Xena/Gabby/Joxer/Argo are characters of MCA/UNIVERSAL/STUDIOSUSA/RENAISSANCE. The following short story is part of THE WORKS OF R.E.ROWLEY and is under © copyright 1998. Any dissemination of this story or use of in any way for a commercial purpose without the express consent of the author is prohibited. If desired, this story may be printed for the private personal use of any reader, provided my copyright as author always appears on it.
Some lust and lots of affection between Xena and Gabrielle. HOWEVER, Joxer really suffers an exorcism of sorts! If you like Joxer more than Xena or Gabby, you might go crazy reading this story! But, if you have a good sense of humor, you still might like it. Contains some light bondage and implied female on male rape.
You can also find R.E. Rowley's stories at Off the Bards' Scrolls
All constructive criticism and (dare I hope?) praise can be sent to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Xena: The Joxercist
It was a fearsome night. The lightning and thunder displays rolled across the Grecian skies as if the heavens had gone mad; discharging their natural forces with monumental fury. Two horses were being ridden with considerable urgency towards a large landmark in the area.
"Come on, we're almost there!" shouted Xena.
"Thank the Gods!!" Gabrielle's voice cried out holding on to Xena for dear life; her arms tight around the dark haired woman's body.
"Xena, are you sure we should stop there? Castle Hermius is supposed to be a real scary place," the rider of the second horse yelled above the thunder.
"Joxer, I would rather be inside a scary castle than outside with all this lightning!"
Suddenly, a lightning bolt hit a large tree branch causing it to crack and come crashing down not more than 20 feet from Argo and her two passengers.
"Come on Argo! Come on girl!" Xena cried as she leaned forward more in her saddle as if to reduce the slight wind resistance her body made. At full gallop, Argo made the outer courtyard of the castle. Although the outer gate had been destroyed, the outer walls stood firmly; enclosing the courtyard and the main inner castle with its still higher walls and towers. The main door of the castle proper was in good shape. Xena and Gabrielle quickly dismounted and Xena led Argo to a nearby stable with Gabrielle at her side. While the two women were removing Argo's saddle and bridle and putting her in a stall, they could hear Joxer yelling for them in the courtyard.
"Well, sounds like he finally got here " Gabrielle noted with a smile.
"Don't be too hard on him. His horse has seen better days and he doesn't care much for riding . . . . Reminds me of someone else I know."
The beautiful blond pouted and was about to reply but Xena had quickly walked past her to the stable door. She called out to Joxer motioning for him to come. When Joxer appeared dripping wet and leading his spent mount, he had a wild apprehensive look on his face.
"Xena, I am still, uh, a little nervous about this place and... oh sheesh!!" Some cold water that had collected on his metal hat, swirled down his neck and back as Joxer affected a dramatic pose for Xena's benefit. "I am so wet! I hope there are some dry clothes I can find around here to wear."
"Stay put, Joxer. Gabrielle and I will light some candles and the main fireplace in the castle as soon as we figure out how we're going to get inside. In the meantime, I suggest you take off your wet clothes, put on one of those large burlap sacks over there in the left corner. You can cut a hole on top for your head and one on each side for your arms. Then take your wet clothes with you and come over to the castle."
Joxer had gone over to the burlap sacks and stared down at them frowning. Kneeling, he had touched one of them. "A burlap sack for ME to wear...for ME, Joxer The Mighty?? But...but this is impossible!!" As he looked up, he saw the two women leaving the stable. Gabrielle was looking back at him; about ready to burst into laughter.
The two friends stared at the door. Xena tried to shove against the massive obstacle to no avail.
"Well, if we can't go straight in maybe I can go over. Stand back, Gabrielle, and give me some room."
Xena took her whip and, after snapping it once, connected nicely with a flag holder near the top of the wall. She tested her whip to see if the ends that had curled around each other would hold her weight. They did.
"Gabrielle wait right here..give me a few minutes to climb up, find a way inside and open the door, O.K.?"
"All right, but be careful, Xena!"
Smiling, Xena looked at her concerned companion. "Oh naturally." Quickly she climbed and disappeared over the wall. A few minutes later, she was opening the front door.
IN THE CASTLE
"Gabrielle, we need to go over near the fire I just started and change our clothes. I've found some robes for us to wear." Both women changed quickly. When the bard looked directly at her hero, Gabrielle saw that Xena's robe was open a little showing some cleavage. Gabrielle quickly adjusted her robe likewise. Xena laughed "You're a real piece of work."
"I'm only taking after you, Xena." Just then Gabrielle started to sneeze. "It's my hair, my wet soggy hair! I think I may be coming down with a cold."
"Oh no, you don't!" Xena quickly pushed forward a bench so that it was adjacent to the two chairs they were using to dry their clothes on from the warmth of the nearby fireplace. "Come on, sit here beside me, sneezy." Xena stared around helplessly trying to find something to dry Gabrielle's hair. She finally pulled her robe completely up and around her back and started to dry her friend's hair with it.
"Yeah, I know. When I'm faced with unique problems, I use unique solutions. Besides, we're both friends aren't we? What's your problem?"
"Oh...(softer voice) no problem....(still softer voice). Xena."
"There, finally, that should help... all nice and dry... and I see you've stop sniffling!" Xena nonchalantly pulled her robe down and around herself. "Let's check our clothes. I'll bet they're dry by now. Yes, I was right."
Shortly after the women had changed back into their original attire, there was a banging at the main door.
"Hey Xena, Gabrielle...I'm drowning out here! LET ME IN!!!"
'Joxer!'. "I almost forgot about our man out there. Now Gabrielle, when Joxer comes in, we must both try to keep a straight face!"
As Xena was about to open the front door, a sudden thought occurred; causing her to smile. "Hey Joxer! Are you wearing the burlap? Are you decent?"
"Xena! Yes! I'm wearing the sack..O.K. O.K. already! LET ME IN!!!
Xena opened the door and Joxer came in sputtering, muttering and wetter than a school of fish. His burlap sack, his hat, the wild look in his eyes, caused Gabrielle to turn around instantly and put a hand to her mouth to stifle her laughter.
"Aaaagh! Xena! This sack is so itchy and scratchy on my skin!"
" Well if that's all you have to worry about in life, you'll be doing just fine Joxer. Go over to that bench by the fireplace. You'll find robes there. Put one on and put your wet clothes on those chairs facing the hearth" Xena replied.
Xena looked at Gabrielle and spoke quietly "Tonight, we all sleep besides the fire place. We've got to make sure it stays burning until daylight. Joxer is right. This castle is a little bit scary."
"Oh Xena! What do you mean?" Gabrielle gasped.
"I haven't time to explain. Just stay near me and you'll be fine."
At that moment, Joxer came over to the women. He was feeling a lot drier and his usual bravado returned to him.
"Here I am with two lovely ladies! Ha Haaaa! I, Joxer The Mighty, will protect you! By the way, is there any food and wine? I'm a little hungry myself."
"You're not the only one! I, Gabrielle, the food disbursement officer wish to announce that we have some wine, nutbread and cheese. Let's eat!"
After eating, the intrepid travelers talked a while, threw a few more logs into the fire, rested and occasionally dozed off near the fireplace.
By morning, after eating, Joxer became jealous of the tender moment that the two women were having while looking at each other. Xena was talking very softly to her friend and her finger tips were lightly caressing Gabrielle's back.
