Artwork by Rebekah Lynn
Another Amazon Princess
by My OSage
The amazon on border patrol alerted her colleagues as a female approached on a big palomino. She recognized the warrior immediately. Though she’d only met her a few times, the guard knew instantly that this woman was Xena, Warrior Princess.
Xena stopped a safe distance from the tree where the guard who’d spotted her was watching. She dismounted and gave the amazon sign of peace. The guard was joined by others and Xena was escorted to the main village of Amazonia.
Word quickly reached Gabrielle that the Warrior Princess was coming. As the Amazon Princess, she was in charge of the amazon’s affairs while Queen Melosa was away. She had never met the Warrior Princess. But she’d heard every detail the amazons knew about her. It was hard for her to believe that one woman could possibly be as beautiful, as amazing, or as extraordinary as Xena was rumored to be. Now she would see for herself.
A small crowd began to gather as word spread of Xena’s arrival. It seemed that anyone who was not engaged in a task wanted to see her. The warrior had not been to Amazonia for several years. Some said it was because of the death of Terrais, though Gabrielle didn’t know why.
Gabrielle had been adopted into the Amazon Nation almost four years ago. The amazons had rescued her village from the ruthless warlord, Draco. Afterwards she’d practically begged Terrais, the Amazon Princess, to let her join them. She’d worked hard at learning the amazon ways. But in return she’d received an education and been encouraged to write and relate stories. The amazons had also taught her how to use weapons that would harm, but not kill. She had gained the respect and affection of her amazon sisters long before that fateful day when an ambush had taken the life of their beloved princess. Gabrielle had not meant to become a hero. She’d only wanted to protect Terrais from harm. For her efforts, she’d been shot with an arrow through her shoulder. And she’d still not gotten to Terrais in time. Before the princess had died, she’d passed her rite of caste to the courageous young amazon.
Gabrielle shook herself out of the memories of that fateful day. She’d been the Amazon Princess, heir to Queen Melosa, for two years now. While she was used to performing the duties of her calling, she was slightly apprehensive in greeting this legend.
As Xena came into view, Gabrielle’s breathe caught. The warrior’s tall figure approached radiating power in every stride. She was absolutely the most magnificent woman Gabrielle had ever seen. Those long, sleek legs, partially hidden by thigh high boots, were mesmerizing. The dark brown leather of her battle dress and the gleaming brass armor only enhanced the delicious body that appeared to be a combination of strength and femininity. The tanned arms, the dark hair shimmering in the morning light and the lovely face completed the enticing package. But it was the luminous eyes of the enchantress that so captivated her. Gabrielle had never seen eyes that were as vivid as Xena’s. It was like gazing into the deepest blue of a glacier and finding a fire burning within.
‘So this is the new Amazon Princess,’ Xena thought to herself. The warrior had to admit that Gabrielle was indeed lovely. But she knew that Terrais would not have chosen her on that basis. There had to be much more substance to the young woman waiting to greet her than her obvious beauty.
Ephiny and Solari arrived by Gabrielle’s side as the warrior reached the princess. Xena gave them both a small smile, but focused her arresting gaze on Gabrielle. She bowed her head slightly and greeted her first and formally.
“Princess of the Amazons, I am honored to meet you.”
Ephiny stepped up and introduced the warrior. “Gabrielle, may I introduce to you an esteemed ally of the Amazon Nation, Xena, Warrior Princess.”
Gabrielle nodded at the tribute. When her glance returned to the warrior, she felt a warmth invade her body. Those intense blue eyes seemed to pull her like a magnet and she almost took a step toward Xena.
The spell was broken by Ephiny grabbing Xena’s arm in a solid warrior’s handshake. Gabrielle could tell how much affection there was between the two warriors by how high their hands reached on each other’s arms. Normally a friendly greeting was achieved by grasping one another’s forearm. But Ephiny and Xena grasped each other almost to the elbow. In addition, they moved together so that they were standing very close. Gabrielle frowned at the slight stab of envy she felt at the display.
Solari received only a slightly less expressive greeting. It was obvious that the women knew each other well and had affection for each other. Again, Gabrielle felt an exclusion that she knew was inappropriate. When the princess saw that the other amazons were approaching, she backed away to allow them access to the visitor.
Later, Gabrielle found Ephiny in the stable attending to Xena’s horse.
“I assume the Warrior Princess has been settled comfortably?” she asked.
Ephiny turned to her and smiled. “Oh yes,” she replied. “I doubt she will want for anything while she’s here.” Gabrielle found the knowing grin on Ephiny’s face slightly annoying and she turned away.
“Yes,” continued the princess. “She does seem to be rather popular among the amazons.”
“Popular?” Ephiny practically laughed out loud. “By the gods, Gabrielle, I think every amazon who’s ever met Xena has fantasized about bedding her.”
When Gabrielle made no comment, Ephiny’s tone softened. She didn’t want to create the impression that Xena toyed with the amazons who clearly adored her. Because actually the opposite was true. Trying to relay that fact, she said. “But there is only one that I know of who ever claimed her.”
Gabrielle immediately looked back at Ephiny. For reasons she couldn’t name it became important for her to know. “Who?”
The princess dropped down onto a nearby bale of hay in shock. Xena and Terrais. She should have known. Yet how could that be when Gabrielle had never seen Xena in Amazonia during the four years she’d been here? “But I’ve never seen Xena here before.” Gabrielle countered.
Ephiny wondered if there was more going on in the mind of the princess than idle curiosity. She sat down next to Gabrielle and related what she knew of the relationship.
“Do you remember the extended goodwill trip that Terrais took two years ago?” Gabrielle nodded. “Xena joined us for most of the trip. That was when Terrais got to know her. By the end of the tour, they were…..” Ephiny searched for a delicate way to describe the intensity she’d witnessed between the two women. “…..extremely close.”
“Then why didn’t Xena return with Terrais?”
