Undeniable by Rachel Hahn
by Rachel Hahn

Chapter 4

Varia's regiment moved silently through the trees. Her eyes scanned the forest ahead of them for any signs of an ambush and STILL found none. This is too easy...too darn easy she thought. By the time nightfall arrived, they would be in position on the rise north of Arinius' camp. At dawn, they would storm it, rush in and free enough captives to help add to their fighting numbers. Her brow furrowed as she wondered if there would BE any captives to free, but she had to be optimistic...keep her wits about her to keep morale up. She sighed softly, wishing she and Eve hadn't had to separate for the onslaught. A nagging churning in her gut made her wish she had been more adament about them keeping the whole force together, but Eve had insisted, stating that flanking them when they were busy with one regiment was a sound battle tactic. Well no time to be second guessing ourselves now She glanced skyward and sent up a silent prayer to Artemis for their safety.


Eve had been thinking the very same thing. But drastic times call for drastic measures, and trying to send the opposing force into disarray seemed the best option. Her peripheral vision caught movement out of the norm...What's this? She noticed one of the amazons in the rear slowly drop back, then disappear into the surrounding flora. Why am I not suprised? She spurred her mount and caught up to Sarina. "Xynara just slipped into the forest." she whispered to the blonde. "You are in command until I return." She glanced around to make sure no one was evesdropping. "If I don't make it back in time, proceed with the assault." Sarina gave a nearly imperceptible nod, and gave Eve's arm a slight squeeze. "Luck be with you." she whispered back, and before she could blink, the brunette was gone.


Eve was now completely positive that Xynara was the chink in their armor. She had been following the woman for almost a candlemark now, and by her calculations, they were heading directly towards the enemy camp. She slipped behind the nearest tree as Xynara stopped at the edge of a clearing and uttered what she was sure was some kind of signal. Her senses picked up movement behind her, and she caught a whiff of stinky leather. Drat! How could I have been so stupid? As her world went black, she noticed that Xynara was now looking right at her and laughing heartily. Her last coherent thought was that this woman was going to pay dearly for her treachery.


Varia lurched forward in her saddle as the pain shot through her head. Fortunately Mags witnessed this and reached out, catching her queen by the elbow before she fell off the horse.

"Varia! Are you alright?"

Varia shook her head. The feeling was beginning to subside already. "Yeah I think so. Wow that was strange."

"What happened? You looked like someone conked ya one."

"That's sure what it felt like." She gently probed the base of her skull.

"Let me take a look." replied Mags, and Varia leaned over for her. After a moment of careful observation, she decided there was nothing to see. "Nope. Not a scratch..."

Varia scrunched up her face. "Weird." She let her gaze travel to the horizon. "Another candlemark and we should be in position."

"Yup." agreed Mags. "Think this will work?"

"I sure hope so." replied Varia. "Otherwise...we're in deep centaur dung."

A nod of agreement from her general and the ride continued in silence with Varia losing herself in her thoughts. Arinius...the last person she ever wanted to see again. And this time she would make sure she never had to see him again.


Sarina glanced once more at the sun's position in the sky above. Eve had been gone nearly a candlemark now, and she was starting to worry. Her eyes scanned the forest for the umpteenth time, searching for any sign of the princess, and still found none. "Shayla." The young amazon's head turned, and Sarina motioned her to her side. "Yeah boss?"

"We have a problem."

Shayla cocked her head. "I'm assuming you mean other than the obvious."

"Indeed." the weaponmaster sighed. "Eve has been gone for a candlemark now and she hasn't come back."

"Where did she go?"

"To follow Xynara." (a pause) "That witch broke off from the group and Eve followed her."

Shayla's eyebrows nearly left her face. "And you let her go alone??? By the gods Sar, have you lost ALL the brains Artemis put in that skull of yours?"

"Obviously." huffed the weaponmaster. "I knew I should have gone with her, but she's the one in charge and I'm supposed to follow orders remember?" (A sigh) "Not like I had a choice you know."

"Yeah yeah, and when Varia finds out, you are sooooo going to wish you had kept an eye on her."

"I know." Sarina shrugged and scanned the trees again. "I haven't seen Xynara come back either...which means Eve was right, and the problem's been taken care of, OR Eve was right and she's in trouble. Doesn't leave too many options no matter which way you look at it, especially when we still have a battle ahead of us."

