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Xena: Warrior Princess, Gabrielle, Argo and all other characters who have appeared in the syndicated series Xena: Warrior Princess, together with the names, titles 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. 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.
NOTE: All works remain the © copyright of the original author. These may not be republished without the author's consent.
This story depicts scenes of 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.
COMMENTS: Good to the last drop. This story follows I Was Not Listening. Please feel free to comment if you wish.Greatpear@yahoo.com
Continues from here
There was a small cottage on the outskirts of Thessalyia and if you werenít looking you would have missed the small trail that led to it. The occupant of the cottage was a blind man, approximately fifty winters in age. He lived with a raccoon that hissed at anyone who came around the cottage. It was common to see the blind man near the entrance of the city asking for alms. Xena knew Cabriello in a different capacity from earlier encounters and needed to make contact with him in hopes of getting a better understanding of where they were going and what to expect.
Eponin was feeling a whole lot better. Her right eye was starting to open and the swelling was going down. She was as tuff as they came and never complained of anything that came her way. Thia had really been enjoying this time of Eponinís convalescence for it gave her an opportunity to be close to the warrior. She would have preferred however, that nothing had happened to the woman she was in love with. They stayed right where they were while Xena and Gabrielle went to the edge of the city to look for Cabriello.
They could not find him after a short walk around, so they headed in the direction of his cottage. Argo was stabled while the two enjoyed the time in the city together. So, with staff in hand, Gabrielle and Xena, who was on foot, made their way down the trail to a small clearing that held the dwelling. Xena called from out front, to the cottage and its occupant, "Cabriello! Are you in there?"
"Who wants to know such information?" The reply came back.
"Xena of Amphipolis and my friend, Gabrielle."
"The Amazon Queen?"
Xena looked at the Bard with a look of half surprise, half annoyance. Her lover was starting to get a reputation of her own. "Yes ..The Amazon Queen." Xena answered.
The blind Oracle stepped out of the cottage and waved them forward. He was dressed in a dark blue robe, tied with a sash around the waist and sandals upon his feet. His beard was gray and his hair was salt and pepper. As the two seekers came closer, the raccoon came out of the half-opened door and hissed at the women.
"Quiet, Epedurmus! These are our friends! Please come into my humble abode and may the gods bless us all!"
The three of them sat around a small table and when the raccoon had made his rounds, checking everyone out including Cabriello, Xena started the conversation by saying, "Who drinks from Poseidonís Well, Cabriello?"
"And what do you know of Poseidonís Well, Xena?"
"No more than the next avid listener, who as a child, was raised around the fables and mysteries of the storytellers. Sitting around the campfires, I listened to one such storyteller who said that, only Poseidon could drink from his own well but did not need to unless his powers as a god were thwarted by one who tricked him into submission." The Warrior told the Oracle.
"You are right, Warrior. There are few that would curse their own world with such an ugly act of treason by removal of the god of waters. But there are those who are not right with themselves. It is those that life fears the most."
Then Cabriello added this; "The Well of Poseidon was the solution to the worlds loss of water. As everyone knows, water is a necessity of life in all lands. The legend concedes that one would journey to Poseidonís Well, fill the waterskin and deliver it to the ends of reality and the lips of the god Poseidon. Upon drinking, Poseidon would once again be returned to the stature of god and rule over all the waters upon the face of the earth. The other part of this legend that is not widely known is, that if another drinks from the Well then they would have power over the mortals, as they would become a demigod. "
"How would we know that this had come to pass and that there was something amiss with Poseidon?" Xena questioned the Oracle.
"The subtle receding of the waters everywhere, would be the sign to look for." The Oracle responded. "However, one problem above all problems is, that no one knows where the Well resides but Poseidon. One cannot save that, which is unattainable!"
Xena and Gabrielle concluded their conversation with the Oracle. Thanked him and left a substantial offering for his well being in the form of many dinars. The last thing he told the two was; there, at the Temple of Poseidon was a secret chamber that held the possible whereabouts of the Well. This information would not be easily attainable nor would the location of Poseidon himself be, if in fact there had been some form of a curse placed upon him or his essence had been captured. This would take some doing to find these answers.
"The Temple stands beneath Athens on the end of the peninsula, near the village of Sounion." Cabriello explained as he waved farewell.
"We have a long journey ahead of us. Are you up to it?" Xena asked her confidant.
"Youíre asking me if Iím up to saving a god, the land and all the people from drought? OK!" Gabrielle messed with the Warrior like perhaps there was a choice to do nothing.
This was one of the rare times that Xena talked Gabrielle into riding her own horse. The Warrior found her a friendly sort that was smaller than Argo and a bit less feisty. The animal was black as night and was just over five winters old. They had a long three-day ride to get to the tip of the peninsula and with what they had discovered, there was no time to waste. Xena was only speculating that she and Gabrielle could even find the nature of the problem, let alone the solution as well but try they would.
They rode into Thessalyia to inform their friends of their plans and when it was all over they promised to return to the Amazon village. By that time they would need a well-earned rest. The duo would take the road that ran down the coast until they got to Mount Ossa, and then they would head inland to the town of Larisa. This was where they would spend the night, planning on an early wake up then on to the second leg of the journey. It was Xenaís hope that they would be able to get as far as Livanates by the end of the next day.
Entering the village of Katahas, the Warrior and the Bard kept their eyes peeled for anything that gave way to the three warriors they were inadvertently trailing. Xena had it in the back of her mind that they might be on their way to the same destination but this was the village that Hetros had his run in with the three.
The two women stopped in a tavern on the far side of the village. Gabrielle was first to walk up to the bar and she ordered two ales. Xena followed and when the barkeep returned with the drinks, she drilled him about the three female warriors. When she described the big strawberry-blonde, he said, "Fallaria and her sidekick, Aedres. I forget what Aedresís sisters name is but she was the other one. Real crazy, that Fallaria! Talkin some nonsense about helping to rid the land of water."
