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-three in the series "Raising Melosa". Most of the Melosa stories have a gap of about six months between them, but this one takes up about two weeks "Tapestry."
I looked at them. Each on of them waited patiently for my answer. "It is my opinion that the council should handle this matter. I shouldnt have a vote here. It would seem that I have a serious conflict of interest. It was my daughter that was directly involved in the incident. Xena was acting as the Queens champion. If it were merely a matter of ruling on that "
"Your Majesty. We understand your hesitancy in this matter, but the problem is you have the deciding vote." Council member Brenna was quick to point out. "You have to cast your vote."
"I could abstain from the vote."
"Its never been done before Your Majesty."
"Theres a first time for everything," I mumbled as I considered the table before me. "Lets break for the mid-day meal and come back to this issue afterward."
"As you wish Your Majesty."
I stood and left the council chamber. Outside Mel waited for me on the steps. I sat down next to her. "Whats up kiddo?"
"Un-huh. Decided to have my mid-day meal. Want to join me so we can talk about this?"
She slipped her and into mine as we walked across the square to the hut where the meal was being served. One of the perks of being Queen is the ability to always find a seat, as a matter of fact three seats were reserved in the hut, mine, Xenas and Mels. When Kessa and Rosa were old enough to start joining us in the village on a regular basis seats would be saved for them as well. The hut was crowded, but we made our way through with relative ease and got our food and took our seats. Mel stared at her food and just sort of picked at it.
"Okay I know that brooding warrior look. Ive seen it on your mothers face too many times. Whats wrong?"
"Shes going to get away with it isnt she?"
"Mel shes a child."
"Yeah a child who can handle a cross bow like a seasoned warrior. A child who nearly killed my mother." She growled.
I exhaled the breath I had been holding. "I know. Its difficult."
"Whats difficult? She tried to assassinate the Queens champion. That is a capital offense Mother."
"For an adult."
"Nowhere in the scrolls does it say anything about age."
"You read the scrolls?"
"Oh yeah I wanted to make sure there werent any loopholes for the little Bacchae to slip through."
"Mel be nice."
"I am being nice. Im being the perfectly little Princess and Im letting you handle it. When what I want to do is "
"Mel thats enough." I could tell she was about to go Xena on me.
Speaking of my consort, she arrived just in the nick of time. She came through the doors with Sol and Ep. They were coming off the training field. Xena as per usual had been out there actually mixing it up with the warriors she trained and she looked the part. Dripping with sweat that streaked her face, back and bare arms. She was wiping the perspiration from her eyes as she continued talking to Ep while they stood and waited for their food. I could tell by the look on her face she wasnt in a particularly good mood either. Great, just great I was going to have one on each side of me. I already had a headache and it wasnt getting any better.
Xena crossed over and sat down next to me. She reached out and took my hand and gave a loving silent squeeze. I knew this as her "Please just dont talk to me" signal. It was a signal we had worked out many, many seasons ago when I tended to be a little less that in tune with my partners moods. She took her hand back and began eating her meal in silence.
Mel started to say something to Xena and I shook my head. She knew immediately not to disturb her Mother if I told her not too. So here I sat between them both of them eating in silence and both of them furious over something. I knew what Mels problem was. I wasnt sure what Xenas problem was, but the energy flowing around me was enough to make everyone else in the hut notice that the royal family was being a little less than sociable today. Normally, Mel and Xena would playfully banter back and forth and carry on to the point that I would have to stop them so I could eat in peace. Today however the tension around us was so thick you could cut it with a dagger.
Xena finished her meal in complete silence never uttering a word. When she was finished she kissed me on the cheek and said simply. "I love you." Then she stood and went to Mel and knelt down and gave her a hug and said, "Well talk later. I promise." With that, she stood and left to return to the training grounds.
"Mother?" Mel asked as she watched Xena walk away.
"Is it really bad thing that Im so much like her?"
My heart skipped a beat. "Of course not you should be proud of who you are. Why?"
"Ive heard the stories. Ive read the stories. Ive heard the two of you talk about her dark side. Does that mean I have her dark side too. Is that why I want Reenas head on a stick?"
"Well, little one I have to tell you I dont care too much for that visual image, but no thats not why youre so upset over this. Youre upset over this because what happened was just plain wrong and you want justice. Theres nothing wrong with wanting that."
"Then why cant I have it?"
