Medea moaned as she painstakingly pulled herself up to a
sitting position, leaning heavily on the pillar behind her. She
wanted to ask what had happened, but the room was stubbornly
refusing to cease its spinning. And besides, conversation was
pretty much impossible while the floor kept trying to knock her
"Ergghhhh . . ." She blinked her eyes slowly and
the room was returned to some of its former stability. Her
stomach, unfortunately, was still aching with something she knew
inside as guilt, but she passed it off as lack of nourishment.
"Ugh," she muttered.
Celosia, Pelee, and Tern seemed to be watching her a little
too carefully. They looked different than usual, all of them.
Fatigued . . . and older. Had the last battle taken so much out
of them? Uh, you were taken out yourself, sweet thing, as a
minor goddess. Of course the fight was hard.
The blond inspected her hands, holding them both in front of
her with exaggerated caution. She flicked a nail. Nothing
happened. With equal precaution she felt the places in her
spiked hair that her horns had once inhabited, her back where
the wings should have been attached, and finally her teeth that
should have been harshly pointed. There was nothing there. There
were no physical traces of the monster she had been left.
But on the inside . . .
Medea had done some horrible things in her time, but this
took the cake. Taking out her fellow sisters and acting the way
she had . . .
No wonder Mother chose Celosia. Some Queen I would have made.
Of course, had she chosen me I might not have run off to
Velasca, met Ares, and ended up in this mess. Medea's eyes
sparked with all-too familiar angst as she did the thing she had
done all of her life--blamed somebody else.
If she'd chosen me I never would have run off all those years
ago. I never would have even met Velasca, so she wouldn't have
found me in the forest, I wouldn't have met Ares, gotten changed
into a demon--Yes, it's perfectly clear. It's all her fault! HER
The fire in the young Amazon's eyes died a bit as they met
her mentor's gaze. Tern had heard.
But had it surprised her? Medea doubted it. Tern had known
all along that Medea would blame the former Queen for her
Will you ever forgive her, my student? Tern asked in her
mind, her eyes settled on something in the distance so that no
one would suspect a telepathic connection and intrude upon the
The blond sharply cut the connection giving Tern all the
answer she needed. Muttering as her back cracked, she quirked a
platinum eyebrow and casually inquired, "Got anything to
The little group laughed at Medea's outrageous, but normal,
question. Behind them, they heard Samsara whistle for Prince.
"Ya!" they heard her command, and she turned her horse
away from the ruins and rode off.
Celosia looked behind her and saw the Amazon's back as it
disappeared into the woods. Pelee and Tern looked on. "I
wonder what happened," Pelee said.
"I think she's learning one of her labors..."
Celosia remarked distantly.
Tern helped Medea to her unsteady feet with the help of
Celosia and Pelee. Then by mutual consent, Tern stepped forward
and whisked Medea magically back to the village gates. Pelee did
the same with Celosia, the four happy to have returned home.
Samsara, partially hidden behind the crumbling walls of her
father's temple, was left to her own devices.
Seriana came dashing out to meet them, her eyes filled with
panic. "Thalia's getting worse. I don't know what to do to
help her anymore . . . she's burning up with fever and her
wound's turning strange colors. Please, one of you help
She swayed like she was going to pass out. Celosia, who was
closest, reached out and took hold of her elbow to steady her.
"Calm down. Thalia will be all right."
"But what if I . . ."
"But . . ."
Seriana took a deep breath and attempted to do as she was
told. As Medea was escorted to the healer's hut, she trailed
behind the group, eyeing Medea and Tern suspiciously.
When an Amazon had been sent to get Medea something to eat,
everyone turned to Thalia. Seriana's panic was understandable.
The scout's color was an unnatural bluish and her breathing was
hesitant and faint.
"What happened, exactly?" Celosia asked as she
forced open one of Thalia's eyes to see the dilated pupil.
Seriana shook her head. "I hardly remember. I thought
she was going to kill me, so there was a fight . . . but it's
fuzzy. I'm forgetting things I remembered five minutes ago and
not remembering things I knew yesterday. It's scaring me."
"Tern, Pelee, you two want to take care of her?"
Celosia asked. "We don't need her running panicked around
the village while Thalia, Xanthea, and Medea need our
Guilt-ridden, Samsara had watched as Celosia hugged her
cousin and sister. A true Queen, she thought.
