To Rend Assunder
Copyright Disclamer: The characters of Xena: Warrior Princess are owned by MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures and are used without permission. No copyright infringement is intended.
Other Disclaimer: No sex, no subtext, at least no more than usually occurs on the show and a very little bit of violence. It is a trifle gloomy, however. Rated for general audiences, anyway.
This story takes place in the time between Maternal Instincts and The Bitter Suite.
As the fire burned brightly into the night, the darkness engulfed her. San trust, sans warmth, san love, devoid of everything save: pain. Her pain.
The snow continued to swirl and evelope her. The wind spun its icy tendrils around her and tugged at the thin blanket. Her anger kept her warm.
The warrior dug her heels into Argo and galloped into the blackness. She raced on and on. For hours. She had nearly killed the mare in her frenzied flight. It was only when she failed to duck for the low-hanging branch in the graying, blearing dawn that either one of them received a respite. The branch struck her across the right side of her head and sent her flying onto the hard ground knocking the breath and the consciousness out of her.
Dizzy. . .
"Why does everyone I love, leave me?" Had those been Solon's words? She wasn't sure. She shook her head to clear it.
Argo was nearby lathered, trembling, her sides heaving. In a few minutes she would be down. After that she would be dead. The woman struggled to her feet and staggered over to the war-horse.
The golden mare made no effort to move away. Her head was hanging down and her knees were on the point of buckling.
The warrior untied her bed roll from the saddle and threw it over the horse. Then she picked up the fallen reins and very slowly the two of them shambled down the now faint trace. Silent. Alone. Except for the pain.
When she reached the mountains she buried her weapons and released the mare to her own devices. Then she began the long assent.
It was the second night before her anguish found its voice. It was a plaintive, keening lament for all that was lost and could never be restored. NEVER! The warrior's voice and lungs grew raw. The unending ache. The unbearble sadness. The relentless frustration. The desparation of her powerlessness, her helplessness, her impotence. The woman bowed her head and sank to her knees.
The pain tore at her. It consumed her. It left her drained and exhausted.
"I'm going to live with my pain!" She had promised Callisto. Now, she wasn't sure.
She climbed higher. The snow fell heavily. The wind was icy. The air was thin. The footing treacherous at best. The trail has vanished. Her body grew weary. The oblivion she had sought overtook her and she collasped.
The little bard came to her. She turned the warrior over, took her in her arms and held her gently. Gabrielle felt so warm. Xena sighed and reached out. "I'm so cold, Gabri--", she started to say. Then she remembered and the illusion faded.
The warrior slowly got to her feet, feeling warmer, remembering.
Britannia: The great lie.
The Kingdom of Chin: Delivered into the hands of her enemies.
Solon: MURDERED. Her beautiful, beautiful son. She had been so proud of him. . .
She kept remembering. Over and over and over.
Her anger kept her warm. It was her only comfort. It was her only friend. . .now.
It was then that Ares found her.
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