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DISCLAIMERS:Xena and Gabrielle are visiting again. MCA/Universal/Renaissance still doesn't know where they are, so keep it quiet, OK? Xena's getting kinda cranky with all this third season stuff and just might start tossing around the chakram to "ease" some of her worries.
This story directly follows "The Great Turkey Mystery", "The Great Turkey Crusade", and "The Great Turkey Explosion", and I highly suggest you read all of them first, because I asked you too and because it'll help you with this story. These stories are part of a continuing series I call "Warrior Princess,Gobble?" and I'm having a blast writing them. (Don't ask me why I'm writing about turkeys though, I still haven't figured it out.) ;}~~~
Violence? Nope. No subtext either. The turkeys, Xena and Gabrielle are too busy for that this time around. No cussin, well,yes there is..but you can't understand it anyway. It's in a different language. Hope you enjoy the read. Gobble gobble.
The Great Turkey Stampede
T.L.F. (Turkey Liberation Front) To The Rescue
Gabrielle hung on dutifully to the saddlehorn of Argo's saddle as Xena guided them both down the road. The warm spring day was a pleasant change from the week-long bout of rain they'd traveled in lately and both women were enjoying the change in weather.
"So, how long until we reach Amphipolis?" Gabrielle smiled pleasantly as her eyes gazed at the new growth of flowers and fresh grass.
"A day or so. Why? We just left Athens almost two weeks ago, tired of sleeping on the ground already?" The tall dark-haired warrior asked as she looked over her shoulder at her companion.
"Nah, just wondering. I was just hoping to get some new parchment, I kind of forgot to do that at the last village a few days back," the bard stated.
Xena chuckled softly. "I'm sure Salmoneus could have gotten you a great deal if you'd have asked when we were in Athens."
"Can you believe that?" The blond woman shook her head in astonishment at the thought of their friend. "He's making a fortune."
"Yeah, well I did catch him trying to pass a plain old chicken off as a turkey to this one fellow, but it didn't take much from me to get Salmoneus to promise he won't try that again," the warrior smirked.
"Xena: Great Turkey Trainer. Has an interesting ring to it, don't you think? I haven't written down the story yet, but perhaps,"
"NO!" Xena turned and glared up at her friend fiercely. "Do you know embarrassing it was in Athens when people would come up to me and ask me to sign their turkeys, for Zeus' sake?! It's,it's,"
"Rather funny if you ask me. You are quite famous." Gabrielle giggled, then put on a straight face as her companion glared at her once again.
"Real funny. I'm no longer the Warrior Princess and its all thanks to you. Couldn't you have thought up another idea besides using my name to sell Amphipolis' turkeys?" Xena's glare changed to an almost crestfallen expression. "It was your idea, why didn't you just take the credit."
"People only know me as a bard. You're the warrior and far more well known. Besides, I think it's good for your image."
Xena stopped drawing Argo to a halt and stared up at her friend in disbelief. "Good for my image? Good for my image?! Xena's Home Security Systems. She's guaranteed to train your turkey in thirty days or your money back? Did you honestly listen to some of the things Salmoneus was saying?!"
Gabrielle scratched her chin and thought about how she should answer, but nothing came to her. Just as she was about to try and change the subject, her eyes caught something in the distance.
"Xena?" The bard's green eyes were narrowed as she scrutinized the far hill.
"Hmmmrrpphh." Thinking that her friend wasn't going to answer her, Xena just snorted and started on her way again, still leading Argo.
"Xena? Look up there." Gabrielle pointed through the trees.
Sullenly, the warrior did as she was asked. With a small gasp she abruptly stopped in her tracks yet again as her keen eyes spotted what her companion had seen. After a few quiet moments she looked over at Gabrielle. "Didn't we do this two months ago?"
"No. You did it. I was rather,incapacitated at the time," the smaller woman said wryly. "So. What's the plan?"
Xena turned her attention back to the far hill and thought about that for a few moments. Finally she shrugged. "There aren't any towns close enough, except for Amphipolis, and I don't have any caches of weapons nearby. We do need to warn them though."
Gabrielle nodded silently and waited for her friend to continue.
The tall warrior suddenly stood straighter and walked to Argo's side and started riffling through the saddlebags. "There's only one thing to do."
"And that would be?" the bard asked with a curious look as she watched Xena pack a small bag with food and other items.
"I hold them off while you go to Amphipolis and round up the local guard," the warrior answered with a matter of fact tone. "That means we meet up in...two to three days."
"You've got to be kidding? You against an entire army? Again?"
"Got any better ideas?" Xena asked absently, still packing.
Gabrielle thought for a moment than grinned slyly. "Matter of fact, yes. And it'll help your reputation some more too."
The bard told her companion her idea, and after a long argument, finally got the warrior to agree with her plan, although Gabrielle could still see Xena wasn't too pleased with it.
"Ok. I'll get everything ready, you slow them down?" the bard asked, just to make sure Xena understood.
Crystal sapphire eyes rolled back in exasperation. "I can't believe I'm doing this, but yes."
Gabrielle grinned down at Xena and patted her on the shoulder. "Allrighty then, I'm off. Take care and keep out of trouble."
Xena watched apprehensively as Argo galloped toward Amphipolis with Gabrielle hanging on tightly. "This had gotten way out of hand. And I do mean way way out of hand." She muttered to herself quietly then disappeared into the wood to start on her part of the scheme. The vexed warrior didn't stop muttering for quite some time.
The Persian soldier leaned against his spear as his eyes tried to pierce the darkness searching for any sign of trouble.
The newest army to attempt to conquer Greece was having a very bad streak of luck these past few days and the soldiers were becoming concerned. Landslides down slopes that should have been stable. Fields that, to the naked eye, looked safe, but underneath were so waterlogged that it had taken them a day to rescue the horses and wagons. Hills pocked with so many holes that another day had been wasted as horses had to be led carefully through the area.
