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.
Chapter 25 – The Last Stand
Antonia was aware of the weather suddenly changing as she fought but was paying it little mind until the loudest thunder she had ever heard roared out above them. The soldiers that were fighting and approaching them seemed equally as surprised and backed off slightly. Everyone in the clearing looked up at the sky. The warrior could see it dawning on everyone that such an extreme change could only be caused by one thing, the lightning bolt. It seemed to unnerve the men slightly and they backed of yet another step, all looking at each other for guidance.
"Xena" Gabrielle stated.
"The bolt can only be used once before needing time to recharge" Antonia explained, "without the power of a god to recharge it quickly it will be at its weakest now."
In truth she had forgotten the old children's tales about the bolt until Xena's use of it had reminded her. It was a good job the brunette's memory was a little better.
The men began to edge around the clearing and Antonia realised what was happening. They had decided to stop running head on into Antonia and Gabrielle's blades and were instead forming a large circle and surrounding them. There was little they could do to prevent the formation now, so Antonia used the opportunity to catch her breath as she kept an eye on the soldiers movements. Gabrielle seemed to be of the same mind as they stood shoulder to shoulder.
The rain was falling so heavy now and the sky was so grey that visibility was poor. Antonia had to keep blinking out cold water from her eyes and she was becoming more aware of her wounds with the rain beating down hard upon them. The perilous weather only got worse though when purple bolts of lightning began to rain down. Every ten or so seconds one would crash to earth.
The first hit the cliff face behind them, causing everyone to jump slightly as rock was smashed away and crashed down into the ravine. Then one hit a tree ahead of them, splitting it straight down the middle. Conveniently one half of the tree fell on top of a few men who were about to add to the numbers already surrounding them. It did rather highlight the dangerous battle ground they now stood in. It was not only soldiers they would be fighting but rapidly forming mud and killer bolts of pure energy.
The men began to slowly edge towards them and Antonia looked to her fighting partner. It was now really important they worked as a team even though they had barely thought together. Working in tandem was something Edessian warriors trained for and Antonia only hoped it was still close enough to Amazonian training for the two of them to be effective. The two turned back to back, Antonia still facing the tree line and Gabrielle the cliff face.
"You could run now" Antonia mumbled to her companion, "I wouldn't blame you."
The warrior wasn't lying. This was not Gabrielle's battle and if she escaped now her and Xena could make a life together again. If the bard stayed the result was likely to be very different.
"I'm staying with you" the blonde promised.
Lightening crashed around Xena, causing a rock slide on the cliff face opposite her. She hadn't realised pointing it at the sky would cause quite such a dramatic weather anomaly she had merely been aiming for a bit of rain and thunder.
Once the surge of energy finished the lightning bolt went from having a faint yellow glow to its initial colour when Xena had discovered it. It was cloudy white again and no longer tingled in Xena's tight grip.
The warrior tossed the lightning bolt a few feet into the cave so she could still see it clearly and unclipped her Chakram again. She took aim and threw it as hard as she could, aiming for one of the sharp turns in the bolt as those points looked like they would be the weakest parts. The Chakram released from her hand and smashed into the bolt. Xena heard the sound of the artefact sheering in two but its destruction caused a flare in the residual energy contained. The cliff trembled violently as the mouth of the cave lit up like an explosion.
Xena felt the ledge below her start to creak and crack like it was about to give way. The warrior launched herself to her left, leaping of the ledge as it gave away and grabbing hold of the rail rope from the bridge. The force of her jump swung her away from the cave and then back towards it just in time for her to reach out with one hand and catch her returning Chakram.
She could just about see the obliterated rod on the cave floor which was now shattered in many pieces. It was job done.
Rain continued to pour upon Gabrielle and Antonia and the blonde was completely soaked. The mud made moving quickly difficult but being back to back with the red-haired warrior meant they could balance of each other. The incoming soldiers had only themselves for balance and as they were the once doing most of the moving they were also doing most of the slipping and sliding.
Antonia had firmly parried away an attack as three men emerged on Gabrielle together. The blonde braced herself back against the other woman and Antonia immediately bent forward. This allowed Gabrielle to fling herself back onto the warrior so that she could twist into a double scissor kick, catching two of the men totally by surprised so the fell backwards in the mud. Antonia straightened immediately allowing Gabrielle to push of her and use her Sias against the third man.
Despite their good technique together Gabrielle didn't think they could carry on much longer. She was exhausted, and no doubt Antonia was too. That made it both physically and mentally had to continue taking on multiple combatants.
There was a loud, shrill whistle and suddenly the men were all backing off again to a safe distance. For a moment Gabrielle felt relief but then she turned to look in the direction of the whistle. There stood a tall and muscular man wearing much finer leather clothing and armour than the soldiers they had faced today. It was clear this was the warlord Tarbus of whom Antonia had told her about. He was bound to be very pissed as their plan to destroy the bolt was now obvious. He may have stopped his men for now, but Gabrielle suspected it would only be a very short reprieve.
Xena climbed the remains of the bridge quickly. As soon as she reached the top she wiped the rain water from her eyes that had built up during her upward trajectory. The brunette looked out across the ravine to see a very troubling sight.
Gabrielle and Antonia were still there but they were surrounded by soldiers and fighting for their lives. She needed to get back to them and fast but with the bridge gone a hundred feet or more of ravine stood between them. She turned away from the cliff edge and looked at what raw materials were available.
She had two large stone boulders close by and a lot of rope available to her. It would provide good leverage for a catapult if there was a suitable tree. To her relief, stood only a few feet away was a reasonable sized ash tree just perfect for the job. She'd used this technique before but never over such a sheer drop.
It meant the warrior would have to move the heavy boulder into place. This meant pushing it several feet away. First, she severed the rest of the bridge away from the boulder with her sword, leaving only the rail rope attached. Then she put her back to the boulder and began to force it in the direction she needed it. It was by no means easy but slowly and surely it started to slide across the wet ground.
Once she got it into place she heard a loud whistle from across the ravine. There she saw a figure emerging from the trees. He was too far away to see clearly but from the way the soldiers instantly reacted to his whistle she knew it had to be the warlord. It spurred Xena on even quicker than before if that was even possible.