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GENERAL COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER: Xena, Warrior Princess, Gabrielle, Ares, Argo and all other characters who have appeared in the syndicated series Xena: Warrior Princess, together with the names, titles and backstory are the sole copyright property of MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. No copyright infringement was intended in the writing of this fan fiction.
All other characters, the story idea and the story itself are the sole property of the author (meaning Kharis and Syrinus belong to me). This story cannot be sold or used for profit in any way. Copies of this story may be made for private use only and must include all disclaimers and copyright notices.
VIOLENCE WARNING/DISCLAIMER: this story is based on the series and of course, what would Xena be but not the violent kick ass grrrl that she is! But violence has been kept to a minimum with very little actual bloodshed involved. That's for the next story. Muhahaha
SEXUAL VIOLENCE WARNING/DISLAIMER: This story insinuates a scene of sexual violence and a small amount of its aftermath. Some readers may be disturbed by this type of depiction and anyone who is sensitive to this particular issue may wish to read something other than this story. But I promise that there isn't any actual description of it, just the vague inference to it from one of the characters.
LOVE DISCLAIMER: This story depicts a loving relationship between two consenting adult women. If you are under 18 years of age or if this type of story is illegal in the state or country in which you live, please do not read it. If depictions of this nature disturb you, you may wish to read something other than this story.
If you can't stand the idea that two women can have a loving relationship then please keep your closed mind where it belongs and don't bother reading this story. 'Nuff said
This is my first attempt at XWP fanfic so please be gentile with this newbie. It is the first in the Sins of a God Series that will continue to grow with your support. Hopefully the other stories will be finished before you have to wait much longer. But, for now, enjoy what is below and remember...all comments, suggestions, and flames are welcome.
Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8
And Then There was Two
That was all she knew, all she could feel. Succumbing to both meant she was alive and that gave her hope.
What could she hope for? A body crucified to a cross, beaten and tortured into oblivion? A body that would be slowly picked clean by the carrion birds that even now worked on the dead close by? She knew there was no escaping death, but as long as she had her pain and her hatred she had hope. Hope to enact retribution upon the man and woman that made her suffer. Hope to fulfil the blood debt that bound her to them. Hope to be free from the cross that slowly took her soul down to Hades, bit by bit, for judgement. The Elysian fields seemed so close yet so far away. If only she could enter the golden splendour instead of feeling nothing but...
She would wait.
The plain was awash in a golden hue from the grasses that grew upon its surface; a living ocean swaying wave upon wave as the southerly winds kissed its delicate surface. Rain was needed yet had been denied for many moons. The lush dense forest that lined the edge of the field was a stark contrast to the dry earth that begged for relief. Zeus was not in a good mood and punished the land below, denying it his life giving moisture.
As the wind silently moved amongst the trees and their boughs in a sensual motion a golden beast and its rider forged through the overgrowth out onto the plain's light, disrupting the calm of the forest. A raven-haired woman, majestic with her toned bronzed body and piercing blue eyes, sat silently on her mare scanning the distance for any signs of trouble. When she was satisfied that none was to be seen she motioned behind her for her companion to follow.
The forest sighed as a smaller woman emerged from the trees. Slight in body and fair in face and hair she quickly walked up to the mare's shoulder and scanned the horizon also. Both women were direct contrasts to each other. One being of a darker nature and mind compared to the lighter souled companion.
Gabrielle rested against her staff while scanning the distance; "What do you see?"
Xena looked out once more with her unnatural eyesight, picking up a thin trial of smoke slowly threading it's way past the far hills. "Smoke. And not the type that's usually associated with a camp fire, that's for sure."
Gabrielle looked up apprehensive, "That can only mean...."
Xena nodded sadly, "A village is burning. Or has already been burnt and destroyed." The anger that threatened to overwhelm the ex-warlord's control swept suddenly into her. No matter how hard she tried to combat the darkness that once possessed her soul, slowly but surely it was gaining power over her once again - but not today. Today she would only take that small part that she would need to survive and lock the rest away in that place where she held all of the shame, guilt, and horrors of her past. The place where even her friend had no key to enter.
