When she awoke, Seriana was confused and frightened. She
couldn't remember anything! She had no idea where she was or
what had happened, or even her name.
Sitting up, she called, "Hello? Is anyone there?"
There was no answer from the darkened woods.
With a hand to her aching head, she got to her feet. Her
other hand found a knife on her belt. Good, she thought. That
could be helpful. "Can anyone hear me?" she shouted
into the darkness.
Nobody answered her call. Still, someone had heard her.
Something was wrong. Ares knew it and he didn't like it.
Medea was nowhere in her village, where she ought to be. She
was gone, probably on the run somewhere. As always, it was up to
him to correct the mistakes of a foolish little girl. He should
have known better than to . . .
He stopped in mid-transport when he heard the shout of a
voice that he knew.
"Can anyone hear me?" was the plaintive call.
"Seriana?" Ares asked.
The voice repeated the question. He was certain, it was his
But why was she in Themiscryan territory, sounding confused
and frightened? That wasn't possible. First, Seriana was dead.
Second, she always kept her head and never let fear show in her
But he knew that voice, and it was hers. She was there.
He was standing before her in an instant. Before she could
react, he struck her to the ground.
"You little demon!" he growled at her. "What
do you think you’re doing out here? I ought to strike you dead
But instead of hitting back, as she always did, she lay
looking up at him, trembling and scared. "Who are
That stopped Ares dead. She meant it! His wildcat of a rebel
daughter had no idea who he was. This was far too good to pass
up. If this was Medea’s doing, she might keep her reward after
"You may call me Mars," he told her. "That is
all you need to know. Now get on your feet. If you do as I tell
you I won’t hurt you again."
She hesitated. "I shouldn’t trust you," she
"You see anyone else around that you can trust?" he
asked. "Hear this. If you stay here, you will die. I am a
very dangerous man. Now stand up, dry your eyes, draw your
knife, and stay close to me."
Seriana really had no other options. She did as he told her
and stood by his side as they both vanished in a shimmer of cold
Night was upon the forest; the owls, wolves and other night
creatures were beginning to creep out of their dens and into
their hunting grounds.
The little squirrel standing on the ground began to worry
about her safety. She was easy prey for the hunters of the
night. She blinked, the only part of herself she was able to
move, and considered what to do. Luckily she was practically
invisible against the dark colors of the tree and the earth.
How long would her luck hold?
Ollaea ran through the forest toward Artemis’ temple. The
Goddess would want news of Pelee as soon as possible. She
might even answer a few questions about Medea and Tern,
The temple was a rough affair, more an open-air meeting place
than a true temple. The Amazons had placed benches in a
semi-circle facing toward a precious marble image of the Goddess
that they had brought with them from the north. At the base of
the statues feet were garlands of flowers, baskets of food and
other offerings from the Amazons. Several shallow clay bowels
held cedar shavings, for burning the Goddesses favorite scent.
Ollaea saw the gleaming white of the marble statue through
the trees. She slowed, her breathing ragged from her haste. She
put a hand against one of the trees that marked the boundary of
the temple, but before she could step in, a flash of orange sent
her stumbling backward.
Pelee reached a hand out to Ollaea who had fallen to her
knees in her haste to avoid the blinding orange light.
"Take it easy," she told the Amazon, helping to pull
Ollaea back to her feet.
There was a scream behind them and they turned, startled.
Belen dodged through the trees, an arrow sticking out from her
shoulder. Behind her stood Medea, a longbow at the ready,
another arrow notched.
The demon Amazon took aim, pulled, and let loose. Belen
shouted, lurched forward and fell face-first to the forest
floor. Medea laughed, triumphant. She turned away and vanished
back into the forest.
Pelee and Ollaea rushed to Belen’s side. Both kneeled down
at Belen’s side. The Amazon was barely breathing. They glanced
at each other.
It’s so very cold, Thalia thought. If she had been able
to move, she would have been shivering from the icy clutches
that coursed through her. If she didn't escape from this soon,
she'd surely freeze to death.
She grew weaker and weaker as time passed. She listened to
the owls and night animals wake and move around her. She hoped
they weren't out for a midnight snack.
