looked at the tall Amazon with a strange visage.
would like to see her," Xena continued. "I have a
feeling she may be of help to Rome."
almost choked on her meat. Her eyes were wide. Help Rome? Was
the woman out of her mind? "Uh... I guess, uh.... If
you really want to see her..."
I will," the older woman responded, getting up. She
observed the Themiscyrans as she walked by. They were a young
tribe all right. A young tribe led by a young Queen. Amazing how
they survived and prospered.
Seriana and Mariko watched as Karma played with the hound. They
were afraid that the wolf would do something to the child, but
were amazed at how gentle he was with her. The child sat on the
ground and leaned to the hunched animal and put her blanket in
his mouth. He instinctively clamped down on a corner and pulled
gently as she pulled back. The baby giggled as the wolf mocked
wresting the fabric away until Samsara arrived.
in the Hades is going on?" she demanded, pulling the cloth
from the wolf and scooping her child into her arms. "She
can't do that!"
began to cry and the wolf whimpered. He pulled up a paw and
covered his face, laying on his stomach obviously upset. Samsara
looked from animal to child, to her sister and then to her
mentor, then hunched down to the animal, looking into his eyes.
She blinked three times, then set her child down.
get weirder here by the moment," she said. "Weirder
and weirder, I swear by me..." She shook her head.
wolf pushed his head against the girl. Instinctively, she stood
again, smiling. Then, slowly, she grabbed onto the wolf's grey
fur and took a step. The Amazons around stopped and looked at
the marvel going on.
great smile from Samsara and Seriana, then more celebration.
Karma could walk.
vanished after speaking to her niece about the premonitions. The
Sorceress Empress had purposefully neglected to tell Samsara
that she, too, had had premonitions before. They'd started when
Rumyna found her in Cirra and stopped with her inheritance.
ventured deeper into Themiscyra, delving into deep consideration
of what her niece had told her. Samsara Athanase had told her
Aunt about seeing her with another woman. Someone, she informed,
Jadea had obviously thought she'd killed. The Sorceress had
frozen to hear Samsara repeat the words spoken in the
came back from a long flight and landed neatly on Jadea's
outstretched arm. The hawk said nothing for minutes as her
Mistress walked onward, nearing one of the five medallion trees.
She stopped and her eyes rested on the horizon.
Claw is alive, Jadea, the hawk sent to her Mistress in a
rather somber tone.
and she's been poisoned against us, the Sorceress answered
will kill you if she can, Jade, Ardra warned ominously.
know, the Amazon replied.
returned in camp in time to see a dance begin. To her surprise,
Gabrielle joined in and laughed as though she were having the
time of her life. The music filtered throughout the camp, and
the light-hearted atmosphere veiled the darker plans and events
in the making.
a word with you please?" Medea hinted first chance she got.
all right?" Jadea asked, knowing it apparently was not.
you were gone doing Artemis knows what, Xena made a visit to the
jailhouse," she stated, hoping the news would incur the
same response in her as it had in her.
must know something about Rome we don't. I'll talk to her,"
Jadea told her and made her way to find the Warrior Princess.
quickly tired of the new entertainment of walking and sat down.
Seriana scooped the little girl onto her hip and shook her very
do you think you're doing, little one? How can we say we taught
you to fight before you could walk if you've already started
squealed with amusement and pulled violently on a wisp of her
aunt's hair that had come loose from her braid. Seriana
carefully retrieved it and tucked it behind her ear.
"That's no way for an Amazon to fight, but I guess it's
fighting. All right, then. You did learn to fight before you
could walk. Good girl."
carrying the baby, she made her way to the jail where Zia still
languished. The two guards crossed their staffs in front of the
doorway. "No one goes in without the Queens'
permission," said one.
am niece to Jadea, heir of Samsara, and protectorate of Xena.
