Daughters & Demons


A sound like thunder rolled forth from somewhere outside the village. As every head turned towards it, a giant black war-stallion charged into the compound. On it's back was a young woman of slender build and medium height who controlled the demonic horse with forceful ease.

She had glistening auburn hair that was braided and coiled around her head. It looked as though it would be incredibly long if it were loose. Her eyes were blue, sharp and fiery. From throat to toes, she was covered in black leather that blended perfectly with her mount. She was unarmed, except for a long sheathed dagger at her hip that had a small ruby set in it just below the blade.

She swung off her mount and held her hands up in surrender as everyone went for their weapons.

"Peace!" she cried. "I would speak to the Queen," she spied a man standing among the Amazons. "Hercules!" she called in recognition.

The blonde demigod looked at her and smiled. "Seri!" He moved forward and hugged her with the ease of long familiarity. "What are you doing out here in Themiscrya? I thought you'd be with Jagurita and the others."

"Things came up. But what are you doing here?"

"That is a very long story."

"Excuse me," Haven cut in, "but would you step away from our guest, restrain your horse, and explain what you are doing here?"

The girl tossed her head. "I am Seriana. I would speak to Queen Celosia to offer my skill in the defense of this tribe. I wish to join Themiscrya."


"Welcome, Seriana" A brown haired Amazon stepped forward. "I am Thalia." She held out her hand, which Seriana grasped in greeting. "What has brought you to us?"


"I bring greetings from another tribe of our sisters, far to the south," Seriana explained. "But although I had been training under their honorable Queen for many months, a member of their council was discovered to have been in the employ of Ares. She was banished and I had to flee for my life."

"What causes Ares to be such a threat to you?" Thalia inquired.

Seriana paused for a moment and looked to Hercules for guidance. "You'd better tell them, Seri," he advised. "It won't do to start by keeping secrets."

"You are right," she admitted. "Very well, then. I pray for the forgiveness of Artemis and of her Amazons, but the accursed truth is that I am the daughter of Ares."

A murmur of surprise and anger went up from the crowd.

"He wished me to serve as his lieutenant," Seriana continued, "but with the help of Hercules and a few others I was able to escape him and have fled his presence these three years. I feel quite sure that he will never find me here. Before I fled my village I took great pains to make it appear to all that I had fallen into the sea and drowned. No one knows that I still live, and so they will not endanger this tribe by seeking me. You have my word on it."


The newly returned Regent stared out the window of her hut with her keen feline eyes. Celosia had been asking her a lot of question about those eyes . . . among other things.

The changes to her hair had been one of the first questions to escape the young Queen's mouth. Medea's answers had been brief and vague. The platinum blonde would only say that she had spent some time communing with a Goddess and had now returned stronger.

Celosia didn't have to guess to know which Goddess her younger sister had been keeping company with. She shivered as she thought of Velasca, and more prominently, what Velasca might have done to change Medea so much.

Celosia appeared oblivious to Medea's Goddess-hood though, and the Regent intended to keep it this way.

The newly born Goddess grinned darkly and flexed her claws, staring outside. "Looks like we have company sis," she sneered. She pulled the ebony razors back in before they could be seen.

Fresh meat. Perhaps Ares' sacrifice need not be a sister of importance to the tribe after all.

Celosia looked uncertainly at her sister and she, too, looked out the window. "Yes, it does appear we have a new sister among us. She looks to be from another tribe. Shall we have a look?"

Medea looked at her with those chilly glacial eyes and Celosia felt for a moment that she was encased in thick ice without an escape. The feeling left as suddenly as it had come.

"Wouldn't miss it for the world sis," the Regent replied. "By the way, have you seen Tern lingering about? I really would love to share something with her."

Celosia chose not to answer and they exited the hut, heading towards the group in the square.


The queen raised a hand in greeting as she and Medea approached the newcomers. "Welcome to Themiscrya." she said.

Seriana's black war stallion half-reared, but she brought him down again. "Easy, Deinus," she chided. "My greetings, Majesty, and also those of Queen Ephiny of the village of Joxopolis. I offer to your tribe my services as a warrior."

"I accept them on behalf of the tribe." Celosia answered. "May I present my sister, Medea."

The two women shook hands. "A pleasure to meet you," Medea purred.

