Divide and Conquer I
Alexandra had been with the Hercules and Iolaus for a few weeks now; and she was actually a bit relieved. It proved to be much easier being with the hero and the hunter than with Ares and Iphicles. She wasn't a fool - she knew neither one would give up anything for her. They were meant to be together; the god and the king.
Then things became too complicated. She wound up caring for Iphicles a great deal, and this decidedly put a crimp in her plans. Being away from them for a while was just what she needed, and since the emotional attachment never surfaced with Hercules and Iolaus; she was much more at ease with them. Her dreams had led her to them; dreams that told her they would be the ones to lead her to the answers she sought - and Caesar.
She had told Hercules the day he found her running from the castle, that she was in trouble and needed their help. Alex relayed her story of how she came from a family of warlords and that her whole family served Ares, but she was looking for a better way. She had come to Corinth to Iphicles' castle in search of him, to ask for help, all along knowing that her father would never be happy with her decision. Alex also told them how she wanted to be taken seriously in this world dominated by men. She did come from a family of warlords, but of this, she was proud. She had run to Ares, not from him; she also conveniently left out the past few months from her story. She overheard Ares and Iphicles speak of Hercules on many occasions, and felt that if Hercules knew of her involvement with his brothers, things might not go so well.
All she did was simply 'ask' for their help, that proved to be enough; besides if things went her way, she wouldn't be with them for very long. Alex was aware of Hercules' main weakness, thanks to talks with Ares and Iphicles. She knew he could never say no to someone in need, especially if they were trying to get away from Ares. This knowledge was all she needed; Alex knew how to play well on a weakness. Ares taught her that.
Right from the start, Hercules didn't agree with all of her ideas, or how she went about things. Nightly, she endured a lecture from him about how her plans were totally wrong, and, didn't just being happy and helping others matter most?
Alex knew the drill well. She would grit her teeth and sit there, nodding her head, feigning interest. It had been all right the first time he expounded the glories of helping others; but now it was slowly driving her over the edge. Hercules had a way of preaching that could drive a holy man insane.
Her problems came from another source: the hunter. Iolaus was suspicious in nature, and it didn't help that he thought her ideas were crazy.
Alex could hear his words ringing in her ears. "Women shouldn't be 'competing' in a man's world. There are much better things they could be doing." She remembered how he'd grinned as he spoke those exact words. She sensed he didn't fully trust her, but deep down, Alex felt there was a lot more to his hostility. She couldn't quite put her finger on what the problem was.
Despite his mistrust, Iolaus proved to be a good teacher. He was eager to have someone around who he could teach for a change. With his help, she was able learn a lot about hunting and fishing. Only when Hercules was around, did his demeanor change.
Alex often heard them arguing in hushed whispers, and she didn't understand why - until she finally caught a glimpse of what the problem might be. At first, it was only an exchange of a look between the two men, then a touch, but she still wasn't sure if she was reading things correctly.
She had just returned to camp after gathering some more firewood and it looked like the two men were in the middle of an embrace. Iolaus' lips were red and swollen and Hercules was turning bright red, his hair disheveled.
"Did I interrupt something?" Alex asked.
"No," Hercules muttered.
She could clearly see that Iolaus looked pissed, he threw some more kindling on the fire, and quickly went to work on the fish he had caught earlier. While he cleaned them, Alex saw him look up at the pair through his golden curls. His eyes burned into her. "Come on, Herc tell her," he whispered so softly she barely heard him.
"Of course not Alex, why?" Hercules asked.
Alex saw Iolaus cut himself with his hunting knife. "Damn," he yelled, as he sucked the blood off of his finger. "Good Iolaus cut yourself...get an infection! Then you'll die and you two will never get to fuck again."
Hercules blushed. "Well, actually: "
Iolaus looked at them his jaw clenched. "Come on, Herc for us," he said. He stopped cleaning the fish and threw the knife into the ground.
Hercules tried to answer but he started to stammer. "Alex, it's just that: you see--Iolaus and I, well we need some time 'alone'--."
"Alone? Do you want me to leave, for good?"
Hercules touched Alexandra on the arm. "Look, Alex we don't want you to leave for good." He smiled. "We just want you to leave for a while, a good 'long' while."
"We need to be together, Alex." Iolaus paused. "You do understand. Don't you?" Iolaus was at Hercules' side in a flash. He took Hercules' face in his hands and began to passionately kiss his friend. Hercules let out a small moan of pure pleasure.
"Sure--I'm sorry I didn't see this sooner. I'm really embarrassed." She started to walk into the woods, deciding it would be best to give them some privacy, quickly.
"Alexandra! Don't go too far." Hercules said, pulling himself away from Iolaus for a second.
"Oh don't worry. I won't. As you said you two need some time alone to 'discuss' things." Alex wasn't doing a very good job of hiding the disappointment in her voice, being sent away was the ultimate insult, but she was really upset that she hadn't realized things sooner, she was too focused on herself.
Alexandra kept her word, and didn't go very far. Fascinated by their earlier kiss, she crept back through the bushes and watched the pair make love from a distance. For his immense size, Hercules' movements were of a caring, gentle lover. She watched, as he began kissing Iolaus with passion, taking care to remove the vest he wore and gently placing it on the rock beside them.
The demi-god loosened Iolaus' leather pants and pulled them down to his ankles. Iolaus stepped out of his pants and leaned back onto the rock. Hercules dropped to his knees and began to plant small gentle kisses on Iolaus' inner thigh. The hunter arched his head back, using the large bolder to support his weight as he leaned on his arms. Alex saw a look in the hunter's eyes - one of pure lust and happiness as he gazed down at his lover, and spread his legs wider.
Hercules began to tease Iolaus' cock, licking the shaft from the base to the head with quick flicks of his tongue. He didn't tease him for very long and he soon took the entire length in his mouth. Working himself back and forth, the hunter eagerly met the sweet, embracing warmth, thrust for thrust.
"Oh Gods! Yes! Herc--yes," the hunter moaned and writhed, thrusting into the demigod's mouth. It didn't take very long for him to cum, and Hercules captured his seed, taking it all. Once recovered, Iolaus made short work of getting his lover out of his clothes. Now it was his turn.
Alex found it harder to swallow as she watched Iolaus push his lover down on the hard ground, an evil look in his eyes. He took a small jar of oil out of his pack and coated his lovers cock. The hunter straddled his lover and lowered himself onto Hercules' cock. Both men moaned, as he slid down and engulfed the organ in his tightness. Hercules put his hands on the lithe man's hips and began a gentle movement. Iolaus leaned forward and captured his lover's mouth with his own. His tongue demanding entrance and eagerly accepted. Both men were totally consumed by each other.
