Hearts Under Siege--Xena's Scroll

After almost a year of wearing leather trousers and the heavy shirt, it feels great to be dressed in my leathers again. More than ever, it makes me appreciate the freedom of movement the battle skirt allows me. I asked Gabrielle to watch Eve just so I could take a run and stretch my muscles…I have completely recovered from Eve's delivery and am ready to take on just about anything.

I had no sooner said something to that effect to Gabrielle, than trouble began brewing. We learned travelers on the road to Amphipolis, were having difficulty getting to the town, my hometown. No one could say who was causing the trouble, but I figured it wouldn't take long for us to get to the bottom of things.

Now that we have a baby to protect, Gabrielle and I have had to adjust our fighting styles. We could have hidden Eve, and checked out the situation together, but something smelled of a trap to me, so I asked Gabrielle to keep an eye on Eve while I looked in to the situation. There was no one else I would trust my baby's life to.

At first, I suspected Ares. He has been nothing but persistent lately, after his visit with me in Tartarus. I still haven't found the right words to tell Gabrielle about what happened there…I just don't know how to do it. Ares is lying, manipulative, and deceptive, but at the same time, there's something in his attitude as of late that leads me to believe he really is making an effort to change. His trying to seduce Gabrielle into accepting godhood is still a bitter recent memory, however, and not one that's bound to go away any time soon. I know how Gabrielle would respond if I told her how persistent Ares has been. He's claiming he loves me, and we have had so many trials lately, I don't want to upset her further. The series of dreams I had while Gabrielle was helping Joxer get an antidote for the poison he had gotten from one of Apollo's priests…well, it will be a LONG time before I can discuss that with her. Looking back at it, I know Ares was just playing mind games with me, but the truth is, the dreams weren't unpleasant at all; in fact, they were just the opposite, and that disturbs me perhaps more than anything. The Ares in the dreams was loving, attentive, and warm…and very much to my liking. I dunno, I think my emotions are all out of whack from Eve's birth. There's no way I could feel any genuine feelings for him, is there?

But enough about that. The road in question was owned by: Prince Dameron, and it was a toll road. Toll roads were rare in these parts, but not one grumbled about the half-dinar price Dameron demanded. He was a fair king, and used most of the money to take care of the poor…a tradition following Princess Diana's footsteps, I might add.

I was still some distance away when I spotted the trouble. The men working the toll road were under attack. At least one of the men was already injured, and as I drew nearer, I'm sure I chuckled under my breath. The attackers were women, dressed in the most atrocious silver gods-be-damned outfits I have ever seen. I lost my humor immediately, and flipped to a defensive position in front of the men. I used my chakram to deflect the immediate arrow barrage. Not surprisingly, all the arrows were aimed at me.

It soon became evident that these women were fairly well trained, and although one of them appeared to be the troop leader, I still sensed that she worked for another. I drew my sword and squared off with her. She wasn't bad, but it wasn't long before I had sliced a gash across her face. Her look of astonishment would have been funny, if it weren't for the situation I was in. The woman signaled a retreat.

I turned to the injured guard, who was already telling me he didn't know who the women were. Judging from the gaudy design of their outfits, I suspected involvement by the God of War.

I had barely spoken his name when he appeared before me. He didn't stay long…just long enough to tell me it wasn't his doings, and to reiterate the vow he had already made to me. Whether or not I wanted Gabrielle to know was now beside the point; she was standing right next to me and had heard everything.

Ares could be a manipulative scheming bastard, but rarely would he come out with a bold-faced lie. I pulled the arrow from the injured man, and examined it. It was a design I had only seen on temples before, but suddenly, everything made perfect sense to me. Only Athena would have the nerve to dress her warriors in such ridiculous outfits. I had long ago chosen the design of my own leathers, and had opted for a short skirt rather than breeches. It left my legs free for kicks and flips, but a tiny part of me was also aware that my long thighs would serve as a distraction to some opponents. It worked. And Athena's army seemed dressed solely to serve as a similar distraction. If the glint off the silver material didn't serve to blind the enemy first.

