The group immediately formed up to head back to the safety of
the village palisade. They were the greatest hunters in the
known world, but even the magic-wielders did not know they were
Two men, men in the heart of Themiscrya territory, watched
the Amazons with impassive eyes.
"They are beautiful," said one.
"The biomorph is weak."
"It happens to the best of them. When he is out of her
world, she will be strong again. And by then we'll have them
The other said, in the steady monotone of recitation,
"The most beautiful thing in the world is a captive Amazon.
The next most beautiful, a suffering Amazon. Next, a dead
Amazon. Last, a free Amazon."
"A captive Amazon. And their beauty will belong to
"Only if we move quickly. They are already learning and
"Should we take out the threats?"
"Yes. It pains me to think of them dead, but no Amazon
royalty will be captive for long. Seek out the ruling families,
the magic-wielders, and the warriors. Kill them if you have to,
capture them if you can."
"Such is the way of the Majie."
"Indeed, such is the way. I and the others skilled at
sorcery will go to the poisoned ones."
"Be careful, sir."
They retreated into the shadows without any of the Amazons so
much as glancing at them.
"Listen up Amazons!" Samsara shouted as she held
the parchment tightly in a balled fist. "There's been a
change in plans."
She was angry. Jadea gone, she was growing more livid by the
second. No one messes with the family, she thought. She
wrapped up the papyrus and handed it to Thalia roughly.
"Thalia, you go back with five Amazons. The rest will come
with me to find these Amazon-hunting coward scum."
The Highlanders were tired. They wanted to return to the Themiscryan
camp and rest for the next day. Some raised voices
of protest, but Samsara cut them off. "I'm not finished.
Five will return with Thalia. Two of you will head up the
Thermadon to Teloq. The remaining ones will go with me to find
my aunt. I only want the ones who know her the best: maybe we
can get somewhere."
She quickly decided who would be going where, delegating
duties. She first deployed Thalia's group. "Be sure to give
that note to Celosia or Vorgeen," Samsara ordered. She
thrived in times of crisis. She was desperate to show Elder
Serena and the miserable Teloan Pentad that she was the rightful
winner of the High Guard position and she snatched every
opportunity to do so. She took Thalia's forearm and said,
"Go in peace, sister." The six left.
Samsara pulled out a piece of parchment and created a note
with her eyes. The matter of urgency was clearly stated. She
folded the piece and burned a shadow of a wolf -- her insignia
-- onto the folds as a watermark. The note authenticated and
official, she handed it to Aelia and said, "Take the route
south on the Thermadon. When you reach the encampment sound a
birdcall. Demand on the name of the Princess-Heiress to see
Serena and give her this note. It is imperative you do
Aelia nodded. "As you command, High Princess." She
left with another Amazon.
Samsara was left with three women. They looked at her warily,
but each knew the urgency. They knew Jadea and they wanted to
see her back safely in Themiscryan territory.
The High Princess mounted her horse, Callisto's sword in
hand. She flashed back to when Swift Blazer saw the broken
Celtic knot on Thalia's back. She knew the Majie had something
to do with it. Those slavers that attacked are much stronger
than anything under Kaia or Ares and were defeated easier than I
anticipated, she thought. Something's wrong. She looked at
Ardra. She needed to send another note.
The bird instinctively went to her and sat on the pommel of
Prince's saddle. Samsara pulled out another piece of papyrus and
emblazoned the message onto it:
"Your Highnesses Celosia and Vorgeen:
"Celosia, you may remember what happened in the Medic
hut the day Swift Blazer came into our lands. She saw a sign on
Thalia's wound. Be sure to check her to see if this mark still
exists. Swift Blazer may know more -- her reaction was testament
to that. Be on your guard. Thalia may tell you if she gets to
you before this note does. I've decided to continue searching
for Jadea. Something tells me if I can find her I will find our
enemy or vis-à-vis. If I do find them, I will send the
remaining Amazons back. I won't risk lives. Two Highlanders,
Aelia and Ursa, have gone south with a message to the Teloan
Pentad. If these assassins are after us, they may send a legion
to Themiscrya. Trust in my decision, my Queen.
"My staff shall crush the onslaught of our enemies, and
my sword will bear our message to all.
