AN: this story has been in the back of my mind for quite some time, probably over a year. I've always enjoyed the history of the Huns and Attila. I think Xena would definitely fit in with these people considering her background with warlords and battle skills. Plus, I just love conqueror Xena and felt like we didn't see enough of her in the show. I wish to share with you all my stories and many ideas that pop in my head.
I've been working on this plot for a long time, though I will not ignore my other stories, but was too hyped to not at least write a prologue. I will make it as detailed as possible, as always, creating a different verse entirely. Hope you all enjoy and feedback would be great, makes authors happy to hear reader's thoughts lol ;)
Enjoy this piece and hopefully more to come.
The Commander's Poet
One of the largest tribes settled in the center of the Balkans, belonged to King Rua, the uncle of Attila and his elder brother, Bleda. Attila's father died in battle fighting against the Visigoths that charged through the Balkan territory close to the Caspian Sea, leaving Attila an orphan of war, abandoned and the only survivor of his tribe. It wasn't until his uncle, Rua, came to his rescue and took him under his wing. Bleda lived with King Rua from birth due to his mother dying of a fever when he was a babe.
Attila trained from a young boy and grew into a fierce warrior, rivaling his uncle in combat. He desired an army of his own and one day when his uncle died, he wanted to be king, but since Bleda was the eldest, the crown would indefinitely go to him. He knew that Bleda was not fit to be king because he was lazy and never drew a sword his entire life. He had never experienced war or true loss like Attila did.
As Attila grew older he realized that he needed to establish himself as a fine ruler and sought out recruits to be his military commander to help him lead his people into victory for the future. He searched for years and found someone who might be able to help him. Borias, a man from the Caspian tribes, a great noble fighter and was renowned as a great Hun warrior for several years.
He employed Borias as his commander in chief of the Hunnic military and offered to take in Borias' entire tribe into the Balkans as gratitude and to show his loyalty. Little did he know that a certain woman that accompanied Borias, would bring the light to his eyes. She too, was a great warrior and Borias' lover at the time. She was feared by many people in the Caspian tribes because of her savagery and ferocity. Attila grew to adore her and treated her as his little sister thus appointing her to second in command of his military alongside Borias. He was impressed by her fighting skills and someday he knew he would need her support to conquer all the lands that belonged to Valentinian and Theodosius.
This woman was Xena, born a Thracian in the Balkans, and Queen of the Caspian Sea. She was feared by many and was able to conquer all of the Caspian tribes with Borias by her side. Together they ruled the Caspian and Black Seas. Attila knew with Xena's knowledge of war and swordsmanship, she would be a great fit for his expedition against Constantinople and one day, Rome.
This time marked the downfall of the Holy Roman Empire and was taken by a group of tribal warriors known as the Huns. The Roman Empire had seen darkness fall upon the world when they realized that their land was being turned over to the Huns and their leader, the great vicious warlord, Attila, and his army of savage tribal men. Attila and his men conquered over the Eastern Roman Empire in a span of ten years –rain of blood came crashing down on the Eastern Roman Empire and the Western Empire feared that one day, Attila and his men would conquer them too.
The Western Roman emperor, Valentinian III, a childish ruler, guided by his elderly mother, Placida, and his military commander in chief, Flavius Aetius, was not concerned by the Huns early on. The young foolish emperor believed that Attila's men would not dare come and invade Rome, the holy city of both East and West of the greatest empire that the world had ever seen. The Huns were barbaric in nature and were considered savages by the Roman people. They were people from various ethnic backgrounds that congregated to form a nation that united as one ethnicity, one kind; the Huns. A nation under God to destroy the Holy Roman Empire and claim it for themselves with Attila as their leader.
The Huns at first, did not despise the Roman elites and the emperor, Valentinian or even the Eastern emperor, Theodosius. Attila, a young warlord would lead his people to victory in a vicious ongoing battle that lasted for more than forty years, trying to claim the Roman's lands and one day, to rule the world and create an empire so great that God would fear it. The Huns would keep expanding until the Romans were obsolete thus creating a Hunnic Empire with Attila as its king.
