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Xena, Gabrielle, Argo and all other characters who have appeared in the series Xena: Warrior Princess, 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 my property. Please do not use my characters without my consent. NOTE: All works remain the © copyright of the original author.
This story depicts scenes of very mild violence and/or their aftermath. Readers who are disturbed by or sensitive to this type of depiction may wish to read something other than this story.
This story depicts a love/sexual 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 one is fortunate enough to love, then theirs is a greater garden within.
COMMENTS: This story is loosely connected to Where Water Falls. Sometimes we are all left with mud on our face. firstname.lastname@example.org
Your Name Is Mud
"I wonder what would be a beneficial challenge that I could add to Eponins training program. I know that I left it entirely up to her and Im not trying to stir her soup too much, if you know what I mean Xena. Still, an Amazon Queen should come up with something that can be considered a valuable contribution. What do you think?" Gabrielle asked.
"You said that it was her project. You might anger her a little if you step up to her fire and start messing with her meal." Xena pointed out.
The women were headed back to Amazon territory and it had been a moon since they saw Eponin. Thats when Gabrielle gave her consent to the new training program. They were both looking forward to getting back to the village and rekindling old friendships. It was good to be able to spend some time with everyone and strengthen relationships.
Gabrielle thought about what Xena had said but she still had an urge to get involved. She stretched her mind for a unique event that Eponin might be intrigued by and that would be enticing enough to accept the Bards suggestion. After all was said and done, she was Queen and had that right. She also realized in her mind that one did not misuse power to their benefit.
"Hey! Lets stop at the next village and get some food, Xena. I could use some lunch."
"You know you probably wouldnt be so hungry all of the time if you got a horse and rode, instead of walking everywhere you went!"
"I told you, I dont like being up that high unless we ride together. I truly do like to walk Xena."
They were coming up to a small village that they had gone through before but never stopped to eat in. The main road was filled with people and there was a pleasant feel to the place. There was a small market on one side of the road that was selling fresh fruits and vegetables. A blacksmith was shoeing a horse across from the market and there were several children playing in the road in front of the stable. Along side of the stable, there was a young man trying to persuade his donkey to move in the same direction that he was going in. The harder the man pulled, the tougher the animal dug his hooves into the dirt. As the Warrior and the Bard passed by, the rope snapped and the surprised owner ended up in a large mud puddle.
The kids all gathered around and laughed and when he got up, two of the boys started pushing each other into the mud puddle. Once they both got their feet wet, they started to push harder. Soon they both fell down and began to wrestle with each other in the mud and thats when Gabrielle said, "I got it!"
"Well call it mud wrestling and not only will it be good physical training, it will be fun!"
Xena shook her head from side to side and remarked, "How do you think youre gonna get Eponin in a large mud puddle?"
"I havent thought of that part yet!" The Amazon Queen replied with a touch of, "Hey! Gimme a break!"
The couple found a nice place to get some lamb stew and a tall drink of water. Fresh bread was still hot out of the oven and the aroma filled the room. The little inn had outside seating so they took their meals and sat on a bench, watching the movements of the village. Several riders passed by and a horse and driver pulling a small wagon of hay followed shortly after. Xena gave some thought to Gabrielles idea and had to chuckle to herself when she envisioned Eponin covered with mud.
"You know, my Bard, this might not be such a bad idea of yours. This might help ease some tension between a few of the Amazons and lighten everyones spirit. When a warrior is on edge too long, they become careless and lose the fluidness of their abilities. Its good to have some diversion."
"Thanks Xena. I needed to hear that. Sometimes I wonder about my roll as Amazon Queen. I know that in Ephiny, I have the best as Regent but sometimes I question my own abilities." Gabrielle stated with an open heart.
"Its when you feel you have no need to question, that you will find yourself in the most serious trouble." And with that comment the two got up from their dinner. Xena paid the proprietor; they untied Argo and moved down the road and through the village. When they reached the open road again, Gabrielle saw something that caught her eye.
"Whats that in the road, Xena?" The Bard asked inquisitively.
"Hey! Its a turtle. A big old turtle." Xena shouted. "My Uncle Pulte used to make turtle soup."
"How could anybody eat something that was that cute?" The Bard questioned.
"Look how it moves. I wonder if its running or if thats its only speed? It must be a lonely life being a turtle, dont you think Xena? Are you going to talk to me or just watch the turtle cross the road?"
"Now theres a question for you Gabrielle. Why did the turtle cross the road?"
"I dont know Xena, why?"
"To get on the other side, silly!"
