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One Clear Voice
"Mistress." Xena heard her man’s voice call from outside of her tent. She looked up from the map in irritation.
"What is it?" She called, her voice impatient.
"I found an intruder in the stable." The warrior answered.
"Bring him in."
Xena looked up to see the warrior leading a little girl in by the arm. She looked frightened like she was about to bolt at any time. Xena swore under her breath. A girl this young should not be in a warcamp. "What were you doing in my stable?" she asked her eyes boring directly into the eyes of the girl.
Gabrielle couldn’t get over it. The same raven hair, the same gorgeous eyes, the same endearing face, but there the similarities ended. There was a hardness to this woman, an icy demeanor Gabrielle wasn’t sure she would be able to melt away. "I’m sorry. I heard the horses neighing when I was walking through the woods composing and I just had to see them. I didn’t hurt them I swear." Gabrielle said, throwing herself into the act of the young girl. She remembered the words of the cyclops when they had met. ‘How is a sweet innocent thing like you going to get next to Xena?’ And she remembered her words to him, she only prayed that those words worked. That somehow the picture of sweetness, and innocence blinded Xena somehow so Gabrielle could get in and work away on her heart and mind.
"Composing?" Xena asked, a bored look on her face. ‘Gods, not another bard come to try their luck at getting into camp.’ Xena couldn’t remember how many bards had tried and failed that day to replace the bard that had displeased her.
"Yes. I’m a bard." Gabrielle said. Xena nearly groaned. ‘Yes, another one.’
"I suppose you’re here to try out for placement." Xena said boredom thick in her voice.
"If I may." Gabrielle said, adding just the right touch of shyness.
Xena shook her head in irritation. This girl was not going to last long.
"You do realize what happens to the bard’s who fail don’t you?"
Gabrielle shook her head uncertainly. Xena drew a line on her neck from ear to ear. Gabrielle closed her eyes and shook her head. "How many failed?" Gabrielle asked, with a real tremor in her voice. She wasn’t sure she wanted to know just how many Xena had killed.
"More than I care to count. My men are really harsh on those who fail me."
So Xena hadn’t ordered the deaths, but she had allowed them to take place.
"Still care to try little girl?"
‘Little girl. I really hate it when people call me that.’ Gabrielle thought. But she didn’t say anything, just nodded her head.
"Very well then. Call my troops together." She said the warrior who had "escorted" Gabrielle here. He nodded and left. Gabrielle was finally left alone with Xena. Xena turned her back on Gabrielle and peered at the map that was on her table.
"Still planning my love? I thought you would already have a plan by now." Gabrielle swung at the voice, noticing a big, brawny man standing in the doorway.
"Minos, my love, not in front of the guest." Xena’s voice purred dangerously. "She’s here to try out for the bard’s position."
"Another one?" Minos asked, bypassing Gabrielle and heading straight for Xena.
"Yes. It’ll be interesting to see if she’s any good." Xena answered kissing Minos with passion.
‘MINOS?’ Gabrielle thought wildly.
Minos couldn’t believe how well his luck was holding. Not only had the Warrior Princess fallen into his trap, but now she was wrapped around his little finger.
He never had planned to bother the village that had sent Xena running to help. He had just made it look like he was. He sent scouts in four directions to see which direction Xena was coming in, and then when he found out, he laid his trap for her. She had almost sensed it too, but by the time she had figured it out, his men was on top of her. The warrior had fought bravely taking out many of his weaker, less experienced men(weeding the bad from the good, he liked to think of it.) but the shear number of his force had outnumbered her and he had her. One warrior had knocked her on the back of the head, and she had crumpled like a piece of parchment crushed in his hand.
He had planned to wait until she was awake, torture her, and then kill her, but when she had woken with no recollection of who she was, or where, a greater plan had woken within Minos mind. Why not use her to help him with his plans of conquest. Xena’s mind was a blank canvas on which he could paint for her a new history. He told her that she was the great conquerer Xena:Warrior Princess, and that his army was indeed her’s. He told her that he was her lieutenant, and lover.
At first, it looked like she wasn’t going to believe him, but all of his men started paying homage to her, and she had gotten swept up in the novelty of having men grovel at her feet. To seal the fiction, he had sent her on a ‘very important mission’ to the next village, saying that they owed her a tribute, and was disrespecting her by not sending it to her. He had loved watching her in action, as she swept through that town, demanding her tribute. He had loved watching her beat the town’s men senseless when he had told her that the tribute wasn’t enough.
Her passion when she had left the town, high off of her power, was more than Minos had expected. He knew he would have a high price to pay, if she ever remembered who she was and what he had done to her, but at the moment he didn’t really care. He had the great Warrior Princess at his side, as his partner, and right now, he was on top of the world.
When his bard had told a story that displeased Xena and she had killed him, Minos let the incident go, it was a small price to pay for having Xena by his side. And he had started the hunt for his next bard.
What she had done to that idiot "King of Thieves" had been priceless. He did wish she had killed him instead of just beating him, but that was out of his hands. Minos had known a minute of trepidation when the fool had tried to convince her that she knew him, but she had believed Minos over the fool, and the problem was solved.
Minos guessed that listening to one more bard wasn’t going to hurt him.
Especially if it kept Xena by his side.
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