VIOLENT/NON-CONSENSUAL SEX WARNING/DISCLAIMER: It is a story portraying a Conqueror/slave relationship, so it would appear non-consensual at first. As for sexual violence, there are scenes (In parts 3 and 4) which are detailed and graphic, and may not suite some readers.
Other Disclaimers: See Part 1
SPECIAL THANKS : My humble most ardent gratitude to the excellent, most brilliant Beta readers nancyjean and alexandriaruth , whom I can't thank enough.
Comments & Feedback : MOST WELCOMED – The more you write me, the quicker I post.
The Conqueror was sitting in a strategy meeting with some of her noblemen and governors to the former kingdom of Persia, which had been divided soon after its fall to several smaller provinces of the Realm, when a servant burst into the War Hall blushed and sweaty and short of breath.
"Is it time?" the Conqueror asked and darted out of her seat.
The servant tried to catch his breath while bowing before his Master.
"Speak!" the Conqueror shouted at him.
"It is time, your Majesty. Her Majesty the Queen went into labor a few moments ago. She is in her own bedchamber."
With widest fastest strides the Conqueror ran out of the Hall and made her way to the Queen's chambers. The servant was running behind her, failing to catch up with his Master.
"Send for the healers and midwife and Lady Lila and my mother."
"It has already been done. All are with the Queen, with accordance to her Majesty's orders," he rasped.
"The Queen's ladies in waiting?"
"Are all in the Queen's chambers," he answered.
"The Lord Conqueror," called Lady Satrina as the Conqueror opened the Queen's chambers doors and blew threw them like a tempest.
All present bowed before her, but the Conqueror did not acknowledge them and made her way straight to the Queen's bedchamber.
The Imperial healer emerged from the Queen's bedchamber just as the Conqueror reached it, and quickly shut it behind him.
"I wish to see her," the Conqueror said, and fixated her eyes on the closed door to the Queen's bedchamber.
"I pray you, Majesty…the Queen is in good hands. Lady Lila and your Majesty's mother along with the Chinese healer and a midwife are all in there. Best if all others remain outside in order to keep possible peril to a minimum," he said.
The Conqueror didn't move away from the closed door.
"Please, Majesty it is for the Queen's own good. It is going to take a while," he pleaded.
"It was the Queen's request that your Majesty will not be present, so to spare your Majesty any discomfort," Lady Satrina intervened.
The Conqueror finally removed herself away from the door. The Imperial healer and lady Satrina thanked their Sovereign and went back inside.
As the Conqueror was pacing anxiously back and forth in front of the shut door, she could hear her Queen's strained screams of pain and agony. She could hardly bear it. They pierced her heart and she didn't expect them to. During years on countless battlefields she had heard the terrible beauty of the music of war and it had done nothing but spur her on. At that moment it horrified her, and she wished she could suffer the pain in her Queen's stead.
Candle-marks had elapsed and darkness descended. The Queen's ladies in waiting lit up fire in the oil lanterns in various places around her chambers for light. From the other side of the door, the Queen's cries and screams began to weaken and fade into small sporadic yelps and uneasiness crept into the Conqueror's heart.
"Perhaps your Majesty might consider some supper and retiring for some rest. It might take a while longer," one of the Queen's ladies in waiting suggested and handed the Conqueror some fresh water to drink.
"I am not going anywhere," the Conqueror sternly retorted and kept her arms folded over her chest.
Close to dawn, after sixteen long nerve wrecking candle-marks, the healthy cries of an infant originated from the Queen's bedchamber, much to the Conqueror's boundless relief.
The door was finally opened and the healers and midwife came out of the Queen's bedchamber to speak with the Conqueror. They looked at one another nervously, as if trying to convince the other to speak.
"Out with it!" the Conqueror commanded.
"We beg your Majesty for forgiveness, there were some complications. The Queen has lost too much blood. There is nothing more we can do for her Majesty at the present," informed the Imperial healer.
The Conqueror's face was frozen. "I want to see her," she said with a dangerously low voice.
"Pardon, Majesty but it is best if you waited awhile, the Queen is not presentable at this moment," said the Chinese healer.
"Out of my way," she shoved both men and burst into the Queen's bedchamber.
Years on the battlefield had not prepared her for what she saw.
