Leaving --Xena's Scroll

For some reason, I had been in an exceedingly good mood the last few days. I do think some of the reason was because we ha just overcome a very difficult time in our lives in a very inventive way. Gabrielle had been undergoing a lot when she had accidentally killed an innocent man in the African desert. It was a long and hard recovery, made even worse when we came up against some vicious cannibals when we were supposed to join up with Virgil and his friend Hosef. We learned Hosef had been killed and Virgil captured by the savages, and in the end, it came down to Gabrielle having to make a decision of killing one of the cannibals or I would be killed.

It certainly wasn’t easy for her for her to find the strength to kill the cannibal, but she saved my life. It took us a while longer, and a visit at Delle’s which helped tremendously, but now she was almost completely mended, inside and out.

We had heard of a situation just south of Gaul which could use our help, so we headed in that direction. The closer we got, however, the less volatile the situation seemed to be, and now, there wasn’t any reason to go other that the fact that Gabrielle had never been there, and wanted to go just to visit the country.

We were still close to three’s days ride from Gaul, when we decided to spend the night in a warm-looking tavern along the route. Both Gabrielle’s and my grumbling stomachs as well as a pleasant odor were the deciding factors.

The tavern’s dining room was rather busy, which was always a good sign that the food was decent. We secured a room upstairs, and then found a table to eat supper at.

Gabrielle usually dug into her plate with a vigorous appetite, but for some reason tonight, she was toying with her food. I, on the other hand, wolfed mine down, and found it didn’t quite fill me up I could have just ordered dessert, but I thought it would be more fun to stir up some trouble.

I started to give Gabrielle’s food the eye. “What?” she asked.

“Are you going to finish that?’

“All of it,” she answered with a wave of her fork that said she’d use it as a weapon if need be.

I continued to tease with her for a moment, but out of the corner of my eye, someone caught my attention. A man had entered the tavern, and was sitting at the next table, staring intently at me.

“You got a problem?” I snapped at him, staring back at him. He was wearing one of those ridiculous helmets that fighters from the far north wore. They were extremely protective, but had this ludicrous nose guard that hung down between their eyes. I’m sure it protected the nose, but honestly, if a soldier wasn’t tough enough to take a broken nose, I didn’t want him fighting beside me.

The man didn’t blink, nor act as if he had even heard me speak to him. I found my joyous mood had suddenly disappeared. There was something about this man that made the hairs on the back of my neck raise, and not because Gabrielle was running her fingers through them.

“You know, I don’t appreciate people staring at me while I’m eating,” I sneered at the man.

Finally, her removed his helmet and approached me. “Are you Xena?” he asked.

I looked back toward my plate. “Yeah, who wants to know?”

“My name is Beowulf.”

Beowulf…yep…that name confirmed that he was from the North Country. It had been a long time since I had been there.

I was slightly less bitchy when I asked, “You got business with me, Beowulf?”

He was standing by the table now, and he laid an object down on the table by me. I had the feeling I knew what it was before I even saw it, but it still managed to make de my blood run cold I had left some unfinished business in the North country, and it was the most deadly kind.

Gabrielle stared at the object, and then looked at me, obviously not recognizing the it. I wanted more than anything to keep it that way. She knew a lot about my past, but there were still some things I didn’t want her to know.

I shot her an apologetic look. “I’ve got to talk to this man, Gabrielle,” I told her, before standing up.

I listened to what Beowulf had to say, not liking it very much. But I had to agree to his plan, knowing there wasn’t any other practical solution.

When I had come back to sit beside her, she asked me the logical question of what was going on. I didn’t even know where to begin, and I really didn’t feel like telling her, so I lied, “Nothing.” It wasn’t very convincing, but I wasn’t really trying to be.

She knew there was something very wrong, so she tried to gauge to what effect I was upset, by offering me the food she had refused me earlier.

Distracted, I told her I wasn’t hungry,. She was watching me obviously disturbed by my sudden change in attitude.

I told Gabrielle to go ahead and get settled in the room, telling her I had a few errands to do. However, when I came back later, she was still waiting for me downstairs. I gave her a weak smile, knowing she was worried about me.

Upstairs, the room was cold and there was no wood to start a fire. We had left our bedrolls with the horses, and the blankets on the bed were very thin. To top it all off, instead of a single wide bed, there were two narrow ones. I had a miserable evening…so why not top it off with a miserable night?

I was very distracted, and Gabrielle was well aware of that. “Still keeping secrets from me…after all these years…” It was a statement, not a question.

She sounded a tiny bit hurt, but I knew she was trying desperately to understand. I told her the truth, that Beowulf was there because of something that happened a long time ago. I told her I didn’t really want to go into the details.

I heard her sigh as she crawled under the covers in the bed on the far side of the room. I was laying on my back on the other bed, my hands folded beneath my neck.