Seriana pulled back the smallest fraction as her subtle instinct felt something wrong in Medea's clear, steady eyes. But the impression was gone in a fraction of a second. "Likewise," she responded.

"Well, Seriana," Celosia said, "We'll see about finding you somewhere to sleep and stabling for your horse."

Celosia nodded. "Very well. Medea, will you see about helping our new sister to settle in?"

Medea let the faintest smile flicker across her face. "Actually, I need to go find Tern. My apologies."

"Thalia, then. Show her where she can put her horse and get something to eat."

Thalia bowed. "Yes, Majesty. If you'll come with me, Seriana?"


Thalia led Seriana away from the group and towards the area where the horses were kept. The rough outline of a stable could be seen and several Amazons were busy maneuvering logs into place for the walls. In fact, as they crossed the square, Seriana noticed several buildings in various stages of construction and Amazons working hard to create a village from the forest.

"You can put him over here," Thalia showed her to a hitching post that would someday be a stall. "We don't have a horse for every Amazon, we usually travel by foot unless it's an emergency, so this building isnít high on the list to be finished."

Seriana nodded and tied the lead of her raven horse to the post. Several of the other horses nickered a greeting to the newcomer, a good sign. She gave her beast a loving touch on the nose as he stomped and shook his head.

Seriana glanced about to see if anyone was around and leaned over towards Thalia. "The woman, Medea. Who is she?"

"She's the Queen's sister," Thalia explained. "Why do you ask?"

"Well," Seriana shrugged. "I'm not sure. There's something that's bothering me. I mean, I love it here and I don't want to offend anyone, but she just . . ." she didn't know how to finish it.

Thalia gave her a reassuring pat on the shoulder. "It's okay to feel uncomfortable. You're new, but you'll like it here. As for Medea," the scout sighed. "I really don't know what's going on with her. She's changed a lot and acts kind of weird sometimes. Once in a while I see her chanting in her tent."

"How do you find this out?"

Thalia smiled. "I have my ways of getting around." She changed into a squirrel and ran a circle around Seriana before changing back.

Seriana gasped. "How did you do that?"

"I'm a biomorph, a shape shifter." Thalia brushed off her shirt. "I can change into any type of animal, including other humans. That's why I'm head scout. I can get around and spy more easily."

"Did you ever see anything strange with Medea? Sorry for prying."

"It's okay. I've mostly seen just chanting and things. I've been a little wary of spying on her ever since she got her hair cut, but I might just check it out to make sure everything is okay with her."

"All right," Seriana nodded.

"Shall we get back to the circle in a little bit?" Thalia looked towards the Queen.

"Sure, let's just feed the horses first."

"All right." Thalia agreed.


The two Amazons cut open a bale of hay and gave it out to the horses. At length, Seriana inquired, "Do other Themiscryans have powers, like you do?"

"Some do," Thalia admitted. "Many are guarded by various animals and that sometimes can come into play. The Queen displayed some interesting talents the other day, as well. Then thereís Yakut, sheís the Shamaness, she knows a thing or two about magic. Do you?"

"Do I what?"

"Have powers."

The young woman ran a hand over her horseís neck. "Not powers, per say, but my bloodline does give me heightened senses, quick reflexes, and what you might call instinct. Sometimes I can feel danger coming. But itís always very vague and only comes rarely, so I donít count on it much."

Thalia smiled. "Well, I guess being the daughter of Ares isnít all bad."

"I guess not. It gave me some prime opportunities to steal useful stuff from him when I escaped. Like Deinus, thatís my horse, and my knife," she drew the long, narrow, deadly-looking blade from itís sheath and let it reflect the light. "Created from the metal of Hephaestus. Unbreakable."

"Itís a beautiful weapon," Thalia said admiringly. "It suits you very well, Seriana."

"Call me Seri," the other requested. "It saves breath."

The two smiled at one another. They were already friends.


Medea whispered airily to herself as she trudged into the dense forest. "Tern, Tern, Tern . . . where are you my dear witch?" She'd searched the entire village and not found the blond-haired woman. She really needed to find her.

Of the entire village there wasn't a single person who knew Medea as well as Tern did. They seemed to share some unspoken bond. Medea had always guessed it was because they were both born on the full moon of Artemis.

