AS TWO WORLDS COLLIDE IN AGONY AND ECSTASY
Gabrielle felt the warmth she was laying face down on something soft she slowly opened her eyes realizing that she was in Xena bed once more. A thick heavy fur cover had been pulled over her shoulders to keep her warm. The late morning sunlight was pouring in through the closed velvet curtains been sleeping for a while and no one had woken her up. She took a deep breath as she raised her hand looking at it seeing, she had regained her human form but she had no idea when she had done so as she had clearly slept through her transformation. She felt her heart twist in to a painful knot as the guilt hit home, last night she had come across so badly. Her lover had been trying to help her yet she had thrown it right back in her face and she wasn't proud of her actions. Nether was she happy about lying about her son, this time it had just hurt in a way she had not expected. She had always lied about the fact that her son was alive she did it to protect him because she knew full well that if the Imperial Council realized that she had a human son they would capture him or even kill him. Now she realized why it hurt so much it was because Xena was always open with her. She wore her heart on her sleeve and was always honest she had been nothing but understanding with her and yet she was not doing the same in return.
Normally she wouldn't hate herself for doing this but right now she did and she felt it only right to tell the truth. Her lover needed to know the truth I owed it to her the other woman has given me so much and she had dishonoured her kindness by lying. She took in a deep breath before opening her lover had even put her to bed. She moved her hand over seeing that the other woman's side of the bed was empty she could smell jasmine and other sweet smelling oils on the sheets. She sat up in bed realizing that the other woman wasn't in the room she wrapped she eased herself out of bed ignoring the semi cold feeling as her feet touched the tiles as she wrapped the lighter top sheet around her body. The fire opposite had been lit once again but she had been too deep in thoughts to notice. She walked towards the study door opposite hearing the sound of a quill scratching paper. She eased the door open slowly catching sight of the other woman who was writing at her desk unaware of her presence as she carried on writing, her blue eyes drifting over the paper in deep thought she carefully closed the door behind her.
It felt like such a long time since she had been in this study, the memories she had of this place weren't pleasant, she vividly remembered there first talks here. Though these talks seemed so distant to her now one thing she remembered with crystal clarity was the other woman's first words. "It's rude to smoke in my presence." She shook of the memory as she moved towards the older woman catching sight of carved sparrow she'd made which was now sitting on her desk in full view so it could be seen by all. She watched as the other woman looked up realizing that she was there. A warm smile formed on her lips as she placed her quill down her soft voice hitting the air. "Hi." Gabrielle breathed in deeply as she walked over to the desk running her fingers over its edge. "Hey." Xena felt her smile widen as she watched the other woman's tentative almost shy behaviour which she always found so charming. "Did you sleep well?" Gabrielle breathed in as she carried on running her hands over the wood absentmindedly. "Yes I slept very well…when did I change back?" Xena eased out her hand taking hold of the other woman's. "Early this morning, the horns on your head were the first things to vanish then your body changed back. After that I put you to bed as it was getting cold even by the fire."
Gabrielle looked up slightly. "Thank you." She paused as the subject crossed her mind which had been bothering her since she had woken she looked up meeting the other woman's soft gaze. "I'm sorry about what I said last night, you were trying to help me and I threw it back in your face, you deserve better than that." Xena kept her hand on the other woman's as she shook her head. "No you have nothing to be sorry about, I was pushing you to hard, if you're not ready to see your family then you're not ready." Gabrielle lowered her gaze to the floor as she took in a deep breath feeling the need to be as honest as possible. "The thought of seeing them again terrifies me, its not just about being inhuman." She felt her grip on Xena's hand tighten. "I'm not the person I was, I wonder what my farther would think off me now and all the blood I have on my hands. He will be expecting to see that young innocent girl and I'm not her anymore, I can hardly remember being her." Xena stood up slowly pushing her papers to one side in a swift motion. She gently put her hand under the other woman's chin raising her head so their eyes met. "I'm not your farther Gabrielle I don't know what he will think of you but believe me when I say I think he will be happy to see you again, just to know that you're alive. I also think that your not being human will not shame him, who would be shamed by the fact that his daughter is a king?" Gabrielle felt a sad smile form. "I am a king who owns none of my own kingdom."
