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.
As soon as they returned back from Thira , Lady Satrina was summoned to appear before the Conqueror and the Queen in the Great Hall.
When she entered, soon after the ceremony master announced her name, her legs were visibly shaking and her teeth were chattering. She had no doubts as for the reason and she was grateful that no one else attended the Great Hall.
The Queen kept her head raised and her gazed fixated on her lady in waiting, even though it was difficult for her to look into her dear friend's eyes under these circumstances, she did for she knew her Lord would expect it of her.
"Lady Satrina," the Conqueror addressed her, holding the arms of her throne.
The Lady curtsied deeply and could barely find the strength to lift her body back up to stand upright.
"Your Majesties," she managed.
"How find you Captain Cornelius?" the Conqueror asked.
At first, the lady Satrina failed to understand why Captain Cornelius' name would be brought up, and for a moment she thought perhaps the Queen hadn't divulged her great secret to the Conqueror.
"He is an honorable man, your Majesty," she replied, trying not to sound too confused.
"Very well then, it would please me if you married Captain Cornelius and moved to live with him as his wife in Philippi ," the Conqueror said.
Realization finally caught up with lady Satrina. She understood that the Lord Conqueror was in effect sending her far away from them and binding her in marriage to put off any notion of possible love she had towards the Royal couple.
It broke her heart and spirit.
Lady Satrina's deep sorrow presented itself upon her delicate features and the Queen wasn't blind to it, for ever since she had met lady Satrina, the lady had shown her nothing but kindness and respect. Aside from sentiments of great friendship, the Queen felt indebted to her lady in waiting. She didn't wish to inflict such misery by forcing her friend to marry a man she neither loved nor cared for. It was cruel, the Queen believed, and would bring about utter devastation upon her devoted friend.
And so, she placed her hand, on which she wore the green diamond ring that her Lord had given her in Thira , on her Lord's hand to engross her attention.
"If it pleases you, and with my Lord permission, may I suggest another course of action for your generous heart to consider, my Lord?" the Queen asked.
"You may, my Lady," the Conqueror replied.
"It might please you better, my Lord, if I sent lady Satrina to Chin to serve as lady in waiting to Princess Lao-Ling? Perhaps she might find a more suitable mate and to show my appreciation for her great service to me and the Realm, we shall vouch to pay a handsome dowry should a future eligible suitor ask her hand in marriage?"
There was silence in the Great Hall while the Queen and lady Satrina both waited anxiously for the Lord Conqueror's response, and then it came – at first it started with a small chuckle, then it rolled into a healthier one till it became a full-hearted laughter.
It was infectious. Both the Queen and lady Satrina could no longer contain their joy and joined their Sovereign in laughter.
"It does please me better, my Lady. So be it," the Conqueror rendered her final verdict when at last her laughter subsided.
"Thank you, your Majesties. Thank you for your infinite benevolence." Lady Satrina curtsied before them.
"You may take your leave and prepare yourself for the long journey ahead of you, dear Satrina," the Queen said.
Lady Satrina curtsied one last time then backed away from her Rulers, leaving them alone in the Great Hall.
The Conqueror rose from her throne, and went to kneel before her Queen's throne.
"Aphrodite herself couldn't have resolved the matter more elegantly, my Lady," the Conqueror complimented and placed a kiss atop the Queen's ring finger.
The Queen smiled, "Lady Satrina's heart desires a woman and I suspect my sister, Princess Lao-Ling shares that desire. Their hearts might meet and touch, my Lord."
The Conqueror sighed deeply, "How fortunate I am for having you, Gabrielle."
"As fortunate as I am for having you, my Lord," the Queen replied.
The years seemed to have flown by swiftly. As the Queen had hoped, a profound affinity developed and flourished between Princess Lao-Ling and lady Satrina, and as promised the Realm paid a substantial dowry and traveled to the land of Chin to attend the Royal wedding. Alas, a few years later tragedy struck. . A mercenary sent by the rival house of Tzu poisoned Princess Lao-Ling. Lady Satrina, consort to the Princess, managed to flee the Land of Chin as soon as she discovered her spouse's purplish cold body lying next to her at daybreak with a suspicious looking black substance oozing from her mouth and nostril. She was allowed by the Conqueror and the Queen to return back to the Realm after years in exile. In the safety of the Realm, the Queen and the inconsolable lady Satrina could mourn the untimely passing of the beloved Princess.
"Take comfort in the love that the two of you shared," the Queen offered, though she knew perfectly well that had it not been for that love, lady Satrina would have been spared the current heartbreak.
