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!
The following day, after a night of heavy rains that irrigated the thirsty ground after the hot summer, a frail and distant sun sent her first rays to adorn the dawn's sky and fight its grayish shade. The Conqueror rode with Molpadia to the exact spot where the attack had taken place the day before.
As she suspected, the heavy rains washed away any tracks that might have been found along with the hopes of discovering the identity of the perpetrators. On account of her injury, the rather disabled Ruler asked Molpadia, who seemed perhaps a tad too eager to comply with the Conqueror's orders, to climb up several trees in the area.
"If I wanted to hit my mark undetected with a bow and an arrow, these would be the trees I'd choose to situate myself in order to do so," the Conqueror explained, "And the angles seem about right, "
As Molpadia slowly scaled up the trees the Conqueror had pointed out to her, the latter instructed her further, "Look for anything out of the ordinary, a broken branch, a piece of fabric or threads that might have been torn from the perpetrators' clothes. Hair, nails, anything that looks suspicious… anything at all no matter how small."
Molpadia worked diligently in the hopes of finding even the tiniest piece of evidence. She did so not only because she wished to find the criminals that had taken the lives of her sisters, but also out of a clandestine aspiration to impress the Conqueror, thus earning her graces and perhaps be rewarded with the Conqueror's desiring touch.
Queen Gabrielle awoke to find half the bed cold and vacant. While she was washing her face from the remnants of sleep in the water basin, the door to the hut was opened and the Conqueror stood at the threshold.
"Good morning, my Lady," the Conqueror greeted.
"Good morning, my Lord. How are you feeling? Do the injuries bother you?" The Queen lifted her face from the basin, as droplets of water cascaded down her fetching features.
"They don't bother me at all. As always, you have done wonderfully well taking care of me." The Conqueror strode into the hut and closed the door behind her.
"Did you go with that Amazon to the area where we were attacked yesterday?" inquired the Queen, wondering why she called the Amazon Queen's second in command 'that Amazon' rather than speaking her name even though she knew it perfectly well.
"I did," the Conqueror answered and snaked her arm around her wife's waists. "It proved to be futile. The rain destroyed all traces that might have been left."
A knock on the wooden door snapped the Royal couple from the tender embrace and they stepped away from one another and faced the door, wearing their formal regal expressions.
"Enter," the Conqueror called.
The door opened and Queen Melosa entered their hut. "Majesties," she bowed.
"Queen Melosa," acknowledged the Realm's Royals.
"Molpadia kept me apprised of your Majesty's investigation earlier this morning and I wish to thank your Majesty for your personal efforts in getting down to the bottom of these travesties."
"As I've told you before we came here, I will abide neither murderous acts committed against my subjects nor any infraction against peace, law and order in my Realm," the Conqueror stated with square shoulders.
"There is another pressing matter which necessitates discussion and mandates your Majesties' presence in the tribe council forum."
"The right of cast," the Conqueror stated, somewhat discordant between grinding teeth.
Queen Melosa nodded her head.
Queen Gabrielle waited for the Conqueror's tarrying response.
"Very well," the Conqueror eventually muttered, "Lead the way."
The Conqueror and Queen Gabrielle were shown into the largest hut in the Amazon place of dwelling, not far from the podium, which stood in the center of the village.
When they entered the hut all thirteen tribe council members, along with Molpadia, Antiope and another Amazon who stood at attendance, rose to their feet and bowed before them. The Conqueror was offered Queen Melosa's regular seat at the head. Queen Gabrielle was seated to the Conqueror's right and Queen Melosa took her place to the Conqueror's left. Once the Royals were seated, the tribe council members sat back down and the meeting commenced.
"Sisters," began Queen Melosa, "I have summoned you all here to discuss an important issue. As you all know, before she died, princess Terreis passed her right of cast to her Majesty, Queen Gabrielle. I wish to hear your opinions regarding this matter."