After sewing up the injured man, I strapped Eve on my back, and Gabrielle and I made our way toward Amphipolis. It was only about a half-hour's ride. I could have guessed what the main topic of conversation was going to be.

"Ares just won't give up, will he?" Gabrielle asked. To others, it might seem non-challant. But I knew what she was driving at.

I snapped back that she knew he was, and then told her I wasn't worried about him. It was Athena that we had to worry about.

I can't blame her for asking though. And she knew when I snapped, it wasn't because I was angry with her. Thank the gods this little bard accepts me the way I am! I had railed for so long about not giving my love to anyone again, that is was my first instinct to protect my heart, even after all Gabrielle and I had shared. Gabrielle knows my heart lies with hers though, but I am too much a warrior not to avoid those issues that make me speak what I feel deep down. I try and try to let her know my love is for her alone, and trust she knows me well enough to believe me.

Gabrielle asked if I had ever met Athena. I hadn't, but that always kind of surprised me, since I had been a warrior for so long. When I was starting down that path though, Ares had been after me since day one, and I guess that's why Athena never got involved with my career, if you can call it that. I was a good tactician, but in my younger days, I wasn't exactly known for my wisdom, so I don't think I was ever her type.

Gabrielle was eyeballing me funny, picking up on my double meaning. She let it go though, instead asking me if it was true that I was named after Athena. It wasn't…it was just coincidence that our names rhymed. Eve started to fret then, and I began to hum, knowing that and Argo's steady gait would lull her to sleep. Gabrielle knew I was done talking for now, and mercifully, let the conversation drop.

Perhaps it wasn't so merciful though, because I felt the old doubts begin to cloud my mind. I should be focused on the job at hand, but I wondered now what Gabrielle was thinking about me. I glanced over at her, and sure enough, her huge green eyes were studying me. She caught my look, and raised her eyebrows in a questioning gesture, as though she knew she had been caught staring, and then broke into that nose wrinkling grin that can melt me every time. She is so precious to me! And, by the gods, what a beauty! She is constantly telling me how beautiful I am, but I'm used to my looks…I can never get used to hers…she takes my breath away regularly. That golden light hair, the sparkling emerald eyes, that clear, perfect skin, that firm, compact little body…Gods, I need Gabrielle's help in describing her own magnificence. She'd get a kick out of that!

Amphipolis certainly wasn't on the alert when we arrived a while later. My last few visits there have been calm and restorative to the relationship between the villagers and myself. Therefore, I wasn't surprised when a murmur went up as we approached my mother's tavern.

She must have heard the crowd too, for she was meeting us while we were still a few houses away. Gabrielle unstrapped Eve from my back, and mom latched on to her in no time. A bunch of thoughts were rushing through my head…I wante d to treasure this first meeting of Grandmother and Granddaughter…But the people of Amphipolis were in imminent danger…and still, I couldn't help but think what a wonderfully willing babysitter Mom would be, and it would allow Gabrielle some much needed time alone. I put the more pleasant thoughts aside, however, and focused on the task at hand, namely, getting Amphipolis ready for what was to come.

Mom took Eve into the house, leaving Gabrielle and I some time to check out the situation. Within half a day, Athena' s troops, which, of course, included the silver-plaited archers, as well as the Athenian Elite Forces, would be close enough to Amphipolis to attack. By the time the sun set tonight, my hometown could be decimated, or at the very least, under siege, unless I could think of a solution.

I called for an impromptu town meeting, wanting to alert the villagers as to what may lie ahead. I'm used to public speaking; I've probably done more of it than even my Gabrielle, but the type I'm used to is inciting my troops into a frenzy; preparing them for conquering the next village. I shudder when I think of the speeches I made…the promises I made that I always kept. I find myself speechless when Gabrielle, then my mother speaks up on my behalf. Before, I felt so alone, and I preferred it that way. But now, having Gabrielle and Mom echoing my thoughts is far more fulfilling. It was THEIR words that brought the village together…I was just there to add a little visual reinforcement.

