Disclaimer. This story contains violence, as well as love between two adult women.
Disclaimer. The Xena Warrior Princess series and its characters are all copyrighted property of MCA/universal
Disclaimer. This story is the sequel to Shattering Of The Silver Light and follows on directly from where that story finished.
"As I sit a top my iron throne I wonder the fate of my race, years from now after I am dead and long buried. Will we rise up with greatness or fall in to the abyss of despair? I have fought many battles but I know now that am getting old and the sword feels heavy in my hands. I know I am not long for this world I am eighty years in to my reign and I am starting to feel it. I can only hope that my god Ares in proud of the battles I've fought in my time as king and I hope he smiles when the dead speak my name. I am a Horn Hind and the first werewolf to ever have horns but I must be honest these horns are not what define me my actions are what defines me.
I may be king but I will never forget that I am still just a man. I hope all of the Horn Hinds that follow me, be they man or woman never forgot that. We are mortals capable of great and terrible things and it is no lie that to rule we are sometimes forced to be brutal and we have to make terrible choices that haunt our dreams but choices like this are worth all the blood of your heart and all the suffering of your soul if the people you rule can be given something better.
Those were the words spoken by the first Horn Hind the Emerald Hind I read them once in the Grand City library which seems like so long ago now. I know now the truth of his words we are all capable of great and terrible things and right now I am doing a terrible thing, not because I'm being noble but because the rage in my heart is at boiling point and it needs to be released. There is blood everywhere it's all over my clawed hands and from my mouth and it's dripping down on to the floor. I can even taste it in my mouth, it's not a taste I've ever enjoyed but right now it just fuels me all the more I know I'm past the point of no return. I guess this is my weakness I was trained to do this as a warrior in the Grand City and I have always tried so hard to keep a handle on my rage but sometimes I slip, I don't mean to but it happens.
Its never nice when I do this room is proof of that, there are five dead people lying around me and there is blood is spattered all over the walls and floor. Not one of them got a clean death, I tour them limb from limb and they suffered before they died. I'm now standing over a woman who has her sword pointed at my face and I don't care, I want her to die I want to see the light leave her eyes when I kill her. At this moment I am the monster of her nightmares the thing that has properly terrified her all her life. I can smell her fear it's like a pheromone igniting the air and I can see the conflict in her eyes she's thinking should she stab me? She is also considering the concept of my jaws locking around her head and crushing her skull. Sadly I have no intention of using my jaws around her head I have something that is far worse in mind, after all sometimes justice and retribution can only come from one who has no heart when it comes to those who bring pain and suffering.
In the Central Palace of Corinth two months ago
By Ouroboros this is bliss I could die here right now and I just wouldn't care they say that there are moments in your life like this and I feel like I'm living one at this moment in time. I'm lying naked on top of the Empress and I feel so at peace I know this is where I belong the last six months of my life have been so up and down I feel that I should be writing everything down but I'm not a bard or a writer I feel it would be difficult to explain. How do explain that you spent a number of years in the pit in the royal palace, how do you tell people that when the woman who saved you from that pit hated you and treated you badly at first when she found out that you were a werewolf? Then that she righted every wrong she had done to you and more after finding out that you were the werewolf king, after which you became good friends and later became your lovers. It's a minefield no matter how I look at it, I think it would be very hard to explain and maybe it would fill more than one scroll to write because telling it to people would take a very long time. I know when I tell this woman that I love her it is always from my heart I would die for her with out question and a part of me feel ignited its been so long since I've felt this way.
When you taste the kiss of one who you love so deeply you feel as though you could do anything and no one will be able to stop you. The Imperial Council will fall by our hands I will make it so with every breath I take, I now know there are rebel werewolves in Corinth who are loyal to me and will follow me but I won't deny despite my outer feelings of being able to do anything I fear leading an army. I have never led an army of a huge size, I've led patrols of no more than twenty werewolves but no more and the thought of it scares me, what if they don't believe in me? What if I'm not fit to lead an army of werewolves? All I can hope is that I'm up to this and that Xena the Empress of Greece stands by my side. Empress of Greece sounds odd for me to even say, because to me she's Xena. It's been a long time since I've used her formal title I don't even use it in front of others. I don't know if all the staff know that our relationship has now become more than friendship but I'm sure with in the next few days it will become clear to them.
I feel my lips meet the other woman's again I've said it may times but I know I'm powerless against her affections, if she asked anything off me I'd give it to her with out question or hesitation. Not long ago I believed I would never experience love again not after the man I loved who was called Damokles was murdered, he was a werewolf just like me. I believe he was killed by the Imperial Council by a man called Bastiaan, though I can't prove it but one day I will have my vengeance for his death. After his death I had an abusive relationship with a woman called Adrienne, she tore away the last of my emotions destroying everything I believed about myself leaving me cold and empty. I am a Horn Hind my title is the Golden Hind and she made me believe that I was not king and that I was just a tool that was there just to be used by the Imperial Council. I got to such a point that I just wanted my life to end and it almost did but then the woman who is kissing me now came in to my life and everything changed. I can now feel love again and I can embrace emotions once more. I still smoke coltsfoot root but I can honestly say I am almost free of opium which has ruled my life for so long it clear that I am free from some of my demons and I can finally move forward with my life.
