Fire and Ice--Xena's Scroll
“Help me! Please…someone help me!!”
I heard the feminine voice calling for help and swung up into Argo’s saddle. “Someone’s in trouble,” I told Gabrielle and urged my horse into a gallop. I knew Gabrielle would follow as quickly as she could.
We were a couple hours away from Lamins to get a bite to eat and pick up some supplies when I heard the call for help. I had been walking along side Gabrielle, leading Argo, when I heard the call go out.
Looking around the fairly flat countryside, I saw a woman waving her arms toward me while I was still some distance away. As I approached, I could see she was at the edge of some huge ice covered area, and there was a considerable hole in the ice. In the middle of the hole I could see splashing, and then I heard a cry of anguish from the woman as the splashing suddenly stopped.
I pulled Argo to an abrupt halt and told her to stay around before I flipped from her back to land in front of the woman. I was surprised when I felt the freezing air hurt my throat as I said, “Who is it?”
“My son!” the woman sobbed. “He was playing with his dog and got too close to the edge! Please help him!”
“Okay.” The boy surfaced one more time, but I could see the cold water had already greatly slowed his movements, and he wasn’t able to grab the sides of the ice. I stripped off my scabbard and chest armor. “Get the largest tree branch you can find,” I told the woman, “And hold it out over the hole. Make sure to stay off the ice.” I don’t know if the woman could hear me or not, but Gabrielle knew what to do when she arrived. I took a deep breath, and dove in.
Zeus, but that was water was cold! It hit me like a blow to my stomach, and at first, I couldn’t force my eyes open to see around me, but finally, I was able to open them to slits. I spotted the boy almost immediately, slowly sinking toward the bottom of the pond. He wasn’t terribly far from the entrance to the water. I grabbed him around his waist and pulled him to the hole.
I surfaced, and sure enough, the woman was still rooted to her original spot, still too shocked to move. Gabrielle was now on the scene, and was struggling with a long tree branch. She finally managed to stretch it out over the ice, and flopped down on her belly to hold it in place.
I whistled for Argo, and as she had been through the routine before, she knew to place a front hoof on the end of the branch, giving Gabrielle the needed strength to hold me and the boy. I held on to the motionless boy with my left arm, and half paddled, have pulled myself and him to the safety of the land.
Gabrielle grabbed a fur from Argo’s back, and had it wrapped around the boy in almost no time. I bent over him, and rubbed my hands over his face and chest briefly, trying to return some warmth into him. I pinched his nose and blew my breath into his lungs, even as his mother continued to wail.
“Come on, come on…” Gabrielle had thrown my own bedroll over my shoulders, but she knew I wouldn’t worry about myself until the boy was safe.
She rubbed the boy’s extremities as I continued to force air into him. I was beginning to think it was a lost cause, when I noticed a slight flicker in his eyelids. I shared my breath with him one more time, and mercifully, he began to cough. A few seconds later, he was opening his eyes.
“Landon!” the woman exclaimed, nearly knocking me over in her effort to scoop up the young boy. “Thank the gods!” She sat there on the ground, rocking the boy back and forth, continuing to sob. The boy began to cry too, but he kept saying over and over again, “I’m all right, Mama. I’m all right.”
I smiled weakly at Gabrielle, grateful for the tender scene in front of us. She beamed back, then asked the woman, “Do you live close by?”
“Yes, just over there,” the woman answered. She pointed to a small cabin not far from where we were.
“Get him home right away, and into some dry clothes,” I told the lady.
“Yes, of course,” she stood with Landon still in his arms, “Why don’t you come with us? I’m sure you can use some warming up too.”
“That’s okay. Just get out of here,” I answered. I know Gabrielle was looking at me funny, but I was bent to pick up my scabbard and discarded armor..
“Are you sure?” the woman asked. “It’s the least I could do to show you my gratitude.”
“Just take good care of Landon,” I answered, chucking the boy’s chin with a hand that was racked with shivers. “That’ll be thanks enough. Now get out of here…We’ve got trouble heading our way.”
“Thank you again, thank you. We’re forever in your debt.” The woman finally hurried off in the direction of the house, still clutching the soaked boy to her. I watched until they neared the shelter of their home.
My teeth chattered and I pulled the blanket tighter around my shoulders. “Xena, we’ve got to get you warm,” Gabrielle told me, rubbing over my upper arms. “What kind of trouble are you talking about?”
I patted Argo’s neck, with a vague sense of alarm noting that my fingers looked bluish. “I hate to do this to you, Girl,” I told her, before swinging up in the saddle. She started from the sensation of my cold wet legs against her.
I bent down to take Gabrielle’s hand and swung her up in the saddle behind me. “Hang on,” I told her as I pressed Argo into a full gallop. “I’ll show you trouble.”
