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By Cruise

Disclaimer: The characters associated with Xena:Warrior Princess belong to Mca/Universal and are used without permission. The character of Blaise is my own creation and is not affiliated with the show. The events in this story do not necessarily follow along with events that happen in the show.

Sex: Lots of it! Sexually explicit sex scenes of two consenting adult women. So, if anyone is underage or offended by two women making love than this story is not recommended.

Violence: Some but not too bad. Some mild language.

Horse talk: The dialogue between two horses has been translated into English for the readers who are not proficient in Horse talk.

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Blaise woke to the sound of Ephiny being sick and climbed out of bed to check on her wife... "baby...are you okay?" Blaise asked with concern as she knelt beside Ephiny and handed her a small hand towel.

"It's okay Blaise...I'll be fine...could you get me some water please?" Ephiny asked trying to catch her breath.

"Sure...I'll be right back." Blaise answered as she went to pour a mug of water for Ephiny and brought it back to her... "here honey." Blaise offered as she handed her the mug and brushed Ephiny's hair lovingly away from her face as Ephiny drank the water. Blaise looked into her eyes with concern for her pale looking wife as Ephiny finished the water... "you okay?"

"Yeah...I feel a little better...thanks...I don't know why I've been so sick lately Blaise." Ephiny answered as she took in some deep breaths to calm her nausea.

"Do you think it's the after effects from when you where hit in the head?"

"I don't think so Blaise...that was almost a moon's probably just the stomach flu." Ephiny answered as Blaise helped her up.

~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~

"Hey...can you believe we have been joined for over a moon now?" Blaise asked with a smile... "you aren't sick from being with me for so long are you?"

"I've loved every minute of it." Ephiny answered with a smile... "I need to empty out this bucket because it stinks!...I'll be right back Blaise."

"You'll do no such thing sit down and rest." Blaise demanded as she pointed to the chair... "I'll take care of that...remember for better or worse." Blaise answered with a smile as she kissed Ephiny on the forehead and helped her to the chair.

"You're so sweet to me Blaise...thank you." Ephiny smiled as she sat down.

"It's only because I love you so much." Blaise answered as she slipped on her black boxer shorts and a shirt. Blaise picked up the bucket and left the hut to empty it.

Blaise emptied and cleaned the bucket leaving it by the hut to dry as she headed towards the food hut. Blaise grabbed some bread for Ephiny to calm her stomach and returned to their hut.

"Try some bread honey and see if that'll help." Blaise offered as she handed Ephiny the bread.

"Thanks honey...but I'm feeling better." Ephiny answered as she accepted the bread.

"I'm going down to the lake for a swim are you going to be okay or do you need me to stay?" Blaise asked with concern.

"No...I'm fine...go ahead." Ephiny reassured Blaise.

Blaise moved over to Ephiny and moved her hair back... "are you sure?"

"Yes...I'll be fine." Ephiny answered as she put her hand on Blaise's arm and patted it for reassurance.

"Maybe we should have the healer take a look at you."

"I will if it get's worse...don't worry baby it's just the stomach flu." Ephiny smiled to reassure her lover.

~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~

"I'll be back shortly okay?" Blaise answered as she leaned down and kissed Ephiny... "bye honey."

"Bye." Ephiny answered with a smile as she ran her hand softly down Blaise's face.

Blaise left the hut and headed towards the lake seeing Xena approach on her way... "Good morning Xena!" Blaise replied as she stopped to speak with Xena.

"Hey Blaise!...what's up?"

"I'm going for a swim want to join me?"

"Ah...I don't know Blaise." Xena answered hesitantly.

"What gives?" Blaise asked with a smile... "does she have you too whipped warrior princess?" Blaise laughed.

"" Xena answered feeling uncomfortable by the question.

"Come on...we can catch some fish too." Blaise answered as she hit Xena on the arm and started to walk off.

"'re on but the last one to the lake has to clean them!" Xena answered with a laugh as she took off running towards the lake.

Blaise laughed and began to run after her... "you don't really think you can beat me old lady do you?" Blaise teased.

"Age and wisdom wins out over youth any day!" Xena answered as Blaise caught up with her.

"What was that you said?" Blaise asked teasingly as Xena gave Blaise a shove knocking her into the bush and made it to the lake first.

