And She Came --Xena's Scroll

Blonde hair…it seemed as if EVERYONE had blonde hair. Some were dingy blondes, really closer to light brown. Some had a reddish blond colored hair, which seemed to be a much desired color around here. Still others had hair so bright blonde it was almost white.

There were a few whose hair was too dark to be called blonde. I had run across a few who had auburn hair, and a couple of coppery redheads. My betrothed’s hair, for instance, was a burnished red, closer in color to the foxes that ran wild throughout the forests than blonde.

But no one else had hair as dark as mine. It was as black as ebony, and made me a bit more of an oddity than I already was. Many asked if it was natural, and when I told them it was, they’d often reach out a hand to touch it as if they expected it to feel as different as it looked.

But at night, all I saw was blonde hair. A light blonde so brilliant and vibrant it was as golden as the sun. Some nights the hair was long and slightly turned up at the ends, reaching down beyond curvy shoulders to brush against a muscular back.

Other nights, it was cut much shorter, and despite the heavy weight, was often ruffled in my dreams. It was easy to picture my fingers being the cause for its unkempt state.

But every single time I had the dream, I tried to trick myself into turning the blonde head so I could get just a glimpse of the face it shrouded.

And every single night, I failed.

My name isn’t really Welthea. I know that. But as much as I know it isn’t my name, I have no idea what my name really is. I always listened closely when other people were introduced to me. I keep hoping I might hear something familiar in their name. Every once in a while, I’d feel a slight spark in my brain, but nothing definite.

Not knowing my name was the least of my problems. I really didn’t know anything…my name…where I was from…what kind of person I was…whom I associated with…nothing. All I had was a few clues and they didn’t make much sense when they were all pieced together.

For instance, I seemed to have an advanced knowledge of healing skills. More than once, I’ve been able to suggest some herbs or a treatment for someone who was sick, after all the local healers have failed. And I seem to have become something of the local midwife. More than once I’ve been awakened from one of my blonde dreams to go help a woman giving birth. One woman was having great difficulty, as the baby had turned dangerously in the birth canal, and somehow, I knew how to make an incision in her abdomen and deliver the baby that way. It amazed those around me as much as it impressed me, especially when I had no idea how I knew to do it.

But at the same time, I realized I was quite adept at handling weapons. Just a few days ago, Hrothgar’s young nephew Eltat was visiting, and he was most proud of his new bow and arrow. He had wanted me to try it, and without thinking, I had picked it up and fired five arrows in succession at the target Eltat had set up. Each arrow split the previous one in two. I had made Eltat keep that a secret.

There was more…my reflexes were amazingly fast, and once again, without forethought. I had the most keen sense of eyesight and hearing of anyone in the kingdom.

Hrothgar just explained it away by saying I was blessed by nature. I wasn’t really sure I agreed with that, but since I didn’t have any other explantion, I couldn’t really argue with him.

Those were the biggest physical clues…the obvious ones There were many more, however, that weren’t nearly as easy to see. They were things I hadn’t shared with anyone, and don’t think I could. I had made a lot of friends since my time here, but they weren’t THAT close to me.

Mainly there were the dreams…dreams of a young boy with long blonde hair and blue-gray eyes. I’m not sure who he is, but I’m sure I love him very much.

Sometimes, I would dream of a baby girl, a cute chubby little thing dressed in green. Once again, the love I had for her was palpable.

But mostly, I dreamt of the faceless, nameless blonde. I wanted so badly to see her face, and had spent countless hours trying to guess what it would look like…what shape her nose would have…what color her eyes were…what her lips and teeth looked like…

Although I knew I loved the young boy and the baby girl, I felt a different kind of love for the blonde. It was the kind of love that makes your heartbeat faster and your mouth go dry when you thought about her. Obviously, she was the love of my life.

So why couldn’t I remember her?

The only conscious memory I had begun less than a year ago. I remember waking along a beach, not knowing how I had gotten there or how long I’d been there. I remember my hand was cut, and my body was sore, and I was very hungry, and my eyes were stinging and scratchy. My legs and arms felt heavy and half-numb.

I was thinking about curling up on the beach and just hiding from myself when I heard the sound of a horse approaching. I’m not sure why, but I wasn’t frightened and just stood where I was, watching the rider approach. He wore a heavy fur coat, and his face was completely obscured by a metal helmet. It was a big burly man, and he was soon swinging down off his horse.

I took a small instinctive step back as he approached, but as he got nearer, I saw he was actually a couple inches shorter than me. And still, I felt no fear.

He stopped right in front of me, and I saw his head moving up and down as though he were checking me out. Then his hands went up to his head and he was pulling off the helmet.

I’m not sure what I expected, but I don’t think it was this. The man had long reddish hair and a bushy beard to match. He was so hairy, it was difficult to make out whether or not he could be handsome. He smiled then, and I could see a degree of warmth in his dark blue eyes.

“You been fishing?” he asked me, nodding his head toward the condition of my clothes.

I don’t know if he was trying to be funny or not. “I uh…don’t think so.”

He was right in front of me now. “My name is Hrothgar,” he said. He took my hand and lifted it to his lips, brushing them over the top of my hand. “And all my life I’ve dreamed of a goddess of the water just walking into my life. I have finally found my goddess.”

I didn’t know what he was talking about, so I just tried smiling at him.

“What’s your name, Goddess?” he asked me then.

“My name…?” I shrugged helplessly. “I don’t know…”

“You don’t know?” he eyed me curiously. I guess my eyes told him I was speaking the truth.

“You are far more beautiful than I ever dared dream,” he said softly, and his hand came up to caress my cheek, then sift some strands of my hair through his meaty fingers. “And you are different too…far more exotic than any of the other women in my kingdom. You are a wealth of beauty I think I will call you…Welthea. How does that sound to you, Goddess?”

I know it wasn’t the right name, but I nodded , grateful he seemed so kind. “Good.” His eyes took in my body again. “Are you hungry Welthea?” he asked.

I clapped a hand instinctively over my empty body. “I’m very hungry,” I answered him.

He held out his hand and I took it. “Let’s get you some food then. You look like you could use a hot bath and a nice soft bed too.”

I didn’t know much, but I did know that his suggestion seemed really good to me.

And that’s how I came to live with King Hrothgar in his kingdom. From that day on, I was given a home in his huge house.

The people of Denmark were extraordinarily welcoming and within a month, I found that I had plenty of duties to keep me occupied. Besides doing a lot of the healing and midwiving, Hrothgar allowed me to look into the education of the young people, making sure they were receiving the finest books and teachers In addition to that, I became something of a town magistrate, solving small disputes too inconsequential for the court system. They were important to the people involved though, and I did my best to give out the best and most fair decisions I could. I seemed to be a natural at this. The people grew to respect my decisions, and even Hrothgar talked to me about serving in the official court.

