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Xena: Warrior Princess
Part 1 of 3



Xena could hardly believe her luck when she saw pond. She had
been traveling for four days through the foothills, trying to reach the
Camroot River. Now she had found one of its tributaries. Best of all, the
stream widened into a stone basin that was sheltered by two large shade
trees. The warrior princess set her pack down on a low boulder and trotted
to the inviting pool of cool, clear water. She knelt down eagerly and dipped
her hands into the water, unable to remember a time when it felt or tasted so
good as she drank it down.

When her thirst was slaked, she filled her waterskin and looked
around. A grin crept to her face as she spotted a cony running back into the
reeds. Later, she stretched out on the bank of the grotto as the sweet smell
of the cooking meat wafted into the air. Xena went over her travel plans for
tomorrow as she started her meal.

The merchant's guild in Willow River had paid her in gold to escort
an emissary back from Dunwich, a city-state on the Berlandic coast. The
merchants were opening trade negotiations for the first time since Dunwich
had declared war with a rival nation across the Blood Sea. Talks had been
stalled when the last two diplomats had failed to reach Willow River.

Xena had doffed her weapons harness, although she kept them
within arm's reach. She toyed with the buckles of her armor as she stared
longingly at the pool. It had been a week since she had left the inns of the
valley, and the grime from the trail felt detestable. This was a very nice
place to stop and relax, but she knew that any other traveler, human or not,
would reach the same conclusion. She assuaged her doubts by placing a
blade by the water's edge as she undid the final clasp, then plunged
into the water.

She came up gasping, her nipples painfully erect from the pool's
chill embrace. She submerged again and dove to the deeper part of the
basin, skimming above the glittering sand on the bottom. She swam to the
shallow end and reclined on the gentle slope that jutted out over a twin pool
downstream. Refreshed and fully content, she sighed lazily and stretched
her lithe form out to bask in the summer sun.


Xena was right about the pond's attraction to weary, thirsty eyes.
She probably wasn't aware of how her naked, sensuous body added to the
appeal. The scout, a man younger than Xena by better than five years,
carefully eased the branches back into place as he circled closer to the edge
of the water. Apparently, the strange beauty was so intent on pool that she
forgot to check his side of stream when she arrived. He had been getting
ready to move on to the next outpost along the border when he caught the
scent of a cooking fire, followed by the splashing of a bather. Mindful of an
ambush, he had made his way back to the stream.

He had gasped aloud when he saw the flash of skin and swirl of
long hair beneath the surface of the pool. He ducked back into the woods,
recalling stories of wood nymphs, maidens of the forest who would cause
blindness in mortal men who were so brash as to gaze upon their flawless,
naked bodies. But he had seen a pack and leather boots by the fire, and
recalled that all the eternally young beauties in the stories were robed in
gossamer gowns and fine jewelry. Curiosity had gotten the better of him as
he ventured a peek.

The girl broke the surface of the water like a graceful dolphin, her
head thrown back and dark hair streaming down her spine. He gasped again,
this time with subdued admiration as she rose fully out of the water. The
woman's face was the beauty of the sea under a full moon. Her eyes were the
same soft blue as the open sky above. Her skin was nut brown from her
journeys, just as his was. He noticed with astonishment that she bore

several scars over her body, and the flex of powerful muscles and
the feline grace of her movements betrayed her as a warrior. But still, even
though her hands were not soft, he could see that her touch was as she
brushed her hair back, and her full, firm breasts and long, tapered legs would
have made Princess Esmerelda herself furious with bitter envy.

The thought of the princess snapped him away from the girl's
tantalizing image. He had no clue what this strange - and very exciting -
woman was doing here. She could be the escort dispatched from
Willow River, or she could be the one behind the sinister disappearances
that had been plaguing Dunwich. With that grim thought, he drew his
sword and strode toward the pool.

The maiden was gone.

He whirled around in a panic. She was nowhere on the opposite
bank. He approached he pool, scanning the bottom as he made his way
downstream. The other pond! He ran to the edge of the small waterfall and
peered into the reeds lining the bank.

He felt a powerful wrench and found himself tumbling over the
edge. He caught a glimpse of the girl, standing in the hollow of the falls,
just before he splashed into the pond. His momentum drove him straight to
the bottom, but before he could gain his balance he was hauled clear of the
water, and gazed into blue eyes that were slitted with anger.

Xena cursed herself for being three different kinds of fool as she
pinned the young soldier down against the rocks. She cocked her arm back,
ready to deliver a killing strike. Before she could follow through, she
noticed that the fight had gone out of him.

"Mistress! I am a ranger of the Dunwich militia!"

She gathered two handfuls of the youth's tunic and pushed him
flat. She straddled his legs and kept his gaze locked with the menacing fire
that danced in her eyes.

"The castello advised us that an escort would be arriving from
Willow River."

Xena's guard relaxed, though she wasn't satisfied with the youth's
intentions. The boy visibly wilted with relief and from the exertion of the
brief but violent encounter. Xena noticed that the scout was several years
younger than she was. And even though he was as covered with the road as
she might have been, he was still very handsome. It seemed strange to her
that he was still flushed and short of breath, then she realized with a start
that she didn't have stitch of clothing on. She also noticed something long
and firm pressing between her spread legs. She didn't have to look down to
know it was his cock straining against his trousers, which was all that kept
him from sliding into her. His cock throbbed hotly, as if it had a mind of
its own and had figured as much.

Xena climbed off of him with a furious shove. Not out of
embarrassment, since she was no stranger to men, and not out of modesty,
since he must have been watching her for some time and there was nothing
left to hide. It was because feeling him there -- so hard, so eager, and,
as she surmised with a stolen glance at his powerful physique, so capable of
giving her a sound, almost brutal, and very satisfying fuck -- had awakened
a hunger in her that gripped at her insides and started a wet, tingling
heat in her own loins.

"Where are the others?" Xena realized that she hadn't introduced
herself or asked the troop for his name, but she was still trying to stop the
butterflies in her stomach.

"I came alone."

"A single troop patrolling outside Dunwich's borders during a time
of war? They told me to expect a party of ten, and report to the commander."

"I'm . . . I'm not supposed to be here, mistress."

Xena looked at him with puzzlement

"I am traveling to Calimport. I was assigned to the northern unit
when I received news that Princess Esmerelda and her entourage had been
captured while sailing south to the Sea Princes. I 'm supposed to report to
the keep at Dunwich tomorrow."

"Why Calimport? There's no detachment there anymore. It's been
an open city for the past three years."

"Yeah, exactly. I was going there to charter a vessel. A mercenary
vessel."

"This princess means that much to you?"

"I'm a member of the house guard. I should have been there."

"But why mercenaries? Even with the war, Dunwich could
dispatch ships to the rescue."

"They want to wait for a ransom demand. But I have a feeling
that
they've been captured by slavers. They aren't too big on ransoms, not
when
they can find a more worthwhile use for captives, if you know what I
mean."

Xena did, and hated knowing.

"It's not only for her. My cousin Justin was Princess
Esmerelda's
personal guard. He had a crush on her and would have done anything to
be
at her side." The ranger shut his eyes when he thought of what price
may
have finally been exacted on his enamored kinsman.

"It should have been me out there on the sea. Justin was in
love.
Esmerelda wanted him, too. But both of them knew that it could never
be.
Her father reminded them of that, and so did Justin's commanding
officer.
They found a way around it, though. Since he had distinguished
himself as
her tutor, he earned a rank in the house guard. Since I had
accomplished so
much overseas for the war effort, I could choose my own duties. I
chose the
northern defense protectorate, naming Justin as my replacement. Now
they
could spend time together away from the city -- and her father. I was
along
on one of their missions to the Minros Archipelago. I don't think
they got a
wink of sleep, even though they never left the sleeping quarters."

He smiled slyly at her and she crossed her arms, trying to
hide her
swollen nipples. She had drifted into a daydream at the mention of
Minros.
She had heard all kinds of stories of the tropical paradise with lush
greenery
and beaches that had sand as white as sugar. Her mercenary officers,
during
a drunken feast after pillaging a rich town, swapped fantasies of
banquet
halls with endless fountains of wine and ale, steaming platters of
food, and
hundreds of small, half-naked, brown-skinned girls who had only grown
faint wisps of pubic hair and would do any sexual act for the price of
asking.

There was a new swordsman who had joined her army back then.
He had stolen a few glances at her before he had launched into his
particular
fantasy of the Golden Islands. His comrades roared at his dream of
having
two women pour fruit juice over him and giving him a tongue bath. The

laughter cut short when he described one of the women. He rattled off
all of
Xena's obvious charms in language that was lewd and plain.

To everyone's surprise, especially Xena's, whose first
reaction
normally would have been to make a cut with her sword that would
render
his fantasy pointless (no pun intended), she returned a smile that was

equally lewd and simply said, "Dream on."

Xena never admitted to anyone that she would share that dream.

She wanted to question this ranger further, but could tell his
desire
had shifted from her to the other half of the rabbit on the spit.

"You're welcome to share my meal," she said. He was reaching
for
the meat even before she finished. "But bathe first. I'm not in the
mood to
share it with someone who smells like a mule. Don't feel insulted.
That
pool's the first one I've seen in miles. The water feels great."

He started towards the privacy of the reeds.

"Stay where I can see you."

The young man glanced at her warily.

"I know what a naked boy looks like," she said, totally aloof.
"And
I want you where I can be sure you won't sneak up on me in the bushes
again."

The ranger flushed with embarrassment, then set his jaw calmly
as
he stripped.

Xena allowed a smirk as he turned away, the hot fingers of her
gaze
lingering on his ass. Rank did have its privileges.

"What's your name, ranger?" she called out.

"Milan. And yours."

"Xena."

Milan's eyes widened with recognition, then he flushed as he
felt

his heart quicken and his penis swell when he realized who had been
pressed naked against him.