Xena stripped off her armor and jumped into the lake as Blaise pulled herself up out of the bushes laughing. Blaise ran up after Xena jumped in the lake.

"You cheater!" Blaise laughed as she stripped her shirt off and jumped in the lake.

~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~

Blaise dove underwater and grabbed Xena picking her up out of the water.

"Blaise...put me down!" Xena laughed.

"Okay!" Blaise answered as she threw Xena into the water.

"Oh, isn't that sweet!"

Blaise turned around to find Ares standing on shore... "Xena...look it's dear ol' daddy!"

"This touches me so much to see my two girls playing." Ares answered sarcastically as he pretended to wipe a tear away from his face.

Xena and Blaise looked at each other, smiled and dove underwater.

"Very funny!" Ares replied.

They both exited the water with fish in their hands and threw them at Ares. Ares stumbled and fell as he tried to swat the fish away. Blaise and Xena laughed as they exited the lake. Blaise went over and held her hand out to help her father up.

"You two think you're so funny don't you?" Ares asked with a sneer.

"Well." Blaise answered as she looked at Xena... "yeah, that was pretty funny." They both laughed hysterically and noticed Ares didn't find the humor in it at all... "oh, come on daddy lighten up!" Blaise replied as she swatted him in the arm.

"Ha...ha." Ares replied with a strained grin... "Blaise I need to speak with you."

"You just had to ruin the fun didn't you?" Blaise asked with disgust.

"Blaise...I'll catch you later...Ares remember you are to obey Zeus' wishes when it comes to manipulation got it?" Xena replied tersely as she pointed at him.

"Or what?" Ares asked sarcastically.

"Or you will have Zeus and myself to deal with." Xena answered as she headed back to the village.

"What gives daddy?" Blaise asked with sarcasm.

~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~

"I need you to go to Troy for the war going on there for me."

"When?" Blaise asked with disgust knowing she really wasn't going to like the answer.

"Right away."

"Can't you give me more notice than that?...Ephiny's sick and I don't know if I can leave her now."

"Look Blaise...I will try in the future to give you better warning but I need you there right away."

"Alright!." Blaise answered with agitation... "why don't you just get me there and back quick?"

"I need you to lead one of my armies to is the map where the army is located...I am heading farther away to gather the other armies." Ares explained as he handed her the map.

"Okay...I'm on my way!" Blaise answered with agitation as she headed back to the village to pack trying to figure out the best way to break the news to Ephiny.

Ephiny was finishing up some paperwork as Blaise entered the hut.

"Are you feeling better?" Blaise asked as she was not able to make eye contact with her bride.

"Yes...the bread was your swim?" Ephiny asked with a smile as she noticed Blaise was lost in other thoughts... "what's wrong Blaise?" Ephiny asked with concern as she moved closer to Blaise.

"Ares showed up at the lake." Blaise answered with regret as she lowered her head.

"What did he want?" Ephiny asked with anger as she moved in front of Blaise and put her finger under Blaise's chin lifting her head up.

"Sit down Eph." Blaise asked as Ephiny sat in the chair and Blaise knelt before her.

Ephiny knew by the look in Blaise's eyes that the encounter wasn't good but then again when is an encounter with Ares good? She thought to herself.

~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~

"He has some duties for me to take care of for him." Blaise explained as she put both hands on Ephiny's forearms.

"Oh, Blaise!" Ephiny answered with disappointment.

"I know honey." Blaise answered as she held her hands... "I have to do's the deal I made for the ambrosia...I don't want to leave you while you're sick." Blaise answered as she kissed her hands.

"How long will you be gone?"

"Hopefully, not for long...I will have Xena and Gabrielle look after you to make sure you make it to the healer to be checked out." Blaise explained with concern for her sick wife.

"Okay...I'll go and get checked...I'm going to miss you Blaise." Ephiny answered as sadness overwhelmed her and Ephiny began to cry.

"Hey...please don't cry." Blaise answered as she held her in her arms... "you know I hate to see you cry." Blaise kissed Ephiny on the cheek and looked into her eyes.

"I can't help it Blaise...this will be the first time we are apart since we joined and I'm going to miss you."

Blaise pushed Ephiny's blond curls off her face... "I'm going to miss you too baby...just remember how much I love you okay?" Blaise lightly ran her finger over Ephiny's bottom lip and softly kissed her lips... "It's going to be so hard being without you baby." Blaise answered as she gazed into Ephiny's eyes.