"Xena, I want to have a word with you!"
"Xena smiled down at Gabrielle a cold glint coming into her eye as both women turned to face Joxer.
"Go ahead Joxer. Just what is your... 'word'?"
Joxer took a deep breath. "Well Xena, I always feel like....like an unwanted outsider with Gabrielle and you. In fact, I think you respect Argo more than you do me!"
Both women quickly looked at each other smiling; their eyes dancing.
"Well, Joxer, let's follow through on that. I put a saddle on Argo's back and ride her miles a day-sometimes hard and fast." Joxer nodded. "Now suppose Argo just wasn't available, you got down on your hands and knees, and I put my saddle on your back. How fast and how far could you take me in a day?"
Joxer swallowed hard then his eyes narrowed in exasperation. "But I'm not a horse Xena!"
Glowering, Joxer drew himself up to his full height and put his hands on his hips. "I'm Joxer The Mighty, Xena. I talk. I think. I act. Can you say the same of Argo?"
"Well I think so Joxer. Let's see. Not only does Argo act, taking me where I want to go faster than any horse I know of; she can stop on a dinar. When I call, she thinks and comes to me. Acting, she is able to leap barricades. Whenever Argo hears something coming towards our camp, she talks to me; her whinnies alerting me. When Gabrielle and I are dying of thirst, Argo acts, always finding the water we need. When I want Argo to fight for me, she has never failed. Last but not least, she never bothers or intrudes on me. Can you honestly say the same to any thing that I've just mentioned Joxer?"
Joxer stares at Xena for some time... then slowly shakes his head.
"There is one thing you could do to help Joxer. I need to talk to Gabrielle alone for awhile. Could you start checking out the rest of the rooms in the castle? I haven't had time to do that."
"Yeah sure Xena." Joxer said moving out of the great room as if a little dazed.
"Gabrielle! We've got to follow Joxer. He's doesn't know it, but he could be in a fine mess shortly." Xena grabbed her whip.
"Xena what's going on?"
"Shhhh it's a game. Just stay close to me, keep quiet and you'll soon understand."
The two women walked quietly down a very long hallway. Ahead of them, about 50 ft. was Joxer. He was humming a little tune and, as he came to a door, he would open it, go into the room, come out and do the same at the next door.Suddenly, there came quite an commotion from one of the rooms ahead. Shouts "Get ..get away from me!" Grunts and strange savage noises. More shouts "AAAgghh get your hands... your paws off of me!!"
"Come on Gabrielle let's go!"
The two women ran to the open doorway they last saw Joxer enter and looked inside. A huge, half-human, hairy, female creature had Joxer in her lap sitting on a demolished bed. With one hairy hand she held Joxer's two wrists secure. One of her legs overlapped Joxer's and held him securely anchored there. With the other hand she held her captive's face near hers while she licked it with her long rough red tongue. Then she moved her hand down from Joxer's face slowly exploring his upper thighs and groin. Joxer's eyes grew wide and his breathing erratic. When she felt what she was looking for, she gave Joxer a low growl and a real meaningful stare. Joxer fainted.
At this, Xena charged into the room cracking her whip and shouted "Yahhhh" at the creature. The creature growled at Xena, ran over to an already open window, took a long look at Joxer, growled again at an advancing Xena and slung herself down to the ground below.Xena and Gabrielle watched fascinated as the creature moved quickly into the nearby forest.
The women were interrupted in their thoughts by Joxer's groans behind them.
"Well Joxer, I think you have a real passionate admirer there." Xena deadpanned as she turned and walked toward the traumatized man.
"Di... Di... Did you see what that thing tried to do to me?"
"I think she wants to mate with you" Xena stated matter-of-factly."
"Yes, Joxer, she may be planning to spend the rest of her life with you." Gabrielle, the irrepressible romantic, couldn't resist adding.
"The rest of her life with me! What are you going to do about this Xena? You've got to help me!"
"Me? Joxer I can't act as your nursemaid and bodyguard! The question is, what are you going to do about it yourself? ? You can't stay here that's for sure. She'll try again and again more determined, more dangerous, more reckless. Sooner or later she will succeed."
Joxer gulped. "What can I do?"
"You've got to make a run for it. Your horse is well rested. You know the way to the next village east of here. It's about what... 10 miles from here? Ride hard and ride fast Joxer!" Xena advised patting the trembling man on the back. "Let's go back to the great room. I've just got an idea that might help."
The three made their way back to the chairs and bench near the fire place.
"You need a different scent to throw the creature off Joxer."
"If...if it will keep that hairy thing away from me Xena."
Xena returned shortly and started to rub some oil on Joxer's face and around his neck and chest. "Hold still Joxer!" she exclaimed.
"Eeerrkkk! This stuff smells terrible Xena!"
Gabrielle had leaned back in her chair and was watching Xena's ministrations with a knowing smile.
"Now, to the stables one... and" (cooly looking at Gabrielle) "all."
The two women stared at Joxer sitting nervously on his mount.
"Ride Joxer, ride hard and ride well!" Xena commanded.
"Yeah Joxer... ride like the wind." Gabrielle intoned looking at the rider quizzically.
When it became apparent that Joxer was torn with indecision about his leaving, Xena slapped the rump of the horse yelling loudly. The horse was off like a shot. The two women watched the rider getting smaller in the distance.
"He doesn't have a chance does he? The creature is going to catch him again isn't she Xena? And you want that to happen! The stuff you rubbed on him and then poured on his boots and stirrup and the horses hind legs will help the creature get him regardless of the wind's direction?
"Yes Gabrielle," Xena smiled indulgently. "I'm pleased that you know this."
"But why Xena why? Why free Joxer then work to have him recaptured again?"
Xena stopped and looked at her beautiful confidant.
"Gabrielle, what do you think Joxer's problem really is?"
"Well he's clumsy, inept, irritating, bothersome and thinks he's a great warrior."
"Those are symptoms of his problem. His problem is that he really has no confidence in himself because he's a virgin."
"Look, Gabrielle, some men, for any of a whole group of reasons, find themselves off the path they were supposed to take in life...and they simply don't know how to get back on again. I'm helping Joxer a little; giving him a shove in the right direction."
"Towards the creature?" Gabrielle smiled mischievously.
"You still don't completely get it do you? Mating with, um... let's call the creature Suzy, is a prelude to having Joxer mate with a woman. No! Don't interrupt Gabrielle! First he mates with Suzy, then I wear a disguise and rescue him again, get him to the road running toward the eastern village. He enters the village, wearing by that time, some leaves and branches around his midriff. He tells the villagers how he was kidnapped by a very large female that forced him to have sex with her many times. Some of the women in the village don't laugh at him but start looking at him with interest. Soon, one of these women, perhaps a lonely widow, will find an excuse to have Joxer at her home; say for a meal and some fresh clothes. Afterwards, nature will take its course. Questions?"
"Yes, Xena. Why do you have to rescue Joxer in a disguise?"
"So he won't fixate on us. If he knew that we had rescued him, he would want to follow us back to the castle; even wilder and more messed up than he usually is."
Just then, in the distance, the women heard a faint yell. "Listen...Suzy's got him." Xena said. Shortly came another yell. "She's ripping his clothes off." Finally, about a minute later, a desperate cry that was almost a scream. "Suzy's mating with Joxer."