The Queen's nether region was exposed and mangled and bloodied. There was blood and other fluids along with other remnants of birth sprayed in abundance all over the bed and even some small pooling on the floor surrounding it. The Queen lay unmoving. Her limbs appeared limp and lifeless. Small beads of sweat covered her skin. Her eyes were closed and her complexion seemed whiter than the sheets beneath her. It was the picture of carnage.
After countless battles, the Conqueror had seen every imaginable aspect of the atrocities of war. She had seen people decapitated, burned alive. She had witnessed dismembered limbs, guts and other internal organs being splattered over the ground. She had seen rivers of blood soaking the sand. She caused these mortal wounds more times than she could count. It never had any effect on her, other than stoking the fire in her blood, making her thirsty for more, more blood, more power and more lust.
That morning, when she saw the Queen in her present condition, the Conqueror put one hand over her mouth and the other over her stomach and she began to retch uncontrollably.
The Lord of the Realm was beyond livid, but her eyes were frozen and her mannerisms appeared almost calm as she closed her hand around the Imperial healer's neck, and squeezed. She looked like a child tearing the wings off a butterfly. "What have you done to her, you butcher?!" she hissed as she looked into his petrified eyes.
Her chokehold around his neck prevented him from issuing any sounds other than a few unintelligible syllables.
Cyrene , Lady Satrina and the Chinese healer all rushed to the Conqueror and tried to release the elderly healer from her clutch.
"Please, Majesty, he did all that could possibly have been done," the Chinese healer beseeched her, till she finally released her grip.
"Get out of here! All of you leave!" the Conqueror's roars struck terror in them and they ran as quickly as their legs could carry them, nearly trampling over one another on their way out.
The Conqueror shifted her attention to Lady Lila, who was lying on the other side of the Queen's bed next to the screaming newborn. "Take that thing out of my sight!" she ordered the Queen's sister and pointed at the helpless infant.
Lady Lila covered the tiny shivering body with a clean cloth, lifted the newborn off the bed and fled outside, while cradling the precious bundle in her protective arms.
"Please, your Majesty… for the sake of your daughter…" Cyrene tried to appease the dark Lord, and already began to pity her grandchild.
And with that, Cyrene left and closed the door behind her, leaving the Conqueror and the Queen alone in the bedchamber.
The Conqueror looked at her wife.
“Open your eyes now!” the Conqueror ordered and glared at her wife's hooded eyes, as if expecting them to flutter open by her command.
“You will not leave me," she declared firmly. "I order you to stay with me and you will do as I command for I am your Lord. Do you hear me?"
No response came.
"You will obey me as you've always obeyed me!” She demanded but to no avail.
The Conqueror opened the large window and allowed the fresh morning air to invade the Queen's stale bedchamber. She then approached the Queen's bed and lifted the Queen's flaccid body and cradled her in her arms. She walked back to the open window and gazed outside then returned her eyes back to the Queen embraced in her arms.
"You can see the lily pond from here," she said with a voice corroded with bitterness, "When I had these chambers prepared for you, I specifically instructed the builders that your bedchamber should overlook the lily pond, for I knew how much you adored it," the Conqueror's voice trembled. As her eyes strayed from the Queen's face to the view outside, she heard the tranquil sounds for the water dribbling in the fountain in the middle of the pond. The Conqueror couldn't fathom how it could feel so serene outside when she felt such turmoil inside. "Yet you have never spent a single night in here, but constantly have chosen to share a bed with me instead."
The Conqueror laid her wife on top a small cot at the corner of the chamber. She then pulled off the soiled sheets from the Queen's bed and replaced them with clean linens, after she had soaked the blood from the mattress. She placed a copper-made caldron filled with fresh water over the fire burning in the hearth. Next, she spread a thick sheet on top of the bed and carefully laid her unconscious spouse over it. She took her dagger out of her boot and cut open the Queen's dress, freeing her from the confinement, and threw it away along with the filthy sheets she had discarded.
When the water was warm enough, she dipped a clean towel in the water and gently washed her wife's body. She moved the damp cloth attentively over her wife's face, then dipped it back into the water to clean it. Then she went on to wash her hands, under her armpits, her slack and still swollen belly. She absorbed the milk dripping from the Queen's breasts.