She had been sent to Themiscyra as a condition of her leave
from Teloq. Although she was not next in line for the late
Melosa's throne, Regent Ephiny and Domestic Queen Serena thought
it wise for her to observe another strong warrior village.
Celosia accepted Samsara and made sure that her sisters would
welcome the Princess-Heiress as if she were their own. Feelings
in Themiscrya were mixed, but the Amazons all lowered their
heads as she passed and looked directly in her eyes when they
spoke to her.
Watching Medea and Celosia reunite reminded her of her own
sisters, Seriana and Kaia. Kaia, daughter of Discord and Ares,
was a troublemaker and a threat to Themiscrya. On the other
hand, Seriana had proved herself an Amazon at heart when she
supported Thaliaís claims about demon Medea, standing up to
Queen Celosia even though she was so new to the tribe.
Seriana, the name echoed in Samsara's head. She continued
to observe the scene before her. Medea was saved. She had been
saved by her sisters and her mentors; had been saved by her
Samsara had done nothing to help. She had stood and watched
as Ares was preparing to fry Medea for good. Samsara shook her
head. The knots in her stomach became tighter.
She whistled for Prince and mounted the raven steed as soon
as he trotted toward her. "Ya!" she said, turning her
horse onto the road away from the ruins.
Celosia looked behind her and saw the Amazon's back as it
disappeared into the woods. Pelee and Tern looked on. "I
wonder what happened," Pelee said.
"I think she's learning one of her labors..."
Celosia remarked distantly.
Further in the forest, Samsara thought about what had
happened. She still had to resolve her feelings for her father.
She still had yet to resolve the feelings for her mother,
Callisto the Terrible, a.k.a. Warrior Queen. From all that she
heard, Callisto was a terrible person, but Samsara still felt
Xena created her. When she had heard that Seriana traveled with
Xena for months, she didnít know what to think.
But that was not what troubled her now. Her loyalties were
with the Themiscyrans. Still, she risked her godhead if she
interfered with any business Ares had with the Amazons. She knew
he could, and probably would, take her godhead away.
She stopped her horse. Did she care? "FATHER!" she
screamed, demanding the presence of the God of War.
He appeared before her, weary. "What is it,
She seethed. "You know very well what I call you
"Oh yes, yes, yes, your sister Kaia told me," he
waved his hand. "She informed me that you would attempt to
do damage if I so much as even thought of getting Seriana back
from your Themiscyran sisters."
She pulled out her sword. "I will if you even think
of touching my sister."
"Ooh, protective," he said mockingly. "Now why
don't you do that for Kaia?"
"Because Kaia can take care of herself," she
responded. She sheathed her sword and nudged her horse ahead.
She was done speaking with her father.
"So," he called as she passed him. "Why didn't
you attack me back there?"
She stopped again. "Because I thought you still had some
semblance of power over me. If you did you would have made me
attack Medea and Pelee. But you did not and therefore I now know
what you are full of." She trotted away.
He laughed and vanished.
Back at camp Tern had been musing over why the strange Amazon
had not attacked her or Ares but stood watching the battle. She
couldnít come to any solid conclusions, and set the matter
aside for later.
She stood with Celosia and Pelee in the med hut. Tern knelt
by Medeaís side, pressing her fingers into the bruised flesh
and then closing her eyes. After a moment, she looked up at the
three of them.
"Celosia, Iím not the healer of the tribe. I don't
think I can heal either of them. Artemis only gave me enough
power to save Medea's soul," Tern said quietly.
Pelee nodded. "My powers arenít used for this
Queen Celosia turned toward Tern. Her face was still young
but her eyes looked haunted and there was a shot of gray in the
flame red hair that Celosia just now noticed. Pelee had the same
tormented look in her eyes, but there was no shock of white in
her jet-black hair. She could see that Tern would be as unable
to help as the others.
"Find Yakut," Celosia ordered an Amazon who
scurried off. With Xanthea out of commission, the healing fell
to the Shamaness and the healing apprentices. She could only
hope Yakut was prepared for all her patients.
Medea was tearing into the food brought to her. The thought
she had been drinking blood made her feel slightly queasy . .
.and slightly excited.
"Celosia, Medea is in a fragile stage. She could still
be lured back to Ares," Tern remarked, watching the woman
rip into the food. The look in her eyes was unmistakable.
"What do we have to do?" Celosia asked, holding
back the thousand other questions she had for her older cousin.
