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Retribution ã Part 2 (An Uber-Xena story)
By: BJ O’Donnell (a.k.a. MsTigrlil)
If you have any comments, (again, only good ones please, remember my fragile ego problem) you may write to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Same disclaimers as previously noted.
Warning Chapter 4 deals with the violent death of Gabrielle. It was necessary to depict this graphically to fully understand Xena’s emotional state as well as her further motivations. If this will bother you, then skip Chapter 4 but I warn you, the story could become confusing if you don’t read this entire Chapter. I regret any emotional distress this may cause but I found it to be necessary for the story.
Gabrielle and Xena had been living at the Amazon village now for the past few years. Gabrielle, older and wiser now was finally taking full responsibilities for ruling the nation with Xena at her side as her defender, council and lover. The Amazon nation had been thriving as a result of Gabrielle’s leadership and of Xena’s protection.
They never tired of each other as their love continued to grow through the years. Gabrielle would make jokes about her being the "older, wiser" one in their relationship now. Xena would just raise one eyebrow and snicker "You have always been wiser I think but you will never be older, dear."
Gabrielle had acquired a few lines around her eyes and had a bit of gray streaking through her strawberry blond hair but Xena loved her even more. Even after all these years, she never tired of listening to her tell her stories. They had traveled together for so long and had done so many things together that Gabrielle had a seemingly never-ending cache of adventures to retell. She was forever Xena’s bard.
Xena had to admit though, it did get a bit boring just staying in the village all the time but she was with Gabrielle and that was all she really cared about. Xena would leave the village every now and then though to help other villages where she could but mostly she stayed close to Gabrielle’s side. And Xena was usually on hand there to help train the younger warriors in the art of weapons and healing. That training always seems to go hand in hand Xena thought.
Early one morning as Xena was doing her usual sword workout down near the river, a messenger brought word that Pompey was forming an army in Greece to fight against Rome and Caesar. She knew this was her chance to finally be rid of that bastard.
She sheathed her sword and ran back to the Queen’s hut to talk to Gabrielle about the latest word. Gabrielle met her at the door and just looked up to her with those deep green eyes. She reached out and placed her hands on Xena’s shoulders, "I have already heard. You forget, I am the Queen and I do at times get to hear things before you do dear." She said with a lilt to her voice. "Now you had better get going before they do all the work without you. Just remember to come back to me in one piece." Gabrielle said as she squeezed her lover’s shoulders. Looking down at her bard Xena reached around her and pulled her in close. Lips met in a familiar embrace as the two spoke volumes without even a word.
After meeting up with Pompey a week later, Xena learned that he had raised an large army in Macedonian and Greece to fight against Caesar and Mark Antony, who was now Caesar’s counsel. Pompey was thrilled to have her fight with them and introduced her to his General, Marcus Junius Brutus. Xena and Brutus became fast friends after learning they shared the same hatred of Caesar.
The battles over the next few months were long and bloody. Xena and her sword were ruthless, she drew more blood then she could ever remember. The passion of fighting for revenge was by far stronger then fighting for money or power. Pompey, Brutus and Xena were doing as much damage as they could against the vast Roman Empire but it was taking it’s toll on them and their army. Many of their good warriors died violently at the hands of Caesar and Antony as the Roman army made it’s way farther into Greece.
Antony learned of Xena’s involvement with Pompey and sent out a messenger to her. "Leave Pompey’s army now and join us or I will put great harm on the Amazon nation" the message read. Antony knew that she would never fight alongside him and Caesar, but he also knew of her involvement with the Amazons and of her love for their Queen and had only wanted to distract her from doing more damage to his army.
Xena immediately sent word out to Gabrielle to inform her of the threat and tried to figure out a way to be in both places at once. She was hoping that the message was just a ploy to distract her from the fight at hand but she could not take the chance.
She explained the situation to Brutus one evening while looking over some maps. "You can not leave us Xena, we need you." Brutus said to her as they talked of more battle strategies.
