Jadea's Departure

 
Jadea

"Jade, are you sure?" Regent Valkyra asked, glancing just once to the sleeping Karma.

"I am," she paused. "Call them, Valkyra, the entire village. I'll dispatch Ardra to inform the men outside the gates."

There was a long and uninterrupted silence. The Sorceress Empress caught brief glimpses of Tae'Nah outside the hut. Selena's terrified look. Seriana's discovery of a strange girl. Samsara's ride on Prince. Jadea cleared her throat to force the images to the side of her mind.

"As you wish, Latra Jadea." Valkyra nodded, placing her fist to her heart before exiting. She'd been told solemn news in strictest confidence and now had to rally the Amazons.

Jadea remained in the Queen's Hut, preoccupied for a minute.

I could follow Celosia's exit... Jadea thought to herself, unaware that she was heard. She shook her head. Celosia had her style, and that was not Jade's style. Her mind wandered into the past.

Flashback...
"I won't fight ya, Jade!" He answered, backing away from the sword and the woman both.
Various shouts ejected from the onlooking Amazons. Some simply gave whoops and hollers of encouragement. Others still looked on with silent suspense. As for Queen Medea...she had the nearest seat, accompanied by the Highland and Themiscryan Elders.
"That's what ya say...and that's what ya think..." Jadea commented slowly with a grin on her face.
But we both know you want to fight me, Bruce. Come on, admit it! Ya've been dyin' to face me sword to sword for years, haven't ya? Haven't ya?!
The sorceress took deliberate but patient steps toward him. The very next thing to happen...would be the very last thing she could've anticipated.
Jadea, we've arrived in Teloq. I know you didn't want me to use my powers, but I had to hasten our journey. Seri's fine, just a little tired. The whole tribe is in mourning. Mourning...and confusion. I must go answer the call of duty again. Give Themiscyra my love.
The Sorceress Empress stopped short and shook her head. Those closest to the edge of the ring noticed something amiss. Medea resisted her impulse to physically intervene.
Jade? Bruce mentally questioned a split-second before Ardra. The hawk flew down from a tree and landed in front of Queen Medea.
"Oh! Uh, I wish you would warn me when you plan to do that." The Queen stated. She got a blank and somewhat innocent look from the hawk.
As distracting as the message from Samsara had been, it failed to deter Jadea from fighting Bruce.
"Let us talk, shall we?" Her eyes came up with a bright expression. Jadea continued to edge near him and frequently changed her direction to keep him moving. He'd fight of his own will...or be provoked into fighting of his own will.
"The Amazon tribe in Eire...the one ya ambushed and slaughtered? Did ya happen to know the tribe's name, Bruce?"
Wary of Jadea's style, the Celt kept his tongue silent. He unknowingly let his eyes answer for him. In truth, the question had been rhetorical.
"Vatrao, was it not?" She hid her emotion when she saw that the man neared the sword laying on the ground. "I've a secret to tell about that tribe. Did ya happen to know one of the Amazons named Cahrie?"
Bruce looked at her suspiciously, knowing that she had an angle she was playing but unknowing of what that angle was. From her perch in front of Medea, Ardra felt she might fall to the ground.
Do not tell him, Jadea. Do...not...tell...him.
But Ardra's pleas went ignored as Jadea circled her enemy.
"Ya'd remember this one, Bruce. She'd dark hair like yours and the deepest emerald eyes ever to be given a mortal."
The Celt now stood to the right of the sword. He'd stopped moving to counter Jadea's position. His crystal blue eyes began to darken as he listened. Word by word, Bruce began to put the pieces together. When the sorceress continued, her blade was raised between the two of them.
"Her favorite weapon was a fightin' staff Vatrao's Amazon princess carved and bestowed to her at her seventh Winter Solstice. She hated to kill, so she asked that she be trained to master all weapons she could for defense only. Her smile could light the goodness in the cruelest man. And her temper could bring the bravest warrior to tremble on his knees. She used to talk about everlasting peace between Eire and Britannia. Her Sisters loved to listen to her sing because she had the Muses blessing. And before she fell asleep each night, she'd hum that same lullaby you caught me singin' so many times." She paused, catching the flicker of knowledge in his eyes.
Although the two in the arena became oblivious to all others and all else excepting each other, Themiscyra was listening to its Queen speak. The Amazons were listening and watching. Most were too overcome with emotion to speak. Others found that they didn't speak for the disrespect involved.
The Celt bent down slowly with his knees and picked up the blade on the ground. His eyes never left the woman in front of him. As he raised the sword, Jadea spoke again to him.
"She was your blood. She was my blood."
The present...

"Our daughter." Jadea whispered, an old pain clasping her heart once again. She shook her head and turned to watch Karma. How strange it was to see that child sleep. "She has magic in her." The Amazon sorceress stated, remembering the earlier incident with the wand. "How is that possible?"

Ardra swooped in through a window, fast but silent. Maybe Ishtar had the power and never knew.

"Ishtar?" Jadea repeated, almost thinking of her for the first time as a possible answer. "Ishtar, hmm."

Or it could be the work of the Protectoress. Perhaps Rumyna even.

"Aye, or neither." Pause. "I wonder if Samsara knows of this."

Unlikely.

She will discover sooner or later.

So let her discover the gift in her own time.

"Are we talking of Samsara, Karma, or Seriana now?" Jadea raised one brow, sounding ever perceptive and curious at once.

All three, Ardra seemed to smirk a bit and moved to the other side of the room, now closer to Karma. She looked from the sleeping child to the Latra of Themiscyra. You made a decision.

Jade nodded once.

Another soft squawk issued from the bird. Oengus.

Silence. Then, "Watch her for me." Jadea vanished and reappeared outside, just in time to see Amazons being gathered, or rather directed into the general square. It wouldn't be long before Jadea addressed the Themiscryan Amazon Nation.

Flashback...
Ya didn't kill the Bruce, did ya Jade?
A pause, seconds remaining before the signal.
Why does ev'ryone keep askin' me that? Aye. I did kill him. Let it go Vorgie. Artemis knows, I have. Jadea returned, her tone more convincing than her expression.
Ya cannot lie tah me, Jade. I know ya better than any Amazon here. E'en Red Claw. The man still breathes. I can feel it in me bones...and your eyes. Why'd ya spare him?
The present...

"I had to Vorgeen." Jadea said aloud, unconsciously deciding right then to make a quick visit to the Highland Amazon Queen. Before she got there, she was stopped by the sight of her Nieces returning to the village with a third person- a stranger.