"Give me full charge of Medea. Sis and I may need to
take her out of the village for a while until the healing
process is complete."
Celosia exhaled slowly. In her heart she knew Tern as right
but she still didn't want to lose her sister.
"I have a lot of questions for you." she answered
Tern nodded. "I expect to give you all the answers you
want. Get comfortable and Iíll begin."
"The first sign Medea was involved in something dark
came a while ago. She started sneaking out of camp late at
night. Being bonded to her, of course I was aware of her
movements. I watched her experiment with her magic, nothing
unusual for a witch in training. But when one night she was able
to suddenly shield herself from me, I knew there was trouble.
"I called upon Artemis for help and she told me Medea
was walking the path that would lead to her destruction and Themiscyra's.
We devised a plan to gain back Medeaís trust. I was given a
new magic, that of glamoury, to change my appearance."
"So you appeared as demon," Celosia said. Tern
The Shamaness arrived to tend the weakening Thalia. "My
Queen?" Yakut asked. Celosia outlined the major issues and
the Shamaness went to work.
Tern continued her story. "Artemis' power is strong
enough to fool Medeaís. Even Ares, who it turns out, had
seduced Medea away from us right under out noses," Tern
sighed and rubbed her temples. Her eyes were glassy.
"It's rather humiliating to realize your pupil has been
stolen from you. That gave me the drive to get her back. And the
fact Iím rather fond of her," Tern tousled the young
blondeís hair. "But to pull this all off I needed Pelee
to balance my power. Of course everyone knows she was missing
for a while. It turned out Ares was behind her kidnapping."
The Amazons murmured.
"Ares knew that the two of us together could bring down
his plan. He didn't count on Artemis helping. By keeping us
separate, he thought he had the upper hand."
"He always was arrogant," one of the Amazons
grumbled. Others nodded their agreement.
"Medea has the potential to be a great witch. I was too
old for his plan, too settled on my path. He's been watching,
and chose Medea. Young, hotheaded, impressionable, ambitious -
she was the perfect candidate," Tern squeezed her
apprenticeís hand. Medea squeezed back.
As Tern talked, Medea fought an internal war. Part of her was
relieved to be normal again. But, oh! That power had been
great! Damn her mother for not choosing her! As if she
sensed her thoughts, Tern's grip on her hand tightened slightly.
"Ares has been planning this for a long time. Long
enough to keep my sister hidden from me. Artemis helped free her
as well. This was all one great plot of Ares."
"Who would have thought Ares would be so patient?"
There was a round of concerned voices as the Scout joined
them. Yakut dropped a stool down near Medeaís bed for Thalia.
"Sheíll be all right. Although she should be resting,"
the Shamaness said pointedly. The Scout shrugged it off and they
returned to the topic at hand.
"I guess if he wants something bad enough, even the God
of War can be patient," Tern said. "I would like to
apologize Thalia, for hitting you with that freezing spell. I
had to keep the ruse up but I would never, never harm another
Themiscryan. That's why I chose that spell. It gave me time
enough to get away without lasting damage to you."
"Iíll go tend Xanthea, now," Yakut interrupted.
"Sheís lost a lot of blood and is weak, but sheís doing
better." She gave a little bow to the Queen and left for
the nearby bed of the healer.
"Xanthea," Tern said. "I almost didn't get to
her. I had to distract Medea long enough to get her out of
"But I was talking to you in the forest!" Medea
Tern smiled and shook her head. "No. You were talking to
Pelee. More glamoury. Remember we share all our powers. She
simply changed into me."
Medea's mouth dropped open. "Can I learn to do
Tern half smiled, half frowned. "We'll see. Right now
you have to heal."
"I am healed. I feel fine," she tried sitting up
and felt a pain shoot through her chest. "Or not."
"Queen Celosia, I fear there is nothing more we can do
for Xanthea. Her fate lies with the Gods now," Yakut said.
"Her breathing is raspy and she is unconscious. The healing
apprentices and I have done all we know how."
Tern and Pelee exchanged a glance and a mental conversation
before standing. Medea realized she was basically glued to the
ground and couldn't get up. Tern was taking no chances.
"We can't promise anything but we can try," Pelee
said. She and Tern rose and moved to the nearby cot where the
Celosia nodded and stepped to her sister's side as her
cousins knelt at the other bedside, one on each side of Xanthea.
They looked across the sick woman to each other.