Shayla blew sweat-dampened bangs out of her eyes. "Yeah, so what are we gonna do?"

Sarina's brow creased and she frowned. "Launch the attack...as planned." She gave her sister amazon a very serious look. "Eve told me before she left, that if she didn't get back in time to follow through with the assault. And by Artemis, I will destroy them if they have laid a hand on her."

Shayla nodded in agreement and then chuckled as a thought crossed her mind.

"How can you laugh at a time like this Shayla??" inquired the weaponmaster incredulously.

The little blonde chuckled again. "Because it just occurred to me that I wouldn't want to be in Arinius' shoes when Xena hears about this."

Sarina's eyebrow arched underneath curly bangs. Then she chuckled as well. "You got that right."


A vicious kick to her abdomen and Eve was thrown backwards once again, her shoulders nearly yanked out of their sockets as the chains binding her wrists stopped her backwards momentum. Her head was swimming, the darkness threatening to take her to a place where pain was irrelevant. A fist collided with her jaw, jerking her head to the side and spraying blood along her right arm. A soft grunt escaped her.

"So you're conscious after all!" said a male voice directly in front of her. She felt a hand grab her by the back of her hair and lift her face up. "You sure this is the one?" he asked.

"Yes. I'm positive." said a female voice off to Eve's left. "That's Varia's tramp."

Rank breath nearly made her gag as the male voice whispered into her ear. "I've waited 4 years for this moment in time amazon..." He yanked her head further back...studying her. "And you are not going to ruin it for me." The hand let her go, and Eve's head thumped back down to her chest. "In fact, carving you to pieces in front of your lover will be the absolute MOST fun I've had in years!" Eve heard them move off a ways and managed to open her eyes. She took in her surroundings as best she could, since focusing seemed to be a bit of a problem at the moment. There! Cages containing the Amazons from Varia's village were lined up across the camp from her. She silently tested the strength of the chains binding her between two trees. Nope, not going anywhere soon.. Dusk was falling. The attack would begin shortly. Here she was, Princess of the Amazons...daughter of Xena, and she let herself get captured so easily. Mother would be upset with her for sure! She frowned. How would the Warrior Princess get out of this? Eve looked around once again. Dropping her gaze to the ground around her, she spied another set of chains with a key sticking out of the manacles. Hmmmm, here's hoping the smith was lazy... She slowly edged her foot towards the set of chains, but just as she got the toe of her boot under the links, they slipped off and fell back to the ground with a slight clank. She looked around quickly, hoping no one heard the sound. Satisfied her efforts were going unnoticed, she tried again. The chains slid off once more. Why does everything have to be such a pain in the butt? she thought as she tried yet again. Well, Gabrielle always says patience is a virtue. She nearly managed a chuckle, but her parched throat wouldn't allow it. I sure wish I had inherited more of that trait... Once again the chains slipped away from her. If at first you don't succeed...try, try again...


Varia rode slowly towards Arinius' camp. It had been a quarter candlemark since they had gotten the signal that the other regiment was in position along the north treeline. Now she hoped she could carry out her part of the plan. Her mind raced with what might happen if she failed...so much was riding on this. Eve's words from two evenings ago seemed to whisper along on the wind and pass by her ears..."You'll be a great Queen my love. And I for one would follow you anywhere. You're wise and courageous, strong and moral, and I love that about you. You'll do the right thing I just know." Eve always knew just the right words to say to her when she was feeling insecure. Her thoughts were interrupted by shouts from the sentries, announcing her approach. She rode into the camp and stopped her horse in the center.

"Show yourself Arinius!" she called. Soldiers began to surround her, and she couldn't stop the sudden feeling of fear that swept through her. She gathered herself for her best Xena tone. "Or are you afraid of one woman?" A slow, satisfying scrape escaped the scabbard as she drew her sword and allowed a feral half grin to edge onto her face. She snickered inwardly as she noticed most of the soldiers stop moving towards her.

"No need to take that nasty tone with me honey."

Varia's head snapped to the left, as her left hand reached for her dagger.

