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

Violence: Yes.

Language: Mild/Harsh

Spoilers: There are multiple but, very minor spoilers for all kinds of stuff here guys. We’re recovering 30+ years of memories. However, I have really chosen to ‘skim’ over most of the actual episodes. We know what happened there. I also won’t be mentioning all of them. Anything after the India Arc won’t be mentioned only because I can’t see into the future so let’s assume those memories are returned, ‘K?

Other: Part thirty-one 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 "The Guest." Also, we’re dealing with the rediscovery of memories here. After much debated with myself I realized that there is no way I can do this issue the true justice it deserves. So I’m doing the best I can to be fair to the character of Gabrielle and how she would deal with this issue. This story will also be written from Xena’s POV, Gabrielle’s POV and may have a few third person narratives as well. A bold first letter will identify a change of perspective. I won’t identify the speaker that should become clear as the story unfolds.

 

 

Homepage http://members.aol.com/tnovan/page2/index.htm

Comments TNOVAN@aol.com

 

The Soul of the Bard

By T. Novan

 

With Amazon guards placed all around the house for our protection the ritual was about to begin. They had been given their orders. They were not allowed to enter for any reason until the Queen and only the Queen called for them. No one was to get into the house. Anyone who attempted to do so was to be executed without hesitation.

 

 

I was surrounded by darkness. Trying not to feel the fear that wanted to creep into my heart. In my mind I knew I was safe and sound in our home, with Xena at my side. This darkness was a darkness I had never known. Blacker than the darkest night, quieter that most vigilant assassin. Then, his voice came it was soft.

"You are Gabrielle. Daughter of Herodotus and Hecuba."

The darkness began to fade. I saw them, a young man and woman. She was in bed holding a newborn baby. He knelt at her side and looked down at the child. My parents, the child was me. They looked so young, so happy.

"Gabrielle. Sister of Lila."

The scene shifted. I was three. Held in my father’s arms as we went to see my newborn baby sister.

 

 

I watched her from my position in the chair, the only piece of furniture that we had been allowed to leave in common room of our home. Everything had to be removed for Gabrielle’s safety. While Dionysus guided her through her memories she would be free to move around, but she wouldn’t know it. Hades had made the room as safe as possible for her before he left, covering the floors and walls in soft tapestries. A stuffed mattress had been provided as bedding for us in the floor near the fireplace.

I was told that she would interact with me while she regained her memories, but wouldn’t remember these interactions until Dionysus had left her. Until then it was my job to keep her safe. I wasn’t permitted to touch her or speak to her unless she instigated it and as soon as she stopped I must as well. I could touch her if for some reason she tried to hurt herself, for her own safety I was allowed to restrain her. I suspected there was more to it than that, but that I would have to wait and see.

She sat in front of the fireplace staring into the flames. She had a smile on her face and whatever memories were being returned to her were obviously sweet ones.

 

 

Lila and I playing together as our mother did chores around our home. I could feel the texture of the clothing, the sensation of the toys in my hands. I could ‘feel’ again. The memories of my childhood come to me flowing like a river. It felt wonderful to know again to understand, to remember. I watched as Lila and I grew up. How my parents aged to became the people I loved.

"Gabrielle. Betrothed to Perdicus."

Ah, Perdicus. He was such a contrast of character as I remembered him. You could tell that lying just below the surface was a good man trying to get out, but life in our little village had made him the same as everyone else, dull.

As I remembered Poteidaia I also began to remember just how badly I didn’t want to stay there. All the nights of lying awake under the stars watching them travel across the sky and wishing for a way out before I was doomed to the life of being a farmer’s wife. Married to a man that I loved far more like a brother than a husband. I couldn’t allow myself to believe that Perdicus and Poteidaia where my destiny. There had to be more, there just had to be.

 

 

I watched as she shifted uneasily and began rocking back and forth just a little. There was some distress evident in her actions and her body language, but she remained seated in front of the fire and staring into the flames.

Quietly I got up and move to the mattress and stretched out. I didn’t touch her or speak to her I just want to be close to her, in case she needed me. Suddenly it became quite clear that what she was feeling was fear. Oh by the Gods how I wanted to reach out and bring into my arms, to hold her, to comfort her, to make her feel safe.

 

 

He came first thing in the morning after all the men had left for the fields. He took the advantage and captured women and children using them against the men to make the men submit in order to save their families.

Draco intended to make us slaves. I for one wasn’t willing to go without a fight. I was scared to death, but it was better than being a slave. Then it happened…she stepped from the bushes…

"Gabrielle. Friend to Xena: Warrior Princess."

