"Broken Bonds"

By Something Royal

Disclaimer: Any characters appearing on Xena: Warrior Princess or Hercules: The Legendary Journey's are NOT my property. It is not the intention to infringe on any copyrights-

Authoress' note: Although Ares is telling the story to Xena -I wrote the body as a normal story as to understand all the angles.



Great tanned arms warm and delightful, wrapped solidly around her form. The musk scent of his being sent the heart to fly and bask in its comfort. Deep brown orbs penetrated and a feeling of release came, wisking the surroundings away and causing focus on only him and that very moment.

A satisfied harmony escaped from her lips as he embraced her and rolled over to her side, perspiration cooling heated skin. The fire in the hearth danced brilliantly off the mane of raven hair that lay across her shoulders and fell delicately about her face. The black silk sheets seemed to reflect the light around the two.

In this moment a feeling of joy washed over her. She leaned her head down to rest on the muscular chest next to her. The reassuring music of his heart beat caused a smile to play on her lips. The euphoria seemed never-ending. Finally, no more games. Everything was at peace.

"I love you Xena."

Such sincerity in every word spoken. Xena's eyes closed in happiness. How wonderful it was to be with the one she had always loved. So many years of denying it. Running from it. Yes, the games were over and a new start was to begin.

She looked up to him. So, handsome the features. Her slender fingers made their way to the side of his face and caressed the chiseled jaw-line. His own black hair seemed so deep, like the night sky. How she stayed away for so long she didn't know. Why the truth of the feelings weren't spoken until just recently... she didn't know either.

Lifting her face closer to him, her lips almost upon his-Xena spoke, "Ares, I love you too. So much that I don't know why it took us this long."

His face weakened, reminiscent regret scrawled across it. Ares licked his lips as the words formed in his mind. What had kept them apart for so long...Xena felt him take in a deep breath before speaking.

"You were ready to follow the right path before I was. I.... well... you see, being who I was for so many eons, change was a word I could not discern or appreciate."

Ares face saddened. Xena tried to reassure him to continue. Her eyes conveyed sympathy and compassion-more than any words could at this moment. The path they followed had been hard-yet, they finally found their way back to one another. Neither willing to let go.

He looked down into her face and ran his hand through her ebony hair as he continued. "I know when it started to fall apart...........

So, mighty Ares, amongst the flickering shadows and fire light, told Xena of the most painful time of his existence-losing the one being he had ever cared about-the only one he had ever loved- HER....

******************************************************

Xena sat with a smug look, propped high in her throne. Her legs, bare except for her tall warrior boots, rested upon the table before her and a large cup of mead was gripped firmly in her hand. The blue eyes were like ice, cold and removed.

Her attire was beautiful, yet intimidating at the same time. Burgundy silk pulled tightly around her torso and small straps entwined with silver threading holding it up from her shoulders. On top of the material lay the most intricate breast plate. The silver metal swirled around her chest running down her abdomen with patterns of war etched ever so delicately throughout the inlay. The silk material reached down as a skirt in a strap like fashion. In the gaps, a see-thru material of the same color hung like feathers around her thighs. Xena's infamous chakram lay in her lap, one of her fingers absently stroking it.

She raised her cup to her lips and drank deep of it. A shred of light pierced into her tent as a man with long dark hair and dressed in battle gear entered. Xena tilted her head as he slowly walked up to her.

"What do you have to report Thallus?"

The man stood quiet, his eyes fixated on Xena's legs atop the table. Upon noticing where his eyes lay- she lowered one of them and stretched out as if to taunt him only before kicking him in the groin. In much pain the young man fell to the ground writhing. This made the warrior princess smile as she leaned back into her throne.

"Now, shall I ask again? What do you have to report?"

Thallus painfully sat up on his knees and then used the table to regain his balance. Finally now standing he spoke, the intimidation still ringing throughout his voice.

"My Princess, as far as our scouts know-the village of Tornul knows nothing of our impending attack."

Xena shifted a little in her seat and ran her fingers over her lips. Her eyes stared off into nothing and then fell upon one of the many maps strewn out on the table before her.

"Good, this should be easy then. Now, see here on the map-we're about a good day's travel from our target. I want all of you men ready to fight as soon as we get within close distance of it. A lot could have changed since the scouts have returned. They may know of us-we must be ready." Xena was now standing and refilling her cup with more mead.

Thallus smiled and chuckled. "But Princess, they're only common villagers. Surely, we could defeat them with only a third of our men."

