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Untamed by Danae
Recommended by: Vivian Darkbloom - 08.24.99
Sex/Violence Content: Alt
As a reader, I am usually my own worst enemy: Sometimes I spend too much time racing ahead of the plot, trying to figure out what will happen, instead of just enjoying the ride. But, in the case of Danae's "Untamed," I could not have guessed what was around the corner, even if I had tried.
With gentle, deceptive humor, the story starts out marking a happy occasion: Gabrielle gives birth, with Xena at her side. Later, we flash forward: Gabrielle's daughter, Piscea, is now the Amazon Queen, and her proud parents are middle-aged, happy, and still roaming the countryside. (One hopes they have an RV at this point.) But the young Queen is tormented by feelings that will not go away; at the prompting of her best friend, she reveals a troubling secret that has plagued her for years.
Taut and effective, "Untamed" builds upon a sense of unspoken dread-and this is a testament to the quality of the writing-and reaches a devastating truth in its last line with a haunting, extraordinary power. It remains one of my favorite short stories in fanfic.
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