More than anything, I wanted to go to her and wrap my arms and legs around her, offering her my body warmth, and at the same time, seeking solace from her touch. But I had some serious thinking to do, and I was pretty well sure what it was going to result in. So, I kept telling myself that I needed to keep separated from my blonde bard, trying to make it easier for me to do it.

When I told Gabrielle I didn’t want to talk about it, she gave me a quiet “all right” and started to turn away from the bed.

Oh Zeus, I mess up everything I come near! “I’m not trying to shut you out,” I whispered, my voice sounding almost like a plea.

She gave me a small reassuring smile. “You know our friendship's the most important thing in my life. But in this case…”

“Xena…” she interrupted. “You don’t have to tell me. Part of being a friend is letting people keep secrets. I respect that.”

We had both used the word “friend” for a reason. I was trying to let her know these secrets went way back, long before I had known her; before I had ever thought myself capable of being in love. And her carefully worded answer revealed to me that she understood perfectly. She sometimes asked me about my past, but she never pressed the issue with me if I grew hesitant. Just like now.

“Okay,” I answered slowly, not knowing what else to say.

She gave me a warm, sweet smile, and turned on her side, ready to get some sleep.

I wasn’t sleepy in the least, and laid there in the dark candlelight for some time, trying to make up my mind.

If I didn’t do the right thing, there was no telling how many innocent lives would be lost. A creature that I was responsible for was loose and running rampant in the North Country. I knew that I was the only one who would be able to destroy the monster, and time was of the essences.

I thought about telling the whole story to Gabrielle. I knew she would do her best to understand, but at the same time, I was very afraid that after all she’d been though recently, she might not be so forgiving of some of the stupidity of my yesterdays. As often as she told me she loved, me, I was so frightened that some things might be too much for her to accept.

I rolled onto my side, and watched her breathe for a long time. In the flickering candlelight, her hair gleamed brilliantly. I loved her so much it often caused physical pain. The last thing I ever wanted to do was to hurt her more than I already had.

In the early morning hours, I made up my mind. I just prayed that Gabrielle would understand why I did what I did, and forgive me for it.

I wrote her a hasty explanation, and sealed it with a kiss, leaving it on my pillow. Standing beside her bed, I looked down on her peaceful countenance for several moments. We had been traveling together almost six years, and despite the fact that she had grown some impressive muscle, and her body was more tanned and firm, when she was asleep, she became an erstwhile little girl again. There was no way I wanted to expose her golden light to my dark past.

I knelt beside her bed, and gently touched her lips with mine. She smiled slightly, but didn’t wake up. “I love you, Gabrielle,” I told her, thinking that maybe, just maybe, my whispered words might seep into her subconscious, and she’d realize all my actions were because of my love for her.

Beowulf was waiting for me, and we began our travel toward the North Country early the next morning. From the beginning, I was almost constantly urging him to pick up his pace. I suspected he was capable of taking care of himself in a fight, and could probably dish it out pretty capably as well, but his attitude most of the time was too laid back for me. More than once I threatened to leave him behind, but he manage to keep a pace a step or two behind me.

Neither one of us was much on conversation, which suited me just fine. More than once we’d go through an entire day without saying a single word to the other. I knew he didn’t like me much, but I was used to that. At least he did seem to think I was capable of handling the mission.

While the days were full of hard riding, the evenings were full of torture. Every night I practiced sword drills endlessly, trying to keep my mind occupied with the complicated patterns. It would work until the sunlight was gone, and my arms and legs were ready to give out.

Then it would be back to the campsite and another night of trying to stay warm in my bedroll. It wasn’t the weather that gave me a constant chill as we traveled further north. I was used to that. It was the emotional coldness that would seep through my bones and embrace me with icy fingers. It had nothing to do with Beowulf and his lack of personality; it had to do with memories of a past Xena and a time when Gabrielle didn’t fill my soul. I wanted to concentrate all my thoughts on Gabrielle, letting her natural exuberance keep me warm, but the further away from her we got, the more the other situation gained prominence. Instead, my mind was beginning to travel back in time, to the last and only time I’d been this far north.

It wasn’t long after I had returned from Chin, and my mind was still full of all sorts of weird ideas of how the world worked. The first person I had run into in the North Coutnry was Odin, King of the Norse Gods himself, and we took an instant liking to each other. We both had something to take from the other, and worked out an exchange of sorts. I helped restore his vitality and zest for life, and he eventually taught me the ancient runes to become a Valkyries.

As a Valkyries, my official job was to escort slain warriors to Valhalla, the great hall for the dead. But I soon managed to expand my duties and was able to get in a on a few battles myself. Odin’s kingdom was vast, and there was nothing material that he couldn’t obtain. But he hadn’t a clue about obtaining people, prompting them to fight hard and die in his name. At time went on, that responsibility would become mine.

