Mizera flew towards Thalia and delivered a mighty blow
to Thalia’s ribs. Thalia twisted around herself,
crawling across the earth as the Mizera followed her,
delivering blow after blow. Her cold laugh filled air.
"You should feel flattered Thalia, you will be the
first of your sisters to die!"
Across the forest, Desdion began to panic. He sensed
Thalia’s pain and his sharp ears made out the sound of
her faraway scream. But his bond with her was broken and
he couldn't get his thoughts through to her. Without a
word to the other Amazons, he began weaving through the
forest toward the sound.
Aurora didn’t need to be told twice, glanced at the
others and followed.
Thalia managed to gather enough strength to move out
of the path of Mizera’s staff and morphed back into an
owl. With a powerful sweep of her wings, she climbed out
of reach of the evil woman. Angered, she turned and
swooped down toward Mizera’s face, her beak snapping,
her claws raking.
Mizera cried out in pain as Thalia, unable to continue
the attack, flew away. "You’ll pay for that,
Thalia!" Mizera called after her.
The pain Thalia suffered in her battle asserted
itself, making it impossible for her to fly straight.
Weaving back and forth, she couldn’t control her
descent and headed slowly toward the forest floor. In
desperation, she called out to her friend. Des…
but never finished the thought.
Thalia! Desdion replied. He focused on Xanthea
and said, She’s this way.
Thalia rolled again on the forest floor, morphing back
into her human form as she tumbled. She crashed into a
large leafy shrub and stopped, panting. She was a mass
of bruises and cuts, but she wasn’t seriously hurt.
The worst pain was her wounded shoulder, throbbing
painfully as she struggled to sit up.
But she had heard something as she had fallen through
the branches. Desdion? She asked. Can you hear
me? Where are you?
Desdion led Thalia's sisters through the trees.
"Thalia!" Several concerned voices exclaimed,
running over to her.
"I'm okay," Thalia said. She let them help
her to her feet. "Just a little beaten up is
A shrill voice surrounded them. "You can run but
you can't hide! I’ll find you sometime, Thalia. You
haven't beaten me, just delayed me!" Mizera called
out in an angry voice.
"Let’s get her home," Belen suggested.
"What if Mizera is still following us?"
"She won’t. She’ll need time to recover from
her injury," Thalia said. The Amazons lifted her up
and together they tracked the way back to Themiscrya.
Celosia ran to the Amazons when they arrived.
"I'm okay, it looks worse than it is,"
Thalia assured the Queen. Xanthea draped the Head Scout’s
arm over her shoulder and together they moved off into
the med hut.
"What happened?" Celosia demanded.
Aurora stepped forward to explain. She outlined the
escape from Mizera’s prisons and the fight afterward.
"Thalia changed into an owl and began tracking a
roundabout way home, figuring Mizera would follow us to
you. We soon lost sight of her."
"That’s when we found them," Medea stated.
"The wolf, Desdion," she indicated the lanky
beast with her head. He sat outside the med hut, his
ears raised toward the doorway. "He led Léda,
Xanthea and I to them. He couldn’t find Thalia, but
she was already among them, wounded. Mizera fought her,
but Thalia defeated her."
The head scout emerged from the med hut, Xanthea
behind her looking satisfied. All heads turned to them,
the wolf coming up under Thalia’s hand. "I’m
fine," she said, patting the creature, but speaking
Celosia looked back at the Healer, who nodded her
agreement. "Good. Now, let’s set a trap for a
"She’s weak now," Thalia finished her
tale. She prodded the low embers of the central fire
back to life, chasing away the darkness. Streaks of gray
could be seen along the horizon, the first signs of a
Celosia nodded. "First things first," she
said. "We should build traps to snare as many of
the rogue Amazons as we can. Limit her army as much as
possible. Léda, begin building snares, pits and
traps." She seemed to notice the large number of
sleeping Amazons around her and sighed. "Take
whoever can be spared from the battle to come. Thalia,
do you feel up to some scouting?"
"Of course I do," the Head Scout replied
"Oh, no you don’t," Xanthea vetoed softly.
"If you’re to be any help against Mizera again,
you’ll need rest. I’ll allow Léda and her team, but
everyone else should be in bed. Now," she ordered.
