Disclaimers: Xena Warrior Princess, its characters, and all related materials are the property of MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. The other characters were created by me. No copyrights were harmed during the production of this non-profit fan fic.

Subtext: This story is based on the principle of two women in love. I do not have any graphic or explicit scenes but the theme of their relationship is current throughout the story. If this type of relationship bothers or offends you then I suggest you go elsewhere and come back when you have an open mind.

Violence: There is a brief reference to sexual violence. There is nothing explicit or graphic in any way. This story does contain scenes of violence and/or aftermath. It is Xena after all.

This is my first attempt at writing not only fan fiction but a story so any reviews are greatly appreciated.

Eternal Spirit
Chapter 1

The restless warrior eyed the bard who was sleeping safely within her loving embrace. She gently brushed the loose strands of blonde hair, still dampened with sweat from the last nightmare, from her face. Beams of moonlight radiated through the window and danced upon the purple patches around her eyes. For a brief moment Gabrielle seemed peaceful. Stirring slightly she rustled the sheets below her. "Shhh Gabrielle, it's alright," Xena whispered as she rocked her gently. The motion appeared to soothe her back into a contented sleep.

It had been four days and Gabrielle still wasn't speaking except when she would wake up screaming from the nightmares that became frequent visitors. The day it all began was still vivid in Xena's mind as if it were just moments ago.

They decided to visit with the Amazons for a few days after they received word of the death of one of the Queen's sisters, Rajiah. As Queen of the Amazons and a friend to Rajiah, Gabrielle needed to be there. After a long day came to an end, Gabrielle looked forward to the comfort of her lover's embrace as they settled down for the night.

"If only I stayed holding you in my arms…" Xena's voice trailed off as she looked warmly at her lover. She traced her finger lightly over the dark bruises that were still visible on Gabrielle's face.

Xena awoke before Gabrielle, as she usually did. She glanced over at Gabrielle and smiled at how content she looked in her sleep. Careful not to wake her she carefully slid her arm free from under her partner's head and quietly put on her armor. Bending down she placed a gentle kiss on Gabrielle's forehead and headed for the stables. The early morning was a great time to take Argo for a ride. The mare had been lacking proper exercise for weeks now.

Xena closed her eyes tightly hoping it would push the thoughts of that day back. Releasing a deep breath, she dropped her gaze to the rise and fall of Gabrielle's chest, and concentrated on the sounds of her shallow breathing.

Xena stopped by the lake so the mare could replenish with a cold drink. "That was quite a ride we had girl," Xena grinned at Argo patting her on the top of her head. The horse whinnied in response. A smile crossed Xena's lips. "I've missed you too." Argo shuffled her front leg impatiently. "Do you hear that?" Stilling her movements she focused on the distant sound coming from the village. Her eyes narrowed in concern. "What in the name of the Gods is going on?" she muttered and without a second thought quickly mounted Argo and broke into a full cantor towards the village. "Ya Argo!"

Quietly entering the village through an overhang of aged branches her eyes scanned the grounds cautiously. "What is going on here?" The small crunching sound of branches behind her sent her into a back flip towards the intruder. She landed with the tip of her sword at the soldier's throat. "Going somewhere?" she questioned raising her brow daring him to move.

"Xe...Xen…Xena…" The soldier stuttered foolishly as he realized the identity of the warrior before him. Fear drained the smirk on his face.

Xena's eyes narrowed and in an instant covered the gap between them. With a forceful kick, the side of her boot struck him knocking him off balance. Glaring down heatedly at the hurt soldier, she spat at him in disgust. He raised his hands above his head pathetically. "Please…spare me." He mumbled helplessly like a child.

A tattoo of a snake branded on his hand caught her attention. I know that tattoo. Sudden acknowledgement flooded her face. Her eyes narrowed coldly and a hushed word escaped her lips. "Draden." She turned to the soldier hatred shadowed in her eyes. "Heeyah!" She kicked him across the face rendering him unconscious. "Gabrielle…" She began looking around her for any sign of Gabrielle. Heading towards the Queen's hut she slashed her way through the clan of soldiers attacking her. "C'mon boys, come and get me!" A sly smile curled on her lips. She planted her sword firmly in the ground and using the handle as support, soared through the air in a circle kicking the approaching men to the ground. "Heeyah!"

Gabrielle where are you? Screams from her left interrupted her frantic thoughts. Ephiny was pinned down by a soldier, his sword raised above her head. "Heeyah!" She took a few steps towards them, back-flipped knocking the sword from his hand. Then with the quick motion of her legs, she locked them around his neck and with a swift twist; the soldier fell lifeless to the ground. "Eph, are you all right?" She looked her over cautiously for any injuries.

"Xena…he…took...her" she whispered breathlessly. Wrapping her hand around her throat trying to regain her voice she locked eyes with her friend. "Gabrielle…I tried to stop him…there were so many men...I…I…" losing her breath she fell to the ground tears streaming down her face.

Xena's eyes grew dangerously cold. Her voice raged above the battle sounds "DRADEN!"

He came up to the top of the rise on horseback. His dark brown hair fell just above his shoulders and blended with the black metallic armor that embraced him. His eyes, a piercing shade of blue, were slim and narrow. A scar, that snaked around in a semi-circle just below his left eye hardened his facial features. Grinning he called out to his men, "Retreat!" His men fled so quickly they seemed to almost disappear from the grounds. His gaze interlocked with the warrior princess and a heartless smile spread across his lips. "Do I have something precious of yours, Warrior Princess?" his laughter echoing as he rode off.

Xena rubbed her temples in an effort to stop the throbbing pain in her head. Her eyes dropped down to Gabrielle's face examining her expression intently. She brought her hand to Gabrielle's face and caressed her cheeks softly. "Yes, very precious indeed," she thought to herself trying to hold back the tears. She pulled the bard close tightening her arms around her. "I love you Gabrielle," she whispered into the sleeping bard's ear. One silent tear found its way down her cheek.