 

 

I watched as once again her expression changed and I heard her speak for the first time.

"You have to take me with you…" She mumbled as she stared into the flames.

I smiled. This was a sweet memory for me too. It was the day that I laid eyes on the young woman who would first be my friend and then my confidant, then she would become my lover and then finally become my wife and the mother of my children. This was the day the two halves of one soul found each other.

"It is time for her to rest Xena." I could hear his voice, but he never showed himself. "Take her to your bed and allow her to rest and sleep."

"May I hold her while she sleeps?" I asked quietly as I approached her and helped her to her feet. She looked at me, but her eyes were blank.

"Yes."

I moved to her and helped her into bed. It had been a long and tiring day. I was exhausted and I could tell by the feeling of her body that she too was worn out. She settled quickly against me as I wrapped my arms around her. She was content here and I was happy to finally be able to hold her. Not being able to touch her was something I wasn’t accustomed to especially when I thought she needed me. I kissed the top of her head and pulled her as close to me as I could get her. Nothing would harm her tonight.

Morning came quickly. His voice woke me and he informed me it was time for them to begin again and that I should move away from her. I gave her a kiss on the forehead and a soft light one on her lips. "I love you Gabrielle. I’m here if you need me." I didn’t want to let her go, but I wanted this to be over.

 

 

So many visions, so many adventures. Life and death struggles over good and evil. Some with outside forces, some with ourselves, Morpheus wanted me as his bride, Xena had rescued me. She only wanted to protect me. She fought to keep my blood innocence intact…

Pandora and the box…

Marcus, Xena loves Marcus…

She fights it everyday, the darkness that consumes her. I can see in her beautiful blue eyes as she tells me to leave her there in that stinking dungeon…I should have listened to her, should have done as she asked she never would have struck me…

 

 

I hear her cry out and I look up in time to see her recoil and she whispers my name. What have I done to hurt her? Where is she in the memory scape? Is this the first time I’ve hurt her in her memories or the hundredth and when she is finished with this will she still find it in her heart to forgive me?

I ran my hand over my face and realized I was sweating. A fever, I had a fever. I couldn’t afford to get sick right now, Gabrielle needed me.

 

 

Titans, Prometheus, Celesta…we certainly had our hands full there. We managed to get through it all.

"Gabrielle, Amazon Princess."

My heart sank as I felt Terreis breath her last. Right of Caste. Amazon Princess, oh Xena got quite a chuckle out of that until she realized they were serious. Then she took it with the seriousness that was intended and that’s when she became my champion.

 

 

"My champion…" She murmured as I watched her.

I had waited until she seemed somewhat settled and I had gone to get a cool rag for my head. Her words caught my attention. I waited to see if she was calling to me or just speaking aloud. Some part of my fevered brain wanted her to be calling to me so I could be close to her. I was sweating buckets.

 

 

Helen of Troy…the wooden horse…Perdicus…

"Gabrielle, bard."

Leaving Xena to go the Academy was one of the hardest things I had ever done. I missed her horribly for the first few days I was there. The excitement of being there and just being able to compete was the only thing that helped me get through it. I wanted to make her proud of me. I was never happier than I was the day I went back to her.

Petracles. He played us both…and lost.

Oh poor Diana…poor Diana my foot. Now that I think about it, that was of the hardest things I ever had to do with absolutely no warning. Thank you very much, Warrior Princess. Oh I’ll get you for that I swear I will.

It must have been hard for her…to lose Marcus a second time…

Autolycus…ah Autolycus thank you. Seeing Xena in the harem girl get up almost pays for the Diana thing. Wow you know…I hadn’t noticed before…I mean I think I had noticed before, but I really noticed this time…that body…hmm.

Home… Poteidaia …Meleager…Xena…Home…

 

 

I cocked my head as I watched her and I couldn’t help but smile. Somebody was remembering talking rocks and henbane laced nut bread. As I ran the cloth over my neck and face I remembered that lovely cool lake and the young beauty I had started falling in love with and exactly where she had to put her hands to get that fish I had trapped for her.

How things had changed for me then. I knew it was the nut bread, but I also knew she wouldn’t say anything she didn’t believe or didn’t feel. I had begun to fall in love with her before that, but that strengthened it because it kept alive my hope that maybe someday she might love me too. Not to mention she was just so damned cute.

