(Nobody like her)
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters of Xena: Warrior Princess. They belong to Studio USA and Renaissance Pictures. No profit has been made from this story, damn!
Another day was reaching it's end in the mortal plane, and the sun was slowly setting down, leaving behind it but some rare, fine crimson stripes on the velvet blue sky of the Acropolis.
A warm, gentle breeze was still blowing outside, forcing the elegant flower stems to bent rhythmically towards the ground as if worshiping it, kissing from time to time the elastic blades of the soft grass and the bird ladies sitting lazily on top of them in the process.
It does sound pretty much like one of those fairy tale days overall, doesn't it? A day that Zeus had apparently blessed in the morning while he was still in a good mood, and somehow, everything seamed to have marvelously connected…..Well, it wasn't actually…
Greece had been drowning in her brave warrior's blood for more than a month now,
people were loosing their nerve faster than ever, scared to death for their safety and for the shattered fate of their starveling families, performing useless daily rituals and bringing countless sacrifices to the Gods, deities that seamed to be awfully busy with their own problems to hear any word whatsoever from their worshipers' long pitiful lamentations or smell the divine perfume of myrth and incense carefully lighted in front of altars from all over the rifled cities and villages.
As if secretly driven by an invisible hand or will, filthy alliances between power obsessed warlords had been gradually grinding vast areas from Sparta to Pharsalos and back, before finally deciding to direct all of their striking force and will towards subjugating one of the most craved cites of all times: Athens. It was in fact a matter of days before they joined Ares' amazingly disciplined armies, standing in with them for the fulfillment of the same common goal: reaching it's gates, blasting it's defenses into oblivion along with it's entire expensive newly acquired stocks of Persian spears and swords- that had drained the fortress' coffers for good, in the vain attempt to avoid a very possible siege , desperately attempting to find the most practical solutions they could come up with in order to get as ready as they could, to face the ordeal that was to come upon it.
Inside the large, classically decorated throne room of his gloomy lacedaemonian Halls of War, for the eight day in a row or now, the War God, hadn't bugged from his majestic seat, despite all Tartarus breaking loose in his name, just as he head ordered it, a blank stare, rarely seen in his amber colored eyes , motionlessly contemplating the playful dance of the undying flames, which were dimly lighting the surrounding obscurity.
One leg draped casually over the ivory arm of his skeleton shaped throne, Ares cursed under his breath again , his eyes still half closed, as the last conversation he had with a certain raven haired Princess invaded abruptly his the intricate web of his thoughts, almost making his mind scream in exasperation at the memory of it.
"You're going up against Caesar, huh?"
"I am helping a friend"
"Oh ya, sure, sure. That must be great for the masses, but we really know better, don't we? You know….Caesar and I talk, now and then. But don't get jealous. I don't always answer him. He's got this temple. I told him to destroy it, but he hasn't yet. Sure must be important to him…."
"Caesar doesn't care about temples. If it has, it's just for strategic value."
"Either way-it'll really humiliate him if you destroy it. Go Xena. Lead your army to victory and make me proud. "
"The temple- you can destroy the temple…."
"What is it about this temple that bothers you so much?"
"There is no place for one god in our world. This is a world that we created! Zeus, Athena, Hades, Poseidon! It is our world!"
"And before that is was the world of the Titans. Oh, that's right, Zeus overthrew them didn't he? You're just afraid that history may repeat itself"
"Whatever you might think about us, Xena, you know us. You might love us or you might hate us, but we're not evil. This god is"
"Evil to you."
"Trust me Xena"
"Based on what?"
"Gods damn it!" he blustered from the top of his lungs, launching a blue energy bolt straight at one of his statues, blasting it's head off with such force that small chunks of marble were shattered everywhere in the room , reaching even the limit of the main entrance. "If she hadn't been so stubborn none of this would have happened !" he kept mumbling, unbelievably annoyed at the unpleasant realization of the unexpected turn that the whole Dahok story had taken during the last few weeks.
Violently rubbing his forehead with the tip of his fingers, as if feverishly trying to erase the despicable images that were continuously rolling inside his mind, carelessly allowing a dark scowl to play on his perfectly traced features from time to time like a spotlight, the God finally let out an audible sigh, closing his eyes for a moment or two.
Him and the irritating blondie's monstrous daughter together…that was just sick….His skin instantly crawled at the mere remembrance of her ice cold hands roaming up and down his chest…her wet tongue sliding like a snake inside his mouth…the constant humiliations he still had to take from his siblings for having had the twisted nerve to side with Dahok…Xena's betrayed expression as she started putting the puzzle together without actually understanding his plot, the ache he had caused her once again by making her believe that her friend was gone…the happy happy encounter that everyone seamed to enjoy at the end of the story except for him,of course-…and all that just to save her life…
"And to think that she didn't even drop by to say thanks or to at least apologize for the whole fiasco. She was the one who started it after all. She didn't even have the minimum decency to take back those stingy lines she kept on spitting for a half an hour " the God thought, incredibly hurt and angry because of his Princess' attitude.
"I guess I should have just kept a low profile and let her have her one on one with Dahok , getting herself and that blabbering bard killed in the process!" the words
echoed thunderingly inside his head, and for a second there he couldn't help wondering if he was actually mad at her for having explicitly ignored his request again-she was still his Chosen after all despite what she said, and, following that goody goody path didn't quite change the fact he was her patron God, so she had to show him the proper respect and obedience and she was well aware of that- or at himself for causing that lack of trust that was successfully nesting inside her heart and mind through all those countless schemes he had pulled those last few years, trying to bring her back to her old, glorious ways.
"Xena Xena Xena…...what am I gonna do with you?"
At the opposite side of the long hall, strategically hidden behind marble columns and falling curtains, five gorgeous priestesses were suspiciously analyzing their Lord's odd behavior, obvious concern in their eyes, profoundly displeased with the fact that more than a week had passed since the handsome God they had dedicated their lives to wasn't paying any attention what so ever to their wants or needs, acting as if they were all invisible.