Seriana, who is that?

"We found her," Samsara stated as they approached earshot. Seri turned her head to the right to give her a look, as if to say 'what do you mean WE?'

"Take her to-"

"Cassia. I know." Athanase interjected.

"Ohi. I am calling all Amazons. Take her to the Mess Hut." To this, Samsara gave a protesting look. "Domaris."

You trust her to watch this girl? Samsara mentally sent the Queen.

Do it. Came the mental response and appropriate look.

"Seriana, I'm glad to see you on Deinus, again." This only got a nod from Ritani. Jadea sighed, watching her eldest Niece go. "I will miss that Tae'Nah."

A minute later...

"Why?" Vorgeen's brogue was strong now.

"I must do what I must." Jadea replied. "I was summoned, Vorgie." Pause. "And I have to go...my daughter's alive." Pause. "I think it's time she met me."

The Highland Amazon Queen was silent, speaking with eyes and body alone. She understood but she didn't agree. That may have been what made her so special to Jadea. "Ya know ya can alway bring 'er 'ere." She said, at last.

"Aye, someday perhaps." Jadea glanced away, feeling her crystal pendant change colors with her powers' mood. "Tell me you know why I deceived them. Tell me you understand."

Silence. Then..."They are all ready when you are, Latra Jadea." Sayde's voice came through the walls.

Vorgeen looked at Jadea. Jadea looked at Vorgeen.

"Let's get on with it, then."

Flashback...
Thayken had lead the assault, using his leader as a way to ambush the Amazon tribe. The Amazons had trusted the Highland nobleman, unaware that he'd lost his love through betrayal and therefore lost more of himself than a man can lose and still retain his judgment, let alone his sanity.
It was true. Bruce didn't kill a single Amazon in the entire battle/massacre. He only once lifted his sword to defend himself against the attack of a young lass whose eyes and face reminded him of Jadea. The man hadn't known the lass was his blood. He clashed his sword against hers and kicked her sharply in her jaw, as he was still mounted. Thayken, himself, would later kill her as she defended a dying Amazon on the ground.
The present...

The Queen of Themiscyra stood before all the Amazons in the village. She had prepared no oration, and knew not what she'd say. But Rumyna'd taught her well to trust herself to say what nature willed.

"I stand before you to officially resign as Queen of Themiscyra and name the Regent, Valkyra, my successor." She didn't wait for the Amazons to begin asking questions or protesting, simply signaled Valkyra. The latter approached and readied to be crowned. "Valkyra, Warrior Woman of the Caucasus Mountains, I abdicate my title and declare you the Latra of Themiscyra! Tae'Nah!"

And one by one, they honored Valkyra with the Amazon tribute before cheering and whooping. Some even sang.

And so it was that Jadea of Cirra, Sorceress Empress of Celcia, departed from Themiscyra two days later. She didn't wait for confrontations or challenges. Promptly after the ceremony, Jadea vanished and reappeared in her hut to gather some belongings, strap Callisto's sword onto her back, and disappear into the forest. She picked up and held a peacefully sleeping Karma, then prepared to make a quiet departure.

It wouldn't be so easy. Along the way, she ran into Thalia. Thalia had assembled a small troupe of Themiscyrans. These included Seriana, Samsara, Cassia, Deoris, Thaleia, and of course, Vorgeen. They blocked Jadea's path, silently declaring their intent to exchange final words.

I knew better. Jadea told herself, momentarily wondering why Valkyra wasn't among this little party. She then remembered what her Sister had told her before, and it became clear to her that Valkyra understood.

"Ardra," Jadea called above. "Tell Oengus I will be there shortly to check the men. We move out once camp is packed up." She then turned her eyes to Thalia. "Well, well. Head Scout, you've got quite a party here. Speak your mind...or theirs if you can."

Thalia said nothing, though. She placed her fist upon her heart, looked Jadea straight in the eyes, and then nodded. Cassia, Deoris, and Thaleia all did the same. Samsara approached closer with Vorgeen a step behind her.

"Where ya headed?" Athanase said, strangely calm for one in her position. In Jadea's arms, Karma picked up her head when she heard Samsara's voice. Jadea let her down on her feet where she stood, confused but quiet.

"Where the wind blows me."

Samsara frowned, showing her disbelief. "You're going to Celcia - aren't you?"

"Sami..." Jadea started then stopped. Her eyes weren't tough now, just...knowing and happy. "I'm going home - to see my daughter."

Surprise. Amazement. Curiosity. Disbelief. Understanding. Sadness. "I will miss you." Samsara said, her voice almost but not quite cracking and she embraced her Aunt, not caring or minding the other eyes on them.

It was Vorgeen who had to pull Samsara back. Karma reached for Samsara, then. The latter picked up Ishtar's daughter, hugged and kissed her forehead, whispering a private kalinihta to her.

The red-headed, green-eyed, Highland Amazon smiled at her friend. "Ya will keep us in mind and heart, aye?"

Jadea nodded. "Aye, always in all ways. From this life to the next." The two embraced and then parted. Jadea took Karma's hand and they began to walk away, but the sorceress stopped suddenly, caught most surprised when she heard Seriana's voice ring clearly with these words:

"By my staff and my sword...By my dagger and my wits..."

"Blood promise of life...Fight to the death..."

Karma turned around, as did Jadea. The former looked back at Samsara and Seriana. She placed her small fist to her heart. "TaeíNah unite."

"CU ENA DURUS TAE'NAH ARCIS!"

Soraya

Before the Queenís announcementÖ

As Soraya headed for the stables she heard a commotion in the Med hut and noticed Morigan trying to calm Venlusia down. She ran in there to try to help, but saw that if she were to interfere she would only be in the way. Instead, she slowly approached Morigan. "Mori whatís going on?"

The Celtic warrior looked at her friend. "Venlusia just started convulsing. Weíre not sure whatís wrong with her."

"Donít worry sheís a fighter. I donít mean to sound insensitive, but I was looking for you. I need a horse."

Morigan looked at her sister, it took her a while to understand the request of the Incan warrior, but then she remembered her duties as Alogosida Archila. She took a last glance at her sister on the bed, as Cassia tended to her; she knew she would be all right with her. As these thoughts ran through her mind, Venlusia opened her eyes and commented that she had a splitting headache.

The two Amazons laughed. Morigan was relieved to see her sister was ok, and that she hadnít lost her sense of humor. Then she turned and signaled to Soraya that all was well.

