characters named from X:WP are the property of MCA/Universal & Renaissance.
No copyright infringement is intended in this fanfiction. Some characters which
will be obvious, are the creation of the writer.
This story has mild violence in the content - arrow wound and sword fighting.
"Xena, the land looks so barren
since we were here last", Gabrielle told Xena as they walked right into the
camp of Chilapa's Amazon tribe.
Meslena was first to see them and first to speak. "It's good to see you both" she exclaimed. "It's been too long."
"Yes, too long Meslena, how have you been?" Gabrielle told her Amazon sister as she smiled and hugged Meslina.
Xena continued to walk forward and stepped directly into the Queen's hut.
"Xena!" Chilapa exclaimed quickly as she realized who had just entered her hut unannounced. "Oh, Xena it is you! I'm sorry I wasn't told you were coming. No matter. I'm very glad you've come. You've heard what is happening, then?"
"Chilapa, where is your guard?" Xena asked angrily and without any response to Chilapa's greeting or her question. "Gabrielle and I just walked right into this camp without a sign of anyone keeping watch. What IS going on?"
"Oh, well you don't know then, do you Xena? We have had some very bad and hard times here. Most of my tribe are ill or weak from poor supplies. We have been involved in several small and harmful battles. We only post guard at night. The tribe is too weak to handle much time at doing watch and I'm trying to spare as many as I can to help in the camp. The children are the weakest, I'm sad to say."
Gabrielle and Meslena now enter the Queen's hut and it's apparent they have shared the same information. Gabrielle steps forward and hugs the Amazon Queen as Xena notices her companion has a very sad and worried look in her eyes.
"Where are the children, Chilapa?" Xena asked as she turned and briskly walked out of the hut. Chiplapa had to rise from her blanket and walk to catch up with Xena, just outside.
"Come, I'll take you to the children," Chilapa told the Warrior Princess as she directed her to the next hut.
Meslena and Gabrielle also followed and entered the hut next to Chilapa's. They all paused as they were stunned to find only four young children lying on rugs that were placed about onto the hard ground. The children all looked thin and weak, as well. They were quiet and did not appear to have energy to speak to the women standing above them. Xena began to walk about the hut and checked the pots and cups that were also lying about. She was angered and disgusted to see the poor conditions around the sick children and especially appalled by the filth.
"I want this hut cleaned up immediately!" Xena shouted angrily now and looked directly at Gabrielle.
Gabrielle now paused to look back at Xena with her eyes wide with surprise. Xena failed to speak a word or to make any motion of kindness toward the children. Gabrielle quickly noticed that Xenon was one of the children who was lying just in front of them. He had grown in hands length and it was apparent that he had matured a great deal since either Xena or Gabrielle last saw Ephiny's young son.
An Amazon who was not familiar to either Xena or Gabrielle slowly walked into the hut. She began offering drink to each of the children as she slowly and gently lifted each head. The woman then turned and looked first to Gabrielle saying, "You're Gabrielle.....the real Queen aren't you?"
Gabrielle stepped closer to the woman and with a questioned look, she then placed her hand on the woman's shoulder and responded, "Yes, I'm Gabrielle. I'm a former Queen. It was Ephiny that was the real Queen. I'm sorry we have not met before. What is your name?"
"I'm Erina, Ephiny's blood-sister. I'm from another tribe really but I came here to care for Xenon. I owe that much to my sister's child."
Gabrielle was really surprised at this news. It had never been mentioned that Ephiny had a blood-sister.
Xena walked quickly outside again and everyone then followed her once more to the center of the camp. Xena was still looking around and seemed very angry by all she had heard and seen.
"Chilapa, I am sorry to see this much suffering, I didn't know. There is no sign of battle here. What has happened to the supplies and the strength of the tribe?"
"Xena", Chilapa answered in a voice which sounded weak for the once heartily spoken woman. "The outter lands are no longer safe. We've battled many enemies since you were here last and many of our tribe are gone, some killed but so many died from disease. We just don't have enough Amazons left for a proper defense of the land and all the animal and food supply has been taken by pillagers."
Gabrielle, still thinking of the news that Ephiny had a sister and never told her, continued to look really worried as Chilapa talked to Xena.
Gabrielle stood next to Xena and finally gazed directly at her to say, "Xena, we have to do something."
"And we will!" Xena said strongly as she walked forward and began checking each woman about the camp and carefully looking into their eyes. All the Amazon's looked much thinner and their eyes indeed expressed how weak their bodies had become without proper nourishment.
