Kou moved the benches and chairs around until she was finally
satisfied with the arrangement. She continued to plan her
curriculum. "My students will be here soon," she
thought. "I need to find out who knows how to speak what
languages." She took a bite of cheese and looked out the
door toward the Mess Hut to see if any of the girls were coming.
As she opened the door, she let some freshly driven snowflakes
in. Kou looked at the sky and said, "A blizzard could be
approaching for all we know."
Faela was still trying to decide what she should do as she
watched the trainees depart from the Training Ground.
"Which way should I go?" She asked herself. She looked
toward the Watchmistress' Guard Hut and then turned back toward
the Training Ground. There was no one there now; it was
deserted. She thought that she heard something speaking to her.
She cocked her head and listened intently. It was the wind. It
told her to head in the direction of the Training Ground.
She ran through the lightly falling snow and stopped by the
Armory. She knocked once, then twice. No one answered, so she
tried the door. It was unlocked, so she entered. She had never
seen so many weapons stored together. She remembered Valkyra
saying that any adult Amazon could use any of the weapons in
here as long as they were very careful. And, that they must
clean the weapons if they got dirty during use. Faela slowly
walked among the rows of weapons hanging from the walls. She
spied a crossbow that she especially liked. The Amazon from Gaul
gently took the crossbow down and examined it closely. She then
found some of the crossbow bolts. After taking a handful, she
carried the crossbow outside to the Archery Range. Although the
snow began to come down harder, she put a bolt to the bow and
cocked the trigger. Faela took careful aim at a target. It was a
straw deer. She released the trigger, bull's-eye. She repeated
the procedure, bull's-eye. After shooting several more
bull's-eyes, she relaxed and smiled.
"It is a good grouping in the bull's-eye," said a
voice behind her.
Faela spun around and found herself face to face with
Valkyra, Regent and Weapons Master of Themiscyra.
"My Regent, I didn't know that you were watching. Ah, I
was only practicing. I will return the crossbow to the
The Weapons Master smiled and said, "Only when you are
finished with your practice. Now, tell me; can you shoot
consistently like that?"
"I believe so, my Regent."
"Can you hit a live running deer as easily?
Calming down a bit, Faela answered, "I am certain of
The Regent asked, "Then, how would you like to become
the Chief Huntress for the Tribe?"
"Chief Huntress?" replied Faela nervously.
Valkyra explained, "Yes, the Amazon known as Antigone
had been Chief Huntress, but she left to go on nok'tana. She has
been gone a long time now and we really need someone to lead the
hunting parties. With your skill and under your direction, a
party of hunters would have a much greater success rate in
bringing down the game that we need for food."
"I would be honored to take on the position. Thank you,
my Regent," said Faela.
"Good, I will inform Queen Jadea that I have found
someone. I am sure that she will approve your appointment."
Faela looked wishfully down at the crossbow.
"You can keep the weapon if you like," added
The new Chief Huntress smiled and said, "My thanks,
Weapons Master; I will take good care of it."
"You are not limited to hunting with just a crossbow.
You can use any weapon that you want to hunt. I know that
different game animals require different weapons to hunt them
with," said Valkyra. "Now, you can go tell Ryka of
your new position, for you will be coordinating with her need of
food to cook."
"Oh! I will! Thank you and the Queen for the new
title." With that said, Faela ran off to find Ryka.
The Regent smiled, knowing that Faela would make an excellent
Chief Huntress. "Now, I must go and find Deirdre."
The Amazons were just about finished with their midday meal.
Chrysippe took a swig of water and thought to herself,
"There's that ruby encrusted dagger again. The girl sure is
being careless with it. Why, anyone could lift it." But,
she knew that she didn't want to be thrown back into the jail
again. "I have got to put the ruby out of my mind, at least
"Chrysippe!" A voice called to her from the door.
It was the same Amazon who rushed her to the Training Ground
earlier. "Come on! You'll be late for language class. You
can't be late for that."
"Wear something warm, little kitten," Domaris said,
looking up from her book. She lay lazily across a divan, draped
in a bearskin that gave Deoris the creeps.
Not for the first time, she wished she could toss the
bearskin, the dainty white-silk divan, the multitude of colored
veils and the Persian carpets out with her Sorceress sister.
What HAD she been thinking?
"Fine," Deoris said. She dug through the crude
wooden chest at the foot of her cot and removed her goatskin
coat. She shrugged into the old garment and lifted her staff
from its place by the door of their hut. "I'll see you
"Have a nice time. Give Kou my regards." Domaris
waved a hand, causing the flames of the fire to leap up.
Deoris paused. "You could come, you know. I'm sure she'd
like familiar faces around."
"I know what I need to know, thanks. I'm not the world
traveler she is, but I have been around. I'll see her in the
mess hall, I'm sure." She turned a page in the
The Priestess sighed. "Suit yourself," she
grumbled, going out into the light snow. She shivered at the
sudden temperature change. "Thanks!" she called out to
the closed door. She knew her sister would hear.
She made her way across the main square to the Tribal Hut. It
was the learning and gathering center when the weather forced
the Amazons indoors. They preferred to learn outside when they
could, of course, appreciating the beauty of the surrounding
forest and the hands-on method to learning. But it wasn't
possible every day, so they utilized the Tribal Hut, built close
to the Council and Queen huts.
The Ti'Sa stomped her feet as she entered, a cascade of
little flakes of white falling her dark hair. Several Amazons
were already inside, warming by the fire. They smiled and
beckoned to her, clearing a space for her.
She let the coat drop from her shoulders and hung it on a peg
by the door among the others. Her staff she kept to hand, a
symbol more of her status than as a threat to her athelfi. The
door creaked as she turned and a tall blonde Amazon she'd never
seen before entered the room.