The two women started walking back to the castle. Later that night in bed they further discussed the days remarkable events that Xena had set into motion.
"Xena you knew about Suzy already from your past?"
"Yes, Gabrielle. I met her in the castle a few years ago. She was even more startled than I was and made a hasty exit. After that, I carefully found out where her cave was and watched her in her routines. She eats berries, fish, grubs, and ants. I suspect she could learn to like more of our kinds of food if she had a chance to. I learned how to talk to her with basic gestures."
"Xena, how would you describe Suzy? I mean as a class of creatures...assuming that in this world there are more like her?"
"Hmmmm....I hadn't given it much thought."
"Well since Suzy's so different than anything we're used to, I thought to give her a different sounding name than we're used to. Something like sas..sasquatch."
"Sasquatch? That is different." Xena chuckled.
"Yeah I know. Well what would you call her Xena?"
"Since I'm a hunter as well as a warrior, probably something like ... uh... Big Foot."
Gabrielle burst into laughter making the bed jiggle as she threw her supple toned body around on it. "Big Foot? Big Foot!!" (more laughter) finally after gasping for air she cried "Why not Big Feet? She has more then one you know."
Exasperated past her endurance, for the days activities had taken their toll on her, Xena quickly jumped on top of the miscreant. Her lips only a few inches away from Gabrielle's. Her hands holding her friends still. Most of her body's weight was held by her elbows and her knees which had found a place of support between the bard's spread legs.
"Yes... I know that she has feet Gabrielle. But when you're tracking some creature, you don't always find signs together; sometimes just a sign here or there of their passing. Even if you do find foot prints or paw prints together, you only need one to tell you how fresh it is, and how much further ahead the creature is from you."
"Xena...I'm sorry...I didn't..."
"It's o.k....it's o.k. Each of us has her own world that she excels in. You're the bard and the cook. I'm the warrior and the hunter. As long as we remember which world we're in, we'll know who the master is."
Moonlight streamed through the window, lighting one side of Gabrielle's face and hair giving her a dream-like enchanting quality. Xena, lowered her head a little and lightly kissed her friend on the lips. Then she quickly moved back to where she had previously reclined.
Gabrielle lay stunned but happy. Her eyes closed her mouth partly open; savoring the memory of the kiss. Time passed.
"Goodnight...Gabrielle." Xena's voice was steady almost to an exaggeration.
"Goodnight Xena ....and ...goodnight Joxer.... wherever you are." Gabrielle started to laugh and Xena couldn't help joining in.
After breakfast, Xena and Gabrielle sat down again to talk strategy. Xena looked at Gabrielle with a euphoric look on her face. Her eyes glittered with excitement.
"Gabrielle, of all the plans that I've come up with, this is the absolute best. I've really outdone myself."
"What is it Xena?" Gabrielle asked caught up in Xena's excitement.
"Okay. What if I told you that we could not only get our non-virgin Joxer away from Suzy peacefully, without harming her, but also stand a good chance of tapping into a new source of wealth that we could use to help other people and ourselves all at the same time?"
"What would I say? Wow!" The petite blond replied. "Now just how can you perform this miracle Xena?"
"It's not a miracle, it's just truly inspired thinking. There are a lot of warlords running around Greece. Most of them act like squirrels. They like to bury their treasure here and there. Suppose we captured a warlord that was more handsome than Joxer. Than we brought the warlord to Suzy. Using gestures, I then let Suzy know I would be willing to trade the handsome warlord for Joxer. Okay? Now suppose I had asked the warlord where he had buried his loot. It's very likely he wouldn't tell me. But when Suzy starts coming out of her cave, and walks toward him, I just think he might tell us where one of his stashes is. We might even get more than one location out of him!
"Won't Joxer or the warlord recognize us?"
"No Gabrielle. Not if we dye our hair, change our clothes and if I don't take my chakram, leathers and Argo with me."
"We'll be like totally different women!" Gabrielle was captivated with the idea.
"Riiiight." Xena grinned. "Of course you'll have to ride a horse because none of the horses out there are as strong as Argo. We'll need to ride them hard after we capture the warlord, I'll have him tied down like a sack of flour on one of the bandit's horses whose reins I'll be holding as well as my own."
"All right but my horse had better have a nice even-tempered disposition!"
The taller woman reflected for a moment. "Yes. We'll also need new names. I'll call myself Rhonda because I'll be a redhead. Rhonda... Red Rhonda... I like it."
"I suppose I'll be brown haired?" The blond asked. Xena nodded. "Okay, you can call me Rachel. Oh, wait a minute! You haven't told me which warlord we're going to capture?" Gabrielle questioned.
"Well, Andros, the fair-haired blue eyed bandit leader, is reputed to be at or near Cynaea about a day's ride from here. One more thing, Rachel. This is very important. Our future lives may depend on it. As long as our hair is dyed, no matter where we are, alone or in public; we must always call ourselves by our new names. I'm Rhonda. You're Rachel. If we don't do this, we may, under pressure, say our real names around dangerous people and lose our most important ally-secrecy. Put very simply, if those bad boys don't know that we did it, they won't plan any surprises for us later."
"I understand perfectly Rhonda." Gabrielle said nodding.
Two hours later, the women rode away from the castle on Argo. The next day, after spending the night camped out, they approached the town. Turning in to a nearby farm, Argo was soon stabled. A trusted friend lent two horses to Xena and Gabrielle.
As they approached Cynaea, the two women stopped their horses and looked at each other.
"There's only one tavern in town. We'll start looking for Andros there. If he's not there, let me ask the questions Rachel."
"Oh, so you think I'll make a mistake, huh Rhonda?"
"Who has the most experience being a warlord; you or me?"
"Okay, I'll give you that. But I'm the bard. I write down what future generations have to go on."
Xena arched her left eyebrow, smiled and blew Gabrielle a kiss. The women rode toward the tavern, dismounted, secured their horses, and went inside. They spotted Andros and his men almost immediately sitting in the back.
Both women moved to the far side of the bar and sat down on stools. It was a poorly lit area bathed in shadows. It was probably a place for lovers or conspirators the tall woman surmised. Xena studied Andros and his men carefully. They sat at two tables, occupying four chairs at each. There didn't appear to be a serving girl. Some of Andros's men had grown restless shouting for more port.
"Rachel, I don't think they have a serving girl for those men."
"I'm not surprised Rhonda. Those men are crude and dangerous."
A wizened thin older man came over to them behind the bar. "Would you ladies like to order something?"
"This is Rachel, my friend. My name is Rhonda. Are you the owner?"
"Yes, my name is Philip."
"Your serving girl doesn't appear to be around Phillip." Xena noted.
"Yes I know. She left... just quit her job a short while ago because of the actions of those men in the back behind you." He dropped his voice to almost a whisper. "There outlaws you see ... Andros and his men."
"No kidding? Would you mind if I tried out for the serving girl position?" Amazed, both Gabrielle and the owner stared at her open-mouthed. "What I mean is if I can handle this bunch, I can handle anyone."
"Your wearing a sword. I can't permit my employees to be armed while working."
Gabrielle snorted. "Well maybe you ought to, considering your clientele."
"Oh it's all right, Rachel. Here, take my sword and scabbard." Xena removed her weapon from behind her back and handed it to Philip.
The man pointed. "I'll keep your property behind the bar over there near the entrance way. You can have it back when you leave."
