Xena wanted to just die as she cursed Drake for inviting Lady Colleen to tea. All she did was talk and talk. To make things worse she started from childhood, no strike that she started from her mother's childhood and how she came to be, than she detoured about her father's background. Now she had just finished the recount of Penelope's birth, which seemed to have embarrassed her greatly.
"It's a shame she's taken after her father though after I went through so much."
"Yes a shame."
"You're so lucky my Queen to have two beautiful daughters, you will find them excellent husbands for them."
"Or they will find excellent husbands for themselves." Lady Colleen nodded and continued with her story. Xena drank her tea and looked at Sarah and Penelope, Sarah was telling her about home and she turned her attention more to that conversation than Lady Colleen's. But than she caught her niece rolling her eyes and Lady Colleen and looking extremely bored.
"You know what I'm in the mood for," Xena said interrupting Lady Colleen.
"No, milady what is it?" Lady Colleen asked.
"A game of chest with my dearest niece, I hear you're quite the player." Naomi grinned.
"Yes, I beat father all the time." A messenger came in and they all turned to look at him.
"I'm sorry to disturb you my Queen, ladies, but there's been some sort of accident at Holt manor. I was to retrieve Lady Holt and her brother the Marquis from the palace. I was told you were in here."
"Oh by all means please go Lady Colleen, Penelope." They stood and curtsied before they hurried after the murderer.
"What do you supposed happen?" Naomi asked as the doors closed behind them and a servant brought over the glass table that had a chessboard painted onto it. Beautifully carved porcelain pieces had been carved with gold on it.
"Oh these are very beautiful chess pieces," Naomi commented in awe.
"Yes, a wedding gift from Drake."
"Auntie is it true you and Uncle aren't really married?" Sarah asked.
"The law says we're not because my step-grandmother married me off when I was one and I didn't even know it until last year. But now that, that marriage is gone I like to think that your Uncle Drake and I's marriage is legitimate now. Of course the people of Moscow aren't satisfied with that, which is why we're getting remarried on our anniversary this summer."
"Have you made plans yet?" Naomi asked. "I do love weddings, I haven't seen on in so long. Can I be in it."
"Can I be in it too?" Sarah asked. Xena smiled.
"Weddings are very short and simple you know."
"Oh please we'd make great bride's maids."
"I have eighteen of my ladies being bride's maids plus your Aunt Gabby, Ephiny, Solari, and Eponin. That's twenty-two."
"Oh please, please Aunt Xena. You're a Queen, you must have so many bride's maids that other women will be jealous."
"Yes, what's two more if you already have twenty-two."
"I'll work something out."
"Yes!" They exclaimed. Xena moved her first chess piece and Naomi did as well.
"Who is your flower girl?" Naomi asked.
"Eve will be the flower girl, Gabrielle is my maid of honor."
"Father said you first wedding was so grand, will he give you away again?" Naomi asked. Xena shook her head.
"Drake has likely asked him to be his best man. I think this time my father wants the honor."
"I think Father should do it. He'll look so handsome all dressed up and you'll look so beautiful Aunt Xena in your white dress." Naomi sighed as her mind drifted to her own wedding some day as Xena made her move.
"Aunt Xena, do you have your dress?" Sarah asked suddenly wanting to see her in it.
"No, my dress is back in Dragon City. But of course your Uncle would have everything be new. Don't tell him I know, but he plans on surprising me one of these days with a new wedding dress."
"Oh you're so lucky, Uncle Drake has great taste, but don't tell him I said that or he'll be mad that we spent the whole morning in the store."
"Its okay, he just doesn't get teenage girls the way a woman does. Most men don't."
"You should have seen Uncle Drake's face when he just grabbed anything off the rack for Naomi to where. She nearly cried and than he began to frantically look for something. Once he was paying attention, she found this lovely royal blue ensemble."
"Ah yes, Drake can have surprisingly great taste at times." They laughed catching the keyword in her sentence.
"What are you girls laughing about?" Drake asked coming in.
"Your fashion sense." Drake groaned.
"Don't tell me in the end I still picked bad." Naomi shook her head.
"No, Uncle I really love this one honest."