Xena looked down onto Gabrielle's honey-coloured hair and sighed. She knew that the young bard wouldn't stay behind while Xena checked out for any survivors. There was always a battle when Gabrielle's safety was concerned and lately, she realised, she was losing more and more battles to the sharp-tongued bard.
"I guess asking you to stay here while I go and check it out would be out of the question huh?"
Gabrielle looked up into Xena's ice-cold eyes surprised at their intensity despite the warm overtones of the warrior's voice; "If there are any injured people I can help. Plus I'm sick of sticking to the forests. We've haven't really been out in the sun for over a moon now. Surely Caesar's army is long gone."
Xena shrugged and reached her hand down to help the bard onto Argo's back. Lately she had been losing this particular battle with the bard more often then not; "I don't think so. Something tells me that the fire is because of his army. Come on. We should be able to make it there before the sun starts to set."
Gabrielle hesitated. She hated riding Argo, even though the war-horse was really a sweet mare. Riding was almost as bad as Tartarus in the young girl's mind but the harried look on Xena's face was all that Gabrielle needed to grasp the warrior's firm grip and be swung up behind her. Snatching her arms around the hard body, Gabrielle held on for dear life while Xena galloped her golden mare forward towards the smoke.
'It's destiny I tell you' The God of War thought while watching his favoured one ride swiftly away. As he walked out from the dense forest his thoughts became almost happy. 'Only Xena would pick that moment to come out of cover. Caesar had better watch his back from now on. There'll be hell to pay for this day's work.' Ares smiled seductively while blowing a kiss at the warrior princess' back. The day that she returns to his side would be coming soon. He could wait. Just like he waited for the other to come into glory.
A reddish hue filled the horizon as the sun slowly set aside its golden robe for the night. Xena and Gabrielle silently climbed up the hill on foot, leaving Argo behind to graze below out of sight. Inching their way over the top the grisly sight that their eyes beheld was dumbfounding. Laid out in rows, the crosses marked the landscape as a beacon of death. Every villager was to be seen nailed or hung upon the wood. Mutilated bodies surrounded the charred remains of the village. Men without legs, woman without breasts, babies ripped open from groin to throat.
Gabrielle tried to hold the bile that quickly worked its way up her throat but lost. Turning sharply she shuddered as her body tried to expel the visage that burned itself into her heart. 'How could he have done this? How could anybody?'
Xena looked over at her ailing friend, her steel blue eyes softening slightly before being replaced by the ice that was quickly burning in her soul. Hatred once again welled up within the stoic warrior's soul and was not tempered. Caesar was to pay for this atrocity. With his life if Xena had anything to say in the matter.
Reaching over to her companion, the ex-warlord shook the girl's shoulder slightly, "Are you okay?"
"Yeah, I think. I just need a few moments."
"I'm going to go down and see if there are any survivors," the dark woman said while standing up. "You stay here and keep an eye out for any remnants of the army. Sometimes the back troops come back to plunder whatever is remaining after the main army has already wiped a village clean. Call me if you see anything, all right?"
Gabrielle looked up while wiping her mouth dry, "How?" The question hung in the air while the bard tried to make sense of the wanton slaughter that occurred down below.
Xena shook her head and sighed, "I don't know Gabrielle. Normally Caesar takes the men but leaves the woman, children, and elderly alone. Something happened here. This isn't his way. But there isn't anything we can do about it right now so please, just do as I say and wait for me here. I won't be long. The next village is two days ride north of here. It should be safe since Caesar was going southwest. Maybe some of the men there can come back to bury the bodies. But for now I have go down and see if there is even one person still alive." Xena sought the green eyes filing with tears. "Can you do that for me? Stay here?"
Gabrielle nodded, a haunted look filling her eyes as she once again looked upon the villagers and their crosses. Xena half smiled to comfort her friend then slowly made her way down to the first row of crosses below. Moving silently between the rows, Xena reached up to feel the skin of the damned hanging in the air. All had been cold to the touch, dead for a day maybe more. Realising that there was no hope she quickly checked each cross in her methodical way, all the while planning revenge on the village's behalf. Coming up the last row, the dark haired woman recoiled when she felt warmth in a pair of legs. Looking up quickly, she saw the shallow breath of a child whose arms strained against a fragile body being pulled down to the ground for its final resting place.