Xena leaned over laying a gentle kiss on her lips before speaking again. "You have your horns now and no one among your own race can challenge that anymore and one day you will have full control over your kingdom once more. Also you are my consort that should speak for it self to anyone who dears to challenges your worth." She paused about to say something only to have her words cut off as the other woman's lips met her own in a deep and passionate kiss. She barely had time to think as Gabrielle's lips left her own as the younger woman moved to stand opposite her she cold see the desire the green eyes as clear as day. She felt the wood of the desk as Gabrielle pushed her on to it hard, she hadn't expected things to go this was way or for the young woman to be so forward but a part of her didn't care. She hadn't seen this side of Gabrielle before and she desperately wanted to experience more of it as it was so intense she could feel the other woman's hands bracing wrists tightly. She felt the younger woman grip on her wrists loosen as she leaned over her kisses became much softer and tender but no less passionate. It was as if her lover had lost control but had gained it back in an instant. Truth was that she should have seen this coming as Gabrielle had clearly wanted this last night but it hadn't happened due to her horns coming through.
She closed her eyes enjoying the other woman's hands as they started to roam down her body igniting the fire deep with in, gods this was bliss. Gabrielle breathed in steadying herself as the other woman hands began to remove the sheet around her body. She felt a slight twinge of guilt for just one moment she had let her primal need and desire overwhelm her for just a moment and she wasn't happy about it. She had no idea how it had happened she had always in control and the last thing she wanted to do was harm the older woman in anyway. She moved her hands to her being as tender and as gentle as possible as her voice hit the air. "I am Golden Hind." It was more of a statement than a question. Xena met the other woman's lips again as she let go of the white cover. "Yes you are Golden Hind." Gabrielle gently took unbuckled the other woman's shoulder armour letting it drop to the floor. "And you are my one true love." Xena felt a smile form as wrapped her legs around the other woman's waist as her breast and back plate were pulled off. She had never made love in her own office and that just excited her all the more as she felt the other woman move so her body was on top her own. "I'll love you forever." She breathed in as the other woman's lips met her own once more.
Iris looked up from the table as she drew on her map again with an ink and quill, she could see the sun light outside. She wanted to go to bed but she had no choice she had to meet her contact his visit was just too important. It mattered to werewolf rebellion in Apollonia the werewolf who she was meeting was coming here directly from Corinth. His trip was taking longer than normal but she couldn't fault him for that, he was an elderly werewolf and it meant that he could only travel at night when his strength was at its best. She looked over watching as the small boy opposite played with her older daughter Kassia, their game was a gentle one as they shared a wooden toy between them. She breathed in deeply as she looked at the little boy again. He was five years old and looking nothing like her or even her husband, even her human daughter bore no resemblance to him she had brown hair and blue eyes. He had dark black hair and dark tanned skin no doubt elements from his real father, who she knew had been murdered before his birth. His eyes though were every bit his mother they were lush green and they lit up his face, he even had her smile he was also human just like her daughter.
She loved him with her heart and she had promised his mother that she would take care of him and look after him as it far too dangerous for him to be inside the Grand City. He was Gabrielle's son and she was the true werewolf king but many years before she had become Horn Hind she had let her escape with her new born daughter and she'd been able to meet up with her human lover. She knew that if Gabrielle hadn't let her go that day she would have died as would her new born daughter. She owed her life and what better way to repay the favour than to look after her son and keep him hidden from the Imperial Council. She knew that a day would come when she would return for him and she had a feeling it would be soon if the rumours she had heard were true. She was itching to start this war against the Imperial Council as where her contacts in Corinth, she had, had enough of hiding in the shadows. She had already sent another loyal contact from Athens to deliver a message, the most important message Gabrielle would ever reserve in her life. Thirteen werewolves had died trying to get their hands on a copy of the master plan, one had succeeded and she had been truly horrified to find out what it was when she'd read it.