"High Princess Samsara of the Teloq Amazon,
Princess-Heiress to the Throne."
She wrapped up the message and tied it to Ardra's reluctant
leg. The hawk knew this was bad news, but she did as told and
Samsara sheathed the sword and pulled out her staff.
The troupe reached a creek and Samsara ordered that they
clean out their waterskins and refill. She did the same, washing
up as much as she could. It was time to rest, she knew, and she
had to make sure they wouldn't be under attack wherever they set
She stood and found a mossy area soft enough for the three
others to sleep. The Highlanders were grateful for a break and
they lay down and were soon in their dreams.
Samsara decided to keep watch. She was an immortal -- she
needed no sleep. She pondered why she ever went through the
motions of eating or drinking. The only food she craved was
ambrosia, but that was far from her mind. She leaned against a
fallen trunk with her sword and staff at her feet, drinking from
The territory of the Amazon nations was expansive. Three
tribes shared the eastern shore of the Thermadon river; the Themiscryans
in the north, the Teloans in the middle, and the
Thermadon Amazons to the south. Samsara knew this territory
well, and she was very aware that they weren't out of it yet.
Jadea why did you leave? she thought, taking another swig
of water. The liquid was enticing. Samsara never experienced
this before, but she paid no mind to it. She continued drinking
from her skin. Whatever poison was in the Themiscryan water
could do no physical harm to her.
She stood up. She had been gazing into the light of the fire
for what seemed like many candle marks. She shook her head and
suddenly stopped, pulling her mother's sword from the ground.
"Who are you?" she hissed.
Meanwhile, back at camp...
Thalia sounded a birdcall. The gates opened and several
guards noted the lack in numbers.
"Where are the rest of you?" one asked. She held a
spear and was obviously one of the veteran night guards.
"I have a note for Celosia and Vorgeen," Thalia
responded. "Samsara is still out with a group. They should
be back soon. She wanted to canvas the area again."
The six tired Amazons walked through the gates. The five
Highlanders went directly for their quarters to rest and clean
up. Should Vorgeen want to speak with them, she knew where to
Celosia walked out of her chambers with Vorgeen as if on cue.
Thalia headed straight to them. She motioned them inside.
"What of Jadea?" Vorgeen queried.
"We got this note from her hawk," the biomorph
responded, handing the paper to Celosia.
"I don't recognize this language," she said,
handing it to the other Queen. "I think this message is
intended for both of us."
As soon as she read the note, Vorgeen groaned. She was not a
fan of taking out the orb, but very few Amazons knew of its
power and three of them were in the Queen's chambers. "We
need to do this as soon as possible before daybreak," she
Celosia herself groaned. "If Jadea didn't want to be
found, where is Samsara?" she demanded. That girl,
she thought. She had better know what she's doing.
At that instant, the three turned. There was a commotion
outside. They rushed out to see Medea waving off a bird. Not
just any bird, but a red-tailed hawk by the name of Ardra.
"Get off me, you blasted thing!" she cried,
Well, if you'll stop fidgeting, it won't hurt as much!
Ardra exclaimed to no one in particular. She was attempting to
get a good hold on Medea's arm. Don't you see I have a note
for your sister, woman?
"What's going on?" Thalia asked, worried. She knew
Ardra meant no harm.
"What does it look like to you, stupid?" the Regent
Vorgeen extended an arm and the hawk bounced off a shocked,
crazed, angry, and slightly intimidated Medea and landed softly
on the Highland Queen's offered limb. Celosia pulled off the
note attached to the bird's leg.
She snorted. "Question answered. Samsara's looking for
the enemy in hopes that she find her aunt. Medea--"
"What?" she sneered, still flustered over the bird
"Go find Swift Blazer. Get her out of bed, I need to
talk to her. Thalia, round up everyone who knows anything about
the Majie. We'll need all the information we can get. Meanwhile,
Vorgeen will purify the food and water supplies and I'll wait on
a Teloan envoy. If they're as fast as Samsara is stubborn, she
should be here before daybreak."
Samsara was stubborn . . . so stubborn in fact, that she
didn't realize the three Highlanders were telling her the truth
when they told her she was hallucinating.