There was one major obstacle in my way though, in a form of a 5’6” blonde named Grinhilda. She was the quote-unquote leader of the Valkyries, and at the same time, was known to share Odin’s bed.

She was pretty enough, but gods, what a bitch! Her every move seemed to be designed to piss me off by trying to prevent battles, calm enemies, and urge peace. It was very little time before we clashed, and it was obvious that Odin was taking my side which made Grinhilda become even bitchier. Then it was just a matter of opening my legs and letting Odin fuck me a few times, and Grinhilda was suddenly on the outside looking in, so to speak.

“Want some more rabbit?”

I was startled by Beowulf’s grunting voice, holding out the spit with the remains of our supper. I waved it away, ignoring his shrug, as more memories flooded me.

It seemed Odin hadn’t been totally honest when he had told me there was nothing material beyond his grasp. Well, technically anyway. I was in the middle of a Valkyries sandwich when I first heard about the Rheingold. Hansma’s face was buried between my ass cheeks, her sounds muffled as she repeatedly snaked that ludicrously long tongue repeatedly in my rear entrance, but Maram was being much more vocal as she slurped on my clit and fingerfucked me.

She held my hardon between her teeth, stretching it out a ways before releasing me, watching it pop back into place. I groaned at the pleasure of it, but not so loud that I couldn’t hear her words.

“Mmm, fuck but you taste so good, Xena…I’d bet the Rhein Maidens would turn over their gold in a second just to have a suck between your legs…”

Hansma heard her too, and the statement made her chuckle, vibrating her tongue in my ass. Maram added another finger in my pussy, and I was coming hard, threatening to buck off one, and crush the other Valkyries.

My breathing returned to normal soon enough, and I gripped Maram by the ears. She scowled at me as she was forced to relinquish her hold on my cunt. “What’s this about the Rhein Maidens?” I asked her.

It didn’t take long for me to find out what all the fuss was about, and suddenly, I had a new challenge on my hands. After digging for information with these two, and then Odin, I had all the information I needed.

Of course, everything went wrong, and that’s why Beowulf and I were making this trip. Grinhilda had been bent on stopping me, but in doing so, had fallen victim to the curse of the Rheingold, becoming an absolutely hideous monster. Long ago, I had imprisoned her new form in a series of underground caverns, but now, she had somehow broken free. The presence of the raven lock that Beowulf had brought to the tavern was proof of that.

Beowulf was asleep now, and his loud snoring was enough to rouse the dead. I picked up my bedroll with a sigh, and headed out into the forest to find a more peaceful place to try to sleep.

I woke up a couple of hours later, my body sitting up with a sudden jolt. It took a second for me to realize what had awakened me, and I fell back to the bedroll heavily with a shudder as it came to me.

When I tried to think of Gabrielle during my waking hours, I was haunted by visions of the past and what I had done to create the problem I was facing now. It was as if my brain was saying I was unworthy to think of her beauty. But when all I wanted was a few blessed hours of sleep, THAT’s when all I could think of was Gabrielle.

I shut my eyes, trying to will myself to go back to sleep, but apparently, I had been dreaming a while before I woke up. And it must have been good.

I laid there in the dark, and took a mental inventory of myself. My arms and legs were still sore from the strenuous drills I had put them through last night. My eyes felt scratchy and sore, protesting their having to be opened right now. My mouth was dry, and I ran my tongue over my lips, but didn’t have enough saliva to really wet them.

Oh, but of course, other parts of my body were wide awake. I was sleeping in my leathers, but even through the stiff thick material, I could see the hardened points of my aroused nipples. They felt itchy, like they do when Gabrielle lightly strikes over them to tease me. Was that what she had been doing to me while I was asleep?

I suddenly realized where all the moisture in my mouth had gone. South. I shifted my legs slightly and felt the sodden mess my cunt had become. I knew my clit had been throbbing, but I was suddenly aware of how demanding it was.

I bent my legs and let my thighs pull apart, hoping the cold night air would cool off my ardor. After about ten seconds, I knew that was a lost cause.

“Xena…” I closed my eyes, and there she was kneeling beside me. “I’ve missed you, Xena…”

In my mind’s eye, I could clearly see her golden tresses and divine features shining down on me. She was giving me that excited smile that told me she was very much desiring my touch.

I touched my left nipple and groaned in my throat. If only Gabrielle were there to give me the touch I needed! My own fingers felt good, but hers would have been so much better. Just something about the little sounds she made when she touched me could send me reeling, and she seemed to be better at knowing the amount of pressure I needed more than I did.

But with my leathers on, I couldn’t get close to the kind of stimulation I needed there. I gave that up, and went on to more easy access.

I hissed out into the dark when my fingers brushed over the crotch of my breeches. My clit screamed out its demand for more.

