Part 2 of The War of Silence
Chapter 6 "Torment of Two Souls"
Against the line of battle I would charge
And never fear another's word or deed
With a smile upon my lips, I tempted destiny,
Proving death and life were all the same to me.
Now my heart turns traitor, and I long to run,
Hide my face from danger where I used to lead.
What betrays my courage with impunity?
The Challenge I can't answer is your need
Xena took a long, deep swallow from the cask by her side. Moving her index fingers in slow circles, She rubbed her temples. She longed for this headache to go away. Tired and irritated, she longed to escape the confinement of this humble campsite, if only for a few moments. The night was moonless and the forest dense. It would have been easy to creep silently into the blackness. She watched the wind dance through the flames of the fire and sighed. Gabrielle had fought a fever since early afternoon. The warrior looked across the fire at the red sweaty hair plastered to the girl's face. Since the fever developed, the bard had been combative and fearful at the slightest touch. This had hurt Xena worse than all the beating and cruelty she knew the girl had suffered, probably because of her.
"By the god's, Gabrielle." Xena looked at her friend and cried out in frustration at the whole world, "What did they do to you?..... ........why?.......who in Tartarus is playing with both of us right now?....and that sick note of his........I have not been this angry in a very long time, almost so much it consumes my thoughts. If you were not here, I probably would give into the blood-lust. Honestly, I do not want to be here with you.....I want satisfaction.....you are wearing me out with all you are going through..... the gods help us."
Xena noticed her companion had begun to wake so she moved closer to the frail form . She felt the anger simmering just below the surface as she let her eyes travel up and down the girl's whipped and beaten body. Her face was terribly swollen, and cuts and bruises were scattered over her body. " I need you so right now," she whispered. She took another long swallow from the cask before she placed it back with the medicinal supplies. She already regretted touching it when Gabrielle was so bruised and banged up. Gabrielle's eyes fluttered open, and her one good eye tried to focus. She crouched to one knee and put her hand to the girl's sweaty forehead to feel for fever.
"Its starting to break," she whispered to herself as she brushed away the red hair that had stuck to the salve on her friend's tired face. The girl's face jerked defensively as Xena accidentally pressed on a particularly deep gash. Emotions of anger and tenderness dueled for control of the warrior with each passing moment. "Shhhh," Xena whispered low as she crossed her legs and sat by her companion. She felt very much alone. "Your voice ...I miss your voice ...it is my anchor so many times....you have been my conscience so often when the blood-lust consumed me.....I fight this silent war inside now......"
Xena's voice trailed off when she noticed her companion had curled herself up into a ball with her chin tucked to her chest. "I am scared too, Gabrielle, of so many things right now." Her voice broke into sobs as she spoke. "I can't handle this....I don't want to....getting your body healed will only be half the battle....I am a warrior ... not a nursemaid....you need me too much....and are getting too close to my heart...you are too helpless....this scares me....my rage will kill you if whoever did this does not get us first.....I hate this. All I want to do is run away"
A silent war waged in the warrior's soul. So many battles were being fought . Against the rage, against the vengeance her heart called for. Against the dependent bard, who needed her more than ever before, against the enemy who played with her heart and mind now. There also was the fight of her warrior self who struggled against these foreign urges to "mother" this slip of a girl and show her tenderness. Unexpectedly, a bandaged hand clutched her crossed knee. The touch burnt like a fire into this dark warrior's heart as if to call her back out of the darkness. Xena carefully placed the bandaged hand into her own. She marveled at its strong presence and strength.
"Eaaasy Gabrielle....Eassy now," Xena crooned as tears rolled down her face. She lifted the bard into her arms and held her tenderly. Xena kissed the top of the bard's head and watched the girl's body relax. Xena lowered her friend's head to her shoulder and held on tighter, more for her own benefit than for Gabrielle. Xena's emotions churned and fought with her mind and spirit.