Blaise took Ephiny's hand and moved over to gather Blaise's clothes to pack in her saddlebags. They finished packing and Blaise got dressed.

"'s time honey." Blaise replied with regret as she turned to Ephiny.

Ephiny leaned into Blaise and kissed her passionately. Ephiny threw her arms around Blaise to hold her tight.

"You sure are making it tough for me to leave baby." Blaise replied as she put her forehead against Ephiny's.

"I was trying to do that to keep you here with me!"

~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~

"You're very bad Ephiny." Blaise answered with a smile... "I wish I didn't have to go but I have to...I would rather have to do this than to never be able to hold you again my love." Blaise answered as she kissed Ephiny softly.

"No singing to any women while you're gone." Ephiny replied smiling through her tears.

"Only you." Blaise answered softly as she kissed and hugged her wife setting to memory the lovely scent of Ephiny.

"Goodbye Blaise." Ephiny answered as they broke their hug.

"Never goodbye's always I'll see you soon." Blaise answered with a smile to reassure her partner.

"You got it...I'll see you soon then." Ephiny smiled to reassure Blaise that everything would be okay even though she was consumed by too much sadness. Ephiny pulled Blaise's hand towards her to place a kiss on her lips.

Blaise broke the kiss and smiled as she turned to leave their hut. Ephiny held Blaise's hand as long as she could until Blaise exited the hut. Ephiny stood in the doorway with tears falling down her face as she watched her warrior head towards Taz.

Blaise put her saddlebags on Taz as Xena and Gabrielle approached... "hey, be careful little sister!" Xena replied as she hugged Blaise.

"Who me?...always." Blaise answered sarcastically... "watch out for Ephiny for me please?"

"You know I will Blaise." Xena answered as she broke their hug.

"Gabrielle...can you do me a favor and make sure Ephiny is seen by the healer?...she has been sick lately and I would like to have her checked out." Blaise asked with concern.

"I'll make sure she sees the healer Blaise." Gabrielle answered as she hugged Blaise... "be safe!" Gabrielle answered as Blaise broke their hug and smiled as she looked into Gabrielle's green eyes.

~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~

Blaise mounted Taz and looked to Ephiny standing in the doorway of their hut. Blaise heeled Taz towards Ephiny and turned him around as she winked to Ephiny. Ephiny blew Blaise a kiss as she rode out of the village.

Blaise rode Taz hard for half the day to reach the army she was to meet. Blaise noticed a man was being beaten by three soldiers along the path. Blaise heeled Taz to gallop faster and maneuvered Taz up to the group. Blaise kicked one man in the face sending him on his backside.

"Hey!...I can win the fight...I'm Joxer the mighty!" the man groggily replied as he fell to the ground.

Blaise steered Taz around to bump the other guy knocking him away and pulled her sword out. Blaise put her sword against the third man's throat.

"What's the meaning of this?" Blaise asked with anger.

"We were just having fun."

"The fun is over!" Blaise slid off Taz in front of the guy... "I see by your armor you pledge allegiance to my father Ares."

"You're Blaise?" the man asked nervously.

"Yes...I am." Blaise answered sternly.

"Please forgive us my lord!" the man answered as he knelt before her.

"Stand and help my friend up." Blaise demanded.

"He's your friend?" he asked nervously as he helped Joxer to his feet... "we had no idea...we're sorry."

"I'm sure you didn't...get back to camp!" Blaise ordered with a low tone in her voice.

"You're my friend?" Joxer asked with a grin as he wiped the blood from his mouth.

"Any friend of my sister's and my sister-in-law is a friend of mine." Blaise answered as she resheathed her sword.

"Who's your sister?"

~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~

"Xena is my sister."

"Oh, yeah." Joxer laughed playing it off like he knew all along... "well Xena and Gabrielle are like this with me." Joxer answered as he crossed his fingers... "we are best friends."

"Sure you are!...listen, are you interested in a job?" Blaise asked as she tightened the cinch on Taz's saddle.

"As a warrior?...sure I'm Joxer the mighty a fierce warrior!"

"Easy killer...I need an assistant...are you interested?" Blaise asked

"Assistant to the future God of War?" Joxer exclaimed with excitement... "yeah, what do I have to do?" he asked with a silly grin.

