DISCLAIMER : The characters of Xena and Gabrielle and some others belong in their entirety to Universal/MCA, Renaissance Pictures, and all the other powers that be. No copyright infringement is intended. I wrote this story at the urging of my muse; it should never be used for profit.
This story is a sequel to the story “Lord Conqueror of the Realm”. I strongly recommend you read it first because in this story there are references to events that took place in “Lord Conqueror of the Realm.” Here is where you can find it:
LOVE/SEX WARNING/DISCLAIMER : This story involves both love and sex (at times some rough/raw play with very mild BDSM elements – all consensual - nothing severe) between two adult women. If you’re under 18 or if this type of story is illegal in the state or country in which you live, please do not read it.
SPECIAL THANKS : My humble most ardent gratitude to the excellent, most brilliant Beta readers Nancyjean and Alexandriaruth whom I can't thank enough.
Comments, thoughts, questions & feedback : MOST WELCOMED – The more you write me, the quicker I post – I mean it!
Queen of the Realm
Written by WarriorJudge
The days grew colder, shorter and darker as autumn turned into winter. Queen Gabrielle spent her days training with the labrys with Myisa and assisting the Shamaness with healing and learning the Amazons’ traditions. As her education and preparation progressed, Queen Melosa took Queen Gabrielle under her wing and taught her to rule with accordance to Amazon law and customs.
One night, Queen Gabrielle coerced herself to go out to the lake and its freezing water to find Mitylene and engage her in conversation as had been her habit for the past three moons.
When she arrived at their usual spot, Queen Gabrielle was welcomed by small flames dancing in a small bonfire, which had been built by Mitylene.
"I've notice how your Majesty struggles with the chill," Mitylene explained.
The Queen smiled at her and seated herself on the cold hard ground as closely as possible to the fire. "Thank you for your generous consideration," she said and mindlessly collected a few pebbles in her hand, which were lying around in abundance.
"I am ready to speak now," Mitylene said, nearly announcing.
The Queen took the meaning of the dramatic utterance and placed her hand over Mitylene's hand, which rested unmoving on the younger Amazon's knee, for comfort and encouragement.
"When I was a little girl, about six summers old, my entire family was murdered," she said.
"I am so sorry," the Queen said softly.
"It happened a long time ago. Two men came into our home and took me. Because of my age, I was sold as a domestic at first… Law of the Realm, you see… They say the Lord Conqueror punishes those who pluck a fruit before it is ripe very severely."
"Indeed. My Lord’s brand of justice against that particular offense is harsh," Queen Gabrielle confirmed.
"Growing up without a mother, I was horrified when I got my first blood. Had I known then what I know now, I'd have known that bleeding from there would have been the least of my plights."
She told Queen Gabrielle in great detail the atrocities that had been committed against her over the years in slavery. How some of her owners had beaten her; how some shared her with their friends and guests; how once, for three days and nights, she had to service a group of no less than twenty men, and how even when she had passed out due to exhaustion they had kept on using her. She remembered one owner in particular, who had enjoyed singing her flesh, and how he had enjoyed seeing her body jerk in agony when he had done so. Him, she had dreaded the most. With him she had learnt to master her pain, to stifle her shrieks, and still her body no matter how great the suffering. As she spoke, her voice never trembled and her eyes remained as dry as a desert. No emotion crossed her face. She never told how she felt. She spoke of her experiences in a perfunctory manner, like they hadn't concerned her, like she was speaking about some trivial and benign matters.
To Queen Gabrielle, Mitylene's narration of her past sounded chilling, more chilling than the winter night's bite, not just because of what had been told but the way it had been told. She suddenly felt more fortunate than ever before.
"What happened to you is too horrible to bear," the Queen said and squeezed Mitylene's hand with hers. A cluster of low grey clouds sailed through the night sky and blocked the pale rays of the full moon. "You are so brave and so strong. Not many could have survived what you have. You ought to be so proud of yourself for pulling yourself out of this dark abyss."
"As if I had a choice," Mitylene muttered.
"There are always choices," Queen Gabrielle replied. "You are strong enough to will yourself to feel again without fear. I know you are. I cannot think of a better place in the world to do it than here with your sisters. It starts with a drop of trust, nothing more."
“May I ask Majesty…” Mitylene began to say.
“Go ahead,” permitted the Queen.
“How is it that you were capable of developing feelings of love towards your owner?” Mitylene asked. “Was it because of the Lord Conqueror’s skills in bed?”
Queen Gabrielle couldn’t contain a giggle. She then realized that it wasn’t just embarrassment she was feeling but exasperation that apparently too many women had first-hand knowledge of said skills.
As if she could read the Queen’s mind, Mitylene went on to say, “Molpadia won’t keep quiet about it,” which only served to further peeve the Queen.