Alex could hear moans of pleasure, as Hercules' gleaming cock slid in and out of his lover, his strokes becoming faster and faster. "Iolaussssss!" Hercules bellowed as he came deep within his hunter. As he pulled Iolaus into an embrace, his seed flowed down his shaft and pooled into the matted hair that curled around it.
"So--you 'really' do like to watch after all!" The soft, seductive voice whispered in her ear, as powerful and muscular arms encircled her from behind.
"Aressss," she hissed. "I've 'you' to thank for that. They're a beautiful sight together, aren't they?"
"So, you finally got the hint and gave them some time alone?"
Alex frowned. "Well, they could of--"
"You're upset!" Ares smirked. "Why? Because they wanted to be alone, or they didn't include you?" Ares' laughter echoed off of the trees.
Alex made a futile attempt to pull away from him. "You're enjoying rubbing this in, aren't you? Well it's not funny, war god!" Alex turned her attention back to the lovers. "But look at them. At least they're happy together."
Biting Alex's ear, Ares continued, "And, what will make 'you' happy, Alex?" The dark god worked his way down her neck again. "Ruling the world?" He said, a tone of sarcasm in his voice. Alex could feel her body leaning into the god of war's, feeling the warmth,the heat.
"Exactly what are you doing here, Ares?" Alex said pointedly, once she had regained her senses.
"Oh I came because I've a message for you." Ares handed her a silk scarf. "Iphicles misses you and wants you to come home for tonight."
"I can't leave now, Ares, they'll miss me." The continued nuzzling of her neck distracted her. The god oozed sex.
Ares looked over at his brother and Iolaus and raised an eyebrow. Iolaus already had his tongue trailing up his brother's enlarged cock. "Oh don't worry,I think they'll be rather busy for the rest of the night. They won't miss you at all." He grinned. "Oh nice technique!" He said, as he watched the hunter take Hercules completely down his throat.
"Okay, so they won't miss me. You made your point!" Alexandra's mood was becoming increasingly foul by the minute. Alex sighed; she really wanted to see Iphicles again. And so she agreed. With a thought, Ares transported them to the king of Corinth.
Alex found traveling that way very unsettling. When she finally regained her full senses, she found herself in Iphicles' bedchamber, naked, and securely tied to the bedposts. Ares stood above her, grinning, as usual, while Iphicles leaned casually against one of the posts with his arms folded.
"I promised you a present, king," Ares grinned. "And here she is."
Alex started to struggle. "This isn't cute Ares. Untie me!" *Why do I trust him?* She thought annoyed with herself.
Ares raised an eyebrow. "Oh it's not meant to be cute, Alexandra. Iphicles asked me for a favor, and I agreed. I'll be back to take you to my half-breed brother and his lover later."
"They kicked her out huh?" Iphicles grinned.
"Yes. Seems like those two hadn't gotten down and dirty since Alex joined their little group. When we left, the ground was shaking! That li'l blond guy has some technique." Ares walked over to Iphicles and kissed him, slipping his tongue between the king's silken lips. "Let's see if you do as well." He smacked the king on the ass. "I've some business to take care of...enjoy!" His laughter echoed in their ears, as the god disappeared.
Ares traveled swiftly, arriving at the base camp of the Roman army. He tore through the curtains of the commander's tent "Caesar! Where are you? I need to speak with you. Now!"
"I can't believe everyone is joking at my expense." Alex looked at Iphicles. He was a magnificent sight standing there just staring at her. She watched as he slowly opened his shirt and ran his hand down his chest. He licked his lips and continued to tease her by removing the lacing from his leathers. He removed his pants pulling them over his erect cock. He was torturing her and she could tell he loved every minute of it.
Iphicles knelt on the edge of the bed; he trailed his hand gently across Alex's stomach. "I miss you, Alex," he said as he gradually moved his hand down her leg.
Alex pulled at her bonds. "Then why am I tied up? I came willing you know."
"Mmmm...yes I guess it's just a little pay back for leaving in the first place. I really haven't fully recovered," he said sarcastically. The whiteness of his teeth accentuated his mouth, making his lips seem even fuller.
The king continued down her thighs, causing Alex to arch her back ever so slightly. He lowered himself onto Alex's body. Bearing down on her arms, he spoke firmly. "Don't move Alex unless 'I' tell you it's okay. Tonight, I'm in control. You have to do as I say!" His eyes narrowed.
Sensing his seriousness, she yielded to his forceful side. "Yes, my lord, I'll do anything you ask."
"Good. If you do, then maybe I'll let you come sooner than later." He smiled and his eyes seemed to glow with desire.
Iphicles began to kiss her hard, pressing his lips fiercely onto hers. She could feel her body responding to the king and his every demand. It was strange how this show of power only made her want him more. It also made her realize how much she missed him. Iphicles always proved to be a gentle lover with her; he took his aggressions out on Ares. But this time between them proved different.
He ran his hands out and along her outstretched arms forcing them further down into the bed, pressing against her with his body so hard, his cock felt as if it became a part of her. Devouring her lips, his tongue pressed, thrust, and explored, as if she belonged only to him.
Finally he retreated from his assault on her mouth to move down to her breasts. He drew hard on the nipple, sucking and biting. Alexandra let out little gasps of pleasure as he pinched her other nipple hard with his fingers. "You like that my love?"
"Yesssss..." This side of the king drove her over the edge.
Straining, she pulled on the scarves that bound her to his bed, and his desires. Iphicles moved back up her chest to her mouth, planting fevered kisses that set her body on fire. Raising himself above Alex's body, he braced himself against the headboard, and he lowered his cock to her mouth, barely touching her lips.
"Do you desire it, Alexandra?"
Alex breathing came in short pants. "Yes, please."
Iphicles plunged deep into Alexandra's mouth moaning at the shear pleasure the sensation gave him. She sucked and licked his cock; her eyes fixed on the golden man thrusting into her. The king's thrusts came faster and faster, as he gripped the headboard tighter. He moved faster and faster, finally he released his seed down her throat; and she'd eagerly swallowed all of it.
Collapsing on his arms for support, withdrawing from her, the king leaned down and kissed Alexandra, deeply savoring their kiss.
Once again, Iphicles lowered himself on top of Alexandra deliberately sliding down the length of her body. His cock, semi hard again, his mouth teasing her unmercifully. As he slipped his tongue into her slit, nipping and sucking on her clit, he drove her body further and further toward orgasm. She arched her hips, forcing his tongue further into her until she came.