Xena's eyes started to ice over as she put her cup down. Before the soldier knew what was happening she lunged over to him. Her hand mercilessly threw him down by the neck onto the table below. Xena leaned her face to his.

"Now you listen here!! First off-it's not 'our' men-It's MY men. Secondly, don't you EVER question my judgement-EVER!! Lastly, you remember this.....I was once one of those 'common' villagers and just look at me now.."

As the last few words spat from her mouth, she pulled his head up only to slam it back down voraciously onto the table before letting go. Thallus stayed in this pose and simply looked up at the fierce woman standing over him.

Suddenly, Xena's eyes relaxed and seemed to warm with pleasure. "Get out Thallus-I have preparations to make."

The soldier did as ordered and removed himself from her tent instantaneously.

A smile crossed Xena's mouth. "So, did you like the show?"

As the words passed, a bright shimmer of light and sparkles rained down leaving in their wake the handsome Olympian laying seductively in her throne.

"Xena, that was.....won-der-ful.....I never tire of watching you work. That fierce animosity is so... arousing." Ares purred at her.

The warrior pouted her lips as she stepped over to him. "Is that all you find stimulating?"

Ares grinned naughtily as he pulled her on top of him. "Now you KNOW that I find everything about you ....stimulating."

He leaned his face to her's and kissed her passionately as they both disappeared.

As the new majestic surroundings slowly began to focus, there they stood in Ares' bed chamber. The only illumination came from the mighty fireplace and large candles placed around the room. Swords, axes, shields and other weapons hung from the walls. Pure silver bordered the perimeter of the room. The bed itself was enormous. Four beautiful etched wood posts lifted skyward and held the finest embroidered silk from each to match the alluring sheets.

Xena had been here often. Her relationship with the Olympian had taken on a major part of both their existences. They fed off of each other, lusted for one another--needed the other. She was his prize and he was her's. Together they would conquer Greece and beyond. For now they conquered each other.

Their lips burned as they dug into one another. Hands raced furiously along, urgently stripping off clothes and armor. Their natural and bare shapes bounced shadows off of the walls as he put her on the bed. Lips traveled as well as hands and together a harmonious rhythm and tune known only to them began to beat for what seemed a pleasurable eternity. They both relished in this. Their own battle of love and war. Filling the need they yearned for in so many ways. She was his Warrior Princess and he saw his destiny was with her. Everything was perfect. Time passed as the two engaged each other in conquest after conquest.

Laying there in the after glow, he ran his hand through her black hair, grinning with satisfaction. Xena stared back at him curiously and slowly she spoke.

"What are you thinking right now?"

Ares stared deep into her eyes and smiled with confidence and power. "I'm thinking how I adore you. Everything about you. The way you bring down those that would stand in your way. The manner in which your black as night hair flies on the wind like a storm moving in. I love that we're together-because together my dear, nothing can stop us."

Xena smiled, a little unsure of if everything he had listed was what she had necessarily wanted to hear. She loved power and victory, but was that all there was to her? She shook the thoughts from her mind. Ares lifted her chin as he leaned in for another passionate kiss, probing each other and feeling safe in the feel of the moment. Finally, after much time they pulled away.

"I suppose it's about time I got you back to your tent. We wouldn't want your men to worry." He caressed her face as he spoke.

"Well, I guess you're right-it's the middle of the night now isn't it?" Xena wasn't sure of the moon's cycle here in these surroundings.

"My dear Xena, it's almost dawn." A laugh escaped his lips.

Xena's eyes grew with shock. "You are joking! I have to get back right away. We're moving camp today."

She threw the covers off of her and quickly dressed. As she did, Ares remained in the bed sitting, only the sheet covering him from the waist down. An amused look played upon his face.

"Well, are you going to get dressed?" Xena asked impatiently.

Ares raised his hand and snapped his fingers. Instantly, he was completely clothed and standing behind her, his arms wrapped tightly around her waist. He kissed the back of her neck and together they vanished as they had came.

*****************************************************************

The darkness of night still covered the land. Birds of prey could be heard from outside the campsite as well as shrill howls. The camp itself was quiet. Only random mumbles and footsteps made by the guards on duty and the gentle snickers of the warhorses made the slightest of noises. The men's eyes kept focused on the perimeter of the land. They not only had to worry of other men attacking, they had to look out for wolves. The prized horses were trained for war and could not be easily replaced. So, the men stared out into the night, not noticing the brief bright light that lit up their commander's tent.