Within keeping her station and true to her nature, the Queen maintained regality. “I think it had more to do with who I am and who my Lord is,” she answered as truthfully as possible without giving too much away.
“And who is the Lord Conqueror?” Mitylene asked.
The Queen examined Mitylene’s profile but couldn’t learn anything from her observation.“My Lord is the one who was strong enough to win my heart,” she answered eventually, “As I’m confident the one who wins your heart will be.”
A few long moments passed and the moon was beginning to set.
"It is getting late," Mitylene pointed out with a blank expression about her, like she hadn’t heard a word of what the Queen said.
Both women made their way back to the Amazon village in silence.
The next morning when the Queen opened the doors to her hut about to make her way to take breakfast, she found Mysia waiting for her at the foot of the hut's stairs holding freshly picked flowers.
"For you Majesty," the Amazon warrior gallantly offered.
"They are so lovely, thank you," the Queen's face brightened with a smile as she took the offered bouquet.
At that moment, Princess Athena came out from her mother's hut as well. She had caught a glimpse of the exchange and had heard everything from the other side of the door.
As soon as her gaze caught the sight of the Realm's heir to the throne, Mysia cleared her throat and said to the Queen, "I thought they might cheer you up, Majesty."
"They have. I simply adore flowers," the Queen responded in delight. “You know, one of the first things my Lord ever gave me was a rose.”
It might have been the mentioning of the Conqueror that made Mysia retreat even further. "Will I see you on the training field after the morning meal?" she asked.
"Of course," Queen Gabrielle smiled again, and brought the petals closer to her nostrils.
As Mysia walked away, Princess Athena skipped down the few single steps and stood next to her mother, keeping the furthering away Amazon warrior in her sights.
"Well, she certainly took a shine to you," Athena commented, half amused and half irked.
Queen Gabrielle chuckled in dismissal, "What are you talking about?"
"By the Gods, mother, how can you not see it?! Whenever in your presence she dances around you, nearly pissing herself with excitement like a little pup," Athena argued.
"You, dear daughter, are imagining things that aren't there," concluded the Queen, who genuinely believed Mysia's actions were innocent. “That was nothing more than an act of kindness.”
“Well, it is definitely an act of something, I’ll grant you that,” Athena mumbled under her breath.
Another fortnight had gone by. In the early evening, three loud knocks disturbed the peace in the Conqueror's study.
With her nose still buried in the documents she had spent the better part of the day reading, the Conqueror absentmindedly called, "Come in!"
"Majesty," Lady Satrina curtsied.
"What is it?" the Conqueror inquired, while her focus and her gaze both fixated on the parchment she was holding.
"Her Grace is here to see you," announced the steward.
The Conqueror's concentration violently shifted from the document and to Lady Satrina.
"Her Grace, you said?" she asked, wanting to make sure she heard her steward correctly.
"Yes, Majesty," Lady Satrina replied and nodded her head in the positive.
"Show her Grace in immediately," the Conqueror ordered, putting down the document and standing up.
Princess Athena strode into the Conqueror's study. "Your Majesty," she bowed when she reached the center of the chamber.
The Conqueror moved from behind her desk and rooted her feet in front of her daughter. "That would be all, Satrina," the Ruler stated.
When they heard the doors being shut, the Conqueror was the first to speak. "What are you doing here? You left your mother alone? Unprotected?" Her voice was urgency laced with a brewing fury and worry.
"Little you care," Princess Athena replied with a scoff and lifted her chin up in defiance.
The Conqueror grabbed Athena by the lapels of her shirt and shook her frantically, nearly tearing the fabric. "How could you?" she yelled.
Princess Athena calmly removed the Conqueror's clutch from her, and almost lazily straightened the creases left on her garment, like she didn’t give credence or simply didn’t care about the Conqueror’s demonstrated alarm. She never recoiled and maintained a lukewarm expression about her face accompanied by a raise of one eyebrow.
When she examined her daughter's expression, to the Conqueror it was like looking into a mirror image of her younger self.
Athena’s forest green stare beheld the Conqueror's glare. "Her Majesty the Queen is currently guarded by three Imperial guards. Queen Melosa granted her permission at the bequest of her Majesty so that I may be free to visit with you, Majesty.”
The Conqueror seemed better appeased. She clasped her hands behind her back and squared her shoulders. “Imperial guards and not Amazon warriors?” she finally asked.
“Her Majesty thought, as did I, that your Majesty would prefer it if your trusted soldiers protected her Majesty,” Athena replied.
The fact that the Realm’s elite soldiers guarded her wife alleviated the Conqueror's distress and she was able to relax. “Has there been another attack?” she inquired dispassionately.