This century, this era, marks the turning point of the rise of a Hun king and a battle with the Roman Emperors to fight valiantly and declare what they think is rightfully theirs, but not without help from friends.
Prologue Part I
Pannonia, the capital of King Rua's tribe, hosted a celebration for the wedding of Attila and his lover, Cera. She was once a captured slave girl and Attila desired her from the start and wanted his brother, Bleda, to stay away from her, knowing he would be jealous of the beautiful red haired tribal woman. But this night, they were married and the entire tribe gathered outside in the center of the grounds, drinking and dancing together.
The men of the tribe joined in a giant circle and practiced a ritual dance, clapping and chanting in their native tongue to celebrate the union of Attila and Cera. The women had a circle of their own, joining hands together and dropped to their knees and jumped back up, alternating between both steps whilst singing a tribal wedding song to correlate with the men's dance and chanting during this happy time.
Xena sat in a chair, overlooking the dancing women and men of the tribe. She did not really care for such celebrations all that much but knew that these people loved to party as well as fight. She did not oppose parties, because she too loved to splurge every now and then when there was a victory or special occasion.
Borias left the circle of men and laughed, picking up a bottle of mead, pouring himself a glass. He caught his breath and saw Xena sitting by herself, far from the festivities. He decided to go and join her so she wouldn't be alone as he knew that she would not be feeling up to joining in. Xena noticed him walking towards her and she smiled, seeing that he was enjoying himself. She adjusted in her chair and he sat beside her on an empty wooden stool, sipping the mead.
"Why are you sitting by yourself?" he asked and then kissed her hand gently. She smirked and with every movement her entire outfit jingled with her. She wore a black long dress that reached the floor, covering her black close-toed burgundy sandals. Her headdress had many coins and silver chains on it, covering her long raven hair that barely reached her hips.
"Unlike you and Attila, I enjoy watching, not partaking in parties," she replied and looked out at the smiling women, dancing in a circle around the large bonfire.
Borias scoffed and held onto her hand firmly, "I thought you enjoyed parties, Xena..." he said in his thick, raspy accented voice. Staring into her crisp bright blue eyes he saw that she was mildly enjoying his teasing nature.
"Only when they benefit me," chuckling softly and he rolled his eyes, groaning at her response, though he knew she was right. She tended to want to be the center of attention at most times, though she was not so greedy to put herself or the tribe in danger for the sake of winning a battle.
Attila came running forth and wrapped his arms around Xena from behind. She jumped and he kissed her cheek. "Xena!" he exclaimed, spilling some of his mead on her dress due to his drunken nature. Xena frowned, lifting an eyebrow up at him. His eyes widened and he took the scarf hanging around his neck and began wiping the alcohol off her shoulder. "Forgive me," he shook his head, now embarrassed.
Xena grunted and slapped his hand away, "it's fine," she brushed off some of the mead from her dress and adjusted herself in the chair, leaning her cheek on her palm, now annoyed and slightly irritated. "Can't you go be drunk somewhere else?" she rolled her eyes.
Borias smirked and stood up, hugging his tribal brother, "where is your new wife?" he asked.
Attila had a smug smile on his face, "she's waiting for me," he whispered and Borias' eyebrows lifted then he smiled, both began laughing together, knowing exactly what that meant.
"Oh please," Xena snickered and turned to see both the men ceased laughing. Borias folded his arms and she looked at him incredulously. "What?" she frowned.
"Oh now you've spoiled her mood, Borias," Attila chuckled and that only irritated Xena more and she turned around, looking at the dancing people, enjoying themselves while she sulked. He knelt down and wrapped his arm around her, hugging her warmly and she cringed. "You know how much I love you as a sister," he said sweetly and Xena sighed heavily and she was unresponsive.
His eyes traveled to her swollen abdomen and he looked up at her, "and how is the child?" he was obviously concerned for her well being, though she didn't appreciate it much. She snapped her head towards him and glared into his bright green eyes. He sensed her negativity and stood up, taking some generous steps away from her. Attila stood next to Borias and smiled at him, "God shall grant you both a healthy boy!"
