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Disclaimer: The characters all belong to Renaissance Pictures, MCA/Universal Pictures and Xena Warrior Princess. No copyright infringement is intended. There is absolutely no profit for me in this - Im just having a good time. Any characters mentioned that are not in the syndicated television show are of my own creation, as is the story line. If you wish to borrow any of them, please let me know.
Content Warning: This story contains references and descriptions of intimate activity we are in maintext folks. If you do not wish to read about this type of relationship or are under 18, please feel free to go elsewhere. There are plenty of wonderful and fascinating stories in the General Fiction category.
Violence: None. There is reference to abuse, however, nothing graphic.
Hurt/Comfort: Part of the healing process there is a lot in here.
Spoiler Warning: Warrior/Bard fans should recognize references to various episodes.
NOTE: This story is the follow up/sequel to The Mist of Pieria. There are references to this fan fiction and you might enjoy this story more, if you read the first one.
I welcome comments and can be reached at email@example.com
Sequel to The Mist of Pieria
A Journey of Love and Home
"GABRIELLE!" The Warrior watched with panic, as her soulmate lost her footing and began sliding down the loose gravel covering the downhill trail. Frantically Xena slid down the trail trying to stop Gabrielles descent. By the time she was close enough to grab Gabrielles tunic, the Bard had already coasted to a stop. It all happened so quickly.
"Owww, stupid stupid AUGH!" Xena could hear Gabrielle scolding herself for falling. The grading of the trail dropped rapidly and the Bard had been looking back at Xena who was following her. The rapid drop startled the Bard and subsequently she slipped on the loose pebbles mixed with coarse dirt still wet from the morning dew.
The Warrior sat down next to Gabrielle who was rubbing her hands in an attempt to remove the imbedded dirt coating her skin. "Here, let me look, youll only hurt yourself more." Xena knew as soon as the words came out, that Gabrielle would take them the wrong way. She had hurt herself because she had not been paying attention and as usual Gabrielle was tough on herself. *Hades, why didnt I just ask her if she was okay.*
Very determined to show her soulmate that she was not hurt, even though she was, Gabrielle swallowed the tears she felt surfacing and tugged her hands away from Xena. The Bard consumed in her conversation with Xena had not been paying attention to the trail and subsequently slipped. Quickly she pushed her stinging body to a stand. "Im FINE, XENA. You dont have to baby me. It was just a stupid mistake. I slipped dont make such a big deal about it, okay!" The Bard took a few steps back up the trail to retrieve her satchel and staff, both of which were pulled from her grip, as she was sliding. Her thoughts quickly jumped to her reaction to Xenas comments, *Oh gods, whats wrong with me. Why am I reacting like this.* Quickly with her staff and satchel back in her possession the Bard with her eyes focusing on the trail endeavored to pass by Xena, when she was stopped.
Xena kept her eyes riveted to Gabrielles body noticing the pain in her walk and the abrasions on her right arm and elbow. Understanding that the Bard had a tendency to be hard on herself the Warrior made a decision to confront her. Before the feisty blonde could pass her, Xena grabbed her uninjured arm. "Gabrielle, let me help." Tilting her head down to look directly into the beautiful green eyes of her soulmate Xena could see Gabrielles distress. "Hey, its me, remember. I love you. Let me look please."
Without a word Gabrielle allowed her partner in life to inspect her injuries. While they looked worse than they actually were Xena knew the abrasions probably burned. "Come here and sit down. I want to treat these."
The Bard relinquished the false pride currently holding her emotions, giving into her soulmates request and sat down where Xena indicated. While the Warrior searched through her satchel for the hollyhock root Gabrielle tried to remain strong and held back the tears pooling in her eyes. She understood that if she spoke, the tears would soon follow her words. Finally finding the root, Xena crushed a few fibers of the hollyhock between her fingers and mixed the powder with a small portion of water to form a paste-like poultice. Well aware of why the Bard was quiet Xenas heart saddened for the emotional and physical ache her lover was feeling. *Okay, I have to say something to her. Try to cheer her up.*
"Gabrielle, hold out your arms so I can clean them." The Warrior instantly reprimand herself. *Oh, good going Warrior Princess, those words will surely cheer her up.....hades.* Xena could see her soulmates lips quivering slightly, as she tried to remain strong. Placing her hands on the Bards knee she spoke tenderly. "I really love you....and I want to take care of you. Can you let me do that?"
For the time being, Gabrielle knew she could only speak one word. In a low whisper she said, "yes."
Happy for any type of response Xena picked up the waterbag and guided the cool liquid over the abrasions rinsing the dirt away. Not wishing to cause Gabrielle anymore discomfort than necessary she placed the poultice gingerly and delicately covering each and every abrasion. "There, this should help take the sting away. I dont think they need to be wrapped."
A weak thank you was all Gabrielle was capable of voicing and she stood up immediately. Once standing Gabrielle could feel the throbbing in her lower back. Placing pressure with her hand on her hip, she was lost momentarily in the soreness and did not intend to let a small groan of discomfort slip through her lips. Her groan did not go unnoticed.
"You probably bruised your hip." Xena moved to stand somewhat behind Gabrielle placing her hand lightly over the Bards, whose hand was still covering the sore area. Before Xena could assess the damage Gabrielle spun around to face her. Gazing into the depths of Xenas blue eyes was all it took to send the small blonde over the emotional edge she was already dangling from. With tears streaming down her cheeks Gabrielle fell into Xenas waiting arms sputtering pleas to forgive her foolishness. Rocking her gently the Warrior remembered once again why she loved Gabrielle so deeply. "I know you did not mean to yell, youre just tired. Lets try to find a place to camp for the night. Weve been pushing ourselves too hard down this mountain." With her head still buried in Xena chest, the Warrior could feel Gabrielle nodding in agreement. Kissing the top of Gabrielles head and murmuring sounds of ssshhh and I love you Xena was able to calm her soulmates heart.
The pair continued down the mountain trail at a slower pace in relative silence until Xena finally spoke up. "Im thinking of someone..." She peeked back at Gabrielle to see, if her statement might coax the Bard into a game of twenty questions. It had been a long time since the two played the game and Xena found she actually missed listening to Gabrielles attempts at solving the riddle.
Amused by Xenas suggestion Gabrielle agreed. "YOU want to play a game. Okay Ill bite. Is it a warlord?"
As the trail continued to wind down the mountain, the two women found the game made the next candlemark go by quicker. The trail eventually dropped into a shallow stone ridden stream. Looking across the Warrior could see level ground on the opposite side revealing a clearing surrounded by a combination of trees, ferns and odd shaped rocks. Pointing to the clearing Xena relayed her thoughts to Gabrielle. "That looks like a good place to camp."
Playing the question game with Xena help to lift the Bards spirits and she was beginning to feel a little better. "Looks soft and comfortable to me."
"Soft comfortable?" Xena chuckled at her lovers description of what looked to her like hard rocky ground.