All of these tasks kept me busy most of just about every day. For that I was very grateful. Constantly having people waiting to see me or legal documents to look over was a terrific way to keep my thoughts off my confusion and frustration of not knowing my past.

And then there was Hrothgar. He was another matter entirely.

Ever since the day he had found me and taken me in, he made it quite clear that he wanted me as more than just a houseguest. He had given me a couple days to regain my strength, then he began to show up at my door almost every night, usually with flowers or gifts. We would take walks around the courtyard, and sometimes we would ride horses, and sometimes we would just find a place to sit, and just talk.

He always seemed to find plenty of subjects for us to discuss, and he was very intelligent and witty. As the King of Denmark, there were always foreign diplomats, internal matters, and financial dealings to discuss, and he seemed to want me to know about all of that. I certainly didn’t mind that.

However, when I tried to talk to him about the bits and pieces I managed to scavenge from my past, I noticed he would quickly change the subject. He didn’t seem interested at all in helping me remember. That puzzled me…a lot. And it made me suspicious of him as well.

Why would he not want me to remember who I really was? The more I thought about it, the more I became convinced of my answer.

I became convinced that Hrothgar KNEW who I was before I had come here, and he didn’t want me to remember because, somehow, he didn’t fit into that world. Perhaps her was my enemy, or even more than likely, there was someone else I already loved.

The blonde.

But despite my suspicions, Hrothgar was never anything but gentle and kind to me. He waited a month before he held my hand on a regular basis. Every night it was the same thing. He would walk me to the door of my room, give my hand a kiss, and then press his lips to my cheek.

Although I couldn’t remember any specifics, I was very aware that I wasn’t a virgin, and Hrothgar’s actions kind of confused me. Every night he would tell me how much it pleased him to look at me, yet never once did he try anything sexual with me. Don’t get me wrong…I didn’t want him to…but I still couldn’t help but wonder why he didn’t seem to desire me.

Japhord, one of Hrothgars’s cousins and lieutenants was the once who gave me the answer. He and I had become pretty good friends over the last few months, and one day I noticed he had a lot of bruises on his neck. When I looked further, I realized there were a few teeth marks there as well.

“Japhord,” I grinned, poking my finger at the darkest bruise. “I hope you left a few marks on her as well.”

He ducked my finger with a laugh. “Indeed I did.”

I peered closer at the damage, “Damn, Hotra has some awfully sharp teeth,” I observed.

Japhord shook his head at me. “Not Hotra,” he said.

“But she’s your betrothed,” I replied.

“Exactly,” he answered. He looked up from the scroll he was recording on. “Ancient laws forbids the royal line from having sex with their betrothed until the moon is high the day of the wedding.” His expression grew alarmed. “Welthea…you don’t mean that you and Hrothgar…”

“No,” I responded immediately, putting up my hands to emphasize my point. “But I was kind of wondering why…”

He laughed that joyous laugh of his. “You mean you never talked about it?”

I shrugged.

Japhord nodded patiently. “Come to think of it, I guess that really doesn’t surprise me. Hrothgar always speaks of ‘his lady’ with the utmost respect, so I suspect he wouldn’t be comfortable discussing sex with you.”

That was logical. I smiled, glad that I had talked with Japhord, and clapped a hand on his shoulder. “Thanks for telling me.”

H e grinned back. “Surely you didn’t worry that it was you,” he said. “I know for a fact that if it weren’t for the law, Hrothgar would have been all over you the week you arrived. The night of the new moon…well…you’d better rest up.”

I nodded thoughtfully, and left the room.

So now I knew I was safe from Hrothgar’s clutches until after the wedding. I can’t believe how much I was dreading the event. It wasn’t so much that I didn’t want to be the Queen of the Danes. No, in fact, that was the one part of the wedding I was looking forward to. I liked the idea of leading the Danish people.

I couldn’t remember when and if I had actually told Hrothgar I would be his wife. Every night, when he would come to take me out, I dreaded it a little bit more. I was sure it had nothing to do with the fact that Hrothgar was a man and my dream person was a woman. It wasn’t that fact that he had a cock that bothered me. It was HIM, his sweaty heavy presence and the thought of him pumping into me, perspiring and grunting and spending himself in me.

The closer the wedding drew, the more vivid my dreams became. Now, I had no doubt the blonde was my lover, because every night, she made love to me in my bed. She would touch me everywhere, burying her face in my cleavage or between my thighs, and I would do the same to her. Gods, even in my dreams, she tasted so sweet. And the feel of fingers both on and inside me made my skin continue to tingle long after I had woke up.

The vivid images of my erotic dreams were beginning to creep into my waking thoughts. I’d walk into a room only to think I was seeing the blonde walking out a different door. Once, one of the woman involved in a dispute had hair nearly the same color as my dream girl. But the face, although attractive, couldn’t be the face of the one I loved. If only I had a name for her…

Hrothgar had planned a huge party for the wedding. He called for cask after cask of beer, ale, and wine, and a feast with enough food to feed a Danish family for a year brought into the dinner hall.

He ordered jugglers and jesters, singers and dancers, really overdoing it. And then, he started too early in the day with the drinking. The few times I had been around him when he drank, I had been disgusted by the way he grew more sloppy and more grabby, pawing at me with his hands. I found myself dreading the wedding night even more, knowing the alcohol would be controlling his movements..

Before I knew it, I was standing before the High Priest of Denmark, as he went through the wedding vows. I tried to concentrate on what he was saying, but was having a hard time. Before my eyes stood my almost-husband, but I didn’t really want to look at him. It took very little effort for me to tune him out and I could picture my dream blonde instead.

I was concentrating hard on trying to see her face, when I heard some rather strange talking from among the crowd. I surreptiously peeked out of the corner of my eye, and caught a glimpse of the chatty guests.

It was a young curly-haired man speaking with an older dark-haired man. The older man startled me…for the first time in a year, I felt the first glimmer of recognition. I tried to clear my head of those thoughts as Hrothgar was now making his pledge of love and devotion. When he was done, he held out his hand to take mine, and onto my finger, he slipped a ring.

I glanced down at the beautiful silver piece of jewelry; and suddenly, I had a very different vision from the ones I’d been having for the past year. I saw myself, dressed in strange black leather clothes with an odd helmet on my hand, and I was forging a different ring, this one much larger and made of gold. I knew it was a moment from my past, but I didn’t recognize it at all.

I was perplexed when I realized all eyes at the ceremony were on me. I was supposed to be reciting my own vows then.

I felt like an idiot as I stammered. “I’m sorry…I…” I was desperately trying to think of an excuse for my actions.

