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.
Sex: Nothing graphic
Other: Part Thirty-four in the series "Raising Melosa". Most of the Melosa stories have a gap of about six months between them, but this one takes up right after "Judgement Day."
Heir to the Throne
Kai rode his pony slowly next to me as we walked toward the lake. "You okay?"
"Yeah buddy Im fine." I lied.
"Youre being awful quiet. You mad?
I thought about my disagreement with Ri in the village. "No Im not mad."
"Then umm I need something."
"What? Whaddya need buddy?"
I stopped and smiled. My son was hitting me up for money. "Mind if I ask why you need a dinar?"
"Well its not for me really. Its really for Mel." He reined his pony and looked at me with a silly little grin that was all Ri. He even wrinkled his nose the same way.
"Okay Ill bite. Why does Mel need a dinar?"
"No I need the dinar, but its for Mel."
"Kai why dont you just tell what you need to money for."
"Well you know Mels birthday is a few days away?"
"And its some big thing for her as far as taking over for Momma "
"Yes its her Rite of Passage to the Throne." I sighed as my thoughts returned to that little spat that Ri and I had earlier in the day
"Well I wanted to get something good for her and my friend Galen over in the centaur village, his father makes tack and he made Mel a new bridle for her pony. Ive been saving for half a season I swear I have, but I still dont have enough to "
I smiled at my son and caressed his face. "Ill take care of it. Mel will have her new bridle. Well go get it tomorrow okay?"
"Thank you Momma." He grinned at me and nodded. "You think Mels gonna like it?"
"I think shell love it."
We got to the lake and I helped him off his pony, then I spent the next candle mark teaching him how to skip stones across the water. He had seen me do it once and wasnt going to be happy until he could do it too. By the time we were ready to head back he had gotten pretty good at it. I was never going to get another peaceful day fishing again I just knew it.
Returning to the barn, I made sure Kai was caring for his pony before I started back to the house. I knew Mel and Ri would be back from the village by now and I wasnt looking forward to this. Ri and had rarely disagreed over the children and Im not sure why we had this time. I knew Mels position. She was Ris heir shed take the throne one-day. She wasnt a warrior she was a future Queen and I was damn proud of that fact. I didnt know what had come over me in the village.
Truth was I didnt really want any of my children to follow the warrior path. Its a hard life, dangerous and dirty most of the time, with very little glory. I took the steps up to the house two at a time and went in. Ri was sitting at her desk reading a parchment. She glanced up at me and then turned back to the scroll.
"Mels birthday is in three days " I started tentatively.
"I know." She never looked back at me. "Well have to celebrate in the village."
"I know, her Rite of Passage to the Throne. Im guessing big party?" I grinned hoping to lighten the mood.
"Un-huh. You should be there for the Rites, but you dont have to stay for the party if you dont want to." She had a very cold edge in her voice.
"Aw Tartarus Ri, its Mels birthday, of course Ill be there." She wasnt going to make this easy. "Look about today "
"Lets just not talk about it. I think you made yourself quiet clear."
"Weve both had a hard day okay. I dont think we should take what happened over in the village too seriously. I know Mels place is at your side. I know shes going to take the throne. I wouldnt want it any other way."
She looked at me, the hardness of her face softened. She got up and crossed to me wrapping her arms around my waist. "Thank you."
"As it should be My Queen, the Princess should follow." I kissed the top of her head and wrapped my arms around her holding her close.
"Xe why were you so upset today?" She looked into my eyes and caressed my face.
"I have a class of new trainees that want to question and challenge my knowledge and authority. Today they played a game called how far can we push her before she kills us."
This brought a quiet laugh from my wife. I hugged her closer to me and then I leaned in for a light kiss. It was returned in kind and all was forgiven.
"So did you?" She asked as she moved away from me and poured us each a cup of wine as I sat down and began removing my boots.
"Did I what?"
"Yup had to kill three of them just to prove a point." I joked as I took the wine she offered me and took a deep drink. "They all had it coming." I sat the cup down and continued removing my boots. It occurred to me that my children werent the only ones around here who were aging. I felt the muscles tighten in my lower back as I leaned to undo the laces. A soft groan escaped before I even realized it.
"Your back?" She began rubbing it even before I said anything. She seemed to know exactly where that one troublesome muscle was and she was the only one who could work it loose.
"Ohh..well..yess ohh " I couldnt help it, it just felt so good when it finally worked free.
"Well that sounded positively orgasmic darling." She smiled as she sipped her wine.
"It was close." I laughed as I sat back. "So about Mels birthday. Whats the plan?"
"Well theres a lot of ritual things that have to be taken care of." She said as she took a seat next to me and curled up against my legs. "We have to go to the temple first thing in the morning and she has to spend most of the day in silent contemplation."