The sentry shook his head in astonishment. How so many gophers could make so many holes was amazing to him.
Finally, and most unsettling, were the barbarous totems. Huge poles decorated with talons, feathers, and carvings in a bizarre menacing display. The word had spread quickly when the carved Grecian symbols had been translated by one of the officers.
Beware the wrath of the Turkey Lords! May your skin erupt in feathers, may your words come out garbled if you trespass! Beware!
The Persian shivered uncontrollably, then glanced nervously about. He had seen for himself some of the horrific images on the poles, of monsters that seemed to be a cross between both bird and man. Huge warriors towering over their prey. Fierce of eye, with razor sharp beaks, they looked like creatures from the worst of nightmares.
The man slapped himself on the forehead and rolled his eyes at himself. What am I thinking? We are Persian! We shall make Greece and the world fall to their knees before us and no would-be terrors will stop us!
Feeling much better, he stood straighter and scanned the darkness. It completely surprised him then when a huge immense shape seemed to erupt in front of his face from out of nowhere. A loud savage cry broke the night, sending fear down the Persian's back and causing him to drop his weapon and bolt screaming back to the camp.
A moment later, the nearby bushes rustled and a dark figure came out. Picking up the large turkey, that was pecking at the soldier's forgotten spear, the figure cradled it gently and walked back into the brush.
The only evidence of the mysterious attack were several feathers that littered the ground.
"Well, this is it." Gabrielle whispered as she peeked over the crest of the hill, down upon the Persian army.
Xena grinned wickedly. "This is going to be fun. If it works."
"It'll work...if you did your part." The bard countered as the two companions carefully crept back down the backside of the hill towards their troops.
The warrior's eyes shined in the moonlight night. "Sneaking into their camp was the easiest part. It was waiting for you for three days that was difficult. Do you know how hard it is to make four hundred gopher holes and to change the direction of several streams? I'm so tired and sore that I could sleep for a week," Xena moaned.
"Not until we run off the Persians, Xena."
The two women stopped in front of the massed forces the bard had brought.
Xena turned and raised an eyebrow at her friend. "Are you sure about this?"
"Hey...look. I took some of that stuff, if you'll remember? After the totems and all the troubles they've been having lately, let alone all the poor guards you've scared the wits out of," the bard giggled softly. "they're ripe for picking. Trust me. If you gave them enough they'll believe anything."
The dark-haired woman nodded, trying to suppress a smile of her own. "Yeah, I remember. Boy...do I remember."
The Persian army slept peacefully in the night. The soft calls of passing sentries the only sound to break the silence. It was a welcome change from the past few nights. Reports from dozens of soldiers of horrendous creatures attacking them while on duty had changed the moral of the army drastically.
The night was nearing an end though, when the peace of their slumber was shattered.
It started out a single cry, haunting and sending shivers of terror down the spines of those who were awake and rudely awakening those who weren't. Then the single cry became two. Then the terrifying sounds erupted into a countless wails.
Panic ruled the camp, as the soldiers dressed and armed themselves. The Bird Lords had come.
Hearts pounding they drew closer to each other as they tried to see their enemy, but saw no sign of them.
Then a cry of fear from an officer as he spotted the first one.
High upon a hill, outlined by the setting moon, stood a monster. Then as they watched, the lone bird warrior was joined by another and yet another, until the top of the hill was lined with them. Hundreds of fearsome nightmarish creatures.
The Persian army fled.
Xena nodded to one of the herdboys as he chased down an errant turkey. Amphipolis was only a candlemark or two away and the warrior looked forward to a soft bed and a long hot bath.
"Well. This is going to make a great story." Gabrielle said as she trotted alongside her friend.
Sparkling blue eyes looked at her painfully. "I don't suppose you could use somebody else's name? Blame this on Hercules? You know? Pigs...turkeys? Same thing," Xena asked hopefully.
The bard grinned over at her companion. "Nope. I'll let you keep taking the credit for all these."
A long suffering sigh. "This is going to ruin my reputation."
"Xena drives off an entire Persian army, without a single blow? You got to be kidding? This will make you more famous!" Gabrielle insisted, a twitching lip the only sign of the laughter that threatened to escape.
"They didn't even see me. If was all the turkeys," she paused. "Well...and the henbane. Those soldiers were so high on the stuff that we probably didn't need to bring the whole flock from Amphipolis. One would have done it I bet."
"Better to be safe than sorry. You use up all the henbane?"
"Hmm...most of it. There was some left over..." Xena listened to Gabrielle's stomach growl and pulled a small package out of her saddlebag. Holding it out to her green eyed companion she smiled sweetly. "Care for some nutbread?"
"Oooo...yes!" The bard's hands snatched the package and tore it quickly open.
Xena's smile grew as she watched the smaller woman start devouring the slices of delicious bread. "Revenge is sweet."
"Mmmmmwhat?" Gabrielle asked around a mouthful.
"I said that bread sure looks sweet." The warrior answered innocently.
It figures,just when I think I've gotten out of the doldrums and think I'll be able to go back to "Passage Into Darkness", I write a turkey story, post it, then can't get it outta my mind!! *L* This story was based on "One Against An Army". I thought, hmm,Xena said ",there are thousands like me!" Well, I guess there really are now;}*ROFL*
These stories are just little fun bits of the humorous escapades of our dynamic duo and their exploits as the "Saviors of all Turkeykind" and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Gobble On, Xena!!
Warlord in Training ~ Member of the Society of Warlords
Have Katiepult. Will drive back the feared Persians with launched turkeys!
"Bard? Where? Gobble..gobble?"
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