Borias nodded and hugged his friend before he went off to consummate his marriage with his new wife. Xena sat in her chair, lowering eyes at what Attila had said. She hoped that her child was a boy, fearing that a daughter would bring her and Borias trouble ahead in the future.
He walked and brought the stool to sit on in front of her. He lifted her chin and saw sadness in her eyes. "You, the mighty Caspian Queen...afraid?" he teased, hoping to lighten her mood. She hinted at a small smile but it soon disappeared. He sighed and grasped both of her hands, gripping tightly then kissed her knuckles gingerly. "You have nothing to fear, Xena," he whispered. Still the party continued behind him and she said nothing as her reply.
He had never seen her afraid before and he saw it in her eyes, though she tried to hide it, this was probably the one thing she was bad at –hiding her true emotions. She never liked to admit it, but she was only human and it was inevitable that she showed her emotions when need be. Curious, he set both his hands on her belly, he felt his unborn child kicking his palms, then a smile came to him.
She smirked and placed her slender hand over his, intertwining their fingers. He had a big grin upon his face and she sighed and lifted his chin with her free hand. "What if the Visigoths invade us?" her eyebrows creased, now fear setting in.
He touched her cheek and put on a smile for her sake, "if they do, Attila and I will handle them. You don't need to worry," he stood up and kissed her forehead and she frowned, not satisfied with the answer. She gripped his hand and he halted, staring in her anger filled eyes.
"If you don't get rid of them, I will do it myself," her voice filled with determination, anger, malice and valor all in one. "You know what they did to the other Balkan tribes' children, Borias," her eyes narrowed as her frown deepened.
He cupped her cheeks in his large palms and stared at her, firmly replying, "your job is to protect our child, Xena. I know what those savages do to our tribes, you don't need to remind me," he groaned. Deciding to put that in the back of his mind he grinned at her and grabbed her hand, pulling her away from the chair, "come to bed with me," his voice sultry and she lifted an eyebrow, smiling at his current mood. He helped her out of the chair and they left to go to their large yurt, three times the size as any of the other yurts and next to Attila's large dwelling.
Roman soldiers walked the plains of the Balkans, searching for a spot to camp in. The campaign against the Visigoths was longer than expected and the Western Roman commander in chief, Flavius Aetius, lead a ferocious battle against King Theodoric of the Visigoth kingdom in the eastern Balkans.
The group of soldiers walked across the large wheat stalks and saw smoke not far from where they stood. Figuring they should check it out, they had no idea there would be people in this area, at least not live people. They feared there would be more Goths to sabotage. Coming over the hill one of the men whistled to his men.
"Quick!" he yelled and the others joined him. Together they saw a huge tribe, thousands of people probably and hundreds of yurts, a large abode in the outskirts of the tribe. The man who found the tribe saw a yellow flag with a bull on it and frowned, squinting his eyes, trying to see any more clues he could find. "We must report to Sir Aetius about this," he smiled.
Another soldier seemed less enthused, "what if they are more Goths? Probably spies of King Theodoric himself!" he said and the man shook his head at him.
"No, these are not the Visigoths, my friend. These are the Huns," he smiled, proud of his treasure and couldn't wait to tell his commander. "I will wait here. You go to our commander, tell him at once! It is urgent!" he demanded and the others ran off. Smiling, folding his arms he saw a few people coming out of their yurts to start the day, though the morning was gloomy and sun had not yet risen, it would be a lovely day. A bonus he would receive from his emperor Valentinian for his discovery of the valiant Huns.
King Rua dressed in his armor with animal pelts draped over his shoulders. He stepped out of his yurt and noticed all of the women and men preparing for the day. All looked a bit hung over from the festivities the night before. Of course, wedding celebrations were quite grand and special in the Hun tribes. They were nights to be remembered and Rua made sure that everyone had plenty of wine, mead and food to share with all the tribe members.
Bleda, his eldest nephew emerged from his yurt, looking a bit haggard from the ceremonies last night. He walked over to him and pat his back harshly. "Bleda! You have enjoyed yourself surely?" he had a bit of mirth in his eyes.