"How long ago did they leave?" Xena asked.
"Why should I tell you?" The barkeep snapped back.
Xena quickly hit him on both sides of his neck with her fingers ridged. "Wack!"
"You have about as long as it takes you to pray to figure out why you should talk to us or you wonít be tending bar anymore. Iíve cut the flow of blood off to your brain, so letís hear it!"
"They...left three candlemarks ..earlier."
"Where were they headed?" Xena questioned.
"Wack!" And she released him. "Next time be a little more sociable." Xena suggested.
They finished their mugs, walked out the door and heading south. Gabrielle and the Warrior continued along the way they had planned from the beginning. The urgency of the situation was pressuring the women to make haste, so they continued down the coast until they came close to Mount Ossa and then turned inland. Good weather helped in the traveling across country, making better time than they expected. They rode into the town of Larisa a candlemark after the sun had set. Both of them totally exhausted and the Bard with a tender backside, found lodging with a stable. They opted to skip a meal and went directly to bed.
The next morning, as they ate breakfast, they talked about making a quick stop by Aurisliaís place to freshen themselves and pick up some supplies. It was a good excuse to see how things were going with her new family and it was of course, right on the way to the temple. Xena gave the sign and they were on their feet and moving out the door.
"My best side is killing me, Xena! After this is over, Iím a permanent walker. Do you hear me, Xena?"
The Bard moaned in a loud and pathetic voice.
"Yea, I hear you. Saddle up! We might be able to make Aurisliaís by tonight."
Xena thought back to when they first met the healer and she reflected. I sure had doubts about her intentions with Gabrielle but there had been so many others that seemed to try to split us apart that I was overly protective. Some of that was my own fear of losing what I thought I had no right to and that was happiness. She took Gabrielle shopping for a new outfit for our interlude that evening. I remember how nice I thought that was after Gabrielle had told me. They also went to pick up her supplies but they ended up helping a woman who was giving birth and that was why my Bard was late. That day, I gave my love the ankle bracelets and we still wear them, when weíre not doing this. Aurislia turned out to be a good and valued friend to both of us.
"Where are you at Xena? I keep talking but youíre in your head. There looks to be trouble ahead!" The Bard scolded as Xena snapped out of her daydreaming.
Five warriors blocked the road and one who apparently thought he was in charge stood in front of the rest of them. He said, "Callisto sends her regards and wanted us to have you stick around awhile." As he pushed the point of his sword towards them to emphasize the word, stick!
"Are you ready to stretch those legs Gabrielle?" Xena mused aloud. She then did a forward flip out of her saddle with chakram in hand and careened it off of a tree and dropped the second man back. Sword pulled, she landed on the ground right in front of the warrior who was the mouthpiece and she sported a large smile, which only enraged the poor rube. He took the bait, swinging his sword wildly and the Warrior cut him down. A Callisto wannabe was next and gave Xena a pretty good going. By this time Gabrielle had made it off of the horse she affectionately named Pain, pulled her staff from the side of the saddle and commenced beating the two remaining warriors silly. The blonde Callisto look-a-like had some of the moves but not the insanity that made Callisto the lunatic she was. Xena cut her on the forearm and she pulled a dagger as she lost her sword, throwing it in the direction of Xena. She ran for her horse and the fear in her eyes said she would not be back today, anyway. The other two lay on the ground beaten to a pulp. Xena walked over to the one that still remained conscious and put the pinch on him saying, "You know the drill, if youíre interested in seeing tomorrow, start talking. What is Callistoís interest in all this?"
"She .said..to tell .you sheís not .thirsty." The warrior struggled to say.
Xena frowned. "Anything, else?" Prompted the Warrior.
"She ..said that ..Blondieís boyf riend .was running things .now."
"Dahok! By the gods, this could get ugly." And Xena released the man.
"Gabrielle, maybe .."
"No Xena! Iím not going to sit this one out. You owe me for this sore backside and I owe Dahok!"
Mounting up, they continued on their way. The conversation was focused on Dahok and what they were going to do when they reached Poseidonís Temple. Xena calculated they would run into much more resistance as they got closer to the solution and it was only a matter of time before Callisto would show up like a bad dinar. As the sky turned rose, orange and purple, they saw landmarks that told them they were getting close to Aurisliaís place. They were both tired and so were the horses. Everyone needed a good rest and depending on when they arrived and how much talking they did, they both agreed that they might get a little later start in the morning.
Xena and Gabrielle had returned to explain where they were going and why. They told their two friends that if and when things were right, the Warrior and their Queen would return to the Amazon village. Until that time, the Queen made Eponin promise to work on getting her health back and not to follow after them.
Eponin was a quick healer but it took two days to get back to where she was feeling good enough to travel.
The company she was keeping was a definite help in her healing process and Thia wanted to be as much help as she could be. The time spent together was a gift from the gods, for Thia wanted desperately to show Eponin how much she loved her.
When the two warriors felt that Eponin was ready to travel, they set out for the Amazon village. There was no hurry to get back but it was much better to be at home healing rather than in a place that had brought trouble to begin with. Eponin was sore and she looked a little rough but she told Thia that she was feeling good. They both were stealing glances at each other as they moved along the road and their minds were actively imagining what it would be like to be intimate with each other. The closest they came to intimacy was that time in the bath but things were just too disruptive to make it the emotional bonding between two lovers, as it should be.
The afternoon was very pleasant with the sun shining and the travelers made their way along the shore of Lake Koronia. Eponin looked over at Thia and just couldnít take thinking about it anymore, so she said, "I need to take a swim and cool down some Thia. How about you?"