"You are safe," Xena sniffed through her tears, reassuring herself more than Gabrielle. She reached down and stroked her friend's cheek as she willed her own body to relax. Her arm accidentally bumped the girl's back, and Gabrielle winced. It caused Xena to cringe. "It's okay....I am sorry." Her words were more weighted than from this accidental bump. The red-head only seemed to nestle in closer in a deep relaxed sleep. The warrior ran her fingers through the sweat dampened red-gold hair as she fought her own quiet battle.
Xena took a deep breath and shifted the body in her arms slightly getting herself more comfortable. "Fever's broke....she is sleeping more relaxed." She spoke aloud as if these realizations were just now able to penetrate her clouded mind. She grabbed a blanket to cover Gabrielle from chill and let her fingers trail down the soft cheeks as she carefully maneuvered around the nasty gashes. A sudden smile lit her face as she noted the bard's cheek seemed to press closer and closer into her callused fingers. "She needs me, She really needs me..." Xena chanted, a smile on her face at this reminder of the girl's love and devotion. "I need her, too," she whispered as her stoic expression returned. Her eyes gazed on the bloody parchment in her boot and then into the blackness of the night.
Chapter 7 "The Dream"
Greasy red hair totally covered the face of the small form's face that crouched in the dark corner of the damp earthen cellar. Sunlight sneaked in between the slats of the wooden door and created a pattern of short thin lines against the back earthen wall. As the wooden door was flung open, a rat scurried away from the light. It kicked loose a cobweb that traveled upwards in the wind towards the light.
"Where is she?"
"She is there ...in the corner...Don't you see her?"
"By the Gods that can't be her ... are you sure? .. that girl is skin and bones and her family would never have brought her here"
"Can I go to her?"
"Suit yourself ... I have chores to attend."
The sound of boots on the earthen steps brought the crouched form out of her trance-like state. Her skinny hands flew up to cover her ears at the sound of approaching footsteps.
Waking, with a start, the warrior almost dropped the form she cradled. Gabrielle's arms flew up flailing in fright till Xena grasped the younger woman with a firmer hold. "Shhhh, she whispered as she began to rock gently back and forth. "A dream ... just a dream, she assured herself, the sweat rolling down her face. A memory of long ago suddenly grasped her mind . As a small child, her mother's songs often soothed her after a scary dream. A tune flowed off her lips easily in the silence of the night. It did not matter that she had not thought of the tune in many years. The song along with the gentle rocking, had the healer's patient asleep by the second verse.
"Thank you, Mother," she whispered as she stared down at the face of this girl who had come to mean so much to her. She wished she could take Gabrielle home to either Amphipolis or Poteidaia, but if they were being hunted, she refused to put anyone else in harm's way. Gabrielle's breathing was deep and even again, and Xena too felt calmer. She reached down and felt for fever with her hand again and was satisfied to see that her temperature was normal to the touch.
"I can't believe I am sitting here doing this," she marveled at her own mothering instincts that came out so easily of their own free will. "I did it. She smiled till she thought of her own dream once again. "I swear to you on all that I hold dear that I will not leave you, Gabrielle." her voice shook with emotion as she continued, "we both have our war's to fight, Gabrielle . . but still we do this together...together."
Chapter 8 "Quiver of Fear
A loud grunt of exertion echoed through the air of the wooded thicket as the warrior's sword spun in an intricate pattern, moving progressively faster and faster. She added a roundhouse and a spinning thrust of her fist, as she used her whole body as a weapon. "Open your heart to the rage," a voice called in her head . She gave her chin a quick nod but only after listening for the steady breathing of the form wrapped in the blankets behind her. "More, more," the voice encouraged as Xena grabbed a familiar Amazon staff and took off in a running leap into the branches of a tree. Calculated pivots and thrusts worked parallel to one another spurring her to greater abandon. Pictures of her friend's recent abuse danced with her on the tree branch. "Not enough," her aching heart called out with each thrust of the wooden instrument. Her whole soul raged on as she backflipped from the upper branches. Xena reached for her whip at her waist as she landed. Her ears heard only the past cries of Gabrielle as the lash had fell onto delicate flesh. "No!" she yelled as her own whip cracked onto a pile of stones. The next snap produced an emotional frenzy of cracks of the leather.
