Velasca, the Goddess of Chaos, watched Medea's eyes
flutter open. She had lain the warrior in a nest-like
structure in the middle of her temple, then settled back
to wait. Even to a Goddess it had felt like eons ago and
still the Amazon had yet to regain her full strength.
This discouraged the Goddess very much. It tortured her
to know that an aggressive instrument of war lay in her
temple, and yet she could not make use of it.
"Medea, my child. Are you risen?" she asked
almost desperately, leaping from where she had been
perched, cat-like, on the windowsill.
The warrior groaned and rolled over in her nest,
swatting at the Goddess that tried to bring her to an
upright position. Velasca smiled.
Those hadn't been the feeble swats of a weakened
warrior, but the claw-ridden strikes of an irritated
Amazon! Those had been strong swats.
"Arise dear sister! The day is new and there is
ever so much that Chaos must do!" she laughed,
speaking in rhyme, as she often did when in good spirits.
"One minute I'm your child, the next I'm a sister.
Get it straight, would ya?" the Amazon grumbled again
and curled into a ball.
At first it had been promising, now Medea's crankiness
grew tiring. "Arise my dear, or taste true
fear," a hot spark ignited in the Goddess' ice-blue
"Velasca I'm ti-"
"You've lived in a haze for the past three days.
Awake or bones shall break!"
Medea recognized the warning in the voice and sat up
immediately, looking straight at her savior. "What is
your will my lady?" she asked in a strong voice. She
was surprised to find that she actually did feel strong.
Much stronger then she had when the voices had begun
attacking in the forest . . . I'll not dwell on that. I
won't bring myself to think of that.
"I will have thee rise and then my prize, a wash
and trim," she paid no heed to Medea's protests at
the 'trim' remark. "Then we begin."
Reluctantly the Amazon got to her feet and followed the
Goddess to a back room where she would be bathed and made
to look the way Velasca wished.
Trimmed. Dear Goddess, my hair, my beautiful hair. The
young woman bit back the tears as the first sunny lock
fell to the floor.
Kaili walked into the Amazon camp and set out to find
the Queen. Celosia was not in the main compound, however,
and Kaili decided to return to the forest. She had only
just crossed into the line of trees around the main camp
when she saw a man step out of the Queen’s hut.
She was instantly alert. Keeping to the trees, she crept
towards this man as he started to walk into the forest.
She leapt out at him, throwing her arrow at his heart. The
shot went wide and missed, hitting him in the arm instead.
Grunting, he grabbed the arrow and looked around for the
source. Kaili recognized the burly blonde and hurried over
to where he stood. "Hercules!" she exclaimed.
"Sorry about that, but remember I usually don't miss,
so you’re lucky."
He pulled, wincing with pain as the arrow shaft pulled
free of his muscle. "Kaili," he said, handing
her the dart. "You should watch where you’re
shooting," he admonished.
"I was watching. I just missed. I was aiming for
your heart," she grinned. "You should get to the
med hut and have that wound bound."
Celosia appeared in the compound and went to the pair.
She eyed Hercules’ bleeding arm a moment, then turned to
the Amazon. "What’s going on here?" she
demanded to know.
Kaili bowed her head, knowing there would be a
punishment for a mistaken target. Amazons didn’t make
that kind of mistake.
"Don't worry, Celosia," Hercules soothed.
Kaili’s head snapped up at his tone. "I was
skulking around the bushes and she thought I was an enemy.
Simple mistake." He smiled, blue eyes sparkling at
Celosia looked from one to the other suspiciously.
"I should get to the med hut," Hercules said
before the Queen could comment. He clapped a hand on his
"Right," the Queen agreed. "This way.
Kaili," she looked over her shoulder at the Amazon.
"Get back on patrol. When you’ve finished, I
suggest a few hours of target practice. You should hit
what you aim at." The two moved away into the camp.
Kaili sighed with relief as she went back to the forest.
Celosia helped Hercules to the nearly-completed mud hut.
Walls of log patched with thick mud and straw stood ready
for a thatched roof. An opening indicated where a door
would go someday soon and several sturdy logs lead up to a
tiny porch. The entire building looked out across the
central square where most of the Amazons still ate and
"You were certainly lucky," Celosia said,
leading the way into the hut.