Xena looked at the owner with a confident smile. "I'll need an apron and eight mugs of port for those men." Philip nodded and left to get those things for his new waitress.
Gabrielle's reached out to touch Xena. Surprise and concern on her face. "Rhonda I thought the plan was to beat up Andros and his men a little and take Andros with us?"
"It was Rachel, but because the serving girl left, I've changed it to an even better one. Keep your staff ready and stand back and to the side of me. If worse comes to worse, I can always get one of their swords."
Philip came over with the apron and two trays each with four mugs of port and set them down in front of Xena. Then he hurried back to wait on some more customers at the other side of the bar. Xena reached into a pocket and brought out a slender pouch and carefully poured some white powder into each of the mugs.
"Rhonda what is that?"
"Oh just a little sleepy-time powder I'm adding to their drinks. This stuff is potent and quick acting Rachel."
Xena picked up the trays and brought them over to Andros and his men. She set them down at a table near the men and started serving them their port. An appreciative murmur went up from the men as they saw the tall statuesque redhead with icy blue eyes. Xena was wearing blue form fitting pants and a nice white blouse with two waist pockets. Her red apron accented her hair. One of the bandits gave a sly wink to his peers and groped Xena's butt.
Xena, quickly leaning forward, used the back edge of her right hand, and hit the sitting man's throat with a vicious chop. Lurching back in his seat, the man's offending hand was quickly drawn back to his throat as he struggled to breathe.
"I don't like anyone pawing me without first getting my consent," Xena growled eyes blazing as she looked at the startled men.
Finally, Andros smiled. "The lady has a point boys. Let's drink a toast to her with this port that she brought us."
All the men, except the rascal that had aroused Xena's wrath, began to drink. Xena walked over to Gabrielle.
"Let's go over to the shadows there, by the bar, where we were before and see how long the sleeping potion takes to do the job."
As both women watched the men, Xena smiled with wry amusement. The man that Xena had punished, feeling left out of the latest round of drinking, had recovered sufficiently to grab his mug and imbibe. Soon all the men had laid their heads upon the two tables and were sound asleep.
The women walked back to Andros's group. "Rachel help me check their pockets for dinars. I'm sure they didn't intend to pay Phillip what they owed him."
After gathering about a half dozen handfuls of dinars, the women half-carried, half-dragged a sleeping Andros towards the tavern's front door. Seeing Phillip, Xena called out. "Phillip, here's some money to pay the tab for Andros and his men." She handed the grateful owner some dinars. "Andros made Rachel and I an offer that we couldn't refuse. So all I need is my property that I left with you behind the bar here."
"Certainly Rhonda" (handing Xena her sword and scabbard), I wish you'd re-consider; you'd make a good server. Here, take this cheese, nutbread, and wine. You overpaid me for Andros's tab and I'm sure you can use the food."
Xena thanked Phillip for the food, put her sheathed sword over her left shoulder and the food and wineskins in her left hand. With Gabrielle's help, she got Andros out the door, securely tied down and slung over the best looking outlaw horse that they would 'borrow".
Instead or riding directly out of town from the tavern, the women took to the backstreets and alleys. Finding a meadow with a forest behind it, they moved quietly changing directions several times. At last, Gabrielle saw the main road back to Castle Hermius, already miles away from Cynaea.
"Rhonda, you really know your way around here don't you? I suppose all this extra changing directions and turning was to throw them off our trail?"
"That's right, Rachel. What locals and passersby don't see, they can't report to Andros's men."
Xena looked at her friend appreciatively. Gabrielle's toned supple figure was clothed in a short red skirt with a white shirt and a matching red vest. Her medium brown hair and blue-green eyes were quite alluring.
"I will always love the way you look as Gabrielle but I like you as Rachel too." Xena murmured throatily to her protege.
"Well Rhonda, you're pretty exciting yourself as a carrot top." Gabrielle grinned.
"Zeus! If we stay much longer mushing and gushing, we'll deserve to get caught... let's ride!" The striking red head shouted and they galloped off at a furious pace.
Ten miles further up the road, the women overtook a horse trader who was about to turn off the road and make camp for the night. After some haggling they exchanged their tired mounts and a lot of dinars for the three best horses the trader had. Loaded a now gagged and awake Andros on one of the horses and were off again at a more steady sustainable pace.
With a full moon to help them, they made Castle Hermius by a candlemark past nightfall.
The women wearily dismounted and led all three horses into the stable. After untying some of the ropes, Xena pushed Andros off his horse on to the waiting straw. The duo dragged him into a stall and secured him to a vertical support beam. Then Gabrielle ungagged the warlord and gave him some water and food to eat.
After eating and drinking everything Gabrielle held up to his lips, Andros looked at them angrily. "You two women don't really expect to get away with this do you? My men won't stop looking until they find me... when they do you're going to wish that you'd never even heard of me!"
Xena smiled. "Sorry to disappoint Andros, but we had two hours head start on fast horses. We got fresh fast horses on the way..."
"And we were careful not to take the main road out of town. There was nobody to give your men directions when they started looking for you." Gabrielle added.
Xena came closer so that her face was only a few inches from Andros. "There's one more reason why I'm not afraid of your men. There's a big, strong, monster that lives in the woods not too far from here. That's why people stay away from this place. Men have a habit of disappearing when they come here. The monster happens to have very sharp hearing. So I wouldn't make any loud noises tonight if I were you."
Andros swallowed hard but snapped back quickly. "Well you're here! What if the monster gets the two of you?"
Xena looked at Gabrielle and they both laughed. The taller woman smiled putting her lips close to Andros's left ear and whispered, "Oh didn't I tell you? The monster is a female. She only likes to grab men."
Gabrielle had leaned forward on the other side of Andros and whispered in his right ear. "Yes, and, as you can see, we're not boys... we're girls."
The two women left the stable. After light snacking and drinking some wine, they went to their favorite bedroom in the castle. The intrepid pair quickly took their clothes off, put some light thin robes on, and laid thankfully down on their bed.
"Rhonda, do you think Andros will make any loud noises?"
"No." Xena replied.
"Do you think he will try to escape?" Gabrielle persisted.
"Yes Rachel, but he won't succeed. I tied him really well."
"Rhonda I...I really like your red hair."
Xena smiled and turned on her side and looked at Gabrielle.
"If you will help me in freeing Joxer and bringing back to this castle some of Andros's loot, I will make you a happy and content woman...at least for a while."
"Why just for a while?" Gabrielle mischievously challenged.
"I'm being careful in my vow to you. People's level of expectation always seems to rise above any good fortune that comes to them."
"You are my good fortune... my warrior...my princess...my dream."
Xena moved closer; putting her strong right arm gently around Gabrielle and finding her sweet tender lips. She kissed her slowly... imagining two worlds coming together. With a sudden pounding in her heart, she realized that yes, finally, her fantasy world and the real world might soon become one!
"This vow, that I have spoken to you, I shall regard as unbreakable. If I have the mind and body to fulfill it, I will my darling." Xena said huskily.
"Until tomorrow, then, my love." Gabrielle languorously responded.
"Until tomorrow...my living treasure." The taller woman closed her eyes and soon both women were asleep.
When dawn broke, Xena was already up. She fed Andros and checked his ropes. When she saw Gabrielle still half asleep, she poured a bit of cold water on her.
"Hey! You didn't even ask me to get up!" Gabrielle complained.