"Because unfortunately justice is a complicated issue. Especially here, yes what she did was wrong. I agree, but the fact remains that shes not much older than you and its difficult to judge a child and a childs actions the same way you judge an adult for doing the same thing."
"You know what would happen to an adult for doing the same thing"
I thought back to the night Xena had proposed to me. The night that Kallia had indeed tried the same thing. She had been executed for trying to kill Xena. How could I let them execute a child?
"Well? You know " Mel said impatiently.
"Yes Mel I know an adult found guilty of the same crime would be executed." I turned to my daughter and looked her in the eye. "Melosa I want you to understand " Yes I wanted her to understand. "Come with me."
We left the hut and returned to council chambers together. I returned to my chair, but I didnt sit down I pulled it out and had Mel sit instead. Then I turned to the council.
"It seems that the issue here has become a complicated one. We have talked about it and we have decided nothing. So now a council debate will be held to determine our options and then a vote will be held."
The members of the council all looked to me as I paced back and forth, they nodded their heads in agreement and murmurs ran deep.
"Then a vote will be cast from all viable options and the throne will have a vote as well. I am, for the moment, for the duration of this debate and for the vote on this one issue, placing Princess Melosa on the throne." A gasp ran through the room. I held up my hand and the room quieted. "This issue is over the future of a child of this village. A child who committed a very adult crime, the scrolls state that anyone charged with a crime of this nature should be judge by their peers. We most certainly are not the childs peers and since it would be impractical to ask children to judge her I am giving my vote to my rightful heir. She will remain here. She will listen to the entire debate," I said looking down at Mel, who understood immediately I was serious and nodded her agreement. "And then you may cast your vote. Princess Melosa will cast the deciding vote in the event of a tie. The decision will be final." I drew a deep breath and looked down at Mel. "This is important Melosa. Do what your Mother and I would do, use your head here not the power of the position. Do what you believe is right."
I turned and left the council chambers, hoping against hope that I made the right decision. There were no easy answers here. No matter how it ended or what happened someone was going to get upset and someone would be hurt. I sat down on the steps and considered what I had just done. Had I just sealed Reenas fate by placing it in Melosas hands? My daughter was questioning her own abilities. Was this the time to try and help her understand that she didnt posses Xenas dark side because she wanted justice? I rubbed my temples my own headache had just increased tenfold.
Three candle marks passed and I continued to wait. Xena came off the training grounds again. At least she had a smile on her face this time. What ever had been bothering her at the mid day meal didnt seem to be concerning her now. She came over and sat down next to me and gave me a soft kiss on the cheek.
"Taking a break?"
"Ri what going on?"
"Xena Mel is casting my vote on this issue."
"Mel! Ri have you lost your senses? Shes only a little girl."
"Oh thank you for your support tall, dark and silent." I was on my feet now trying desperately not to yell and draw attention to us. "You were a big help to me today when Mel was asking me if she had any of your dark side because she wanted justice. No you stalked in, brooded through the entire meal without a single damn word and then left." I was so angry I was shaking. "You have refused to take any opinion in this issue saying it was for the throne to decide. Well, damn it shes my heir and the heir to the throne and the throne is deciding."
"Shes also my daughter and I dont think she should have been put in that position." Xena growled at me. "You cant ask her to make a decision like that at her age."
"Why not? She made the decision to save your life."
"Thats different, that was a reflex. A reflex to her training."
"Need I remind you Warrior. That shes also in training to take the throne. To rule as Queen, shes not a warrior."
Xena got to her feet. "Something suddenly wrong with being a warrior?" I could see the hurt in her eyes. "Isnt that good enough for our daughter? Its okay that she looks like me just as long as she doesnt act like me. Is that it Gabrielle?"
She turned and left me standing there shaking and to damn mad to say anything. I watched her walk away and for the first time in a very long time I was to have her walking away from me. I took a deep breath and tried to calm down. The doors to the council chamber opened and the members of the council came out in pairs they seemed at ease and happy with whatever had been decided.
Brenna stopped and placed her hand on my shoulder, whispering in my ear. "You should be very proud Your Majesty. She did very well." She smiled at me and left me to wait for Mel.
Mel was last out. She turned and closed the council chamber doors and then slowly walked down the steps. "I had two choices and the vote was tied." She said softly.
"Theyll be escorted from the village to the nearest town in three days time."
I didnt even bother to ask what the second option was and she didnt tell me.
The Raising Melosa Series Continues with Heir To The Throne
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