Disclaimer: Here is yet another piece of fiction based on the characters from Xena; Warrior Princess. Being the rightful property of Universal Studios, it is not my intention to infringe on related copyright laws or to make any profit.

AtCB is a sequel to The Price Of Silence, so it's pretty essential that you've read that first.

Warning: If you had difficulty dealing with the content of TPoS, chances are you may have heart failure with this one. It definitely comes under the definition of Adult fan fiction. There is nothing sub about any of this, its right up there center stage with main text. Plenty of sex, plenty of talk, all involving women, both whom are of age and consenting.

As The Candle Burns.

© Dark Angel.  


half past the mark:

The young whore lay naked diagonally across the silken sheets, shoulders pressed flat as dilated pupils remained fixed on the very center of the time candle's flame. Her position had been purposely arranged, it seemed, hiding many, but not all the dark welts that had been administered to her buttocks, lower back and legs.

A practiced sigh accompanied her hand slinking up porcelain flesh, feathering a nipple to erection before cupping the fullness of her breast. Her other hand had shaped itself into an arch about her sex, thumb and pinky holding the treasure splayed, while the middle, marginally longer digit moved in and out of her. Moments before, she had drawn one of her legs up in a sensuous display of consent to the act, letting the limb fall at a right angle to bare herself, while the other was left to dangle weightlessly over the side of the bed.

She held the slender length inside her longer with each gentle push. Withdrawing slowly, it scooped the juices that had gathered, then spread them liberally over the erect nodule at its hilt. She kept her movements fluid, moaning again when a sultry whisper of approval ushered forth from her audience.

Her thoughts wandered under the combination of her own pleasure and the flame's hypnotic glow. A respite, claimed between what had just been done to her and what she knew would come. For a brief instant, she let the candle light seep into her, bathing in its purity. Then, shifting her gaze, she focused back on the cobalt eyes that had followed so intently each gesture, every sigh.

A rougher, much longer finger extended down and traced along the outside of one of the deep welts that had licked around to the inside of her thigh. The girl sucked down her first response of flinching, holding her gaze as steady as she could on the woman before her. She had lost count of exactly how many times her customer had struck her, only knowing that the blows had been continual for half a mark of the candle.

"Do you like what you see, soldier?" she husked, drawing her tongue over pouting lips to augment the gentle rubbing.

"Oh yes." Xena whispered and she leaned down further till she was almost kneeling between the open legs. Her hand stroked another much darker looking strike around the girl's instep, grazing the embossed tissue with all the care one would offer a newborn. The girl's movements stilled with the touch, waiting.

Xena looked up. "Don't stop," she commanded. Then rising up, she repositioned the phallus firmly against her groin.

The girl widened the distance between her thighs to accommodate the approaching hips, allowing the object's head to brush her fingers aside. Then reaching back between them, caressing the shaft until she had found access under the base. A wiry mass covered in a fine film of moisture greeted her, confirming her suspicions that her customer had already found at least partial release. But before she could go any further, her wrist was yanked clear.

"No." Xena warned in a tone that defied no contention. "I don't need you to...." she said, trying to cover her surprise. Words like 'vulnerability' or 'surrender' had been necessarily stricken from Warrior Princess' vocabulary countless winters ago. In the beginning it had simply been too much of a gamble to allow that kind of power to anyone she chose to bed, but as time went by it became habit.

"Just - be here." She managed finally.

The girl nodded compliantly and Xena felt another layer of control slip away. The lashing she had delivered had barely taken the edge off her need. Discarding thoughts of being able to hold back anymore and bordering on annoyance with herself, she dragged the phallus through the liquid appetizer a fraction harder, forewarning her intent to her purchase.

The girl lay impassive yet unquestioningly available, eyes glistening back at her customer. She had borne the strikes Xena had delivered - almost fifty - without the hint of retreat. She had made no sound when her backside, red and in places bleeding, came in contact with the surface where she'd been placed. She had even interpreted the vaguest of encouragement from Xena to touch herself. And now as woman and beast battled for domination over the heat ready to claw its way out of her customer, she simply raised her arms, arching her body to knit fingers loosely above her head.

This final gesture was all it took for the beast to push harder. Xena guided her tool into the willing flesh, admiring smooth lips bulge around its thickness.