Xena wanted to laugh, but something touched her about how he
kept his gaze even with hers, even though so many emotions were
running
through his body and mind. One thing for sure, this guy could keep
his
cool.

"Have something to eat, Milan. We have to get moving."


The ship with the bright yellow sails docked smoothly, barely
making a sound as it came against the pier where the sheik stood. The
sheik
was a man in white robes piped with golden thread. A single, huge
diamond
rested in a silver pendant that adorned his turban. The passenger of
the
schooner was a an obese middle aged man clad in a dark caftan. His
own
turban was as plane as his other garb, but on his hip rode an ornately

jeweled dagger.

"Greetings, Tahir Arrani , Master of the Bandar Guild of
Assassins."

"Well met, Hafez Makhi, Lord of Corsairs," the aging hit man

returned the elaborate bow.

"You're just in time, dear friend. Raiding has gone well this

season."

Makhi's pirates roamed the waters of the Blood Sea. Pickings
had
been slim, with more merchants turning to Dunwich's navy and the
marines
of the Sea Princes' fleet for protection as the war dragged into its
second
year. That was until Makhi's bold plan unfolded. They stood atop his

solution to their problem now. The dock was not on firm land, but
perched
on the edge of a giant carapace. The cunning pirate had captured one
of the
zaraten, a race of gigantic seagoing creatures that were the size of
an island
and roamed the warm waters to the south. Makhi had established a
fortress
on the back of the mammoth turtle and docked his pirate fleet in the
hollows
of its shell. Arrani was one of the few people who ever knew the
whereabouts of the floating citadel. Even if anyone could find it,
they
would have to sail through barrages from the catapults and ballistae
that
ringed the stronghold and the face the five hundred buccaneers that
manned
them. Makhi planned to take Calimport, the city guarding the mouth of
the
Camroot River, then sail his raiders up the river and deep into the
mainland.

"So, I hope it is good news, you bring my friend."

Arrani smiled grandly. "Yes. The guild will pay you with new

weapons. The blockades are much easier to run these days. And the
khans
to the east have a weakness for your fair-haired wenches that lets me
set my
prices ridiculously high."

Tahir Arrani was the sheik's link to the slave markets of
Bandar.
Makhi had been raiding the coastline not only for treasure and
provisions to
sell to mercenaries of the Blood Sea War, but had been earning huge
sums
with the sale of captured youths. The harems and brothels of the
shady port
cities were never full enough to please their greedy proprietors.

"Come, let us dine and celebrate good business."

They went back to his palace. The marble floors and columns
were
a welcome replica of the guild house where the two had started. There
was a
banquet of fresh fruits, meats, and warm bread spread out before them.
As
they were seated, Makhi nodded to his eunuch guard, who ushered in the

latest spoils of the raid on the coastal cities.

Seven women, with hair like spun gold and alabaster skin,
stood in
a line before the two. They were completely nude, as was the custom
for the
host to display his wives and concubines for his guests. In Makhi's
case
though, it was his sales pitch to his best customer. Arrani was
transfixed by
the voluptuous young slaves, who were drugged with the resin of a
bitter
herb that robbed them of their will and replaced it with animal
passion.
They wore the collars of apprentice slave girls, with their hair
pulled back by
silk barrettes so that the buyer could examine their faces closely for

blemishes or signs of misuse. Makhi's personal concubines had
prepared
each one, oiling and milking their skins, shaving and perfuming their
womanly charms for the act of love.

Arrani looked to his host for approval, who smiled and nodded
his
assent. He held his platter up for the slave boy. Instead of placing
his dish
there, he spit his unswallowed mouthful of food into the teen's hand
and
staggered to the girl in the middle of the display. He reached out
with a
greasy, trembling hand and hefted one of her large breasts. The
areolas of
her tits were huge and shell pink. He reached between her strong
thighs
with the other hand, running a ringed finger between the cleft of her
plump
labia. He only became aware of Makhi's voice when the eunuch guard
pressed a scimitar under his chin.

"I said," Makhi intoned with renewed patience, now that he
had the
assassin's attention once more, "that that one is for final sale only.
She is
the daughter of a noble, so her hands and feet are not toughened from
labor."

"I'll buy her right now!" the trembling guild master said as
he
reached for his pouch.

"Afraid not, old friend," Makhi said benevolently. "The
padishah
has made an offer already."

"I'll offer double whatever he did."

"The weapons shipment?"

Arrani balked at the thought He had bought entire barges full
of
slave women for half that price. But his eyes rested on the maiden,
who had
slid down to the furs that were conveniently placed in the center of
the
audience hall. Her eyes were almond shaped, like the elves of the
Freehold
woodlands, her lips full and parted moistly as she wrapped her arms
round
his knees. He had no chance to resist.

"Done."

Makhi cackled delightedly and beckoned to three of the women
for
himself.


Princess Esmerelda was only faintly aware of the man's hands
on
her breasts as he sucked each one of her nipples. As if in betrayal
to her
own body, they hardened underneath the bearded mouth. She seemed to
view her own rape as if she were watching it from her bedroom window
in
Dunwich Keep. The voice that whispered into the old man's ear,
telling how
good his lips felt, was that of a waterfront whore trying to please a
wealthy
customer. The tongue that trailed down the side of his neck, tasting
his salty
sweat and the heat of his desire, belonged to a woman who had been
deprived of a man's pleasure for long years. She watched the fat,
hairy man
press his engorged penis against her smooth thigh, the heat of it was
urgent
and barely containing his seed. The strange woman captured his head
between her hands, began to suck on his outstretched tongue like it
was a
ripe plum, tasting the flavor of the morsel he had just eaten.


Arrani rolled his eyes with lust as the harem girl softly
kneaded his
scrotum and blew a sweet puff of breath into his open mouth. She
swung
her long, powerful legs over him and swallowed his drooling cock. He
licked at the glistening, quivering folds of her pussy, mouthing the
tender
insides of her thighs and slipping the tip of his tongue
experimentally into
the pink pucker of her ass. Esmerelda moaned and stroked his cock
firmly
as he snaked his tongue farther in. She crawled forward on all fours,
her
legs spread wide as she looked over her shoulder at him.

The master assassin stroked his cock with anticipation as he
stared
at the dripping pussy. He glanced up at the other girls, who were
rubbing
their crotches as they watched their companion work on their guest.
He
motioned to one, a youngster who had just crossed into womanhood, to
kneel in front of him. She knelt and wrapped her arms around his
waist,
looking at Esmerelda and licking her lips with longing. Arrani
commanded
Esmerelda to play with herself, then pulled the teenager's head to his
waiting
shaft.

Esmerelda leaned against a pillowed couch, the fingers of
both her
hands plunged into her pussy and anus as she watched the girl fellate
the
leering man. A drop of saliva drooled out the side of his mouth as he
huffed
with the girl's exquisite rhythm, and the young harem wench stretched
her
tongue out to catch it before she returned to her oral labors.

Arrani pulled her head away and motioned for her to lay with
her
head between Esmerelda's knees. He put a hand around Esmerelda's
waist,
his belly pressed against her smooth back. The slave girl stroked his
cock as
she flicked her tongue across Esmerelda's clit. She gave Arrani's
cock an
appreciative suck before she guided it into Esmerelda's wet vagina.

Arrani let out a hooting groan as he sank his cock into her.

Esmerelda looked into his eyes, ran her tongue across her teeth with
unrepentant lust as she wriggled her hips and met his thrusts. The
old man
couldn't keep the pace long, and after a dozen thrusts he bucked twice
as he
sprayed his semen inside of her. As he pulled out, the slave girl
licked the
seed from Esmerelda's shaven pussy lips. Eager to feel the master's
thrusts
for herself, she wiped the spent juices from inside Esmerelda's pussy
and
smeared it between the cheeks of her own ass, slipping two fingers
inside
her rectum, then knelt prostrate before her master. The assassin
found
himself gripped with lust greater than anything he felt before as he
eyed the
small girl's waiting pucker. He spit on his cock to lubricate himself

and pressed the head of his shaft into her waiting ass. He was
probably too
big and she was not loose enough, but the harem girl's lust would not
be
denied. She pressed back with the strength of her supple body and he
penetrated her sphincter with a lunge that caused him to bite down on
his
lip. The girl screamed and rubbed her clit furiously as she pumped on
his fat
cock. Esmerelda was kissing the assassin deeply, her hand at work
between
her legs, too. Arrani shouted out with release as his seed spurted
into the
girls bowels. The three of them collapsed back onto the furs and lay
panting
from their carnal exertions. The other harem girls soothed them with
gentle
massages and cool washcloths as they waited for their turn with the
master.


Xena and Milan had reached border by nightfall the next day.
He
had hidden his uniform beneath a set of flat black garments. They
were on
the oceanside cliffs, with Calimport one day away. From there they
could
enlist a mercenary crew and start hunting the marauders. Xena looked
from
the edge of the cliff to the lights of Calimport. She was delaying
her
mission greatly, but she had an especially bitter hatred of the slave
traders in
the east. If Dunwich lost its arms deal with the Willow River
merchants, she
knew where to buy more, and she'd have the money to get them herself!

Milan stretched out on the blanket. They wouldn't risk a
fire, but
with the full moon they wouldn't need any light. Xena came down from
the
promontory, taking off her cloak and sitting next to him. He could
feel her
warmth and heard her sigh as she lay back against the tree. He got up

promptly.

Xena walked over to where he stood. She touched him softly
on
the shoulder, felt him tense up.

"Was it something I said?" she said with more of a sarcastic
edge
than she intended.

"You're a woman."

"Congratulations, professor, you've figured that one out.
What do
you mean , 'You're a woman?'"

"The hair, the breasts, the soft skin, that's what I mean!"

Xena was speechless. She had been expecting some sort of
confession of male ego, like the ones she had heard from so many men
who
fretted at having a woman at their side in combat. Not this time.

