Post by Lady Lee-o on Jun 30, 2018 21:48:43 GMT -8
Warnings: Blood, War, Death
Summary: This is an alternate timeline where Ephiny lives instead of dies during the events of Endgame. Ephiny is seriously wounded, hanging onto life. Amarice is sent out to find Gabrielle and Xena to save the nation and bring peace once again.
The war with Rome had been going on for months now, sisters being taken by the handful. Ephiny didn’t know what to do, she was at a loss and Gabrielle and Xena were nowhere to be found. She sent a couple warriors out to find them but they had only heard whispers. Seems a warrior princess was traveling in india with her warrior bard. So, she did the only thing she could do, she continued to rule in her name and lead the tribe against Rome. Both sides were evenly matched and Ephiny figured it was because of the trees. Roman’s weren’t usually so easily beaten down but her sisters held them back.
Ephiny sent Solari and her group out to do some scouting and they had not returned. It didn’t sit well with Ephiny, “Solari isn’t back yet?” Chilapa shook her head.
“Eponin is also missing,” Ephiny could see the concern on Chilapa’s face.
“We’ll find them, I promise.” She was just as concerned but she was the Queen, she needed to be strong. “I’ll take a group out and see If I can find them.”
“You shouldn’t go out there, you can barely move. Let me,” Ephiny had taken a fall the other day and her entire body felt like it been hit by a tree. However, she was a leader and she couldn’t allow herself bedrest. Her sisters were fighting with wounds, what example would she set if she hid out in her tent?
“Your concern is noted but I’m fine. I need you to get a group ready, your girls will be my reinforcements.” Ephiny smiled and placed a hand on her sister’s shoulder.
“Please little sister, let me-”
“Get your girls ready.”
“Yes, my queen.” Ephiny took Chilapa into a hug before heading out of her personal tent and into the healer’s tent.
Kellis was a tough old amazon who helped raise many of the sisters here today; Ephiny especially. “I’m busy,” was the first thing that came out of her mouth, which only caused Ephiny to smirk.
“I can see that, I’ll just grab my medicine and be out of your way. The scouting group hasn’t returned and I’m going out to find them.” As Ephiny was grabbing her vial, Kellis walked over and poked her right in the side. “Son of a-” Ephiny winced at the poke and glared at the woman.
“You’re not going anywhere, you can’t take a little poke from an old woman. How will you stand against Rome?”
“Not my fault you have boney fingers, I’m fine.” She took the vial and swallowed the liquid, before placing a kiss on the old woman’s cheek. “I will be back before nightfall.”
“Ephiny, please send someone else." It was clear she was concerned but Ephiny would not budge.
"Solari led the away team and Eponin is also missing, I know you are worried but I have to go out there." and without saying anything else she left the tent.
Ephiny led her warriors out to the nearest battleground. The Roman’s dirty work was on full display for them when they arrived. “and they call us savages.” Rome’s conquered were strung up on crosses, messages carved into skin and left to rot. ‘Si vis pacem, para bellum - If you wish for peace, prepare for war.’ They had wished for peace, every day since the war began but they would not back down from Rome. Some days, Ephiny wished they had taken Cyane up on her offer- run to the north but that wouldn’t have helped and she knew that. Cyane brought her warriors to fight but in the end, her cowardice had her feel back home. She didn’t last long when Rome came and Ephiny dreamed of the day when she saw her again.
Ephiny made a few gestures behind her and the sisters moved forward, they kept low and didn’t make a sound. As they traveled further in, Ephiny saw a familiar silhouette in the grass. She moved quickly, lifting the mask from her face before flipping the body over. "Solari," She swallowed down the sickness she felt, she wouldn't cry here. Her whole being was screaming inside but she needed to focus, she had no time for tears. She couldn't show her sisters weakness, she needed to be the Queen. She said a quick prayer before signaling the rest to move forward, she would grieve later.
"...in my tribe..." Ephiny’s patience was wavering, this young Amazon from some tribe was starting every sentence with ‘in my tribe...’ and she didn’t care for it. This was her tribe and Amarice would follow orders or get out of her way.