"Yea, it should be plenty soft for me." Gabrielle paused glancing flirtatiously up at Xena. "I plan on using you, as my pillow."
Xena held her hand out for her lover to take. "Feeling better my Bard, your humor sure seems to be back."
Accepting Xenas hand with a giggle the women crossed hopping the larger rocks peeking through the water.
Once on land Xena insisted Gabrielle rest while she collected wood and started a campfire. Gabrielle, however, could not sit still and laid the blankets on the ground close to the fire. Over a shared meal of olives, cheese and hot tea the women spoke of their journey down the mountainside. It had taken them three days to reach the stream from their mountaintop home and the fast pace was starting to take its toll on them physically. Believing the stream would flow into the Haliacmon River, the Warrior estimated they could be in the Port of Therma within two days.
"Xena, I know this may be selfish but I miss the cave. I felt so safe there."
Moving over to sit behind Gabrielle the Warrior massaged the knots and tension from her soulmates shoulders. Fully aware of her soulmates uneasiness she too felt the confusion within her own spirit. Xena was starting to believe they might have left too soon. "I miss our home too. Well go back soon, I promise. I would like us to take something from Amphipolis, Poteidaia and the Amazon Village to add on the altar. Would you like that?"
"Mmmmm....your hands are like magic Warrior. And yes, I would like to take good memories back home." As the tension and fear slipped away removed by Xenas hands and words of love, the stars began filling the night sky. The Warrior reapplied the hollyhock poultice to Gabrielles abrasions and the Bard remarked that they were feeling much better.
Please with Gabrielles healing the Warrior ordered, "Good NOW lets take your tunic off. I want to see that hip you bruised."
While Gabrielle was removing her tunic Xena could not help but notice the curves of her lovers body. A smile crossed her face and a warm glow filled her body. The Warrior was still awed by the fact that this woman was not only beautiful but that Gabrielle was truly devoted and in love with her. *By your grace, my Creator, you allow this beautiful woman to stay in my life. I will not disappoint you or her.*
Xena was pulled from her musings by the Bards smooth voice asking a simple question. "Is this someone male or female?"
"What?" Baffled by the Bards question for a brief moment, Xena shook her head and grinned realizing Gabrielle was asking her one of her twenty questions. "Female. Now lay on your stomach so I can spread this poultice on."
Lying on her stomach, Gabrielle thoroughly enjoyed the warmth radiating from Xenas hands, as she applied a poultice to the bruised area. "Carrier sure left enough medicinal herbs and roots for us."
"Yes, a very generous spirit." Pausing Xena contemplated how Carrier brought them back to life, giving them a place to heal physically and emotionally. "On our next visit home, we will have to find an easier trail."
Pleased to hear Xena reaffirm her opinion of the cave as a home, Gabrielle sighed happily, "Mmmm, home. I like the sound of that."
"Close your eyes, sweetie. Try and get some sleep."
*Theres that word for a second time. Once in our home and now. Mmmmm....I love it, when you talk mushy, my Warrior.* It was easy to close her eyes. Gabrielle was already exhausted and with her Warrior massaging her body...well, it only serve to relax her more.
Since Gabrielle was in apparent need of the massage and just so she could continue to touch her lover, Xena decided she would rub Gabrielles back until she fell asleep. Being able to appreciate Gabrielles well-developed muscles surrounded by the softness of her skin Xena started to hum a tender song of love.
Before the end of the song the Bard drifted off to sleep with the full awareness of Xenas love for her.
Standing proudly on the Queens platform was Shulaba. Both Eponin and Amarice were at her side. Again the same four Amazons who had been challenging the new Queens decision to accept Brutus offer of peace were once again voicing their disapproval.
"Shulaba you are foolish believing Brutus will honor the peace treaty between his Roman world and ours? I demand you guarantee our freedom!" Maris considered herself leader of this small band of Amazon women. She did not like Shulaba as Queen, but then she did not like that pesky little blonde before her either. She hated the Romans even more so this challenge suited her needs. *Mmpf, get rid of them all.*
Queen Shulaba tired quickly of the constant demand coming from these women for a guarantee of freedom.
Not immediately providing them with an answer Shulaba stepped down from the platform to face the women on level ground. Eponin and Amarice were right behind her, hands on their swords. Shulaba walked directly to Maris, trying to remember Gabrielles advice think what Ephiny would do. Shulaba was quickly running out of patience. *I do not have time to deal with this impertinence. And I do not need them to stir up trouble while this village is trying to rebuild.*
Stopping two arm lengths away Shulaba crossed her arms to indicate her irritation. "For the past three days you women have shown disrespect to this nation with your demands for a guarantee and each day you refuse to accept my answer." The Queen boldly took two steps forward closing the distance speaking harshly, "My answer is no different today than yesterday."
Turning to walk away, Shulaba did not wait for the leader to respond. "This meeting is over Amazon!"
"Yea, the gates over there, dont let it.......OUCH!" Tilting her head to look at her attacker, Amarice rubbed her ear. Eponin was glaring at her. "Well....you didnt have to HIT ME. Why do you have to be so, so...."
With one stride of her long, muscular legs Eponin was in front of Amarice peering down into her eyes. "KID, YOU NEED TO LEARN HOW TO BEHAVE."
Amarice smiled at Eponin. *Mmmm, tall dark and very, very lovely, when youre mad.*
Angered by her dismissal Maris shouted, "WATCH YOURSELF MY QUEEN, NOT EVERYONE IS YOUR FRIEND."
With unquestionable accuracy and precision Eponin charged Maris landing a jump kick to her chest, forcing her to the ground several paces away. Pulling her sword ready to cut anyone who threatened her Queen, the dark haired Amazon was joined by several of the Royal Guard....and Amarice.
Shulaba who had also drawn her sword pushed her way through the guards to stand firmly in front of Eponin and Amarice. "Maris, you and your friends are no longer welcomed." The Queen pointed to the front entrance of the village. "Leave NOW."
The very young, feisty redheaded Amazon inched closer to Eponin and whispered, "See, told ya."
*By the gods, sweet Artemis, why me, why her. Cant you help me with this one.* Rolling her eyes Eponins continue to watch the small band of women mount their horses and withdraw from the village.
"Thank you Eponin." Shulaba placed her hand on the dark haired Amazon.
Eponin smiled at her Queen. She knew Shulaba was learning how to rule under hard circumstances and wished either Gabrielle or Ephiny were here to help and teach her. "Im going to get something to eat, would you care to join me Shulaba?"
"No, I think Im going to read a few of the scrolls Gabrielle left behind. Ill catch up with you later."
The Amazon Warrior kept her attention on her Queen until she walked through the front entrance of her hut. Shulaba refused to move her personal items into the Queens hut. In her mind and heart the hut was still Gabrielles. *My Queen, I know you pray at the temple daily for Gabrielles return. But, I dont....* Interrupted from her thoughts, Eponin felt the breath of some little irritating bug on her bare shoulder. *Ohhhh, never a moments rest.*
"Hey tall, dark and beautiful, Im hungry, I will join you." Amarice did not wait for a rebuttal and gave Eponins arm a tug.