I saw Gabrielle bending over me again. Her hand was reaching for my arousal. “Poor Baby,” she would cluck her tongue. “You’re so swollen, and gods, your clit is so huge! You want me to do something about that?”

I would shakily nod my head and needily spread my legs even more, making myself as accessible to her as I could. And she would play my lower half as enchantingly as she had the top half. Maybe even more.

Now, my own fingers were acting as a substitute, after pushing up my skirt. I slid my hand down the waistband of my breeches. I thought about the phallus, but I had put it in Gabrielle’s saddlebag before I had left. I had done that for a couple of reasons. I got a sudden flash of a vision of Gabrielle, laying on her back, pleasuring herself with the phallus, her head tossing and turning from the pleasure. My pussy clamped down on itself as though it had a phallus in it too. I stroked two fingers inside my vagina instead, running my hand over my clit as I did so.

“Gabrielle…I wish you were here…Gabrielle, I love you!” I moaned as I came, my climax small and more akin to the relief of a small sneeze than the toe-curling screamers Gabrielle easily coaxed out of me. I know I could have dug in for more, but I was feeling a little bit guilty at having touched myself. I honestly couldn’t remember the last time I had masturbated, other than in the presence of Gabrielle.

Laying there, trying to figure it out, I finally fell back asleep.

The next afternoon, Beowulf said we were nearing the area the creature had been seen in, and we were nearing a spot where several of his friends had met their death. As I had surmised earlier, Beowulf didn’t seem frightened at all to go up against a monster that could easily mean his death.

The conversation Beowulf had struck up was still racing through my head. It was about a half hour ago that Beowulf had started talking about Gabrielle.

I couldn’t really figure out what he was getting at, commenting on her beauty and her specialness. The fact that he had only seen her for a moment and had never even spoken to her wasn’t a concern. I knew the kind of spell Gabrielle could weave, even when she wasn’t aware she was doing it. I was trying to figure out if he was sizing me up concerning my relationship with Gabrielle. If he came right out and asked me, I would have told him exactly how it was.

But now, with night closing in on us, bringing unknown danger with it, we were discussing the issues immediately at hand. Beowulf had already lost two brothers to the creature, but I told him I was determined to see this thing through. Knowing about his brothers made it that much harder to tell him how I was responsible fro creating the monster we were about to take on.

I half-expected him to turn on me, but in truth, he didn’t seem terribly shocked by my confession. Beowulf told me the creature’s name was Grindel, and we could hear it approaching fast. Beowulf and I solemnly gave each other a head shake, letting the other know we were ready, and then the fight was on.

I was vaguely aware of being pulled somewhere. Actually…dragged would be a more accurate term. I faded in and out of consciousness, well-aware of a head injury that probably meant a concussion. I had gotten a few cuts and a whole lot of bruises in my fight with Grindel, and had gained a lot more during my little tour of the forest. I saw Grindel’s head turning toward me, just as I slipped into unconsciousness again.

At first, I wasn’t sure why Grindel didn’t just kill me. When I finally became fully aware, I was laying on a cold rock floor, presumably in the cave I had trapped her in so long ago. Of all the people to seek revenge on, I would think my name would be at the top of her list.

Surely she recognized me. Even though it had been thirty-five years since we had last seen each other, I looked virtually the same.

And then a thought occurred to me. It HAD been thirty-five years, and I hadn’t aged hardly at all, due to the extenuating circumstances involving Ares and the ice cave. It was just possible that Grinhilda might think I had some sort of supernatural powers, or at least had learned some sort of magic that could restore the human condition. Perhaps she thought I would use the magic on her in exchange for letting me go.

There was one thing she hadn’t counted on though. Before I had trapped Grinhilda in the caverns all those years ago, I had been all over them, making sure they were escape-proof. As a result, I knew my way around them and after about ten minutes of walking, I was dragging myself into the open air.

In the distance, I could hear Grindel rumbling around, and I kept my ears focused on that as I headed in the direction she had dragged me from. It was easy enough to follow my own trail of blood.

Grindel was moving further and further away from me, but I was becoming aware of other noises, moving closer to me. I circled the area of the disturbance, and caught sight of Beowulf and some blonde woman. It was definitely not the blonde hair of my love. They were headed in a definite direction, and for now, I let them go. I had become aware of someone else’s presence in the forest.

This noise was much softer and harder to pinpoint but I tracked down the source. I felt my body sag with relief along with a hundred different other emotions when I saw who it was. But even as I was singing with joy on the inside, I tensed up when I heard Grindel closing in on our direction fast.

There was NO way the creature could have covered that much ground that fast. But the main thing was ensuring Gabrielle didn’t inadvertently walk into the monster’s path. She was stopped, using a tree for cover, her ears obviously picking up something. I suspected it was Beowulf and the blonde, because the creature was coming from a different angle altogether.