Xena laughed. "Would it have done me any good if I had?"
"Probably not." The petite woman admitted as she quickly dressed herself.
Smiling, Xena motioned for Gabrielle to follow her. Soon they were sitting at the great dining room table facing one another. Xena had already left some food for her friend to eat. While Gabrielle nourished herself, Xena began to strategize.
"There are two key time-periods. From the time we tie Andros to a tree near Suzy's cave up to when he sees Suzy approaching him, and when Suzy goes back into the cave and brings Joxer out."Xena stared intently at Gabrielle. "As a bard, can you scribe quickly and accurately what a frightened man might say?"
"Yes, I've learned a shortcut. I call it shorthand. It allows me to take down everything that one might say quickly and then re-translate it later-when I have more leisure time."
"Good. Rachel, I'm counting on your ability in this important matter."
Gabrielle suddenly became perplexed. "Rhonda, how are you going to make sure Joxer takes the road to the eastern village?"
Xena smiled. She placed a bow and some arrows on the table. "With these. I found them in the castle armory after getting up earlier this morning. I'm not the best archer in the world, but I'm not bad. This improves my original plan. We can both distance ourselves from Joxer and yet leave no calling card behind. Since, I'm not known as an archer, this makes it even more difficult for Joxer to think of us. Better pick up something to write on."
Gabrielle, just finished eating, shook her head happily with a big smile on her face. "Truly, this has got to be the most unusual and intriguing adventure we've ever been on."
A short time later, the three were on their way to Suzy's cave. On the way, the two women stopped to quickly pick some sweet tasting berries for Suzy and put them in an empty but aromatic wineskin. When they arrived near the cave, the two women quickly tied Andros to a tree with a slip knot for Suzy's convenience. Then they poured some of the berries out on the ground in front of the wineskin. Xena walked over to Andros.
Xena fixed Andros with a steely gaze. "Well Andros, we can do this the easy way or the hard way. It really doesn't matter to me."
"What do you want woman?"
"As you must know, prisons are overcrowded. Soooo I've decided to have you stay at a private prison. You remember that big hairy female monster I told you about?"
Andros nodded apprehensively.
"Well guess what? She's going to be your jailer."
Andros swallowed hard, a wild look coming into his eyes.
"Now there's something I want...the exact locations where you've hidden some of your treasure. If you tell me, I may be able to get you away from this monster. If you want to play Mr. Tough Guy...and don't tell me, I'll just 'forget' you're even here. You can spend the rest of your life with the monster."
Andros laughed nervously. "You're bluffing! I haven't even seen the monster! I'll bet she doesn't really exist."
Xena smiled grimly. "See that cave over there? Watch the entrance." Xena took a deep breath and started to make loud guttural noises. Soon, a large grey hairy head looked out at them from the shadows of the cave entrance. Then Suzy began to slowly walk towards them.
Xena quickly went up to Andros and ripped his shirt open from the top down to his waist. "I want Suzy to see some of your manly charms."
Andros eyes were like saucers as he stared in horror at the huge hairy thing coming towards him.
"All right, all right" Andros cried out. "I buried treasure directly next to the old gnarled tree's north side just off where the road splits to Thessaly and Kornos. Now get me out of here!"
Xena shot a questioning look at Gabrielle. Her friend nodded, signifying that she had scribed all the information correctly.
"Andros, I'll have to talk to Suzy...when she leaves we'll talk some more."
Suzy had stopped about 12 feet away from Xena. The warrior smiled, knelt down, and picked up some berries and ate them. She moved very slowly towards Suzy, and put the wineskin down, stepped back, and motioned for the creature to come and eat some berries. Suzy slowly came, grabbed the wineskin, stood up, and started to eat grunting appreciatively at Xena.
Grunting, Xena grabbed a crude drawing of Joxer out of her pocket; pointed at it, then the cave, then motioning for Joxer to come from the cave, going on the road to the eastern village, then pointing at Andros, then Suzy and then back to the cave.
Andros, understanding the plain gestures, shouted at Xena. "You red-haired witch! I thought we had a deal! What are you doing?"
At the sound of his voice, Suzy walked over to Andros with Xena following to the right of her. Gabrielle had discreetly moved away from Andros and close to Xena.
Suzy, all 7 feet tall, looked down on Andros growling and touched his blond hair. Then she felt his chest and pulled a hair from it causing him to yelp more in fear than pain. Andros had turned away from Suzy's fetid breath. He willed himself to faint but wasn't able to. When the creature had reached down and felt his manhood, he could stand it no longer. "Please help me!! I'll do anything you say. Just keep me away from this thing!"
Xena smiled at him. She looked at the creature and repeated her gestures. Suzy grunted and started walking slowly back to the cave.
Xena, nodding at Gabrielle, quickly moved over to Andros. "All right, you only gave us one treasure location. I need more...now!! She'll be back in a minute or so. I won't be able to help you once she has her hands on you and gets you in the cave."
Andros sighed deeply. His fear of the creature was greater than his greed for the part of his treasure that he would sacrifice to this strange, beautiful, and war-like woman.
"I'll give you three other locations...and that's it! I buried more treasure at the ruins of Parthos 5 paces south of the Dog of War. Still more treasure in the exact center of the lilac bushes of Phaedra's garden. Lastly, more treasure on the west side of the giant poplar tree near the shrine to the Oracle of Delphi. Now free me woman!"
Again Xena shot a questioning glance at Gabrielle. Her friend nodded showing her shorthand of Andros's directions. Then Gabrielle's eyes widened.
"Rhonda! She's beginning to come out of the cave with Joxer!"
"We've got to go!"
Andros cried out, "what about me, Rhonda? That's your name?"
Xena grinned. "Yeah among others. We still have to verify the treasure is there. I mean you wouldn't be the first man to lie to a woman. Uh hang in there Andros. it's always darkest before the dawn."
Andros started yelling threats to 'Rhonda' as Xena quickly mounted her horse joining a waiting Gabrielle. They rode into the woods and turned right moving to position themselves about half a bow shot to the right of the road.
Joxer blinked as he was led out of the dark cave into the sunlight. The last few days had been a trying experience. First he had been literally dragged off his horse and raped by Suzy not once but twice. She had refused to let him retrieve his metal hat and his torn clothes. Picking him up like a rag doll she had carried him back to her lair. There she had tried to feed him ants and grubs. When he refused, she had become annoyed with him. She shoved him down, picked him up by his feet and held him with his blood rushing to his head. After a while, Joxer would yell out and she would lay him out on the floor. When he sat up again, she would offer him some grubs and ants. After a few repetitions of this, Joxer ate what Suzy offered.
She liked to have Joxer groom her hairy coat reaching in with his fingers to pull out little nits and crush them. Once, when Joxer was grooming her back, he decided to make a run for it. He had gone no more than a few strides, when she came crashing down on him. She laid on top of him...all 350 hot hairy pounds of her. Finally, she got up and took Joxer back into the cave for some more passionate amour.
Joxer had seen just a brief flash of two riders on dark horses gallop into the woods. One of the riders was dark-haired the other a redhead. The sight of the horses had jogged his childhood memory. He started to babble to himself something he had done more than usual since becoming Suzy's significant other.
"Yes yes. I'm like the little horse that could. I think I can...I think I can... and sure enough ...I can pull that big hairy wagon load up the hill."