"Ah Ah Ah!" he reached into the tent behind him and dragged forth a weakly struggling Eve. Varia's eyes went wide, the dagger she was about to throw clattered noisily to the ground at her feet. "You rotten son of a bacchae..." she hissed through clenched teeth. "Let her go or I'll kill you where you stand."

He laughed maniacally. "Oh now that's precious. I don't think you realize who is holding the cards here." He glanced at a slumping Eve. "I have your little girlfriend...YOU will do as I say, or she dies. That simple."

"Your gripe is with me, not her. Let her go and we'll talk about this."

He laughed again. Then his tone became softer. He looked into her eyes. "Four years of searching for you...four YEARS of wondering if you were dead or alive....FOUR YEARS I spent wondering if I would ever see you again, only to find you shacked up with this....THIS WOMAN!!" He shook Eve's battered body in emphasis. "You drove a stake through my heart when you left me Varia. And now I'm going to do the same for you."

"We won't let you do that Arinius." replied the Queen softly.

"We?" he snickered. "Oh you mean the army you have there...(he pointed to the north woods) and there?" (he pointed this time to the east ridge) "They are of no consequence." he scoffed. "I have the most important thing right here in my hot little hands...the Princess of the entire Amazon Tribe, also known as Livia, Bitch of Rome. Did you know there is still quite a hefty price on her head?" He chuckled deviously. "You see Varia dear...as long as I have Evie here, you won't touch me. Nor will any of the rest of your little freak army. Don't think I don't know that."

Eve coughed and managed to catch Varia's eye. Trust me. she tried to convey to her lover.

Varia frowned back. No, don't do this...

Eve had managed to slip the manacle key out from it's hiding place in her gauntlet and had finally gotten them unlocked. In one swift motion she had her left hand loose and swung her right arm across her body, the still attached manacle acting like a flail and labeling Arinius squarely along the side of his right cheek. Bone cracked, and Eve wasted no time dropping low and taking his legs out from under him. It was then that all Hades broke loose as the Amazons poured from their hiding spots and into the camp.

Varia was immediately swarmed by a dozen soldiers, leaping from her horse, it was all she could do to keep them at bay as her eyes frantically searched the melee for her lover. Her nape hairs stood on end and she instinctively ducked, a blade wizzing by close enuff to take a lock of her hair with it. She jumped up and let loose a spinning heel kick to the jaw of the man who had given her the unwanted haircut, following it up with a backhanded slash across the left arm of the assailant behind her. "Eve!!" she yelled. She scanned the throng again. "Hades balls don't you swines know when to give up?" she spat as she gutted a man trying to slice her open from behind. Then her eyes found what they had been searching for. Varia punched the man in front of her and leaped over his falling body...straining to get past the last two soldiers before Arinius's sword arm came down.

Everything seemed to suddenly be moving in slow motion for her. She saw the evil grin on his face as his grip tightened on his sword for the killing blow, watched as his arm began it's downward descent. Then suddenly she was past the last man, and throwing herself headlong across the remaining distance between them. Her body slammed into him with such force that he flew backwards five feet, landing on the ground with a loud thud. Varia spun around just in time to catch Eve before she slumped to the ground.

"I'm here...I'm here. Take it easy there..." She carefully helped Eve to sit down against a rock. "Stay right here, I have some unfinished business to take care of and I'll be right back ok?" Eve wearily shook her head and squeezed her lover's arm.

"Thank you for being my hero." she whispered.

Varia blushed. "Fight now, talk later, alright hon?" I'll be back soon, stay out of sight." She rose and turned around to find Arinius just getting to his feet. "You my friend, are in for some SERIOUS asskicking now." she said as she walked toward him.

"Pfft!" he spat. "I'm not afraid of you! The last time I saw you, a squirrel could beat you up, so no...I don't think an asskicking is on my agenda for tonight my dear." He came at her with a flurry of movement, found he couldn't get through her parries and backed off. "I see these abominations of the human race have taught you a few new tricks Varia. But I know all those tricks you see..." He launched an attack designed to overpower her, but her smaller frame and greater agility enabled her to duck the swipe meant to take her head off. As he overbalanced, she reached down into her boot, drew her last dagger and held held it straight up in the air. His body dragged across the blade on it's way past, and he fell to the ground in an unmoving, bloody heap.