Thia nodded, riding her horse over to some large bushes. She flipped the reins around a branch and Eponin mimicked her move. The two Amazons walked to the edge of the water and began removing their clothing. Thia was quicker than Eponin because she wasnít hurt and sore but she did not help the warrior either for she was not asked to. When the older woman was finished she turned and smiled at Thia then moved into the water, which was cool and refreshing. It took a little while to get comfortable but they both swam to loosen up and then they submerged, getting their hair wet, one at a time so the other could watch for trouble. After a time they moved back to where the water was shoulder high and faced each other, looking intently into each otherís eyes. Finally, Eponin questioned Thia, "What is it you want from me?"
"Uh, duh!" Aphrodite stood invisible to the lovers and mused to herself, "What do you think she wants from you?"
Thia moved into shallower water so she could use her hands to help her talk and thought for a moment, then she looked back at Eponin and pointed at her. Eponin did not understand by the wrinkling of her brow, so Thia moved next to her and touched her just below her left breast as she tried to mouth the words, "Ah wan yo haat!" Then she hung her head because she was embarrassed by her poor ability to talk.
Eponin gently lifted her head with a finger under the chin and brought their eyes to where they were peering into each other. "You have my heart Thia." Then she kissed the sandy blonde easy on the lips, as her lip was still split and hurt.
Thia began to cry those tears of joy because in her own heart she felt that she never deserved to have any happiness. She always pictured herself as the village freak, although Melosa and Ephiny had tutored and taught her about being proud of whom she was, her self-esteem had always been low.
"If you can say that much Thia, I bet with practice we can get you to learn how to speak. You might not really have a problem with speech. You might need someone to take some time with you and work on it. Iíd do that for you!" Eponin said as she moved closer toward Thia, reaching out and slipping her arm around the blondeís waist. The seasoned warrior was making the move that Thia had dreamed about for many, many nights and now it was coming true. She stayed a little passive and let Eponin have the lead as their lips touched again and they both trembled at the contact with each other. Breasts rubbed gently against each other in the water as the two women lost reality in a deep and special kiss. Had someone been watching, they would have gotten a big laugh when both warriors returned to the real world. They both broke away simultaneously, looking around to see if anyone had moved up on them. It was time to leave the water.
Eponin looked at Thia and said, "I want to make love to you. Is that OK?"
"I just love it when they can do for themselves sometimes! Well, no need for me to hang around. They have everything well in hand!" Aphrodite chuckled to herself and vanished.
Thia nodded and a smile spread across her face as she turned red. The dark haired Amazon took both of their bedrolls and found a small clearing just a ways off of the road. This would allow them to hear anyone coming from either direction. Still naked, they both knelt down on the blankets and began to make love to each other. Thia was mad with passion as she pushed Eponin to the ground. In a blink, the warrior rolled her over quickly and took command being the leader type she was. She straddled the blondeís waist, bent down, kissed and probed her loverís mouth with her tongue. Thiaís stomach was wet from Eponinís arousal. She reached around her and rubbed the lithe womanís mound, feeling its own moisture then slipping in a finger. She worked her loverís body by bringing her close to the edge then easing off. Eponin leaned forward again and slipped her tongue into Thiaís mouth. She then began to slide herself lower, sucking on each breast until she heard those soft moans of pleasure. Eponin continued downward, licking and kissing her way toward the honey that waited for her. Thia tore the blanket she pulled so hard on it as she came. She tried to pull the warrior from her center but she was too strong and she kept the vigil going until Thia came again. Eponin rolled over and was physically drained from the experience. Although she still was hurting, at this moment she was not hurting at all.
Polithius was the first to see them coming up the long path from the road. He didnít know right away to run and greet them or run back to the cottage to tell Aurislia. He opted to run to the cottage.
"Mom! Mom! Weíve got company! Itís Gabrielle and Xena!" The excited boy called out.
Aurislia came running up from the barn, drying her hands after watering the livestock. When she saw her friends approaching, her face lit up and she was excited with such a sight. "Checking up on me and the kids so soon?" Aurislia spoofed, then continued. "Why, itís only been eight days. Did you forget something?"
"We wanted to see if they wore you out yet." Xena shot back.
"The thought crossed our minds to bring a wagon load of food with us, just to help out." Gabrielle got her dig in also.
"Actually, if you would have brought water, weíd of gave you a bigger kiss than youíre gonna get." The healer remarked.
Calsota came running across the field hollering, "Aunt Xena, Aunt Gabrielle!"
Following behind her was her little brother, Daeates. They both landed in each of the two womenís arms. Everyone seemed to be doing just fine but Xena had to play the hunch, so she said, " Well, are you three ready to leave?"
The two little ones ran over to their new mother and clung. Polithius just said, "What?" And twisted his face into a knot.
"Just kidding! Just kidding, everyone! Anyway we canít stay long but we will stay the night." Xena said as she straightened out the faces of the kids she just worked up.
Theyíre happy! Thatís a good thing. Gabrielle mused.
"Well, let me put together a late snack for everyone. I made bread this morning and I have some with raisins in it also! Give me a little while and Iíll have some cheese and other things out. If you two want a bath, Iím sure we can set it up. Why donít you start a fire Polithius and get the water ready. Thank you son." Aurislia said, as she looked his way with kind eyes and a warm heart. She thanked the gods internally for the gift of a family again.
The boy went to the woodpile and brought back an armful of fuel. He started a fire out back where there were a couple of cauldrons set up for bath water. While Polithius was taking care of things, everyone else helped in the kitchen. They all sat around the table snacking and talking. Actually the children did most of the talking by sharing their stories of how things were going in the new surroundings. They also let Xena and Gabrielle know how much they loved their new mother and how well she showed them that her love was real for them too. It amazed Xena that everything was going so well. Of course, there were a few little problems as far as picking up after ones self and doing chores properly but no different than any other household.
