CHAPTER FOURTEEN - AN UNEXPECTED OUTCOME
We were both tied to a post that centered the hut where the trial would be held. We were on either side, and couldn't see each other. Our hands were bound with the same rope though, and we intertwined our fingers as we awaited our fate. While the member's of the council piled in, Xena stood on the side, her arms crossed and looking intimidating. When Queen Marga finally sat down on her seat, the rest of the council members sat as well, following suit.
"Varia, you are charged with the betrayal of your tribe by consorting with the enemy, how do you plead?" Marga asked, addressing me.
I looked up at her, hating the way she stated the question, however knowing it was the truth. "Guilty."
"Livia of Rome, also known as Eve, you are charged with murder and slavery of our Amazon sisters, how do you plead?"
Eve squeezed my hand she was holding and said, "Guilty."
There was slight murmurs that flew through the hut, but Marga held up her hand to silence them, "Then your guilt is not in question, and all that is required is to decide your fate."
"Wait," Gabrielle said, standing.
Marga looked over at her and nodded at her to continue. "I think the council should hear why they did it."
Marga nodded, "Very well."
Gabrielle walked over to me, and requested, "Varia, will you please tell all of us why you laid with an enemy of your tribe?"
I took a deep breath, and looked over at Marga, before addressing the rest of the council. I explained to them the same thing I did to Marga last night, and how guilty I felt about my feelings for Eve for a long time, but how I knew that I couldn't help how I felt, nor ignore it.
Gabrielle then addressed Eve, "Eve, why did you return to the tribe that you committed crimes against years ago?"
Eve looked at her, "Because you and Mother wanted to come. I didn't know it was the same tribe, I didn't know Varia would be here, and I couldn't leave once I found that she was. I had to abandon her before, I couldn't do that again."
There was a moment's silence before one of the other council members asked, "Why did you fight by our side during the battle you found us in when you came?"
Eve looked at the woman who spoke the question and answered, "Because you needed help."
"Very well," Marga said. "It's time to decide their fate. Suggestions?"
"Death," Genia said, staring at me, and not at Marga.
"Banishment," said the council member who spoke up before, and Genia looked at her in disbelief.
"After Livia killed and enslaved our sisters, after Varia knowingly betrayed us?!"
"Genia, calm down," Marga said, eyeing her.
"Eve clearly isn't the same person Livia was anymore, and as for Varia, she was in love, and she couldn't help who she fell for," the woman explained.
"I move to dismiss the charges," another council member, a woman named Ymiria said, "Based on the grounds just described."
"What?!" Genia burst out.
"GENIA!" Marga demanded, rasing her voice, "Calm down or you will be removed!"
"Varia is our second in command, and the best fighter we have outside of Queen Marga," Ymiria explained. "Without her, we could all be lost. As for Eve, even if we banish her, Varia will just go with her."
"What is wrong with you people?!" Genia screamed, her anger bubbling to the surface, "Livia is a little whore that manipulated and corrupted Varia into thinking she was in love! She was never meant to be with that bitch, she was meant to be with someone of her own kind!"
Instead of ordering her to calm down again, or ordering someone to remove her, Marga just looked at her and asked, "Like who? You?"
Genia was struck silent, and I looked over at her in surprise. Marga waited for a response, but when she got none she said, "Genia's move for death will be dismissed due to her vote based on personal reasons, and not for the good of the tribe. She–"
But Marga was interrupted when anger flooded over Genia's face, and she took out the dagger in her boot, and threw it strait at Eve. I screamed as I tried to remove my hands from their binds, but I knew even if I could it would be too late. But right before it hit Eve, it was snatched out of the air by Xena.
All hell broke loose in the hut, as Genia screamed in rage and started to advance on Eve, but was held back by four other Amazons.
"Enough!" Marga screamed. "Remove Genia from the hut and put her in a holding cell! We will deal with her later for trying to take vengeance in her own hands."
"Does it make you feel powerful to spread your legs for a murderer, Varia?!" Genia screamed at me as she was being taken outside. "I hope she fucks you like the disgusting slut you are! I hope you feel the blood on her hands everytime she uses them to pleasure you!"
I just stared in shock as Genia was removed from the hut. I didn't know what to think, or even say. Genia had always been my friend, and I had no idea she was even interested in me that way. It hurt, to hear her talk to me that way, to hear what she really thought of me.
Marga clapped her hands to resume order, and everyone sat again. "All in favor to dismiss all charges against Eve and Varia, with the agreement that Eve will do everything in her power to make amends for what she did to our tribe, please stand, and be counted."
I watched as all of the council members stood in disbelief. If it wasn't for Genia's outburst and attempt on Eve's life, I don't think none of them would have agreed to comply besides Ymiria, who originally suggested it. Amazon law did include dismissal of charges, but it was hardly ever used.
"The council has spoken with one voice," Marga said, "All charges are dismissed against Varia and Eve." She turned to look at both of us, "But if anything like this happens again, or any more secrets like this are revealed, we will not be so tolerant."
I let out a breath I didn't even know I was holding as someone unbound our ties, and we were freed. I wrapped my arms around Eve, and just held her. I couldn't believe this was happening. I looked up at Marga and gave her a small smile in thanks, and she nodded her head at me in acknowledgment.
"You're staying, aren't you?" Xena asked Eve, after she told us that her and Gabrielle would be moving on at next light.
Eve nodded, and placed a hand on my leg as she sat next to me on my cot... on our cot in our hut. "Part of the agreement of the dismissal was that I had to make amends with the tribe. I can't do that if I'm not here."
Xena nodded, understanding, and replied. "We'll be back to visit."
Eve smiled, "I know."
Xena looked at me, "Take care of her."
I put my hand over the one Eve had on my leg and held it, "I will."
When Xena left, we laid together on the cot in silence, my head resting on her breast. Eve stroked my hair, and we both just reveled in the unexpected events of the day.
When Eve spoke, it was quiet, "Do you love me?"
It was a variation of the question she always used to ask me, and I smiled as I looked up at her and kissed her softly on the lips.
"Yes," I answered, truthfully.