Before Callisto's daughter could describe what she'd seen and
what she now knew, Queen Medea marched up to the both of them.
Jadea slightly bowed her head in respect before looking past
her. She noticed Vorgeen wasn't around.
Just gotta love these trade-offs.
"You two look serious. What, did someone break a
In spite of herself, Jadea snickered and shook her head.
"You don't hear screaming followed by a procession of
streaming profanity, do ya?" She countered with a smirk.
Medea lifted her eyebrow and gave a half nod in agreement.
Samsara growled. She hated interruptions, more so when she was
the one interrupted.
"Everyone is in place. All but you two," Queen
Medea informed, her tone pointing out the fact that time was an
issue with her.
"We'll be ready, Queen Medea. Remember, though,"
Jadea started to warn her again.
But Medea had heard it too many times to forget. "I
know. Let Xena bait them in before attacking. Got it. Let's
Jadea shot her niece a look that Samsara understood. They
were soon walking away from Queen Medea and out of camp.
The Majie have sent five assassins to retrieve those things
you found. The others are on some island I've never seen before.
It's secluded, completely surrounded by water. The island looked
large, though. When I tried to gain a better view, this sudden
black mist swirled around in the air, Ardra informed her
The Sorceress Empress stopped suddenly. The Goddess shot her
a baffled look.
Samsara, where's your army? Jadea asked, a new idea for
leverage cropping into her mind.
The Sorceress could see a glint quickly flash in Samsara's
My army, she sent. The phrase was less a question and
more a declaration.
Blessed by a Goddess -- you -- they are twice as
powerful. How about putting them to good use?
Little did the Sorceress know that her niece had once had her
army do much more damage to their enemies than she had ever let
on, but now wasn’t the time for that story. Samsara kept quiet
as Jadea continued.
We can destroy these Majie for once and for all if we send
your men to that island.
Samsara mentally smiled. I take it I can lead this army
into battle? The anticipation was killing her.
No. Pause. We need you here. Let your general lead
Samsara nodded. I know just what to do, she responded
before saying aloud, "I'll meet you at the border. There
are a few things that need to be squared away."
Medea looked at her. "We don't have time for it,
Classic Medea, the Goddess thought. Never changes. Samsara
looked at her and smiled. "I need to be sure that what
should be squared away - is. You never know, Medea, I could die
in this battle," she teleported out.
Medea was annoyed at the lack of her title being used, but
Samsara was Samsara. Nothing much I can do about it now,
she thought to herself.
Samsara appeared before her general in usual fashion. Her men
instantly pulled out their swords and knelt. She raised her head
and smiled. These men will always support me, she thought
with satisfaction. "Dachus," she called.
The general, at the head of the army, at the time celebrating
spoils of battle - wine, women, and song - stood. "Great
Destroyer," he saluted, using his term of reference to her
ever since she killed Minos, the former leader.
Jadea had told her the plan and now Samsara told her general.
During the course of outlining her battle plans, she had
noticed that many of her men were considerably drunk, including
her general. Once she was through with the meeting, she stood on
a table, angered. She chided them with language they had never
heard her use. Their faces turned red and they sobered up pretty
"That being said," she continued, pulling out her
sword. "KILL 'EM ALL!"
Her men cheered. They were still on a battle high.
Seriana came into the crowd of men, armed, outfitted, and
ready. Her steps were strong and even, her eyes flashing, her
"I am here, Samsara," she called, her voice
carefully tuned to carry through the din. "Just tell me who
to fight and I'll fight them."
Samsara jumped down from the table and laid a hand on her
sister's shoulder. "Not in your condition."
"What condition? I just had a fantastically long
"Almost a week."
"No, Seri. Not today. You're not ready."
Seriana glared. "Samsara Kakistos, I may not have a clue
what is going on, but I am Seriana Ritani, the Fire-Demon, the
Silver Hawk, the Themiscryan, and I will not turn my back on
this fight. Not when my sisters are in danger. Besides, mighty
Goddess of War . . . I was your predecessor’s right hand for
more than a year. You want the job?" She drew her dagger,
flipped it with perfect expertise, and flung it straight into
the side of a wooden mug someone was holding. "You got
everything that goes with it. Including me."
Samsara smiled. "All right, then, Seriana Ritani. You
want to ride with the cavalry or stay here with the
"I'm not leaving my territory. But I do have one thing
to offer your army . . . can you get a message through to the
"It depends. Who is he?"
"A foot soldier. He and forty-nine others served as my
personal guard. If you can do that goddess-thing that you do and
find him, you'll have fifty more fighters, and the best you can
find. No brains, but lots of skill and heart."
Samsara nodded. "I'll see about it. Sure you don't want
to go with them? You're a good commander, and now that Medea's
acting queen you're not too safe."
"I won't run from Medea, and I won't run from the Majie.
I'm staying where the action is: Themiscyra."
"Very well," Samsara responded to her sister.
"Miletos!" she shouted. The men were quiet now, their
Great Destroyer speaking. Miletos went to her and lowered his
"You know better than that," she responded.
"Look into my eyes." She was back in her element, and
soon would be her sister. She handed the parchment to the man
and ordered him to find Macris. Once he was on her way, she
opened a portal, the only way she could send her sister
anywhere. She knew the Fire Demon couldn't have gotten to where
she was on foot. She had the help of the Sorceress Empress. She
sliced her palm open with her breast dagger. Her sister did the
same and they joined hands. "By my staff and my
"...by my dagger and my wits we will crush our
enemies..." the older added.
"...blood promise of life..."
"...fight to the death."
"Amazons Unite," they said in unison.
"Now go," the Great Destroyer commanded.
The Silver Hawk nodded and went though the portal. The gate
shut behind her. Samsara turned to her men.
"MOVE OUT!" The men complied and as soon as they
were on their way, she vanished back to Themiscryan territory,
to meet with Dolphinea.
With a heavy but pleased sigh, the Amazon sorceress made her
way to see Celosia. She noted Maylee now stood on watch outside
with Pike. Medea didn't mention that.
"It's about time," Pike muttered. But it wasn't
soft enough for Jadea to miss it.
She waited until she was directly in front of both Amazons.
"You're dismissed. Report to Queen Medea for further
Maylee complied with a silent nod. Pike's eyes spoke for her
and as soon as she'd passed Jadea, she was called back.
"Pike!" The Amazon stopped at her name and turned
But Jadea wasn't going to give her a fight. She needed the
Amazons working together, not against each other. "Be
careful out there."
Something in Jadea's tone knocked the Themiscryan off her
guard. She responded with a nod and half smile. "And
The Sorceress entered the royal tent and saw Celosia's back
facing her. The Queen turned around, a wild danger gleaming in
her eyes. "And Pike said you wouldn't come," Celosia
remarked as though amused.