Let me through." As a token of goodwill, Seri drew her
dagger and tossed it absently to the ground. "I go in
unarmed. You can listen to every word. I only wish to speak to
two looked at one another, then shrugged. "You may have
five minutes. No more."
nodded, then slipped through the doorway to kneel next to the
bound Zia. "You are the Roman?"
am Zia," said Zia, defensively.
I am Seriana. You mind if I talked to you for a moment?"
don't seem to have much choice."
true. Well then. You are a Roman Amazon. Do you follow Artemis
believe in Pax Romana?"
you give no loyalty to your Emperor?"
should not be Emperor."
nodded. "Good answers, Zia of Rome. I must apologize for
Medea; she is territorial and high-strung. I will see what I can
do to get you your freedom, but I cannot defy my Queens."
looked at her sideways. "Why would you help me?"
stood up, still balancing Karma carefully on her hip.
"Because when I first came here, they locked me up too. I
am the daughter of their great enemy; they had every right to be
mistrustful. It took a long time for them to learn to trust me.
Now I am not only a warrior of Themiscyra, but I am ambassador
and representative of the Queen to all foreign peoples, since
languages are a skill of mine." She smiled a little, then
slipped into Latin. "You have a friend and sympathizer in
me, Zia. I will do everything I can."
left the jail, pausing to pick her dagger up from the dust and
put it back into its sheath.
and Gabrielle went inside the jailhouse. They were very
interested in meeting this young and new Amazon. Xena knew it
was rare to find a Roman Amazon and she wanted to know more
the jailhouse lay the young bronze teenager and her aqua eyes
must be Zia, the Roman Amazon," Xena said.
stood up and look at both of the women. "Who are you and
what do you both want from me?"
name is Xena."
Princess!" Zia said with excitement. "Oh I never knew
that this day would come! I know all of your legends. And you
must be Gabrielle, the battling bard!" Zia looked at
can call me that if you like," Gabrielle said with a shy
smile and a blush against her cheeks.
am aware of what is going on with Caesar. I am sure you know
what that bastard did to me," Xena said.
I know of it, Xena," Zia said.
you please tell us what you know about Caesar. Maybe it can help
us with what we have to do. We want to help you Zia,"
my father was in love with my Amazon mother Shaba. Caesar hates
Amazons. When he found out about their love affair and about me,
he was furious. He put my mother and father in the arena to be
killed. He was afraid of what I might do to him so he treated me
with fake kindness and I spent my life in the Empire. Only his
nephew, Octavius treated me with true kindness. Our friendship
has now turned into love," Zia blushed a little. "But
I am sure the other Amazons told you the rest of my story.”
they did and it was very interesting," Xena said.
we are going to help you. We want to give Rome a new Emperor and
we want to give you a better status among these Amazons. Just
bear with us and don't let your headstrong ways take you
somewhere else. Are you ready?" Xena said with a smile.
moment Xena walked out of the jailhouse, she found the Sorceress
Empress gazing at her with suspicious eyes. Jadea knew the
reputation of the Warrior Princess, and she knew the woman
behind the reputation. In her younger days when she was still a
novice under Rumyna's direction, Jadea had often watched Xena
closely. It had been a custom she developed and kept well hidden
until she no longer needed to use her powers to observe the
Xena. I trust that you were granted Queen Medea's permission to
see Zia, as I know you did not receive mine," she noted in
a not-so-round-about way.
gave her friend a look that asked if she should intervene. Xena
discreetly gestured in the negative. The blonde bard gave a
short nod and walked on. The two guards outside the jailhouse
overheard the exchange.
you have a bone to pick with me, Sorceress Empress?" Xena
inquired, veering an answer to the question asked of her.
at all. But we have laws here, Xena," Jadea retorted with a
tone remarkably similar to Athena's.
am aware of that, Queen Jadea. The woman in your custody is an
Amazon and Roman. Caesar would pay a lofty ransom for such a
commodity," the raven haired beauty observed pointedly. Her
hint did not go unnoticed.