"First off lose that silly looking armor." Joxer took his armor off instantly... "make sure my messages make it to who they are intended for or you will have to deal with my wrath!" Blaise explained.

"Messenger!...I don't know about that...I'm a mighty warrior you know?" Joxer answered with slight agitation at the offer.

"You will get to see Gabrielle quite frequently." Blaise answered as she moved her eyebrows up and down with a smile.

"Okay...I'll do it!" Joxer replied quickly at the thought of seeing Gabrielle.

Blaise mounted Taz... "hop on then." Blaise answered as she put her hand out and helped him on the horse. The two rode off into camp.

Blaise entered the general's tent with Joxer following close behind... "General!" Blaise replied as she moved over to shake his hand.

"My lord...welcome...I'm general Calvin." the man exclaimed as he clasped hands with Blaise and bowed.

"Look dump the lord bit...just call me Blaise okay?" Blaise answered feeling uneasy at her title the general gave her.

"Sure." General Calvin answered.

~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~

"This man is my personal assistant." Blaise explained as she motioned over her shoulder to Joxer... "see to it that he is given a medallion with our emblem for safe passage please." Blaise ordered.

"It is done." the general answered as he snapped his fingers towards his sergeant to follow out the orders quickly.

"We will move out at dawn general...where are my quarters?" Blaise asked matter of factly.

"My lieutenant will show you as I prepare the troops for our departure." the general bowed as Blaise left the tent for her quarters.

"Joxer!" Blaise yelled.

Joxer ran into the tent, tripped and fell... "sorry!" Joxer replied with a grin as he stood up.

"I have a job for you to do."

"Anything...I'm ready." Joxer answered as he shifted his sword in it's scabbard.

"I want you to deliver this message along with two dozen of the freshest red roses you can find to my wife Ephiny at the amazon village." Blaise explained as she handed him a scroll.

"Ephiny's your wife?" Joxer asked with excitement.

"Yes...she's one hundred dinars for your expenses on the trips you'll be making for me." Blaise explained as she handed him a sack of dinars... "you have the medallion so, you shouldn't be harmed...this is important to me and I hope you take your job seriously." Blaise answered with trepidation that Joxer could get the job done.

"Oh, you can count on me Blaise...I'm the man for the job."

"Let's go get you a horse then." Blaise answered as she left her tent.

~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~

"A horse?" Joxer replied nervously as he followed Blaise... "they don't like me very much."

Blaise and Joxer walked over to the area where the horses were being held.."Sergeant!" Blaise shouted.

"Yes!" the soldier answered as he stood at attention.

"I need a horse for my assistant." Blaise informed the soldier.

"I'll bring him the fastest." the man answered as he began to follow his orders.

Joxers eyes grew wider and he gulped nervously.

Blaise leaned over to the soldier and whispered in his ear... "make it a fast one but somewhat gentle...he's not the most experienced rider."

"I see...I know just the horse for him." the soldier answered as he went off to fetch the horse.

"Okay're all is a map where we will be tomorrow evening and I expect you there...don't forget the it?"

" can count on me...aah...Blaise." Joxer's voice became serious... "thank you for giving me this opportunity...I really appreciate it." Joxer answered as he extended his arm and Blaise clasped hands with him.

"No prob Jox...just don't let me down okay?...there's your horse now get going." Blaise answered as she pointed to the horse.

Joxer approached the horse... "nice horsey." Joxer replied as he mounted the horse and rode off slowly.

Blaise returned to her tent to attend to duties of moving the army out the next morning. Blaise finished up her duties and ate dinner then headed off to check on Taz.

"How you doing my friend?" Blaise asked as she began to brush him.

~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~

Taz lowered his head as Blaise rubbed his head behind his ears... "miss Argo do you?" Blaise asked with a smile as Taz nodded yes... "I know the feeling buddy...I miss Eph more than I could ever have imagined." Blaise answered with sadness. Blaise finished brushing Taz and gave him a pat... "I'll see you in the morning my friend." Blaise replied as Taz whinnied and nodded yes.

Blaise went back to her tent to get ready for bed despite the fact that she knew she wasn't getting any sleep this evening because she missed Ephiny so much. Blaise opened her saddlebags for a nightshirt to wear and thought about how strange it was going to be to wear clothes to bed.