During the first few nights after news of the Princess' death had reached Corinth , Queen Gabrielle lay in the arms of her Lord and wept her bitter agony, for Princess Lao-Ling was as close and as dear to her as her own flesh and blood.
"It breaks my heart to see you suffer such tremendous pain, Gabrielle." The Conqueror wished there was something she could do to ease her beloved's anguish.
"Just keep holding me close to your heart, my Lord," the Queen requested in between sobs.
"I've got you, my love," the Conqueror whispered and pressed her Queen closer against her chest. "I know how you feel. I've lost a brother, too." The Conqueror sounded haunted.
Gabrielle lifted up her head and quietly stared at her lover, waiting for her to proceed.
"Lyceus was my younger brother. He was closer to me than anyone else and I loved him dearly. We used to fish and spar together. His heart was pure and courageous just like yours, my love."
"Go on, my Lion. Tell me more about him," the Queen encouraged her Lord.
"His hair was fair…not as fair as yours, though." The Conqueror smiled and the Queen mirrored the gesture.
"He died whilst defending Amphipolis alongside me against the warlord Cortese. When he died, I felt like I'd lost my best friend, my only friend, who loved me unconditionally for who and what I was without judgment and without reservation. He followed me into battle with Cortese even though he wasn't as good a swordsman as I was, and so for years I've blamed myself for his death. For a while my mother has blamed me for his death as well and banished me."
"I'm so sorry, my Lord. It must have been so awful… you must have felt so alone." Gabrielle extended her arms and engulfed her Lord's strong and larger frame. At that moment, she wished she could have met her Lord back then and offered her comfort and companionship.
"There's nothing for you to be sorry for." The Conqueror planted a kiss on her Queen's forehead. "For years after his death I'd grown accustomed to loneliness but then you entered my life and I became weary of my loneliness. It was when I first learned that you cared for me that my loneliness abated. All I ask of you is that you remember that I'm always here for you and allow me to comfort you and help carry the burden of your loss with you."
"Thank you, Xena," Gabrielle settled back to rest her head against the Conqueror's chest, and as she was listening to her Lord's strong heartbeats, a different sort of bereavement descended upon the Queen.
"What is it, love?" the Conqueror asked concerned, and coaxed her wife to meet her gaze.
"What if I ever lost you, my Lord? What if one day you won't return from the battlefield? What if death takes you away from me?" the Queen's delicate shoulders trembled with ceaseless sobs. She had once faced the notion of losing her Lord, only now they were bonded by love; she knew the loss of her beloved would devastate her to the point of not wishing to go on living without her but follow her beloved Lord to the underworld.
"I will never leave you," the Conqueror vowed. She would have said anything to alleviate her wife's sorrow and dire concerns.
"You cannot promise me that, my Lord." The Queen was beyond pain and almost angry. She was out of her mind with grief for a loss she had yet to endure. "What if death takes me away from you?"
The Conqueror spent all her legendary willpower to mask the only thing she truly dreaded, but still it wasn't enough. "I don't think I could survive your death, Gabrielle, and I rue neither would the world when I'm through with it."
"You will make me a promise, my Lord, that in the event of my death you'll control your darkness."
The Conqueror pursed her lips and said nothing.
The Queen became agitated when no response came from her Lord. "Promise me!"
"You have my word," the Conqueror finally said halfheartedly.
"Promise me that you'll take care of our daughter," Gabrielle went on to demand.
"I promise you, Gabrielle," the Conqueror's eyes began to sting with unshed tears.
"I promise you the same, and I shall make you another promise," the Queen proclaimed as she cupped her Lord's fetching face in her small hands. "If death takes me away from you, I shan't board Charon's ferry but wait on the bank of the River Styx for you so that we may go together to the Elysian Fields."
"After everything I've done in my life, my precious wife… I won't be going to the Elysian Fields, but to Tartarus," the Conqueror sighed deeply.
"You did what you had to do… the best you could do with what you were given, my Lord. I shall argue on your behalf… and if I fail, I swear to you, I will never part with you. I shall follow you gladly to Tartarus."
The Conqueror captured Gabrielle's lips as if they were the source of life and kissed her deeply. "I will never condemn you to…"
"I am Queen of the Realm. I am your wife. I go where you go," the Queen spoke with such conviction that it nearly gave her Lord pause.
"So be it," the Conqueror stated and delved her fingers into her love's golden hair.
"Please, my Lion," the Queen's voice was urgent and imploring, "Make tender love to me. I need to become one with you. I need to become flesh of your flesh, blood of your blood, tonight."
"Are you sure?" the Conqueror whispered. She wanted nothing more than to weld their wanting bodies together with love and passion.