but we're not going to use Zia as bait for the Romans,"
Jadea's sternness sprang out of her eyes. The two women met each
other's gaze for a couple of moments, during which the sorceress
heard Xena's thoughts.
when we have Samsara to bait the gods with, hmm?
snarled, her eyes flashing in sudden anger. Before her act could
follow through, though, she heard her Sister behind her several
was Medea...of course. The woman was notorious for inopportune
timing. Jadea didn't turn around immediately. She looked at Xena
with newfound composure.
us not forget that we're on the same side, Xena." She
remarked and left after a short glance. As Jadea passed
Celosia's sister, she heard the Queen inform her that Samsara
wanted to talk to her down by the river.
Great Destroyer stood by the river, waiting for Jadea to come
and see her. Marcella was the one to appear instead.
heard the Thermodon’s steps. They fell harder than her aunt's.
She turned around slowly and lowered her head in a respectful
realize that I've followed your escapades, Goddess
Kakistos," Marcella began.
not that woman anymore," Samsara responded.
your armies march in your name."
they do. But only for the right reasons. You may know that I
intend to pass along my charge to my general."
realize that," Marcella continued. She had the regal
demeanor of Velasca but was not nearly as mentally unstable.
Something about Marcella worried Samsara, but what it was and
what she was worried about, she couldn’t say. She just decided
to be on her guard around the woman.
the conversation could take any recognizable avenue, Jadea
stepped out of the trees. "Queen Marcella, may I have a
word with my niece?"
of course," the Thermodon Queen responded. "We will
continue our conversation at another time, Samsara
Athanase." She walked away.
Marcella was out of earshot, Jadea turned to her sister's
daughter. Samsara looked toward the river again, arms crossed,
head high. She looked at the Apollo's smile playing on the
river's surface. It was indeed a beautiful day, extremely warm,
with a light breeze to compliment it. "I'm not sure what to
do," she said.
Co-Queen cocked her head. "What are you talking
happens when all the area Tribes come together? We are asking
for the Gods to strike then. One fell swoop and all of us as a
collective could be destroyed. Maybe Artemis was right in
keeping us separate. Maybe there is rhyme and reason to it
furrowed her brows. "What? You of all wanted the unity of
the Nation! It's what you demanded when you first landed on
turned to Jadea. "All I see is having to choose. I can't
choose, do you understand?"
Goddess' convoluted talk confused the Sorceress.
I see are choices. I have to choose where to live. Do I remain
with you or do I oversee affairs as Teloan Queen? Do I raise my
child, a Princess, in Themiscyra or in Teloq? Do I assume my
position as Master of War or do I let Ares reassume power? And
Kaia... do we return her powers to her or let her grow as any
normal Goddess and see her eventually becoming evil
anyway?" She furrowed her brows and turned to the river
premonitions," the older Amazon sighed.
plaguing me," she whispered. "Why do I have them? I
feel like I'm going crazy. I see so many things... so many
acting queen nodded and looked away from her niece briefly.
"It comes with the territory, Sami," she replied and
Samsara turned her head from the river to look at Jadea.
had a raised brow at the Sorceress. "You've had
premonitions before I take it?" Her expression relaxed when
her aunt nodded silently.
latter gazed at the water below with distant thoughts swirling
in her eyes. She moved her eyes back to Samsara when she spoke.
"The woman," she began with a casual sigh, "you
saw with me in your premonition..."
you know her?" The Amazon Goddess questioned curiously. She
hadn't focused on one specific premonition for many hours now.
The Teloan found it strange that her aunt had not only
remembered, but she managed to resurface that particular one.
should. I trained her . . . taught her everything she
knows," Jadea stated, her voice as cryptic as ever though
her meaning was clear.
her?" Her niece asked in horrific disbelief. A few moments
later, she'd follow up with, "Who is she?"