Hrothgar smiled and tried to help. “You’re overcome with joy.”

“Yes, I’m overcome,” I agreed, but it wasn’t with joy. I knew I had to get through the vows. “I uh…I, Welthea, promise to be a devoted wife to Hrothgar and a…” Oh Zeus, what came next? I saw the priest mouth the words “mother” and said it, “a mother to his people.” I took Hrothgar’s hand in mine, and slipped the wedding band on his finger.

Instantly, more visions flooded my mind. I was dressed all in black again, and this time, I was fighting a hideous looking creature. And I was putting on the golden ring I had seen myself make earlier.

Now, the visions were becoming just plain irritating to me, and I shook it out of my head, proclaiming that I was the luckiest woman in Denmark.

The crowd liked that, as did Hrothgar, and I felt myself calm a bit, even as the vision was melting away.

I suddenly realized that I was now married to Hrothgar. He was staring over at me, and I could either see a bit of liquor or drool at the corner of his mouth.

He was leaning toward me, and I know he was planning on kissing me, but that glob on his lips was distracting me. I waited until a split second before his lips were to touch mine, and turned my head, so he would be touching his lips to my cheek instead.

I know he didn’t like that very much, but there were too many well-wishers crowding around us for him to do anything about it right then.

Later, after we had eaten, the party continued to roar on successfully. I was amazed at the amount of liquor being consumed, and I noticed with disdain that my new husband was consuming an incredible amount of his own.

I watched him whispering with his sister Hildagiv, and saw they were both glancing in my direction. I couldn’t keep the thoughts of me and the ring out of my head, and even though I knew he was now drunk, I thought my new husband might be able to give me some insight.

He made some sort of comment about my looking more like I was at a funeral than a wedding, but I ignored him. Instead, I tried to explain to him what had happened at the wedding.

I knew immediately I had made a mistake. He told me he had a strange sensation as well. “It beseeches me whenever you’re near. And I know only one cure for this malady…”

He made a grab for me then, and once again, I managed to wiggle away from his lips. I know I was legally married to him, but the repulsion for him that had been steadily growing suddenly amplified even greater. I began to formulate all kinds of excuses for not sharing his bed tonight. Now was as good as any to try to start.

“Hrothgar, tradition says that we cannot be together until the moon is high Otherwise, you would jinx our union.” With any luck, he’d be passed out by the time the moon was high.

He made another attempt for me, then. “I’ve waited so long to make you truly mine.”

He was imposing enough when he was sober, but now, he was imposing, slobbering, and crude.

The ugly scene continued with my protesting his lecherous advances. He was getting impatient though, and finally, just grabbed a hold of me and plastered his mouth onto my neck and began to paw at my butt.

I was just beginning to panic, when I saw someone approaching. I was able to pull myself from Hrothgar, and didn’t resist when he pressed a chaste kiss on my cheek. Then he introduced me to the man whom he called his old friend, “Beowulf”.

This Beowulf started at me, and suggested we had met before. I still got the nagging sensation of familiarity with him, but it wasn’t enough.

“I think not,” I answered slowly.

Hrothgar laughed then. “Women, huh?” he said crudely, before grabbing me roughly as he turned to go.

He led me out of the hall, and told me to go upstairs to my room, and to get ready for him to appear to me. I sat at my dressing table, studying my reflection in the mirror. The women looking back at me looked absolutely miserable and defeated.

I considered what was going to be happening soon. Although I couldn’t remember specifically whom I had been with, there was no doubt in my mind that there had been many. And I knew sex was something I enjoyed.

So why not enjoy it with Hrothgar?

I was resolving myself to concentrate on the physical and ignore the emotional, when I heard a knock at the door. “Come in, My Lord.”

The door opened, and in stepped Hrothgar, wearing the same helmet as when I first met him. It once again, was startling, as it totally covered his face from me.

That surprised me a bit, making me a little more leery of what the night had in store for me. I got the feeling he liked rough sex, and that was definitely not something I was up to right now.

But I didn’t want to anger him. “You wish to play a game, My Lord?” I asked him.

Even as the hands were raising to remove the helmet, I realized the man wasn’t wide enough in girth to be Hrothgar. The helmet was lowered, and in front of me, stood the man called Beowulf.

Alarmed, I grabbed a letter opener from the table behind me. “You’re a lunatic,” I gasped. “Stay away from me!”

H slowly continued to advance toward me. “Xena, your life is in danger. When Odin learns you’re alive, he will kill you, and Gabrielle will never be saved.”

Like a shot to my heart, the names Xena and Gabrielle struck me. I repeated the latter, and suddenly, my faceless lover was no longer nameless. Although the name Xena didn’t mean much to me, I knew my lover’s name was Gabrielle.

“Please try to remember,” Beowulf said gently, and he took my arm. Still concentrating on Gabrielle’s name, I didn’t even have to think about it as I pitched him backward onto his ass.

Then all Tartarus broke loose. Hildagiv and Hrothgar broke into the room, and accused me of being unfaithful. I tired to tell them the truth, that Beowulf had shown up unannounced and uninvited, but with his sister’s urging, Hrothgar wouldn’t listen. He told her to dispose of Beowulf and me as she saw fit. There was no doubt what that would be.

Later, I would wonder if Beowulf and Hildagiv had planned this out the whole time. Once we were in the hallway, Beowulf spoke of Gabrielle again, and encouraged me to fight the guards along side him. The thought of knowing Gabrielle’s name gave me a surge of something, and I did as he asked.

It was easy…instinct really…and when I saw Beowulf’s outstretched hand reaching out to me, I slowly took it. Almost instantly, I was rewarded by the sight of a now-familiar blond head and finally, I could see her face! I suppose I should have been startled that it was so beautiful, but I think I had already convinced myself that it would be just that way. She was holding her hand outstretched toward me. “I’m lost without you, Xena,” I heard her melodic voice say.

When I took her hand, she was gone, and it was Beowulf again, but I felt far less afraid of him now.

I followed him away from the home I had lived at for the last year, and indeed, the only home I could truly remember. I still really didn’t know why Beowulf was so determined to take me away, but I certainly had no reason to stay in Denmark now.

We were on a ship for several days, but besides being bored, it was an easy trip. I spent a lot of time on deck, looking out at the sea, and trying to remember more about Gabrielle, but it didn’t seem to work. At one point, I even asked Beowulf what the nature of my relationship with her was, but he had hemhawed around, and finally just said that I loved her very much. I studied his expression after that, but couldn’t tell whether or not he really knew any more of the details.

We made land, and while the men made camp, I stood on the shore and watched the surf. Just as I felt something spark the first time I saw Beowulf, I felt another twinge just being where I was. Had something happened to me on this beach? I had another vision of Gabrielle here, along with several other blonde women. I didn’t know who they were, but I do know I had seen them before.

