Disclaimers: The characters of Xena: Warrior Princess and all other associated with the television series of the same name are owned by MCA/ Universal Pictures. This is a work of fan fiction and no copyright infringement is intended.
Subtext: I guess with my writing so far we'll just quit calling it subtext and call it maintext. Yes they are in love with each other.
Violence: Much lots and lots
Other: Part Fifty-six in the series "Raising Melosa". Takes place right after "The Gathering" This segment also takes a very dark and somewhat violent turn. This segment is from Xenas POV.
By T. Novan
I can see them now. The riders heading for my home, my family. I cant stop them. I cant protect them. I can only stay in this place and watch as they ride at top speed, flying a banner that I hoped I would never see again.
I can see everything. The amazon troops joining with the centaur troops to protect my home and my family. I watch as they strategically place themselves for the best tactical advantage. I hope it is enough but my heart and my mind tell me no. My family will die at her hand and I cant stop it. This will damn my soul to Tartarus for sure. This is my greatest failure. I deserve the torture that awaits me in Hades realm. I let his grandchildren die.
My only hope is that they cut my body down quickly. If these men dont have her leading them then they may falter and they may be defeated. I wonder how she got out of that lava pit we put her in so many seasons ago. I should have known if Callisto could find a way out, Velaska could too. I wonder why it has taken her so long to try to get her revenge.
I tried to keep control. I tried not to let her force me out, but it seemed that the harder I fought the stronger she became. As the sun rose this morning I felt the last of my strength go and I was suddenly out of my body and she had control. She is laying in wait now. Pretending to be unconscious, she knows they are coming. She is waiting to slaughter my family. I guess she figures that she has waited this long, she can afford to wait a few more candle marks.
I can see Ri preparing the children to leave. Tyldus has offered to hide them in the centaur village. Mel of course refuses to leave. I am torn between great pride in her fearlessness and absolute terror that Im going to see my little girl killed tonight. I want to call to her but I know it wont do any good.
Gods I watch, as the property around my home becomes an encampment of warriors and weapons. They all work well together and very quickly. Ep and Sol are making good and sure that everything is ready. It wont be much longer.
Gabrielle kisses our children and loads them in the wagon that will hopefully carry them to safety. Kai is holding onto his sisters as they beg Ri to come with them.
"Please!" Kessa cries reaching for her mother. "Please Momma please!"
"Honey I cant. I have to stay and help."
"No! Theyll kill you Momma please ." Tears stream down my daughters cheeks as she sobs and reaches out to Ri grabbing the arm of her tunic.
As the wagon moves away, Kessas hand pulls free from Ris tunic. I can only watch as Ri wipes tears from her eyes as she waves good-bye to them and throws them kisses. "Love you!" She calls as she watches them being taken away from her.
Gods Ri I am so sorry. My love, I have failed you. Failed them.
The army flying my banner is just over the ridge now. Its only going to be another candle mark or so. It looks as if the troops around my home are outnumbered three to one. Mel is at the house with Ri and Solan. At Eps request they have been asked to stay close and in the relative safety of the structure. Mel doesnt like it and I can see her temper flaring. She is a warrior. There is no doubt in my mind about that fact now.
"We just cant leave her there!" Mel yells at Ep.
"Mel we dont have a choice." Ri says placing her hand on Mels shoulder.
"You cant," Mel turns to face Ri. "leave her in a Gods forsaken cage when this starts. Shell be killed for sure."
Ri draws a deep breath. "Those men are flying her banner. If they see her it will encourage them and they will gain strength from that."
"So youre willing to sacrifice her? To save what? This house? This land? Nothing is more important than her."
"Yes Mel. You and your brothers and sisters are more important."
"No were not ."
"Yes you are and if she could tell you that herself she would."
"She will be protected as best we can Mel," Ep reassures her. "You know that."
"I dont furkin know anything anymore!" She yells before storming out the door.
"Mel come back!" Ri starts for her but Solan stops her.
"Ill go get her Mom. Stay put."
Solan follows Mel outside where he finds her pacing back and forth in the yard. "Stop right there big brother or Ill drop you! Just leave me alone for a little bit will you?"
"Mel knock it off. Mom doesnt need this right now. You want to be treated like an adult, act like one! Weve got more problems than we can deal with right now. We all need to calm down and try to find the solution."
"Well as I see it, part of the solution is to make sure both our mothers are protected and leaving one of them chained up in a cage isnt doing that!"
"Damn it Mel what do you suggest? Should we let her out so she can start killing from the inside out making it easier for her troops to ride in here!"
"You dont really believe those are her troops do you? How can you say that? Gods Solan you dont think that this is her fault do you? Someone is using her."