The village was behind us…once again Amphipolis was putting itself in my hands to save them from the villains. But we weren't going up against Cortese this time…we were going up against one of the Greek gods who was holding them hostage because of MY, no make that OUR baby. Incredible! And I chalk that up to the magic of Gabrielle. I know it's her innocent presence that convinced the people that what I was asking for was for the greater good. They loved Gabrielle as if she were a native; and her standing beside me was the only thing that allowed them to put their trust in me.

I had to think quickly. There were many plans to make. I knew how I wished the scenario would go, but was hesitant to bring it up to my love. Not surprisingly, she embraced my plans willingly and convinced me she thought it was for the best. She would lead the troops on the battlefield, while I took a few men and worked my way through the tunnels of Amphipolis, hoping to incite an appearance by Athena, or at the least, her silver-clad second in command.

It worked, far better than I had ever envisioned, no doubt thanks to my golden bard. My thoughts were on the battle overhead, but Alanis, as I learned her name was, made the appearance I was hoping for, and it was easy enough for me to trick her into collapsing the tunnels Athena's troops could have used to infiltrate the city. When Athena figures out what happened, I wonder how she'd feel about her second? The second the tunnels were shut down, I rushed to the battlefield. I hadn't counted on that explosion being so powerful, but there was Gabrielle, uninjured, grinning proudly at me. It was time to set phase two into motion, so I asked her to come back to the tavern with me, so I could discuss with her what I was envisioning.

Zeus, that girl is distracting! I can't blame her though; we had so little private time lately. She settled herself in my lap and gave me a kiss I felt to the point of my toes. More than anything, I wanted to roll her over on her cute little backside and ease my fears between her thighs, but I couldn't. She knew that, and contented herself with just kissing me, not stroking the places she knew would cause me to take control. But now, even her kisses were hazing my brain. She has no idea what she does to me!

I told her what I had to do…and it hurt her, like I knew it would. She cried a little, and the ache in my heart was nearly my undoing. I had to be a consummate actress during my work with Ares, and now, all I wanted to do was lay here and convince Gabrielle over and over again that my love was for her, and no one else. I asked the question again, how could she continue to trust me after all we've been through? But she just snuggled me and told me she knew I loved her. And that she loved me…regardless.

The plans were made, and this time I kissed her, letting her know with my mouth and eyes that her trust in me was well founded. Tears were stinging my own eyes as I left her there, to move on to the next step.

Ares temple…a place I tried to avoid at all costs. Yet here I was, steeling myself, trying to rein my passion for Gabrielle as I switched gears. I had to weave my web carefully, as Ares knew me very well. I took a deep breath and called his name, and he was there instantly.

That man should have been the god of lust. I suppose war is lust, but he does things to my lower body that I'm ashamed to admit. I didn't lie to Gabrielle when I said I felt something. I ALWAYS felt something when Ares was that close to me, his hot breath in my hair, his lips in turn compliant and demanding against mine. I was shocked when he stepped back suddenly, telling me he wasn't falling for it. He saw the shock in my eyes, and his curiosity kicked in. Now was Gabrielle's turn to complete the deception…and there was no one else I had more faith in.

She must have been even more convincing than I dreamed. I had barely had time to get my clothes off and he was back in the temple, slamming his hands into a table as he tried to sort out what he had just learned. Oh, how I would have liked to have heard what Gabrielle had said to him! I smiled a secret smile, and then reveled in his capture in my seduction. Despite the widespread tales, I had never disrobed just for him before. And this was a battlefield I had never lost on.

He approached meaningfully. He believed me now, and wanted to take me before he fulfilled his part of the deal. He stepped so close I could feel his maleness against my thigh. He was too distracting…the throb between my legs was urging me to give in already, and I couldn't do that. I turned the tables.

I felt his frustration as I stalled him once, twice, three times. I had to stretch this out as Gabrielle had been so convincing it took far less time than intended to arrive at this point. On a whim, I thought I'd show him a little bit of my own personal power, so after making him swear to protect Eve, I grabbed him and threw him on the nearby divan. Before he had a chance to recover, I pounced on him.

