This isn't very long. Wasn't sure if I wanted to carry it on, but was inspired by Sammie to do it.
After getting the information Xena wanted, the two of them carried on through the forest. The man who had provided the information lay on the ground, breathing heavily, and praying she didn't come back to finish him off.
"Right so who is this warlord. You knew who he was, but you have never met him." Gabrielle had so many questions running through her head, she was struggling to keep on top of them.
"Axeus, one of the lower down the food chain kinda warlords." Xena started, knowing it was time to tell Gabrielle the truth. "Axeus rode with Borias, before we met. He followed our campaigns, our violence and modelled his own path on it. After Borias was killed rumours ran rife about weird things going on in Axeus' camp. So I went to check it out in disguise. I came face to face with him, but he didn't know who I was at the time. Turns out he had made most his army into some form of cult and is looking for a higher level of power."
"How does this involve us? I mean what can he do?"
"Axeus is after a little known myth. Hundreds of years ago, a god rebelled against Olympus. When the other Olympians destroyed him, they forced his energy, or power into small artefacts. They destroyed his temples and all trace of him near enough. I learnt about the story from some traders in Athens. The story they told had clues in it to find the artefacts. Whoever finds them and brings them together, gains all the power of the one god who nearly destroyed Olympus."
"That would explain why an old warlord, is out here, miles from civilisation."
With the atmosphere between the two being less tense, Gabrielle was able to relax a little. Xena, however, kept pushing on. Gabrielle could see though that something was still bothering her, and she had never mentioned Borias riding with anyone else before.
By the time they made it to the edge of the woods, Gabrielle could see the caves they were headed for. They were close. Xena stopped abruptly and crouched down, Gabrielle copied her. Xena's eyes scanned the distance looking for any sign of movement, or flash metal in the sunlight. Nothing. I know you are out there Xena thought. You are too worn out old man. Give up now.
Gabrielle saw it too, a quick flash of sunlight on a blade or armour in the distance. This gave away their foe's position, and into which cave system they were going. With that Xena was on the move again, her long legs never tiring. She started to run down the hill they had been on, heading towards the caves. Gabrielle sighed, still not sure how Xena managed to keep going, and forced her legs into a run.
Xena stopped before the entrance to the cave. When Gabrielle reached her she was again crouched on the floor, and looking at foot prints in the dirt. Xena was an excellent tracker. She knew that one person, probably someone weighed down by heavy armour had entered this cave. When they entered this cave that was when they had seen the light from the hill. Damn it thought Xena he knew he hadn't lost us. A second set of footprints led off to the right, further round the valley they were in. Xena rose and began to follow this trail. The trail wound round and down into the valley. When Xena turned back, she could just see the point at which she and Gabrielle had stopped before. He had watched them chase down the hill to the cave, knowing they were going after the wrong man.
Eventually Xena stopped outside a small opening in the rock face, and etched into the rock were the words: Long live Olympus.
"Gabrielle, I'm sure Axeus will have more hanging round. He has them all under some kind of spell, maybe by a Shaman. I need you to stand here, only come in the cave if his men are coming. And if you do, don't touch anything. We don't know how this curse works." Xena looked at Gabrielle, her eyes showed how much it hurt to be left behind and how many questions she had, but Xena knew now was not the time or place to explain about Axeus and what he wanted.
Xena entered the cave without looking behind to check on Gabrielle. Gabrielle didn't look into the cave, but out into the open. She had a niggling feeling in the pit of her stomach and a little voice in her head. Both told her, this wasn't going to go well.