"Hmm, so full, soldier," the girl grunted, struggling to maintain her composure. Inwardly, she tried to calm herself, counting her breathing to help lower muscles relax. The leather poll, though only its knob had pressed past her outer lips, strained her wide. Thicker and longer than what it was designed to imitate, seemingly less pliable, heralded a new form of torture. What she sensed the woman had paid most dearly for. The turquoise gaze, stony and glazed had turned to ink and she searched the room for the familiar comforting glow of the time candle. Something incoherent rolled off her customer's tongue and she felt powerful hands pin her arms under their weight.

Doubts Xena had held by a thread fell away as she too allowed herself to relax, inviting the beast from its weakening chains. Taking one final look at the body below her she stabbed her weapon into the girl with one momentous thrust, sheathing the column completely, growling hungrily as it tore its way through the tender passage till it could go no further - reveling at the sight of the young whore arch again higher, opening her mouth to deliver a soundless cry.

Perspiration beaded within seconds. 'At last', she sighed. 'At last...'

But it was quick, too quick.

What should have been gut wrenching bliss, utopia, evaporated into no more than something reminiscent of an adolescent's first attempt. The beast had been held for far too long and as payback to her, it changed the rules, grabbing its captor instead of the whore. Try as she might, Xena couldn't contain it. A handful of strokes, driven deep and harsh and she was there, a tight angry fist being thrown, like a snared trout onto a dry river bank. 'Oh, Gods' she murmured to herself, ......"Gabrielle....."

The girl remained still under her, held helpless as she listened to anguished gasps. Quite sometime after, she freed a hand to brush away the dark curtain that had covered the woman's face who lay motionless, gaze averted... and felt her shudder.


one candle mark:

The girl slid the remainder of the warrior's clothes off her back, stepping away a little as Xena lowered herself waist deep into the water, thankful she had been convincing in her promise that a hot soak and relaxing massage could cure anything, even a soldier's most intimate nightmare.

She leaned forward when she appeared settled, gathering the length of raven hair up and twisting it neatly into a knot out of the water's reach. She had added fragrances mildly resembling lavender to the bath, speaking casually of its soothing compounds and snuffed all the lights in the room bar the time candle's flame. But for some reason, in a room that volunteered barely enough light to see shadows, the scar had stood out.

The girl knelt to refasten the short robe she'd donned, wondering why she had not noticed it before. Perhaps the water temperature had pinkened her soldier woman's skin, making it more prominent. And, of course, she had removed the phallus and its stay. The girl peered over the side of the tub, tracing a finger along the discolored mark that ran from right side to navel. Her finger lingered, absently pondering its origins.

Xena took a deep breath anticipating the question before it could be asked. She let herself lean back, resting against the towel placed behind her head for support.

"Never trust a woman with a knife." She said wryly.

"I don't understand," the girl told her and Xena realized that she wouldn't. She had no idea who she had sitting in her bath, nor could she imagine the horrors her 'soldier' had once been ready to administer to women not so very different from herself.

"A long time ago my army claimed a young woman." Xena replied seemingly to go off to the distant place she had been before. "We'd claimed several, but the one I chose for my own purposes.......I hadn't known it at the time, but she was.... with child. My treatment of her..." and she hesitated, faultering in disgust with how easy it had all been, how little she had considered the woman she had taken as a minor distraction from her battlefield woes. "...caused her to miscarry. "

The girl said nothing, inwardly reminding herself that she was there to bathe her customer, no more. She raised a wash cloth she'd prepared with extra scent, dowsing it in the tub briefly before commencing the task of soaping and caressing the warrior's back.

"What happened?" she asked, keeping her tempo both sensual and constant.

"I allowed myself to underestimate her." Xena whispered, remembering.

"After she had been seen by my healer, I had her brought back to my chambers. I didn't consider what the loss would do to her." Xena mentally cursed herself. She had been so possessed with her own importance, her power, that she'd actually believed the woman would be grateful for her saving her life.

"I felt pity for her I suppose, foolish pity.....allowing her to share my bed ....after I'd finished."

The warrior's voice sunk low and heavy again, a flash of gnarling teeth and ebony eyes rising from sleep. "But I assure you she went to Hades with the best attempt on my life that has ever been made." As expected, Xena sensed all sound and movement behind her cease. There was no point in explaining, in trying to justify her actions. She had been a warlord who took who and what she wanted.