Stepping back quickly, Xena grabbing her chakram and sent it on its way to the base of the cross, slicing the timber in half. Jumping forward, the warrior strained as she held the cross upright until she could slowly lower it to the ground. Reaching up, Xena snatched the disc out of the air and in one fluid motion sent it downward on the ropes that held the child to the cross. At least Caesar didn't nail the children, unlike the adults. 'Small mercies' she grimly thought.
Softly, Xena lifted the girl in her arms and carried her to a small pool in the centre of the village. Laying her down on the moss covered ground, the warrior checked for internal injuries. Lightly prodding here and there, the warrior suddenly realised that injuries inflicted on the girl where not by sword or dagger but by fists and another instrument of man more insidious in nature when concerning a child. Gasping in shock at her discovery, Xena grimaced as she stood up to call Gabrielle down.
A small moan escaped the lips of the dark haired child bringing Xena back down to the child's side. Ripping some moss off of the ground, the woman soaked it in the stream slightly, then applied the moisture to the girl's lips and forehead. The child was delicate, a dark haired and skinned creature with a face so familiar to Xena that she couldn't place it for the life of her. Even now, beaten and bloodied, the child exhibited the beginnings of beauty. A strange exotic look that was usually associated with the warrior princess could be seen underneath the blood on her face.
Returning the moss to the pool, Xena looked up and caught Gabrielle walking down the hill towards the woman and child. Like a zombie, the young bard looked neither left nor right at the crosses and their victims as she made her way through the rows to her friend.
Coming upon the two dark bodies, Gabrielle was stunned to see that the child was truly in fact alive. Kneeling down, the bard felt the child's chest rise and fall very slowly, stunned beyond words. How could someone so young and frail have survived? Looking up at Xena, the bard wasn't shocked to see the striking blue eyes aflame with anger. The ex-warlord's face was blank but her eyes spoke volumes on what was running through her mind. Death. Hatred. Anger. Guilt. Guilt over what Gabrielle had no idea but guessed that something in her friend's past was resurfacing in the woman's mind.
"Will she live?"
Xena applied the wet moss to the girl's face again, wiping off the dried blood very gently. "I'm not sure. She's lost a lot of blood and has been on that cross for over a day, possibly even two already. I'm surprised she's even alive."
Gabrielle nodded and stood up; "I'll go get Argo and your packs. You'll be needing your healing herbs."
Xena reached up and grasped the bard's hand, "No. Stay here by her. I'll go get Argo and check out for a place for camp tonight. We're not staying here out in the open by the crosses. The scavengers will be coming out soon and I'd rather not have to be fighting them off all night when I should be trying to help this child."
Gabrielle nodded and sat down beside the child, taking the moss from Xena's hand and applying it to the girl's face. Looking down at the still form the bard could only wonder at what type of spirit could survive what the child had gone through. How strong this girl must be to continue fighting for a life that should have been gone a candlemark ago. Despite her weakness, the child continued to fight Hades' call while Xena retrieved Argo and started looking for a spot to camp for the night.
Most of the town had burnt down to the ground but a few buildings had escaped total destruction by some minor miracle. Xena walked her palomino horse up to a building that was once an elder's abode. Slipping off the mare, the alert warrior quickly surveyed the damaged building quickly, accepting it as a safe harbour from the elements. Tying Argo to a rail, the woman unpacked her herbs from one of the saddlebags and trotted to the pond.
"Yes", Gabrielle sighed. "She's still hanging on. How, I don't know, but she's still breathing for the moment."
Xena knelt down and scooped up the light child in her arms, "Good. I've found a place for us to spend the night. Find a bucket and bring some water to the house over there." She nodded in the direction of the elder's home. "We'll use whatever is inside for firewood."
Gabrielle stood up and proceeded to search the surrounding area for anything that would hold water while Xena marched towards the building. Kicking the door that hung off its hinges open the dark woman strode into the middle of the room. Spying an overturned table, she swiftly moved the child into one arm while grasping the leg of the table and overturning it back to its proper place on its legs.
