Omnia Vincit Amor

Fandom: Xena Warrior Princess

Pairing: Xena and Gabrielle

Rating: M (eventually)

Disclaimer: I do not own Xena and Gabrielle, just borrowing them for a while.

Summary: It's two years after Xena's death in Japa and Gabrielle is finally returning to Greece for the first time since spreading Xena's ashes at her childhood home. Meanwhile a thriving Macedonian town is being terrorised by a warlord for the secret its people protect. When one woman dreams of a dead warrior princess, destined to live again and save them, it leads her on a quest to find the living soul mate so that destiny can be fulfilled.

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Chapter 24 – The Lightning Bolt

Gabrielle had watched in horror as Antonia was dragged over the edge of the cliff by the bridge. It felt like it happened in slow motion, but she was too far away to be able to a damn thing about it. With soldiers starting to advance out of the forest in front of her she had no time to really process what had happened. Her only option was to step away from the fallen soldiers around her and give her some space to try and tackle the next wave alone.

Luckily only a couple of soldier's broke cover at first and two men she could deal with easily. She dived to the left, avoiding the swing of one man, bringing her Sias around to smash him across the back of the head. At the same time, she used her second weapon to block the second man. A swift kick to his groin incapacitated him enough for her to bring the Sias down against his head too. Many more soldiers were emerging out of the forest though. Too many for her to fend off alone.

Then, like some sort of miracle she heard groaning from behind her. A quick glance to the cliff face confirmed that Antonia had somehow managed to get a hold of something just over the edge that had stopped her fall. The Edessian warrior was hauling herself back up and to safety. Perhaps luck was going to be on their side after all.

Antonia stumbled quickly in Gabrielle's direction, grabbing her sword and two of the spears that had been flung at them on route. The red-haired woman was scraped, scratched and bloodied but they were all just superficial wounds. A warrior like Antonia would barely feel them in the adrenaline rush of the heat of battle.

Antonia reached Gabrielle just before the large group of soldiers did and the warrior threw one spear and then the other at the men. Both hit their mark, felling two soldiers instantly. They both stepped forward into the oncoming men and launched their own attacks. Gabrielle registered the fact that Antonia somehow launched another two small daggers towards soldiers with her spare hand as she swung her sword with the other. The bard had no idea where they had been stashed on the warrior, but she hoped Antonia had more tricks tucked into her scant clothing.

The red head's throwing skills had brought this particular fight back in their favour as it left them with only three men each to tackle. Even as they took those men down though there was little time to draw breath before more men appeared from the forest. Gabrielle stepped next to Antonia in the brief gap between attacks.

"How much time did that buy Xena" the blonde asked.

She had been told the previous day that there was no other way across the ravine from this land. The bard had no idea how quickly the men could march through the forest and down into the ravine though, hemming Xena in and preventing an easy escape for the brunette.

"Ages" Antonia assured her whilst gasping to regain her breath; "at least a day"

The red-haired warrior really did look battered on closer inspection but there was no time for care or triage before they were forced to fight again. More men were running out of the tree line at them. They would not be able to carry on like this indefinitely, but Gabrielle had no intention of giving in just yet. Whilst they stood their ground it looked like they had something to defend and that would keep a lot of the attention firmly focussed on them. Otherwise the soldiers would be heading back in numbers to an already swarmed town.

"They keep coming" Gabrielle sighed.

"But this know well, that never in one day perished so great a multitude of men" Antonia responded.

The bard hadn't expected any kind of answer and certainly didn't expect the warrior to quote the Greek poetry of Aeschylus to her. Antonia smirked at her shocked expression before turning her focus back on the oncoming soldiers.

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Xena had to blink several times to refocus her eyes when she reached the entrance of the cave. It had been virtually pitch-black inside, but the sun light was still bright and high in the sky outside. There was a thin ledge, perhaps wide enough for three people to stand shoulder to shoulder on at the entrance. From there she could not see what was happening on the opposite cliff face as it was at least twenty feet higher than she was positioned. The warrior's well attuned hearing could pick up the sound of fighting though which surely meant Gabrielle and Antonia were still alive.

Xena also immediately noticed that the bridge which should have been above her and reaching back across the ravine was now hanging limply down her side of the cliff. It was a worrying sign that the red-haired warrior and bard had felt the need to cut it loose, but it did mean her climb back to the top would be far easier as she now had something akin to a ladder to use.

Xena tossed the last bit of the burning vine into the ravine and held the lightning bolt in both hands. She had seen it wielded before by Zeus himself, but she had no idea if it would work quite so easily with a mortal. There was only one way to find out.

The warrior raised the bolt towards the sky, gripping it but the thickest part at the base of the artefact. She could feel the power surging inside it and it tingled in her hand. Nothing happened other than that, so she closed her eyes and focused on what outcome she wanted.

The tingling in her hand increased significantly and she had to force herself to ignore the uncomfortable sensation and keep her grip of the bolt. Then there was a huge surge of enemy from the base of the bolt, up the artefact and out of the tip. A yellow shot of light flew out of the end and up into the sky. It seemed to disappear into the blue abyss above her without any effect.

Xena lowered the bolt and glared at it in frustration. However, before she could raise it to try again dark clouds started to race across the sky from all directions, covering the bright sun and greying the sky above her. The light dimmed as the clouds formed together to create a single cloud which then began to spread out quickly over a great distance. Loud angry thunder rolled from directly above her causing even her to jump slightly. Then the heavens opened and heavy, freezing cold rain began to fall.