After the two youngest children went to bed, Xena asked Aurislia if she had seen the three riders they felt were moving in this direction toward the peninsula. She said she had not, but there were four men and a female warrior that passed through late yesterday afternoon. Polithius had seen them pass by as he hid in the bushes near the road. He told his new mother about them, saying that they looked mean and evil. The woman had blonde hair and wore black leather.
Xena said, "What do you think, Gabrielle, were they that mean?"
"They were poor examples of good and wholesome and I donít think weíll be seeing them again." The Bard added between a chunk of cheese she was gnawing on.
Xena then told Aurislia what they had been told by the Oracle in Thessalyia. Gabrielle also shared their experiences regarding the lack of water that was showing up everywhere. The Warrior added a couple of examples of her own, then Aurislia reminded them both that the spring out back had dried up and they all looked at each other as they understood the seriousness of the situation.
The women explained to the healer that they were on their way to the Temple of Poseidon. There was a hidden cavity, as told by the Oracle, which held a message they believed would take them to Poseidonís Well. When that much had been accomplished, Xena and Gabrielle would move onward in the direction they were guided to go.
The bath water was poured before Polithius went to bed. The tub was small so they took turns getting cleaned up but it sure felt good after two days of riding. Gabrielle soaked her weary bones the longest. The tired Bard started to fall asleep, so Xena shook her and had her get out of the tub before she shrunk down to nothing. Xena took her turn after warming up the tub with hot water and by the time she crawled into bed, the Bard was out for the night and the Warrior was right behind her.
Sunrise found Xena working in the barn, once again helping with the morning chores of feeding and watering the livestock. Everyone joined in and when they were finished, went up to the cottage for a good breakfast followed by some teary farewells. The Bard and the Warrior knew that they needed to get moving if they were not going to lose anymore time. They might have been a day behind from where they could have been, if they had pushed through without the stopover but it didnít pay to be exhausted when they arrived at the temple or to have their senses dulled by fatigue.
They followed the road from Thiva to Mandra then along the coast through Pireas. When Xena reached the Port of Glidafa, Gabrielle suggested stopping to rest for the night. It had rained on and off a good portion of the day and made traveling miserable. They both had a chill and it wasnít going to hurt them to stop for they were getting close to their destination.
The Bard and the Warrior had been to Glidafa within the last moon and several times before that over the last twelve moons. They decided to stay in a place that was familiar to them, giving them a good comfort level. The Calm Waters Inn had been a great place on several occasions and although this wasnít a pleasure trip, they were comfortable with the proprietor whose name was Jena. She was an ugly woman with a heart of gold. Her face had seen too many barroom brawls and aging had not been kind to her but even the most twisted of trunks bares a sweet apple and truly she was sweet.
A room was given to them out of friendship and there would be no arguing about it. Jena had her right hand man put Argo up in a stall and made sure she was well taken care of and fed. After they had dropped their things off in the room the two guests ate, talked briefly, went back up to the room and drifted off to sleep as the rain came down.
A couple candlemarks after Xena and Gabrielle had gone to sleep, Xenaís eyes opened, she felt the bed next to her and it was empty. The Warrior jumped up quickly to find Gabrielle looking out the window at the moon.
"Whatís the matter honey?" Xena asked as she put her hand on the Bardís shoulder.
"I had a dream Xena. I dreamt that we were going to have a very difficult time in the next couple of days. It felt as if we would be very close to death but things werenít really clear and then I awoke because it felt like my throat was closing. I was begging for water. It was awful!" The Bard said as she turned her gaze to Xenaís eyes.
"Please hold me Xena. I need you to make love with me. I have a strange feeling this might be our last time together." Gabrielle finished in an eerie way.
"Oh my Bard, you worry too much. The gods will help us. Come sit on the bed with me." Xena told her lover. "Do you know how much you mean to me Gabrielle? I would give up my life to save yours. That is how important you are to me. I love you all the time, not just when itís convenient but through the storms, as well as the sunny days we share." Then she put her arm around the blonde beauty and their lips touched easy. Tongues searched each other out and mingled somewhere in the middle. They separated, looking at each other and tears flowed down Gabrielleís cheeks, which told Xena how truly bothered the Bard was by what she dreamt.
"Donít worry my love!" Xena soothed her.
Gabrielle returned to the lips that loved her and the passion began to take over, as their hands explored familiar terrain. The tenderness in their approach to each other was only enhanced by the delicate touch that was used on each other. Xena ran her tongue along the nape of her loverís neck, placing little kisses as she moved along to the sound of genuine pleasure as the Bard moaned softly. Gabrielle responded by sliding her hand between Xenaís legs as they reclined on the bed. The Bard broke free and engulfed a taunt nipple with her warm mouth and nibbled easy on the raised flesh with her teeth and lips. She pulled as much of the breast into her mouth as she could and in her hunger broke the suction, making a noise. The two women each giggled a little then returned to the poetic art of making love.
There was a glistening to both of their bodies under the moonís glow, as a light perspiration was brought to the surface of the skin. Their centers flowed with a wanting that needed to be attended to and the Bard would not be denied. She moved along Xena like a slow wind through the branches of a tree, making the Warrior sway at the touch of her lips. That place between her naval and her mound was not neglected but rather caressed by the Bards gentle kisses until Xenaís hands guided Gabrielleís head to that place where only she was allowed.
"Mmmmmm! Ohhhh! Thatís it my love .no! Donít stop, please!!!" The Warrior begged as she held one hand lightly on her loverís head.
Xena was flowing with passion and her tolerance level was gone as she climaxed once but Gabrielle was relentless, continuing on and bringing the Warrior to her peak again. The taste of her lover had driven her on. This was the body that had more than several times, saved her from destruction and kept her out of harms way. She had watched Xenaís muscles ripple as she fought for her, so having her enjoying these pleasures only heightened the experience, knowing that she was giving back to the woman she loved so deeply.