"Xena…I’m sorry…I had to do it." She said. "I hope I didn’t hurt you…with the pitch fork I mean." She said quietly.

I remember this conversation. This was one of the first times we had shared the warmth of one bedroll. It was after Ares had tried to impersonate Atrius. As we lay in bed that night she rubbed the knot out of my back and applied salve to the bruise she had put across my back. It was worth it for the rubdown I got after.

 

 

Xena was dead. How angry could one person be? Gods how could they take her from me like that…but the villagers still need…someone…

Callisto…

Toris…Cortese. More of the things that make Xena’s past so hard for her to deal with. I suspect more of the reasons that I pull her from sweat soaked nightmares and try to ease her back to sleep…

Ephiny…Xenan…waking in Xena’s strong arms her tear stained face the first thing I see and her soft words the first thing I hear when I come back…

Solan…

"Gabrielle, wife and widow of Perdicus."

 

 

As I watched her move through the memory scape I watched her face. I saw everything from joy to fear to anger. I felt so sorry for her to have to go through all of this again. I watched as she screamed for Perdicus…I knew what she was remembering. She was remembering another of my greatest failures…to her…the happiness she could have had with him.

My fever had gone up again and the throbbing in my leg told me that my foot was infected. That damn cut I had gotten in the barn. No time to be concerned about that…

 

 

Xena trapped in Callitso’s body…oh by the Gods how that hurt. To look at my best friend, my home and to see my worst enemy. To know that I actually sat up one night and watched her sleep and thought of killing her. Knowing I could do it. I was the only one who could get close enough to her in her sleep to do it. I had to sit there and remind myself that this was my Xena. My Xena…

What kind of a monster bans solstice…

Still one of my best scrolls, Xena adamantly refused to let me title it What a Drag…

I had taken her there…she was dead. The one person I truly loved dead. Oh Gods why hadn’t I seen it before. Why did she have to die before I knew it? Before, I realized that I had lost the other half of my soul. Maybe it was being married to Perdicus and realizing that I never grieved for him that way I grieve for Xena now. I never hurt for him the way I hurt now.

"Gabrielle, Queen of the Amazons."

"Gabrielle, Xena’s lover."

I have her back and I swear by the Gods, nothing is every going to go unspoken between us again. That is how I am in her arms now. Sharing her bed for the first time as her lover. Understanding for the first time, the true power and passion of my warrior lover. Understanding that this is where my destiny is I want nothing more in this life than to be with this woman. To know that she feels the same about me, that we love each other. She sleeps and I’m watching her, still amazed that she chose me.

Velasca…Callisto…

Minya…frying pan…flying parchment…whips…thinking about that now that was a lousy trade…

 

 

Well whatever it is, it’s funny. I’m glad to hear her laughing and to see her smiling. I do so love that smile. I think it was her smile that first caught my eye. When she was younger the simplest things would make her smile, a flower, a sunset, watching me struggle with that buckle on my armor, helping me with that buckle on my armor.

"What’s wrong with you eyes…" She says softly. I realize she must be referring to our run in with Palaemon.

The fear I felt on that one I couldn’t even put into words. I finally had this beautiful woman in my life and I thought I might never be able to see her again. Vidalus certainly saved the day for us then.

"Time for her to rest warrior." I barely heard him.

I started to stand and faltered catching myself on the chair I brought myself upright and limped over to her. Taking her gently around the shoulders, I laid her down on the bed and covered her. I knew I needed to eat, so I went into the kitchen to see what I could scare up.

My foot hurt like Tartarus I knew I was getting worse and I wondered how much longer this was going to take. I found a few ‘field rations’ as Ri and I use to call them when we were on the road. Nothing fancy bread, cheese, a little wine. Not fancy, but filling. Then again I didn’t expect to keep much down at the moment the fever was going to make that impossible, but I had to try.

It didn’t take long. After I got cleaned up I took some herbs to settle my stomach and I treated my foot. I sat back down in the chair. I felt too bad to lay down. I was restless from the fever and I didn’t want to disturb her. I drifted in and out all night long.

Her screams awoke me. I jumped to my feet without thinking and collapsed, the fever and the infection had strong hold on me, but by the Gods she needed me. She was calling to me. Begging me to help her. I pulled myself over to her and wrapped her up in my arms.

 

"Gabrielle, mother of Hope."

