Disclaimer: "Grizzly Tales #1 Winterspell" is © by Fantango & Xentrya. All characters that have appeared on Xena: Warrior Princess belong to their respective owners Renaissance Pictures/Universal Studios/Studios USA. No profit is made or intended from the writing of this fiction.

Couple: X/A or X/G, which one could it be?
NC-17. Sex, Death, Violence, Drama, Dark Romance, Mystery, Humour, Adventure.

Summary: Post Conqueror/AU. What if everything you thought you knew about Snow White was a lie? Leap into the dark and discover the light as Xena battles a forbidding curse that will bring death upon the Earth and turn the unbelievable journey of ones destiny from a running myth into a living legend.

AN: As a writer, I couldn't possibly post without giving my thanks to the wonderful people who've helped make this happen. Thank you to my talented friend 'Writer Writing,' my Buddies on FFN and to all the Fans for your continuing support and praise!

Grizzly tales are a series of twisted fairy tales influenced by the darker style of the Brothers Grimm, Tim Burton, Once Upon a Time and the original fables from Disney that enraptured us as children.

Please review! You don't know how much it means to an Author to get a review on their Fanfic and know whether you're enjoying it of if there's room for improvement. Believe me; it makes us want to write more for you.

~ Chapter One ~

A Conquerors Job Is Never Done

"Once upon a time, in the Mycenaean age of Heroes, Kings and Queens, there reigned a most fearsome of Tyrants. With lips as red as a rose and hair as black as the shadows, it was said that her beauty and passion alone swept across the Nation in a fierce storm of fire and destruction, claiming the land to rule over the ancient cities from Arcadia to Sparta, but this Demon's thirst for power grew so strong and into a most fearsome of diseases that its lethal grasp was forever seeking to conquer the known world beyond the bounds of war that rest upon the very Palace of Tiryns; or so some say."

"Oh, that part's true. Believe me." A satirically dark voice from behind slashed the air in two, putting a dead halt against the Slave's spellbinding words of magic, or better said her prolific tales of complete and utter rot according to the Empress' relatively sensitive ears.

If this damn jester of a Fool possessed even at least half a brain inside that thick skull to entertain the Crowd's pathetic group of minds tonight, then she had better fucking start telling it straight!

A Tyrant or Demon, really now...? Was that what the Destroyer of Nations, Conqueror of both land and sea if not the majestic Queen of all Peloponnesus that she was had literally come to be known as; nothing but a Beast, a horrible Monster ready to pierce the very hearts of those who dared to defy their Monarch's orders?

Well, they couldn't exactly be blamed, could they?

"This Woman is the bringer of death. She'll never sleep and she'll never stop! Can't you see!?" The sudden bark of a nearby Peasant breaking over the roar pulled Xena down to Earth, his lonely cries echoing hard within the walls of the Megaron while that impudent outburst forced her off the throne faster than one could utter 'crap!'

"One more word; and I'll pull your guts out through your halo. How's that for incentive?" She threatened in masked rage, her lips quirking marvellously at the thought circling with the hunger of a buzzard inside the deepest depths of an obviously twisted mind.

"I'd rather die than live under your power any day."

"Good. Then you're relieved of your duty. Guards! Take this big-mouthed Idiot away, I know of a Persian Trader who'll pay nicely to see this Swine's head roll. So, does anyone else feel lucky?" Her proposal seemed to linger before the tornados of annoyance finally gripped her mood. "I didn't think so."

With no more than a glance, Xena's next move found the Empress staring impatiently down at the face of a map, its jagged lines reminding her about a Roman trail not too far from here as she stood firm against the table, the pretty colour of the wood glowing an almost intense shade of red amongst a litter of candles burning meticulously bright within her chambers.

"If you've come to gloat then you're wasting my time." An instinctively sharper tone left the mouth as an immersed sense of warmth began caressing hotly against her nape, the God's breath instantly managing to send a river of shivers up and down her spine.

Ares couldn't help the amused smile that crossed his lips, he never could with her. Her words were as slicing as any weapon he had ever know, but they along with her bodily reactions showed that she was more his than she would ever admit.

Fully materialized now, he let a finger trace across her shoulder and down her arm.

"Gloat, my Dear, the word isn't even in my vocabulary." He could practically hear the roll of her eyes though he couldn't see her face.

"No, I'm only here to offer some helpful suggestions." He said, although the way he emphasized suggestions said they were anything but.

