|Up On The Reaches Of The Darkest Moonlight
Author: Silvermoonlight GJ PM
A night by the campfire turns in to a nightmare for Xena and Gabrielle. As they are both drawn in to a deadly battle in which they will both learn what it is to be human and to become inhuman. Story is now being revisedRated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Romance - Xena & Gabrielle - Chapters: 63 - Words: 273,513 - Reviews: 95 - Favs: 45 - Follows: 9 - Updated: 10-08-07 - Published: 04-29-07 - Status: Complete - id: 3513965
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer. This story contains violence, as well as love between to adult women.
Disclaimer. The Xena Warrior Princess series and its characters are all copyrighted property of MCA/universal
Disclaimer. This story is set after the Contest of Pantheons comic series which is like an early season four only with the Ying Yang Chakram. This is the first book in The Waking Light Series.
UPON THE REACHES OF THE DARKEST MOONLIGHT
Night it can be so beautiful even more so when the smell of blossoms are in the air. You can smell it as it drifts through the air and past you in the dim starlight. It fills you with all sorts of feelings and thoughts. Images of times long gone and times you want to revisit and remember in greater detail. It can also fill you with peaceful thoughts and feelings that you don't want to let go off. Xena shifted her gaze up to the night sky for a moment, breaking out of her thoughts as she stretched feeling a slightly dull ach in her shoulder, which hadn't gone away despite the fight she had, had the other day. Her eyes moved to the fire whose ambers were starting to finally die, the cooking items were lying next to it along with the crockery.
She turned feeling Gabrielle shuffle slightly in her sleep, the younger woman was lying on top of her, her head propped under her neck. Her lover had been sleeping peacefully for some time now. She slowly moved her hand up running it through her long blonde hair, moving it in between her fingers feeling its silky softness. She slowly moved her hand down her neck to her green halter top with its lighter green shoulder area's which went down to her upper chest where a piece of brown leather string was used to tie her halter top together. She moved her other hand pulling up the fur bedroll, which had slipped down past her leather belt and brown skirt.
She felt a smile form as she moving her hand up lightly stroking Gabrielle's face, she watched as the younger woman's forest green eyes slowly opened their colour catching the light, which caused them to almost glisten. Xena felt her smile widen. "Hello sleepy head." Gabrielle groaned aloud feeling her self yawn as she eased up her hand slowly rubbing her eyes. "How long have been asleep?" Xena slowly met her tired gaze. "A few hours…" Gabrielle stretched out her arms ignoring how tired she still felt. "You should have woken me up." Xena eased up her hand running it down her cheek in a gentle motion. "I was enjoying watching you sleep." Gabrielle eyed her for a moment. "You always enjoy watching me sleep." Xena leaned closer so she was close to her ear. "That's because you're beautiful when you sleep."
Gabrielle felt a smile form she moved to get up only to feel Xena take her arm and pull her back down gently. Xena raised an eyebrow as she spoke in a playful tone. "You're forgetting something." Gabrielle looked down as she moved her hand through the dark haired woman's hair. She leaned forward meeting her lips, feeling herself breathe in deeply as she enjoyed the deep kiss. Xena slowly closed her eyes feeling the warmth of the kiss move through her veins, she felt a twinge of anger suddenly sweep through her system as the sound of cracking wood hit her ears she found her body going stiff. Gabrielle felt their lips part she breathed in trying to gain control she could see Xena's light blue eyes narrowing.
Her lover's body was tensing up underneath her she turned seeing that Argo was still chewing grass near by. She moved her hand gently down the older woman's leather bodice. "What is it?" Xena looked up watching as Gabrielle's hand moved towards her staff, which was lying close by. She slowly took hold of her sword, which was next to their bedroll. "Trouble…" Gabrielle felt Xena move allowing her to jump to her feet the next moments caught her completely by surprise as an armoured man crashed through the trees in front her. He didn't even look in her direction he was going as he ran towards her, his bloody sword in his hand. He lost his footing in an instant which in turn caused him to hit the floor hard in front of them.