"Thats funny Xena, really funny but somehow it feels like somethings missing."
The turtle disappeared into the tall grass on the side of the road and the two philosophers continued on their way to Amazon territory. Gabrielle could hardly wait to put her idea into motion. As she neared a puddle in the road, she jumped in the air and yelled, "YiiYaaa!" landing flatfooted in the middle of it, which caused the mud to fly up in every direction. "Now, that was neat!" She said as she turned toward Xena and saw that she had splattered her face and body with mud. "Oh gods! I guess Im in trouble now!" And the Bard took off running down the road with the Warrior hot on her heels, spitting mud out from between her teeth.
The two companions were a day out from the Amazon village, however, Gabrielle knew that their arrival into Amazon territory would be announced long before they set foot into the village. Xena took on a serious face when they were in the Queens domain. There were many friends to the Amazons but they had their share of enemies also. The Queen was a prime target and although everyone that lived and breathed knew the Queen traveled with Xena, there were those who felt they had a chance to beat the Warrior Princess. This they would try on occasion just to get to Gabrielle. Keeping all of this in mind, Xena was prepared for anything that might come their way.
Uneventful as the remainder of the day was, both Gabrielle and Xena were relieved by the absence of adversaries. As they reached the borders of the Amazon territory, they knew what they had predicted was all ready being set in motion. Within a candlemark, four riders approached them from the direction of the village. Leading the group was Eponin. An excellent rider, a skilled and lethal warrior, wrapped in a body that was physically superb and ever so beautiful as well as mysteriously aloof with all but a few personal friends. The Queen and Xena were two of her closest friends. She dismounted and got down on one knee saying, "My Queen. Welcome back to your homeland."
"Eponin, my loyal warrior. How has the training gone so far?" Queen Gabrielle inquired.
"Very well, my Queen. We are making great progress. Although..."
"Although what?" Gabrielle questioned.
"I spoke out of turn, my Queen." Eponin replied.
"Eponin, you may call me Gabrielle. We have talked about this before. Now tell me whats troubling you, my friend."
"There is some edge with the Amazons Gabrielle. They are nervous and agitated by the attacks that have happened on our borders. They appear to be isolated incidents but there are too many to be coincidence. This has caused some added strain on everyone."
Xena waited until there was a break in the conversation, then said. "Gabrielle, might I suggest that we finish this conversation back at the village." She spoke with great respect in front of the other Amazons.
"Good idea Xena. Lets move out and homeward." The Amazon Queen commanded.
Eponin mounted her horse and Gabrielle joined Xena on Argo while the other three Amazons spread out behind them in order to protect their rear. It was a candlemark to the village from where they were and an easy ride. Xena observed the lookouts above in the trees as they approached the entrance. This was added security since their last visit.
When the riders entered the village, there was a festive atmosphere and everyone was overjoyed to see Queen Gabrielle and Xena. The Queen was immediately approached by three teen Amazons who were not quite adults but were trying to be. They showered her with flowers made up in a large bouquet and several single flowers for her hair. Thanking them for her kindness, she promised to wear the flowers right after she bathed and could do the blossoms justice. There was a forth adolescent that was quite tall and had dark hair. She walked up to Xena and handed her a single white gardenia. This happened a couple of horse lengths away from where the Queen was getting her attention. Xena was touched by the gesture and smiled at the young woman. In a flash the aficionado moved close and kissed the Warrior on the cheek. Xena was temporarily shocked by the tender gesture as the teen ran away primarily out of embarrassment.
"Xena! Come over here." Eponin called.
The Warrior jumped at the chance to be busy all of the sudden and get away from the awkward happening that had just taken place.
"Hey Warrior, come see what we have done around here." The Amazon called again.
Xena thought, Eponin would say "we" because it is not her style to take total credit of this or anything. Eponin is my example of a true Amazon, in every sense of the word.
"It looks like youve been busy!" Xena chuckled.
As she looked around she saw new staffs in a rack. Some were standard and some were covered with extra padding for protection, so no one was seriously injured while training. Twenty freshly carved sets of chobos were in another rack. A new obstacle course had been added behind the main lodges and covered the entire field that ran along the river. Eponin mentioned that Ephiny took quite a role in the designing of it. This was a tool to help improve coordination and manual dexterity. Climbing ropes had been strung across the river and races were held to see who could make it to the opposite shore first in a hand over hand challenge. There was also a new archery area set up with fifteen targets at three paces apart. New bows and an abundance of arrows fashioned with the best feathers for truer stability.
