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A Past Remembered
By Anita Louise
Copyright 1997 LoisAnne@concentric.net
"As much as I am enjoying having you here with me, you and Eponin have to leave now! Krispies will be back soon."
Eponin stood up and walked over to them and replied, "We will go, but, we will come back after we find the others and Krispies has nothing to hold over your head. Thank you Xena, for taking care of Ephiny. Let's go Gabrielle."
Gabrielle stood as she said, "I'll be back" They gazed at one another then slowly brought their lips together.
Eponin smiled as she said, "I keep telling her she needs someone, looks like she has found that person."
Xena's eyes never left the Bard as she whispered, "Always. You two be careful."
Eponin unlocked the door and as the two left she called back, "Careful we are."
The warrior stared long after the two had left the room. She walked over to Ephiny and sat down. Ephiny smiled at her friend as she said, "You did it."
Xena replied, "I took your advice. If I die now, I will at least know. You were right, she does love me and I love her. If we get out of this, I will show her just how much."
The woman glanced down at Ephiny as she said, "I'm sorry, probably shouldn't have said that."
Ephiny touched Xena's right hand with her's as she said, "I'm happy for you."
As they were climbing the steps to the ground floor Gabrielle asked, "How do we get past all those guards?"
Eponin replied, "Just let me do the talking."
Crafton looked up as the two walked into the room. Eponin walked over to him and told the man that they had checked the prisoners and were on their way to a Tavern to get something to eat and drink. She said they would be back before Krispies's returned. The man gave them directions to the closest Tavern and the two left. As her feet stepped outside Gabrielle replied, "By the Gods, this is getting scary, I could use a stiff drink." Eponin motioned for the horse and the Bard walked over and brought Savior to where she stood and said, "Now what?"
Eponin said, "We walk over to the Tavern and get something to eat and drink."
"You are a surprise to me, I still don't know what you are going to do next. Eponin, how can we find out where Krispies's is holding the others?"
Eponin turned to face the woman and said, "Ask a few questions at the Tavern. I'm sure someone knows. As soon as we find out, the quicker we free them and get Ephiny and Xena out."
Stopping in front of the Tavern, Gabrielle said, "I am hungry."
Eponin smiled as she stepped into the building and said, "Good, so am I."
They made their way through the crowd of people and found a table sitting in a corner. Eponin pulled out a chair and sat down. Gabrielle followed as she said, "They are really busy."
"Yeah, probably used to it." It wasn't long before a man walked up to them and took the order. Gabrielle leaned back in the chair as Eponin asked, "How you feeling?"
She gazed at the woman and asked, "Why?"
Eponin smiled and said, "I saw the way you two looked at one another back there, just wondered how you were feeling that's all."
The Bard leaned on the table and said, "If Xena was out of that hole, I would tell you that I know what it would be like to be in the Elysian fields."
Eponin leaned over and whispered in the Bard's right ear, "What you are feeling now is just a ripple. Wait till you two get together, then, you will feel you have gone there, and you will not be a big hurry to return." The woman smiled as she said, "Anyone ever tell you that you wear red well?'
Gabrielle looked away as she said, "It shows?"
"Yeah, and on you, it's cute." The man brought them their food and drink. They enjoyed the meal oblivious to all the sounds around them. As Eponin finished she sat back and said, "You stay here, nurture the drink, I'm going to go ask a few questions." Gabrielle watched her walk away from the table, a swagger in her walk and the Bard smiled. She never had the time to get to know the Amazon. Eponin, like Xena was a power to reckon with.
"Mind if I sit?" The melodic voice drifted down. A petite woman, with long black hair flowing behind and gray eyes, was staring down at the Bard. Gabrielle stood up and said, "There are plenty of tables, why here?"
She sat down and tears began forming in her eyes and said, "You look like a kindly sort, I just need to get away from him!" Gabrielle stared across the room at the large man that stood brandishing a sword. She sat down and said, "Who is he? What has he done to you?"
