Ephiny and the Roman Army – Part 2

Ephiny and the Roman Army

by AJ Marks

Part 2

Ephiny looked up at as the Conqueror seemed to finally settle on an arrangement on how the camp was supposed to be set up. One guard had been sent back to the main army behind them to tell them what was going on.  Eph knew the Conqueror needed time to inform Melosa of what was going on before suddenly finding out there was an entire Greek army behind this group.

That thought brought up the fact Gabrielle might have informed Melosa about the army as part of the story with Terreis. Eph could only imagine the reaction her queen might give.  Normally the queen was thoughtful and deliberate before reacting to anything, but an army this close to the Nation might not be welcome and others might use it as a reason to reject Gabrielle’s Rite-of-Caste.

“Well, we’re pretty much set up, ready to go?’ the Conqueror said interrupting Ephiny’s thoughts.

“Sure,” Eph said, getting up and glancing over at the Conqueror and a sudden question came to her mind and decided to ask the question and get a different perspective. “I’ve heard Gabrielle’s version, but what’s your version of how you two met?”

“Ah, she told you that whole thing about love at first sight nonsense,” the Conqueror said and Eph had a feeling this version would be different.

“Yeah, she was pretty convincing with that story,” Eph said looking over at the taller woman.

“I not, then again I doubt anything could have affected me back then, I was pretty self-absorbed with myself back in those days,” the Conqueror replied back to her. “I saw hundreds of people a day on an endless campaign.  One after another and anyone good looking caught my attention which is probably why I looked at her that day.  It wasn’t until my previous body slave, Frona, was killed due to poison that I can remember seeing her.”

Eph remained quiet listening to the opposite side of the story. She knew Gabrielle could remember the first time she saw the Conqueror.  Most people never forgot that sight either so it was no surprise the Conqueror didn’t remember.

“I went to the slave market to purchase a new slave on the same day Bri’s previous master placed her up for sale. He said something about his wife being jealous of the slave,” the Conqueror stated.

Eph briefly recalled something Aphrodite said about making wives jealous to help protect Gabrielle and wondered if this was one of those times.

“Seeing her for sale was the first time I can actually recall seeing her. I saw something in her eyes which caught my attention, it was something different than what I was used to seeing and it intrigued me.  Now I know it was the formation of her adoration for me, love and a mixture of fear as well,” the Conqueror said.  “Very little surprised me anymore and I had to find out why she was looking at me that way.  I was bored and I figured she would provide some amusement for me.”

“So, if you knew then what you know now would you still have paid so much for her?” Eph asked unable to stop herself.

“Yep,” the Conqueror replied with no hesitation at all. “She’s worth twice that much.  The only thing would be I would have treated her differently.”

Eph was sure she heard a wistful tone in the Conqueror’s voice over the past.

“When did you realize you were in love with her, or is that question off limits,” Eph asked hoping she had not offended the Conqueror who merely laughed at the question.

“It’s no secret, I mean most of my enemies know I love her, except for maybe Caesar, he’s always been a bit dense in that regard,” the Conqueror replied back to her. “It was a slow process for me.  I found myself spending time with her, watching her when she wasn’t aware of it.  Giving her gifts, like a quill, perfume, or a scroll for her to read with no reason at all.  It wasn’t until Drafus and his small rebellion that things really changed.  I was still fighting with myself and the legends of the beast I was is true.”

Eph could recall the stories she heard about the Conqueror, including those from the Northern Amazons. Many in the Nation had hoped Drafus would actually win the rebellion and were disappointed when it was learned how easily he had been defeated.

“Drafus, the guy never stood a chance against me, I knew every move he made through careful planning. He did have one surprise for me which made it interesting,” the Conqueror stated.  “Several slaves who I thought were loyal betrayed me.  It seems Drafus promised them they would be freed if they helped him.  It was that which turned my anger against Bri.  I thought she was one of the ones who betrayed me, even though I knew she hadn’t.  I ordered several things to remind her of who owned her.  I only went through with the piercings.”

Eph decided not to ask what else the Conqueror had planned and was sure she didn’t want to know.

“Again, the look in her eyes, even in pain, reached me finally,” the Conqueror said. “She passed out to which I was thankful and realized what I had done, who I was doing it to.  I cancelled everything else and carried her up to our room.  I don’t think I can ever apologize for what I’ve done.”

“I’m not sure she feels the same way,” Eph said recalling what Gabrielle had told her of those events, and what the piercings meant to her.

“No?’ the Conqueror asked taking a moment to stop and look at Eph.

“Nope, she views them as a connection to you, that she belongs to you,” Eph said to her.

“Sounds like something she would say. I’ve given up trying to understand her.  She can be so naïve and innocent and then turn around and say something to wise,” the Conqueror said.

“Yeah,” Eph said agreeing thinking about some of the things the small blonde had asked and done while she knew her. Gabrielle had a way of disarming people with her looks and they forgot she actually was smart.  “She does have that innocent look.”

“Ha, forget that, she enjoys quite a lot of things, including some more public displays,” the Conqueror said pausing a bit before asking her next question. “Are there going to be any public orgies or anything with this princess thing?”