Help! She thought weakly, even though she knew it would
be of no use.
Desdion? Thalia could have laughed out loud. Desdion was
her guardian wolf. How had he found her? Over here, Desdion,
I'm the frozen squirrel on the ground.
Desdion sniffed at the forest floor, looking for the Amazon.
Suddenly he spotted a great owl swooping towards her. Sprinting
as fast as he could, he threw himself in front of her just as
the bird dive-bombed. Screeching, the owl swooped away from his
and flew off into the forest.
The white wolf looked down skeptically at the animal. What
can I do?
I'm not sure, but I can't stay a squirrel-icicle for long!
This tiny body can't take much more of this spell. We need to
find a way for me to get out of this before I freeze and we have
to find Seriana!
All right, Desdion said. He picked her up gently in his
mouth and trotted off to find a way to help.
Transportation spells were hard on mortals, so after about
three miles Ares stopped to let Seriana rest. She fell to her
hands and knees on the ground, then collapsed onto her stomach
where she lay panting and shivering.
"Please," she begged. "Please . . . don't hurt
me again. I'm sorry. I'm so scared . . ."
"I won't," Ares told her, "Provided you stop
that sniveling and hold your head up. You are a warrior. You
should never show your fear."
She sat up, wiping the tears from her eyes. "A
"Yes. The greatest but for Xena herself. At least, you
could have been. Perhaps your potential is lost now."
Somehow, he sounded almost thoughtful. He spoke with complete
From the shadows beneath an oak tree, Desdion watched them,
Thalia still alive but immobile in his mouth.
Is that her? He asked.
Thalia listened to their confused conversation. She
recognized the woman’s voice immediately. Yes, that's her!
Thalia cried. Seriana! Seriana, can you hear me? Are you all
"Aah!" Seriana screamed, clutching her head in pain
"What is it?" Ares demanded.
"There's a voice . . . in my head . . . Get out, get
out! She's in my head!"
Seriana, it's me! It's Thalia!
"Stop it! Mars! Help me . . . get her out! I can't
think! Get her out!"
Ares knelt next to her and took her face in both his hands. A
faint, careful surge of power entered into her willing mind,
easily rendering her unconscious. He lifted her body in his
arms, turned and vanished from the woods.
Desdion related to Thalia all that had happened, since she
still couldn't see.
I don't understand, Thalia whispered. Was she in
league with Ares all along?
It certainly seems that way, Desdion offered. No loyal
Amazon would ask Ares for help, much less let him touch her. But
she didn't even flinch when he had his hands on her face.
I can't believe it. She seemed to hate him so much.
The first beam of morning sunlight finally streamed through
the trees. Desdion lay Thalia down where it struck the ground
and waited patiently for her to thaw.
Meanwhile, Ares headed for the Temple of Artemis, going
slowly to give Seriana time to wake up.
Xanthea stretched and finally exited her hut. She had been so
tired lately and she didn't know why. Off and on some of the
Amazons she had been working with to become healers and been in
to check on her. They were afraid she might be sick. Luckily, it
seemed they were wrong.
She yawned and stretched again as she surveyed the area. One
of her students stopped and explained the situation to her.
Xanthea sighed. Had she really been asleep that long? She looked
around for her sister, Ollaea, but couldn't find her.
"Have you seen my sister?" she asked one of the
Amazons. When she only got a confused look as a response, she
asked, "Have you seen Ollaea? Do you know where she
"I haven't seen her," the woman replied.
"Maybe you should ask the Queen or one of those guys who've
been hanging around lately."
Xanthea smiled and softly sighed. "Thanks," she
said. "I will. Soon."
With that, she walked off to find Celosia, Iolaus or
Hercules. Part of her mind worried about her sister. The other
part tried to figure out what was wrong with her.
Xanthea saw Celosia standing outside her hut, conversing with
Hercules and Iolaus. She could tell they were building strategy
for something, but she had to know about Ollaea. Decided, she
started to walk towards the Queen.
"Xanthea?" Haven called from behind her.
The healer turned. "Yes?" she asked.