Shaking her head and eventually dropping it in frustration Eponin followed Amarice to the dining hut. *Please...someone, what did I do wrong.*
Just as Xena hoped, the stream poured right into the Haliacmon River. Several tributaries later and with the help of a friendly fisherman, the pair managed to secure a boat ride to the Port of Therma. Arriving a day sooner than anticipated, the boat ride was a blessing. It saved them a full day of walking and allowed them both to rest. Gabrielle was especially appreciative because it gave her bruised hip a chance to heal quicker.
By nightfall Xena and Gabrielle secured one room in a well-kept inn. Over a hot plate of food and cool mugs of ale the two lovers enjoyed being with each other. Xena reflected on the habits she still maintained even after returning from death. She still insisted on entering the building first and chose a table that would keep her back to the wall. Smiling with self satisfaction Xena mused, *Path of the Warrior.*
Both women were sitting on a bench rather than chairs so Gabrielle took the opportunity to scoot closer to Xena until their thighs and hips were touching. Gabrielle did not really care what other patrons would think of her desire to express her love for the Warrior. Picking up a handful of grapes Gabrielle began happily tossing them in her mouth one at a time. Xena could not resist and reached across to capture Gabrielles grape-filled hand bringing it to her own lips. Tenderly with one kiss, Xena slid her tongue between her lovers fingers forcing them apart. Teasing Gabrielle with an enchanting sigh of pleasure, Xena seized a grape with her tongue. The Warrior was reward with a sensual moan and a sly flirtatious grin from Gabrielle. They both discovered since their rebirth that these sensorial teasing moments were not just sexually arousing but a way to express their deep love for each other.
The Bard placed a second grape between her lips and held it there, musing *Yes, my Warrior, lets play.* The Warrior knew Gabrielle was challenging her. She watched the Bard roll the grape between her soft pliable lips causing both the grape and her lips to become wet and extremely tempting.
With a half sided grin and a raised eyebrow Xena responded, "Gabrielle, you are so naughty. You know I cant refuse this offer." Xena was only a breath away from claiming both the grape and the delicious lips holding them, when Gabrielle slid the grape in her mouth and with a smile chomped down on it.
"Ohhhh...youll pay for that one my dear Bard." With a wickedly seductive look in her eyes Xena decided to take her lovers lips anyway. Gabrielle welcomed her lover passionately.
A loud thud echoed across the room startling the women, which pulled them apart. A young man jumped onto a table, while the innkeeper placed a chair on the table for the young man to sit.
"Xena, a bard! Can we stay awhile and listen?"
The Warrior let her arm glide around Gabrielles waist. She heard the excitement in Gabrielles voice and wanted her to be happy. "Sure, for awhile."
She was rewarded with a loving squeeze on her thigh and a gentle kiss on the cheek. From the bench the couple was sitting on the raven-haired beauty leaned back against the wall keeping her arm around Gabrielles waist. The storyteller began his tale of Ulysses. *Mmpf, he was a mistake. I still cant believe I almost lost Gabrielle because of my fascination with him,* Xena mused.
As the storyteller rattled on, Gabrielle leaned up against Xena pulling the Warriors arms completely around her. Xena was delighted with her soulmates need to cuddle. She heard Gabrielle whisper softly. "I love you Xena." The Warrior nuzzled her nose into Gabrielles silky blonde hair, "Mmmm..youll always be mine, never forget that." She then gave herself permission to doze off while relaxing into her lovers warmth.
Less than a candlemark passed and Xena awoke to the applause of the audience. Evidently it had been a good story. "How was he Gabrielle?"
"Hey, sleepyhead. Hes a good storyteller but he obviously knows nothing about the real Ulysses."
Xena chuckled a little and followed it with a yawn.
"Tired my Warrior?"
"Just a little, but we can stay for another story, if you like."
The storyteller announced his next tale, "I now sing a song of Xena the Warrior Princess......."
Gabrielle began giggling, "Okay Warrior Princess, lets call it a night. I dont think I can stand listening to him mess this story up too."
Xena allowed her tired body to be pulled from the bench. Gabrielle led the way to the rented room with Xena following close behind. Peeking through her sleepy eyes she could not help but admire the sway of Gabrielles walk. *Well, maybe Im not that tired.*
"XENA!!!!" Cyrene strained to open her eyes. Breathing short and fast she was again dreaming of her lost daughter. Trying to restrain from weeping Cyrene tossed the blanket off while placing her feet on the cool wooden floor. "Ive got to shake this. Xena would want me to move on."
The innkeeper moved to the window in her bedroom. Gazing into the night sky overloaded with the weight of the stars Cyrene pictured the deep blue of her daughters eyes, the contagious laughter in her voice and the loyal and strong spirit of her raven-haired childs love for her....and Gabrielle. A long time ago Cyrene recognized Gabrielle, as a second daughter. And over the years, she watched with amazement, as the young woman captured the heart of her wild daughter.
Speaking with the belief that she would be heard Cyrene directed her thoughts and words to both women. "I will watch over her. Lila is my responsibility now. I will not let either of you down. I promise."
Maris, along with the three Amazons who insisted on taking their leaders position, drove their horses hard into the night. The dark-haired, well-tanned Amazon with eyes as black as coal knew Shulaba would spread the word of their banishment from the Amazon village. Maris was not stupid nor did she have a tendency to become careless. *I must strike before the word can be spread.*
The darkness that follows the setting of the sun soon made the forest too unsafe for the riders to continue without the possibility of injury. Maris needed all three of the women who rode with her to carry out her plan. Reining back on her horse, "Lets stop here for the night."
Her companions were well aware of Maris reputation for her temper and chose for tonight anyway, not to question her decision. Quickly the women built a small campfire and consumed what little food and drink they had with them.
"Maris," Pippa, the youngest of the group, just barely fourteen summers in age and also the most inquisitive of the group spoke up. "Where are we heading....I mean, we have no food or shelter...."
Before Pippa could finish her question Maris struck her across the face with a closed fist, sending the young girl to her back.
"Cut it out Maris, you dont have to kill the kid, shes just scared." Stella was the same age as Maris, thirty-one summers. Both Amazons grew up together and seemed to have a love-hate relationship. The fair-haired Stella often wondered why she put up with Maris but she never cared enough to walk away or change the relationship.
Maris glared at Stella, "Just keep her out of my way and make sure she does what shes told." Suddenly the angry Amazon front flipped landing in a straddle position over the fallen child. "Cause, if you dont listen to me.....I will personally kill you."
The fourth Amazon remained quiet and observed the game being played. Leandra was not pleased with the situation and not extremely happy with Maris outburst at the village. Tall and lean Leandra sported scars of repeated whippings on her back, shoulders and arms. The Amazons desires for friendship or companionship were non-existent. She did not discriminate...she hated everyone. Leandra was cold, calculating and had in the past hired her services out as everything from a scout to an assassin. Stella would tell her on many occasions that she had no soul. It never bothered her.
