She left the temple and continued on her path toward
ambrosia. She knew how to get to the cavern easily. She was low
on powers however and couldn't transport herself and her horse.
"Things should go well," she said to her horse.
"I get my ambrosia and I then find your ruby and you can
get your wings. Prince of Darkness..."
She continued on.
Something in the back of her mind bothered her... She was not
so sure what, but a sense of guilt washed over her for a brief
moment. She shook her head and trotted on.
No one is taking Godhood from me, she thought. She
gripped her staff. I refuse to allow anyone the opportunity.
I've been waiting for this chance since birth. To take the place
I have been destined to have according to Zeus. I will not let
anyone steal this from me. Even at the risk of the Themiscyrans
. . . She knew Kaia was with them, and that she found to be
the biggest betrayal: when your sister commits treason.
She sighed and saw the cavern loom in the distance. She was
almost there. She could smell the ambrosia.
"Ick," Celosia said. "Why can't ambrosia be
kept in a more clean place," she asked to no one in
particular as she crawled her way over boulders to the wall of
the room. Slimy black mold covered the rocks, and spider webs
clung to everything. Celosia wiped her palms off on her leathers
before leaping up onto the wall and clamoring her way up the
The ambrosia was hidden in an indention into the wall.
Celosia climbed the rock face until she reached the ambrosia's
resting place. Anchoring herself to the wall with vines, she
reached into her pouch and retrieved the vial containing the
hind's blood. She removed the stopper, and took a deep breath.
Now, what is considered sparingly? She thought. Reaching
into the nook, she carefully poured three drops of the dangerous
liquid out onto the fruit.
"Hopefully that will do it," Celosia said,
returning the stopper to its place. She was about to start down,
when she heard Samsara at the mouth of the cave.
"Ambrosia, baby, here I come," the Goddess yelled,
her voice echoing off the stones.
This is not good, Celosia thought, hanging by the vines.
Celosia kept as quiet as she could, but the Queen knew
Samsara would find her and not be pleased.
The Goddess crawled through the tight spaces, having left her
horse to graze outside. She pulled herself up from the rocks and
rubbed her hands together in anticipation.
"Hmm," she said.
Celosia managed to hide herself from the High Princess' view.
Xena taught her the hiding places well. Keep still, she
thought to herself. Nothingís worse than an angry goddess.
I remember Velasca . . .
She watched intently as Samsara climbed up the vines and
reached in to grab as much ambrosia as her free hand could hold.
She placed some in her pouch and ate a couple of slices,
laughing as bright light surrounded her. Her eyes turned red
again, the irises turning a colder blue than ever.
"Nice to feel good again," she said. Something
still nagged her, but she pushed the thought aside, thinking of
what to do next. She jumped down from the vine, refreshed and
energized. She played with the pendant around her neck.
"Can't wait to do what I should have done when I gained
control of this." She contemplated whom among the gods to
kill; whether she should kill Hera first or Artemis. The
ambrosia had horrible effects on her loyalties. Kaia's seeds of
hatred to the Matron Goddess seeped into her head.
The only thing that jarred her from her mind was the creaking
of a vine. She looked around and smiled.
"Your Highness," she said. "Fancy meeting you
here. What's that in your hand?"
Celosia pulled out her weapon.
As Thalia rode behind the others she heard a voice come into
her mind. Samsara has found Celosia in the Cave of Ambrosia.
Desdion? Thalia sent back. Is she okay? What's going
I do not know any more, you must hurry, the wolf sent,
and then silence.
"Medea!" Thalia called to the Amazon in front.
"Celosia and Samsara are both at the cave of ambrosia. Our
Queen needs our help."
Medea turned to her. "How did you come to this?"
"Desdion told me," Thalia explained, "that's
all he knows, but he said we need to hurry."
"All right," Medea let out war cry, kicking her
steed forward, "Let's go, Amazons! Our Queen needs
She sped off and the rest of the Amazons followed close
I hope we know what we're getting ourselves into. Thalia
thought to herself.
The Amazons hurried to get to the cave. They did not know
what to expect when they got there, so they were all on edge.
