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!
“Your Majesty,” a servant bowed before the bored looking Conqueror, who sat on her throne in Corinth .
“What is it?” she asked and suppressed a yawn.
“Delos of Thessaly asks for an audience with your Majesty,” he announced.
The Sovereign threw a questioning glance at Nobleman Timaeus, who was standing to her left. He shrugged and shook his head, signaling that he had no idea what the merchant of weaponry, who was the Realm's primary supplier, could possibly want .
“Show him in,” the Conqueror ordered with a wave of her hand and shifted her weight in her extravagant seat.
“Delos, my good man,” she addressed him with a warm greeting.
The chubby merchant approached the throne and bowed, “Your Majesty.”
“How is your daughter, Antonia?” she asked.
“Very well, your Majesty, and may I inquire after her Majesty the Queen and her Grace?” he paid kindness with kindness.
“They are very well,” the Conqueror replied. “Now tell me, Delos , what can I do for you?”
“Was your Majesty pleased with the recent shipment of weaponry I provided?” he asked.
The Conqueror tried to decipher where he was going with this unusual question and in this unusual forum. “I haven't heard any complaints from my commanding officers as of yet,” she replied. “What is this about?”
“If you'll forgive me, Majesty…” he seemed hesitant to continue.
“Well?” the Conqueror was not in the mood to drag it out of him.
“With respect and all humility, Majesty, I have yet to be paid for it,” he said and small beads of cold sweat materialized on his forehead. He took out a handkerchief and with a juddering hand wiped his brows. “If your Majesty needs an extension…” he was quick to offer.
His last sentence was his major error.
“An extension!?” her voice thundered. “What do you take me for, sir?! I own the world and everything in it. I have no debts and owe nothing to no one!”
Delos recoiled as if the sheer force of her voice shoved him backwards.
Nobleman Timaeus was nervous when he saw that the Conqueror was sitting on the edge of her seat, primed and ready to pounce. He quickly stepped in to intervene. “I'm afraid I am to blame for this misunderstanding.” He claimed responsibility for the oversight, although it wasn't his to assume. He never conceived he would ever live to see the day when something would slip the sharpest mind he had ever encountered. “A thousand apologies, Majesty, but I seem to have forgotten to draft an order of payment for your Majesty to sign while your Majesty was away, and so your Majesty's exchequer clerks received no such order and payment wasn't rendered.”
The Conqueror ordered a quill and a parchment to be brought to her. She drafted an order and sealed it. A servant took the written order from the Conqueror's hand to be delivered to the Realm's exchequer.
“You'll be paid within a day,” she concluded.
“I beseech your Majesty to forgive me," Delos begged , "and I thank your Majesty with all my heart.”
The Conqueror just waved her hand and dismissed him.
After he left, the Conqueror stood up and turned to Nobleman Timaeus. “Gross incompetence isn't like you, Nobleman,” she said.
He simply downcast his eyes and held his tongue.
“If I was to go to my study and rummage through my desk, I will find the order ready for me to sign, will I not?” she asked.
“I'm not completely sure, Majesty,” he said and mindlessly touched his nose, an earmark of telling a lie, the Conqueror knew.
She pardoned his deception, and appreciated the great favor he had done for her. He had claimed responsibility for her mistake so that she might remain perfect and infallible in her subjects' eyes.
Later on that day, while the healer treated the Conqueror's arm, she revisited the conversation she had shared with Athena about whether or not it had been feasible that the Amazons themselves had a hand in the attacks. It seemed like such a remote possibility. There were only a handful of archers in the Realm's scores of forces that could have made these shots, and the Amazon's primary weapon was the labrys, even when they hunted. Such extraordinary skill would have surely identified the perpetrators by now; alas, it hadn't set off any bells as of yet.
"Your Majesty is healing very quickly," the healer's voice pulled her out of her musing. "I took the stitches out and there is no longer any need for this," he said and waved the cloth that had been used as a sling. "I strongly advise your Majesty to not put too much strain on her arm for another few days," he said.
