Aurora knocked softly on the Queen’s door.
"Celosia?" she called. There was sound from
inside, possibly a curse to the goddess, which she
ignored. "What about the prisoners?"
This time the curse was obvious. "I forgot all
about them. Let’s go relieve the guard and find out what
they know," she said, emerging from her hut.
The pair walked the short distance to the partially
built Med Hut. They stopped by the bonfire for a couple of
bowls of the stew and some bedrolls. Celosia beckoned to
two of the more alert Amazons to follow her, and they made
their way over to the prisoners.
Handing one of the bowls to the larger of the two men,
she dismissed the exhausted pair of guards who had stayed
at their posts during Yakut’s call to the spirit world.
Praising them for their dedication to duty, she ordered
them off to the square for stew and much-needed rest.
"I’d best not see you around camp until late . .
.very late . . . tomorrow afternoon," she warned.
"As for the two of you," Celosia turned to
Hercules and Iolaus. "You will stay here under guard,
and remain far from the Amazons tonight. Don't let me
catch you over there. Understand?"
Iolaus sighed, but Hercules voice was firm.
"They should be all right here for the night, my
queen. In the morning, after we sort things out, we'll be
better able to decide what to do with them," Aurora
"Yes, thank you, Aurora. I’ll leave you in charge
here. Be certain they go nowhere," she leveled a
steely gaze at the guards as well as at Aurora.
"Of course, my Queen!"
"Queen, huh?" the younger male nudged his
friend with an elbow. "We get the royal
Celosia turned. "That is exactly what you will get
if you set a foot outside this hut."
Iolaus raised his hands. "Got it! Got it! Not to
Hercules woke to the sound of footsteps nearing the
camp. And they were not exactly delicate, Amazon steps.
"Iolaus!" he whispered, shaking his friend.
"What?" the young man groaned, rolling.
Hercules clamped a hand over the other’s mouth,
motioning him to silence. The sound of brush crackling
beneath heavy feet was clearly audible.
"We’ve got to get find the Queen," Hercules
whispered. Iolaus nodded and they crept on hands and knees
out of the hut.
Unfortunately, they didn’t see Aurora. She had placed
her bedroll directly outside the hut door and the pair
tumbled over her, waking her.
"What in Zeus' name are you doing over here? If the
Queen catches you, you'll be killed!" she managed to
get out before Hercules clapped a hand over her mouth. The
two guards rushed up to her side, spears lowering toward
the two men.
"Listen," Hercules whispered urgently.
"Someone is coming towards the camp and I don't think
they're the welcoming committee."
A twig snapped under the weight of someone's foot behind
them all. Aurora, Hercules and Iolaus drew their weapons
as they turned. But before they could orient themselves,
someone grabbed them and covered their mouths and noses
with a moist cloth. They struggled to get loose, but the
alcohol on the cloths took effect and all three passed
Three burly, hairy men dragged the two men and the three
unconscious Amazons away from camp and into the forest.
But one of the other Amazons had witnessed the whole
thing and wasn’t far behind.
As the Head Scout, Thalia took next watch, to let Tern
and Medea get some sleep before morning. She stood perched
in a tree above the ground, swinging one foot and tapping
her crossbow lightly against the branch supporting her.
A small snap of a twig caught her attention, and she
looked to where the sound had come from. Peering into the
darkness, she readied her crossbow and prepared to morph
if need be.
Looking around, she saw nothing. Not even shadows.
"What's going..." Suddenly, the tree she was
standing in rocked violently and she lost her balance,
tumbling to the ground.
Something grabbed her. She spun and delivered a fierce
sidekick, sending it flying before turning and knocking
the feet out from the next approaching figure.
She stood in a fighting position, eyeing the dark
shadows that encircled her.
Desdion! She called through her mind as they grew
"Well, well, well," came a voice behind her.
Thalia turned to see an Amazon in full battle gear. As
she looked closer, she saw that the figure wore a large,
feathered mask, which covered everything except her eyes.
Thalia looked straight into the deep blue eyes across from
"What in the name of Zeus? Is that you Mizera? By
the gods! What are you doing here?"
