Ephiny and the Roman Army – Part 6

Ephiny and the Roman Army

by AJ Marks

Part 6

Eph and Gabrielle approached the training field to see a group of younger Amazons were already training. It took them a few seconds before they realized who was standing there and Eph felt sure the reaction was due more to the fact Gabrielle had nothing on than anything else.  She caught a few of the younger Amazons openly staring, at least until the trainers caught them.

The trainers broke the group up into smaller groups and started on new routines. Eph watched as many hit themselves, probably still distracted by Gabrielle, but overall they looked good.

“Well, well, well, I see our ‘princess’ has honored us by attending the training grounds,” a voice said causing Eph to turn knowing who the voice belonged to.

She watched as Ligeia walked towards them much to Eph’s shock. She thought the warrior was on patrol.  The tall Amazon made her way over to where they stood and looked down at Gabrielle.

“So, do you know how to defend yourself, or do you hid behind the Conqueror’s skirt, or perhaps I should say under it,” Ligeia stated.

Eph started to say something but noticed the look in Gabrielle’s eyes, the innocent look had vanished and replaced with a fire she rarely saw. She noticed Ligeia failed to notice the change and still stood with an arrogant pose.

“Well, being a princess you should be properly trained, or is the Conqueror afraid of allowing someone close to her who knows how to fight,” Ligeia teased making Eph wonder what she was thinking.

“What did you have in mind?” Gabrielle asked, surprising Ephiny. She looked over seeing the normal guards who went with Gabrielle still standing nearby, but they were calm despite one missing.  Her unasked question was answered a few seconds later when the Conqueror appeared.

“I see you’re already running to the Conqueror already. Need her to fight your battles, a true Amazon doesn’t have to run, especially one which receives the Rite-of-Caste,” Ligeia sneered.

“Who said I’m hiding behind her, maybe I’m protecting you from her,” Gabrielle replied back to Ligeia. The statement caused Eph to frown wondering what she meant watching as Melosa appeared a few seconds later.

“What’s going on here?” Melosa asked, looking at everyone, her eyes going to Eph, Gabrielle, Ligeia and finally looking over at the Conqueror.

“A lesson,” the Conqueror said causing Eph’s eyebrows to rise. “I think this can be settled rather quickly.

Eph wondered if she was the only one who thought the entire thing was crazy and wanted to speak up.

“You mean a sparring match with me?” Ligeia said, looking over at the Conqueror.

“Yes, but not with me, with your princess,” the Conqueror stated surprising Eph.

“All right, we’ll use staffs,” Ligeia stated with arrogance. “I don’t want to kill her by accident when she can’t block an attack.”

Eph looked frantically over at Melosa hoping to hear her protest. She started to step forward trying to think of something to end this silly piece of showmanship before someone, like Gabrielle, got hurt.  However, it was Gabrielle who stopped her.

“Eph, it’s all right,” she said holding a hand up to Eph. “Besides, this shouldn’t take too long.”

Eph had no idea what to say next, and before she could say anything else Gabrielle walked out and looked over at one of the trainees, asking her for her staff to use. Ligeia twirled her own staff a few times waiting for Gabrielle who did the same before lining up.

Ephiny took a step forward and felt a hand on her shoulder causing her to jump slightly. She looked behind her to see the Conqueror standing there watching, and calm.

“This will be fun,” Ligeia said, making the first move.

Eph almost missed what happened next as Gabrielle moved as well. Ligeia’s attack failed to connect and within seconds Gabrielle knocked the staff out of Ligeia’s hands and had her on the ground.

“Yield,” Garielle said with a firm voice and a staff at Ligeia’s throat. Eph noticed the tall Amazon glaring at Gabrielle and for a second thought the fight would continue before she backed down.

Gabrielle handed back the staff to a wide eyed, shorter girl before heading back to where the Conqueror stood. Eph noticed the look Ligeia gave Gabrielle and made a mental note to keep an eyes on her.

“Now that the demonstration is over everyone back to business,” Melosa stated to the group who had gathered and looked over at Eph and Gabrielle. “We should head over to see if Zona had finished with the modifications.”

Eph turned and walked away with Gabrielle but noticed that the Conqueror had taken a closer look at Ligeia before heading off as well.

“Ah, well I think you made an enemy of Ligeia, and a friend of that young girl,” Eph said breaking the silence. “Think you surprised everyone, including that the Conqueror allowed you to fight.”

“Xena already sized her up, and if she thought there was a chance of me being injured she wouldn’t have allowed me to fight,” Gabrielle stated. “Remember, she trained me.”

“Forgot about that,” Eph said, and she had recalling that she had been told that before.

“Well,” Gabrielle said, leaning into to whisper to Eph. “I can beat Xena with a staff when we’re training.”

Ephiny stumbled slightly at hearing that. She never expected such a statement but recovered as they entered the tailor’s hut.  Inside Zona sat facing away from the door closely working on something and never heard them come in.

Eph cleared her throat causing Zona to jump.

“Sorry, got carried away,” Zona replied looking over, seeing who was there and grabbed an armband from behind her and handed it over to Gabrielle. “Here, this one’s done.”

Garielle took the armband and examined it for several seconds before putting it on. Eph got a slight glance at the work once again amazed at the quality of word Zona did.

“You do nice work,” Gabrielle said adjusting the armband and tugging on it slightly before settling down.

“Thanks,” Zona said blushing slightly. “That one’s finished, working on the other one.  It should be done for the festival.”

“Can’t wait to see them,” Gabrielle answered as Zona hand her the skirt and a few necklaces which would complete the ensemble.

“Heard there was some excitement going on over at the training grounds,” Zona asked looking at them.