Iphicles moved to kiss Alex, as she began to push her body into his. "So my lovely one, you want something from your king?"
Alexandra wanted only one thing...him... inside her. "Yessss...I want you to fuck me, Iphicles, pleasssse!" Her last words came out as a plea, full of want and desire.
Iphicles nuzzled Alex's neck, licking at it with his tongue. "You'll have to tell me 'how' much you want it." Iphicles let his hand travel down her body, his fingers finding and caressing her slit ever so gently.
"Yes...Yes... anything please. I want you,need you inside me." She arched her hips forward unable to control her body any longer. Iphicles was driving her insane with passion.
"Ah! I told you not to move. Do you want me to stop?"
"No!" Alex felt she would die if he didn't continue.
"Good,now behave." Iphicles slowly began to work his finger deeper into Alex; first one, then a second, working them in at a leisurely pace, all the while using his thumb to put pressure on her clit, driving her insane with pleasure.
Alex began to beg. "Iphicles, please. I...I can't stand it anymore. I 'need' you inside me."
"Your wish is my command," Iphicles whispered, as he entered Alexandra in one deep thrust.
Riding her hard and fast, they both pulled deeper and deeper within each other. Alexandra neared the edge when Iphicles slowed his movements and withdrew from her completely. She looked deeply into his eyes, and lost herself within them. Their eyes locked on one another, and then, without warning Iphicles pulled her legs over his shoulders and thrust into her harder, he began a rhythm that gradually became hotter and burned inside both of them building, until they both came crying out for one another.
He collapsed on her and they lay still for what seemed like an eternity. Their hearts beating loudly between them and, for some time, that rhythm became the only sound either of them could hear. Iphicles reached above and untied the scarves that held Alex in place. Her body reveled in its newfound freedom and she stretched languidly against the king's body.
"You do know I really care about you," Iphicles said as he lightly planted kisses on her lips.
Alex stared into the deep brown eyes of the king. "I care for you too, but I'm no fool I know you love Ares." Seeing the doubt in his eyes, she caressed his face in her hands. "I've said this to you before. You didn't seem to believe me then, either."
Iphicles tried to look away. "I didn't think you really wanted to be part of my life. Your 'quest' seemed more important."
"I told you the day I left, that I'd be back. I keep my word." Alex smiled. "You won't be able to get rid of me so easily. But tell me one thing? Exactly 'how' much do you care about me?"
"How much? I don't understand."
"Do you care enough to help keep Ares busy while I do what I have to? I've got to go through with my plans, and I need your help. He'll listen to you, and leave me alone for a while." Alex needed to be certain she could trust him. She had always been way too trusting of others.
Iphicles didn't hesitate. "Yes. I'll try."
She kissed him deeply. "Thank you, m'love."
For the first time in a long while, Iphicles seemed relaxed. They both talked for a while, and when they were finished, Iphicles finally understood Alexandra a little better. He smiled at her, his strong arms enveloped her and they drifted off to sleep.
Ares returned from his discussions with Caesar. He entered the bedchamber and took in the two mortals, asleep in the bed before him. He walked over and gently moved a copper curl from Iphicles' face. He actually looked at peace.
"Things must've gone well between them," Ares murmured.
The God was concerned about the days ahead. There was no way he would let Alexandra's foolishness destroy his king. Iphicles had lost too much already. He would not let her separate them again. Even if he hurt Alexandra to do it, she 'would' obey him. Ares disappeared and went back to check on his brother and Iolaus.
Ares kept his word and returned her back to the forest grove early the next morning near to where they left his brother and Iolaus. She walked toward the area of their camp and Alexandra saw Iolaus in the distance, frantically waving at her.
"Finally! Herc, over here!" Iolaus called out toward the direction Hercules been searching. They both look troubled. Iolaus quickly told Alex that a messenger came through telling them about several legions of the Roman army near Thrace. They need to get there in a hurry to survey the situation.
Hercules quickly came up behind them. "Alexandra, where in Tartarus where you?"
"I just wanted to give you two some privacy. I guess I wandered off farther than I thought. I'm sorry."
"That's okay, we have to head towards Thrace in a hurry."
"Iolaus filled me in let's go."
"I don't think its such a good idea if you come with us, Alex. It could be dangerous." Hercules sounded concerned.
"Hercules, I'm going and you can't stop me," she said firmly.
Iolaus raised his arms in the air. "Told ya that's what she'd say, Herc. Please let's stop arguing and get started!"
"Always the voice of reason huh, Iolaus?" Hercules teased. He knew he couldn't argue with the both of them and win so he relented. "Okay you two,I give! Lets go"
The three of them headed off toward Thrace as two figures kept an eye on them from the distance.
Alex watched Hercules and Iolaus as they traveled down the well-worn road. They were kidding and joking about exactly how much the hunter could eat in one sitting. She marveled at their closeness and really enjoyed watching the two of them. It seemed that they were much more relaxed now.
Iolaus would take every opportunity to touch Hercules, even if it meant giving him a playful punch in the arm. And Hercules was the same way. He loved to steal kisses leaving his lover breathless when he thought Alex wasn't looking. They shared so much, and Alex had a real appreciation for their friendship.
It took them a few hours to arrive at Caesar's encampment. When they neared the edge of the hillside the vision they encountered left them speechless. The three figures gazed upon several legions of Roman warriors.
Like a sea of white blanketing the area, fifty rows of linen tents stretched across the valley, quite an impressive sight. There were thousands of men seated around campfires, some working on weapons, some training or playing games of chance. They could hear shouting in the distance, voices arguing and then an anguished cry.
Caesar's purple and gold crest flew high above the main tent; and the three watched as the emperor exited the tent cleaning blood from his sword. He then indicated to the guard at the flap to remove something from his tent. The guard returned seconds later dragging a body and tossing it into the woods. They watched as another soldier greeted Caesar and accompanied him toward the men that were training in the distance.
"That's Brutus," Iolaus said breaking the silence.
Careful to keep themselves hidden from the watchful eyes of the Roman lookout, they moved back from the edge of the hillside and talked about their options.
"You know him, Iolaus? Caesar and his men?" Alex asked.
A look of pain quickly flashed across his face. "Years ago I ran into him. It's not a pleasant memory." Alex could see a darkness cloud over his blue eyes.
"Someone will have to go down there and see if they can pick up on anything." Hercules interrupted.
"No problem I'll go, buddy." Iolaus tried to keep his tone light but Alex could sense a something tense in the tone.
"No, Iolaus, I'll go." His voice soft but firm.
"Why can't I go?" Alex interrupted.