Before she could recover from the shock, two rather
large, burly Amazons restrained Thalia.
Formerly good friends, Mizera had turned to evil several
years ago, and she now controlled the known world's
largest tribe of renegade Amazons. Mizera and her tribe
were known for ruthlessly torching towns and murdering
villagers in front of their families.
"What do you want? Why are you here?" Thalia
"You'll learn everything in due time." Mizera
stated. "Take her away!"
The two evil Amazons knocked Thalia unconscious and
dragged her away. Luckily, Desdion had heard her call, and
went to wake up the other Amazons in Celosia's tribe.
When Thalia awoke, she found her self in a dark,
minimally guarded, cage, tied up along with Aurora,
Hercules, and Iolaus.
"Glad you're awake, sleepy head." Iolaus
"Were in some kind of cage at the camp of these
um...Amazons," Hercules said. "There aren't too
many guards, so we can probably break out."
"But before we do, we need to know as much about
theses Amazons so we can form a plan. Do you have any idea
who they are?" Aurora asked.
"Well..." Thalia sighed. "It's a long
Woken by a burning sensation on her chest, Tern sat up
quickly, listening. The dragon against her neck burned
hotly. Nudging Medea, the two Amazons lay silent, then
vanished from sight.
Invisible, Tern and Medea crept to Celosia's hut.
Entering, she scanned the room for trouble. Finding none,
she made her way to the Queen’s bedside.
"Celosia," she whispered hoarsely.
Celosia's eyes popped open.
"Shh! Something’s very wrong!" Celosia could
barely hear Tern and couldn’t see her at all. But it was
the voice of a trusted friend who only went invisible when
the tribe was threatened. She rose silently and the three
crept into the trees to see what they could.
Celosia, Tern and Medea crept through the night looking
for anything unusual.
"Owww!" They heard someone cry. Looking down,
they realized the noise came from Belen lying at the edge
of the Village Square.
"Shh!" the two Amazons replied.
"My hand you’re on my hand!" Belen called,
pulling vainly on her stuck hand. She couldn’t figure
out what was trapping it. There was nothing there!
The three Amazons stepped back and Belen quickly pulled
her hand to her face and examined it. "What are you
two doing up?" Belen asked a little worried.
Celosia explained to Belen what was going on and Belen
immediately volunteered to join in the search.
"Should we split up?" Belen asked.
"No, it's to risky to be alone right now. We don't
know what were up against," Celosia answered.
"What’s going on? Couldn’t sleep either?"
"There, Now it's an even number," Belen
replied. They agreed to split up, all except Alcina who
was still in the dark.
"What’s going on?" Alcina asked again.
"Come on, I’ll explain on the way," Belen
answered as Celosia and Tern walked away.
But no sooner had they begun to search than someone
grabbed Belen and Alcina. The two fought hard and Belen
thought she saw Alcina slipping away into the trees. Then
something heavy and hard slammed into her head. The next
thing Belen knew she was in a cage with four faces
starring at her. "What’s going on? Where am
I?" Belen demanded.
"Welcome to the party," said a voice Belen
recognized as Thalia's.
Meanwhile, Alcina moved through the forest at full speed
until she found Celosia and Tern. "Alcina? Where's
Belen?" the two Amazons asked.
"They grabbed her," Alcina panted. "They
grabbed me, too, but I managed to get away."
"Who got her? Did you see their faces?" the
two asked quickly.
"No it was too dark. And one had a mask,"
Meanwhile, the captives were trying unsuccessfully to
escape. "Any ideas?" Belen asked with a sigh.
"Maybe," said a voice.
Stretching, Xanthea got out of her bedroll. She noticed
several other bedrolls were empty as well. She walked over
to the dying fire and added some wood to it, hoping the
light would aid her as she looked for her Amazon sisters.
Standing near the fire, she looked around. Many of the
Amazons where still asleep and Xanthea couldn't see a
thing beyond their camp from where she stood. Sighing, she
headed towards the edge of their camp.