Dahok…Hope…I failed her…Xena failed us…failed me…

Chin…Lao Ma…Ming T’’ien…I betrayed her…I failed Xena…

Cleopatra…

Leah…Meg…

That damn scroll…I did feel sorry for Aphrodite though…

Hope…oh Gods Hope…my daughter…Solan…she killed Solan…how could this happpen…

 

 

Just when I thought I had her calmed down she started to fight me. I hadn’t the strength to fight her or to restrain her. She pounded on me and screamed at me.

"I hate you!" She pounded my chest. I knew what she was remembering. It all made sense to me now. The infection and the fever were no doubt part of the plan. I’m sure this was part of the plan to allow her some of the revenge she deserved for the horrible things I did to her before we went to Illusia. I should have paid for that a long time ago.

I couldn’t hold myself up any longer under her onslaught. I fell to the mattress and waited for it to end.

The next sensation was her, stroking my hair and telling me that she loved me. I was as tired and as sore as I felt after the Persian’s. That had to be what she was remembering now. I know it was. I remember her words to me after that battle, the words that helped us both recover.

 

 

Tara…not my favorite person when I first met her, what an obnoxious child. How dare she try to come between Xena and I…

I remember her holding me as we left Gaul behind…

How could I have been so jealous of a woman I had never met…

She really did expect me to punch that fish in the face…

That horrible ship…I gotta stay off ships…

Ares…Hope…Dahok…not this time…never again…even if I have to die…

Hades…Zeus…guiding me back. Zeus wrapped me in a cloak and delivered me to a hospice. He was disguised as an old man. Told them he thought I was from Poteidaia and when I was well enough to travel I should be sent back there. He left dinars for my care and my journey.

Walking through the wood toward home…I needed to get home…

Oh how many things can go horribly wrong for two people? Xena and I reunited for less than a week. No Argo…that damn swamp…the never ending rash…Xena’s little friends… the Scythian Army…and if I ever find that damn rabbit…

Caesar…Pompy…

Tara...Autolycus…talk about your over the top minister types…

I won’t lose her…no matter our problems…we’re trying too hard for her to rot in some prison…

"Gabrielle, Finder of her own Way. Gabrielle, Protector of her Warrior’s Way."

 

 

I rolled over and opened my eyes. I know that pose, it’s the Lotus position…India…just before we came home to the amazons.

My fever had been raging for two days I’m beginning to lose track of time. I had to get up. Had to clear my senses. She needed me. I forced myself to my feet and back into my chair. I had to laugh at the absurdity of it all. Nothing was ever easy for us and this wasn’t any different. Tartarus I felt like I had been run over by a chariot, several chariots, several times.

 

 

The night she proposed…Oh she had never been more beautiful or more powerful in my eyes.

Xena couldn't take her eyes off the Amazon Queen. She drank in every lovely feature and with every moment that passed, fell more in love with her. The warrior wanted so badly to be up there, with her seated to her left on the dais. The seat reserved for the Queen's Consort. Instead, she had to sit among the rest of the Queen's warriors. Not that the company was bad but…

The darkness that had consumed her was now becoming a distant memory. Gabrielle had been the spark and had grown to become the light. She was amazed at the woman the girl from Poteidaia had become. She smiled when she reflected back on how annoyed she was when Gabrielle had first 'attached' herself to her. How her feelings had changed. She was lost in those thoughts when she heard her name called from behind her. She turned to find Talera motioning for her. It was time. Taking a quick look around to make sure she wouldn't be missed, she slipped off into the trees.

Gabrielle had been speaking with Ephiny and hadn't noticed the warrior leave the festival. She looked over at the empty seat to her left and longed for her love to be seated there. The consort's chair was a prized possession among Amazon women. The collective gasp that ran through the crowd sent a shock through the Queen and brought her back to reality. Before her very eyes was a vision she had dared only to dream of.

Xena entered the village astride Argo, both of them in regal attire. Argo's mane and tail had been braided. Her coat (the visible parts) had been brushed into a glow. Her regular tack replaced by light war armor. Her back covered with an emerald green cover with golden threads. The saddle had been shined until you could see the reflection of the torchlight in it.

The warrior sat atop the proud mare, her own, dark mane, pulled back and braided. A vibrant band of emerald green and gold on her forehead. She wore a white, long sleeved waistcoat with the most intricate golden designs Gabrielle had ever seen. White gloves and gauntlets covered her hands and forearms. White trousers and black boots that went to her knees completed the attire. Her sword and Chakram held such a polish that light danced off of them.

Behind her, also on horseback, in full Amazon regalia were Adrin and Talera.