Gods, breastfeeding Eve has done incredible things to my breasts. My throbbing nipples rasped through his coarse chest hair and my resistance was slipping already. I pulled up a bit, and then arched my back to bend down and inflame his nipple a little with my teeth. There, that ought to show him.

I figured Gabrielle wouldn't object to my kissing him, as long as there was no more, and I wanted to be true to her, so that's what I limited myself to. That didn't stop his hands from roaming freely over my body, but I focused on his delicious lips, and continued to stall with interruptions until the appointed explosion blew out the side of the temple wall. Perfect timing by my bard too, as that firm erection pressed against my stomach was looming more and more in my imagination.

Getting through those moments with Ares was the toughest part of the whole plan for me. The rest was easy…I was far more adept on the real battlefield. I didn't want to have to kill Alanis; above all else she was courageous and totally devoted to Athena. And Athena loved her, there was no doubt. But there was no other way. I would go to any lengths to protect my own love, and knowing Eve was safe with Mom, did nothing to allay my fear for Gabrielle's well being. We won. Athena lost. Ares…well, he knew I had deceived him, but he wasn't surprised. Our history is full of deception, trickery, and moments of sincerity. We'd see him again, of that there was no doubt.

Amphipolis wanted to hold a celebration in our honor, but I wasn't in the mood for a public spectacle. We settled for a home-cooked meal, and a little quiet time with Mom. Mom has never come right out and spoken of the relationship of Gabrielle and myself, but I wasn't surprised when she asked if she could take Eve for the night. I didn't have to look at Gabrielle to know how her face would express her thoughts, but I did anyway, just because I enjoy it so. I heard her soft gasp, and knew my own expression was one that always made her respond. I croaked out some response to Mom, and tried to finish the meal casually. I doubt if I fooled anyone.

I certainly didn't fool Eve, who did her best not to fall asleep, as I rocked her. She loved Gabrielle as her own mommy, but whenever she felt the two of us were neglecting her for our own time together, she often protested. I whispered to her as Gabrielle helped Mom clean up. I told her of my love for both of my girls and how she'd grow up with the love of two mommies, and what a lucky little girl she was. After a while, her eyelids grew heavy and I felt I had won another battle.

I stood in the doorway watching Gabrielle and Mom for a moment. Gabrielle was more comfortable around my mother than I was. But when I asked Gabrielle if she was ready to go up, I could see her mind was lying elsewhere. It was time to go upstairs.

It was these times when I knew I had really changed. Before, a battle served to turn my blood to fire, and create in me an insatiability that caused me to conquer whomever was in my bed. Not so with my little bard. She returned whatever I gave with a perfectly matched fire of her own, but I found I usually didn't want to make her scream for release. No, a soft sigh of my name from her lips was my goal.

I took a moment to just look at her, sorting my feelings in my head and drinking in the exquisiteness that was my Gabrielle. I had teased her a bit about my time alone with Ares. But she knew it was teasing and that I hadn't been unfaithful to her. Now, I would prove that beyond a shadow of a doubt. I would lay myself in her hands, and prove to her that she was the only one in my heart.

Standing above her, I silently thanked the gods who made her once again. She was so perfectly sized, compact and lithe. I quivered as I finally leaned in and claimed her lips. They were so sweet, so soft beneath mine, and fluttered open naturally, so I could delve into the depths of her mouth even as my mind was falling into the depths of her eyes. I wanted desperately to please her, to give myself completely to her and show her how much I loved her for trusting me. I reined in my passion and concentrated on the kiss, our mouths working together, speaking volumes, without uttering more than soft little moans.

I heard her whisper for me to make love to her. Oh yes, I planned on doing that and much more. I picked her up and she sighed a little, her head snuggling against the skin of my neck. She loved it when I used my strength like this, and so did I. I carried her to the bed and began the pleasurable task of undressing her. I caressed each expanse of skin as I bared it. Her skin was so perfect, not riddled in the scars I carried. And the color, it shone in the candlelight! My mouth watered to rub itself along her soft contours. Gods, she was perfect!