I rode Argo hard, and could feel Gabrielle hanging on tightly behind me. I was feeling absolutely miserable, and I know my actions were confusing Gabrielle. She had pulled up the blanket to serve as a hood around my face, but still the icy water had penetrated me, leaving me shaky and exhausted. I wanted nothing more than to curl up in a warm bed with a fire cracking merrily away, and with Gabrielle’s arms wrapped around me. For once, I would love to let Gabrielle baby me as she desired, but we had other matters that were more pressing..
Besides, we were riding in the direction directly opposite from Lamins. Intentionally.
Finally, I pulled Argo to a stop. “What are you doing, Xena?” Gabrielle asked me when I pulled her down from the saddle. “We need to get you warmed up-“ She cut herself off as she whirled in the same direction I was facing. She had heard something that made her aware of the situation now.
”They’ve been following us most of the day,” I told Gabrielle, as her eyes widened as she took in the group of men closing in on us fast. “I didn’t want to bring any more danger to that woman and her son, or anyone else.”
Gabrielle pulled her staff from Argo’s saddle, as the eight men dismounted and approached us. The one in the lead spoke, “I thought you were running from us, Xena,” he said. “Why’d you stop?”
“I was afraid I was going to lose you,” I answered smugly. “Your horses were looking tired. Now what can I do for you?”
“Not a thing,” the man answered. He grinned at me, revealing a gold front tooth. “If you come along quietly.”
“Come along where?” Gabrielle asked. She was holding her staff in the defensive position, ready to go.
“Come along with us to see Emericus,” the man replied. “He’s got a debt to collect, and the debt is Xena.”
“Emericus…that one eyed son of a Bacchae?” I knew that would make them even angrier, as I was the one who had made him one eyed to begin with. I had been carrying my sword, but chose now to grasp the handle and let the scabbard drop to the ground. I had many runins with Emericus over the years, more than I bothered to count. He usually surrounded himself with skilled men, and from the looks of this group. Gabrielle and I were going to have our hands full for a while. “Tell Emericus my dance card is filled,” I snarled, before launching into the offensive.
By the time the last man had retreated, I knew something was very wrong. I had been nearly frozen to death before, but had always bounced back within a couple of hours. But despite the fact that I only had a few scratches from the fight, I was feeling worse and worse. My head was pounding and my vision was alarmingly blurry.
I heard Gabrielle’s worried voice, but it sounded like she was leagues away. Painfully, I swung my head and tried to focus on her face. All I could make out was a light blob where her head should be.
“Xena?” I heard her call my name one more time, and that’s the last thing I remembered in this world for quite some time.
When I awoke again, the first thing I was aware of was the fact that I was warm. Very warm. Too warm.
“Gabrielle?” my voice was barely more than a croak, and when I tried to sit up, my head was still spinning too much. “Gabrielle?” I tried to make my voice louder, but I don’t think I was very successful. I was laying on a soft fur, probably my bedroll, but wherever I was, it was very dark. I slowly managed to turn my head and I could see dim light. From the shape of it, I was in some sort of a cave.
I laid there for a moment, tying to gather my strength. I had to find out where Gabrielle was and make sure she was all right. I assessed my physical condition while I rested. I was laying on my fur, but had apparently kicked the covers off myself. I knew the heat I was feeling had to be due to a fever. It was too dark for me to tell if my eyesight was still dim, but the ravenous pain in my head was still there. My ears were ringing loudly, and my throat felt as though someone had started a fire in it. I tried swallowing, and that was a horrible mistake.
My symptoms resembled a hundred mild illnesses, intensified greatly. There’s no way that my diving into an icy pond could have brought this on. It had to be something else.
Convinced I had just picked up a very bad cold, I took a deep breath and forced myself to sit up.
“Sweet Hera!” The vertigo that overcame me made me sick to my stomach. I began to retch, but all I manage to produce was some horrible tasting bile, telling me, I had emptied my stomach earlier. The taste and feel of the noxious fluid in my mouth just made me retch harder. Eventually, my stomach began to calm, but not before I was sweating profusely and shaking all over. If sitting up put me in that condition, imagine what standing would do to me!
I wasn’t going to get the chance to find out for a while. “By the gods, Xena, what in Tartarus do you think you’re doing?”
I had never even heard her approach. But now I could make out her silhouette in the mouth of the cave. If I wasn’t mistaken, Gabrielle had her hands on her hips, and although I couldn’t see it, I know she was glaring at me.
I tied to smile, despite the nasty taste that was still in my mouth. “I was coming to find you,” I replied hoarsely. “Where were you/”
“I went to get some cold water from the river,” she replied, setting the waterskins down beside me. “Your fever has been getting worse all day.” I could sense the relief in her voice that I was awake.