"I have no idea how to do this," Tern said in
Pelee frowned. "Lay your hands on her chest, like
this," Tern obeyed and the sisters touched hands before
closing their eyes. Both began to glow again. The Amazons
After a few minutes the glow faded and the twins looked up.
"The inside damage has been healed. But I don't know if
she'll make it through the night. It may have been too
late," Pelee informed Celosia.
Tern suddenly crumpled to the floor.
"Get her comfortable. She's drained," Pelee
snapped. Two Amazons jumped forward.
Seriana watched, wondering if she'd ever get her memory back.
The names in the story had all sounded so familiar yet . .
.there was still a black void.
She arrived in the village and saw the women scurrying about.
Samsara dismounted and rushed immediately to the medic hut and
saw the women gathered around Seriana, Pelee, Tern, the Queen,
The women muttered as she passed the other beds to reach
them. They weren't sure if they should lower their heads as they
did since the first day or turn away from her. She did nothing
to protect a fellow Themiscyran. She stood and watched as Ares
prepared to kill Medea.
Samsara kept her head lowered herself. She felt ashamed for
her lack of action and she felt the looks of her fellow Amazons
burning into her back. But she stopped at Xantheaís bed and
watched as the Shamaness and the apprentice healers at work.
The Shamaness looked at the Princess-Heiress. "I heard
you could heal without a Godís blessing," she said
quietly, returning to her work.
"Xanthea is far from Death's reach," Samsara
responded. "You should let her heal in her own time."
A young Keturah attacked Samsara. "How can you say
that?" she cried. She pointed frantically to the head
healer. "Look at her. Look at her!"
Xanthea began to shake violently.
"Oh, by the gods," the Keturah whispered, kneeling
by the side of her Archila.
Celosia moved over to her friendís side. She wiped a hand
across the sweating brow, her dark skin almost a stain against
the paleness of Xantheaís drained flesh. Xanthea calmed, her
shaking subsiding for the moment.
"Heal her," Yakut demanded.
Samsara looked down at Xanthea and placed her hands on the
fevered head. A glow surrounded the Goddesses fingers as she
poured what healing power she could into the Keturah Archila.
Suddenly, lightning struck and Samsara fell back with a scream,
curled in fetal position.
Xanthea sat up in her bed. She turned startled and confused
eyes to Celosia, Yakut and then to Samsara. "What
happened?" she asked.
The Goddess climbed to her feet, ignoring the question. She
turned instead to her half-sister, partially hidden in the crowd
by Medeaís bed. "Do you remember who I am?" she
Seriana shook her head, upset that everything in her life was
one great cloud. There were no tangible memories she could call
up to help her place her face to a name and heritage. Nothing
seemed to help. "I - I don't remember anything . . ."
"Seriana . . . I am your sister by Ares."
The Amazons gasped. They spoke ill of Ares, but to have a
goddess daughter in their midst for several weeks . . .
No wonder she didn't attack her father, Tern concluded. She
has loyalty to him as well!
Samsara moved to her half-sisterís side. Queen Celosia
followed knowing there was information here she needed.
Information she appeared to need to take where she could.
Samsara took her sisterís hands. The minute they touched,
she received a vision and her face turned sour. "He knows
you're here . . . You've spoken with him..." she slowly
said. "...And he will come for you..."
"My father is the God of War? He attacked my
sisters?" she remarked. "No, no father of mine would
do that! No father of mine IS that!" She pushed passed the
others and ran out of the hut.
Samsara started after her, but Celosia put a hand on her
shoulder. "When you come back, we need to have a long
discussion," she warned. Her voice was neither curt nor
ominous, but Samsara feared she would be reprimanded for what
she had done.
She bobbed her head and ran out of the hut. She observed her
sister mounting her horse and called for her own, Prince, with a
shrill whistle. Prince came thundering toward her and she
mounted him immediately, kicking her raven steed into a pounding
"Seriana!" she shouted as she followed her sister
away from the village. "Stop, I need to speak with
"Leave me be! I just want my memory back! No more
Samsara, angered, threw a fireball at a bough high above
Serianaís head. The branch fell flaming to the ground and she
hoped that it would scare the otherís horse enough to stop.
But Seriana rode as naturally as she fought, jumping over the
fiery wood with ease.
Soon enough however, Prince cut off Denius acres away from
Themiscyra. They stopped in a clearing as soon as Samsara pulled
on the war-horseís reins. "You will listen to me! We need
to talk, Seri!"