"…..And what's curious about it is that he hasn't bugged from that chair for eight days now! He's just sitting there like a rock!" Alexandrina whispered, harshly emphasizing the last part of the phrase and covering her mouth with both of her milky white child like palms the second after, as if afraid that her voice could have somehow magically reach the leather clad God's ears, and he was in the worse mood they had seen him for years, after all. From past experiences, she knew that during moments like those, it was hardly the time to piss him off, since the possibility of getting to admire the Elisian Fields' unique landscapes in the blink of an eye was very high.
"Is…..is it me or he's sleeping?" Cassandra, the youngest of all inquired curiously, her eyes never leaving her Lord's stiff body, quietly wondering if they should bring him a blanket or something that could make him feel more comfortable.
A muffled, contemptuous laughter came right after ,followed by Calixte and Laynie's almost simultaneous line, maliciously uttered on the most satirical tone they could produce , their nasty, mockingly stare, making the young priestess feel embarrassed for having opened her mouth in the first place.
"Gods don't sleep little girl. But then again, you couldn't know that, right?"
She should have kept the idea to her self she thought, pretty much aware that those harpies never lost a chance to make fun of her, giving that, for some ulterior reasons that she herself couldn't possibly get, the War God seamed to like her more than the others , despite the fact that he had never bedded her, a good excuse for the older priestess to taunt her by constantly repeating that she wasn't attractive enough for such a spectacular God like Ares to consider claiming her as his own.
As she was innocent Cassandra was smart too though, and something inside her
half baked mind secretly made her believe that the fact that their relationship was at least for now somehow different than the one he entertained with those venomous gorgons that would have literally killed in his name if that meant they were to have them in their beds for the night, could be in fact an invaluable advantage when time came.
It was almost despicable and one had to be blind not to notice how that exasperating bunch of women was continuously falling over backwards to please him, and the young priestess couldn't help thinking that those stinging harlots would have given him a blow job in the middle of the throne room if they by any chance believed that such a representation would be sufficient to impress the one that was haunting their dreams every night, explicitly begging for his attention, completely unaware of how much that really disgusted him. It clearly disgusted her so it was a pretty good chance that the War God felt the same way about it.
The uncensored pornographic image of the self conceited Myrna or Laynie kneeling completely naked in front of the God's throne, decayingly asking him if they could be of any service to him, made Cassandra's lips curve instantly into an overly bemused smile, hardly succeeding to push back the wave of laughter that was seriously threatening to brake out.
"That would be quite a show" she said to herself while warily contemplating the end of the room, where, covered in shadows, the handsome God was still burning the planks, the flames of the torches themselves lighting only half force in that area.
"You seam concerned, Cassandra" Myrna's catchy voice broke the thick, uncomfortable silence, as she entered the room, getting the rest of the priestess' attention.
"Why don't you go ask him if he needs anything?" she mildly encouraged , a vicious glitter in her eyes letting the others know what she had in mind.
"Very funny Myrna", Cassandra replied on a similarly satirical tone." But I'm planning on staying alive for at least another decade or two. I still have a lot to learn. But you can go if you want to. You've already lived your life and enjoyed most of the terrestrial pleasures" the blonde priestess stated caustically, leaving the other girls open mouthed.
"How dare you speak to me like that, you ungrateful brat? You owe me your life for having saved your worthless ass two or three times Ares wanted you dead because of your incompetence, remember? Myrna began, launching sharp words from her mouth, and it actually took all her self control not to give in the overwhelming desire to jump at the girl's throat and simply strangle her with her bare hands.
"Cut it out you two or Lord Ares would kill us all!" Calixte quickly intervened , knowing that during his infamous rages, Ares was a merciless, unstoppable force that had the bad habit of ripping and tearing everything in it's path, no exceptions made.
"I still wonder what in the world happened to get him in this state", Alexandrina complained, sincerely intrigued by the God's strange, rarely seen attitude. "He looks as if he were depressed. And he's only depressed after a serious fight with….."
"That soulless slut he boastfully likes to call his Chosen!….." Myrna started on a familiar tone that the girls have heard so many times before, when the Xena subject was being discussed " One month ago they had this major dispute, something about an alliance he had made with some foreign God. It appears that the Muses had finally given him the necessary inspiration to betray her trust, leaving her defenseless against this evil force mightier than Zeus himself, risking her life and the lives of her loved ones. Consequently, and all Gods be praised for that, she had been ignoring him ever since. His incommensurable pride is probably still in shock as we speak." the priestess stated, still keeping the ironic inflections in her voice. "Or so says every tongue from here to Thebes and back….In the meantime, while desperately fighting with himself, trying to keep his mind busy with something, fearing that the mere image of her before his eyes might just make him wanna slip and act on the atrociously violent ideas currently crossing his mind to rip her to pieces, he finds comfort in unavailing battles that he starts without actually having the necessary focus to control them. That's why he had been gathering his troops for a series of massive inter connected attacks upon the key cities of Greece, for some unknown reason Athens being his number one priority, the troops devastating everything in their path.
If you ask me, he's seeking revenge, without even realizing it. Subconsciously he's probably hoping that since his code doesn't allow him to simply kill her , thrusting a sword straight through her sneaky heart as she actually deserves, her blood would somehow get to soak the battlefield, as she would surely be trying to stop the attacks, setting him free once and for all from the unbreakable chains of this never ending maladive obsession he has for her."
"Our Lord going up against her? I'm sorry to brake it to you Myrna, but that's as impossible as snow falling in summer! I don't believe a word of it!" Lynie broke out incredulously, edgy herself at the idea of the Warrior Princess having such an amazing effect on the War God himself. "He wouldn't hurt a hair on her head if his life depended on it! He's way too addicted to her, to do anything besides kissing her feet and worshiping her as if she were Zeus' golden statue itself!"
Much to her amusement, and being at the temple for only half an year or so, Cassandra couldn't help asking the obvious, very logical question that had been troubling her, unaware that, along with it, she was about to open the very gates of Tartarus:
"I have never met Xena. How is she like? I've heard she has an unmatched beauty and that she has the power to possess the heart of any man she desires with one single gaze shooting from her cerulean eyes. Her charm is legendary, as well as her skills."