She opened one of the waterskins, and held it up for me to drink. The first few swallows were painful, but gradually, the icy water numbed my raw throat. I drank for long seconds, then let my head rest back on the fur. “Thank you, “ I whispered to Gabrielle.
She smiled down at me. Her hand came up to stroke my forehead. She opened up the other waterskin and soaked a piece of cloth with it, and pressed it to my face. I moaned at how good it felt.
“Poor Baby,” she crooned at me with a cluck of her tongue. “You’ve had a rough day.”
“Day?” I echoed. “How long did I sleep?”
“You didn’t sleep at all,” she answered me. “You passed out cold after the fight with Emericus’s men.”
I cocked an eyebrow at her. “I have never ‘passed out cold’ in my life,” I informed her.
“Until today,” she retorted saucily. “You passed out cold. Took me forever to get you loaded on Argo. Why can’t you ever admit it when you’re sick?”
I knew it was pointless, but I tried anyway. “I didn’t start feeling bad until right before the fight,” I told her. “And by then, it was too late.”
She seemed to be sizing me up, as if she wasn’t sure whether or not to believe me. Then she shrugged. “It doesn’t matter now. How are you feeling?”
“Like I was dragged through Tartarus on my face,” I admitted.
She knew it took a lot for me to admit when I felt bad. “What are you sick with?” she asked. “Did you pick up a bug somewhere?”
“I dunno,” I answered. “It came on so fast, it’s hard to believe I picked up a virus somewhere. Besides, how do you feel?”
She blinked at me. “What?”
“I said, ‘how do you feel’?”
“I feel fine,” she said finally.
“Hard to believe it’s a bug I picked up then,” I continued. “Cause you’ve been exposed to everything I have, one way or the other.”
She grinned at me, knowing what I was telling her. If she hadn’t been exposed to it firsthand, she would have been exposed to it second hand through intimate contact with me. If whatever I had was contagious, she should be suffering from it too.
“Then I wouldn’t be surprised if I come down with it later,” she was saying. “But let’s get you well first.”
I felt the darkness threatening to overcome me once again. I apparently had worn myself out…by talking.
“Gabrielle,” I said, allowing my scratchy eyelids to close. “I’m going back to sleep now.”
“Okay, Xena.” I felt the soft brush of her lips on mine, and once again, fell into a dreamless state.
I woke up sometime later, feeling like my body was going to burst into flames. My tongue felt swollen, and my eyes hurt so bad, I couldn’t keep them open. I had never felt so on fire in my whole life, and it wasn’t because I wanted to make love to Gabrielle. My arms and legs felt like lead weights, and I could barely move them, much less lift them in the air.
The heat was threatening to press the air out of me. I was struggling to draw the shallowest of breaths. But still, I risked using enough of my air to call out Gabrielle’s name.
“I’m here, Xena,” I heard her a few seconds later. The sound of her voice was like a cool breeze on my skin, but the heat soon overpowered me again.
Through the slits of my eyes, I could make out that she was carrying a leather pouch. She opened it, and kneeled beside me. “I’m going to cool you down, Xena,” I heard her say. “You can’t keep going with your fever the way it is.”
She reached into the bag, and when her hand reemerged, I could see she was holding a sizeable chunk of ice which she must have gotten from the edge of the river. I moaned at the sight of it.
“How does this feel?” she asked me, rubbing the ice over my forehead, and then my cheeks. The ice began to melt against my feverish skin immediately, leaving cool trails in its wake.
“More,” I managed.
I could almost hear her smile as she obeyed, rubbing the ice over my neck and the top part of my chest. Where the ice touched instantly felt better, but there was so much of me that she wasn’t touching.
“I need to undress you, Xena,” she told me then, putting the ice which had shrunk considerably back into the pouch. One of her hands reached between my breasts and returned with the small dagger I keep concealed there.
“It’ll be too hard to unfasten everything,” she told me, as a way of explanation., I heard myself gasp when she stuck the dagger under one of the shoulder straps of my leather and sliced through it ludicrously easy. She repeated the action on the other strap, and pulled my leathers down over my chest a bit. Even that little bit of relief was noticeable, but I was still burning up.
As if she knew exactly what I was going through, Gabrielle moved the dagger to my cleavage, and sliced her way down, splitting open my battledress and my shift like it was the jacket of a baked potato. She spread the material wide, leaving me clad only in my breeches. I should have been angry that she had just ruined my clothes, but she was reaching for the ice again.
“Please,” I whimpered, when she held the chunk of ice a few inches above me. The warmth of her hands allowed a few drops of very cold water to drip over the area between my breasts. I struggled to lift my arms, wanting to grab her hands and pull them lower. Only then, did I realize my wrists were secured somehow. I don’t know what she had managed to attach them too, but both my arms and my legs were being held firmly in place.