"Be on your guard!" Thalia called out to her
sisters as they reached the cave of ambrosia.
Their hearts stopped as they peered into the mouth of the
cave. It was pitch black and they could hear no sound.
"Lets go." Medea instructed her sisters.
Celosia knew the only way to stop Samsara was to tire her out
enough so that the hind's blood had the opportunity to run its
course. She continued to hang on the vine, hoping that there was
enough good left in the High Princess that she would not kill
Samsara sighed. "I don't like seeing you up there,"
she said as she zapped the vine. The Queen fell on her side onto
the hard stone floor. The dagger clattered away into the
darkness and the vial of hindís blood shattered, the dark red
blood spreading. "I'm immune," she responded.
Celosia stood and winced slightly. That's what you
think... You may not be able to die, but it will have an affect
Samsara drew her sword. "I wonder if Medea would enjoy
taking over?" She smiled as she eyed her weapon. Then she
looked at the Queen and continued. "But I'm a fair
warrior." She created a sword from thin air. "I want
you to die standing. En garde."
Thalia felt a pang in her stomach. "Celosia!" she
wanted to yell into the cave, to hear her Queen yell back. No,
they had to take Samsara by surprise.
"Let's go!" she quickly dismounted, and the others
followed suit. Thalia turned to Medea "We await your
instructions. As Head Scout I request you let me morph and scout
ahead to check for any danger before we all go in." She
waited for the Amazon to answer.
The fiery regent clenched her fist around the sword hanging
faithfully on her hip. Every instinct inside of her screamed at
her to rip out her blade and charge into that cave, because
something was wrong.
Think with your head, Junior. Not your heart, Tern
reminded her silently. Medea nodded and let her hand fall from
"Very well, Thalia. As Regent of the tribe I grant you
your request," the blond answered with great formality,
though her blood sang in battle lust. "If you find anything
unusual in there, turn and run and report back to me, you got
it? We don't need any heroes."
Thalia gave her a reassuring look and nodded. "I
understand. I will return." With that the Head Scout was
gone, leaving the other Amazons to wait.
Medea hated it.
Pacing back and forth, she pulled her sword from its sheath
after all, and began a slow, calculated pace. "Until the
Head Scout returns we're all on stand by, sisters," she
muttered, and began making pointless attacks on the air.
Just until we find Samsara, she promised herself. Then
it'll be hot flesh and not the breeze scraping the surface of my
She threw the sword at the Queen and challenged her to
Artemis, Celosia thought as she grabbed the handle. Give
me the power to keep up with your niece. She stood ready to
fight. "This isn't you."
"It was what I always dreamed of," the Goddess
Kakistos responded. "My sister, Kaia Kakistos, was given
ambrosia and for what? For what? Doing Father's bidding. I,
protector of the Hind's Blood, deemed so by Zeus, couldn't touch
ambrosia because of Hera's vendetta against my mother. Now I
have what I've always wanted and I will never give it up."
They fought. Celosia was strong, but even against a minor
goddess with major aspirations more powerful than Alti,
Callisto, and the evil Xena, she needed Artemis' help. She knew
the Goddess of the Hunt was on her side.
Celosia was worried. Samsara was not using her powers. Anyone
could fight. To let the blood run its course she needed to force
her into using her powers. How to do this? How can I do this?
Celosia demanded. There must be some way . . .
Jadea observed from a portal, her fingers latching onto the
handle of a nearby blade. Raising it high above her head, she
threw it angrily into the portal and saw it land an inch from
"I hate to crash your party, Samsara. But if either of
you kills the other, you both die." Jadeaís voice boomed
inside the cave, her anger at the situation quite evident. The
combatants recognized the voice, but had no idea where it came
The Goddess laughed hysterically in disbelief. She grabbed
the sword and launched it downward with the intention of hitting
the Queen. "Why should I believe you?" he demanded
with a destructive tone.
Queen Celosia caught the sword as Samsara spoke the final
word of her inquiry. For her answer, Jadea appeared in the cave.
She'd positioned herself in mid-air between the Goddess and the
"Because Callisto is my sister. That makes you my niece.