"You don't do that anymore, do you?" The girl coaxed realizing her response was out of line. Color had initially drained from her face and she was grateful that she was away from the soldier's immediate range of sight. "Force women I mean," she clarified softly, more as a statement than a question

Xena shook her head slowly.

"No, I don't rape or burn or.....anymore." She had wanted to say that she didn't kill anymore either, but it had been the killing, the senseless slaughter of that morning, particularly the boy's death, that had caused her to spend 30 dinar to sit in a whore's bathtub in the first place. She fell silent then, outwardly sullen. There would always be reminders, she told herself. Even without the battle lust, she would carry remnants of her misdeeds in the scars she wore both inside and out.

"I remind you of someone, don't I?" The girl questioned after a time, feeling a little braver somehow with the soldier's disclosure. She hadn't been exactly frightened of the different masks the woman seemed to pull about her at any given moment, but cautious, definitely cautious.

Xena hesitated, pulling herself out of the oppressive mood she'd been about to submerse herself in. Holding her position, she exhaled softly. She pictured the figure kneeling behind. Shoulder length blonde hair, blue green eyes like a clear deep sea, no more that 20 summers old.

"...A little," she answered, amused by the girl's perceptiveness.

The wash cloth stilled again. "Someone you're in love with?"

"Yes." Xena nodded, seeing no reason to lie about it.


Xena twisted around enough to meet an inquisitive expression. Cheeks glowing under the scrutiny. "I didn't realize I had engaged the services of an Oracle." Xena quipped, lips twitching.

The girl smiled back, braving the potential danger she might have unleashed. The soldier had already told her she killed for sport. Was she allowing the handsome woman to beguile her?

"You called me that," she whispered gently. "You called me Gabrielle when we were...."

Xena turned back around, tapping her shoulder to indicate that she wanted the girl to continue washing her.

The motion of the cloth started again. "When you were....reaching your peak, you said 'I love you, Gabrielle'."

The warrior couldn't answer, waiting several moments before she would even allow herself the liberty of thinking about what had been told to her. Was it that obvious?

"...Oh," she acknowledged, finally gesturing for the girl to join her in the bath. Watching, openly appreciative, as the girl moved to stand before her, making a show of peeling off the silken robe. Xena raised and parted her knees to allow her to step in, catching an unprotected wince as warm water and battered flesh made contact. A pang of culpability rose and retreated within her, in a breath the professional smile reappeared and the girl sat facing her. She leaned back again, closing her eyes, feeling sensations of the girl's hand guide the retrieved wash cloth over bronzed skin.

The girl used a combination of soft fabric and her own hands to fondle and lather Xena's breasts and belly, being careful from her previous warning not to drop below the soldier's midsection. Something in her stirred by the gentle ripple of muscles that presented themselves so proudly under her ministration.

She called the dark beauty 'soldier', yet she would have known even without the story of how she'd acquired the ugly scar that she had commanded generals to kneel at her feet. Sometime, not very long ago her customer had been quite different and that undoubtedly included dangerous. Fate had changed her, from what exactly, the girl didn't know, only that it had made her more human than the specter that hovered incessantly waiting to pounce, more able to feel. The girl had witnessed the animal, had felt its blows, but she had also felt another heart and body falter and crash remorseful and still longing. She saw sadness behind the startling blue eyes, behind the razor sharp teeth. The need was apparent. She had paid dearly to have it attended to, well above the girl's usual fee. But she had come for more than just physical release. She had come seeking refuge, it seemed. Shelter not from an army or a war, but from a girl to whom the young whore bore a resemblance.

"If you're in love with her, beautiful one," she asked without looking up from the exquisite trails she was leaving on Xena's body. "Why are you here, in this house and not wherever your Gabrielle is?"

"Because we're not lovers." Xena told her in a whisper. "Nor will we ever be."


"I can't show her this part of myself."

"You show it to me. How can you show something so personal, so natural, to a simple whore and not to the woman who owns your heart?"

Xena reached sightlessly for the slender wrist, stilling the girl's movements then titling her chin up to meet her eyes.

"Because you don't judge me," she said simply.