"Mel her mind is gone ."
"I swear by Zeus!" Mel raged as she threw her hands up in the air. "How many times have you been kicked in the head by one of your horses? Think about it big brother. When did she have time to raise this army hmmm? Before or after she lost her mind?"
"I dont know Mel but they are flying her banner ."
"Oh yeah like thats never been done before. Have you ever taken the time to listen to Moms stories or read the scrolls? It wouldnt be the first time someone flew a false banner."
"How do you know these things?"
"First off Im using my mind here. Second she," Mel points to the tent. "taught me to think like this!"
Its true, I did. Good girl. Then I hear it, the gallop of heavy hooves and the roar of a heavy war chariot. I look over to see Hades arrive. Theran is riding beside him, gripping the side rails as they move at full speed toward the house. He reins the horses and bolts for the house as Theran makes her way to Mel and Solan.
"All right both of you knock it off!" She commands.
I never thought I would be glad to see her, but I am.
"We have a lot to do here and very little time to do it. Mel, tell the guards to release your Mother and then get the Tartarus out of her way. They are not to engage her."
Mel nods mutely then charges toward the tent,
"Now you young man!" Theran turns back to Solan and slaps him upside the head. "What do you think youre doing? Mel has a good grip for whats happening here. She is the warrior not smart to question a warrior before a battle could get you killed."
"Theran she was ."
"Shut up! Now your brother and sisters ."
"Mom sent them away ."
"Damn it Solan be quiet and listen!" She groans as she shakes her head and mumbles something about the future of the underworld. "Your bother and sisters are being brought back here. We need them here for this battle. In the end it will be the force of the children that will make the determination of the battle. If you fail yourself you will fail your mothers."
I watch as Hades exits the house with Ri. He says something to his team and the horses gallop off disappearing into a mist then vanish altogether. He wraps a protective arm around my wife as they walk to the tree line.
"Well be safe from the battle here Gabrielle. Stay with me and well be safe."
"Hades I have to be with Mel and Solan ."
"No, Theran is with them. She knows what must be done, let them work." He wraps her in his cloak.
"Hades what exactly is going on here?" Ri asks. I can see her shivering a little under his cloak.
"Ares. He made it possible for Velaska to escape the prison we held her in for so long after you and Xena dumped her in the lava flow. Her body was destroyed, but her spirit lived. After his defeat and embarrassment in Athens he decided to up the odds. He freed her then formed an army for her and promised to make her his chosen if she would come back here and destroy Xena. She agreed with the condition that she could destroy you as well." He turns as a light shimmers next to them revealing Artemis. "Well hello Niece. Welcome to the party."
"Really Uncle this is no time for jokes. Ive come to protect the children."
"Very well all but Melosa. This is her course she must follow it no matter the outcome." He warns.
"I sent the children away ." Ri begins, but Hades hugs her close stopping her words.
"I know Gabrielle, but Im having them returned, they must be here. They are the only thing that can really make defeat possible."
"Gabrielle, Velaska has control of Xena and has forced her out. She is now in control Xenas body. For Xena to reclaim her body she will need something to fight for."
"But the children ."
"Your children are also very gifted My Queen," Artemis says with a smile. "They will perform as a team to allow Theran the chance she needs."
I continue to watch as Mel leaves the tent and the guards disperse. She wipes away a tear as she approaches Theran. "Its done. She free, but unconscious."
"Shes not as unconscious as you think Mel." Theran smiles. "She also not the person you think she is." She places her hands on Mels shoulders. "Melosa are you prepared to kill her if you have to?"
Mel nods. Im glad to know that she wont break her promise to me. If I could cry at this moment I would shed proud tears. I hear the calls from the forest that the army is at hand and the battle will begin. Amazons and centaurs take up a front line as Theran takes command of the children that have just arrived. She places them in a line, oldest to youngest and tells them to stay that way, all except for Mel.
Theran reaches up to the porch and pulls down Mels staff, tossing it to her. "Come on Warrior. Lets go kick some ass!"
The sound of swords and battle cries fill the air. Horses protest as they are forced past the front line. Men and women alike, scream as the first bodies fall. The acrid, coppery smell of blood soon starts to fill the air as I watch my friends fight and die. Fight and die to do the job I couldnt. The land around my home is littered with bodies, the ground covered in dark, sticky blood.
She emerges from the tent with a wicked sneer on her my face. She actually takes the time to stretch. Gods was I that cocky when I was a warlord? To my shame I imagine I was. She looks around briefly then sprints over to a young amazon and snaps her neck from behind before taking her sword. My heart tears, as I watch the young girl fall bonelessly to the ground. I myself trained her last season.