Jadea studied the woman standing across from her. For
protection, any weapons in the tent had been removed. No guards
remained to watch Celosia, either, since Jadea had just
"But you knew I would," the Queen stated smoothly.
Her tone resembled that of Xena's when she spoke. "You
think you have this all figured out, don't you?" Celosia's
voice grew more arrogant and more amused.
"Why don't you tell me?" Jadea was quick to
Celosia laughed mockingly. "They're coming, Sorceress
Empress. But you know that already, don't you?"
Jadea's heart froze. She knew those words. They played back
in her head, and she soon realized where she'd heard them before
- her sister, Callisto.
Celosia cackled as though she could read Jadea's thoughts, as
though she knew what the other had just realized. "Your
Amazons are going to die, Sorceress. All of them." A silent
pause followed. "Well, maybe not all of them. That fiery
Teloan Goddess sure has some deep hatred in her. And as I'm sure
you're precious Rumyna taught you...wasted potential is the
worst sin of all."
Again Celosia's words struck a familiar chord inside the
Amazon sorceress. Majie had ways of watching similar to those
the Olympians used. A cold hand gripped Jadea's heart. The
mention of using her niece...the reference to Rumyna...it was
too much and too strong to control any longer.
Jadea flipped up into the air, screaming, and kicked the
Queen in her chest.
The act was so quick and unexpected that Celosia flew
backward and landed hard on the ground. She instantly came up,
shook her head, and laughed. "Oh, now that was uncalled
for. Wasn't it? After all, I am your Queen, you know?"
If there'd been doubt before about who was in charge of
Celosia, herself or Majie, it was laid to rest in that moment.
"No, you're just a dark reminder of something I failed to
wipe out years ago. And the mere fact that you're trying so hard
with me just proves how vulnerable you feel. Say goodbye
now," Jadea confidently retorted and turned with the
intention of disappearing.
Something stopped her. Correction: Something delayed her.
"If I die, Celosia dies with me. How's that for
Jadea turned around, a very expressive smirk on her face. Her
crystal pendant, which she'd returned to her neck after giving
Xena the medallion she had, seemed to glow with the same kind of
spirit its mistress felt.
"Weak. Ya see, Celosia's not going to die. Just hide and
watch." Jadea's eyebrows then raised as her anger rose
further. "Or, better yet - come outside and take a front
row seat." The Sorceress vanished before any other witty,
and in her mind pathetic, words could hinder her.
She appeared beside Thalia who sat mounted on her horse. Medea
see you? She asked the young Amazon.
Yeah. She didn't say anything, Thalia answered.
Didn't think she would. Silence followed for a minute.
The area they occupied was thick with brush and trees. Lands
actually reserved for hunting game and seldom disturbed by the
Amazon women. But Xena's plan required that all bases be
covered. Luckily, there were plenty of Amazons to go around. A
vast number of them were in the trees. A handful was on
horseback. And some were beneath bushes and trees, or behind
them. One area of Themiscyra had a range of stones, three large
ones and two moderately sized ones. Despite its being in the
corner of their lands, the natural set up was a ripe area for
executing an ambush.
Angus told me Garrett was looking for you, Jadea's
thought was soft and semi-casual, her eyes not on Thalia when
she spoke. Again, silence entered briefly.
I wish I could speak to him. Tell him-
There'll be time for that after the war. Keep your mind
focused, Thalia, the Sorceress advised, her tone almost
sounding cruel and unfeeling.
I know, was Thalia's only response.
I didn't mean that how it sounded, Jadea apologized and
paused. I know it's hard. You two must have a thousand
questions for each other and about as many stories to tell and
things to say. As her mind spoke to Thalia's, she was
thinking of the past - her own. Maybe you should focus on
him. Let that wish you have give you hope for the outcome of
A kind of tranquil peace fell between the two friends now.
Whatever the motive behind Jadea's words, it gave Thalia hope.
Most of the Amazons had become energetic, the thrill of war
raising their spirits despite the formidability of the Majie.
Jadea gave a quick "I'm outta here, good luck,"
glance to Thalia before vanishing once again. She appeared
beside Queen Medea who was crouched between two close trees.
Where's Kakistos? Themiscyra’s acting Queen inquired,
correcting herself before the questioned could answer. I mean
Because of Medea's effort to correct her mistake, Jadea let
it roll off. Every Amazon was under tremendous pressure,
particularly the key players of the game.
Besides, it was a good question.
"Hiiiiiiiiiyyyaaaaahhhhh!" Samsara yelled as she
flipped through the air and her boot nailed Dolphinea's
shoulder. The Highlander let herself move with the impact and
she suffered less pain as a result. Samsara smiled and offered
her hand to the Amazon.
"That was amazing. Remind me to learn it by watching you
practice on someone else next time, though," Dolphinea
remarked with a chuckle as she got to her feet.
Celosia was outside now and watched the Goddess sparring with
the Highland Amazon.
Well, now what have we got here? Hmm, must be the opening
act. Come on Sorceress, what's the real plan? What are you
The Queen caught a glimpse of someone else observing the
pair. Their eyes briefly met and Celosia allowed her smile to
widen. Those fools are about to fly into a mountain and they
don't even know it. Nothing like a good old fashioned massacre
to brighten up an otherwise dull existence.
Suddenly, Celosia grunted. The sound came involuntarily to
the Majie. The real Celosia was now beyond pissed off. And it
was starting to become evident as she fought harder and harder.
Samsara, being a Goddess, picked up on the noise. Her
mother's sword was on her back, and Ares' sword was at her side.
Her staff was, with a flash, in her hands. Dolphinea was ordered
to get back. The Highland Amazon instantly seemed to vanish.
Celosia stepped out from her hiding place.
Samsara looked around, her eyes scanning the deserted
campgrounds. On a whim, she whirled around. "Ah, there you
are Celosia! Tsk, tsk, tsk. Didn't your mother ever teach you
that it's rude to spy?" Samsara's tone was sarcastic and
seething with animosity. She knew she wasn't speaking to
Celosia, despite the fact that it was Celosia's body in front of
her. "Not to mention that it communicates a death
wish," the Goddess added, the fire blazing in her eyes.
Celosia lunged forward to attack. Callisto's daughter laughed
wickedly, a sound that weirdly echoed the laughter of her
mother. Samsara teleported before Celosia could touch her.
Within minutes of being asked about her niece, Jadea found
Samsara in front of her.
Well, that was fun! Samsara commented gleefully.
I thought you might enjoy riling the Majie, her aunt
replied and she received a curious, raised eyebrow.
You mean that you set that up?