“Just before we returned, Xena received word that the children of a good friend, a king from another province, had been kidnapped. He and his wife implored Xena to rescue their two children. Xena left and agreed to join Terrais once the children were safe.”
Gabrielle began to feel heartsick at what she could now guess was going to be related.
“On the morning of the ambush that killed Terrais….” Ephiny caught Gabrielle’s eyes in a shared sorrow. “Xena was less than a day’s ride away.”
“By the gods,” whispered Gabrielle. “If Xena had only been there….”
“Terrais would be alive today,” finished Ephiny.
During the days that passed, Gabrielle saw quite a lot of the Warrior Princess. She worked with the amazon warriors, shared her techniques with the village healers, and generally seemed to enjoy herself. The princess saw many sides of the warrior, especially when she was with Ephiny and Solari. Not only was Xena a great beauty and a skilled warrior, she was enchanting company as well. Gabrielle realized that Xena had a keen intelligence and a wicked wit. She was patient, generous, and affable to everyone. And yet, Gabrielle sensed that the warrior was intentionally keeping her at a polite distance.
Xena’d also had the opportunity to observe the charming Amazon Princess. The young woman was not just a pretty face and alluring body. She was like Terrais in some ways. She was very bright, courageous and kind. And like Terrais, she was absolutely unaware of the how her charisma affected others. But she had a completely different style than her predecessor. Gabrielle had an innocence about her that the more worldly Terrais had lacked. She was more open and vulnerable, yet more determined and stubborn. Xena secretly found herself drawn to the attractive princess.
One night when Xena left the village, Gabrielle tried to track her as quietly as she’d been taught. She followed her to one of the small, gentle rivers that ran the length of Amazonia. She spotted the warrior sitting on one of the rocks close to the river’s edge. Gabrielle was still a distance away when she heard Xena speak.
“Princess.” Xena greeted her without turning from the river.
“My tracking skills must need work.”
“No,” replied the warrior. “You’re actually quite good. I just have above average hearing.”
“Excellent hearing,” amended Gabrielle. “Excellent fighting, hunting and tracking skills. Excellent everything from what I hear.”
Xena turned and faced the amazon princess. “You mustn’t believe everything you hear, Princess.”
Gabrielle joined the warrior at the water’s edge, but didn’t sit with her. “You know, they also say that practically the entire Amazon Nation lusts after you.”
The warrior looked up at Gabrielle and almost smiled. “Well, I think they may have overestimated my allure.”
“No they haven’t….” murmured Gabrielle almost to herself.
“Is there something on your mind, Princess?” asked the warrior.
“I’ve heard so many things about you,” Gabrielle answered tentatively. “I know about your accomplishments. I’ve heard about your talents, your skills. But I don’t really know anything about who you are.”
The warrior eyed the puzzled amazon princess carefully. “Just what is it you want to know, Princess?” Xena’s tone was gentle.
“I want to know how you feel, what you think,” answered Gabrielle, trying not to sound as flustered as she felt. She knew she had no earthly reason to pry into this intensely private woman’s life. It was unbecoming of an Amazon Princess and bordered on being discourteous.
Xena regarded the princess. Then before she could stop herself, she took a moment to appreciate the lovely woman standing before her. She gazed up the booted legs, to smooth, muscular thighs. Her eyes took in the enticing hips wrapped in a fine leather skirt. She continued her assessment of the flat stomach and the generous breasts resting snugly in a revealing halter top. She looked past the toned arms up to the graceful neck. Her eyes studied the lips that looked like they’d be so delicious to kiss and the cute nose before they landed gazing directly into the sea green eyes of the Princess of the Amazons.
Gabrielle had enough experience to know when she was being openly appraised. She watched as the warrior’s eyes swept over her body. Instead of feeling indignant at the evaluation, she felt a melting warmth deep inside her.
“I think you’re beautiful.”
Xena’s comment seem to catch them both off guard. Xena, for having spoken her appreciation out loud. And Gabrielle, for receiving a compliment so completely unexpected.
Gabrielle quickly dropped her eyes away from the intense blue that threatened to overwhelm her. Despite her blush, she said. “Thank you. You’re very kind. But that’s not what I meant.”
Xena smiled as much at the princess’s chagrin as her determination not to be deterred from her original pursuit.
“Sit down, Princess. What do you want to ask me?”
“I assume from the way you just analyzed me, that you enjoy women?”
A cocked eyebrow was the only reaction Xena had to the question. Still smiling, she answered. “Yes, Princess. I enjoy women very much.”
“I’ve been told you’ve been an ally of the Amazon Nation for years. Yet in all that time, you’ve only been intimate with one amazon.”
Xena stopped smiling, turned away from the princess and looked back out over the river.
“That would be correct.”
Gabrielle could almost see the walls going up around the warrior. She wanted to ask if Xena had loved Terrais. And if she’d been loved in return by her predecessor. But she knew she had no right to press the warrior further into discussing something she so obviously didn’t want to talk about.
Standing, she studied the warrior for a moment, then turned to leave. “Good night, Xena.”
Without turning from the river, the warrior’s response seemed distant. “Good night, Princess.”
The next night, Gabrielle summoned Xena to her quarters. When the warrior arrived, Gabrielle motioned for her to sit before she spoke.
“I wanted to apologize for last night. I had no right intruding into your life.”
Standing in front of the warrior, she paused. Xena looked up at her and the rest of Gabrielle’s apology evaporated from her mind. She was feeling that warmth pouring through her body again. Before she could stop herself, she brought her hands up and gently cupped Xena’s face. Then she leaned down until her lips were mere inches from the warrior’s. When Xena made no move to pull away or stop her, Gabrielle closed the distance between them and kissed her.
Xena closed her eyes as those sweet lips connected with hers. The kiss was tentative, yet Xena made no attempt to control it. But she had to consciously keep her hands braced at her sides so she would not scoop the princess into her lap and explore her thoroughly.