"Wonder who that is," she asked herself. She never
discovered the answer. From across the room came a squeal of
delight, the sounding of many bells, and a flash of red hurled
itself at her.
"Deoris!" she was enveloped in dark hair and a warm
"Kou, sumani psogonos," she laughed. My missed
one. "Ti lapinos tu rayit?" How have you been?
Walking slowly towards the hut where the language class was
to be held, Chrysippe took some time to think. She fiddled with
her amulet she wore, feeling its weight and engravings on her
fingers. It seemed to emanate warmth, despite the cold. She
hadn't realized how much she missed wearing it. Now that she had
it again, she felt somehow comforted.
The Weapons Master had mentioned that the Queen would want to
meet with her soon. That didn't sit well with her. Chrysippe's
upbringing engrained in her the belief that she needed to
continuously prove her worth. She had watched her friends in the
caravan be flogged for not meeting the "quotas" the
caravan's patriarch placed for pick-pocketing the marketplace
crowds. She herself had felt the sting of the lash a couple of
times for her own inadequacies. She worried that perhaps there
were standards she was not aware of. There were the comfortable
lodgings and the good food, not to mention the training.
Chrysippe shivered. Yes, she thought to herself, they are going
to want much from me.
Chrysippe's mind skipped back to the mess hut. That girl
wears that ruby dagger so carelessly, she thought. Right then
she resolved that she should definitely be relieved of it. It
would make the perfect offering for when she was called before
the Queen. She thumbed her amulet again. I should hide this as
well. What if she wants this as well? I couldn't stand to lose
it again. As she came to the hut, she knew what she had to do.
She opened the door and walked in, shaking the snow from her
hair. Apparently she was the last to arrive. It was full of the
girls from that morning's training, and a couple other women she
didn't recognize. That didn't surprise her though. She knew
there were still many faces she would need to get to know.
Suddenly, a wave of jingling red embraced another woman. They
spoke words that she did not understand, but somehow seemed
familiar. It was as if she recognized it from a very long time
The two smiling women finished with their pleasantries. One
took a seat, while the one wearing dancing bells took up a place
in front of the class. "Yasoo athelfi," she began,
"My name is Kou Wainohia, and I will be instructing you in
the language of the Amazons."
Toria wasn't in the mood for learning; and although she
wasn't fluent in Amazon, she could get by on what she knew.
Besides...Dria was all for the classes, and if Toria didn't go
Dria could fill in the gaps in her vocabulary.
To be totally honest, Toria was feeling very nervous around
Themiscyra lately. During her time in Rome, she had learned to
be wary around strangers. With all the new Amazons, Toria was
nervous and jumpy. Dria, on the other hand, was loving meeting
all the new women and girls.
"Oh, come on Toria! You'll love it. All these new
people. Everyone will be going, and you'll be the only one in
the whole village that isn't there, you know." Dria watched
her sister rooting through her weapons chest. All she got in
answer was a grunt.
"You only don't want to go 'cause you're afraid. Well,
if you're not coming to the lesson, - what are you going to
do?" Dria crossed her arms, tapping a booted foot
impatiently while her twin dug deeper into the chest.
Toria didn't answer for several moments. "Ah ha! I,
sister dear, just found out that we finally have a blacksmith in
Themiscyra. When I left Rome, I dropped something very important
to me, and now I'm going to go find out if I can get a new one
made for me." Toria waved a scroll in front of her sister's
"What is it?" Dria tried to snatch it out of her
Toria unfurled the scroll with a flourish, showing off the
sketches drawn in charcoal with pride.
"It's a knife." Dria said, her curiosity deflated.
"Ah but look at the shape of it." Toria pointed
"Okay, so it's a knife with a curve." Dria
"It's not just a knife. It's a knife designed precisely
for the perfect kill. It's the exact right length to pierce the
heart and the curve slides perfectly across the throat."
"An assassin's knife? But Toria you can't possibly be
thinking about... going back to that sort of life, are
you?" Toria was worrying Dria. It might be useful to talk
to Jadea before the end of the day.
"No. I found that it's also perfect for surgery. The
metal is a special mix and it holds it edge well. Cassia will
love me for it."
Somehow, the mention of Cassia's name reminded Dria of the
time. "Oh! I'm late for class. I'll talk to you
later." Dria scooped up a blank scroll and a quill, as she
ran out the door only stopping to say "Behave!" then
she was off running.
Toria smiled and left the hut herself, heading to the forge
where she knew the Demerci Fenal Archila was setting up shop.
Samsara Athanase was also on her way to the Demerci Fenal
Archila's. Before Kardia's appointment to the position, the
Themiscyrans had taken to mending their own weapons if they
could or sending a messenger to the nearest village to get them
fixed there. Both options were either time-consuming or
expensive, or both. The Teloan had done some of her own work
when she was a part of village life, refusing to allow her
secondary weapons to any one else's care. They were simply too
dangerous to not have her eyes on her weapons or know where they
were at all times. And gods forbid if she ever let Marion's
sword in anyone's possession. When she was on excursions with
her army, she simply made the local blacksmith handle the job
until she found a worthy smith in Philoctetes. Of course, now,
General Philoctetes was dead.
Dead. The state of her army was such that it was no longer as
powerful as when she inherited it. Maybe half were new and the
rest had been around since the times when they pledged
allegiance to Caesar (before Samsara's arrival). What if she
hadn't wrenched power away from Minos years ago? Would
No. Miletus would have found a way to destroy him. It was
hard to say if the army was better off now. She made a mental
note to shape them up and empower them more.
She put those thoughts out of her head before they turned to
the Senior General. Samsara went straight for the newly erected
structure. She spotted Toria along the way, but managed to get
in before the ex-thief. Sami hadn't known what to make of Toria
at first. Now she was simply getting used to her. She supposed
that was fine.