"Yes, it's very lovely on her, it gives her a new kind of beauty." Drake smiled and looked pleased with himself. "So what was the commotion?" Drake frowned.
"Barney Holt is dead, a fire started at Holt manor, Lord Holt got out just in time, he hadn't realized Barney was still in the manor until he ran out. Terrible accident really I mean poor Lady Colleen and Penelope. They've got no where else to go."
"Nonsense, I'm sure the Marquis Holt will take them in."
"Yes, I've talked to him and he said he'd gladly take his sister and niece back to the south to recuperate and mourn her husband."
"Good." There was knock at the door.
"Sir I'm sorry to interrupt you, but there are matters to attend too especially after that ghastly fire at Holt Manor," Lord Seymour said. He bowed to Xena, Sarah, and Naomi.
"Of course, darling would you like to head back to bed before I go?" Drake asked.
"Oh Aunt Xena you should get back in bed," Naomi said. "We can finish the game there."
"Yes, Aunt Xena, we shouldn't have kept you out of bed any longer when Lady Colleen left. Mommy said people who are sick should stay in bed so they can get better, but I hate staying in bed when I'm sick." Xena laughed a little at Sarah.
"You're not the only one who hates it," Xena told her. She didn't like being bed ridden, it was not her favorite thing in the world. Drake grinned and helped her up before she could say yes or no. He felt a little bad about not telling her why he had insisted on having Lady Colleen and Penelope to tea so soon. He saw she was tired out and really should have stayed in bed to rest. Soon she was back in bed and out of her dress. A beautifully carved wooden box was put on her bed and the chess pieces reset in their exact positions so that Naomi could continue their game.
"What does the letter say?" Sarah asked.
"The crops in Glacial are coming a long well, there are some issues that need to be settled in the courts, which I am the head of."
"Aunt Xena can I visit Glacial with you?" Sarah asked. Xena shrugged.
"That's your mother's decision, but Glacial is very cold, I don't think you could handle it."
"Yes, I could Aunt Xena, you'll see, I won't complain at all." Xena smiled.
"I think your biggest challenge is your mother not me."
"I want to visit Sultry, the men there look absolutely gorgeous." Xena laughed a little as they looked at the pictures Evzenek sent of her country. Some just showing the beauty of the country while others showed more personal matters concerning an Archduchess. Those she kept away from the girls. She also had plenty of pictures from Sultry.
"Don't let your father hear you say that." Naomi giggled.
"Its no secret to Daddy my interest in boys."
"Maybe so, but still, and checkmate." Naomi stared at the pieces in disbelief, she hadn't lost a game since she was ten.
"What, that's impossible, I haven't lost in six years. Did the servants switch the pieces around?" Xena looked at her in surprise.
"Are you calling me a cheat, dear niece?" Xena asked. Naomi shook her head.
"No, never, but your servants, I am." Xena laughed.
"No, they did not switch the pieces, to tell you the truth, the pieces have a anti-cheating spell no matter who's doing the moving. It also helps if both players leave the room and someone seeks to mess up the game for fun."
"Well that's good to know." Xena nodded and moved a little to get more comfortable so she could reply to the letter. Naomi and Sarah now played a game of chess as they chatted.
"Perhaps you two girls should write a letter to your respective parents. They'll surely be angry with you if you don't." Naomi and Sarah nodded as Naomi won.
"Hmm…Aunt Xena I can't write."
"Oh I suppose you don't know what with Caesar taking over."
"Father taught me, but it's a curious thing to hold a new quill with ink," Naomi said happily. Sarah frowned.
"Its okay if you don't know Sarah, trust me when I say you will learn soon enough. Sarah why don't you dictate to Naomi and Naomi you write it all down."
"Dictate?" Sarah asked.
"Tell her what you want the letter to say."
"Come on it'll be fun. Let's go do it in our room so Aunt Xena can rest." Sarah nodded. "See you later Aunt Xena."
"Bye Aunt Xena." Sarah ran out after Naomi. Xena went over some plans for Illusia. Magic was playing a big part in building the palace and city quicker.
"Find out how the cleaning and repainting is going around the city. Tell me if there are more homeless people that need be recruited for a job." The servant nodded and left. After a lonely lunch and a visit from the healer's apprentice, Xena slept.