Beowulf and his men’s lifestyles were very different than the one I had lived while I was living in Hrothgar’s house. They loved to challenge each other constantly, and then wrestle around when they couldn’t agree. They did make an effort to be gentler in regards to me, but I wasn’t interested. I was too busy trying to figure out what Beowulf was telling me.

Later, after a run-in with someone whom I learned was named Odin and some of his followers, Beowulf took me inland to stay in an inn. After so many nights on the tossing ship, I was grateful for that.

For a while, I just sat alone in my bedroom, trying to sort out everything that had been happening. It seemed ludicrous that I was a married woman, considering the lack of desire I had for my husband, and the amount of hatred he had shown me when he had caught me with Beowulf. I looked down at the wedding ring gleaming on my finger…the wedding ring he had put on my finger. It didn’t belong there.

I reached down and pulled the ring off. I felt a sense of relief almost instantly.

But all of a sudden, Gabrielle was there, and she appeared different than before. Whereas she was always without solid form, this Gabrielle appeared very real. I had been facing her direction as she just popped in out of nowhere, and it scared me.

“Are you a demon?” I asked. “Or my own mind made mad?” After my experiences the last few days that would make the most sense.

“I’m the truth of who you are,” came the whispered reply. “Our souls are united, Xena…”

She was very gently approaching me, and lifted a hand to touch my cheek.

She was so sweet-looking, so exquisitely lovely…I really wanted to believe her, but still, I was very afraid my mind was playing tricks on me. I gasped and drew back from her, and all of a sudden, Beowulf was entering the room. Gabrielle disappeared as fast as she had appeared.

I looked at Beowulf, trying to figure out whether or not he had seen Gabrielle as well. I don’t think he did, because he was asking me if I was all right.

I told him I was, and then had to confirm with him that Gabrielle really did love Xena. I knew by now, that I was Xena, but only because Beowulf, Wiglaf, and the others kept insisting that was my name.

“And will till the end of time,:” was his answer. “Gabrielle saved you from what you were, as you must now save her.”

Realizing I shouldn’t have been afraid of her didn’t really make me feel better. I had more to talk to Beowulf about. I told him I had overheard some of the men on the boat saying Xena created Grindel. He confirmed that, as well, and then was holding out a strange looking object toward me. He told me he’d been waiting a long time to give it to me.

The object was made of a heavy metal, and looked like it was very sharp. It was completely circular and had some sort of curved piece growing through the middle and that’s what I took hold of. I asked him what it was for, and he said I’d know when the time came.

Beowulf, Wigwam, and I spent most of the next day traveling, and the sun had been down about an hour when I noticed a bright glow in the distance. “That’s her,” Beowulf nodded, and we picked up the pace.

Beowulf had told me what to expect, and he had described the roaring ring of fire perfectly. The flames towered high into the sky.

From across the clearing, I could just make out the sleeping figure in the ring. I felt my heart begin to beat faster. “What if I’m not the one?” I asked Beowulf, but I think I already knew the answer.

He assured me I was, telling me that Brunhilda, who had become the ring of fire, would recognize me as Gabrielle’s soulmate.

He said it with such conviction, that it gave me the confidence I needed. I approached the fire, stopping just a few inches short of it. I was close enough that the heat should have sizzled my flesh, but I didn’t feel any heat at all.

I stared through the orange flames, and for the first time in a long time, I saw a face I knew. A face I adored. A face I cherished.

Thorns had grown up all around her, almost creating a cage like effect over her, but she appeared to be sleeping peacefully.

I continued to gaze on her, my memory not entirely restored, but my mind telling me very firmly that I was in love with this sleeping beautify. And then suddenly, I heard a voice from directly in front of me.

I looked up, and incredibly, the form of a face was pushing out of the flames toward me. Something told me I didn’t need to be afraid, and I reached out my hand to touch the flame. It was cool to the touch. And finally, with joy, I realized I knew the face. It belonged to Brunhilda.

“Xena…Xena…” she crooned to me, “the love in your heart burns stronger than any flame. You belong together, Xena…”

No sooner had those words been spoken, then a couple things happened simultaneously. Memory finally flooded back over me, and I came to full awareness. At the same time, I saw out of the corner of my eye that Waltraute, Odin’s new number one Valkyries was rapidly approaching me, her sword raised.

I was ready for her when she was close enough, and began to strike out with kicks and hits. I felt pretty good as I fought her, but then I saw another Valkyries jump into the fray, and Beowulf and Wigwam went to work on her.

Waltraute got a good cut in with her sword, and then tried to heckle me a bit, but it wasn’t going to work. I continued to defend myself, and then I heard Wiglaf call my name. He tossed me his sword. Finally! It had been so long since I had a sword in my hand!

Unfortunately, the action caused Wiglaf to become vulnerable when the Valkyries threw a dagger at him. I shouted out his name just as he was hit in the chest and went down hard and fast.

Ministering to him would have to wait until I had taken care of Waltraute. With a sword in my hand, I was able to throw myself into the battle with gusto.

After a couple of minutes, even though Waltraute thought she had the advantage, I got a well-placed kick in and sent her flying backward. She stopped suddenly when her back made contact with the ring of fire, and then she froze in midair.

It was quite amazing to see as her flesh from fried from the bones instantaneously and I was still staring when Beowulf grabbed my shoulders and told me I needed to get to Gabrielle…now.

I heard a sickening sound then, and recognized the look of agony on Beowulf’s face.

With horror, I realized Grindel was standing behind Beowulf and had impaled him on one of her spiky arms. Beowulf squirmed in extreme pain, but managed to tell me again to go. I was torn between trying to save Beowulf, who had been through so much to save me, and rescuing Gabrielle. But Beowulf urged me yet again, and I realized he was afraid something else. I was going to run out of time.

My decision made, I turned and dropped my sword, at the same time diving through the walls of flame.

I tucked and rolled as I landed, and then I was standing just a few feet from Gabrielle. Gods, the emotions of it all pounded through me, and for a moment, all I could was just stand there open-mouthed, my eyes drinking in her beauty and serenity.

I couldn’t stand it any longer, and I was standing right beside her. She had obviously been sleeping there, undisturbed, for the entire year I had lost my memory. Thick thorny brambles crisscrossed her body, serving almost as a blanket. With silent joy, I held up the chakram Beowulf had recently returned to me. I used it to cut a path through the vines, and then shoved them to either side of her.

Gods, how could I have forgotten that sweet face and those perfect features? If the truth be known, I would have been content to just kneel at her side and stare at her for a lot longer than I actually did, but I could now easily remember that she was so much more enticing awake. I actually shook as I leaned in even closer, minimizing the distance between our lips.