Gabrielle savored the soft, expressive lips of the warrior. She kissed them, nibbling innocently to taste the delicious mouth. She was about to take the unintentional seduction further, when Xena broke the connection. She pulled Gabrielle’s hands away from her face and held them together in her own.
“You need never apologize to me, Princess,” was all she said in what Gabrielle thought was a strained voice. Then she got up and walked out, closing the door quietly behind her.
Outside, Xena stopped and tried to compose herself. It had taken a tremendous amount of willpower not to succumb to the charms of the Amazon Princess. Everything about her was intriguing to Xena. And while she’d indulged in a few meaningless assignations in the years since Terrais had died, she’d not been moved by anyone. But this woman made her feel more alive than she’d felt in a very long time. ‘Damn.’
Gabrielle sat down and tried to understand her feelings. When she’d first come to live with the amazons, she’d had a few experimental trysts with some of the other young amazons. That had only confirmed her attraction to women. But as she became more involved in her studies and then in her responsibilities, those casual pleasures gradually ceased. But never in all her life had anyone made her feel the way she did when she was near Xena. The warmth that enveloped her felt like she had liquid lava running through her veins. When the warrior was close, she felt physically encompassed by her aura. And when they separated, Gabrielle knew that part of her being peeled away and left with Xena.
Queen Melosa returned from the tour of the Amazon lands the following day. She was informed of all the official business that had transpired in her absence by Gabrielle and Ephiny. After Ephiny left, Gabrielle lingered.
“Xena arrived two weeks ago. She’s been waiting to see you.” Gabrielle tried to make the comment sound like casual news.
“So I hear,” Melosa sat down at her table to go through items that would need her attention. “Why don’t you send one of the guards for her? I’ll see her now.”
“No need to bother, I’ll find her.”
Melosa looked up from her work and regarded the amazon princess for a moment. She didn’t comment on the fact that the princess was avoiding her gaze and that she was blushing slightly. All she said was, “All right, Gabrielle, thank you.”
Gabrielle found Xena at the training arena where she knew she’d be. The princess had made an effort to know where Xena was at all times. She watched for a moment as the warrior demonstrated complicated moves to some young Royal Guard recruits. After a few moments, Xena stopped, turned, looked right into Gabrielle’s eyes and waited for her to approach.
“Princess,” greeted the warrior.
“Queen Melosa asked me to tell you that she can see you now.” ‘By the gods’ Gabrielle thought to herself. ‘Why do I always feel so warm when I’m around this woman?’ She looked away from the intensity of the deep blue eyes that were regarding her.
“Thank you, Princess,” was all the warrior said.
Queen Melosa greeted Xena warmly when she entered her quarters. The warrior’s handshake connected the two women and gave them the opportunity to communicate their mutual affection.
“It’s been way too long, Xena.” admonished the queen. “It’s a pleasure to finally have you in our village again.”
“Thank you, Melosa. I’ve missed my amazon friends very much.” Xena was one of the select few, amazon or not, who was privately allowed to address the queen by her first name alone. It was indicative of how much the two women respected and genuinely cared about each other. “But that’s not the only reason I’ve returned.”
Melosa sat and gestured for Xena to do the same. Then she waited for the warrior to explain.
“I’ve traveled the world for a long time. For many reasons, as I’m sure you know.” When Melosa nodded, Xena stood and paced before she continued. “I’m tired of wandering the land like a nomad. I want a home, Melosa. And I want it to be here, with the Amazons.”
Melosa was not entirely surprised by the request. A small part of Xena was a loner only because her past had made her so. She knew that the larger part of the warrior wanted to belong to something bigger than herself. The queen had once hoped that Terrais would be the answer to Xena’s search.
“I don’t have to ask if you’ve thought about this.” Melosa knew if Xena was here, it was because she had given the matter intense consideration. The queen got up and crossed over to where Xena had stopped in front of the fireplace. She turned the warrior to face her. “I can think of no one in this world more deserving to be called an amazon or anyone we’d welcome more, than you.” Uncharacteristically, she enfolded Xena in her arms.
The Warrior Princess was stunned and deeply moved as she returned the embrace. She had never before seen the Queen of the Amazons display affection in this manner. “Thank you, Melosa,” she sighed. “Thank you.”
Word spread quickly that Xena, Warrior Princess would be adopted into the Amazon Nation. Gabrielle was both thrilled and dismayed. She was relieved that Xena would be staying, and she was worried that Xena would be staying. At this point, she knew she wanted to be close to the warrior. But she was afraid that her crush would embarrass her. Then she scolded herself for feeling either way about the warrior’s quest for an amazon home. After all the hardships of her life, and all the good she’d done, Xena deserved a safe haven.
Because Xena’s rite of passage would be such a huge event, it would take over a week to plan. Gabrielle, Ephiny and Solari worked very hard with many others to get ready for the event. Xena seem to spend most of her time with Melosa. Preparation on her part was a more private affair. Gabrielle managed to see the warrior often, but neither made any reference to the kiss in Gabrielle’s hut.
One evening, Gabrielle went to the river where she knew Xena went to be alone. Her need to see Xena, be with her, had only increased since she’d learned that Xena would be a permanent resident. She approached the river and noticed the warrior’s clothes neatly piled not far from the water’s edge. Realizing Xena was swimming, Gabrielle started to leave. But then she saw the warrior emerging from the water. The vision rooted her to where she stood, her eyes helplessly locked on the magnificent, naked goddess.
Xena had known that Gabrielle was present before she rose out of the river. She could’ve easily stayed submerged and allowed the princess a graceful exit. But instead, she’d risen from the water like a phoenix from the ashes, mesmerizing the young woman. She stopped just past the riverbank and watched Gabrielle enjoy her body.