A change in Gabrielle's breathing caused a sharp turn of the warrior's
head. The girl sat straight
up in the blankets and breathed in giant gasps. "Damn," the warrior exclaimed with irritation at herself for her insensitive carelessness. Argo snorted unexpectedly , drawing her mistress's attention to the animal whose keen instincts had saved her life more than once. "What's wrong girl?" Xena asked her golden mare as she turned her eyes to scan the camp perimeters. It was then her eyes caught a familiar sight. "Gods, Gabrielle," the older woman exclaimed in horror, "How can someone with your type of injuries crawl that far that fast?" Her blanket forgotten, the red-head moved through the tall grasses on her hands and knees, oblivious of Argo's warnings of danger and her own nudity.
"She is probably heading right toward .." Xena thoughts ended abruptly as she ran a few paces and dove through the air toward the tiring bard. With a ":Ummmmmmmmph" Gabrielle landed face down in the grass with Xena's strong grip on her now stretched legs. "MMMMM" the girl protested and kicked. Xena crawled up the smaller body and covered it with her own. Trying to keep her weight off of the tender back, she placed both of her arms above the girl's head. "Shhhhhhhh Gabrielle," Xena commanded softly in the bard's ear. "Be still." The red-head lifted her head slightly as the warrior spoke and looked for the voice's origin. "Mmmmmmmmmph, Mmmmmmmmmmmmph" she suddenly cried out louder as her sea green eyes focused on the weapons above her head. The urgent need for quiet almost caused the warrior to lose her patience with the whimpering bard.
"Wait...what is she looking at?.. the whip... by the gods, she is afraid of my sword and whip above her head ... of course ... that's why she took off so quickly."
Xena dropped her whip from her right hand and brought it over Gabrielle's eyes. "Hush now ....Shhhhhh," she whispered as she lifted her own face and scanned for movement in the bushes and trees. Instinctively, Xena had tried this approach on her companion's fear. Many times in her army she had to deal with spooked animals and had blindfolded many to calm them. A slight smile crossed the warrior's lips as the kicks and whimpers ceased. "Hush now," she repeated soothingly. "I am here with you." Xena wanted Gabrielle to only focus on her voice. So where are you, son of a Gorgon? she thought to herself as she continued to scan the trees and bushes. A sharp battle eye spotted an arrow leave an upper tree limb directly in the direction where Gabrielle had been running. Xena clutched her friend's body and did a complete roll out of the arrow's path. As she rolled she grabbed her chakrum and let it fly at the arrow's source. Xena breathed a sigh of relief as the archer fell hard to the ground. The dark-headed woman sat up quickly. Hand still shielding the young bard's eyes, she pulled her into her lap. Xena listened for more noise, her heart and mind warring inside. She needed to check for more intruders but she hesitated to leave Gabrielle. "Shhh," she whispered again as she brought her finger to the bard's temple and rendered Gabrielle in a light doze of sorts.
Xena slid her body into the grasses and ran to the trees. Disgust swelled in her as she pulled her chakrum out of the man's neck with a quick tug. Her trade-mark weapon had again found its mark. Her satisfaction was quickly replaced by the fact that dead men tell no truths. Impulsively, she rummaged through his clothes for any clues. Her hand slid a worn map out of his vest pocket. "Now we are getting somewhere," she uttered aloud as her hands searched further but in vain. Anger raised its head again as she threw down the corpse to search the wooded brush for more clues or tracks. Her search proved fruitless "I don't know any more than when I found Gabrielle in the fog....this gets crazier and crazier... a blood-stained note.. an unusual map...one archer with no other companions." Xena mumbled as her thoughts whirled. After retrieving a blanket from camp, she hurried back to her friend's side.