Xena pulled Gabrielle up to her and they held each other while their hearts returned to a normal rhythm. "There can never be another who would make me feel the way you do." Xena told her love. "You and you alone have the power to crush my heart. Do you know that?"
"I know that I love you as much as you have described your love for me! Now, donít let me beg you." And the Bard rolled onto her back and spread her legs slightly.
Xena looked at her wickedly and began to lap at her breasts with long licks of her tongue over each nipple as she worked her hand down the Bards stomach to her mound. The Warrior worked her finger back and forth over her nerve center and then inside. As Gabrielle opened wider, her blue-eyed lover worked those fingers between the folds until she could wait no longer to taste her Bards essence. Xena took long strides with her tongue through the swollen opening and up to the pulsating place that waited impatiently for attention. Gabrielle screamed as her body trembled over and over again.
Finally she said, "Rest! Rest please."
The two soulmates curled up and slept the remainder of the night away.
Xena shook the Bard by the shoulder and said, "Time for some breakfast, sleepyhead!"
That was all it took to get the eyes to open and a half of candlemark later, they were in the large hall downstairs getting a table for two. They didnít waste a lot of time eating because they wanted to arrive at the temple fairly early. Jena gave them hugs goodbye and they started out the door of the inn.
Hetros, the traveling actor that they had met one morning way up in Thessalyia had just gotten off of his horse and was walking up the steps of the inn when he spotted Xena leaving with Gabrielle. Out of the corner of his eye he saw the Callisto wannabe come running with dagger held high. Other people moving through the double doorway blocked Xenaís view and just as the assassin struck her blow at the Warrior, Hetros ran in front of Xena, taking the knife in the shoulder. The blonde warrior pulled a second knife but Xena had her blade in hand and finished what had been left incomplete on the road.
"Dear friends, Iím punctured." He said, as Hetros fainted.
"Why did you did you do this for me?" Xena asked the fallen actor.
"I saw what was about to happen and I acted like I was brave." Hetros replied.
"Thank you, my friend." Xena told him as she held his hand.
"He saved my life, Gabrielle. I was pretty hard on him the first time we met. I feel awful."
Xena paid Jena to make sure all his needs were met and she promised to look in on him, on their way back home. There were clear skies as they rode out of town and Gabrielle complained about the cursed animal under her. Never would she ride again if they made it through this.
When they reached the village of Sounion Xena and Gabrielle camped outside of it, so they would not draw a lot of attention to themselves. They rode up to the area where the temple stood but tied the horses a pretty good distance down the road, walking the remainder of the way to surprise anyone that might have gotten there ahead of them.
The Temple of Poseidon was high on a plateau near the cliffs overlooking the sea. Within the Temple were a main altar and several smaller altars around the interior. There was an enormous statue of the god in the center of the temple that would intimidate anyone who walked up to it. Xena explored every possible place that there might be a secret passageway or hidden room but she could not find anything. Gabrielle also seemed to be coming up empty handed until out of boredom, she took her staff and started tapping on the upper walls and the altars. She finally poked around on the statue of Poseidon, striking him in the navel and it was depressed about half the length of a thumb. There was a loud sound of grinding stone against stone as one of the smaller altars moved the distance of three paces, revealing an entrance below the floor of the temple.
Xena lit a torch that she took from the wall and looked down to make sure that it wasnít set up as a trap. When she was convinced that it was OK, she lowered herself into the opening and the Bard followed after. They moved down a long corridor and then they went one level lower down a stone ladder, which ended in a large room.
Inside the room was a large silver and gold bowl that measured twelve hands across and stood on a stone pedestal. It was filled with water and when Xena looked into it, her own reflection stared back at her. In the four corners of the room were gold statues of the shark, the whale, the dolphin and the squid. Xena wondered, Perhaps it represents the two sides of the great seas. Creatures, known by mortals to be good and evil, living together in the same surroundings.
The Warrior studied the room from top to bottom, looking for some clue as to what she was supposed to do next. Stumped and out of ideas she sat down on the edge of the two steps that led to the tureen of water. Gabrielle was very quiet all the while Xena was exploring and finally said, "Maybe itís the dolphin because it always appears to be on a higher plane with man than any other creatures of the sea."
Xena looked up at the Bard and said, "Why not? I havenít a clue right now. See what you can find."
Gabrielle placed her staff on the floor of the hidden chamber and walked to the statue. She closed her eyes and ran her hands lightly over the surface of the reproduction of the dolphin. She let her inner being guide her to the secret and her hand found the dorsal fin. It slid forward revealing a slot that was finger wide and a hand long. When the fin retracted a large medallion rose from the opening and on it was a map. At the same time, the water in the tureen began to boil and Poseidon appeared to them both as a reflection in the water. Poseidonís message was, "To you who embarks on this journey, I bid you great speed for I am trapped in a place where water is uncommon and I am too weak to fight. To save me, is to save the lands from drought and all mortals from extinction. Look for the throat of the dragon. It is there you will ." And the image faded before he finished.
The two women found themselves staring at their own reflection in the water. They returned their focus on the treasure that Gabrielle held. The medallion was a one hand round and just less than a finger wide. It was made out of gold and the map was inlayed in silver, with a sapphire giving reference to Poseidonís Well. The other side of the medallion had the image of a drop of water. Gabrielle handed it to Xena for her to inspect it, then the Warrior had Gabrielle place it in her leather bag for safe keeping.
They got what they came for with minimum effort and that bothered the Warrior to a degree. It also kept her on edge for anything that might come their way. When they returned to the surface of the temple, Xena told the Bard to try her staff again on Poseidonís middle. The Bard pushed against the navel and the altar returned to its original position.