Enjoyment would have been an inadequate word for what Gabrielle was feeling. Xena was the most spectacular looking woman she’d ever seen. She couldn’t get enough of the smooth, bronzed skin, the beautiful breasts, (somewhat heavier than she’d expected) the slim waist, powerful legs, and the soft looking patch of curls that hid Xena’s secrets. The princess was walking toward the enchantress before she was even aware that she was moving. Gabrielle stopped in front of Xena for a brief moment. Then she wrapped her arms around the exposed warrior and pulled her into an intimate embrace. Laying her head on the strong chest, she listened to the beating of Xena’s heart.
“I can’t seem to stay away from you.”
The warrior hadn’t expected the princess to hold her this way. She closed her eyes and laid her head down on top of Gabrielle’s. Wrapping her arms around the vulnerable young woman, she sighed.
The stood holding each other, actually clinging to each other for several moments. Then Xena tore herself back to reality. This was Gabrielle, the Amazon Princess, in her arms. Another amazon princess falling in love with her. She panicked. Not again.
“Princess….please. I can’t do this.”
Gabrielle didn’t exactly know what Xena meant she couldn’t do. Couldn’t love her? Couldn’t make love with her? Could want or need her? The answer really didn’t matter. Gabrielle’s heart ached as she released the warrior. She was certain now that her worse fears had come true. She was in love with the Warrior Princess. And Xena could not……do this.
The princess went to the queen’s hut after she left Xena. She needed to know what Ephiny couldn’t tell her about Xena and Terrais. Melosa invited her inside and waited.
“Will you tell me about Terrais and Xena?”
Melosa hadn’t revealed to anyone what only she knew about the two women. The queen never revealed anything she didn’t think was pertinent to a situation. But she sensed that this was something Gabrielle needed to hear.
“When Terrais came back from her trip, she was elated.” Melosa smiled slightly at the memory. She was so completely in love with Xena. I had never seen her so happy. Then came the ambush…..the funeral ceremony.”
“Xena didn’t come to the funeral.”
Melosa got up from the table and walked over to the fireplace. “Yes, she did.”
“But no one saw….” countered Gabrielle.
“She was here.” The queen stated adamantly, facing Gabrielle. “Who else could possibly reach deep into Amazon territory without detection?” She turned back toward the fire. “She let only me see her. I’ll never forget her standing in the dark, the fire from the funeral pyre reflecting in her eyes so that they appeared to glow.” Melosa paused at the remembered vision. “When I returned here, she was waiting for me.”
“What did she want?”
“She wanted my permission to execute the men who had murdered Terrais…. I granted her request.”
“But Melosa…” Gabrielle could hardly believe the questionable breach of protocol.
“I know, Gabrielle. There were other ways to handle the situation.” Again the queen faced the princess. “But the surviving amazons positively identified the six bastards. They were part of a hideous family of murdering thugs that had plagued travelers and amazons alike for quite some time. They had killed many people….. Our nation…..our allies….were devastated…..”
The queen sighed and turned away from the princess. But she couldn’t turn away from the pain. “I gave Xena permission to be our instrument of justice. The guilty were dead within hours.” Melosa continued to stare into the fire. “If I had to make the decision today, I’d make the same one.”
Although Melosa didn’t know it, she’d given Gabrielle the answer to a question she’d been afraid to ask. Xena would never allow herself to love another amazon princess.
“….and when everyone is satisfied with the details of the treaty…” Melosa stopped talking to Gabrielle. The princess seemed distracted. “Gabrielle, are you listening?”
Gabrielle’s mind snapped back from the images of Xena from two nights before. Melosa was sending her to the Centaur Village to finalize the treaty between the two nations. It was important and she hadn’t been paying attention. “I’m sorry, My Queen,” she apologized. “I guess I’m not myself this morning.”
Melosa looked at her with concern. Something was wrong with the princess. But they would have to work it out later. It was imperative that the business with the Centaurs be completed with expediency and diplomacy. It was the final part of a far reaching peace that would last for many years.
“I’d like you to leave immediately,” instructed the queen. “Take at least eight warriors…. and Xena.”
Gabrielle’s head shot up as the queen listed her escorts. “Why do I need to take Xena?”
Melosa saw the anxiety on Gabrielle’s face. She made a quick decision. “Because I feel it necessary for her to accompany you. Is that a problem?”
Gabrielle felt foolish. She had managed to avoid the warrior since the evening by the river. But she couldn’t ignore her forever. “Of course not, My Queen. We’ll leave immediately.”
“You wanted to see me, Melosa?” Xena entered the royal hut and stood before the queen.
Melosa did not look up from her writing table. “Yes. I’m sending Gabrielle to the Centaur Village with the final treaty papers. She’ll be taking eight guards. But I want you to accompany her as well.” The queen looked up to see Xena’s reaction to her order.
The warrior seemed uncomfortable. This was a minor request. If her feelings about the princess had not been in such turmoil, she would have immediately
agreed to go.
“Surely the princess will be adequately protected by her guards….”
The objections of both Gabrielle and Xena told the queen all she needed to know. There was an emotional struggle going on between them. But that would have to be resolved later. The queen had her own instincts to obey.
“Listen to me, Xena.” Melosa stared into the warrior’s eyes. “I know this is only a short trip. But I have a vague, unsettling feeling of danger. I don’t know why. It may be nothing. But I’m unwilling to take that chance. Do you understand?”
“Yes, of course. I am completely at your service.” Xena pledged.
The treaty signing went perfectly. The Centaurs found Gabrielle an irresistible negotiator. Xena admired her ability to charm people into setting aside petty disagreements just to please her. The business was conducted to everyone’s satisfaction and after only one day, the amazon party left the Centaur’s village.