Morigan lead the way to the stables. Soraya caught her up on why she wanted to horse and how she needed to leave now.

As Morigan opened the door to the Med hut, she found Valkyra about to do the same thing. She informed everyone in the Med hut that Latra Jadea had an announcement to make to the whole tribe. Soraya and Morigan both looked at each other, they both got this feeling deep inside them.

They returned to the Med hut and helped Venlusia to the Mess hall. She was supposed to rest, on Cassiaís orders, but she insisted on going to the Queenís announcement, for she had a feeling deep inside her, too.

After the Queenís announcement . . .

The shock hadnít set in yet as Morigan, Venlusia and Soraya headed towards the stables. Silence had overcome them. All three had felt this coming, but tried to ignore it, but it didnít do any good. The day had come when their Queen, their friend, the one woman they always looked to for strength was leaving.

They discussed how Valkyra would do the tribe proud since she was an excellent warrior and a good friend to all her sisters. They agreed that she had the strength to succeed as Queen of Themiscyra.

Morigan opened the stable doors and quietly took the reins of Spirit, a horse as black as the night with a diamond shape on his forehead. Morigan had trained him especially for Soraya as a solstice gift. She handed the reins to her friend and gave a small smile as Ray took them.

Soraya put a hand on Venlusiaís shoulder and then mounted her new horse, Spirit. Both Morigan and Venlusia watched as the Incan warrior rode out of Themiscyra. She had to get Zia back and tell her the sad news about Queen Jadea.

Soraya

Outside Themiscyra...

Soraya rode Spirit hard through the forest, partly to hasten her journey to get to Zia and partly because she felt mad at Jadea for leaving. She entered a clearing where she slowed the beautiful horse down. She wiped her tears away. She got angry with herself for crying. She never cried, ever!

I donít even know where to begin to look for you, Zia. She looked up at the skies. I need help.

Just then, she heard a laugh behind her. She turned to find a couple of smelly thugs eyeing her. She rolled her eyes and dismounted, spinning her staff. "Yes? Can I help you?"

That question seemed to unleash hell. They started to attack her. She had three coming from behind her and two from the front. She did a back flip and let two bang into each other, which she had to laugh at.

They recuperated quickly and started for her again. She swung her staff and hit one of them in the face, stopping him in his tracks. She side-kicked another, stopping him, but had three more come towards her with big swords.

She tried a jumping flying-kick, but as she did a blinding light caught her in the eyes - the reflection of one of their swords. She lost her balance and the two of the men grabbed the staff out of her hands and held her arms. The one that had blinded her came towards her and she kicked him where the sun didnít shine. She struggled, but by this time the odds were back to five against one.

One had a very bloody nose, and it was obvious that he wanted revenge. He slapped Soraya, snapping her head back, but that would be all the revenge he would have. Soraya felt one of her arms go suddenly free and she swung her fist the face of the guy that hit her.

She felt herself let go completely and quickly recuperated her balance, confused as to why they let her go. She looked around for the answer and saw another man who was engaged with fighting most of the smelly thugs.

She spotted her staff lying on the ground, abandoned. Grabbing it, she joined the fray around the new man, swinging it with such fury, she knocked two of the men out. She then drew and threw her dagger killing one of the other men. Panting, she stopped and watched the mystery man fight the other two.

"Arenít you going to help?" he asked.

Soraya looked at him and gave a small grin. "You seem to be doing all right." She watched as he delivered kicks and punched with a fury of a thousand men. Heís kind of sexy, she thought to herself, watching the muscles of his arms as he flipped the brigands over his shoulder.

Finally all the men were knocked out. The mystery guy walked up to Soraya who was now tending to her horse. "Youíre welcome!" The man wiped his blade on the grass.

Soraya looked at him. "What?" An indignant look came over her face.

"I just saved your ass! They could have killed you!" he exclaimed as he put his sword back in his sheath.

"What are you talking about, I had it under control. I didnít need any help."

The guy reached out to touch her face. She tried to block him but he managed to block her block, which really surprised her. "Yes, I can see you donít need any help. What about this cut you have? Come on, we should find a stream and take care of that."

"I donít need your help thank you very much."

"Well finally you thanked me. Now donít be so stubborn. You donít want that bruise to get any worse."

She didnít know why, but she followed him to a stream nearby. He tore off a piece of his shirt and damped it in the cool waters. He sat Soraya down and put the cloth on her face. "So, whatís your name?"

"Why?"

"I just want to know the name of the person I just saved!"

Soraya cut him off. "You did not save me!"

"Okay, okay. The name of the person I just met. Are you always this defensive?"

"What do you mean?" She asked him suspiciously

"Thatís exactly what I mean. Every time I ask you a question you get all suspicious and defensive. I just asked your name, nothing really personal. Or do you want me to call you green eyes?"

She couldnít help but give a little smile, but she quickly became serious. "Soraya. Thatís my name. Happy?"

"Yes. Hi, Soraya, Iím Raven."

"What kind of name is that?" She removed the cloth from her head.

"What kind of name is Soraya?"

"Fine, sorry. Didnít mean to offend you. Raven . . . itís a nice name." She couldnít help looking into his blue-green eyes, noticing how his dark hair enhanced his strong features. She shook her head and got up. "I have to go."

He had noticed her gazing into his eyes and he gave a small smile. "Where are you headed?"

"Why?"

"There you go again. Iím not out to get you, okay? Iím just curious."

Soraya bit her lip. "Iím trying to look for a friend of mine. She disappeared a few days ago from my tribe."

"Tribe?"

"Iím an Amazon."

"I knew you were. The way you fight gave it away. So, you know where to start looking?"

"Well, no. You see Iím not really sure where sheís gone. But I do know that she could be in danger. And I need to bring her back." She went to Spirit and mounted the great steed. She was about to ride away Raven stopped her. "What are you doing?"

"Hey, I know these parts pretty well and thereís a lot of thugs around here, as well as some pretty treacherous places. Now, I know you can handle the thugs, but what if a hundred men came at you? You canít fight them all. I could guide you through here and help you find your friend. Iím also a great tracker." He gave her a wink and smiled.

"Whatís in it for you?"

"Nothing is free of charge, huh? How about that I want to help simply out of the goodness of my heart? Besides Iíll follow you any way, whether you agree or not."

Soraya rolled her eyes. She didnít trust any man to do things out of the goodness of their heart. She knew there was no such man. But if he could help find Zia quicker, then why not? Sheíd just have to keep an eye on him. "Fine, but donít get in my way. And if I tell you to get back, you get back."