The next second, four sets of angry looking eyes were staring at her in disbelief, ready to pierce her with the sharp invisible daggers they were throwing:
" Are you crazy little girl? Do you really want to get us all killed? Don't you dare utter her name again in this temple or in any of Lord Ares' temples for that matter! "
"What…..did I do?" Cassandra barely whispered, taken aback by the priestesses' sudden revolt.
"Lord Ares had forbidden us to utter her name the minute she turned her back on him and chose to side with Hercules, fighting for the Grater God mambo jumbo" Calixte answered on her lowest tonality, carefully taking a peek in the throne's direction. It seamed that they were safe and that the God hadn't heard a thing.
"But why?" Cassandra kept on asking, her brown eyes full of childish awe.
"Where have you been living this past years, really?" Laynie snapped at her, obviously not in the mood of telling nighty night stories to the naïve brat standing in front of her.
"Relax Laynie will you? She's still a kid, can't you see? Till six months ago when her parents died she was still playing with her dollies. How should she know anything about that vicious whore?" Myrna skillfully calmed the spirits.
"Well since every living and breathing thing in Greece knows I just assumed she knew too" Laynie replied, an inevitable "doooh' expression on her face.
"Well she obviously doesn't. Maybe we should just end this conversation while we're still well and alive since we all know it can't lead to anything good, can it? Plus, the mere memory of that woman giving us orders and acting as if she were the Goddess of War herself and Ares tolerating her every nonsense… that literally makes me sick to my stomach" Calixte said answering Laynie's line.
"It's because of her that Karisha is dead…." .Alexandrine said above a whisper, more to herself than for the others to hear.
"Who's Karisha?" the young priestess voice broke out again, facing one more time the other priestesses' irritated stares.
And, before any of the girls got the chance to open her mouth and launch an interminable full scale speech against her and her recklessness, Alexandrine uttered, feeling her heart breaking in the process:
" She was Ares' favorite priestess"
"And our friend" Myrna added.
"The bitch had our Lord kill her because she was jealous of the attention he was showing her." Laynie spitted out angrily, clenching her fists.
"Come on girls! If I remember correctly' Calixte said " Karisha was dumb enough to insult her and Ares overheard their inflamed conversation. She had never asked Ares to kill her, he just turned her to ashes, the second Karisha called her a whore."
"Wow! Are you kidding me? He killed her for that? Poor girl! Well if that doesn't say "I love you" I don't know what does, right?" Cassandra's rhetorical question left her lips like a lightning bolt slicing the priestesses' still bleeding hearts in a flash.
"He doesn't love her, ok?. He's obsessed with her! And she's using him each time she gets the chance to hold the right cards!" Myrna replied furiously, silently wishing for the Warrior Princess to somehow magically disappear from the face of the earth. "Plus…..it's safe to say that her influence on him is rather inexistent these days. His armies ravishing everything in their path against her will is the proof"
"Maybe she hasn't asked him to call off his attacks yet" Alexandrine said.
"Even if she did, I seriously doubt that Ares would actually bother listening to her. It's not quite his style. He would clearly prefer seeing her put up a fight than simply making things easy for her. She's a worthy opponent after all. But as I said, if I'm guessing right, this will be the bitch's last confrontation. Her bard friend could as well start preparing a funeral pyre for her"
"These women really have absolutely no idea what they're talking about…." Cassandra thought hearing their theories, taking again a peek in the War God's direction. "It so obviously that he's hurting…One has to be completely blind not to see it….." she added, a glint of sincere sadness in his eyes, immediately followed by a drop of vivid curiosity. "I wonder what she looks like….I bet she's ravishing…No wonder these harpies are looking for the most ridiculous reasons to hate her, blaming her for everything…..if they saw her walking through that door right now, they would probably have a heart attack "
"Anyway…how about risking our heads a little bit, and try to take his mind off things for awhile, our way? Our own methods would definitely be way more efficient than his petty village squabbles" Calixte proposed, changing the unpleasant subject that was only resuscitating bitter memories of a War God that had literally abandoned his temples and his priestesses for years in a row when he had selected a particular mortal to be his Chosen, spending each passing second of his immortal life either by her side or by watching her throughout various portals when he was not too busy planning other wars, working on strategies and taking care of his armies.
"Well…..what do you have in mind?" Myrna inquired thoughtfully.
"How about a dance? Lord Ares had always enjoyed to see us perform some hot number for him, so…we could try that new choreography we were working at….."
"I dunno about that, Calixte. He's not quite himself these days. Maybe we should just save the idea for later, and give him the chance to cool down a little bit" Alexandrina added.
"No, I agree with Calixte. We can't just sit around doing nothing. This is the perfect opportunity for us to win back some ground. And once the Athenian battle is over and the slut is out of the picture….our Lord will be in need for a new Chosen, can't you see? And what better choice could he have than one of his own priestesses, his most loyal servants?…. Put on your sexiest outfits, girls, and as I know our God, after a few glasses of wine and some randomly scattered kisses and caresses, the temple would be sealed for the night and our clothes ripped off faster than you can say "Xena"" Myrna said laughing viciously, playfully covering her mouth with the back of her hand as if having just realized what she had said.
It was peace and quiet in the Halls of War. Just as he liked it. It gave him enough space to breathe and to think during those smothering moments when down in the mortal realm and up in Olympus the air itself seamed to run out, giving him this weird sensation that his lungs were drying inside, this regularly happening either because of those perishable creature's incompetence or because of his breed's stupid and restrictive rules and principals.
Nobody dared to bother him there. There were no annoying minions haunting the place, except for five high priestess that have been serving him for over a decade- minus Cassandra of course- but who were well aware that when he came there he usually needed some time alone and unless called, bugging him unnecessarily wasn't exactly recommended. Each one of them had her own responsibility anyway and they were too busy doing what their Lord had asked them to do, to still have enough time to disturb him with little nothings.