Meanwhile, in the Conqueror's chambers, the Imperial sculptor unveiled his masterpiece to the appreciating eyes of Lady Satrina and Nobleman Timaeus. He wanted their opinion first before presenting his work to the Conqueror.
When the statue of Queen Gabrielle was revealed, both Lady Satrina and Nobleman Timaeus clapped their hands enthusiastically and gasped with amazement and awe. It looked so real and so natural to them that they half expected it to breathe. As their eyes were skimming over the exquisite curves in the fine marble, each of them sang the artist's praises.
"This is your best work yet," said the Nobleman.
"That is the most perfect statue I have ever seen," added the head of the household.
"You've done the Conqueror proud, sir," Nobleman Timaeus tapped the artist on the shoulder.
"Indeed, the Lord Conqueror will be very pleased," Lady Satrina agreed. "Well done, sir."
As the artist moved his masterful fingers over his creation, making sure there weren't any flaws, Lady Satrina sent a servant to inform the Conqueror that the statue that she had commissioned was finished.
While they were waiting for the Conqueror to arrive, circling and admiring the superb craftsmanship, the doors to the chamber flung open as if squally winds had blown through them, and the Conqueror stood on the threshold.
Her scrutinizing eyes moved slowly and intently over the statue, while all present awaited her verdict. Slowly, whilst still regarding her wife's motionless white likeness, she stepped closer and closer to it. She then leaned down towards it and closely inspected the frozen delicate features, its high-held chin, its gaze fixed forward and the captured and immortalized expression that befitted a queen.
"Tell me, sir, is your eyesight in any way impaired?" the Conqueror finally spoke.
"Your Majesty?" he failed to take her meaning.
"Do not make me repeat myself," she said louder than before.
"My eyesight is flawless as my profession demands, Majesty," he replied.
"What about your memory, sir? Is it flawless as well?" she asked.
He began to fidget and wiped his suddenly moist palms against his clothes. "My memory is fairly good, your Majesty," he answered.
"Are you sure you remember what her Majesty the Queen looks like? Do you even know what she looks like?"
He wasn't sure what to answer, as he looked once more at his creation. Lady Satrina and Nobleman Timaeus looked at one another, not knowing what to do, nor how the artist had failed exactly.
"It's all wrong!" the Lord Conqueror shouted, "And my Queen is more beautiful than this… this… atrocious waste of good marble!" She then grabbed a hammer from the nearby table, where the Imperial sculptor kept his tools in perfect array, and launched the iron-made tool forcefully towards the statue's face and smashed it beyond recognition , nearly severing its head in its entirety clean off its shoulders. Towering over him, she brutally grabbed the artist by his lapel and brought his terrified face closely to hers till their noses nearly touched. "Do it again!" she demanded and stormed out of the chamber.
When Queen Gabrielle's letter finally reached the Corinthian palace, the courier rushed to place it in Lady Satrina's hand in spite of the late hour with all the speed he would have used delivering a declaration of war to the Conqueror. When the letter arrived, Lady Satrina was already in bed and under the covers. As soon as she recognized the Queen's seal, she didn't even bother to change into her formal attire so as not to waste any time. She just grabbed the closest oil lantern with her free hand and scurried upstairs to the Imperial chambers. When she reached the doors to the Imperial bedchamber, she urgently knocked three times and impatiently waited for the Conqueror to respond, nearly jumping up and down on her tiptoes. She couldn't help but hope that this letter would bring about relief to the Conqueror and subsequently relief to all those who surrounded her.
A few short moments later, the unkempt Conqueror, dressed in a white silk sleeveless top and a pair of dark breeches, appeared at the door. She kept the doors ajar just slightly and blocked the entrance to the bedchamber with her tall figure, not wishing to allow Lady Satina even the smallest peek inside.
"What is it?" she asked as she looked at her steward and former body servant from head to toe, and squinted at the light emanating from the burning oil lantern in Lady Satrina's hand.
"A letter has arrived for you just now, Majesty. It's from her Majesty the Queen," she said and handed her Master the letter.
