Well, waddaya know - a Conqueror fanfic where Ares, not Gab becomes the sex slave! I actually liked the character/plot twist involved here, and I thought it unfolded fairly naturally. Looking at it from a male point of view, I suppose I'm not too shocked that Ares went for it - the Conqueror is a fascinating blend of character traits, and remember, Ares was obsessed with Old Xena well before he ever became acquainted with the New and Improved Version. I don't suppose his Xena will be any too pleased, but will he ever see that Xena again?
This is an interesting version of alt-Gab as well - not ravaged and bitter as she was in RN, but world-weary, cynical and resigned to getting by as best she can. She tried leaving home and roaming, only to end up loisng a good friend in Joxer. She married Perdicus, not out of passion, but because he was a decent man who represented an acceptable option in life; now, he and her father are dead, and she's reduced to helping her mother and sister struggle to maintain a ravaged farm. It's also a good way to illustrate how far Xena has come from her early days as a disillusioned warlord - now, she has to be the light for a character who started with nothing and has realized that nothing is probably all she'll ever get.
Looking forward to Part II - good work, everyone!
I've been eagerly awaiting this episode for a long time ever since I heard the brief rundown. It really turned out great.
Although I already knew that this episode was a Conqueror story, I liked how the beginning made it a little ambigous with referring to Conqueror Xena as the Monarch. It really worked well that Xena and Ares were separated. I liked that Mavican was brought back. Considering on the actual series she was a one time occuring character and not really liked that much (compared to other villains) its interesting to see how much of an influence she has had on the Shipper Seasons just because she was the last person to have a relationship with Ares right before the whole "Ares loves Xena" arc. I mean considering she has been mentioned in a couple episodes, a cameo in the Looking Forward, and now an appearance as the Conqueror's Captain...well I just thought it was kind of cool and interesting.
Also I was wondering that once someone accessed the episode and they saw that Mavican was listed under the cast, if they assumed the portal they went through was the world Ares created that Mavican was trapped in? If I hadn't known that this was going to be the Conqueror world I might have assumed that. Just wondered if any picked up on that. Sometimes I think having the cast list at the beginning gives too much away, but I think this time it could kind of deceive the audience.
The Conqueror/Ares stuff was a little bit shocking to me. I kind of figured Ares would stop things from advancing...but then through the montage of clips and Aurora's beautiful graphic...well they had sex!!! Just when Ares and Xena seem to solve their issues, this is thrown at them. But let me just say, it wouldn't be a Xena and Ares relationship without conflict.
Another tidbit I loved was when Xena sends the poison to Darphus and tells Kirillus that she is transferring Darphus to Gaul. I like that it kind of replicated the whole Julius Caesar/Brutus betrayal in Ides of March when Xena tells Brutus Caesar will send him to Gaul to get assassinated. Plus I love how deliciously evil Conqueror Xena is.
The Xena and Gabrielle stuff was interesting too. I was expecting a ruthless and vengeance craving Gabrielle so I was very pleased to see her in a different light. In both Looking Foward and You're Only Young Twice we kind of explored the different personas of Gabrielle, and I am glad that this wasn't really a rehash of any of those and that its something new and different. I like how its handled, and was really intrigued by her connection with Xena.
I was sad when I heard Joxer tied, and that he joined a rebellion against Conqueror Xena. Was hoping we'd get to see the lovable comic relief again At least we know he died a hero in both worlds.
Really interested to see the next episode, especially since it looks like we are going to meet up with the Amazons! And this isn't just any Amazons...they are under Queen Velasca's rule. How interesting. I'm wondering the fate of Ephiny, and I hope she is still around. I also would like to see Callisto turn up, or possibly other characters like Najara, Autolycus, and Caesar...just because an alternate world poses so many interesting possiblities.
Anyway great work on the episode LK and Sais, and Aurora as well! It turned out really great. Also Aurora, love the images. They were really great selections and they all look wonderful. Especially love Ares and Conqueror Xena in the candelight
I can't wait to see how this ends up. What's Xena going to say when she finds out that her Ares has been sleeping with the Conqueror? And will she get back at him by sleeping with the other Ares? Inquiring minds want to know . . . and we want details, and more graphics.