When she'd been a builder in the Grand City it was an idea that had been whispered in her ear at last resort which would kill thousands of human's in fail swoop. It was a vile disgusting concept and not one had ever wanted to see happen. It was called the bleeding pillars of sorrow named so because it was neither mercifully nor honourable. It was an idea the even the Crescent Hind had rejected because he saw it as to brutal she knew that Gabrielle would have rejected it as well. That was why she'd been thrown in to the pit of the palace in Corinth clearly they had wanted her out of the way for a long time. That was assuming that rumour was true, she breathed in deeply watching as her husband Parthenios started to pace he was in werewolf form and his eyes were on their children. She lowered her gaze she had never meant to turn him but the mating urge had been like Tartarus. She'd never experienced anything like it in her whole life it was agonizing and painful on so many levels but what made it worse was the sexual pain. With the mating urge you were turned on ever second of the day all you could think about was having sex with the person you wanted to mate with.
You got the shakes, stomach pains and you couldn't think straight it was worse than torture and she had been tortured before. The worst part of it was that if you ignored it, you started to loose your grip and become violent. That had scared her more than anything because she didn't want to harm their children. She had, had to go through with biting her partner, she felt guilty about that even to this day but he had been fine with it. He had said that they were in this together just as they had been in beginning when he'd met her out side the Grand City in the dead of night. It had been a strange first meeting as he had seen her in werewolf form and had panicked she'd knocked him to the ground and held him down. She'd been told to kill any human she saw but she knew she wasn't a warrior and she just couldn't go through with it, she'd let him go much to his surprise. Then she'd spoken to him telling him to leave but it was clear by that point curiosity had gotten the better of him and they'd started talking, that talking had later led to more as they'd kept on meeting up over the months.
It was only when a warrior had seen what she was doing that her ears had been torn for her actions but it hadn't stopped her. After going through that she had wanted to escape the Grand City and she had done so. Her ears were only half healed now but that was the way it was, werewolf a very long time to heal. It take more time before hers healed fully but the jagged scars would always remain painting the criss-cross lines of a traitor, not that she really cared, she had survived worse and she was here to talk about it now. Parthenios stopped pacing as he turned Iris. "He's late." Iris eyed the scroll in front of her. "Just give him time, Rome wasn't built in day, nether was the Greek Empire." She looked up as the door as opened and a white haired man in his late sixties walked in he gave her a smile as he closed the door behind him. "Good tidings from Corinth." Iris breathed in deeply. "You are a day late Quentin." Quentin calmly sat down on the chair opposite her. "You know you're not the only werewolf staring a rebellion Iris…my children are pushing the rebellion in Corinth as is my wife Galiena." He breathed as Parthenios walked over to the window keeping an eye of what was going on outside. "Don't worry I wasn't followed, the Imperial Council's spies are rubbish when it comes to taking notice of old werewolves like me, they don't see as a threat so they ignore us."
Iris put her hands together. "So is it true, the rumours I mean?" Quentin felt his smile widen. "If you mean is Horn Hind alive then yes she's breathing and well taken care off…you didn't tell me that she smoked coltsfoot though." Iris blinked in surprise. "She didn't smoke during our last meeting." Quentin leaned back in the chair. "Also the other rumour is true the Empress is in love with her and as well which confirmed what we all thought all along. It may have also contributed to the ending of the hunting law and our race gaining equal rights in the Greek Empire. The only thing I couldn't confirm was what happened in the pit and how Horn Hind got put in there but I' sure when you two meet again you can discuss it." He paused eyeing the little dark haired boy opposite who had green eyes. "After all, your little boy well lets just say that his true origins are very clear to me." Iris eyed him she didn't like were this was going she turned to Kassia who looked up. "Kassia be a sweet heart and go play with your brother in your bed room." Her daughter's face turned to annoyance as she spoke. "But mum?" Iris raised her hand pointing to the bedroom. "Now Kassia."
She watched as her daughter breathed in leading the young boy out who smiled before disappearing from site. She turned back to the older man putting her hands together. "Sebastianos is our son and we love him." Quentin shook his head. "He's not your son though is he? I mean you only have to look at the boy to know he is not yours." He paused. "I mean he has her eyes, they both smell the same and my nose might be old but I can still pick up on the scent of a mother and child." Iris put a hand on her face feeling the frustration hit home. "You may know this truth but you can not tell anyone, if the Imperial Council works out that he is her son they will kill him." Parthenios turned eyeing the older man. "We made a promise to her, we said that we would protect her son and we have done so and if anything happens to him she will never forgive us. I love the boy but I do know that he will one day be returned to his mother." Quentin shook his head sadly. "You have not told him the truth have you, that he's not your son?" Iris folded her arms as she shook her head. "He's five he's to young to know the truth and I don't want him to go through that he's not ready."