Xena spent much of the afternoon
checking the weak Amazon women all about camp. Just before the sun would set,
Xena again entered the hut where the four children were lying and she observed
Ephiny's sister, Erina finishing up effort to get the children to eat some
Xena first would kneel down next to Xenon and slowly, she moved her hand through his long mane. He turned to look upward at the strong woman above him and he softly asked, "do I know you? Are you a new Amazon?"
"No, Xenon...I'm not," Xena told the young centaur. "I was a friend of your mother's and I once helped you come into this world."
The young centaur, whom all the Amazon's felt a special love for because he was the son of Ephiny, then drifted into a deep slumber.
Xena moved about the hut and checked the pulse and forehead of the other three who were all Amazon children.
"He's got a lot of Ephiny in him, that one," said Erina. "His life is torn as the child of a centaur and an Amazon," she commented.
Xena stood and walked over to Erina saying, "the hut looks better. We didn't know Ephiny had a blood-sister. I wasn't aware that Xenon was back in camp. He was with the centaurs the last time Gabrielle and I passed through here."
"I've heard a lot about you and Queen Gabrielle. Ephiny and I parted when we were quite young. I guess she never forgave my choice to go with the Eastern Amazon tribe rather than remain here. There was a conflict for me that Melosa's family reigned here for so long. I was surprised to receive word a few months ago that Ephiny had a child. I heard also that he was treated as an out-cast by the centaurs. Tyldus has become very unhappy with the lands about here and he blames this tribe for the scarce animal meat and nourishing foilage."
"What about the other tribes in this area? I know many were scattered and there is much more land that rightfully belongs to the Amazon Nation than this one area, " Xena asked Erina.
Both women then walked outside to join Gabrielle, who was standing near the large campfire in the center of camp.
Erina told Xena as Gabrielle listened that,
"the other tribes are involved in a civil war among themselves. With such
limited supplies for all, they have begun to fight and now there really is no
more connection or loyalty between the camps."
Gabrielle listened carefully as Erina spoke of
the other Amazon tribes nearby. She still presented a very worried look as she
looked upward to Xena and told her, "Chilapa and I have talked, Xena. I
still have the right to elect a new Queen in my place. Chilapa wants to step
aside and suggested that you lead the tribe out of this mess. Will you, Xena?
Will you do that for Ephiny?"
"Gabrielle, I gave my word to Ephiny that I would not stand by and watch the fall of the Amazon Nation. Besides being weak, they have all lost their passion for defending the land. I would've gladly give up my life for Ephiny but I do not need to be a Queen to do what has to be done here."
Xena then walked away from the warm feel and glow of the fire and went into Chilapa's hut.
"Gabrielle," Erina said to the Amazon now standing near the fire alone. "You were Ephiny's good friend. I know she helped you after you got the right-of-caste from Terreis. You were more of a sister to her the last years of her life than I. Won't you please help her tribe now and especially, save her only child?"
Gabrielle turned to face Erina and answered, "I loved Ephiny. Yes, it was her that showed me the way of the Amazon. I was so young back then and I knew nothing of the troubles for Amazons or even the technique to fight like one. Ephiny gave me my first staff and it served me well for a long time. Xena won't back away from this trouble. She and I will help all we can. You'll see."
Chilapa had readied her hut for Xena and Gabrielle to stay the night. Although feeling weak herself, she told Xena she would stay in the hut with Meslina and she had posted a guard at both ends of the camp. Xena gave a nod to Chilapa who then left the hut. Xena slowly sat down on the side of the small bed which was across from a temporary bed Chilapa had made up for Gabrielle.
There is much to do, Xena thought to herself. She was in the hut alone, for what seemed like a long time, just thinking about the situation at hand, Finally, Gabrielle entered the hut for the night.
Gabrielle readied herself for bed and had not spoke because she did not want to disturb Xena's thoughts.
"I'll be out early Gabrielle. I'm going to the centaurs camp at first light, " Xena said just before lying down and closing her eyes.
Gabrielle softly blew out the only burning candle and then lies quiet, herself. She felt too consumed with worry to question her companion any further and had so many things running through her mind. It seemed a very long night to Gabrielle as her mind wondered with thoughts of Ephiny and Xenon. She mentally reminisced of all the times she had shared at this Amazon camp and her dear friend. By the time the morning light barely began to shine into the hut, Xena had risen and gone.
