DISCLAIMER: Xena Warrior Princess is the property of Renaissance Pictures and MCA.
CHALLENGE: Written as part of the 1001 Nights Challenge - rite of passage.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
The Amazon Way
"Are you certain, Ephiny?" Gabrielle asked, hoping against hope that the Amazon was mistaken.
"Yes, my Queen."
Turning away, Gabrielle closed her eyes and pinched the bridge of her nose. Xena was going to have a Centaur; she'd never agree to the ritual. There had to be another way.
Facing her friend once again, Gabrielle questioned, "Why does Xena have to be involved? Can't I just do this by myself?"
"No, my Queen. This is a rite of passage for both you and your consort. It's been passed down through the generations, and it's clearly stated in the historical scrolls that every Queen and consort must complete the act in order to appease our goddess, as well as maintain her title," Ephiny stated with a ghost of a grin.
"What if Xena and I perform this ritual in private, just me, Xena, and Artemis?"
Shaking her head, Ephiny replied, "Sorry, Gabrielle. According to ancient law, the entire village must be present, and you must perform the ritual by the next moon."
Gabrielle moved to a nearby table and plopped onto its seating bench. "Well then, congratulations, Ephiny.'
Puzzled, her Regent asked, "For what, my Queen?"
"For becoming the new Queen of the Amazons because there's no way in Tartarus that Xena will consent to this," Gabrielle offered, laying her head on the table.
Meanwhile, across the compound, Xena protested, "No way, Epinon. Have you been smoking Amazon weed, again?"
"No, but maybe if you smoked some, then you'd be able to make it through the ritual," the weapons master suggested.
Putting her hands on her hips, Xena replied, "Trust me, there's not enough weed in the Amazon nation. Gabrielle will just have to do this by herself."
"But she can't," Epinon explained, "The law says that the Queen and her Consort must complete the ritual together."
Wordlessly, the two warriors stood glaring at each other, neither able to figure out a way around the Amazon custom.
***the next moon***
The entire Amazon nation assembled around the sacred circle, waiting for their Queen and consort to make their way into the center. Many of the Amazons had spent the night beside the circle to ensure a front row seat to the highly awaited ritual.
The beating of the drums had the assembly turning toward the path that led from the Queen's hut to the circle. The Amazons nearest the path quickly began to take side bets on whether or not Xena would actually show.
Soon, the Queen came into view, wearing her ceremonial leathers, but everyone in attendance stood on their tiptoes to try to see past their leader to the tall figure who followed closely behind her. Smiles appeared on the faces of each Amazon when Xena finally came into view, the hot pink leathers almost glowing in the dark.
A hush fell over the crowd as the Queen and her consort made their way to the center of the circle. The drums began to beat wildly as Gabrielle took Xena's hand, and finally the crescendo began to die out until complete silence filled the circle.
As part of the custom, Gabrielle nodded for her consort to begin, and clearing her throat, Xena stepped away from her Queen.
Placing her right foot forward, she began, "You put your right foot in, you put your right foot out; you put your right foot in, and you shake it all about. You do the Hokey-Pokey,
And you turn yourself around. That's what it's all about!"
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