Quentin adjusted his shirt. "It won't be long before he starts to question his true origins, one day he's going to look at you all and see that he's different, he will ask why his eyes aren't light brown or sea blue and why his hairs not brown. He'll then ask why he has black hair, green eyes and tanned skin." He looked up slightly. "I assume the dark hair and tanned skin came from his father?" Iris nodded sadly. "His father was murdered before he was born I saw his father once he was a warrior named Damokles. He was an honourable man who believed in equality for all werewolves, he also believed that half breed or full breed shouldn't matter and breeding with humans should be allowed as well as human children. He taught Gabrielle every single one of these ideas moulding her in to the woman she is now. After she became Horn Hind no matter what the Imperial Council did they couldn't break her ideals and he was murdered for it, I only found out this as I ran in to a run away a warrior who had served with him he told me everything." She breathed in painful. "It's tragic that Sebastianos will never know his father, he was a great man."
Quentin looked up meeting her gaze. "He will know his mother though you can make it so by giving him back to her." Iris shook her head. "No if I do that he will be targeted by the Imperial Council, plus the palace in Corinth isn't safe!" Quentin sat up in his chair. "Well you are going to have to decide and soon Iris because once war breaks out between us and the Imperial Council no one will be safe." He turned looking around the small villa. "Time is no longer on our side we both know this." Iris raised her hand eyeing him. "I've sent my best to Corinth to deliver the message personally…I know as well as anyone else that if the Imperial Council go through with this our race will never be forgiven." Quentin looked down feeling the pain hit his chest. "Collapsing whole cities using underground tunnels does not bear thinking about Iris. We both know that the bridge in Thessaly was nothing more than a test but this won't be a test. It will be a for real, a whole city will collapse in to the ground, werewolf tunnels being used to destroy rather than build it goes everything the Emerald Hind believed in." Iris felt a sneer form. "You don't need to remind me off this I was a builder remember, the only reason those plans are going to Gabrielle now is because my rebels stole them from the Grand City."
Quentin took in a deep breath. "Then war will come no matter what, the moment those plans make it in to Horn Hinds hands she will turn on the Imperial Council and her rage will be unyielding. She already knows of the rebels in Corinth and by the time she reads those plans she will know about your rebels here as well. It is inevitable, I assume you many have copies of those plans." Iris folded her arms. "I'm not stupid you think I'd send just one person. When I referred to my best I was refereeing to my best of three and I have three other copies in different places. I know that the moment that the Imperial Council realize what I'm doing they will send out their best to kill my best…but I doubt they'll get all three." Quentin put a hand on his chin. "Then the men and women you sent knew that it might be a one way trip?" Iris looked up meeting his uncertain gaze. "Yes they knew they were told of its importance and they came forward willingly, they were not forced. It's the price we pay for this rebellion we have to except at any moment that we might die for our true king." Quentin looked at her for a long moment. "Then I hope that when our time comes around that we are just as willing to die for the Golden Hind."
Gabrielle breathed in deeply as she laying on top of Xena's naked body her head resting under the other woman's neck. They were both laid over the desk whose papers had been pushed aside and were now spread all over the floor along with Xena's clothes and the bed sheet she had been wearing. They had been lying together now for the past few minutes just enjoying each others company. Xena felt a smile form as a thought crossed her mind as she kissed the other woman's head. "You know I'm never quite going to look at this desk the same way again." Gabrielle felt a wide smile form as she looked down seeing that the other woman had moved her small carved bird in to one of the draws which she'd opened but left open as she'd become to distracted to close it. "I've never done this before…it's new to me." Xena raised her eyebrow. "You've never made love on a desk before?" Gabrielle shook her head. "No just about all my relationships took place in beds or on bedrolls in the wilderness." Xena eased up her hand running it through her long blonde hair. "Do you miss the wilderness? I mean you spent most of your life on the road fighting yet here you don't get that sense of adventure." Gabrielle looked up meeting her uncertain gaze for a long moment. "I miss elements but it's not the elements you might think. I don't miss the fighting as I love being here in this palace with you the only things I do miss are hunting and I miss fishing."