"I must leave, I have sworn to defend the Amazons and my Queen" my lover she thought. "If this is but a trick, I will return to help crush this evil empire and that bastard, Caesar" she spat out "but for right now, I must leave. Good luck Brutus and may the gods be with you."
Xena raced as fast as she could towards the Amazon village, taking a break only to rest her horse. Upon entering the village, Xena saw smoke as it rose and curled upward from the ashes of the burnt huts. All around her lay dead or dying Amazons. Some of them had been brutally raped and dismembered before death. She could hear the moans of those that remained barely alive as she jumped from her horse and ran to the Queen’s hut.
Halting in her tracks, she could see the hut had been destroyed. The Queen’s guards lie dead near what had been the entrance to the hut. Xena screamed "Gabrielle, Gabrielle where are you?" as she franticly looked around at the carnage of the once thriving village.
Ephany, where is Ephany? Xena thought. She would have Gabrielle safe somewhere, I’m just sure of it. Panicking now, Xena searched the village for any signs of Ephany and Gabrielle. Searching through the dead and dying, Xena came to a familiar face.
"Eph, oh Eph." Xena said as she saw her old friend lying in a pool of her own blood. She was still alive but just barely. Rushing to her side, she pulled her gently up from the blood soaked ground "Eph, what happened? Where is Gabrielle?"
With barely a whisper Ephany said, "Our Queen and your lover is dead Xena. Antony said you would find her body near the river and that you would understand the message from Caesar." Those were Ephany’s last words before she closed her eyes and past on to the other side.
Blood was rushing to her head as her own screams pounded in her ears, Xena ran to the river edge. Stopping abruptly as she cleared the forest, Xena saw the most horrible sight she had ever witnessed. Hanging from a cross, her head tilted over to one side, hair and face streaked with blood, legs bloody and broken and a bloody wound to her side, Xena saw the only person who had ever mattered to her.
Xena fell to her knees as she looked up at Gabrielle’s lifeless body hanging from the cross. She lay there motionless with tears streaming down her face unable and unwilling to move as great sobs racked her body as she cried out for her lover. "Oh gods Gabrielle, what has that bastard done to you? I should have been here to protect you."
As day became night, Xena was finally pulled up by the few remaining Amazons. Dirt and tears streaked her face as she looked into the cold, lifeless stare of her lover. Breaking down again in great sobs, she reached to help pull down Gabrielle’s body. Holding Gabrielle’s body gently in her arms, Xena carried her back to the once beautiful village.
There, among the ruins, Xena built a great pyre. Placing all the bodies of the brave warriors upon the wood, she then placed Gabrielle’s body neatly on top next to Ephany’s. Crying still, she lit the pyre and sang the poem for the dead.
"Gabrielle, I will always love you. You have been my reason for living. And I have let them kill you. You have given me my life and I dedicate myself to you forever. I vow to take revenge on those that have done this to you and your nation. I miss you even now and always will. I love you." Xena whispered these last words as the tears began to flow again.
Finding Brutus in his tent, Xena told him what had happened at the Amazon village and of the death of the Queen. Xena learned then that Pompey had been killed in a great battle after she had left.
Together, they sat reflectively for a long while in their sorrow in the quiet of the tent.
They both knew that they could no longer win the fight against Caesar and Antony at that time. They withdrew their men and disbanded the army and together they traveled quickly away from the carnage that had been their hope of destroying Caesar and Antony.
One night, weeks later as they sat near the fire, honing their swords, Xena spoke of a plan to kill Caesar. "With your connections in the Roman Senate, I think I have a plan to finally kill Caesar" she said to her friend.
Brutus looked up from his sword, amazed at the resolve of this woman. "What do you have in mind Princess?" he finally asked.
"Well, you know some of Caesar’s nobles, is there anyone who you would trust enough to help kill him?" she said.
"Sure, there are lots of people who would love to see this bastard die, now as for trusting them, well, they are not really the trusting type." Brutus replied as he listened keenly to the plan of this great warrior.