Karma's mouth emitted an "ooooo" as they entered.
Bodhisattva stayed outside and rested in the light snow. He
"Kardia?" Sami said. The Athelfi looked up from her
current work, fixing a Siberian warrior's sword.
"Queen Samsara," she responded, wiping the sweat
from her brow. She had been working on weapons since lunch.
Kardia was known already for her hard work. There was something
to be said about her in that regard.
There it was again. Queen Samsara. I'll have to change that,
she thought. She didn't like it and she didn't understand why it
had to be so simple. Born of complication, life of
complication... She almost lived for the drama. Well, maybe.
"What can I do for you?" she queried, cutting the
"Oh, yes... I'd like you to fix this dagger when you
have a chance," she said, pulling out Zia's dagger that the
Roman gave to her. Her thoughts momentarily went to her... Where
was she? And where was Jadea? She placed the ruby-encrusted
blade on the table with the others. "When you get a chance,
no hurry on it. Efharitsu tu."
"You're welcome. Your child is beautiful by the
Samsara smiled warmly. "Herete," she answered,
turning. She then stopped suddenly and turned back. "Oh, by
the way, how much do you know about shields?"
"As much as I can know, I suppose."
"Would you teach me some about making them?" No,
Samsara wasn't good at everything. Thankfully.
"When the work is cleared some, nai of course."
Kardia pulled up her hammer and started banging away. She wasn't
being rude. She just needed to get the work done. And there was
a lot of it.
The Mama and her Nene left the hut. She had run, however,
into something outside that she didn't like.
Cassia was not happy. She'd been dragged out of the Med hut
to this class to learn new languages. She didn't have anything
against the teacher; much the opposite, she wished her the best
of luck. She just wanted to be in the Med hut, treating
patients. That was all she wanted to do today. Unfortunately, a
certain young woman wasn't giving her that option.
The young woman in question was standing next to her, long
blond hair gleaming, looking quite a bit happier than she had in
the last few weeks. Iona was finally getting over her sickness,
though it was apparent that she was going to have to take her
bed again after the class. She'd wanted to look into it, because
she knew little of the Amazon language. Her sweet blue eyes
looked happily about her and she returned the smile of many a
sister. Cassia smiled herself.
Perhaps she would give this class a shot, for as long as Iona
was interested. It got the girl out into the village, at least.
She looked around, wondering where Toria was. If she had to be
here, she would make darn sure her assistant was here as well.
Holding Deoris at arm's length, Kou answered her question,
"Poli kala tu?" Very fine and you?
"Tu'ta ghat!" You're soft! Deoris laughed at
"Jil meh ena rumatok gorud!" Sit down and shut
up! Kou laughed in response. "Plie psogo tu." I
Deoris sat in the class to watch her childhood friend and
support her in her first day at her new position.
Standing up in front of her athelfi, Kou nervously sucked in
her breath and slowly let it out. This was going to be the most
difficult and salient test of her ability as Isandil Archila in
She smiled at her gathered koritsi, "Orisate athelfis!
Tre kanete tu? Cu culm ena durus Tae'Nah arcis, si komal cu
malak simi isandil." Looking at a number of confused faces,
she translated, "Welcome Sisters! How are you? To build a
strong Amazon nation, we must learn our language."
"To those of you who don't know me, I am Kou Wainohia
and I was born here in Themiscyra. I have been traveling in the
world to prepare me for this position and I hope to be of
service to our Latra and our tribe. I hope to be giving lessons
to small groups of you at a time. I feel that we need at least
five of us speaking each known language and all of us learning
"I know some of you all ready speak other languages
beside this common Latin we are now using. Please stand when I
call your name so I may recognize the person to the name,
Deirdre stood hesitantly in the group wondering what this
archila could have in mind for her on this first day of class.
"Tepae, now Selena."
Selena also stood and looked at the crowd in the hut.
After looking closely at the two girls, Kou nodded her head,
"You may sit now."
"Hmmmm......Well, I'll get to her later. I'll need you
girls to form into groups of five at first until we see how many
of us there are. If needed, we can break you down into groups of
four. I would like Morigan, Ryka, Soraya, and Xela in separate
groups. I will explain why later. After the groups are sorted, I
will answer questions."
Kou walked over to where Deoris was sitting and collapsed
next to her while the other girls busily and a bit noisily moved
about the hut positioning themselves into their groups.
"Well, how do you think it's going so far?" she
Deo laughed, "I don't think it's been long enough to
Kou made a wry face, "Tepae, then tell me about you and
Konia and the rest of the "old" tribe. How have things
gone since I've been away? Give me the highlights! And the good
gossip, who's mad at who?"
The Demerci Fenal Archila heard voices outside her shop and
regarded it as nothing more than Queen Samsara chatting with
another athelfi. Through Kardia's hard work and sweat, she did
not notice Toria's hovering eyes watching her. When Kardia
glanced up she saw the Kuntai Keturah looking past her at the
table of unfinished weapons.
"Can I help you?" asked Kardia.
Toria's eyes quickly moved into a different direction.
"Do you need something Toria?" Kardia said sternly.
"Once when I was in Rome, I had a knife like this."
Toria lifted the picture of the sword in front of the Archila.
"I have made many weapons for my Amazon sisters,"
replied Kardia "but never for an assassin."
"It's not for an assassination. It's for medicinal
"You are not the Keturah Archila," Kardia said with
"If you can't make it, then..."
The Archila's body shifted into a defensive position.
"When do you need it?" Kardia asked with a tempered
"Whenever is best for you," the Keturah replied.
Toria's eyes followed the picture of her weapon as it was placed
in the pile next to the ruby dagger. Kardia also watched the way
Toria's eyes kept focused on the dagger.