"Oh....yes-yes Gabr....dont stop...oh...that feels so right...." Hearing herself moaning in ecstasy caused the Warrior to open her eyes. *Hades, I hate when that happens!* Looking toward the source of the light flooding the room Xena could see the sun shining brightly through the window. *Mmm, another dream. Oh my sweet Bard how you manage to invade my dreams with your love amazes me. You really do have a power over me and I love every bit of it.*
Gabrielle was on her side with her back curled up into Xenas chest. One knee was draped and tangled in the blanket while the other was entwined with the Warriors legs. Xena notice the abrasions on her arms and hands were healing nicely and wondered if the Creators gift of rebirth and the climb up their individual karmas contributed to what seemed to be Gabrielles ability to heal faster than normal. A low groan from Gabrielle pulled Xena from her thoughts causing her to reflect on their night of passion and lovemaking. Xena smiled, *This just feels so right and no one will ever be able to tell me different.* Amused by her thoughts Xena circled the Bards ear with her tongue finally settling on the precious tender earlobe she always enjoyed sucking on.
"Mmmm.....Warrior..." Feeling the wet tongue consuming her earlobe Gabrielle smiled and pulled Xenas hand to her lips kissing each fingertip. Not in a hurry to move and thoroughly enjoying the attention she was receiving, Gabrielle rolled over on her back to seize Xenas lush red lips.
Their tongues and lips twisted and played together in a knowing and understanding dance of love. Neither one pushed the other. The kiss was sweet and tender, one of continuing discovery and one of commitment. A loud knocking on the door startled both women. The Warrior was instantly on her feet grabbing her sword on the way to the door.
"Xena wait." Gabrielle threw a blanket to Xena indicating she should at least cover up her naked body before opening the door and shocking some poor soul on the other side. "Warrior, I think you are absolutely gorgeous and Im sure whoever is on the other side of the door will agree with me. I however, do not want any competition."
"Really.....youre not worried are you." The Bards statement baffled the Warrior just a bit.
Gabrielle fell back to the bed crossing her arms behind her head, grinned and simply answered, "No."
The knock on the door came once again. Xena answered the door to find a young boy about sixteen summers gawking at her from the other side of the entrance.
"Yesss...can I help you?"
The boy had seen many women come and go through his fathers inn but never had he seen a woman as mystifying and beautiful as the one now standing half-naked before him.
"WHAT do you want!" Xena could hear Gabrielle giggling in the background.
The Warrior could now hear the Bard laughing uncontrollably. *Shes going to get it. I swear....*
Xena dropped her ready-to-do-battle stance, lowered her sword and tried once again. "The name is Xena, now what do you want."
"Xena! The famous Warrior Princess that Xena!" The young boy was now completely and totally in awe of the woman standing before him. "I heard, I mean everyone said you were dead."
"Yea, yea yea...well Im not." Xena could hear Gabrielle pounding her fists on the bed in an attempt to control her laughter now accompanied by chants of hes got the warrior princess haze.
The young boy adjusted his pants, lifted his head high and decided to deliver his message. "Father said the horse you asked for his tied out front at the hitching post. The mare is saddled and ready. Father said it will cost you 100 dinars."
"WHAT 100 dinars!"
The boy quickly stepped back fidgeting and wringing his hands nervously. Xena was well aware they had the money; Carrier had generously left them 2000 dinars. The Warrior just was not willing to give in so easily.
"Xena, stop torturing the boy 100 dinars is fair." Gabrielle was putting on her emerald green tunic as she spoke. "Boy, tell your father we will pay him, after we see the horse."
With that the young boy abruptly turned running down the hallway. Xena slammed the door and turned to face her giggling partner. "And just WHAT did you find so amusing?"
Trying to control her giggling the Bard decided to change the subject. "Is it Minya?"
Dropping her shoulder and looking to the ceiling in total confusion, "What are you talking about Gabrielle?"
The Bard knew full well that she had the advantage, for the moment. "Dont act like you dont know what Im talking about. Is it Minya?"
"Aughhhh......" Xena was again caught off guard by Gabrielle. Placing her sword back in its sheath the Warrior intentionally let the blanket drop exposing a fully well defined naked Warrior. "NO, it is not Minya. Now you only have two guesses left."
Very well aware of her lovers naked body moving across the room towards her like a wild, black panther ready to claim its victim, Gabrielle knew she had absolutely no defenses. The Bard found herself hypnotized and bewitched by her Warrior. *How does she do that Immm....oh well, she has me.*
Gabrielle soon lost all perception of whether she was standing or lying down. Xena had removed her tunic swiftly and was now in full command of the Bards breasts. The Warrior tickled and nipped lightly at her lovers breasts alternating with wide licks of her tongue in-between, over and around the two exotic, soft mounds and hard pink nipples. "Ohhh, yes....gods yesssss......."
The Warrior released her mouth from her lovers breast unexpectedly only to hear Gabrielles disapproval, "Ohhh, Xena....please...dont stop...."
She stared directly into Gabrielles glazed over green eyes and with a devilish grin, "Is that a question, my love? If it is, then the answer is I dont plan on stopping....and you only have one question left."
"Oh no you dont Warrior Princess...you know full well that was NOT a question." Gabrielle wrapped her arms around Xena neck pulling her down so she could taunt the lips of her soulmate. Slowly brushing Xenas lips with her tongue the Bard whispered between licks, "That was a plea for you to take me."
Helpless once again over her lovers seductive powers, the Warrior aggressively took what she knew belonged to only her......and she found that Gabrielles lips were open, willing and ready.
A second intrusion startled the lovers causing Xena to storm to the door with fists closed in anger. Gabrielle had no time to tell her to cover her body. Grabbing the door and flinging it back causing it to bounce off the wall and back into her hand, which already reacted to stop it, was the innkeepers wife.
"WHAT NOW !!!"
The womans eyes grew as big as tomatoes and her hands were now covering her mouth in shock at viewing the naked Warrior in front of her. She had not anticipated this, when she knocked. Gabrielle was quick on her feet throwing a blanket over Xenas shoulders so she could cover herself. Tugging on Xenas arms to step back, the Bard also wearing a blanket stepped between Xena and the woman.
"Im sorry for my partners," she glanced back at Xena, "temper. She means you no harm."
"Thats thats okay." Upon hearing from her son that Xena was upstairs in their establishment - the warrior woman who fought Roman rule - she wanted to do something nice. "I just wanted to let you know that I have some food for you both downstairs." The innkeepers wife crossed her arms hoping it would help her to stop shaking. "....Its free...no charge...excuse me I should....I....." The woman knew there was no way she could complete her sentence and sound intelligent, so she curtsied respectfully and fled down the hall.