As she slept wind blew through the open window making the sheer curtains fan out. Than they settled back down for a brief second before an assassin entered the room. He looked at the pale face of the Queen before walking quietly over to the door. He locked it and than crept to the bed, but not before the healer had slipped back in or rather her apprentice, a native of Moscow. They had nothing to fear the herb he had given her knocked her out.
"Are you sure she'll be out for hours?" He asked. The apprentice nodded.
"The healer herself said it could knock anyone out."
"Well than come on grab a change of clothes and let's get her Royal Highness to Lord Holt. He has words for her about his brother." The apprentice nodded and the assassin lifted Xena up blankets and all. The apprentice grabbed her essentials and brought them a long as they went through the window. They had reached a secret passage in the wall when everyone suddenly became alert that the Queen was missing. The secret passage led them underground and to Holt manor. By now Lord Holt have cleared everyone off his land where his house once stood.
"Give her to me." The assassin gently handed Xena up to Lord Holt. She was obviously aware of her surroundings, but the fogginess in her brain prevented her from reacting. Lord Holt threw him some money as the Apprentice got on a waiting horse. They rode off into the night.
"Naomi, Sarah in light of these new events I'm going to have to demand that you not put up a fight and be escorted to the amazons immediately," Drake told them. They cried and begged, but he had them on their way that night with a letter. His warriors were scouring all of Moscow, he himself was riding out into the country with a lot of men and chains for prisoners.
"Where would he have taken her?" Lord Milton asked.
"I don't know, but I've got guards posted at Snyder, Bernsten, Newman, Finn, and Kenney residences. He'll not go there with the Queen, it'll be too risky, I suppose we've got some unknown players."
"How far north do you think he'd take her?" Drake asked worried, he'd take her into Queensland. A place so lawless it was despicable. It was ruled by warrior Kings who would rather commit suicide than lose a battle. They took women without regard to who they were and where they came from. As far as they were concerned she was there property once captured. There was no such thing as marriage or love. She was his slave. To spite women they called their land Queensland, where there was no such thing as a Queen. It was a joke really to piss women off.
"He'd be welcome in Queensland, he's stolen a beautiful woman, and she's his to keep until one of them takes her away. Or she kills him. They don't punish a woman for killing a man it's a way of life and everybody's got to die somehow. It just means she's up for grabs again," Lord Seymour told him.
"Than we must stop him before he reaches the borders." They nodded. Xena's six remaining ladies were also among them as it snowed. It was heavy a good thing, it would likely slow Lord Holt down for the night at least.
"My lord!" They heard someone yell. They all pulled their horse's reins and they stopped so they could look back. Marquis Holt came at a gallop only slowing down when the light of the torches indicated that it was the King.
"Yes, any word?" Drake asked once he was beside him. Marquis Holt nodded.
"He's taken my sister and her daughter. An added incentive for me to keep my men out of your hunting party, but I have no intention of abandoning you my lord. But he plans to take them to Queensland eventually he hopes to make his way into the West where your enemies in the Northwest."
"We have a treaty not to go on their land." Marquis Holt nodded. "Where is the beast now?"
"He takes the sucker's way out."
"You mean he used magic to travel and than return in Queensland."
"Aye my lord. He has already reached Queensland. He merely wishes to taunt you by having our Queen so close. He'll be deep in Queensland closer to the King I suppose." Drake gripped the reins tightly.
"Gentleman, ladies we must turn back and prepare to enter Queensland. We will prepare for war, but war shall only be declared once Lords Seymour will accompany me into Queensland." Drake held up his hand before protestations could be made. "The less the better. I swear most of you will be in wait by a portal that will take you directly to me should we need the reinforcements." They turned back and prepared to enter the barbaric Queensland. Drake was going to kill Lord Holt one way or another for him stealing Xena away from him.
"I am coming for you Lord Holt and you will pay for all your crimes."
To be continued…
A/n: I have decided to end this part of the story here. There will be a new story put up centering on Drake and his time in Queensland as he searchs for Xena and Lord Holt. So never fear its not over. The story is titled Queen of Arcadia: Drake's Quest.