The Sorceress Empress simply nodded. She now knew the
identity of the traitor, as did Samsara. But she still lacked
proof. How do you convince three tribes of Amazons that you
Should have known, Samsara said. Humor made it into her
tone, though. So, what now?
Now the fun begins. Samsara, if this works, many groups of
Amazons are going to be divided. Likely, the Majie will force
most to take the fight outside our lands.
Before she finished, the Goddess of Destruction and the High
Princess of Teloq interrupted her. I understand. That circle
can only delay them from entering Themiscyra, and once inside
the borders, the medallions can only limit their powers. Just
one thing - I want the leader.
Something, some element Jadea couldn't define, resonated in
Samsara's tone. It was unwavering, uncompromising, and
terrifying in its way. Because of this, her aunt was reluctant
to continue. She did so only after she got a kind of "now
finish what you were saying" look. If you-
Jade, I know already! If I kill a Majie with the sword, I
become evil and I'll have to be destroyed! I know!
That set off something in Jadea that Samsara hadn't intended.
Cut me off again like that and I'll be sticking that sword
somewhere Apollo doesn't shine. Now, if you use your powers be
sure to use them on the assassins only. Any other target will be
wasteful. I won't be here when things break loose. Don't
let this plan fall apart, Samsara. What we do here will
determine whether or not the Majie defeat the rest of the
Nation, and the Amazons that live outside it.
If Samsara, the Goddess Kakistos, could be humbled - she'd
have been right then. What her Aunt said to her was the nearest
thing to a goodbye she'd ever heard. The little speech was
complete with chiding, support, advice, love, and concern.
Predominantly, though, Samsara had felt Jadea's love for her at
Shortly thereafter, the Sorceress left.
"What in the bloody blazes are ya doin'?"
The Amazon found Angus talking to a grazing horse who seemed
not to notice the impatient man. She remained hidden, watching
and listening as he raved at the animal.
"This is no time to be eatin' like me brother at a
harvest feast! Now come on ya big brute!"
Angus heard a chuckle and whipped around to see who was
there. He couldn't see anyone, and after a minute, he turned
back to the horse. "Look here my fine equine friend. I've
got to get you to your mistress or she's goin' to be hangin' me
by an appendage rather vital to my manhood. Aw, come on for
Brighid's sake! All right, how about for Artemis, huh?"
What in the name of all Celcia do you think you're doin'?
Vorgeen finally asked, emerging from her hiding place.
What does it look like? A flustered Angus
You don't want me to answer that, Vorgeen replied and
gave a loud whistle followed by a short bird call. The horse
immediately picked up his head and galloped away toward his
I'm bein' watched ya know, Angus stated matter-of-factly.
Aye, figured ya did. You're makin' me look awful bad here.
No, you were doin' fine before she came, Angus,
I feel like I'm forgetting something, Jadea began
thinking to herself.
She was now dressed entirely in black leather. A braid of
hair on either side of her head framed her face and the rest was
loose. War paint lined her midriff and face. Around her, she
wore a loose scarlet cloak secured so that she could easily
remove it if she wished.
The woman shook her head repeatedly. Something doesn't
Her feeling turned into a doubt, that doubt quickly led to
fear. Xena's the key. Xena has to be the key. They want the
key to destroying us, and it must be Xena. If there was ever a
time to strike, this would be it.
She immediately heard a series of birdcalls from various
directions. Jadea froze. Her horse stood still beside her. Xena's
the key, but she's not the lock.
Glancing down, she noticed her hue of her pendant. The Majie
were nearing them. She let out a low-pitched howl, similar to
that of a hungry lion, signaling those around her into action.
The first wave of Amazons began moving away from their
designated hiding spots, creeping deeper into the forest. They
moved clumsily and left easy-to-follow trails, inviting the
Majie to follow them. They lured.
For, through Jadea, they knew that Majie were determined to
bring down Amazon warriors everywhere. For that to happen, they
would have to find them all. That goal would prove to be more
difficult and deadly than it appeared.
The Majie were advancing quickly. They realized that the
forests were oddly quiet, and they expected some kind of
surprise, but they had no idea what they were in for.
They still had their spy, but he was failing them. Celosia
was mentally fighting back fiercely now, and the Majie were
taking every piece of information they were getting with a grain
Despite the flaws in their once-perfect plan, the Majie were
pleased to note that the Warrior Princess was fighting with the
Amazons. She was really all they wanted, and the fall of the
entire Amazon Nation -- an achievement in itself for any other
enemy -- would merely be icing on their proverbial cake.
They placed their soldiers in intricate places, chasing the
Amazons as they tried to hide among the trees of the forest.
They were certain - the fall of the Amazon Nation would only be
a matter of time.
Or so they thought.
Samsara looked about her and noticed Medea was right by her
Knowing Prince would be somewhat cumbersome among the thick
trees and bushes, she had left her raven steed at camp. He had
been reluctant to let his mistress go, but he had obeyed. He had
known that to do other than follow orders would get him
neutered, and he was not prepared to take that risk quite yet.
If Samsara could have twirled her staff in the close forest,
she would have. She thought of Jadea, then she heard the low
growl of a hungry lioness. Time to move out. Samsara
turned to Medea and both Amazons nodded.
It was quite odd for the both of them to be working together,
but they knew it was for the good of the tribes. Regent -- now
sitting Themiscryan Queen -- Medea and High Princess -- to be
Teloan Queen Empress -- Samsara marching into battle against a
common enemy. Any other time, one would wonder if the world was
still flat and Zeus was still the King of the Gods. But today,
facing an enemy that wanted them wiped from the face of that
world they stood as sisters.
They began to move, but Samsara stopped.
"What are you doing?" Medea hissed. "Get back
"I have to see Jadea. I’ll be right back," the
Goddess said. I'm afraid this may be the last time I see her
in a long time, she thought. She had to give her something
before either went into battle. She vanished from Medea’s side
and appeared by her aunt's side.
"I thought you would do something like this," Jadea
remarked, crouching. "Did you hear my call?"
Samsara nodded. She reached into her pouch and pulled out a
small roll of papyrus that she handed to her aunt. It was a
parchment rolled onto another parchment. "Read this after I
leave. When this is over, you'll receive Mother's sword."
Jadea took her niece's forearm. Samsara hugged her aunt
tightly. "Be careful," both whispered.
They separated. Their knowing looks were the response: You
know I always am.
Samsara vanished back to Medea’s side.
When the Amazon Goddess returned, Medea resisted the urge to
slug her. This was a serious battle – this was not the time to
be running off for sappy, over-dramatized family reunions!