“Yeah, Ligeia challenged our princess to a sparring match,” Eph replied before Gabrielle could say anything. “It was over that quickly, barely saw her move.”

“Maybe that will knock her tough as britches attitude down a bit,” Zona said. “She and her friends always thinking they’re better ‘cause their warriors.  Ha!  Who’d stich up their leather britches if everyone was a warrior?  They’d be going around without a stitch of clothing, that’s what they’d be doing.”

Eph glanced over at Gabrielle wondering how she would take that comment, but she had a slight smile on her face even as Zona continued on.

“I need this patched up Zona, I tore my leathers stich them up Zona, I need new leathers Zona,” the tailor said now moving around and tossing up her hands with each comment she made. “Make mine red this time Zona, like leather is easy to dye red.  I want mine dark blue, almost black Zona, like where am I supposed to find that type of dye, conjure it up with my tailor magic I suppose.”

Eph watched slightly stunned by the attitude of the tailor who now walked I small circles forgetting there were others in the hut with her. She looked over at Gabrielle who merely seemed to be watching, observing Zona and what she said.

“Must be frustrating,” Gabrielle finally said. “I can understand that.”

“You do?” Zona said stopping her pacing and looking at Gabrielle, who merely looked down at her own body.

“Everyone assumes I’m a slave who knows nothing,” Gabrielle said. “They fail to recognize that I, like you, have been blessed by the gods.”

Eph watched an odd look come over Zona’s face. She realized Zona probably had been touched by a god, how else was she so good at what she did, and she probably never had anyone else care.

“Its true, you are touched?” Zona asked, and Eph felt a bit relieved that the tailor had stopped her ranting.

“Um, yeah, a couple,” Gabrielle replied, a slight blush filling her cheeks.

“Only a few, she’s been touched by Artemis, Athena, Apollo to name a few, and is the Chosen of Aphrodite,” Eph stating enjoying the embarrassment on Gabrielle’s fae.

“I thought I saw Aphrodite’s mark on you earlier,” Zona replied. “I don’t see many others and I want’ looking so I’m no expert.  I do know many of them, and I know what Artemis’ mark looks like, the Queen and Valaska have it.

At that moment the door to the hut opened allowing Melosa and the Conqueror to walk in allowing Eph the opportunity to observe the interaction between her and Gabrielle. They sood very close to each other, and the Conqueror placed a hand on Gabrielle’s shoulder and the smaller woman leaned into the touch.

“Ephiny,” Melosa said, breaking Eph’s internal thoughts causing her to look over at her queen.

“Sorry, thinking,” Eph replied, not really wanting to say what she was doing and hoped the queen would let it go.

“Have you heard from Eponin?” Melosa asked.

“No my queen,” Eph replied, but knew her lover was probably still working on gathering a few trusted people together and informing them on what was going on around them. She thought of something else.  “Any word back from Erika and the Centaurs?”

“No, but I don’t expect to hear anything back until tomorrow,” Melosa replied back to her.

“I think we can count on their participation, they don’t like the Romans,” Gabrielle said, and for some reason Eph believed her.

“Well, its almost time, Eph, princess, Conqueror, I must get ready for tonight,” Melosa said, and left the hut.

“I suppose I should let you get ready as well Ephiny,” Gabrielle said before turning towards the Conqueror. “I’ll show you my hut.”

“You have a hut?” Eph heard the Conqueror ask as they walked out, something in the tone indicated a bit more and Eph closed the door to that thought.

“I should get ready as well, otherwise I’ll miss it,” Zona said.

“Yeah, I need to find Eponin anyways,” Eph replied

She made her way out of the hut and towards her own, slightly disappointed it was empty, and started to get ready anyways.


Eph stood next to Gabrielle watching as Eponin came running up to them.

“Sorry, been a long day,” Eponin said slightly out of breath.

Eph had a thousand questions for her lover but knew they would all have to wait until after the funeral. Eponin had managed to change into her formal wear and in Eph’s eyes she looked beautiful.  Looking over at Gabrielle, her braided hair fell across her shoulders and she noticed the Conqueror had managed to get the princess to ‘dress’ up.  She wore a short skirt, a bit too short in Eph’s opinion, and an armband with the symbol of her position, a wrist band and a glove which all decorated one arm.

The priestess finished her small speech which Eph didn’t pay much attention to. Gabrielle stepped forward, along with the queen and Valaska who represented the family of the deceased.  Normally the family members would set the pyre on fire, but when it came to Royalty, the rules became a bit different.

The torch was handed to Gabrielle, the one who received the Rite-of-Caste, and carried the torch to her new position. She looked out at the crowd, many of whom were straining to get a glimpse of their new princess.  A few almost stumbled but managed to catch themselves as they jostled for a position to see.

Eph had a feeling half of the Nation lusted after Gabrielle, despite not wanting to show it. She noticed only a few people who appeared hostile, mostly Ligeia and her group.  Word had probably spread about how easily Gabrielle had defeated the taller Amazon, and they probably held a grudge.

Glancing over at Gabrielle she noticed the small blonde had been looking as well. Eph knew how smart and observant the ‘slave’ was and didn’t underestimate her ability to see it as well.  Eph noticed Gabrielle kept looking over at one spot, and looking over she saw nothing at first, then noticed the Conqueror standing there watching.

Eph turned her attention back to the fire which was slowly spreading. The flames licked at the wrappings before finally catching fire.  She allowed the tears for her friend to come as the funeral continued.  Despite the comfort Artemis gave, Eph had lost a dear friend.

In three days a celebration would occur to celebrate the princess. The three days were for morning.  Eph knew tomorrow would bring its own complications, Romans, Centaurs and the Conqueror.  For now, she’d remember her friend, Terreis.

The End

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