As Xena and Ares stepped forth from the warm glow they were instantly swallowed in the depths of the dark of night. She felt his arms still tightly wrapped around her and leaned back into him.

"Well, I suppose I only have a little time left to rest. If we want to make good distance toward Tornul-"

Ares fondled a lock of her hair. "How are your reserves? Stocks? Other supplies?" He sensed a change in her expression.

"We could use some more reserve food. I should have already had that completely stocked. I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner." Xena stepped away from his arms.

A lone candle lit up at a flick of his fingers. With an understanding stare he gently held her hands and sat her down on the furs that covered her bed.

"Xena, it was a simple mistake. You'll just use this experience to learn from it. Anyway, there's a very small village on your way to Tornul. It's mostly farmland-your men won't even break a sweat and you can stock up for the real battle."

Her blue eyes lit up. "Can you show me where-exactly-this village is on the map?"

Ares grinned wildly as the map that once sat on her table, now appeared in his hands. Carefully, he unfolded the document and put it across her lap. His finger skimmed the surface before finally stopping.

"There. The village is called Frassos-easy pickings." His eyes looked to Xena and there he found a satisfied smile.

"Why, we could be there by this afteroon. Perfect."

He looked back at her and ran a finger down the side of her face. "Yes, perfect."

With that, Ares vanished and with him the light of the candle burned out as well. Xena sat there in the dark for a short time before laying back into her bed. The smile remained on her face as she closed her eyes. The dawn would come soon.

**************************************************************

The earth began to warm and the songs of birds began to ring throughout the morning sky. The bustle of the men in the camp was quite loud as they prepared breakfast for themselves and the horses. Even they, the four-legged members of this army, were beginning to neigh in response to feeding time.

Xena rolled over in her bed and wearily opened her eyes. Slowly, she stood and threw on a deep green robe. She hadn't gotten the rest the men had and she stumbled over to her table and sat. Clutching her hand in a fist, she used it to support her head. Black lashes started to close over her blue eyes, but stopped and flew back upward as one of her men entered the tent.

"My Princess, your breakfast is served." The soldier stood in place with the tray in hand waiting for acknowledgment.

"Oh, yeah...just um, put it right here." Xena lazily pointed in front of her.

The man nodded and did as ordered. Upon placing the tray down he spoke again. "Would there be anything else?"

"Yes. Tell the men to start packing up the tents as soon as they're done eating. We have new plans. I'll explain in further detail as soon as they're ready to go. Now leave." Xena turned her attention to the food steaming under her as the man again nodded and left.

Xena sat thoughtfully as she picked at her breakfast. Frassos would be an easy victory. Their supplies would be restocked and then her men would be ready to take on the city of Tornul. Frassos was less than an afternoon away from her main target. They would need to make sure that none of the villagers ran off to warn the next city. Her brows furrowed at this thought. It was getting harder every time to take people down to ease her need for power. However, she had been working so long and hard at this-if Frassos turned out to just be another of those lands, scorched to suit her purposes-then that's what would happen. She had come too far to stop now. She was slowly conquering all of Greece. The name 'Xena' would not be forgotten.

By the time these thoughts receded, Xena looked down to realize that she had finished her breakfast. A yawn passed as she got up and got dressed. Her hands stretched over to her trunk. From it she pulled out the burgundy silk warrior dress and put it on. Next, her hands reached for the silver breastplate, which she slipped over the beautiful silk. Then from the trunk, she pulled out an elaborate velvet cape. It as well was burgundy. A silver-leaf pattern bordered the fine material. This was a gift from Ares and she always wore it when wielding her sword-and her greatest weapon-her chakram.

Xena picked up the unique object and saw her reflection in it. This too had been a present from Ares. The night he pressed it to her hands, she felt a most wonderful humming sensation. She fondly kissed the weapon before hooking it to her side.

As the warrior princess prepared her battle dress within the tent, her men took their lodgings down. Xena quickly finished getting ready and stepped out into the bright sunshine. There was a warm breeze drifting along. All seemed right. Today would be a quick and simple victory for her and the men that followed in her shadow.

***************************************************************

After a hard effort from her troops, the supplies and tents were packed. The men made their way to mount their horses as Xena herself walked her palomino mare, Argo out into the field and mounted as well. Her horse was a prized possession. The offspring of her prior warhorse, Farat and one of the majestic stallions from the Olympic line that was placed on the earth to roam. She had a strength that complimented her owner's even though she was only four summers old. Once Xena gained control of the reins she spoke out to her men.