Gently lowering the girl onto its top, Xena pulled out her breast dagger and proceeded to cut away the small amounts of clothe that hung on the child's body. The bruises that had been applied to her body were in their majestic glory of purple, green, and gold. Every inch of her body was molested in one way or another. Swallowing hard, Xena cut up the remaining scraps of clothe from the child's body into strips.
A loud snap was heard outside the open doorway, propelling the warrior into her reflex defence. Unsheathing her sword from her back, Xena stepped in front of the table holding the child, sword at the ready for any intruder. Gabrielle caught her breath as she walked around the corner into the tip of her friend's sword.
Gasping suddenly the bard released her short breath, "Xena? It's me." Xena shuddered as she fought to control her actions. One more second and her sword would have impaled her bard's throat.
"Gabrielle, next time say something before you enter the room," Xena seethed as she resheathed her sword.
"Who else did you think it was?" the young woman said as she carried a bucket towards the remnants of a fireplace. "There's no one around. You checked it out yourself, remember?"
"It doesn't matter," Xena spat out. "You should know by now how I react when danger is around. No matter how much I believe that we are safe I have to stay on my guard at all times."
Gabrielle recoiled at the venomous outburst. Her friend was affected more then she showed by what had happened here. There was something that was bothering her and it wasn't just the disgust for what Caesar had done.
"Xena, what's wrong? Something is bothering you, I can tell."
"There's nothing wrong with me."
Gabrielle continued her verbal attack, "Yes, there is. You've not said a word about what happened here. You've not said a word about those people hanging on the crosses. What are you trying to hide?"
Xena looked into her friend's soft green eyes and wondered how this person could know what was in her soul. 'How does she know I'm hiding something? How can I explain that I've done far worse then what has happened here?' The woman winced when she saw a speck of fear in the bard's eyes at her outburst. Why did she continue to hurt the one she loved?
"I'm sorry for snapping at you. I just was afraid at what almost happened. I couldn't live with myself if I had killed you. Especially if it was because of a trained reaction." The warrior's eyes slowly softened to a cobalt blue as she relaxed a bit.
"Xena, you don't have to apologise," the bard said as she approached her friend. Placing her hand on her friend's shoulder she squeezed lightly for comfort. "I know you'd never hurt me no matter how trained you are to react. You always are able to stop before going over that edge. I'm just worried about you. Usually you react in some way, besides just being angry. But you haven't yet."
Xena shrugged as she walked towards the fireplace, "I guess I've become cold to the horrors of what an army can do. Leading one of my own for many years dulled me to the atrocities that happen when an army invades a town or village."
Kicking away some rubble from the roof of the building, Xena cleared a spot in the hearth and looked around for some firewood. Glimpsing a chair beyond hope for repair the warrior promptly broke it apart and placed it on the hearth. Taking her flint out of one of the packs the woman swiftly had a fire going, along with a pot of water heating up over it.
The bard continued to stare at her friend wondering when she would ever trust her and reveal what was going inside her soul. 'Why can't she just tell me what's wrong? Nothing she could say would ever make me respect her any less, or love her any less. Why can't she trust me?' The bard knew the answer and frowned. If Xena were to admit all of her fears and misdeeds she would buckle under the guilt and shame of what she had done and could still do to so many innocent people. The weight of those deeds alone would crush anyone, but Xena wasn't just anyone. She was a survivor and if that meant having to bury her feelings forever then that was what she would do to survive.
Xena looked up from the herbal mix that was slowly starting to boil into her friend's concerned eyes. 'Gods, why doesn't she just let me be sometimes?' The love that Gabrielle gave her was too much some times. How could a cold-hearted murderer deserve someone like her? 'What does she see in me that's so deserving of friendship?'
Rising away from the fire the warrior walked towards her friend, placing her well defined calloused hands on the bard's shoulders. Seeking the light that burned so brightly in the bard's eyes Xena slightly smiled, "Gabrielle, let me attend to the girl and then I'll answer any questions you have. For now I need you to help me with the poultices and not ask for answers that I'm not prepared to give right now. Can you do that for me?"
Gabrielle nodded, "Okay, what do you need me to do?"
The bard would wait, like she always did.
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