Further back were several young amazons on foot all of them in full attire, bearing gifts. As Xena reigned Argo, the mare whinnied and began a prance towards the dais that almost made it look as if she were dancing.

Ephiny leaned over and whispered, "If this is what I think it is, just sit there and be quiet."

"How can I?"

"You must."

Xena reigned Argo again. She stopped and knelt down, her right leg stretched straight out, the left tucked up under her. She bowed her head. Xena made no effort to dismount, but the trusty mare remained steadfast. Only when the murmurs had died down and the only sounds to be heard was the crackling of the fires and the creatures of the night did Xena leave the mare's back. The horse stood, nodded her head up and down and then began backing away from her mistress.

Gabrielle had become so accustomed to seeing Xena in trousers as of late that she couldn't possibly imagine her in anything else. She had tears in her eyes. This was positively the most beautiful thing she had ever witnessed. The warrior flashed a quick grin and then dropped to one knee, bowing her head.

"Regent Ephiny of the Amazons. I am Xena of Amphipolis and I have come to offer myself as consort and protector of Gabrielle, Queen of the Amazons."

Ephiny did not speak or move. She was going to enjoy making the warrior wait.

She stroked her chin in mock contemplation. Drew a deep breath, held it, exhaled. Contemplated some more. It was the hard kick to her shin from under the table that told her it was time to move on.

"My Queen," Ephiny began, shooting her a 'look', "This warrior wishes to be considered as a prospect for consort. Do you wish to hear her out?"

"Oh yes…" Gabrielle stammered, her regal resolve gone.

"Xena of Amphipolis, rise."

Xena stood, strong and proud.

"What do you offer our Queen and our Nation?"

Xena began by offering game animals that she had taken down in the last few days. The animals had been dressed and prepared for storage. There were also several sacks of grain for the fall planting. She knew that there had not been enough seed collected for the fall so she had gone into the closest village and purchased what she could.

As she spoke of each gift, members of her party would bring them forth and lay them at the front of the stage. They would then bow to the Queen (who didn't see them because she couldn't take her eyes off the warrior) and back away.

"I also offer that which was grown by my own hand." Several fruit and vegetable plants were brought forth.

A young woman came forth carrying an ornate goblet. She was being very careful not to spill any of the liquid. She handed the goblet to Xena, which was almost a mistake because the proud warrior's hands were actually shaking.

Xena raised the cup towards Gabrielle. "I offer water from the River Styx."

A gasp went through the crowd. Xena smiled. A royal guard came forth and took the cup from her, winked and then took it and placed it on the table before the Queen.

"Finally, I offer the pureness of my heart and soul. The gentleness of my love and touch and the service of my warrior abilities and my sword."

She unsheathed her sword and laid it on the ground. The ultimate act of surrender.

Gabrielle wanted to run to her and simply accept her as her consort but she knew it would never be allowed. Why had the warrior chosen to propose here? If she had waited until they were on the road again…damn her suddenly 'proper' manners.

"Amazon sisters hear me!" Cried Ephiny. "This warrior thinks herself worthy of our Queen. Are there any challenges?"

As planned, a young Amazon that Xena had been training, stood and offered a challenge. This of course was all designed just for show and everyone in the crowd knew it. Everyone except for Kallia, an amazon warrior about Xena's age very evenly matched in fighting ability.

Kallia stood and stated proudly, "I challenge this warrior for the right to be the Queen's consort!"

That was not the voice Xena was expecting and she whirled around to see who had decided to put a twist in her plans. Xena turned to Lestia, the young warrior who was going to 'challenge' her. She motioned for her to take her seat. Then she turned very slowly and cast her coldest warrior gaze upon Kallia. 'So you want what is mine', she thought as she used her foot to kick her sword up into her hand, never releasing Kallia from her stare. As Xena twirled the sword in her right hand, she unfastened her jacket with her left. She continued to hold the gaze.

Tossing the sword into the air, she calmly removed her gloves, scabbard and jacket. Handing them off she caught the sword and once again began twirling it. The white silk shirt she was wearing showed every ripple of every muscle as she prepared for battle. She drew a deep breath and smiled, motioning for Kallia to come forward.

As Kallia came forward Xena turned her back on the warrior and faced the dais. She planted the tip of her sword in the dirt, rested her right hand on the hilt and her left on her hip. She smiled at Gabrielle, did the 'eyebrow thing' as Gabrielle called it and then winked at her. Kallia came forth and stood shoulder to shoulder with Xena. Xena looked over at her, bored and annoyed.