"Listen and listen well. Today should be rather easy for you. As you know, I only allow the best in my army. However, do not allow your egos or vanity to overcome your sensibilities. We must remember that Frassos is less than an afternoon's ride from Tornul. We can not afford prisoners to escape to warn them."

One of the soldiers looked to Xena with a questioning gaze. "Do you want us to dispatch with all of them, even the children?"

She looked over to the man, shaking her head. "No. We aren't common criminals. There is a cavern near the town-shown clearly on the map. The women, children and anyone else who doesn't fall at our swords will be taken there and guarded. Is that understood?"

The men nodded in compliance, the anticipation of battle transposed on their faces. The gleam of conquest and power was all they needed to ready them for the fight ahead. Bugs started to fly about their horses heads making them fidget and all the more eager to be on their way. Xena eyed her men over once more before turning Argo in the direction of Frassos. With a light nudge she lead them on to the unsuspecting village.

********************************************************

From his lair in Olympus, Aresí eyes stayed transfixed on her through the ethereal portal before him. He never could resist watching her work. He sighed with delight, the thoughts of her in battle causing a smile. So content was he, with a jeweled goblet of ambrosia in one hand and the fingers of his other pressed alluringly upon his lips.

"Oh Xena, I knew it from the first time I saw you. Together we will conquer Greece...and from there-the world."

He reclined in his throne, putting his legs over the arm of it as he gazed on. Time passed unnoticed. Hours went by as minutes and soon Xena was at the hilltop overlooking Frassos. This was the moment he had been waiting for. She was about to go into battle. The idea of it alone aroused his senses. Suddenly, breaking his voyeuristic isolation, there was a shatter of golden light.

"Ares, do not even begin to tell me you once again forgot your prior obligations."

Without moving from his throne, Ares turned his head to the source of the voice. "Zeus-was that meeting today?" He then turned his attention back to the mirror.

Annoyed at his son, Zeus removed the portal with a wave of his hand. "Now you listen to me boy! You know we hold this meeting every month at the same time. You neglected showing up for the past two-this one you will not miss under any circumstances-EVEN IF it's for that precious mortal of yours."

Ares stood and approached the white haired Olympian. "Xena is no ordinary mortal father."

Zeus smoothed his majestically woven robes and then took a hold of Ares arm. "So she may be-no matter of that now- the others are waiting for us."

In a glimmer of light-the two disappeared.

*************************************************************

The sweet smell of freshly cut hay lingered throughout the streets. A simplistic glee seemed to glow off of the working villagers who went about the business of bringing in carts filled with newly harvested vegetables and fruits. Children ran through the streets, two friendly town dogs following close behind in their game, when suddenly a small boy stopped.

His large brown eyes stared over to the grand hill that reached above the town. Curiosity was clearly written on his face as he put a small finger to his mouth and looked around for the nearest adult. Upon wandering over to where a group of women stood informing each other of the latest gossip, the boy wiped his dirt covered hand on the gray shirt he wore nervously.

"Look, look! Pretty lady." As the words exited his lips he pointed up toward the grand hill.

The women smiled at the young child. One woman finally set her gaze to where he pointed. Her face grew pale and her body seemed to violently shudder. She gripped the arms of the others who stood near and screamed,

"RUN!!!!!"

She reached down, pulled the child into her arms and took off down the town street seeking refuge. Her screams of fear prompted others to look at what she ran from, only to see the mighty army lined upon the hill. A panic swept over the peaceful villagers. Most everyone tried to find some sort of shelter, while only a handful of men grabbed rakes, shovels and any other sort of tool available in an attempt to defend their home.

Xena's black hair fell around her face. A smirk hung upon her lips in witnessing the happenings of the village below. The soldiers stood by, all silently waiting for the order to proceed.

"Remember what I told you men- all survivors are to be taken to the caves. Use common sense when picking your fights. Now follow me-time to tell these simpletons what's expected from them. GO!"

The order rang throughout the army. Pent up anticipation was finally cut loose as they sprung forth. The horses snorting and kicking dirt high into the air made for an almost majestic sight. Their leader's black mane of hair danced and the elaborate velvet cape took flight as she urged her mare onward. Xena's war cry echoed through the valley causing even more panic to sweep across simple town.