I had removed my armor earlier, before dinner, but now didn't find myself wanting to finish undressing. I wanted to feel my bard against my own bare skin, but the scent wafting toward me suddenly made me famished again. But she had different plans, and as I joined her on the bed, I felt her eager little hands skillfully removing my clothes. I gave her a few seconds to do that…sometimes we are far more leisurely with our stripping, but tonight, there was too much urgency.

I had to touch her…had to. But she was so tense, and I knew the events of the harrowing day and her unanswered questions were tightening up her body. "Let me massage your back," I said, and I did so, as sensuously as I could. She was writhing on the bed, and for a moment, I ground against her, trying to ease that itch that had settled at my core. I would have been content to continue like this, just imagining the expressions of joy on her face, but she turned over, and I knew what she wanted. I pressed my body into hers, my hips cradled between her luscious thighs and our mouths met again.

I was spiraling so fast, and she was willing to let me do what I wanted. A joke we often shared involved who got to reach their peak first, and which was best. Truth is, I found my climaxes far more satisfying when I knew my bard had already reached her pinnacle at least once…and she didn't seem to mind. She wanted me to make love to her, and letting her know I was ready to do so, I slid my hands lower.

Gods, she didn't know her hands were nearly changing my plans entirely. They found my engorged breasts, and began rubbing my nipples which sent answering tugs to my sopping center. I had to pull away from those devious digits, and whispered I wanted to taste her, knowing that promise would cause her to release me so I could move between her thighs. It worked, thankfully, or my whole plan would have to be changed.

I have tasted many heavenly things…ambrosia, honey-dripped strawberries, the lips of a god…but nothing compares to the taste of my bard's arousal. Salty and sweet, musky and rich, her juices filled my mouth and ran over my chin. She was so responsive to my tongue, and her breath caught in seconds. I wonder if she knows that her nose wrinkles when she reaches her fulfillment? Gods, I love her! I pulled myself back up, knowing that was far too brief, but we had a whole night ahead of us. I could feel her wetness meeting my own, and pressed my ache tighter to her, catching her clitoris on my pubic bone. As she tasted herself on my mouth, she wriggled beneath me and came again, sending her to a higher peak. I heard my name, just the way I wanted to.

As much as I love her covering my body with her own when she loves me, I find something very erotic about her pleasuring me from below. She could feel my arousal pouring out against her, and she urged me on my hands and knees above her. She gave me freedom of movement as she pressed her face to my center. Her hands were doing amazing things to my backside and legs…how far she has come! I thought I was a master at controlling my body, but the bard did things to me that took me beyond control. Her tempestuous little tongue, those devious little hands, she teased me until I thought my heart had stopped.

And then she continued, causing my climax to thunder out of me before I was deterred again. She drank all I had to give, her mouth making little contented noises against me. I felt my legs and arms going rubbery, any feelings I might have felt for Ares were long forgotten, as long as my bard was holding me.

I collapsed on her, and would have been content to stay that way forever. She felt so good under me, but she had other plans…she knew I was hers…forever…but I guess she wanted to make me reaffirm the fact. I don't blame her…we all need a little reassurance now and then.

She pushed me to the back and began touching me, the whole time her eyes locked with mine. Much has been made of my blue eyes, but how can I begin to describe the emotions her green eyes showed? The depths of her passion, the depths of her trust, the depths of her love all washed over me in those seconds that her hands made love to me. Her fingers lingered between my thighs, and she pleasured my clitoris until there was no doubt who the master was here. Her mouth pleasured my breasts, then pressed to mine once more. I came again, this time moaning out HER name, and I felt her satisfaction in knowing I was hers. She laid her body on mine, and let me recover; whispering over and over again that she loved me. I wish I was better with words…but that is one of HER many, many skills. All I could say, over and over, was "I'll love you for eternity."

And I will.

Gabrielle's Scroll--Hearts Under Siege
The Xena and Gabrielle XXX Scrolls