"Is there something else I can do for you?" Kardia
Without a goodbye, Toria left the shop.
Kardia was starting to feel the stress of her work. I
think it's time for a break. Why not join the others in the
tribal hall. Learning a new language might not be as tiring!
Kardia entered the tribal hall to find her sisters already
dismissed for the day.
While the girls in the language class arranged themselves
"You have a nasty, nasty habit of eavesdropping, don't
you?" Athanase said the moment her eyes lay on the girl.
Toria hardly looked up from Bodhisattva. "I wasn't
eavesdropping, I came to visit Kardia. Of course, you beat me to
"Don't you have a class or something to attend to?"
the Goddess countered, sucking on her teeth. The hound instantly
stood on his feet, ready to follow. "The Isandil Archila
won't be happy to realize you're not in class."
"That's where Dria comes in." Toria stood, holding
open the door to the forge. "Now, if you'll excuse
"Of course." Sami was bored. She was also itching
for a confrontation, but Toria wasn't the one for her... at
least then. She shrugged. Why not head over to the class anyway?
Just because she was finally near fluent in Amazon didn't mean
she couldn't sneak a peek at the classes anyway. She wanted to
know what it was like for Amazons to sit in a hut and learn a
language. Any of the several she spoke were picked up here and
there. When she first came to Themiscyra years ago, her
knowledge of Amazon translated into many a broken sentence. If
Medea, the Giensata's sister, hadn't hated her for other
reasons, her lack of knowledge of the language would have been
She slipped into the hut to find the others attempting to
arrange themselves into suitable groups of five. Kou was too
trusting. The girls needed to be arranged, not left to arrange
themselves. Samsara asked and got her answer. Groups of five.
And so, the Teloan took to arranging the Athelfi into the
requested groups. There was one of four, and she assigned
herself to that one.
Kou was in conversation with Deoris. Athanase walked over.
"Isandil Archila, We're ready for instruction. I'm sure
there will be time for you and the Ti’Sa to catch up. What
with Lyna Medea gone on nok'tana, there's not a saga of gossip
to relate. Of course, there are a lot of stories, and if the Ti’Sa
doesn't mind, I can share them with you." She turned back
to her group and sat down on the bench. She'd give the classes a
Before Kou could say a word to what had just happened, Deoris
said - almost as if reading her mind -, "Ask no questions.
I have no answers about Samsara."
Kou looked up, startled by Samsara's sudden appearance.
Patting Deoris on the shoulder, she rose up from the bench and
took her place at the front of the room.
"Now that everyone is in a group, we will decide which
groups will have their lessons when and what language they will
be learning besides Amazon."
A number of groans and whispers could be heard as it dawned
on the Amazons that they were learning more than one language at
"I know a few of you will get confused at first, but it
will become easier as you go along, and the purpose of being in
your group is that you will have others to practice with. These
girls will be your close friends and I suggest that when you are
with each other, you speak only in your given language and
practice the Amazon with whomever you are able."
Kou then went to each group to assign them their language and
time of lessons. Faela's group was to have lessons after
breakfast as hunting was best done in the mornings and evenings,
her group was learning Gaulish, Morigan's group was between
breakfast and lunch and they were learning Celtic. Ryka's group
was to have lessons after the noon meal as she was cooking at
other times and her group was learning Chin. Late afternoon was
given to Xela's group, who were learning Slavic and the early
evening class was for Chrysippe's group and their Persian
Kou's afternoon was spent supervising the different groups
and giving them assignments for the rest of the day. She
couldn't wait for the evening when she would be able to relax
and get used to the camp. It was a new camp for her, having been
born in Latra Lysippe's camp up the river. Kou wanted to find
her mother as well, since she hadn't been able to see her yet
either. So much needed to be done.
Finally, she released the girls into the late afternoon and
walked with Deoris into the fire circle.
Jadea would have loved to go to the class but she had been
and still was busy with a letter to the Greek Amazons. Jadea's
head snapped up, she could feel a presence... somewhere.
"I know you're there," she said to whoever was
"Well met, Amazon Queen." A shimmer of light
coalesced into Chiron, God of healing, before the table Jadea
was seated behind.
"Can I help you?" Jadea ran her eyes over the god,
recognizing him from descriptions. He seemed harmless enough,
compared to the gods Jadea was used to dealing with.
Chiron's tail twitched lazily at a fly and the Queen's eyes
were drawn to the Centaur's hindquarters, where part of an arrow
shaft protruded from a wound bloody and ragged. "What
happened? Perhaps you should go to the Med-hut. We have a
wonderful healer, and one of her apprentices is also our Kuntai
Keturah. Together I'm sure they can figure out how to get that
fixed up for you," she said, strangely not offering to heal
the wound herself.
"No, I need to tell your Sister, Toria, something of
"I'll send for her. Just wait." Jadea stood up and
went to the door. She opened it and asked Niata, the guard on
duty, to go find Toria.
"And Dria?" The Amazon asked, knowing one rarely
went anywhere without the other.
"Dria is here?" Chiron asked startled. "Ever
she was the cautious one I doubted she would have left the
comfort of her homeland. Please I must needs speak with her
"And Dria too." Jadea added, closing the door after
and returning the pool of light that came from the window above
Chiron's eyes took on a glazed look, all of his muscles
tensing. "Lady, I must go. This arrow is hind's blood and
Zeus has agreed to let me stay a little while longer, but you
must pass on my message. Give them my love." Chiron drew a
scroll sealed with ribbon and wax from mid air laying it down on
Jadea's table. And just as he appeared, he disappeared.
Dria practically ran home from class. She couldn't wait to
tell Toria about it.