Before she could say any more, Ares appeared. He had his
sword drawn and stood in fighting stance. "I'm here to
collect what is mine."
Samsara dismounted. She kept her staff strong in hand, ready
to retaliate. "You are the proprietor of nothing," she
said. "You do not own her and you will never own me."
She twirled her staff. "And if you do not leave her be, I
will be your samsara . . ."
Ares laughed when he realized that his daughter was not
joking. Her fury showed clearly on her face, marked out in the
furrow of her brow. "Now let's not fight over petty
matters, Samsara!" he said, stepping closer. "She's
your sister . . . my daughter! How can you tell me that I can't
have her live on Olympus?"
"Because I know better," the Goddess responded,
standing fast in her place. I will not let you take her, she
vowed silently. "You never took me in. You let me live in
Teloq for years before you ever said anything to me . . ."
"Only for a few years, Samsara," he corrected. He
stopped several feet from her. "I don't want to make the
same mistake with Seriana. Seeing as though she has no
recollection, it's as if it were a clean slate . . ."
Seriana remained on Denius, watching the two spar with words.
She knew to remain. This was it. Maybe I will start to
remember . . . She remembered him introducing himself as
Mars. Why was he calling her his daughter now?
"Why don't you tell her the truth, Father?" Samsara
continued, forming a fireball in her hand.
"You know, since you aren't a full Olympian Goddess you
only have a limited supply of those."
"I'll deal," she responded, throwing it at him. He
formed a force field and stopped the fireball before it hit him.
"Petty," he brought down a lightning bolt. He threw
it at her, but she deflected it with a swing of her staff and
hit him, hurling him back to a nearby tree.
She tossed her long ponytail behind her. "I learn from
the best." She dropped her staff and spun gracefully until
she formed a force between both of her hands. The wind began to
pick up heavily as she stood erect, facing skyward. "Oh,
Artemis, give me the power . . . " she whispered as the
force turned a transparent blue. She then threw her arms before
her and sent the force toward her father, felling the tree. She
fell to her knees, weakened.
Ares groaned as he pulled himself up. "My own daughter .
. ." he bemoaned.
Samsara looked up at him. "Take this as fair warning,
Father," she called. "You so much as set foot in
Themiscyra and I will see to it that you pay." He vanished
without another word.
Seriana jumped down from Denius. "Samsara?" she
said. "That was Ares wasn't it?"
"Yes," the younger responded, standing. "He
tried to take you once . . . You were with the Warrior Princess
and she taught you how to shoot, but you had a raw talent that
no one else possessed - "
"I killed a deer and he appeared and tried to take me
away . . ." Seriana finished.
Samsara blinked. She was beginning to remember! She smiled.
"I think we're getting somewhere," she said. But
she won't remember everything and she won't remember some of the
most important things in her life. She needs to be cured
"That depends on where were getting," Seriana
observed. She stretched a hand towards Denius, who walked over
to her as docilely as a pony. Samsara called Prince and mounted
The two black stallions regarded one another suspiciously.
Prince screamed a challenge and tried to rear, but Samsara
brought him down. Denius screamed as well, his reins cutting
Seriana's hands as he tried to get loose. Her eyes went wide as
another memory hit her.
"Denius!" she roared, jerking his head around so
his eye met hers. "Save it."
He obediently tossed his mane and stood still, continuing to
"He was my war-stallion," she said, running a firm
hand along his neck. "I fought so many battles with him . .
. but they're just noise. I remember Denius, but nothing
"Denius is something," Samsara decided. "Is
Seriana shook her head. "Nothing. Just noise." She
swung into the saddle. "Let's get back to the village
before Mars . . . I mean Ares . . . I mean . . ." She shook
her head. "You know who I'm talking about. Your father.
Before he shows up again."
Samsara nodded. "Yes. My father."
The stallions' heads turned back towards the village.
Back at camp, Swift Blazer observed the Med hut. Celosia had
gotten some answers from Tern and Medea seemed to look
physically stronger with every bite she took. Thalia was resting
on her bed, suffering from a fever. An attendant wiped her
forehead every so often with a cool rag.
The Queen observed Swift Blazer and went to her. "Now
tell me about these slavers. What do they want with
"They are slavers. They want to trade in Amazon
hide," she responded quietly. They walked outside. "I
swear I didn't want to lead them to you," she continued.