As Xena closed in on the commoners standing by fearfully, she began to slow Argo up. Her hand raised up halting her troops behind her. Blue eyes fixed on the villagers and a dominating smile came over her face. To rise the intimidation level she lowered a hand to her chakram.

The men's faces were locked in a frightful stare. Many of them were old, while the others appeared to be just out of boyhood. It was easy to see that they knew who she was. Tales of Xena's conquests had been the hottest topic all throughout Greece. This was the woman who had sacked Corinth - one of the most powerful cities in the land and now-here she stood in their tiny and defenseless Frassos. For what, they weren't sure of.

A plump elder man stepped forth from the group. His dress was of a commoner just as the rest. A long straggly white beard concealed his mouth. Grasping firmly onto the rake in his hand he began to speak- the words wavering,

"We..we know who you are. Xena...Destroyer of Nations.... Our people are simple farmers. We don't want a fight. What is it you want from us?"

Xena smiled again. She nudged Argo to step closer to the man. Her eyes stared down at him for only a moment before looking over at a cart filled with vegetables. Xena lifted her chakram infront of her face. The sun's rays gleamed brilliantly off of it. The mighty warrior then cocked her head and threw it. The familiar whirring sound started to sing as it flew through the sky. Villagers ducked to the ground, not quite certain of where it's intended direction was. With a loud 'thump', it embedded into a pile of tomatoes, the juice gushing forth.

The old man was shaken. Wearily he pushed himself off of the ground and stood. His faded gray eyes looked back to Xena who also stared back at him. She now would explain in further detail what she wanted.

"Listen old man. I need supplies, food and whatever else I deem a valuable resource for my army. You and your people can either just step out of the way voluntarily----or---we can do this the hard way. So what is it going to be?"

The man looked back to his people before returning his stare to the woman before him. "Just....we..we don't want a fight."

"Good. Seems as though you have some smarts." Xena then turned to her men and shouted out an order that shocked the people, "ROUND THEM UP!"

Xena's soldiers grinned as they went into action. Screams and cries began to rise forth as they chased after the villagers. Xena directed her mount to the cart to retrieve her weapon and then sat back surveying the sight when a figure in the distance caught her attention. She raised her hand to block out the glare of the sun and finally the image became somewhat clear. It was a man on horseback. Xena knew she couldn't afford anyone escaping and instantly nudged Argo into a furious pace. One of her men, Thallus-the same man whom she had put in place the previous day saw this and followed pursuit.

Argo had grace, style and could run at speeds that surpassed any normal horse due to her Olympic pedigree. In a matter of only a short time she caught up to the other horse. With sheer precision Xena leapt from her mount and knocked the man off of his own. Together they landed painfully on the ground. His horse continued to race off while Argo remained by her owner. Xena grabbed a hold of the man by his shirt, pulling him up as she stood. As her eyes fixed on to him, her brows furrowed into what could only be described as shock. Before she could utter a word, Thallus now joined them.

The inexperienced soldier jumped from his horse and looked to see the man's back turned to him-Xena's hands keeping him in place. Thallus began to draw his dagger. Realizing what his intention was Xena quickly pulled one of her own. Everything went into slow motion. As the dagger left the soldier's hand Xena knocked her prisoner out of the way as she threw her's. With cat like reflexes she managed to catch Thallus' dagger in her other hand, only to also throw that one back at him as well. Both of the weapons landed on their mark and the soldier fell.

Xena's eyes glared down at Thallus. Pity, confusion and perhaps even a little regret passed over her. She frowned and shook her head- more of an attempt to shake the sinking feeling rather than anything else. Xena turned her attention to her prisoner, reaching out a hand to help him up. He accepted the gesture and put his hand in hers. As he stood, the man's eyes reflected only sadness. Xena again regained a firm grasp on his arm as she led him over to Argo.

The warrior pulled out a pair of shackles from her saddlebag and placed them on this man whose life she saved. Reaching back into the satchel, this time she pulled forth a rope, which she tied to the bonds. Xena then looped the end of the rope to her saddle and mounted. She gently tapped Argo into a slow walk, following behind them, her prisoner of war.

***************************************************************

The cries echoed throughout the valley as Xena's army continued to round up the people like cattle. Children clung to their motherís dresses and simple farmers could do nothing but stare up at their oppressors with defeated eyes. While the majority of the soldiers continued to herd the people, a smaller group of the men worked toward pulling valuable resources from the town. They planned to burn the simple village to the ground as soon as all goods had been removed.