I have given a blood oath to the Amazons. That makes them my
Samsara hesitated, her focus now solely on the Sorceress . .
. a recent addition to the Themiscyran Tribe. She held her eyes
upon Jadea, using her powers to search beyond what any mortal
could find there.
With a softer tone, Jadea called out to the Goddess.
"Samsara, please. We have already lost our family once. We
don't have to lose them again."
"Wait a minute," Seriana said calmly as she ducked
inside, taking great care to appear uninterested in the
Sorceress, the Goddess, and the Queen. "If you're
Callisto's sister, and Callisto is Samsara's mother and Samsara
is Ares' daughter, and Ares is my father . . . then what are you
"A relation," said Jadea dryly.
Seriana let her eyes dart about a little, searching for any
living creature looking out of place. Medea would be in after
her in a few moments, raging like a wounded panther, but Seriana
shrugged it off. Friendship had a privilege, and besides, she
didn't like the Regent.
"Seri, get out before you get hurt," Samsara
ordered, not taking her gaze off either opponent. "I will
not have my sister's blood on my hands."
"Very well, then. Help me reach the ambrosia, and give
it all to me, and I'll walk out of here to safety."
Samsara snorted. "Why the sudden interest?"
"You tell me; you're the one who understands true power
"Yes, I do, and I'm not giving it to . . . any of you.
It is mine."
Seriana jumped onto the vines and climbed, hand over hand,
towards the ambrosia.
Samsara leapt . . . actually, it was more like flying . . .
and got a hold just above the older girl.
The Ruby Dagger was out of its sheath in an instant, slashing
at Samsara's legs. The Goddess kicked ferociously, then sent a
mild power bolt down onto her sister.
It was exactly what Seriana had been waiting for. Stretching
her mind to the utmost, she grabbed some tiny fraction of the
power and used it to scream across the room to Thalia, wherever
and whatever she was. GET THE AMBROSIA!
The rest of the energy tore her loose from the vine and flung
her against the wall, which she bounced off of as she went
cartwheeling towards the spike-covered ground below.
It was just then that Medea charged in, shouting "You
treasonous little idiot!" For someone of her reflexes, the
few seconds before Seri hit the spikes was all the time she
needed. She grabbed a vine, swung out, and caught the girl in
As the vine swung back, Medea flung Seriana unceremoniously
onto the safe ground in the passage. She landed crookedly, with
her head smashing against the wall.
The last thought in her head before she blacked out was a
single sentence: I'm Seri . . .
Thalia was startled as Seriana's message boomed through her
lizardís head. GET THE AMBROSIA!
She watched in horror as Samsara snapped the vine and Seriana
plummeted towards the spike-covered floor. Out of nowhere, Medea
swung in and caught her just in time, flinging her to safety.
She landed unceremoniously on the floor in a crumpled heap,
Thalia boiled with anger, but knew she had a job to do before
she could help face Samsara. She crawled up the wall as quietly
as a small black lizard could.
Meanwhile, Medea swung back to the floor, drawing her sword
and snarling at Samsara. "Traitor," she growled.
"Is this how your treat your tribe? Your sisters?"
"My sisters are weak," Samara waved her hand
nonchalantly. Medea bristled and Samsara smiled, her hand
glowing as she revved up another bolt of energy. "Shall
She threw the bolt at Medea who ducked out of the way. The
bolt hit the wall near Thalia, exploding and sending her flying.
If a lizard could groan, she would have as she cleared her eyes
and got back to her feet. Medea was standing above her, swinging
her sword. Thalia has barely enough time to move out of the way
to avoid being crushed. She quickly scuttled up the wall towards
She reached the immortal fruit and climbed in among it. What
now? How was she going to get it out of there? She was
pondering when an idea came to her.
Quickly morphing into a badger she began to dig into the
tunnel wall. When she felt it was deep enough, she went back for
the ambrosia. Morphing into a ferret, she dug her claws into the
fruit and dragged it into the deep hole, going back for the next
piece as she could hear swords echoing on the cave walls. She
pulled the last piece down and covered it with a rock, all but
sighing heavily. Too much morphing in such a short period of
time, it was taking all her energy.