Artemis. There was a thought. The young Regent wondered what the Goddess of the Hunt thought of her now. Accepting ambrosia from Velasca and running errands for Ares.

The platinum bond's lips curled up in a devious smile. I wonder what everyone on Olympus thinks of my new . . . look.

The memory of Velasca screaming as her face was literally chewed away flashed behind Medea's glacial eyes. For a moment there was just a tiny glint of emerald green in her eyes as she remembered.

Medea wasn't proud of what she had done. In fact, it kind of scared her.

"Perhaps all isn't lost then," Tern's steady voice spoke from behind her. Medea whipped around to face the witch.

"Tern," she purred. "I've been looking for you. I wanted to share something with you but," she shrugged.

"Too late."

"Ah," the Goddess smiled. "I should have known you'd figure it out on your own. You always could read me." Medea began to feel nervous. Just how much did Tern know? If the witch knew of her plans with the War God all was lost!

"Like a scroll. So you ripped up Velasca, huh? Figured that would happen after a while. She was just using you to do her dirty work." Tern's gray eyes bored into Medea's icy ones. She felt as if her mentor were trying to pry open the very heavy mental door Medea had put up. So far the witch was having no success.

"I know," Medea said, looking to the ground. She felt Tern nudging at the barriers she'd put up. This was a good sign. This meant she didn't already know what was behind that door, namely her contract with Ares. A freezing sensation overtook the Regent and the barriers held firm. Very firm.

Tern sighed and looked down at her friend. "All right kid, let's see whatcha got."

Grinning wolfishly, Medea extended her claws and fangs and let her eyes take on their surreal glow. A low growl escaped her lips.

Tern stared for a moment with a cocked eyebrow. She knew she should be disapproving. She was the older one here. She had to be responsible. But somewhere inside, seeing Medea's untamed self, she just couldn't. Something wild lit in her eyes too, preventing her from playing 'adult'.

"Fun, isn't it?" Medea asked in a decidedly feline voice.

Tern laughed and leant against her staff. "Yes, that it is."


Tern shook head gently watching her protťgťe. "You know you're walking a dangerous line," she said quietly.

The younger Amazon nodded and shrugged. "Yeah, but come on. You know what this means."

Tern sighed. Her sister Pelee, missing in action for so long, suddenly came to mind. Tern wished she were here. But she alone knew where Pelee was and no one else could know.

"Tread carefully my darling cousin. Charges of treason are not to be taken lightly," Tern advised. She had found a thin crack in Medea's wall.

Medea studied her mentor. Tern was changed as well, but she couldn't put her finger on it. The only minds she hadnít ever been able to break into were Ternís and that of Ternís twin sister, Pelee. But Tern had taught her well in shielding her own mind.

"Why has no one seen you for days?" Medea demanded. Tern shrugged.

"I've been off on business," she evaded the answer. Medea laughed.

"We both got secrets huh?"


"Step into the light." Medea said. Tern did so. Gone were her golden tresses, replaced by flowing dark ruby locks. She didn't miss the change in her cousinís eyes either. They were no longer gray but a bright vivid blue that bore fresh pain, to one who knew how to read them.

Medea raised one eyebrow. "Interesting."

Tern slung one arm around her apprentice and cousin.

"C'mon. Let's go howl at the moon."


Off to the side, crouched under a hazelnut tree, Ollaea sat with intent eyes staring at the two mysterious sisters. She watched them speak for some while longer, afraid they would notice her. In her agitation, however, she fell to one side, causing the bushes to whisper and shake.

Quickly, the two changed Amazons turned to look behind themselves into the greenery. Seeing nothing, they exchanged a look and moved toward the sound. But when they cleared the leaves enough to see, there was nothing there.

Ollaea was already running for the village.

Tern heard Ollaeaís footsteps first, then Medea caught their cadence. They started after the girl.

Ollaea lost ground fast. She could see the pair gaining on her. They moved slightly apart from one another, working to surround her on both sides.

Worried, she spurred herself to greater speeds and rammed into a broad male chest.

Both rolled end over end across the rough ground, unconscious from the force of their collision.

The two changed Amazons soon fell over their bodies.


"What was that?"

Thalia cocked her head. She could have sworn she heard something. The sound seemed more "feeling" than "sound", however, and quickly faded. "I'm going to check it out." She started for the woods.