“What’s going on, Gabrielle?” I rasped.
She had been peering down at my parched skin, but now her eyes were on my face. “What do you mean, Xena?” she asked me. I know she was trying to sound innocent, but I heard something else in her voice.
“Why am I tied down?”
She waved a hand in the air. “You’ve been delirious, I thought you were going to hurt yourself. Now lay still and let me take care of you.”
I tried to relax, and it became easier as she began to touch my body again, rubbing the ice slowly over my heated skin. It felt wonderful, and as she continued, I could feel my fever lessening. By the time she was bathing my lower legs in the impromptu ice bath, I actually felt a chill begin to blow over my body.
“I’m feeling much better,” I whispered to Gabrielle, but I don’t know if she heard me. Her back was to me, as she continued her ministrations on my body.
“Gabrielle…” I was actually beginning to shiver now, and the ice wasn’t feeling relaxing anymore; my skin was trying to tighten in an effort to draw away from me. “Gabrielle!” I barked out her name, and regretted it instantly, as knife points pierced my raw throat.
Slowly she turned, and I couldn’t decipher the brightness in her eyes. It was if a different entity had taken over her body. “Shut up, Xena…” she whispered, her angel voice startling with me with its commanding edge. “You’re still burning up with fever.”
“I’m freezing,” I started to protest, but she suddenly pushed a piece of ice inside my mouth. The cold water trickled down my throat and soothed the rawness there, I sucked dutifully.
“That’s my girl,” Gabrielle crooned to me, stroking my face. “I know you feel better on the outside, but you’re still burning up…inside.”
Inside? It didn’t take long to figure out what she was saying, because her hand placed itself over my mound, and I felt her icy fingers rip my breeches from my body before winding through my pubic hair. “Gods, what are you doing?” The rest of the ice slipped down my throat, and I moaned, before sucking in my breath as her fingers slipped lower.
“I’m making you feel better,” she answered, her mouth inches from mine. It bore down on mine, her tongue licking and stroking inside my mouth. She was still kneeling beside me, and I gasped into her mouth when the fingers of her other hand found an erect nipple. The coldness made them ache maddeningly.
Something was wrong, but my brain was so murky I couldn’t figure out what it was. Why would she want to make love to me now, when my weakened body was crying out for more rest? Her fingers left my pussy, and after I realized it, I let out a deep breath and tried my damdest to kiss her back.
I jerked my head away when I felt her fingers resume their position, and this time, she held a piece of ice between them.
“Gabrielle, no!” I tried to sound authoritative, but she wasn’t listening. Instead her fingers pressed the ice deeper, numbing my clit and labia before she pressed it against the entrance of my vagina.
“Deep inside you,” she whispered again, her fingers never wavering an inch. “We’ve got to get you cooled down.” She slipped the ice inside me, and slid two fingers in to keep the ice from slipping back out. I felt my eyes roll back in my head as my inner muscles clenched and released in response to the tingling intrusion, even as her thumb began to swirl over my engorged clit. “Of course, I’ll be warming you up on the outside at the same time…” I fought hard to pull free from my bonds as conflicting waves of pleasure and discomfort swept through me.
“Xena, you’re scaring me now…” I vaguely became aware again, and I could see daylight had pierced the entrance to the cave, leaving everything in spooky little shadows. My body no longer burned up with flames, and instead, it was trembling as I felt a cold that seemed to start in my bones and radiate outwards. “Xena…are you back?”
Her smile lit up the cave as she drew me to her, and held me in an embrace. I realized several things at once, I was now fully dressed, my arms and legs were free, and I realized that I had to be dreaming about the ice torture. The sweet tears falling on my shoulders told me that Gabrielle had been worried sick about me, and I had to have dreamed she was tormenting me with the ice. Still, there was the chill permeating my body from the inside out, and the fact that I couldn’t sit up on my own. If she hadn’t been holding me, I would have already collapsed back against the bedroll.
“I’m here, My Love,” I wheezed, just before another shudder racked my body. “Barely.”
“I didn’t think I was ever going to get your fever to break,” she was saying, stroking over my back as she rocked me gently. “You were delirious, and kept begging me for…something…I’m still not sure what.” She wrapped her own bedroll tighter around me.
“I remember,” I whispered into her shoulder. “And I’m glad it was only a dream…whatever it was…my fever did break.”
“And now you’re freezing,” she murmured. “Lie down, and I’ll start a fire…it’ll warm you up in no time.”
I shakily nodded, and laid back on the fur, hugging myself with my arms in an effort to keep from shaking so violently. My throat was dry and my head had Hephestas pounding away in it, and it wasn’t long before my eyelids began to droop again. I caught one last glimpse of Gabrielle’s concerned face, and then I allowed my eyes to close while I waited for the warmth to seep in.
