My Dearest Friend...

My Dearest Friend...

Eponin solemnly handed the scroll to her queen.

Gabrielle looked into Pony's eyes as she reached for the battered parchment. was all there for the bard to see. "Thank you Eponin. I'd like to be alone when I read this."

"Yes my queen." She turned towards the door, but turned back before she reached it. "If you need to talk Gabrielle...."

The bard raised her eyes. "Thank you Eponin." She sighed. "I just might do that." She watched her weaponmaster depart and crossed the room to her desk. After lighting her reading candle, she dropped into her chair and began to unroll the parchment. Ephiny's handwriting. No wonder Pony had looked so sad. A single tear welled up and slid down her cheek as she remembered her beloved friend...her confidante. Her eyes went to the ceiling trying to muster some inner strength...she couldn't wimp out! No! Ephiny had wanted her to have this scroll in the event of her death, and now it had come to pass. "So get on with it already oh mighty queen!" she chided herself. Leaning back once again, she unrolled the parchment and began to read....

My Dearest Friend,
Do not be sad that this day has come to pass. I lived the life of a warrior, and I always knew what could happen someday. But as for right now, there are some things I need to say to you.

I remember the first day I met you. I didn't like you very much then. But you proved to me that big things don't always come in big packages. You earned my respect and now you have become my most trusted friend. And that is why I am writing this...because I owe you the greatest apology. Why you may ask? Because I haven't been completely honest with you about everything, as you have been with me. I feel like a coward, hiding behind a mask of death before I can tell you how I really feel. You always asked me why I never chose a was because the only consort I would have ever wanted was you Gabrielle. Don't look so suprised. (The bard chuckled as Ephiny's words made her catch the suprised look on her own face.) You are the most loving, caring and compassionate individual I have ever known, and I fell for you that first day. From hate to respect to love all in one day. How do you do that to people Gabrielle? You are amazing!

Now for the hard part. For all these years I have kept my feelings to myself, watching you and Xena live so happily. No no...I was never upset about that, so don't worry. A little jealous at first, but when I saw how happy she made you...who was I to deny you that? Seeing you like that was worth my silence. Your happiness was what I lived for...what kept me going all this time. I love you with all my heart soul...everything that I am. I just wanted to say thank you for letting me a part of your life. Keep me close and call to me when you need me...I'll be right there with you.

Artemis bless,

(PS...Keep that Warrior of yours out of the pickled croasis will you?)

As the words on the page became blurry, Gabrielle put her head down on her arm and wept.