Seriana stepped forward. "I'm going with you."

Thalia shook her head. "No, it's too dangerous. Stay here, I'll be back."

Seriana stood in front of Thalia. "I'm not letting you go alone, you could get hurt. I'm going with you."

Thalia smiled. That was the determination she wanted in an Amazon sister. "All right, I'm going to morph into a bird. Iíll check if it's safe, keep me in sight, but stay behind," Thalia took the form on a brown hawk and took off into the air. Seriana ran after her.

Thalia peered with the hawk's keen eyesight and spotted figures on the forest floor. She flew down behind some bushes and morphed back to her usual form. Looking closer, she saw Ollaea, unconscious, sprawled over another figure that Thalia could not see clearly.

Was that Tern and Medea standing over them?

Thalia gasped. No, they were . . . what were they? Were those really her Amazon sisters? What had they done to Ollaea?

Thalia jumped out of the bush, between the Amazons and Ollaea. "I want to know what's going on here."

She held her ground, prepared if they should attack. Not knowing who or what they were or what they were capable of, Thalia remained cautious. She could see that she might have trouble if both of them decided to attack at once.

Seriana, she sent telepathically. Unfortunately, Thalia could only send messages, not receive them. Seriana, go for help! Get Celosia and the others! I don't know what we're up against but we need help! Ollaea is down and the attackers are still here. I'll try to hold them off. Hurry!

As the two creatures stared at her and flexed their claws, she hoped Seriana had gotten the message.


Seriana halted for a moment in surprise.

Seriana! Thalia's voice seemed to shout inside her mind. Seriana, go for help! Get Celosia and the others! I don't know what we're up against but we need help! Ollaea is down, and the attackers are still here. I'll try to hold them off. Hurry!

She knew a telepathic message when she heard one. She hadn't known that telepathy was among Thalia's many talents, but it was certainly Thalia's voice. There was no question.

She froze, not knowing what to do. She needed to find her friend, but she'd been ordered to go to the queen. Was there any time?

Serianaís mental link sent more than just the simple message. She saw Thalia standing over her fallen sister, frightened but firm. "Who are you?" she demanded of two Amazons with icy eyes.

"Your worst nightmare," one replied. She ran a deadly claw along Thalia's cheek.

Seriana flinched and tried to cover her cheek. Her demigoddess' senses could feel the pain in the touch; the vile evil, the massive power.

It was a touch she knew well, for her father had often drawn his finger along her jawbone in such a way. She knew the touch of a god. She also knew the touch of someone who served Ares; it burned.

There was no time to be indecisive. Seriana crossed her fingers, squeezed her eyes shut, and tried with her mind to reach through Thalia and grab the power in that touch. Thalia shook her head in pain: What was using her so?

Medea jumped as the slightest drop of power drained from her, through Thalia, and into Seriana.

As soon as she had it, she fired it straight at the only person she knew who could possibly hear. "HERCULES!"

Then she ran full-tilt after Thalia, making sure that her deadly Ruby Dagger was loose in its sheath.


With a snarl, Tern grabbed Medea and they vanished. Thalia and Seriana jumped into a back to back position in case of another attack.

"What in Hades just happened?" Thalia whispered.

Seriana shook her head. "I don't know. Nothing good."

"Are Tern and Medea demons now?" Thalia asked.

"I hope not," Seriana grimaced. "But I donít see a lot of ways around it. I know evil when I touch evil."

Thaliaís mind raced. Surely the cousins weren't demons. Medea was young and impressionable, but Tern?

Thalia had known the four cousins a long time. Sure, Tern was a little crazy, but to betray her tribe . . . surely not. And Medea followed Ternís lead in most everything.

But what other excuse was there for their appearance? The strange claws, the wicked eyes, the aura of evil power.

"What happened?" Celosia demanded as she, Hercules, Iolaus and an army of Amazons burst onto the scene.

"You're sweet baby sister and deranged cousin are in league with something evil," Thalia replied with hostility.

The Amazons fell silent. To accuse the Queen's Regent and sister of evil doing . . . well, it could be punishable by death.

"Explain yourself." Celosia said flatly, a cold chill running down her spine.


"She speaks the truth," Seriana said, her breathing short and fast, but her voice calm. "Honored Queen, I plead forgiveness, but I know what I saw and I know what I felt. The pair were demons."