Toria sat at the battered oak table in the center of the hut,
pieces of parchment with odd marks covering them. The thief
tapped the falcon feather quill against the edge of the table
sending ink everywhere as she absently stared off into space.
"Toria! We had so much fun. I'm learning Chin. And I was
talking to one of the other Amazons who have been there and it
sounds incredible. Do you think I'll be able to visit there one
day? And Kou Wainohia is a great teacher. You should have been
there!" Dria slid, breathless, into a seat beside her twin.
"Yeah, that's nice, Dria." Toria said absently,
obviously not paying attention to what her sister said. Dria
pinched her sister on the arm. "What? Oh, Chin. Dria, I
speak Greek, some Amazon, the garbled speech that passes for a
language in Rome and our own tongue. Do I really need to learn
Dria pouted disappointed her sister didn't have the same
enthusiasm she did.
"One thing though. When you say 'Good day' you need to
stress the heh sound not the jeh sound."
Toria scribbled a little more on the parchment.
"You were there then weren't you?" Dria said
assuming her sister had climbed up on the roof as was sometimes
her habit. "You speak Chin?" Dria was confused now.
Eventually Toria had told her everything about her the time
after she left Dacia, from how she got to Rome to when she met
Xena and then was dragged practically kicking and screaming to
Themiscyra. A side trip to the Far East had never been
"No, I have a knack for language. 'Would you two stop
that?' " Toria's voice changed as she followed the tone and
pitch of Cassia's voice. "’Won't you ever learn?'"
she said in Jadea's exasperated tone, the one the Latra saved
for the twins alone was perfectly reproduced.
"Oh, do Ryka!" Dria begged.
"'Where is that cask of rum. Toria! I know you're here
somewhere!'" Two Sisters passing the hut hurried past, as
Ryka's voice full of fury came through the open window.
"Samsara!" Dria said.
"You two up to now?" Samsara finished for Toria,
standing in the open door Dria had left as she had come in
Toria cleared her throat. "Well, ah we were
"Going over to Jadea's hut," Samsara stepped out of
the way so the two could pass.
"What did we do this time, do you think?" Toria
"Maybe it was when we rearranged the furniture in
Cassia's hut while she was asleep," Dria answered,
"Or spiked the apple juice at the last Tribal
Council," Toria continued.
"Ooh, ooh or maybe it was when we stole Niata's clothes
from the bath hut." The two continued counting off their
evil deeds as they walked to their Queen's hut.
Samsara said a prayer for Jadea's immortal soul.
Sitting on the edge of her bed, Chrysippe pulled her boots
back on. It had been a rather busy day. The training was
rigorous, and she never thought she'd be asked to give lessons
in Persian. It wasn't her first language, but since the caravan
had spent the last five years traveling in Arabic lands, it was
something she had picked up and spoke quite well. Chrysippe was
relieved to get a moment to clean up and change into her
"working clothes." They were loose fitting,
comfortable, and had several hidden pockets for stowing away
anything she may acquire.
Tonight I begin gathering my tribute to the Queen, she
thought to herself. I'll prove to her my worth.
After she finished dressing, she headed towards the Mess hut
once more. This would be the perfect place to start. There was
always a crowd bustling about, with their attentions diverted in
several different directions. She smiled softly as she entered.
After getting a little something to eat, more to look casual
than out of hunger, she edged over to a good-sized group of
women. Children were running about playing, and their mothers
were watching them, eating and talking among each other.
Chrysippe began by casually interacting with the children,
joining in on their play. The mothers were taking notice of her,
and were paying a little closer attention.
Suddenly, Chrysippe looked up and asked, "Does anyone
have a coin?" The women peered at her questioningly.
"It's for a trick," she explained, smiling innocently.
She carefully inventoried the women as they fumble about until
one produced a dinar. She grinned sheepishly as the mother
handed it to her. That is a beautiful bracelet, and two have
nice, full coin pouches besides the one who gave me this,
she took note.
"Now watch," she instructed the children, then
seemingly made the coin disappear. The children gasped in
amazement as she seemed to pull it out of one of the little
one's ears, and the mothers smiled. The more she working the
coin in dance of disappearing and reappearing in the least
likely place, the more the children squealed with delight. Even
the women were chuckling with enjoyment. Perfect, she
thought to herself. I have them right where I want them.
"Watch this," she said once more to the children as
she turned towards their mothers. She began performing more
complicated slight-of-hand maneuvers. She placed the coin in one
woman's hand, then made it reappear from behind another's back.
She did several more tricks, then finished up by making the coin
disappear once more, then caught it as it seemingly to fell from
the sky. The children roared with delight and the mothers smiled
and applauded, as did several other onlookers.
She turned back towards the woman who originally gave her the
coin and returned it to her. "Thank you," Chrysippe
said politely. The woman simply smiled approvingly as she placed
it pack into her coin-purse. The children whined for her to do
some more tricks, but she gently patted them on the heads and
said, "Maybe I'll do some more tomorrow." She smiled
and winked at them, and they beamed back at her. With that, she
left the mess hut and returned to hers.
As she closed the door and barred it, she went over to the
table and lit a candle. It was growing dark, and she wanted good
like to see by. Turning towards her bed, she began unloading her
hidden pockets. She sat down and counted 50 dinar from the soft
leather coin-purse and smiled. Then she examined the silver
bracelet delicately inlaid with lapis. The rich, dark blue
contrasted strikingly with the polished silver, making it quite
an unusual piece. Its wearer never even noticed her removing the
clasp. Finally she examined an ivory handled hunting knife. It
was a small, polished blade, but its handle was beautifully
carved to look like a leaping doe.
Chrysippe swelled with pride. Not a bad start, she
thought to herself, then formalized a plan. She would continue
doing tricks at the evening meals, but would not lift riches
every night. As she did tonight, and unlike the practice of the
caravan, she would not take from everyone who watched her, but
would take from only a few at a time.