Off in the distance, Xena was slowly making her way back to the site. She made no attempt to look back to the man trailing behind her. If he could have seen the look on her face though..Blank-totally expressionless. It was as if she were stone. He trudged along, keeping his eyes fixated on her back, studying it and the fine armor that adorned it.

The man's face curled up into a weary gaze. He moved his eyes to the clothes that he wore. His blue shirt had been ripped during the scrimmage and the brown pants he wore now bared his dirt-covered knees. She had done this to him when she lunged on him, throwing him from his mount. He shook his head and placed his gaze back upon her.

"So, this is how it's going to be?"

Xena's jaw clenched as she heard the man begin to speak. She was feeling too much at the moment and didn't know how to justify anything to him. She continued them on their way as if not a word had been uttered. Her prisoner wasn't going to stand for it though and pulled back on the rope that served as his leash.

"STOP, Xena-you're making a mistake!" His eyes pleaded with the back of her head for she wouldn't turn around. At this, he ran up and took a hold of Argo's reigns. The mare abruptly stopped and Xena's eyes widened in an expression that could not be defined.

"Will you just listen to me!?" He asked.

Xena looked down into his eyes. For a minute they sat there in silence. Even the noise from the ongoing attack had drowned out. "There's nothing I care to talk about right now....." Her voice simply trailed off.

"What do you mean there's nothing to talk about? Xena--what are you doing? What have you been doing?! I heard the stories of you-and I ...."

Xena didn't want to hear this. She looked down at the ground. "As I told you, there's nothing I care to talk about..Jareth." As his name was finally spoken for the first time, she showed a slight tinge of shame. Xena drew in a large breath as she nudged Argo on.

Jareth on the other hand, although keeping up along side of Argo, couldn't stop staring. Disappointment was written all over his old weathered face, much darker in comparison to his graying hair. Again he shook his head and raised his hand thoughtfully to a scar that ran down the length of the right side of his face, from the top of his forehead down to his chin. Perhaps this is why she averts her stare, the memories. The scar was a reminder of days that had long since past-days that Xena knew all too well.

Eventually, they made it back to the center of the action. By this time Xena's men had rounded everyone up and stood waiting for their leader's next command. The common people shook and also waited to hear what this woman who had come to pillage their homes would say.

Xena stopped Argo directly in front of the mass. Her blue eyes pierced through dark lashes taking in the sight. Before speaking out her next order she looked down briefly at Jareth. His eyes only held a sad, disapproving glare. She frowned and then sat tall in her saddle, her regular fierce gaze resurfacing as she spoke out.

"You have done well today men. Have all the supplies been removed from the town?"

A soldier answered her simply. "Yes, my Princess-everything is out of the way."

Xena smiled. "Good. Then there's a simple matter to take care of-burn it!"

Upon hearing the order, one of Xena's men-who already had lit a torch, walked over to one of the thatch-topped shops, tossing it through a window. The people gasped and sobs began to ring out again as the structure was consumed-then the next shop went up-the next home-and so on. Soon the whole length of the village was raging with fire. Black billowing smoke began to swoop down over the valley. Soot and ashes danced on the breeze.

Xena looked down at Jareth. His eyes were watering. She couldn't be sure if it was induced by compassion for the people or rather just the burn of smoke. At this point she didn't even want to know. She again spoke.

"Remember, this people--I command respect!"

Jareth smiled sarcastically, "No, you command fear-there's a big difference."

Xena looked down upon him. She moved to strike his face with her boot, but stopped short as her eyes traced the scar that marred his features. She swallowed down vengeful words and simply smiled.

"I'm not in the mood for any condescending speech you might have to offer." Xena's attention refocused on the people. "Men-I want these villagers moved to the caves now-and a group of you must stay to keep watch."

The soldiers nodded in compliance and started to escort the commoners to the destination. Xena halted them for a moment longer. "Just a minute----take him with you."

With that she untied the rope from her saddle and threw the length of it to the nearest soldier. The man forcefully yanked on Jareth almost knocking the old man off balance and into the dirt. Xena stared on as he was led away-locking eyes with him. Again she frowned as his gaze exuded utter and complete disappointment and hurt-and once again- she averted her eyes onto something less emotion evoking. Xena sucked in her bottom lip as she tried to ease her mind, The past is just that-the past---what must be focused on is the future.....

Back