“Maybe I overdid it with the ice…” I heard a lecherous giggle, and opened my eyes again, not surprised to realize my arms and legs were once again restrained and I was naked. I struggled to lift my head, and tried to take in the condition of my own body. All I could really see were my breasts, the nipples tightened and the areolas puckered. I hope it was just the firelight that made them appear slightly bluish.
“Who are you?” I asked the figure squatted by the fire.
She turned, and I was alarmed to see that she was holding a long tapered candle. Oh gods, not that…
“You’re sick, Xena…” the voice crooned gently to me. “You’re sick and you’re hallucinating. It’s me, Gabrielle.”
“Are you sure?” I asked, narrowing my eyes. It sounded so stupid, but even in my darkest hours, I couldn’t believe Gabrielle would ever do anything to hurt me intentionally. Maybe she was sick too, but not as weakened in her delerium. That very thought scared me.
“Xena.” Her voice registered surprise and shock, but now she was straddling my legs and sitting on my upper thighs. “Who do you think I am?”
I couldn’t answer as her hand came down to sweep across my belly, then up over my breasts. I shivered again, and not just from the cold. “Isn’t the fire warming you up yet?” she asked, peering down into my eyes, looking concerned.
“Yes, I already feel much better.” It was a boldface lie, but uppermost in my mind was the candle she still held. I was afraid of it.
“No, you’re not,” she answered. “You’re still shivering. Let me help warm you up.”
The first flash of candle wax was on my upper right breast, and the heat penetrated me like an arrow tip. “No, Gabrielle!” I cried out, trying desperately to break my arms free.
“Yes, Xena,” she retorted, and a drop of wax struck my other breast in the same place. It was just a teaser, I knew, but my body was in no shape for this kind of treatment.
I felt the shock of pain as a glob of wax struck my nipple and I screamed.
“That’s so sexy,” I was aware of Gabrielle staring at my nipple, and my shocked eyes followed her gaze to see the nipple obscured from the hardened dollop of wax that had formed there. I was no stranger to this form of sexplay, but as far as I knew, Gabrielle was. Of course, being a bard, she had an incredible imagination.
“You’re still with me, aren’t you, Xena?” she asked, breathing on the part of my breast that wasn’t covered in wax. I felt a sharp fingernail come out and just flick under the edge of the wax. With a sudden movement, she had ripped the wax from me and I cried out again. “Oh yeah, you’re still in there.”
The game continued for far too long. I desperately tried to will myself to lose consciousness, despite the fact that I was unconscious, and I soon discovered that was an impossible task. Gabrielle didn’t seem to tire of watching my body respond to the burning splashes she subjected it too, and although the burns weren’t serious, they kept me from focusing on anything except the spot the next drops landed. She had avoided my cunt until now, but I held my breath when she pulled her body off mine to kneel between my outstretched legs. “Here it comes,” I heard her. “I know this is what you’ve been waiting for.”
“Unghh!” I arched my back, fighting the searing pain that bore into my clitoris.
“That’s gotta sting,” she grinned at me, clucking her tongue.” But gods, Xena, you’re so wet.” I felt her free hand run through the length of my womanhood, and she pressed her fingers to my mouth, rubbing my own essence on my lips. Normally, I would eagerly lick the offering from her hands, but I wasn’t feeling like playing right now. I was suddenly too busy concentrating on not coming.
She noticed, and her grin widened. “You’re getting off on this, aren’t you, Xena? Your little bard taking the reins of your pleasure?” Another splash adorned the first on my clit, and I barely felt this one, as her words sunk into my brain. I refused to answer, but the noises I was making had to be obvious. She seemed to be eying the candle, considering the possibilities. “Well, whattaya know,” she mused, sliding a leg under my ass, tilting my pussy toward the roof of the cave, “you’ve got a candle holder built right in to your body.” She twisted the ridged candle in the whole way, hissing when the wax spilled onto her fingers. I held my body as rigid as possible, knowing the still burning candle could do serious damage to my tender membranes.
“Gods, help me,” I whispered.
“She’s coming around, Gabrielle.”
I vaguely recognized the voice that had said that, but when my eyes opened the next time, all I was aware of was My Love, rushing to stand beside me. “Thank the gods, Xena! You really had me scared!”
I blinked my eyes to awareness, looking around and realizing that I was in the same cave. I took a deep breath, and the pain in my chest was gone. My body temperature felt just right, and although I knew I was still weakened, I also felt stronger than I had since this whole incident had begun. I smiled, and reached a hand up softly toward Gabrielle’s face. “Hey,” I said, my voice creaky but there.
She laughed through tears. “Thank the gods,” and I let her enfold me in her gentle arms. It was daytime, and for the first time in a long time, I could finally really see her. And I was relieved I had no reason to fear her touch.