"Ever since I could walk, I've done it with sword or lance in
my
hand. Justin was right when he teased me about being slave to a
mistress
called war. I was once a favorite of the princess, you know? I
staved off her
advances politely but officiously, talking about duty and the king's
trust, and
all that. The truth was I was scared - scared of her charm and scared
of how
helpless I was starting to feel. At least Justin had the courage to
try."

"A lot of men I've met would rather charge a phalanx of angry
knights than admit their feelings for a woman," she said amiably.
"Sad, but
there's no shame there. And, yes there is more to a warrior's life
than battle.
There are some thrills that don't sing with the clashing of steel.
There are
some passions that aren't borne of fury, some lusts that aren't for
blood. And
now you want to know them."

"I know what I'm missing," he said, flustered, mistaking the

meaning of her padded words. "That's what makes it so painful."

Xena stood before him, resting her hands on his shoulders and
looking up, deeply into his eyes.

"Among the Sujel tribes there's a custom. They never marry,
but
before they go off to war, they hold a ceremony where they each choose
a
mate. They make love, and ride to battle with the next day. The
Sujel are
warrior tribes, both men and women, and not many reach old age. But
those
that survive are always carrying life forward off the battlefield.."
She bit her
lower lip and hoped that he liked what he had seen enough to take her
offer.

"Are you uncomfortable with me?" Xena wanted to know.

"No," he answered.

"Are you uncomfortable that I'm more experienced?"

"Not at all."

"Good. I want to share with you everything I know."

Milan looked at her. He kissed her softly. It was a sweet
kiss, a
kiss to dream on. The next kiss was a little more than a sweet one,
and the
next was something else. He heard faint pings as she undid the straps
of his
armor, and he worked to free her of hers.

They stood before each other naked now. She wrapped her arms
around his neck and her body fit perfectly against his, as if she had
lived just
for this moment, had been waiting and hungering for him all her life.
His
touch roamed over the silky skin of her back, her ass, and her supple
thighs.
He felt her lips part slightly, and the tip of her tongue brushed
across his
lips. He did the same and probed farther to meet hers in her mouth.
Her
tongue was a playful thing, slipping and wrestling with his. The soft
strokes
of hers seemed to promise what was to come.

She smiled warmly at him as they eased down to the blanket.
They
knelt opposite each other, content to stare with silent but unabashed
admiration. Milan thought as he looked at her that even though she
was
older and was a warrior, her face was that of a child now - soft, full
of
wonder, radiant. Xena eased him onto his back. She knelt between his
legs,
with her hands resting at the tops of his feet. She slowly ran her
hands up
and down, up and down his legs. She took his cock in one hand and
very
gently cupped his balls in the other.

She gave his shaft a gentle squeeze and caressed it lightly with the
tips of her fingers. Milan shut his eyes and let waves of pleasure
roll over
him. She kissed him softly, and kissed his chest his stomach, dipping
her
tongue into his navel. She felt him begin to arch, recognized the
language of
his body. She stopped and squeezed his cock firmly. "No, no, not
yet," she
cooed, "There's more. There's so much more."

Milan let out a soft cry as her tongue ran along the underside
of his
cock. Her lips closed over the head and she sucked softly. She
looked up
at him as she slid it deeper into her mouth. She pulled her upper lip
down
over the top of it and flattened her tongue along the bottom. She
bobbed
her head up and down, adding wet, wilting suction as she ran her hand
over
his chest and stomach. Milan felt his hands and feet, then his arms
and legs
start to go numb, all sense abandoning him except for the soft, moist
grip of
Xena's mouth and the licks of her tongue. Xena watched his face and
felt
the grip of his hand, until she found his rhythm and kept at it. She
decided
not to tease him. She wanted to give him a climax that he would
remember
for the rest of his life, and knew that taking the edge off his lust
would help
him last longer when she finally gripped his cock in her pussy, which
was
already swollen and hot with anticipation.

She thrilled inwardly as she felt him flex and snap like
puppet with
its strings cut. His sperm squirted into her mouth in a long, thick,
scalding
streams, coating the roof of her mouth. It was so thick it was almost
like
paste, and she couldn't swallow much. She could see the lust in his
eyes
when he saw his seed trickling out the side of her mouth, so she
shamelessly
let it flow between her lips and down her chin. She gathered his cum
with
her fingertips then licked them clean, then licked up the semen that
remained
on his cock, all the while keeping her smoky, passionate gaze locked
with
his.

He pulled her up and kissed her deeply. He rolled her on her
back
and gripped her knees, pulling them up and open. He left a trail of
wet
kisses from her ankles, to her knees, and inside her thighs, stopping
shy of
her flushed, puffy lips. Milan ran the tips of his fingers gently
between
them, pleasure of his own filling him as her moans and sighs drifted
to him.
He slid his middle finger deep inside her, rubbing her clitoris
lightly with
this thumb. Her breath came in excited gasps, her head rolled back
and forth
as he sucked one of her large, pink nipples as he worked his hand
faster.

Xena grinned with triumph, her eyes squeezed shut with ecstasy
as
Milan ran his tongue between the lips of her pussy. He took long
licks
that started at the bottom of her pussy and ended at her navel. He
pulled the
fleshy outer lips between his, sucking and licking with the wettest of

intimate kisses.

"What kind of novice are you, young Milan? I've -- ohhhhhh
--
never experienced a man who was as good with his mouth as he was when

he had talked me into bed!"

"Justin and I traded notes. I told him how to make the house
guard
and win the princess's favor, and he told me how to please women. I
used to
dream of this at night as I slept alone."

"Mmmmm. Even Hercules, as strong yet gentle as he was,
couldn't
make me feel like this. Ahhhhh! Right there, Milan. Ohhhhh
yesssss!"

Milan felt a flush of pride to be compared so with Hercules.
He
rolled his tongue and cradled her engorged clitoris with it. It was
Xena's
turn to thrash helplessly as he sucked gently. He squeezed her
breasts,
stroking her nipples between his fingers. Her teeth clenched and head

arched back as a string of explosions ripped through her brain and
burned
her loins.

Milan climbed up and kissed her deeply, letting the warrior
princess taste her own dark, hot juices. Xena grabbed his ass and
stroked
the young stud's cock with satisfaction. It slid powerfully through
her
fingers as he groaned his eagerness to her. He was ready, and she
knew he
would feel well rewarded when he felt, with his cock, how hot and
swollen
her pussy was from his attention.

She pulled him between her legs and scissored them into the
small
of his back. They kissed deeply, teasing each other with twists of
their hips
and squeezing each other's ass possessively. Soon they couldn't
stand it any
longer and worked their loins together. Milan felt the goose-egg head
of his
cock nudge the wet lips of her pussy open. He pushed his hips forward

firmly. Xena's pussy seemed tighter than he thought it should, and he
was
afraid of hurting her. Xena drew a sharp breath as her pussy
stretched
around him. She looked up into his eyes when she felt him pause. She
gave
him a strange, weak smile and nodded. She stifled a moan as he
finished his
stroke, which caused a burning, stabbing sensation deep within her as
he
reached her limit and couldn't fit in any farther. Her eyes flew
open and her
face filled with animal hunger as he pulled out and thrust into her
again.

Milan had never felt anything like this in his life. It was
like he
was part of her, at her very core, and the daggers of pleasure that
shot
through him as the lips of her pussy slid down to the base of his cock
were
lancing into her as well. Inside she was very warm, and the walls of
her
vagina were so slippery but at the same time clinging to the skin of
his cock
wonderfully. He saw the muscles of her stomach dance and flinched
slightly as her nails raked his back. He thrust faster and her hands
locked on
his hips as powerful jolts racked her body. She seemed to go weak
for few
moments, then she wrestled him onto his back and squatted astride
him..

"Was this what you were dreaming of when we met?" she purred,

sliding lazily along him. She crushed herself against him and
clamped her
mouth over his, her tongue invading his mouth ravenously. As their
sweat-
slicked bodies slid over each other, Milan could feel Xena's hard, hot

nipples poking into his chest as if they wanted to penetrate him.
Their gasps
and moans mixed together as they felt an immense wave of lust and
pleasure
build inside. They locked together and felt the world go into a spin
as his
cum surged into her womb. They writhed as if they were impaled on the

same spear of intense pleasure. Their breaths were like blast
furnaces
against each other's skin as they shared a few more strokes, wincing
with the
unbearably delicious friction.

"Sleep, my warrior," she whispered as she felt the warm, soft
blanket of slumber wrap around them. "The battle awaits us."

The mercenary ship docked just after dawn in the bustling
seaport
of Bandar. Though the city itself was just waking and opening another

business day, activity on the dock went on at all hours. The vessel
docked
across from two heavily laden cargo ships hauling textiles from the
far east.
Long trains of dock workers grunted under the heavy bundles as foremen

cursed about schedules and lost wages. The two warriors were barely
visible
in the crush of humans and demi-humans that were scrambling
frantically
between the docked vessels and the rows of warehouses that separated
the
shore from the market area.

"By the gods, I've never been in a place so confusing! And
the
smell!" Milan urged Xena to get them far away from a fishmonger's
cart that
had collided with one carrying pickled animal parts. The shouts were
coming loud and furious in two different languages.

Xena ignored Milan's queasy voice as she scanned the piers.
She
found the yellow sails that marked the slave ships, which were docked
at the
southernmost pier. As they neared the end of the pier, the crown
thinned
out. Xena dragged Milan into a side alley that doubled as an open
sewer.

"The ones in the red turbans and black pants are the harbor
patrol.
Avoid them at all costs. Most of them are drawing pay from the
Assassin's
Guild. Also stay clear of the ones wearing bright yellow, those are
the
slavers."

They picked their way to the adjacent street, which was
crowded
with spice vendors. The curving route led them to the market yard.
It was
several acres wide and jammed with stalls and carts bearing goods from
all
corners of the world. The air was thick with smoke from cooking fires
and
smoking dens as well as flies attracted by food and animal droppings.