"Must I beg?" the Queen asked breathlessly.
"Never, my love," replied the Conqueror before she pressed her lips to the Queen's.
As Conqueror and Queen made love that night, desperately melting into one another, they could no longer tell when one of them ended and the other began.
The Conqueror bided her time until turmoil between the two houses simmered down. When both battered houses remained dwindled in arms and fighters after a lengthy war, she made her move and marched her vast forces into the ravaged domain and aggressively conquered the ripe lands of Chin in a brilliant campaign.
Out of respect for Lao-Ma and her daughter and on the Queen's wise advice, she appointed the former ambassador Sing-Xian as governor to the new province of the Realm.
During those years, the Conqueror kept each and every promise she had made to her consort; they visited their daughter and heir to the throne in Rome as often as the Queen desired. She even succumbed to her wife's constant petitions to abolish slavery completely throughout the Realm. They spent every available moment they had in their treasured isle of Thira . They freely expressed their love for one another whenever they were alone.
When Princess Athena became of age, she returned to the Corinthian palace, much to the Queen's relief and delight. The headmaster of the Roman Military Academy sent a letter with the recent graduate stating that the Princess excelled in her trainings and studies and surpassed her classmates and most of her teachers as well. "We have nothing more to teach her," his letter read, and there was no one prouder than the Conqueror.
A huge and festive banquet was held in the Great Hall in honor of the returning Princess. The Conqueror and the Queen introduced the Realm's nobility and highest-ranking officers to their future Sovereign. But it was a young dark-haired lass that captivated young Athena's attention in particular.
Her name was Antonia. She was the youngest daughter of Delos, a very affluent merchant of weaponry from Thessaly , who was one of the Realm's primary suppliers, and a close advisor to the Conqueror.
But Princess Athena wasn't the only one who was captured by Antonia's beauty. Germanicus, Lady Lila's youngest boy and nephew to the Queen, admired Antonia as well.
Princess Athena stood in the middle of the Great Hall. The years had added considerably to her stature. Her skin tone was tanned by hours upon hours of training outside on the drilling fields beneath the Roman sun. Strong agile muscles carved Princess Athena's slim figure and her features seemed to have been shaped by the same mold as the Conqueror's. She wore black leather trousers as did the Conqueror, a light armor adorned her torso, a black cloak with crimson inner lining covered her proud shoulders and a sword rested against her right thigh.
"To the Lord Conqueror and the Queen, Rulers of the world!" Athena exclaimed as she raised a goblet of wine in the air at the general direction of her parents, perched on their thrones. "Your Majesties," she bowed before them.
All in attendance raised their goblets in honor of their Rulers and bowed and curtsied before them.
The Conqueror raised her own goblet. "You have made her Majesty the Queen and me very proud. Welcome home. To you, your Grace!"
Their esteemed guests bowed before their future ruler and emptied their goblets.
The Princess took her seat to the Conqueror's left at the Royal table resplendent with marvelous dishes and drinks.
The Conqueror leaned to her right and whispered in the Queen's ear, "Are you well contented, my Lady?"
"I am, thank you my Lord," the Queen replied.
"Tomorrow," the Conqueror turned her attention to the Princess, "you will join me and attend all my meetings with me, Athena," the Conqueror informed the Princess.
"Surely some time for rest should be allowed so that the Princess…" the Queen began to say, but was interrupted.
"I have given my orders, Madame," the Conqueror ruled. She was strong in her mind to outwardly maintain and demonstrate the charade and hide any hint of love and devotion she felt towards her Queen.
"Of course, my Lord. Forgive me," the Queen slightly lowered her head. Beneath the table, with the tablecloth cloaking her actions, she touched the Conqueror's thigh, letting her Lord know she understood.
The Conqueror signaled one of her servants to refill her empty goblet, and then asked her daughter, "So what do you wish to know about power, Athena?"
"Please, tell me everything you know, your Majesty," replied the young Princess eagerly and carved the deer meat on her plate before her.
"Power is to have others submit to your will completely," the Conqueror said and gulped a mouth-full of wine. "The first thing you need to learn about power is that it is very deceptive, and not always detectable, or better yet, correctly discerned and recognized. The wise would know to identify who wields true power and who effectively wears one of power's many costumes."
"Costumes, Majesty?" the Princess asked.
"Great wealth is one of power's costumes, the strength of an arm is another and so is a talented sword." The Conqueror leaned back against her throne. "Wisdom… wisdom is one of power's most potent costumes. Do you see the guard standing behind and to the Queen's right?"
The Princess' gaze searched for the guard to whom the Conqueror had referred.