Gabrielle moved her hand up playing with the other woman's dark hair as she kissed her lips again. Xena felt a smile form as she looked at the desk which she was lying naked on. "You know I do have paperwork to do." Gabrielle eyed the other woman's silver armour which was littered all over the floor along with the bed cover she had been wearing when she had walked in to her personal study. "No you don't." Xena felt her smile widen as she leaned up gently kissing the scar above the younger woman's eye. "You know I do have the Greek empire to rule." Gabrielle moved her hands to her waist pushing her down gently as she kissed her lips again. "Rule it tomorrow." Xena felt her smile widen as she leaned forward about to kiss the younger woman only to hear the pounding on the door. She looked up sharply hearing Demetrius's voice hit the air. "My apologises Empress but I need to speak with you." She breathed in deeply great, just great she really didn't need the head of her royal guard to walk in on here right now and see her lying naked on her study table. "I'm busy, please don't come in here!"
She listened as his voice came again. "This can't wait Empress, a mercenary by the name of Red Griffin has just brought in the hand of Talus one of your most wanted warlords. You have said many times that anyone who kills him or Glaphyra would get an audience with you. They would also receive two thousand coin, for doing so. I wouldn't bother you but this woman and her satyr companion has been here since this morning waiting to see you, sadly this woman is rather egoistic and I'm worried that she might cause an incident." Xena rolled her eyes she knew full well what he was talking about mercenaries could be very frightening to the palace children and some of them liked to show off by fighting the royal guard. She turned to Gabrielle who looked concerned. "I have to deal with this, I'm sorry." Gabrielle leaned over giving the dark haired woman a warm kiss before pulling away. "I understand." She leaned down wrapping the blanket around her body watching as the other woman got up off her desk. "Will you be back soon?" Xena took hold of her arm easing her closer before kissing her lips for a long moment before pulling away. "I will, nothing could keep me from you."
Gabrielle felt a smile form as the taller woman stepped away from her. "Thank you." Xena eyed the door to her study as she spoke. "I'll be with you in ten minutes Demetrius, take the Red Griffin and her friend to the throne room." Demetrius's voice hit the air. "As you wish Empress." She walked towards the wash room opening it watching as Gabrielle picked up her clothes before following her. "What will you do while I'm away?" Gabrielle put her lovers armour and clothes down opposite her on the table. "I don't know I might practise for a while or go and see Fedora and the children." Xena looked at her for a long moment before turning the tap filling the stone carved bowl with warm water before stopping it. "As soon as I'm done with this I will come and find you. It shouldn't take to long once this woman and her friend have had this audience they can leave and take their coin." She slowly began to wash her face and body. "It's an easy procedure." Gabrielle felt a slight smile form. "That's nice to know." She paused eyeing the clothes on table opposite before running her finger absentmindedly over the gleaming silver breast plate. "You know since I undressed you, can I help you put your clothes back on?" Xena raised an eyebrow eyeing her lover feeling a playful grin form on her lips. "I would like that a lot."
Lila eyed the games room where she was seated in opposite it was a long corridors which led to the throne room whose doors were bolted shut. The city guard had left her and Korudon a long time ago, they had been waiting here now for what felt like hours and she was getting bored. These games were not what she would call entertainment. Entertainment was watching men and women in a pit fight beat each others senseless or seeing a chariot crash in the arena or being at an orgy and having a very good time. This really wasn't her idea of fun and she could tell that Korudon was just as bored as she was, she could tell by how he was tapping his hoof against the table leg repeatedly. Satyrs didn't really like to sit still for long periods of time, they always had to be doing something or they got bored and moody. Add to the fact that Korudon didn't drink as he preferred to stay away from alcohol as he liked to always be in control this only added to his frustration. She picked up a piece on one of the games before tossing it back down on the table. "You know they are going to see us soon, I'm sure of it."
Korudon looked up from his seat trying to contain his annoyance. "Yeah well can they get on with it I'm dying of boredom here." He raised his clawed hand. "When we get the coin and this is over, can we spend a night in a really nice tavern and then go and watch the Gladiatorial games at the arena?" Lila eyed her helmet which was sitting opposite her on the table. "Of cause and we'll buy a huge meal in the best tavern we can find to celebrate." She looked up as the door opened and a woman with dark black hair which was braided in place walked in her eyes were reddish brown in colour. She was wearing a light brown leather shirt which had long sleeves as well as darker brown trousers and knee high black boots. Around her waist was a thick black leather belt which was decorated in silver on the buckle was the Empress's personal symbol. She felt a sly smile form as she stood up putting on her helmet, finally this was getting interesting. "So you must be Iona." Iona breathed in how wonderful she hated it when low life mercenaries recognised her. They always had inflated egos and somehow thought that they were in the same league as her, which they weren't.