"All we need is one person to help pull this off. I can not be there to help because everyone in Caesar’s palace knows what I look like. But with the help of just one more person, I believe this plan will work."
The air was still cool even for March Xena thought as she entered the great Roman City, wrapped in a long robe to disguise herself. Brutus had gone on ahead of her and would meet her later if all went as planed. She rode up to the great Senate building and took a seat in the café across the road. Looking now upon the buildings in this city, she had to remark on the beauty that surrounded her. There were great columns on buildings, flowering gardens and even stone paved roads.
To bad it came from a tyrant like Caesar.
She sat in the café for what seemed like an eternity when all of a sudden there came a great ruckus from the Senate. Looking up from her table, Xena could see people streaming out of the building across from her. Some were screaming and others cheering. She scanned the crowd for her friend and at last saw him as he stumbled down the great stairs.
She ran over to him and as she got closer she saw the blood covering the front of his tunic. Fearful that the plan did not work and that her friend was injured, she reached for him.
"I am fine Xena, it is not my blood. This, dear friend is the blood of that evil one. The plan worked." Brutus shouted to her as the din from the crowd grew greater and panic started to fill the streets. "Let’s get out of here," he cried.
They rode hard to get as far from the city as they could before making camp. "Tell me now Brutus, what happened?" Xena said as they began to settle in for the night far from Rome.
"Well, I enlisted the help of my friend Gaius Cassius. He and I were in the Great Senate Hall when Caesar was just leaving. We came up to him and pretended to want to hail him. As we were allowed closer, Cassius pulled the dagger from his tunic and slit the pig’s throat as I held him from behind. When others saw what we had done, they also came over and pulled their own daggers. It was a blood bath." Brutus retold the story with such relish and animation.
"Someone said that Caesar knew he would die this day. He had been told by a seer to beware the Ides of March. I guess there is something to be said of prophecy." Brutus laughed.
"You know, you will never be safe now. There will always be someone who will be after you." Xena finally said to her friend as he recounted the story again and again to her.
"I will forever be grateful to you Brutus." Xena said as she bowed her head and thought of Gabrielle. "But I have one more to attend to and must do this on my own. I will be leaving you in the morning. Take care my good friend."
Xena headed south to the port in search of a ship to take her to the city of Alexandria in Egypt. She hadn’t seen Cleopatra in a long time but was hoping to become reacquainted with her. She knew that Cleopatra was illegally married to Antony now but had always felt that Cleopatra had a fascination with her and now was the time to find out if she was right.
After arriving in one of the most beautiful cities in the entire known world, Xena didn’t waste much time in sending word to Cleopatra to let her know that she was here. It didn’t take long before Xena was sent for. She was to have an audience with the Queen. Xena laughed as she thought of how easy this was going to be.
Cleopatra was beautiful and intelligent but she also had a devious side to her as well as being self-centered and vain. Xena planned on using all of those traits of this Queen to fulfill her plan. Xena knew that if she could get her to believe her, Antony would die.
Xena entered the Great Palace surrounded by only two guards. As the guards carefully looked her over, inspecting all her various weapons with their eyes, they led her to a private chamber near the north side of the palace, which over looked the sea. The guards entered the room with her and then hesitantly left her there alone as their Queen had instructed.
Xena watched them leave then turned and surveyed the room, noting the fine furnishings, beautiful tapestries and the ornate bed that seemed to be the center of the room. Xena chuckled to herself as she wondered how difficult it would be to entice Cleopatra into that bed.
"Greetings Xena, Warrior Princess. I am pleased you have come back to visit me, although it has taken you some time to do it. Ah, but where is your companion, Gabrielle, wasn’t it?" Cleopatra spoke as she entered the room from the balcony.
Xena tried not to flinch when she heard Gabrielle’s name. She didn’t know how much Cleopatra knew and didn’t want to give anything away yet.