There simply wasn't TIME for teary-eyed good-byes, or any of
the other sentimental crap. Yet she'd caught several of her
sisters indulging in just that. As she ordered her Amazons off
to their positions, she'd watched them, gathered in small groups
exchanging sentences that all seemed to end in "I'll always
remember our friendship", or, "Be careful," or
the ultimately gag-worthy, "I love you, be safe."
Hades' blaze, look at them! The blonde shifted her eyes
to take in the scattered Amazons about her.
One in a tree there, two crouched in the creek embankment
over there, all wide-eyed and blatantly scared or nervous. The
acting Queen spat in the dirt.
Medea didn't understand what could possibly be upsetting her
Amazons. They had all been born, as she had, to fight. An Amazon
knew from the time that she was still very young that she might
very well die fighting. It was a cycle Themiscyra's Regent
embraced and accepted, even now - especially now.
There had been no time for sentimental good-byes for Medea.
Nothing but a sidelong glance to Tern and Pelee, her lifelong
friends; her only friends. For her sister...
Celosia. She felt her heart catch in her throat for a
moment as she thought of Themiscyra's true Queen. Then she
forced her emotions onto the back burner where they belonged,
and gripped her sword in a tightly clenched hand.
Celosia wasn't Celosia anymore. There hadn't been a need for
good-byes. Inside, the Regent admitted to herself that she was
slightly saddened her sister wouldn't be around. If Medea fell
in battle tonight, Celosia wouldn't be there to witness the
triumph, to share in those few proud final moments.
If Medea had to choose a way to die, there could be no better
one than this. She would die on a worthy battlefield, tonight.
She would die as a Queen.
Shaking her head and swearing silently at herself for the
temporary slip in her focus, the blonde pointed ahead through
the brush and elbowed Samsara.
The Goddess Kakistos, alive in contemplation of what was to
come, nodded. Yes, she had seen the movement as well.
The Majie were coming.
As the Goddess formerly and sometimes still called Kakistos
left her, Jadea suddenly grasped the missing link.
They want Xena dead at Samsara's hands. As the Warrior
Princess goes, so go the Amazons. Samsara inherits the darkness
of the Majie. Combined with Ares' mantle and her Goddess powers
- no one could stop her. I can't let that happen!
The thoughts raced through her mind. In moments, she had her
horse charging through the trees and into Themiscyra's camp. She
reigned in at dead center, yards away from the Queen's hut. Her
eyes narrowed and she scanned for Celosia.
The woman came out of hiding as though called upon to do so.
"Figured us out, did you? Took your time about it. Rather
sloppy, I'd say. By now, it's too late. Your sister is with us,
Sorceress. Oh, you didn't know?" The Majie in Celosia's
form asked, her voice inclining and then smoothly flowing into
Jadea dismounted, a feverish fire burning in her eyes. She
wasn't the Themiscryan Amazon Celosia knew. She wasn't the
Sorceress Empress. She wasn't Samsara or Seriana's aunt.
No, when she descended from her horse and strode up to the
woman who was once her Queen, she was just one mean, vengeful
woman. She was a lioness who'd been separated from her pride, a
lioness now cornered with no place to go. Jadea wasn't thinking
of the pride now. She simply glared at the woman in front of
When she finally moved it was to draw her sword - her Amazon
Celosia giggled, but it sounded nervous. "Is that
supposed to intimidate me?" She asked, her voice cracking
Celosia, fight! Fight me! Fight! Jadea wouldn't speak.
Her stare intensified and her body tensed. Fight, Queen
Celosia backed up, her hands thrown up on either side of her
face as she violently shook her head. "Stop it! Stop it!
You- you can't reach her! I'm in control!"
But it was too late. Jadea saw her Queen resisting the
influence of the Majie.
Though it pained her to do it, Jadea charged forward to
attack. Her right arm came down and across, the sword missing
Celosia's flesh by a mere inch or so.
The Majie backed up and tried to block. But Celosia was
weaponless. She had her Majie powers, but those were being used
to remain in control of Themiscyra's Queen.
Again Jadea advanced and swung her blade menacingly. Again,
Celosia retreated. Again they sparred, and again, and again.
Minutes passed, and the Majie was soon faltering in her steps.
Between Jadea's external efforts and Celosia's internal
resistance, the Majie was losing ground and power.
Celosia stumbled backward, trying desperately to maintain her
balance, but failing miserably. Jadea let her fall, and advanced
until she towered over the Queen. She brought her sword up high
over her head, positioned to bring it down across Celosia’s
throat and sever her head from her body.
Jadea spoke and her voice was strong and loud. Power gathered
around her as she said the words. Unexpected, she felt it
surrounded her like her cloak, then focus itself and shoot down
her sword arm and down the length of her Amazon blade. "In
the name of Artemis, and all the Queens of all the tribes in the
Amazon Nation. By their blood, I command you to release the
Amazon Celosia of Themiscyra!"
The Queen, who had risen to her elbows, turned away as the
weapon came toward her, and buried her face into the ground. At
the last moment, Jadea turned her blade and plunged it into the
ground as close to the Queen’s body as she could get. She
reeled backward a little as the power she had called slammed out
of the weapon and through Celosia.
It took Celosia several minutes to realize she was not dead.
She looked around at the empty central square of Themiscyra,
then peered at Jadea with a smile. "At last I have that
maniac out of my head!" She held out her hand to her Amazon
As the power she'd invoked wore off, Jadea returned the smile
and helped Celosia to her feet. The latter dusted the dirt off
her back and arms. She looked from Jadea to the Amazon sword,
its unmistakable hilt still sticking up. "Never thought I'd
see you use it, Jadea. Now that I have, I hope you never have to
That was Celosia for you. She would fight if she had to, and
she would lead her Sisters into battle. But through it all, she
never really liked the necessity of war - of killing.
Now that the Amazon Sorceress had another power the Majie
didn't, they were still lacking five of their medallions, Jadea
wanted to get to the traitor in Themiscyra. Pulling her sword
out of the earth, she silently thanked the Amazons' Mother for
Her help. She whistled and her horse trotted up to her.
"In your absence, Medea was made acting Queen. I think
we should let her-"
"I agree. Where can I find her?" Celosia asked
immediately, eager to be done with all of this Majie business.
"I have a better idea, my Queen," Jadea said. She
had debated whether or not Celosia and Medea together would be
the best plan, and chosen another path.
The first Majie to cross Themiscyra's borders were faced with
eerie silence. But soon, they heard the shrill and notorious war
cry of the Warrior Princess. Her lungs were quite powerful, and
her melody, or in this case her death knoll, could be heard at
far distances if she so desired. That happened to be the case
As clear as her cry sounded to all ears it reached, which was
likely all ears in Themiscyra, the Majie still couldn't
make out the direction it came from. A team of ten broke off
from the main group and spread out.