"There," Xena nodded to a row of long buildings with high
windows. "Those are the slave pens. We have to enter near the far
side to
be close to the slave girls' market."

The auction yard was a covered area several hundred feet wide.
The
area in front of the pen for women awaiting auction was crowded with
shouting and whistling men. Xena abandoned any thought of getting
close
right now. They could wait until the first round of bidding ended.
By then
the first wave of girls bound for the brothels would be leaving, with
a surge
of eager customers behind it.

Xena did stroll past the opposite end of the auction stand,
where
last-minute inspections and subsequent haggling was taking place. New

owners were vigorously wiping off makeup used to conceal scars and
blemishes or probing and sniffing genitals for disease, while the
wholesalers
dutifully feigned surprise. Milan gaped as he stared at a roped off
area
where a masked stud was systematically deflowering a line of women,
since,
by law, virgins could not be sold for prostitution. Here and there, a
bidder
whispered to a guard and passed a handful of coins while a cohort
discretely
escorted a girl out of line.

"Why buy when you can just borrow, sweetmeat?" Milan
turned to his side to see a woman in dark robes. She pulled aside the
hem to
reveal one of her long legs and her dusky bush. She opened her robe
farther
and revealed bare breasts the size of melons. "Only a day's wage,
and you
don't have to take care of me afterwards."

She pressed her case by running her hands up his legs as she
grinned lasciviously. She gave him a playful squeeze and whispered an
offer
in his ear. Xena's hand shot between them and drew the working
prostitute
into a swift backhand slap. The harlot fell heavily on her ass,
dropping
Milan's coin pouch on impact. She glared at Xena, then bolted off.

"If I remember correctly, you told me the princess was a
blonde."

"Just admiring the scenery, mistress." Milan protested.

"Give me a break, ranger. She had a harelip."

Xena's lying, Milan thought. Even she wasn't looking at her
face.

"The princess and her handmaidens are nowhere around here.
Small wonder. What do we do next?" Milan asked.

"It looks like I get to visit some old acquaintances," she
said.
The expression on her face told that the experience would be less than

pleasant.

"Welcome back, Warrior Princess," greeted the man in rich,
midnight blue robes. He wore his dark hair long and had a short
goatee. A
ring of gold adorned his nose and an elaborate pendant fastened his
cloak.
"How long has it been, one month, two . . .?"

"Four years, Senguro," Xena scowled at two bodyguards that
towered over her. They smiled warmly and fingered the hilts of their
scimitars.

"That long, eh? Where does the time go? I hope you've come
back
to take me up on my dinner invitation."

"Not this time, Soft-Hand," Xena softened her face and
smiled, but
her hand was casually resting on her hip now, near the stiletto. "I
came to
ask about the slavers who are selling western women."

"Such information is hard to come by, mistress," Senguro was
loosing interest already. "What makes you think I know anything about
it?"

"A gold ring with an bloodstone lozenge set in it. The mark
of a
prime charter master for the Assassin's Guild."

Senguro dropped all cordiality and his thugs promptly gripped
the
hilts of their weapons. "Who do not brook invasions of their affairs!
I
could kill you now, Xena, and no one would say a word about it!"

"No, you couldn't, Senguro, because you're the last person who

can afford to call the attention of the Guild Master upon himself.
How
much have you been holding back this year, Soft-Hand? Three percent?
Ten
percent?"

"I would never cross the Guild! No one who's smart ever
does!"

"And I'm the padishah's daughter!" Xena grinned mockingly.

Senguro waved his guards to stand easy. "You're going to be
the
end of me, Xena. All this, for a few lousy moments in North Haven."

"Most men would kill for that chance, Soft-Hand. Some have,"

Xena huffed, but they both knew it wasn't an idle boast.

"I know," Senguro said pleasantly. "So what is it you
require?
The name attached to a poisoned blade? A head to ease a grieving
widow's
heart?"

"A girl, Senguro. A Dunwich maiden with hair like gold and
elfish
eyes. She probably was here within the last few days."

"The Guild Master left two days ago for the open sea. He
sails
back here through the Spindrift Isles, then departs for the east at
the new
moon."

"You're sure of this?"

"Have I ever told you wrong? I didn't think so. I accept
your
apology, milady, and you can join me for that dinner to express your
gratitude."

"Looks like we part on bad terms again, Senguro. You'll have
to
stick to whatever nobleman's daughter you're sleeping with these
days."

"Not the same, I'm afraid," he grinned as he faded into the
shadow.

"Don't tell me that he. . ." Milan said with a trifle of
jealousy.

"You believe everything you hear, Milan. That's your
problem."

"Can we trust him?"

"No, but he hates the Guild more than anything else. It was
his
worst mistake, and there's no way out once you've stepped in. He
never
could think ahead very far."


The mercenary vessel, the Nightshade, made good time through
the
Straits of Colchos and headed for the open sea. They could make
Spindrift
Sound by nightfall of the following day, just in time to catch the
Guild
slaver as she navigated the reefs around the islands. The assassins
would
have to hug the outward side of the reef since the beasts prowling the
open
water were too dangerous and the Duke of Karmanka had a fleet guarding

the shoreline.

They had just sighted the islands when the sun seemed to fade
from
the sky. Everyone was struck with horror by the sinister pall of fog
that was
rolling across the islands, and soon its tendrils floated towards the
ship.

"Avast!" bellowed Captain Morgantheau, a veteran of seven wars

on the Blood Sea and retainer to the Dunwich navy. "Lookouts on the
bow!
Watch for reefs!" A lot of good that would do. By the time shallow
water
was spotted, they'd be on top of the reef.

"What kind of fog is this, Captain?" Milan's teeth chattered
as the
mist closed around the ship. The temperature had dropped severely.

"Devil's fog, boy," he spat into the steam rising off the
water.
"These parts never see mist during the day."

"Sorcery," Xena agreed. She shrugged her cloak aside,
heedless of
the fog, her blades standing ready. They all noticed the island at
the same
time. At first, they thought they had been caught by some land-bound
current, but a glance convinced them that they were holding their
course.
The island was bearing down on them, pushing a wall of water several
yards
high. The crew cried out in dismay as a huge boulder crested near
them,
which split open to reveal a cavernous maw that carried the reek of
centuries
from all the oceans of the world. The Nightshade was broken in half,
pieces
of her hull swirling in the monstrous wave. Xena looked on in horror
as
Milan was tossed into the air by the heaving deck and plowed under the

waves.

"Get to the forecastle, mistress!" Captain Morgantheau shoved

Xena up the ladder to the front of the ship. She had just grabbed the
rail for
support when the deck collapsed under Morgantheau's feet. He soon
joined
the rest of the hapless crew in the monstrous hydraulics that sucked
the
broken ship down.

Xena found a handhold on the lip of the zaraten's barnacle
encrusted jaws, her feet skidding along the water that surged past
her. She
felt a rough, cold hand seize her around the wrist and haul her clear.
She
was carried to the top of the crag and cast down at the feet of a band
of
buccaneers.

"Behold - Xena: Warrior Princess," scoffed Hafez Makhi. His
grin
was the last thing she saw before the butt of a spear put the lights
out.


Xena was bound at the wrists and elbows with her legs in
hobbles.
The guards took either elbow and ushered her up the trail and into the
gates
of the citadel. The little procession drew the attention of dozens of
pirates
manning the trebuchets and battlements.

"Hey, look! It's feared warlord woman herself!"

"Looks more like fresh fish to me!"

"Hey, I want that bitch in my bunk tonight!"

"You can have her! Crazy slut will probably bust you in
half!"

"She won't be so tough with three or four of us pinning her
down!"

"I don't want her after YOU, Drago!"

"Hey, show us a little more skin, sweet cheeks!"

The rogues crowded around the trail, wiggling tongues and
grabbing crotches suggestively. The guards shouldered through them to
the
doors of the Guild House. They climbed a set of stairs that opened
into the
audience hall. Makhi was waiting there with Tahir Arrani. Several
scantily
clad blonde women sat among a pile of furs in the middle of the room.
One
of them matched Milan's description of his princess.

"Take her to the harem and treat her with the potion. She'll
be the
new centerpiece of my collection."

Xena went wild with outrage. Her lunge at the grinning pirate
was
aborted by the guards holding her chains.

"On second thought," said Makhi, "Entertain her in the lower
chambers for a while. Do whatever you want, as long as you leave no
scars.
But I want her tamed."

Xena shouted with feral intensity, then the lights went out
again as
the guards subdued her.


Xena woke up with the feeling of something suffocating her.
She
had a panic filled moment before she realized that she could still
breathe
through her nostrils. Gagged, she thought, and blindfolded too. Her
forearms and calves were bound in tight sleeves and a belt circled her
waist.
They were chained so she was spread eagle and hanging in the harness.
She
could tell by the draught on her skin that she was otherwise nude.

"Looks like she's coming around." The voice and the footsteps

came closer. A hand carefully pulled her blindfold up to rest on her
forehead. It belonged to a Nordic man in his early forties, body lean
and
hardened from combat. His grin, full of sharpened, silver teeth,
identified
him as Rostov, Hafez Makhi's prime assassin.

"This is called the Spider, Xena. Our interrogator uses this
as the
pedestal of his art. You probably remember that his art is something
that
most of us do not have the stomach to witness." Rostov picked up a
thick,
wickedly curved hook from the table, letting Xena watch the light from
a
brazier full of glowing coals glint off it. He snorted and returned
it to its
stand. "No, we've got other ideas. A lot more fun, although someone's
got
to serve as the entertainment. Of course, we've picked you."

Five pirates barged through the entryway, cursing and
snickering,
tankards of ale spilling carelessly. They cheered when they saw the
naked
woman hanging in the middle of the torture chamber.