She didn't kill for money she killed to protect the Empress and she didn't care for bragging about who she had killed. She eyed the dark haired woman who now had her helmet on keeping her voice even as she spoke. "The Empress will see you both now." Lila raised her hand watching as Korudon stood up. "So you were never able to kill Talus, were you? Gods it must pain you that someone like me could do what you couldn't." Iona felt her hand slowly form a fist. Why did she have to bring this woman to the throne room, why couldn't Demetrius do it instead he was so much better at dealing with people who had inflated egos. Lila felt an evil smirk form as she eyed the woman who was considered the best of the best. "How many times did Talus slip out of your grasp, oh that's right three times in Athens, Crete and Illyria that must have been really embarrassing for you?" Iona turned eyeing her for a long moment as she forced both of her hands behind her back so the other woman wouldn't see that she that she wanted to hit her. "Red Griffin is it? I do wonder how you did kill Talus I do hope that you did kill him yourself and that you didn't just get someone else to do it for you, because the Empress would not approve of you lying."
She looked up slightly seeing that the other woman had now gone quite clearly she wasn't amused by that comment. Not that she really cared she hated smart mouthed mercenaries and this one would be in for a shock when she met the Empress, as she didn't tolerant rudeness least of all from outsiders who were visiting. She had heard that the treasurer Theodore had already been put in his place for insulting Gabrielle during his visit to the palace not long ago. Apparently the Empress had really lost her temper with him, which was rare as she didn't loose her temper that much. One thing was very clear to her though she was deeply in love Gabrielle and deeply respected her and no doubt would make her, her consort in time and would not have anyone insulting her. She turned back to the Red Griffin eyeing her. "There are three rules in the Throne room you don't speak until the Empress speaks to you. You will both hand over your weapons to the royal guard the moment you enter the room and you will bow in her presence, is that understood?" Lila felt a cold sneer form what a bitch, she hated it when others doubted her ability to do things it reminded her off when she was home and she couldn't live up to her fathers expectations as a carpenter. Ha always told her that Gabrielle used to do it this way, that had frustrated and angered her for years even though Gabrielle had vanished she was still the base compassion for everything she did.
Maybe when she found Gabrielle and returned her home she would be given the recognition she truly deserved. For once she'd be the hero in her father's eyes and maybe he would finally accept her path as a warrior. Maybe then he would stop telling her that she should settle down, get married and have children. She'd never cared for marriage and the truth was she hated village life it was as boring as Tartarus and it had felt as though it was suffocated her. She wanted to do things with her life and see things not be cooped up as someone's wife the world was about more than just moving buckets of milk and feeding grain to chickens day in day out. Truth was after Gabrielle had gone the only pleasure she had, had was looking after her new born brother Leandro but once he was old enough to take on carpeting she had once again become very bored. She had come to realize that her dreams were far a field and not in Potidaea and that she had to embrace them before her heart died inside the village walls. She had them made the choice and had left to go to the army she had completed her basic training but had only lasted seven months out in the field. It was in that time that she had come to realize that she liked being a warrior but she didn't like being a solider. She had hated the strict rules and she wanted to forge her own path.
She had been kicked out of the army due to insubordination but she had seen this as the freedom she had been wanting all along. It gave her time to rethink her direction in life and she found herself liking the idea of killing slave traders. At first it had been about getting revenge for Gabrielle but it had become much more serious as she started to form her own identity and realized that she could become very rich through killing these vile men and women. She could experience and try things beyond her reach at home like watch games, drinking until the sun went down and enjoying all the pleasures that her parents would prefer for her stay away from. Despite enjoying these pleasures she had not felt whole on her life as she was a loner and had no real friend's only contacts. It wasn't until she met Korudon that she had started to feel like a whole person and the real adventure had really started. He was her best friend in the whole world, he looked after her and she looked after him. She knew that he respected her as his equal and that she had nothing to prove to him, they both an unspoken respect for each other and were both mercenaries. They liked the same things and he was so much fun to be around. He was the first person she had met in years who had made her laugh, her life wouldn't be worth living and if it wasn't for him they were both here now to greet the Empress in person. No one could take that away from ether of them it would always be theirs, she shook of her thoughts as she turned eyeing Iona in disgust. "Understood…"
End of part 1
I apologise that this is late I know the promised realise date was May but it ended up being June. For any one who is reading this who has not read the first book its better to go back and read it, as some things in this might not make sense. The time lapse between both stories is literally ten minutes real time just in case you're interested :)