“No there hasn’t been any, Majesty,” the heir replied.
“Then why are you here?”
The young future Ruler straightened her stature to the fullest extent of its height. She purposefully made the Conqueror wait for her reply. “Her Majesty needed an assurance that your Majesty is well,” she finally replied flatly, and thought that the Conqueror didn’t deserve such an honest and kind answer.
“Why didn’t she come herself?” the Conqueror asked dryly and folded her arms over her chest.
Princess Athena wouldn’t answer the Conqueror. She emulated her Sire’s gesture. She waited for the Conqueror to ask after the Queen’s well-being, but the Conqueror’s lips remained pursed.
“When did you arrive?” the Conqueror asked when the silence between them evolved from unpleasant and awkward into obdurate.
“A short while ago,” the Princess answered. “I came straight away to see you, Majesty.”
“You must be tired and hungry then, perhaps it is best if –“
But Athena cut through the Conqueror’s speech, “It is not necessary.”
“You sound angry,” the Conqueror commented.
Princess Athena neither denied nor confirmed. On her way back from the Amazon lands to Corinth, she had thought long and hard as she had driven her horse to its limits as to what she would say to the Conqueror upon facing her. She had contemplated what ought to be said and what could be said and hadn’t been able to decide between the two.
"You are all she thinks about,” she elected to say eventually. There was no point in procrastinating any longer, “She misses you and talks about you constantly, Majesty. I swear, if I hear the words 'my Lord' one more time…"
Princess Athena searched as hard as she could to see any warmth behind the frosty wall that surrounded the Conqueror but to no avail, and not because she wasn’t astute enough to detect it, but because there was none to find.
Athena unfolded her arms, slackened her shoulders and took a step forward towards her Sire. "I know I have seen war only once when we faced the Horde, but I have seen enough pain to last me a lifetime. I have seen pain on the faces of soldier who had lost their brothers in arms on the battlefield. I have seen pain on the faces of wives mourning their dead husbands, mothers mourning their dead sons. I know what pain looks like. I have stared pain in the eye and I know it, or so I thought, for the pain I have been seeing on my mother's face ever since the day you left her was far worse than any I had seen before.” Athena delivered her words passionately.
The Conqueror remained unmoved, so much so that Athena almost believed that the Conqueror wasn’t even breathing.
When there was no hope for a response seeing how the Conqueror was fortified and stymieing any shred of emotion from volleying forth, Athena went on to say, “All she wanted was to stay with the Amazons a while longer to learn from them. Is that such a horrible and unforgivable crime?”
“Is that what she sent you here to say?” the Conqueror asked.
Athena began to feel the intoxicating and addictive warmth of rage forming in the pit of her stomach. “I shan’t disgrace my mother by rendering an answer to such a vile question.”
The Conqueror allowed the provocation slide without retribution.
“She never meant to offend against you,” Athena attempted once more.
"Do not defend your mother to me!!"
Finally, Athena thought, some emotion out of the cold stone.
"You are killing her!” she yelled back zealously. “You are killing my mother!” As she spoke she closed what small gap remained between the Conqueror and herself till their faces nearly touched. “I see her die a little every day. It is your entire fault and I will never forgive you for that and for forcing me to stay there with her and witness her as she withers away." The blue ice she saw in her Sire’s eyes enraged her. "You’d have given her the Realm in a heartbeat but wouldn't stay with her on Amazon lands? Why? Why couldn't you just relent? Why was it so hard for you to give her what she wanted just this once? Why must your will be superior always?”
"BECAUSE IT IS!" the Conqueror shouted back. It was as if the frost that held her body broke. "You don't know everything that happens between your mother and me. You don't know all my heart's secrets!”
"What heart?!" Athena spat. She was too livid to care or even realize that never before had she dared to speak to the Conqueror in such a manner.
The Conqueror raised her arm in the air, priming it to deliver a backhand to her daughter's face for her insolence.
Yet Athena stood her grounds. She didn't flinch. She didn't move a muscle. She faced her Sire with her chin up and glaring unwavering eyes. The only other time that the Conqueror had raised her hand to her had been when Athena had confronted her mother about her past as a body slave to the Conqueror. Back then, deep in her soul Athena had known she well merited the Conqueror’s corporal punishment, and perhaps that had been the reason why she had taken the beating the way she had had. Not this time, though. This time truth and justice was on her side, she thought.
The Conqueror was almost in awe at Athena’s firm unyielding and brave stance. Not convoking fear at the sight of her impending strike was a novelty. The Conqueror recognized that Athena’s words this time weren’t the product of an impetuous and recalcitrant youth.
“I warned you against meddling in her private affairs,” the Conqueror lowered her hand without discharging the intended blow.