"If you tell me to get back, I wonít listen because you could use my help. Donít be so proud."

She gave him a hard gaze, then started to ride away. He ran to mount his own horse and started following. He stayed right behind her, which made her feel uncomfortable. Finally, she slowed down so he could catch up. He noticed and started to ride beside her.

Never met a girl who was so suspicious, he thought. She is kind of cute, though.

As though she read his mind she gave a sly grin, but turned her head away quickly. This canít be happening; this type of thing doesnít happen to me. Soraya, stop thinking of him!

They entered another region of the forest, where Raven said new danger waited for them. Well, theyíd soon find out if he was right.

Samsara

Meanwhile...

I have a cousin, Sami thought as she watched the dust settle. She held her fist to her heart in respect for her Aunt, who had always ruled fairly. She trusted Jadeaís instincts, though, and didn't challenge the Latraís right leave. "We can all aspire to rule like she has," she said. "I trust Valkyra will be as just and powerful."

She turned around to face Cassia, Seriana, Thaleia, Deoris, and Vorgeen. They each looked at the child Goddess with a spectrum of feelings ranging from worry to ... sympathy? "I'm fine. I have things to deal with. Time to move on," she walked passed them toward the village.

Several moments later, well away from the party that accompanied her for one final farewell to Jadea, Athanase stopped. She sensed someone near her, someone familiar. Friend, foe? She wasn't sure yet. She had her staff ready for whoever it was. She hated being sneaked up on. She slowly scanned the ground ahead of her and behind her. Who was there? She turned around slowly and stopped.

Mariko.

"You're dead."

"I presented the illusion of death," the sorceress responded.

"But Dachus..."

"He lied to you, Waka-musabi. Don't blame him - I told him to tell you that I was dead. I didn't want you to come after me. I had many things to do and I couldn't have you searching for me."

"What was more important?"

"You're feeling abandoned."

"That's not true," she responded, slamming her staff down for effect. "I am alone, just as everyone else in this world is. There is no such thing as abandonment."

"A mask for your hurt feelings. There's a lot you'll need to resolve this year, Athanase." She started walking toward the village. Sami followed her out of habit or instinct. She wasn't sure which.

Samsara

"Where are we going?" Athanase asked the Eastern Woman.

"You ask too many questions, especially when you know the answers."

Silence. After a while, she realized they were certainly not headed toward the village. Athanase could hear the sound of the Thermadon rushing by. She hadn't been there, to her favorite thinking place, in a very long time. Perhaps since she regained her memory a year and a half ago. When Zia felt offended that Sami hadn't remembered her. Her thoughts went to the new Roman Latra. Did she act on that resentment? Was that why she left so suddenly during their training, acted so strangely?

Mariko brought her back to a more pressing issue. "I see you left your daughter in the care of your Tasida Latra."

"It will do her good," Samsara responded, looking toward the river. "I couldn't show her what she needed to learn. I have too much on me. Too many enemies, too many unresolved issues." She shook her head. "This isn't what Ishtar would have wanted for her daughter. Karma was destined for so much. Not what I could give her now."

Callisto's daughter thought back to the last two days after Jadea's announcement.
For good measure, Sami had left Karma in her Aunt's care. Just for a couple of days. Until she left... Sami wanted Jade to have some final quality time with the toddler.
There were whispers amongst many in the village - Themiscyrans, Teloans, others - speculating. Why didn't Samsara Athanase receive the title of Latra? Why was Valkyra handed it? Even though Valkyra was Regent, she shared no blood with the Cirran. Samsara clearly did.
When others rightfully made the argument that the Warrior Woman had made great concessions in being appointed Regent and grew to be much fairer than LŤda had ranted, there were still doubts. Why hadnít Samsara been named Regent? Why wasnít the most powerful among them going to lead them?
The Teloan felt the criticism that also came along with it. The scorn that others had for her, the disappointment. Since her ascension to the throne of Teloq, she hadn't named a new Chief Elder to replace the late Serena. The post remained unfilled and the Pentad had been rendered useless because of it. The Teloans were scattered within Themiscyra. There was no sort of unifying glue for them. Nothing to rally against or for.
Samsara had successfully defeated her enemies within the ranks: Calandra, Athenia, and even her own sister, Kaia. She now had no one to stand up against, so she stood up against nothing. She did nothing. And the Teloans suffered because of it. Perhaps it was time, or soon to be, to fix the situation. She couldn't keep Karma exposed to such disunion, such... weakness in a Tribe.
So she went into Jadea's hut the night before the Tasida left. Jadea had Karma on her lap and was watching her play with a wand. Jadea's eyes were fixated on the glowing stick before her. The child had done something, but what, how? The soft glow illuminated the room and almost sparkled. Karma had a grand smile on her face and giggled as the light went away.
"Luibh!" she shouted again and the light came back. "Luibh-wah!" And the entire hut lit up.
Sami blinked twice. "Karma...."
"I didn't teach her that, Sami," Jadea interjected. "But she knows it."
"You sure you aren't playing with her in some weird sorceress way?"
Calli's sister shot Athanase a dangerous look. "Kax." Sorry. "So..."
"She has a gift."
"Yes..." She approached her daughter. "But Ishtar had no powers."
"Isme did, Sami. I think it's why Ishtar refused her rite of caste and became a Shamaness all those years ago. She didn't know she had the power or that her sister did, but she knew she had a gift that needed to be developed. I think she came to understand just after she died."
"It explains her appearances from beyond," Sami said, latching onto the logic.
Jadea nodded. "It explains a lot of things."
"You're going away." Truth.
"Yes." Confirmation.
A long pause transpired between the two Athelfi. It was Samsara who broke it finally. "Take her with you. She could use the time away from this, from me. I'm a mess, Jade. A real mess." She looked away. "I can't care for a little babe as precious as her. And I can't give her the training she'll need when you arrive where ever it is you want - need - to go." She stood straighter.
Jadea put up no argument. She knew what Samsara meant and left it at that.

"You made a wise decision, Waka-musabi," Mariko responded, bringing Sami back to the present. "There are too many problems ahead of you now to care for someone like Karma. There is a lot you need to understand about the destiny you are about to embark on. Whether you like it or not, you do have a set path that you must follow."

This diverted greatly from her teachings. Mariko had always stressed that Samsara was the creator of her own destiny. What did Mariko mean by this?