"Well you'd stick out like a sore thumb among all those men," Iolaus teased as he put his hands on his hips. Alex rolled her eyes, and started to say something when Ares appeared before the threesome.
"Thought you might show up, Ares. You're always around when there's trouble," Hercules said.
"I'm not here to annoy you, Hercules." He tilted his head to the side and smiled. "That's just a pleasant bonus." Ares eyebrow arched, and his smile widened. "I'm here for two reasons."
He put up his index finger. "First,to tell you that Caesar's only passing through on his way to the Far East. He has no plans for attacking Greece."
"And just why should we believe you, Ares?" Iolaus interjected.
The god raised his hand back and readied to send Iolaus flying into the trees when Alex interrupted him.
"He's right, why should we trust this information?"
The God of War shook his head; his eyes held a smoldering look, as if he wanted to strangle her. "Oh you are pushing it, Alex!"
Alex could see Iolaus and Hercules exchange glances. Both catching on that Ares seemed to know her.
"Okay...Okay, I know because I 'asked' him last night!" Ares grunted his temper was rising.
"You asked him?" Alex couldn't believe her ears. "You spoke with Caesar?"
Ares nodded looking very cocky. Alexandra couldn't control her anger. "Is this what that distraction with Iphicles was all about last night? Keeping me busy, you knew I would know Caesar was near." The words came out of her mouth before Alex could stop them. She looked coldly at Ares, knowing full well that she'd been tricked. The god smiled.
"Iphicles? You seem to know 'both' my brother's, Alex." Hercules' voice sounded clearly upset.
Alex looked at Ares as he stood there with his arms folded, a smug and satisfied look across his face. "Pay back, Ares?"
Ares ignored her and looked directly at Hercules. "Well...well, so it seems Alexandra hasn't filled you in on everything, little Bro? Let me!" His eyes twinkled with delight.
"I've said it before Ares, and I'll say it again you're a bastard!" The fury rose within her.
Smiling, Ares raised two fingers. "Ah! This brings me to the second thing I've come to tell you. Ya see, baby brother, Alex, Iphicles, and...I" He paused long enough to make Hercules uneasy.
"Get on with it, Ares!" Alex could see Hercules was growing impatient with his brother's games.
"Well, we have a history together." He moved over to Alex and trailed his finger teasingly down her arm. "A long history."
Ares noticed Hercules and Iolaus both looked puzzled. He laughed shaking his head in mock disbelief. "Alex hasn't told you? She's bound to me for a favor she asked months ago." Ares paused. "She serves me, and anyone else 'I' choose."
"Alex doesn't seem the type to serve anyone, Ares," Hercules said through gritted teeth.
Taking great joy in his brother's discomfort, Ares fully embraced Alexandra around the waist and pulled her close to him. She didn't resist his grasp.
"Exactly what does Iphicles have to do with this?" Iolaus asked, a look of mistrust etched across his face.
"Well, ya see in my infinite wisdom, I decided that she also serves Iphicles. It made things easier since Iphicles and I are together."
"Liar!" Hercules shouted. "My brother would never be with you. He could never condone her being bound to either of you!"
"Don't be so sure, Hercules!" A voice called to him from behind startling everyone. They all turned to see Iphicles coming toward them. There was a clear look of shock on Hercules' face.
"Iphicles! So, you're part of this as well?" Alex didn't hide her surprise. "But last night--you promised."
Her stomach began to churn; they were both betraying her. She started struggling in Ares' arms but he only held her tighter. "You're too trusting, Alex. Of course Iphicles is on my side in this. You really didn't think he'd betray 'me'?" Ares whispered into her ear.
"We know why she's here, Iphicles. Alex told us she's trying to get away from Ares, and her family of warlords."
"Did she tell you that? Really?" Ares laughed. "Now why don't you tell them the truth Alex? "
"What's the point of upsetting and hurting Hercules and Iolaus like this?" There was pain in her voice. "There's no reason to fill them in on anything! It has nothing to do with them!"
"I only want their help," Iphicles said calmly.
"You want 'our' help? With what?" Hercules looked at his brother very suspiciously.
"Alex is bound to Ares, but because of a huge stubborn streak, and some carefully placed words, she still has quite a bit of freedom. We want you to help convince her that her plan's not worth it."
Ares voiced his annoyance. "Alexandra, you are not going anywhere near Caesar. It's not a request it's an order." Alex opened her mouth to protest but Ares waved his hand and she disappeared.
"Bring her back, Ares!" Hercules and Iolaus yelled in unison, as Hercules lunged for his brother.
Iphicles grabbed Hercules stopping him in his tracks. "Let him alone, Herc. Alex's plan is madness and we have to protect her from it."
Ares looked at his brother, his eyes narrowed. "I thought you said she told you what her plans were?" Ares said smugly.
Iphicles released his grip on Hercules. "No matter. Alex plans to go to Caesar; she wants to learn what makes him a great commander in this man's world. She wants to be able to conquer him, get inside his head and understand him."
"That's madness, it would be impossible for her. Caesar will never let her stay with him to learn anything. He will only use her." Iolaus said with an underlying panic in his voice.
Hercules caught the fear and terror in Iolaus' voice. He gently put his hand on Iolaus' shoulder to reassure him. "Where is she Ares? She's 'not' your property! I'll talk to her and put a stop to this insanity."
"So you will help then? She respects your opinion, she may listen." Iphicles asked.
Hercules could see something in his brother's eyes. "You honestly care for her?"
"Yes. She's become a part of my life now, a part I like having around."
"Take us to where she is. I'll talk to her." He took his brother by the arm. "Iphicles if you care for her as much as you say you do, then you and Ares should release her from her debt."
"She doesn't want to be released, Hercules," the god replied.
"We'll see about that," the demi-god said determinedly.
Ares brought them all just outside of Iphicles' private suite. They entered the first of the opulent rooms, where candles flickered shadows across the chamber. Books neatly arranged behind a large desk filled with scrolls and large tapestries spun with golden threads hung from the walls. They crossed through his personal study into his bedchamber where Alex sat on the window seat pulling her knees tightly to her chest; she was patiently waiting for them. She didn't even turn when they came into the room.
"If you've come to tell me how mad I am you can all leave."
"There's really no point in this, Alexandra. You are 'here' and here you will 'stay'," Ares growled. "How dare you defy me!"
"You agreed to let me talk to her, Ares. Just give us some time alone."
The others left and Hercules moved over to sit next to Alexandra. "I don't have to tell you this is madness. The Emperor's not the kind of man you can 'deal' with. He's dangerous."