Sorceress Empress couldn't look into Samsara's eyes. She laid
her gaze upon the rushing water below. Her ears became aware of
Ardra's flapping wings that soon settled when the bird landed
nearby. Respectfully, the hawk remained silent so as not to
called Red Claw," Jadea fell silent while her niece tried
to collect her thoughts.
seemed as though the Amazons were choosing the worst time to
attempt a tribal-wide union. All appearances conveyed that the
warrior women would soon be facing obstacles and opponents from
every possible angle. Even so...the Sorceress Empress and the
Queen Regent had formulated a plan which, if properly executed,
would cover all bases. Timing would be everything, however, and
Amazon loyalty exceptionally crucial.
the Queen broke the tense silence. "I have no doubt that
Rome has enlisted her as an ally against the Amazon
Nation," she stated observantly, her heart pounding at the
thought of a showdown with this mysterious Red Claw.
she followed Jadea's train of thought, Samsara added,
"That's probably why I had the premonition, then." She
looked up at Callisto's sister and saw that the woman nodded in
accord. Samsara sighed and looked off again. Her eyes swept
across, narrowed briefly while she scanned the opposite bank,
and returned to rest on the sorceress. "So, what should I
walked up to her niece and smiled reassuringly. "Listen to
your heart, then go from there. But first things first..."
Goddess nodded in comprehension. "The Olympian gods."
was Jadea's turn to nod. "The gods...and Rome. Ares
will try to help Caesar, if he hasn't already."
Teloan didn't feel as confident as her aunt looked. She gave the
woman a troubled look while asking, "How are we going to
pull this off?"
all the mischief air of her kind, Jadea beamed a smirk that
would've made the strongest warrior suspicious if not fearful.
"With a little help from our friends, Sami. With a little
help from our friends. Come now. I suspect your tribe has
Goddess took the lead after snapping her fingers twice. Her grey
wolf bolted out before slowing to a trot as he matched his pace
with Samsara's. Jadea chuckled softly and shook her head.
reminds me..." Samsara made a sidelong glance before
continuing, "Medea's threatened-"
cleared her throat, but her smile never faded. Her niece
corrected herself, although she disliked it. "Sorry. Queen
Medea has threatened to let the hunting parties use him as prey
for instruction. You think if I named him, she would back
off?" She asked, her voice rising innocently despite the
genuine nature of her question.
laughed and smiled wide. She slightly shook her head. "I
suppose...if you gave him a name. Queen Medea won't
object to him if she's convinced that he won't turn on an
Amazon," the Sorceress concluded, hoping that she was
as safe as any guardian wolf would be," her niece answered.
"Oh, you should've seen Karma with him earlier! It was so
peculiar the gentle way he played with her...almost as though
he'd taken it upon himself to be her charge."
Jadea repeated in her mind. Now, why did that word trigger her
Athanase poked her Aunt when the woman suddenly fell silent.
The Queen looked at her and answered. "Oh, sorry."
either could speak another word, loud cheers exulted from the
center of camp. Some kind of welcome celebration was underway.
When the two joined up with the throng of women, they saw two
Amazon queens in a mock joust.
found Seriana with Karma, and Jadea made her way to find Medea.
As spirited as the tribes presently were, neither Themiscyran
Queen wished to be the bringer of bad news - specifically that
things were about to heat up.
on a strange whim, had quieted herself by becoming preoccupied
with miniature statues of various temples. She moved them
around, knocked some over, and created as much havoc with their
placement as she could. The small temples represented the
temples to the gods. Their locations marked the places each god
had a temple.
was the first to discover Kaia's childish game, but she did
nothing because it kept Kaia quiet and out of her way.
was currently in her main temple in Athens, watching intensely
as Artemis' "shrieking women" converged.
oddly enough, was engrossed with a battle between two of his
favorite warlords. Although he'd meddled in Amazon affairs by
advising and aiding Caesar, Ares himself was smart enough not to
be in the war to retrieve Rhea's Ruby and crush the Amazons.
sat in his throne, waiting for word from Athena. Because Samsara
still possessed the hind's blood, Zeus would not risk himself by
appearing on earth while the sparks were flying. He had agreed
to back Athena, however, when the necessity came.
arrived back on Olympus after yet another unsuccessful tangle
with her mongrel stepson, Hercules. She fumed angrily around the
halls for an hour before checking in on her husband. Somehow,
his anxiety about the upcoming battle gave her great pleasure.
