Summery: Livia raids Varia's tribes for slaves, and ends up selling them all but Varia, whom she decides to keep for herself.
Time line: AU : After Livia raids Varia's tribe for slaves, she does not kill her sister Tura nor does Varia escape.
Rating: Mature / 18+
Disclaimer: I do not own Xena, nor any of the characters from it. I do not make any money from writing this story
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CHAPTER ONE - THE TRADERS
My hand wrapped around the dagger, my palms sweating with fear and anticipation. She was there, not more than a few paces in front of me. I dared not to breathe, I was afraid she would hear and that would be the end of me. I took another step, raising the dagger slowly upwards towards the monster Livia. If I could do this, then my sisters would be saved.
My heart was beating so heavy in my chest I was afraid it might burst. I was terrified, I'm not going to lie about that. This was the first battle I had ever been in, and I had never killed before. Another step, and the hand that was holding the dagger was shaking so hard it was difficult to keep it steady. I could see my younger sister Tura in the guarded line of my sisters and I heard Livia say, "Watch the faces, we need to get the money back at auction."
I was almost there now, and I raised the dagger even higher, ready to strike. But then I paused, could I really take a life? I knew I should, that it was what could save us all, but I was scared of her blood staining my hands for the rest of my life.
It was the small pause that cost me my opportunity. Livia turned, her eyes widening at the sight of me, and mine at being caught. My heart leapt into my throat, and I froze. A growl fell from Livia's lips and she screamed as she took a hold of my shoulders, and flipped me square over to land on my back. I coughed as the landing took the breath out of me, and then looked up to see Livia draw her sword and advance on me.
I scrambled backwards, fear over taking what should have been my bravery as an Amazon. I was going to die, here, in the middle of my destroyed village, a mere sixteen winters old. Then I saw out of the corner of my eye, Tura running out of the line to save me.
"No, Tura!" I yelled, more fear even gripping at my chest at the sacrifice my baby sister was about to make for me.
Tura threw herself over me, protecting my body with her own, and I wrapped my arms around her as I stared up at the face of my soon to be murderer.
Livia shook her head, and raised her sword, preparing to decapitate Tura right there on top of me. I closed my eyes, and prayed to Artemis that someone would stop her, though I knew the chances was slim to none.
Then a miracle happened when she spoke.
"No," she said, and I opened my eyes to see what was her change of heart. "No, two less Amazons is two less bags of gold that I'm going to need to prepare to march on Greece."
She sheathed her sword, and then kicked Tura in the face, knocking her clean out. I made a grab for her, but Livia took me by the hair. I tried to struggle against her grasp, but she just smiled at my vain attempts. "You got lucky this time, Amazon. I doubt you will be so much when the slave traders have you, however. I hear they beat their slave girls in a matter of weeks."
She let go of my hair, throwing me onto the dirt. "Chain them," she commanded one of her soldiers, and I was grabbed from behind before I could even make any attempt to run.
We were on a ship, heading towards the shores of North Africa, where the biggest slave market was. We were chained together in the base of the ship, stored where the cargo was held. There was a solemn air in the cabin, and no one was speaking. Most of us just could not believe that this had happened. We were the fierce Amazons, how were we defeated so easily?
I turned to look at my sister in question, and Tura, looking so frail and frightened asked, "What do you think is going to happen to us?"
My heart wrenched in my chest, and I touched her face in a comforting gesture. Our mother was killed during a previous battle, and I was the only one left to look after her. I couldn't help but feel like I failed.
"I don't know," I answered, honestly. "She plans to sell us as slaves, that's all I know."
"Are we going to die?" She asked me, and all of her childhood innocence shone through in that one question.
I refused to let her give up hope. "No," I answered with determination. "We're strong, Tura. Whatever situation we get into, we will get out of it."
"Do you promise?"
I looked at her, and tried my best not to cry. "I promise," I answered, as my voice cracked a little.
"Don't lie to her like that, Varia."
I turned my head to look at Shalaya, and my face was etched with anger. "I'm not lying. We will get out of this."
"Don't kid yourself, we're done for. We are no longer Amazons, we no longer have a tribe. We are slaves now."
"If that's the way you think, then you are a slave!" I yelled.
"Varia's right," Genia answered from across the way. "We're still Amazons. No one can take that away from us. Are we just going to give up?"
"We'll all be killed if we raise a hand against Livia and her army!" Shalaya exclaimed forcefully.
"We'll be killed anyway if we don't!" Genia answered back with just as equal fierceness in her voice.
"No," I said, and everyone turned to look at me. "No, we do not go up against Livia and her army. That would be foolish."
Genia looked like she was about to retort, but I continued, "We let her sell us. Getting away from the slave trader's will be much easier work then getting away from her, especially on a ship filled with her soldiers and no where to run. When we regroup and build our tribe strong once again, we will come after her."
There was a silence that filled the air and I waited for someone to say something. "Alright," said Genia. Everyone else nodded, except for Shalaya.
I looked at her expectantly, "If you choose to die a slave, Shalaya, that is your business, but you have the plan if you ever decide to become an Amazon once again."
We were all chained in a line at the African market, as Livia tried to negotiate with the slave trader. We all listened intensely, trying to find out what our fate would soon be.
"There's a slim market for Amazons, they tend to be a little too.... feisty."
Livia slammed her hand on the table, making the burly man jump a little. "I did not come all this way to hear your excuses, Torias. You WILL find a buyer!"
"I... well, that is..." he struggled as he looked through his paperwork. "We might be able to make a deal with the Borgus the Brutal. He seems to like beating his girls to death, I heard he goes through at least one a day. He might like them spicy, I can contact him and see if he is willing."
Livia's eyes narrowed, "You do that, and be sure to make it quick! I don't have all day."
He nodded, and Livia turned and swept towards her men that were guarding us. "If we can't find a buyer," she said to one of the men. "Then we sail back to Rome, and dump them overboard. We can find a way to make the gold some other way."
Fear gripped my chest, and for the first time in my life, I prayed to become a slave.
"Borgus will take them," Torias told Livia a couple hours later. "He said he would find great sport in breaking an Amazon tribe."
Livia's lips curled into a smile and she replied, "Good. You just spared your life."
"But there's something else," he said. Livia's eyes narrowed, and he continued, "Gurkhan expressed an interest in two of them."
"Gurkhan? He's the one that takes slaves as wives, does he not?" Torias nodded and Livia asked, "Which two?"
Torias pointed his finger at me, and my eyes widened, "That one."
Livia looked at me, and her face showed anger. Torias pointed then pointed at Tura and said, "And that one."
Livia looked at me, and then at Tura before turning back to Torias. "Tell Gurkhan he can have the child. The other one, is not for sale."
"What?" I said, before being backhanded in the mouth by a soldier for speaking.
"Quiet!" He barked at me.
Torias nodded and said, "I will relay your message, though I'm sure he will not be pleased with only getting half of what he asked for."
"Gurkhan will deal with it, this conversation is over. Take all the slaves you need to trade, I'll be leaving right away."
Torias handed her the gold she was promised by each trader, and replied, "It was a pleasure doing business with you."
"Of course," Livia said dismissively, and then turned to address her guards. "Leave the others in his possession. Take her," she pointed to me, "With us."
"No!" I screamed, as I was unchained from the line and then grabbed by two guards. "Tura!" I screamed, as we were both taken in opposite directions.