With a touch of the finger, Gabrielle awoke to find herself in her friend's lap back at their camp. "Look up at me, Gabrielle" Xena spoke commanding but soft. As green eyes met blue, Xena smiled. "Very good .. you are doing great ...let's change your bandages" She buried her anger for now as she began her gentle ministrations. Her blue eyes still flashed angerly as she watched the tree-line.
Leave the son of a Gorgon to rot, she thought to herself as she brushed her hands through her clean damp hair. "I am certain he is connected to this whole thing." Xena pulled the heated wine from the fire and pinched a powdered substance into it. She looked over symapthetically to the pallet to her right at a wiped out Gabrielle, her eyes showing fatigue from the visitor and her bath. Xena crossed to the pallet and sank to one knee. "Drink up." She smiled tenderly as she helped the bard sit up and pressed the cup to her lips. Patiently, Xena waited till the cup's contents was all gone, her raging mind already planning her next move.
"Here, Gabrielle, raise your arms for me." Xena placed one of her softest cotton shifts over the girl's bruised body. "There now... rest ... I'll be right here." Xena spoke in a whisper as she lowered her ailing friend back down into the blankets as the medicine began its effect. Gabrielle struggled to stay awake and reached her bandaged hand out to Xena's long fingers. "Okay, you win." Xena smiled as she settled down to sit by the blankets and grabbed the smaller hand more fully. The bard contentedly let Morpheus claim her healing body, her soul connected through this small touch to the Warrior Princess.
"We ride out of here tomorrow, Gabrielle." Xena spoke in a whisper as she watched her friend's chest rise and fall evenly. "It is just not safe here.... More soldiers will come....you are my first priority now....let's get you healed and then we can deal with that damn note and this mysterious map....I see you are listening to me again...maybe trusting me some also....I won't betray that trust, I swear that to you...even in this silence you help me ..fight the rage...I love you, Gabrielle." Xena's rage was silenced with those last thoughts...she would let herself rest tonight ...anger would not eat at her...her only thoughts that consumed her were her love and devotion to her blonde bard.
Chapter 9: " The Question"
In the misty light of morning,
I watch you sleep.
How deep you slumber, how sweet,
How like a good child's
Who unaware of evil,
Dreams only of the play
Of yesterday and of the day to come.
I've looked on lovers' faces thus,
But they could never move me
As you do.
Is this because of how I've changed?
Or because of you.
Oh, friend of mine,
Your face reflecting innocence,
And dreams of only peace,
Sleep on a little longer,
As I watch
in the misty light of morning.
As dawn's awakening sent the moon behind the western mountains, the blue eyes bore into the tattered parchment with a stoic intensity. Every wrinkle in the paper and every line drawn bore permanently into Xena's already troubled mind. Circumstances weighed her spirit down like heavy boulders and all of her soul felt the weight except the blood-lust. Her rage echoed a cry for satisfaction over and over with only the presence of the troubled bard anchoring her sanity.
Morning's early rays brought with them a windy chill that teased the new green leaves on the trees rattling out a sad refrain. "How long must this fight go on...will I ever be free of the darkness...that even now infects the one's I love?" she mused quietly as she picked up another nearby branch of wood and threw it on the dying flames. As her companion stirred restlessly out of Morpheus's realm, Xena replaced her familiar mask of quietude over her burning furor of aggression. She tucked the map in her boot and moved silently to Gabrielle's side. "Wake her up, Xena," she told herself. "The archer's companions will be here soon enough when he does not show up." Falling to her knees, Xena took in the innocent peace of the slumbering form and apologized once again. "I am sorry for all of this, Gabrielle," she whispered and drew into her heart the child-like peaceful expression, letting it pour like water over rage's fire. Xena let her eyes close a minute as she concentrated only on the deep breathing below her. A sharp whimper broke her trance when Gabrielle made a hard turn onto her back from her side.