Myrna for instance was always busy dealing out justice in War's name. Her main obligation was to help forming or destroying alliances between warriors, clans, generals or kings, whenever Ares considered that a particular situation didn't completely fit his mastermind plans. She had a hard job to do but she was damn good at it. Scheming and winding people around her fingers was her specialty. She was the ultimate manoeuvrer and Ares had always found amusing the way in which fierce men, with rage literally boiling inside their blood had come to her asking for justice, demanding torturous deaths in the God of War's name for the ones that had wronged them, on accounts of treason, rip offs, lies that have resulted in the loss of massive army effectives- and,in a surprisingly magic way, before they left the room, and after Myrna's little show acts and intricate mind playing routine , they were suddenly becoming the best of friends, having discovered in less than one half an hour dozens of cunningly reasons for them to stay together instead of killing each other, joining the warriors serving them under the same flag against some imaginary enemies that the chief priestess had been warning them about.
She was a smart girl that had dedicated her life to serving the one that had saved her from what clearly seamed to turn into a cruel mass rape followed by the classical "whipping and other various physical tortures" number, everything ending with a more than obvious death, one night, in a Roman camp.
She had been the daughter of a rich, noble family in Greece, and during a bloody flash night attack, her entire city collapsed in flames, burnt down to ashes by the roman troops led by the mighty Tiberius. Ares had materialized into the camp later that night to invisibly watch the war plans for the next town they were about to conquer when he heard a low whimper coming from a nearby tent. He meddlingly took a peek and there she was: one of the most richest young girls in Micene. And though her family had never made any sacrifices or donations to his temple, worshiping Zeus and Hera alone , he found out that he just couldn't turn his back on her….he knew what was going to happen next. And taking a look at her thin form he couldn't help feeling pity for her. She was still a child, barely passed her fourteen and yet she was about to receive inside her more men that any regular whore could in her long, perverted career. Stepping out of his invisibility shield, he instantly made the heavy chains vanish from around her hands, and wrapping his arms around her, he took her to the Halls of War, where he left her in the care of Karisha his head priestess.
The next day when she woke up he was standing there by her side, watching her sleep. They had a brief talk and that was that. She remained there, in his service, helping out the lovely Karisha with whatever she asked her to. And despite the fact that she had been treated with compassion and care by the kind woman Ares had chose to watch over her, instead of pulling herself together, her heart had gradually become a millstone, showing no trace of humanity or feelings to anyone except her Lord. Just like many other women in history, she lived having one single purpose in life: to gain Ares's love. And despite the wise Karisha's warnings she soon found out she couldn't breathe without him…slowly but surely she was heading for the greatest deception of her young existence…..Xena was soon to become the hammer that was about to crash the rest of her broken heart and the object of her burning hate, for years to come.
Calixte and Layinie , two girls that their families had intended to sacrifice in the War God's name and that were saved by Karisha in the nick of time , had grown up in the Halls of War, learning everything that they needed to know about temple administration and economical matters. They usually kept tabs of the amounts of money and things donated in their Lord's temples and they redistributed them to different locations in Greece , to armies and warriors that served Ares directly, establishing the exact purpose of every dinar sent and making sure that each particular amount of money was correctly spent.
For a long time their job had been flawlessly done and the handsome God was pleased with their hard work and clear judgment. …everything seamed to be perfectly executed, and many times Ares had appreciated their efforts, rewarding his dear priestesses with rare jewelry and special attention…..it all came to an end though, the moment that, one late summer night they spent even the last golden diner available in the temple's coffers in order to pay six lethal assassins to murder Ares' "cocky and useless" Chosen and take a burden off their chest, jealousy blinding them to such extent that they even planned poisoning her wine when she dropped by the Halls of War to meet up with Ares if the initial plan didn't succeed.
The word "useless" associated with " Xena" disappeared the next morning from their limited vocabulary for good though, when, they both woke up screaming in terror, unable to take their eyes from six blood dripping skinned faces that were staring at them with large empty cavities where the orbs had once stood.
During the following month they gradually got accustomed to the rotten heads' presence, for, the minute Ares found out about their nasty little plan, he figured that simply killing them for having tried to harm his Chosen was way too easy….. Only two days later, the execrable smell of the decomposing flesh could be felt in each and every corner of the Halls of War…Xena had just made two more life long enemies. And if days before, those two were planning to kill her without necessarily having a serious reason to hate her, after that degrading humiliation, their young souls were vibrating with hate.
As time passed by, it genuinely seamed that Alexandrina and Karisha still held the only spite intact hearts when it came to Xena's glorious persona, the Warrior Princess' relationship with their Lord representing no interest what so ever to them.
Firstly, Alexandrina was yet too young to develop any deep feeling for the handsome War God. She was only twelve or so, and she was still too busy running away from Karisha through the main hall all day long , hiding astutely in the Weaponry room where she would stay for hours, until, exasperated, the chief priestess called for Ares, asking him to get the little devil who was nowhere to be found.
A discreet smile on his lips, slightly amused by Karisha's irritated stare, the War God
usually vanished only to appear seconds later with little Alexandrina encased safely in his arms, and after the regular scowl and the girl's solemn promise that she would never upset Karisha again, he used to plant a gentle kiss on her forehead and head for the throne room where he used to stay for hours , watching attentively two or three simultaneous portals depicting live battle scenes from different wars ripping the land of Greece. No matter who fought and how important the battle was, from time to time he would shortly disappear when a certain voice uttered his name, and not once had his priestess witnessed through the remaining open portals long conversations , arguments or sensual kisses and lovemaking between him and his precious Chosen…
Hurting in silence without ever saying one word, Karisha's own heart soon became an opened wound that was unable to heal by herself any more. Her Lord was madly in love with his raven beauty and as the Fates themselves had foretold, she was to become his Enyo, his one and only. There was no room in his life for her any longer and she knew it. Her destiny was sealed.
Refusing to burry her love and go on living with the knowledge that she could never have the love of the man of her dreams, Karisha did the one efficient thing that had crossed her mind: insulted the one that the War God would had gladly given his life for; the apple of his eyes: Xena, the fierce conqueror that had enslaved his mind along with his heart.