"I am here on my own Queen Cleopatra. The Amazon nation sends it’s warmest regards to you." Xena said as she leaned forward in a small bow to the Queen.
"Oh Xena, no need to be so formal. Come closer and sit so that we may talk and enjoy each others, um, company." Cleopatra said softly as she blatantly looked over the full form of this beautiful warrior with very lustful eyes, Xena noted.
Smiling, Xena took a seat on a large couch near the open balcony. Reclining back against the soft cushions and letting the breeze blow in her hair, she leaned closer to Cleopatra looking forward to enticing this lovely Queen.
They spoke for hours of small things as Xena and Cleopatra ate and relaxed in the afternoon’s warm breeze. The servants attended them regularly throughout the day and on into the early evening hours.
As Xena rose to stretch Cleopatra reached out her hand and placed it upon Xena’s strong forearm. Xena looked lustfully into those beautiful brown eyes then leaned over to place her lips to the softness of those of Cleopatra’s.
Xena slowly pulled Cleopatra up and led her to the bed. Lying down beside her, she began to lightly touch the soft, brown skin of this beautiful Queen. Her hands moved over the Queen’s shoulders and enveloped her into an embrace as their lips met once more. Xena had once been very attracted to this woman but that was before she had fallen in love with Gabrielle. Now she was on a mission.
Cleopatra had at one time also tried to seduce Xena but then turned her back on her and had gone off to be with Caesar and then with Antony. Now it was Xena’s turn to do the turning.
Xena continued to touch Cleopatra with her lips, letting them drift down her shoulders and finally to her breasts. She then tore the loose tunic quickly from the Queen’s shoulders and down over the rest of her body. The Queen moaned loudly after the sudden display of raw power and lust that came from Xena.
Xena smiled again as she drew one nipple into her mouth, letting it scrape past her teeth. She began to hear more moaning from Cleopatra as she applied even more force to her already hard nipple. She let her hands move roughly over the Queen’s body, exploring what had once been offered then taken away.
Cleopatra’s hands began to roam over the strong tanned body of this warrior. Feeling her battle hardened muscles and touching softly each scar that had been placed there. She felt so excited to be with this warrior woman, even more so than any man she had slept with. What was it about Xena that made her tremble so? She was Queen of all Egypt and could have anyone she wanted but this woman, this warrior brought out all the passion of her soul. She needed this woman’s raw power to take her, to control her.
Xena slid down between Cleopatra’s thighs, breathing in the sweet, sensual smells of this woman. Pulling Cleopatra’s legs over her shoulders, Xena slid her tongue slowly into the wetness she found at the tops of her thighs, teasing the Queen over and over as she played. Her tongue dipped and caressed each fold as she moved her hand in to join the action.
She quickly slid two fingers forcefully into Cleopatra’s center at the same time she drew the hard fleshy nub in past her teeth. As Cleopatra arched her back, she panted to Xena, "Oh Xena, please take me. Possess me, control me as I know only you can. I am yours sweet warrior, all yours. Please..."
Xena knew this woman’s desires. She had been with so many just like her.
Xena smiled as she pushed her fingers in deeper then added another into her heated center. She bit at the hard nub as she drew it in past her teeth again and again. Then pulled her mouth away and leaned over Cleopatra’s arched body. With her free hand now, Xena roughly grabbed Cleopatra’s wrists and pulled them up and over her head, stretching the Queen out onto the bed. Quickly, with one skilled hand Xena tied Cleopatra’s wrists in place with the silk that draped over the bed canopy.
Cleopatra’s moans grew louder as Xena took complete control over this woman’s body and soul. Forcing yet another finger into Cleopatra, she was met with yet deeper moans. As Xena leaned over to her ear, she whispered with a rasp, "I know you would love to feel the sting of my whip against your soft skin and maybe later you will," then said louder and with more forcefulness "but for right now I just want to take you. To make you mine. To hear you beg for more."