"Hold up, boys, let's make her comfortable now, " Rostov
released
a lever and pulled a set of pulleys, tilting the cruciform that held
the
harness forward. Xena watched the six men as they stripped down.
Their hairy
legs came into view, then they stepped close enough so she could see
them
hefting and stroking their penes into hardness, like weapons being
brandished before the onslaught. Rostov was the first to touch her.
He
slicked a finger with his saliva, then rubbed it lightly on Xena's
nipples,
which hardened with the sudden chill. The men grunted and whistled
approvingly.

Rostov rubbed his cock on her face. He grabbed a handful of
her
dark hair, pulling her head back forcefully as he pressed his cock
against her
breasts. He grinned with satisfaction at the loathing and terror in
her bright
blue eyes. The others stepped forward and replaced him now, running
their
coarse hands over the soft skin of her body. One was below her with
his
face buried in her tits, sucking and chewing on her nipples. Two of
them
were fondling her ass while they pumped their inflamed rods up against
her
thighs, while one was lapping at her cunt as he jerked himself off.

The huge black corsair with scars across his face was the one
with
first bid at Xena's pussy. One of the others handed him a tray
holding a
cake of grease. He smeared it along the length of his huge tool,
eyeing the
patch between Xena's legs licentiously and licking his lips. He
smeared
another handful of the lubricant over the lips of her pussy, working
two of
his fingers inside her. He kept the lips parted with his fingers as
he steered
the dark purple head of his cock into her.

He groaned as he shoved his hips forward. His face was
knotted
with pleasure as he twirled and rocked his hips, wrenching his cock
around
inside her. One of the others had greased her chest up and was
fucking his
cock between her breasts. The black man came first, roaring at the
top of his
lungs as he emptied his testicles. The other squeezed her tits
together tightly
as he shot his load there. The next one moved eagerly between her
legs,
ramming his cock in and pumping her with short, dog-like strokes.
They
took turns at her pussy until their cum had trickled from her lips and
made a
puddle on the stone floor. Rostov stood back and watched the five
thugs use
her lavish body, his eyes wide with glee as he worked his inches. He
only
came forward when he was ready to pop. He grabbed her hair and held
her
head still as he rubbed the head of his cock on her cheeks and around
her
lips. He snorted with satisfaction and growled as he squirted his cum
on her
face and in her hair. The prime assassin gauged the time, decided to
give the
men another half hour before he would call in the concubines to clean
up
and drug her for the master.


The floating citadel made its way east. The zaraten's massive
limbs
propelled it along at thirty knots, closing the distance inexorably
with
Calimport. When it stopped, the pirate crew set to a group of giant
cogwheels. Groaning and swearing mightily, they turned the wheels
until
the piers were deployed from the recesses in the zaraten's shell.
They went
to work arming the frigates that would ravage the city and the
coastline for
miles. It was easy among the hustle and confusion for Milan to emerge
from
his hiding place and start climbing.

The ranger had been sucked into the giant turtle's wake when
he hit
the water. Realizing he had only seconds to escape watery death, he
caught
hold on the timbers of the folded pier and lashed himself to it with
his pack
harness. He rode along for the last four hours, until the creature
slowed and
the pirates' frenzied activity made his ascent possible. He ducked
through
the jungle and made his way to the guild house. The servants loading
fresh
supplies had left the side gates open and he rushed into the house in
a swirl
of black robes.

He was overcome with rage when he found the cell holding Xena.

The heroine was stripped naked and lashed to a bizarre device. He
overheard the groans and crude cheers of the five brutes who were
standing
around the weird rack, groping at her while she hung in a leather
harness and
one fucked her. Xena's brow was covered with sweat, her eyes squeezed

shut. Her face was flushed as she tried to breathe around the leather
gag in
her mouth.

He pulled back into the shadows, taking two heavy throwing
spikes
from beneath his robes. He pushed the door open and confirmed that
there
were six targets in the room. They had not noticed him, too caught up
in
their lust as they waited another turn inside the woman's silky womb.

He struck the ones waiting at the sides first. The spikes
entered
their throats, driving them to their knees as they fought for air.
The man
between her legs was next. The deadly ranger pulled two leaf-bladed
daggers from their sheaths and plunged them up under the man's ribs.
The
corsair vomited blood as the blades pierced his diaphragm and tore his
lungs
open. The other two, still exhausted from their penetrations, died
before
they could gain their feet when Milan cast the two daggers at them.
One was
killed instantly as it pierced his eye and lodged in his brain. The
other
clawed weakly at the cruel knife lodged in his neck as his lifeblood
spurted
from a torn carotid artery.

Milan used the body of the rapist as a shield when Rostov
fired a
small crossbow at him. He cast the body aside and leapt at the
assassin. He
bowled the older man over and grappled with him fiercely. Milan was a
bit
bigger, but Rostov was a veteran of hundreds of hand to hand battles.
He
broke Milan's chokehold when he shoved a palm under his chin, forcing
his
head back. The assassin had worked a dirk free from his robes and
stabbed,
but Milan easily caught and held his arm. He shoved Rostov's hand
into the
smoldering brazier. The assassin screamed as smoke and the smell of
roasting pork filled the air. Milan finally sent him down with a fist
to the
back of the neck.

He retrieved his spikes and daggers, then released the
bindings
around Xena's arms and legs. She collapsed into his arms and he
pulled the
gag out of her mouth. Xena gasped gratefully and clung to his
shoulder for
support.

"Milan," she whispered as he put his arms around her. He took

water from a pitcher on the table and washed her face. Looking
around, he
found a cloth to dry her off with, as well as her clothes and armor.
She
pressed her face into his shoulder and clung to him. Milan held her
gently
and reassuringly as her horror passed. With a deep breath, she
composed
herself and took the armor. They noticed Rostov stirring in the
shadows.

"He's still alive," Milan said, slightly surprised.

"Not for long," Xena said, the steel back in her. She hefted
a
fallen scimitar menacingly and stalked toward the wounded assassin.

"Wait," Rostov croaked, "Don't kill me. . ."

"Tell me what Makhi has planned."

"Spare me and I'll tell you," he gasped as he clutched his
seared
hand in pain.

"Start talking, you bastard."

"He planned to have you drugged and taken into his harem. He
was
going to put on a show tonight to show you off as his latest conquest
and
acquisition to other masters of the Assassins Guild." The assassin
spit out
three of his silver teeth and continued. "They're celebrating before
they
overrun Calimport. I'm supposed to pick a lieutenant to put on a show
with
you after their feast. Please, let me go now!"

Xena's expression hardened as her grip tightened on the
scimitar.

"No! You promised!"

"I did not," she said calmly as she rammed the blade through
his
heart, closing the shifty eyes forever.

"Help me hide these carcasses," she said as she tossed Milan
the
black pirate's uniform. "Then put this on."

"What for?"

"We have a dinner date to get ready for."


Xena duplicated the drowsy stare that she had seen on the
faces of
the harem girls. Milan held her by the elbow as they walked into the
bath
house used by the concubines. Three of them were waiting there,
stripped to
the waist as they prepared a bath for the two new arrivals.

"Rostov said to come here to get ready," Milan said, trying to
act
officious to cover his arousal by the three exquisitely beautiful and
voluptuous concubines. One who appeared to be the leader nodded and
they
removed their skirts and jewelry. Two of them took Milan's hands
while the
leader took Xena's. They led them to the marble steps of the bathing
pool
and proceeded to strip them.

They sat the couple side by side and one poured a pitcher of
warm
water over their heads. Xena was grateful as the water rinsed away
the
crawling sensations of the brutes' hands and their abominable seed.
The
girls lathered their bodies with soft sponges and massaged perfumed
suds
into their scalps. The leader was busy at work with a small razor as
she
denuded Xena's loins.

"The master likes to observe the small details," she offered
in
explanation. Xena nodded, then cast a dark glance at the girl who was

grooming Milan and taking the privilege of caressing and licking his
fully
erect cock. The ranger, shrugged, as if to say, "Hey, this was your
idea" and
lay back as the girl started to scrape his pubic hair away.

They were rinsed off and led to a pair of padded tables. The
girls
poured a sweetly spiced oil onto their backs, then rubbed handfuls of
it into
their own skins. They climbed onto the large tables, next to their
guests.
The leader straddled Xena's back and rubbed her shoulders. Across
from
them, one used her ample breasts to rub the oil into Milan's back. He
had to
admit, even though they were facing a battle where they were
hopelessly
outnumbered, he was having a great time. And even though Makhi was a
pig, he sure could pick the most delectable women.

They turned them over and finished the rubdown, then led them
to
the harem room where a dozen other concubines lounged and slept as
they
waited for the couple.

"The master wants us to warm you up for your performance.
But, it
seems that the pleasure is ours, for once," The girls smiled
appreciatively
and with enthusiasm as the two hard-bodied warriors were led into the
middle of a sea of pillows and scented bodies.

Delicate hands with painted nails reached out and stroked,
caressed, teased them. They were joined by soft, warm tongues. Two
of
them had Milan on his back and took turns licking and sucking his cock
as a
third offered her pussy to his mouth. A girl with short, raven-black
was
kneeling between Xena's legs, brushing the insides of her thighs and
her
labia with a long feather. Two blondes massaged her breasts while
another
kissed her tenderly. The other girls caressed the engaged partners
or paired
off themselves until they could trade places.

Milan couldn't see Esmerelda around the chamber, but was sure

she would be there tonight. He started to formulate plans but his
concentration was broken when a wench with a long mane of red hair
kissed
him lightly.

"If you think you'll have enough strength for tonight," she
asked
demurely, "I was hoping that you would let me please you for a while."

Milan nodded, feeling quite overwhelmed. The girl kissed him
thankfully and straddled him, taking him inside of her with a
practiced
thrust of her hips. Her vagina seemed to grab him greedily, then gave
his
cock an affectionate squeeze. She cooed and whispered to him. "The
master likes this with me more than the others. This is my specialty.
Lay
back and let me do the work. I swear you won't be disappointed."