She carried a small torch with her to light the way. The
petite Amazon nervously scanned the area, looking for
anything unusual. She saw nothing, which made her even
more nervous. She looked around again when someone grabbed
her from behind. The person put their hand over her mouth.
Xanthea dropped her torch in the struggle. She struggled
against her would-be captor, but they were too strong and
she was forced to stop. The person turned her around.
Léda spun Xanthea around and put her finger to her
mouth, while grinding the torch into the ground to put it
out. Whispering, she explained that a few Amazons had
definitely mysteriously disappeared, and that there was
something not right. Motioning for Xanthea to stay close,
the two started to walk quietly around to try and find a
sign of someone.
Suddenly Léda stopped and stared straight ahead, at
something in the darkness.
Léda had found Desdion waiting for them. The Wolf stood
before them, the dim light in the forest illuminating the
outline of fur along his body, making him appear to glow.
Your sisters are in grave danger, he said in
their minds. Léda and Xanthea exchanged glances, someone
speaking directly into their head wasn't something they
were used to. I will help you find Thalia, he
continued. They may be in more danger than they
Xanthea and Léda nodded, following the Spirit.
Thalia sat up quickly.
"What is it?" Hercules asked. "Is
Thalia held up a hand for him to wait. Desdion?
Yes, cub. I am bringing your sisters to help you. Be
careful, cub, you are in grave danger. Use your powers if
you need to, but beware the...
A searing pain shot through Thalia's head, cutting off
Desdion's telepathic message. She cried out, grasping her
"Are you all right?" Iolaus moved to help her.
"Something's wrong." Thalia shook her head, as
the pain slowly started to ebb. "Something's very
"Masks, huh?" Medea questioned.
"Medea?" Alcina asked, disconcerted to realize
she couldn't see the petite Amazon. For that matter, Tern
had suddenly vanished.
Tern said calmly. "Alcina, tell us everything you
remember. We’ve got to get the others out."
Junior, stay close to Alcina. Something's not right
here. Tern ordered. Her invisible apprentice nodded.
You got it.
Alcina eyed the air where she had last seen Tern.
"Well," she began. She might not be able to see
Tern or the Regent, but she could feel them hovering
protectively around her. "Belen and I were creeping
through the brush when…"
Xanthea and Léda followed Desdion through the forest.
Both exchanged glances as they continued. Neither knew
what was going on, but they knew not to argue with the
wolf. It was connected to Thalia and if he led them to
their Amazon sister, they'd follow him anywhere.
"Maybe we should find someone else to help
us," Xanthea whispered to Léda. She tossed back her
braid as she jogged after the wolf. "Something just
doesn't feel right about this."
Xanthea heard something and whipped around. Someone else
was following them. She could feel it. All she saw was a
falcon flying over their heads. Xanthea felt her heart
"Did you hear that?" she whispered to Léda.
"Something's following us," Xanthea replied.
Something was definitely wrong.
Peering through the trees, Medea and Alcina noticed two
sisters and what looked like Thalia's wolf run beneath
"Hey look! Amazons!" Alcina smiled. A little
of her fear from the previous events draining away. She
moved to call to them. "Hey Guys-" an invisible
hand clamped over her mouth.
"Shh!" Medea hissed into her sister's ear.
"We don't know who they are yet!"
"But they're Amazons!" Alcina insisted,
breaking free of the invisible Regent's grip. She found it
a little unnerving that Medea could see her, but she
couldn't see Medea.
"Yes they are, but we don't know if they're our
Amazons." the young blond explained, grabbing the
other by the arm. Dropping to a lower branch she
whispered, "Follow me. Be quiet and keep up."
The two women began following the others, careful not to
make a sound. Careful that is, until Alcina stepped on a
Her eyes grew wide in surprise as she prepared for a
rough landing. The landing never came, however, as Medea
grabbed her by the arm and hauled her up to another
"I thought I told you to follow me!" she
snapped. Their prey had surely heard the branch crash to
"Well it's kind of hard to follow something I can't
see!" Alcina whispered back, getting annoyed with the
The Regent sighed in exasperation and materialized.
"There? Happy?" she asked, crossing her arms.