Gently, tenderly, I leaned in the rest of the way, and offered a soft kiss to her luscious warm lips. It wasn’t a deep kiss, nor lustful, but I felt the familiar stirrings between my legs when I felt her mouth move slightly beneath mine. As I lifted my head, I saw her eyes flutter open and the green sparkling depths focus on me.

In that matter of seconds, in the depths of her smile, all of my loneliness, my fear, and my confusion of the last year was gone. I returned her smile with as warm a one as I could muster. She sat up whispering my name, and then her arms were around me. I hugged her back, and found for a second all I could say in return was her own name. My hands were on her upper back, and I was aware that her hair had grown long again in the past year. The white gown she had been wearing a moment before was suddenly gone and she was dressed in her normal Amazon clothes. I could tell by feeling that I was dressed in my leathers as well. I knew there was powerful magic involved in what had just happened.

“I dreamed you’d come back for me,” she said then, and I could see tears sparkling on her cheeks.

“It was like I was in a dream too,” I answered her. “I forgot everything. And even though I couldn’t remember who you were…” my hand trembled when I reached out to cup her face, “…I felt your presence.”

She was still staring at me, looking slightly bemused, and I know I didn’t make much sense to her. “I knew I wouldn’t be complete unless those shadows were brought into the light.”

I know she couldn’t understand everything I was telling her, but her expression melted into a sweet smile, and I had to match it. I was just moving in to give her a long thorough kiss, when Grindel growled and gave the injured Beowulf an abrupt toss out of the clearing. It reminded me that I had other matters to attend to before truly reuniting with my bard.

I heard Brunhilda’s voice again…and this time, Gabrielle heard it too. “Xena…the ring…the ring…”

I knew exactly what she was talking about and held my hand out toward Gabrielle’s, knowing she would have the ring in hers. She did, and she laid it in my left hand. I picked it up with my right hand, holding the ring in my fingertips, as Grindel chose that moment to growl again. It distracted me, and Gabrielle grabbed my hand. “Xena, don’t put the ring on again.”

If the danger weren’t so real, her statement would have been funny. The LAST thing I wanted to do was go through a time similar to the last year!

I really didn’t have time to explain my actions to her, so I just put a reassuring hand around her wrist and gave it a slight squeeze before turning toward Grindel. “I forged this ring…now I have to undo the evil that it has created.”

I held up the ring, and once again, felt Brunhilda coming to our aid, as the ring of fire disappeared, and somehow, changed into a fantastic form that allowed her to disappear into the ring lending her energy to a force that would be able to change Grindel back. She was going to use her power to help me defeat Grindel.

I was grateful for the help, for Grindel was unbelievably strong, and with her anger riled the way it was, she damn near killed me in the process of my approaching her. I tried reasoning with her, telling her I could end the curse of the ring, but it wasn’t until Brunhilda caused the ring to glow with energy and truth that Grinhilda was able to believe me.

I’m not one hundred percent sure what happened in Grindel’s caverns, but I do know after a huge explosion, it was all over, and I was able to stumble out, the Rhinegold once again exactly that, a lump of gold rather than the ring. Gabrielle had sought cover behind a large boulder, but she came out with a smile when she saw I held the lump of gold in my hand now.

Not only was the power of the Rhine Gold restored, but several other things happened as well. Beowulf climbed to his feet, looking none the worse for wear. Wiglaf, likewise, seemed to be completely recovered.

I saw Gabrielle’s eyes widen considerably when one more figure stepped into the clearing. It was Grinhilda, looking slightly shaken, but very much like her old self. Gabrielle said her name questioningly, and I confirmed it, before turning my attention to Beowulf.

How do you thank someone properly for bringing back the world to you? If Beowulf hadn’t stuck by me, and kept after me, I never would have found my way back to Gabrielle. Even though I knew there was something missing in my life, without him, I would have remained empty forever.

I put a hand on his shoulder, and struggled for the words to say, finally coming out with, “I’ll be forever indebted to you,” but he just smiled at me.

He told me he needed the best, and that the legends didn’t lie about me being a great warrior. His usual understated way touched me as I thanked him.

Turning my head, I saw that two of the Valkyries mystical flying horses were waiting nearby. I’m not sure if it was Odin, Grinhilda, or Brunhilda that brought them to us, but I had no doubt what my next mission was to be. I put a hand on Grinhilda’s shoulder. “Let’s get you home.”

She smiled slightly at me, and we walked to the horses and mounted. From my vantage point, I could hear my bard telling Beowulf he had a good heart, and she reemphasized what I had said about being responsible for my finding her again.

Beowulf had his back to me, but I could hear the emoting in his voice when he bent his head and kissed Gabrielle’s hand. I heard him say something about I would have found her one way or the other, but I knew the sound of a heart breaking. Even Wiglaf seemed to sense the emotions he was going through.

Gabrielle took a few steps toward me, and then suddenly turned and said into the air, “Thank you, Brunhilda.”

I heard her voice call back, “God speed, Gabrielle.” Not for the first time, I found myself confused over my feelings for the young warrior.

But now, Gabrielle was approaching me, and I held out my forearm to take hers as she swung up into the saddle behind me. I couldn’t help the possessive feeling that overcame me, and I placed a hand on her butt to make sure she was well situated on the saddle. I felt her arms come around my waist, and Grinhilda and I urged the horses to take to the skies.

The trip to Valhalla didn’t afford us much privacy, but I did grin back at Gabrielle, just glad to have her in my sight again. “Are you all right?” I asked her.

“Fine!” she exclaimed, her eyes as big as saucers as the horses reached incredible heights in the sky. I hadn’t even stopped to think that she probably never dreamed she’d be riding on a horse that could fly. I’d have to take her on a more private trip above the North Country before we headed back to Greece.

Odin was surprised to see both Grinhilda and myself restored, but I knew he’d accept her back as his head of the Valkyries, given a bit of time. She was always a natural leader, and I had the feeling her experience as Grindel would make Grinhilda an even more compassionate, skilled leader.

I had a lot of emotions running through me as we left Valhalla, but I let Gabrielle know that the uppermost one was shame. She knew immediately what I was referring to, and encouraged me to take care of it. Within minutes, we were making the trip to the Rhine River.

I was very ashamed of what I had done to the Rhine Maidens in the past, and they were understandably afraid of me when I dove into the river and submerged nearby them. They remembered me very well, of course, and were visibly terrified and upset when I made my appearance. I offered the Rhinegold to the one I had originally stolen it from though, and she took it with a bewildered expression.

“What magic has made Xena into such a noble creature that she would give up the power of the Rhinegold?” she asked aloud.

