Ephiny and the Conqueror’s Treaty – Part 3

Ephiny and the Conqueror’s Treaty

by AJ Marks

Part 3

Ephiny sighed a bit glancing outside the window seeing the sunlight streaming in which indicated lunchtime was fast approaching. She felt the growing hunger and being trapped in a meeting room all morning had soured her good mood from last night. Glancing across the room to the source of her aggravation, Valaska who argued everything.

“Valaska, is there a reason, other than your opinion, that the Nation shouldn’t make this treaty with Greece?” Melosa asked point blank.

“She is the Conqueror, we can’t trust her to keep her word, or have you forgotten that. In a few years the Nation will cease to exist if we agree to this treaty,” Valaska stated.

“But Rome will?” Melosa said suddenly and with a different attitude causing Eph to wonder what the queen had in mind.

“Rome at least is honest, and won’t stab us in the back,” Valaska answered quickly.

“Then you’[l be interested to learn of the latest terms for the renewal of their treaty,” Melosa said pinning Valaska with a stare. “It arrived two days before our meeting with the Conqueror. Rome is raising their prices, almost double, no negotiation, and such an increase we cannot survive. The new terms practically mean the Nation is a part of Rome. At least with Greece the Nation has an opportunity to grow and prosper once more.”

Ephiny sat a bit stunned by that bit of news, Rome wanted to bleed the Nation out and make it theirs. She looked over at Valaska who seemed to bubble with anger.

“They lied to me,” Eph heard her say, but before anyone could ask Valaska seemed to calm herself before looking over at the Conqueror and Gabrielle. “Then the only logical path is to accept Greece’s offer, but I don’t tolerate any deviation from any treaty we make.”

“We won’t as long as the Amazons don’t,” the Conqueror said not backing down from the stare by Valaska.

“No Amazon will,” Melosa said, and to Eph it seemed like the council had finally agreed on the treaty. “I suggest we break for lunch, then after that we begin votes for treaty ratification”

Ephiny walked out of the meeting hall with Eponin and started towads the dining hall. The cold wind hit her face as she exhaled and pulled her cloak tighter around her. The latest news from Rome surprised them all and Eph wondered when the queen was going to bring this up to the council.

“Well, that was an interesting development at the end,” Eponin stated wrapping an arm around Eph.

“Yeah, but did you hear Valaska? She seemed stunned by the Roman offer,” Eph replied.

“Picked up on there, and double the payment? It would cripple our economy, even Valaska knows that,” Eponin stated.

“I don’t get the reason behind it unless they want to squeeze every last dinar out of us,” Ephiny said. “They think the Amazons history with the Conqueror would prevent us from making an agreement with Greece.”

“And with the Amazon Nation under his control he would have a staging area to invade Greece. He could move troops in under the guise of enforcing the treaty knowing the Nation wouldn’t go to the Conqueror for help” Eponin stated out loud.

“A dirty move, the Nation caught in between their political games,” Eph replied as they reached the door and walked into the warm room. She noticed several Amazons were already in the room eating. Not bothering to talk to anyone she quickly grabbed some food and sat down as Eponin did the same thing.

“Mind if we join you?” a familiar voice asked causing Eph to turn and see Bri standing there with the Conqueror behind her waiting for an answer.

“Um, sure,” Eph replied after glancing over at Eponin who merely shrugged her shoulders.

Eph watched as the two women sat down at their table, the Conqueror setting down the plates before sitting next to Bri. Eph wondered if the blonde had any idea how much she affected others around her. Eph knew the young woman wore nothing under the cloak which was now open enough to allow her to eat showing Eph a pair of beautiful breasts.

“Anything wrong?’ Eponin whispered giving Eph a nudge.

“No,” Eph replied back quickly making eye contact with Eponin then looking over at Bri.

“Oh, trade you, all I’ve got is a clothed Conqueror,” Eponin whispered back to her.

“I think not, you’d enjoy that too much,” Eph replied giving her a glare.

“What can I say, I enjoy the female form,” Eponin replied.

“Surprised you don’t stay all day in the baths then,” Ephiny mumbled and started to say more when a Greek guard stopped behind the Conqueror. Everyone seemed to wait to see what might happen next.

“Empress, we received a message from the capital,” the guard said holding out the note.

Eph watched as the Conqueror scanned through the message with no indication of what it might be.

“Send a messenger back to Cornith, tell General Paleamon to assemble the Second Army at once and prepare for my arrival,” the Conqueror finally ordered.

“Of course Empress,” the guard replied, giving a slight bow and walking out of the room, Eph looked over waiting to hear what the exchange was all about.

