DISCLAIMER: Xena Warrior Princess is the property of Renaissance Pictures and MCA.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I truly wanted to write a fic for this challenge, but my muse ran away screaming at the mere mention of vampires, ghosts, and zombies. Just the thought sent it hiding behind corners and underneath beds, but it finally agreed to offer insight to a ficlet promoting the event, using the one, and only, original bard as inspiration to the other writers.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
The rhythmic sound of stone against steel filled the otherwise quiet night as the warrior went through the ritual of maintaining the sharp edge of her sword. The bard sat nearby, staring down at the blank scroll, frustration steadily building as she was unable to come up with a single word in her quest to tell a new tale.
A few moments later, Gabrielle threw her scroll down in disgust, and Xena watched from the corner of her eye as the parchment landed in the middle of their bedroll. Even in anger, her bard had made certain not to damage her precious writing material.
"Arrgghh, I never should've signed up for that contest. I didn't even bother to look at the theme; I just jumped at the chance to pit my writing against others. How can I write a story when I have no idea what I want to write about?"
Xena continued the smooth strokes. "What are the parameters? Surely, you can write about some of our travel experiences. With everything we've been through, something's bound to match up with what the contest is looking for."
Grabbing up her copy of the rules of the challenge, Gabrielle began to read. "Vampires, Ghosts, & Zombies Challenge." She laid the parchment in her lap.
"Xena, I can't decide which to focus on."
The warrior shrugged and offered a suggestion. "Well, what about vampires? You know a little something about them."
"Vampires? We've never encountered any vampires. Um, have we?"
"Gabrielle, we've both been vampires."
"What?" The bard looked over at her warrior, wondering if Xena was suffering some sort of side effect from being cooped up too long in that tiny wooden box.
"Bacchae, Gabrielle." Xena briefly halted her sword sharpening and touched her neck, smiling at the memory of Gabrielle sinking her teeth into her. It was the first erotic moment the two had shared, and if it wasn't for the problem of staying a Bacchae for eternity, Xena wouldn't mind experiencing it again.
"Bacchae are vampires? Huh, I hadn't realized that." Gabrielle reached for her scroll, suddenly finding that she had plenty of material to cover the vampire theme.
Xena shook her head in affirmation, resuming her sharpening motion. "They're close enough. I'm sure they'd be allowed, but you could write a thing or two about ghosts. Zombies, too. Well, at least the glassy, green-eyed look."
Gabrielle lowered her feathered pen and glanced towards the warrior, wondering if perhaps ghosts wouldn't be a better subject for her entry. Xena never missed a beat as she expounded on her words.
"Demons and spirits were everywhere in our travels. Remember the demon who took over your body when we were in India? I've still got a little scar on my cheek from where your tongue burned me. And, what about Alti? Talk about your ultimate evil spirit."
Xena stopped her motion and tilted her head to check on her progress. Not satisfied with the results, she increased the pressure of her strokes, the talks of bacchae and demons fortifying her efforts to be at the ready as she continued her explanation.
"But to me, the ghost aspect would best be told when we went back to Amphipolis that last time. Mother's spirit kept showing up, and then I had to fight Mephistopheles to free the trapped souls. There was so much evil, remember? It even turned you into a demon again, only this time, you had that whole zombie look going on."
Holding up the glistening steel, Xena placed the stone beside her, pleased with the finished product. As an afterthought, she casually mentioned, "Now that was a true haunting adventure."
The memory of her brief transformation to evil pushed itself forward. The bard pursed her lips and nodded; her focus changing from vampires to ghosts and zombies. Her feather flew across the page as she recalled being tugged under the water by the demon creatures, only to be pulled free by a determined Xena.
Gabrielle wrote of moans and disembodied cries and of Cyrene's ghost popping up everywhere. She visibly cringed when she recalled the maggots and worms attacking her hands, but she bravely continued to push the pen across the parchment, capturing the moments as if they'd happened only the day before.
The more she wrote, the more confident she became. The bard was certain this was what the Queen of All Things Spooky was calling for. Save for the vampires, it had all the other necessary elements: the gore, the blood, the suspense, and the fear of evil triumphing over good.
Xena watched silently as Gabrielle filled up the scroll and reached for another, her own thoughts turning to Demon Gabrielle, hanging naked from the corner of the ceiling. When she'd dropped down on top of Xena, the warrior had struggled mightily before she was able to quickly dress and tie down the demon bard.
Climbing onto the furs, Xena waited for the bard to finish up her tale and join her, biding her time by allowing the images of bacchae and demons to invade her mind. Suddenly, amidst the disturbing, and occasionally pleasant images, Xena smiled, realizing how much their lives had changed since Mt. Fuji. Nowadays, her only struggle consisted of how quickly she could undress Gabrielle before tying her down.
Xena eyed the silk scarves peeking out from under Gabrielle's bag and glanced over at the frantically writing bard as the warrior began to map out their nighttime activities. The vampires, ghosts, and zombies would just have to bother someone else. She'd more than paid her dues; it was time to reap the benefits of her many battles with the undead.
As her benefactor placed the finishing strokes on her entry, Xena watched the bard place the parchment down gently next to her bag before rising to join the warrior. Gabrielle smiled brightly. She was certain that she'd just penned the winning entry; however, she now had another problem that needed attention.
Running her tongue over her slightly elongated incisors, Gabrielle crawled into her warrior's arms. Writing macabre tales always brought out the bacchae in her, not to mention making her extremely horny.
The bard's teeth slowly sunk into the soft tissue of her warrior's neck, and Xena's last thought before she allowed herself to be swept away by the pure eroticism of the moment was to insist that Gabrielle enter every single vampire, ghost, and zombie challenge that came their way.
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