Make your own free website on Tripod.com



 

Conqueror Stories

Conquer Me, Baby

As most of you already know, the Conqueror character came from an episode of Hercules with an alternate timeline plot. In the alternate universe, Hercules was never born and therefore was not around to "unchain" Xena's heart. She became an evil figure known as the Conqueror. Iolas had to find the Chronos Stone in order to go back in time and make certain that Hercules was born. He ultimately stole the Chronos Stone from the Conqueror and restored the timeline. In the Hercules episode Gabrielle made a brief appearance as a prisoner who was found guilty of encouraging rebellion and ordered crucified by the Conqueror.

Many fanfic writers have latched onto the Conqueror character and written stories about her. However, rather than follow the Hercules story, many writers use the Conqueror name to explore the larger idea of warlord Xena and how Gabrielle might have been able to "save" her. There are also several BDSM stories that explore the Warlord/Slave theme.

Conqueror fiction isn't as popular as classic Xena/Gabrielle stuff. The genre presents difficult challenges for the writer: How to make Xena believable as both Conqueror and friend/lover? I'll be honest here, I personally do not like a lot of conqueror fic because of the way Xena usually treats Gabrielle at the beginning of most stories. If the Conqueror beats, rapes and humiliates Gabrielle, I have a hard time accepting any so-called loving, equal relationship that develops from that kind of beginning. So you won't find any true Warlord/Slave type stories in this list. Any stories I've reviewed present a Conqueror who has not abused Gabrielle, or they are written so well that they successfully overcome the abusive beginning relationship hurdle.

Some of the best writers in the Xenaverse have taken up the gauntlet and written Conqueror stories. These are my favorites:

Aftermath: The Tree of Life by XWPFanatic
Novel - X/G
What can I say about XWPFanatic? The woman can flat out write. Period. Only a really good writer can create a Conqueror story that stays true to the series story and makes it believable to me. In Aftermath, Gabrielle has been crucified but has survived. She enters the Conqueror's contest to define what truth is and is selected to be the Conqueror's Oracle of Truth. She is allowed to live so long as she always tells the truth. Gabrielle accompanies the Conqueror to the Temple of Artemis, where they run into Amazons, Caesar's army, and a few other surprises. Fanatic deftly blends elements from the Hercules story with those from the early years of the series. The story is very well crafted, with an intricate plot full of twists and turns and lots of action and suspense. It stands alone but is also the first in an unfinished series of stories of the Seven Wonders of the World. Aftermath stays true to the storyline laid out in the original Hercules episode AND presents a believable relationship story of understanding and, eventually, love. This one gets my highest recommendation.

Armageddon Tired Of Conquering by Joanna Sandsmark
Short Story - X/G

A Conqueror story that's funny? You betcha. It's written in screenplay format. In the story, Xena the Conqueror meets her noon crucifixion, who is none other than Gabrielle, the Rouser of Rabble. Trust me on this one. It's funny. It's tongue in cheek. It's also very highly recommended.

Conquered by Leslie Ann Miller
Novella - X/G

Conquered is a Conqueror story with a different premise than most. Gabrielle is a one-legged poet who lost her limb after she was crucified by the Conqueror. Seven years later, the Conqueror is defeated by Alexander and put into prison on Shark Island. Gabrielle goes to speak with her to record her history. She finds a woman who is receiving the punishment everyone thought she deserves, but facing the human being behind the evil isn't as easy as Gabrielle thought it would be. Xena also has her own demons to fight. Even if Gabrielle can forgive her, can anyone else, and can Xena ever forgive herself? The story gives us a close examination of the ideas of redemption, forgiveness, and how we deal with the aftermath of evil acts. It's a fascinating character study that is very highly recommended.

The Conqueror’s Stone by Djwp
Novella - X/G

This Conqueror piece uses key story elements from the original Hercules episode to create a clever cross-alternate universe tale. In the original Hercules story, the Chronos stone is responsible for the creation of the Conqueror. In DJWP's story, "real time" Xena wakes up in the bed of the Conqueror. With enemies lurking behind every corner, she must figure out who and where she is, as well as figure out a way to get home. She seeks out the Amazons (guess who is the Queen?) to help her find another Chronos stone to restore the real timeline. The story is filled with familiar supporting characters from the series. There's lots of action as suspense in the well-crafted plot. The story would have worked well as an actual Xena episode. It stays true to the series' style of storytelling. It's a Conqueror story without the presence of Xena the Evil Conqueror! An imaginative story idea that is well executed. Gets my highest recommendation.

Destiny Conquered by Linda Crist
Novella - X/G Conqueror

Normally, I don't like Conqueror stories. The Conqueror usually commits such horrible acts against Gabrielle, that I have a hard time buying the transition from victim to lover. This story by Linda Crist is different. Rather than giving us a conqueror who is a heartless monster, we have a woman who is tired of being the Conqueror; a woman who is no longer satisfied with meaningless military conquest. More importantly, we see that this woman is as much a slave to Ares as her subjects are to the conqueror. And, for once, most of Gabrielle's mistreatment is not at the hands of Xena. The story has familiar characters and relationships from the series that are cleverly incorporated into the alternate reality Xenaverse. The author also gives us a literary three-pronged attack: we get a fully developed relationship between Xena and Gabrielle; we have a believable character arc from hardened Conqueror to compassionate leader; and we get a suspenseful plot that includes a vengeful god, crazy Callisto, a kidnapping, and Amazons! What more could you ask for? An entertaining read that is highly recommended.