"I owe you and Iolaus an apology, Hercules. I never meant to keep everything from you." She looked away from the demi-god. "I didn't mean to lie. In this case it made things easier. I was afraid you would not accept me if you knew of my ties to your brothers."
"Alex, I try not to judge another's motives without having the whole story. The lying I can get past. I can even understand your wanting to learn everything that you can, just not from that madman. It can serve no purpose."
Alexandra was surprised that Hercules could be so forgiving. Would she be able to explain it to him? She knew that she wanted to try. "Hercules, I want to understand Caesar's mind. I want to understand what motivates him." She also knew she could never tell him the full truth behind her search.
"Is that any reason to put yourself in danger?"
Alexandra decided to confide in Hercules about her dreams. "You know Caesar is planning to conquer the world." Hercules nodded. "Well he 'will' succeed in his plan. I've got to know what's behind that success." Alex didn't tell Hercules that Caesar would only partially succeed, that his death was imminent. That wasn't important now and she knew she couldn't change what was in store for the emperor.
"He's a mad man. His plans will never work."
"Oh but they will. At least to a point." Alex began to get excited. "I've seen him succeed in my dreams. Ever since Ares used my dreams to get to me, I've been able to see bits and pieces of things that will happen in the future."
"Dreams don't control our destiny, our actions do."
"Yes, but Caesar's actions 'will' result in his victory. I want to learn from him, learn from the best."
Hercules looked down and noticed the pendant Alexandra wore around her neck. He took it in his hand and examined the stone. "Did your dreams tell you where this foolishness will lead 'you'?"
"Not completely, some things aren't clear. For a while I suspected that Ares controlled my dreams, but if that were true why would he be so determined to keep me from Caesar?"
"Did Ares give you this?" Hercules motioned to the pendant he still held in his hand.
"Yes, he gave it to me before I left Corinth."
"This stone's Azurite. Legend has it that they enhance psychic abilities," Hercules said looking dismayed at his brother's tricks. "If Ares gave you this there had to be a reason for it."
"So you think he may be behind my dreams after all?" Alex took the stone from his hand. "I've still got to go and see if Caesar's willing to let me stay with him."
"So you are still determined to try and go."
"Forget it!" The voice rumbled from an empty corner of the room, shaking the very walls of the castle. Ares appeared and strode over to Alexandra. "Enough talk. You are not going anywhere."
Alex started to rise off of the window seat, but before she could move any further, Ares waved his hand and she vanished once again.
"Ares, do you really think this will stop her?"
"I'm not taking any chances with her life. Iphicles cares too much for her." He paused. "I'll not risk losing her."
Hercules eyed him suspiciously. "You care for Iphy that much?"
Ares became flustered for only a second. "I only care about what Iphicles 'wants'."
"Take me to her, Ares." Hercules' jaw tightened.
"No...I think she needs some time to think. I'll hear nothing more about it." Ares disappeared leaving Hercules to go find Iphicles and Iolaus and fill them in on what happened.
Hercules found his brother and Iolaus in the throne room. He was fuming as he walked in not sure which brother caused the most anger. Iphicles saw the look in his brother's eyes and dismissed his counselor and his captain of the guard.
"Iphicles, what are you thinking? Or are you even thinking!" Hercules raged as he paced back and forth in front of his brother's throne. Iphicles and Iolaus exchanged glances. They both knew this would be coming, they had discussed it on the way downstairs to the throne room. Herc was never one to let things go, and it was clear he wasn't happy about his brother's involvement with Ares.
"Hercules, I'm not about to sit here and have you lecture me about relationships." Iphicles retorted.
Iolaus was planning to stay out of this but he interrupted. "Look, guys, now is not the time we need to focus on helping-- "
"If not now, Iolaus-- when?" Hercules cut him off. "Now their game involves an innocent bystander." Hercules flailed his arms, pacing back and forth, as he spat out his words.
Iphicles raised himself from his throne and walked toward Hercules. He stood face to face with his brother. There was no way he was going to let the self appointed doer of good, bully him on this point. "My relationship with Ares is none of your damn business. And as far as Alexandra is concerned she is not innocent." Iphicles paused trying to control his temper. "She's an adult and she came to Ares freely, she knew the consequences of asking for Ares' help in saving her brother's life on the battlefield. If you ask me she planned it all this way. That doesn't sound like someone who's innocent to me."
"Alex pleaded with Ares to save her brother's life and his choice of payment was her servitude," Iolaus stated shaking his head. "Leave it to Ares to take any golden opportunity and use it to his advantage."
"That's not what it was like, Iolaus!" Iphicles shouted even though he clearly knew the hunter was right. He placed his hand to his aching forehead. "It was Ares' right to ask for anything he wanted. You, as a warrior, know that-- and so did Alex. For now let's leave Alex out of this."
"Fine, Iph! I can do that! How long have you been fucking Ares?" Herc sniped.
"Right to the point, as usual!" Iphicles grinded his teeth together. "'Bout as long as you have been fucking Iolaus."
Herc lunged toward Iphicles and Iolaus stepped in between them barely keeping the brothers apart. "Don't compare Iolaus and me to you two, it's not the same!"
Iphicles reached around Iolaus and punched Hercules square in the jaw. Herc reeled from the impact and went flying backward landing on his ass. "Really, Herc you are such a hypocritical bastard."
Iphicles' face held so much anger that he had to walk away to keep from hitting his brother again. "So what's different? You love Iolaus and I love Ares-- the feelings are the same. The only reason there is a problem is because 'you' hate Ares-- that's the only difference."
Hercules rose to his feet and tried to remain calm. "Ares is only using you, Iph. Can't you see that? He knows what your relationship would do to me. He knows it would drive me crazy."
"If that's the case why hasn't he flaunted it to you before now? As I've said we've been in a relationship as long as you two have." Iphicles offered calmly.
Hercules wiped the blood from his lips and sat on his brother's throne. He clearly looked lost and turned to his only support. "Iolaus, would you tell him. Ares could only be up to no good."
Iolaus looked straight at Hercules. "Sorry Herc, but I'm with Iph on this one. He loves Ares and Ares seems to love him. I can't help you, buddy."
Hercules could hardly believe his ears, but before he could say anything Iphicles pounced, and pinned him to the throne. The king grasped the armrests and leaned in closely. "Herc, I'm touched by your concern for me. But in no uncertain terms this ends here and now! It's 'my' life and I will live it as I choose. Not you or anyone else is going to change my mind." Iphicles released the armrest. "So get use to it and fast! Or I'll try to stop Alex without your help."