It wasn't long till, once she was given the chance, according to her well organized plan, Ares overheard a certain conversation, and, despite the Warrior Princess protest, he turned the woman into ashes but seconds after, leaving little Alexandrina speechless, her green eyes wide open, staring in disbelief at the one for whom her Lord had dispatched with so much easiness his most loyal servant, and the closest thing she had ever had for a mother.
That very moment, the somber shadow of hatred had corrupted and consumed even the last pure soul of the Halls of War. Alexandrina had swore on Karisha's memory that she would put an end to Xena's life with her own hands, washing in her blood the floor before her Lord's throne, the accursed spot where her the good priestess' ashes had fell, covered in disgrace and pain.
His eyes half closed as if getting ready to fall in the deepest sleep, Ares' erratic mind was uncontrollably drifting back towards countless full sequences of movie like images with him and his Princess, ineffectively struggling to suppress the agonizing invasion of those
bitterly detailed memories haunting his tortured mind. Her passionate kisses, the unbelievably gentle caresses of her smooth hands the way her body used to react each time his eyes would roam up and down her luscious body, the wild pounding of heart as their lips met…her silky skin…his body ached to feel her again in his arms, and now, those mixed feelings assaulting his heart were killing them. He was angry at her for not giving him credit for his help, mad for her almost fatal lack of trust in him although she knew very well that he would have never hurt her intentionally, distressed because of her cold indifference and still, burning to have her, to hold her, to feel their breaths mixing…Completely closing his eyes he realized that he could almost feel her presence, the discreet violets perfume of her hair…
And then suddenly, with the speed of one of Zeus' thunder bolts, that unique rich sensation vanished as the magnificent sound of some out of this world tonalities reached his ears, and as he opened his eyes, his petrified gaze remained entranced by the alluring body movements of his beautiful priestesses.
As much as he hated being interrupted, especially when it came to important subjects that required his fully attention such as picturing a very willing Xena cuddling at his chest, his any sign of explicit irritation disappeared the moment Calixte and Myrna started removing one by one, with elegant, sensual undulations, the almost transparent organza veils, covering their provocative curves.
Watching them perform their little dance routine for him, Ares couldn't help thinking that despite the fact that he usually found this type of carnal exposure slightly amusing giving that most women had no clear idea on how to move in order to maintain a man's attention and desires vivid, the whole thing regularly resulting into a ridiculous striptease number having no connection what so ever with the background music, this five foxy ladies appeared to be once again the exception to the rule, succeeding as so many times in the past to make him wanna wish for more.
His vigilance now almost fully directed towards the erotic scene unfolding just a few steps away from him, with an almost completely naked Myrna kneeling next to Layinie's incredibely arousing torso on the stairs, next to his throne, lazily licking her friend's nipples, her tender fingers clutching firmly into the blond priestess' long tresses, almost made him miss the moment Calixte placed a golden cup of crimson wine in his hand.
Tossing off the sweet liquid down his throat, the War God couldn't resist the thought of having those two a little bit closer…..his bedchamber would have make the perfect playground in his opinion, and the bold Cassandra seamed to read his mind when she started giving him a lap dance wishpering lowly in his ear everything she had planned for him that night, licking her lips invitingly once that she got his full attention, his eyes leaving the two priestesses' naughty representation just to focus on the read headed hottie unbuckling his belt, bad girl's ideas.
"Isn't that a little bit too obscene for you age sweetie?" Ares inquired, a little taken aback by the girl's surprisingly perverse proposal . "What if you don't like it?", he added smiling wickedly.
"Well then….you'll just have to make me like it, I guess" she murmured , intrigued by the perspective of finally feeling her god's incredibly delicate kisses covering every inch of her burning skin, eager to sense him vibrate inside her, the perfect opportunity to show those vicious harpies that she was not a little girl anymore and that she was worthy of their Lord's attention.
She barely got the chance to finish her sentence though, that Calixte joined in, starting to massage Ares' shoulders with her slender fingers, her wet, soft tongue tracing the line of his neck and left ear. It didn't take long for the God to moan in pleasure, and he almost gave in the urgent need to possess them both and just vanish in some far deserted temple of his where there was no one to interrupt them, when an extremely familiar voice made his heart beat like an Amazonian war drum, hitting his chest with such force that Calixte actually removed her hand from above it as if it burnt like fire.
"Didn't know you were throwing a party. I would have dressed properly"
And there it was! Pure silence again. Except for that stimulating background music, not even air entering and escaping the other six pairs of lungs couldn't be heard.
"Xena…" the War God's firm voice finally broke the strange placidity surrounding them. " What is it you want?" he articulated on a very business like tone.
" Ya' Warrior Princess" Myrna intervened, anger radiating from her craftily sculpted features. "What are you doing here? You don't belong here anymore and you are certainly not welcomed in this place , may I remind you!", she yelled right out of the blue, explicitly letting Xena know how she felt about her presence there, leaving the other girls literally open-mouthed at the obviously suicidal statement their chief priestess had just made, their bare bodies trembling worse than leaves at the mere idea of witnessing yet another cold blooded execution, Karisha's death being still alive in their memories, the expression printed on their Lord's face giving away Myrna's immediate future.
"My Lord" Laynie rapidly intervened, terror written all over her face "Please forgive her. She had one to many glasses to drink….."
" Who asked you anything Laynie? This has nothing to do with drinking but with this cheep looking dolly and her two faced nature"
"Do not dare to address my Chosen in that disrespectful manner again priestess or I'll be slicing your body to pieces before you even get the chance to finish your sentence !" Ares' thunderous voice echoed throughout the Halls of War, his eyes unrecognizably black with suppressed rage and still boiling murderous intentions.
"Why ever not My Lord? How many times had she turned her back on you? How many times had she betrayed the sacred vow through which she bound her life to yours? Do you even remember the number of times she spitted on your pride, insulting everything you stand for? How can you still defend her? Are you really so obsessed with her that you don't actually care that she'd been playing you as a fool all along?" Myrna uncontrollably screamed, so loud, that for a moment there she even got the impression that her voice covered Ares' previous tonality. But nothing seamed to count any more since the next second her lips parted to say something else, the God's machine like hand, had already gripped her throat, rising her light torso five feet above the ground and, smashing brutally her back against a marble column with his other hand, he had already removed his sword from the scabbard, ready to gut her like a fish, the other four panicked girls' desperate shrieks, freaking him out even more than before.