The Conqueror went on to say, "His swordplay skills nearly match my own."
An impressed expression was evident across the young Princess' features. "Then he must be the most powerful soldier in your Majesty's army."
"No he isn't. Of course he could fend off a dozen other warriors with his weapon, but what if there are twenty of them? His sword won't help him and he is not clever enough to confront them with other methods. The guard standing next to him has a quick and clever mind. Together, they make the ultimate warrior."
The young Princess nodded with understanding.
"Do you see Nobleman Arkilis over there?" the Conqueror moved on to her next example, "He is the bold slim one wearing the black robe with the gold studs."
"He seems very rich," the young Princess gave voice to her observation.
"Indeed. He is the richest man in the Realm and governs Thrace , the most thriving of provinces."
"Then he must be the most powerful nobleman, is he not?"
"What I'm about to tell you, you must keep to yourself," the Conqueror leaned over closer to her daughter and lowered her voice significantly.
"I give you my word, Majesty."
"He is hopelessly in lust with his stable boy. What this lad wants this lad gets. Nobleman Arkilis' wife has yet to be made aware of her husband's infidelity. Another thing you must understand is that the lion part of his fortune comes from her and her family… He doesn't seem so powerful now, does he?"
"I reckon he is not, Majesty," the Princess replied.
"Power comes from within you. No one gives it to you, but some can take it away. You should hold on to your power zealously and never allow anyone to take it away from you no matter the cost."
"I understand, Majesty."
"Who, do you think, is the most powerful person in the Great Hall?" asked the Conqueror.
"Your Majesty, of course," Princess Athena replied with neither hesitation nor stipulation.
But what Princess Athena didn't see was the Conqueror's hand gently squeezing her beloved Queen's hand beneath the table.
When the banquet was over, the Princess retired to her chambers and the Conqueror and the Queen retired to theirs.
"Athena is very beautiful and very bright, my Lord," the Queen whispered in her Lord's ear.
"Of course she is. Just look at her mother," the Conqueror replied affectionately.
"Does my Lord have passion for me still?" the Queen asked as she turned her back to her Lord in a silent request that her Lord would assist her in unclasping her necklace.
The Conqueror kissed her wife's nape and released the jewel from around her neck. She then gently removed the Queen's crown, careful not to pull any entangled gold tresses.
"I should think that last night's activities in our bed would have provided you with a sufficient answer to your question, my love. But if you desire to hear the words…" The Conqueror took off her own crown, placed it over her desk, turned to face her Queen and embraced her closely to her heart, "Like the day you were but a young, slip of lass standing on the platform shivering when you first caught my eye all those years ago." She spoke softly.
“And love?” the Queen kept on asking.
“My love for you is the greatest miracle of all for it grows daily. I love you more today than I did yesterday and even though it doesn't seem possible to me now, I know that tomorrow I shall love you even more than I do today,” the Conqueror replied.
“I sometimes wonder, my Lord, which one of us is the poet,” the Queen quipped.
The Queen clung to her Lord a while longer, then she went to sit at her dressing table and brush her golden hair, which maintained its glowing color despite the years that had gone by, then rubbed perfumed oil into her skin and carefully examined it for any imperfections, which the Conqueror assured her didn't exist.
"Our daughter seems to share your penchant for women, my Lord." The Queen sounded amused if not pleased.
"Doesn't she share yours, my Lady?" the Conqueror inquired.
The Queen chuckled. "I would imagine so, my Lord, though I have never desired anyone else but you my entire life," she said and joined her Lord in bed.
"Does it bother you?" the Conqueror asked and wrapped her arms around the Queen.
"Not in the least. I am happy that my heart was a virgin when first you touched it, my Lord," she answered and pressed herself closer to her Lord.
The Conqueror adjusted her body to better fit the Queen. "Does it bother you that I have known many women before you?"
"Did you give your heart to any of them, my Lord?"
"My heart was as virgin as yours was when first you touched it."
"Then your love is all that I could ever want or need, and anything else is of no consequence," the Queen whispered and caressed the chiseled planes of the Conqueror's face with her lips then captured the Conqueror's lips with her own.
"So tell me, my wise Queen, who it is that has caught our daughter's eye," the Conqueror asked when the kiss ended and her mouth was free to speak.
"I only caught a glimpse of her, but she was a dark-haired lass and pretty as a flower," the Queen replied, quite amused.
"Hmmm…" muttered the Conqueror. "We should discuss the issue with her, don't you think?"
"Perhaps it is best to let her come to us so as not to embarrass her."
The Conqueror weighed her wife's words as she blew out the candles burning on her nightstand. "I think you're right, my Lady."
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