Thalia nodded. "They were no longer human, Celosia. They were something else."

"Where are they, then?" the Queen asked.

"Gone," the two said in one voice.

"They use great dark power," Seriana explained. "They used it to flee."

"You two speak high treason," Celosia announced, her voice ringing with the great power that only a queen can command. "One thing is certain: Someone has betrayed us. If you lie, then it is you and you must be punished. If you are truthful, then there is great danger among us. Here is my command: Bind Thalia and Seriana and that man whom Ollaea is on top of. Lock them up. Take Ollaea back to the village and see what the healers can do for her. Get everyone into the village. I don't want anyone out alone. And send a party of no less than six Amazons to look for Tern and Medea."

A murmured chorus of 'Yes, Majesty' echoed among the company as her orders were carried out.

Hercules moved to intervene as Seriana's hands were bound behind her and her dagger taken, but she shook her head and he stayed where he was. A cold breeze sailed across her face, and she shuddered at the memory of the demon-woman's cold, evil touch.

There was great danger and she could no longer see it.


Kaili watched the procession of prisoners enter the compound. She stood quiet for a minute and walked up to an Amazon following the group. "What is this all about?" she asked. The Amazon gave as much information as she had, which was sketchy at best.

Kaili absorbed the information while watching the Queen walk into her hut. "Thank you," she told the Amazon. "Thatíll do." The Amazon shrugged and returned to her duties, puzzled by Kailiís reaction.

For her part, the Amazon only gripped a piece of parchment tighter and shoved it down against her side. She sighed. No other choice, she thought to herself.

She went up the few stairs to the Queenís porch and raised a hand to knock on the door. A masculine hand gripped her arm.

"What do you think your doing?" Hercules asked.

Kaili gave a short reply saying, "Business," and jerked her arm from Herculesí grasp. Knocking, she entered the Queens hut. "Excuse me, I know this is a terrible time to bring this up, but I need to inform you of a...circumstance."

A look of panic crossed the Queen's face. Celosia began to ask what that might be, but Kaili interrupted her.

"Thereís nothing wrong, but I have come to ask your permission to leave."

"Why is that, Kaili?" the Queen asked, studying the young warrior.

Kaili sighed and started to explain, "I never told you, but I am a Queen also. I have received word that my people need me. The letter also brought news of my . . . husband. He's dying and I must go to him. I may never return to Themiscrya, but I wanted to thank you for the training I received here. I also thank you for unknowingly teaching me how to rule my kingdom."

The Queen looked at the young woman for a minute as if she was surprised. "Kaili, I need to think on that."


Surprisingly, the Queen agreed to let Kaili go.

A few moments later she had packed some things and was mounting a horse to take on her travel. An eerie feeling passed over her, leaving her shivering as she bent down to pick up the saddle for her horse. She tightened her muscles, then loosened them once again to shake the feeling. It worked. Within the next minute she was riding into the woods toward Lyria, her kingdom.

"Home," she thought. "My husband, my children, my people; I have missed you all so."


The two Amazons were tied to the prisoner posts in the corner of the village where an eye could be kept on them.

Seriana closed her eyes as the chill from the evil ran through her.

"Are you okay?" Thalia's voice interrupted Seriana's thoughts.

"Yeah, I'm okay, I just can't shake this feeling I got back there. I can feel the evil. Do you have any idea what happened?"

Thalia shook her head. "I don't know. I've seen something going on with Medea. She's . . . she's changed so much, I don't understand all of it. I'm afraid that she might have come in liaison with something evil. I'm afraid for the Amazons and for her. I don't know about Tern; that came as a shock to me. Despite what's going on, I don't want anything to happen to them."

Seriana nodded. It was quiet for a while as they listened to the crickets while the sky darkened. They could hear the crackle of the bonfire as the Amazons sang and chanted around it.

"So what other powers do you have?" Seriana broke the silence. "I heard you talking into my head."

"Oh, that." Thalia chuckled. "Not much. I can morph, shape-shift into animals, and I'm working with this one-way telepathy thing that I found out I can do. I can send messages to people, though they might not receive it. I can only get messages back from Desdion, though."


"Sort of my guardian wolf. He watches over me sometimes."