Suzy and Joxer had stopped about 20 feet from the blond man tied to the tree. Joxer could over hear him shout out the name Rhonda over and over again.
Hmmm. That must have been the name of one of those women Joxer briefly saw ride away in the distance. It didn't make sense to Joxer. He didn't know any Rhondas. But this man could be useful. Perhaps Suzy was making a harem and Joxer would have someone else helping him take care of Suzy's savage libido. Joxer stared down at his naked body. It was covered with bruises and cuts. His most private part was very very sore.
Suddenly. Suzy let go of Joxer's left arm. With a loud grunt, she put her right hand out in the direction of the road leading to the village. Joxer, scarcely believing, pointed at himself and then toward the road. Suzy grunted and nodded her head. Joxer began to move his feet still looking at Suzy. He stumbled, fell, got up quickly and started running more seriously. When he got to the first rise, he paused to look back and saw Suzy untie an hysterical Andros from the tree and carry him back towards the cave.
When Joxer reached the road, he turned the wrong way. Soon, Xena's arrows started thudding very close to him; some into trees, some into the ground. Joxer promptly got the message and, after gulping a few times and looking fearfully around, reversed direction.
It was mid-afternoon when Joxer came to the outskirts of civilization. On his way there, he had realized his nakedness and fashioned a crude skirt of leaves which he held up with both hands. He had plenty of time to think what he was going to say to the villagers. He decided to tell the truth (as best he understood it) except in two areas. Instead of saying that he was freed because another man was somehow put there as a sacrifice for him, he would say that he satisfied the beautiful, giant female sexually many times and he ran away when she fell asleep.
As Joxer entered the village market place, little did he know that two riders watched him from a distance.
"Oh let me see too." The shorter one implored.
"Okay, here's the vision magnifier. It's like I said. First the ridicule...."
The short woman waited, watching everything with rapt attention through the telescope.
"Oh you're right! Some of the women in the crowd are really listening to Joxer. Wait! One of the women has come up to him...and she's talking with him...now she's leading him away!"
"Let me see!" The taller woman grabbed the scope and looked with a big smile on her face. "I know who that woman is! Her name is Doris. She's a widow and owns a farm just outside of town. Not a bad choice for Joxer's woman."
The Following is a POSTSCRIPT. This is NOT part of the core story. The story is Xena gets really fed up with Joxer, Xena uses Suzy to discipline Joxer, Joxer develops some crude knowledge of sex, Xena trades Andros (the bandit leader) for Joxer, Joxer goes to the eastern village and finally has a story to tell that will interest some women, and he meets Doris. Of course implied are other symbiotic plots. Xena and Gabrielle find a new way to acquire wealth and an upscale life. They also find a way to be intellectual catalysts to women world-wide. Three more important points. This postscript also includes the clear foundation for a sequel and my reasons why Xena would be more than happy to consider a new focus. The postscript contains a description of X & G gathering Andros's loot, explanations galore about the new focus, a unique sex/love scene between X & G, a rather erotic poem by Gabrielle and a very short but dramatic ending. This is my third reason. I couldn't bear cutting these things out. So I put them in a place hopefully most people won't read but the few that would might be rewarded for their patience and curiosity. In essence, this is a look into my mind; my passions, my dreams and the unique view that they create for X & G as well as all women.
Xena rolled her eyes. "Whatever it takes." She said in a low voice and then grinned good naturedly at her regal friend.
"But what if there is no treasure when we get there to dig it up? What then?
"The taller woman looked grim. "I don't think Andros lied to us. I saw the look of fear on his face. He wanted no part of Suzy. However, not much is certain in life. We can try. But if he did lie to us, I think I would pay him another visit. After being with Suzy awhile, he just might give us better information."
Gabrielle smiled at Xena. "Truly, of all the women I've met, you are the most consistently resolute, able and daring in your thinking."
"Xena looked bemused. "Believe me, O Queen, there are other women in this world that are both able and brilliant. I've been fortunate to meet some of them. That's what all these plans are about! That's what this castle will soon be about! Bringing together very special women and, magnifying their abilities through sharing, to help all the women: first, in Greece, and then the world!"
The next day, the two women left Hermius riding to a stable they knew of that had an honest owner. They traded their 3 riding horses and dinars for a covered wagon and a team of two work horses. Then they journeyed to the locations Andros had spoken of and Gabrielle had so carefully scribed down on a clean scroll.
The treasure was there all right, but digging it up from 6 or 8 feet in the ground was hard work. The women slept in the wagon putting sacks and bags of the loot under their bed. Finally,there was so much treasure, that Gabrielle bartered the bed away for more provisions and the women slept on the ground in their bedroll. At long last, with even the powerful horses straining to pull the load, they were back at their now increasingly familiar castle.
The next morning, they unloaded only the sacks and pouches of coins which numbered many thousands of dinars. They placed them in the treasury room which Xena had also discovered during one of her restless night jaunts through the castle. After locking the door, she placed the key in her pocket and carefully pushed the pocket flap down and buttoned it.
"There now." Xena patted her pocket and then stared at Gabrielle lightly touching her shoulder.
"All we have to do is take the non-coin treasure to the temple we both agreed on, and pick up some provisions on our way back. We can then relax and start enjoying life."
"I was beginning to wonder if we ever would again. Honestly I don't think I've ever worked harder for such a sustained period of time." Gabrielle sighed.
Xena chuckled, "But your figure looks great. Thanks again for all your help scribing Andros's information down, helping with the digging, loading, unloading the treasure, and haggling with the merchants for supplies. I simply couldn't have done it without you."
Gabrielle beamed. Impulsively, Xena gently pressed Gabrielle against the wall. Her hands reached up to frame the sides of Gabrielle's face as she bent to kiss her.
"Let's go and make our delivery to the temple and pick up our supplies..."
When they got back to the castle, they took care of the wagon and team of horses, put their provisions away in the kitchen, washed up, took off their clothes, put some sheer robes on, and collapsed on the bed.
The women stayed in bed later than usual. It seemed only right after the prodigious tasks that they had accomplished. In celebration, they drank some wine and had their supper for breakfast. Then the duo went to the treasury to briefly look at the many sacks and pouches of dinars. Finally, they entered the library and sat down in cushioned chairs opposite each other still wearing their thin silk robes.
Xena leaned back in her chair, stretched and smiled at Gabrielle. "I know you have questions about our activities, possibly the disposition of the treasure and the change in my focus in helping people. Ask, I'll do my very best to answer you."
Gabrielle bit her lower lip pensively. "Yes I have questions. Why did we only return the non-coin treasure and not the coins themselves?"
"If we had, we would have caused a riot, havoc, and bad feelings for all the villagers of the towns that Andros and his men had sacked."
"I'm sorry, I don't understand."
Xena smiled more at Gabrielle. "Not everyone is as honest and noble as you are. Plates, bracelets, goblets, and jewelry are unique items. Accurate descriptions would come from the true owners. But coins are coins. Anyone could say that they had been robbed of a thousand dinars when they may have only lost fifty. Besides, we need those dinars to pay for the castle repairs, to keep us and our friends in provisions and to change my direction in helping people."
Gabrielle looked thoughtfully at the woman she loved. "I know that you're not rash or impetuous; that you almost always have a very good reason for anything you do...but I really don't fully understand this new direction, this new focus you've been trying to tell me about."