"My Queen, I am Kallia of the Amazons. I believe I am better suited to be your consort than this…interloper."

Gabrielle looked at Xena. Oh, she knew that look. There was nothing she could say that would stop the fight now. Ephiny looked to Gabrielle who just shrugged and sighed.

"You are both agreeable to this combat?" Ephiny asked.

"Yes Regent." Kallia announced proudly.

Eph looked at Xena. "If she insists." Xena said dryly, with a bow.

"Then so be it. Sisters hear me! We have a challenge for the hand of our Queen. The winner will be chosen as consort and champion to Queen Gabrielle.

The women gathered didn't really know how to react. Normally a challenge of this nature would have brought a roar of cheers through the crowd, but in this case it was more a reaction of shock and surprise. Shock that Kallia would be so bold and surprise that Xena hadn't already killed her.

Kallia drew her sword. She and Xena squared off. Well, Kallia squared off. Xena faced her opponent, sword down.

"Kallia this is a ridiculous fight that you can not win. Stop now and it will be forgotten."

"Prepare to fight warrior or I'll kill you where you stand." Growled the amazon.

"Don't make me do this Kallia I don't want to hurt you."

"You have hurt her in the past. I won't let you hurt her in the future."

"Yes Kallia I admit it. I have hurt her, but we have put that behind us. Allow us our future, together."

Kallia drew her sword back and then chopped down at Xena's head with an angry roar. Xena raised her own sword and blocked the blow with relative ease. Soon the two were engaged in heavy swordplay. For the first time the clanging of metal against metal actually hurt Gabrielle's ears. She flinched with every blow.

Kallia got in a good blow that opened a wound on Xena's left leg. Blood began to soak through the material. Xena looked down briefly to verify what she had felt. A new passion overcame the warrior princess and the Amazon was no match. It was over very soon after that. Kallia lay on the ground, the point of Xena's sword against her throat.

"Surrender Kallia, it's over." Xena said hoping to spare the amazon's life.

"Kill me Xena, that's what you do best."

Xena pushed on the blade. "If I were my old self you'd already be dead. It never would have gotten this far. It is because of my love for your Queen and all that she has given me that you still breathe. Now surrender and end this."

Kallia shook her head yes and Xena removed the blade from her throat. She then offered Kallia her hand in getting up. Kallia accepted it and Xena pulled her to her feet. Kallia turned and walked away. Xena turned and faced Gabrielle. Suddenly, she turned and caught the knife that had been hurled at her back by a departing Kallia.

"Guards," Ephiny barked. "Arrest her. The charge is attempted murder of the

Queen's intended consort."

Guards rushed forward and took the woman away. Xena turned back to Gabrielle and Ephiny.

"Xena you have proven yourself to be a true warrior. Worthy of being consort to the Amazon Queen."

Xena walked up the stairs of the stage to the table. She stopped and held both of her hands out to Gabrielle. The bard smiled and placed her hands in Xena's.

Xena pulled her up. Kissed both of her hands at the same time and then pulled her into her arms and kissed her. A slow lingering kiss that made Ephiny wonder if they were ever going to come up for air. When their lips finally parted their eyes did not. They continued to gaze at each other as the cheers and roar of approval spread through the crowd.

Suddenly Gabrielle remembered the warrior's injured leg. She turned to see

Adrin coming up the steps of the stage. Gabrielle smiled at Xena. "Now we take care of you, My Consort."

"I'm not your consort yet. Should another champion challenge me before the bonding…"

Adrin pulled Xena into the Consort's chair and began tending to the leg "After that display? I do hope your kidding." She said applying pressure to the wound.

"I thought it pretty impressive too." The warrior said with a smirk. "But it didn't seem to affect Kallia all that much."

"Yeah well Kallia always has been a few feathers short of a headdress." Adrin said as she tended the wound.

Xena and Gabrielle laughed at the analogy. It wasn't nice, but it was true.

 

"Gabrielle, wife of Xena."

Our first anniversary…

Ephiny gave me that silly lopsided grin of hers as she handed me the box. "Here you go all safe and sound just like you left it."

"Thank you for keeping it for me. I know if I had left in the hut she would have found it. She can just be so nosey sometimes."

"Gabrielle it's a warrior thing. We hate surprises."

"Thing isn't a surprise it's an anniversary present."

"Yeah I know and she'll love it, but the nosey part is just a warrior thing. So what do you two have planned for tonight?" She asked me with a wink and a nudge.