The young man held his head, feeling his head throbbing harder the more his uncle spoke loudly. "My brother knows how to throw a party, that's for sure." He walked to the well and took the ladle drinking some much needed water. As he drank his eyes traveled to the hill and saw many Roman soldiers peering at them, probably twenty of them at least and a man that looked of utmost importance. "Uncle!" he called out, wiping his mouth.
Rua hurried over and he too now saw the Romans spying on their tribe. "Romans in the Balkans?" he couldn't believe it. "Go wake Attila and Borias," he said and Bleda refused to move, now angered by the Romans daring to come to their land. "Go!" he pushed him and Bleda groaned then ran off to get his brother and Borias. He didn't want to see the shocked look on their faces from this sudden news.
Attila woke up, stretching his arms over his head then glanced over at his newlywed wife, sleeping soundly. The covers draped over her body perfectly shaping her slender curved body. He leaned over and pulled down the blanket uncovering her medium sized breast. Tracing his finger over her nipple she stirred and shivered at his touch.
Cera's eyes fluttered open and he kissed her shoulder, cupping her breast in his palm. She smirked at him, "you didn't get enough last night?" she said in a husky sleepy voice. His hand traveled under the sheets and she felt his hand graze over her flat abdomen, grabbing her inner thigh and her body tensed. She turned over on her side and kissed his lips gingerly. Attila smiled and began kissing her neck as his fingers slipped inside her. Cera's eyes widened and she bit her bottom lip. "Attila..." she hissed.
Bleda came into his brother's room and Attila turned, hearing footsteps. Cera gasped and covered herself with the blankets. Bleda smirked, "brother I see you are having your fill with your redhead goddess," he folded his arms.
Attila frowned and now his was in no mood to have sex with his new wife courtesy of his dear brother. "What do you want, Bleda?" he stood up, naked, and grabbed the goblet of mead that was leftover from last night and took a generous swig.
"There are Romans over the hill. Our uncle demands your presence," Bleda said and Attila set the goblet down.
"Romans?" he wanted to make sure he heard that right. Bleda nodded, "tell him I will be there in a moment. Wake Borias," he grabbed his pants and began dressing as fast as possible. His brother left the room and went to inform King Rua, after he awakened Borias.
Cera crawled to the end of the bed with an imminent frown on her lips, "Attila, what did he mean that Romans were here?"
Attila slipped on his boots and threw his animal pelts over his shoulders. "I am going to find out," he grunted then got up, adjusting his belt. He leaned down and kissed her lips with force. He pulled away and brushed a few tendrils behind her ear, "stay here where you are safe." He smiled then grabbed his sword, hurrying out of the room to meet his uncle and brother to see these so called Romans and why they were here in the first place.
Bleda entered Borias' and Xena's yurt, seeing they were both still sleeping and he had his arm draped over Xena. He cleared his throat and Borias opened his eyes, sitting up on his elbow. "Attila and King Rua need you at the front of the hill."
He yawned, "what is it this time?" he was not in the mood for this especially so early in the morning. He couldn't even see the sun yet that's how early it was.
"It's urgent. The Romans are here," Bleda said and was going to stand there until he agreed to come out with him. Xena opened her eyes and frowned seeing Attila's brother in their yurt. "Good morning, Xena," he smiled at her sweetly. She rolled her eyes and rested her head back down on the pillow.
Borias sighed and rubbed his face, "give me some time and I will be there," he said, waving his hand at him. Bleda nodded, content with that, he knew he could trust Borias and left the yurt in a haste. He stood up slowly and grabbed his pants and tunic, not happy about being woken up, but it must be urgent otherwise Bleda wouldn't come in here personally. And if the king said it was important, then it must be serious.
Xena sat up, covering her upper half with the warm wool blanket and smiled at him smugly. His eyes lowered to her and saw that enticing smile. She grabbed his hand, "last night was fun," her eyes squinted as her smile widened.
He chuckled softly, "was it?" he tightened his belt around his slender waist. "I have to go meet with Attila and the king about some Romans," he sighed, rolling his eyes then grabbed his sword, sheathing it in its holster.