I did the only thing I could think of, pouncing out of the brush and grabbing Gabrielle from behind. She started to shriek, and I clamped a hand down over her mouth. When I felt her trying to turn, I allowed her to see me. She sagged against me, as if in shock.

I’m sure my appearance had something to do with it. I was sweaty and grimy, and more than that, I was bloodied and bruised. Gabrielle’s eyes were frantically trying to take in the condition of my body, but there were more important matters at hand. I got Gabrielle’s wondering attention, and pointed in the opposite direction from where I had come. Gabrielle’s eyes followed, and together, we watched a silhouette of Grindel appear on top of a nearby hill. She stopped, and seemed to be either listening intently, or sniffing the air.

I heard Beowulf yell from wherever he was, and I’m not sure what the purpose of the yell was, but it succeeded in drawing’s Grinhilda’s attention. She lumbered off in the opposite direction.

The very second the monster was out of view, I released Gabrielle. She was simultaneously whirling in my arms, and then her arms were clutching me as tightly as I grabbed her. “Don’t ever leave me again!” I heard her half-sob, and it cut right through me, searing my heart. I pulled her even tighter to me, no wanting to let her go.

Eventually, I had to though, and then, Gabrielle was staring at me again. All the pain in my body decided to make its presence known, and I didn’t resist when I felt Gabrielle’s arm on my shoulders, urging me to sit with my back braced against ta tree.

Yes, I was hurting, but just seeing Gabrielle and having her this close to me made my pain nonconsequential. “Don’t fuss,” I told her gently, as she was digging through her saddlebag for some medical supplies. With a wry smile, she was handing me the gauntlet I had lost during my trip to the cavern. I took it with a small smile, and was putting it on, even as she began to treat the worst of my wounds, a deep gash on my lower right thigh.

I was sitting there, taking in her beauty when I heard Beowulf and the woman bursting through the bushes. They were suddenly in front of me, drawing in great lungfusl of air.

I couldn’t help it. My eyes flew right past Beowulf so they could focus on the stranger, a very attractive blonde. I don’t know why, but I got a weird sensation from her. She confirmed it when the first thing she asked was if Gabrielle was okay. Now, I can take care of myself, mind you, but I WAS rather damaged, and the woman didn’t even seem to notice me.

I watched uneasily the interaction before me. Gabrielle seemed to be totally focused on me, but the blonde was now looking back and forth between me and Gabrielle.

“I’m fine,” Gabrielle had answered. “But Xena needs water.”

“Xena…” the blonde’s attention was now solely on me.

Beowulf told me he was going to check on Grindel, while the blonde informed me she had waited her whole lifetime to meet me.

She made it clear that she was a fan of the old Xena, the evil Xena. I told her the truth, that I had gotten a lot smarter since then. “I’ve learned to respect life, love, and peace.”

She asked me the obvious then. “What happened?”

Judging from the impression I had gotten from her, she wouldn’t be easy to convince. Instead, my eyes found Gabrielle’s green, sparkling ones. “Lots of reasons,” I said finally.

I’m sure I looked goofy just sitting there grinning at Gabrielle, but I still didn’t think it had totally settled on me the fact that she was here. How had she found me? I really wanted to ask, but Beowulf was approaching again. He told us the creature was gone.

After I assured him that Grindel was still out there, the blonde offered her theory on the creature doubling back and cutting off our retreat.

“That’s right,” I confirmed, but I really wanted to chakram her smug look right off her face. There was something about her that absolutely rubbed me the wrong way, and I wanted to talk to Gabrielle about it as soon as I could get her alone.

Gabrielle had the gory wound around my thigh bandaged up, and was sliding her shoulder underneath my arm. “Let’s get you out of here.”

I shook my head, telling her I had to finish what I had come this far North to accomplish. I knew better than to try to talk Gabrielle out of going with me, especially since we had just been reunited. But I thought I’d try a little experiment. I urged the other two to go.

“I won’t leave Gabrielle,” the blonde informed me.

“Neither will I,” Beowulf concurred.

For a few seconds, all I could do was look back and forth from the blonde to Beowulf. How long had I been out of circulation and what was going on? Gabrielle was looking almost as stunned as I was, which was somewhat relieving, but still…

I allowed them to go with us as Gabrielle and I made our way to the caverns. While we were traveling, I decided I might as well come clean and tell Gabrielle about how I was the one who was responsible for Grindel’s existence. The woman, whom I had learned was named Brunhilda, seemed more shocked than Gabrielle by my talk. I guess I should have expected that. Gabrielle had heard so many tales about the horrible things I’ve done already, so what was one more?

We engaged in a long vicious fight in the caverns, which eventually resulted in my killing the creature. The moment it was dead, however, I realized we were in deeper than I had ever imagined. The creature I killed wasn’t Grindel. I had amputated one of Grindel’s fingers in order to get the ring made from the Rheingold thirty-five years ago, and this creature had all its fingers.