"Ares don't!" Xena's smoothly flowing words came out like an enchanting melody, paralyzing his will. " I'm not quite in the mood to witness any virginal sacrifices tonight. Just came here to talk….But if it's not a good time, we'll just take a rain check on it, ok?"
"Leave us!" Ares imperatively ordered the terrified priestess, letting go of the half passed dead Myrna in the process, hardly refraining from spilling her blood then and there.
"And take this piece of trash with you!" he added, throwing the woman's limp body at their feet. "I'll be dealing with her later!"
"Thank you. Karisha's agonizing image still lingers in my mind till this day." came Xena's barely heard words once the traumatized cortège had left the room, offering them their required space.
"She should have kept her mouth shut. She knew me well enough, Princess."
"She loved you", another euphonious phrase left the raven beauty's lips, and Ares could easily tell that it was full of regret, self inflicted guilt, bitter sadness, and silent remords.
"I know. That's why I killed her." the God casually answered while letting his heavy body fall like a rock in the large ebony throne , carefully analyzing his Chosen's almost shocked face. " I did her a favor. She would have done it herself anyway, it was but a matter of time."
"What are you talking about Ares? Since when killing somebody qualifies as a favor? Are you out of your immortal mind?" the Warrior Princess uttered disgusted by the God's total indifference.
"She was in love with me, ok? You said it yourself! The woman couldn't breathe without me and I couldn't breathe without you. And she knew it. Does this shed any light upon things for you?"
A long awkward silence followed during the next hard passing minute, with both of the two interlocutors staring blankly at some imaginary point marked in the dusty air while, astutely stocking from behind the curtains , a bunch of revenge crazed priestesses were silently hoping for the unhappiest end ever to happen, wishing that somehow, under the disastrous effect of extreme tiredness and ill temper, their Lord would just blast the bitch to oblivion, forgetting that she had ever existed on the face of the earth.
"Damn her to Tartarus!" Myrna hissed angrily, still rubbing the purple base of her neck.
" Can you believe this? For the love of all Gods! She leaves him, curses his name, foils his plans every bloody time she gets the chance , but nonetheless, she still has the nerve to come back running to him time and time again when she needs his divine intervention to bail her out from some suicidal mission she has going, using him with the broadest catlike smile on her face just to throw him like an old rag as soon as she's done, and the lovesick idiot can't stop drooling after her just like some 5 years old kid after a tasty slice of homemade raspberry pie! "
"I thought you said she had no more influence on him, Myrna?" Laynie caustically intruded, launching with the undeniable visible pleasure the ironical line that was literally tickling the inside of her throat to get out, brutally raking up the chief priestess' badly hurt pride, igniting her fury and indignation even more.
"Well I guess that we'll just have to wait and see now, won't we ?" came the equally cutting response, as a deadly stare to match the tonality of her voice let the blonde Layinie know that messing up with her already thin patience was not such a very good idea. She was obviously on the verge of a mental breakdown and having to put up with her friend's prickliness was definitely out of her list.
"Would you two just shut up already? " Alexandrine's cavernously voice suddenly broke out, exasperated by the constant blabbering drama displayed but centimeters away from her ears. "I really wanna hear what they're talking about!" she added, a steamy expression glued on her face.
"By Chronos itself! Did you see that?" Calixte exclaimed, taken aback by the incredible sight unfolding in the opposite side of the room. "He slapped her! He actually slapped her!" she repeated loudly, still in shock after the out of this world sci-fi images she had just witnessed.
"And she didn't even stir!" Cassandra's bewildered remark shakily followed right after, her innocent childlike eyes, widened in striking stupefaction and expectancy.
"What in Zeus' sacred name happened over there? What did the bitch say? Did she hit him first? " Laynie's classical inquisition started, making everyone turn around and shhh her with such murderous stares in their eyes, that her any attempt to keep on pushing for an answer died along with the unborn words behind her lips.
As the next full force merciless slap made Xena involuntarily crumble down at the God's feet, the young Cassandra almost choked between two ragged breaths and the long phrases struggling to come out of her mouth:
"Why doesn't she defend herself? Is she afraid of him? Why would she just let him hit her like that?" she kept asking faster than a shotgun, the whole scene seeming to her as nonsensical as Myrna's victorious, lavishly exposed smirk, that overconfident, satisfied air of hers having no real support after the atrociously humiliating experience she had just been trough just minutes before.
"Afraid? Have you been sampling Ares' new bottles of wine today Cassandra?" Calixte's sardonically answered, chuckling softly . "Why on earth should she be afraid of her former no one fuckbuddy?"
And, as the young priestess was working her brains out, processing the newly acquired information, still trying to figure out why ever would the War God himself settle for a booty call type of relationship with a woman he pretended to love more than his own life, Myrna's exhilarated shriek interrupted brutally her sequence of thoughts, bringing her back to reality, in less than a blink.
"Awe! This is too good to be true!"
And the dramatic progression of the live performance given by those two was in fact perplexing enough to leave everyone in the room open-mouthed, for the cruel son of Zeus pinning his Chosen's chest with the tip of his sword, a blood thirsty tyrant look in his stormy eyes wasn't as frequent as many would have wanted it to be.
Calmly looking towards the finely polished marble floor, Xena bit nervously her lower lip before finally deciding to remove the chaotically spreaded tresses falling wildly over her face, while uselessly trying to block the vivid pain coming from her burning cheeks, avoiding to show any sign of weakness what so ever by touching them.
As her turquoise irides finally traveled upwards to meet the handsome God's dark amber ones, she couldn't help averting her gaze the instant she deciphered throughout the changing shades of the constantly rising anger, the profound pain and disappointment she had deliberately caused him, consciously grating the walls of his immortal, untouchable heart till it bled, pushing indifferently somewhere in the most obscure corners of her mind the fact that he had never hurt her on purpose, even when he had every reason in the world to do it and the necessary means for his plan to succeed.