She intended to stick around, if only to observe.
for the Goddess of the Hunt...Artemis was nowhere to be found.
The last any one - god or mortal alike - had account of the
goddess...came when she met with Valkyra.
Valkyra walked the familiar trail through the forest, she
listened to the songbirds up in the tree tops. She came here to
the wood often when time allowed. It was the tranquility of the
deep forest that she sought.
thought to herself, “The birds have all gone quiet; they were
singing their little hearts out a moment ago. Something or some
one has disturbed them….” She quietly and quickly pulled her
sword from its sheath on her back. Before she had another
thought, a bright flash of light appeared in her path. Valkyra
blinked to be sure of who she saw. It was the Goddess of the
and Medea, as they spoke to one another, walked past the
jousting Amazon Queens. As events were becoming more serious,
they both had little interest in the contest. As they walked a
little further, they came across Valkyra playing a lyre and
singing an old song about some of the first women to become
Amazons, women who had lost their fathers, husbands and sons to
an invading enemy. She sang of the women’s courage to battle
the killers of their men all by themselves. She was sitting on a
tree stump surrounded by several younger women on the ground.
They were listening intently and some even had tears in their
and Jadea stopped for a moment to listen. When Valkyra noticed
the two Queens, she trained her eyes toward them. When the song
ended, Valkyra stood and bowed to the Queens. She then indicated
for the younger women to stand and do the same. After bowing,
the younger Amazons left to go watch the remainder of the mock
Sorceress Empress said, “You have a lovely voice, Valkyra. How
is it that you know that song?”
of the elders taught it to me. I believe that the Tribe’s
history can sometimes be remembered better if it is learned in a
song.” Valkyra glanced around and then said, “I was planning
to seek the two of you out, but now that you are here and
Queen Regent asked, “What is it?”
while I was taking a walk, the Goddess Artemis appeared to
co-Queens looked at each other as if exchanging thoughts. They
then stared at the Weapons Master.
continued, “She told me some things that may be helpful in our
oncoming war. She said that if all our warriors go into battle
with as pure of heart as possible, the gods would have a much
more difficult time hurting them. Queen Medea, perhaps before
the fighting begins, you can speak to the warriors and give them
encouragement. They and I respect your leadership and will
listen to your words.”
went on, “Artemis also told me that we should try to obtain
the help of the god that Xena’s daughter believes in. Although
Xena has quite a distaste for the archangel, Michael, Artemis
thinks that if he believes that he can have the Greek gods
overthrown, he will bring in his band of angels to fight next to
lastly, the Goddess of the Hunt said that if we could somehow
contact some of the Roman gods, they too may be willing to
become our allies, seeing as how the Roman gods hate all other
gods and vice is the versa with the Greek gods.” Valkyra then
editorializes, “Now we may be trading one evil for others, but
it may just work out. The gods still alive after the war may
very well stay busy fighting each other and could possibly leave
us alone for a while.”
commented, “All of this sounds very interesting. Some of these
things may go hand in hand with the plans that we have made
added, “Yes, we will discuss what Artemis said with the other
leaders. Thank you, Valkyra.” She then grasped Valkyra’s
hand and arm.
morning sun had just risen over the Amazon valley. The warm rays
caressed Zia’s pale skin from the high window of the jail. It
had been many days since Zia was put in the jailhouse.
sometimes wish that I can go back to Rome, but this is worth it
all, Zia thought.
had decided to take a walk and enjoy the sunrise. Xena was still
asleep and she was sure that sunrise were not things Xena like
to see in the morning. Gabrielle decided to pay a visit to the
young teenage Amazon, who could be useful in defeating Caesar.
it’s me, Gabrielle."
you just love the warm sun against your face? I sometimes wish
Xena could wake up and see," Gabrielle said.