"Fine," the Queen said, standing. "Go
Léda woke several of the younger Amazons and moved
off into the forest. The other Amazons went to their
bedrolls, Celosia moving to the Queen’s hut.
Quiet enveloped Themiscrya.
"Miserable little Biomorph," Mizera grumbled
as she cleaned her wound. "She won’t get the
chance to do that again. Soon I will crush them. All of
"Of course, my queen," an Amazon
acknowledged, binding the wound with clean cloth.
Mizera flexed against the wrap, then stretched out her
hand. An almost invisible force expanded out from her
palm and knocked the Amazon off her feet. The girl
shuddered and shook her head, disoriented, but unhurt.
The witch frowned, realizing how weak her powers still
were. "Not good enough," she said. Her powers
were charging too slowly. Her patience was wearing thin.
She would not be denied her revenge.
It was mid-afternoon when the Léda woke Celosia.
"I’ve done as much as I can about the traps, my
Queen. I had to dismiss the Amazons, most were falling
over from exhaustion and lack of sleep."
Celosia watched the Head Warrior sway slightly
herself. Dark shadows underlined the woman’s eyes and
her eyelids drooped. "They aren’t alone, I fear.
You’ve done your duty this day, Léda. Rest now. Stay
here where it’s dark and quiet, in fact."
"If Mizera’s Amazons should attack," Léda
"I’m sure you’ll be awake for that. Rest. It’s
an order," the Queen pushed the warrior down onto
her bunk and pulled the blanket over her. The Weapons
Master was asleep before Celosia could tidy the folds.
In the courtyard she found most of the Amazons awake.
She ordered those few who had helped Léda carried into
her hut for safety and rest. Then she gathered with the
others around the cook pot, where a tasty stew waited.
That was when Mizera and her Amazons attacked.
The renegade Amazons charged, their cries ringing
through the forest, sending the animals for cover. The
Themiscryan Amazons dropped their stew and reached for
weaponry. Bows and arrows appeared from nowhere, swords
and daggers were drawn from sheathes, staffs and spears
came quickly to hand.
Medea’s battle cry sounded, cheering the others to
the attack. Her mentor, Tern, stood at her back, a
wicked smile of delight on her face as an attacker went
Thalia, forbidden to morph, was instead perched in a
tree with her crossbow. She spotted a renegade heading
for Aurora and loosed a shot, stopping the woman. She
picked off several more before realizing her crossbow
was no match for the sheer number of the renegades. She
climbed down, grabbed a sword from one of the dead
renegade’s hands and leapt into the thick of the
melee. The killing spree made her sick, but she had to
She glanced about her. Where was Mizera?
Xanthea felt a sword at her throat. She heard Mizera
whisper in her ear, "Want to be a hero now?"
Xanthea looked at her Amazon sisters. Many were
fighting the renegade Amazons. "You don't want
me," she replied. "You want our Queen. Killing
me won't get you any closer to your goal."
"It won't?" Mizera asked. "Aren't you
the mighty tribal healer? Wouldn't it upset the Queen
even the tiniest bit if I take your life from you before
you can teach other little girls your craft?"
Xanthea could hear what she believed to be anger and
insanity lacing Mizera's voice. She lifted her eyes to
the sky and saw a falcon. "Great," she
thought. "What could happen now that's any worse
The falcon swooped down at Mizera. The witch spun
around, never loosening her grip of Xanthea. The falcon’s
only reward for the attack was a feather in Mizera’s
hair as cold laughter filled the air.
"You’ll have to move faster than that
Thalia!" she called out after the winged creature.
Belen picked up a rock that was lying close to her
feet and threw it at Mizera. Shocked, the witch almost
lost her grip on Xanthea. Mizera gave Belen a cold look.
Alcina and Thalia dropped to the ground, morphing out
of falcon form. She joined Alcina and several other
Amazons who threw the only weapon they had at Mizera,
crockery. Bowls, plates and cups sailed through the air
at the witch, trying to distract her and release her
hold on their sister.
It wasn’t much, but it was enough. Xanthea dug her
elbow into Mizera’s ribs and shoved herself away.
Snagging her staff with one foot, she popped it into the
air and caught it. She sneered at the witch as she
turned with the weapon at the ready.