“How does your tribe feel about taking orders?” She gave another signal to move in. It was time to protect her lands, revenge for the death of her love and all the others that littered the battleground. Romans rushed the clearing...
The Roman was a high ranking officer, fancy armor and the way he held himself in a battle. His skills matched her own, if not slightly more polished. This fight could have gone either way but he landed the lucky blow, the handle of his sword slamming hard against her temple. She went down hard and just seconds later his sword slid into her stomach. Luckily, he didn’t have time to twist.
The reinforcements started to arrive, the sounds of her sister's yells could be heard. The man pulled his sword free and called for a retreat, they were beaten back and she felt Amarice press something to her wound. “My Queen,” The girl had been a pain in her side but she was glad she acted quickly.
“Find, Gabrielle-” and that is when everything went black.
Ephiny could feel her body being jerked in all directions. She was still on the forest floor, two warriors were trying to stabilize her before moving her back to the village. The movement was painful as she was placed on the litter and carried off towards the village. “Hang on, little sister.” Chilapa had come as a backup and beat back the Roman’s, long enough to get Ephiny off to safety. She reached out a hand and Chilapa took hold of it, “I got you.” On the way back she slipped into unconsciousness, unsure how much time passed. She could hear people talking around her but couldn’t make out what they were saying.
When she woke up again, Kellis was there cleaning out her wound and it didn’t hurt. “I’m alive?”
“Yes,” Kellis wasn’t poking fun at her, which caused her to worry.
“I can’t feel anything,” She said hoarsely, “How long have I been down?”
“I can’t have you wiggling around on my table while I treat you.” Kellis brought a cup to her lips and she drank slowly, “A week.” It felt like only moments, “You had us all worried but you’ll be fine if you listen to me this time.” There was the Kellis she knew, Ephiny couldn’t help but smile.
“You’re going to lecture me now, Kellis?”
“It’s better to lecture when you’re awake, that way I can enjoy it more.” Ephiny let out a tiny chuckle before accepting more water to drink.
“What’s going on, brief me.”
“I’m a healer, not a warrior, you’ll be briefed by Chilapa. She is due any moment, rest.” Ephiny smiled as Kellis placed a kiss on her forehead.
When Chilapa walked into the tent she headed right over to Ephiny, resting her forehead against hers.
“Tell me,” She filled Ephiny in on what happened, things were not going well. More sisters had been taken, many were wounded. “Any news on, Eponin?”
“No signs but we’re still looking. I’m not giving up,” Ephiny knew that Eponin’s survival would be minimal. She was either dead from her wounds, or, she was a prisoner. “Still no news on Xena and Gabrielle but rumor has it they are back in Greece.”
“Let me know when they arrive, send them right in.”
“I will, now rest little sister.” Chilapa took charge of the tribe since Ephiny had fallen. She was frazzled, stressed, and worried about her nation. It took another day before Xena and Gabrielle showed up, catching sight of them walking through the broken gate. Chilapa felt a huge relief wash over her, “Queen Gabrielle, Xena, thank you for coming.”
“Chilapa, what happened? Amarice said that Ephiny’s been hurt, is she okay?” Gabrielle asked.
“Ephiny has been badly wounded but she is recovering, it’s still very serious. She’s been asking for you, come, I will take you to her.” Chilapa led them to the Queen’s hut, Ephiny was in the middle of arguing with Kellis when they arrived.
“I need to lead my sisters, I can not stay on my back-”
“That is exactly where you’ll end up, permanently, if you do not stay put! Queen or not you are acting like a child!” Kellis stormed over to a table to mix some herbs for Ephiny’s wound, grumbling.
“Help me up,” Ephiny winced when she tried to get up, pulling some stitches. Chilapa was quick to pushed her back down.
“Stop it or she’ll knock you out- again.” Chilapa held her in place with a sigh.
Xena looked semi-amused but it faltered when she saw the state of Ephiny. Pale white, stained with blood, barely able to move. “How serious?”