Gabrielle gave me a soft kiss, then raised her hands a bit to take my face in them. “What happened?” I asked her, and I was distracted by a movement beyond her. “Ramina! What are you doing here?”
“She saved your life,” Gabrielle said, smiling at the gray haired woman who was approaching me from the other side.
“You’re exaggerating,” Ramina laughed, sitting down on my other side. “I just hastened your healing a bit. You weren’t in danger of dying…that wouldn’t have suited their purposes at all.”
“She was fighting me too much,” Gabrielle told Ramina. “It got to the point where she wouldn’t let me take care of her…she would have starved to death…or worse.”
I watched in amazement as Ramina placed two fingers over Gabrielle’s lips to silence her. When she pulled them away, Gabrielle laughed. “We’ve been through this too many times before,” Ramina told her. She smiled down at me. “She talks a lot, did you know that?”
I would have loved to accept that invitation to tease Gabrielle, but was far too confused to do so at that time. “Would someone please tell me what’s going on here?” I asked, pleased that I managed to make my voice sound so irritated.
“I’m going to go get some more water,” Ramina replied, directing her comment to Gabrielle. “Why don’t you fill her in?”
“Okay.” Gabrielle watched my old friend leave the cave, and then turned back to me. “You look so much better.”
“I feel much better,” I answered. “But where did you find Ramina?”
“She found me,” Gabrielle replied with a laugh. “I was getting desperate…you were shivering with cold, despite the fact that the fire had completely warmed the cave, but you wouldn’t let me cover you…you kept throwing off the covers and mumbling for me to leave you alone. Suddenly, you lurched to your feet and ran outside the cave…” She shivered at the memory. “I followed, and was trying to get you to go back in the cave, but you were out of your head. You whistled for Argo, but she sensed there was something wrong, and wouldn’t come to you.”
I shook my head, amazed. I didn’t remember any of this. “Suddenly, another horse appeared, and the rider recognized you immediately. I could tell she was a friend because you calmed immediately and let her lead you back to the cave. She explained to me who she was and how she had come to be here while you let her tuck you back into the bedroll.”
I listened, amazed by all this. Ramina was an old friend, and among other things, a skilled healer. I had met her by accident in a village far from here a long time ago when I was still a warlord.Ramina was being accused of being a conjurer or spirits and was about to be hanged. At the time, I thought I was just stirring up trouble by interfering with the local judicial system, but soon found Ramina could teach me a lot about herbs and the healing arts. She wasn’t afraid of me, which was unusual back then. I had stayed at her house in the woods several times since that first meeting, and she always welcomed me as though she were glad to see me.
“How did she manage to find us way out here?” I asked then. “Her house is easily a day’s ride from where we were when we fought Emericus’s men.”
“After they left us, Emericus’s men camped near her house,” Gabrielle answered, stroking the hair from my forehead. “Ramina was out in the woods, and heard them talking about what had happened. They were angry that the drug they had given you hadn’t worked on you.”
“Drug?” I held up a hand, “Wait a minute, I’m confused…what drug?”
“One of the men was in the inn we stayed in Frenes a couple nights before. He poisoned your ale with a slow acting poison. It would make you sicker and sicker until you were too weak to put up much of a fight when they attacked. They didn’t count on a couple things though…”
“Which were?” I sat up a bit and crossed my arms as I watched her pull back long enough to fill a bowl with some broth which had been simmering over the fire.
“They didn’t count on your incredible strength and healing powers,” Gabrielle replied. “The poison took longer than they thought to kick in to your system.”
She approached me with the bowl, and shrugged me off when I tried to take it from her. I sighed, and then let her spoon the thin soup into my mouth while she continued talking. “Then they miscalculated your saving the boy. They thought the icy water would make the sickness kick in faster, but Ramina says it had just the opposite effect. It slowed down your body’s systems so the poison moved even slower, and allowed you the strength to fight them off. During the fight, your adrenaline sped your systems back up though, and that’s why you collapsed as soon as it was over.”
“But how did Ramina get here?” I asked, letting all this story soak in.
“I rode here,” came the reply from the healer, who had just reentered the cave. “Ever since you saved my life, Xena, I had felt like I owed you a debt. I didn’t think I would ever get the chance to repay you, and when I heard what had happened, I realized I was finally getting my chance.”
“You rode all the way from Frenes?” I asked her, between sips of the broth.
“Sure did, and despite my sore butt, it wasn’t too hard a trip. It took me a little time to track you two to the cave, but once I did, well, you’ve already heard the rest.”
I knew better than to ask Ramina how she managed to “track” us. She had some abilities that went far beyond herbs or natural means, but I accepted her powers as friendly, and learned not to question them. The fact that she was well over seventy years in age would have done nothing to slow her down.