Just after first morning light, Xena left camp to
visit the centaurs. Gabrielle decided to rise early and make ready for the day.
Her mind wandered back to the times she had helped at hospitals and also the
help she had received at the hospice where she awoke after falling with her
daughter, Hope into the fiery pit.
Her thoughts were interrupted by sounds of the other Amazon's now stirring about outside.
Gabrielle completed getting dressed and went to find Chilapa. When she arrived at Meslina's hut, she was told that Chilapa had gone to check on the guards and that she was overdue.
Screams! There were several shrill screams heard all through the Amazon camp. Gabrielle and Meslina quickly ran outside.
They saw Chilapa and another Amazon named, Selaska slowly walking into camp and the taller Amazon was carrying one of their sister's limp in her arms.
"What's wrong? What happened?" Gabrielle asked as she ran quickly toward the women. Selaska carried the limp body of the smaller woman to the center of camp and lay her down onto the ground.
Chilapa looked very tired and told the entire Amazon group, now gathered, "the pillagers attacked. I charged down upon them from the trees but one of them had already ran his sword through her. By the time Selaska got to her, she was gone."
Both of the women's eyes were filled with tears as Gabrielle now could see that it was Brianna who had been killed. Gabrielle gazed upon her dead Amazon sister and first noticed how young and gentle her face appeared. She recalled Brianna clearly from the past and her mind drew a picture of this young woman who once was among the group of Amazon's Pompey had captured.
"The pillagers are growing in number," Chilapa told Gabrielle. Erina had joined them now and looked on sadly as they all now stood in silence.
Suddenly, Xena walked back into the camp guiding a packhorse just behind her. Xena dropped the reigns and stepped quickly over to where the fallen Amazon was lying. Xena immediately looked with question at Gabrielle.
Gabrielle looked back at her companion and in a shaky voice told her, "The pillagers attacked again, Xena. Chilapa says they are growing in number. She and Selaska couldn't save Brianna."
"Chilapa, see that the supplies on that horse are placed safely. Gabrielle, come with me," Xena ordered in a strong voice as she turned and walked into the Queen's hut.
Gabrielle felt surprised that Xena made no mention of the fallen Brianna but she knew it was not a time to question Xena's actions. She paused only briefly and then followed Xena into Chilapa's hut.
Xena was now pacing about with her hands on her hips. She still seemed angry and Gabrielle chose to stand quietly waiting for Xena to explain what was on her mind.
"I have to build a defense of this village. I cannot leave camp again and loose any more of the able bodied Amazons, Gabrielle. I need you and Erina to go and locate the tribe that use to be east of here." Xena told Gabrielle. "Despite the civil wars, all the Amazon's are going to have to unite if they are to defend these lands and survive. I was only able to get the centaurs to share enough supplies for a few days. The time is short."
"Xena," Gabrielle responded, "are you sure Erina should go with me? After all, she's not from my tribe, like Selaska."
"I need Selaska. She is one of the stronger women and I know she can act quickly if I need. Erina mentioned being part of the tribe in the east. I need her to go and get them here, now!"
"Okay", Gabrielle responded. The once Amazon Queen was now only concerned with saving her sisters. She knew it was not a time to question Xena and directed her own focus to the journey facing her and Erina. "We'll leave immediately, Xena. I'll gather our supplies and then go. Please tell Xenon I'm thinking of him," Gabrielle told Xena as she gave a quick hug to her companion and then left the hut.
Xena also walked out and went directly to the hut where the children were still being cared for.. Xena again bent down on one knee and checked the pulse of Xenon. He was partially awake and he looked up directly at the strong Warrior.
"Xenon. It's going to be okay. You have many here that care about you. Gabrielle is also thinking about you. I need you and the others to eat some of the broth that I'll have sent to you, okay?" Xena spoke gently now and then turned to check each of the other three Amazon children.
Gabrielle and Erina gathered only meager supplies and left quickly on their journey to find the Amazon's in the east.
Xena walked outside and told Chilapa to have someone give all the children as much broth as they would eat. She began giving instructions to the able bodied Amazon's and ordered certain placements of wood for fires around the perimeter of the camp. Xena had assigned Meslina to guard the hut where the children were resting. She told Meslina, "no matter what, you protect the children. I'll protect the camp." Meslina nodded and went directly to her post.
Chilapa and two other Amazon's carried Brianna's body into a hut and readied her for the period of mourning.