The oldest council member was the first to offer her opinion. "With all due respect, the Queen of the Realm is not an Amazon."
"True," replied Queen Gabrielle. "But princess Terreis," she continued then lowered her gaze in sorrow, "whose death I sincerely grieve, told me before the attack against us began," she then lifted her head up again and held the eyes of her audience, "that not all Amazons are born into the tribe. There are, albeit very few, those who were adopted into the Amazon nation. Is there any impediment or hindrance which prevents me from being adopted into your nation?"
Another council member took it upon herself to answer Queen Gabrielle, "With respect and all humility, Majesty, your allegiance is to the Realm."
Upon hearing those words the Conqueror, who had kept silent up to that point, became vexed. "Isn't yours!?" she demanded an acceptable answer with cold narrow eyes and the grip of her right hand tightened against the armrest of her seat.
"I misspoke, your Majesty," the council member addressed the Conqueror, "We are your loyal subjects. We pay our taxes and we'll never raise arms against your Majesty and the Realm, but our closest most immediate affiliation is with our nation and our Queen."
One of the Amazons who stood in attendance behind the Royals' seats held an urn in one hand and a goblet in another, moved to serve the Conqueror with wine. Molpadia, who stood next to her, jumped in front of her and took the urn and goblet off her hands. She then leaned downwards from behind the Conqueror, handed her the goblet and as she was pouring the wine into the vessel Molpadia allowed her exposed breast to brush against the Conqueror's right bicep, all the while trying to make the gesture seem accidental and innocent.
But Queen Gabrielle, whose stare stalked Molpadia's actions, wasn't fooled, and neither was the Conqueror, who mentally told herself that a firm reprimand was in order. The minor occurrence, however, was too delicate and too shrouded for others around them to notice.
"Should you accept the right of cast, Majesty, as an Amazon princess and my heir, you'll become my subordinate and under my rule," the Queen of the Amazons informed the Queen of the Realm, hoping, perhaps that that true and simple fact would put off any notions Queen Gabrielle might have about claiming the right of cast and fulfilling a dying princess' wish.
The brief expression on Queen Gabrielle's face revealed that she was unaware of it.
The Conqueror's countenance, on the other hand, revealed no surprise what so ever. She glowered at Queen Melosa and declared with a tone of voice that left no room for doubt or misconception, "The Queen of the Realm has no master!"
From behind her, the Conqueror heard a careless, indiscreet scoff that escaped the lips of the other Amazon who stood at attendance, who clearly thought otherwise. It was Antiope, the Amazon who had traveled with them back from Corinth to the Amazon lands and had been privy to the Queen of the Realm waiting on the Conqueror hand and foot throughout their journey and had given her yet another reason to secretly resent the Conqueror.
Brusquely, the Conqueror jumped off her seat, turned around, launched her right arm towards the Amazon's neck and clutched her fingers around it as tightly as the chokehold of a python. The raging Sovereign shoved the Amazon, who clearly hadn't anticipated the Conqueror's swift reaction, and pinned her against the wall behind her, with the Amazon's legs dangling in midair above the ground.
"I've had enough of you!" the Conqueror hissed between clenched teeth. Her blazing eyes darkened, "Have you something to say to my face, Amazon?"
Antiope could barely utter the word "No."
"I didn't think so!" the Conqueror flared, not yet ready to release her captive.
Upon seeing the onslaught against their sister, a few of the council members reached for their weapons on an instinct.
As soon as she heard weapons being drawn and seats being dragged against the floorboards, the Conqueror turned her head and glared at them with ominous eyes. "There aren't enough of you to overpower me," she stated what seemed obvious in her mind, "My injury notwithstanding."
"Amazons, stand down this instant! What is the meaning of this disloyal behavior!?"
It was as if those very few who had drawn their weapons snapped out of some haze brought on by panic that addled their minds. They quickly regained control over their faculties, dropping their weapons to the ground.