"I thought I lost them which is why it took me so long to
get here . . ."
Celosia nodded. "Our larger concern is keeping them away
or not. But we will solve this problem of yours. We'll be sure
to train you further in your weapons and teach you how to lose a
stalker." She called for Valkyra.
"Yes, Celosia," the golden-haired woman said as she
reached the pair.
"I would like for you to be Swift Blazer's mentor. I
would like for her to learn the ways of the Amazons and learn
them well. I know you are good for the job."
Valkyra nodded. "Certainly." Her blue eyes
Samsara and Seriana continued to ride toward Themiscyra.
Prince and Denius regarded each other distantly. Every so often
Prince would rear his head and glare at Denius with his ruby
eyes and Denius would snort in disapproval.
"Prince has always done this, but with good
reason," Samsara noted. "He never got along with
Kaia's horse ever . . . and they are brothers," she
"Denius has been like this as far back as I can
recall," Seriana said, falling into silence. She wanted her
memory back. Her entire life seemed a blur to her. "Who is
"Our half sister by our wonderful father," she
responded with disdain. "Maybe Pelee or Tern can help you .
. . Or perhaps . . ." The Great Destroyer smiled.
"Maybe the Great One?" She would have to ask Celosia
immediately. A risky endeavor but as Mnemosyne could erase
memories, perhaps she could restore them? It was worth a try . .
. she would attempt anything to give her sister her life back.
Anything . . .
"You seem so good, Samsara," Seriana said.
"Why do you want to help me so much?"
She sighed. "You are my blood sister. Just as I would
help any Amazon I would help you especially." She smiled.
She wanted to make up for not helping Medea, for not proving her
worth. I must prove to them that I am worthy to rule another
Amazon village, she thought. I must prove to them that I
didn't win this title by default, that I didn't win it because
the Pentad wanted to control my sister.
Samsara stopped. She motioned for Seriana to do the same. She
"Discord . . ." she breathed. "How long will
it take you to realize that I can sense the presence of the
"Wow," she said, appearing. "You seem so much
like Xena. So good and so pure," she mocked. "Yet you
refuse to be like her. How about you tell Seriana the truth
about what you are?"
"Shut up," the High Princess responded. "Just
shut up and go away."
"What does she mean?" Seri said. "Who you
The Goddess of Mayhem looked at the girl and laughed.
"You don't remember anything do you? Well, news flash
hussy: your sister is nothing but a - -"
"Can it!" Samsara warned. She raised her staff.
Discord pouted and shook her head. "My, my aren't we a
little protective of our pasts? The sad part of it all is that
you are still like the old Xena. Very much like her. Why don't
you just admit it and please your daddy? Lead your army. Be like
"Go away," Samsara nudged ahead, but Discord just
laughed forming a lightning bolt in her eyes.
Samsara was angry. "You wouldn't dare," she
responded, hoping Kaia's mother would not retaliate.
"You're right," she responded, calming her sights.
"There are other ways of dealing with her." She
vanished to the sound of yowling cats.
The sisters kicked into a gallop and reached the encampment
within before Apollo made his descent. Celosia stood at the
gates awaiting the girls' arrival. She wanted to speak with
However before she could speak, Samsara dismounted and shut
the gates. She approached the Queen and said, "We can't let
Seriana outside of the gates. Not until this is resolved at
Seriana jumped down from Denius, angry. "Excuse
me?" she demanded. "You may be my sister, but you
don't make decisions for me . . ."
Samsara lifted her head. "When Ares is involved I will
make decisions for you until you recover your memory."
Celosia furrowed her brows. What kind of Amazon did Serena
and Ephiny send me? she wondered.
On one hand she was offended that Samsara spoke the way she
did, but on the other she was pleased that she would feel such
kinship with a daughter of Ares that she would do anything to
protect her. "How do you mean, Samsara," Celosia said.
"She is just as vulnerable here. But this is Artemis'
sanctuary . . . Good thinking."
"I hope," the High Princess said. "After what
I showed Father, he will try harder not to set foot on the
Thermadon River," she sighed.
Seriana was still angry. I refuse to be commanded like
that, she thought. She then remembered being hit across the
head. She felt the scar across her temple. She remembered the
man charging after her, then a tall, dark woman pulling him off
of her and holding a sword high above to kill him. She kept
quiet. There was enough tension.