"That's all you're ever here for. What, sleeping around on Olympus not what it's all cracked up to be, or were you planning to announce the fact I should squish these miserable little Townsfolk right where they stand instead?" Her remarks rained down in a bitter form of eclipsed jealousy and visible irritation against the assaulting reminder of the wicked names still racking her soul from those two expendable Servants.

Despite his Princess' harsh comments and turned back though, there was no denying the way that the sensation of his touches could always make the blood inside her veins run hotter than the lava of any disastrous volcano, not this time anyway, as Xena proceeded to fake ignorance, convinced the only reason for allowing him so close was so she could shut him down herself.

Irritation and desire welled up inside him simultaneously at her cross mood.

His hand had now reached her own and he clasped it, leading it toward the map but not before having her pick up the dagger on the corner of the table.

Suddenly, he brought their hands and the dagger across, crashing down on the town she had been referring.

"You should always squish the Townsfolk, that goes without saying. And the sooner, the better."

He snaked his other arm around her waist and from the way she melted against his form, he could insinuate that she wouldn't have been all that displeased if he had been here solely for the first reason.

"Are you always this ruthless?" She asked smugly, swallowing hard before whirling around in his arms, their eyes meeting for the first few seconds of the night; blue burning into brown.

"Those Fools at Athens won't even know what's hit them. Then again, I've been dying to ride a ship to Crete and take central command over that powerless, untouched city of theirs."

They were now both inches apart, her breath mixing temptingly with his own; and the dominance of his presence, so close, trapping her there, hard against the table, could awaken in a heartbeat every hidden desire waiting to leave the tip of her tongue.

But still, the words refused to jump as a soft moan unwillingly escaped her throat.

"As you should be." He crooned; his voice barely above a whisper.

He was bolstered by the fact that he was beginning to divert her attention away from the fairy tale story despite her resistance, his true purpose for being there. He knew it never bode well when someone under his patronage began to question being called names like Demon and Tyrant rather than taking it as the compliment that it was.

The names only proved her success because those pathetic, little mortals could hardly rule themselves, and the only way to give them the kind of rule they needed was to have a few bloodbaths here and there, which couldn't lead to names like 'Angel' and 'Benevolent Leader.'

The names could only work to their advantage in the long run, since it meant they obviously saw her as superhuman. It made her not only feared but untouchable, a fact that he would need to remind her of when she was in a more receptive mood and her feathers a little less ruffled over the name-calling.

And what exquisite feathers they were, he thought to himself as he tucked a piece of stray hair that was beginning to block her beautiful face behind her ear.

The Storyteller had certainly gotten the hair as black as shadows part right, but as he traced the softness of her lips with his thumb, he couldn't quite agree with the lips as red as a rose; it was much more accurate and enticing to say they were as red as freshly shed blood.

"Oh, but that's where you're wrong. You see, I don't just plan to take command, I intend to rule them all. And anyone who stands in my way, had better not grow bold or there'll be more than just two heads decorating the porch." She spoke, determined and hot against his finger, reading the question painted lithely upon his features as an eyebrow slightly rose.

"Oh, haven't you heard? I'm seriously considering having the Bard executed. There's just something about her that really gets under my skin. Can't imagine why?" The lines detachedly left with a smile, her lips now parted, allowing his thumb to explore, to excite his mind as her tongue slid over its surface, bathing and licking in pretty much all the right places before continuing her intrinsically informative speech.

"Anyway, I'll ready my ships tonight and have them meet me at Athens tomorrow. I suppose I can trust you'll be there, knowing you, you wouldn't miss it for the world. And if you do, then don't even think about coming back, or I'll have your head and everything below it as a trophy."

He laughed loudly, full of sudden mirth. "Sometimes I think you forget who you're talking to, my lovely Warrior Queen, but you can count on me being there."

He sobered again and reached out a hand and brought the dagger from the table with his godly power, seeing the excitement in her eyes that the action elicited.

He fueled that excitement further by slowly dragging the cold, flat side of the blade around her flushed face, across her creamy throat, and finally into her hand.

"Just one of those helpful suggestions I have if you want to put the Bard out of her misery. After all, she wants a monster for her story, so give her a slow death and make her happy."

As loathe as he was to leave with his body aching in need for her, it was important that she put this unpleasant incident behind her.

He backed away and smiled one last seductive smile before leaving her alone with the dagger in hand.