Xena walked with Eponin throughout the whole compound checking out all of the changes that had been made.
"Im really impressed with what you have accomplished Eponin!" Xena said, praising her friend.
"Thanks Xe." Eponin replied. "It was a lot of fun but theres been some conflict because everyone is so frustrated with the young people being injured or killed. Many of them died their first time on patrol. I personally believe that its a small group of bandits and not a warlord and his scouting parties."
"Im inclined to agree with you." Xena answered.
"My Queen, your water is ready." The Amazon told Gabrielle
"And what of Xena?"
"She is still out in the compound with Eponin, my Queen."
"Well, I shall bathe then, so I can put these flowers in my hair, so those young warriors are not hurt by an insensitive Queen. They need that follow through to feel good about themselves." Gabrielle mumbled to herself as she went into the Queens hut. She had her Warrior in the back of her mind.
It didnt take long to get out of her dusty clothing. The boots came off with a bit of a struggle and the Queen noticed that her feet stunk. Without further delay, it was into the hot water and Gabrielle could do nothing less than say, "Ah!" As she submerged into the tub full of water.
"This is too, too much." She said to herself. "And I really like the smell of this soap."
"Lets see what the Queens up to." Xena said to Eponin as they ended the tour.
They headed over to the Queens hut and the Amazon that took care of the Queens needs explained to the two warriors that the Queen was taking a bath. Xena said goodbye momentarily to Eponin and said that the two of them would join everyone in the main lodge in about a candlemark. Xena opened the door to the hut and walked in.
"Oh! There you are!" Gabrielle commented. "Was beginning to wonder what had happened to you Warrior?"
"I need a bath. Are you in the mood to scrub my back?" Xena said with a touch of lemon in her voice.
"Scrub your back? After I see you making out with some kid! Hey! Whos the Queen here?"
"Gabrielle, she was just being nice. Anyway, I can get my own back, thank you."
Xena stripped quickly and as she got ready to climb into the tub, the Queen got out. The Warrior just leered at her and then took care of business. Queen Gabrielle prepared herself for the dinner and the entertainment that would follow. She remembered to place the flowers in her hair and as angry as Xena was at this very moment, she still had time to take in the beauty of her lover.
There was a tremendous spread of food over several tables. Wild boar, deer and quail dressed the main table. Another was covered with a variety of fruits; still another table had breads and pastries on it. There was ale and wine in great measure. It was time to celebrate the Queens homecoming and nothing was spared.
The lovers left the Queens hut a little miffed at each other but now it was time to put on a face for everyone. Xena was wearing a nice pale green tunic with matching boots that were given to her as a gift from Ephiny. The Queen was dressed in a two piece deerskin outfit that was trimmed with fox pelt and was also a gift from Ephiny. Gabrielle had a flower in her hair for each of the three young warriors. They were both radiant and when they entered the main lodge, the young girl that had surprised Xena with a kiss was standing near the door, looking extremely hungry for companionship. The Warrior caught a glimpse out of the corner of her eye and swerved to the right to maneuver around the tables that held the feast. Many Amazons at the door who wished to say hello surrounded the Queen. Picking up a mug of ale, Xena looked for a crowded table and planted her butt on a chair. Slipping into a conversation with a couple of Amazons that she had contact with the last time she was at the village, she tried to blend into the party.
There was some flute music being played inside the lodge that was just to add a touch of atmosphere to the gathering. Later in the evening, there would be dancing by the fires outside. Everyone was looking forward to letting loose and having a good time. Gabrielle spent a candlemark greeting many Amazons and when things quieted down she looked for Eponin.
"There you are, Eponin! Ive wanted to talk to you about an idea that Id like you to try in the training program. I know I said that it was your program but I just wanted to make one suggestion." Gabrielle tried to say this with some authority as she joined the warrior at the table.
"My Queen, if you say it is so, then it is so! If you say to me that you would have it this way, then this way it will be."
"Eponin, I know your loyalty. I want you to understand that by me adding something to the training helps make me feel like an active Queen. I dont want to be nothing more than a figurehead."
"I understand Gabrielle and I welcome your input. Maybe it will h...."
A shouting match started at the table next to where the Queen was sitting. Eponin stood and Gabrielle touched her arm to hold up a moment.
"You didnt lose a sister to the enemy! Im tired of you telling me things are all right! The first Amazon screamed.
"Would you calm down!" The other said.
"I should punch you out for telling me to calm down." The first shouted back.
"Go ahead and try it! And the other Amazon stood up from the table, finally irritated enough.