Trying desperately to avoid catastrophe and doing her very best to disarm the volatile situation as head of the Amazons, Queen Melosa elected to appease the Conqueror, "Majesty!"
The Queen of the Realm did not. She trusted her spouse was only doing what was best.
"Is this the Amazon nation's gratitude?" the Conqueror's voice wouldn't drop lower. "Insulting me and my Queen ?"
"By no means, Majesty. This was the irrepressible demonstration of poor judgment by a single person, who I assure you, will be punished," said the Amazon Queen and cast an angry look at Antiope.
"Not before apologizing to my Queen." The Conqueror finally released Antiope, who fell down to her knees where the Conqueror dropped her, coughing violently and gasping for some much needed air in her lungs.
When she finally managed to breathe freely again, she looked up at the Conqueror and Queen Gabrielle and said: "Please accept my sincere apology, Majesties."
"You will be dealt with later, Antiope," the Amazon Queen promised her, her anger still clear across her face. "Leave now!"
The Conqueror returned to her seat, as did the others, and once it was calm again the meeting resumed its course.
"The Queen of the Realm has no master," the Conqueror repeated, stressing her point so that there wouldn't be any misunderstandings. "Her Majesty is your Sovereign. Whether she wishes to accept the right of cast or decline it, it will be her own choice to make. Either way, I trust that you will all honor her choice and show her Majesty your utmost respect. No exceptions."
The Conqueror's message was received loud and clear, by all, including Queen Melosa.
Queen Melosa approached Queen Gabrielle. "I see no obstacle to adopt you, Majesty, into our nation."
All around them, the council nodded their approval.
"I trust my late daughter's decision and will honor her memory by accepting her dying wish. The Queen of the Realm has put her well being in jeopardy in order to protect the life of a young woman who was a stranger to her, and for that the Amazon nation will forever be indebted to her. Is your Majesty ready to render her resolution?" Queen Melosa asked.
"It is a great decision and a great responsibility, which I do not take lightly. I will require more time to consider it, Queen Melosa," Queen Gabrielle gave her honest answer and was immediately awarded with even greater respect by the Amazons.
"Take all the time you need, Majesty. If you like, while you're contemplating the matter, we'll be honored to begin introducing you into our ways, with your permission, of course."
"I would be delighted," Queen Gabrielle smiled and stood up facing the Amazon leader.
"Then if you do not object, we shall begin your Majesty's training tomorrow."
"Tomorrow," Queen Gabrielle affirmed with joy in her sparkling eyes.
"Majesties, the Amazon nation will be deeply honored if you could grace us with your presence at princess Terreis' funeral pyre tonight."
The Conqueror rose to stand beside her Queen. Their gazes met briefly then Queen Gabrielle spoke. "The honor will be ours."
On their way back to the hut, the Queen waited for the Conqueror to talk about what had transpired in the council's hut, but the Conqueror, though deep in thought, did not share her impressions with her Queen.
"Thank you," Gabrielle said after some time had passed.
"For what?" the Conqueror asked, keeping her gaze fixed ahead.
"For allowing me to make my own choice."
That wasn't the answer that the Conqueror expected. She expected the Queen to be appreciative of the fact that she had defended her honor. "I see." She uttered her words almost indifferently.
After sundown, the Conqueror, the Queen and the Princess of the Realm attended princess Terreis' funeral. The grand center under the clear starlit night sky was crowded. All the village inhabitants gathered around the pyre. The Queen gave the most gut-wrenching eulogy, which brought Queen Gabrielle to tears.
As the thunderous, primal drumbeats pounded in her ears, Queen Gabrielle was taken aback by how deep her sorrow and grief over the dead princess ran. As she reflected back to the last and only conversation she had shared with the Amazon princess, it occurred to her that perhaps it was the loss of innocence and youthful exuberance she truly mourned. Terreis had given her a window into how her own life might have been different had she not been sold into slavery at such an early age. She had lost something fundamental that day, like her soul had been reduced in some way.