The girl wanted to ask if judgment was what she most feared from Gabrielle or herself, but the warrior sat up, water lurching forward as parted lips lowered on to her own. The kiss was gentle to begin with, almost loving and Xena let it build at its own pace, worming a hand between the girl's legs. She stroked slowly, separating the lower folds and penetrating her first with one, then two fingers. Her free hand scooting around the smaller waist, pulling her nearer. The girl let herself be cradled, resting her head to the warrior's chest. Fingers dipped into her again, adding in number to three and she huddled closer as the thrusts intensified, taking another cue as her customer's breathing became more ragged.

"So good." She whispered. "So good."

The girl eased her thigh up, feeling the slicker wetness of Xena's own exposed core make contact.

"Gabri...." she heard her whisper as her rhythm rose higher and harder.

"Hmm.., yes." she moaned back.

The girl raised her knee higher, pressing firmly against the folds of open pulsating flesh. Younger hands gripped the muscular shoulders as she thrust herself onto the stiff digits. Xena wanted to scream, torn between letting go and giving over. What had happened earlier she had never thought possible. She felt incompetent, inane - puerile. It had started off as a need to conquer, to control, but what she was feeling now was different, in some ways more disarming to her will. The beast growled, defiantly stretching, baiting her to release it.

She needed the connection, a need to feel another woman hold her and whisper and love her. "Gabri....." she allowed herself softly.

"Yes, say it." the girl charged. "Say her name."

Xena was struggling, falling with nothing to grab hold of.

"I can't!" she cried stabbing into her...The girl braced herself, swallowing the brutality of the invasion, squeezing against the skewering fingers to advance her customer's pleasure.

"Let yourself love her, soldier!"

Xena moaned placing her free hand around the girl's head to pin her against her shoulder. She couldn't hold it. The girl turned her head, laying trapped in the tight embrace. She opened her mouth sucking at the stray fingers that nestled close, continuing little murmurs of practiced pleasure to assist the looming release. Water cascaded over the side as Xena's weight moved the two bodies locked in mutual purpose. Taking and giving, forcing and begging.

The warrior came solidly this time, crying out the name teetering on her lips as she thrust both against the girl's thigh and into her center. Her body jerked forward in fits and starts as pleasure spilled from her. The girl stayed with her, braving the torturous assault about her sex, planting soft kisses on what parts of the warrior's body she could reach, watching as the face above her twisted and contorted with its obvious release. Maintaining her own hold about writhing shoulders as best she could until the chest stopped pounding. Finally she lowered her gaze, pretending not to see tears trickle down others that had been clamped shut, as words, just whispers continued. Slowly Xena pulled out of her, holding her close for the longest time.

"Gabrielle." she whispered into her own heart. ".....Gabrielle."


half way past the first candle mark:

The young girl lay face down, her head turned to the center of the room, involuntary tremors still pulsed occasionally beside her as the woman slowly recovered. Course fingers followed the collection of lines slowly starting to fade along her back and buttocks, sending sparks of electricity through her. The woman leaned closer nipping her shoulder blade gently. The time candle continued to flicker, burning its way lower and lower. Soon she would need to call an end to the night's activities and send her on her way.

The soldier had called her 'Gabrielle' again, just as she felt her tense and thrust one last time. And then again with her weight fully against her and the trickle of moisture on her back. She had worn her phallus taking service from her rear. It wasn't unpleasant, she had thought as she lay still as commanded, accepting the object moving in and out of her like a sword continually being returned to its scabbard. More to the point she realized was that her soldier had liked it - a lot, and that strangely made the girl happy. The battle had continued nonetheless. Sporadically she had sensed the animal rise and take charge of the sword, the service had been harder, crueler to bear, but somehow she would feel her wrestle it back, returning to a less violent but needful pace. She had had worse, she accepted, a lot worse, things that shamed her, done by others nowhere near as beautiful, nowhere near intoxicating.

The breathing beside her had settled to an even rhythm. "Are you frightened of hurting her?" she asked turning her head to look at the woman. "Is that why, because you think that what you want would shock or repulse her?" Xena continued to stroke the place where her phallus had entered.

"I don't think Gabrielle knows what sex is...."

"So are you frightened of giving her the experience?"

Xena thought about it. "Perhaps."

The girl studied her, waiting. "I have specific needs," Xena volunteered honestly. "Needs whether I wish them or not, that have to be addressed in specific ways. Gabrielle deserves better than to be my ....."