Xena had been similarly distracted when the brunette rubbed
the tip
of her nose and tongue over her clit. Xena decided to abandon the
strategy
for now and kissed the blonde back hungrily. The harem wench
whispered
into Xena's ear and got a nod of agreement. They arranged themselves
on
their sides, their faces to each other's crotch. The blonde began,
kissing and
licking Xena's slick pussy as she squeezed her ass. Xena plunged two
fingers in and out of the girl's cunt, teasing her clit with her
tongue. She
paused to look over at Milan, who was hanging onto the table
precariously
as the red-headed girl rode him through wave after wave of orgasms.
Xena
winked at him and worked on her own girl.

When the harem girls had sated themselves, Milan and Xena
crawled to a far corner of the bed and nestled down in a mound of
pillows.
The concubines took it as a gesture that the lieutenant wanted time
with
Xena for himself, so they left them alone.

"I think I've found a way to spoil their party tonight," Xena
whispered. "The guards will be light since most of the pirates will
be
preparing for the raid on Calimport."

"Yes. We should be able to escape with the princess quite
easily if
we can prevent an alarm from sounding."

"I intend to do more than that," Xena said ominously. "Are
you
ready, young ranger?"

"As I'll ever be. Traveling with you, a man has to be ready
for
anything, it seems."

"You can't say it's been boring," she said. Despite the grim
circumstances, she felt the flame of desire flare in her and she
squeezed his
cock playfully. She felt a rush of pride as his drained organ writhed
and
hardened in response. They embraced and kissed passionately,
observing
the Sujel custom once more as the harem girls watched them dreamily.

Tahir Arrani took his place at the banquet, his prime assassin
by his
side and Princess Esmerelda lounging at his feet. Eight other sheiks
from
various cartels in Calimport and neighboring countries were in
attendance. Each
of the dignitaries had two slave girls chosen from the pens. Seated
on his throne
at the middle of the banquet table, Hafez Makhi watched his guests as
they drank
from gold goblets and feasted on the mounds of rich food. His
normally stern
face was broken by the smuggest of grins as the chosen moment
approached.
Using the edge of his dinner knife, he struck a small bell that
produced a high,
clear tone.

"My friends," he gestured to the assembled sheiks, "today we
begin a
venture greater than any other in the history of the Guild. We have
proved what
this citadel can do on the open sea. No merchant vessel can get by
us. No fleet
can stand up to us. In three days time, Calimport will belong to us!
We shall
claim the city and control the entire coastline. The merchants will
have to deal
with us, and Bandar will become the economic capital of the three
continents!
The agents of our guild are in place and have made preparations for
our landing.
Once Calimport is occupied, we shall sail our barges up the Camroot
River, deep
into the Berlandic plains, taking what the rich farmlands and mining
towns have
to offer. We shall take anything, ANYTHING, that we desire. . ."

On this verbal cue, the curtains to a vestibule parted and out
stepped
Milan, leading Xena. He was naked except for a leather loincloth, his
bulging
muscles glowing from the oil rubbed into his skin. In his hand, he
held a silk
cord that was clasped to the gem-studded slave collar around Xena's
neck. She
wore the diaphanous veils of a concubine and gold bracelets around her
upper
arm and a slim chain around one of her ankles. The eyes of the
assembled crime
bosses and harem girls crawled avidly over the bodies of the two
performers.
There were whispers as the rumors of Makhi's latest accomplishment
were now
confirmed.

Makhi clapped his hands twice, nodding to Milan. The
costumed
ranger undid the clasp at Xena's collar and seated himself on the
couch in the
middle of fur-lined floor. The musicians began a tune, then Xena
started to sway
her hips to the hypnotic rhythm. Her shoulders joined in, moving in
counterpoint as she shifted from one leg to the other in the classical
form of a
harem girl's belly dance.

Milan, like the others, found himself absorbed by the
undulations of her
sleek abs. She moved her legs farther apart and snaked from side to
side, the
sinuous motion of her torso causing the men, and a lot of the women,
to wet their
lips. She danced around the edge of the floor with spins and leaps
that allowed
the slits in her veils to show long flashes of warm skin.

She stopped in front of one party. It was made of a man in his
twenties,
who was the youngest sheik, and a pair of dark-skinned women. She
stepped in
between his legs. He looked up at her as she twisted sensuously,
barely an inch
away from his face. She gave him the end of her skirt and spun on her
toes away
from him, unwrapping the skirt and freeing it with a quick snap of her
hands as
she reached the middle of the floor. She pranced forward as she shed
her sheer
harem blouse and came up to a man across from them. This time she
dropped to
her knees, her legs spread and her hands cupping her breasts for the
man and the
breathless women.

The man swallowed hard as she put her hands on his shoulders. She
arched forward three times, pushing her chest out, her nipples grazing
against
him. She whipped her head forward, her hair floating around his face
so that
they could only see each other. He closed his eyes as she moved
forward, her
lips parted for a kiss, but then she turned and kissed the slave girl
instead. She
held the teen's face between her hands and offered him the girl's
lips, which
were still moist from the kiss.

Xena leaned back onto the floor, twisting over to her belly with a
turn
of her long legs. She crawled forward on her hands and knees like a
sleek jungle
cat to the next sheik. As she rose, she gathered her hair up and let
it cascade back
down to her shoulders, a motion that threw her breasts up and out.
She placed a
foot on his chest, then shoved him playfully onto his back. She
stepped forward
and placed her feet at the sides of his head, then squatted down as
she spread her
lips for him. His eyes were locked on the teasing strokes of her
hands as she slid
a finger inside her cunt, playing with herself to coax the moisture
onto her lips.
She ran her fingers around her clit, pulling the top of her pussy
upward so her
pink bud peeked out at him. The man stretched out his tongue towards
the
welcoming folds of her cunt. Xena let him lick there a few times,
then moved on.

She plucked the berry that Esmerelda was going to feed Tahir Arrani
out of her fingers. She slid the tip in and out between her lips a
few times as she
looked into the assassin's glassy eyes, then nibbled on the end of it
to release
the juice from it. She rubbed the berry around her lips, on her chin,
down her
neck, around her nipples. She held the berry out for him to finally
take into his
mouth.

Xena resumed her dance around the room. Arrani placed a hand
on
Esmerelda's shoulder and spread his legs apart. She reached into his
caftan and
pulled his cock out, pumping it soothingly as they watched the dancer.
It was a
scene that was being repeated around the room as the crowd anticipated
what was
coming next.

She returned to Milan, passing her hands over the warmest
curves of
her body as if they were extensions of his imagination while she
continued her
serpentine dance. She spun around and dropped into his lap. When his
arms
went around her in reflex, she latched onto them, guiding his strong
hands to her
breasts and thighs as she writhed on top of him. She slid two of his
fingers into
her pussy, then waved them under his nose before she let him suck on
them.

She turned over, her arms around him and her tits smashed
against
his hard chest. Some of the slave women watched with envy as she
squirmed on his
lap and ran her hands over the symmetric muscles of his back. Xena
got up and
lay on her back, her knees pressing his ankles until his legs were
spread. She
held one tit up to her tongue while she spread the lips of her pussy
open for him.
She ground into the plush fur as she fingered herself, letting the
throes of her
pleasure enchant the crowd. She turned over, her ass up in the air
and pumping
at Milan, giving him a good look at the way her fingers slid in and
out. She spun
over again and put her legs up at the sides of his neck and arched
into the air, her
body undulating. Milan kissed the smooth skin of her legs, which only
seemed
to inflame her more. She rolled back to the floor and held his knees
as she
pulled herself up, her tits brushing the insides of his legs and her
smooth belly
coming to rest against his cock as they kissed.

She hooked her fingers into the top of his loincloth, pulling
it off
and freeing his cock. As she took his thick shaft in her hand, the
audience closed in
to watch. A couple got down on the floor behind her, staring at her
exposed
vagina. Others watched as she ran the tip of her tongue over his
cock, tracing the
outline of the large vein that trailed on the side. She sucked
noisily and let
plenty of saliva run down his cock, performing for their benefit.
Milan did
likewise, panting and groaning whenever Xena did something exceptional
with
her mouth.

Their torrid display was having the desired effect. One of
the
sheiks lay on the furs with a harem girl who mimicked Xena's fellatio
as they watched.
Milan got up with Xena's legs wrapped around him, her weight feathers
to the
knotted cords of his arms. Xena ground her crotch over his as they
kissed and
eased down to the fur. Some of the people were bold enough to reach
out and
stroke their bodies as they coupled, squeezing buttocks, tits and hard
muscles.
Xena climbed off, stroking Milan's cock to keep him warm and
titillated as she
scanned the audience. She picked out a petite, slim, brown-haired
girl with
innocent eyes. Xena grabbed the girl by the shoulders, licking the
side of her
neck and kissing her as she pulled her over to Milan, who was stoking
his cock
and breathing harder as he looked the wench up and down. The girl
gasped as
she forced herself down on Milan's cock. Xena picked out the young
sheik and
pulled him down to the furs. He kissed her wetly as he grabbed her
hips and
entered her.

Milan looked over at Xena, who gave him a subtle gesture to
wait.
She caressed and licked at the young man until he tensed up, growling
behind bared
teeth as he locked his hips forward. She put her arms around his
neck, moaning
as she felt him cum inside her. The girl riding Milan dug her nails
into his
shoulders as she came, whimpering as Milan pushed her on her back and
drove
hard into her slit. He locked his mouth over hers as he filled her
with sperm.
When he pulled out of her, his cock made a small, soft pop, like the
cork out of a
bottle. Xena moved Milan out of the way and moved over the girl into
a 69.
The harem girl opened her mouth to catch the jism as it dripped from
Xena's
pussy lips, while Xena probed with her tongue to lap up Milan's cum.
The
young sheik was back, still hard as a rock and wanting to penetrate
her again.
Xena smiled and lay back with her knees drawn up and wide for him.