Seriana glared, feeling stubborn and little girlish. This was
getting frustrating. Everyone bossing her around, her best
friend healing, disturbing memories coming back in bits and
pieces, of battles and beatings and that Discord person trying
to kill her. She had begun to think that she'd not had a stable
But however great her frustrations were getting, her fears
were greater. She didn't dare to venture out of the village,
with gods and kidnappers wandering the woods. So she went to the
archery range and threw her dagger over and over again into the
The ruby flashed in the morning sunlight as the knife flew
through the air.
Swift Blazer and Valkyra arrived shortly after, armed with
strong, slender Amazon bows.
"Hi," Swift Blazer said shyly, eyeing the
frustration on her face. "What're you doing?"
"I think I'm going to go beat my head against
something," Seriana answered. Whoosh and thump: the knife
hit dead center. "Doesn't that sometimes help bring back
"Either that or give you a concussion," Valkyra
said with a shrug.
Seriana retrieved the Ruby Dagger and cleared the range so
they could practice. Flipping it absently, she wandered over to
the palisade and leaned against it, racking her mind for
something . . . anything.
"Hey, where've you been?" asked a strange voice
behind her. She whirled, weapon at ready, into the unfamiliar
faces of Hercules and Iolaus. She did not know them. All she
knew was that they were men in an Amazon village and the one was
bigger than Ares was.
"Swift Blazer!" she shouted. "Valkyra!
Samsara! Thalia! Celosia! Intruders!"
Both of them fell back a step. "Ser, calm down,"
Iolaus pleaded. "It's us, remember?"
"Trust me, you don't want me to answer that question
right now," she hissed. "Shorty, draw the sword and
throw it over there. And you, God, keep your hands exactly where
they are. I've been blown up enough for one night."
Hercules closed his eyes and took a deep breath. "Seri,
I cannot, and I will not, blow you up. And I'm less a god than
"I am not a god!" she shrieked. "Everyone
keeps telling me that and I don't want to hear it, so just shut
Celosia and Samsara came dashing around the corner of a hut,
weapons out, only to moan as they saw the two cornered men.
"You two have been great help all night," Celosia
commented. "Where have you been?"
"Um . . ." Iolaus decided the quickest way to
phrase it. "Did you know that a bunch of slavers is going
to attack the village?"
"It had come to our attention," Swift Blazer said
dryly as she walked up.
"Seriana," Samsara said calmly, "They're
friends. Back off."
She slowly lowered the dagger and stepped behind the other
Amazons. "I hate this," she snarled. "I want to
She turned and fled, leaving her very stunned uncle and his
very stunned friend staring after her.
Meanwhile, Thalia groaned and tried to sit up, but Xanthea
made her lay back down. Her head was pounding and her shoulder
throbbed. She vaguely remembered what had gone on, the
conversations not registering until now.
"I need . . . to talk to Seriana . . ." she sighed.
"You're not going anywhere," Xanthea arranged her
poultices. "You're still weak and have a fever, you need to
Thalia pursed her lips, her stubborn side kicking in.
Morphing into a chipmunk she scuttled under the table. The
healer was so surprised to turn around to find Thalia gone that
she didn't notice the tiny creature dash out the door.
She was scuttling away from the tent when a dark shadow
swooped overhead - an owl. Thalia quickly ran to the safety of a
"Great," she muttered to herself. "Survive
wars only to be eaten by a bird. Smart, Thalia, real
smart." She morphed back into a human, but a wave of
dizziness overcame her and she fell on her behind. "Whew,
have to lay off that for a bit." She chuckled. She didn't
have the energy to morph yet. "Not that that's ever stopped
me before . . ." She smiled to herself. "I am so
stubborn, I'm going to get myself killed someday." She
Now, to find Seriana. She scanned the village, but saw no
sign of her. Walking deeper into the woods she caught sight of
Hercules and Iolaus. "Hey, guys!" She smiled as she
"Thalia! Long time no see." Iolaus gave her a pat
on the shoulder. "How are things?"
"Um . . . complicated." She put aside their puzzled
looks. "I'll explain later. Have you seen Seriana?"
"Uh, yeah, just a few moments ago. She acted like she
had no idea who we were and ran off that way," Iolaus
pointed into the woods. "What's going on?"
"She lost her memory, ran away, tried to kill me, saved
me and is frustrated that she can't remember anything."
Thalia answered before running off, leaving the confused duo
staring after her.