Xena stopped herself before finishing, but both women knew where her words had been leading. She thought she felt the girl draw back momentarily before she had caught herself. She had been correct, but the young whore - her port in this storm - was also too well versed in her role to allow the insensitivity of a lonesome soldier trouble her with any depth.

"You could bring her to a place like this, if you wanted her to learn." They girl told her. Then smiling a little, lightening the mood. "We provide a wide and varied service, catering for all tastes."

Xena made a sad chuckle before sitting up on one elbow. "And how exactly would I explain that, do you think?" she queried.

The girl moved to mirror the warrior's posture. "You could be honest with her, you could tell her what your heart says, but also of what your desire demands. If she loves you, she will want to be able to satisfy both."

Xena shifted her weight, laying flat as the girl trading places with her, straddled her hips, gently lowering herself to sit with the still attached accessory held close against her. Xena let practiced fingers trace their own invisible lines along her upper torso and breasts, occasionally watching through hooded eyes as the girl bent to lick and nip at reawakening nipples. Hands that touched her with the skill of a professional and she laughed a little realizing the accuracy of her thoughts. Her young purchase made it all seem so simple, as if she could actually have that kind of conversation with Gabrielle.

She let her mind play the scenario out as the hands moved, rubbing oil into the leather length, cleaning any remaining sign of its previous use and enticing further play with her suggestive fondling. "You could show her there are many things you like, soldier." The girl murmured, sliding backward down the open legs and to the Xena's pleasure and amazement, allow her lips to brush across the phallus. Xena watched, no longer languid or intentionally passive. A tongue extended along the full bulk "Things like this, I think." her charge added, taking it down her throat. The warrior's hips rose with a mind of their own.....

'No!', Xena's conscience told herself firmly. She could not allow the woman she loved to be tainted by her darkness. For the most part since they had started traveling together she had managed to keep the beast caged tightly behind nothing more than sheer will. Any normal daily desires had been dealt with, swift and efficiently under her own hand. Anything else she had convinced herself was unnecessary. Or so she had thought, she hadn't anticipated the burning revisiting her so acutely that's all. And if it was fueled by being without the affection of another for so long, well that wasn't Gabrielle's responsibility either, it was hers.

"You could introduce her slowly to your more.....strenuous pleasure." Came the whisper from her midsection.

Xena filed her decision away for the time being, succumbing to the need one more time.

"I've had enough talk," she stated almost hoarse, accepting that most of the talk, at least the last part, had transpired in her own head.

"Come here." The warrior ordered playfully.


 approaching the second candle mark:

The girl lay the armor casing over each shoulder, buckling it snug at each of her sides as the stranger stared into the candle's flame. Finally the girl reached higher, stroking the back of her hand over Xena's cheek bone to signify she was done.

"You look sad my beautiful one," she offered. "Are you thinking of your Gabrielle?"

Xena nodded. "You do have the gift of an oracle," she told her sardonically.

"No, soldier." The girl counted, sensing the deep sadness and feeling some of it herself. "You have a heart that can no longer be silent, that's all." Then throwing caution to the breezes, she wrapped more delicate arms around the powerful body, trying to pull the greater mass against her.

"She may surprise you, if you let her." She added before pulling back.

Xena reached for the pouch positioned on her belt again, fingering the collection of coins still remaining, mentally accounting for what she had left. With little hesitation she clutched five more dinar and drew them out. Then taking the girl's hand she pressed them into it. Closing the fingers before the girl could speak.

"You've already paid for my body, kind stranger." She said trying to pull away.

Xena shook her head. "I know," she told her with a rare glint of an open unforced smile.

The girl looked as if she may still protest.

"Keep it." Xena said again, squeezing the smaller hand with conviction. "I was in need of much more tonight than just your body, I thank you for sensing that. "

She started to go, letting the closed palm fall away.

"If you are back in Corinth again," the girl said in a rush. " my name is Arnise." Her own smile broadened, so hauntingly familiar it sent shivers up the recipients spine. "I would be happy to provide your night's escort, or anything else you may wish."

Xena looked back over her shoulder, understanding the girl's invitation.

With a gentle bow she closed the door behind her, leaving her and thoughts of the re-caged animal for a time she needed to believe would be many battles away.

The End

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