Gabrielle realized as well as I did that more this dead monster must have been closely related to Grindel. As if Grindel didn’t have enough reason to want me dead already!

Inside the caverns, I had seen more evidence that Brunhilda had more than a platonic interesting in Gabrielle. But I honestly didn’t think that Gabrielle was truly aware of that. She seemed oblivious to Brunhilda’s entreaties, at least at this point.

As for Beowulf, yeah, I was pretty well convinced that he was in love with Gabrielle too, but I wasn’t worried that he would offer much threat. He didn’t seem the type to voice his desires unless he was absolutely sure they would be reciprocated. In a sense, he reminded me of Joxer, content to love Gabrielle from afar. True, I would have preferred he didn’t love her at all, but I could live with that.

Brunhilda, however, was a totally different matter.

As I walked a few paces ahead of her and Gabrielle, I listened carefully to their conversation. One of the very first things Brunhilda had told me was she had modeled herself after the Xena who went after the Rheingold. From what she said, I could tell that was true. And that was very worrisome to me.

Brunhilda was telling Gabrielle I was the kind of fighter she had envisioned, yet not the type of warrior. Gabrielle commented that there was more to being a warrior than the skill. I appreciated her defense of me, but had heard plenty.

I stopped suddenly and bent over, acting like my leg wound was bothering me worse than it really was. Gabrielle and Brunhilda stopped too.

I muttered something about needing to tend to my wound, then asked Brunhilda if she would scout ahead. She agreed to it, and I paused for a moment, letting her get some distance ahead of us before I talked to Gabrielle.

I thought of a hundred different things I could say, but settled on the most basic truth.

“I don’t like her,” I told Gabrielle straight out.

That took her off-guard. “Why do you say that?” she asked me.

Now, what did I tell her? Should I go for broke and tell her the whole truth, that I believed Brunhilda’s main interest in Gabrielle was getting into her cunt? Or should I try something a little softer, that would be far less likely to get Gabrielle upset?

I went for the soft approach. “I just don’t think she is who she says she is,” I answered.

Gabrielle didn’t see it the way I did. She though Brunhilda was searching for something.

I so badly wanted to retort, “Yeah, your clit!” but refrained myself. Instead, I told her that Brunhilda was exactly like the way I used to be.

I was hoping Gabrielle would get the subtle message I was trying to send her, but it didn’t seem to be working. On top of that, we seemed to have a few eavesdroppers on the conversation. One was the stoic Beowulf, who was watching the goings-on with a gleam in his eye. The other was a raven, which had been following us for some time. I probably wouldn’t have even noticed if he we had been anywhere but the North Country. But in Odin’s territory, ravens served as spies for him.

Gabrielle was still looking up at me, all confused. Wanting to get away from our audience, I turned to Beowulf. “Uh,” I said, feigning a sudden limp. “I seemed to have injured myself in a rather delicate area.” Gabrielle stared at me amazed, and I was pleased to see Beowulf’s face darken in a blush. “Would you excuse Gabrielle and me while I tend to it?”

He nodded and muttered something about going ahead to find Brunhilda, leaving us alone finally.

“Come on,” I said, taking Gabrielle’s hand with a feral grin. “This place is for the birds.”

There was only one place I knew of in the whole forest that the ravens wouldn’t enter, and that’s where I was headed. Just beyond the ridge to the west of us was a river, and a little further downstream was a waterfall. There was a narrow passage between some rocks that Gabrielle and I could negotiate, but the ravens either weren’t smart enough or brave enough to figure out. Once we were behind the falls, the birds might be able to catch glimpses of us, but they certainly wouldn’t be able to hear us.

I took Gabrielle’s hand and led her off the path, through the brush, and toward the river. When she started to ask me a question, I held my finger to my lips gently, so she shrugged it off and followed me.

When we were at the edge of the water, I figured the rushing river would be loud enough to drown out our voices.

“I wanted to get away from all the eyes and ears,” I said, keeping my voice low.

Her fingers, entwined with mine, gave me a light squeeze. “That sounds perfect,” she replied in her own hushed voice. “I've been thinking of nothing else since I first saw you today.”

I grinned at her as we followed the river until it branched into two parts. I pointed where I wanted Gabrielle’s tracks to end, and she understood, going into stealth mode as soon as I did. If Brunhilda and Beowulf tried to follow us, more than likely, they’d be tracking the wrong path.

I pointed out the raven on the way to the rock passage, and then we were there, squeezing through the maze of rocks I remembered from long ago. It was a great place for spying, and I had used it for that purpose numerous times in the past. Today however, I had a different purpose in mind.

“All right, you can talk now,” I told her in my normal voice, when the sounds of the roaring water would drown us out.

“Xena, this is beautiful!” she exclaimed then, walking forward until she was just at the edge of the water.