Being in public, the Conqueror refrained from offering her Queen much-needed comfort.
Many Amazons danced in circles around the blazing pyre to the feral beat of the drums and the poignant wailings of their mourning sisters, and the Shamaness performed the Amazons' death ritual. Indeed their culture was very different, thought the Queen. One thing was very palpable and conspicuous: the sense of sisterhood, dedication and community between the strong women. Mindlessly, her eyes slowly drifted away from the huge flames and landed on Molpadia, who was dancing in direct line of the Conqueror's sight. As she was dancing, shaking her shoulders, swaying her breasts and her scantily clad hip, Molpadia's eyes were transfixed on the Conqueror, as though she was waiting to see if her dance was eliciting any reaction from the Conqueror or whether she engrossed her attention.
The Queen was irked beyond measure not just at Molpadia, for obvious reasons, but at herself as well for not possessing the fortitude necessary to put Molpadia, her subject after all, in her proper place and let her have a piece of her mind. Shouldn't the Queen of the Realm, the most powerful woman in the world, be able to admonish her subject for such presumptuous insolence? Didn't the Lord Conqueror deserve a stronger mate, she thought, as she cast a quick glance at her Lord who at the time was regarding Queen Melosa talking to the Shamaness. Molpadia might as well have been air to her.
Princess Athena observed the pyre and the dancing women equally, wishing she would get lucky and take one of the fine women dancing to her bed.
"Just be sure to keep it down. I don't wish to hear you going at it all night," the Conqueror said quietly to Athena.
The stunned Princess was caught off guard and wide-eyed she let slip, "How did you…?"
But the Conqueror only smiled and kept her eyes on the high flames.
The following morning, Queen Gabrielle arrived at the training field. She was dressed in traditional Amazonian battle attire, which consisted of a short un-tanned brown leather skirt and a matching sleeveless top, and at her request it was one that didn't reveal her natural assets. A tall, robust Amazon, who had been handpicked by Queen Melosa, was waiting for her.
The Conqueror and Princess Athena were given seats overlooking the training field.
"This should be interesting," smirked the young Princess, who couldn't even imagine her delicate and softhearted mother delivering a beating.
The Conqueror didn't respond. As she watched the tall Amazon warrior instructing her Queen on hand-to-hand combat, her mind was reeling with many thoughts that made her feel edgy and agitated. She didn't understand why her wife would want any part of it. What about Amazonian ways was so appealing to her? If Gabrielle wanted to study the art of war, why would she need the Amazons to instruct her when she could have been given lessons from the greatest warrior that ever lived, from the undefeated legendary Destroyer of Nations who was preeminent in this art?
Aloof, the inert Conqueror focused her attention, observing the Amazon warrior demonstrating basic moves of engagement and putting her hands over her Queen's body whilst doing so. The Conqueror's breath slowed and her eyes narrowed into thin slits. Her body became tense and unmoving as if frozen solid like a marble statue, as she watched the Amazon warrior place a hand over her Queen's waist and her thigh behind the Queen's thigh whilst showing her a method of knocking an opponent off their feet.
The Conqueror leaned to her side and commanded her daughter's attention. "I shall soon be leaving back to Corinth ."
"What? Why? But…" Athena was confused.
"Don't speak, only listen. You will stay here with your mother. Under no circumstances should you allow her to leave these grounds and venture close to the borders. If she persists, then by all means use physical restraints if necessary. For the duration of her stay here keep a watchful eye over her and make sure she is safe, for you are the best warrior here and the only one I trust. I shall order the detachment of the Imperial Guard that is stationed at the border between Amazon lands and Thrace to stay there, so that you may deliver messages to Corinth should the need arise. When you ride between the edge of the woods and the border, keep constant movement and wear your armor at all times."
"It is harder to hit a moving target.” Athena nodded her head in understanding. “I shall avoid that area unless necessary. I will do as you command, of course."