Gabrielle closed the door and shook her head. "Xena, lets go before the innkeeper himself comes up." The Bard went to grab her clothes, "Or...maybe a daughter or uncle or brother or someone else SHOWS UP!"
Xena smiled, happy to see her Bard was just as upset about the intrusion, as she was.
In less than a candlemark both women were packed and ready to leave. Xena observed Gabrielle paying the innkeeper for the horse and then thanking his wife for the food. Xena was actually quite pleased with the mare. She wasnt Argo, but the horse was young, spirited and strong. *Yes, she will do nicely....until I can find Argo.*
By mid morning, repeating a pattern the pair had done for so many years, the Warrior rode the mare and the little one happily walked along side, occasionally giving her staff a twirl.
Breaking to rest the horses Maris and her small rebel band stopped outside of the Port of Therma.
"Why Maris? What are we doing Gabrielle is dead, remember." Stella was rather aggravated that Maris insisted on traveling to Poteidaia. What could she possibly want in this stinking little village?
Pippa and Leandra consumed a small meal of cheese while listening to Maris and Stella bickering back and forth. Maris had wanted to travel to Gabrielles home village. Stella wanted to head south to Athens.
Maris stepped closer to Stella, "Gabrielle has a sister Lilo, Lina or ......"
Pippa interrupted, "Lila." Then quickly gazed back into the fire hoping Maris wouldnt hit her.
"Yessss, thank you Pippa." Although bothered by Pippas boldness and interruption, she knew the accuracy of the name was important.
"Why is Lila important, Maris?"
"Because, Stella, she is our precious dead Queens sister."
Leandra finally reached a point where she could take no more of the guessing game. "HADES, just tell us your plan Maris.....if you really have one."
Maris had no intentions of challenging Leandra, although she did not want Leandra to know that. So Maris decided an explanation would be appropriate. "It is simple. We take Lila, we let Shulaba know we have Lila then we kill Lila, dump her on Amazon land and blame her death on the Amazons." Maris began strutting around her companions, extremely pleased with her plan. "How do you think poor father and mother will take the news. They never did like the Amazons."
"Mmpf...youre hoping for a war." Stella spat the words out with disgust.
A huge smirk of self-satisfaction crossed her face. "We will get them all."
The lovers headed northeast at a comfortable pace. The day was warming up nicely which made traveling pleasant and comfortable. Soon the land formations, trees, streams and boulders became familiar to the pair as they came closer to their homelands. Many times the two traveled this path on their way to other territories in Greece. Xena was aware that in less than a candlemark they would meet the crossroads requiring the couple to make a decision. They would either travel southeast to Poteidaia or northeast to Amphipolis. The Warrior decided the Amazon village would not be an option. Xena tossed the reasoning over and over in her thoughts and still came up with the same conclusion. *It is more important for our families to know we are okay. The Amazons can be sent a message, and then we will travel there later.* Xenas biggest challenge at the crossroads would be convincing Gabrielle that they should journey to Poteidaia first. Remembering Gabrielles reaction several nights ago while they were still at the cave, *She really did a great job of avoiding my question about traveling to her parents first.*
Xena stopped the horse and glanced back at Gabrielle who was dawdling. Not because she was slow, but because she was twirling and jabbing and smacking plants and rocks with her staff, as they were walking. The Warrior was delighted that her lover agreed to accept the staff Ephiny again presented to her. *Okay my love, what is going on through that pretty little blonde head of yours?*
"Youre still good with the staff Gabrielle. Doesnt look like youve lost any of your speed or accuracy." Xena was really very proud of her Bard. She remembered how Eponin was ordered to train the Bard. *Poor, Eponin, burdened with a little farm girl.* Xena was extremely fond of Eponin and missed her when they visited the Amazon village. But the Warrior understood Eponins desire to find her path in life. Looking into the bright sun, *I hope you found your destiny, my friend. I hope we will meet again.*
"I GOT IT." Gabrielle shrieked and ran up to the side of Xena patting her on the leg. "Cyrene right!!!"
Bending down to give her Bard a little kiss on the head the Warrior responded. "No. Only one more chance and then I win.....again."
Gabrielle let out a sigh of exasperation and leaned her body into her staff to rest.
At the mention of Xenas mother, the Warrior mused, *A perfect opening for me to bring up the subject of which home to go to first.* The Warrior reached her hand out for Gabrielle to take. "Come on, ride with me."
The Bard settled in behind her Warrior and wrapped her arms around her lovers waist. Soon she was snuggling into the blue tunic covering her Warrior. "Mmmmm, it feels so good to hold you Xena."
Urging the horse to continue at a walk Xena brought up her concern. "Gabrielle, you realize the crossroads are coming up and we should consider turning south for Poteidaia."
"Xena, I thought we agreed the Amazons would be our first stop."
"Well, no not exactly. We were interrupted by Ephiny, remember?"
Gabrielle dreaded this moment, when a decision would need to be made and her thoughts instantly screamed, *Xena, please dont do this, Im not ready to go to Poteidaia yet. But how do I tell you Im afraid of my father. He will blame you for my death. And he will again blame me for HIS PAIN and then...father will....* Before Gabrielle could finish her thoughts she heard Xena speaking.
"Gabrielle, are you ignoring me?"
"Uh, no, just thinking. Im sorry."
Xena could feel the tension and stiffness in Gabrielles body and halted the horse to confront her soulmate.
"Uh, Xena....I have to find a bush...you know." The Bard slid off the horse and ran for the bushes several lengths away. *I have to regroup, have to think.*
Patiently waiting, Xena knew Gabrielle was again trying to avoid the conversation. *I have to pin her down she has to talk to me. WAIT, thats it...ha ha, yes!* The Warrior jumped from the horse and waited for Gabrielle to return. As soon as she came out of the bushes, the Bard could see Xena waiting for her. Trying to be nonchalant Gabrielle approached her, as if nothing was wrong, stopping an arm length from Xena. The Warrior peered into Gabrielles eyes and a half-sided smirk crossed her face. The only thing the Bard could think was *Oh-no.*
With accurate precision and speed of which the Warrior was famous for Gabrielle found herself flat on her back with her arms stretched over her head, held by only one of Xenas hands. *How does she move so fast....* The Bard started to wiggle and yell, "XENA, let me go...what are you doing." Xenas intentions were not to kiss Gabrielle, but suddenly she considered the squirming voluptuous body below her. The Warrior was instantly aroused and lowered her lips to her lovers. Gabrielles first thought was to fight the kiss but as soon as she felt the warm breath and the tender weight of the Warriors lips pressing on hers, the Bard relaxed and surrendered to her lover. Xena released her grip on Gabrielles hands so she could lean her weight on one elbow and wrap her other hand affectionately around her soulmates neck. She could feel the Bard bring her arms up and dig them deeply into her hair. The lovers deepened the kiss passionately and then without warning the kiss changed. Gabrielle let a low whimper slip through her lips and abruptly took control of the kiss with desperation. Concern caused the Warrior to pull her lips away. Looking directly into Gabrielle green eyes the same eyes that always captivated Xena; the Warrior saw an indescribable fear. One she did not recognize.