I used to sit in front of the Roman palace and watch it rise
above all Rome," Zia said sadly.
things are going to be fine. The Amazons may not all be kindly
now, but after they see you in action when you help us get
Caesar, you will be more appreciated. I know how it feels. It
was like the same thing when I first met Xena, but now we are
more than best friends....we are soul mates," Gabrielle
said with a kind smile.
smiled back "Yes, you are right. I hope the Amazons realize
this in time. Caesar’s army is at the other valley and is
coming this way. With him, you are either taken prisoner or you
are put to death."
the indefinitely repeated cycles of birth, misery, and death
caused by karma
was at the gates, asking to see Samsara urgently. His brown,
white-speckled horse was panting, having been ridden hard to
arrive at the village in good time. "Great Destroyer! I
bring news," he called, dismounting.
inside," she said, nodding to the Gate Guard who took the
reins of the horse. Dachus strode across the square to where the
Goddess stood holding her door open. As they walked in to her
hut, the hound lifted his head. "What's wrong?" She
sensed the urgency in his demeanor.
your direction, I have sent scouts daily to secure the area
outside of Themiscyra, especially the valleys."
found impending danger," Samsara finished. She sensed it.
She had it in her premonitions and she was going to do
everything possible to prevent Zia from having to kill Caesar,
Athena from taking Seriana, and Jadea from meeting this woman
she trained then killed. "I hope you've recruited more
nodded. "The spoken word of your name is enough. We've
nearly tripled in numbers."
sighed. "I think I may have to lead them into battle."
She looked to her sleeping daughter. "I promised myself not
to fight so long as I have her. Queen Celosia has also decreed
that no Themiscyran leave and I've already broken that rule
once." She crossed her arms and looked about, eyes resting
on the attractive Dachus. She smiled.
Roma wants a blood bath, they will get one," Samsara
smiled. Her plan was devious. The deception would please even
Ares. She told Dachus her plan and he smiled.
the great tactician, my Goddess,” he responded.
looked down and color rushed to her cheeks. What was going on?
She could never... Ever... She cleared her throat and looked up
immediately. "Don't move out until I send the signal to do
so. The worst that we can do is to move too quickly. If we do
so, Caesar will not only crush us, he will crush the
agree. Our numbers are large, but his dwarf us." The
Goddess nodded. Dachus left.
later, Ares appeared.
drew her sword. "When I promised I wouldn't fight,"
she began, "that excluded you. Don't put killing you past
me, Father Or should I call you Ares instead?"
looked at her with a bewildered expression. "I came to tell
you to stop what you're doing. Why do you owe allegiance to this
band of shrieking women?"
gritted her teeth as she trained her weapon on him.
"Because all my life, I've tried to avoid being like you,
like my father, by not submitting to your whims, when in fact,
the Great Destroyer was precisely what you wanted. Every waking
moment of my life after Mama's death had been coordinated by you
until I returned to Teloq then came here. Now, I know the truth:
that the rape of my mother never in fact produced me. You are
not my father, Ares. You are merely God of War, and as once
Daughter of War, I am now its Master, meaning I will crush your
armies underfoot! Tell your family to back off, or I will be
sure that the Pantheon falls by the stroke of my sword."
have nothing to do with my family striking," Ares
mentioned. He paused. "No matter what you do, your daughter
will suffer dearly. Return the Rhea Ruby and perhaps they will
spare you and your shrieking women."
speak powerful words, Ares," she said. "But remember,
you so much as breathe in my daughter's direction, you so much
as touch an Amazon in an improper way, and I will see to it that
you are the first to die a painful death."
see about that," he responded, vanishing with a laugh.
hound looked up at his mistress and seemed to sigh.
know, I know," she responded, flopping down onto her
pallet. "It's gonna be a long day isn't it? And I have to
remain in the village instead of going to the camp to lead my
army," she sighed, running her fingers through her animal's
walked into the hut. Samsara looked up at her mentor. "I
just spoke to Dachus on his way out. I must give to you more
knowledge. It will be necessary to proceed with your plan."
broke away from the Queen Regent. She headed straight for the
gates of Themiscyra, Ardra floating over her head. The Sorceress
ordered the gates opened, and stepped lightly outside them.