She sighed. Her army was just finishing their rout of the rest of the soldiers that served under Arinius, so she turned her attention to where she had left Eve. But Eve wasn't there....she turned back around to find a hand attaching itself to her throat and lifting her cleanly off the ground.

"Always make sure your enemy is dead before you leave them as such." He sneered. "Cuz you never know what might happen otherwise." She felt his fingers tighten and her air flow lessen. She struggled to breathe, and her world was beginning to go dark when she thought she saw movement behind him. The next thing she knew, the pressure released and she was falling to the ground. Another thump and Arinius fell to the ground beside her, his eyes staring blankly ahead. Coughing she got to her knees and looked up to find Eve standing over his body, looking very pissed off.

Varia stood slowly. "Eve?" she asked warily.


"Now you're my hero." She smiled.

The darkness on the Princess' features disappeared and a smile found it's way to her face. "Well he was messing with my woman...I had to do something you know." She held out her hand and Varia slipped her own into it.

"Well I'm glad you did. I thought I was done for." She frowned. "All I could think about was that I didn't get to say goodbye to you."

Eve snorted. "As if I would let anyone take you from me?" She smiled and drew Varia closer. "Never."

Their moment was interrupted by the sound of applause coming from the tree limb above them.

Eve rolled her eyes. "Mother! How long have you been there?"

Xena stepped off the branch, and with a lazy flip landed lightly on the ground. "Oh long enough." She put her hands on her hips as she looked up into the foliage above. "Well come on Gabrielle, I don't have all day you know." The bard dropped out of the tree and into the waiting arms of her consort. "Hi!" she waved at the two Amazons from the safety of her warrior safety net. Xena rolled her eyes and deposited the bard softly on the ground.

"Ok Mother...how is it you came to be here just now?" inquired Eve, arching a familiar eyebrow.

"Well...ya see, it all started back at the village. Gabrielle was having these "visions" yesterday..." Her sentence was cut short by a well placed elbow jab into her ribs.

"For the LAST time Xena, they were 'premonitions', NOT 'visions'. There is a difference you know!"

"Yeah yeah call it what you like bard, it's all the same." Xena leaned in close to her daughter and Varia and whispered loudly, "She's been having a lot of these episodes lately..." Another even harder jab connected with her ribs, forcing the air out of her lungs and causing her to cough loudly. She held her hand up in defeat..."Mercy great queen...mercy!" Gabrielle giggled and turned towards her daughter.

"I'm glad to see you were in good hands daughter. Your mother had to practically tie me down to keep me from coming to your aid."

Eve looked astonished. "You've been here that long?"

The bard smiled. "Of course. Darling we know when you are in trouble. And when both of us get that same feeling at the same time, well...we just go with it. And here we are."

"I'm glad you two didn't interfere Gabrielle. It would be hard to maintain the respect of the tribe if my mommy had to bail me out of everything I manage to get myself into." She chuckled. "But I'm glad to know I have you at my back Mom. Thanks."

"Anytime sweetheart. I'll always be there for you."


"You had a 'feeling' so you just came?" This was Varia's fourth mug of ale and she was feeling a bit bolder than usual. "Xena I know you have many skills, but that's just borderline creepy!"

The warrior shrugged and just stared into the fire.

Varia looked perplexed. "You're being serious aren't you?"

Xena nodded.

"I'm sorry I didn't believe you."

"No problem."

There was silence between them for a few moments. "Varia..."


"You put your life on the line for my daughter today. Thank you." Xena crossed her arms and leaned back against the tree.

Varia glanced over at Xena, then returned her gaze to the fire. "I love her."

"I know."

"I want to ask her to join with me."

An eyebrow went up. "Oh you do huh?" The brunette nodded. Xena calmly took a sip of her ale before she spoke again. "Well it's a long time coming for sure." She reached out and whacked Varia on the back.

"So does that mean {cough} that it's {cough cough} ok with you?"

Xena smiled. "Oh definitely. Welcome to the family Varia." She whacked the Amazon on the back one more time, just for good measure.

And the warrior princess chuckled as the big, bad Amazon warrior coughed and hacked from a teeny weeny little tap on the back. That's how she would tell it to Gabrielle anyways...

The End