Xena watched him turn to face her as he sat up painfully his face was covered in bloody scratches and the look of fear in them was as clear as day. She looked at his armour for a moment seeing that he had the Corinthian symbol on the helmet. There was blood pouring down from a deep wound in his side which was staining his white shirt. He looked up the fear in his voice as he shouted in her direction. "Run! You have to run!" He turned looking at the trees behind them. "It's coming!" Xena eyed him for a long moment. "Who's coming?" The man pulled himself up almost falling over again as he struggled to get back on his feet. "It'll kill you and rip you to pieces!" Gabrielle turned sharply hearing the leaves move somewhere in the distance. "Xena…what's he talking about?"
Xena turned noticing that Argo was starting to get restless as she scraped her hooves across the floor in short restless motions. She twirled her weapon. "It's over there…" She gripped her weapon tighter as the sound of deep growling hit the air she could see that the soldier had begun to shake as he turned once more in her direction. "You can't take it on in battle! You have to run!" Xena stepped back listening as the sound of heavy foot steps hit the ground close by, what ever it was it was big. She took another slow step back, trying to get a better view through of the trees. She narrowed her gaze as a pair of red eyes suddenly came in to view, the black pupils moved sharply as they met her own she felt her body tense as the creature suddenly leapt though the trees.
The brushes were smashed apart as it crashed through them she felt the pain as the huge black furred creature slammed its shoulder. She felt the hard ground as she hit it full force. Her sword slammed in to the ground close by she turned watching as the huge beast turned landed on all fours, in between her and the wounded man who cried out in panic. Gabrielle watched as the huge animal turned eyeing her it was seven foot fall and covered in black fur, it had a long wolf like nose, which sniffed the air. Long protruding teeth were coming out from its upper and lower jaw, its huge black maned head had long ears, which had numerous rips in them both of these ears were pulled back.
Its long black tail swung as its muscled arms and legs tensed while its huge clawed feet dug in to the ground. She could see numerous scars on its huge body and face. Some looked like claw marks from previous battles while others looked like they had been made by swords. She could also see some sort of ripped material hanging down in between its furry legs. The beast turned sharply catching sight of what it had been after, its long clawed hand slowly moved towards the wounded man. Xena turned grabbing her sword in a lightning fast motion she moved forward her body going to overdrive as her sword made contact with the furry being back leg causing red blood to fly through the air.
She found herself crying out painfully as the wolf like creature turned slamming its arm in to her waist she felt her feet leave the floor only to feel the intense pain as she hit the nearest tree back first before hitting the ground. She groaned pulling herself up on to her knees watching as the huge being slowly moved towards her both of its red eyes were burning in to hers filled with pure hated. The long clawed hand grabbed her around the throat as she was pulled up in to the air as she could feel her feet moving through air nothing but air as they left the floor. The huge animal's mouth opened as it roared at her, she swung her sword only to have her hand stopped as the huge wolf like being grabbed hold of it, its red eyes narrowing she hadn't been ready for this fight from the word go and this was proof of it.
She eyed it feeling the clawed hand around her throat start to slowly tighten making it harder for her breathe she had to get her self out of this mess and fast. Her gaze darted as she heard the sound of wood cracking against flesh only for it to be followed by a howl of pain. She felt the floor as she hit it hard on her knees she felt a sneer form as she watched animal turn away from her. Gabrielle swung her staff again watching as it cracked against the beast's nose causing red blood to spray out of its nostrils. It grunted painfully before stepping forward in a swift and violent motion. All at once her world seemed to move in slow motion as it lowered it's self on to all fours, its back legs tensing.
Its black form left the ground in an instant as its whole body weight slammed in to her she felt the pain moved through her body as she was forced in to the ground. The clawed hand pushed her down in to the dirt stopping her from moving her staff. She didn't get a chance to struggle or even think of what to do next as the huge jaws came down biting in to her shoulder. She screamed in pain as the jaws dug in deeper she could feel every tooth as they began to pierce her flesh. Blood began to flow down wards from these puncture wounds, soaking the shoulder of her green halter top. She found herself crying out once again as the animal let go of her shoulder howled in pain, she could hear Xena screaming something but she was in far too much pain to hear it.