“Trouble?” Bri asked.

“Nothing out of the ordinary,” the Conqueror replied before sighing slightly. “However, it appeared the Horde is causing trouble again. They are raiding border cities.”

“Will this affect the meetings?” Eph asked.

“Nah, Bri will take over, not that it matters she’s been doing most of the negotiating anyways,” the Conqueror said almost dismissively.

Eph wondered how that bit of information would go over, especially with Valaska. Dealing with a slave might be too much for some to take.

“Some might consider it an insult to be dealing with a slave and not the Conqueror,” Eph replied hoping to not anger anyone but had to air out her concern.

“They’ve been dealing with me all along, they just didn’t know it,” Bri replied, her voice almost authoritative surprising Eph.

“You mean Valaska, right?” the Conqueror asked making the correct assumption of who might have a problem.

“Yeah,” Eph said.

“You might warn the guards, don’t want to kill a princess, wouldn’t do much for the treaty,” Bri stated calmly to the Conqueror.

Eph glanced at Eponin who mirrored the look of confusion she felt.

“Ah, the guards are not there for my protection,” the Conqueror replied and Gabrielle let out a sigh.

“The guards re here for me, and they tend to get a little over-protective when Xena isn’t around,” Bri replied.

“That’s because they know you, and the trouble you get into. The last thing they want to do is explain to me how you got hurt,” the Conqueror said, looking at Eph. “This threat is actually close to the Amazon Nation, I’m surprised you haven’t heard anything yet.”

Ephiny gave that some thought and realized they would know considering the nation had fought the Horde before she had been born. The rumors of the savagery that both sides used was horrible and the cost to the nation in warriors had been dear.

“Could be the queen is keeping it quiet for a reason,” Ephiny stated finally. “She does have a lot of reports she never seems to bring up.”

“It’s probably time we head back over to the council room, the queen finished her lunch and seemed to be heading that way,” Eponin stated causing Eph to look over at the empty chair the queen usually sat at.

“Then we’ll see you back over there, there are some things I must do first,” the Conqueror stated taking the empty dishes away, something Eph expected Bri to do. The younger woman stood and quickly closing her cloak moved away from the table staying with the Conqueror as they walked out of the room a well.

“So, I hear you spent some time with our guests last night,” a voice said from behind Eph, who turned to see Princess Terreis standing there looking at them.

“Yeah, a bit, we shared a bath last night, its quite an interesting pairing that’s for sure,” Eph stated.

“Yeah, I can see that, anything you find, oh, troubling?” Terreis asked confusing Eph.

“No, everything seemed fine, what you see is what you got, and perhaps, there’s even more,” Eph stated.

“I’m wondering who is in control of who?” Eponin asked, a question Eph asked herself.

“Scouting reports indicating things have been improving for the past couple of years, perhaps that’s when the Conqueror acquired that slave. Its also the reason why they are here now, always wondered when it might happen,” Terreis said.

The statement caused Eph to glance up and look at Terreis and wondered where they might be headed with this conversation. Terreis always seemed to know things in advance. Looking over she noticed Eponin with the same confused look.

“Ah well, things are never quite what you expect, to many factors at work and most we never even know about,” Terreis stated and before either Eph or Eponin could reply she walked out of the hut.

“Must be another Princess Terreis thing,” Eph finally stated referring to the strange sayings Terreis could come up with at times which usually had some greater depth of meaning only she understood. Eph figured they might know someday.

“Let’s get going,” Eponin said getting up. “Don’t want to be the last ones back.”

Eph stood following Eponin with a strange feeling after talking to Terreis. She knew the Nation would speak with the Conqueror and yet seemed to want to know more about who they were. Eph wondered why she didn’t ask them herself, and hoped whatever Terreis meant didn’t affect the treaty.


Ephiny stretched her back a bit before sitting down in her chair for what could become another long session with the Conqueror. Watching the Conqueror walk in Eph noticed a change in her attitude. No longer did Bri walk beside, but followed behind the Conqueror. Eph hoped whatever energy she felt had to do with the Horde. Looking around she spotted more than a few others picked up the change in attitude, including the Queen making Eph wonder if she already knew.

“Is everything all right Empress?” Melosa asked, as she waited patiently for the answer but Eph had the feeling she knew already.

“Yes, but one of the things of being the Empress annoying things pop up all the time, I’m afraid one such annoyance recently appeared. It will require my attention, but the Horde seem to have regained enough strength to make attacks on Greece,” the Conqueror answered. “I’m going to have to leave right away to handle this military threat. Gabrielle will continue any negotiations.”