"Gabrielle, what are you afraid of?" A reply never came. "Gabrielle, you have to know that I will always be here for you. Whatever is going on in that precious little Amazon head of yours....well, tell me. Lets go through this together, okay?"
Looking up into the Warriors face, Gabrielle let her fingers trace an outline across her soulmates lips and chin. "I love you so much Xena, but I have to go home alone."
Although Xena was not convinced this was a complete answer she decided to play it out. "But why, weve been through so much together." The Warrior stood up helping Gabrielle stand with her. She was well aware that Gabrielles father did not like her.
Gabrielle wrapped her arms around the Warriors waist. "Xena, please. My father....." Gabrielle paused searching for words that would prevent Xena from following her home. "After Hope and her child.....well, it only made him angrier. I dont want you to get hurt."
"Gabrielle, Im quite capable of defending myself." Failure began to consume Xenas emotions. She wanted to fix whatever was wrong and Gabrielle would not let her. Frustrated the Warrior wanted to push her away but instead her love and bonding for this woman commanded her to stand still.
"Thats not what this is about, Xena. I know you can defend yourself."
Something about Gabrielles words bothered Xena. *What is really going on Gabrielle?* The Warrior tenderly lifted Gabrielles chin in hopes that the expressions on her face might reveal what was really bothering her Bard. Xena mused about how she loved touching, kissing and just watching Gabrielles face. Holding her chin the Warrior let her thumb slip to the Bards always tempting lips. Slowly she let her thumb glide over the velvety soft lips, memorizing the texture. *Mmmm, this must be what it is like to float on a cloud.* Gazing into Gabrielles green eyes that changed hue depending on her mood. The Warrior remembered the deep glazed-over green, when Gabrielle was surrendering her body to the Warrior. She has seen the emerald green reflecting excitement or challenge and the deep sea green hue of playfulness. When Gabrielle was hurt, in pain or confused her eyes would turn cloudy, as the green mixed with tears. Smiling internally Xena was also familiar with the green-eyed monster that would possess her lover when she was jealous. Xena also knew the relaxing, calm meditative green glow in Gabrielles eyes when she was at peace, happy and contended. There were so many hues and personalities to those captivating eyes and Xena loved everyone one of them. At this moment, however, the only message Gabrielles eyes conveyed were peaceful love for the Warrior. *You my love are getting better at masking your emotions. In the short time I just spent dreaming of you you managed to regroup. Who is the warrior me or you.*
Well aware of the Warriors motives to examine her eyes for an answer, the Bard quickly buried all emotions except her love of Xena. That is what her eyes would show Xena. *No, my Warrior I wont tell you more so stop trying.*
Holding the Bard by the shoulders Xena gently pushed her backwards to look directly into Gabrielles eyes. She needed a truthful answer, therefore spoke firmly, "Gabrielle, look at me. If you can honestly tell me from your heart, that you want to go home without me....well then you better come up with a better explanation than your fathers dislike for me."
Xena now managed to limit the Bards options and it angered her slightly. "No, my love it is not what I truly want....I would rather not go to Poteidaia at all....Im not ready." Gabrielle stepped back removing Xenas hands from her shoulders. "I will send word to my mother, Lila and my father when I reach Amphipolis." Gabrielle walked over and picked her staff off the ground and continued heading down the path towards Amphipolis. Suddenly stopping, she did not look back at Xena, however she did raise her voice in a tone that she hoped would end any further exploration. She was not ready to tell Xena about her fathers abuse and if she could prevent it, Xena would never know. "My Warrior, I love you more than anyone. My heart belongs only to you completely. I miss you terribly when you are gone. And this conversation about Poteidaia is OVER."
Thrown off guard by Gabrielles response Xena realized she was not going to get her soulmate to share that indescribable fear she had witnessed in the Bards eyes earlier. *Okay my little one, I will step back from this buried fear of yours.....but only for now.* With those thoughts in mind Xena jumped up into the saddle and nudged the mare into a trot to catch up with Gabrielle. Stopping the mare slightly ahead of Gabrielle in order to block her path the Warrior extended her hand praying her soulmate would take it.
Fully in tune to what the Warrior was offering and what she realized Xena needed from her - Gabrielle accepted her hand. Before she could blink an eye Xena pulled her up on the mare so she was sitting in front. The Bard swung her leg over so she was not sitting sidesaddle and slid her staff into the leather strips that would hold it in place on the saddle.
Keeping one hand in control of the reins Xena glided her free hand and arm around Gabrielles waist. "I just need to hold you...," the Warrior hesitated then added, "...if youll still have me."
The Warriors words penetrated Gabrielles heart and soul. "I love you, my Warrior...and I want you more than I will ever be able to tell you in words." Passionately Gabrielle entangled her fingers with the long strong fingers of her Warrior. Leaning back into her lover, the Bard knew she selfishly wanted to feel Xenas breasts rub up against her back and feel her warm breath tickle her ears. Gabrielle could not help feeling flirtatious and wasted no time conveying her enjoyment of the Warriors body. "You know Xena, I find there is a real advantage to you not wearing the armor....and I think I like it a lot."
Feeling the heat rise between her legs Xena could feel her nipples harden as they pressed up against the athletic curves of Gabrielles back. Add in the continuous rubbing of Gabrielles thighs against hers as they rode close together and Xena knew it would only be a matter of time before she would have to seduce her soulmate. Nuzzling into her Bards windblown hair the Warrior pushed the mare into a canter with the intentions of stopping only when they reached that small waterfall Gabrielle loved so much.
Shulaba was not comfortable with just letting Maris and her companions stroll out of the Amazon village. There was something about that woman and Shulabas instincts told her Maris could be dangerous. The evening following Maris banishment from the village the new Queen set out in search of Eponin. She had a pretty fair idea that Eponin could be found in the stables and she wanted to speak with the Amazon regarding her concerns. As Shulabas got closer to the stables she could hear the banging of a staff over wood. Puzzled by the tone of the sound Shulaba thought Eponin was probably tormenting Amarice again. *Ha, or maybe its the other way around.* The Queen made the time since Amarices return to the village to drop in occasionally, as well as observed from a distance the interplay between Eponin and the feisty young redhead. Pleased with her decision to assign Amarices training to the finely built dark-hair Amazon she found herself chuckling, as to whom was actually training whom. Talking out loud she prayed Xena would hear her words, "Xena, why do I have a feeling only you would understand Eponins frustration at this moment......oh....no offense meant Gabrielle."
As Shulaba entered the stables, she witnessed a very furious Eponin striking, whacking and swinging a staff rapidly between two wooded beams holding up part of the hayloft. Off to the right sitting casually on a bail of hay chewing on a piece of straw was a very amused Amarice. The Queen directed her attention to the young redhead. "Okay, Amarice, what did you do this time."