Strong hands lifted the bard to a sitting position ending the cries of pain as they began. "Shhhhh .... I am here, Gabrielle," she reassured her friend. She brought her left arm around the girl's body for support and let her lean on it. She comfortingly began to push away gold-red hair that lay over the bard's face. Some of the hair lay stuck there from the paste dabbed on the girl's cuts and bruises. Xena's eyebrow raised in surprise when she removed this golden veil from Gabrielle's face. Two green eyes met the warrior's blue gaze. The left one, although still blackened, was no longer swollen shut. "Hey, your eye is a lot better today," the warrior said. Gabrielle's eyes darted apprehensively around the campsite. "It is okay .... You are safe," Xena emphasized softly but seriously . "Hey.. no... look over here at me...Gabrielle!" Xena spoke in a commanding tone as she turned the bard's chin her direction. "I am here, and I won't let anyone harm you.."
Xena kept the girl in sight at all times as she caught their breakfast in the stream and washed, as she fed Argo, and as she began the task of breaking camp. She purposely left caring for Gabrielle's injuries last on the list hoping that a bath of warm water would relax the girl enough that she would not balk about riding Argo. "Time to get you ready to go." Xena smiled as she brought the heated water to the bedroll and reached for her medicine bag. The young woman visibly tensed as Xena undid the baggy shift and raised it over the girl's head. "Shhhh..Gabrielle..Shhhh," Xena crooned as she asked herself what it would take to help her companion heal inside. Singing a tune her mother used to work by, Xena washed the bard's body and washed her golden-red hair. She unwound each bandage and painstakingly cleansed and cared for each welt, cut and bruise, covering each with an herbal paste before re-bandaging it. As Gabrielle drank her herbs, Xena settled down to comb and braid her friend's hair. As she braided the fine strands, the question that had plagued her for days spilled forth.
After she tied off the braid, Xena moved to take the bard's re-bandaged hand in her own. Gabrielle relaxed and smiled as she sat in front of her. "Gabrielle ... I need to know ..."she said with an sense of urgency, "do you remember what happened to you and me finding you two days ago?" The bard's expression went blank as she tried to think. The warrior waited patiently and watched as Gabrielle's expression changed once again. The young woman's breathing increased, and the fright came back to her eyes. Gabrielle felt Xena squeeze her hand with assurances as the tears began to fall. When the bard opened her mouth to speak, no words came. This sent the younger woman into a frenzy of panic as she realized for the first time that she had no voice.
"Do you remember?" Xena pressed again, this time louder. Gabrielle's neck and jaw muscles clenched, and silent tears fell harder. A short nod answered the warrior's question louder than mere words could do. Fighting the rage, she wrapped her arms tightly around her Gabrielle and murmured reassurances as she rocked back and forth. "We will get through this together you and I," she vowed again inside to her heart. "Its okay, Shhhhh," she spoke as she focused on the silent tears. "I will never leave you!" she whispered under her breath.
Chapter 10 "Therma"
A faint breeze teased the bangs on the bard's forehead. Xena looked down and smiled to see her companion wrinkle her nose before she sighed and turned her cheek more fully against the warrior's chest. The afternoon sunshine with the pleasant southern breeze caused even the mighty Warrior Princess to sigh contentedly as she traveled into this tiny village of Therma.
"So, Argo," Xena sighed as she reached into her saddlebag and pulled out her dark cape and draped it around Gabrielle's sleeping form. "More oats for you, of course, clothes for the bard here, bread, fruit, wine,...and...if there is a map dealer.. answers about this damn map." Argo whinnied in feigned understanding. They entered the main section of town going straight to the vendors stalls. With a gentle touch of the reins, Argo pulled to a stop on the dusty street right past the tavern. "Wake up, Gabrielle," Xena whispered as she shifted in the saddle preparing to dismount. Gabrielle sighed, and her cheek nestled closer again to the former warlord's body. "That's just dandy," Xena grumbled softly "If any of my former troops or peers are here, I will be the laughingstock of.... Hey, since when did I start caring what others think!" She clucked her cheek and resigned herself to an afternoon of shopping on a horse while holding a short, slumbering red-head .