The Conqueror moved to sit between her wife's legs and wiped the clotting blood away from her bruised womanhood. When it was clean, she closely inspected the area. She saw that an incision was made to widen the opening and that the incision was later sown with small neat and precise stitches. It was evident that the perfect stitches had been made by a skillful hand, and it appeared to the Conqueror not as awful as it had seemed to her initially.
When the Queen's body was clean, the Conqueror took out a chiffon gown and gently dressed her wife in it. As she lowered the light fabric down the Queen's back, she looked at the mark she had branded into her wife's delicate shoulder blade. She traced her insignia with feather-like touches. She suddenly regretted causing her wife such tremendous pain and disfigurement.
The Conqueror lightly stroked the Queen's golden-hair and waited for her to open her eyes, but the Queen's breath became ever shallower to the point where the Conqueror could hardly discern the heaving of her Queen's chest, and so she brought a burning candle to her nostrils in order to see whether the Queen was breathing still.
Meanwhile, in the Queen's chambers were waiting Cyrene , Lady Lila and the Queen's ladies in waiting, along with the healers. None dared enter the Queen's bedchamber.
The little princess was handed over to a wet nurse for breastfeeding.
"The child needs to bond with her mother," Lady Lila said.
"Apparently the Queen hasn't regained consciousness," commented the Chinese healer.
"She will most likely not come out of it alive," the Imperial healer stated gravely.
"May the Gods help us all if she won't," Cyrene shook her head and a shiver ran down her spine.
"I have kept the Realm's noblemen apprised of the current situation," said Lady Aufidia, one of the Queen's ladies in waiting.
"Why on earth would you do that?" asked Lady Satrina and kept her voice down so as not to disturb the Conqueror and the Queen over on the other side of the door, though she felt angry enough to slap her fellow lady square across her silly face.
"The Conqueror is indisposed, the Queen is dying and the Princess is too young. No one is currently ruling the Realm."
"You should have waited a while longer rather than let the vultures circling outside know," Lady Satrina admonished her.
"I am so very sorry… I wasn't thinking," said Lady Aufidia, but none paid much attention to her.
"You may leave for the night. Lady Cyrene and I will remain here and let you know if we need any help," said Lady Satrina as she looked at Cyrene , who nodded her mute consent to the arrangement suggested.
"I will look after the Princess," offered Lady Lila.
"Thank you, dear Lila," smiled Cyrene .
As time passed and it became dark outside again, the Conqueror realized that the longer the Queen remained unconscious, the slimmer her chances of ever pulling through. The Conqueror's heart constricted in her chest, and it hammered wildly. It was then that she felt this agonizing feeling, one she had never before experienced in her entire life. It was fear, not just fear but complete and utter terror at the thought that she in all likelihood would lose her wife.
The Conqueror knelt at her wife's bedside and took her pale limp hand in hers and brought it to her lips.
“I call on you, Athena," she said defeated, her proud shoulders slumped in resignation, and looked down upon her precious Gabrielle. "She is the milk of human kindness. She represents all that is good, and honest and innocent in this world. She is modest and noble and virtuous of all women. Without her my life is a cold, bleak and lonely wasteland. She is a light to my darkness. She is the light of all lights. I beg of you, heal her. My child needs her mother… and I need my Queen.” The Conqueror then did something else she never had to do before. She fought back tears, but lost.
Sometime during the moonless night, the Conqueror, still on her knees at her wife's bedside, rested her head over the motionless Queen and succumbed to a light, troubled slumber.
It only lasted a couple of short candle-marks, for at daybreak she felt small fingers playing with a tress of hair that covered her forehead.
She opened her cobalt, bloodshot eyes and saw her Queen faintly smiling at her.
"You seemed so exhausted, my Lord, I thought it best to let you rest a while longer," Gabrielle said with a weak yet cheerful voice.
"Gabrielle," was all the Conqueror could manage. To her it felt like her heart could start beating again. She cupped her wife's face and placed a lingering kiss over a pale cheek.
"May I hold our daughter, my Lord? Her cries were the last thing I heard before…"
"Right away, my precious Gabrielle," the Conqueror smiled a brilliant smile. She couldn't disengage her gaze from her fragile wife. Eventually, she rose to her feet, which felt numb from kneeling throughout the night.