But that didn't stop Samsara from swiping her sword at what
seemed just air. The racket she caused startled the Amazons from
their slumber, and as a precaution, they pulled out their
weaponry. Bow, spear, and sais were ready.
"Samsara, no one is there!" Caoilinn, one of the
remaining Highlanders with the Goddess, said as calmly as she
"Oh, no, they're here all right. They're here."
The Goddess was clearly delusional. Exchanging glances, the
three Highland Amazons decided what to do silently. They
attacked quickly and subdued the High Princess, binding her with
rope. By then, she was giggling and had a big smile on her face.
"We have a problem," Caoilinn said. They mounted
her on Prince, who knew the urgency. They went back to camp.
Jadea headed north, knowing that her tracks were being
followed. She reached a flat valley and raised her hand. Before
her a cave appeared and she walked through it.
"Majie!" She said in a rough tongue, cursing the
lot of them. A man came out of a hidden room and looked
surprised to see the Sorceress Empress.
"Well, well. This is a surprise."
She rolled her eyes and moved a few steps closer.
"I have no time for games. What have you learned?"
The man stepped into the light glowing from a pit of
fireballs. "They are actually only seeking one Amazon. The
destruction of the Amazon Nation is only a bonus delight for
Jadea, having little patience and even less liking the news,
snapped suddenly. "Which Amazon do they want?"
"I don't know. No one does. At least, no one throughout
the Twilight Bark knows. It's been suggested that you return to
your Sisters and get them out of there as quickly as
She shook her head. "No. No the Majie will simply take
up the chase. Every opponent has his or her weakness. Even the
ever elusive Amazon assassins." Jadea turned to exit, but
his voice stopped her.
"There is something else. The Goddess of Destruction,
The new Goddess of War . . . she's looking for you. If the Majie
find her first, and she destroys them . . ."
"Her spirit will be destroyed with them." The
Sorceress Empress gave a heavy sigh and departed. She appeared
in Themiscrya three hours later.
Jadea stood before Celosia, Vorgeen, and a handful of the
Amazon elders. Upon her return, she'd been subjected to
questioning about her departure, what she learned, and so on.
The Sorceress Empress had told them close to everything that had
transpired, leaving out the names of her sources and their
Jadea’s niece and a few other Amazons were still out
searching for her. She'd impulsively demanded an answer as to
why Celosia would allow Samsara to leave and why Vorgeen agreed
to let her lead a search team. From the Highland queen, a
two-word response, "Callisto's sword."
Amazons had various ways of communicating with each other. A
few are used to send and receive messages without anyone else
knowing it . . .or if they knew, understanding what it meant.
For most Amazons, there was a specific piece of clothing or
personal belonging that they would leave behind to let their
Sisters know when they were in trouble. Basically, if something
was amiss, an Amazon could warn her Sisters of it by leaving
something of theirs to be found. For Jadea, her sister's sword,
now her own, was that one thing.
"Jadea, you disappeared without a trace," Celosia
grated. "Oddly, you vanished not long after Seriana is
poisoned. And I know you were here for that because you were
among those in the tent when all eyes laid on Medea. Not too
long after that, Thalia was viciously attacked by a black eagle.
Our water supply wasn't fit for consumption. Then an angry
goddess came barging up to me with news that her aunt was
missing. We've had Amazons combing the forest and the
surrounding areas ever since. You didn't exactly leave me a
choice." Celosia then informed her that the Themiscyran
Regent was nowhere to be found. She'd left shortly before Jadea
returned, leaving behind her an order that she not be followed.
The Amazons under her command had said and done nothing to stop
"Bring them back," Jadea demanded. "They’re
safer here with us."
Celosia sighed. "I’m not sure where they are now,
Jadea. And unlike you, I haven’t a magical hawk at my beck and
call to send where I will."
Vorgeen tried to reason with the Sorceress Empress, but her
words fell on deaf ears. Instead, Jadea mentally spoke to Ardra.
She was the neutralizer for Jadea's temper. How do we know
the Majie are really after one Amazon? The hawk asked.
I heard from a reliable source. But I think there's more to
it. I think the Majie are after only one because to them that
one is the key to Amazon Nation's downfall.