Milan saw her give a get-ready signal, and noticed that the
guards
were eyeing Xena as she screwed the horny pirate and the two women
that were
licking the wetness from his own cock. The others had moved away in
sticky
pairs and were oblivious to the surroundings. Xena's partner came
again,
collapsing into her arms, and this time she seized his chin and
wrenched his head
brutally, snapping his neck with a subdued crunch. Milan sprang
forward and
flung two of the thick furs at the guards. They were entangled by
the heavy
skins long enough for Milan to latch onto one's neck and lever himself
up to
plant a heel explosively in the other's windpipe. Xena heaved the
deadweight
from her and the crowd scattered in sudden panic. The slave girls
milled about in
a daze as their masters abandoned them.

Milan caught a hold of Esmerelda and held up the pendant that
he had
hidden, an ivory likeness of Thetis, goddess of the oceans. Esmerelda
suddenly
choked and heaved. Milan steadied her as a trickle of dark fluid
dripped from
her mouth, the herb's toxins expelled from her body by Thetis's grace.

"Milan?" The princess's voice was faint and the recognition in
her eyes
was faltering. Milan grasped her hands as if she were hanging from
them over a
cliff.

"Yes, my princess! We must flee, all of us. Can you walk?"

"As long as it's away from this horrid place."

"I'll gather the rest of our women. Xena will free the ones
in the being
held in the pens. We need to find a ship to get away."

"Milan! More guards!"

He rushed to help Xena stop the squads that had arrived. He
relieved
the corpses of the bodyguards of two heavy, fearsome scimitars, found
another
and flipped it to Xena. With a fierce war cry, he waded into the
first wave of
corsairs. His cry was joined by the shrieks of the dying as the
pirates fell before
the whirling blades of the ranger. Xena met her own opponents with
unbridled
fury, scattering them like chaff before the wind. The pirates' escape
was
thwarted by the fluttering roar and thunderous impacts of missiles
launched by
vessels of the Dunwich navy. The rogues scattered about the guild
house,
knowing that they faced certain death outside as the catapults
flattened the
fortifications as well as inside as the two warriors slew their fellow
pirates until
the floor of the audience hall was slick with blood. They decided that
they stood
a better chance against the bombardment and fled toward the frigates
that had not
been sunk yet.

When the last of the remaining guards fell dead, the two
warriors led the
kidnapped women out. Milan checked a girl who had fallen, then looked
over at
Xena.

"Are you hurt?" He could not tell from the arterial
explosions of
their victims if any of the blood was hers.

"Makhi will hurt worse." She said as she dropped the scimitar
and
reclaimed her weapons from a guard who had taken them for his own.

"The Lord of Corsairs will answer for many crimes after I drag
him
back in chains. Justice will be swift to claim that monster."

"It had better. If I find him first, you can stop looking."

"Good hunting, mistress," he said, crossing his weapon with
hers in
parting. He gathered his charges to leave for the docks as Xena ran
through the
gloomy passageways to the slave pens.


"Quickly, loyal ones! We must flee to the docks!" Esmerelda
hurried the last of the slave girls to follow Milan and pried a
broadsword from a dead
pirate's grasp. She blocked the doorway as three buccaneers moved to
intercept
them.

The thugs laughed at the naked girl with the sword, but
Esmerelda
was no novice to combat. She remembered when Justin ordered her to
fight nude one
session. At first she was amused, thinking that he had finally worked
up enough
nerve to attempt seduction, but ceased laughing when she noticed the
stern
expression on her tutor's face.

"There are some moves that you cannot make while fettered by
armor,"
he had told her as he executed a spin and leap that seemed to belong
in a ballet,
except for the wicked jabs and cuts of the blade that would kill a man
horribly.
He taught her how to use her smaller size, speed, and acrobatic talent
against
larger, slower, armored foes. She was now grateful for the lesson.

The first pirate sheathed his sword and pulled a coiled whip
from
his belt. He was intent on taking a prize along on his escape. A
whip was no match
for a broadsword, but the scorned princess offered no quarter. The
pirate saw the
flash of steel and heard a sound that he was accustomed to hearing
around the
cook's butcher block, but by the time he realized his arm was missing
the
princess had already run through one of his comrades. The third was
quicker to
react, but not quick enough. He sliced through empty air as the
princess hacked
through the flesh between his neck and shoulder.

Esmerelda had just delivered the coup de grace to her first
opponent
when she heard mocking laughter behind her. She turned and saw Arrani

waiting, licking the blade of his jeweled dagger as he sneered.

"So, my pet, you prove that the most beautiful things are
always
the most deadly." His leer changed to malicious snarl. "Time for
play is over. Now
I will carve more openings in your flesh for a different sense of
pleasure."

"That kind of talk may cow a slave girl," she said, her eyes
flashing as
she raised her weapon, "but now you face a daughter of the Royal
House. My
retribution is at hand."

She lunged and dove between his blubbery legs, as if ducking
into a
small tunnel, except for the hand wielding the sword. With one smooth
stroke,
she emasculated Tahir Arrani, almost splitting him to his navel. The
assassin, in
shock from the speed of the attack and the pain of the awful wound,
doubled
over and tried to face her. She turned and delivered the final blow,
just as in her
lessons. It was silent in the chamber except for the whistle of the
blade,
followed by the sound of the head of the assassin landing at the
princess's feet.

"For you, beloved," she choked. Dropping the gruesome weapon,
she
walked out of the guild house, into the light.


Xena found the slave pens and saw, to her relief, that the
women were
not drugged. With no time to find the keys, she smashed the locks off
the doors
and helped the women out. A dozen guards appeared at the entrance of
the cell
block, baring their weapons. Xena flew at them with her sword poised
and a
curse yelled at the top of her lungs, not caring that she was
practically naked
against the wall of thugs and ranks of archers who were leveling
crossbows at
her. Athena, Blessed Goddess, she prayed, protect me as a strike my
enemies.
At least let me fight them long enough for the innocents to escape.

To her surprise, the archers pulled up their weapons, and the
guards
faltered in their advance. There was a deafening cry as the women of
Dunwich
rushed to their rescuer's aid. The guards, still stupidly thinking of
the profits
they would loose by killing the captives, held their fire and set in a
position in
front of the doorway. But the women, fighting for their freedom and
filled with
the fierce mettle of their city-state, joined the Warrior Princess in
the fray. They
fought with tooth, nail, broken furniture and bricks that had been
loosened in
the bombardment, screeching and striking until no marauder was left
standing.
When it was done, seven of their sisters lay dead, and several others
with serious
wounds, but all the guards had been slain, pulled out of their armor
and torn to
pieces by the enraged women.

Xena organized them to carry the wounded out and sent them on
their
way, then stalked back into the main hall in search of Makhi. She did
not have to
search very hard.

"Come, Xena," he said as he drew his sword. "Show me what
the
mainlanders feared in you so much."

Unlike Arrani, who lived soft in his palace, Makhi was still
one of
the deadliest swordsmen on the Blood Sea. He met Xena's attack with
ringing steel,
sweeping her blades wide and pressing in for a quick kill. She
brought a knee
into his midsection, foiling his attack, but it left her flank open to
the reverse of
his swing. She barely dodged the lethal cut, feeling the bite of
steel as the tip of
the blade grazed her. The two opponents disengaged and circled, now
conceding greater respect for each other.

The two battled without anything but near misses and glancing
blows
telling, but the aging pirate could not hold out for long against
Xena's acrobatic
defenses and the hammering of her twin swords. He faltered,
overextending
when he tried one last ferocious attack. She waded in behind a wild
swing and
thrust with one weapon, jabbing him in the shoulder, then the other
knocked his
blade out of his hands. She gripped the hair of his head, the tip of
her sword
leveled against his spine for the fatal thrust.

"If you have a god to pray to, corsair, pray that he's
listening.
In the name of all whose lives you destroyed and the scars that will
never
heal, die!"

Athena forgive her, she felt glorious.


Milan was relieved when Xena appeared at the dock. He had
loaded
the last of the women aboard a naval vessel and had sent them on their
way back to
the mainland.

"Where's our princess?"

"She's not with you?"

"She never left the guild house."

They backtracked and found her on the edge of the dock's watch
post.
Milan was struck with horror as the princess stepped out on the ledge.
Her
intentions were made clear by the anguish on her face.

"Let me die, Milan," she wailed desperately.

"No, my princess. I will not let the vile slavers claim final

victory over us with your death."

"I'm broken. They've taken my virtue, my dignity. They've
taken
Justin! Everything that mattered is gone."

"Everything but hope, and Justin's love for you. It takes
more
courage to live than to die, Esmerelda. Justin loved you, he would
want you to go on, to
live for him. He knew that if he should fall, his love would live on
long after
him, that it would comfort you when you were lost, would sustain you
when you
suffered."

Esmerelda's grief receded, the grotesque horror of the citadel
faded
with her memory of Justin's kind face. Wise, cheerful, smiling and
saying that
it was a good day for a ride out in the countryside. Her grief was no
longer
for her fallen champion, but for herself, for having to continue
without him
by her side. She stepped away from the ledge and fell to her knees as
she let
the sobs finally come. Milan took her in his arms and carried her
back to
the ships.

Xena remained a respectful distance away to leave their grief
private. So he has held and comforted me like that, not long ago.
The
princess has done no wrong, but how many women have suffered at the
hands of
my men while I laughed about it? Hercules, my friend, my love, when
you held
me in you arms, I felt so secure, so supported, that I had a dream of
stripping off my
armor and weapons and burying them as symbols of the part of me that
hated, that lusted for dominion and the blood of those who stood in my
way.
But then I realized that I must bear my arms still, this time to
defend. I
will defend those who cannot defend themselves. I will defend those
who would
suffer at the hands of people who are like what I once was.