The taller woman nodded patiently. "I don't blame you. If I weren't me I'd probably feel the same way. Look at what I've been doing. I fight warlords and help people. Still, can I restore to life someone that has been killed? Can I restore a severed arm or leg to someone's body and make it whole again? Can I take a horribly burned face and make it fresh and beautiful again? Establish peace and joy in a child's heart, the only survivor of some bloody carnage? No!! Not me!! Not ever!! I'm just a woman. A flesh and blood woman that happens to be very good with a sword."
Gabrielle's eyes misted over as she fought to control her tears. "Don't you think you're being just a bit hard on yourself? Of course you can't do those things. You're a mortal... not a god! Have you ever gone back and asked the people you helped if they thought you were wrong or foolish for helping them? You might be surprised at the people that would thank you. Besides you've told me that you wanted to atone for your days as a warlord. How else can you do it except this way?"
The taller woman smiled. "A good rebuttal. Even so, I think I have a better plan. I'm only one person no matter how fast I ride Argo,no matter how hard I fight, I'm still only one person. Suppose, in the course of time, I help make Hermius a mighty fortress-sanctuary where women from all over Greece and the world could come; many to learn. others to teach. The effect of those countless thousands of women upon the world would be far, far greater than anything that I and my sword could do single-handedly."
Gabrielle shook her head. "There are already plenty of schools and academies all over the world. I myself have gone to the Royal Academy of Bards in Athens. What would Hermius offer that these schools don't already?"
Xena laughed. "There were two reasons you were accepted into the Royal Academy; one you are a truly gifted bard and two you had so many male sponsors that they couldn't have kept you out! But what of all the girls that are half as good as you...would they have been accepted? I don't think so."
"It's a man's world." Gabrielle shrugged.
Xena's eyes flashed. "Precisely. At Hermius women would not be 'encouraged' to take inferior courses. Also, when I said teachers I didn't mean mediocrities. I meant the most brilliant able women in the world. You would teach barding, scribing and this short hand you used for scribing Andros's treasure.. I would teach the martial arts and self-defense. Some gifted Oriental woman similar to Lao Ma would teach the subtle yet powerful disciplines of the east. There would be other gifted women so that any approved woman that attended Hermius would receive an education not equal but superior to a man's and certainly broader more pragmatic in scope. These women would go back to teach other females in their own towns and cities."
"You said 'approved woman' what did you mean by that? Aren't all women who wish to learn 'approved'?" Gabrielle asked.
"No. Not all women are true friends of women. Some would betray Hermius for money and some for the use of a man's body."
Gabrielle frowned. "Well how can we protect Hermius from such women?"
"By having all the new women stay with the Amazons at night for a few years. If it's the use of a man's body that some of them desire, they'll quickly tire of being at Hermius."
Gabrielle laughed. "It'll be a regular paradise for them won't it? What if it's money that would cause them to betray us?"
"You must understand that wisdom and knowledge will be freely given to all the female students. Thus, money will need to come in to Hermius to pay the cost of food and wine for the women. This money will come from healing skills that our experts will charge wealthy men to receive. Later, we'll sell a share of crops from farms we allow to be set up on our outer lands. The money will go to a special room to be counted with the receipts. We will allow each of the students to work there. Let's see how they react when they think they're alone."
Gabrielle smiled affectionately at her mentor. "You've convinced me. Let's do it." She slowly crossed her legs causing them to instantly protrude through the lower half of her robe. "Oh, by the way, aren't you the woman who spoke an 'unbreakable vow' about making me 'happy and content' for awhile?"
Xena smiled warmly her eyes lighting up. "Yes I did. Would you like me to keep my promise now?"
Gabrielle was swinging the calf of her top leg up and down as she tightly pressed the thighs of her crossed legs together. "Yes. Now would be good."
When the two women got to their favorite bedroom, Xena motioned for Gabriel to sit on the bed while she sat in a chair facing her.
"All right" Xena became quite business-like "this is how we're going to do it...making you more happy and content. First of all, you're Rachel a brilliant, sheltered and spoiled young girl who has all these inner tensions. You've come to me, a sexually sophisticated worldly-wise woman, who is going to help you out."
"Oh great! Just in the nick of time too." Gabrielle enthused.
"Right. Now imagine your body as a 'lake' and there are all these 'fish' (metaphorically speaking) swimming around inside you. By touching and kissing certain parts of your body, I can contact the 'fish' and get them to swim out of you-one at a time. Each time this happens, you'll enjoy a climax. Get enough climaxes; no more tensions. You'll feel great... like a million dinars."
"Sounds good to me. When do we start?" Xena cooly looked at her without answering. A flush of embarrassment appeared on Gabrielle's face. "Oh." Gabrielle stood up, removed her robe and handed it to Xena and then laid down naked on the bed.
Xena took Gabrielle's robe and tossed it in the closet. She took out some light rope, leather wrist and leg bracelets.
"I'm sure you realize Rachel, there's a chance you might become so excited, that you'd accidentally hurt me. Oh don't look so surprised! Figure it out for yourself. I'll be very close to you, you'll be thrashing around on the bed...it could very easily happen. Now we don't want that... do we?"
While talking to Gabrielle, Xena gently but carefully secured her arms and legs through the ropes to the four corner bed posts. She came and sat down on the bed besides her. Reaching out she touched Gabrielle's closest nipple. It began to harden instantly as Gabrielle drew air sharply into her mouth.
"I'm going to get your 'fish' out starting right now!" Xena cried. A woman of her word, she took decisive action. She rubbed her silk robe against Gabrielle. She licked her navel. She put a hickey on her neck. Xena kissed Gabrielle's breasts. Then...oh then, her tongue began a flamenco dance around Gabrielle's hardened nipples! Lastly, Xena repeatedly caressed the smaller woman's nubulis eroticus.
Deep, deep within Gabrielle, a sleeping giant was awakening. A volcano was about to erupt; its lava pulsating, steadily building pressure. Suddenly, she lifted her hips off the bed. Then, part of her very essence separated from her body.
"Well, that's one 'fish' taken care of." Xena noted. She waited until Gabrielle had regained her breath and opened her eyes. "Now how many more 'fish' do you suppose there are in that lascivious 'lake' of yours?" Xena teased affectionately.
Later, with Xena's help, Gabrielle became completely satiated.
After untying her, Xena stared at Gabrielle. "What have we learned from the preceding activities?"
"That I shall never look at a fish the same way again." Gabrielle solemnly declared.
"Yes or co-operation is a wonderful thing. It is much better for women to co-operate than fight one another. Speaking of which, we both should wash our hair and get the dye out. I expect Ephiny and some of her Amazons to visit us later today."
"Gabrielle's eyes went wide with excitement. "Oh Ephiny! We haven't seen her for some time."
The two women washed up and toured the battlements of the castle. They looked out at the forest belt and then further in the distance the open grazing land. It was a beautiful day. The sun shone on both of them. As they stared at each other, they became drawn to the other's beauty. Gabrielle looked striking with her shining blond hair and green eyes. Blue-eyed Xena, was equally alluring with her dark hair flowing to beautifully tanned shoulders. They came together in a passionate embrace. When they looked out over the ramparts again, Xena threw her head back and laughed delightedly.
"What is it?" Gabrielle was both happy at her lover's relaxed demeanor and very curious.