Hercules didn't like being given ultimatums but he could feel Ares' presence in the throne room; he put the argument aside for now. "Iph, Ares is here and we need to get him to take me to Alex," he whispered to his brother. "He's hidden her again." He looked into his brother's eyes. "Please Iph." It was a request not a command; it was a start.
"Ares, show yourself. Herc told me you're here." Iphicles smiled and shrugged his shoulders at his brother. Ares appeared smiling quite satisfactorily at Iphicles putting Hercules in his place. "Herc says you put Alex somewhere-- where'd you take her this time?"
Ares walked over to Iphicles and kissed him tenderly. "You made me so proud," he whispered softly in the king's ear. He turned to address the others, "Where Alex is-- is not up for discussion. Let's just say she is cooling off for a while."
"You aren't playing fairly, Ares." Iolaus walked over to where the god was standing. "Your putting her somewhere is not the answer, it will only make her more determined to fight you."
Ares released Iphicles and moved to Iolaus' side. "So Iolaus you're not going to argue with me about letting Alex go from her bond, like your paramour over there." Ares nodded in the direction of Hercules who was still sitting on the throne.
"You should release her, Ares" Hercules barked.
"No, I'm not going to argue, Ares. I know what it means when a warrior gives his word to you in return for a favor. It's your right." Ares looked smug. "It would've also been your right to refuse." Iolaus added.
Ares smugness quickly vanished and his eyes narrowed. "Careful hunter you don't want to go there, do you?" Ares threatened softly so the others could not hear. There was a long silence.
"Dinner is served, Sire." Thaddeus' voice broke through the awful silence that hung in the air.
"Thank you, Thaddeus, we'll be along shortly," Iphicles assured. "I've had them set up dinner in one of the smaller rooms. Perhaps after dinner Ares will see his way clear to let us see Alex," Iphicles offered to placate Hercules. He knew his brother would not eat until that point was settled.
Ares acquiesced and waved his hand. "Fine, fine-- as soon as dinner is over I'll take you to her."
"Then it's settled! This way." Iphicles led them into the dinning hall.
After a very long dinner and some impolite discussion, Hercules finally convinced Iphicles and Ares to let him try one more time to talk Alexandra out of her foolhardy plan. Ares transported them directly to where he'd placed Alex several hours ago, deep within the dungeon of the castle. The four of them arrived in a small cell near the rear of the dungeon.
It was empty.
"Is this a game? Where is she Ares?" Iphicles said through gritted teeth.
"It's not a game king!" He growled. "This is 'impossible,' I sent her here. She should be here!"
Iolaus paced back and forth. "Now what do we do? Someone had to help her get free."
"Ares, can you sense where she is?" Hercules asked trying to gain some control over the rising air of panic.
"No. Ever since I transported her here, she put up a damn block. I can't reach her."
"One things for sure. No matter how she got out, Alex most likely headed straight for Caesar. She may have several hours head start on us."
Blind fury was etched across Iphicles' face. "Guard!" He yelled as his neck muscles bulged.
The confused and startled guard ran to the cell; amazed to see his king standing there with the others.
"Guard, were there any other prisoners being held here?"
He pointed to the cell across from Alex's. "Only that man, Sire."
They looked across into another empty cell. "What man?" Iphicles pointed to the empty cell across from them.
Again the guard looked startled and scratched his head. "Majesty...we wanted to tell you when you returned but you said you were not to be disturbed. Well they'd caught him in the royal treasury. He tried to steal the Corinthian Ruby. Would've succeeded too except for the anti-theft device Hercules installed a several months back..."
"Stop rambling! Exactly who was this man?"
Hercules and Iolaus looked at one another and came to the same conclusion. "Autolycus!" They said together.
"Yep, that's him," the guard mumbled.
A deep growl came from Ares throat. "Arggggghhh! That puny king of thieves!" He turned and faced Iolaus pointing a finger in his face. "Your partner in crime, Iolaus," Ares said leaning close to the hunter's face. "Oh! He will pay dearly for this."
"I wonder how she convinced him to help her?" Iolaus chuckled softly becoming very amused at the possibilities. Everyone shot him an evil look, and he shrugged. "Well-- she's 'good' at making people do what she wants."
Hercules could see Ares' anger build and he interrupted. "Well...it's doing us no good standing here. We'd better go and find her."
Figuring it was best to head toward Caesar's camp, they returned upstairs and readied to leave just as a messenger arrived, with a small golden box.
The guard burst through the tent flap and saluted the commander seated at the long table before him. In the center of the large tent sat Gaius Julius Caesar in all his glory. Surrounded in opulence, his tent carried every necessity an emperor could want and then some. "Caesar, by your leave we have captured a spy."
The emperor sat there going over several strategic maps; he never even looked up at the guard. "A spy, really? Why would there be a spy here, now? We have no quarrel with Greece. At least not yet anyway."
"We'll this one was found lurking around the campsite. One of my men found her..."
Caesar's looked up, his eyes narrowed. "Interesting...bring her to me immediately!" The guard left the tent quickly to retrieve the prisoner.
The roman solder returned pushing Alexandra through the flaps. She'd been bound with leather straps, her hands secured tightly behind her. "Kneel before the great Caesar!" The guard shouted.
"I kneel before no man!" She turned to face Caesar. "Unless of course 'I' choose to."
"Bold! I like that..." He trailed off, walking around the table toward Alexandra. "Guard leave us now! I'll call for you if I need you."
The guard looked very confused but replied quickly. "By your leave." He saluted and left the tent quickly.
Caesar walked behind Alex and freed her hands from the leather bindings. He pressed himself close to her and whispered into her ear. "What would you do, little girl, if 'I' told you to kneel.
Alex turned to look at him; she could see a vacant coldness in his eyes. Her senses were on fire and her adrenaline raced. She always felt Ares would control himself in his dealings with her. There was something in his eyes...something she could trust. With Caesar there was nothing there but darkness, emptiness, and danger. A darkness that she feared he would draw her into.
"Would that please Caesar? To have me grovel at his feet?"
"If that's 'all' it would take to please me little girl, you'd already be there." Caesar's tone was arrogant. He walked over to the large table, and motioned for Alexandra to come and have a seat beside him. "You must be hungry. Come have something to eat and drink."
Alex cautiously sat down next to him as he handed her a plate of fruits and cut a few slices of cheese. Pouring them both a glass of wine, he handed one to Alexandra. Caesar wasn't known for his hospitality, and she eyed him suspiciously.
Alexandra noticed that the man was extremely attractive. He was truly regal, and she took in the luxurious surroundings. The richness that engulfed them: the books, the ornate desk, golden goblets, glistening armor, and a large bed in the corner of the tent. Odd things for a traveling army--not odd for Rome, and after all Caesar 'was' Rome. Alex could tell he was a well-read intelligent man, and he traveled in style. Everything seemed perfect, controlled and in place.