I don't want them to become too suspicious. Better they think
they lost their possession somewhere other than me. Besides, I
want that ruby dagger and I cannot afford to have its owner
choose to leave it at home. She sighed. Burglary was not
generally her style, but she would resort to it if she had to.
She placed her treasure into a sack, then hid the sack within
the wall of her hut. She thought to herself, I simply must
get my hands on that dagger.
Smoke rose from the flames as a voice boomed within the tent.
"You have only two seasons to work on this Radicus. Then
your time is up!" Chaos' voice echoed in his head.
To achieve the powers he was promised he must get Venlusia to
join him and get her to kill her sister. Radicus knew that the
only way he could do this would be to slowly work with his
daughter. Get into her mind and work on her fears and doubts.
After all, it benefited him as well as her. He would have the
power to rule the world and his daughter, whom he ripped away
from the arms of that witch and grew her up to be a feared
warrior, would be the bride and champion of Chaos.
Radicus looked in a cauldron filled with water and waved his
hand over it. The image of Venlusia appeared next to Morigan as
they entered the stables. Radicus laughed as he stared at his
"Enjoy your freedom while you can. Soon you will help me
rule the world." Radicus' laugh filled the camp with a deep
and evil rumble. Chaos' power grew stronger within his follower.
Meanwhile, at the village…
"This is so wonderful!" Venlusia remarked as she
entered the stables with Morigan.
"I get to learn Celtic, not to mention I get to
understand what you and Faela are talking about." Morigan
smiled as she began her duties.
"I could have taught you Celtic if I knew you were so
interested," Morigan giggled.
"It's not the same. Kou is a professional; you are my
sister and likely to confuse me," she sighed and looked at
Morigan shook her head and headed for a pitchfork.
"Now Venny would I do that to you?" Morigan handed
the pitchfork to Venlusia.
"Here make yourself useful for a change," Venlusia
looked at the pitchfork then at the hay then back at Mori.
"Can't Faela do this? I mean she is your Alogosida
Koritsi isn't she?" Morigan continued to groom the horses
while Venlusia wrinkled her nose at the smell.
"Yes, but she's also the Ve’kyna Archila and if you
want to eat tonight you have to give her space," Venlusia
sighed and looked at her sister; moaning to her self in a low
"If I wanted to shovel hay and icky stuff I would have
applied for the position!" Morigan giggled under her breath
at her sisters moaning.
"Did you say something?" Venlusia stuck her tongue
out at Mori.
"Yes, I'm the Cild Koritsi and you have me doing,"
Venlusia paused gesturing at the ground and the stables.
Morigan put her grooming brush down then walked up to her
sister. She squared Venny's shoulders and said in a rather
"E plie efharisto tu gia quilint!" And I thank
you for it! Venlusia growled at her sister and continued to
shovel the hay.
"If I get my hands on you, sis, I will personally rid
you of that accent you have." Morigan laughed and got back
"Oh yes and by the way, go raibh maith agat,"
Venlusia looked at Morigan with confusion.
"You what?" Morigan stopped what she was doing and
bit on her lip.
"’Thank you’ in Celtic."
"OOOOOHHH! How am I going to know that?" Venlusia
trembled with disgust at the smell of the stables as she looked
at the pitchfork.
"You are learning, and I just told you what it meant so
next time we have a lesson you can surprise Kou," Venlusia
"Tepae, but don't you start speaking gibberish just
because you can unless you tell me what it means. Deal!"
Venlusia gazed at her sister with determination and some
insecurity at Morigan's answer.
"Deal!" Morigan patted Venlusia on her shoulder as
she headed for her next horse while Venny began to wave her
hands about trying to get rid of the flies that usually hung
around the stables.
"That was a fairly good impression of me, don't you
think, Karma?" Athanase asked as she left the twins to
their own devices.
"Shi!" the little one responded. Yes, in
Bodhi, who obviously couldn't talk, barked once.
"We should see what Ryka has left over," Samsara
said. "I'm pretty hungry again, aren't you?"
Bodhi whined, knowing he wasn't welcome in the hut and veered
off to find something to do as hounds do.
They walked to the Mess Hut and spotted the Head Chef and her
Koritsi were collecting plates and cleaning tables. Athanase put
Karma down on a bench and picked up a rag to help the others.
"Ohi komal, Samsara!" Ryka shouted. No need.
She waved her hand at her to stop, but Samsara was not inclined
"Wo yao ni bang mang," Samsara said.
All work stopped.
"Now what does that mean?" Ryka asked
Karma giggled and Athanase smiled sheepishly. "I took a
sneak peek at Kou's language scrolls when she wasn't looking.
"It's Chin for ‘I really want to do you a favor.’"
Ryka's eyes closed slightly as she peered at the Teloan.
"You know, sometimes I think you cause more trouble than
Toria and Seri and Thalia combined. It's just that no one
notices because you don't try too hard."
Callisto's daughter laughed.
Some time went by before Venny realized that Morigan wasn't
there. She was sure that she saw Morigan at the back of the
stables, but now Morigan was gone.
"Typical," Venlusia sighed and placed the pitchfork
back where it belonged. "She probably had to go to the
little Amazon's room." Pause. "Oh well. I did my
share. If Mori needs me, she can come and call me."
Venlusia shrugged and walked out of the stables.
She had decided that she had spent far too long a time in the
stables, and she wanted to attend to her real duties as Cild
Koritsi. "Valkyra won't be happy if I neglect my duties,
but first it's off to Kardia for a little sprucing up."
Venlusia looked down at herself and her sais. The wear of war
showed on her weapons.
She still couldn't believe what she had done. All those
people. A wave of nausea flooded Venlusia, as she began to
stumble towards the Demerci Fenal Archila.