Athanase knew that it was pointless to challenge the Eastern Woman's reasoning. She understood that it was her way of getting Sami back on track, to get the child-Goddess where she needed to go. To where she would have the greatest impact.

Sami had no time for it, but she needed to make time. She hoped that she made the right decision, but something about the echo of a laughing toddler comforted her.

Venlusia

After watching Soraya depart from Themiscyra, Venlusia and Morigan turned back around and walked back into the stables.

"Jadea resigning as Queen, Soraya deciding to go search for Zia, you having dizzy spells, and me having a stroke of some sort. So much in one day," Venlusia mumbled as she made her way towards Nizo. Her horse nudged her with his nose and she obliged by stroking the velvety bridge. "She will be missed, but I know Valkyra will make an excellent Queen," Venny said.

Morigan stared out a stable window, her mind following Soraya as she rode off to find Zia. "I do hope she will be ok. I also agree with you about Jadea and Queen Valkyra. As for you convulsing, it worries me Venny. "

"Worries me too Morigan. I'm afraid of me going insane again. Radicus wants me to hurt you. I couldn't live with that. Maybe I should leave..."

Just as Venlusia said the word "leave", Morigan turned red and strode up to her sister. "Don't even think about it, Ven! You're all I have right now. Don't make me mad!"

"What am I supposed to do Morigan? Wait until Radicus decides to make me go bonkers, take control of me fully, slaughter innocents, and hurt you? I don't want that to HAPPEN! I can avoid it if I leave!"

"And do you think running away will make Radicus leave you alone and not play with your head! What ever happens, we will go through it together Venny! No buts about it!" Morigan said as she huffed.

By now both sisters were standing up in the middle of the stable room, starring each other down. Both were out of breath from hollering and exhausted from the day.

Venlusia stared at her sister and smiled. "Our first real fight Mori."

"Yeah, but let's not have them often," Morigan said as she cooled down. "Come on Ven, let's go back to the hut and turn in for today. It's been a long day for both of us. We can continue this conversation there." She said as she put her arm around Venny's shoulders. The pair quickly went home to the hut they shared.

Venlusia stored her cloak in the chest near her bed. After Morigan was finished with it, she used the water basin to cleaning the dirt off her body. Morigan sat down on the bed and continued the conversation that was started in the stables.

"Venny, please don't think about leaving. I would just come looking for you. It wouldn't do us any good. I don't want to lose you," Morigan said with desperation in her voice.

Venlusia put the rag down and sat down next to Morigan, starring at the floor. "Mori, we both know I could just snap any moment and hurt anyone. I don't want that to happen. I don't know what to do, or how to stop him. He keeps coming back and it's breaking me down piece by piece. I can't fight off his control like I did before."

A silence went through the room. Venlusia, who herself hadn't cried in years, started to shed tears. Tears of fear and desperation that she could never overcome her father's hold.

"Aw, Venny! Don't cry. It's going to be all right!" Morigan said as she gathered her sister in her arms. She had never seen her sister cry and it surprised her.

"Mori, we must stop him. He is bad, so bad . . ." Venlusia trailed off, losing her voice.

"I promise Ven, we will overcome this. I will do anything to make this madness stop. Radicus will pay," Morigan replied, growling when announcing the name of her cursed, biological father.

Venlusia, catching herself, stopped crying and stood up. She looked down at her sister and smiled. "I believe you Mori. I believe you. We must get some rest or we will not be able to make it through another day."

After saying their goodnights, both sisters got into their bed. But one fell asleep faster then the other one.

Venlusia watched her sister sleep. As she did, memories flooded her mind, showing her all the damage she had done when she lost her mind the first time. The memories of her sais entering through human flesh, the memory of her disrespecting her sister.

These memories hadnít come to her before. Now that she had them, she couldn't help but know that she was a threat to all of her Amazon sisters and especially to Morigan. Tears flowed down her face into her pillow.

She turned to her sister, knowing she was fast asleep, and spoke. "Morigan, if we can't stop this madness, please do what you know must be done. No matter how hard it could be." Venlusia mumbled before falling into a fitful slumber.

"Let's hope it never comes to that sister," Morigan mumbled in her sleep, unknown even to herself.

Somewhere in the forest outside Themiscyra . . .

Radicus watched through a magical well of some sort. Enjoying what he saw, his eyes began to glow an evil red and he clapped his hands together.

"She's losing it on her own. She is giving up little by little. It will come easy when I take over her. My plan is working. Stealing away her will to overcome my powers. Oh what joy!" Radicus giggled evilly. "Syrus!" he shouted.

Just then, a short, well-built man came through the tent flap. "Yes, Master?" Syrus asked Radicus.

"Syrus, I want you to start sparring with the troops. If we have to take my daughter by force, we will have Amazons to go through. Although it will most likely not come to that."

"Yes Radicus!" Syrus said as he ran out of the commander's tent.

Kardia

Before the Queenís announcement...

Kardia began her usual day with a prayer for her Sinope village and the feeding on her pet eagle, Sobryn. He had been the reason Kardia entered onto Themiscyran land. Somehow, Sobryn had led her towards Themiscyra.

Kardia was feeling a little under the weather, and considering her hut was just behind her shop, she did not rush to begin her work. Kardia sat in her chair thinking back to her village and her father.

She had looked up to her father. He had taught her everything she knew about weapons. Kardia missed her father and wondered what became of him and the other villagers of Sinope. I can't cry, the Amazons have taken me in and they are my new family. Crying would be a sign of ungratefulness towards them, Kardia thought, moving toward the door of her hut.

Kardia stepped out of the hut into blinding sun. Quiet, she thought. Too quiet. She hadn't been in Themiscyra that long, but felt something was wrong. She went into her shop eyeing the table of tarnished and unfinished weapons.

"Till death," Kardia said to herself humorously, thinking about how long she would be fixing the mounds of weapons.

Suddenly Kardia heard a voice outside her shop. "You are called upon by Latra Jadea to report to the general square immediately!" She dropped her work at once to answer the summons by her Queen.

After the Queens Announcement . . .

Kardia did not know how to react to the news. Of course, like any respectful Amazon, she praised and welcomed Valkyra as the new Queen, with loud whoops and cheers. She did not ask her athelfi any question, because she was new and felt it would be out of place. She returned to her work with only one question in her mind regarding the former Latra's news. Why now?

Valkyra

Before Queen Jadeaís announcementÖ

"I am honored that you have let me call you Jade," said the Regent. "From what I heard, very few have this privilege."