:”Mmm…yes, it is,” I told her, but I was staring at her butt. I couldn’t help it. I had so many things that I wanted to tell her, but now that we had the opportunity to talk, I found my thoughts rapidly heading in a different direction.

Slowly, she turned, and I felt my clit clench in response to the look she was giving me. She definitely was thinking the same thing I was.

There was a large boulder against the back of the small cavern, and I rested my ass against it. I held out my arms toward Gabrielle, and grinned when she walked right into them.

We both moaned when our mouths met in a long denied kiss. I sucked softly on Gabrielle’s top lip while she did the same to my bottom one, and then we separated only long enough to reverse positions. Then her mouth opened wider to invite my tongue to come out and play. It did immediately, and she sucked it into the warm cavern of her mouth. She sucked lightly at first, which kind of tickled, and then she increased the pressure, until I felt the pull down to my toes. When she finally released me, I left my tongue extended and licked every inch of the inside of her mouth, loving the wide variety of textures I felt there. In some places, she was hard and smooth; in others, she was bumpy and firm, while still others were silky and warm. I bent my head way over her, loving the way she arched her upper half in order to reach me. Just by keeping my eyes open, I could look down the top of her shirt, and when she moved just right, I could catch a flash of her pinkened nipple.

I really think I could be content to ravage her mouth the rest of the day, but she seemed to have other plans. Her hands had been tangled in the hair at the nape of my neck, her strong fingers kneading the tense muscles there. But as I continued to kiss her, her fingers began to move lower, until they were insinuating themselves under the straps of my leathers. Her tongue, which had been laying in wait in her mouth, began to lick the underside of my own, as her fingers slid the straps down over my shoulders. Then it was her nails, digging in slightly as she stroked over me. I was the one with the arching back now, as I reached for more sensation.

When her hands moved to the front of me to slide down the front of my leathers, and she caught a nipple between her flattened thumb and forefinger, I gulped and froze. All the desire from the last few weeks of separation suddenly came over me, and I was grasping for her shirt.

“You…naked…now...” was all I could get out.

She smiled mindlessly at me, as I began pulling her clothes off as quickly as I could. Gabrielle was grabbing firmly for mine at the same time, but I wasn’t being very cooperative. She barely had my body armor off and I already had her stripped completely naked.

“Xena…” she tried to protest when I pulled her hands off my body, but stopped immediately when I grasped her by the hips, and lifted. Her legs came up to wrap around my waist, and her hands clasped behind my neck.

I turned, holding on to her, and bent so she was laying on her skirt which had fallen on top of the boulder. It took a couple of tries to get her to release my head, but when her hands finally relented, I straightened up long enough to lower my breeches, letting them pool around my ankles. Reaching down, I raised my skirt as I leaned forward again, resting my mound against hers, and I paused to smile down into her eyes.

“I love you, Gabrielle,” I told her, just as I had the other night, when I had awakened dreaming of her.

“And I love you, Xena,” came her sweet answer. Keeping my eyes open, I leaned down and gave her a long, impassioned kiss. The desire that was rapidly overcoming me would soon keep me from being this tender with her, but I wanted her to know that the reason I desired her so vehemently was because I did love her so much.

Finally, I raised my head an inch above hers, and waited for her eyes to flicker open. She smiled sweetly at me, but then I saw the hunger glaze over the green orbs. Thank the gods her moods matched mine so perfectly! I kissed her again, this time bearing down harder, and then slid my head down to that sensitive spot where her neck met her shoulder. I nipped at her flesh, and then sucked it into my mouth.

“Xena…please…Xena…” I was aware she had reached beneath my skirt in the back, and had grabbed two handfuls of my backside, but now she was squeezing them firmly, and I could feel her strong forearms pulling my body even tighter to hers.

I planted a wet, sucking kiss on the nearest nipple, and then looked into her eyes. “Something you wanted?” I asked, glad the rushing water would disguise the shakiness in my voice.

I felt her nails grabbing my ass flesh more firmly. “You know what I want…” she purred back at me, and she tilted her pelvis, so the top of my pubic mound was grazing her wet center. “The same thing you want…”

“Mmm yeah…” I released my skirt, letting it drop down over my wrist as I reached lower and slipped two fingers between her outer labia. I spread them, and tilted my own pelvis, and was rewarded by her gasp of pleasure as our slippery centers finally made contact.

I began moving my hips in an up and down movement immediately, feeling the hood of my clit get a workout against my own fingers and her exposed nub. Below me, Gabrielle still had her hands firmly planted on my bottom, encouraging me to keep up the rhythm. If possible, I felt her juices flowing even harder.

“Ungh!” She came abruptly, unexpectedly, her lower half bucking wildly against mine, and I frantically tried to ride out her movements so I could catch the wave of her orgasm. For some reason though, I missed it, and waited for her to relax her legs around me a bit, so I could start moving again.