A few moments of silence passed while Ardra considered this.
Jadea's logic made sense to her, which it didn't always do to
others. So, who is the lucky Amazon?
Jadea shook her head. Vorgeen and Celosia exchanged looks. At
that moment Medea trotted up on her horse. "Am I
late?" She quipped, stopping her horse.
Jadea looked up at the Regent. Medea looked tired and worn as
though she'd recently been in a fight. If she had, it must have
been a tough one. For Medea seldom if ever looked tired from
fighting - even if she truly was. "What did you find?"
she asked first.
"I don't know who poisoned our water, but I know how.
They used the river. I took a sample of it and went to an
apothecary I know. He said the water had been tampered with. I
asked him how, and you'll never guess." Medea's eyes
narrowed suddenly as they moved onto Jadea.
"Magic. Some kind of black magic," Jadea answered
Celosia and Vorgeen both looked at the Sorceress Empress in
unison. In Jadea's past, she'd dealt with black magic and dark
forces. She had also had the displeasure of meeting some
formidable foes that had dedicated their lives, and souls, to
the profession. The decision to end her use of it had been her
own. She was one of the lucky ones.
Later, Jadea couldn’t say what exactly triggered her
realization. She would chalk it up to a combination of something
in Medea's tone and words and Ardra's question which still
lingered in her mind.
"Jade, what are you sayin'?" Vorgeen asked.
Xena? Ardra questioned, disbelieving. The hawk knew of
the Warrior Princess, who didn’t? Unless you'd been born,
lived, and died under a rock . . . you knew who she was, might
have even crossed her path.
It makes sense. She's considered an Amazon by most everyone
who meets her, including the tribes and Queens of the Nation. The
Sorceress Empress cleared her throat. She was prepared to face
down Medea if it came to it. "I’m saying that the Majie
aren't only skilled killers . . . they're powerful practitioners
of dark magic," she answered with a poised look at Medea
followed by two equally reserved looks to the Highland and
Just then two Highlanders and a couple of Themiscyran Sisters
came walking up to the two queens, regent, and Jadea.
A healthy Dolphinea was among them. Upon arriving in camp,
she'd been given some of the purified water to drink.
Mysteriously, the cleansed water had rid her of the poison she'd
unknowingly taken earlier. Xanthea, happy to have found a cure
at last, gave Seriana some of the cleansed water as well. But
the treatment hadn’t worked on the daughter of Ares, and she
remained in the Med hut, unconscious and feverish.
Dolphinea’s eyes met Jadea’s. She looked around the area,
then back to the Sorceress with a puzzled expression.
Ardra had had time to mull over their circumstances. She'd
come up with a few new theories of her own. If they are
looking for Xena, then why come after us? Why not just go
straight after the Warrior Princess? I mean, she's not a hard
person to find. She leaves an impression wherever she goes.
You're forgetting . . . Jadea started, half-agreeing with
her guardian hawk, that the Majie want us all. Xena is the
key. She's Amazon though she denies it. She has our skills, our
knowledge, our spirit . . . as well as other attributes.
Her mind's voice fell silent for a minute or two. I'm
hoping that the reason the Majie haven't launched a full-scale
attack - is because they can't. Maybe we can use that.
The hawk blinked. We're going to need more than that.
Her mistress agreed, I know. Aloud, she answered
Dolphinea. "I wish I knew."
Elsewhere in Themiscyra's territory...
Several Amazons: Valkyra, Pike, Antigone, Léda, and Karyn
searched for intruders. Yet as they were watching for anyone or
anything that might be their enemy, so they were being watched.
"Quite wary aren't they?" A dark figure observed.
His companion nodded in agreement. "Indeed. That
one," he pointed to one of the Amazons, "is feisty.
Beware of her."
His comrade laughed in somewhat a scoffing tone. "You
make them sound so formidable. As though they were some kind of
actual threat to us."
The other wasn't as naive or dismissive about them. He'd seen
the Amazons fight both in the mortal and immortal worlds. And
once, just once . . . he'd even witnessed a spiritual duel
between an Amazon Queen and a war-favoring priest. The priest
had lost the duel and with it all of his followers.