Queen Jadea replied, "Consider it a parting gesture of friendship."

"Yes, and as you know already, you shall always have me as your friend, sister and ally," added Valkyra. "Although you have power of a great Sorceress and are quite capable of taking care of yourself, there could come a time when you require help. After all, the Fates are fickle; one can not always know what will the future will hold."

Jadea slightly nodded in agreement as Valkyra continued, "If you ever find yourself in a perilous situation, just send a message and I will come at great speed. I shall even bring all the Amazon Tribes with me if necessary."

The Sorceress Empress smiled in appreciation and gave her Regent a sisterly embrace. "Our Tribe has been through much while we were both here and we have survived. Take care of Themiscyra."

"I will do my best, my Queen," replied Valkyra. "I know that the entire Tribe will work and fight together to ensure the continued survival of Themiscyra Amazon Nation."

Two days later, outside of the Village...

Before Jadea left Themiscryan lands, with Karma in her arms, she turned and looked toward a nearby hill. There, on the top of a ridge was her former Regent. Valkyra, seated on her war stallion, raised her sword in salute to her former Queen.

Deirdre

After Jadeaís AnnouncementÖ

Deirdre sat on the edge of her bed in a stunned state, not sure what to think. I canít believe she's gone. The only Queen I've ever known. Oh yeah, besides my mom. This is so weird and so sudden. She left without even an explanation. Sure Deirdre had heard rumors over the past two days. Something about a daughter but that was only hearsay. Latr... Jadea, herself, hadn't given any explanation as to why she left. Was it something the tribe did? Was she not pleased with us somehow?

No use in thinking this way, Deirdre thought. She wouldn't get any answers to these questions anyhow.

Faela's puppy wondered into the room and his tiny little barks brought Deirdre out of her trance.

"Hey, there sweetie, want to talk to Auntie Deirdre?" she asked as she leaned down to pick up the puppy. She got a lick in response.

"I guess I'm gonna have to stop putting off the inevitable now, babe," she told the pup, referring to her first dance class. She would have to do it really soon now, too, so she could honor the departed Latra and celebrate the new Latra acquired position.

No help for it, I suppose, Deirdre thought to herself as she put the puppy down and headed out of her hut. Time to make an announcement that a dance class would be held that afternoon.

Latrina

Latrina had been there when the Queen made her announcement. It had shocked her for she thought the Queen would reign a long time. Although she had only just met the Queen a few days ago, she had seemed prosperous in her reign. It was sad to see her go.

Latrina was bound and determined to get a good start in the tribe. "Today I will ask Samsara for advice and get a position in the tribe so I can move on. Dwelling on my mothers death will only harm me more, so I must busy myself with work," she said to herself.

Seriana

Seri walked into the woods as evening was coming on -- hardly ever wise, of course, but she needed to. Jadea had commanded her to stay in the village. That didn't matter: Jadea was gone. She could go anywhere she pleased, now. She could inspect her watches again. That would make her life easier.

Valkyra would make a good Queen. Valkyra had the experience, the confidence, and the tribe trusted and respected her. That would be the issue soon, but for now all she could deal with was Jadea. One thing at a time.

She settled against a beech trunk to think for a while. She wanted to be perfectly still and bear the pain of loss and abandonment, lie still until it faded, like a scraped knee. Inside she was screaming, screaming. She had honored Celosia, and Celosia had vanished. She had honored Jadea and now Jadea was gone too. She should have done something more, should have helped, should have fixed . . .

Scream, scream, scream. Rock back and forth and scream silently, young, frustrated, confused, alone.

Autolycus sat down next to her and put an arm around her shoulders. "Hey, Seri, Trinket, what's wrong?"

"Jadea left." She breathed deep to keep from choking. "Jadea's gone. Was it my fault? I was away so long . . .so selfish and temperamental, always . . ."

"Two things. One: your Queen's a tough lady. She makes her own choices. And second, if being temperamental or whatever hurts your tribe, then sitting out here feeling sorry for yourself ain't gonna help. You've got a new Queen who's all by herself, too. So get up, off your rear, and go help your tribe. Move it."

Seri obligingly got up 'off her rear' and brushed herself off. She did have work to do. She turned to thank Autolycus and found no one there, nor sign that anyone besides herself had been for some time.

Of course he couldn't have been there. He was across the peninsula somewhere. So had she fallen asleep, had someone else conjured him up, or had she out of sheer need created him, through imagination or latent abilities or whatever?

Right then she didn't care. There were enough questions with no answers for everyone right now without her causing more. She returned to the village to see about the half-dead bag of bones she'd recovered from the woods.

Kiran

Kiran inhaled sharply, finally. The lands she had come upon had taken her breath away, literally. The thoughts of ending her life that had been her constant travelling companions, had vanished.

She walked down a well-trodden path wondering what wonderful realm she had stumbled into, when suddenly she was surrounded by two animals with very sharp weapons. Only these were unlike any she had seen. Monstrous visages sat upon clearly human, female bodies.

"Strange," she thought. "I must have slipped into a magical world guarded by these beasts. I must be trespassing on sacred ground."

She had been through enough in her young life. Slowly and without fear, she stepped towards the one that appeared to be the leader, ready to face the righteous wrath that she was sure would rain down on her at any moment.

But what was this? The monsters were tearing off their faces to reveal human identities.

Samsara

One of the "beasts" approached Kiran and quietly took her arm. Another silently took her other arm and the three headed back to the village. They would report to Seriana as soon as they found her. Kiran instinctively remained quiet and followed the unspoken orders of the two guards. After a moment, the trespasser realized that the two beasts were Amazons. She had heard the stories of fierce warrior women who lived in the forests. Suddenly, she felt safe, at home with them.

Meanwhile, in the village, Samsara turned to Mariko. The look on her face told of her disapproval of Valkyra's decision. Domaris didn't lie. Could she be telling the truth with everything else she said?

"She is wise, Athanase," Mariko began, referring to Deoris.

"But she has barely regained her vision, no one here knows her, she's not fit to be Regent!"

Luckily the din of the dancing and whooping drowned her out from potential eavesdroppers.

"You'll keep your voice down, Waka-musabi," the other cautioned. "Remember that your words can be construed the wrong way. Remember to reason. LŤda didn't, and you saw what happened to her."

Samsara decided not to question how Mariko knew of LŤdaís challenge. In an act of pure rage, the former Weapons Master challenged the Cild Archila. Valkyra had no choice but to kill her. It had been the culmination of almost a year's worth of cutting eyes and snide remarks from LŤda.