I just want to especially give cheers to Aurora for the amazing graphics. You really got creative there, and they turned out really well. I love Ares' new red vest.
I cannot tell you how absolutely fantastic this episode is. When I had heard that we were planning on doing two episodes with the Conqueror I was very interested but I had no idea that it would turn out to be as much as it was and I have LOVED it.
I must say that Ares' actions with the Conqueror surprised me. I didn't see that coming and I do have mixed feelings about it. I would definitely like to see more explanation for what he has done (and guilt on his part) in the next episode because, right now, I really don't see exactly what his reasons are for being with the Conqueror. It is definitely an interesting and difficult and complicated situation especially because of what could come out of it when Xena finds out. And I like that it does bring up that new level of possible tension between Xena and Ares (hopefully, tension that would not last very long).
I think I can understand why he slept with the Conqueror that first night--being Xena and all and the fact that he is not only newly mortal (one weakness) but that his biggest weakness is Xena (in any form) and I can understand why he couldn't say no to her at first. It would have been a lapse of judgment, an "in the moment" kind of thing. I get that.
What I am not sure about, however, is why he continued to be with the Conqueror. Was he simply overcome because she was Xena even if it wasn't his Xena? I don't know if he really believed that Xena was dead--but I do think perhaps he did believe that it was very possible that he was stuck there all by himself and that he wouldn't ever see Xena again. Was this part of his motivation for being with the Conqueror? I don't know. But I am definitely looking forward to some more explanation in the second episode about this. Because every time that I read over those scenes between Ares and the Conqueror I get an uneasy feeling at times--knowing that Ares is cheating on the one he loves (even if it is Xena from a different life that he's cheating on her with).
One interesting thing that I did pick up on, though, was that it seemed that Conqueror Xena was not only taken aback by Ares' admission that he "loved" her but also that, it seemed to me, Ares was opening up a part of Xena that perhaps she hadn't ever felt before (in that way, it's kind of a parallel to what happened in the "real" world with Ares changing for Xena etc). I'm not saying that she was changing but she did seem to be affected by Ares' admission of love. I'm sure that the Conqueror never felt love like that so maybe Ares, in that way, might have a possible positive effect on her. I thought that was just another interesting angle to the interaction between Conqueror Xena and Ares.
As for Xena and Gabrielle, well I was interested to see how Gabrielle has lost much but, you're right, she's not as cold or as bitter as the Gabrielle from RN--she does still have her family and her home even if her life is quite hard.
Actually, one of my favorite things about this is how the roles between Xena and Gabrielle are slightly reversed, where Gabrielle is the cynical one and Xena is the idealistic one. I especially like the part when Gabrielle says that she used to believe in love, where two people share each other's souls but she has now come to realize that kind of love doesn't exist. Xena says she does believe that kind of love does exist and Gabrielle says "You would." I love that--that's such a Xena line, yet coming from Gabrielle is interesting.
also liked how she had, at one time, gone out on her own to see the world and she had come into contact with Joxer.
I definitely had fun using images of Xena in the red dress from Destiny and When In Rome. I think that her regal Roman-style outfit was much more befitting of the Conqueror than the Asian outfit. It just made her all that more beautiful and, being ruler of an entire Empire, she needed to have the "presence".
I don't have much else to say about anything else in the episode because my focus was pretty much drawn completely to what was going on with Ares and the Conqueror. I think it was inevitable that Xena would meet up with Gabrielle and that they would bond. The excitement that happened in this episode, for me, was everything dealing with Ares.
This was a really great episode, LadyKate and Sais. I really enjoyed it and this is turning out to be one of my favorite SS episodes.
Ok, just finished reading it! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!!!! There is so much going on, my head is still spinning!
Egads!!! Conqueror Xena and "our" Ares!!! I so don't know what to think about it. I mean technically he's cheating on her...with herself. That's enough to put someone in therapy for years. I mean, perhaps I could see it eventually happening, but so soon? He just got there the night before. Does he really believe that Xena's dead or that he's stuck there forever? Maybe it's that mortality/self preservation thing kicking in because he just seemed to give it up so quickly. I'm sort of disappointed, I wonder how Xena is going to feel. It was a hot scene though.
I can't wait for the next episode.