Blaise pulled out a black sheer slinky negligee nightie... "what in tartarus?" Blaise replied as she unfolded it and held it up to look at it as she smiled when she realized it was Ephiny's. Blaise laughed as she thought about how Ephiny was able to get that in her saddlebags without her knowing it.

Blaise brought the lingerie up to her face and smelled the material which had a lingering scent of Ephiny's sweet perfume. Blaise noticed a note was laying in her bag and picked it up to read.

Blaise...I wanted you to have something to remind you of me. I miss you so much already baby. Please be careful and I will think of you every minute until your return.

I love you,


Blaise sat on the bed and put her elbows on her knees leaning forward. She put her chin in her hands and smelled the garment. She closed her eyes and thought about her sweet, beautiful wife that she missed very much... "this is going to be very hard" she thought as she laid back on the bed and fell asleep to dream about her love.

Blaise slept for a short time and decided to get up because she was over the tossing and turning she had done for the majority of the night. Blaise gathered her belongings and readied Taz for the days journey. After Blaise got Taz squared away she headed off for some breakfast.

"Good morning my lord...sorry... Blaise."

~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~

"Good morning General Calvin." Blaise answered with a slight smile from the general's stammering with the lord bit.

"Please...if I am not to call you lord then call me Calvin." the man smiled.

"Okay...Calvin it is then."

"Did you sleep well?"

"No...I didn't." Blaise answered as she sat down to eat.

"Are your accommodations not suitable?" Calvin asked nervously.

" where fine...I'm worried about my wife and it was our first night apart since our joining." Blaise answered as she looked of in the distance as her thoughts turned to Ephiny.

"I know the feeling all too well...but it gets easier with time." Calvin answered reassuringly.

Blaise looked up at him before taking a bite of eggs... "let's hope so." Blaise answered with a slight smile. They finished their breakfast and assembled the army as Blaise and General Calvin led the army out of the camp towards Troy.

Joxer arrived at the amazon village around mid morning and dismounted his horse which he had affectionately named Twister for the wild ride he had given Joxer.

"Excuse me...where can I find Ephiny?" Joxer asked an amazon politely.

"She's in the food hut having breakfast." the amazon answered hesitantly to the strangers question.

"Perfect!." Joxer replied with excitement and a smile on his face... "I need these flowers to be put in her hut and could you please tell her there is a surprise waiting for her?"

"I would if I knew who you are and what you wanted with my regent." the amazon asked with agitation.

"Oh, sorry...duh...I'm Joxer and I am Blaise's assistant...I have been sent here by her to deliver a message to Ephiny." Joxer explained as he held his medallion up showing he was legit.

~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~

"The medallion means nothing to me except that you have an allegiance to the God of War and seeing as how he is Blaise's father I will deliver the message to my regent...besides you look harmless to be any threat to us...that is her hut over there." the amazon pointed and headed off to deliver the message to Ephiny.

Joxer arranged the flowers in Ephiny's hut as he waited for her arrival. Ephiny ran in the door... "Blaise!" she shouted with excitement.

"'s Joxer." Joxer answered as he turned to face Ephiny.

"Joxer?" Ephiny asked confused and with disappointment... "I thought you where Blaise when I heard there was a surprise waiting for me...what are you doing here?"

"I'm Blaises assistant now and she sent me to deliver this message and these flowers." Joxer explained as he handed her the scroll and pointed to the flowers.

"Oh." Ephiny smiled... "their beautiful." Ephiny answered as a warm feeling fell over her from Blaise's thoughtfulness as she approached the flowers and smelled their fragrant scent.

"I'll leave you alone and go say hello to Gabrielle and Xena...I'll wait for your response and then I must head back okay?"

"Sure." Ephiny answered as she opened the scroll as Joxer exited the hut. love...I missed you the moment I let go of your hand. I hope you're feeling better because I worry about you so. I'm thinking of you constantly and I love you very much.


Ephiny began to cry and smelled her roses again as she sat down to write a reply note.

Joxer found Gabrielle and Xena leaving the food hut... "Gabrielle! Xena!" he shouted as he ran up to the pair.

"Joxer?" Gabrielle replied with surprise to see him.

"Joxer what are you doing here?" Xena asked as he approached.

"Hi Gabby!" he replied with excitement and out of breath from running as he hugged her.

"Hey, Joxer...okay you can let go now." Gabrielle answered with a feeling of uncomfortableness from the hug.