The young Amazon dropped her straw and jumped up from the bail of hay. "Oh....umm...my Queen...I did nothing, really."
"Yeah, right!" Shulaba raised her eyebrow and glared at Amarice with a slight frown. "Talk young Amazon NOW."
Eponin heard Shulaba raised voice and stopped beating on the wood beams. Out of breath she moved over to join the two women and stopped just short of Amarice. With the amazing strength she jammed the staff into the ground forcing it to stand on its own. Grouchy and now tired she stared at Amarice and stated, "YOU...YOU.....dont you ever, ever do that again."
The Queen was now doing everything possible to suppress a grin over Amarices smile in answer to the Eponins anger. Gently shoving Eponin back with her hand Shulaba looked at Amarice. "I am running out of patience Amarice, you better tell me what you did to outrage by best warrior."
"Oh....it was nothing." Amarice kicked some dirt with her foot. "Well, she was brushing down Argo and talking to her. I...I just thought she looked cute and kissed her on the cheek."
"YOU DID WHAT !"
Almost in a whisper, "I kissed her on the...."
Before Amarice could continue Shulaba was bellowing with laughter, bending over holding her waist with one hand and leaning into a bail of hay with the other to keep her balance.
"Oh, very funny Shulaba, thanks a lot." Eponin yanked the staff out of the ground and walked back over to Argo.
By now Shulaba had tears rolling down her cheeks and she was completely leaning against the bail of hay to keep from falling over. Her laughter only got worse and soon she had Amarice joining her.
"BUNCH OF GIGGLING GIRLS YOURE NOT AMAZONS." Knowing she was totally outnumbered she said a quick goodbye to Argo and stormed out of the stables. Every Amazon between the stables and the hot springs had to leap out of the way in order to avoid the charging and very angry Amazon Warrior.
It took Shulaba a half candlemark to calm down, dry her eyes and stand back up. "Come on Amarice, I have to talk with Eponin." The two left the stables and with the help of several confused Amazon villagers Shulaba was able to learn that Eponins direction was the hot springs. Just before the springs Shulaba turned to face Amarice. "You really are fond of that big dumb warrior, arent you." The young redhead just nodded in agreement. "Well, this reminds me of another big dumb warrior and a beautiful little blonde. But thats another story. I want you to get some rest. Tomorrow Im sending you and Eponin out of the village. I have something I want you both to do, but I will tell Eponin. Right now Im going to try and calm Eponin down so she doesnt kill you tomorrow out on the road."
Amarice thanked Shulaba and quickly retreated to find some place to think rather than rest.
It did not take long for Shulaba to find Eponin, she was right where everyone said shed be. "Hey, sure you need the HOT springs. Dont you think the COLD stream outside of the village would suit your needs more."
"Oh, very funny my Queen." Eponin splashed enough water at Shulaba for her to decide to strip and join the dark hair Amazon. "Hades...that girl. She is going to kill me yet."
"Mmmm...reminds me of...."
"Dont go there Shulaba.....Amarice is nothing like Gabrielle."
"Oh really......" Deciding to leave some teasing for later Shulaba needed to get down to business. The Queen explained her concerns over Maris and requested that Eponin and Amarice track the women down and find out what they were up too. According to sentry reports after the women were banished Maris and her companions headed southeast.
"Youre concerned they will head for Poteidaia. Youre worried about Gabrielles sister." Eponin was pleased with her Queens wisdom and it was something she herself was considering. "Ill leave in the morning. You realized Gabrielles family will not want to see us."
"Follow anyway. Use your own judgment, dont let Maris see you, unless you have no choice." Shulaba wet her hair and grabbed the soap left in a container on the side of the springs. "Do me a favor, dont kill Amarice....she just has a crush."
"Mmpf....Ill give her a crush!"
It was late in the day when the couple reached the crossroads. A light mist was filling the air and the Warrior wanted to get to the waterfalls before dark. First she had to ask Gabrielle once more about going to Poteidaia. Xena slowed the mare down allowing it to graze for a bit. However, still cuddling neither woman wanted to move. "I have to ask once more Gabrielle. Are you sure about putting off...."
Gabrielle twisted her body around in the saddle so she could look directly into Xenas eyes. "Yes, my Warrior, I am sure. Im just not ready to go to my parents house."
The Warrior leaned forward to kiss her lover but seeing the worry in her eyes she held back from taking Gabrielles lips completely. Instead Xena just brushed Gabrielles top lip with a light kiss. The Bard would have nothing to do with a small peck on the lips and moved one hand behind Xenas neck pulling her down. Before their kiss deepened Xena heard Gabrielle whisper, "Please, dont be angry with me." Xena responded to Gabrielles plea with tenderness and pressed her lips deeper into Gabrielles, letting her know that she was not angry just in love with her and concerned. The Warrior did not want to release the full luscious lips of the woman she wanted to marry and her tongue slipped through to caress her lovers top lip. Dropping the reins Xena slid her hand to capture and tease the already firm nipples of Gabrielles ample breasts. This touch elicited a purr from Gabrielle. The Bard moved Xenas hand down between her legs to feel her wetness and invite her to explore. The mare provided an unwarned interruption by shaking her mane and swishing her tail so it slapped Xena in the back. Startled from her exploration the Warrior grinned, "I guess we should move off this saddle."
"Mmmm...." Was the only response Xena would receive from Gabrielle...and there it was...the eyes...the take me now Warrior look that always captured Xenas heart.
"Not here, my love. I know a place we can camp just north of the crossroads. Then tomorrow well travel to Amphipolis." Nothing else needed to be said and with a kick to the mares flanks, Xena guided the horse towards the waterfalls.
When Gabrielle realized where Xena was planning to camp, she was excited. It had been a long time since they camped near the falls. The last time was over ten moons ago and to Gabrielle it was very memorable. They had just left Joxer at his grandmothers and were happy to be alone without him constantly interrupting their desire to make love. *Poor Joxer, he is clueless. Even when I told him my heart belonged to Xena he still gave that duh puzzled look and thought I was joking.*
The mist moved over the countryside faster than Xena would like but she mused that it would offer a veil of protection for them. She wanted Gabrielle all to herself tonight especially after all the interruptions of the day between the innkeepers family and then this mare. Xena picked out an area close enough to the waterfalls, yet far enough away so they would not feel the spray of the rushing water. Behind them was a wall of rock along with scattered boulders and trees making up the boundaries that would offer them privacy. After a light meal and some hot tea Xena retreated to a log in order to sharpen and clean her new sword. Over the past days she had become use to the grip, weight and temper of the metal and decided Carrier made an excellent choice.