One of them, perhaps a bit older and smarter, studied the
trees around them. In doing this, he happened to catch the glint
of something hanging on a tree limb. He strayed away from his
partner to obtain a closer look. This led him to discover that
the hanging object was a Majie medallion. It was secured too
high from the ground to be retrieved by simply jumping. And to
climb a tree in your enemies' territory when your enemy was
known for using trees in battle, well, it just wasn't done.
He signaled to the other who stopped and made a wide path
back. After a series of silent gestures, the pointing of a
finger followed by a questioning look of how to get it down
followed by a, "Why don't you just shoot the damn thing
down?" look, a small but still very deadly crossbow was
taken out and aimed.
The arrow whizzed through the air and seemingly struck the
medallion. Instantly, though, it was deflected off and shot back
the same path it had come from, striking the shooter high in his
chest. The assassin died before he hit the ground.
As this was not anticipated, the slain Majie's comrade
panicked. What else did the Amazons have up their sleeves? More
importantly, though, he asked himself this: did these Amazons
set traps all over their land before deserting it? For to the
Majie, all appearances indicated that the Amazons had fled.
He raced to catch up with his fellows.
"So, they walk in here and we jump 'em, right?" A
young Amazon warrior whispered to her superior.
The latter was leaning against the thick limb of the same
tree the younger occupied. "You do nothing until I give a
mark," was her reply.
"Hush, both of you!" A Teloan commander hissed
Ardra watched Angus very closely. Before leaving her
Mistress, she'd been given explicit orders. Some had been thrust
upon her so quickly that she'd had to have them repeated, which
she knew risked Jadea's anger. Luckily, she’d received only
commands and not wrath.
"Don't let Angus get himself killed," Jadea had
commanded. "This isn't his fight, no matter what he thinks.
I don't want his death on our hands."
Of course, those words had come after her directions of
flight. A bit unnerved, the hawk sat lightly on a small branch,
watching the Celt.
Angus had agreed to Vorgeen's suggestion that he stay back
and keep Garrett and the sick and wounded Amazons safe. The
Amazons took the Celt for granted. Had he not been there, it's
hard to say what they'd have done with their injured. Time
hadn't been an overly kind friend of theirs, else the weakened
warriors simply would've been sent to a safe cave or elsewhere.
Still, Angus didn’t complain and for that, many were grateful.
As planned, Xena lured the Majie warriors to her. This drew
them further inside the circle of their own medallions, and away
from the Amazons. Confused but ever loyal, the Amazons
understood that they were to allow the Majie to pass them by
undisturbed if they could. Some Amazons, however, were itching
for a good kill, and attacked the enemy against orders.
The Majie were coming in smaller numbers as they moved toward
Xena. But something about their coming bothered the Goddess. The
faceless monsters advanced and knew the Amazons were hiding. In
fact, this was part of the plan. Somehow this would incite them
into battle and it would be a passive incitement.
The first Majie began their attack. They all carried weapons.
Medea jumped out of the bushes and countered with the training
she gained over her years as "second fiddle" if one
must call it that. She was determined to fight and fight well.
Other Majie charged and a band of ten Amazons flooded out from
their hiding places to defend their acting Queen.
Samsara kept her mother's sword in the scabbard. She used
Ares' sword instead, felling one Majie after another, just as
Medea was doing off to her right. They worked well side-by-side,
their usual enmity forgotten in defense of their homeland.
As soon as the Goddess of War's sword plunged sweetly into
the flesh of an enemy, she turned violently to her left. She
could see farther than anyone in the area could see, and she
focused in on Seriana.
She’s going to be killed, Samsara thought. She just
Seriana was a capable fighter and the Goddess knew that. Her
sister was, after all, the Fire Demon, right hand woman to the
former God of War. But Samsara knew that even the best had their
blind spots. So did the Majie warriors and they were using that
knowledge to their advantage. Seriana fought two of them at once
and had them fended off, but there were three sneaking up behind
This enraged the Great Destroyer. She yelled Kaia Kakistos'
shrill cry: "Yiheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!" and vanished
with that scream.
She reappeared behind Seriana. "AMAZONS UNIIIIIIIIIIIITE!"
she cried, creating a force of light so large that only Apollo
could rival it. Everyone else was blinded, but not Samsara. She
clapped her hands together and clouds rolled across the rising
sun and a lightning storm began. The bolts struck down across
the small patch of land where Seriana and the Amazons fought and
all of the Majie but one were struck down.
The lightning storm ended as quickly as it had begun.
Xena was far away, but she saw Samsara’s event and rolled
her eyes. Just as she had expected, Samsara was adding her own
twist to what was already a perfect plan. However, the tactic
served to reduce the Majie numbers, which was the ultimate goal.
A Majie warrior came at Xena from the side and she returned
to the battle she was fighting, shoving her concerns about the
wild Goddess to the back of her mind. She had much to do before
the plan was put into action.
Samsara stayed by her sister’s side after the lightening
storm ended. Seriana thanked her and smiled.
This is the Sami I know. Loyal. Now if she'll do something
about that goddess obsession she has, she thought to
Samsara mentally grumbled. She was restless again.
So soon? She questioned herself.
Yes, so soon, the echoing laughter of her father
All went accordingly, for the most part, until Samsara made
an unexpected move. Seriana had remained by her side until the
Goddess suddenly vanished into the air.
Seriana wasn't given an answer, and Samsara didn't return.
Miletos found Macris precisely where Samsara had told him.
What was odd was how easily Macris believed Miletos. In fact,
the men were cousins and the meeting was amicable. Now fifty
extra warriors lined Samsara's army. As soon as Miletos returned
with the men, Dachus delegated powers and assigned positions. He
was determined to help his Great Destroyer, both out of sheer
respect, and out of love.
Dachus had met the virgin Amazon during her stay in the town
of Cruen. The fiery girl worked in a tavern with her sister,
Kaia Kakistos, on their first leave from Amazonia. He had fallen
fast and hard for the spirited girl who could best him with a
sword. In return, she used him to gain a foothold in the army
until the day she finally called out and killed Minos. He swore
that day to be loyal to none save her, and to be her General for
as long as she required.
For her part, Samsara formed something she supposed was love,
but she never cared to admit it to anyone, including herself.
But she accepted his loyalty, if not his love.
"I want your band to go to the island and destroy those
Majie medallions," Dachus commanded Macris. "With
their battle against our Great Destroyer, there will be few or
no soldiers to defend it. The rest of the army will come with me
and we will split up accordingly to make sure these Majie
Dachus was ready, willing, and able to do anything for
"YAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" came her yell as she
appeared in mid-flight on a crash course for Xena's chest. The
Warrior Princess anticipated the move and moved just enough to
avoid Samsara's boot. Samsara landed quietly on the ground and
pulled out her sword.