Flashbacks whipped past her eyes before vanishing in the
recesses of her memory. The woman took a deep breath and sighed.
now, before I change my mind, she told her hawk who didn't
took flight in toward where the Highland Tribe was camped. Jadea
was sending her to fetch the Amazons to Themiscyra. The Cirran's
army would remain in Cirra Valley...with Angus.
in the Roman Empire...
those vixens!" A Roman commander exclaimed as he slammed
his dagger into the table before him. A second later, one of his
men entered the tent with his arm across his chest.
we have news from the front! The Roman Amazon tribes have
abandoned their lands!" The soldier informed.
news caused the commander to be suspicious, as both eyebrows
raised suddenly. His eyes were filled with contempt for the
enemy. The sword at his side was still stained with human blood
from a recent battle. The man was the epitome of everything the
Amazons despised. He didn't represent a true Roman. But he did
represent Caesar's kind.
Amazon would leave her lands willingly. She'd die first. What
are those bitches up to?" He asked aloud, half to himself,
as he studied a map of the Empire.
were those areas controlled by Roman Amazons. The lands were
considered part of Rome, regardless of the fierce women warriors
who inhabited them. Rome didn't have many Amazon tribes...but
she had many Amazon warriors.
the fastest messenger to Caesar, at once! Tell him that we march
to reclaim their lands in the name of Rome!" He shouted and
waved his hand dismissively. The man's eyes narrowed on the
parchment map. "If they want to give up their lands, so be
it." He muttered disdainfully.
Teloan Elder Serena managed to engage in a civil conversation
with Queen Regent Medea. Among the topics of discussion came the
question of Zia's imprisonment. "Queen Medea, is it wise to
hold one of our own in custody?" Serena asked respectfully,
although she'd done the same in the past.
sister felt on edge, struggling every moment to keep a level
head. The Amazon craved battle as much as she dreaded it, now.
When she answered, her tone conveyed as much. "It is when
that Amazon has a habit of putting herself in danger. We can't
afford haphazard actions, Elder." Medea commented, soon
relieved to see the reappearance of her co-Queen.
walked up in time to hear Serena's reply. "That is a valid
point, but unity is what will win this war, Queen Medea.
Sorceress didn't have time for this. She'd witnessed enough of
Serena's wiser-than-thou lectures against Medea. "Anything
less will get us all killed - Amazons, Romans, and gods
alike," she finished, slightly nodding at Medea for her
look. "And while I'd happily sacrifice the Romans and gods
for the Nation, I'll be damned before I see us wiped out of
existence." A short but meaningful pause as she glanced
from one to the other. "Elder Serena, I trust that the
Teloans understand what they must do?"
Teloan Elder nodded silently, her gaze shifting from Medea to
Medea, the Highlanders will be arriving before nightfall,"
Jadea informed what the Queen Regent already knew. The two women
had thoroughly discussed each step of the plan; in addition to
steps that could be needed through unpredicted variables.
see to their arrival. You should speak to your nieces, though.