The creatures red eyes moved as it turned to look at Xena who was standing directly behind it. Xena raised her sword slowly. "I said get off her!" She swung her sword watching as it struck the creature a second time, she could see the red blood on her blade, she raised it watching as it dripped down landing near her boot. She stepped back as the creature roared at her in anger she sneered as she pulled her Chakram free from its leather latch on her waist. The creature eyed her grunting aloud, its mouth slowly forming a long bloody grin, which was almost like a taunt. Its red eyes showed amusement before narrowing slowly as they looked directly in to her own.
Xena felt the anger burn as it pulsed through every fibber of her being she no longer cared what it was or where it had come from it was going to suffer for harming her lover and then daring to mock her! She threw the weapon with all her might watching as it slammed in to a tree opposite before hitting the animal directly in the face causing to rise up on its hind legs as it howled in agony. The huge animal's whole right eye was now soaked in blood, it didn't look back as it turned around running away in the opposite direction as crashed through the forest disappearing from view all together. Xena turned as she caught the Chakram which had embedded itself in another tree, her gaze drifted to the solider who was now lying on the floor he was still trembling, with his sword in his hand.
She turned to Gabrielle who was still lying on the floor on the floor, she moved quickly over to her kneeling down beside her. Gabrielle turned seeing Xena, she could feel the pain in her shoulder it felt like hot knifes were being pushed in. Xena leaned over seeing the red blood, which was pouring down soaking the younger woman's green halter top there were deep puncture wounds where the teeth had gone in. She leaned over gently holding putting her hands on Gabrielle's face. "Its okay Gabrielle I'm right here." Gabrielle turned slightly. "It hurts…" Xena turned grabbing the nearest cloth pushing it against her bleeding wound. She watched as the terrified man slowly came to his senses. He looked around as is sudden realizing what had just happened.
He got up looking at her then at Gabrielle. "You…you hurt it…" Xena turned away ignoring him, as she pressed the cloth harder against Gabrielle's bleeding wound. "Yes I did…" She leaned easing pulling Gabrielle on to her knees trying her best to ignore her lover's painful moans. She moved faster grabbing at the one of the bags near the campfire. She opened it tugging out a number of bandages along with a number of cloths and some herbs. She grabbed the leather water skin from its position close to the tree. She emptied the contents on to the cloths soaking them then began the slow process of cleaning Gabrielle's wounds. She watched as the shaking solider turned sharply. "We can't stay here! It'll be back and they'll be more of them!"
She looked up watching as the soldier slowly sat himself down next to her taking one of the wet clothes from the soaked pile and began to clean his open wound. "Where doomed there going to kill us all!" Xena eyed him as she picked up some herb paste, which she then gently pushed it in to her lover's deep bite wounds. Her gaze shifted as she pulled out some thick white bandage wrapping it slowly around Gabrielle's wound in slow motions wrapping it tight. She watched as the soldier did the same though his terror wasn't helping her situation. She eyed him for a moment. "Where were you headed?" The soldier pointed to her right. "I was heading for the city of Messene its two hours walk from here."
He put his sword to his chest. "Me and my party…we were meant to be the reinforcements." Xena turned to Gabrielle who was starting to look ill. She grabbed the second bag pulling out a long brown cloak from it, which she slowly put around Gabrielle's shoulders to keep her warm. She eyed the soldier again seeing his anguished face. "Can you walk?" The soldier looked up as he tightening his bandage. "Yes." Xena slowly moved her arms around Gabrielle waist helping her to her feet. "Good then you can lead us to the city?" The soldier pulled back slightly. "Its dangerous there might be more of them!" Xena turned sharply noticing that Gabrielle looked like she was on the brink of passing out.