Eph never started to count when predictably Valaska spoke up angrily.

“Am I the only one who has a problem with this?” Valaska said standing up, glaring around the room at the other Amazons. Eph geared herself up to say something when another person spoke up surprising her.

“The Horde are not an enemy you take lightly, if they threaten your land I have no problem. Princess Valaska, you’re young, you have never fought the Horde, I have” Erika said, one of the elders of the Council.

“Don’t sound that tough to me,” Valaska challenged back.

Eph noticed the immediate change in Erika at the words, her back stiffened and eyes narrowed and for a few seconds Eph felt sure the elder would attack. Erika took a breath, released it and calmed down but Eph never before had seen such a reaction in the normally calm demeanor of the elder.

“No, the Nation sent three hundred warriors into battle against those savages, most tougher than you ever hope to be. We came back with a little over a hundred,” Erika stated, the last part merely a whisper, something Eph knew from reading the history which her mom forced upon her.

“The Horde don’t take prisoners,” the Conqueror said speaking up. “They are at their basic level savages. Realistically they don’t pose much of a threat to the might of Greece, but they kill any one regardless, men women and children.”

“If your sisters were in danger, would you not jump up to protect them?’ Gabrielle said speaking up.

Eph watched Valaska struggle with the question already knowing what the answer would be. Despite her tough exterior she always did what she thought best to defend the Nation, which was where her passion came from. Eph realized the Conqueror had won the first round as everyone sat down and the tension leveled off.

“Still, I won’t deal with a mere slave,” Valasa spat out.

Chairs clattering to the ground caused Eph to look back over expecting to see the Conqueror standing, instead she was sitting but the two advisors were standing glaring at Valaska. The Conqueror herself merely sat looking only slightly annoyed at the comment.

“I suggest you apologize, others don’t take kindly to anyone disrespecting her,” the Conqueror stated.

“Valaaska,” Bri said calm gaining everyone attention before continuing. “I’m the one you’ve been dealing with all along.”

“Make no mistake, Gabrielle holds more power in the Empire than anyone else but me. She’s earned that power through her words and actions, not by her position as my slave,” the Conqueror stated looking right at Valaska. “Along with the other advisors they have the power to deal with anything and I will honor anything they sign if Gabrielle agrees with it.”

Eph looked back and forth between the two groups as did many others, waiting for someone to break the tension in the air.

“I have no problem with this,” Terreis said speaking up surprising everyone in the room, even Valaska.

“Valaska, this matter is now closed, we’ll deal peacefully with Gabrielle,” Melosa said before Valaska could say anything else. “She is right, we have been dealing with her all along, you’d know that if you were paying attention.”

Eph heard the slight towards Valaska at her inattention to the details of the meeting. Eph wondered how long the queen had known who was making all the decisions, even as she thought about it she could recall all the times Gabrielle had spoken to the Conqueror, or interrupted in some form or another.

They all watched ass Valaska finally sat back down, still a bit unhappy but the queen had spoken. If she wanted she could do this meeting without the council, even ratify the treaty without the council. It was Erika who spoke up next.

“Conqueror, when are you leaving?” Erika asked.

“Once everything is settled here, right away. Time is always critical in battle,” the Conqueror replied.

“Then I have a request, if you’d honor it. I’d like to go,’ Erika stated leaving most shocked at the statement and Eph glanced over at Erika before looking over at the queen who seemed slightly surprised but seemed to be thinking it over.

“Why?’ the Conqueror asked.

“Personal reasons,’ Erika replied. “We never finished our last battle, I’d like to.”

“What do you say Queen Melosa, she is your sister,” the Conqueror said, turning towards Melosa.

Everyone turned to Melosa who thought about it for several seconds.

“You realize by going you will be under the command of the Conqueror, you will obey her orders,” Melosa said.

“Of course,” Erika said.

“If the conqueror has no problem with an Amazon in her army then you have my blessing,” Melosa finally said.

“Amazon warriors are highly skilled, I’d be a fool to turn away someone from the Nation, especially someone who has fought the Horde,” the Conqueror said. “Get your belongings ready then.”

Erika stood, with a bow towards Melosa headed out of the meeting room to get ready. Eph had the feeling there was more to the story, perhaps her mother knew, but refocused her attention back to the meeting for now. The Conqueror gave Bri a kiss before finally walking out of the room as well to get ready to travel. Eph noticed Bris’ eyes followed the Conqueror all the way out of the room

Eph now wondered that with the Conqueror out of the room if they were now left with the real lion to negotiate with instead of the lamb.

End part 3

Concluded in part 4

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