Author's note and Disclaimer: this idea was originally inspired by the Polar Opposites series made by Lexx223 on YouTube. Many, thanks to Everhope for, not only introducing it to me and for helping get started and inspired for this fic, but also for being there with me the whole way, reading and giving incredibly honest and constructive criticism as well as offering enlightening discussions.
In this universe, Xena is a merciless Empress while Gabrielle is a captured Amazon Queen, and the last of her kind.
This fic is definitely rated for Mature audiences. It contains graphic violence and sexual content, be it consenting or not and be it implicit or not. There is also possible foul language. This is a dark fic, enter at your own risk.
Alas, I don't own Xena or Gabrielle, or Xena: Warrior Princess, the TV show. I am not affiliated with Renaissance Pictures, or Universal Studios, nor am I making profit off of this in any way. All other characters are original however and any resemblance they may bear to existing canon characters are only coincidental.
XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS (Alternate Universe: Conqueror)
A TALE IN BREAKING SPIRITS
She was a queen.
She was the queen, and although she wasn't born as an Amazon, she had no doubt that she was going to die as one. She just never expected it to be so soon. Her reign, despite having outlasted all her predecessors', had still altogether seemed too short.
Changes had been sweeping over the nations, it had been a force brought on by almost her alone. She was revolutionizing the ways of the tribes, its social and political systems by encouraging more diplomacy than violence. However, resorting to the latter had never been an issue if the necessity had been present.
She had been queen to all of that and yet now she was powerless and helpless. Shamefully, she admitted to herself: this is where her diplomacy had gotten them. She was too late to realize that her new philosophy had rendered the Amazons weak, that her peaceful ways had crippled their nation.
Her breathing labored dryly through her airways. A trail of sweat mixed with blood slowly made its way down her forehead, settling for one brief and exasperating moment on her pale eyebrow before grudgingly continuing its path through her left eye. Despite the amount of pain she felt everywhere else on her body, both physically and emotionally, the bloody salt drop stung.
She shook her head, in an attempt to get rid of it and blinked several times. As it was, her eyes caught sight of those behind her.
Past the rusting chains linking her arms behind her back, past the chains that led to the choker around her neck, she saw the Empress' soldiers. Greeks and Romans united under one name, one cause, and carried flag bearing the same emblem.
They marched anonymously, their steps disciplined. They marched in wordlessly, and all that was heard were footsteps hitting the ground by the thousands, a perfect imitation of an indecisive and never-ending thunder.
Between each row of men were small rows of her people. Just like her, they tried to march as proudly as they were able to, tried ignoring their injuries and their restraints. Gabrielle felt sorry for them for she knew their fates; she knew all of their fates.
Closing in behind the infantry were soldiers on horseback.
The Amazon Queen had to bite down to keep from letting loose despaired rage and frustration, for the horses were dragging the dead bodies of her fallen sisters. They had been dragging them throughout the entire march, from their sacked villages all the way to the Empress' outposts, where they were now. It had left a long trail of body parts and blood. Some of them didn't even resemble anything human anymore.
None of them will have a chance to pass on because there will be no funeral pyre.
Gabrielle ironically came to appreciate the saying they had for the Empress' accomplishments: Rome wasn't built in a single day, but all led to it by roads of blood.
A quick jerk of the chain from the front end of her choker caused her to stumble forward. Gabrielle glared threateningly at the man who pulled on her while he did his best to seem apathetic. They knew perfectly well her legs were chained together; they couldn't have walked faster no matter how hard they were pulled.
Still, he constantly kept a good few precautionary paces outside her reach. The men were afraid of her and her sisters even when they were defeated.
Oh, glorious day!
Xena sat in the open tent with what appeared to be poised serenity, but in truth she felt the anxious eagerness bubble inside her like hot oil boiling.
Word had come for her, from one of her generals, that the last of the Amazon lands had finally been captured and that the Amazon Queen herself was within that very captivity. It had made her so delighted that she had chosen to travel down to their outpost with her own regiment and royal council to see it for herself.
For too long these savages had held strong against her, and she had to admit she was drawing near a final effort to deliver the crushing blow. For too long had this Queen held out against her with her sly little forces and tactics; not to mention she had lasted much longer than any of the other Amazon Queens. If she didn't piss her off so much, Xena might've almost admired her.
The Empress sat, wine goblet at hand, surrounded by her advisors and councilmen, two of her generals and a few of their lieutenants. She terribly wished that she could carve her annoyance out of these men with the dagger hidden on her thigh. And she would've done it if only to make the time go faster but she knew her bloodlust was soon to be satisfied.
Her subjects, in turn, all fidgeted nervously while making small talk around the table, occasionally sipping their own wine and eating a morsel or two of fruits or cheese. They were perfectly aware of the Empress' ill tempers.