“It wasn’t magic,” was all I could answer. I was suddenly grinning like a buffoon, as I turned to look back at the far shore. Gabrielle stood there, her smile as bright as the sun. Maybe it was a special kind of magic after all.

I wished the Rhine Maidens a peaceful future, and swam back to where Gabrielle was waiting. For the first time in I don’t know how long, I felt like my work in the Norse Country was finally done. After climbing out of the river, I took Gabrielle’s hand, and led her toward the town I had stayed in on the previous night.

For a few minutes, we just walked along in silence, both of us too full of thoughts to really know where to begin. When Gabrielle finally spoke, it was because she noticed my body had broken out in goosebumps.

“Don’t you have a coat, Xena?” she asked me.

I shook my head. “No, up till I found you I was running around in a white dress…freezing my…errr…pertinent parts off.”

She smiled at me out of the corner of her eye. “We can’t let that happen…I love your pertinent parts.”

We found the campsite where we had left both of our saddlebags and were pleased to find they were undisturbed. Gabrielle wrapped one of the bedrolls around my shoulders, and then began to rub her hands briskly up and down my upper arms. When my shivering had subsided somewhat, she stood up. “I’ll get a fire going.”

I cuddled deeper into the blanket, missing the warmth of her touch. “Wouldn’t you rather stay in an inn?” I asked her. “I know how you love a nice warm bed.”

“That’s true,” she grinned. “But to tell you the truth Xena, I’ve gotten so much sleep, I don’t think I’ll want to do it again for at least a month.”

I couldn’t prevent the leer that formed on my face. “You’re not going to want to ‘do it’ for a month?” I repeated.

She was shaking her head, and then I heard her giggle as she realized what I my meaning was. She wagged a finger at me. “You know exactly what I meant,” she chastised.

I shrugged, trying to look innocent. “Are you going to find us something for supper as well?” I asked her, settling back even farther against the log that was supporting my lower back.

I saw her glance back to see if I was serious. “I can…” she answered. “What are you in the mood for?”

I gave her a leer identical to the one I had sported earlier, and when I made a move to get on my hands and knees she used one of her hands in a shooing gesture at me. “Oh forget I asked.”

I laughed with her, and realized it was the first time in a long time that I had been allowed that luxury.

A half hour later, the fire was crackling away merrily, and Gabrielle had some sort of vegetable soup cooking above it. She had started the fire before she went off to search for some supper, and while she was gone, I had stripped out of my stiff leathers and put on a clean shift, sans breeches. The coldness was nearly gone from my bones by the time she was back.

If she noticed my clothes laid out to dry, she didn’t say anything when she returned. She set about peeling some onions, potatoes, and what looked like carrots and set them to cook in a pot of water. I rapidly fell back into the old habit of sharpening my sword, and as it had laid on the ground neglected for a year, it needed a lot of work. The steady sound of my sharpening stone doing its work helped to soothe my frayed emotions, and I suspected, had the same effect on Gabrielle.

Finally, the soup was cooking, and Gabrielle was sitting down on her own bedroll next to mine. “You warming up?” she asked me.

“Mm hmm…just fine…” I answered. I resheathed my sword, and laid it aside.

“How are you feeling?” I asked her then.

She gave me a half-smile. “Well-rested,” she answered. “But a little out of it too…what happened exactly?”

“What do you remember?” I countered with.

She shook her head. “I remember Brunhilda swooping down out of the sky and taking me away from a fight you were in the middle of. She said she was doing it to keep Odin from taking me.”

I nodded. “That’s true,” I agreed. “Odin had given the Valkyries orders to grab you, knowing that I would give up the Rhinegold to get you back. Brunhilda knew that, and took you instead.” I paused…”My only question is…why?”

“To protect me from the Valkyries,” Gabrielle answered just a little too fast.

“She could have just as easily told me what was going on,” I told her. “She knows I would have protected you from the Valkyries.”

Gabrielle crossed her arms, and I saw the fire flare in them. “What are you saying, Xena?” she asked tersely.

I narrowed my eyes slightly at her in response. “I think Brunhilda had more interest in you than in just protecting you,” I finally said. I felt better having said it, even though, Gabrielle was getting riled quickly.

“For Zeus’s sake, what are you saying, Xena?” she asked again, far louder and angrier than I expected. “I hate it when you get all cryptic.”

I took a deep breath, and sat up a bit under the fur that suddenly felt thick and constrictive. ”I’m saying that I got the impression that Brunhilda was interested in you for more reasons than she simply wanted to be your friend. She wanted your beauty.. She wanted you…and that’s the real reason she grabbed you. The Valkyries was just an excuse.”

I was ready for her to gear up for round two, but to my surprise she nodded her head. “I think you’re at least partially right,” she finally said, her voice much softer.

My brain reeled. What did that mean? “Partially right?” I asked. “Gabrielle? What happened when she grabbed you?”

“Nothing, Xena, I promise,” she told me, and her sincere tone told me she was being honest. “She DID talk to me about wanting to be with me, and she told me she was going to earn my love, but she didn’t really know the right way to go about it. She sensed our relationship and thought the way to win my love was by impressing me on the battlefield…that’s why she had such a hard time with your changing. But I finally convinced her that could never win me over.”

“So she became a ring of fire,” I mused. “She sacrificed herself for you.”


I looked Gabrielle in the eye. Despite Brunhilda’s sacrifice, I still felt extreme rage toward her for trying to steal Gabrielle from me in the first place. But still, I felt I had to ask.

“So did it work?”

Gabrielle had been watching the fire, but now she looked up at me. “Did what work?” she asked.

I shrugged. “Did you feel anything for her?”

Gabrielle stared at me open-mouthed for a moment, and I’m sure she was trying to gauge what I was feeling. I could see the anger well up again, and just as suddenly, it disappeared. She reached over and took my fur covered arm. “Xena, I’m not going to lie to you. I did like Brunhilda, but I certainly didn’t love her! And I never could. Don’t you now my love is reserved only for you?”

Her sweet voice, her sweet face, her sweet expression made me immediately feel guilty for asking, but at the same time, I felt greatly relieved. I don’t know why, but I just had the feeling that Brunhilda had tried to get physical with Gabrielle, and she was telling me that wasn’t the case. Simultaneously, we leaned toward the other, and we both moaned as for the first time in forever, our lips met in an intimate kiss.

“That was SO what I needed,” she sighed, when our mouths had parted. I lifted my arms up and invited her to climb under the bedroll with me, and she did so immediately, laying her legs across my lap. Her arms went around my neck, and our mouths were hungry and open against each other this time.

We sat like that for quite some time, winding our fingers through each other’s hairs, and getting reacquainted with each other’s mouths, but not with talking. Gabrielle’s eyes had lolled shut, and she had that content dreamlike look on her face, when suddenly she pulled back. “Hey, Xena?”