While Ares weapon and Callisto's blade were still intact, she
chose her Hepheastian impenetrable, unbreakable black steel
instead. It said much about how she viewed Xena.
Xena whipped around. "What are you doing?" she
demanded angrily. "Stick to the plan!"
She twirled her sword around. "I have other plans,
Warrior Princess. Your plan has failed. Forget dying standing;
I'm tired of my warrior code. Do or die."
"Forget dying standing," Samsara declared.
"I'm tired of my warrior code. Do or die."
Xena was incredulous. But then again, this was the daughter
of Callisto and Ares. She pulled out her sword. "We have no
time for this!"
If she'll just realize what I'm trying to do here, then we
can get back to the plan. The Majie have placed men inside as
well. Somehow, they are half anticipating this, Xena
Samsara didn't care to wait for her enemy to attack first.
She lunged at Xena with her Hepheastian sword. "I always
thought of how we would meet, Warrior Princess! I thought I
would meet you in battle, just as my mother did in her own
right. I thought I would be able to see you on your great
cream-colored horse, chakram in hand, then falling off at my
"You know what, sweetie?" she queried. "You
talk too much." Xena countered the attack, half-wishing
Samsara would stop this; the other half of her knew that should
she somehow kill the Goddess, that Callisto's rage against her
They fought hard until Samsara got the upper hand. She pushed
Xena onto the ground, uncharacteristic of someone who
religiously follows the warrior code, and raised her sword high
in the air. She plunged it down into the woman's body, twisting
as she pushed the blade far out of her back and deep into the
ground. She pushed down until she was inches away from Xena’s
face. She knew Xena was watching as her eyes changed from sky
blue to black as midnight.
Samsara stood up, straightening out her body and her
shoulders. Her eyes turned from midnight back to their normal
sky blue. She felt as if she were high on ambrosia.
Xena remained on the ground, still. The sword remained in her
navel, the sword buried deep in body and through to the earth.
Samsara was baiting the Majie. And they came.
The head Majie walked to her. "Well done, Great
Destroyer of Greece, Samsara Kakistos."
"NO!" she screamed. She hated that reference. Hated
it. "I AM THE GREAT DESTROYER OF GREECE, SAMSARA, GODDESS
KAKISTOS OF DESTRUCTION, GODDESS OF WAR! And it will do you well
to refer to me as such!"
"Very well," the Majie warrior responded calmly.
The other Amazons, hidden nearby and unable to do more than
watch, were stunned. They had no idea what to do. Medea had
followed Samsara, and she was not tolerating this behavior. She
charged Samsara angrily, her short hair flying about her face,
sword in hand, yelling her Amazon battle cry.
Samsara merely turned her head 90 degrees and raised her
right hand. She stopped Medea in mid-flight. The acting Queen of
Themiscyra fell flat on her back, nearly out cold, groaning.
"That is how you deal with an Amazon, Majie cadet,"
The other Amazons did not dare fight. They had watched the
best among them dismissed with the wave of a hand, and knew the
odds were not in their favor. They knew that it was one thing to
fight standing in battle. It was another to die foolishly,
especially when the stakes were so high. They had to remain
hidden to protect their very race. No Amazon moved; they
The Majie warrior fumed. This was not just any Majie, this
was the Majie, and no one questioned his authority.
Certainly not this Amazon Goddess they had convinced to turn to
their side. He knew that turning Samsara to their side forever
came with a price. He knew that the medallions on the island
were to be destroyed, and he had decided Dark Samsara was worth
Samsara pulled Callisto's sword from its sheath. The weapon
glistened in the morning light. She watched as the sunlight
played with the shadows of darkness inherent in the blade and
The enemy was defeated and she was pleased. She had known she
would turn down this path, so figured she should go in style.
Still smiling, she turned to the Majie Warrior with her newly
sky blue eyes.
Suddenly, something that no one would ever expect happened.
Jadea had told Samsara that if she killed the Majie, then she
would become evil and the Amazons would have no choice but to
kill her. Surrounding her now were four armies -- the
Themiscyrans, the Teloans, the Highlanders and Samsara’s Army
containing Seriana’s guards – ready if things turned ugly.
And they were about to.
Samsara unsheathed her mother's sword and raised it high into
the air. In ancient Teloan, she shouted, "With all the
power invested in me - using the powers endowed to me by my
father and my Godhood – I command the skies to roll dark and
the sun to eclipse! I command Mother's sword to become a
thousand swords and simultaneously strike down the enemy!"
With that, she screamed her all too familiar war cry, "Yiyiyiyiyiyiyiyi!"
And stabbed the leader with the sword.
At the same time what seemed like thousands of warriors
crashed onto the scene -- it was Dachus and Samsara's army
coupled with the Amazons in the trees. Medea stood up as if
nothing had happened to her and they all descended on the
confused, angry, and incredibly weak Majie.
The carnage was brutal, but there was no blood to prove it,
for when these monsters met the multiplying blades of Callisto,
they became piles of dust on the leafy ground. Once the last
Majie was killed, the women and the army cheered in victory.
Xena, still on the ground, was not ignored. Samsara knelt by
her defeated enemy as she sheathed Callisto's sword.
Back in Themiscyra, Jadea felt the change in mood. She
grabbed Celosia’s arm and took the newly rejuvenated woman
with her to the scene. Releasing her, she faced the Amazons and
Samsara’s army. The Sorceress Empress was clearly past livid
and she was not afraid to show it. The crowd quieted.
Jadea marched straight toward Samsara, leaving Celosia
hugging Medea behind her. Seriana moved into her path in an
attempt to stop the Sorceress Empress, but discovered that an
adopted niece could do nothing to stop the rage of this woman.
Jadea was so angry, that not only her pendant burned but so
did she. She simply pushed the Silver Hawk out of the way,
leaving her niece gasping and grabbing a scorched arm.
"YOU," she seethed as she reached her target.
Samsara looked up with her now-blue eyes and responded,
"Yes?" The gaze was even, the voice oddly controlled
and completely unafraid or unapologetic.
Something about the Goddesses demeanor put Jadea off. Her
pendant cooled to a questioning green. Behind her, Gabrielle,
Vorgeen, Celosia and Medea pushed past Themiscryan, Teloan and
Highlander Amazons to watch the scene. Seriana, still holding
her arm where she’d been burned, shoved her way through as
well. Dachus forced his way to the Destroyer’s side as well,
making no friends on his way to his love’s side.
Xena had informed only Samsara and Gabrielle of the entire
plan. The others had known their parts in the plan and as they
watched it unfold, they had suddenly understood what was
happening. The Amazons had minimal knowledge not because Xena
couldn't trust them, but because she couldn't trust that they
wouldn’t fall under Majie influence at some point and give the
entire game away.