She was ringing her hands as she said, "He is my uncle, he expects me to do everything, I try but it's not good enough. He is drunk and wants to beat me, he says I am evil. There is no evil, only in his mind. Please kind sir, let me stay here but for a few minutes."
Gabrielle reached over and patted the woman's hands as she said, "There, there, it's all right, you can set here. What if he comes over here?"
She squeezed the Bard's hand and said, "He won't if I am with someone, but if he sees me alone, he may kill me tonight." Gabrielle stared around the room looking for Eponin, she was no where to be seen. Thoughts were running through her mind and all seemed to get muddled as she said, "Would you like something to drink?" The woman nodded and the Bard signaled a Barmaid to come over. She ordered two drinks then leaned back in her chair and stared at this distraught woman. The thought went through her head, that being a person of male persuasion was becoming a bit much.
The woman smiled at the Bard and pushed the drink toward her as she said, "A toast to your kindness." Gabrielle grasped the new tankard and raised it to meet the woman's as they both took a deep drink. The Bard gazed at this woman as she thought, what a terrible life. To have to do someone's biding all the time and to get beat whenever he felt like it. Not the kind of life she would want to live.
She had taken several drinks and was beginning to get dizzy. At first the Bard tried to ignore the warm feeling but it was consuming her as she said, "I don't feel well, got to go find..." Her head hit the table before she got the last words out. The woman reached over and checked the Bard's eyes then turned to the bar and waved. The man she had been talking about walked up to the table and said, "Looks like you picked a young one this time, no matter, the Sea Troll will pay just as much, let's get him out of here." He lifted the unconscious body of the young man and carried him from the building.
Moaning, she opened her eyes, her head ached and her stomach felt as if it would heave any minute. It was the rolling under her that was making her nauseous as she slowly sat up. She tried to see where she was at that moment, but all she could see was the darkness that had enveloped her. Starting to raise her left hand, she halted. Immediately the Bard realized her hands were shackled. She reached out and felt the chain as she followed it with her right hand. It was attached to some kind of wood. "You awake, how you doing?" The voice was low as Gabrielle tried again to see where it was coming from she answered, "Who are you? Where am I?"
The sound of chains clanking against one another and the words, "Name is Afton, you have been shanghaied and are on the pirate ship, Bounty."
Gabrielle shook her head and said, "Has to be some kind of mistake, I was in a Tavern."
"Right, and your drink was drugged. You fell for it like all the rest, except for the Amazons. they are just here."
The words struck home as Gabrielle replied, "Amazon's? Pirate ship, is this someone's idea of a joke, I don't find it very funny." At this time a loud noise could be heard above and Gabrielle looked up to see something removed as the light from outside glared into the hole. Within seconds a burly man appeared in the light and said, "Welcome aboard, you have just signed on with the best ship on the sea, The Bounty. Your Captain wishes to have your presence up on deck."
Gabrielle got to her knees as she called out, "You up there, this is a big mistake, I didn't sign on with any ship." The man laughed and disappeared.
Afton said, "Say, young man, you had better be careful. I hear these pirates soon as not feed you to the sharks for bait." It didn't take long for several men to enter the area and unlock the chains from the walls. They were all led out of the hold, and taken up on deck. Each person was chained and the chains were all connected. She walked carefully trying to follow the others. Once on deck she gazed around, there were men standing around, all staring at her and the others.
"Look Alive!" The words sent terror into most of the people she was shackled to. Gabrielle raised her head and stared in the direction of the words. Standing at the large wooden wheel of the ship was this statuesque woman. Her long red hair was tossed about her head like a flame to the air. She was leggy and had a figure that would stop men in their tracks. She stood, her hands on her hips staring down at them. The prisoners all knelt, pulling Gabrielle down to the boat deck with them. She never took her gaze off this amazing woman. "You!" The woman's voice rang out and everyone quivered except Gabrielle who glared at the woman, "Me?"
She answered, "Yes, you, Saxton, bring that one to my cabin."