She frowned at that and grabbed his hand, not wishing him to leave, "I'll come with you." He quirked his mouth then knelt down in front of her and looked into her glowing blue eyes that would enchant anyone.
"I want you to stay here," he whispered.
She shook her head, "but I am second in command. I should be there too," her voice filled with determination and he knew better than to argue with her and decided to keep his mouth shut. She smiled, knowing that he would not dare detest her and since she was the second in command in the military, she was just as important as Attila, his brother, Borias and King Rua. "Go on without me, I will be there," she winked.
He sighed and kissed her forehead, "I'll be waiting for you by the front," he groaned inwardly, not happy that she was joining in, fearing that she might be harmed, but it was almost impossible to reason with her, especially when she wanted to do what she wanted, when she wanted. He grabbed an extra sword and left the yurt to meet with everyone by the hill.
Attila and Borias met halfway as they walked to the front of the hill together. Attila looked at the gaggle of Romans, huddling together like a herd of sheep. "Romans never come here," Attila frowned, his pace quickening.
"They are not attacking." Borias noticed, as they kept staring at King Rua and Bleda, waiting for them. "What do they want?" he hissed.
"We're going to find out," Attila ran to the front and Borias followed shortly.
They joined the others and King Rua turned his head at the arrivals. "I am not sure of their intentions," he said to his youngest nephew.
Attila nodded and saw the commander of the Romans staring down at them with curious eyes. "I say we meet with them, uncle," he said and Rua shot him a look. "We see what they want with us. We don't need conflict with the Romans. Besides, I want to see what their game is," he smiled deviously at the thought of Romans entering his people's domain. The Romans were now in their realm and it was time to play a game.
Borias frowned, folding his arms, "Romans are known for trickery, Attila. We need to be on our guard," he pressed.
"Indeed Borias, which is why I want to interrogate the commander," he nudged his head at the tall meaty one glaring at them. Some men began walking up the hill to tell the Romans they wished to converse. "Look at the pig," he chuckled.
Flavius Aetius was brought into the large abode of the gracious Hun King Rua. Attila made the rest of the Romans stay outside the fort, not trusting them at all. The Roman commander sat down on a large pillow, opposite the king, Attila, Bleda and Borias. He admired these people as they lived as such barbarians and were completely uncivilized in his eyes, coming from a wealthy elite background.
Xena entered the room and all eyes went to her. Aetius turned his head and saw a striking raven haired woman, wearing a coined headpiece draped over her long locks. His eyes grew as he gawked over her beauty. His eyes scanned her body and she wore black fur covering her dress and she eyed him staring at her. She walked over behind him and sat next to Borias on the pillow, tucking her legs under her. Smiling at Attila he simply gave her a small head nod, glad she was here to see the interrogation process, though he hoped she would keep her mouth shut. She never was a talker, but when she was, she said some of the most cruel things that could scare off the most ruthless warlords ever to walk this earth. He hoped she'd cooperate.
King Rua cleared his throat, now grabbing everyone's attention. "Welcome to my home, commander," he smiled at the Roman.
Aetius bowed his head graciously, "it is an honor to be in your presence," he smirked.
"you know of us, then?" the king asked, hesitant of this Roman and his lies.
Flavius Aetius smiled, nodding, "of course. I know of the Huns, your highness," he eyed Attila, "and I know of you," he said and Attila raised his eyebrow suspiciously. "Your people have a large some of land that rivals the Visigoth king," he chuckled and everyone in the room remained silent, not getting the joke. His laughter died and he extended his hand and the Hun guards came closer to the king. Aetius saw the guards out of the corner of his eye and retracted his hand. "I have come to make a proposition for you all."
Xena frowned, not liking the sound of that. "What kind of proposition?" she asked and all eyes went to her. The Roman turned his head and couldn't help but smile at her, smitten by her beauty.
"I didn't know the Huns had such gorgeous women," Aetius smiled and Xena was less enthused by his flattery.