"Have we met before?" Caesar asked, but before Alexandra could answer he continued. "You 'are' the girl I saw back in the village some time ago. Exactly why have you come here and what do you want from me?"
"My name's Alexandra I wish to stay with you for a short time to see why you are a leader among men. I heard what you said that night and I want to know more."
"So you expect me to believe you came all this way just to learn about battle strategies from me." Caesar popped a grape into his mouth, sucking on it. He proceeded to slowly insert his fingers into his mouth, and suck off the juice that ran down them.
Alex tried to focus on the questions he placed before her. He was a beautiful sight, in his roman uniform, and very distracting. "I want to know everything about the man seated before me. Battle strategies, life, loves, desires."
The emperor rested his elbow on the table; he still wasn't sure what to make of this woman. "It's a dangerous request you are making. Not many people can survive knowing 'all' about me."
"So I've been told."
"Really? By whom my dear." Caesar asked the question offhandedly, even though he was very interested in what her response would be.
"I know Ares came here, Caesar. I'm sure he spoke to you about me."
He smiled at this information. "Oh, Ares was here but he never mentioned you, his concern's lie with where my legions were heading, nothing more. At least...that's what he told me."
Alex hid her surprise; Ares must have felt he would be able to keep her from Caesar with very little trouble. A slight smile came to her lips; Ares underestimated her again. He felt he could control her because of her feelings for them but her elation soon turned to despair. Alex realized she gave the emperor the upper hand telling him about Ares. He would surely use this information against her somehow.
Caesar's voice brought her back to the present. "You haven't touched your food or drink. I assure you it's fine wine." Taking his cup he placed it to his lips. Drinking heartily most of the wine ran down the side of his mouth to his neck and onto his chest. Alex followed the wine with her eyes as it slowly ran down his body.
"So, did Ares just let you walk in here? It isn't his style to let someone who belongs to him just do what they want."
Her temper flared. "Who said I belong to anyone?"
"If Ares and you are involved then you must be bound to him some way." His eyes narrowed. "You seem too smart, too ambitious, to just be hanging around him without a good reason." He took another long drink. "Who should I thank for delivering you to me?"
"Thank?" Alex asked confused at his question.
"I'm sure he didn't 'let' you come here--he knows me too well for that. You must have had help to escape from Ares."
Alex thought fondly of Autolycus helping her to escape. He turned such a lovely shade of green when she told him she ran away from Ares. He kept mumbling something about chickens, chains, Iolaus, and no where to hide, as he made a hasty retreat out of Corinth.
Caesar paused and took another drink from his glass. "Please, you are offending me...have something." Picking up her cup he handed it to Alex. She hesitated, still suspicious of his actions. He was too eager for her to drink the wine, even though Caesar himself drank it. Eventually her thirst won out she reluctantly she took a long drink from her glass.
The emperor sat there smugly watching her drink the nectar, and when she finally emptied the glass he yelled out to his soldiers. "Guards!"
Startled, Alex lowered her goblet. He leaned over the table directly into Alexandra's face. "First lesson Alexandra, you shouldn't have trusted me!" Two guards quickly entered the tent. "Take her! She 'is' a spy!" He grinned as his men approached Alex. Stepping aside he let his men attack her.
"I'm not going to make this easy for you, Caesar," Alex yelled, as the two men approached her. Relying on all her fighting skills, she attacked both men as they drew near. Working quickly, she took care of the first guard by slitting his throat with the small dagger he'd conveniently left on the table. As the dead man's body slid down hers, she drew the guard's sword from his scabbard. Alex attacked the next man with a fury that even impressed Caesar. Their swords clashed ringing so loudly other guards ran into the tent. Caesar dismissed them quickly, never taking his eyes off of the battle before him.
"Enough," Caesar bellowed.
Alexandra and the guard ceased their fighting she was breathing heavily. "So, you've had your show. I'm leaving now." Alexandra started to leave the tent, but as she neared the opening, she started to feel weakness in her legs. The room began to spin and the sword she held fell from her hands.
"I don't think you will be going anywhere, my dear," Caesar said his voice cold as ice.
Alex's eyes widened in fear. "Bastard!" She barley managed to whisper as she fell to her knees. "The...wine...it was fine--you coated the 'glass' with poison."
He grabbed Alex's hair and pulled her head back sharply. His eyes took on a cold deadly glow. "Clever girl--yes, the glass was coated." He paused as if to tease her. Her heart began to pound so loudly that it pulsed in her head. "But not with poison my dear. Just with something to put you to sleep." He smiled, as he pushed Alex's limp body to the ground.
Working quickly on Alexandra he stripped her naked, and bound her tightly with leather straps, attaching her to the center post in his tent. Caesar then cut Alexandra's hair very short like his, and left the cuttings on the ground at her feet. Satisfied, he lay down to rest on his bed, and waited for her to awake.
Opening her eyes proved difficult for Alexandra as she regained consciousness. Everything was fuzzy and focusing them proved to be a laborious task. She could feel her body's pain before she could actually see anything. She realized soon enough that she was bound tightly and hanging from something. She started to panic. The circulation in her arms and legs ceased long ago. Her body felt heavy and every muscle screamed in pain. She didn't know what was worse, the pain in her muscles or the throbbing in her head.
Gradually her vision started to return. She could see Caesar lying asleep on his bed. Her body was painfully exposed and Alex noticed a pile of red hair lying on the floor below her.
"Devious bastard!" She thought she said it to herself, not realizing she actually said it out loud, waking the emperor.
"Awake already, my dear?"
"You are an animal, Caesar, letting me kill your man like that. You're no better..." Alexandra stopped short.
"Than who -- Alexandra?"
"Never mind, it's all a game. That's all it ever is. Besides, I asked for this."
"Remember...I said you should know your enemy as well as yourself? I needed to know you and your capabilities."
"Oh...and my killing your guard, and you cutting my hair--by this you will know me better?"
"If you are going to stay here I would prefer you don't flaunt the fact that you are a woman. My men are superstitious and a woman along in battle would not sit well with them."
"So the mighty Caesar worries about what others think?"
He approached Alex and slapped her hard across the face, the imprint of his hand burned across her cheek. "Remember one thing: never question what 'I' do. 'I' am Rome. I do what I want. Especially, if I think having you around will prove to be... interesting."