The two men were somehow screened from the warrior women’s
view. They'd been sent to discover what the Amazons knew and
what they intended to do.
A birdcall sounded through the forest. Valkrya’s head
jerked up and her eyes scanned the tree branches above them. The
call came again from the direction of the camp. Something in the
call alerted Valkyra. With silent motions, she sent three of the
Amazons into the trees while she and Pike went swiftly back to
"What do you suppose that was about?" One of dark
men asked, a bit surprised at their hasty departure.
"The Amazons are bound to the land, and the land is
bound to them. They have long since befriended nature and its
creatures. Adapting the ways of many animals has enabled the
Amazons to communicate without detection. Only they know what
sound or color means what. For now."
His partner was silent for a long time. At last, he
deciphered the meaning of his friend's cryptic words. "We
have a Majie in their camp?"
His question was answered with a slight nod. "She poses
as one of their own and they have neither the means to discover
her nor any reason to suspect she is there. After all, they are
. . .sisters."
Caoilinn’s birdcall alerted the Guards at the gates that
they were nearing. The Amazons cleared the way for a wary
Caoilinn, two other Highlanders, and a tied-up Samsara.
The Goddess jerked on her saddle, attempting to kick her
steed into a gallop. Prince knew when to obey and when not to.
He was as stubborn as his mistress was and he knew better than
to listen to her right now.
"Stupid mule," she muttered. "Take me away
from here! I need to find Jadea!"
That kind of commotion was uncommon for that time of night.
"I said, gallop away, you jack--"
Before she could finish, Prince stopped and kicked his
forelegs into the air, sending the Princess-Heiress to the
ground. He seemed to say, "I treat you too nicely
sometimes," with his action. He also seemed to laugh when
she landed roughly on the ground.
She kicked up to be confronted by an arsenal of spears and
arrows pointed in her direction. She attempted to put her hands
up, but she the rope was tied snug to her body . . . or so they
thought. She shook a bit and the binds fell off her body as she
exhaled. Then she put her hands up.
"Look! I'm not going to do anything to you!" she
said with a smile. "Caoilinn, thanks, but I'm fine
"Let Xanthea see you," she responded, calmly. She
extended her hand.
"No, really, I'm fine. I know Jadea's here and I'm going
to go see her," Samsara pushed past the Amazons roughly,
slapping the dirt from her clothes as she went by. "Prince,
it'll do you justice to come with me."
The horse snorted and followed begrudgingly. As soon as she
reached the Queens, she tied the reins to a post. "I see
you're back," Samsara directed her comment to Jadea.
"I can say the same for you," the Sorceress Empress
The Goddess noted the tension in the area. Her eyes scanned
the faces of Dolphinea, Celosia, Vorgeen, Aletha and Despina --
the Themiscyran elders --, to finally rest on the Regent.
"Why am I not surprised," Samsara's tone was dry.
The smile still played on her face.
Meanwhile, Caoilinn explained the situation to the guards.
"She got a little feisty with a beggar and we had to tie
her up and drag her back."
The other two Highlanders, Innes and Taegan, looked at each
other, but kept their curiosity and confusion to themselves.
What was Caoilinn doing? Why wasn’t she telling the guards the
Taegan remembered that Caoilinn had been the one to go fill
the waterskins with Dolphinea when they had stopped at the
river. Then she had seemed amazingly calm when Samsara started
swiping at thin air. She had also known just what to do when
Samsara would not listen to any of them. She stored all this
information away in case it was needed later.
"Why would you be surprised? You always assume I am the
bad guy," Medea answered.
"Perhaps because half the time, you are," the
Teloan crossed her arms. "Don't think I don't know what
goes on when I'm on Olympus. I do check up on you every so
"Yeah, that's another thing, Goddess, if you've
been checking up on us 'every so often,' as you say, then why
didn't you stop this from happening?"
Celosia shot a look at her sister. "Now is not the time
for this, Medea," she said sternly.
"And how about this: what's with these warriors running
around wreaking havoc on the rest of the known world, huh? They
leave that mark you leave. What is it?"
"Medea!" Celosia stressed. "Enough!
It's not as if you aren't under suspicion yourself. This is not
"And when is it time, huh, dear sister? When
is it time for her to answer for what she’s done and not done?"