“Mm hmm?” I was suddenly very interested in that velvety skin of her neck.

“I’ve been uh…out of the real world for a year or so, right?”

I began to unlace her shirt. “Yeah,” I replied, absent mindedly.

She sat up straight and pulled my fingers away from her shirt. “So what did you do that whole time?”

Oh Tartarus, I knew this was coming, but I was kind of hoping it wouldn’t be quite so soon. Determined to get it over with, I began at the beginning, telling her what I remembered about waking up on the beach and Hrothgar making his first appearance to me. She was understandably wide eyed as I continued, and finally, I had to tell her about the wedding. I kept my hands on her back the whole time, trying to stroke it in both comforting and apologetic little movements.

“You were jealous of Brunhilda while you were off getting married?” she asked finally, her voice incredulous.

“But My Love, please try to understand…I had no idea who I was…whom I belonged to. Hrothgar took me into his home and gave me a purpose, whether or not it was the one I was designed for. And I didn’t have the strength of character to tell him I didn’t love him and didn’t want to marry him…”

“Oh, I know that,” Gabrielle said with a laugh. “From the way you described him, you’d just as soon chakram him as look at him. But what would have happened if Beowulf hadn’t come to your room that night? You would have had to submit to him, wouldn’t you?”

I thought of Hrothgar’s groping paws and slimy tongue at the wedding, and involuntarily shuddered. “I don’t know,” I answered honestly. “But I was going to try anything to get out of it. I was ready to fake that I had my cycle, throw up on him, set my room on fire…anything but have sex with him.”

Gabrielle laughed again. “From your horrified expression, I belief you!” she said, rubbing her hands over my shoulders in a soothing motion. “But technically, are you married to him?”

“I don’t think so,” I answered. “I mean, I was beginning to sit in on some of the law cases toward the end, and we hadn’t signed the marriage contracts, nor had we consummated the marriage. Those two things both had to happen before a Danish wedding is legal.”

Gabrielle snuggled into my shoulder. “So I don’t have to worry about Hrothgar showing up one night and throwing me out of your bedroll for sleeping with his wife?”

“No, my little bard,” I answered, tired of talking and wanting to get back to the action. I should have known Gabrielle would accept my story without a lot of difficulty, although if I had slept with Hrothgar, I don’t think it would have been so easy. “Hrothgar’s power was limited to his kingdom in Denmark, which is why he tried so hard not to let me know who I was. He knew if I got out of the Kingdom, he’d never see me again. And he was right.”

I wrapped my arms around her, and lowered her to her bedroll, then laid my body alongside the length of hers. I was clad only in my shift, and began to unlace her shirt again. “There’s more we need to talk about, but right now, I just want to make love to you. I’ve thought about it constantly ever since the dreams started coming.”

Finally, I had her shirt undone, and I slid a hand under each side of it to peel it back over away from her breasts. I rested my upper body weight on my left arm, and for a moment, just looked at her, once again for the first time in forever. She smiled up at me, and then reached for my right hand, and pulled it to her lips so she could brush a kiss against it before laying it on her left breast. I reverently stroked it, watching her back arch so she could graze her nipple more firmly against my palm.

“I have missed you so much,” I whispered down at her, before engulfing her sweet lips with my own. My tongue came out to slide into he moth, tasting all the flavors I had no recollection of when I was in Denmark. How could I ever forget them, I wonder? They were the most delicious tastes in the world…my sustenance!

As I deepened the kiss even further, my hand, which had been flattened against her, began to focus on kneading and tugging softy at her sensitive nipple. Her flash responded by rapidly hardening, and I could see her breath catch when I made certain movements. I pushed myself up on my knees, so my left hand could join in on the pleasure.

“Yes, Xena…” She hissed, her eyes closed tightly as her body bucked and ground into the bedroll. When I lowered my mouth to grasp her left nipple between my teeth, her fingers immediately found their way into my hair, stroking and encouraging, pulling me tighter.

She was getting very close to her peak, I could tell, and I switched nipples to see if I could bring her the rest of the way over. She had never come from just my mouth on her nipples before, although I had occasionally. I really wanted to make it happen for her this time.

I could smell her arousal filling the air, and it made me a little crazy. I nibbled at her nipple, bringing a yelp from her, but she wasn’t hurt…just startled. I unconsciously became rougher in my ministrations, pinching her firmly and chewing lightly on her tightened flesh. I could hear her moans becoming more frequent, and she was struggling so hard…

“Touch my pussy, Baby,” I finally heard her gasp. “Please Xena, touch my clit and bring me over…please…”

I sensed she was a little disappointed, and was pretty sure if she gave me some more time, I would be able to bring her orgasm about by just stimulating her breasts, but at the same time, my won body was screaming out for its own relief. My right hand, which had been holding the breast I was sucking, moved down between her legs, and up under her skirt.

Gods, I had no more than touched her clit when she was spasming, her body stiffening and jerking in release. She cried out softly into the night air, and the sound went straight to my clit. Gods, she wasn’t the only one who needed to cum!

I helped her ride out the sensations, and as soon as her body relaxed into the bedroll, I was straightening up my torso so I could rip my shift from my body. “Oh yeah, come down here, Baby,” I heard Gabrielle growl the moment I was naked, and her hands were reaching up to gasp at my forearms, so I would lean over her. I felt her tongue lick over my cleavage, before beginning to suck wetly at the skin above my right areola, knowing that I would soon be demanding she move her mouth southward.

Two or three orgasms later, I lifted my head from her convulsing center, and rested it on her bent thigh. Gabrielle was still busy slurping up the juices my body was pumping into her mouth, but eventually, I felt her head turning so she could draw in a breath around me.

“Better?” I heard her sigh up at me.

“So much better.” I pulled my leg over her, and turned so I could lay beside her on the bedroll, pulling her into my embrace.

The taste of myself on her lips was enough to make my pussy start pounding out its need again, but we both needed to give our bodies a few minutes to recover. She laid her head in the crook of my shoulder, and we held each other contentedly for a while, gently touching whatever part of the body that was most convenient.

“Xena?” she said in that questioning tone that told me she had been thinking for a while.


“When did you start having dreams about me? I mean…was I there all along?”

I thought about it, and the night in the forest while Beowulf camped nearby suddenly occurred to me. “If you wanna know the truth,” I answered, “I was dreaming about you every night I was with Beowulf. The night before I tangled with Grindel, well, let’s just say that I did more than dreamed you were there.”

She lifted her head slightly. “What do you mean more than dreamed it?”