Oh and kudos to Aurora for the great visuals. They are awesome. I have one tiny little suggestion. During the scenes depicting CX in a kimono, I kept picturing her in the red kimono from AFIN II. That just seemed more conqueror-esque to me than the softer (younger) Xena from Dreamworker with the ponytail. I don't know what you've got in store for the next episode and if she's going to still be prancing around in her kimono, but just in case you were looking for a wardrobe change.
I thought it was a very good episode. I was extremely pleased at how the relationship between Gabrielle and Xena was handled both in the "Real" world-gabrielle deperately hoping to be reunited with Xena but realising she now has other responsibilities and the "World of the Conquor"-Xena still trying to protect Gabrielle. Yes I realise it sis a Shipper Series but Xena and Gabrielle's friendship is an essential and endearing feature of any Xena fan fic. I think this was one of the best episodes for ages and certainly "Oh no not another Conquor" one. I look forward to the concluding part. Thanks!
I liked the episode. It was really interesting to see what the characters became in this alternate universe. I'm very curious to know how Xena will react when she finds out about Ares and 'Conqueror Xena''s little affair. Can you really call it an affair? That's what I'm wondering. Can Xena fault Ares for sleeping with this other version of her? You can really see it both ways. Either you say it's not cheating because it's still her, or you say it is, because it's not really her. It's only an evil version of her. But honestly, I would be mad if it were me. I think it may reawaken the whole 'you still wish I was evil Xena' argument. Anyways, all this to say that I did really enjoy the episode and that I'm intrigued to find out how this all plays out.
Can't wait until part 2!
OMG This was a beautiful idea! I'm sure we've all wondered how Ares would ever react if he would meet the evil Xena, and now we know (well, half know anyway). It's great that we see how Xena is plotting against him, trying to rid her empire of the things that caused her to turn good and loose power, and I can't help but feel like SCREAMING about how the real Xena is going to react to this. So far, we have seen Xena and Gabby's relationship, and the relationsihp between the good (and the other Ares as well) Ares and the bad Xena...
How will Xena react? Will she be offended, or horrified? We are all assuming that the real Ares realizes that he doesn't go for the bad Xena...or at least, we are hoping. I, at least, am PRAYING that nothing happens where the real Xena breaks up with the real Ares, for we couldn't STAND to see that happening after everything that has happened!
But now, will the other Ares go after the good Xena? Or will the different Gabby change the evil Xena?
Arg, I have told you guys how much I HATE your endings of episodes...I'm going to be going crazy until you post the next episode.
Also, my birthday is Feb. 22, and this, I can honestly say, was one of the best birthday presents that I recieved!
Oh you guys that was awesome!
I was so glad it didn't end in just one episode. I want alot more from this storyline!
You know it has to be good when you're already dying for the next episode.
And you are so right LK, Aurora's illustrations just make it a full 5 stars!
Awesome manips Aurora
guardian of existence
ok um i just read it and well WOW my mind is everywhere!!! kinda angry at a character/s but other than that its all realy good! love the pictures used for the scenes! here comes the suspense building again ....lol
oh and.... i love the little chat between Herc and Zeus about how Zeus feels about Ares, very touching. oh and the end part 'to be continued' thats not nice guys!
I just have to tell you guys when I started reading this i did half expect you to throw the ending a bit differently something like Xena coming into to town only to see Ares kissing Conquer Xena, but perhaps not her Ares, perhaps GOW Ares, or GOW Ares mistaking our Xena for Conquer Xena....
My other theory was Xena and Ares would end up sortof running into each other and the last line would be kinda like "Ares?'
But i do like your ending and I do hope you post the new episode sooo very soon!
LOVED the Ep! Can't wait for the next one.
My only quibble was with Ares giving up so easlily on returning home to Xena. Not even on his first stint of mortality was he that hopeless.
My favorate part was Zeus' talk with Herc about being worried about Ares--- It was about time he showed some appriciation of his eldest son.
I also noticed that Evil Xena has a soft spot for our GoW so maybe she will end up changing and influencec Her Ares, too. It will also be ironic that our Ares will be in Gabrielle AND Herc's place.
I also liked that Gabrielle went out on her own.
Now, when Xena told Gabrielle that she believed in love was she talking about Gabrielle or Ares or both types of love?