"Are you joining the hunt for Medea and Tern? I
understand your sister is already out there," the other
Amazon said. "I’m headed out now if you’d like to come
"You know where Ollaea is?"
"Sure. I heard a report just a moment ago that she’s
been seen in the forest. Come on, she should be easy to
find," Haven made a jerky movement toward the perimeter of
the village, away from where the Queen stood.
Xanthea nodded and followed the Amazon into the forest.
"How far did she go?" she asked.
"Not far, not far," Haven smiled a crooked little
smile. She led them deeper into the shadowed wood.
When they were a good distance from the village, Haven
stopped. Turning, she tossed her hair and cackled like a beast.
Xanthea frowned. "What’s going on?"
"Nothing I want you to help with," Haven growled.
She reached for her dagger and pulled her arm back, ready to
throw. Then her body seemed to thin out and the color drained
from her as she turned transparent.
Xanthea could only stare at the place where Haven had been,
ready to throw. Then something hit her hard in the back of the
neck and she collapsed to the ground.
It took an hour for Thalia to thaw in the warming light of
the day. When she could finally move, she morphed back into her
human form. She shivered and rubbed her icy hands together,
blowing on them for warmth.
Thank you, my friend, she said to Desdion, patiently
What is going on? He asked now.
She briefly outlined Medea and Tern’s treachery. She
finished with the tale of her frozen state, her miraculous fall
to earth, and her rescue by the wolf himself.
We need to find them and Seriana and Ares, Desdion. Any
Desdion lifted his nose to the air and sniffed. He turned and
moved past her, guiding her toward the magic he could smell on
the breeze. He headed for Artemis’ temple.
Tern approached the scene of the crime.
"She’s not dead. But close. Dali!" Ollaea
exclaimed, her finger on Belen’s neck. "What is going on
Pelee stood back and scanned the area. She caught a whiff of
power from the invisible intruder, but gave no outward sign of
Ollaea looked up to long missing witch. "Your sister did
this," she snarled.
Pelee’s cold, mysterious eyes met her. "You are
dealing with forces you cannot begin to comprehend. Take Belen
back to Themiscyra and tell the Queen to take no action against
my sister or Medea. Leave them to me," Pelee said.
Ollaea nodded, staring mournfully at her friend on the
ground. Pelee turned and vanished into the night.
Tern retreated, heart thumping. LeeLee was back. She had to
reach Medea. She had to get this situation under control and
Artemis appeared in her temple an instant after Ares and
Seriana appeared. Within a heartbeat, an arrow screamed from her
bow into her brother's chest. It was a challenge.
"How dare you, Ares?" she demanded. "You've
appeared in MY territory, in MY temple, and brought your little
. . ."
"Watch it, you're in a," he looked around the
circle of wood and stone. "Church. I think," Ares
said, pulling the arrow free.
"Get out of Themiscrya or I'll throw you out. These are
MY Amazons, not yours."
"Sorry, no can do. I have several important projects
going on here and it's not my fault if your precious Amazons
chose to side with me."
"Chose . . .ha! Were forced to choose, you mean! Get
out, Ares. This has gotten so much bigger than you realize. Get
out before Discord becomes goddess of war and we're burying your
body in the catacombs under your temple. Leave my Amazons
Ares gestured to Seriana. "So you want me to leave her
"Oh, by all means. I'll enjoy cutting her up in pieces,
the little viper-tongued liar."
"Hmm?" Seriana asked, one hand against her head.
"Oh, shut up," Artemis waved a hand and a golden
beam of light shot from midair into the girl, slamming her
backwards across several of the wood benches and into a tree
nearby. Artemis shook her head. "I can’t believe I
actually used to like that girl."
Both gods turned to the doorway where they heard footsteps
approaching the shrine. Their forms became two shimmers, one
blue and one gold, then they both disintegrated to nothing.
Seriana was the only one in the temple when the Amazon walked
in . . .
Thalia walked in the door just in time to see the bright
shimmers of light wink out.
In case there were any more she morphed into one of the
animals welcome at Artemis' temple, a deer. Cautiously she
walked into the room, relieved to find no sign of any God.
Looking around she spotted a form lying sprawled on the
Seriana! Thalia quickly approached her, nudging her arm.