Afton stared at the young man and said, "You have done it now." A man walked up to her and unchained the manacles from the others as he pulled her from the deck. Afton and the others stared at this young man feeling he was being led to the gallows. The steps down to the passage way were narrow and the tightness of the passage way was felt as she was pulled through it. As the man arrived in front of a door he knocked then entered. Gabrielle was hit with the essence of Cinnamon as she entered the room. The man grinned at her and said, "Make yourself home lad, the Captain will be with ye shortly."
After he had left, Gabrielle walked around taking in the essence of the cabin. It was bigger than the area she had been held prisoner in. There was a desk, chair, and a small table. Against the far wall stood a magnificent four poster bed. The walls were well oiled, red wood and she could see the vastness of the ocean through the small port hole. Gabrielle hated the Ocean, she became sea sick every time she and Xena ended up on a ship. The Bard reached down and put the pinch on her wrist, a trick the Warrior had taught her to prevent seasickness.
She had paced every inch of this cabin and had just set down when the cabin door opened and the woman she had seen at the helm stepped into the room. The Bard stood up, her gaze fixed on the woman. She stepped past the Bard, walked over and picked up a bottle of Port. Pouring herself a Goblet of the liquid she drank it then turned her attention on this young man. She always admired a little spunk as she walked up to Gabrielle her eyes penetrating the Bard. "You had the nerve to tell me you didn't sign on."
Gabrielle nodded her head and said, "There has been big mistake, I have a friend back at the Tavern who will be worried about me. Someone drugged me, I did not come here willingly."
She reached down and touched Gabrielle's shackles and said, "That is obvious, that is why you are in chains."
"Let me go, I don't want to be on a ship, it makes me sick to my stomach."
The woman paced the floor as she said, "You are an unsightly mess, I will have a bath drawn up."
The Bard stepped back and said, "No, I like myself just like I am."
As the woman's body pressed up against the Bard's back she said, "Oh, but I will like you just a little cleaner." Gabrielle walked away from the woman and turned as she said, "Release me, whoever you are."
"Names, Sea, my father gave me the name cause I loved the Sea so much. Other people call me Sea Troll, because I just toss out my line and troll what I want into my net. Right now, you strike my pallet."
"I...I'm not what you think. Please, release me, I have someone I have to get back to." The woman walked over and unlocked the shackles as they fell to the floor she said, "There, you are lose, now if you really want to be free, all you have to do is best me." She reached up and tossed a sword toward the Bard. Gabrielle caught it and said, "I don't know much about fighting with these."
The woman circled her and said, "Then it will be a hard lesson. En Guarde." The woman's eyes gleamed at her as a mocking smile played over her mouth. Gabrielle felt a flow of force course through her as she lunged at this arrogant woman. The woman side stepped, blocking her parry and began to look for a vulnerable opening. Gabrielle struck out again and came within inches of the woman but she forced her back and circled the room.
She teased the Bard bantering with her, provoking her anger. "What's the matter, the room isn't that large, can't you even get me once. What did they ever teach you, you fight like a woman." She trust firmly moving faster than Gabrielle could predict, flicking her with the tip of her sword first on the shoulder, then on her thigh.
Gabrielle watched the woman closely as she circled her cautiously, trying to see the movement of the woman's hands and body before she made them. Gabrielle twisted away and lunged once, twice and finally flicked the woman's shirt on her right arm. Before she knew what was happening Sea had rebound and lunged as she said, "I touch you once again, and twice. She flicked the band that held the Bard's shirt at the throat, her shirt fell open and exposed the roundness of loosened breast.