The angry Regent pointed at the Goddess. "She isn't even
part of our tribe! Celosia accepts her with open arms and puts
her in her high position. It took me years to get where I
am now and the only reason I'm not any higher is because my
mother passed me over for queen. If I were queen . . ."
Samsara laughed. "I seem to recall that you are in
similar straits, demon goddess."
Medea snarled. That was it. She had enough. She drew her
sword and pointed it at Samsara.
"You challenging me?" the Goddess scoffed.
"Remember, that even this -" she fingered her hind's
blood pendant, "- can't kill me. Your measly piece of metal
won’t do a thing."
Celosia, Vorgeen, Dolphinea pulled out their weapons and
turned on Medea. "Put it down, Medea," Celosia said
calmly to her sister. "We can settle this later if you
want, but right now, we have bigger fish to fry."
Medea sheathed her blade, eyeing Samsara still. The others
followed her example, but the tension around the group did not
ease. The Regent cracked her neck and tried to relax, but found
it was impossible.
Celosia started to address the assembled when the bigger fish
came riding through their gates. Aelia and Ursa rode in carrying
their crossbows and followed by a Teloan entourage.
Samsara smiled, at the ridiculous, and pompous, entrance. She
always knows how to put on a show, she thought. The envoy
had always been fond of the flashy and decadent, flaunting her
power and riches.
The Highlanders and the Themiscyrans parted rank for the
Teloan envoy. She entered in a chariot flanked by two of her
Imperial Guard, who themselves were flanked by two more Imperial
Guard on gray horses. Two more sharpshooters followed the
They reached the central fire of the village where the
impromptu council was taking place. Celosia, the two elder
Amazons, Medea and Vorgeen bowed their heads in respect. Samsara
bowed from the waist, offering a quiet homage. Jadea watched
with interested eyes as the white-haired woman came toward the
She wore a silver colored silk toga and matching silver-toned
sandals on her small feet. Her hair was in a simple, single
thick braid that came down over her right shoulder. Over the
silver toga she wore a red wrap with the seal of Teloq: a
Phoenix rising out of the fire.
"Celosia," she said. "We finally meet."
"Chief Elder Serena of Teloq," the Themiscryan
Queen greeted the woman. "This is Queen Vorgeen of the
Highland Amazons, Sorceress Empress Jadea, my Regent and blood
sister Medea, Weapons Mistress Dolphinea of the Highland
Amazons, Themiscyran elders Althea and Despina, and I believe
you know the Goddess Samsara."
"So Lysippe passed her over for you," she said
noting the tired look on Medea's face. She peered at her with a
cocked head, then turning to Celosia. Serena was known for her
no-nonsense, dry, aloof, and arrogant attitude. "I see she
made the best decision. We have matters to discuss. Celosia,
Vorgeen: as Queens of the Amazons here, you may come with me.
Samsara, you hold your banished sister's title of High Guard,
Leader of the Teloan Armed forces, as do you Dolphinea, for your
respective tribe. Jadea, you are instrumental in this. You also
may come with me. My Imperial Guard and the Elders with you will
follow inside as well. As for the rest, what we must discuss is
of no importance to you. Go prepare your weapons, should we need
Medea glared at the woman. "I am Regent of this
"I'm not usurping my authority, if that is what you are
insinuating, little one. You are simply not needed," with
that, Serena turned and went inside, followed by the eleven
Amazons she had designated.
Medea was fuming. Samara turned and smirked. Jadea looked at
her niece disapprovingly as they went inside.
Sooner or later, Samsara, Medea vowed. Sooner or
Ardra took to the skies. Time to find Xena, if only to watch
Tern and Pelee were, as usual, the only ones bold enough to
keep Themiscyra's Regent company while she raged. They followed
her from the Village Square as she stormed off to her hut.
"STUPID--" Medea proceeded to shout the longest
string of curses anyone in the village had ever heard. And the
whole village heard them, even through the walls of her hut.
"ERGH!!!!!" She ripped her sword through the side of
"Medea, you know that old bat's known for her-"
"Idiocy? Shortsightedness? That insolent -" again,
she swore, this time in a language neither Tern nor Pelee
recognized; which was odd, as Tern had taught the girl most of
the languages she knew.