"Luck?" Hercules asked, confused. "She
nearly took my arm off."
Celosia smiled. "My warriors don’t usually
miss," she informed him.
Medea wriggled uncomfortably on the low wooden stool. A
young girl, obviously an acolyte of the Goddess, stood
behind her, a knife slicing off locks of golden hair. The
Amazon flinched as a soft curl landed on the back of her
hand. She closed her eyes and let the questions run
through her mind.
Why had Velasca brought her here? Why did the Goddess
care how she kept her hair?
Another lock of hair fell down the side of her cheek,
bringing her back to reality. She couldn’t fathom what
Velasca had planned. That she would find out soon, she was
She didn’t open her eyes until the acolyte had
finished and stepped away. Even then, it took a severe
amount of will power.
"You've got to be kidding me." Medea stared up
at her would-be guardian in a mixture of shock and awe.
"This is the big threat to your rule?"
"I kid you not, young one." Velasca smiled,
looking down on the village below them.
"Don't call me that," the Amazon Regent
Velasca growled and she went silent, not wanting to be
zapped as she had this morning after cursing at the loss
of her hair.
Her locks were now, well, no longer locks. What was left
of the hair on her head had been spiked and disheveled
into an unruly mess and its sunny color had been dyed
platinum by Velasca's zap-happy fingers. Her eyes had been
changed too, though she wasn't sure how. One minute they'd
been a beautiful emerald, the next they were a striking
"Now in that village there's a temple of
Ares," the Goddess informed her protégé. She
grabbed hold of Medea’s face to ensure she had the
Amazon's undivided attention. "I want you to go down
there and destroy it."
"What?" Medea's eyes widened. "Hold up!
You want me to go destroy the God of War's temple? That's
insane! That's practically asking for death! What do I
look like, an idiot?"
"No, you look like the High Priestess of Chaos. One
who might just gain minor-goddess status . . . if she can
complete her appointed task."
"Oh," she considered a moment. A very brief
moment. "Well, then, by all means. When do we
The Goddess of Chaos laughed darkly, pleased to see that
the young woman had a taste for power. "You
attack at dawn, my dear."
Medea's jaw dropped.
"Fear not, you'll be fine. Trust me, once I'm
through with you, Ares' temple will be in ruins at your
feet before you so much as touch the altar."
The blonde seemed hesitant, but watching Velasca pat the
bag of ambrosia at her side, she nodded and turned back
towards the temple. "Okay, let's go then. The sooner
we get this over with, the sooner I can take some of that
stuff and fry your ass."
She didn't need to turn around to know a bolt of
lightning was heading in her direction.
Medea advanced into the village. Sword. Priest.
What'd Velasca say to do? Medea thought foggily. She
wasn't sure why, but ever since that day in the forest her
mind hadn't been as sharp as usual.
Her hand clasped the blade's handle. Oh yes, she
remembered, dragging it across the aging man's throat.
The platinum blonde swung the doors to the temple open
and sauntered inside, still unsure of her actions thanks
to her clouded thoughts.
"Can I help you?" a young looking priest
asked. He was tall, had beautiful blue eyes and short
blond hair. Though he was a priest of the War God, he
seemed to have an air of innocence around him.
He wasn't even carrying a sword.
Medea sighed, realizing she was quite taken with the
youth before stepping forward and sheathing her sword in
An aging man walked into the room in time to witness the
boy’s fall to the floor. The blue eyes devoid of life,
the mouth hanging open in shock.
The man’s eyes filled with fear and he flew to the
body and knelt beside it on the floor.
"Timothy! No! My son...Oh my only son!" he
wailed over the body. "Why? Why have you done
this?" the priest demanded.
Medea’s heart should have twisted into a knot. She
should have felt guilt and remorse. But somehow, being in
that temple, being so close to her goal . . .
She felt nothing.
She didn't even flinch as she buried her sword to the
hilt in the man's skull.
Several other priests ran into the altar room now,
attacking. She shouldn't have been able to take them all.
There were at least twenty of them. But somehow, again,
she found herself devoid of all feeling. She felt no pain,
no fear, and no exhaustion as she slashed through them one
by one. It was as though she were in a trance; a strange
dream in which each bloody death was only an illusion,
where she could feel no guilt because she wasn't really
doing any wrong.
