A Family Affair


The Amazons didn't move.

"Anyone coming?" Celosia looked around.

The Amazons blinked, staring at her.

"They didn't know about your power, remember?" Thalia whispered.

"Oh . . . right," Celosia blushed. "I guess it's in the open now, isn't it?"

"What was that?" Aurora got the nerve to speak.

"Well," Celosia wondered how to explain it. "It's a power that's been passed down through the generations, starting with the original Queen."

"A power that I didn't have," Medea cut in. "Why didn't you tell me this?"

"I . . ." Celosia bit her lip. "Mom didn't want me to tell you. She didn't want you to feel like you weren't special enough, she wanted us to be equals."

"Is that . . . is that why she asked you to be queen on not me?" Medea's eyes grew glassy.

"That was why, Medea. She didn't care about you any less than she cared about me."

"No, that's not the real reason!" Medea burst out, surprising the others. Before anyone could react, she ran off into the woods.


Xanthea tried to sit up again, but Hercules made her lay back down. She sighed.

"Having trouble dealing with your new status as patient?" Hercules asked.

"Well, that and I have a feeling I'm missing something by being stuck here," she replied. She sat up on her own. Hercules moved to get her to lay back down, she shook her head. "I'm fine. Let me sit up for awhile."

Hercules nodded. "Of course," he said. "You're the trained healer around here. You'd know what was best."

Xanthea smiled. "Could you get me some water?" she asked. "I'm parched."

Hercules smiled and handed her a ladle of water. "If you want, I can go see what . . ."

"Don't worry," she told him. "They should be back soon. Well, most of them anyway."

"What do you mean?"

Xanthea shrugged. "I don't ask when I sense stuff like that," she told him. "I just go with it."


Running circles in her head. Liars!

The word repeated in her head again and again, pounding through the weakening barriers of her memory. "LIARS!" It moved through her blood, her soul. Through the very core of her being.

She wouldn't believe it. Couldn't believe it. There had been so much more to it than that. There was so much more pain lingering in her spirit. So many, many more bruises on her soul.

"Silky, snake-ish, court-trained LIARS!" she screamed so loud her voice went hoarse.

She was running-she didn't know where-but every breath was becoming painful. Every second she was close to them was sheer agony.

Just like the last time, she thought. It's "Just like the LAST TIME!"

"Medea! Come back! Where are you?"

"NO! NO! SHE DIDN'T WANT ME! YOU'RE WRONG!" She wasn't sure who she was yelling at, the Amazons pursuing her or the screaming voices in her mind. They were back and they were deafening.

She tripped on a root and tumbled harshly to the ground, tearing her arm open from wrist to elbow in the scramble to get back up.

They were getting closer, louder, more demanding.

"Go away . . . just go away . . ." she sobbed, curling into a ball as she felt the voices closing in on her, saw their hateful, blood-filled eyes.

"Help me . . . somebody save me . . ." she whined as she felt a cold hand on her back.

Rise little one. I'll watch over you.

A light. A fiery, strong, warming light. A light that chased away the icy voices and their razor sharp words.

Velasca? The fallen Amazon asked uncertainly. What was real and what wasn't? She didn't know if she could tell anymore. The last time she hadn't been able to.

Yes my child. Hurry, there isn't much time.

The blond woman nodded and got painfully to her feet, staggering towards the goddess of chaos. The woman who had taken her in when her mother had died, the only woman who could save her from the voices.

Instantly she was filled with a raging heat and the small tattoo on her shoulder felt like it was on fire. She cringed and looked to Velasca for comfort.

Peace my child. All will be well soon. So soon . . . Medea smiled as the goddess put a protective arm around her and everything faded to a merciful black.

It didn't occur to her until much, much later how ironic it was that the only way she could find peace was to become an instrument of chaos.


Hercules had just set down the ladle Xanthea had been drinking from when a short figure burst through the tent entrance. Xanthea stared at the figure with surprise and wonder, speechless. The figure hurried over toward Xanthea and hugged her.

"I am your long lost sister," she revealed.

Xanthea replied, almost in tears, "I thought I lost you forever!" Her arms clasped the newcomer to her, squeezing her with love.

Hercules stared at Ollaea with dislike, but Xanthea seemed to dismiss his presence so the girl did the same. The wounded healer began to tell her sister what was going on around camp, when another Amazon burst into the door out of breath.


Xanthea looked over to the door, wondering who was interrupting and what was going on. She recognized Aurora standing in the entrance. "What is it?" Xanthea asked.

Aurora took a deep breath. "Mizera and her Amazons are . . ."

"What?" Hercules asked.

"They're gone."

Xanthea shook her head in disbelief. "Are you sure?"

"Well, it seems that way," Aurora told Xanthea.

Xanthea struggled to sit up, but Hercules again stopped her. "You're not well enough to get up yet."