Pulling out her scroll she had hoped to write some more about Ephiny, but listening to Xenas whetstone slide across the steel of her blade drove the Bard into a fantasy of the Warriors hand gliding and caressing over her thighs. Tossing her scroll to the side the Bard mused, *Oh well, sorry Ephiny.* She then focused all her attention on the movement of the Warriors long sleek fingers gripping the whetstone and her powerful hands expertly holding the sword. *Warrior you need to be over here with me rubbing your fingers over my skin - touching my breasts. Oh yes warrior, put your sword down and look at me, because her I come.*
Xenas attention was lost in the sharpening of her sword until out of the corner of her eye she caught pure seduction crawling towards her like a wild uncontrollable animal. Chills ran up Xenas body as this wild creature undressed her with shimmering dangerous emerald gems for eyes. Xena stopped sharpening the sword and watched this hungry woman crawling directly to her - licking her lips wetting them in preparation for attack. The Warrior could feel the heat rising in her and the wetness of her passion coating her thighs. She was trapped under this bewitching womans spell and knew this was a battle worth losing. Gabrielle was kneeling in front of Xena much quicker than the Warrior could react too. Taking Xenas sword and whetstone, Gabrielle dropped the stone and gingerly held the sword upright sliding the grip between her thighs. While still on her knees she lifted herself slightly and started slowly and sensually grinding her mound against the ribbed handle. At the same time, with the tip of her tongue she licked the flat part of the polished blade carnally. Xenas eyebrows raised *oh gods, Gabrielle you have way too much knowledge in seduction.* The Warrior could not help the deep-throated moan that slipped, as she witnessed her lover play an inviting game. Pleased with the response; the sword was placed to the side and Gabrielle ran her fingers teasingly up Xenas thighs stopping just short of her destination eliciting a groan from her lover. Dragging her nails lightly down the powerful thighs on the dark-hair woman the Bard removed each of Xenas boots. Xena was already working on the belt of her tunic.
In an arousing growl Gabrielle demanded "...come to me Warrior now." Taking her hands the Bard led Xena to the blanket. Slipping her soulmates tunic off to reveal the tall tanned firm body Gabrielle guided her to the blanket. After removing her own boots, Gabrielle rested on her knees straddling her lover and stripped her tunic away. Licking her lips the Bard lowered her body to meet with Xenas. The Warrior opened her mouth immediately needing Gabrielles tongue to explore. Finding herself close to orgasm just from teasing, Gabrielle entered her tongue deeply into Xena. The Warrior responded and slid her fingers past Gabrielles earlobes until she could lace them through the soft blonde hair.
Fondling and rubbing Xenas breast Gabrielle required more and dragged her tongue and lips from the warm mouth of her lover settling on the firm dark nipples. "Oh, yes...yes Gabrielle....please..now."
The Bard recognized the moans coming from her lover. She was pleading for Gabrielle to bring her to climax quickly. Obeying her lover she slid her hand between Xenas hot trembling thighs and cupped her soulmates center of pleasure. As she began rubbing in circular motions, she slipped her fingers in and out of the hot channel. Leaving a breast to the cool misty air Gabrielle asked "Warrior, do you belong to only me?"
"Oh gods...yes..all ...yours."
Licking the Warriors stomach her tongue went directly to the tattoo only she and Xena shared. Circling the design on the Warriors left hip she was reminded of what this tattoo signified. With a satisfying grin and several nibbles to the hip Gabrielle commanded her tongue and lips to join her active fingers and she buried herself in the tasty wetness that was only her lover. "You taste so good my Warrior...scream for me...let me know you want this." The licking and twisting and flicking of her center drove Xena mad and she did indeed scream, as her hips increased rotation to keep up with the love her Bard was giving. As her orgasm took over her body, the forest echoed with a warriors cry of surrender.
Gabrielle held on to her lover until the tremors stopped. "I love you Xena."
"My Bard, you are so so very dangerous." The Warrior was beginning to reclaim her breath. "Come here."
Her comment brought giggles from Gabrielle, which were soon muffled with Xenas lips. "Mmmm...it is my turn now."
Eponin and Amarice were able to follow the trail left by Maris to the crossroads. A heavy mist was covering the land at a fairly rapid speed and Eponin realized she would not be able to follow the already fading tracks for much longer. Deciding they should camp for the evening and attempt to pick up the trail tomorrow the Amazon chose a site just east of the crossroads situated among the trees. Although there was not any running water or lake close by both the waterbags were full along with the extra bag Amarice carried on her horse. Feeling tired and a bit grumpy Amarice was all too happy to stop for the night.
"Amarice start a fire and pull out something for us to eat. I know you have some cheese and dried meat in your saddlebag. Oh, and heat up some water, Id like a hot cup of tea."
Slamming her bedroll on the ground Amarice was in no mood to be ordered around. "And just my mighty warrior what will you do?"
The brown-eyed Amazon turned to look at the young redhead. "Im going to collect some more wood and check the perimeter. Just do what I asked. Oh...and Im not your mighty warrior. GOT IT." Before Amarice could respond Eponin disappeared into the trees.
After consuming a meal in silence Amarice drifted off to sleep and Eponin stood watch. If she slept at all that would be okay but she would sleep sitting up. There was just something about the mist that crawled through her warrior instincts. The Amazon watched the moon rising in the night sky and eventually it became hidden by the treetops. Glancing down at the young woman sleeping next to the dwindling fire Eponin wondered. *What possesses you to wander redhead. And what do you see in me that leads you to follow me.* A disturbance about fifty paces from the camp interrupted Eponins thoughts and brought her to her feet. As an animal ready to protect its territory, Eponin pulled her sword and cautiously moved toward the noise. She dropped her sword when a doe popped her head up from the bushes. "Oh...by the gods, you startled me." Sheathing her sword she turned around to retreat to the campfire. "You should consider yourself fortunate that I am not in the mood for deer meat."
"No, you should consider yourself fortunate that I dont beat the amazon attitude out of you."
Not sure whether she was dreaming or Amarice had finally drove her insane. Eponin rapidly turned around and saw her friend. "Ephiny??"
"Yes you old dumb warrior its me. Didnt think youd get rid of me that easy."
"But......but....how you...di....YOU DIED!!!" Ephiny moved closer to Eponin and offered her hand in friendship. Eponin however was not sure she wanted to touch an obvious spirit. "Can..can I touch you?"
"Of course, for a while it is okay." Ephiny and Eponin clasped each others hands. "It is good to see you Eponin."
"Ephiny, why arent you in......"
"That seems to be a popular question." Ephiny paused for a moment before answering deciding the full story was not necessary. "Artemis needed to me hang around.....so here I am." Backing away slightly Ephiny rested her hands on her hips. "I need you to go to Amphipolis. Dont ask me why just go. You will understand once you are there."
"Okay but Shulaba ordered me to trail...."
"I know, Maris and her so called friends. Yea, go to Amphipolis anyway." The curly-hair Amazon turned to leave and just as she slipped out of sight Eponin heard her last words. "Go my friend, everything will come full circle and you will understand."
With the mist thickening Eponin returned to the campfire while she could still see its light to guide her. Not waking Amarice, she would do as Ephiny instructed. She would change their direction in the morning and head to Amphipolis.
A Journey of Love and Home continues in Chapter 2
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