They came outside and the sea was dead calm, as if its heart had been removed. It was also one league lower than normal. They purchased a single sail boat from the village fisherman and set out towards the island of Astypalea. The fisherman was kind enough to put up the horses while they were gone and then Xena didnít have to keep them in the village, as he had a place for small boat building down on the beach. At first there was much rowing for the sea was still in a strange way. Several candlemarks later the wind picked up and the two searchers made use of the sail. They stopped at a beach landing to stretch their legs for a short break and to relieve themselves, then continued on.
They reached the island of Astypalea and moved the boat around the shoreline, searching for the hidden entrance. Only low tide would give access to the portal and Xena was sure they had not missed their mark or time of day. As they rounded some large rock formations, they noticed a small narrow hole that was partially blocked from view by the rolling sea. This had to be the throat of the dragon that Poseidon talked about. One could almost see the teeth as they got closer, in the form of the jagged opening they needed to enter.
"Gabrielle, turn the rudder. Weíre going in." Xena directed.
"Weíre going in there Xena? It doesnít look like enough room."
"There will have to be." The Warrior replied. The boat turned towards the island and Xena dropped the sail, then manned the oars. She pulled hard as they fought against the undertow out to sea. They were very close to the orifice and the waves were treacherous, crashing against the rocky shore of high cliffs.
Timing was everything and they glided into the opening, as if it were receptive to their needs. The water calmed itself inside the long passage and it became another world. Few if any had ever gained admittance to the throat of the dragon. Xena and Gabrielle were seeing sights that were virgin to mortals. The passage was lined with brilliance that was created by some type of phosphorescence, there was also an enhancement in the form of the large jewels that were embedded in the volcanic rock overhead and to either side. Xena believed that this was a distraction for the greedy, who would eventually be drowned in the tunnel by staying too long and being caught by the tide. There was also an abundance of seaweed hanging from the ceiling of the passage that dragged across the pair as the boat moved through the waterway.
The lighting changed up ahead and it seemed to become more natural from where the passage opened into a large cavern. There must have been some openings to the outside but unreachable from in here. Poseidonís Well would be close at hand and that might mean the possibility of additional danger. The water began to swirl into a maelstrom after the passage ended and the chamber opened up. The draw was tremendous and Xena screamed at Gabrielle over the roar of the water that was going down. "Weíre going to lose the boat. We have to jump over to the rock ledge or get sucked under."
As the boat spun into the vortex, it broke away for an instant and they both jumped. When they landed on the floor of the cave and turned around toward the water, the boat was gone. Behind the duo was a honeycomb of cave entrances and only one would bring them to the Well. Xena asked the Bard if she was all right.
"Iím OK Xena, just a scrape or two. Now what do we do we do? We do not have boat and it looks like no clue either." Gabrielle whined a little.
Xena had that intense look in her eyes, like she knew something was going to happen soon. Looking into the six tunnel entrances the Warrior had to make a choice and she did as she said to Gabrielle, "Come on, letís go see what we can find."
Moving into the second opening they were immediately attacked by Fallaria and her partner Aedres. The big strawberry blonde tried crushing Xena with a very large rock as it crashed into the wall of the cave but missed due to some quick maneuverability on the Warriorís part. Gabrielle fought Aedres hard, sword against staff. The Bard was losing ground, being backed up to the waters edge. This would be certain death if she lost her footing, falling or being shoved into the vortex. Gabrielle swung her staff by its end, knocking Aedresís feet from beneath her. Then rolling forward, the Bard turned around and shoving her staff into her attackerís chest when she stood drove Aedres backward into the swirling water, disappearing forever.
Behind the Bard, was the sound of metal on metal, blade striking blade.
"Iím gonna kill you Warrior! Then Iím gonna kill that Queen sidekick of yours. I should have killed that witch that shoved me back in Thessalyia but I was feeling charitable that night." The enraged woman swore with an added touch of cynicism.
Her blade missed Xena by only inches, as it struck a rock and split it in half. The Warrior countered and her enemy blocked the blow. Xena punched her in the face, which only enraged her and she swung her sword wildly at the Warrior. Xena landed two more shots to the nose, drawing blood. Fallaria threw her sword with all her might at the Warrior but she stepped back and stumbled over some rocks as the blade flew by and stuck in the gravel behind her. Xenaís opponent took the advantage to pick up another large rock and as she tried crushing the life out of her, the Warrior sunk her sword into Fallaria and said, "Eponin says goodbye." As she looked right into her attackers eyes.
Gabrielle was standing behind Fallaria with a large rock in her hands but she dropped it on the ground when she saw that Xena had taken control and finished her off.
Apparently, the Warrior and her Bard were on the right track. Fallaria was looking for something more than just a fight and Xena was willing to bet that these adversaries were working for Callisto or worse. Her interest in what was to be gained in this entrance to the unknown needed to be discovered quickly. The two continued down the second tunnel, to see if the couple of thugs they had just encountered had discovered anything. When they came to the other end, the tunnel emptied into a large cavern that was illuminated by the silver veins that ran through the cavern walls and ceiling. In the center of the cavern, the floor had a large opening and Xena could see handholds cut into the rock in order for someone to be able to climb down.
Gabrielle gave Xena the empty waterskin that she had carried with her and the Warrior gave her a quick kiss and headed down the opening. She was not even sure that this hole held the secret they were looking for. All indications seemed to lead them here and the trip down to the bottom was slow and tedious. Xena thought she could hear water and when she took her next step down, she found herself on a small landing.
From here, there appeared to be nowhere to go. The drop below would kill anyone including the Warrior. Xena studied her surroundings and tried to see another way down but nothing was visible. She hung from the ledge to see if she could locate any means to move lower and Xena felt a breeze on the front of her legs. This told her that there might be a cave beneath the ledge she was on. Pulling herself up, she lay on her stomach and tried to see if she was right by hanging over the edge but the ledge was too thick.
"Whatís going on Xena? Are you all right?" The Bard questioned with worry in her voice.