That general entered camp to confer with Samsara. Jade, I don't
was cut off unexpectedly...but not by her co-ruler.
want me to what?" The Goddess asked. All three heads turned
in unison with three different expressions.
gallivanting around?" she finished. "Hardly. I came to
inform you that Dachus has found a legion of Roman soldiers in
the nearest valley east. He's awaiting my orders."
looked at her and nodded. "They're here earlier than
expected. I think we can handle it without you."
shook her head. "No, you don't understand. He sent a legion
of Roman soldiers. I have a plan that will crush his initial
army and send them scrambling."
cocked her head. Serena opened her mouth to say something, but
Samsara lifted a hand. "Before you say anything, let me
remind you that I am in command of one thousand armed men,
graduates of the War Academy, faithful to Amazons. I think I'm
kept her mouth shut as Jadea nodded. "I agree. And I think
I'm following your train of thought." She smiled.
grey wolf panted and walked to Medea, sniffing her boots. The
Queen Regent got angry and stepped away violently.
get... this... mongrel out of my way!" she shouted. She
pulled out a dagger. "If you don't do something about this
gods-forsaken mutt, I WILL!"
whistled and the hound trotted to her. "He was trying to
feel you out."
scared the young ones," Medea countered.
he can be gentle with my daughter, I'm sure he won't hurt
Medea could say anymore Jadea interjected, "We need to move
forward. Let's discuss this plan."
of the idea depended on Samsara's newfound powers. Mariko would
guide her as she led the army into the valley. The Roman
soldiers would believe the infantry as a set of reinforcements.
As they march into Themiscyran territory, noting Dachus and
Samsara's army gone, Samsara's men would kill the enemy.
Insurrection would spread and the Roman soldiers would decide to
leave instead of fighting the Amazons. As they fleshed out the
plan more in the command center, Mariko entered Samsara's mind.
She begged to speak to her immediately.
Goddess excused herself and went to river to meet with her
mentor. Mariko had a solemn look on her face. "I must tell
you about your premonitions. It was one of Haisun's dying
Athanase left the meeting prematurely, Queen Medea gave her
co-ruler a meaningful look. Jadea nodded discreetly.
where are you? The Amazon mentally sent out her thought to
the scout. She soon heard her Sister's familiar voice in her
the horses. What do you need? She sent back, her tone that
of a curious but busy woman.
another Amazon to finish your task. Take two other scouts and go
to our borders, Jadea instructed and then paused. Wait
for a signal, then report back. You'll know the signal when you
looked out from the jailhouse and wondered where in the woods
Caesar’s army was located. They must be there somewhere,
waiting for us to make a mistake. I know how they think better
than they could imagine.
thought of her sword and how the sun glimmered along the length
of the blade. If only she had it now. That sword should be
slicing off that bastard's head.
Zia did not know is that visions of her thoughts were going
through a fellow Amazon's mind.
as he lay dying in my arms that night," Mariko recalled,
"foretold the fall of the Greek Pantheon and he saw you in
the center of it all. The Pantheon must fall, Samsara."
too soon," she responded, arms folded. "We aren't
ready for a one-god. They aren't ready to give up their
you believe you are not ready to give up yours," the
Eastern Woman completed. "This is why you do not desire the
fall of the Pantheon: because you do not believe that you will
retain your power. You believe your power is connected to
theirs. Samsara, you are the inheritress of the Pantheon.
Samsara will never die. You will always exist as that is what
you are named."
Great Destroyer looked at her Japanese mentor. "What are
spread of monotheism remains in the Mid-East. The God of Adam,
Abraham, and Noah exists, but his influence has yet to reach
Greece. You know it won't reach Greece for a few generations at
the earliest. The dominion of the Greek Gods must come to a
close for that to happen."
need to let it happen on its own. If the Gods strike, they sign
their death warrants, but until then, I will leave them
be." Samsara kept from looking at Mariko. "I can't. I
will pick and choose my battles with individual gods, not with
them all as a collective."
woman smiled. "You are learning. Take your premonitions,
Goddess. Learn from them. Just because you see into the future
does not mean that future will happen. You can stop the fall of
your fellow sisters."
looked at her. She knew what the older woman meant. She had to
keep Zia from losing herself, she had to keep Seriana from
Athena's clutches, and she needed to prevent Jadea from going
back to her old ways.