Seriana groaned and looked up. As her eyes focused she saw a
big furry brown head with its nose to hers. Screaming, she
leaped to her feet, feeling for any type of weapon. Finding one
in her boot she brandished it towards the animal.
Shocked, Thalia jumped back. What was going on?
Seriana leaped toward her with the dagger outstretched.
Thalia barely managed to leap aside and morph back into human
form. "Seriana! What in Tartarus is going on with
Seriana held the dagger pointed at Thalia, looking as
confused as ever. "Don't move!"
Thalia shrugged. "Are you okay, Seriana?" She
looked down at the dagger pointed at her heart. "It's me,
"I don't know any Thalia," Seriana shifted her grip
on the dagger. "I don't know anything right now. All I know
is I can't trust anybody."
"I’m Thalia! Your friend, Thalia! Remember Themiscrya?
Remember the Amazons?"
Seriana frowned. "Stop trying to confuse me! I have no
idea what you're talking about. If you move I'll kill you."
Thalia took a deep breath. "I don't know what's wrong,
but let me help." She looked into Seriana's eyes, but saw
no recognition. All she saw was wariness and distrust. Then it
dawned on her.
Seriana had no idea who she was.
Moving quickly, Thalia grabbed Seriana's arm and twisted her
around to grab the dagger without hurting her. In a counter
move, Seriana whirled from her grip and tried to come up behind
her. Thalia shoulder rolled out of the way. She's aiming to
kill, the Amazon thought. She's trying to kill me, and
I'm trying not to hurt her.
Seriana dove at her again and Thalia spun to the side, coming
up behind her and grabbing her arms. Seriana placed her feet
against the wall, running up it and over Thalia’s head, dagger
Thalia gasped as the blade sliced down her left shoulder.
Nothing mortal, but it was deep.
This is no friendly fight. She means to kill me.
Thalia realized the seriousness of the situation. Grasping
her shoulder, she hoped Seriana would come to her senses soon.
She ducked and dodged as her new friend lunged at her again.
Back at Themiscyra, Xanthea was treating Belen in the healing
hut. Ollaea was by her side, helping her sister tend the wounded
Xanthea asked, "And where have you been?" in that
Ollaea blushed. "Just swimming . . . stuff like
Xanthea looked up from her patient for a moment. Quickly she
drew her head back down to concentrate. After a moment, she
replied, "I hope you did not get into any trouble, sister.
Thalia and Seriana are in enough."
Seriana charged, dropping her shoulder and running into
Thalia’s stomach. Thalia winced as she was shoved backward a
few paces. She dug in managed to lash out at Seriana, kicking
her on the shins.
Unable to maintain her footing, Seriana dropped to one knee.
Her hand flashed up, the dagger glinting in the late evening
sun. Thalia grabbed her wrist and twisted, holding fast and
It took a moment as they struggled, strength against
strength, but Thalia had the advantage of height and Seriana’s
grip loosened, dropping the dagger to the ground between them.
Thalia pushed with all her might, throwing Seriana away from her
and the blade.
She picked up the blade as Seriana spun back to face her,
regaining her feet. She eyed the Biomorph, circling around as
Thalia picked up the dagger. Turning, the Head Scout threw the
blade from her with all her might and heard a rewarding thunk
as it lodged itself into the bark of a tree.
It took a moment to register that the dagger was gone. The
strange woman could have pressed her advantage at any time, yet
she had not. "Why have you spared me?" Seriana asked.
Thalia looked at her in amazement, she did not know what to
make of this. "I am your friend, believe it or not. We need
to find you some help."
As soon as she spoke, a cold light shot through the air and
coalesced in front of the statue as Tern. The mysterious Amazon
either didn’t see them, their fight had left them near the
edge of the temple, or didn’t care. Not caring to take chances
at being discovered, Thalia pulled Seriana into the lengthening
shadows of the trees and dropped into a crouch, motioning for
her confused friend to keep quiet.
There was a pause and Tern sighed, drumming impatient fingers
against the marble statue. Medea appeared in a shimmer of light,
looking pleased with herself.