She washed her face in the basin, combed her disheveled hair with her fingers and tidied up her regalia. Once fully composed, she opened the door and met with Cyrene and lady Satrina.
"The Queen asks our child be brought to her," she was glad to inform Cyrene .
The elderly woman jumped up and down with mirth, and lady Satrina let out a deep sigh of relief. Both women knew that a grand catastrophe had been averted.
"Satrina, have some chicken broth brought to the Queen." The Conqueror's words sounded more like a request than an order.
" Right away, your Majesty," a nervous lark escaped her mouth, signaling the Conqueror just how frightened and anxious the lady had been.
The Conqueror returned to her wife's bed and sat next to her.
"You gave us quite a scare, my Lady," the Conqueror commented.
"My Lord fears nothing," the Queen chuckled, but the Conqueror didn't.
A knock on the door robbed the Royal couple of some much-needed privacy. Lady Lila, Cyrene and Lady Satrina, along with both healers, entered the Queen's bedchamber, bowed respectfully and murmured "Majesties."
The joy across their faces was clear.
Lady Lila handed the sleeping newborn over to the Conqueror, who studied her face carefully for the first time.
Lady Satrina placed a bowl of some warm chicken broth and freshly baked bread on the Queen's nightstand.
Both healers examined the Queen.
"How are you feeling, Majesty?" asked the Chinese healer.
"Slightly weak but well," answered the courageous Queen. She refused to admit she was in pain in her Lord's presence.
"You should apply this salve on the…gash, stay off your feet and do not strain yourself, your Majesty," said the Imperial healer. "Congratulations," he offered sincerely to the young Queen he had grown to cherish as his own daughter.
"Thank you," she smiled then turned to the Chinese healer and thanked him as well for all he had done for her. "Please thank your dear Mistress, Princess Lao-Ling, for giving me the benefit of your excellent service to me and kindly inform her that she has a beautiful new niece," she said.
"Princess Lao-Ling will be most pleased, Majesty," he bowed and left with the Imperial healer and the other three women.
Alone again, the Queen gazed upon her mighty warrior Lord, the Destroyer of Nations, holding their tiny frail child that they created together, and she felt her heart being flooded with so much love it could have drenched a desert. At that moment she didn't believe it was possible to feel greater love or better happiness.
The Conqueror carefully laid the newborn in her mother's arms. The Queen cradled her daughter and tears of bliss and happiness traveled down her face.
As if sensing her birth mother, the infant opened her eyes and revealed a familiar shade of blue.
"She has your beautiful mesmerizing eyes, my Lord," the Queen couldn't stop smiling.
The Conqueror moved a single gentle finger on the golden down adorning the newborn's head. "And your magnificent golden hair, my Lady, which always reminds me of the fields of wheat shimmering in the sun where I grew up," she quietly commented.
"The midwife said she had never delivered such a lengthy infant before, so I venture to say she inherited my Lord's height as well," the Queen chuckled, "Girls and boys in the Realm won't stand a prayer."
The Conqueror laughed and felt the last lingering fragments of tension ebbing away.
"What should we name her?" asked the Queen.
"Athena," came the Conqueror's quick reply, "Do you have another name in mind?"
"I wish to name her 'Xena' after my Lord," the Queen replied. She adored the way her Lord's name rolled over her tongue and she savored the feeling, for she had never spoken it before, not even dared whisper it in private with only the walls around her as her audience.
Upon hearing her name being spoken softly and adoringly by the Queen, the Conqueror's heart swelled so, that she believed it was pressing against her ribs and was about to violently burst through her ribcage.
"I have never heard my name come from your lips, Gabrielle," the Conqueror pointed out.
"And how do you like it, my Lord?" the Queen asked while she bared her breast and nursed her daughter, sensing a soft wee hand touching her breast.
The Conqueror observed her wife's nipple disappearing into her daughter's mouth. "I adore it, my sweet Gabrielle," she answered.
"I shan't wear it out, my Lord," the Queen pledged.
"Xena Athena, it is then," the Conqueror concluded.However, in later years, as the child would grow up, subjects of the Realm would refer to her by nothing other than ‘Your Grace,' the Conqueror would call her ‘Athena' because it sounded strange to her ears to call her daughter by her own given name and the Queen would call her ‘Athena' out of reverence to her Lord.
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