Crossover alert: This is technically a cross-over story between X:WP and the Valdemar Stories, written by Mercedes Lackey (a wonderful series of books.) If you are not familiar with the world of Valdemar, not to worry… neither are Xena and Gabrielle, so it is explained to them as them go along.
Disclaimer: I do not own Xena, Gabrielle, or any other of the characters associated with the Xenaverse. Nor do I own the Heralds or any part of Valdemar. I am simply borrowing from both of these great stories and mixing them up to create a story of my own. I make no profit and these stories are written for my own enjoyment and others that may like to see these two worlds collide.
Subtext: Yes, although nothing too graphic. It happens... and yes IT will happen eventually….
Rating: Overall rated T- or PG13ish…. Might include some flirting, ok…Will include some flirting, maybe some kissing... maybe even some heavy suggestions, but nothing too hot or heavy. And there may be some violence; after all its Xena, and she gets bored easily.
Time line alert: In the Xena world, this story would take during the third season but omits any of the stories lines that have to do with Hope or the Rift. In the Valdemar world the time line is about 500 years after the mage storms, so in this time line I may reference some historical characters, but I am not intending for there to be anyone directly from the books, although that possibility is not an impossibility.
I am totally open to any responses good or bad... and would love any feedback.
And so it begins….
Blue Eyes, White Horse, and a Chakram
Chapter 1: And So it Begins...
32 years ago…
"It's time," a voice on the wind seemed to whisper.
A dark haired child, no more than eight summers old, cocked her head to the side. She wondered if she had heard something or if she'd just imagined it. She felt her skin prickle, it was more than a voice; it was a presence. It was familiar, yet distant, like from another place, or another time.
"Who is it? Who is there?" she called out. "I can hear you. Speak to me."
"It is time," the wind repeated.
The girl closed her eyes as a breeze rippled through the trees caressing her skin and making her shiver. She felt the palm of a hand on her cheek. She was afraid to open her eyes.
"My child," the voice coaxed. "I have been watching you all your life, but today was I was given the opportunity to come to you."
Gathering her courage the young girl opened her eyes, seeing nothing. She turned around. She could still feel the presence. "Where are you? Let me see you."
"All in good time," the wind whispered.
"You said it was time. Time for what?"
"Today she was born. The circle is now complete."
The little girl turned around once more. It seemed like where ever she looked or turned the voice was always behind her. "I don't understand."
"You will… in time. For now, wake up, my child. It's time…."
The voice faded as the little girl opened her eyes, meeting the dawn. It was a dream, but it felt so real. She didn't understand, but felt an urge. She'd speak to the village shamaness about her dream and see what insight the elder could give her. In time she was sure it would make more sense.
Xena sighed as the bard ventured on to yet another vender booth. If only she'd had known there was a festival going on she would have never offered Gabrielle a night at the local inn. She remembered this peaceful little village as just that; not full of the gaudy bright tents that now littered the main street and overflowed into the surrounding area.
"Oh Xena, look at this lovely fabric… Oh Xena! You hungry? How about one of these pastries? Xena will you look at this…" Gabrielle seemed oblivious to the fact that the dark warrior didn't answer. She was like a hummingbird fluttering from one booth to the next without a care in the world. It was all that Xena could do to physically follow the bard; to follow the conversation was impossible.
Xena sighed again, this time a little louder, hoping to catch Gabrielle's attention. She was bored and getting antsy. It was crowded and with all the people around, it always made her a bit nervous. Gabrielle did catch the warrior's hint and echoed the warrior's sigh. She was trying to enjoy herself, but Xena was making it difficult. She knew the warrior was uncomfortable but would never leave her side. Especially in crowds like this, Xena would be like a little mother hen pecking away, making sure Gabrielle was safe and no one messed with her. In a way it was sweet, and in another way it was annoying. When Xena's protective side came out she was often difficult to get along with. When this happened it always made Gabrielle feel like she was a kid again. She knew she would have to wrap it up soon and they would have to be on their way.
"I know you want to go Xena, I'm almost done."
"It's ok, Gabrielle, you don't get to do this often," Xena lied. It wasn't ok and Gabrielle knew it, but neither of them would admit to it.
"Just one more booth, I need some more scrolls. I saw a book vender around the corner, and then we'll go… I promise."
Xena smiled. Good… finally, she thought to herself.
Gabrielle did keep her word and headed straight for the book vender. She had just started to haggle with the vender over the price of the scrolls, when a book caught her eye. She reached out and ran her fingers over the soft and well-worn leather. It was dyed a deep rich sapphire-blue and had a usual image of a white horse with blue eyes on the cover. She studied the image, realizing that it looked familiar and thinking how the color was not unlike the sapphire that was reflected in Xena's eyes.
Xena, who had become bored again, glanced over at Gabrielle. She was concerned that the normal chatty bard had suddenly become quiet. Gabrielle was holding a book and staring at it strangely. The warrior watched as the bard asked the vender how much he wanted for it.
"Well, now let me see that," the vender said as he took the book from Gabrielle hand. He didn't remember seeing it before. He opened it up, and glanced through it quickly. He didn't recognize the language, but he wasn't about to look a gift horse in the mouth. He could see the little bard was interested and could sense a sale. Testing the waters, he replied, "20 dinars."
Gabrielle made a face at him, and then handed over the money. Xena wasn't sure who was in more shock, the vender or herself. Gabrielle had actually bought something without haggling over the price, but neither the vender nor the warrior was going to argue as they both had achieved an equal sense of happiness; the vender got a good sum of cash and Xena was going to get to leave.
The bard remained uncharacteristically silent as the pair turned and started to walk back to the inn. They would gather up Argo and their packs and be out of the village within the hour. Xena was content to follow Gabrielle, but could feel something strange in the air. She quick-stepped, so that she was next to the bard, then put her arm around her younger friend's shoulder.
"Gabrielle," Xena asked, breaking the silence, "Are you ok?"
"Yeah, I'm fine," Gabrielle replied, brushing off the warrior's arm as they entered the inn. They headed up the stairs to their room, Gabrielle continuing to be oddly quiet. Xena started to gather their things. Gabrielle sat on the end of the pallet and stared at the strange blue book.
Xena stopped and made her way over to the bard. She knelt down on one knee in front of Gabrielle and with two fingers raised her chin, so they were eye to eye which caused Gabrielle to blush as their eyes met. Xena lifted an eyebrow at the blush, but didn't comment.
"Xena," Gabrielle gently scolded, "I'm fine, really."
"Then how come you're suddenly so quiet? You sick? Do you have a headache?" Xena replied as she checked both of Gabrielle's eyes and then her head for fever.
Gabrielle brushed off Xena's hand. "No. I don't know. It's this book. I feel something from it. It's like… it's like it's calling to me."
Xena eyed the book on Gabrielle's lap. For the first time she noticed the same image that had drawn Gabrielle to it: the odd white horse with the blue eyes. It seemed familiar to her, but she didn't remember seeing anything like it before. She was both memorized and wary of it at the same time. Suddenly she felt the tickling of her warrior senses as hairs on the back of her neck stood straight up.
Curious, Xena reached out to touch it, and the moment that she did, the room began to spin. She felt herself twist backwards and upside down. She could feel Gabrielle's presence next to her. The bard was also spinning. She tried to reach out to Gabrielle, to pull the bard close for protection. Xena forced her eyes to remain open and her senses alert. She had to stay aware. She had no idea what was happening to them, but knew that if they were going to survive it she had to keep fighting.