~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~

"Oh, sorry." Joxer answered nervously as he broke his hug... "hey Xena!" he replied as he opened his arms to hug her.

"Don't even think about it." Xena answered sternly as she held up her hand to stop Joxer from hugging her and then extended her hand... "a handshake will do." Xena smiled and clasped hands with him.

"Guess who I work for?" Joxer asked with pride.

"You have a job?" Xena asked with a chuckle.

"I work for your sister Xena...I'm her assistant."

"No way!" Gabrielle answered with disbelief.

"'s true ask Ephiny." Joxer nodded with a smile.

"What are your job duties?" Xena asked.

"I'm a messenger for Blaise and I just delivered a message to Ephiny from her." he answered with a smile and pride at the job he had done.

"Is Blaise okay?" Xena asked with worry.

"Oh, yeah...she's fine...she was moving the army out this morning...I have to go now because I have to meet them by this evening."

"Tell Blaise we said hello and we miss her." Gabrielle asked.

"I will...bye Gabby." Joxer replied with an embarrassed giggle... "bye Xena." Joxer replied as he ran over to Ephiny's hut and knocked.

"Unbelievable!" Xena replied with a laugh as she shook her head.

"I hardly recognized him without his armor...I thought it was Jett at first." Gabrielle chuckled.

"What are your plans baby?" Xena asked with a sexy smile.

"I have a ton of work to go over how about you?"

"I'm training some rookie guards on how to protect their queen properly." Xena answered with a smile.

~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~

"Then I won't have anything to worry about again then." Gabrielle answered with a smile..."I'll see you for dinner then?"

"How about dinner in my bedroll or yours?" Xena asked with a smile as she pulled Gabrielle into her arms.

"My hot tub!" Gabrielle whispered in her ear as she bit and sucked Xena's neck before turning and walking away.

"Wow!" Xena smiled as her body was overcome with warmth... "you little tease!"

Gabrielle turned around and blew Xena a kiss. Xena could only smile as she watched her wife enter her royal office.

"Come in Joxer!" Ephiny announced.

"Are you all set Ephiny?" Joxer asked as he entered the hut.

"Here...I want you to take this back to Blaise." Ephiny answered as she handed Joxer a scroll and a box... "be careful with the box okay Joxer?"

"Why does everyone tell me to be careful with everything?" Joxer asked with confusion.

"Because we know you Joxer." Ephiny answered with a smile and a pat on the back... "thank you."

"Bye." Joxer answered as he left the hut and rode off on Twister.

"Now that's unfreakingbelievable that Joxer is able to ride a horse!" Xena exclaimed out loud to no one in particular as she watched in disbelief as Joxer rode out of the village.

Xena stopped by Ephiny's hut and knocked before entering... "come on in!" Ephiny answered.

"Is everything okay with Blaise?"

"Yes...she misses me." Ephiny answered with a big smile... "look at the beautiful flowers she sent me." Ephiny replied as she pointed to the roses.

~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~

"They're very nice Ephiny." Xena answered as she looked the flowers over.

"I can't believe she trusts Joxer enough to hire him on as an assistant though."

"I thought the same thing about him Eph." Xena answered and noticed the smile on Ephiny's face had disappeared... "what's wrong?" Xena asked with concern.

"'s just the way you said my name Xena...Blaise calls me that and you sounded so much like her just just brought sadness to me and made me miss her more."

"I didn't know...I'm sorry...listen it will get a little easier with each day Ephiny." Xena replied reassuringly.

"I hope so." Ephiny answered with a slight smile as she looked up at Xena.

"Well...I have to go and teach the rookie guards a few things about protection." Xena replied with a smile.

"Work them hard would you?" Ephiny answered with a sly grin.

"I will just for you...later." Xena smiled and left the hut.

Joxer made it to the location on the map to meet the rest of the troops late that night. Joxer announced he was present outside Blaise's tent.

"Come on in Joxer!" Blaise yelled.

Joxer entered to find Blaise doing push ups in her black boxer shorts and sports bra.

"Oh, sorry!" Joxer replied nervously as he covered his eyes.

"Cut it out dude..I'm sure you have seen more before." Blaise answered as she stood up.

"Well...yeah." Joxer answered gloating as he took his hand down and giggled.

"How does Ephiny look?"