"You know, when you have to sleep in here tonight,
you're going to regret that new window," Pelee stated,
crossing her arms and observing. She smiled when Medea set into
another fit of fury, this time dismantling an expertly crafted
table given to her by a past teacher.
"Tsk, tsk, that was stupid. If you didn't like it, you
could have given it to Celosia," the dark Amazon commented
with her usual biting sarcasm. Tern shot her sister a warning
look, a rare thing between the twins, and Pelee immediately held
her tongue, somewhat chagrined.
The damage had already been done. Exhausted and alienated,
Medea's eyes took an a strange glint. In a dangerously calm
voice, the Regent advanced upon her antagonizer. "To
Celosia. I could have given it to Celosia. Why of course, Pelee.
How blatantly ignorant of me to destroy something my sister
could have had. Hades, why don't I just pack up everything in
here and give it to Celosia?"
"Medea-" Tern began, shaking her head.
"No, no, no! She's right, Tern! What do I need with all
of this? I'm just the Regent! I'm not HALF of what SHE is! My
belongings to Celosia! My hut, my bed, my SWORD to
Celosia!" The blonde screamed, unsheathing her blade and
whipping it to the ground.
"Medea!" Pelee spoke up, finally understanding the
consequences of her dry comments. "Calm down!"
"NO! I will NOT calm down! Why should I? It's not like I
have to set an example for the tribe! I'm just the REGENT!"
"STOP THIS! You're behaving like a child!" Tern
shouted back at her, catching the Regent by surprise. It wasn't
very often Tern yelled, but when she did, people listened.
Medea stopped her tirade and stared, dazed. "Thank you!
Now listen. You can either sit in here and scream, making a brat
of yourself, or you can get out of this tent and do something
about your situation! For Artemis' sake, what are you
accomplishing by attacking your own things?"
The younger Amazon turned her head away angrily and glared at
nothing. "Like what?" she finally growled through the
heavy tension. "I've been denied access to the meeting. I
don't need to be jailed again, Tern! I'm too tired for that
crap..." She was. Nobody knew, but Themiscyra's Regent
hadn't slept in the last three days, having been too worried
about her tribe.
"Then sleep. Regroup. Find out what went on at the
meeting from your sister," Medea snarled ferociously at the
comment, "and do something about it," Tern finished
hurriedly. She folded her arms and exchanged a serious look with
her friend. "You've never let one Amazon stand in your way
before," she reasoned soothingly.
Medea sighed and ran a hand through her hair. "Yeah,
you're right," she admitted. At least partially right,
anyhow. "But I'm not going to sleep."
Tern began to protest.
"I can't, okay?" the Regent snapped. "I'm
heading out to the training grounds, let off a little
steam." She snatched up her sword and half-smirked at the
anxious looks on both of her friend's faces. "It isn't
Celosia's yet," she told them quietly and exited the tent.
Serena peered across the table at the Themiscyran and
Highland queens, her Imperial Guard flanking her.
"So," she said. "I understand we are under
attack. It's imperative that we mobilize our forces to stop this
before it starts."
Serena liked to take charge. As a child, she knew she would
hold the position she was in now - Chief Elder of the Pentad,
Domestic Queen of Amazonia. In Teloan fashion, this title was
not hereditary, as was its counterpart, so she had to beat out
other contenders. She played her game and got what she wanted,
and now she was wielding her power. The only way to curb her was
to get the Triumvirate -- the Queen (in this case Regent Ephiny),
the Second-in-Command (Solari, at odds with Samsara), and the
Leader of the Armed Forces (at this time Samsara).
The Goddess wasn't sure if she wanted Serena to do anything.
When she demanded an envoy, she hoped that Ephiny would come,
but perhaps Serena talked her out of such an endeavor.
She had this planned all along, Samsara thought. She
must have planned to get into a situation like this. Solari
would never agree with me on anything! She was slowly
The joust for High Guard was a complete sham. It didn't
matter who lost, because Serena won no matter what the decision.