Glancing over to Hades and Ri I see the tears falling from my wifes eyes as she watches the battle. I wish I could comfort you my love. Looking to my children I see the fear in their faces but they seem very calm. I have to assume that this is Artemis influence over them.
Then it happens. I watch as a solider charges Mel from behind. I cant help it, I know it doesnt do any good but I scream for her to watch out. She twists her staff, letting the cover drop away. Then she thrust behind her. I see her flinch as she feels the sword enter his body. Then she gives a loud cry and thrusts upward, driving it further into his body.
I drop my head. My daughter has just lost her blood innocence.
She turns has he drops to his knees. "For my Mothers ." She growls at him at she kicks him from the blade. "Bastard!" She sneers as she moves over his fallen body further into the battle.
I watch as she takes down another man and then another. She has it the bloodlust that runs through my veins.
I continue to watch in absolute horror as the battle rages, drawing closer to the house. I see Theran mount a horse and charge toward my body. She reins her horse hard enough to make him rear up. Thats it Theran crush the body. Take it down you can do it. Youre the only one here who can. The only one who can fight that body and win. What in Tartarus are you doing you fool? She gets Velaskas attention then turns and rides at a full gallop towards Mel.
"Heads up Mel." She calls as she reaches down and pulls Mel into the saddle with her. "Its time. Youre sure you can do it?"
"Yes." Mel pants as she takes the chance to catch her breath.
They ride back to the house with her hot on their trail. The both dismount the horse before it has a chance to stop. As my body charges toward them, Mel draws up her sword and turns around.
"Oh please!" Velaska sneers as she twirls her sword in her hand. "You are joking right?"
"I made a promise to my Mother and I intend to keep it!" Mel yells as she lunges forward.
My body sidesteps the lunge. She turns around to face Mel. As she turns her back, Theran and Solan take up positions on either side of her. They catch her in a cross beam of golden energy that holds my body in place. I hear the howl erupt, as she feels trapped by their efforts. Then I see Kessa and Rosa move toward her holding hands. I can hear them in my mind. Their lips arent moving.
"Mother come back. Come back to us dont let her win."
I feel myself being drawn toward my body. I watch as Kai joins his sisters and his voice is added.
"Mother please well help you. Come back to us. We can fight her for you ."
Another howl from her, as I feel myself trying to get back, to settle in. She is still fighting and Im having a hard time making the transfer. My body sinks to its knees as we fight for control.
"Solan try to hold her!" Theran calls. "I need to move!"
"Ive got her!"
Theran moves the children back and then places herself behind my body as Mel advances from the front. "Solan stop!" She commands.
I can feel myself trying to get back, but she still has control of my body and she raises her sword at Mel. Mel draws her sword up. "I love you Mother." She raises it over her head and prepares the blow that should take my head off my shoulders.
I force myself in. I can hear Theran in my mind and I know what I must do. Twisting the sword in my hand behind me. I feel it enter her body. I turn and watch as a silver light discharges from her body, into my sword and then into my body forcing her out. The silver light mixes with the dark energy that has just left me. Wrapping around it and enveloping it. There is an ear piercing scream as the light explodes into a million points like the stars in the night sky.
I watch as Theran smiles at me. Then she looks down at the sword I have run through her body. "Good one ." She gasps at me as her knees buckle. Blood trickles from her lips.
I let go of the sword and fall to my hands and knees as Theran falls back. I can hear the battle dying down now. We have won. I feel Mel wrap her arms around me and pull me down into her lap. "Mother?"
"Hey pal ." I smile at her.
She takes my hand and our fingers interlace. "Hey pal ." She kisses my forehead.
Then I turn my head to see Gabrielle dropping down next to me. "Xe?"
I reach out to touch her face. "My love ."
She captures my hand in her own and kisses my palm. "Welcome home."
"The kids Ri check the kids."
I close my eyes. I am home. Soon I need to sit up. As I struggle to get up Mel helps me by lifting me up. I see that Hades and Artemis are with the children. Ri is leaving them after checking on them and giving them all hugs and kisses. Hades picked his granddaughters up in his arms and takes them into the house as Artemis assists Kai. Solan is on his knees, two amazons move to help him in as well.
Ri stops and kneels next to Theran, brushing her hand gently through the womans short dark hair. The sword still protruding from her chest, I see her raise a shaky hand to Ri. My wife smiles as tears slip down her cheeks and she leans in to hear what Theran has to say.
"Thank you," Ri says softly as she turns to look at me. I nod my head. She pulls Theran into her arms and holds her until it is over. I close my eyes as the final breath leaves her body.
She sacrificed herself for my family, after everything that I did to her. She saved them.