She smiled. "I'll be fine. I want to be sure Mizera is really gone." She looked to her sister. "Come on Ollaea. I have some people you need to meet."


Xanthea walked unsteadily out of the tent, Ollaea and Hercules hovering behind her. She saw Celosia walking back into camp, the other Amazons following behind, questioning the harassed-looking Queen.

The group got to the middle of the camp, where Celosia finally turned around to face her tribe. "Look it's not something I asked for. I was just born with it and warned not to use it if possible."

"But Celosia," Léda yelled from the back. "Why wouldn't you tell us about your powers?"

Xanthea looked over her shoulder to Aurora. "Powers? What powers are they talking about?"

Aurora shrugged. "I didn't see what happened."

Celosia was now surrounded by her tribeswomen. She ran a hand down her face, as if attempting to pull her frustration from her mind. "Listen. I'm tired. I'm cranky. I just had to fight someone I never expected to see and I just found out she's also the person who killed my mother. Not to mention my sister has gone missing. If I promise to tell you everything I know about these powers later tonight at the campfire, will you give me a few hours peace?" The Amazons nodded. "Thank you," Celosia said before striding off towards the river.


The group turned towards Thalia. "Hey, Thalia, you seemed to know about her powers."

"Yes, why didn't you tell us?"

"How long has she had them?"

Thalia held up her hands. "I'll explain along with Celosia around the fire, it will come together then."

The Amazons sighed, but agreed to wait.

Thalia watched as Celosia vanished into the forest.


Celosia sat on the river's edge and let out a deep sigh. She stared at the water running by, trying to sort out everything in her mind. She heard rustling in the bushes and turned around quickly. Grabbing a rock she threw it into the bush.

"Ow!" Thalia emerged, rubbing her head. "Remind me not to visit you anymore!"

"Oh, I'm sorry, Thalia." Celosia relaxed.

Thalia sat beside the Queen, wrapping her arms around her legs. "Are you all right?"

Celosia shrugged. "It's just . . . everything seems to have gone wrong lately. The men, Mizera, my powers . . . everything."

"It's okay." Thalia put her arm around her. "We'll explain the bit about your powers tonight."

"Will they forgive me for not telling them?"

"I'm sure they'll understand," said Thalia reassuringly. "You were being cautious, not selfish."

"Yeah . . ." Celosia looked at the ground. "It was strange seeing Mizera again, wasn't it?"

Thalia sighed. "It's been so long since she left. She used to be among our best friends, do you remember?"

Celosia nodded. "I never would have known. She was the one . . . the one who tried to kill us." Tears welled up in her eyes. "And mother . . . I miss her so much!"

"I miss her too. It's okay, Celosia, we're here for you." Thalia wrapped her arms around the Queen in a comforting hug as tears ran down her face. "We'll always be here for you."


The Amazons left in camp began to disperse. Léda too charge, sending teams to different tasks through the fledgling village. There were still huts to be built and horses to tend, water and wood to gather, and food to hunt down and cook.

"Hey!" piped a voice. "Who's that girl?"



Curiosity piqued once again, the Amazons crowded around the newcomer. Xanthea and her sister exchanged glances.


Xanthea looked to her Amazon sisters and back to her biological sister. "I guess I should explain about her," she said to everyone who had remained behind. "This is Ollaea. She's my sister. My biological sister."

She turned to her sister. "Anything you want to tell my Amazon sisters about yourself?" she asked.


Wandering through details, Ollaea stared at Xanthea for a second longer, then turned to the rest of the tribe. Speaking plainly, she said, "My name is Ollaea and I have just come from a tribe that was attacked and destroyed. When our Queen was slain I ran to seek shelter with a water nymph named Nephele that had befriended our village. She took me to her house underwater to wait until the violence stopped outside. I was there for many days. During that time I had a vision that Xanthea was still alive. Nephele gave me a bit of food and water, and sent me to go find Xanthea..."

Belen came forward and asked, "How did you find Themiscrya?"

Her voice faltered a bit, but soon came back and she replied, "Gabrielle told me that a tribe of Amazons had just settled here at Themiscrya. I thought I should come and at least find out if Xanthea was here, which she was."

Belen thought for a moment, and then welcomed Ollaea into the tribe. A wave of happiness was evident on Ollaea’s face as she embraced Belen.

After the new Themiscryan finished explaining some other details, Xanthea pulled her into a hut. "You may sleep in here, but you will have to find a blanket for I have none to spare. May I ask a question?"

With curiosity in her voice, Ollaea replied, "Of course, sister."

"What was the battle you had mentioned?" she asked.

The girl hesitated for a moment, as if debating how to answer. "The Scythians wanted to tear down our temple of Artemis. When we refused, they declared war on our village."

Xanthea looked puzzled, then worried.


Exit Mizera

Instrument of Chaos


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