She walked silently through the woods searching for her
Amazon sister. She considered morphing into a bird to move
faster, but a dizzy spell changed her mind. Deep into the woods,
she sat down to rest for a moment when she heard something in
the bushes. Her weak and sore muscles complaining at her, she
got up to investigate the sound. She found Seriana throwing
rocks as far she could.
"Seriana?" she asked softly.
Seriana whirled around, her dagger ready. When she saw it was
Thalia, she relaxed and re-sheathed it. "What are you doing
here?" Her voice had an edge to it.
"Um . . . I came to see how you were doing," Thalia
answered as she approached. Another wave of dizziness washed
over her and she held her head in her hands.
"Are you all right?" Seriana went to her side and
helped her sit against a tree. She herself sat on a fallen log.
"I'm fine, just left the Med hut a little early,"
"Why did you come?" Seriana picked up a rock,
turning it over and over in her hands.
"I came to see if you were all right," Thalia
propped her elbow on a root.
Thalia cocked an eyebrow amusedly. "No, you're
Seriana sighed. "Okay, I'm not. After all that's
happened I still don't know what's going on. Not only do I not
know anything about myself, I can't even remember what has gone
on the past few days. Even more scary, in a few days I won't
even remember what is going on right now. No one wants to live
like that, Thalia. If I have no memories then what is the point?
My life, my existence, has no meaning to me right now. I don't
know what I have done nor what I will do." Seriana gripped
the rock tightly, her voice more frustrated. "I know I have
these memories trapped inside me, memories of my life and the
people in it but I can't reach them! My thoughts, my happy
memories are out of my reach." Standing up, Seriana threw
the rock as hard as she could. It flew through the air and
disappeared into the treetops.
Thalia's fever continued to bother her but she ignored it.
"Seriana, I promise you that we will get your memories
back," she looked the Amazon in the eye. "No matter
what it takes. You're right, no one should have to live like
this, and we'll make sure you won't. That's what Amazon sisters
are for." Thalia looked up at Seriana with determined eyes.
"Samsara," Hercules said quietly. He was not sure
how to regard his niece by his brother. She was strong and of a
good heart, but contained the fury that was Callisto. He heard
of her rout of Uzbek Khan's Mongols in the East and was wary of
the path she chose to take, leading a vicious army. But as she
was in Celosia's village and not on her own, he was slightly
"Hercules," she responded. She twirled her staff.
"How are you?"
"Fine," he answered. "I hear you've been
fighting off these slavers . . ."
"Yes," she said quietly. "They have some
affiliation with Father of course. They are stronger than I ever
thought they could be. They must have Father's blessing."
Iolaus nodded. "They did seem much stronger when we got
to them. But of course my superior fighting skills stopped them
from approaching here," he smiled and nudged his friend.
Secretly, the idea that Hercules was stronger and more agile
than he was still hurt, and he used humor to mask that pain.
Samsara smiled. Although she was still leery of Hercules --
she had an aversion to goody-two-shoes types -- she took well to
the short blonde one. She even found him attractive in a silly,
clownish way. But an Amazon in her eyes did not fall in love
with a man. She shook her head. "We need to stop them
"Hey," Iolaus said. "Shouldn't we go find
Samsara shook her head. "Thalia, though physically weak,
is with her. She escaped the Keturah like a silly girl,"
she smiled. She felt it when Thalia morphed and escaped. She
will regret that eventually, she thought, referring to her
feeling more pain later on in the night. "At least my
sister is not alone. I would be upset if she were. She has a
good friend in Thalia despite what happened." She blinked.
She looked at the two heroes. "Something is wrong,"
she said. She gripped her staff.
Seriana squeezed Thalia's hand. "I don't know you, but I
feel this kinship."
"You're my best friend, silly!" Thalia responded
with a smile and a weak chuckle. She groaned. The pain increased
slightly. She should have stayed in bed, but Seri was more
"How . . . trite," a voice said. A bolt of
lightning crashed and in its place appeared Discord. She had a
dagger in her hand and was picking out the dirt from under her
fingernails. Suddenly a group of men appeared behind her. Four
beefy men stood wearing their leather pants and nothing else.
Their arms were crossed and their faces were mean.
"Who are you and what do you want?" demanded
"I'm merely doing Ares a favor. I'm doing something that
he should have done years ago when he found out he had a bastard
child: take her in immediately . . ." she responded, her
eyes flaring up. "Or kill her."