Gabrielle thrust once more but lunged too close to her left arm, and the woman sliced her sword at the Bard again. She whirled just in time to avoid Sea's blade. The woman stared at her and said, "You are a woman, beautiful at that." Gabrielle felt her own breath coming in uneven gasps as she dodged the woman's thrust again. She could see the woman's attention was now on her exposed breasts and she lunged, flicking at Sea's shirt, opening it just above the stomach, her eyes widened at this young woman's nerve. She grinned and circled closer flicking repeatedly at the Bard's shirt, her pants, intimately touching her lightly over her body. Tearing open the shirt more and more till it hung from the Bard's arms. She felt an excitement and was lightheaded with the tension and warmth that flooded her stomach.
Sea lunged out sending the Bard's sword into the air as she threw her sword to the floor. She walked over and grabbed the Bard's shoulders, as she pressed her mouth to the woman's throat. Gabrielle felt her own pulse beat under Sea's lips. Sea stared into this woman's eyes and said, "Who are you?"
Gabrielle replied, "Gabrielle, I'm just a peasant girl from Potidaea. Please don't. If you are going to kill me than do it"
Sea reached out and pulled the woman's shirt up tighter as she said, "Better hold on to this, it could get drafty. If I wanted to kill you, you would be dead." Her eyes seemed to savor every inch of the Bard's body as she continued, "You are striking, why do you disguise yourself as a man?"
Gabrielle stared at the woman and said, "It was something I had to do to try to save a friend of mine and now you have gone and ruined that."
Sea threw her head up in an uproarious laugh and said, "My fault, how can you say that? I don't even know who this friend is"
The Bard stepped back against the wall and stood like a helpless animal as she said, "Xena, she will be upset if you hurt me."
She stepped closer to Gabrielle and purposely let her body glide over the Bard's as she said, "Seems to me, this Xena is in one of Krispies' jails and isn't going anywhere, much less to help you."
Gabrielle felt her body quiver as she muttered, "Yeah, well you don't know her, she has many skills."
Sea had walked over and picked up the two swords, placing them on a table she walked over and sat down on the bed. Gazing at the Bard she said, "Come on over here and sit down, I promise, I won't bite."
"No thanks, I'll just stay here."
Sea stood and said, "I'll tell you one thing, you know how to get a person's blood flowing. Our little confrontation has only peaked my interest. I want nothing more right now then to bed you."
Gabrielle swallowed as she said, "But you thought I was a man."
The woman threw her hand in the air and said, "Man, woman, makes no difference to me as long as they give me a good roll."
"Well, it won't be with me! And you had better let me go."
Sea walked over to Gabrielle, reaching out her left-hand she grabbed the Bard's and said, "Come on, sit down with me, have some port, and we'll just talk." Gabrielle hesitated but finally let the woman pull her toward the bed. She sat down, looking up at the striking woman who was smiling down at her. Sea poured a Goblet of Port and handed it to the woman as she said, "Drink, it's not drugged, you just saw me drink it, and I am fine. After that little go round, I say you could use it."
Gabrielle accepted the Goblet and at the same time trying to hold her shirt up. She stared at this woman. In her many travels with Xena, she thought she had seen most things but this awesome woman was someone she hadn't counted on. "I'm not thirsty, if you just let me go."
Sea reached out and cupped the Bard's chin in the palm of her hand and replied, "You must understand this, I paid good money for you, I own you. You are on my ship now and you will do as I say. Fight as you might, you will not win."
Gabrielle jerked her head away and said, "You can't own what is not yours. I am an independent person and belong to no one."
Sea smiled, "Wrong, you belong to me. Now finish the drink, I will have a tub of water brought in. You can bathe, use the salts I have on the desk. I will let you wear some of my clothes. I think I have a silk blouse and a pair of leather pants that will look striking on you." She walked over and pulled the articles of clothing from a trunk and laid them on the bed.
Gabrielle answered, "I don't feel like bathing."
Sea sat down by the woman and said, "What shall I call you?"
The Bard glared at her and said, "My name is Gabrielle." "Well, Gabrielle, if you don't bathe yourself, then I'll do it for you."
She stood up and walked to the door then turned and said, "The swords, on the table, don't touch them unless you wish to die. Have a good bath and I will return."
Continued in Chapter Sixteen