I, Conqueror by Sword'n'Quill
Novella - X/G

Sword'n'Quill is one of the best writers in the Xenaverse, and her stab at the Conqueror genre is a real treat. In the story, Gabrielle from the 'real' timeline wakes up in an alternate reality that has been created by Callisto. She is plotting against the Conqueror, but working as her right hand. A Priest of the Fates tells Gabrielle she must set things right or all of civilization will be lost in the Conqueror's upcoming war with Caesar. She must find a way to restore the Hercules timeline, but Callisto will be able to recognize her and the threat she poses to her plans. She must also figure out how to get into the Conqueror's camp without getting killed. It's a compelling story idea, and Sword'n'Quill doesn't disappoint in the execution. The Xena and Gabrielle characters are wonderfully drawn. This is not a Conqueror who is on the brink of change, just needing a little push in the right direction. She is mistrustful of Gabrielle's motives and still rules with a cruel hand. It's one of the best depictions of a truly dark Xena you'll find. Yet the relationship story is still believable and loving. (As an extra bonus, she also does an excellent job with Callisto). It's a real winner of a story and gets my highest recommendation.

If This Had Been the Beginning by Planet-Solin
Novella - X/G

Presented as the first in a series, this is really the first in a three-part Conqueror story. In Planet-Solin's Conqueror Xenaverse, Gabrielle is a traveling bard who tells stories to the Conqueror's Army in exchange for a travel pass. In a chance meeting that was arranged by the Gods, Gabrielle is saved from an attack by bandits by a woman she later discovers is the Conqueror. Over the course of the three stories, Xena battles the Horde; Gabrielle returns to her village and face with the consequences of her association with the despised Conqueror; and they both must deal with those ever-pesky Amazons. The story is engaging and the Conqueror/Gabrielle relationship is well developed and believable. Slight CEA. The three stories combined are highly recommended.

Journey's End - Tale One of the Conqueror Series by L.J. Maas
Novel - X/G

In this Conqueror series, the Conqueror is an older woman in her mid-forties. Over the years she has grown weary and has slowly begun to change her ways. She has even switched allegiance from Ares to the more thoughtful warrior Athena. She receives a young slave Gabrielle who becomes her body slave. This Gabrielle is different from most other Gabs. She is a very submissive slave, not the young rebel or sassy young slave we see in other Conqueror stories. The relationship soon becomes more for each of them, but both women must make significant changes if they are to have a trusting, loving relationship. L.J. Maas successfully handles the slave/master dynamic of the relationship and the unequal power inherent in such a relationship. Journey's End is a well-written, character-driven story that is very highly recommended.

The Leader by Storm
Novel - X/G

Storm's entry in the Conqueror genre has Gabrielle as the leader of a group of rebels trying to dethrone the Conqueror. When Ephiny is captured, Gabrielle offers to trade herself for her release. She uses her captivity as a chance to convince the Conqueror to change her ways. Like the back-story from the series, this Xena has suffered the loss of M'Lila and a betrayal by Caesar. That betrayal and loss have shaped her worldview and hardened her heart. Storm gives us a more deeply psychological examination of the Conqueror in this story - the forces that helped create her and what she needs to find within herself in order to change. It's a well-written, enjoyable story that is highly recommended.

Negotiations by Gin
Long Short Story - X/G

In this Conqueror story by Gin, Gabrielle is Queen of the Amazons. The Conqueror is perched on the edge of Amazon territory. She's ready to invade, but she is invited to negotiate with the Amazon Queen. Gin blends some TV series elements with her own interpretation of the Conqueror timeline, including a very interesting appearance by Solan. The story contains some references to a Word Warrior story,
The Babysitter, that provides insight into both characters' backgrounds (Fanfic based on other fanfic - you gotta love that). Like other stories, this Conqueror has her life turned around by love, but we are given a much more nuanced interpretation of how it happens. A nicely written story that is highly recommended.

Resistance by Della Street
Novella - X/G

Della Street was one of the earliest bards to write a Conqueror story, and this one is still one of the better stories in the genre. When the story opens, Gabrielle is in the Conqueror's jail. She is a scribe of the Resistance movement. To ease her boredom, the Conqueror spends time with the brash prisoner. Over time, they develop a friendship and then something more. The relationship dynamic in this story is interesting because it explores the negative consequences each woman experiences as a result of their growing friendship. Della gives us characters who each have something to lose if they are to try to live together as partners. Like all Della Street stories, this one is very well written, and it's very highly recommended.

Soul Searching  by T. Novan and Advocate
Novel - X/G Conqueror

Soul Searching is a great Conqueror story. I usually don't like Conqueror stories, but this one has a different take on the traditional evil Xena. Rather than an evil tyrant, we are given a woman who is trapped in the world she has created. She "escapes" from her own stronghold and ventures into a nearby village where she meets a young widow named Gabrielle and her son Jarrod. Searching for a friend in her life, Xena is drawn to the young woman and her child and takes them with her back to her palace. But back home, the conqueror has to deal with an evil, scheming Callisto who threatens to destroy her new relationship. We also discover that the conqueror is not as free as she wants to be. Callisto is conspiring with the God of War himself to keep Xena under his control and apart from Gabrielle. Soul Searching has nicely drawn characterizations and a sympathetic portrayal of the Conqueror. It's also action-packed and very well-written. This one comes highly recommended.

 

Send mail to ceesreviews@yahoo.com with questions or comments about this web site. Copyright 2001 Cee's FanFic Reviews
Page designed by
Mesh