Two men waited hidden in the trees halfway between Amazonia and the Village of the Centaurs. They were the remaining members of the family that had ambushed the amazon princess and her patrol. The brothers wrongly assumed that the amazons had gathered an army and engaged their relatives in a deadly battle. It was inconceivable to them that one woman could have fought and killed their kinsmen. It had taken them two years to plan their revenge. It was as simple a plan as two strong, skilled, yet somewhat dimwitted assassins could manage. They would murder the current amazon princess first. And then they would take out as many of her amazon guards as their arrows could reach.
The amazons were making good time on the return trip. They would be back at their village by early evening. Gabrielle’s guards were cordial, yet attentive to their surroundings. Just because their princess was so entertaining didn’t mean that they relaxed their protection.
Xena rode Argo at an even pace with the princess and to her right. She had been listening to the melodic sounds of Gabrielle’s voice while her other senses remained watchful. Suddenly, she felt a sense of alarm. Something was wrong. Something was terribly wrong. She scanned the area around them desperately searching for the cause of her concern. She finally picked up a tiny glimmer of sunlight reflecting off something shiny in the trees ahead. Immediately, messages began firing into her brain as she focused.
Gabrielle turned toward the warrior as stunned by the fact that Xena had called her by name for the first time as by the urgency in her voice. The guards began frantically trying to pinpoint the source of Xena’s concern, but they still couldn’t see the men in the trees. Xena vaulted off Argo and landed in front of Gabrielle. Just as she enfolded her in a protective embrace, an arrow pierced Xena’s right bicep. She pushed the startled princess into the middle of the group of guards. “Protect her!”
As the guards surrounded their princess, Xena snapped off the longest end of the arrow that protruded from her arm. Then they watched in amazement as Xena proceeded to catch a small barrage of arrows shot in their direction. The speed and frequency of the arrows made no difference. Xena collected every one. When there was a momentary lull, Xena released her chakram, into the trees on the right. Seconds later one man fell, dying before he hit the ground. From the opposite side of the road, the other man had climbed down from his perch to challenge the Warrior Princess. He didn’t know who she was. And his limited intellect would not allow him to believe that one woman could possibly be a threat.
As the man charged her, several thoughts zipped through Xena’s mind. This man bore a distinct resemblance to the horrid family that had killed Terrais. She consequently concluded that this attack was a planned revenge for those who had died in their battle with her. The target of that revenge was to have been Gabrielle. The final thought to run through her mind just before she engaged the man in combat was, “Not this time…..this time I’m here.”
It took only moments before the last member of a despicable family of criminals was dead at Xena’s feet. She turned back to the amazons, searching for Gabrielle’s face. She reached her in just a few strides of her long legs.
“Are you all right?”
“Yes.” Gabrielle turned to Ephiny and indicated the fallen assassins. “Ephiny….please.” As the guards left to take care of the details, Ephiny retrieved their medical supply pouch and gave it to Gabrielle. Then she moved a discreet distance away.
The princess guided Xena to a fallen log and sat her down. “This arrow has to come out.” Xena glanced at the princess, then held out her arm indicating that Gabrielle should hold it. “Don’t let go.” When Gabrielle had a firm grip, Xena grasped the arrow’s tip and yanked the rest of the arrow out of her arm. The wound began to bleed anew and Gabrielle applied pressure until it slowed. Neither woman spoke again until Gabrielle began wrapping a dressing around Xena’s arm.
“Thank you for saving my life.”
“I’m glad I was here.” Xena added mentally, ‘this time.’
The amazon healer had just finished redressing Xena’s arm when Queen Melosa entered the medical hut. The healer nodded to the queen and left them alone.
“You all right?”
“Yes,” Xena replied. “It was a good decision to send me with her.”
The queen nodded and turned to leave.
“I wish I could’ve been there for Terrais.”
Melosa abruptly turned back and stared at the warrior. But her expression softened as she regarded the woman who’d brought Terrais such joy, yet still carried the guilt of not having been there to protect her.
“Xena,” the queen returned to stand close to the wounded warrior. “The last days of my sister’s life were filled with happiness….because of you. But obviously the fates had something else in mind for her. I think it’s about time you accepted that….and let her go.” The queen started to leave again, but stopped and addressed Xena once more. “The fates apparently have something in mind for another amazon princess as well.”
Melosa, Queen of the Amazons spoke to the extremely large crowd that had gathered two days later to adopt Xena, Warrior Princess into the Amazon Nation. Befitting the woman it honored, the ceremony managed to be both subtle and splendid at the same time. There was a massive audience in attendance for so many reasons. The warrior had been an ally and a wet dream of the amazons for years. She’d saved the life of Gabrielle, Amazon Princess. The list of explanations was endless. They respected her, admired her, and wanted to give her a home.
Gabrielle stood on the dais behind her queen and above the warrior. She’d been through a similar initiation herself four years ago, although not with nearly as many witnesses. She held what would be Xena’s ceremonial amazon mask. When Melosa turned to receive it from her, Gabrielle met Xena’s eyes. They’d had little contact with each other since the night at the river, still Gabrielle could not look away. She knew now that she loved Xena beyond reason. And she was aware that it was possible that they were destined to be only friends. But she would be forever grateful for the opportunity to love someone as deeply as she loved this warrior. With that last thought in mind, she smiled.
As their eyes locked, Xena momentarily froze. Then Gabrielle smiled at her. She felt a warmth wash over her as if she’d suddenly been bathed in sunlight. What could she have possibly been thinking? How could she have ever considered not loving this woman? The truth, she admitted to herself, was that she already did.
Melosa rarely missed anything. And she didn’t miss the connection between the two women. She took the mask from Gabrielle and handed it to Xena. The warrior turned toward the audience and held it aloft. The welcoming roar from the crowd was deafening.
The festivities lasted late into the evening. While Xena participated in the celebration as much as she could, her attention was firmly attached to Gabrielle. The princess kept her distance, but would find her eyes seeking Xena out. Or she would feel a sensation of warmth and look up to see the warrior watching her. When the queen retired, Gabrielle felt she had permission to leave the gathering.