"Well, this is not her private affair. Once you left me there to deal with the aftermath of your doing it became our private affair.”
Silence descended once more between them. Princess Athena reached for her inside pocket and retrieved a letter carrying her mother’s seal.
"Here is another letter she wrote you,” she said, not yet relinquishing it into the Conqueror’s custody.“I never read any of her letters to you and she never told me what's in them, but knowing her, I wager I can guess. She probably asks that you forgive her. She must write how much she misses you and how much she loves you.” Athena caressed the sealed parchment reverently with her fingertips and looked upon it fondly. She then looked up from the letter to meet the Conqueror’s gaze. “Because when it comes to you, it is like she is blinded to everything else, even herself.” Bitterness was clear in her voice, but it was short lived because it quickly reverted back to anger.
“I'll tell you what is not in here," she said and brandished the letter in front of the Conqueror's eyes. "During her moons there she has learnt so much. She cares for them. She heals their sick and wounded and learns their methods of healing. She has been studying how to command an army. She is precocious. She has grown stronger and is now stronger than ever before. She has gained their respect and approbation. They all adore her as if she was born there, as if she's blood of their blood, and they do so, not because of her title and not out of reverence to the crown, which you placed on her head, but solely because of who she is. She has achieved all that in spite of her suffering, which I find all the more admirable. I can solemnly attest that I have never been more proud of her and proud to be of her.” Athena demonstratively placed the letter in the Conqueror hand. “But that’s not what you want to hear, is it?”
The Conqueror’s body tensed at once upon hearing her daughter’s last sentence to her. She placed the letter in her pocket and said nothing.
Athena turned on her heels and walked over to the Conqueror’s desk. She pulled out a clean sheet of parchment out of one of its drawers and returned to face her Sire.
“Here!” she said authoritatively and crudely pressed the parchment against the Conqueror’s chest. “Write to her!” she demanded.
The Conqueror puffed her chest, but her arms remained idle and unmoving at the sides of her body.
“I say, write to her right now, damn you!” Athena reiterated.
Like an ice sculpture, the Conqueror stayed still. Princess Athena understood that nothing more could be done. She removed her palm, which was pressing the empty parchment to her Sire’s chest, and watched it as it fell unceremoniously to the ground at the Conqueror’s rooted feet.
Princess Athena suddenly remembered something that the Conqueror had once told her when she had attended the Roman Military Academy, 'A true ruler is neither husband nor father; he considers his throne and nothing else.' She finally understood the full and true meaning of it. Before she left the Conqueror’s presence, she said, "When I inherit your throne… I might not be as great a Ruler as you are, Majesty, but at least I would pride myself for not being a fantastical paragon of monstrosity such as you." Her voice never quivered as she spoke her convictions.
The Conqueror scoffed at the prospect and retorted her daughter’s impertinence with skepticism, “Well, you have my blood in you.”
Athena smirked with derision at the Conqueror’s attempt at reprisal and proudly responded, “I also have hers!”
Princess Athena strode down the corridor and down the flight of stairs, all the while wondering what she would tell her mother when she returned to the Amazon village, when on the landing she chanced Lady Satrina just aimlessly standing there.
“Your Grace,” Lady Satrina bowed.
“Lady Satrina,” Princess Athena replied with a nod of her head.
“I have had your chambers ready for you,” the steward said.
“Thank you,” Princess Athena said about to go on her way, “I shall only remain here until morning, then it’s back to the Amazon lands.”
“Your Grace, with your permission, may I speak freely,” Lady Satrina whispered and threw a quick glance at the direction of the Imperial chambers.
“You may,” the young Princess whispered as well.
“I couldn’t help but overhear some of the shouting. I pray you to tell her Majesty the Queen that the Lord Conqueror suffers as well,” the steward said.
Princess Athena became vexed. “I shan’t lie to her Majesty,” she protested.
“I swear to you on the dear memory of princess Lao-ling, I speak the truth,” proclaimed the steward.
Princess Athena touched the corridor’s walls and tapped on them. “These walls mourn her Majesty’s absence better than she does. What I saw in there…” she claimed as she gestured with her head in the direction of the Imperial chambers.
“Was different from what I had occasion to witness.” Lady Satrina spoke with some urgency.
Princess Athena drew a deep breath to calm herself. “Your loyalty to the Conqueror is both astounding and infuriating,” the Royal hissed between clenched teeth.
Lady Satrina shook her head in resignation.“I am not motivated by the loyalty I bear the Lord Conqueror, but by the great devotion I bear her Majesty the Queen,” she explained. “Please tell her what I’ve told you, for I know her Majesty will receive great comfort from it.”
Princess Athena contemplated her response for a few moments, then nodded her head in agreement, “Then I shall.”
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