Crawling down from the ledge, she would crawl behind Samsara
and take her by surprise. With luck, she'd be able to distract
her enough to...
"Going somewhere, Thalia?" She heard Samsara sneer.
Why can't we all just get along? Jadea thought while
watching the events escalate from bad into worse into a true
With a distaste for the whole situation, the Sorceress
Empress shot Samsara with a single energy blast from her hand.
It stunned the Goddess, seeming to freeze her in place.
"It won't hold her for long. Make the most of it."
With that, Jadea vanished.
She was stuck in her position, unable to move. She knew what
she had done. She saw her sister groaning on the stone floor.
I wouldn't have let her die, she thought. And if she
did hit the spikes I would have healed her . . .
Medea looked at her menacingly. She gripped her sword tightly
as she walked toward her. "And you call yourself Heiress to
the Teloq Throne?" she demanded. "How would Ephiny and
Serena appreciate the news? You attempted to kill Celosia."
Samsara needed to distract Medea from her intentions. If
Medea attempted to kill her, there would be no stopping Ares
from wreaking more havoc. The mix of emotions haunted her. She
craved power yet felt loyalty for her sisters, but to survive
one must sacrifice everyone. At least that's what her mother
"Wouldn't it be nice to rule Themiscrya?" she said
as the spell her mysterious aunt cast began to wear off.
Celosia bided her time. All I need is for her to wear out
Medea smirked. "Well not like this." She pulled her
sword back and screamed, sending the blade toward her current
But Samsara dodged the weapon and with a force, pushed Medea
down. "You know," she said, creating another force
between her hands. "Never trust a daughter of Ares."
Truer words perhaps were never spoken in that one instant.
Seriana, afraid that Samsara would dig herself a deeper hole,
tackled her sister with such force, that the power between her
hands spilled out and crashed into the stone wall. Meanwhile,
the ambrosia spilled out of Samsara's bag, unbeknownst to the
The power of the bolt shook the foundation of the cavern.
Thalia pulled Celosia away....
"I can't lose Medea now!" Celosia cried.
"Let them alone," Thalia demanded. "No use in
losing our Queen and our Regent at the same time!" She
looked back at Seriana in hopes that she would come out alive,
but the cavern was collapsing quickly. Then she turned and both
Samsara struggled against Seriana's grip. The older was not
as strong as the younger but packed a punch when she needed to.
Xena taught her well.
Medea reached for her sword again. She wasn't going to let a
treacherous witch like her live.
Rocks from the cavern began to fall. Thalia and Celosia and
all the other Amazons were out of harms way, but the three still
The Goddess struggled out of Seriana's grip. "You will
not stop me now!" She pulled out her sword. "She's a
follower of Velasca. That evil woman turned Kaia," she
brandished her weapon.
Medea snarled as she stood at ready. "Do or die."
"Do or die," she repeated.
But before they could face off, boulders fell from the
ceiling, covering the entrance to the cavern and trapping the
Celosia and Thalia escaped just in time. Celosia was wide
eyed as she turned around and saw the dust and ashes rise from
the opening. "Medea," she whispered.
But she knew Artemis would not come. The Amazons had to save
themselves. She turned to Kaia Kakistos who stood idly as she
cleaned her nails.
"You do something about this," she demanded. She
was at a loss for what to do. Even with Hercules' help it would
take days to tunnel through and by then only Samsara would
survive by virtue of being an immortal.
Kaia merely laughed. "You think I will do anything to
get them out? Not only is Medea out of my way in terms of
getting rid of Velasca, but with Seriana gone Daddy's favorite
daughter is now me. Samsara is trapped in there with no power to
teleport out. I now have her horse and there is no one to keep
the Gods in check. She holds the last of the ambrosia and you,
my dear, mistakenly dropped the last free supply. That's it.
It's over." She cackled. "They have to get themselves
out. There isnít any other way."