Xena blinked in surprise. "You like fishing?" Gabrielle raised her hand moving it through the other woman's damp hair. "The werewolf version yes, you don't use a rod, you have to dive in at night in to pitch black waters and grab fish, its can be quite challenging." Xena moved her hand to the other woman's face. "Personally I always liked fishing but I prefer the rod myself, though I confess I don't get that kind of joy when I fish in the palace pond. The fish are really not that challenging to catch and they were gifts from the Greek royals their bred to bedocile and pretty." Gabrielle looked up meeting her gaze. "I know, I caught one once, it was a month after the royals came here, just found it really easy and I put it back in the pond, I didn't hurt it." Xena felt her smile turn to a playful grin. "You fished in my pond?" Gabrielle shrugged as she as she looked at the other woman. "I was bored." Xena raised her hand running it over her back enjoying the feel of soft skin. "Well you'd have to be bored to fish in the royal pond I mean I only keep it because the children like the fish, just like I keep the peacocks even though they annoy me." Gabrielle shook her head. "I don't care for your peacock's ether but then they tend to stare clear of me in both forms."
Xena laughed unable to stop herself as she met the other woman's light green gaze enjoying the view. "Well you eat one of them there bound to remember." Gabrielle raised her hand. "Look it's not just the peacocks that don't like me, the cats in palace are wary of me as are the dogs and horses can't stand me in werewolf form, the only animal I can seem to connect with is birds." Xena felt her laughter stop as something hit her, she had never once seen Gabrielle enter the stables in all the time she'd known her and it hadn't occurred to her until now. "Horses don't like you?" Gabrielle looked up slightly. "No they don't in werewolf form they try to kick me and in human form they are nervous of me." Xena sat up slightly looking at the other woman. "Can you ride a horse?" Gabrielle shook her head. "No, but I've never needed to in werewolf form I can just about keep up with a horse. Plus werewolves don't use horses, there's just no point when you can keep up with them when their galloping." Xena felt a smile form. "You know we are going to have fix that. When you go through Corinth you need to be beside me on horseback it's for your own protection." Gabrielle shook her head. "Well if you can find a horse that won't kick me or run away from me in ether form then I'll ride it." Xena raised an eyebrow. "Are you setting me a challenge?" Gabrielle felt a playful smile form. "Something like that yes." Xena moved her hand up to her lovers face putting it on it. "Well then I'd be more than happy to except that challenge, I'll find you a horse that won't kick you or hurt you and then you can learn to ride it."
She leaned over meeting the other woman's lips in a gentle and warm kiss feeling the need to change the topic. "I wanted to ask you something." Gabrielle raised both eyebrows enjoying the feel of the other woman's body which she was lying on top of. "Yes?" Xena eased herself up in to a sitting position pulling her lover up in to her lap. She hadn't wanted to ask this question but she knew that it was important and she would have to ask it sooner or later as she just hated the idea of destroying this moment. "What do you intend to do about the Imperial Council?" Gabrielle felt a cold smile as she shifted getting comfortable on the other woman's lap. "I'm going to destroy them and take back my kingdom." Xena breathed in, in some ways the younger woman saying this made her feel a lot better. She was already prepared for war and she knew that this war was inevitable but what had always worried her was Gabrielle's lack of self esteem when it came to her saying that she was the true ruler. It was clear to her now that this had changed and the younger woman now believed that she was ruler of her people she wanted every back which had been stole from her, her horns coming through had clearly changed how she saw herself and that was so refreshing to see. She eased up her hand running it down her face. "As I've said I'll be here every step of the way, what ever you need I'll give your people and where ever you need to go I'll be there for you." She breathed in deeply wrapping her around the other woman feeling her pull closer as she spoke in a soft tone. "Love you Gabrielle." Gabrielle tightened her grip around the other woman's waist the world around her could end right now and she wouldn't care because she knew that right now she was were she was meant to be which was in the other woman's tender embrace she closed her eyes speaking softly. "I love you to Xena."
End of part 100
End Of Book One
It felt only right for the final chapter of this book to end in Xena's study, as this story really began the study. It felt like a good way to make things feel as though they had finally come full circle.
To all the readers who have read, reviewed, followed and faved this story, thank you so much I really appreciate your input. I realize that there are quite a few loose ends which have not been tied up all of these will be fixed in the sequel.