"I better check in with Cassia as well," Venlusia
whispered out loud, approaching Kardia.
Venlusia had been talking about how she hated the stables,
yet was happy to spend sometime with Nizo. That was when Morigan
snuck out of the stables.
"I need to breathe." Morigan sighed.
Her head had been spinning, since she left the language
lessons but it was bearable then. She'd experienced this several
times before, when the Viking was spying on her.
"He is dead. I have nothing to fear!" Morigan kept
reminding herself. She remembered her father and how he
protected her from harm.
"Altoir," Morigan whispered. Altar. "I
have to get to Cassia," she said loudly. The spinning had
gotten stronger and nothing she did would get rid of it.
A few minutes later, Morigan arrived at the Med hut. Cassia
was inside, still looking for her assistant when Morigan
entered. She saw by the look on Morigan's face that the girl
wasn't well. Cassia swiftly approached Morigan and helped her to
"Tre kanete tu, Morigan?" How are you, Morigan?
Cassia began to examine Morigan from top to bottom, including
"Kani qualaka, Cassia. I started to feel very dizzy
during the language lessons. I thought it was going to go away,
but it just got stronger," she answered, laying down where
she could be examined.
"Any other symptoms? Fainting? Blurred sight?
Morigan looked at a now fuzzy figure that was Cassia.
"My sight is fuzzy, nai. My cliabh doigh," she
finished, not realizing she had spoken in her native language. My
The Chief Healer looked questioningly at Morigan, unsure of
what she just said. She was about to ask when the woman spoke
"Fear . . . altoir . . . fuil . . .Venlusia!" the
sick woman moaned, her eyes unfocused and staring at the
ceiling. Man . . . altar . . . blood . . . Venlusia!
Cassia looked around for a koritsi just as Toria entered.
"Toria, get me Kou or the Latra. Either will understand
what Morigan is saying."
Toria looked from Cassia down to Morigan where she was lying
incoherent on the cot speaking what sounded Celtic from the
"Hurry!" Cassia ordered.
Toria nodded and ran to get Kou, bumping into a very
nauseated Venlusia entering the Med hut. "Toria? What's the
rush?" Venlusia queried.
"Morigan's in the Med hut. Can't talk, I have to get
Kou," Toria disappeared, leaving Venlusia to stare at her
She then ran into the Med hut where she saw Cassia wiping
sweat off Morigan's forehead. "Morigan?" Venlusia
Cassia looked up as the other approached. "It's all
right. It's not serious, but please, stay back," Cassia
instructed and Venlusia nodded, moving to sit by the corner of
She'll be all right. I know she will! Venlusia thought to
It had been a while since Apollo had laid the sun to rest for
the night, but the village was still as bustling as ever.
Toria ran to the Tribal Hut to find Kou. She was just about
to enter the hut when she nearly bumped into Kardia coming out.
"Kardia! Where's Kou?"
"I don't know; she's not inside. Nobody is here; the
language class must have ended a while ago," replied
"Well, if you see her, tell her Cassia is looking for
Kardia said, "Very well." As she watched Toria run
off, the Demerci Fenal Archila thought about Toria's earlier
words, "It's not for an assassination." But, Kardia
still worried about the assassin's knife that Toria had asked
her to make.
Once her language class was over, Kou left the Tribal Hut
with Deoris to look around the village that had changed so much
since Kou had been traveling. As they made their way past the
thriving little herb garden outside the Mess hut, Kou said,
"You do know that I want to find my mother?"
The light from the torch in Deoris’s hand lit their faces.
"I know," answered Deoris. She gazed into the flames.
After a pause, she asked, "So tell me Kou, what of your
son? Have you seen him as of late or have you heard of his
In the Med hut . . .
"But Cassia, I don't want to go to bed this early,"
As Cassia tucked the young woman in again, she scolded,
"I don't care; you need the rest and you must raise your
body heat." She placed her hand on Iona's forehead.
"You are as cold as ice. That trip over to the language
class may have been good for your mental state, but it certainly
was not good for your body. Now, try and get some sleep. I have
to get back to treating Morigan. I'm not sure what's wrong with
In Chrysippe's hut…
"Yes, when I see the Queen and present my tribute to
her, she will look upon me with great favor," thought the
fugitive from Xenathos' caravan. She stared at the wall where
her secret hiding place was. She then looked around and grabbed
an old sheepskin that the previous occupant had left. Chrysippe
carefully attached it to the wall to make her hiding place less
She then circled the small hut and said to herself,
"This place is not too bad. It's a lot better than a tent;
that's for sure." She looked over at the empty pallet
across the hut. "I hope they don’t give me a roommate for
a while. It would be harder for me to hide my stash of
In the Mess hut…
"Here!" said Ryka as she handed Samsara a couple
bowls of stew. "Now, in all due respect, Queen Empress of
Teloans, I need you to leave so that I and my staff can clean up
Karma's eyes lit up at the sight of the stew. Athanase smiled
and replied jokingly, "Efharisto tu for the stew and we
will leave now if you don't want our company."
Ryka rolled her eyes.
On the other side of Themiscyra...
Valkyra was taking a walk around the qasatour like she
usually did at night when time allowed. She liked to inspect the
village to confirm that everything was all right.
As she passed Deirdre's hut, she saw the Amazon outside.
Deirdre was dancing in the torchlight. She was doing a ritual
Amazon dance and doing it with very precise steps.
The Regent, standing in the dark, watched for a few moments
unbeknownst to Deirdre. Then, Valkyra said, "You perform
the ritual dance very well and without anyone playing
"My Regent...I didn't know that you were watching. I was
only practicing," said Deirdre.