Tern gazed coldly at Medea. Finally, she said, "Pelee is
Medea looked shocked. "But that is impossible! She was
captured and sold when you both were young, I wasn't even
"You don’t know the facts, Medea. She was never
captured or sold. She simply disappeared. We explained it as
best we could at the time. Nevertheless, I saw her standing
outside of this temple with Ollaea and that Amazon you tried to
kill. Tried and FAILED, I might add," she looked
disappointed. "The Amazon still lives and Ollaea took her
back to Themiscyra to be healed by her sister."
Medea cursed herself. "Meddling little . . ."
"Exactly," Tern replied. She drummed her fingers on
the statue again, thinking. "I think I can distract Pelee
long enough for you to take Ollaea’s life as your sacrifice
for Ares. Otherwise . . ."
"We both perish," Medea finished for her. "How
will I lure Ollaea out of Themiscyra?"
Before Tern could share her plan, she was startled by a sound
from behind. Frosty eyes turned toward the shadows at the edge
of the temple. "Why you little spies!"
Thalia stood up, pulling Seriana to her feet.
"Run!" she yelled, leading the way back toward
Xanthea sighed and shook her head.
"What am I going to do with you?" she asked her
sister. "I'm not our mother, but don't run off like that
again. And don't lie to me either. You couldn't have been out
for a swim and brought Belen back in this condition."
She finished what she was doing and then went to sit on a cot
near the door flap to the tent. "Ollaea, you're my sister
and I worry about you. You have to understand that now that
you're here with me again, I worry even more. Just please be
honest with me here, all right?" She took a deep breath and
motioned for her sister to sit down beside her.
"Now, can you fill me in on what's been going on around
here? I -- I don't know what's come over me, but I think I might
be coming down with something. I've been so sleepy lately."
Xanthea yawned and shook her head.
"Now, please, Ollaea, tell me what's been going on
around here and don't lie either."
"Oh, not much Xan, really," a bored voice answered
"Who . . .?" the healer asked, straining to make
out the figure crouched in a shadowed corner of the hut. She
blinked and the figure was gone. "What is going o . .
A taloned hand clamped down on her shoulder before she could
finish. She and spun, assuming a fighting stance, but there was
no newcomer in the med tent.
Ollaea’s eyes were wide and she looked ready to make a run
"Ollaea?" Xanthea inquired, reaching out for
sister. "Ollaea, what's wrong? What's going on?"
"It's her," the Amazon hissed.
An eerie giggle raked against Xanthea's nerves like jagged
razor blades against the skin. Ollaea bolted for the door,
grabbing Xanthea's hand. She knew that although they were both
impressive warriors, they would be no match for a demi-goddess
or demon . . . or whatever the hell Medea was now.
She moved a little too slow.
In a flash Medea blocked the exit, claws ready and hissing.
"Going somewhere Ollaea?" she asked, her ice blue
eyes contorting into odd, feline orbs. Before she could reach
her sword, Ollaea had slammed her in the stomach, catching her
"RUN!" she screamed, pulling Xanthea out of the
hut. Medea's enraged scream shook the foundations of the
village. Streaks of crimson lightning shot from her fingers,
catching both of the Amazons in the back.
They hit the dirt like bricks.
Scowling and muttering curses in a language only she knew;
the demi-goddess walked over to the two limp forms. A few
younger Amazons were staring at her. She hissed and they ran as
if from death itself.
"Well, my dear," the platinum blond crooned,
crouching over Ollaea’s still body. "Aren't you the brave
one? Hitting someone you knew could destroy you with a thought.
My, my; you're just a little hero, aren't you?" She took
the woman's face between her palms and leaned in until their
"Because of this formidable display of Amazonian spirit,
I'll let you in on a little secret," she pursed her
blood-red lips and kissed her Amazon sisters forehead. It was a
gesture full of venom. When she spoke it was little more than a
whisper, "I . . . hate . . . HEROES!"
Medea stood, whipping Ollaea to the ground and twisting the
woman's neck as she did so. Shaking her head distastefully she
spit. "You know it's probably a good thing you two decided
to play tag when you did. It's getting kind of late. And I'm