She felt the anger as it started to churn in the pit of her stomach. "Can you lead us there or not?" The soldier nodded Xena looked at him for a moment before taking hold of Argo's reins. She eased the mare closer then slowly and gently eased Gabrielle's in to the saddle making sure she was propped up. She watched as the younger woman weakly grabbed the saddles horn. She found herself grabbing hold of as many things from the destroyed camp as she could and pushing them in to the saddlebags then moved over to the tree pulling her Chakram out of its bark. If she was going to get out of this mess it would have to be on foot so as not to draw attention to them selves until they got to the road, she pushed the remaining items in to the saddles bags then began to move Argo forward.
She up her hand gently taking hold of Gabrielle's the younger woman, didn't look good at all. She squeezed her hand gently she just needed her to hold up until they got the main road. Gabrielle felt Xena's hand on hers, she felt awful the whole of her upper shoulder was burning with pain she could feel the bandage that had been wrapped tightly around her shoulder. She could also feel the horse as it moved and she could make out the passing of the trees. Deep down she knew they weren't safe, and it was the reason Xena hadn't stitched her wounds and had instead put on a temporary bandage and herb paste. She gripped the horn of the saddle tighter trying to stay focused.
Her lovers hand was squeezing her own, a part of her wanted to speak but it hurt too much. She'd been hurt many times in battle before and the only thing that had hurt as much as this was when she'd been hit by a poisoned arrow. The pain she'd been in had been unbearable it had felt like her chest was turning to rock. This was just as painful but in a very different way it felt like hot daggers being pushed in and out of her shoulder over and over again. She breathed in deeply trying to slow her breathing. She could see Xena's face watching her although she was starting to have trouble focusing on it. Her mind kept on wandering and going to other places.
Xena stopped Argo sharply as the long road came in to sight, her gaze shifted as the solider stopped he leaned against the tree breathing out painfully. She narrowed her gaze he was getting worse and she couldn't really work out why. She'd seen soldiers with far worse wounds than him get up march twenty miles just to clean their wounds with fresh water. The even more troubling thing was he looked like a battle-hardened veteran, who shouldn't be acting in this fashion. She looked up meeting his gaze. "What's your name?" The soldier looked up slowly. "Bastiaan." He coughed painfully. "What's yours?" He watched as the tall dark haired warrior woman turned to face him. "Xena."
She looked up at the saddle at Gabrielle who was still gripping the saddle. "Her name is Gabrielle." Bastiaan looked up slowly. "I'm a fool I didn't mean to draw you in to this mess." He looked down feeling his own guilt take hold. "If I'd known that your camp was there I would have run away from it." Xena shook head. "Don't beat yourself up over it, it's not your fault." Bastiaan looked up sharply holding back another painful cough. "But your friend…she's hurt worse than I am." Xena turned looking at Gabrielle who had her eyes were half open though they seemed to be glazed over. "Gabrielle is strong, she can get through this believe me." She eased her hand up putting it under Gabrielle's chin.
She looked up noticing that her lover wasn't even focusing on her she moved her hand away looking at the road, which didn't look very beaten down. "It's another hour up this road I assume?" Bastiaan nodded. "They say the city doesn't look much like a city anymore but a fort, I've never seen it but that was the rumour." Xena eyed him as she got on to Argo easing herself in to the saddle she slowly eased her hands around Gabrielle's waist supporting her gently. Her gaze drifted to Bastiaan. "Get on my horse, behind me on the saddle." She watched as the worn torn soldier pulled himself on to Argo's back behind the saddle he grabbed one of the saddlebags clinging on for dear life. Xena turned sharply as she heard a number of wolf howls hit the air in the far off distance Bastiaan looked up sharply. "They're coming!" Xena grabbed the reins with her free hand. "Hang on tight." She felt the horse bolt as its hooves slamming in to the ground causing dust to fly. She watched as the trees flew past her.
End of part 1
The original version of this story was written in 1999 under the title of Not Human Anymore, this is completely rewritten with major plot changes.