The Queen glared at the daughter of Ares. "And you call
yourself an Amazon? Why don't you leave then since you are of no
"Iíll tell Daddy that the Amazons are all his. He
won't be pleased when he finds out that his prized daughter was
killed because of her loyalties to a group of shrieking
women," she vanished.
Perched on top of Crescent Hill, Jadea used her heightened
sight and shook her head with a grim expression.
Those fools . . .
Above her, Ardra flew in small mystical patterns. She seemed
more restless than her mistress did.
You have the power to end this. Why did you leave?
Jadea growled, as she heard the same question she had
presented to herself. Disliking the answer, she balled her fist.
If I do what it would take to end this, there would be no
Amazon Nation left. Just a pack of angry gods. Samsara will not
kill her blood kin. In that, Queen Celosia may have hope.
Silence fell between Ardra and the Sorceress Empress. A
sudden sensation pricked at Jadea's mind, followed by the
darkened hue of the pendant around her neck.
Ardra, go to the Amazons. Remain with them and watch them.
Where are you going?
Just go, Jadea's tone balanced on irritation and dire
The moment Ardra was gone, she closed her eyes and conjured a
ball of fire.
The God of War appeared and smiled enthusiastically. His dark
eyes glistened beyond the usual when he gazed at the Sorceress.
She glared at him with open contempt, the fireball in her hand
growing ever more powerful.
"So, you are Callisto's little secret weapon? Her final
act of revenge against me?"
The ball of fire flew from Jadea's hands. Ares barely
vanished in time to miss impact. He quickly reappeared, a solemn
look replacing his previous one of amusement.
"You say revenge. I say redemption. She helped to bring
the Amazons to their knees."
Ares took a few steps toward the Sorceress. Her pendant grew
darker and began to burn. Jadea held her ground, fighting back
the urge to kick his butt back to Olympus.
He wants something. No, he needs something from me.
"You plan to help them rise up again, do you?"
Upon hearing a horrendous scream in her heart, she took a
step forward. "Hell and the Gods hath no fury like an
Amazon, Ares. You would be wise to remember that."
Having said that, she moved past the God of War. He stopped
her with one word. "Rumyna . . ."
Jadea turned back and faced him. Never before had she looked
as dangerous . . .or as beautiful.
"Would be proud of you." As he spoke, he looked
into her eyes calmly. She knew he meant what he said, but her
distrust of the god alerted her to another truth - he was
She sighed heavily and recalled the words Rumyna had said to
her in Cirra.
"You can become destruction's victim . . . or its worthy
"Stay away from them." She said finally, turned and
disappeared. Even as a god, Ares could not follow Jadea. He
could not even so much as use his Godhood to locate her. The
Sorceress's powers were fortified by sources beyond the reach of
As it happened, Jadea appeared inside the cave shielded from
view. With a wave of her hand, she removed the deadly spikes.
"Samsara," her voice was strong, though no one
emotion could be detected. A groan was her only response from
Could have been worse. The Sorceress thought and aimed
one hand toward the wall of the cave.
"Whenever possible, make a better exit than you made
entrance." A small smile tugged at her lips as she
blasted a hole through the fall rocks and rubble. With a slight
shrug, Jadea smirked. "Mmm . . .not bad."
Finding Samsara, Jadea laid one hand on her and vanished,
taking the Goddess with her.
Ardra is going to flip.
Thalia studied the rock-filled cave entrance, wondering how
she could morph and get inside when it suddenly exploded.
The Amazons shrieked and dove for cover as the rocks flew
outward. Thalia quickly morphed into an elephant, wincing as the
rocks hit her, but blocking most of them from reaching her
Coughing came from the smoke-filled entrance and the Amazons
leapt to their feet and drew their weapons. Thalia morphed back
into a human, exhausted from too much morphing, and wearily drew
her bow and arrow.
The smoke cleared, and Medea and Seriana stumbled out
coughing. The Amazons rushed to their aid, supporting them.
"Where is Samsara?" asked Celosia.
Medea coughed again. "Jadea . . . she came in and
vanished, with Samsara! She's taken her somewhere."
Celosia thought for a moment. "The question is . . .