As she said this to her, Cleopatra screamed out, "Please, please Xena... take me please." Pushing now, Xena slid the rest of her fingers into Cleopatra. Feeling her hand begin to curl into a fist, Xena pushed deeper until she felt the Queen’s muscles tighten around her wrist. With a great sigh, Cleopatra arched her back and shuddered then fell limp onto the bed.
They lay with each other for hours after that, entwined in their cruel lovemaking. Exploring each other’s bodies with their hands and mouths and tongues.
Cleopatra did finally feel the sting of Xena’s whip as well as a few other things in the next few days before Xena felt that she truly had control over this woman. Xena enjoyed the pleasures this woman had to offer. It had been a long time since Xena was able to release her dark passions with someone and it felt good to do so now.
But now on with the plan Xena thought as she smiled to herself.
Xena had been dropping hints over the last few days that Antony had been deceiving the Queen. "He doesn’t love you anymore. He has found a younger woman in Greece to sleep with." Xena told her knowing that the thought of Antony with a younger woman would destroy Cleopatra’s fragile ego. "He even had a part in the death of Caesar or so I am told" Xena said innocently, "I bet he wants to take power for himself and then move his army against you to control all of Egypt" she suggested.
Cleopatra burned now not only with desire for Xena but with the passion to see Antony dead. "How can I destroy this bastard? How can I kill him? " she asked Xena one night as they lay in each other’s arms.
Xena smiled to herself as she thought of her plan. "Well... you could make him believe that you have killed yourself over the lost of him and the thought of him turning against you and Caesar" she whispered to her lover. "When he learns of what you have done, he will put an end to his own life. It is the Roman way after all."
"Yes, yes, that is what I will do. Will you help put this plan in motion dear Xena?" Cleopatra asked.
"Of course I will help you in anyway that I can love." Xena replied smugly.
The Queen immediately sent for Pophythius, her most trusted messenger. While waiting for him to arrive in the Queen’s chambers, Xena and Cleopatra devised the message that would be sent. Then Xena casually mentioned to the Queen, "I wonder if it would be wiser to send two messengers. One could be Egyptian and one Greek. That way, they could help each other through their own lands and hopefully at least one of them will get through if there is any trouble."
"Oh Xena, what a brilliant idea" the squealed as she kissed Xena on her cheek. "But do I even have any Greek slaves that could act as a good messenger?" Cleopatra asked. Xena knew there was only one Greek slave in the palace, Artiras. She had befriended him upon her arrival here, knowing that she may need to enlist his help at some point.
Pophythius and Artiras were given orders to find Antony and tell him that the Queen had learned of his plan to kill Caesar and her so that he could take control of Rome and all of Egypt. They were told to tell him that the Queen had taken poison and died rather than to give up her empire to him.
Xena knew that Antony would never kill himself over the Queen but if he thought that word had spread that he had a part in Caesar’s death, he would surely take his life rather then face the Roman Senate. Just like she heard sadly that Brutus had done after she had left him.
As the messengers left the chamber, Xena pardoned herself from the Queen for a moment and went to Artiras in private. She gave him 50 Dinars, a bottle of poison and another message to give to Antony. She then gave him instructions on what to do. Xena told Artiras that if all went as planned she would give him 500 Dinars and freedom from slavery by the Egyptians when he returned.
Later that evening after the messengers had gone, Xena and Cleopatra made fiery love. Cleopatra had become quite fond of Xena’s whip and Xena was more that happy to oblige the Queen. Their lovemaking now always involved the whip and leather straps as well as Cleopatra being tied to the bed or anywhere else Xena could think of. And Xena’s imagination was seemingly endless. The more Xena would release her dark passions on the Queen, the more Cleopatra would become excited and desire more. Xena was even more ferocious this evening because she knew her plan was finally coming to fruition. Cleopatra’s bruises tomorrow would attest to that.
Gabrielle herself had often become excited when Xena’s dark side would surface. Xena missed that. She missed Gabrielle, missed making love to her in this way. She also enjoyed herself more when she was with Gabrielle because she not only loved her but she loved the way Gabrielle would allow her to release in this way. She loved Gabrielle still so very much. Cleopatra was just a means to an end.