"Milan, we must go," she called.

"Where, mistress?"

"We must finish this place. Listen, this beast we ride, it
does
not normally roam about the waters like this. Someone is keeping it
active.
It takes strong magic to do so. We must stop them and release this
beast from
its enchantment, or the citadel will be occupied again. Follow me!"

They paused to do battle with small knots of brigands along
the
way. Dunwich ships had docked and marines were routing the pirates
stranded on the floating citadel. The ships cast off and chased down
the frigates
that were escaping. Milan ordered the marines to fall back as Xena
led him towards
the massive head of the zaraten. They were stalled by archers who
were holed
up in the heavy bunker until marine grenadiers threw flasks of burning
oil
through the arrow slits. The two warriors led the charge into the
complex.

"Kill the one with magi's robes," Xena said as she cut down a
brigand who had survived the flames.

"I see him," Milan said as he picked a harpoon from a rack on
the
wall. The magician was too busy trying to steady the wounded zaraten
to cast another
spell. The ranger heaved the missile and it smashed through the body
of a man in
black and gold robes, almost passing completely through him. With the

enchantment dispelled, the zaraten acted in its own defense and
started to dive.
The heroes headed for the edge of the shell where a Dunwich ship had
came
alongside. Princess Esmerelda waved for her soldiers to hurry as the
living
island sank. A wave of panicked slavers swarmed to board the ship,
but were
repelled and cast back into the foaming sea.

"Looks like we've won," said Milan, "We've destroyed the black
heart
of the beast, now its tentacles will die off."

"I'm afraid not," Xena said grimly, "The limbs will grow new
beasts. The factions within the guild will now vie for power, and
when they reform,
they'll be back for vengeance.

"It will be their last mistake," Esmerelda said as they
watched the
burning ships slip beneath the waves. The water was thick with the
flotsam of
the ruined fortress and the bodies of the marauders. "When we get
back, the first
thing I will ask of my father is the curettage of the port cities.
The guild and the
slavers will be no more."

"Bandar's government is rife with corruption," the captain of

the naval ship interjected. "The city will go to war to protect the
guild."

"Then let there BE war! These wretches kill our neighbors and
sell
our children. They will not be able to hide behind the throne of a
spineless noble
anymore. It won't matter if we keep our mining colony across the
Blood Sea
when our own city is not safe."


Princess Esmerelda went to Willow River as emissary, with
Milan and
Xena as her escorts. They completed the task, and the objective of
Dunwich's
military shifted from holding the mithril mines to patrolling the
borders and sea
lanes. Xena was right about the slavers. Though the might of the
guild had
suffered from the defeat at Calimport, and even more so in the weeks
that
followed as the bid for power was on, the markets had already appeared
in other
cities. As long as Esmerelda and Milan lived, though, they vowed that
the
women of Dunwich would not be among the unfortunate females sold
there.


Xena accepted the princess's offer to stay in the keep. She
was happy
to be close to Milan, who had elected for garrison duty. But as the
days passed
into the cool winds of fall, she had begun to think more of the hills
of her
homeland, of the songs of the women during the harvest season. The
pleasant
citizens of Dunwich, all of a sudden, seemed indifferent. Their easy
charm
seemed to pale as her need to return home deepened. Milan sensed the
change in
her and tried to get her to talk about it, but she could never bring
herself to say
what was going on inside of her. She didn't know how to tell him why
she must
leave or, more importantly, how to convince him that she needed to go
on alone.
Esmerelda had noticed Xena's plight. She asked her about it one
night.

"You have been a very gracious host, Princess," Xena reassured
her,
"and I've felt very welcome here. Everyone has been kind, but I must
leave you
now. I must return to my homeland."

"I wish you well, Xena. You'll be welcome in our city if you
ever come
this way again." Esmerelda worried her lip and shook her head, saying
softly, "I
wish we had more warriors like you. And it looks like I loose my
personal guard
once again."

"What do you mean? With Justin gone, Milan is even more
committed
to ensuring your safety."

"Not likely," she said. "I've seen the way he looks at you,
how his
heart opens every time he hears your voice."

"He can't come with me. I've too far to go to reach my home."
She
shut her eyes, remembering her last words with her mother, remembering
the
words of defiance and bloody ambition. "It may not be my home
anymore."

"He loves you, Xena."

"He may love me, but he needs you. That's more important to
his own
happiness than being at the side of his first lover."

"Will you tell him?"

"When I can find the heart to. If I ever can find the heart
to."

"You can. You must. Your feelings are strong, but they have
a
price."

"It's too great!"

"Yes, Xena. But even though it hurts, there's comfort in such

pain."

"I don't understand."

"Poor woman. I guess you don't. And there's nothing that can
be
done to change how things are or to lessen what you feel. Alas for
you, Warrior
Princess. And alas for the man dear to us both."


Milan was writing at his desk. It was his fourth draft,
finally
one he was willing to sign, and he did so carefully. He spread a
pinch of sand to dry the
ink and rubbed his eyes. Tomorrow he would promote his lieutenant and
they
would both be there when he presented his resignation to the castello.
He had
turned the problem over many times in his mind, but he always came to
the same
thing. Something was bothering Xena, something that she wouldn't talk
about.
And if there was a solution to her troubles, she wasn't finding it in
the city. He
was determined that she wouldn't have to search for it alone. This
time, he
would not let his career defeat his feelings for a woman. There was a
soft knock
at his door.

"If that's you, squire, you're dismissed for the night."

He gawked as Xena entered the room. She was clad in a silken
gown.
A pale blue, see-through garment that. . .

It was the first time he had seen Xena like this. When she
was in
her armor, weapons in hand, she had always projected power , but this
was a
different kind of power. Different, but by no means weaker.

Esmerelda was right, Xena thought. There was something
precious in
the pain itself. A lump formed in her throat and she looked shyly at
the floor as
she tried to remember the speech she had rehearsed all afternoon in
her suite.
The words evaded her as Milan rose and opened his arms for her. You
never
showed me this side, Hercules. When we parted, I knew it was for the
best. But
now I want to stay! I want to ride with him through the meadows in
the spring. I
want to share my dreams with him, as he has with me. I want to not
have to
wonder where I can spend the night safely or when I'll be eating
again. I want to
be able to greet people without worrying if my weapons are within easy
reach. I
want to hold his power when we are in bed, to feel his heartbeat
against my
breast and hear how sweetly my name sounds in his whispers while we
make
love. But it cannot be so. I have a dark road to follow, and he
cannot be part of
it. This part of me cannot live right now, not with the wraiths of
unforgiven sins
grasping for me in my sleep.

"Why are you crying, mistress?"

She looked at him, the desperation almost wrecking her.
"Don't
call me that, Milan. We are more than warriors."

"Aye, dear one," he said as ran his hands through her dark
hair,
brushed his lips against the delicate skin of her neck, the soft spot
behind her
ears.

On the brink of tears, she was robbed of any chance to tell
him.
The comfort of his arms was something that tore away her resolve. She
had faced
sword and arrow and fist, most of the time without so much as a
flinch, but she
fell to his gentle touch, cowered at the aspect of losing him to the
cold, empty
future she faced.

She stepped away from him as she slipped the straps of the
filmy
gown off her shoulders. The sadness gave way to something else,
something that
was much more urgent and replaced the ache in her heart with fire.
The gossamer
fabric floated down to her feet, and she stepped out of it as she took
Milan's
hands, tugging him onto the bed with her.

Xena's body was feverish, insistent as she arched against him.
Her
strong thighs squeezed him as they kissed. Her fingers locked in the
lengths of
his hair as he kissed her chin, her throat, the hollows of her
clavicles. He could
feel the throb of her pulse beneath her skin as his lips caressed the
curve of her
neck. His hips rocked powerfully with a slow rhythm. She rubbed her
calves
along the back of his legs, squeezed his ass and felt the muscles
there flex as he
continued his wonderful strokes, but he wouldn't come yet. Her hands
clenched
the sheets of the bed into sweaty bunches. Milan took her hands in
his, raveling
his fingers with hers, pulled them over her head as he sped up. Xena
screamed
out as their flesh pounded together. In a few minutes, they were
interrupted by
banging at the door. Milan poked his head out the door and whispered
a lame,
embarrassed excuse to the alarmed servants while Xena giggled. She'd
rarely
done that, especially not around a man, but she could not deny the
feeling as they
grinned at each other sheepishly and laughed together once the
servants'
footsteps receded.

He climbed back into bed with her, rolling and tangling in the

sheets while they rained soft kisses over each other. This time their
embraces
were relaxed, more tender, as the flames of lust softened into the
warmth
of affection.

Afterwards, she got up and looked out the balcony at the city
that
was still asleep. The evening air was crisp and her joy was tempered
as she realized
she still didn't know what to say to him. She realized that she was
hurting them
both, but she didn't know what to do. Milan was sitting on the edge
of the bed,
reaching out to her.

"Come back to bed, Xena, there's still some night left."

"Hold me, Milan," she said, grateful for the darkness that hid
the
suffering in her eyes. She knew that this would have to last her a
long time.


The morning sun streamed through the window and warmed Milan's

face. He shifted in the pleasant feeling of drowsiness, reached out
to put his arm
around Xena. He felt only the rumpled sheets were she had been,
already cool.
The room was silent and empty when he sat up and looked around. He
pulled
on a robe and started to go to her quarters, but he stopped before he
even reached
the door. He already knew what he would find. And even though he was
bitterly
disappointed, he wasn't too surprised. He looked from his window at
the world
that was waking. It was a clear day that was indifferent to his
sorrow as the
woman of his heart rode out of his life.

The lands where she was riding were sunlit, the sky was the
same
soft blue as her eyes. He watched it all through his tears.



Woo2u42594 wrote in article
<[email protected]>...
> whoever has this text, please repost or send it to me....thanks
>

    

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