I grinned wickedly at her. “I pretended you were there…”

I saw her face flush when she caught my meaning, but she seemed pleased by the knowledge. I was tempted to ask her if she had the same weakness I did, but I caught a look from her that was very disturbing. It was almost as if she was suddenly feeling physically sick.

“What is it, Gabrielle?” I asked, holding her face so I could study it.

I wasn’t imagining that her eyes wouldn’t meet mine. Suddenly, she found the bedroll beneath my shoulder very fascinating. “Uh…I don’t…well…I don’t quite know what to say…” she finally stuttered.

It was highly unusual for Gabrielle to be at a loss for words, and I eyed her curiously as she squirmed her way until she was sitting upright beside me. She stretched her legs out beside me, and studied her own thighs.

Rolling over on my side, I peered upward at her. Her long blonde hair effectively shielded most of her face from me, and if possible, it made her look even more young and innocent. Innocent…I suddenly had an idea.

“Uh, does this have anything to do with your time alone?” I asked finally.

Yup, I was right on target if her red face had anything to do with it. It had been a long time since I had seen her blush this profusely.

“Gabrielle,” I said, as gently as I could. “I took her hand in mine and held on to the top of it while tickling my fingertips over her palm. If this is about your touching yourself while we were separated…”

I trailed off realizing that wasn’t it. Or at least not all of it. She glanced into my eyes, and then turned her head to stare ahead of her again.

“Xena, I need to tell you something…something that you’re not going to like.”

If felt my stomach drop a few inches, as my imagination began to go wild. That was never a good course of action for me, so I urged, “Go ahead…tell me.”

She drew a deep breath, and then began. “I’m sure it was the same night you were uh…pretending. But I honestly don’t know why I didn’t remember it until you talked about it. I guess I’m so ashamed, I tried to forget what happened.”

Oh gods, now I was the one feeling nauseous. I suddenly had visions of events that wouldn’t settle well with me.

“I was dreaming about you,” she continued. “I remember, it was so real. I was kneeling beside you, and stroking your beautiful breasts, teasing and playing with your nipples, and then my hand found its way up under your skirt and breeches. Gods, Xena, I can remember how swollen and wet you were, so ripe for my touch, and so responsive to my fingers. You were coming in no time, calling out my name. I remember hearing you say, “I love you, Gabrielle’, as plain as day, and then you were reaching out your hand to touch me too.”

I laid there, my body still tingling from its climax, listening in amazement as she described the exact dream I had about her that night. I don’t know how it was possible, but she was dreaming the same thing I was!

“I remember your fingers, finding my own nipples, rubbing very softly over them, almost as if you were exploring them for the first time. I began to moan and opened my legs, begging you to touch my pussy…and then you did.”

I was very much into her explanation of her dream up till this point, feeling the heat raise a little bit more as she spoke, but suddenly, I felt my heart ache when she buried her face in her hands.

“Xena, I’m so sorry…I’m so sorry!”

I was on my knees beside her in an instant, drawing her shaking body into my hug, stroking over her hair and back, whispering it was all right. I knew what must have happened, and like it or not, I was going to have to deal with it. She must have used Brunhilda as a substitute for me…whether in a dream state or in her awake mind. I felt hatred rise in my throat at the thought of Brunhilda taking advantage of Gabrielle in her weakened state. Had she pretended Brunhilda was me? Knowing that she might have called out my name in the throes of passion made me feel a tiny bit better, for a long time ago, before Gabrielle and I were lovers, I had done the same thing with a young blonde Amazon named Fauna. Fauna had been a very willing participant in that night, not minding at all that I was seeing someone else as I made love. More than likely, if that were the case, Brunhilda was the same way.

“It’s all right, Gabrielle,” I crooned to her, rocking her back and forth. She wasn’t sobbing loudly, it was more of those silent shudders one gets when their regret and grief is too much for them to bear.

“No, it’s not all right,” she was saying, shaking her head slightly. “I should have been aware immediately it wasn’t your fingers on my body…not your sweet breath whispering in my ear. It never should have taken me so long to come to my senses and push her away. I almost came on her fingers, Xena!”

She started to cry again, and once more, I held her, this time grinning like an idiot. Despite the fact that I wasn’t angry with Gabrielle to begin with, now I felt much elated to realize she hadn’t gone as far as I thought she had. Yes, I was sincerely pissed off that Brunhilda had taken advantage of her, but still, I felt securing in the knowledge that she hadn’t been allowed to bring Gabrielle to satisfaction.

“It’s all right, Gabrielle,” I said in as convincing a voice as I could. “Honestly. It’s Brunhilda who did the wrong, or at least tried to do it. You had nothing to do with it, and the moment you were aware, you put an end to it. And if I’m not wrong…” I pulled her gently from me, and lifted her chin so her eyes would meet mine, “you probably gave Brunhilda nine shades of Tartarus after it was over.”

She smiled a tiny bit, and I knew that surmising was correct.

“Don’t be ashamed, Gabrielle,” I told her, continuing to hold her face. “Neither of us was ourselves, and yet, we both instinctively knew the person we were with wasn’t the right one. We should be celebrating, not crying.”

“I love you!” she blurted out then, and she gave a laugh as she threw her arms around my neck and gave me a pretty substantial bear hug. “I love you for being so understanding and accepting.”

I accepted her kiss, and then pulled back. “I’m not going to lie to you,” I said, more sternly than I would have liked. “If Brunhilda were still alive, in the physical sense, I would…”

“I know you would,” she replied softly, taking my hand and pressing it to her cheek. “I know, and I would understand why. But she made a mistake, I truly believe that, and she tried to redeem herself by protecting me while we were separated. “Don’t you think so?”

I had to nod my agreement. Perhaps my assessment of hers in the beginning had been correct, but at the end, I had Brunhilda all wrong. I couldn’t blame her for wanting my Gabrielle, but I was safe in the knowledge that she would never have her.

I started to lay back down, but paused to look at her for a second. “That’s it, isn’t it?” I queried. “We’ve both told each other the worst of our experiences, right?”

“Yes, Xena,” she growled, pushing my shoulders down with her hand. She straddled my stomach then, the heat and moisture of her pussy pressing down into the flesh of my abdominals. She began an erotic sliding back and forth motion over me, throwing back her head and groaning out her pleasure. I could see her juices coating my belly in streaks, and my senses all seemed to converge in my lower half. I had no sooner bent my knees and spread my thighs, when I felt her fingers caressing down over my slit. She slipped three fingers inside me, the heel of her hand pressing into my clit as she continued to writhe over me. I reached up and grabbed hold of her swaying breasts with a groan of my own.

“I love you, Gabrielle,” I whispered.

And she came.

COMING NEXT WEEK: When she and Xena have to go on separate missions, Gabrielle is kidnapped by a ship’s captain who seems very familiar.

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