"Maybe Deoris'll come into her own, but this is some damn way to do it," Athanase concluded, moving her weight to her left side. Her right thigh had seemed sore for some reason, but she ignored it. Nothing to worry about.

"Samsara, Samsara!" Latrina shouted as she ran to the two of them. "Deirdre is holding her class now. She said we needed groups of three to practice the basic steps she'll teach us today. Since you already have one person, may I join?"

"Sure," Sami responded, thankful to not talk of serious matters for an hour. "Do you know what basic steps she's teaching today?" She secretly hoped for Arabic belly dancing, the only kind of dancing she was good at. Of course, it was not an easy dance to learn. From Ishtar's scrolls, Samsara learned that her Guardian had studied the art for ten years before she was an expert. Samsara had taken only four, but was a quick study, at least at that.

"I don't know what she's teaching," Latrina responded. "But let's form our group. We don't want Deirdre to be upset if we aren't ready!"

Selena

The room was quiet as the Weyal Archila sat in silence. Earlier on that day she had heard the Latra give her resignation, then handed the throne straight over to the Regent Valkyra. She respected Jadea's leave, knowing everyone had to do what she had to do.

Nobody seemed to notice that things were different for Selena.

The appearance of whatever-the-thing-had-been was just the start to the whole affair. The reason she had screamed when she saw it was that she had recognized it. It was straight out of her nightmares.

Now she refused to go to sleep as the sun set. She wasnít going to let herself drown in nightmares for the rest of her life. She would just not face them.

In the safety of her room, she kept her mind off of the creature with busy work. But inside, she was terrified of meeting it again.

She was also disappointed that none of her athelfiís had noticed her. Not one had even acknowledged her situation, screaming in the courtyard, and that knowledge tore her heart.

If the creature were in her mind, surely she would know. Surely she would know if the Ďthingí were real or not.

She tried not to panic as the darkness began to cover her room. She couldnít light a candle, as Cassia and Samsara had not permitted her to use candles at night any more, since the burning of her hut. So now she watched as the shadows formed on the walls, long and lean, making her breathing grow faster and harder.

She could see her breath forming in front of her and knew something wasnít right. She was prepared - prepared to run, prepared to scream.

Another shadow appeared on the wall. This time it was that of a figure, the same shadows that was seen two days ago in the village.

She scrambled backwards on her sheets and pressed her back against the wall. The Cumae Paros heart began to beat faster as fear set in. If this monster was in her head, then how could she tell anyone she thought this monster was the shade of her mother.

She was supposed to be an Amazon and she was running from her nightmares, things that were supposed to not hurt you. Things that were meant to remain nightmares and only that.

A hideous cry escaped the lips of the thing in front of her. She covered her ears and closed her eyes as if she thought this would make it disappear. As if she this would make it disappear forever.

The red head never noticed that in the darkest corner of the room stood another figure, dressed in a black cape playing with puppet strings, as if playing with the Amazon herself.

Outside, Latrina had approached Athanase and informed her that the Deirdreís lesson was about to start, also asking if she could join Samsaraís group. The Teloan smiled and followed her hutmate to the dance class.

Looking around, she noticed that her other hutmate wasnít there. She stopped Latrina before they entered the middle of the village. "Whereís Selena?"

Deoris

Deoris paced from one end of her hut to the other, wringing her hands. Thoughts traveled with her, twining together in a dance as intricate as any the Daksoz Archila might choose to perform.

Latra Jadea and the child Karma, gone, she thought, turning around. Valkyra, Warrior Woman and Cild Archila, formerly Lyna now Latra, she mused, turning back the way sheíd just come. And me, she felt the panic rising, named Lyna. Lyna! What was Valkyra thinking? "Itís so . . ." she began.

"It is as I have chosen it to be, TiíSa," Artemisí voice came from behind her.

Deoris spun and dropped instinctively. "My Goddess," she whispered.

"You have come at last to the place where I need you most, TiíSa," the Goddess said.

"But I thought you needed me to guide your dead to you. A thing I havenít done in many moons, since Domaris gifted me with sight again."

"I know," she said, her voice full of disapproval. She moved over and sat in one of the chairs at Domarisí table. "No matter, you did what you felt you had to do. And in the end, you did not forsake me but kept me by your side. That was the important thing."

The Goddess lifted the empty teapot and filled a suddenly clean glass with hot coffee. "You had your time to be oppressed and reviled, and you have had your time to be happy and young and free. Now it is time to return to your duties to me and to this tribe."

"But I know nothing about being Regent! I barely know how to be an Amazon, you saw to that," Deoris protested, rising to her feet.

Artemis sipped her coffee, ignoring the outburst. "You know everything about being an Amazon, TiíSa. You were born knowing it. You donít know how to be like everyone else that is true. That was by my design and by your choice."

"They wonít accept that. A Regent who canít even fight with a sword!"

The glass slammed down on the table, the Goddessí patience at an end. "They will accept you more readily than you accept yourself, Deoris. Being a Regent is more about how you wield wisdom than how you wield a sword," she stood and advanced toward her TiíSa. Deoris held her ground, keeping her brown eyes level with the ones of her Goddess.

Artemis halted a few inches from her face. "This," she said quietly. "This is why Valkyra chose you. For all your size and age, for all your playfulness and your innocence, still you face down a Goddess."

Deoris took a step back. "Foolishness is a sign of a good Lyna?"

"Courage, Deoris. The kind it takes to continue on after your face is scarred and everyone looks on you in horror. The kind it takes to learn to master a weapon after your eyesight is gone. The kind it takes to search out your sister on your own when youíve never left the village before. The kind it takes to stand against a Latra and voice your own opinion. The kind of courage I have given you through trial and tribulation."

Deoris twisted her hands around and around. "I donít know . . ." she whispered.

There was no answer. Turning, she found herself alone. She supposed she didnít need an answer, really, she knew the answer. As with everything else in her life, sheíd been called and she would rise to the occasion, no matter the obstacles.

But Lyna, she thought again. What was Valkyra thinking?

She missed Latra Jadea terribly all of a sudden.

Latrina

As Latrina stood looking around for her hut-mate, she had a sudden wave of dizziness.

Not now! Why now? No! No! No! Latrina thought to herself. Then she lost her breath and fell into blackness.

She was looking at Selena. The Amazon was hunched in a corner, her eyes shut and hands over her ears. Pure fear washed over her face and panic radiated from her aura.