Gabrielle dropped her hand and that was the signal for Eponin to move. The warrior separated the two Amazons and they were not about to continue with Xena moving up behind them.
"Take it outside, if theres a problem. You should be whipped for fighting in front of the Queen." Eponin said with authority and in an even keeled voice.
Gabrielle stood finally and told the two Amazons to hold up until she had finished her discussion with Eponin. She had an idea that might resolve the arguing and backbiting that everyone was becoming caught up in. The Queen took Eponin to a rear table and explained her idea. When the Amazon warrior heard it and it sunk into her spirit, she let out a large roaring laugh!
"Thats great! Eponin shouted. She left the festivities and went to prepare things for an interesting evening.
Gabrielle and Xena stayed inside to help insure that everyone remained at the party and didnt wander outside. They didnt want anybody spoiling the surprise. About two candlemarks later, Eponin returned with Ephiny and the two of them walked up to the Queen and gave her the thumbs up sign.
Gabrielle stood on top of one of the tables and said, "Id like to make an announcement. Listen everyone! Earlier, we had a disagreement between two of you who are known to be good friends. This seems to be occurring more and more as we experience trouble on our borders. Eponin and myself have devised a way to settle your differences without killing each other and adding to the Amazons sorrows. Follow me!"
The Queen headed out the door with everyone falling in behind her. The two Amazons that had the earlier conflict were right along side Gabrielle and Eponin. When the procession stopped, they were standing in front of a depression that was eight paces by eight paces. Although it did have the appearance of being somewhat level, it was filled with mud and was seven hands deep. Across the entire length of this pool of mixed dirt and water was a plank that was the width of two hands that was supported in the center.
"Pick your end, no weapons other than your bare hands and come out fighting!" The Queen commanded.
The two Amazons entered from each end and the crowd went crazy, shouting and laughing. There were bets being placed and the two in disagreement hadnt even reached each other yet. All the while that this was being set up and started, Xena stayed out of the main flow to allow Gabrielle her moment of genius.
As the Amazons made contact, the place went wild. It took only a few moves and they were tipping off into midair, followed by a large plop! When this happened and everyones attention was on the muddy duo, the young Amazon that had brought Xena the gardenia walked up to the Warrior and planted a big kiss on her lips. She said to Xena, "I think Im in love with you, Warrior!"
They say timing is everything and just as this happened, Gabrielle turned around to see if Xena enjoyed the mud wrestling. What she saw was enough to set her off into a jealous rage.
"That does it! Now Im good and mad, Xena!" As she stomped over to the Warrior. "Will you tell me why youre making out with this child?"
"Child?" The young woman said, as Xena moved her out of the line of fire.
"Gabrielle, she came..."
"I dont want to hear it Xena!" The Queen shouted.
The other two Amazons had just about beat themselves into exhaustion fighting in the mud. They were both sitting on the side of the mud hole resting. They appeared to be some kind of swamp creatures that the Amazons told stories about around the campfire when they were small children.
"Lets go Xena! Im taking you down!" And Gabrielle started marching toward the end of the plank. Xena had just about enough and was getting her blood pressure up. She stomped over to the other end of the plank. Just before Gabrielle set foot on her end of the plank, Eponin stepped up to ask permission to step in as the Queens champion but Gabrielle was so wound up that she caught the warrior off balance when she pushed her back and Eponin fell into the pit.
"Thats what Im gonna do to you Xena!"
"I owe you, Gabrielle! Remember the road?"
Silence dropped over the entire village and you could have heard an eagles feather hit the ground. The two adversaries looked around at everyone and in unison both said, "Come on! Lets hear some noise!"
They all started cheering, jumping up and down, laughing and acting just plain nuts! Xena and Gabrielle came running at each other full speed screaming, "Ahhhh! YiYiYiYi!" As they made contact Xena wrapped her arms around the Bard and they both went flying into the mud. "Splat!"
The crowd silenced again, waiting to see if they were both ok. When Xena popped up and looked around, there was no Gabrielle. Then suddenly an arm came up and dragged the Warrior down, and then they both came up and looked like a couple of wheel ruts. Looking at each other, all they could do was laugh and the fight ended with a messy hug. Next thing they knew everyone was jumping in and heading down to the river for a midnight bath. As the lovers headed for the clear water, Xena said, "I love you, you dirt ball."
"Be careful Xena, I love you too but Ill throw some earthworms on you, if you soil this Queens reputation. Oh No! Save me Xena! Eponins heading this way!"
Greatpear@yahoo.com Thanks for reading!
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