"Oh," Seriana looked to the ground, silent for the next few moments. After a little while she looked back to Thalia. "What do you think they'll do to us?"

Thalia shrugged a small shrug against her bonds. "I'm not sure. I've been with this tribe a long time. And Iíve been with Celosia ever since she was a child."

"Why would she do this to you?"

"For the safety of the tribe. She can't put one member above the others. She knows there's evil out there and she can't take the chance that it might be us. Medea is just as close to her as I am."

"Can't you just morph and escape?"

Thalia shook her head. "I'd rather not betray Celosia's trust. I know we're innocent, we'll just have to wait it out and be careful."

"Careful of what?"

"If those were really Medea and Tern, they might be able to manipulate it to look like we're the demons."

Seriana sucked in a breath. "Then what?"

Thalia shook her head. "Let's hope we won't find out."

Seriana closed her eyes as another chill went through her. "I can . . . I can feel this evil."

Thalia blinked. "You can feel it? Can you find it?"

Seriana licked her lips. "I . . . I think I might." She nodded her heads towards her bonds. "These might present a problem."

Thalia bit her lip. "We need to find Tern and Medea before anything else happens, but if they find us gone it will prove our guilt," she sighed. "Whatever is going on, we have to stop them. Are you up for it?"

Seriana nodded. "Of course."

"The other Amazons will be after us, to betray the tribe means certain death. I have to risk it to save my sisters. Are you willing?"

Seriana nodded again. "I'm with you all the way."

"All right." Thalia closed her eyes to morph. "Let's go."


The escape was relatively simple. A small brown squirrel slipped out of the ropes and grew into Thalia again. She struggled with the knots around Seriana's wrists, her fingers shaking with nervousness. If they were caught now . . .

Seriana shook the loosened ropes off. "Thanks."

"Don't mention it."

"Do you have any weapons you can use?"

"Yes: my bow and quiver are in my hut."

"Go and get them. I'll saddle Deinus; we'll be able to outrun anything on him. And for goodness sake, watch your back."

They met by the horses a few minutes later. Thalia had her bow and a quiver full of good arrows, and held Serianaís dagger. "Here. I got it out of the weaponís hut."

Seriana smiled gratefully and returned it to its sheath. "Letís go."

Even with the giant Deinus, Thaliaís skill guided them out of the village without being detected. Once they were out of sight, Seriana swung up into the saddle and pulled Thalia up after her.

"Can you still feel it?" Thalia asked anxiously.

Seriana closed her eyes and reached out with her mind. There it was . . . the powerful, evil force of a dark goddess. "Yes," she answered, shuddering. "This way. Hold on."

They set off, trying to be as quiet as possible, trying to swallow their fear. Both were accustomed to having a tribe of Amazons supporting them, but now they were alone, fleeing from their sisters, heading into danger. They both held their heads up, but they were afraid.

Medea could smell it.


Hercules made his way through the tents to where heíd seen Seri and Thalia tied up, but stopped when he found nothing more than a post. Slowly, he smiled. The two were taking a huge risk, but he knew and trusted his niece and was assured that this escape did not incriminate them. But the Amazons wouldnít see it that way . . .

He turned his back on the post and walked slowly away, whistling to himself. Where had Iolaus got to now?


A few minutes later . . .

"What do you mean, theyíre gone?" Celosia demanded as she fingered the cords hanging from the prisoner post. "Why didnít you post guards?"

The crowd of Amazons shuffled around uncomfortably. "No one thought they would escape," someone in the back pointed out. "Itís Thalia, after all. We trusted her."

"And Seriana? Did you trust her?" the queen snapped. Then she sighed. "I trusted her. I welcomed her into our sisterhood. I should have known better than to trust a daughter of Ares."

"Celosia, thatís not fair!" Xanthea protested.

"Sheís taken Tern and Medea!" Celosia snarled, angry at herself. "Sheís taken Thalia, too. They are traitors. Ares is always called the Lord of Battle, the Master of Brutality, and Father of Treachery. Didnít anyone find it strange that Thalia was so quick to befriend a stranger of such questionable lineage?"

No one answered.

Celosia slammed her fist against the post, wishing that the girlís head were still there. "All right." she said at last. "Letís hunt them down."

"Yes, my queen," said everyone more or less in unison. The hunt was on.


Instrument of Chaos

The Hunt


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