Back in her hut, Gabrielle wrote in her scrolls for a short time. When she was finished, she stood up from the table and suddenly stilled. Xena was close. She could feel her presence, although she had not seen nor heard anything. ‘This is what it must feel like to have Xena’s extraordinary instincts,’ she realized. It was strange to be aware of the essence of someone beyond what the five senses could relay. And the sensation was getting stronger.
As the princess said Xena’s name, she felt strong arms encircle her waist. She wrapped her arms over them and leaned back into the body behind her.
At that moment, Gabrielle knew why Xena had never addressed her by name. The low, sensuous timbre of her voice would have revealed an attraction and a vulnerability that she was certain Xena hadn’t wanted her to know. But she was keenly aware of it now. Gabrielle pulled the warrior closer and basked in the warmth of her body.
“I can’t seem to stay away from you.”
The princess felt the confession whispered softly against her ear. She turned her head slightly to make it easier for Xena to nuzzle her.
They stood together for a moment, silently absorbing their mutual affection. Xena continued her gentle exploration. She noticed everything. The way the princess smelled, the feel of her skin, the rhythm of her heartbeat. Gabrielle brushed her hands lightly over the arms that held her.
Eventually Xena became impatient to experience more of the woman she embraced. “I want to see you,” she murmured into the ear she was caressing.
Gabrielle turned in Xena’s arms, reached up and kissed her soundly. The warrior’s libido sprang to attention as she returned the fervent assault. They kissed urgently for several moments. Then as if by mutual consent, they each started to pull off their own clothing.
The two women tried to maintain the passionate contact of their mouths as they struggled to disrobe. Neither one wanted to stop the delicious way their lips and tongues possessed each other. Finally, they had removed everything and as they broke apart, Xena abruptly stopped and stared at Gabrielle.
Gabrielle had seen Xena’s magnificent body by the river. So she was not surprised by the beauty on display before her. But under Xena’s scrutiny she became nervous. Why was Xena studying her so intensely?
“Do you still think I’m beautiful?” Gabrielle’s tone was lightly teasing. It was meant to cover her anxiety that Xena might be disappointed by what she saw.
Xena snapped out of her appraisal of the lovely body before her. Gabrielle’s body was pure perfection. Where she was long and lean, the princess was compact and curvaceous. Although Gabrielle’s normal attire left little doubt as to her attractiveness, Xena had just been unprepared for the impact of Gabrielle’s nudity on her. Finally noticing Gabrielle’s uncertainty, she gently half tackled, half carried the princess, landing her on the bed.
“Yes.” She purred into Gabrielle’s ear as her hands began to explore in earnest. “Yes, I do.”
Gabrielle joined Xena in a fervent investigation of their bodies. There seemed to be an urgency in the way they grasped and searched one another. Hands, lips and tongues mixed with wanton, graphically verbal expressions of what they each wanted to feel.
After long moments of intimate examinations, Gabrielle could no longer hold back. “Please Xena.” Her senses were overloading. “I can’t wait anymore.”
Xena reared back from the smooth neck to which her lips had been attached. Her breathing was as labored as Gabrielle’s. She felt the same desperate need to connect as the princess. Without hesitation, Xena slipped her hand between Gabrielle’s legs. She slid down past the silken sex and directly inside the princess. Gabrielle’s gasp was clearly audible as Xena began the deep, repetitive penetration that would lead to a quick climax. The princess was well on her way to achieving just that, when she used own fingers to caress her sexual node. It only took a few strokes to send her past her endurance. She orgasmed immediately.
Xena was amazed at the excitement she was feeling. She wanted to take Gabrielle again. And she wanted the voracious princess to stroke her to a climax as well. Before she could do any more lustful thinking, Gabrielle suddenly turned her on her back. The spasms inside the princess hadn’t even subsided when she slipped out of Xena’s reach. The desperate need was still quite evident as Gabrielle started to stroke the warrior’s sex. She took advantage of the plentiful lubrication and slid her fingers all over Xena’s pleasure points. Also unable to hold back, Xena surged to a climax as soon as she felt those small insistent fingers dive deep inside her.
It took several minutes for the women to calm down after their swift and extreme carnality. Their breathing had almost returned to normal, but their hearts still pounded faster then they should. Gabrielle rested almost on top of a reclined Xena.
“It’s not enough,” Gabrielle whispered against Xena’s chest.
Xena sighed against the blonde head under her chin. She also wanted to merge with the princess again. The desperate coupling had only been a means to convince them that they were actually going to be lovers. Now that they were, making love became as necessary as breathing.
The warrior rolled Gabrielle onto her back and kissed her. Then she started a slow discovery of the lovely body beneath her. She lingered when she arrived at the tempting breasts. Xena’s fingers worked first one of her nipples into a hardened, aching pebble, then the other. Next, each was treated to soft lips and an insistent flicking tongue. Her hands glided over the perfect flesh of Gabrielle’s torso, hips and thighs. Then the warrior gently nudged the princess onto her stomach and continued to explore her.
“You’re making me need you so…” confessed the princess.
“You said longer….slower….”
Gabrielle looked back slightly over her shoulder and almost smirked. “Ok, I amend that to shorter….faster….then longer and slower.”
Xena smiled at her eager lover. “It’ll be worth it…..I promise.”
Gabrielle groaned and dropped her head back down onto the bed.
The warrior swept her hands over Gabrielle’s back, her hips, and thighs. The beautiful body under her was unblemished by battle or pain. She had silken skin that covered firm, delectable flesh. The warrior was particularly entranced by the firm cheeks of Gabrielle’s backside. She fondled them possessively and then separated them to exhibit the crevice in between. She brushed her fingers indecently through the exposed fissure. Then Xena’s lips followed her hands as they continued their exploration all over Gabrielle’s body. She was trying to kiss every inch when the princess, unable to stand any more stimulation, turned herself over.