"Yes! Iím OK, just looking for the best approach." Xena replied.
Xena centered herself on the ledge with her back toward the abyss. She knelt and hung once again from the rock platform. Dear gods, guide my hands. The Warrior thought as she let go and began to fall about the height of a horse then caught the second ledge she was hoping for, pulling herself up. She was at the entrance to a tunnel and could hear the water more clearly than before. Moving cautiously forward for a ways the blue-eyed beauty guarded her steps. The well was just a few paces ahead from what she could see, for the light was faint. Taking the top off of the waterskin, Xena held it beneath the surface of the water and filled it up. When that was complete, she went back to where she had entered to alert the Bard.
"Are you all right, Xena?" Gabrielle asked with concern as she called down to her.
Xena leaned her head out of the entrance and called up to Gabrielle, "Iíve got it but I have to come back up a different way. Stay still, IĎll be there soon."
The Warrior moved deeper into the tunnel and the path was slowly rising but the light was fading. Onward she went and the tunnel ended abruptly into a solid wall. Xena jumped up and grabbed a ledge with her hands and tried to pull herself up but there was nowhere to go up. She tried to shimmy to the right and found a way to move along the ledge. After several tries, the Warrior finally found the spot where she could go up. After pulling herself up to the next landing, she continued up the tunnel and came out into a large cave. The tunnel ended and there was a significant drop to the floor below. Xena hung from the edge and dropped down right next to Gabrielle.
"Hi!" Xena said.
"Hi? You scare the blonde right out of my hair and all you can say is hi?" Gabrielle huffed as she tried to regain her composure.
"Letís go, I got the water." Xena said with a bit of confidence in her voice.
"Go where? We donít have a boat." The Bard whined.
"Oh yes we do!" The Warrior assured her friend. Then she headed down the forth tunnel and grabbed the torch that waited on the wall for them, lit it and headed down the true Throat of the Dragon. It could only be seen from where Xena exited the tunnel that was up above the large cavern that had the vortex in it. When she was up there above Gabrielle, she could see across the cave and noticed that the forth entrance had the dragons head.
"Poseidon wasnít telling us how to get in to this place, he was trying to tell us how to get out!" Xena explained to the Bard.
Sure enough, as they reach the end of the tunnel, it opened to an underground lagoon. You could see the daylight coming from the outside but in order to leave they were going to have to swim out under water. There didnít look to be much of a choice, so they entered the water and swam for the light. When they reached the end of the lagoon they dove under the water, leaving the cave and came up on the outside of the island. When Xena broke the surface, her first thoughts were for Gabrielle and looked around until the Bard popped up. The Warrior grabbed her arm and swam over to what appeared to be the entrance to another cave. As they both got to solid ground, what they found was an alcove with a boat in it. The boat was actually on a stone shelf of sorts, to prevent rotting and was placed far enough back in from the elements to prevent any storm damage. The sail was in poor shape from age but the boat floated when they got it into the water.
Xena manned the oars and got the two of them away from Astypalea Island as they worked their way back to the mainland by rowing from island to island. They were both still very much alive and they had what it would take to restore Poseidon. What they did not know was where to look but Xena did have an idea who might know the answer to that question. Poseidonís internment had to be near but from what the two women knew, he was being held in a subterranean desert and that would be difficult to locate. Given enough time, the Warrior felt that Gabrielle and her would prevail, however, there wasnít much time.
Several candlemarks after they left the Island of Astypalea, the Warrior and the Bard set foot on the mainland. When they went back to the fisherman to retrieve their horses, Gabrielleís horse was dead and Argo was not to be found. They went to the fishermanís hut after checking his small barn where they found the dead horse and they found him with his throat slit.
"This has the look of Callisto. If she was here then she canít be far away." Xena told Gabrielle in a half whisper.
Callisto materialized in the doorway and said, "Thatís right Xena! I know something you donít know! And Iím not going to tell you. Haaaa! Haa!"
And she threw a fireball that the two women dodged by leaping through the window and out on the beach as the fishermanís hut exploded into flames.
Gabrielle could not contain her anger and said, "I hate that bitch! Why did she have to kill that horse? The only harm it ever did was to my bottom and that really wasnít his fault. Someday Callisto you and me. I still owe you."
Xena knew that Callisto had to have some of her old followers around just so she had something to kick now and then. Her idea was to check the beach for tracks and to see if they led anywhere. The thought of Perdicus crossed both the minds of Gabrielle and Xena, of how the blonde lunatic took his life for nothing. Callistoís path of destruction ran long and wide and there was some things that could not be forgiven. There would be an opportunity to at least upset her day. Being a god still could have its downside.
Xena began to think, If Callisto is still here then we must be pretty close.
"Gabrielle, letís scout down the beach for Argo, she canít be too far away."
"OK, Xena but Iím gonna get Callisto." The Bard said with deep anger.
"Let it go for now, you wonít be thinking right if we run into trouble." Xena reminded her friend.
Not too long after Xena whistled for her horse, Argo showed up unharmed. They saddled her, then Xena had the Bard take a leg up and ride for awhile as they looked around for some sign of Callistoís whereabouts. As they came farther down the beach, Xena noticed something out of place. They must have traveled at least a league past Poseidonís Temple. She dropped the Bard off and scouted a little further. There were several large tree branches near the rocks at the base of the cliff but there were no trees. It looked like a few riders had rode along the beach and just disappeared when the neared the cliffs. Xena let Argo free on the beach in case of trouble and led the way, with Gabrielle several paces behind her.
As they rounded the rocks they came upon another quite large cave. Xena wasnít exactly happy but she entered the cave with the waterskin in her left hand and her sword in her right. The cave was wide and open; looking very safe until Callisto came out of the rocks.
"You found me, Xena! Using the branches to wipe out our horse tracks didnít fool the Warrior Princess, now did it." Callisto mocked the Warrior.