Bending down he scooped up Alex's hair placing it in a small gold box. He walked over to the table, scribbled a quick note, and called for one of his most trusted men. The man quickly entered Caesar's tent a look of shock crossed his face. He stared at the woman hanging from the center post; his eyes locked onto Alexandra.
"Our very own spy. Interesting isn't she?" The emperor said offhandedly to the soldier as he handed the box to him. "Deliver this to King Iphicles' castle immediately."
"Wait!" Alex cried. "Why to Iphicles' castle?" She struggled in vain against her bonds. "Stop! What does the note say?" Alex cried out, the messenger stopped and looked to Caesar for his next move.
"Go now! Return when you've finished...and do wait for an answer. If they try to delay you just tell them I'll punish the girl if you don't return quickly enough." The man hurried out, and left the camp. "To answer your question, Alexandra, I'm sending that to Iphicles' castle for one reason, you talk in your sleep." Caesar smiled. "You kept calling for him."
He walked toward her with a small dagger in clutched his hand. "So, you are into the gentle king of Corinth." Caesar took the blade and ran it across Alex's face. "I hear he's a gentle lover." He moved the blade slowly down her jaw line tracing it across her neck. "One who can give great pleasure to his partner." Alex wondered how he knew so much about Iphicles.
Caesar reached Alex's breasts; she sharply drew in her breath. "I'd bet he never caused you any 'real' pain. Did he?" Standing on the side of Alex he drew the blade lightly down her chest, and across her stomach leaving a trail of crimson blood flowing from the wound. She gasped, and trembled, her eyes closed at the pain that coursed through her.
Caesar then lowered himself to one knee and licked the wound from bottom to top languidly, replacing the feeling of pain with a strange feeling of warmth and pleasure. Alex tried to will her body not to react to Caesar in any way. Her healing powers, however, had other ideas and proved to be too strong. Caesar stood up to admire his handy work and watched in awe as the wound began to heal itself.
"Now that's interesting," he said raising an eyebrow.
The messenger would only hand the box to the king himself and he began to create quite a disturbance when denied entrance by the guards at the gate. Once the king had been notified of the Roman officer's presence he quickly agreed to see him.
Face to face with several men he handed the king the small gold box; Iphicles took it from him.
"It's from Caesar, and I'm to wait for an answer." His voice was strong.
Iphicles opened the box to find the remainder of Alexandra's hair inside with a note attached. "Damn her! She did it!" He handed the note to Hercules.
"Caesar says Alexandra's with him and if any of us come for her, she will die instantly. Especially you Ares; if he even suspects that you are there he will kill her."
Ares was tired of playing games; he grabbed the messenger and lifted him off of the ground. "I'll give you an answer for Caesar. I will send him your body broken in a million pieces."
Iphicles and Hercules rescued the man from Ares' grasp.
"Calm down, Ares, this will get us nowhere," Iphicles held on to the gods arm.
Iolaus walked over to the guard. "Tell me did you see her before you left?"
The soldier composed himself. "Yes...I did."
"Is she all right?"
The soldier didn't want to reveal Alexandra's true condition. "She is..."
"He asked you if she's all right!" Ares voice echoed of the walls.
He composed himself and remained calm. "Caesar's keeping her in his main tent tied to the center post. She was okay when I left. He said I'd have to hurry back with an answer or she'll be punished."
"We are going to send you back. We just need to compose an answer. Go with my guard; he will get you some food." Iphicles waited for the messenger to leave the room. "Well gentlemen do we have a plan?"
"If we can't rescue her without putting her life in danger, perhaps we can still keep an eye on her," Hercules said.
"Do you mean what I think you mean?" Iphicles asked.
"Yes, I think it's the only way we will be able to help her if she needs it. Ares, do you think it will work?"
"It's risky, brother, but it's worth a try."
"What if Caesar gets suspicious?" Iphicles concern was etched across his tired face.
Ares knew he was handed a golden opportunity. "I can get someone to help us, if it works, Caesar will never suspect!"
Iolaus watched the exchange back and forth between the three brothers. "Look, guys, I'm not following any of this. Will someone please explain what's going on? Iolaus begged, as they all headed for the door.
"Come on Iolaus we'll fill you in on the way." Iphicles assured him.
The soldier returned to camp as quickly as he could, not wanting to upset Caesar. He walked into the tent and wasn't surprised that the woman still hung there, while Caesar casually reviewed some charts. He handed the note to Caesar himself, unable to take his eyes off of her.
Alex was in a state of semi-consciousness for some time due to the lack of circulation. She heard the man enter the tent and focused on Caesar reading the note.
"What do they say?" Her voice was hardly more than a whisper as the pain tore through her body as she fought for consciousness.
He laughed. "They've agreed not to rescue you as long as they can see that you are all right for themselves."
"They want to see me?" Alexandra felt that they were up to something, and if 'she' felt that way, she was sure Caesar did as well.
"Well, well. They want me to bring you to the clearing at the top of the hill tonight. They say if we don't show they'll promise nothing." Caesar walked over to Alex. "Tell me my dear, what do you think they have planned?"
"They wouldn't attack if that's what you mean. They know your threat is real."
"Then why the show?" he asked.
Alexandra's head started to throb again as the room began to spin. "Caesar, if you want me to answer any more questions you'd better cut me down before I pass out."
Caesar motioned to the messenger to hold Alex. He took the small dagger and sliced into the leather straps that held her bound to the post. Falling limply into his arms he gently placed her on the ground removing his cape to cover her.
Caesar watched him with interest; Mark Antony being one of his favorite playthings. "You seem to like the girl, Antony."
Mark Antony became bold. "I didn't want her to be cold, Sir. The ground's cold and hard. Like other things around here."
Caesar walked over to Antony forcing him to stand and release Alexandra's body. Grabbing him he roughly kissed him, forcing his tongue down his throat. The relentless grinding of his body against Antony's made the younger man swoon.
Then Caesar released him abruptly. "Very well then, if you care about her so much, you're responsible for her."
"I, Caesar?" He asked in total disbelief.
Caesar walked over to Alexandra and helped her to her feet. "Yes, both of you will stay with me in my quarters. Alex will now be part of my personal guard, and you in turn, will care for her; no harm must come to her from anyone else."
Antony looked at his Emperor, clearly not happy with his new assignment. "Yes Caesar, I've seen too many men killed who disagreed with Rome."
"Fine then it's settled. Help her get ready. As soon as she's dressed we'll leave."
"We're going then?" Alex questioned finding it hard to believe that Caesar would just walk into a possible trap.
"Of course. They gave their word they'd do nothing in a way of retrieving you. I believe them, besides I'm curious as to what this is 'really' about." With those word Caesar left the tent.
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