It was two weeks before word finally reached Xena and the Queen that Antony had died by his own hand. Cleopatra screamed with joy at the news, then flung her arms around Xena as she began to weep from happiness. Xena pulled herself away from her lover’s embrace, then quickly made an excuse to leave as she went to find Artiras. She needed to know the rest of the story, the story she did not want Cleopatra to know about.
In the garden, near the fountain of Isis, Xena found her messenger. "Well, happened, what did he do?" she asked rapidly.
He quickly replied, "As you said Princess. When Antony learned of his supposed involvement in Caesar’s death, he cried out in great anguish. He killed the Queen’s messenger who had told him the news, then called upon the healer to make him a death potion. The healer would not do it and Antony too slit his throat. I came closer to him then and asked if I could help, as you instructed. Antony grabbed me by my arm and I feared that he would kill me also but he just held me and asked if I had any poison. I handed him the bottle you had given me and watched as he drank it all down. He fell to his couch and wept in great sobs of grief as his hands covered his face."
"And, and... what else happened? Did you give him my message?" Xena could hardly contain herself as she fired these words to this now frightened man, grabbing him roughly by his arms.
Beginning to shake now as he stood in front of this demanding warrior, he continued "Yes Princess, I told him that this was a message from Xena, Warrior Princess and that he would understand. That you had sent him the poison for what he had done to Gabrielle. When he heard those words he quickly looked up in disbelief as I continued. I told him that Cleopatra was really alive and living as your slave now. And that you had been the one to kill Caesar. He just stared at me as he took his last breath then fell from his couch onto the floor in a heap." Artiras managed to finally stammer out.
Xena quickly gave him his money and a decree of freedom, then thanked him as he left her.
"Oh Artemis, thank you for helping me with finalizing this revenge. It is true, it does tastes best when eaten cold." Xena cried out as she raised her hands to the sky after being left alone in the garden.
She did not hear the sound of the soft foot falls in the bushes as she wept with relief that her tormentors and the two men responsible for Gabrielle’s death were now finally dead.
Cleopatra moved slowly back into her chambers as she felt the weight of what she had heard descend upon her consciousness. She walked to the glass case near her bed and reached slowly in. Drawing out the snake, she fell to the floor and sobbed great tears as she pulled the snake into her bosom.
Xena entered the room as the snake slithered away from the now dying Queen. Xena rushed to her side but knew that it was already too late. The bite of an Asp is very quick to kill and there is no aide that can be given.
"Why did you do it? I trusted you. I could have loved you forever Xena" Cleopatra said as her breath became labored.
"He killed Gabrielle and my soul" was all Xena could say before the Queen took her final breath.
As Xena walked slowly out of the palace and towards the docks she suddenly got that old familiar tingling sensation up her spine. "What do you want Ares?" Xena spat.
"I just wanted to let you know that your dear Artemis had nothing to do with helping you achieve your revenge. It was little ol’ me Xena. I just wanted to be there for you in your time of despair over the death of your precious little Gabrielle." Ares replied.
"Leave me alone. I want nothing to do with you." Xena told him as she turned towards him and drew her sword, pointing it at him for emphasis.
"Now, now, Xena. Let’s not get carried away. You know how I feel about you, I wouldn’t want anything to hurt you, not even me. I was only trying to help. How did it feel by the way, to have both Caesar and Antony killed? Just like old times I bet." Ares said as he approached Xena pushing her sword to the side.
"What do you want?" Xena again spat out to him as she turned and continued down the path to the docks.
"You know what I want Xena. Now that you are immortal but think you don’t have any reason for living, what with little Gabrielle gone, I am here to give your life meaning again. Come with me, join me in the conquest of these puny little people. It will be fun." Ares said excitedly as he followed her down the path.
"No" she said quietly as she boarded the ship.
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