Broken Vows

Disclaimer: I don't own Xena, Ares, or Hercules or any other recognizable characters from Hercules: The Legendary Journeys or Xena: Warrior Princess. Just borrowing them for a story that wouldn't leave me alone.

Author's Note: This takes place between, during and after Warrior Princess, Unchained Heart, and Sins Of The Past.

Chapter 1

We had fought before my beloved wife, and chosen, had gone to conquer Parthis. It wasn't a big fight, we had certainly had bigger ones during our relationship of ten years, but it set into motion events that would change both of our lives and our relationship. I had tried to warn her that Darphus was trying to turn our army against her, but she didn't want to hear about any offers of help I wanted to give.

"Ares, I can handle some discontented soldiers. I DO NOT NEED YOUR HELP!" Xena yelled as she prepared to rejoin our troops outside Parthis.

"Xe, Princess, please listen to me. Darphus is going to countermand your orders, then have you walk The Gauntlet! If that happens, you know there's nothing I can do to help you survive that! EVEN THOUGH YOU ARE MY CHOSEN AND WIFE, YOU ARE STILL A MORTAL, for now, AND I CAN'T PROTECT YOU FROM THAT ALMOST CERTAIN DEATH! DO YOU REALLY WANT TO GO TO AN EARLY TRIP TO MY UNCLE'S REALM?!" I couldn't help screaming back at her, finally losing my temper as I watched her put on her leather shift and the special battle armor I had Hephaestus make for her along with the chakram which had both been wedding gifts.

"Has your faith in all your training of me faltered that much since I failed to defeat Jercules, husband of mine?" she spat out as she finished putting on her armor, only to check that everything was in place and attached correctly in the vanity mirror across from our bed.

I ran a hand down my face in annoyance. She had to pull that card again, didn't she? Since her plan to turn my mongrel half-brother's best friend against him had backfired spectacularly, she had been much moodier and had a much shorter fuse. It was one of the few times one of her plans had not worked out. She had always taken failure very personally.

"Never, my Princess. I just hate the thought of anything potentially permanently taking you away from me. You know how protective I am of you, since Caesar's attempted crucifixion of you!" I said impatiently. Why couldn't she just let me help her with the Darphus problem this one time, and make an example of what happens to those who plot against my wife and future goddess?

Because then I wouldn't be the woman you fell in love with and married. I must do this my way. A voice said inside my head. Now send me to my troops so I can get this battle done, and plan the next step in our conquest

"As you wish, Princess." I said, and with an annoyed sigh, and with a thought sent her to what I knew would be anything but a normal battle.

Opening a portal, I watched as everything happened exactly as I told her it would. The only thing I hadn't banked on happening was my mongrel half-brother showing up, teaming with my princess, and then having her join him on his travels.

Princess? Xe? I know you can hear me. Are you in need of Athena's healing after what they put you through during the Gauntlet? I think she would make an exception of doing something to help me, for her favorite sister-in-law. Not receiving an answer, I reopened the portal, only to receive the shock of my life!

The reason I hadn't received an answer, was because my wife was busy screwing my mortal enemy! My heart literally stopped, as I saw the worst thing I could imagine. WHAT IN TARTARUS DOES SHE THINK SHE IS DOING!? I know we fought, and she was pissed before everything happened, but how could she…, and with him of all beings…?! Did our vows suddenly mean so little to her, after today's events? I quickly transported myself to where she was and let her feel my heartbreak and anger through our bond, before disappearing back to what had once been our home.

"You don't know what a huge mistake you have just made, but you soon will." I said forming a fireball and throwing it at the tapestry of us on our wedding day. She had looked so magnificent that day, wearing an ice blue, form fitting dress that matched her eyes perfectly. That had been the best day of my life since she had agreed to become my chosen. I will make her pay for this! I thought maliciously, going to where Darphus's body had been slain.

"Your job is not yet done Darphus! You will rise and finish what you set in motion!" I commanded, reanimating his body. "You will go after Hercules and Xena, the former Princess of War."

"As you command, my Lord Ares!"