I gave her another quick kiss, before I straightened up, and then lifted my right leg, so my foot was flat on the rock beside her hip, leaving myself wide open to her gaze. She was still gaining control of her breathing after her climax, but I could see she was watching very curiously to see what I was going to do.

I bent over her then, scooting my right foot back further toward her head, and then pressed my clit into hers again. This time, I once again spread her labia, but my own lips were spread just as wide by the very nature of the position I was in. The full contact of her naked clitoris against mine soon had me soaring the heavens in the orgasm that had eluded me just moments before. I wiggled my pussy down incessantly into hers, and as I began to return to earth, I heard Gabrielle’s breath catch in her throat as she orgasmed once again.

It was several minutes before she opened her eyes again. I was standing on my own two feet again, and had placed my elbows on either side of her head, so I could shield her with my hair and watch the emotions play over her angelic features. I think she was a little surprised to find me so close…the water blocked out any sound of my moving above her…but the second she recovered, she was pulling me down into her incredibly comforting embrace.

I would have loved to have spent the rest of the day in this secluded little cave, just making love to my bard over and over again, but we both knew that sooner or later, Beowulf and Brunhilda would come looking for us. And, of course, there was still the fact that Grindel was still loose nearby, and she was going to be even more incensed when she realized I had killed her son.

We silently got dressed, each of us lost in thought about what we wished we could do, and what might lay ahead of us. Finally, it was time to go back, and I took Gabrielle’s hand, and led her back through the maze of rocks.

As we neared the exit, I felt her tugging on my hand. “Xena, before we go back out there…”


She was looking at me with a stern glint in her eye. I moved my hand into her touch as she reached up to stroke my cheek. “I know why you left me in the tavern that night,” she said slowly.

I opened my mouth to speak out, but she shushed me with two fingers on my lips. “No, My Love, don’t say a word. I know why you did it…and I know it was out of love. I’m not angry about it…but I wanted you to know…no matter what monsters you have to face, I want to be there to face them with you. I would have no life to live if you ever left me for real.”

I could tell she meant every word of it, but it still hurt to think that she loved me that much. A good hurt…the kind of hurt that tells you you are alive and breathing and have someone who wants you to stay that way.

“Thank you,” I told her, giving her a quick peck on the lips. I had tears in my eyes, but I’m not sure if she noticed, as she was battling some of her own.

We soon caught up with Beowulf again, and he gave me an uncomfortable look as we returned. There was no telling what he had come to the conclusion my “delicate” injury was.

Brunhilda was nowhere to be found, and Beowulf hadn’t seen her, and that made me more suspicious than ever. Despite what Gabrielle had said, I had a sincere lack of distrust in Brunhilda, although I wasn’t exactly sure why.

But there was no time for dwelling on that right now…I heard the sound of approaching warriors…and within seconds, we were under heavy attack by a group of Valkyries that I didn’t recognize. Apparently, Odin was still training them. With horror, I heard one of them yell something about grabbing the blonde, and it all began to fall into place. I did my best to protect Gabrielle, but was having to defend myself against several warriors when Brunhilda swooped down from the sky on her flying horse and grabbed her. She was a Valkyries, of course, and why I didn’t figure that out sooner….

I wanted to track her immediately, but the attacking Valkyries were relentless in their role as poorly timed distractions. I yelled for Beowulf to try to find out at least what direction Brunhilda was headed in, as the battle continued. I wasn’t surprised at all when Odin showed up. After all these years, he had a few bones to pick with me as well as Grinhilda.

But Odin was trying to play a card he didn’t hold. He was after the ring I had made from the Rheingold, of course, and said he’d return Gabrielle in exchange for it. That meant he was still afraid of Grindel, or he would have gotten the ring from her himself. But I told him his Valkyries hadn’t expected Brunhilda to kidnap Gabrielle, and knew they didn’t have any idea where she was.

The next few hours of my life are kind of a blur. I remember being furious with Brunhilda for taking Gabrielle, and even more furious with myself for getting my love involved in the first place. And then I was afraid, for I knew as a Valkyries, Brunhilda would have many skills that Gabrielle had never faced before. If Brunhilda’s interest was more than prurient in her, or if Gabrielle resisted her…well…I just knew I had to find her fast, before Brunhilda had time to act.

I DO remember threatening Odin that I would put on the Ring. I remember the fear in his eyes and the fear in my heart at the prospect of it. Did I do it?

I don’t remember.

It was a long time before I’d remember anything.

COMING NEXT WEEK: In the conclusion of the Rhinegold tales, Xena struggles to get out of a marriage with a man she doesn’t love, and to remember the name and the face of the blonde vision that haunts her every dream.

Gabrielle's Scroll
The Xena and Gabrielle XXX Scrolls Page 3