Once on her back again, Gabrielle bent her right leg and abducted her left. This gave Xena a clear view of what the princess wanted her next area of exploration to be. She was extremely wet and she tilted her hips up to tempt the warrior.
Xena needed no such encouragement to investigate the princess again. She positioned herself perfectly and separated the soft hair at Gabrielle’s center. Then she possessively covered the area with her mouth. Her tongue began to play along the sides of Gabrielle’s sexual shaft, avoiding the hungry bud that drove her desire. The warrior licked and sucked until her lover was crying out and thrusting her hips toward the stimulation. Then fingers were added, slipping deeply into the overexcited princess.
Gabrielle could feel the climax begin at her core. Xena was playing with her as expertly as she had ever been touched. She was climbing and climbing. Soaring from the tantalizing tongue yet anchored by the deep stroking inside her body. An orgasm burst within her and she began to come down from the intense pleasure. Then she felt Xena’s tongue stroke the small bud that had previously been ignored and she felt herself climbing again. Those long fingers reached even further inside her and held her for what seemed like an eternity. “By the gods, Xena!” And she reached a second orgasm that was exquisite.
Afterwards, Xena softly kissed Gabrielle repeatedly between her legs and across her inner thighs. The princess was spent and the warrior took advantage of the moment to worship her new addiction. Then she covered the resting princess with her body, holding herself up slightly, and kissed the compliant woman.
“How do you do that?” she whispered as she moved to Gabrielle’s side. Her hands making relaxing circles over Gabrielle’s chest and abdomen.
“Do what?” asked Gabrielle still sounding unfocused.
The warrior was amazed at how open and honest Gabrielle was when she was sexual. She somehow managed to be so vulnerable in her needs while still demanding that they be met. Xena was enchanted by the physical pleasure of making love with the princess. But she was completely overwhelmed by how defenseless Gabrielle allowed herself to be during the intimacies.
“Give yourself to me so absolutely.”
Gabrielle tried to concentrate. She knew Xena had asked her a question. ‘Think,’ she said to herself, her mind still hazy from the sexual afterglow.
“I trust you,” was all the princess could honestly say. “You saved my life, you’ve captured my heart. How could I not give you everything I have to give?”
Xena was contemplating the implications of the heartfelt answer, when she was overturned by a suddenly recovered Amazon Princess.
“Now,” she said climbing on top of the warrior with obvious hunger in her eyes. “About giving you everything I have to give…..”
Xena welcomed the kisses and the hands that started to roam her body. She pulled the princess completely down onto her, enjoying the lighter woman’s full weight. She let her fingers get entangled in the blonde hair and she spread her legs in preparation of Gabrielle’s decent.
The princess searched, fondled, and tantalized the warrior. Her soft hands flowed over the gorgeous body that was the object of so many of the amazon’s fantasies. As she moved down, she observed the small scars from years of battle and injury. For a brief moment her heart ached for any pain the magnificent warrior had suffered. She wanted to kiss each and every cicatrix and make it disappear as though it’d never happened. Instead, she gathered the full breasts in her hands and began to pay homage to their splendor. She rubbed her face in their softness and kissed them repeatedly. The nipples attracted her tongue and she started to caress them in earnest. Xena’s body reacted instantly and Gabrielle claimed her with eager hands.
Xena was already more excited than she needed to be for sex. Still Gabrielle proved quite apt at pushing her arousal further. Small hands devoured her body, wandering everywhere. Gabrielle’s attention to her nipples elicited an immediate reaction. She began to writhe under the princess, longing to feel her mouth and fingers between her legs.
Gabrielle was discovering the secrets of the warrior’s body. She was learning the touches, strokes and locations that would make Xena crave her. Finally, she arrived between long, tanned legs. She sat with her legs tucked under her and ran her hands up and down the smooth, muscled expanse of thigh that surrounded her. Pushing them further apart, she stretched out, staying just inches away from Xena’s soaked entrance.
Gabrielle brought a finger to that readied opening and coated it with Xena’s essence. Ignoring the surge of hips that obviously wanted more contact, Gabrielle sucked her finger clean of the ambrosia she’d gathered. The groan from above was so full of hunger, that the princess attached her mouth to Xena’s sex at once. Even though she would’ve liked to tease her lover a moment or two longer, she didn’t know Xena well enough to gage her reactions. And she couldn’t have the warrior want uncomfortably for satisfaction.
It seemed to Xena that suddenly Gabrielle’s sweet lips were kissing her everywhere. The tongue that joined in was strong and very active. It flicked over her sex, licked at her. Insistent lips sucked her voraciously. Usually the warrior had amazing control over her body’s tense pleasure and release. But she was in the unfamiliar position of succumbing to whatever the princess chose to do to her. Her arousal was acute. And her need for Gabrielle to bring her to orgasm conflicted with her desire for the princess to touch her indefinitely.
Using her tongue and lips to drive Xena’s passions, Gabrielle felt free to investigate the warrior more intimately. Covering her fingers with the slippery fluid from Xena’s center, she massaged the crevice leading toward Xena’s back. When Gabrielle’s possessive search included insistent, repeated rubbing across her tight anal opening, Xena felt herself start to ascend toward her climax.
The princess may not have known how the warrior’s passion would play itself out. But she recognized the need in the sultry way Xena breathed her name. She abandoned her play and probed inside her lover’s center with two fingers. Gabrielle had no way of knowing that Xena was skilled at multiple orgasms. After feeling the warrior peak, she slowed her administrations.
“Stay with me……my sweet princess…….don’t leave me yet……”
Gabrielle moaned as the warrior beseeched her for more. Adding a third finger to her penetration, she continued to lick and stroke the magnificent body. She allowed the warrior to stretch to the limits of her endurance, which occurred two orgasms later.