“Any worse and she’d be dead. She can’t heal if she doesn’t stop pulling stitches but I can’t get her to listen. Talk to her, see if you can beat some sense into her thick skull. Put the pinch on or something,” Kellis said loud enough for Ephiny to hear.
“We’ll talk to her,” Gabrielle smiled and walked over to the bed. “Ephiny,” Her tone was that of a scolding mother but still soft.
“Don’t give me that look, Gabrielle, and why do you two only come when the nation is in peril? I would like to see my friends on nice occasions,” Each word was forced as a new wave of pain shot through her body. Her whole body was on fire and she was hot to the touch.
“We’ve been in India, we didn’t know this was going on.” Gabrielle took Ephiny’s hand and held it, “I’ve been meaning to visit, I was going to mention it to Xena.”
“Hold still,” Xena walked closer and took a look at the wound, shaking her head. “Your wound is becoming irritated. If you keep pushing yourself it will become infected and spread. You need to let Kellis take care of you,” Xena moved aside to let Kellis in, watching as she started to put a paste into the infected wound.
“I’m here now,” Gabrielle gave her hand a squeeze, “Tell us what’s going on.”
“That is what I was about to ask you, what are you wearing?” Ephiny barely recognized Gabrielle at first but then she saw Xena. “I mean you look good,” She reached up and scruffed her hair with a smile. "I don't see a place for any weapons."
"I don't carry weapons anymore, I'm on a peaceful path."
"I don't see how you'll peace your way out of this but enlighten me."
"I don't need to fight with weapons to win this fight, I can make a difference without violence. And if peace doesn't work, Xena will go the way of the warrior." Gabrielle leaned in and kissed her forehead, “Rest, I'm here and that means I'm in charge. So, listen to Kellis."
“Sure, I-” Ephiny cried out as Kellis pressed against her wound. “Holy goddess, that hurt! ” She snapped but the old woman was smiling.
“It’s an opened wound, not a papercut,”
“I thought you had me numb?”
“It wore off, now lay back down and let me finish. Unless you want this wound to get worse? You are lucky to be breathing,” Chilapa helped and pushed Ephiny back down.
“Yes I know,” Ephiny looked over at Gabrielle and sighed. “I’m glad you’re both here,” She reached up and clasped arms with Xena. “We have lost many friends and I’ll be glad when this whole thing is over.” Ephiny didn’t have time to mourn for her sisters, not to her knowledge anyways. “I-um-” The memory of Solari pushed it’s way forward from the back of her mind. She didn’t realize the tears, not until she felt Gabrielle wipe them away. “I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be,” Xena placed a hand on Ephiny’s shoulder, “We’re going to do whatever we can, I promise. The Amazon’s will not die here,” Ephiny felt comfort with Xena’s words.
“The Tribe is yours, Queen Gabrielle, as always. Chilapa will give you what you need,” She smiled when she felt Chilapa’s lips on her forehead. “You’ll be alright?”
“Yes, rest little sister. I can't lose you, Please, listen to Kellis so you don’t leave me alone.”
“Don’t-” Both warriors were vulnerable right now, prone to many emotions. "
“Right,” Chilapa cleared her throat, “Queen Gabrielle, Xena, this way.” Chilapa led them out of Ephiny’s tent and over to the war tent, she waved the others off before turning back to her friends.
“How are you doing?” Gabrielle could see the toll of war and she knew how much it could affect the ones around you; even the toughest warriors.
“Shaken,” Chilapa decided to be honest and told Xena and Gabrielle everything that had been going on. “...I’ve lost much as a warrior but these last few months, well, they have been worse than anything I have experienced. As a child, I saw death but I didn’t understand it but I do now. Eponin is missing, Solari is dead, and Ephiny almost joined her. I’m at a loss of what to do, I’m glad you’re both here. We need strong leaders right now, our camp moral has been low since our first defeat.”
"War is never easy, Chilapa, especially when one side wants to live in peace and the other just wants to conquer. Gabrielle and I will make this right, I promise you, no matter how long it takes."