Finally all the men had fallen and Medea stood alone in
a silent temple. Surveying the destruction surrounding
her. Her eyes rested on the boy.
Looking now she could tell he hadn't been more than
sixteen. Her eyes fell upon his father. A strong man; a
caring man; a dead man.
"You killed them," a voice called behind her.
Medea turned to face her attacker.
"By Ares, you killed all of them!"
A girl no more than thirteen with green eyes and
reddish-blonde hair. A slim build, Medea noticed. A
"Did you know them?" Medea asked, her voice
"Did I . . . That was my brother," she pointed
to Timothy and then to the old man. "And that was my
father. You bitch!" the girl spat, tears glistening
in her eyes. She ran across the room and threw herself
across her slain family. "What am I supposed to do
now?" she cried, turning tearful eyes to Velasca’s
The first twang of guilt shot through Velasca's
protégée. Medea walked slowly towards the girl and
placed a hand on her shoulder. "I'm so sorr-" a
dagger was thrust in her leg, buried to the hilt. Blood
poured from the wound like a faucet of crimson water.
She allowed herself to fall back in the trance. There
was a whoosh of air, the smell of steel and a piercing
scream. The girl, the child, lay dead at her feet.
No guilt, no shame. Everything has a price Medea.
Everything has a price.
"Well done," an amused voice greeted from
across the room, clapping slowly. "You've earned your
goddess-hood, Medea." Velasca's cold hand fell upon
the girl's shoulder. "Congratulations."
"A child . . ." Medea couldn't block out the
shame. "I slaughtered a child."
"That you did my dear. But a wicked child. Though
her appearance was fair her heart was vile, for it stood
against you." Rhymes; again with the amused, joyous
"Give me the ambrosia," Medea ordered, holding
out her hand. "GIVE IT TO ME!"
"Now, now my dear, no need to fear. So well have
you learnt, that ye'll never be burnt," the goddess
handed a single flower petal to Medea. "Hot on the
tongue and bubbles the blood, this is the way of the
ambrosia bud," she smiled and watched Medea stuff the
plant into her mouth hungrily.
The blonde dropped to the floor like the many she'd
Velasca's eyebrow cocked after a moment when she noticed
the girl didn't stir.
Could she have given the girl the wrong petal? Leaning
closer she got her answer.
An angry white flame burst from the young woman's body,
singeing the Goddess of Chaos' eyebrows and sending her
flying across the floor. Several eerie black shadows
poured out of the girl and every candle in the temple
ignited with an inextinguishable flame.
A furious dark flame.
The new Goddess smiled ferociously at her creator from
the center of the room. She climbed to her feet with a
cat-like grace. Her eyes remained their glacial blue, her
hair remained short and platinum, but her teeth had
sharpened to fang-like points.
Velasca's eyes grew wide in fear as she realized what
A monster. A nightmare made flesh.
The Goddess of Chaos didn’t scream when she saw Ares
appear in the corner of the room. Found she couldn't
scream as Medea's new fangs sank into the soft flesh of
Velasca’s cheek and ripped off half of her face.
She blacked out as she heard Ares’ mocking laughter
and watched as Medea revealed another new attribute:
Long, razor-sharp, ebony claws.
Painful, ice cold, ebony claws.
"What in Tartarus has happened to me?" Medea
demanded, backing away from Velasca.
"She . . . I . . . you . . ." she
turned on Ares with an animal ferocity. "What did you
do to me?"
The War God chuckled and pushed off of the wall he'd
been leisurely leaning against. "Nothing you didn't
do to yourself, my dear."
I'll never understand how Gods manage to give answers
without actually answering anything. She thought. "What
do you mean I did? I just came in here and . . .
" she stopped, realizing she was still in the temple
with all the dead priests, the dead child, and the pretty
"Correct, my clever little amazon! My goodness,
Artemis does raise you girls well!" Ares said
in his mildest tone, arms crossed. He looked back at the
trembling woman and changed his tone. "You killed an
innocent Medea," he stated darkly and picked
Timothy's head up by the hair. He smirked and looked again
to the Amazon. Medea wondered for a fleeting moment if he
wasn't going to do a ventriloquist act.