"Very beautiful...aah...if you don't mind me saying so!" Joxer asked nervously.

~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~

"No...not at all."Blaise answered with a smile as she thought of Ephiny.

"She wanted me to give you these...she did look sad though Blaise." Joxer replied as he handed her the scroll and the box Ephiny had instructed him to be careful with.

"She does?" Blaise asked with concern.

"I think it's because she misses you."

"Yeah...I miss her too Jox...dude I never realized I could love someone as much as I do her...I feel the same pain being away from her that I felt when I grew up away from my family." Blaise explained with her head down as she ran her thumb over the scroll trying to feel Ephiny's touch along the parchment.

"It should be easier Blaise...I'm here if you need someone to talk too."

"Hey Jox!...thanks did a good job today...go get some sleep we're moving out early." Blaise answered as she looked up at her new friend.

"Thanks can count on me!" Joxer answered with excitement as he exited the tent.

Blaise opened the box which contained a single red rose. Blaise moved it up to her face to smell it's fragrance. Blaise smiled as she smelled the rose and opened the scroll to read it.

My darling Blaise...I miss you more than you could ever possibly imagine. I think of
you every moment of the day and I hope you are safe. I have placed a kiss on the
rose only for you my love. Thank you for my flowers they are beautiful as you are. I
long for you to hold me in your arms and to feel your gentle kiss on my lips. I love
you whole heartedly my darling.

Blaise laid down on the bed and closed her eyes envisioning Ephiny as she ran the rose along her lips slowly and softly imagining Ephiny's lips kissing hers. Blaise fell asleep lost in her thoughts of Ephiny still clutching her scroll and rose in each hand.

~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~

"Ephiny...Ephiny!" Gabrielle replied... "are you okay?...did you hear me?"

"I...I'm sorry Gabrielle...I have a lot on my mind...what did you ask?" Ephiny stammered.

"You do remember we have the council meeting today?...what's wrong?" Gabrielle asked with concern.

"I'm worried about Blaise and something else." Ephiny answered as her thought trailed off... "aah...I haven't heard anything from her in three weeks...I didn't realize I would ever to be so happy to see Joxer but now I look forward to seeing him."

"It's strange to look forward to Joxer coming here." Gabrielle answered with a smile.

"He has actually done a very good job which is surprising...I just hope everything is okay with Blaise." Ephiny answered with worry.

" you feel in your heart there is something wrong with Blaise?" Gabrielle asked as she held her hand for comfort.

Ephiny looked down and tears welled in her eyes... " I do feel like she's injured or sick or something Gabrielle."

"Ephiny...there is no way Aphrodite or Ares for that fact would allow anything to happen to Blaise."

"I can't help what I feel Gabrielle but I'm sure you're right...Ares wouldn't allow anything to happen to his protégé as long as it benefits him...I wish Blaise would never have had to of made that deal with him...then she would be here when I need her most of all." Ephiny answered as she began to cry.

"I'm sorry's my fault that she had to make that deal...I should have never interfered in Blaise trying to protect you."

"Yeah...well...what's done is done I guess and Blaise would have had to do this one day but I just wish it wasn't now." Ephiny answered with regret as she lowered her head.

"Is there something you aren't telling me Ephiny?"

~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~

"My queen!...excuse the intrusion but you said to inform you the moment the council was assembled." a guard replied.

"Yes...thank you." Gabrielle answered with a smile and turned to Ephiny... "is there something else you need to tell me?"

"No...Gabrielle...we need to get going so we don't keep the council waiting."

"Are you sure?"

"Yeah...let's go." Ephiny answered as she stood up to follow Gabrielle out.

They entered the royal meeting chamber where the council was assembled and took their seats. After two candle marks the council members made no progress except towards more frustration.

Joxer entered the chamber and stood beside Ephiny who looked up at him... "you should read this right away." Joxer replied in a serious tone as he handed her a scroll.

" Blaise okay?'re scaring me." Ephiny asked with concern.

"Just read the scroll it will explain everything." Joxer answered as he lowered his head down looking at the floor.

Ephiny's heart sank and tears filled her eyes as she was afraid to open the scroll. She looked at Gabrielle who moved next to her and put her arm around her for comfort. Ephiny looked as her tears fell down her face... "go ahead open it." Gabrielle answered reassuringly.

Ephiny began to cry as she opened the scroll.

To be continued...

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