Her own soul aching, ashamed and resentful at her self for having saddened him again, the Warrior Princess bent her head down in an ineffective attempt to avoid his piercing gaze, but as countless time before he could see right through her, sensing her distress and regrets, and she could literally feel the intensity of his glare, hot on the surface of her skin.
"I'm sorry, Ares. I'm sorry" she whispered lowly, her cerulean orbs never leaving the atramentous view of the marble floor. "I shouldn't have said that. It was foolish of me to even bring it up." she added, clearly having his full attention now.
As he entrancedly watched her speaking, her crimson lips magically moving with each and every uttered word, the fragility of her broken voice, letting him now exactly what he wanted to know, the God couldn't help thinking that Myrna was in fact right, that he was so obsessed with her that he couldn't care less about what she had done or schemed on doing to him….."Sweet Fates" , he thought, "let her do whatever she wants as long as she's mine".
A slight move of his sword, and it's tip soon reached Xena's chin, forcing her to lift her head up and watch him in the eyes, and she could see that his expression was still grave and pensive, his lips nervously pressed against one another, his composure still well kept, a slightly cold attitude throwing her back a little bit.
" Did you mean it? Do you really believe that, Xena ?" he inquired earnestly , instinctively strengthening the grip on his sword, while hectically analyzing her every reaction, and when her lips parted again to speak, his heart almost forgot to beat…..
"You know I didn't" she simply stated searching for that old familiar glimpse in his eyes he was keeping just for her.
"Good" came the unhesitating response, as he bent down beside her " Cause I would never put anyone above you, Princess" he whispered on a low, sensuous tone inside her ear, the soft touch of his fingertips gliding enticingly on her perfectly sculpted visage, making those amaranthine blemishes that had bothered him beyond words during the last minutes to magically vanish.
Involuntarily leaning into Ares' soft caresses, Xena didn't even realize the exact moment she had closed her eyes, allowing her senses to overpower her already blurry mind, and when the God's hot breath moved from the line of her neck, towards the corner of her mouth, placing an almost impossibly light kiss on the velvety surface of her lips, she suddenly felt her pulse rising simultaneously with the sword that he had casually thrown on the floor.
As if forced back to reality by the disturbingly resonant sound of the metallic weapon ,the Warrior Princess fluttered her eyes open just to find out that she couldn't stop staring at that sexy bad boy smile artistically designed on the leather clad God's flawless face, and when his warm hand started it's lazy ascension towards her forehead, on the undercover mission of thoughtfully rearranging some left astray strands of hair, tucking them carefully behind her ear, it took all of her self control to repress that strikingly erotic shiver traveling like electricity up and down her body.
Sensing her change in breath as his fingers stared to glide back down her face , delicately brushing her provocatively full lips in the process, Ares' own lungs suddenly felt the need to be filled with more air, as his mesmerizing raven beauty teasingly sealed the remaining distance between them, their bodies so close that the War God could actually feel his Princess' inflamed heart, hammering savagely against his chest.
And as each and every fiber of his being was screaming for him to wrap his arms around her and lustfully ravish her lips in the most brutal of kisses, he just stood there challengingly, his hand now resting languidly on the silky skin of her inner thigh, drawing seductively invisible lines and patterns that him alone could understand, roaming freely, up and down it's burning surface, without actually crossing the limit of her leather shift, despite the fact that it took all of his godly will not to, prolonging that cat and mouse game that they were both enjoying so much, his mind already assaulted by some of the most immoral pictures that had ever invaded his mind…
In an unsuccessful and pretty much lame attempt to at least temporarily block the excruciating desires and instincts that were taking over his every sense and will, Ares wisely decided that some loose snatches of conversation of some kind could be just what he needed to cool down a little bit, vainly trying to prove to the insightful woman standing an inch apart from him that he was the one in control in fact and that her sparkling gaze and the sight of her full, luscious breasts, tightly encased behind the silvery body armour , defiantly temping him to touch them, weren't in fact as eliciting as she had wanted them to be.
"So…" he barely managed to say, swallowing dryly while briefly closing his eyes as if trying to shake off the arousing images swirling inside his head. " Why are you here, Xena? I mean….besides the obvious, urge to see me?"
"Oh" she answered thoughtfully a foxy smile making it's way on her face…"You mean besides ruining your little orgy and making those dead from the neck upwards priestesses freak out at the mere idea of having me around 24/7 again?"
"24/ 7, ha?" he cravingly inquired, as he slowly started massaging her lips with his thumb, and he distinctively felt his own pulse reaching unbelievable heights as his immortal blood began racing throughout his veins , his throbbing erection pushing hard against his leather pants, longing to enter that little witch standing so unbearably close to him. "Well…that might just be the best idea you've ever had"
"Go figure!" she stated chuckling softly, observing the boyish expression on his face, but the intense yearning radiating from his aura along with the instigating sight that had captured her attention but inches below his belt, made her save a smart reply she was ready to sting him with for later, shifting slightly her position, so that his hand was now even closer to her hot center, aware of the fact that "torture" was not a good enough word for what she was doing to him that very moment. "Well, I actually came here to thank you ….." she murmured, bewitching him again with the seductive tone of her voice.
"To…..thank me….." he repeated hesitantly, his hand still refusing to advance up her thigh, but caressing the creamy skin underneath his palm.
"Yeah…to thank you. For the whole Dahok intervention." she languorously replied, trying to conceal her impatience , wishing he'd just stop playing already. He was driving her crazy.
"Mmmmm…..." came his hardly articulated response. "And …..what exactly did you have in mind…?" he challenged, but a breath away from her sweet lips again…
"There is this little something….." she kittenishly answered while the tip of her wet, wanton tongue started to casually lick the surface of his burning lips, and she couldn't suppress a broad smile as she sensed him flinch under the effect of her nearness, just to let out a soothing whimper when his fingers finally started rubbing her clit through the silky fabric of her undergarment. And when her hand moved lower, unbuckling his belt, it was his turn to groan, as his cock had now turned unbearably hard under her touch.