The Conqueror kept her eyes on her Queen, who was now simulating an attack on her trainer as she had been taught, and managed, not without struggle, to subdue her. When the Amazon was finally lying with her back to the ground, the Queen shot a quick look at her Lord to see if she witnessed her triumph and in search of a proud look in her eyes.
More Amazons stepped onto the training field and practiced their battle skills alongside them.
"Protect her, but never meddle in her private affairs, do you understand me?" the Conqueror warned her daughter solemnly and nodded her head at her Queen in recognition.
"Private affairs? What private affairs?" Athena did not understand the Conqueror's meaning.
"It takes roughly six moons to train a future Amazon queen. Her Majesty will choose to stay here and be trained," was all the explanation the Conqueror was willing to give .
The Conqueror was unreadable and it unnerved Athena to no negligible measure. She still wasn't entirely sure as to the full meaning of the Conqueror's words. In any event, Athena was in the belief that none of it would ever come to fruition, for after all, the Queen would never stay here without the Conqueror, she thought.
A little after noon, the training session was over.
"You are a quick study, Majesty," said the panting trainer.
"You are an excellent teacher, Mysia . Thank you for being so patient," the Queen smiled and wiped the sweat off her brow.
"Let us go bathe with the others," Mysia suggested as the other Amazons were leaving the training field and making their way to a nearby lake in the woods.
The Conqueror and Princess Athena approached Queen Gabrielle and the Amazon warrior.
"I'm afraid it is inappropriate for me to join you in bathing," the Queen said as the Conqueror moved to stand beside her.
"Hierarchy here isn't as rigid as it is in the Realm. We all obey our Queen to be sure, but we don't practice etiquettes and formalities as it is customary in your court, Majesty. Our Queen eats with us and bathes with us."
Queen Gabrielle wasn't sure whether the Amazon warrior was deliberately trying to send her a particular message or whether it was she who was imagining things. The Conqueror's presence didn't make things easier for her and it troubled her. Ever since they had learnt about their true feelings for one another, Gabrielle never felt uncomfortable when in her Lord's presence.
The Queen then smiled. Why shouldn't she indulge herself? She should do as she pleased. "Lead the way," she said to Mysia , then turned to the Conqueror and said, "I shan't be long."
There is something to be said about clothes. Clothes imply to us as to the nature and the identity of the one who stands before us. They might reveal one's station and profession or where one has originated from, which house one was brought up in and its customs, whether one is rich or poor. Lack of clothes could make us seem more equal in our eyes, for without them most of us feel exposed, perchance even vulnerable and any barriers between us might be more easily inclined to blur.
The Queen entered the cool clear water with nothing but a towel draped over her shoulder to conceal the brand mark that had been singed into her flesh above her shoulder blade by the Conqueror many years ago. As her sweaty heated body adjusted to the low temperature of the water, Queen Gabrielle observed a few of the women disrobing on the bank. Amongst them she could discern couples, who soon entered the water hand in hand.
Bathing naked in the small, intimate lake might have facilitated familiarity between Queen Gabrielle and the Amazons. She told them about life in Corinth and about the hospices she had built and about her childhood in Potidaea . As they were frolicking together in the water, the Amazons told her about their lives, about their customs and traditions.
It was Queen Melosa joining them in the water that made Queen Gabrielle become even more fascinated than before. She keenly watched how they all related to one another and if at that moment she had to pick out the Amazon Queen, she wouldn't have been able to. Bathing in the lake that afternoon, Queen Melosa looked and was treated like any other Amazon. Queen Gabrielle was deeply impressed with the Amazon's egalitarian ways.
Gabrielle was captivated and enchanted by the extraordinary women and the plain and distinct friendship between them. The experience presented her with something desirable to become a part of.
The Queen thoroughly enjoyed her afternoon with the Amazons. She had this odd sensation of fulfillment; she was almost giddy. A decision had been reached.
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