"You perform well. I also remember you leading the other
dancers around the fire. How would you like to lead the ritual
dances all the time?"
Deirdre said, "Oh, I would like that very much."
"I will check with Queen Jadea, but I know that she will
approve you becoming our Daksoz Archila. You can teach the other
Amazons how to do the correct dance steps."
Deirdre smiled and said, "Oh! I thank you and the Queen!
I am honored to have the position."
"Good! Our Tribes here in Themiscyra will be the pride
of all the Amazons in performing our ritual dances," added
Several of Deirdre's friends came over to congratulate her
and as they huddled together in much talk and laugher, Valkyra
slipped away back into the dark.
She observed that one far corner of the Village was very dark
and then two torches suddenly appeared and came together. That
had better be members of Seriana's wall guards, thought the
As Valkyra pondered whether to investigate on her suspicions,
over in the Mess hut Karma reached for the bowl of stew Ryka had
sent over their way. It seemed that the Head Chef was
embarrassed that Sami was helping her clean the Mess Hut. It was
very unlike the Queen Empress of Teloans to do a selfless act
Since the war with the invading Vikings, Sami hadn't had a
chance to sit down with her sisters and talk to them about her
journeys. There was no mention of her and Deoris and to be
honest, Sami hadn't taken the time to talk to the Ti’Sa at
all. Perhaps she was running away from her problems, something
she seemed to do quite often.
Jadea's niece dropped the rag onto the table and sat down
with her bowl and wooden spoon. "Now careful, Karma, it's
hot," she warned as she dipped into the thick and
"It's good, Ryka!" the little one complimented.
"Ohi, Karma. Say, ‘zhe hen haochi’."
"Zhe hen haochi!"
Ryka smiled. She tried to get the tone down on her response.
"Nali, nali." You flatter me.
The two went back to eating and the Head Chef went back to
cleaning. As soon as they finished, Samsara thanked Ryka for the
delicious food and the two headed out with Bodhi. Samsara
spotted Valkyra peering at two torches that appeared suddenly
and moved suspiciously together.
"Lyna Valkyra," she said. "Should I
The Lyna shifted her eyes to Samsara for a second and then
back. "Ohi, I'll investigate it myself." She paused
momentarily to look at the Teloan. "I think you should see
the Sorceress Empress." With that, she headed towards the
two torches, discreetly calling up the aid of Sayde and others.
In the Queen's Hut, Jadea stood over a raised altar and
looked deeply into a large clay bowl of water. She waved her
hand once over it and an image appeared - one from the past. It
was of a battle from her past. The only battle she hated to
remember but refused to forget. The image in the water changed
to show a man.
Jadea said the name with quiet strength. There, in the
viewing bowl, she could see him during the battle that cost them
the life of their daughter. The same battle where the general
had betrayed Jadea and earned her wrath. With a wave of her
other hand, the Amazon sorceress made the image vanish as if
it'd never been.
Turning, she paused and stared at the letter she'd been
composing on the table. Her eyes moved up to the empty space.
"Protectress. I know you hear me." She held the
silence a moment, waiting. "Appear."
Two seconds later, Domaris appeared just inside the entrance.
She had a strange expression; a smile mixed with a frown of some
solemn knowing. She waited for her hostess to speak first.
"You knew," the Latra stated calmly. "You knew
and that's why you came to me."
The blonde sorceress nodded just once and stepped forward in
one fluid movement. "Jadea, I was never your enemy, but you
have looked through enemy eyes." She paused a moment, then
continued, "I know Bruce lives. I saw you save his
life." She tilted her head to the right ever so slightly.
"Did you think you were the only powerful woman ever to
love a man?"
Jadea let a soundless sigh escape her. She glanced away for a
minute. "I am summoned."
The Protectress of the Amazons nodded, quietly adding,
"You must go, Jadea." Domaris placed emphasis on
pronouncing the other's name: Jay-dee-uh. She didn't show her
usual contempt for Rumyna's successor. Was there any contempt
left in her? Jadea wondered.
The Latra fell silent, thinking. How can I be summoned?
"You're a sorceress, Jadea of Cirra - Jade of
Celcia," Domaris answered.
"Rumyna did this," the woman responded, nodding as
if suddenly onto the truth. "She arranged for this to
As if to consider it, Domaris gave a rolling shrug.
"Maybe so, but you will never know unless you go. Seek the
answers, for they seek you. They summoned you."
"What about the Tae'Nah?"
A long silent spell intruded. Then the blonde sorceress
offered an answer. "You answer your summons, and I answer
Again, silence. Jadea turned around, her back toward Domaris
now. "I'll have to think about it." Pause. "Did
you tell Ti'Sa Deoris?"
"Ohi, but that does not mean Artemis has not seen fit to
"If she learns the truth, she may- she may turn against
you for knowing," the Sorceress Empress warned, turning
back around to eye the other's reaction.
"Anyone that can be turned against can be turned
"Anyone? Even a man?"
"Some men, nai," Domaris answered, knowing who
Jadea referred to. "Consult with your bloodline. Consult
with your Regent, even. I deem she worships you."
Jadea shot a defensive look prepared to fight for Valkyra's
honor. She soon subsided when she saw the look, the knowing and
yet unknown look, in the blonde woman's eyes.
"Be warned, Sorceress Empress. Do not consult every
Tae'Nah in this land. Some would see you go sooner than you
To that, Jadea gave a quiet nod and her eyes slid away from
Domaris, who retreated without another word. Both were in the
same frame of mind, though for different reasons.
If the Sorceress Empress left Themiscyra, would that mean
that the Protectress would be the strongest sorceress there? And
if the Latra had been summoned, what would become of her family?
These and other questions streamed through Jadea's mind. She
hadn't the time to come to a conclusion when she sensed a
presence outside her hut.