An older haggard warrior nursed a tall mug of ale as he watched the traffic pass the tavern in the tiny Grecian village. Spotting an ominous golden mare pass toward the vendors further into the village, the corners of his mouth raised slightly. He nodded to a younger man at a table in the corner. Both men walked quietly out the tavern's back door to the privacy of a back-alley.
"I thought you sent an archer to kill the girl.. is this the way you prove yourself worthy of your position?"
"No sir. . I mean .yes sir"
"Stop babbling ,Nikkos ..I expect results.. it's obvious she has the map by now.. we will have to use that to our advantage...Let Xena come to us." The older man's hazy blue eyes gleamed with coldness as he spit on the ground as he thought.
"Send Talus and Stephen...kill the girl.. but if they harm my Xena, they will pay with their own lives and the lives of their own families." Nikkos walked quickly up the alley to an awaiting horse and disappeared quickly among the crowd of shoppers.
"Xena , why must you make this so difficult? I expected you would leave the girl the first night I gave her to you...instead you draw her closer?.. We will just have to take away your pretty distraction and let you concentrate on the business at hand..."
The old man walked up the alley and wandered among the marketers. Casually, he stayed in the shadows .
"Put it in the saddlebag with the other things," Xena curtly ordered a snickering merchant "Do you have a map dealer here ?" "Warrior...you are crazy....Where do you think this is, Athens?" the potbellied merchant howled in laughter. Xena glared back with her steel blue eyes silencing him with only a glance. Fearing the warlord's anger, the merchant mumbled, "Try Philip at the end of the street."
A soft snore roused the glaring woman warrior from her angry musing. She tightened her legs around the form in front of her and spurred the golden mare down the busy street. She grabbed a tighter hold on her sleeping charge as they maneuvered among a flock of goats a farmer was taking to market.
"Wonderful," Xena sarcastically remarked as she realized her quick shopping trip might take longer than she planned. The farmer had stopped to talk to a man selling vegetables while his goats roamed free all over the street. "We will find another way around," the warrior said to her horse as she started to turn in the street. She eased up on the reins when she saw a wagon come to a screeching halt right in front of the goats in the street. "Like I need this today," Xena remarked to herself. "If there is a fray over those damn goats, I can't draw my sword while sitting on a horse and holding Gabrielle." Her warrior instincts could usually spot trouble before it occurred, and she noted the wagon driver's brown eyes narrow as he hopped from the wagon.
"Lets go, Argo," Xena spoke as she decided to keep out of this fray , she knew she could stop it easily, but Gabrielle did not need to be put in any unnecessary risk. She turned her horse with a simple touch of the reins and grimaced to notice the farmer and wagon driver had effectively glutted and blocked the whole street.
"Damn," she cursed. Her patience was too easily tried now a days. She could not move without hurting anyone. Gabrielle's whimpers broke her angry ruminations. The warriors ears heard the source of Gabrielle's distress as she looked into her companion's wide eyed face. A whip snapped again and again as the man in the wagon took matters in his own hands and began dispersing the meddlesome goats. Xena quickly whirled Argo and urged her to a trot through the new opening between the goats and toward the map dealer's shop.
Shhhhhhhh, Shhhhhhhhh," Xena whispered as she held her friend's face to her leather . She silently wished she could join the angry ruckus in the street, if only to alleviate her own tension. But Gabrielle's death grip on her body right now told her otherwise.