Xena walked over to Selaska, now in the center of the camp and told her, "You are a strong one. Have your sword ready and beware of any sounds near the camp. I don't have enough women to stand guard so the fires will make us look stronger in number than we really are. Those pillagers aren't going to settle for just the fields around much longer. They could attack at any time."
Gabrielle and Erina had made good
time after leaving camp and they had put a lot of distance behind them by the
mid-afternoon. Erina led them forward since she had traveled this direction
earlier in the season when she left her tribe to go and care for her sister's
Erina paused to tell Gabrielle, "there is one river nearby that may have risen since I was by this way before. We will have to find the walking bridge just ahead, in order to cross."
Gabrielle turned her head left and right as she checked for any signs of trouble along the way. She responded only briefly to Erina, "we need to find the bridge quickly. Xena said that time was very important."
Suddenly, several arrows came flying in the direction of Erina and Gabrielle. Both quickly turned but neither could see the attackers. Erina ran forward as Gabrielle knelt behind a nearby bush for cover. Erina stepped behind a rather large tree as an attacker approached her from behind and she screamed loudly. Gabrielle jumped instinctively and ran toward Erina but a sharp pain caught her left side and she fell downward to her knees.
Gabrielle was able to gather herself from the shock and pain as she stood to face a second attacker now standing in front of her. She had removed both Sais and fought off her single attacker, rendering him wounded and unconscious. She then turned to see that Erina also had been able to fend off the first man that attacked and she was now binding his hands with vines.
Gabrielle suddenly felt a weakness overcome her and she realized the sharp pain in her side was an arrow that had pierced her body. Her hand felt the warm blood flowing profusely from the wound. As Gabrielle again dropped to her knees falling forward only balancing herself with her arms, Erina arrived to help her.
Erina lifted Gabrielle carefully and drug her slowly to the tree that she earlier used as her own protection. She leaned Gabrielle gently against the tree and then went back quickly to bind the hands of the second fallen attacker.
Erina returned to Gabrielle's side and pressed both her hands onto the wound trying to slow the bleeding. Erina, had a surprised and worried look as she told Gabrielle, "there must be others nearby. We have to get to the bridge, Gabrielle."
With a very weak voice, Gabrielle told Erina, "I've seen Xena remove an arrow. You will have to push the shaft through."
"No, Gabrielle," Erina answered, "there is no time, this arrow is too close to your liver. If I pierce that, you'll die painfully. The arrow will have to be cut out, but we must go now, we must go quickly."Erina snapped the arrow only leaving part protruding from Gabrielle's side.
Gabrielle only gave another very weak look and
wrapped her arm around Erina for her help to rise and walk forward. Gabrielle's
thought was how much Erina resembled Ephiny and her strength now felt like that
of her blood sister.
They were able to reach the bridge before the attackers could follow. Erina stopped only briefly to clear the footsteps from the trail by waving a tree branch over any signs of their direction.
Gabrielle sat near the walking bridge still feeling woozy from the blood loss but anxious to cross and find the other tribe. Erina worked quickly to tear her clothing and press hard onto Gabrielle's wound. She made a mudpack to control further vascular flow and wrapped Gabrielle's side before proceeding across the bridge.
Back at camp, Xena had joined Chilapa in Meslina's hut to discuss plans for guarding through the night. Xena told Chilapa, "Meslina and Selaska are our strongest two. I've had the others place the wood for campfires to keep the camp well lit during the darkness. I don't recall seeing Selaska here before. Gabrielle thinks she's from this tribe, is that right?"
"Selaska chose to join my tribe," Chipala told Xena. "She was among a group that passed through two seasons ago. She was once a warrior but had settled with a village in the north just before they came south in search of new homeland. She began to be of great help in our defense and stayed on after her group left."
Xena did not appear surprised to learn that Selaska was a warrior and responded to Chilapa, "that explains it then."
Xena then left the hut and once again walked to speak with Selaska and inquire on any stirring about the camp.
"Oh, hi Xena" Selaska said as Xena approached. "I was hoping you would give me a chance to talk with you. Your legend has traveled far and I'm proud to meet the warrior I once feared meeting in battle. I heard you now fight for the greater good so I figured you'd show up here with Gabrielle sooner or later."
Xena looked directly into the eyes of Selaska who stood equally as tall and said, "I'm interested that you are a warrior. I thought as much for some reason."
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