"Actually, if you want to get technical Medea,"
he purred, hauling the little girl's body up with his
other hand. "You killed two innocents. Now, I
don't mind. But I'm afraid the rest of Olympus probably
will. Your tribe," he dropped the head and shrugged
up at her, eyes sparkling with humor. "Well, let's
just say you can consider yourself an outcast for the rest
of your life if they find out."
Medea laughed thinly. "Like that would be a big
change," she muttered, walking over to the temple
"What?" Ares dropped the two bodies like sacks
of centaur dung and appeared at the young warrior's side.
"My little crimson avenger is an outcast?" He
placed his hand on her shoulder. "How shocking!"
She shrugged his hand off and wondered for a second if
the mark of Velasca was still there.
"I don't need your lies, Ares. What do you want
"Lies?" he pretended to be offended. "I'm
not lying toots! It's not right for an amazing warrior to
be an outcast. Especially one with such an, um," he
gave a fake cough. "Nice package."
"Spare me. Why are you here?" she asked.
"To make a proposition," he paused. "I was
going to have you tear down my big sisters’ temple for
me. But now I think I have a better idea."
"Somehow I doubt I'll think it's much better."
Ares shrugged. "Hey, no one says you have to do it.
I'm just making an offer. You go back to your village . .
"You want me to go home?" She exclaimed in
"Yes, but let me finish," he said. Medea's
expression became solemn. "You will go back to your
village for three months. During those three months you
get to play Goddess. You have your cosmic, phenomenal
powers, your feline grace, and you never have another bad
Medea raised an eyebrow. "So, what's the
"You never shut up, do you darling? I was getting
to that. During those three months you get to select one
person that you absolutely despise. Then on the last night
of the third month you offer her up to me," Ares
smiled. "I dispose of her and no one ever knows you
were responsible for her death. You get away clean. But
you have to devote yourself to me in the meantime."
Medea looked thoughtful. Devote herself to Ares . . .
not too bad. All that really meant was that when he said
she should 'go fight that army', she showed up with her
fists flying. Medea liked fighting. She could handle that.
Offer a sister to him. Ares wanted to kill someone she
hated. He probably thinks he's doing me a favor,
she thought, narrowing her eyes.
To offer a sister up for slaughter to anyone was
punishable by death. Amazons didn’t take kindly to
betrayal in any form. They also didn't believe in a swift
death when it came to punishing the crime.
"What's in this for you?" asked the blonde,
mistrust shadowing her glacial eyes. "Hades, what's
in this for me?" she added, hands on her hips.
"I get a good laugh. I get to watch Artemis'
precious tribe bawl at the loss of an Amazon. I might even
taunt her a bit with the girl's soul," he placed his
hands again on Medea's shoulders, forcing her to meet his
gaze. "What you get out of this is much
greater. Not only do you get to stay a Goddess," he
looked her up and down, examining the claws and fangs.
"Or whatever it is you are, but Timothy and his
little sister's soul are freed from Hades' realm, and they
return to live full, happy lives! Isn't that what you want
Medea? To let them live again?"
The Amazon felt hatred boil inside of her. Hatred for
Ares, hatred for herself, and hatred for what she was
about to do. "Yes," she spat.
"What was that?"
"I said yes you arrogant piece of satyr
dung!" She repeated with tears burning in her eyes.
So this was it. She'd just agreed to kill one of her
sisters. If Celosia ever found out . . .
Ares was delighted. "I knew you'd see it my
way," he purred, his hands slipping down her arms and
around her waist. She growled and dug her claws into his
arm. Not sure he liked his odds against a disgruntled
panther-like Amazon, Ares backed off.
"Go then! Three months and I will find you!
Make sure you've got an Amazon all picked out for me, or
little Timmy never wakes up!" he called after her as
she raced wildly from the temple.
He watched hungrily until the young woman's figure
disappeared into the village and the people she had
slaughtered were all that remained of her.
"What a mess," he muttered, kicking a head
down the stairs and into Velasca. The Goddess of Chaos
"Velasca dear, sit up. I haven't thanked you for
sending that delightful little fire-cat into my territory.