"You may take your leave," the Conqueror mumbled as her gaze rested upon the Queen's familiar seal.
"Good night, Majesty," Lady Satrina said, but no response came from the Conqueror. The doors nearly closed in her face. She sighed deeply and returned back to her warm bed.
In the Imperial bedchamber, a lachrymose Ruler of the world lit up an oil lamp, which stood atop her desk. She caressed the Queen's seal, enjoying the sensation of the uneven indentations against her fingertips. Instead of simply breaking the seal, the Conqueror used her dagger and cautiously pilled it from the parchment. Her heart was beating rowdily and painfully in her chest. She unfolded the parchment and exposed her parched eyes to her wife's soft penmanship.
'My beloved Lion ,
I miss you. I miss you terribly, my only Lord, and I desperately love you, my true husband. I have contemplated over and over what should be my first words to you, my singular love, my passionate lover. Should I start by telling you about my days here with the Amazons? Or should I begin with trying to appeal to your kindness and graces and explain to you as best I can why I needed to remain here? My heart that has desired you above anything and anyone else always guided my hand into first telling you what was most important, what was most true, and what was most urgent.
I miss you now more than I have ever missed you before, even more than I have missed you when I carried our daughter in my womb and you were far from me, even more than when I was a slave to your magnificent body and you imposed distance between us. On these occasions, somewhere deep in the recesses of my mind, I have learnt to trust the most fundamental fact of your want for me.
How ironic it is that now, when we are open and truthful with one another, my capacity to keep my faith in what I know is difficult to maintain. Not a day goes by that I don't contemplate our last words to one another, and not an hour passes that I don't wonder about what prompted you to leave me, what motivated your generous heart to begrudge me my small request that you would stay here with me.
If it had been the matter of the governors' inquiry, then you would have been back here with me by now, for surely you have already questioned them. If it had been the matter of managing the Realm, then Athena could have been placed in charge as she has been placed in charge before.
It burdens my soul to know that I have drawn your above measure ire. What torments me even more is that I do not understand how I have offended against you.
Athena is a great comfort for me these days, and like my own shadow, she sticks to me. I know you, my Lord, well enough to know that you have given her an order.
I pray that you would be able to set aside your anger and find it within your heart to be pleased with me for my accomplishments here. I pray that you could be proud of me, your devoted wife. I am advancing beautifully in the art of combat and I think you might be interested to learn that my favorite weapon is the staff, and I seem to excel in it. Oh, how I would love to spar with you, my Lord. It would further connect me to you via yet another venue. It would enable me to better take part in one of the most cardinal arenas in your world.
There are so many things that I desire to share with you, my Lord, like the rituals for the cleansing of the soul I have been undergoing with the Shamaness, whom I have grown to admire and trust, and to have the benefit of your wisdom and your unique brand of solace only you could provide me with.
I am confident that I'm on the right path for me. I know not what my goal is, or for what purpose I have embarked on this quest or what is gained and what is yet to be gained, but I'm certain that this journey, I shall be better for it, and we shall be better for it.
I envy the healer for having the privilege of attending to you, I envy your clothes for touching you constantly, and I envy all those around you, for they are fortunate enough to bathe in your presence.
I beg of you, my beloved, come and be with me. I pray you not to deprive me of your presence any longer.
Your loving wife and adoring Queen,
The Conqueror would spend the next four days hidden in the Imperial bedchamber reading and rereading her wife's letter till she knew every syllable and every punctuation mark in it.
After four days had gone by and the Conqueror wasn't seen outside the Imperial chambers, Nobleman Timaeus and Lady Satrina convened in a neglected, unused storage chamber in order to speak in private.
"Thank you for agreeing to meet with me here, dear Lady. I know you have the Lord Conqueror's best interest at heart, as do I, and so I can trust you with this matter," Nobleman Timaeus said.
"You beat me to it, Nobleman, for when you approached me with this matter, I was on my way to approach you for the same reason," Lady Satrina replied. "Something must be done."
"I agree. This can go on no longer." He nodded his head and rubbed his forehead that was wrinkled by concern.