“No more,” I told Gabrielle gently, when she offered me another spoonful of soup.
“How are you feeling now?” Ramina asked, taking my wrist and peering in my eyes.
“Not too bad,” I answered. “What kind of antidote did you give me?”
“No antidote,” she answered, seeming satisfied with my appearance. “The poison was designed to weaken your body and play games with your mind, leaving you vulnerable to attack. It just needed to wear out of your system eventually, which apparently, recently happened.”
Gabrielle had been listening intently to all this, and now she lifted one of my hands to her mouth. She brushed a kiss along my knuckles. “Thank the gods it finally did,” she whispered, and despite the fact that Ramina was sitting right there, she leaned in for a kiss.
The next morning, I was tired of laying in bed, and convinced Gabrielle and Ramina that I was well enough to do some riding. While Gabrielle gathered our belongings in the cave, Ramina and I took care of our horses, and spent a little time talking.
“That is some girl you’ve got taking care of you, Xena,” Ramina smiled. “Gabrielle is something else.”
“She seemed like a girl when we first met,” I answered, brushing some of the burrs out of Argo’s mane. “But she is all woman now.”
Ramina paused in her movements. “Yeah, I can see that. She loves you very much, but I can see the feeling is mutual. I’m glad.”
I nodded gratefully. Ramina would never be one to judge my relationship with another woman. She had once told me that love had eluded her during her whole life, but knew if she did ever fall in love, it would be with a woman. She was one of the first people who made my attractions to women seem all right.
Gabrielle was outside then, and we loaded our bedrolls and saddlebags on Argo, before turning back to Ramina. She was ready to go as well.
“Take care of her, Gabrielle,” she said, her gray-blue eyes shining with affection.
“I will,” Gabrielle whispered back, before giving Ramina an embrace, “And thank you for all you’ve done.”
Ramina nodded, then turned to hold her arms toward me. I grabbed on tight and embraced my old friend for a long time. “We’re even now,” I told her finally, releasing her.
“I don’t want to be even, Xena,” she replied, hopping spryly on the silver colored mare that had been her only family for as long as I remembered. She smiled down at me, and took my raised hand, giving it a squeeze. “I’ll always feel like I could never repay you for being my friend when no one else would be.”
It was ironic that she considered me a friend, when I went for so long with thinking I didn’t know what having a friend was like. I smiled and nodded, and wished her a safe journey. Gabrielle took my hand as we watched Ramina ride her horse off toward the southwest.
I pulled Gabreilele’s hand to my lips and kissed her knuckles as she had done with me yesterday. “Are you ready to go?” I asked her,
“Then let’s get out of here.”
I kept Argo at a slow pace that day, ever mindful that she was carrying both the weight of Gabrielle and me. Gabrielle urged me to tell her what I could remember from my time out of it, curious because of some of the things I had been saying and doing while unconscious. I hesitated to tell her, not wanting her to feel bad for it somehow, but eventually, she coaxed it out of me.
As I continued to talk, I could feel her drawing closer to me, her fingers idly stroking along the exposed flesh on my upper arms. Just talking about some of the things that had happened in my hallucinations started my body fluids to flow, and I suspected the same was happening to her.
“No wonder you were wiggling around like crazy,” she husked in my ear, when I finally stopped talking.
The sun was just beginning to dip over the horizon. “Oh yeah?” I asked, leading Argo toward a small but thick woods not far from the trail we were on. “You like that idea? Tying me up and making me squirm at your mercy?”
“It sounded like you were trying very hard not to enjoy yourself.”
I glanced back over my shoulder, and took in her wide eyed expression. Her pinkened cheeks told me a lot. I shrugged. “It’s pointless to try to lie to you,” I answered. “But I was so helpless in my mind, that I think I feared your touch more than reveling in it.”
She nodded thoughtfully, and allowed me to pull her down from Argo’s back.
We set about making camp, and ate a light supper of bread and soup made with some duck meat Ramina had insisted we take with us. When we were both full, a yawn overtook me, and Gabrielle laughed.
“Come here,” she said, patting her lap. “I know you’ve got to be tired.”
I acquiesced, and laid my head in her lap, letting her fingers find purchase in my hair. I had taken a thorough bath before supper, and felt better than I had all day, but wasn’t going to let her know that.
“Have you done that before?” she asked me after a while. “Tied someone else, and…done those things to them?”
Here we go. I was curious to where this was leading, so went along. “Yeah, I’ve been known to do it in my past. I guess that’s why it was lurking in the back of my mind.”
By turning my head slightly, I could see her lower leg just below my chin. I began to stroke my hand up over it, loving the feeling of her firm smooth flesh beneath my fingers.
Gabrielle and I had explored with some of the darker sides of lovemaking, and she had loved it when I took command of her in the bedroll, but I had never truly introduced the boundaries of pain and pleasure to her. I’m not sure I wanted to.