But now it was all over and it was time for the masks to be
Samsara bent close to the lifeless form on the ground and
whispered, "Xena, time to share in the spoils of war."
Jadea was puzzled. It was rare, if ever, that Samsara
referred to this woman by her given name. She always called her
the Warrior Princess, unless she referred to her as "the
Evil Woman Who Killed Mother", or used other more colorful
However, as the Amazons watched, Xena stood. A bright light
flashed between the Warrior Princess and the Goddess. Samsara
was now in Xena's spot and vis-a-vis. The Great Destroyer pulled
her black Hepheastian sword out of her midriff with a slight
groan. Her eyes returned to their normal color, midnight black.
"Things never to do to yourself," she yelled for
all to hear. "Number 472: Stabbing yourself with your own
Laughter could be heard sprinkling throughout the crowd of
Amazons and fighters. Perhaps it was release from the war,
because the line had been incredibly cheesy, she didn’t know.
She didn’t much care. Samsara sheathed her weapon and turned
to her sister.
There were no words to be spoken. Seriana already knew. She
held back her tears. She was an Amazon and she would be strong.
Then the Goddess turned to Dachus. Dachus nodded and placed
the hilt of his sword on his chest. "Yes, oh Great
Destroyer," he said. He left the little circle, comforted
to know she had not failed him. "Let’s go," he
called out to his men as he went, gathering them around him.
Samsara’s army marched out.
There were even fewer words between Samsara and Jadea.
Samsara removed Callisto's scabbard and gave sheath and sword to
her aunt. Without another word Samsara closed her eyes and
She went back to Olympus.
Queen Medea ordered a headcount be taken of the Amazons. The
numbers were heartening, not many had fallen and most of those
who had were simply wounded, not dead. After the count, only two
Amazons could not be found. One was Thalia. Jadea knew who the
The Sorceress Empress fumed in anger. This hadn't been part
of the plan, initially. Jadea had known her niece might try it,
but she'd really believed that Samsara would decide against it.
Gabrielle was beside Xena; she often was. In a low voice so
that only her best friend could hear her, she whispered
"When did you put that into the plan?" Xena was
quick to answer, "I didn't."
The Teloan Serena at last came forth, and a clearing was made
for her to pass. She had a few High Guards with her. The Elder
attempted to approach Jadea's side. There was a conservative
hush through the Amazons that were still gathered. "What
in the name of Artemis was that?" She cried out, her
voice accusing the Sorceress of some crime.
Jadea threw up her arm and the Elder went flying backward.
Immediately her guard charged forward to attack but they were
frozen when Celosia ran and flipped, placing herself between
them and the woman they wanted.
"STOP! That is enough," Celosia's voice was
crisp, her command so sudden that the Guards obeyed.
None of the Highlanders or Themiscyrans would have challenged
it - they knew what the tone meant. Even the Highlanders had
heard that distinctive tone from their Queen before. It was
unmistakable. The legends told that the lethal note of an Amazon
Queen’s voice had subdued even the Gods.
Jadea studied the Teloans and saw they were reluctant to
charge Themiscyra's Queen, even if her birth sister did still
hold the title and its authority. They moved away carefully, as
though still contemplating a fight against Themiscyra's
sorceress. Celosia then turned her head to address Callisto's
"Before you spark a home war, hear me out Sorceress
Empress," Celosia's eyes met hers and managed somehow to
keep the gaze steady.
The Sorceress gave but a mere nod. She may have silenced her
voice for the time being, but she was anything but silent.
Ardra, go to Olympus. Watch Samsara like a-
Hawk? Her guardian returned, a slight bit of amusement in
her voice. I will on the condition that you keep your temper
Jadea grunted mentally. She'd understood the implication. I'll
try, but I –
Again the hawk cut her off. I know. You promise nothing.
I'll be with your niece should you need me. The hawk told
her and flew out of Themiscyra.
Meanwhile, Celosia was talking to her. "Samsara may be
impulsive, but she knew what she was doing back there," the
Amazon was saying.
After a few minutes of soothingly talking to Jadea, the
Themiscryan Queen was convinced she'd cooled the woman down.
Only Vorgeen, who remained foremost among those in the crowd,
saw that Jadea's fire still burned feverishly. It just wasn't
sending up a smoke signal.
"Thank you, Celosia. I feel better now. Please excuse
me. I must try to clean some of this mess up." Her voice
deceived for her. Turning, she stepped through space and
appeared inside the gates of Themiscyra, practically on her own
Samsara had made her so angry. Jadea knew her niece hadn't
even read the parchment she'd been given right before the war
began. It still remained tied to her side, protected from damage
by its relative closeness to her powers.
Angus was hot on her trail as she returned to her hut. He
called out to her from outside the entrance.
A blazing fire roared in her mind and soul and the sound came
through her voice. "Go away if you want to live,
Angus!" She shouted angrily. She didn’t bother to see if
he listened. The sound of someone following her through her
doorway proved he hadn’t, and Jadea turned and launched her
dagger through the air.
It slammed into the door next to Vorgeen.
"Oh, it's you. I thought - never mind. What do you
want?" she rigidly asked of the Highland Queen.
"We're movin' out, Jade. I thought you should
know." It was a ploy, but the Sorceress Empress didn't know
Jadea’s silence gave her away and revealed how weak she
felt. Why had she lost it back there? Had it been the
sight of Samsara over the Warrior Princess, a sword through her?
Or had it been the Goddess' use of her exceeding power to
deceive even the eyes of the Majie? In so doing, she'd managed
to drive the sword into herself.
Was that what set me off? She didn't know. All she was
certain of was that, in a matter of seconds, she'd felt all the
rage and hatred she had felt before in Cirra. Not even Rumyna's
death had made her feel that kind of darkness. Not even the man
who had betrayed he had done it.
But today, Samsara had.
At last, though, Jadea spoke. But only to ask whether Vorgeen
had taken the courtesy of informing Medea, Celosia, Serena,
Xena, and Gabrielle, whom she collectively grouped as the
others, that she intended to leave.
"I have. Medea asked if she were to order us to remain
in Themiscyra, would there be a chance that I'd obey? I think I
may have grown on her."
Despite the lightness and attempted humor on her part,
Vorgeen saw she couldn't assuage Jadea. Finally, when enough
silence had lapsed to make a Roman sweat, Vorgeen spoke.
"Jade, come with us," her voice was soft, her brogue
thicker than usual.
The Amazon turned her back toward the Highland Queen,
deceiving her into believing she was considering the request.