"The Lord Conqueror hasn't stepped out of her chambers in four days now," she said.
"Before the Lord Conqueror confined herself to her chambers, she had spent most of her evening with me. I tell you, I have never seen her Majesty engage in libation with such abandon," he said. The poor old Nobleman seemed very tired.
"I suspected as much," added the Lady.
"The Conqueror doesn't become completely drunk, mind you, but she's not sober either."
Lady Satria clasped her waist. "I know. I've noticed that since the Conqueror has retuned from the Amazons without the Queen, I've been ordering five times the amount of spirits the household usually requires, which makes me wonder whether she drinks it or bathes in it."
Nobleman Timaeus simply stood and shook his head sideways and clicked his tongue.
"And that is not all. With accordance to the Lord Conqueror's orders, a single chambermaid hasn't set foot in the Imperial bedchamber for over a moon. It must reek by now." She paused and then went on to say like she just remembered, "And I tell you something else, for the past four days, plates with some cooked meals were being left in the outer chamber for her Majesty. When collected at night, they looked like they had been picked by a bird," Lady Satrina complained.
"Something grave has happened over there, I tell you," Nobleman Timaeus speculated.
"It must have something to do with the Queen. I'd wager my life on it," agreed Lady Satrina.
"Aye," muttered Nobleman Timaeus, heavily.
“I cannot stress enough how distressed and worried I am,” the Lady sighed.
“As am I. It's like our admired Sovereign has lost her center… and she is angry again,” the Nobleman said.
“And sad, I think,” the Lady added.
“If this continues for not much longer, others will notice before long,” he muttered.
“And after that the scavengers will follow,” she commented. She had heard the Conqueror say something to that effect often enough over the years.
They both used the next few moments to come up with a solution.
“We should send word to her Majesty the Queen,” Lady Satrina jumped as soon as the idea had presented itself.
“We absolutely mustn't,” the Nobleman dismissed immediately. “We don't know what happened between the Conqueror and the Queen . Things might be precarious. If there is one thing the Conqueror taught me, it is never step onto a battlefield without knowing the terrain or where the traps were laid, which is another reason why we shouldn't cause the Queen concern.”
Lady Satrina began to feel frustration being added to her stress. "The Lord Conqueror needs someone to talk to, a friend like," she suggested.
“The Conqueror has no friends, dear Lady. In the Conqueror's world, a friend is a dead enemy. The Conqueror has advisors, governors, nobility, enemies, soldiers, commanders, servants, but not friends. People in the Conqueror's world are roughly divided into three major groups: those she tolerates, those she doesn't tolerate and the Royal family,” he said remorsefully.
“Well, aren't you her friend?” Lady Satrina argued.
“Not that kind of a friend,” he was quick to reply.
Lady Satrina took his meaning.
“Moreover, consider this… if the Lord Conqueror is in such a state, then what must the Queen…?” the Nobleman said grimly.
“You are very perceptive, if you don't mind me saying. That is quite rare amongst your kind,” she smiled. His statement showed her that he understood that there was a strong bond between the Conqueror and the Queen. They both were close enough and perceptive enough to know what the world did not.
“My kind?!” he sounded almost offended, “You mean amongst noblemen?”
“Amongst men, and I meant it as a compliment,” she responded kindly. “And as for her Majesty the Queen, she is a lot stronger than she seems, and her Grace is with her. Furthermore, she has the ability to make friends with whomever she chooses. Befriending others isn't one of the Lord Conqueror's many skills, as you said.”
The old Nobleman shifted his weight from one leg to the other. “I believe you're correct, dear Lady.” He then exorcised his mind to come up with a solution, and after a few long moments he said, “There is only one person in this world that can speak fairly freely with the Conqueror and survive the ordeal.”
Lady Satrina nearly kicked herself for not realizing it sooner, “I shall send for Lady Cyrene first thing in the morning.”“And may the Gods show us mercy if the Lord Conqueror would ever to find out it was us who had sent for her mother.”
Return to the Academy