"To be honest I'm not sure. Poor Xena's been working so hard lately I don't know what to do for her. She pulled a double tour of sentry duty last night. She's still asleep."

"This late into the morning?"

"Well like I said she's been working hard. She only got in a couple of candle marks ago. She practically fell into bed fully clothed. I had to undress her and tuck her in."

"Awww isn't that sweet. Newlyweds. You guys are just to cute."

"Cute is not a word I would use to describe Xena."

"Really? What word would you use?" I could feel a blush creep over my entire body.

Eph cocked her head to one side and crossed her arms. "Well?"

"Umm...well...I don't think that's any of your business." I teased.

"See. Cute." She teased back.

"Oh just stop it!"

"So tell me all about it." She said as she took a seat on her bed and patted it for me to sit next to her.

I sat down and grinned at her. "Tell you what?"

"Come on spill it." She urged me.

"Why Ephiny I don't know what your talking about."

"Yes you do. What’s it like actually being married to her? Come on it's got to be different from just traveling with her."

"Sure it is. We're settled here now." I wasn't biting.

"Ohh you are the most frustrating person I've ever met!" She growled.

"You know," I said as I stood up. "Xena says the same thing. Especially when she's not getting exactly what she wants when she wants it." I said with a grin as I walked out. I heard the pillow hit the door just behind me.

I went back to our hut. I could hear her moving around in the bathing chamber. I stashed the box and went into find her soaking in a hot tub. I went over and sat down behind her and began massaging her shoulders.

"Mmmm that's niiicccee..." She said softly as she took my hand and gave it a little kiss.

"Tired?"

"Exhausted. You know you've got a lot of land here Your Majesty. Pulling two

tours around it can wear out even me."

"Oh gee and I had so hoped to do that myself later." I said as I kissed her neck.

"Oh sweetheart we've got to find sometime for each other, but it's not going to be tonight. I've got to go back out. Ep's still short two guards."

"WHAT! But...but...tonight's..." I stopped when she turned to look at me. I could see by the blank look on her face she had forgotten today was our anniversary.

"Tonight's what Gabrielle?"

"Nothing." I said quietly. "Umm nothing don't worry about it. Are we at least going to get to manage a meal together before you leave again?"

"Well not now, but I'll tell you what, I'll make sure I make it back for the evening meal tonight okay?"

"Sure. That'd be great." Now I could work with this. If I could just managed to get a nice quiet romantic dinner for two here in the hut. "What do you mean no?" I questioned the cook.

"I'm sorry Your Majesty. Had you given me some warning I might have been able to help you, but on such short notice..."

"I don't furkin' believe this!" I growled as I left the hut.

Ephiny met me as I stormed across the village. "So how goes your anniversary Gabrielle?"

"Oh you don't even want to know. Xena has forgotten and she's back out on patrol...I can't even get a meal brought to my hut for us tonight."

"Well if she's out on patrol it's probably likely she won't make it back for the evening meal anyhow."

I moved in toe to toe and nose to nose with my Regent. "Ephiny if you don't want to watch your Queen combust into flames my Consort HAD better make it home for the evening meal! Now if you know the proper strings to pull around here to see that it happens you had better start pulling!"

Some anniversary this was turning out to be. I was sitting in council chambers going over old scrolls and treaties, while my wife who had completely forgotten about this day pulled another tour of sentry duty and even though she promised to make it back for the evening meal, that hadn't happened either. I just couldn't face the prospect of going back to our hut and spending another evening alone. It was just better to work.

Ephiny came in and slowly approached me. "I'm sorry Gabrielle I tried I really did, the scout just couldn’t find her."

"I know Eph. Hey they'll be other anniversaries right?"

"Sure lots of them. Listen why don't you and I grab a wine skin and just relax tonight. I mean I know I'm no Xena...but at least you won't be alone."

"You know, why the Tartarus not. Let's go." I sat the scrolls aside and we headed out.

"Why don't you go ahead and go back to your hut and I'll go get the wine and meet you there?" Eph said as we walked across the village. I nodded and head for the darkened hut. As I entered the hut I reprimanded myself for not leaving a small candle burning. I always hated stumbling around in the dark. A strong arm around my waist and a hand over my mouth cause that momentary panic reflex. The warm soft lips on my neck however caused something entirely different and the smooth silky voice in my ear released me from my panic.

"Thought I forgot didn't you?" She whispered with a chuckle, she still hadn't removed her hand from my mouth, I nodded. "I didn't." She said as she gave my neck a long lingering kiss that made my knees weak and my breath short.

