My favorite Xena fics tend to be Xena the Conqueror stories. Almost all of them have that transformation from Xena, Destroyer of Nations, to Xena, Leader of the People. With the help of Gabrielle, of course. Gabrielle takes on all sorts of different roles in these stories, from freedom fighter to body slave, but the outcome is usually the same. I like the conqueror stories because Xena usually gets to show off her fighting and manipulation skills much more than when she’s Xena, the repentant ex-warlord fighting for the greater good.
This story was good and had a bit of a twist right off the bat. Alti is the Conqueror, having dethroned Xena. With very few exceptions, everyone believes Xena has been killed. The reality is that she is being held in the dungeon. Alti still needs her and her inner power. There is a prophecy waiting to be fulfilled and it involves Alti, Xena, and a third person: Gabrielle, of course.
This piece has plenty of mysticism, intrigue, Amazons, and some angst thrown in for good measure. It wasn’t the best Conqueror story I’ve read, but certainly nowhere near the worst. I enjoyed it the most because it was different. And after you’ve read as many fics as I have, different can be very, very good.