Back in the middle of camp, Samsara was lowering Latrina to the ground. She had caught the girl as she fell backwards. The Teloan had no idea what was happening and was concerned for her safety.

Latrina came to herself with a start. She pulled against Samsara's grip, trying to stand. The Teloan was not easily dislodged, however, and the pair pulled against each other. "Let me go! Selena is in trouble!" she yelled at the Goddess.

"Selena?" Samsara asked.

"She is in our hut! Go to her now, I will be fine! Leave me be and go to her, NOW!"

Samsara, Latra of the Teloan Amazons and Goddess of Destruction, used to giving orders, not getting them, dropped the girls arm and ran for her hut.

Latrina sat up and held her head in her hands. A crowd had formed around her and she waved them off and struggled up to her feet. She had a headache from Hades, but that wouldn't stop her from reaching Selena.

Samsara

"Mariko," she said, turning up to the Eastern Woman as the others circled around Latrina. "Please make sure she's ok."

"I will, go!" Mariko turned to the others to clear some space for the fainted Athelfi. "Give her some air to breathe, please!"

Samsara jumped up from her crouched position and made her way to her hut, many yards away from the center of the village. Bodhisattva was outside of the hut, trying to get in by pawing at the door. He had barked every time she shouted, hoping to grab someone's attention. The din of the dance class must've drowned him out, she thought.

She pushed open the door and spied Selena in her bed, shaking, screaming. The design of the hut was such that sounds from within were difficult to hear from without, but it wasn't hard to hear the yelling.

"Leave me alone!" She shouted, throwing her hand in the air. She seemed to be asleep, but was acting very much awake. "Please, please leave me alone! Why isn't anyone here to help me?"

"Selena!" Sami shouted instantly more worried, walking into the hut. "Selena!"

"Stop! Ohi, ohi!"

Athanase jumped on the bed and shook the girl. "Wake UP!"

"Ohi!" the Cumae Paros shouted again, trying to fight her roommate off. She suddenly jerked her eyes open and shouted again.

"Would you not do that!" Samsara cried back.

"Sami, Sami, did you see them?" Her eyes shifted from left to right, behind the Teloan, searching for something, anything.

"See who, Selena? What?"

Bodhi growled a low tone. Something evil was there.

"Them, Sami... Them!" She pointed behind Athanase.

The Teloan Goddess turned around slowly to see...

Kiran

Women! And with weapons! The "beasts" were women! All this spun in Kiran's head as she was led toward the gates of a village. She was led to a hut, given water and some bread and left with her quiet reflections. She didnít miss the sound of a key locking her in.

There was something about this village. There was something she was missing, something she couldn't place her finger on.

On the surface, it seemed normal. As sheíd walked through, sheíd noticed chores being done. While there had seemed to be an extra charge of energy in the air, nothing had seemed out of place. No, it wasn't the extra buzz of energy.

Her mind kept going back to the fact that she had seen women brandishing weapons. Women brandishing weapons...

Men! The men are missing! She hadn't seen any men when she had walked through the village. Maybe they were all gone to war. No, she corrected herself, they would have left the sick and elderly behind. Or perhaps theyíre on a journey? Would an all the men in a village go on one journey together? Highly unlikely.

Then it struck her like a herd of elephants.

One night she had slipped into a village in the Middle East to "borrow" some bread, when she saw that the entire village was seated around a campfire listening earnestly to tales being narrated. She meandered in closer, unnoticed by the captivated crowd, so she could hear what was being said.

An old man started a tale about the much-imagined West. He spoke of the marvels he had seen - a man with the head of a bull called a minotaur, a winged flying horse called Pegasus and finally a tribe of warrior women. At the mention of the last wonder, the entire village burst in rapacious laughter.

"A tribe of warrior women! Ha! Women cannot survive without men," a male youth jeered. "Women cannot fight. They cannot hunt. They are too weak!"

"I tell you they were warrior women!" the old man contended, eager to defend his tale. "They were tall and strong and wielded weapons much better than you or I. Amazons, that is what they called themselves."

"Amazons, that is what they called themselves . . ." Kiran mused. "I am in a village of Amazons."

"I have come home."

Faela

Before Queen Jadea's announcement . . .

"Thank you Ryka, I'm very grateful," Faela bowed her head and smiled at the Tropse
Archila.

"No need to thank me, I'm happy to help." Ryka smiled and handed her a bowl of milk and bread.

"Amazons!" Valkyraís strong voice called through the mess hut. Both Faela and Ryka stopped their conversation to watch the Regent. "Our Queen has called us to the general square, you are to go immediately." Finished with her announcement, she left.

"Wonder whatís going on?" Faela asked they both headed out of the Mess hut.

"Don't know athelfi," was Ryka's reply. They walked into the square and waited for their Latra to address them.

After Jadea's announcement . . .

Faela was stunned. Her emerald eyes glistened with tears as she watched Jadea step down from the podium. She, like her sisters, was happy to have Valkyra as their new Latra. But she didnít feel up to singing for her old Queen, or singing for her new one. Slipping away, she went back to her hut and crawled into bed. After a while, her tears finally stopped and she fell into sleep.

The two days after Jadea's leaving . . .

Faela walked into the stables with pride. She was back where she belonged, amongst the horses, amongst the creatures that had first helped her discover she was special. She stopped in front of the stall that held her horse, Darkfire. The pure black mare shook her head and tossed her mane in way of greeting.

"Well, youíre happy to see me," Faela smiled, walking into the stall and taking a brush to Darkfireís back. "Unlike last time."

It had been Jadea who had come to Faela's aid and given her rest under her roof. She hadn't yelled or asked any questions, merely helped someone who needed it. That was something Faela would always remember about her former Queen.

"But Valkyra is my Queen now, and like she said, we must all do our best if we are to survive," Faela said, finishing brushing down the horse.

Two hours later . . .

"My Latra," she bowed her head and placed a fist over her heart.

"What is it, Faela?" Valkyra asked, a smile on her face.

"I wish to take a small hunting party into the woods. Ryka requested six deer and as many pheasants as we could find." She raised her head but kept her serious expression.

"What exactly is all this for, Veíkyna Archila?"

"Ryka wished to keep it secret," the Huntress took her eyes away from Valkyraís for a split second. "She wished to throw a celebration party for you and Deoris," she finally sighed, giving in.

The Queenís face split into a smile, "Tu fad so." You can go.

Faela smiled, then left Valkyraís hut to gather together her huntresses.

 

Coming Soon!

 

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