"Let me have her!" The Bard said, running in her direction.
"No! Gabrielle, let me." And Xena did a forward flip twice and landed in front of Callisto as the sand started sucking the Warrior under. When her arms went out to her sides in a reaction to stop her downward progress, Callisto relieved the Warrior of the waterskin. Xena slipped quickly as the soft sand sucked her down to her apparent death.
"Turn around is such a bitch, Xeeeeena!" Callisto laughed.
Gabrielle shouted, "Nooo!" Diving into the sand following Xena down but not before she snatched the waterskin from Callistoís hand.
In the flick of a candleís flame, the Warrior and the Bard dropped through the sand into a lower chamber that appeared to be as far as the eye could see. It was all sand with very little else. Xena shook Gabrielle to get the sand out of her hair and eyes.
"Aaeeeee! I hate them both! Theyíre going to ruin this for me!" Callisto screamed, as the two women disappeared into the sand.
Ares materialized across from Callisto and blasted her with a fireball and then another.
"Youíre messing around with my protégé Callisto and Iíve put too much work into getting her to come back to me." Ares yelled at the goddess.
"Aaeeeeee!" She screamed as she shot a fireball back at him but missed her target.
"Leave her and that irritating blonde screw this up on their own. Xena will try to save her friend and never restore Poseidon." Ares said encouragingly.
"Are you all right Gabrielle?" Xena asked concerned.
"Iím OK but I could use a drink of water." The Bard said as she looked around. "By the way, Iíve got the waterskin!" And she pulled it out of the sand and from under her butt to show Xena.
"By the gods, I love you Gabrielle!"
"Just cuz I got the water?" The Bard chuckled to lighten up a grim situation.
"Listen my friend. This has to be Dahokís Desert and if we donít die searching, we should be able to revive Poseidon. We need to find where he is being held." The Warrior told her companion.
They got to their feet and staying together started searching for something that looked like a holding place for the god of the sea. Walking for a candlemark in each direction brought them no closer to the end of the journey. The overwhelming temptation to drink from the waterskin in hope of quenching their thirst superceded the thought of even becoming a demigod. In their understanding, much time had passed by but in reality, life on the surface had moved but a quarter candlemark. Their time was running out for both of the women but Gabrielle was failing faster than Xena.
"My love keep..going ..This is .for every .oneís ..sake. I love ..you." The Bard said as she collapsed in the sand.
Xena tried to carry her but she was too weak herself at this point. She thought she was seeing things but moved forward anyway toward a silver object in the sand. As Xena got closer, lightening started to shoot across the dark ceiling of this enormous place. The Warrior knew that nothing mattered but the end result and she dragged her body onward, ever closer to the silver sphere. She got her hand on top and the pressure of her hand opened the top exposing a basin similar to the one in Poseidonís Temple except this one had but a few drops of moisture remaining. Xena lay on her back close to passing out from the intense heat, opened the spout on the waterskin and began to pour the precious fluid into the basin.
When the water mixed with the little moisture that was left in the bottom of the basin, it began to fill, then overflow and continue to run across the sands. It began to shoot up into the air and when Xena got a mouthful, she got to her feet and started to run back to Gabrielle.
Callisto hit Ares this time with a fireball and knocked him out of the cave onto the beach. She followed him out to continue the disagreement and that is what he wanted. He thought, what good is a god of war if there are no mortalís left to fight with each other? Callisto is blinded by hatred that goes far beyond today into yesterday and that is an undying thirst to cause Xena pain. This will distract her long enough for Xena to win and Dahok will be put back a step.
The rage between the two immortals was stupendous, as fireball after fireball was thrown in both directions, some hitting there mark, others missing and tearing up the shoreline.
Callisto turned toward the mouth of the cave when she heard the rumbling. As she faced the opening she was hit with a blast of water as high as two horses and as wide as a ship is long. All she could do is scream, "Xeeeenaaa!" As the water drove her into the sea.
Ares, with his arms folded, smiled smugly and vaporized into thin air.
Everywhere the rivers began to gradually rise, returning to their original levels. The seas began to come back and it was as if new life returned to those bodies of water. Streams that had dried up completely began again as a trickle, the flow increased and the wildlife came to nourish themselves. Polithius came running up to the barn and shouted, "Mom, the spring is alive again!"
Xena had almost made contact with Gabrielle when the rushing waters knocked her off her feet. She tumbled over and over in the turbulent water, along with Gabrielle. Every so often at the moments passed a quick glimpse of a leg or an arm would pass, as they seemed to be pushed forward and upward at the same time. Partially conscious of what was happening the Warrior and the Bard each felt they were being lifted high and their bodies broke free from the waters. They were in the hand of Poseidon as he lifted them to the top of the cliffs that held his temple. Setting them gently on the ground, he called the Warriorís name, "Xena! Xena of Amphipolis!"
Xena and Gabrielle both came to, coughing up water until they had their wits about them.
"Xena, you and Gabrielle, at the risk of your own lives have done me a great service. You have restored me to god of the seas and in that action, you have restored the landís waters. There is no reason for the gods without the mortals. I am and shall remain grateful." And as quickly as he finished speaking, his manifestation returned to the sea and dissipated into the waters.
Xena turned to her love and asked, "Are you all right Gabrielle?"
"Yes, Xena. A little waterlogged but Iíll be fine."
"Thereís a rider approaching. She looks like a warrior." The blue-eyed woman remarked.
"A very well dressed warrior, I might add." The Bard indulged.
Riding up to Xena and Gabrielle, the woman got off of her horse and brought her waterskin over two the adventurers as she said, "Would you care for a drink of water?"
"A candlemark ago I would have kissed you for asking that question but to be perfectly honest, I think weíve had enough, noble warrior!" Xena said as she got to her feet, helping the Bard up also.
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