"Very." Alcina grinned. "Hey...where'd
those two Amazons-"
"Who goes there?" a strong voice called out
from below them.
Medea knew in an instant who it was. She grimaced.
"Léda," the Regent spat out in distaste.
"Léda!" Alcina smiled brightly and began her
descent from the tree. "Thank the goddess! It's just
us, no need for alarm. Hey Medea, it's just Xanthea and
Léda, you can come down!"
A moment passed. "Medea?"
"Medea are you up here?" Xanthea asked,
climbing up the tree to look for her sister. After a
moment of close inspection she could see no trace of the
Amazon. "Um, are you sure Medea was with you
Alcina?" she called down.
"Yeah, Tern sent her with me, she was just
there!" she insisted.
"Well she's obviously not there now." Léda
stated, looking ahead. The wolf pawed the ground and
snorted at the Amazons. "Desdion wants us to keep
following him...you should probably come with us
"But, she has to be-"
"There’s no one up there, Alcina," Xan said
gently. "Now come on, we have to get a move on if
we're gonna save Thalia."
"Yeah, let's go," Léda smiled, happy to be
back on task.
Ah...so that's their game! Save the Amazons
and take all the credit! Medea thought. She sat
perched on a log behind the trio of Amazons, invisible to
the untrained eye. Well, we can't have that!
They're gonna need me if they get in any real trouble,
she smiled haughtily and began trailing behind them with
the stealth of the panther.
As Medea stalked the three Amazons, Celosia and Tern
went over all the facts that Alcina told them about the
attack and attackers. They were in a hurry. They knew it
was urgent that they found their missing sisters.
"All we know so far is that the one who wear’s
that mask seems to be in charge. She has cold, piercing
baby blue eyes and seems to be an Amazon by her attacking
tactics," Celosia went over again.
"That’s not much to go on," a worn out Tern
said with a sigh.
"No, It's not, but it’s all we have,"
Celosia said quietly.
"Okay, lets go over it again," Tern said
Meanwhile Thalia and the other captives were desperately
trying to find away out of their prison. Thalia sat in the
corner her headache just now stopping to throb.
"Thalia?" Belen asked quietly. "Are you
"Yes, a little, I suppose," she paused for a
moment, rubbing her temples. Then she looked up at the
other members of the group. "Well, can we dig our way
"No, we tried, the bottom is steel, got any other
suggestions?" Aurora stated.
"Nope," Thalia sighed.
"I might," Iolaus said. Hercules shook his
head and stared at the floor.
"What?" the Amazons asked.
Iolaus walked up to the bars and pulled on them a
little. Then he began jumping up and down while hanging on
to them and screaming, "HELP!"
Haven awoke with a jerk, hearing the scream in her head.
Gripping her staff, she held it close to her body, and
scanned the area for signs of life, but found none. Her
She was making her way home, having been wounded and
left behind after the Amazon battle with the armored men.
She felt alone and lost, and eager to return to the tribe.
Gathering her staff, she began again the walk that had
already lasted her two days.
Imagine her surprise at having been captured by the
warriors who had attacked her sisters. Lucky for her, she
was a skilled Amazon, and had no trouble slipping through
their pitiable jail and out into freedom.
But she was starting to wonder what had happened to her
sisters. She shuddered to think how many might have
perished. She pushed on, eager to see their new homeland.
It took her several more hours, but she reached
Themiscrya without incident. No guards barred her entrance
to the newly founded home of the tribe, a curious
happening. In fact, nobody was around at all.
She checked the bedrolls strewn around the waning
bonfire and found them empty. She was happy to find no
sign of blood, though it was apparent that wherever they
had gone, they hadn’t exactly gone willingly.
The silence reminded her of the scream that had woken
her. She was used to hearing the screams of the dead, but
there was something about this cry that just didn’t
click this time, something that wasn’t right.
Deciding she was going to have to act fast, Haven moved
down to the river. Sitting by the edge of the water, she
began to chant. It was a low, mournful chant that could
only be heard by her spirit and the spirit of nature.
It wasn’t long before a vision exploded inside her