Instead, she was trying to sense Thalia. It was imperative
that Jadea find her, wherever she was. The Majie were now
defeated, but they had managed to keep their Trojan horse in the
Amazon world. For as long as Thalia carried the Majie sign, they
would still have a link to Themiscyra.
By now, most if not all of those few Amazons she had warned
had forgotten Jadea's mention of a spy. Even Jadea had placed
the knowledge on the back burner to be dealt with at a later
time. That time was now.
Part of her searched for the missing two Amazons. The other
part of her answered the Highlander’s question. "I can't
go home again, Vorgeen. You know that "
She had never referred to Cirra as home. She'd been young
when the village was razed to the ground and she'd always lived
elsewhere. Half her heart resided in Cirra - the Cirra she
remembered before Xena's army. The other half of her heart lived
Jadea loved Themiscyra, loved her Themiscryan Amazon Sisters,
and loved her Queen. In her mind, Themiscyra was home because
she felt she belonged here. It was the last place she believed
she could always return to.
As if she could read Jadea's unspoken reasons and thoughts,
Vorgeen replied, "He's not there, Jade. And he's not comin'
The Sorceress turned around and defensively snapped,
"You think I don't know that? I know that! I don't even
bloody damn care if I ever see his face again! And e'en if he
was there, ya think I couldn't get him off my island?"
Outside, a familiar Amazon voice called into the hut’s
occupants. "Jadea?" It was Seriana.
Vorgeen looked at Jadea. Jadea looked at Vorgeen. They each
knew why she'd just yelled as if she were under fierce attack.
The Sorceress Empress still loved him. She fought that love
every moment of every day; most days the fight was hers - but
sometimes, he had the upper hand.
Deciding to make an exit, Vorgeen departed with one last
request. "I've agreed to lend my help to Medea in
retrieving the wounded and missing Amazons. The Highland Amazons
will break from Themiscyra tomorrow morn. Please, just think
about coming with us."
As she left, Seriana came inside. Her aunt could easily tell
that she'd been crying, despite that the Amazon had washed her
face and cleaned herself up. It showed in her eyes. "I'm
sorry to bother you. I just...needed to talk to someone."
Seri's talk with her aunt would prove to be Jadea's reason
for remaining in Themiscyra. Her first impulse had been to go
after Samsara and have it out with her on Olympus. The Teloans
attempted attack on her and Celosia's intervention had hindered
her long enough from following the whim. Her second plan had
been to make a display of her power in Themiscyra, purely to
keep the Amazons from fighting amongst each other and more
willing to comply the Amazon Queens' orders. That idea, too, had
now gone out of her mind, first by Vorgeen's offer for her to go
with them and now by Seriana’s need of her.
The girl had a calming affect on the Sorceress. She
understood and even shared Jadea's anger at Samsara's actions.
This allowed them both to vent their disapproval and frustration
without causing any damage. They talked for a long while,
eventually resulting in Seri's falling asleep on her pallet.
Jadea walked outside and noticed that Serena stood off to one
side. The person she was to talking to was hidden behind the
Elder’s Royal guard.
"I don't care what Medea ordered, young man! I insist on
seeing Xena at once!"
She was persistently trying to get past Angus. Garrett, who
stood near his side, smiled to himself as the Teloan Elder tried
to pass through them.
Perfect, Jadea cooed. I've been wantin' a good
confrontation for some time now. Patience does pay off. What do
ya know about that? She silently slipped closer and closer
to the party.
Serena continued to insist on seeing Xena while Angus
continued to deny her entrance with his monosyllabic,
"No," answer. Jadea learned from the one-sided
conversation that Xena and Gabrielle were in council with
Celosia and Medea without the Teloan Elder present. At last,
Serena was pushed past annoyed. She swung her royal staff up
over her head to and brought it down low, intending to knock
Angus off his feet.
The blow never connected.
Jadea froze the staff in place. The Teloan’s staff was more
ceremonial than it was an actual weapon. But it was sturdy
enough to use to defend, or in this case, to try to browbeat a
Celt into letting you pass by.
Serena shouted angrily, trying in vain to get her staff to
move. Her guards dropped into a defensive position around her
while the Elder’s shouts drew the attention of some Amazons.
About twelve onlookers observed from a distance, none Teloan.
"You strike that man, Teloan, and you'll have me to deal
with. And trust me, you're not ready for that."
"Oh, you may think you're so powerful Themiscryan, but
once I have-"
"Enough!" It was Angus. He looked over Serena’s
head at Jadea. "Unfreeze her staff and let her have it
back," he instructed.
Ordinarily, such a statement would have resulted in the man
being bruised for his gall. This time, though, Jadea knew where
he was going with it - and she didn't have an objection. She
unfroze the staff with a thought and after a final smirk, left
the scene. She strolled up to a group of Amazons who stood
watching the spectacle.
"Anyone want to join me in the Mess Hut?" Her eyes
shined and she smiled. The pendant that hung around her neck had
a slight bluish tint to it.
Her sisters chuckled and walked with her. Comments were made
about Angus and how his roguish charm might square with Elder
Serena's strong sense of her authority.
"My sisters, men are like the gods," Jadea stated.
She heard a couple of groans and spotted some questioning looks.
"Most of them aren't worth trusting, let alone worshipping.
But every now and then, you find one who is truly good and cares
more about the lives of others than their own existence."
There was a moment or two of silence from her listeners. She
seemed both light and solemn when she'd spoken. At last, though,
one of the others broke the weight of the quietness.
"Wonder if Cook has any good grub."
"Let's find out," Jadea replied.
Artemis sat upon one of the large stone thrones in the
circular hall. As Samsara appeared, the Goddess of the Hunt
rose. She'd been watching the events in Amazon lands. When the
Goddess Kakistos plunged the sword in Xena, or what then had
appeared to be so, Artemis did all she could not to attack the
Goddess of Destruction in her vulnerable state. She knew what
was at stake - her Amazons.
Ardra flew in through one of the high open holes shortly
after Samsara's arrival. "I wondered what took you so
long," she remarked aloud, watching as the hawk settled
upon a statue of Zeus.
"Samsara Kakistos," Artemis addressed the Amazon,
adding nothing after the name.
"Artemis," The Teloan returned and looked around.
She was alone with the Goddess of the Amazons. "I miss
something? Because I was pretty sure that I said for everyone to
Artemis was about to explain when Zeus appeared in a flash of
light. Hera emerged from an adjacent hallway. Other Gods and
Goddess appeared afterward. Soon, all but Ares were present on
Olympus. Because of Samsara's power, no one dared mention his
name or his absence.
"Ah, the family's all here!" Samsara said with
sweet sarcasm. She didn’t like what she was about to do, but
she intended to have as much fun as she could before the deed