few songs from her time which were not too confusing. They seemed to take best to "We Are Family". *Imagine that. It's the new Amazon theme song.* It was nice to sit and actually talk to someone in the community that was not royalty. She loved Ephiny, Senar and Trésha, not to mention the princesses, but she hadn't gotten to know anyone. Until now. And it scared her. She didn't want Kayla to get the wrong impression. She knew she needed to wait for Xena, but how to explain the situation to the brunette with the soft brown eyes, was going to be interesting.

*Maybe it won't come up*

*Yeah, and maybe the sky isn't blue*





*Here we gooooo.*


"May I see you again?"

"See me? In what way?"

"You know...SEE you."

"Like DATE see me?"

"Date? What is a date?"

"To see someone with the intent of becoming romantically involved."

"Yes. I want a date."

"Kayla, I like you. You are a nice intelligent woman....."


"Yes, but, there is someone else."


"Well... I can't really say."

"Is it someone here? I haven't seen you with anyone. DO I know them?"

"So many questions. It is not someone here. I don't know if you know her. I can't answer anymore questions, O.K. Look, I had a great time tonight. You are a wonderful person but , right now, I need friends and not lovers. I hope that you will still be my friend after this. Deal?"

Kayla was crushed by the revelation that some other had the heart of this woman. If she could fight for her she would. * I will find a way!* She determined in her mind.


She said this with a smile on her face but Candace could see the hurt in her eyes. "Kayla, you will make someone very happy one day. The RIGHT someone. You are precious." Candace stood and leaned over Kayla and kissed her on the top of her head. "I need to go. Ephiny is expecting me at the gathering. Join us if you feel like it. I'll see you soon." Candace turned and left the hut and the very broken heart of a warrior behind.

*God I hated that. Why do things have to be so difficult?*

*That's life, girlfriend.*

*Remind me not to do this again. K?*

*What? Break hearts?*

*No. Live.*



Candace returned to her hut to get her guitar and the little white dog. Lyceius was all wags when he saw his mistress walk in.

"Hey, Lyce. Tell me little one, how is it that you know who I am? Hum?"

The dog looked at her as if he wanted to answer. She laughed and picked the white dog up and hugged him.

*What in God's name did you name him after Xena's brother for?*

*I named him to honor Lyceius. He was the sweetest, most brave little guy, the dog that is. Xena's brother was the same so I though it appropriate. Xena consented at my whining. I'm good at that you know?*

*I know.*

*We gotta go. It's late. I hope I have that song down.*

*I'll help.*

She grabbed her guitar and let Lyceius follow her out. They bounced all the way to the center of the complex.


Continued - Part 2


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