It was more to her advantage to have someone as agitating as
Kaia for High Guard with Samsara as the High Princess to
"control" her wayward tendencies. In the event that
Kaia Kakistos should leave the tribe -- she was banished for the
span of Ephiny's life -- Samsara would take control of the
position, but still would have to submit because of Solari,
Serena's trump card.
The Goddess shook her head. This theory only made sense in
"What do you suggest we do," Vorgeen commented.
"We have three armies, we should probably attack from three
sides, should we not?"
"Not necessarily," Jadea responded. "I think
they want us separated. The Majie are counting on some
If they want Xena -- it was Ardra from where ever she was
-- maybe we shouldn't attack. I'm still looking for her.
Should I drop a sign that you want to see her?
Well, when she sees you in the skies circling her, she'll
realize something's amiss. Hold off until I let you know. It
depends on this meeting. Jadea was not fond of Serena but
she had to work with her. She hated the confines of the
situation, but Seriana needed to be avenged.
Serena looked at Jadea and continued. "And what of this
new development in our High Princess' acts and labors? Surely
with your new goddess powers, you can circumvent this Majie's
"I'm no match for them," the Goddess answered.
"Perhaps we should speak at length about this new
development when this is over," Serena said with a hint of
sarcasm in her voice. Changing her attitude like lightning, she
went back to the situation. "And what of this Swift Blazer
and Thalia, Celosia? I understand they have knowledge about
"We sent for them..."
A knock on the door proved to be Valkyra. An Imperial Guard
at the entrance let the Weapons Master through. "I'm sorry
to be abrupt, Celosia," she said. She turned to Chief Elder
and lowered her head slightly. "I am Valkyra, Warrior Woman
of the Caucus Mountains, Weapon's Master."
"Serena, Chief Elder of the Teloan Pentad, Domestic
Queen of Amazonia."
The fair blonde turned to Celosia. "Thalia is here, but
I can't find Swift Blazer," the admission was embarrassing.
Swift Blazer was her apprentice and the idea that a mentor had
no idea where the apprentice could be - was appalling. "I
have no idea where she could be."
Celosia frowned at her Weapons Mistress. "Find her,
then," she said sternly.
Valkyra heard the unspoken, "And don’t come back until
you do," and saluted the Queen.
Thalia walked in as Valkyra stepped out. Serena stood and
walked to the biomorph. She lifted Thalia's shirt on her side
and her eyes opened wide. "It is..." she whispered to
no one in particular.
"What is it?" Despina, a Themiscyran Elder,
"The warning signs were here," she turned to
Samsara, livid. "You obviously saw this. Why didn't you
investigate it?" she demanded. "Do you realize you
could have prevented this from happening?"
Samsara stood, angry herself. She had investigated it. In
fact, it was one of the things she did before searching for
Medea, Tern, and Xanthea when Medea was still under Ares' spell.
The Goddess turned around and knelt to Thalia's level.
She touched the wound and made sure it closed completely
before she removed it. She turned her palm skyward and
examined it. "Just as I thought..." She bowed to
the Queen. "I shall investigate this further with your
permission," she said.
She had found maggots in her hand, testament to a disease
within the tribe perpetuated by outside forces. However, when
she had searched the forests with Prince, she had found nothing.
And that is what she told Serena. "I found nothing,"
she said. "I searched the forests and checked the trails
and I found no sign of them."
"Why didn't you inform Celosia, Queen of this tribe I
sent you to?" Serena wasn't going to let her get away with
this one, not now.
"I didn't feel it necessary, considering the
circumstances," the Princess-Heiress answered in a strained
Jadea put a hand on her wrist to restrain her. Calm down,
Niece, she commanded. You know how she is, and this isn't
the time for you to throw a temper tantrum. You're a princess,
High Guard, Goddess, and AMAZON. Act like one.
"That's not the matter now," Vorgeen said. "We
have to discuss what plan we have to combat the Majie."
Serena ordered Thalia bound and gagged. One word and Serena
would see to it that the Head Scout's life would be miserable.
Thalia agreed, if reluctantly. She still had the mysterious
reappearance of Garrett to deal with. There was little else she
could do as she was dismissed from the council chamber.
"What do you know of these Majie?" the Chief Elder
of the Teloan Pentad questioned the Sorceress Empress.
This would take a while.