Moments after the final surge, Xena reach down and pulled Gabrielle up so that she was lying on top of her. They lay quietly recovering from the wonder of each other’s skill, passion, and need. Resting this way, with her head under the warrior’s chin, felt so right to Gabrielle. She turned her face occasionally to gently kiss her lover’s chest, while Xena absent-mindedly caressed Gabrielle’s back.
“Now……how do you do that?”
Xena smiled at the repeat question now directed at her sexual prowess.
“It just takes focus,” answered the warrior. “And a lover with stamina.”
Gabrielle could feel herself blush. Although she’d been quite capable of taking Xena through her final satisfaction, in truth, she had wanted even more.
Xena tilted Gabrielle’s head up and looked into her eyes.
“Excuse me, Princess. But I seem to recall that you had a fairly voracious sexual appetite as well.”
Gabrielle smiled as she rested her head near Xena’s heart again. It was certainly true that she’d achieved a level of enjoyment that was beyond her previous experiences. She’d had gratifying sex with the women she’d known. Yet she had never felt, nor she suspected, ever provided the intensity of orgasmic joy that she’d just shared with Xena. Was it the lover, or was it love? The princess had never been in love before. But she was positive that she loved Xena more than she could express. She now believed that her life had started when Xena arrived. And that it would surely end if she ever left. She gave an involuntary shudder at the very idea of life without the warrior.
Xena noticed the princess shiver. She held her lover tighter, not knowing what had gone through her mind to cause the momentary tremor. As Gabrielle relaxed in Xena’s reassuring embrace, the desire to hold her forever penetrated the warrior’s thoughts…..and her heart.
“Is it always going to be like this?” she whispered against the silky blonde hair under her lips.
“I hope so…..”
It was still dark when a few hours later Gabrielle’s mind began to emerge from sleep with thoughts of how her life had instantly changed again because of a single monumental event. As she awakened, she realized that the amazons would certainly react in some way to her having an intimate relationship with Xena. Some would be jealous, no doubt. Yet she was sure most would be happy for her. But how would they respond to Xena? Might they believe that Xena only considered an Amazon Princess worthy of her seduction? Would they think that she was tainting the memory of one princess by becoming involved with another? By the gods…. what would Queen Melosa think?
The energy expended making love allowed Xena to sleep more soundly than she usually did. But as Gabrielle began to tense in her arms, she awakened immediately.
“Gee, I don’t know, Gabrielle,” teased the warrior. “You’re quite a handful. I think adding the queen might overwhelm even me.”
“No.” Gabrielle lifted up off her lover. “I mean, what will I tell her?”
Xena looked at the concerned face the Amazon Princess. She tried to ignore the lovely breasts that had suddenly come into view when Gabrielle arose to look at her. She was mostly unsuccessful.
“I don’t think you’re going to have to tell her anything, Gabrielle. If she doesn’t know already, she will by morning.”
Xena smiled as she brought one hand up to brush against the soft outer skin of Gabrielle’s breast.
“She knows us both very well. And she’s just about the most astute woman I know. I’m sure she’s noticed our feelings. Why? Are you worried that people will think less of you if you have a relationship with me?”
“No.” Gabrielle realized that it didn’t matter to her what anyone thought about her loving Xena. “I guess I’m more concerned about what they’ll think of you having a relationship with another amazon princess.”
The warrior sighed and pulled her princess back down into her arms.
“Gabrielle, it’s true I’ve loved before.” Xena explained. “Women as diverse as a runaway slave and a monarch of a foreign land. And I loved Terrais.” Xena lifted Gabrielle slightly so that she could look into her eyes. “And I lost them all.” Willing the princess to believe in her, she continued. “But there is nothing in my past that in any way diminishes what I feel for you. When I returned to Amazonia, a relationship was….you were….the last thing on earth I expected to find. But now that I have, I’m never going to let you go.”
Gabrielle leaned in and kissed Xena. The warrior’s admission contained more openness and honesty than Gabrielle could’ve ever expected. The kiss was full of acceptance and a desire to protect one another that soon escalated into sweet sexual expression.
Although Xena and Gabrielle would not spend another night apart, it would be several weeks before they’d actually say the words that were already written in their hearts. By then, their relationship would be universally accepted by the amazons because the women themselves were so admired and respected. Still, it would be several months more before the Amazon Princess would ask Queen Melosa’s permission to mate her lover and her champion. Then they would be united in one of the most spectacular Amazon Joining Ceremonies that anyone could recall.
Queen Melosa sat near the fireplace in her chambers and stared into the flames. After Xena’s adoption festivities, her very discreet lover, Hippolyta, had shared her bed, as she frequently did. Hippolyta was asleep now. And despite their pleasures and the lateness of the hour, Melosa was still somewhat restless. She was also a little melancholy. It was not an emotion she normally allowed herself to feel.
Not for the first time tonight, she thought of Terrais. Her sister had been a generous, intuitive woman. She’d always been able to present opinions that differed from Melosa’s without appearing to disagree. And though Melosa was a strong and determined leader, her sister had tempered her and made her rule even more intelligent and fair. They had made a formidable team. Melosa missed that aspect of her sister, acutely at times.
Gabrielle had not quite matured yet into the princess and heir to the queen that she would no doubt someday be. Melosa felt an affection for the young princess that was similar to what a mother might have for a daughter. Now with Xena as a part of her life, Gabrielle’s development would probably accelerate. No doubt, it would be decidedly enriched.
‘Xena,’ thought the queen. There was no doubt in her mind that Xena and Gabrielle would soon be lovers, if they weren’t already by now. She’d seen the way they’d struggled against the powerful pull of their mutual attraction. And she’d understood when the connection had finally locked into place.
She thought of Terrais again. Her kind and loving sister would not have wanted Xena to suffer a life of loneliness and grief. She would’ve wanted Xena to love again and be well loved in return. The warrior had come back to Amazonia because she’d wanted a home. And perhaps that was exactly what she’d found…..a home…..in Gabrielle’s heart.