Attila sighed, "Xena is my second in command. She is to be respected," he said and the Roman nodded, understanding fully.
"Of course," he continued smiling at the raven haired splendor. He redirected his attention to the king, "I want to ally with your people. Rome needs to expand her empire and I think you are great warriors to have on Rome's side."
King Rua frowned and looked to his nephews, waiting for their response, but everyone was quite surprised. Xena was the only one who seemed to have a voice today. "Why would we want to join Rome?" she asked and Attila shot her a glare. He knew she was going to do this, though she seemed to be behaving herself and he trusted her judgment in matters like these.
Aetius turned to her, "your people would prosper in Rome's wealth and you would receive all the glory of course, dedicating yourself to Rome as an ally –friends," he grinned and she turned to Borias, and both shared a look.
"What will you give us if we decide to ally with you?" Xena asked and King Rua nodded, very happy to see that she was asking all the right questions while everyone remained flabbergasted at this sudden proposition.
The Roman eyed everyone and grinned nervously at the Hun king. "Two thousand Roman soldiers and one fourth Roman pounds for your alliance and you may keep half of what you plunder along Rome's expansion." He said and Attila looked to his uncle, wondering if this was a good deal.
"One fourth is not enough!" Xena reprimanded. "Two fourths Roman pounds and seventy percent of anything we may find during our excursions."
Attila frowned, "we will not exceed our greed," he eyed Xena and Borias grabbed her hand, squeezing it tightly so she wouldn't argue. "We will take the one fourth pounds, but keep the seventy percent commerce," he said and Aetius sighed.
"I'm sure the emperor would have no problem with that deal," Aetius smiled, bowing his head. Xena frowned, narrowing her eyes at the Roman. He turned to the king, "so we have a deal?" he paused, "unless the lady objects..." his eyes traveled to Xena.
King Rua shook his head, "no, we will take the offer," he stood up and everyone else stood. Aetius smiled and extended his hand to shake it. The king looked at his hand, puzzled at what he was supposed to do with it. Aetius sensed that these people definitely not up to par on civil meetings and slowly retracted his hand.
"I will notify the emperor of our meeting then. I will send a currier for more information," he said and he was shown the way out of the conference.
Xena stood up and now that the Roman was gone Attila approached her, "Xena, you were out of line," he hissed, inches from her face.
"You were going to let that Roman pig walk all over you!" Xena yelled at him and Attila groaned, frustrated with her obstinacy. He was a gentle man, except when it came to war and he realized that she was indeed a skilled warrior and knew how to negotiate but she was not queen here, she was not in charge. He also reminded himself that she was pregnant and took a step back from her, giving her personal space.
He exhaled heavily, "you are my best commander, Xena. I trust you and you know I trust your judgment, but if we ally with the Romans, we want them on our side, not against us. We will work together, as a team," he said, making sure he made himself clear. He left her side and Bleda smirked, following his little brother.
Borias grabbed her arms and held her close to his body, "Xena," he hissed, "you need to learn your boundaries!"
She growled and pushed him away from her, "you need to learn to sense a snake when you see one, Borias!" she brushed passed him and stormed out of the small room. He rubbed his face, frustrated with her actions, though she had a point, he thought.
Flavius Aetius returned to his camp in one piece, he expected nothing less since the Huns decided to meet with him. He met with his soldiers, "inform Valentinian that we have the Huns on our side. I am sure he will be pleased," he smiled, slipping his red plumed feather helmet on his head. The men nodded and ran off to inform their messenger and their soon return to Rome about this grand news.
He turned back and looked at the tribe and couldn't stop thinking of that raven haired woman. She was definitely smart as well as beautiful. But he sensed that she was dangerous and he did not trust her. She was so quick to denounce his offer and create one for herself. Because of this, he admired her bravery not to stand down against newcomers in the area. She might be a problem, he told himself. He needed to keep an eye on her, but he saw that the king and Attila were fond of her opinions and that too could be dangerous.
He only hoped that she would not be an issue as the alliance between Mother Rome and the Huns. He would definitely have her investigated when he returned to Rome, that was a promise.
AN: save for a part II