"How much longer, Captain?" She barked at the soldier who had entered the tent to salute her. Her eyes seemed to have physically pinned him to the ground at the entrance, while her voice had caused one of her advisors to lose hold of a slice of pear.
"We have already spotted the front line of the troupes, Empress," He quickly blurted out, knowing well enough that his life might depend on how fast he could deliver the pertinent information, "we have estimates that they will arrive at the gates at no later than midday."
Her Majesty seemed to have taken the news rather well and leaned back in her chair with a smug satisfaction. "Leave." She ordered the captain, who complied all too happily.
The gates opened with a mixture of cheers for the soldiers and slanders for the captives. The formation of soldiers marched up to the Empress' tent, before which Xena stood with her subjects and militants. The first row of soldiers dropped to their knees before her and rose only once they were given permission.
Gabrielle and a few of her higher ranked amazons were marched up to the Empress, while the remaining were left among the soldiers. As they neared Xena, the soldier kicked at their knees to make them kneel, and put their heavy boots on their legs to make them stay on the ground.
Xena scrutinized. Finally, they were here and they were hers. Her eyes came to rest on the blonde figure before her, the one who dared to stare back defiantly. She regarded the Amazon Queen with a cold fascination.
"Funny," Xena snorted humorlessly, "I thought you'd be taller." The ones who stood with Xena laughed at her comment somewhat nervously.
The Amazon Queen remained silent in her tattered leathers, but her gold-speckled green eyes were unwavering. Xena's cold blue gaze was merciless, and there the Empress sensed a challenge of wills. They haven't taken her pride away, not yet anyway. The Amazons were not completely defeated.
"Do you have any last requests?" Xena's tone was slightly mocking.
The green eyes didn't move, and no answer came. Xena felt other pairs of eyes from the women kneeling behind the blonde Amazon also lock onto her. She had hardly ever been intimidated in her entire life, but she felt a strange weight settle in her guts.
These savages did live up to their reputation after all.
Xena nodded to the men standing close to the row of kneeling amazons and swift blades sailed through the air. Three heads rolled to the ground followed by the sound of three bodies collapsing. One of the heads had reached Gabrielle's feet and lightly tapped before halting. A few distinct gasps were heard but no screams came. Xena held back a smirk as she looked back to the Queen of the Amazons, trying to see if there was a reaction. The Amazon Queen barely blinked.
"I asked you a question. Do you have any last requests?"
Still no answer came. The remaining women behind her didn't let out a sound either.
"Well," Xena announced to her men, "it seems as though we have captured a band of mutes."
This time everyone save for the amazons laughed, but Xena had had enough of making shows. She nodded to the men again and within a minute, the entire row had become headless. Blood began pooling about the decapitated bodies and the distinct smell of iron became strong. Xena watched the Amazon Queen closely and caught a slight hint of a flinch, while the rest of amazons burst into a roar of fury.
Finally, a reaction. The Empress' heartbeat delightfully quickened. She stepped up to the silent queen and stooped, her hand shot out so fast that it actually elicited a gasp as it closed around the blonde's throat.
"You are trying my very limited patience, you rotten little savage." Xena growled. "I don't take lightly to repeating myself." Their eyes locked again, but after a few moments, Xena felt the gaze of the other woman shift slightly.
"What…" Gabrielle's voice was hoarse through constricted airways, "are you going to do with us?"
Xena smiled evilly. "Did you never hear about my conquest stories?" She cooed at her before her brows lowered and her voice hardened. "I take no prisoners."
She shoved Gabrielle back like a piece of useless garbage and motioned to her men. They cheered as they pulled out their swords, bows and spears, and began the slaughter of what was left of the Amazon nations. This time the amazons did not hold back their screaming.
As the massacre went on and Xena turned to make for her tent, Gabrielle finally let her eyes close, allowing tears of exhaustion overcome her. A man came up from behind her and raised his sword.
"Wait." Suddenly, the Empress spun around, having second thoughts before the blade came down on the Amazon Queen's neck. "Keep that one alive."
Back in the tent, Xena began packing her things, while her subjects bustled about her like incessant flies.
"Empress, I must protest!" One of the men in a rich navy blue robe and golden embroidery followed her around the tent as Xena busied with packing; she had half a mind to swat him like an annoying insect. "We shouldn't have had them killed. We could've sold them as slaves and made more gold to reinforce our armies!"
"And have them beat their masters to death, Florens? We're talking about Amazons here, they will never obey to anyone's will but their own."
"Then why did you keep the Queen alive?" Another man piped in with a rather snooty and nasal voice, his name was Dama and his demeanor was somewhat calmer than his colleague's.
"Because," Xena said as she regarded them with a dangerous gleam in her icy pale eyes, "I want to test the limits of the Amazon Queen."