She turned me in her arms and brought me into one of the most passionate kisses of our lives. When she released me I felt weak in a way I never had before, I couldn't find my voice.

"Ah my bard is speechless. I like it." She kissed me again and swept me into her arms. Continuing the kiss she carried me into out bedchamber. I opened my eyes from the kiss and found that the room was lit in soft candlelight. A full meal was laid out on a blanket on the floor. The bed was covered in flower petals. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.

"Thought I was all work didn't you?" She asked as she put me down and encircled me with her arms. "Didn't think I knew how to play did you?"

"You are so bad. How long have you been plotting this?"

"Are you being nosey little bard?"

I turned in her arms. "And you had help didn't you? Everyone was in on this."

"From Ephiny to the cook." She chuckled.

"Oh they are in soooooo much trouble."

"Oh nooooooo they're not. They have the word of your consort that they wouldn't get into trouble for helping me." She ran her hands up and down my arms slowly and raised that eyebrow. "And you wouldn't want to make your consort look bad now would you?" She purred as she backed me up toward our bed.

"No of course not. I wouldn't dream of it." I said as I felt the back of my legs hit the edge of the bed. She smiled and wrapped her arm around my waist and lowered me back. Oh it was going to be a good anniversary after all.

 

 

My head dropped again. It was getting harder to stay awake. Harder to breath, harder to see clearly. "By the Gods Gabrielle I love you…"

 

 

"Gabrielle, mother to Solan. Mother of Melosa. Mother of Kai. Mother of Rosa and Kessa. Gabrielle…woman of the world…"

He left me and I opened my eyes. I drew a deep and excited breath as all of my memories settled into place. Oh it felt so good to remember everything. My whole life returned to me finally. The fire was dying and the room was darkened. Xena should be here. I built the fire back up and looked around the room. She was slumped in the chair her eyes closed.

"Xena! Oh Xena it so wonderful…" I moved to her and put my hands on the sides of her face. She was on fire. My joy quickly turned to concern for my wife. "Xena! Xena answer me!" She didn’t respond. "Guards!"

Three amazon guards came busting through the door with weapons drawn. I gathered blankets from the bed in front of the fireplace.

"Take her to the lake. Be gentle with her she’s very ill." I knew that the only way to get this fever down was to cool her entire body and the best way to do that was to submerge her in the lake.

As other guards came into the house they were given orders about what to collect and bring to us at the lake. One guard was sent to the village to notify Ephiny that the ritual was over and that Xena was ill and in need of the healer.

The guards placed her on a makeshift littler and carefully carried her to the lake. I went into the water first and had the guards slowly bring Xena in. I knew that moving her into the water too quickly could make it worse.

As I slowly bathed Xena in the cooling water I talked to her. "Oh no you don’t Warrior! You don’t spend weeks taking care of me and holding this family together and then get sick on me when I’m healed and can finally remember everything and don’t you think about leaving me. I’ll follow you I swear I will and I’ll make eternity miserable for you. Come on Xena fight this. It’s a fever…just a fever…fight…"

I issued orders to the guards to build a fire and prepare a bed for her. Then slowly we removed her from the lake and I stripped her clothes from her and wrapped her in blankets.

"Where the Tartarus is Ephiny and Adrin!"

"They’re not coming." Her voice was a shock to me. I turned to find Artemis. "Leave us." She commanded the guards. They looked to me and I nodded, they quickly dispersed and I turned to Artemis. "Gabrielle, my chosen." She continued. I started to speak, but she held up her hand. "I understand your frustration and your anger at me. I’m here to tell you that I had not forsaken you, as you had believed. Hades asked me not to get involved. He wanted to make things right for you. Now, to prove my love for you and that I would never forsake you…" She knelt by Xena’s side and laid her hands on my Warrior’s body. "She is healed of all wounds, all illness. She will sleep thought the night, by morning she will be fine." She stood and turned to me and opened her arms. I stepped forward and accepted her embrace. "You are my chosen one Gabrielle I will never let you doubt that again. Now rest and enjoy this beautiful night with your warrior."

She was gone as quickly as she had come. I checked Xena and found that indeed her wounds from the challenge had healed, the cut on her foot was gone, as was the fever. She stirred a bit, but didn’t wake. I banked the fire so it would burn through the night and stripped out of my cold, wet clothes and climbed under the covers with Xe. She wrapped her arms around me and I was home again.

 

 

The Raising Melosa Series Continues with Tapestry

 


Return to The Bard's Corner