Aurora and Hercules stood guard at the door to the
Queen’s hut, watching Celosia pace the room like a
caged tiger. War cries penetrated the wooden walls, some
more piercing than others, a constant reminder that a
war raged nearby.
"I won’t stay here any longer while my sisters
fight!" Celosia exploded. She strode purposefully
toward the door.
Hercules caught her in his arms and restrained her.
She thrashed for a few seconds, but it was obviously
futile. The son of Zeus was not easily bested in
"My Queen, you can’t! The loss of our Queen
would do more damage to the tribe than she can do with
her army. You must remain here," Aurora argued.
Celosia slumped against Hercules chest, he patted her
on the back. Turning her toward the interior of the
room, he began gently guiding her toward her cot. She
let herself go limp and dropped out of his hold and out
"Slippery," he muttered, following Aurora
out into camp.
Mizera laughed at Xanthea’s posturing. Raising a
hand, she made a sweeping motion that sent the Amazon
flying across the compound into a tree. The blow knocked
her senseless and darkness descended.
She awoke to a pair of blue eyes staring at her.
Xanthea looked around. She was in the Queen’s hut, in
the Queen’s own bed. Aurora knelt by her side,
mumbling words that soothed and calmed her. Hercules and
Iolaus stood near the door, watching Celosia pace back
and forth in front of the bed.
"Wha-what happened?" she asked. She sat up
and immediately saw the world spin.
"Lay down awhile longer," advised Aurora.
She wiped her brow with a wet cloth. "You'll be
fine. You've got quite the bump there though."
Xanthea replied with a weak smile. She was in too much
pain to do much else. A brighter smile would just give
her a worse headache. After a moment, she said,
"What happened with Mizera?"
Hercules kept his eyes on the Amazon Queen.
"Our sisters still battle Mizera and her
forces," said Aurora. "Your flying act did
help Hercules and I catch our wayward Queen before the
witch spotted her. You stopped her cold with surprise.
Iolaus brought you here while we brought her."
Celosia clenched her fists. "I should be out
there! I should be defending my tribe! Maybe if I fight
her then she'll leave us."
"She won't leave until you're dead."
Hercules pointed out. "She won’t accept anything
less from either you or Thalia."
"Our sisters are fighting with full force,"
Xanthea added, trying to be helpful.
"I can't stand here and let my Amazons be killed
protecting me from that woman!" Celosia paced
across the floor. She stopped and stood facing the
others. "I'm going back. I'm going to defend my
tribe and face Mizera."
"Wait!" Aurora called, but Celosia had
already gone out. "Take care of Xanthea," she
instructed Hercules. "When you can, join us. We're
going to need all the help we can get."
Many of Mizera's rogues had been defeated, but Mizera
was in full rage.
She swung her staff, sending Belen flying. She swung
again and connected with the side of Haven's head. A
kick from behind knocked her off balance, but didn’t
bring her down. Turning, shrieking madly, she sent a
bolt of power at Alcina, throwing the Amazon onto the
Yakut tried to sneak up behind her while she was
occupied with Alcina, but Mizera was too fast. Her rage
and power were growing. With a flick of her hand, she
sent Yakut sliding across the forest floor.
A moment later Mizera found herself on the ground,
kicked in the legs by Tern. With a move too quick for
most Amazon eyes to follow, she grabbed Tern by the neck
and threw her into Léda, who had been charging from
behind for an attack.
Mizera heard another Amazon come up behind her and
whirled around, kicking out and knocking the attacker
off her feet. Her eyes widened as she recognized the
"Celosia!" she hissed. "The final
moment has come! I will have my revenge!" She
raised her hands, preparing to hit Celosia with a bolt
of power. From the nearby bushes a streak of orange and
black slammed into Mizera, moving its body in front of
the downed Queen. The tiger snarled as Celosia regained
her feet, then moved into a standing position next to
the Amazon Queen.
"Thalia," Mizera growled, guessing the true
form of the tiger.
Thalia morphed, changing to her human form. "You
are no longer part of us, Mizera. You wanted your own
rules, and you got them. You wanted all for yourself and
you got just that. Take your tribe and leave us! There
is nothing left for you here."
A cold smile spread across Mizera's face. "I
disagree, biomorph. There is revenge!"