"Excuse me, Are you Philip?" Xena asked politely of the last vendor on the street as she waited for him to turn around and face her. Gabrielle still shook in her arms, and the warrior wanted to hurry this final stop along and see to her friend's distress. Xena couldn't surpress a smile as the gentleman turned around and let his hood fall from his head. "Phillippos? Is it you...what are you doing in Therma?"
"It's just Phillip now, Xena. It's good to see you. Heard you had gone good." Phillip eyed the girl in the Warrior Princess's arms questioningly as he spoke.
Sensing his thoughts, Xena spoke. "Listen, old friend, my companion here has just been through a lot. Could I trouble you for some watered down wine?" Xena held onto her companion's face firmly as the older man pulled out a wine-skin a filled a cup two thirds full..
"Thanks," she whispered as she reached into her bodice and pulled out a packet of herbs then pinched them into the cup . "Drink, Gabrielle," she encouraged as she lifted the cup to her friend's mouth . "That's right," Xena reassured the young woman as she drained the contents and settled back further into the warrior. Xena mouthed another thank you to Philip and put her finger up to her mouth as if to tell him to be quiet for a minute. The older man marveled to watch his old commander hum in the red-head's ear softly and stroke her hair, all on the saddle of a horse no less. He noted his commander gave the bard her full attention till the girl fell asleep in her arms.
"This is a surprise Philip. I thought you were in Sparta," the Warrior Princess said warmly as she looked over at one of her most trusted friends and soldier in her warlord days. She pulled the cloak closer around the young woman's shoulders before extending her hand down in greeting.
"Well, believe it or not, I got married and she had family in this town," Philip replied as he reached up to shake the Warrior Princess's hand. "Phillippos doesn't exist anymore...my wife does not even know."
"I understand." Xena cut him off and, noting his embarrassment changed the subject. "I am glad to see you, I have acquired a strange map I need help figuring out." Xena reached her hand in her boot and pulled out the tattered map. "Does this look familiar to you at all?"
The older man studied the map a few minutes before he looked upward. "It's clear it is a route to a particular place. Let me try something," he said. He dabbed his fingers in a bucket of water at his feet and sprinkled them on the map's surface. He smiled as mountain ranges and bodies of water began to appear . "Take a look now, Commander." He said with a smile as he handed the map back to the ex-warlord. "The area is in Greece I would bet you...my best advice is to try to map out the topography of the area to narrow it down. Let me give you some good parchment maps I have been holding onto for a while."
"No, I could not do that," Xena uttered, her voice showing her mind still focused on the map in her hand.
"I insist, Xena," Philip uttered "It's the least I can do after the many things we have been through together."
"Thank you for your kindness, Philip. Could you put the maps in my saddlebag for me please? a I have my hands full at the moment." She rolled her eyes before smiling down at Gabrielle, whose cheek pressed lightly into the warrior's upper chest.
"Uh , Xena Is there anything I can do? Your friend looks like she needs a place to rest."
"I know, Philip, but I wouldn't dream of putting you and your wife in the type of danger Gabrielle and I are in right now...Actually, seeing you has given me an idea where I can go for a little while that's not to far from here."
"Take care and please come visit me sometime when you can stay"
"I will, Phillip, and thank you."
Xena nodded as she tapped her legs into Argo and turned her back to the Grecian Roadway. She lifted a hand to her eyes as she stared up at the sun . It was below its zenith, but Xena felt she could easily reach her old weapon storage facility by sundown if she was able to travel at a steady pace. Apprehension over being followed and Gabrielle's need for quiet rest forced this warrior to go to a place where she promised she would never go. Xena sighed as she thought of all the people she had killed and stolen from to fill the hidden cave with the necessary supplies for a traveling army. "It is beautiful there, Gabrielle. There is a large waterfall and a cave for shelter.. you will be safe till you are stronger." The warrior spoke the whole time wishing this was all a bad trick by Morpheus and she would awaken soon. "They won't take you away again Gabrielle, I promise."