"Ha! Our daughter in silent contemplation, oh yeah thats gonna go over big. If shes feeling like you, shell spend the day talking to herself and if she feeling like me shell sit and contemplate thirty-five different ways to disable someone with a staff."
"There are thirty-seven different ways to disable someone with a staff." Ri corrected me with a wink.
"Forty." Mel said as she cut through the room. We hadnt even heard her come in. "There are forty different ways to disable someone with a staff." She slung her arms over the back of the couch and just kind of hung there staring at us.
"Well dear if you know forty different ways to disable someone with a staff Im not going to argue with you." I chuckled as I ran my hand through her hair.
"There are actually forty-one, but that last one is a real pain in the butt to execute."
She continued to hang off the back of the couch. She didnt seem quite herself. She had a very tiring day as well. She seemed extremely tense, but at the same time drained. I got up and went over the to wine and poured about a half a glass and then cut that it with water. I took the cup over and handed it to her. She just looked at me. "Really?"
"Yup. Hey in three days time your going to be named the official heir to the Amazon throne. A little diluted wine isnt gonna hurt you. Were just not going t make a habit out of it." I settled back down next to Ri and Mel took a seat on the floor in front of us.
She sniffed the cup and took her first tentative sip of wine.
She made a face, wrinkled her nose and sat the cup down. She smiled at us. "Can we talk now?"
"Sure," I looked to Ri and shrugged. "Whats on your mind?"
"Everything really and I dont know where to start. Im kind of confused."
"Well sweetheart," Ri said as she stroked a hand through Mels hair. "Start from the beginning and well go from there."
"After today I have to admit Im scared." She dropped her head. "I dont know if I can do this. I dont know if I be a leader."
I smiled, but quickly covered my mouth with my hand. I wasnt smiling because my daughter was uncomfortable or because she was questioning her abilities. I was smiling because she was intelligent enough to ask herself these questions and smart enough to be concerned. It was actually a very proud smile, but I still didnt want her to see it for fear that she would misinterpret it. I looked to Ri who drew a deep breath when she realized I was leaving this one with her.
"Mel the Rite of Passage simply means that on top of your other lessons and training you will begin to join me for the official functions and begin your training to take over."
"But doesnt it also mean that if something should happen to you I have to take the throne with the Regent as my guide? Aunt Eph would help me, but it still means I would be ruling the Amazons."
"Yes it does."
"I dont know if I can do that."
"Well you know Im not planning on going anywhere for quite sometime."
"You also didnt plan of having a tower fall on you either and that happened."
I couldnt help but snort a quick chuckle when she came off with that one. It just got me dirty looks from both of them. I waved my hand in apology and they continued their conversation.
"Youre right Mel. We never know from day to day what will happen and that accident of a perfect example of that fact. Thats why your training begins now. So you will be ready."
She nodded her head. The nod didnt seem like she was happy with that answer but she was willing to let it go.
"Mel you know if something were to happen to your Mother I would be here for you too. I mean Im not of the royal line but Im no slouch in the leadership arena, I have had some experience you know." I teased with a smile and a wink to my eldest.
"I know that and Im sure if something happens and I have to take over, you will have to help me more than you will ever know."
"Somehow I doubt it." I took her chin in my hand and titled it up to look into her blue eyes that mirrored my own. "Melosa that fact that you have the good sense to question yourself shows the fact that you are going to be a fine leader. Just like your Mother, you will be a Queen that wont soon be forgotten."
She chewed the inside of her mouth for a moment and then smiled. "Well if self doubt is the sign of a great Queen build the statue now cause I got a cartload of it."
I hated formal royal functions for this very reason. I tugged on the sleeves of this damn robe. It was always the most uncomfortable piece of clothing I owned. I was grateful for the fact that I very rarely had to wear it. It was tight in the shoulders and hard to move in. Gabrielle watched me from across the room as I fidgeted with the sleeves and tried to get comfortable. She was already dressed in her own robes and as always looked magnificent.
"You know Id be much more comfortable in my leathers and armor." I hinted.
"No." She wasnt taking the hint. As a matter of fact she was ignoring it completely as she opened the cabinet and retrieved my circlet. She took a soft cloth and polished it before bringing it to me.
I ducked down slightly and let her settle it on my head. I took the opportunity to steal a kiss. She took that as an opportunity to wrap her arms around my neck and deepen the kiss. I wrapped my arms around her and lost myself in the kiss. We finally broke away and stood there staring at each other breathless. "Well that was nice."
"Yes it was." She agreed.
"Its been awhile hasnt it?" I raised a leering eyebrow.
"Yes it has."