“Don’t let your curiosity run away with you, My Love,” I whispered, before shifting my head slightly to let my lips stroke over her leg. “It will be a while before I’m up to anything that adventurous.”
I’m not sure if that was the truth or not, but it seemed to put her off for now. Instead, she shifted positions beneath my head, and her leg pressed tighter against my lips.
“Mmm…” I let my tongue trail along her skin, tasting the clean feel of her, as she had bathed too. I straightened the leg I was kissing, and stroked my hands downward to her boot, which I unlaced and removed. “I’ve missed you.” I slid the other boot off, then turned so I was facing her, resting my hand on either side of her hips. When my lips came down on hers, she met them in a hungry kiss. Her mouth opened against mine immediately, and I felt her tongue venturing forward to probe into mine.
“I think you’ve been feeling neglected,” I whsipered, when we had separated for air. I pulled back far enough to grab her hips, and urge her to slide down until she was lying flat on her back. My mouth covered hers again in an instant.
I loved it when she curled her fingers in the hair that hung down on the back of my neck, and held my head close to hers, even as it strayed from hers and kissed over her chin and neck. She whimpered softly when I nipped her neck with my teeth, and my hand laid on her stomach, intentionally tickling her abs. I let my fingers steal upwards, beneath the halter top she wore.
“Yes, Xena…” she whispered when I palmed one of her soft breasts, enjoying the feeling of her hard little nipple digging into my palm. I closed my hand slightly and squeezed the flesh, loving the way it made her lower half arch up toward me. It was scant seconds before I had unfastened the lace that held her shirt together, and pushed the sides of the material away from either side, leaving her upper half exposed to me.
“Yes, I’ve neglected this way too long,” I murmured, pushing her breasts together and laving both nipples with my tongue at once. Her fingers in my hair tightened as I sucked both nipples into my mouth.
She groaned in appreciation, and I felt her thighs grip one of my own between them, so she could press her damp core against me. I could feel her hips rolling toward me in waves, and as she pushed harder, her juices seeped through her underwear to leave streaks on my flesh. I was smiling as I lifted my head from her breasts, and gently but firmly pulled my thigh from her grasp. She whimpered in her throat, but calmed when she saw my eyes. She knew I wasn’t just teasing her.
I stroked a hand up one of her thighs, and reached under her skirt for the waistband of her panties. My tongue slipped inside her mouth again, as I slid her underwear over her hips and then free of her body.
“Yeah, that’s better,” I sighed, letting my fingers stroke between her outer lips, assessing her excitement level. I had a tough decision on my hands…whether to help her to a quick climax before moving on to more intense lovemaking, or to tease her for a while, letting her excitement level build even more before giving her the relief she needed.
She made that strange and wonderful noise in her throat again, before her thighs tightened around my questing hand, trapping me there. She was answering the question for me, and it took me some effort to get her to release her stranglehold on my wrist so I could move freely. Finally, she relaxed a bit, and I was able to plunge two fingers inside her warm tunnel.
“Oh!” she called out her surprise at my sudden movement, and then her eyes closed as I began to thrust into her in rhythmic movements. One of her thighs came up to rest on my shoulder as I leaned over and drank in the sight and fragrance of the glistening area my hand was paying homage too. I slid another finger in, and her groan of gratitude shot to my own clit like a lightning flash. My thumb began a slow trek up along the valley of her labia, and found the underside of her slippery clitoris. I began to rub softly over it, in tune with my thrusting fingers.
“Xena!” she gasped out as I sucked in one of her nipples again, and moved my hand more insistently through her center. “Oh gods, Xena, that feels so goodddd….” Her voice lingered on the last word, and then her leg tightened around my neck and she pressed her pussy hard into my hand as her orgasm overcame her.
My cunt pulsed in sympathy as she danced on my fingers for a long time, muttering things that didn’t make sense, but told me she was in the Elysian Fields nevertheless. When her movements finally slowed, I pulled my hand from her heat, and wasted no time in pulling it to my lips, licking off her juices. My mouth watered for more.
“Let me touch you now,” she whispered, and she was trying to squirm from underneath my body. I wouldn’t budge.
“I’m not done with you,” I told her, my eyes capturing hers in their gaze. I slid down her stomach, never losing visual contact with her. I placed a chaste kiss on her mound, and then lifted her thighs over my shoulder, so I could rest on my elbows between her thighs. “I’m going to show you how much I’ve missed you.”
And that’s what I did, until long into the night.
COMING NEXT WEEK: Xena and Gabrielle meet up with Eli in India, and after a rough night, Xena begins to suspect Gabrielle isn't quite herself.
The Xena and Gabrielle XXX Scrolls Page 2