Celosia spoke. "You want revenge? Well,
unfortunately Mizera, today is just not your day."
With that, the Queen launched herself into the sky and
tucked. Rolling in the air, she unfolded herself in time
to plant her feet squarely on Mizera's chest. The soles
of her boots connected with Mizera's ribcage, sending
the other Queen flying backwards as Celosia flipped,
landing on her feet. Mizera landed with a thud on the
Mizera rolled backward and up into a standing
position. "You always did like that flying stuff,
didn't you Celosia? Well here, try this!"
She moved her arms straight out in front of her body,
her fingers spread and pointing at Celosia. The blast
from her magic shoved the Queen back and up, moving her
away from the camp and into the forest beyond.
"Celosia!" Thalia cried as her Queen was
thrown farther into the woods. "You!" She
whipped her head around to glare at Mizera. "What
happened to you? You used to be our sister!"
"Times change," Mizera snarled, sending a
bolt in Thalia's direction. Thalia jumped in the air and
flipped out of the way. "I changed."
"Why?" Thalia landed on the ground, braced
to move again.
"Power," Mizera said. She raised her hand
and Thalia struggled as she found herself frozen in
place. "Sure, we had our fun times growing up.
Stupid little kid games and chatter. When I got older I
wanted more; I wanted power. You little brats had your
own power, didn’t you shape-shifter?" With a
flick of her hand Thalia was sent crashing into a tree.
"I didn't have anything, I wanted what you had. I
was just a weak little Amazon under a weak Amazon
Thalia struggled to sit up, clutching her ribs.
"Amazons are far from weak."
"My mother was not weak," Celosia appeared.
"She was fond of you, how could you speak of her in
such a way?"
"I wanted to be Queen!" Mizera narrowed her
eyes. "I probably would have been next after you
and Medea and Thalia. I would have been, if the tarot's
spell had worked."
"That was YOU who tried to kill us!" Thalia
got to her feet.
Mizera smiled. "Yes it was."
"But . . . how would you have been made
"I had the Queen problem taken care of. A little
tip-off as to your location to a few of the king's
guards, and instant war," a smile lingered on
Mizera's lips. "A war your Queen would not live to
The Amazons froze as this information registered.
"You... you..." Thalia's eyes were wide.
"You killed my mother!" Celosia screamed,
leaping towards the witch.
The woman moved quickly out of the way, but Celosia
hung on to an arm and used her momentum to send the
witch tumbling across the ground. Mizera jumped to her
feet just in time to meet Thalia's foot in her face,
snapping the witch’s head back and sending her reeling
into a nearby tree. Dazed, she shook her head and
Celosia had followed Mizera’s slide and added a well
placed kick in Mizera's abdomen. It caused the witch to
double over, but she still managed to grab Celosia's
foot and flip her upside down in the air.
"You betrayed her," Thalia growled. She
narrowed her eyes and began to emit a faint blue light.
Her features shifted and she took the form of a blue
She snapped at Mizera, who moved away just in time.
But she didn't see Thalia's tail sweeping up behind and
the witch was sent crashing into a tree.
Thalia snarled and stood next to Celosia as
Mizera got to her feet.
"Want to play rough?" Mizera sent an icy
glare. "I can do rough..."
Thalia and Celosia stood facing Mizera, the rest of
the Amazons circling them.
Mizera stumbled to her feet. "Yeah, I killed
her," she growled out, hair hanging in her face.
"I killed her, and I'll kill the two of you."
Celosia smiled a sinister smile. "I don't think
so," she said, before closing her eyes.
Thalia looked at her queen, surprised. Celosia brought
her hands together, palms inward, and started to shake
as a glowing ball of light formed between her palms. She
opened her eyes and said, "Never again will you
harm one of us, Mizera," before flinging her arms
towards Mizera. The ball of energy sped toward the evil
Amazon, striking her and spreading over her.
Mizera looked down and saw herself as she was
enveloped in the light. "Your powers have grown
Celosia. But you haven't seen the last of me," she
said, before dissolving into thin air.
"That was different," Thalia said. "I
didn't realize you'd gotten that powerful."
Celosia shrugged, dismissing that conversation.
"I'm exhausted. Let's go home, ladies."