"Maybe we should try to get away early tonight."
"Yes we should." She smiled at me. "But right now we should get out there with the rest of the family and go spring Mel from the temple before she tears it apart with her bare hands."
We left our bedchamber, in the outer room our entire family waited for us. Solan and Kai wore robes that matched my own blue one, Kessa and Rosa wore robes that matched Ri and Mels, and they were the next in line for the throne. Then of course there was little Ri who was adorable in her own little green robes. Should something happen to her aunts the throne would fall to her as Ris granddaughter.
Ri certainly had her share of heirs. The throne should remain with our line for quite sometime. Alana wore her formal leathers and my mother wore a beautiful blue and green dress that complimented the entire family. The only member of my family that was missing was Toris, but we hadnt seen or heard from him in nearly two seasons. I wasnt surprised when we couldnt find him to tell him about the ceremony.
I clasped my hands together and interlaced my fingers and then twisted my hands to give my knuckles a good crack as I surveyed my family again with the pride that I felt. It was indeed a sweet picture before my eyes. I knew I had a silly grin on my face and no one was going to take it away from me tonight. I scooped Kai up in one arm and wrapped the other arm around Ris waist. "Shall we?"
As we left the house, Kai whispered in my ear. "The robe itches."
"I know." I whispered back.
I got a swift poke in the ribs from the Queen. "Dont encourage him."
We arrived in the village and preparations were just being completed for the party that would take place after Mel actually took her seat next to Ri for the first time. There were now four chairs on the dais. Ris ornate throne, to her left my consorts chair and now to her right a smaller version of her throne that had been crafted for Mel and then to Mels right, Ephs place as Regent.
The rest of the royal family was seated at a heavily guarded table to the left of the dais. I noticed there were a few more guards than normal out for this function and I motioned for Ep. She came over quickly and I took her by the arm and turned her away from my family before consulting her. "Are we expecting trouble tonight?"
"No, but with everything that has happened in the last few weeks I just wanted to make sure. Do you have any idea how rare it is to have the entire royal family in one place at the same time? Eph is just having kittens." She chuckled.
"We could have left Mel home you know." I grinned.
"Some how I doubt that the Rite of Passage would go very smoothly without the Guest of Honor."
"Hmm could be some truth there I suppose." I smiled and patted her on the back as I turned back to my family.
I offered Ri my arm and we began our ascent to the dais. I stood while Ri took her place and then I took mine, right next to her. Ephiny took her seat after us. I looked to my left and gave Kai a wink as he pulled on the collar of his robe and made a choking motion with his hands at his throat. I chuckled and shook my head before returning my attention to the village square.
The doors or the temple were opened and Mel exited. She was dressed in her robes and came forward toward the dais. She stopped right in front of us and took a deep breath. "I am Melosa." She started, looking Ri right in the eyes for the encouragement to get through her declaration. " Eldest daughter of Gabrielle, Queen of the Amazons and her consort Xena of Amphipolis."
I smiled. I hadnt expected that little declaration, but I was proud that she had done it.
She gave me a quick smile and continued. "I have come to claim my right of succession to the throne. This is my Rite of Passage. I am of age and I wish to take my place at you side Your Majesty." She lowered her eyes and waited.
I glanced over to Gabrielle, her face full of emotion as she too drew a deep breath before beginning. She stood and addressed our daughter. "Melosa you have proven yourself already to be a true Princess of the Amazon Nation. You have shown yourself in combat and you are a capable decision-maker. Come and take your place at my side as Heir to the Throne."
Mel turned slowly and walked toward the dais, climbing the stairs carefully, she was more nervous than she looked. Eph and I both stood as Mel climbed the stairs. We remained standing until she and Gabrielle took their seats and then we returned to our own chairs.
With the hard part over now it was up to Mel to begin the celebration, which she was more than happy to do so the attention would be taken from her. It didnt take long for the party to start and we all relaxed considerably.
It also didnt take Kai long to take off his robe. The little rat had put on trousers and a tunic on under his robe. I looked over at Solan who was stripping off his robe as well he too had worn something under his formals as he called them. My sons didnt know it but they were in big trouble later. The little rats.
As was expected Mel moved out into the crowd to socialize. Which she did very well, oh boy did she get that from Ri. She certainly didnt inherit that trait from me. I smiled as I watched her perform her duties and actually seem to enjoy them. A tug on my arm and I turned to Ri. "Yessss " I drew it out as I leaned over and grinned at her.
"Two candle marks you me house." She jerked her thumb over her shoulder indicating our old house here in the village. Then she stood, gave me a soft kiss and wandered off into the crowd to be with Melosa.
The Raising Melosa Series Continues with Duty Calls
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