"I just love it when a good plan comes together!" Xena affirmed pointing at a group of distant riders coming towards them. "Look, it's Ephiny and her Amazons!"
As the riders came closer, both women waved at them delightedly. The riders responded in like manner. Xena leaned over the battlement and shouted, "Hey Ephiny, did you bring the wigs I asked for?"
Ephiny laughed and shouted back, "Sure did. What are you two going to use them for?"
"Hold on Eph, we'll open the main door in a couple minutes and show you where the stable is and then we'll tell you what we've been doing." Gabrielle yelled to the riders below. Then she turned and looked at her warrior. "Well, just why did we get those wigs Xena?"
Xena chuckled. "You remember that both our hair was dyed when I got your 'fish' out?"
"We won't have to dye our hair anymore to get either one's 'fish' out. All we have to do is put a wig on. It's a lot quicker and easier. Besides, the wigs would be handy if we ever wanted to put on a play at the castle."
After the Amazons stabled their horses, the two women led them into the great hall.
"This is all yours?" Ephiny asked somewhat disbelieving as she stared at the walls, vaulted ceiling, fireplace, tapestries, the painting, chairs and flooring.
Gabrielle grinned. "Yep, thanks to Joxer, Suzy, greedy warlords, and most of all, that wonderful mind of Xena's."
"But...Queen Gabrielle there's only the two of you for this whole castle!"
"That's why we invited you and your Amazons here. We really need more people. I mean when Xena and I leave, we close the main inner door but it's still unsecured. It would be nice when we leave, to have some friends secure it, guard the castle and open the main door when we return."
"Have both of you forgotten that we have our own land... and our own villages?"
Xena spoke more diplomatically than she ever had before in her life. "No Ephiny, we haven't forgotten about your land and villages. Come, let us all sit down over here and discuss these matters. We have food and wine to enjoy. I suggest that Gabrielle tell you everything that has happened to us up until now. Then, if you're curious what plans we have for the future, I'll be happy to tell you and show you the castle at the same time."
Of course, the Amazons stayed and listened. They had never enjoyed such a powerful combination of a full-time Xena and a strong castle helping them before. They built a new village close by the great castle. Eventually, with Xena's assistance, they sold their land at a good price to one of the kings that Xena had helped in her Post War Lord days (after she had met Gabrielle).
Xena had another treasury room built in the castle for the sole use of the Amazons. Ephiny and her Amazons helped Xena repair the walls surrounding the outer courtyard. They also helped both build and install the outer gate.
The next project was the establishment of farms circling completely around the large inner core of forest, Amazon village and Castle Hermius. Tenant farmers and their families were carefully selected on a probationary basis.
The farmers (the outer buffer) shared part of their crop yearly with the landholders Xena, Gabrielle and the Amazons (the inner kingdom). As planned, when the brilliant women began to arrive at Hermius, an advanced healing center was set up which earned money from charging stiff fees to wealthy men. However, their services were free to any member of the inner kingdom and to the tenant farmers of the outer kingdom. Thus, the two kingdoms were true synergists to each other.
The Amazons helped defend the farmers from brigands. In time, an outer wall was built that protected the tenant farmers as a fixed defensive entity.
Although involved with many separate things, both Xena and Gabrielle always made time for each other. One early afternoon, Gabrielle came looking for Xena.
Xena was in the library studying maps. She was wearing a stunning rainbow dress of many colors. Her hair was set in the style of Lao Ma; she wore sandals on her feet. A censer nearby, wafted a faint odor of frankincense. Xena's body Gabrielle noticed, as she sat down beside her, was delightfully fragrant with touches of cinnamon, myrrh, and lilac water.
Gabrielle explained. "You've inspired me to write a poem Xena, about Hermius and your new mission to directly help women all over the world. I think it's wonderful what you're trying to do." Gabrielle's voice became huskier. "Thank you so very much for letting me be a part of this profound adventure."
Xena had truly changed. Before she would have groused at Gabrielle for interrupting her map study. Now she smiled...genuinely touched. "For me? Thank you."
After allowing Gabrielle to snuggle up close to her, Xena started to read. This is what she read:
This poem is dedicated to my closest best friend, Xena of Amphipolis, and to all women who wish to become more than what others would allow them to be.
In the great metropolis
Filled with teeming throngs
A sanctuary beckons
An oasis of many songs.
It's massive oak door
The guardian of the place
Shuts out the clamorous din
For a tour of inward space.
The floors are fine marbles
The drapes are stitched in gold
The walls are alabaster
The chandeliers ornate and old.
Some rooms are meant for music
Others poetry and prose
Some favor natural things
As the study of the rose.
But no room is more beloved
Than the gracious bathing pool
Where users refresh themselves
As flowing waters cool.
How unique these women are
As young girls without a care
They dress themselves in flowing silk
Putting sweet blossoms in their hair!
With happy cries and laughter
In most pleasing symmetry
They follow one another
As willing actors in a dream.
Two women become enraptured
Entangled in each other's gaze
One, in urgency appealed
That the other's cleavage be more revealed.
"Do you want to see my breasts
Red-haired woman with deep blue eyes
These jutting things upon my chest
That hold my sweetest wine?
See how firm my hands are set
Upon the borders of my frock
If I were but to move them
My twin treasures would unlock."
Intent, the young woman stared
With lustrous deep brown eyes
At her patrician mentor
Whom she idolized.
The look of love a woman gives
To someone else that's dear
The song of joy a woman sings
Unfettered from her fear.
O come to the place of safety
All women away from pain
Your love is our leavening
Your tears a burning rain!
In the great metropolis
Filled with teeming throngs
A sanctuary beckons
An oasis of many songs...
Xena closed her eyes and sighed. Then she looked at Gabrielle. "I like it ...a lot. I suppose the younger brown-eyed woman symbolizes the diversity of women?"
"Exactly. You know Xena, I like dark-eyed women. I think brunettes are very attractive."
Xena smiled then quickly tried to give Gabrielle 'the look'.
"Oh no you don't! I happen to know you like Ephiny more than just a little...so you're not fooling me... so there!" Gabrielle retorted.
"All right! You found me out! Now what are we going to do about each other?"
"Well, we need to spend more time together."
"I agree. How about a picnic tomorrow at mid-sun? There's a lovely spot I found near a brook. We can talk, eat, relax and just have fun being together." Xena promised.
Gabrielle happily agreed and the two women left the library together.
Xena and Gabrielle enjoyed their picnic. Each one shared some precious memories of their childhood with the other. Their food and their wine were excellent. Walking together, both women became quiet; each lost in her own thoughts. They turned and looked at Castle Hermius in all of it's restored glory.
Xena reached into a pocket and pulled out a paper. "Gabrielle, I thought about your poem and wrote something down. Oh it's not a poem. It's nothing fancy. It's just my view of things. I call it... A BRIEF HISTORY OF WOMEN.
Since the beginning of people, far too many men have regarded women as their beasts; their pleasure animals. In their struggles, women were sometimes able to show their light...their intrinsic value which comes from within themselves. That light was all too brief. For those that were violent oppressive men could not stand the light but dashed it into the darkness of their renewed violence against women." Xena looked at Gabrielle. "I would prefer, even with my last breath, that the light of all women should shine forever."
"Forever." Gabrielle agreed; her eyes misting as she passionately hugged Xena.
"Forever." Xena repeated quietly as she took one more look at Hermius and then embraced Gabrielle.