"Show me …." Was all that he could still utter as her hands started moving towards the nape of his neck and her tender fingers teasingly began gliding up and down his divinely scented skin, and, as she pulled him into a frantic, lustful kiss, arching her back so that her chest touched the full length his own perfectly shaped bust, she literally felt the earth shaking the moment when, still completely under the spell of her incredibly aromatic lips, he murmured slowly in between breaths, gently caressing her hair and shoulders:
"By all Olympus Princess….I couldn't live without you, I swear it on Styx"
And for an instant there, as never before in her life, Xena felt the need to thank all existent Entities that she wasn't standing, and that she couldn't genuinely crumble down before the God's eyes as she heard him uttering those things that she had longed so much to hear….the blood almost instantaneously froze inside her veins.
The shock of it didn't last too long though, as the previous carnal images with those half or completely naked bimbos all horny and ready to mount him made her sick to her stomach…
"Right…..me and all those desperate for a fuck priestesses…" she disgustedly broke out, suddenly pushing him away as hard as she could, anger and cynicism spitting from her broken voice.
A firm grip of her shoulders as she hastily started to get up and a quick and brutal push to the ground, left her breathless, her back almost paralyzed in pain as it hit the solid surface of the marble floor. Nevertheless, only seconds later, it was her heart that started aching even harder, as, hands pinned to the ground, her body pressed to the limit of the unbearable by Ares' robust torso, and before fully realizing what was going on, the God had already captured her portal in a forced, savage type of kiss, that besides making her lips drip a fine thread of claret down her chin, also made her wanna cry. And, it's safe to say that it wasn't precisely the acute physical suffering that was troubling the raven haired beauty, but his strong presence that was still lingering inside her soul and mind, despite their tumultuous past and their currently intricate relationship.
"Don't love, don't…..You're the only one that matters. There's no one else but you sweet." he murmured comfortingly, almost heavy-heartedly even, while resting his forehead against hers, covering it in the process with sweet, protective kisses that said everything he needed say or almost everything that she needed to hear, silencing her unspoken vociferation.
One last affectionate kiss on the tip of her nose and the lightest possible one on her chopped lips, made Xena finally open her eyes, and, as two diamond tears fell down her cheeks , he just wrapped her in his arms, and for what seamed forever, the hands of time itself had stopped and she just stood there quietly, listening the regular musical patterns of his beating heart, freeing her mind of useless details that she knew they had no real meaning what so ever.
"I'm sorry Princess, I'm sorry sweet…Please don't cry…"
And holding her close like that, while gently stroking her dark tresses and listening to the sound of her soft breaths as air gradually entered and left her lungs, the mighty God of War couldn't think of anything else besides the fact that his usually cold as ice immortal soul was feeling so much happiness inside that he wanted to cry.
They said that War could never be at peace. That the embodiment of death, pure instinct, glory and suffering altogether could not in a million years fell anything besides hate, tension, unconscionable sorrow, and uncurable wounds. They were wrong. And the loving gaze in Ares' eyes as he was contemplating that peerless woman vulnerably cradled in the shelter of his arms, defied all logic of things.
Many minutes later, as her cerulean moons rose to meet his intensely glowing ones, her flawless visage but inches away from his, turned so that she may see him, and he witnessed the uprise of the most fascinating smile he had ever seen, enlightening even the darkest corner of his decadent being.
"So…" she playfully started, slightly bemused by his goofy "love stricken" gaze. "I believe we left of with me showing you something….?"
"Did we?" he quickly entered the game. "I don't remember…..I might need a reminder….though I do have this blurry image in my mind in which I was about to prove you something….?"
As this wasn't quite part of the scenario, the Warrior Princess watched her God with a very intrigued, wondering expression in her child widened eyes:
"Prove me something..." she went on stating slowly…"And just what would that be God of War?"
"Well…..I guess you'll obviously gotta wait and see, beautiful" he cheerfully answered, brushing tenderly her cheeks with the back of his hand, while with the other, he made her armour vanish, only to replace her leather shift with a transparent black lace negligee that literally made his brows arch in awe.
And for the next couple of hours, the main room of the Halls of War echoed with moans and shrieks and exclamations. Some of them were of infinite, refined pleasure, some of them of livid jealousy, rage and revolt. Some of them were coming from behind some curtains and pillars and the others from the altar table, where, under the exquisite form of a wonderful ballet performance, two perfectly sculpted bodies were becoming one, again and again and again, breaking all boundaries and defying all odds.
As time passed and sun rays finally filled the gloomy room that had captured so many emotions in one single night, a shining Warrior Princess was heading for the exit, a special glimpse in the changing specter of her aquamarine eyes.
Covered in shadows, from behind the last column of the long hall, the young Cassandra was watching her leave with such admiration and respect written all over her child like face as if she were seeing the invincible King of the Gods himself in all his immortal glory.
"When I grow up I wanna be just like her! No! I will be her!"
"I'll be seeing you on the battlefield Princess!" Ares' resonant voice filled once again the sacred Halls of War.
"Only if you want to get your ass kicked again, War God!" she answered promptly, a playful smile stretching lazily on her crimson lips.
"Well, I suppose it doesn't hurt to dream big, does it?" he yelled thrilled by the mere idea of the challenge.
"No. So maybe if you get to tell that to your little toy soldiers maybe, just maybe, half of them would keep their ground when they hear that I'm in the area…"she said chuckling softly before stepping out in the sun light.
Teasingly biting his lower lip, the War God cast one last glance towards the undescribable woman that had captured his heart before finally heading for the Athenian battlefield.
Nevertheless, as the bright blue lights of the aether began to engulf his immortal physique, Ares's amber eyes casually followed his youngest priestess delicate silhouette heading towards the girls' chambers, and with a discreet, tacit simper just uttered under his breath, a grave expression printed on his now austere façade:
"Sorry Cassy but the job's taken. And there's just nobody like her"