“Un, no, why?” Eph asked unsure where that question might have come from, or why.

“She really enjoys putting on a show in public,” the Conqueror replied back to her.

The statement caused Eph to stumble a bit wondering if she heard the statement correctly or not before hearing the Conqueror laugh slightly.

“So, this stumble, is that anything like when you fell into the bathing pool last time I was here?” the Conqueror asked.

“No, that was different,” Ephiny replied stopping when she realized who said it. “She didn’t tell you?”

She looked over to see a grin on the Conqueror’s face and groaned.

“Great,” Eph mumbled wondering if she had somehow become the joke of the Greek royals. The more she learned about the strange relationship between Gabrielle and the Conqueror the less it conformed to anything she expected to see from them.

Mercifully they entered the village ending the course of conversation and she led them towards the Queen’s hut where the guards were standing. She noticed the two Greek guards also nearby merely standing around but came to attention when they noticed the Conqueror approaching.  The two Amazon guards allowed them in and the group appeared to have been talking but she only saw the Queen, Gabrielle and Eponin.

“Ah, Xena, I assume you’ll have the missing pieces of the story here that our new princess doesn’t have, or won’t say,” Melosa said looking up at the Conqueror.

“Which part, the Romans, Amazons or my army?” the Conqueror replied calmly to which Melosa never reacted.

“All three,” Melosa replied and Eph wondered how much the Queen actually knew and what she needed.


Ephiny stretched her back after sitting for the past candlemark in one position. The Conqueror told the Queen everything which happened in Corinth, from the Roman merchant who was now in custody to the rumors of a Roman invasion which is why there was a Greek army marching towards the Nation.  She looked on as Melosa took all the information and thought about it before asking any questions.

“This group, Valaska’s chosen, do we know anything about them?” Melosa asked looking over at Eph.

“Not much my Queen,” Eph answered honestly. “There is reason to believe that Tanis is behind this.”

“So, the serpent shows her fangs again,” Melosa replied surprising Eph slightly. “Tanis and Caesar, I wonder if there isn’t a Roman legion already here then?”

Eph’s mouth dropped at the casual tone the queen took when talking about this. She had the impression that any union between the two would have a small chance of happening at all.

“You really think Tanis would go to a man?” Eponin asked. “After all, the Conqueror is a woman, and was a known enemy of the Amazons.”

“Yes, but Tanis wants power and she will go to the one who tells her that she will have that power not understanding the politics behind it all,” Melosa said. “And the Conqueror doesn’t appear to share power.”

“True, but I’d be very suspicious of anyone so willing to overthrow the current queen, especially if things are going well, like I assumed they were in the Nation according to my spies,” the Conqueror said.

“I had hoped that banishing her would cause her to forget about the Amazons. I fear I should have killed her when I had the chance,” Melosa said solemnly.

“What about Ligeia and Koni? We are keeping an eye on them?” Eph asked wondering about those two.

“It’s something I already do, they were friends of Tanis,” Melosa said answering the question.

“Keep your friends closer and your enemies closer,” the Conqueror stated and Eph watched a look of understanding pass between the two of them.

“Something like that. Neither of us have survived by being stupid,” Melosa replied back to her before standing and heading over to a table motioning the Conqueror over.  She spread out a map and leaned on the table’s surface.  “Now, where do you suppose Caesar would land his troops based on the maps?”

Eph never expected her Queen to be talking to the Conqueror about strategy so calmly. She gave some thought to what the Queen said and then were the sentries would be placed and could only come up with one spot which someone could land troops and not be seen.  She made her way over and pointed at a spot.

“What about here, the sentries don’t see it very well, and its hidden, they might be able to land without being seen,” Eph said to them. “The fw outposts could be manned by friends of this Valaska’s Chosen group.”

“Hmm, now that you mention it, there were some requests for that position, I didn’t think anything of it at the time because it’s a boring outpost few like to do,” Eponin replied back.

“Then we need a couple of trusted scouts to get out there and see what’s going on,” Melosa ordered.

“I’ll get right on it my Queen,” Eponin said leaving the room to carry out the order.

“Until we have that information, we have a feast and funeral to plan,” Melosa said to them.

Eph glanced over at Gabrielle who appeared silent for a moment and knew their princess would have to have a change in clothing.

“I’ll take her over to Zona’s to be fitted,” Eph said hoping to volunteer would get her out of here. She almost paused when she saw a smirk appear on the Conqueror’s face and looking over at Gabrielle she noticed a stubbornness appear in her eyes and she wished she hadn’t opened her mouth.

“All right, a royal celebration outfit,” Melosa replied and either failed to see the look Gabrielle gave or ignored it.

“This way,” Eph said leading Gabrielle out of the hut. She recalled the conversation back when she first met Gabrielle and the Conqueror and she questioned why Gabrielle didn’t wear anything.  The Conqueror made an off-hand comment about her not keeping any clothes on.  Perhaps Zona might be able to come up with something, or she hoped she could.

End part 2

Continued in part 3

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