Celosia came running, alerted by the sounds of battle, to
where the incident had taken place. She surveyed the strange
scene, wondering what could have happened. Blood dripped from
Ollaea's mouth and Xanthea lay prone nearby, unmoving and still.
Medea laughed and the sound sent a chill down Celosiaís spine.
"What are you doing, Medea?" she asked, looking at
the strange vision of her now platinum-haired sister.
"Time to go!" the woman said. She twisted out in a
flash of light.
Celosia, Haven, Alcina, Danae, Aurora and many other Amazons
rushed to the side of the wounded women on the ground. Celosia
and Aurora knelt by Xantheaís side and turned her over. Before
either could get a read on her condition, they noticed something
Xanthea's face and torso were no long visible. She was
becoming transparent, the green of the grass could be seen
"Her body is disappearing!" Celosia said in
amazement. "Quickly, we must get her to the med tent!"
She ordered Aurora. Each grabbed her shoulder, but their fingers
slipped through as if Xanthea were mist.
"What in Hades?"
"Goddess protect us!"
Celosia turned to Haven and Alcina, who kneeled beside
crushed and bloodied grass. They turned to the Queen.
"She just . . . disappeared!" Danae stated.
Pelee appeared before the startled group. She looked down at
the imprints left by Xanthea and Ollaeaís bodies. Shaking her
head, she vanished again.
Meanwhile, in the woods, Thalia and Seriana stood in a small
clearing, far from the temple of Artemis. The sun had set and
darkness was settling over the forest. Thalia had sent Desdion
to scout and make sure no one followed.
Seriana watched as Thalia gingerly inspected the deep cut the
dagger had made.
Can I trust this woman? Where did she come from? She called
me 'Seriana', is that my name?
She didn't know anything; not her name or why she was here.
There was blackness in her mind, a dark cloud that refused to
lift when ordered. Who were her friends and who were her
enemies? Who would help her and who would hurt her?
She looked at the brown-haired Amazon again. The woman had
spared her in the temple, could she be a friend? Or was she a
foe trying to deceive her and lead her into a trap? If so, what
kind of trap? Was she an important person worthy of
assassination, or a thief caught again by her jailers?
Thalia tore a strip of leather from her tunic, wide enough to
cover the wound. It left her garment ragged, but it would stop
the bleeding. She looped the leather over her arm and then back
up, holding it in the air with her teeth so she could bring her
free hand back around and wrap the wound.
Seriana approached her and took the leather in her hands,
tying it as tightly as she dared. Thalia winced as it was pulled
tight. She looked up at Seriana. "Thank you."
"You're welcome," Seriana backed away from her,
"Listen," Thalia faced her, "I don't know how
to convince you, but I'm a friend. I won't hurt you. I'm only
here to help."
"Why do you want to help me?" Seriana held her
stance. "What do you gain from it?"
Thalia rubbed her temple. Why were things always so
difficult? "You're part of an Amazon tribe called
Themiscrya. You rode up just a few days ago on your horse,
Deinus. You asked Queen Celosia if you could join our tribe. And
even though youíve just arrived, you're like a sister to me.
Does this sound familiar? Themiscrya? Celosia?"
Seriana shook her head.
Thalia sighed. She glanced around at the little clearing they
were in and at the remaining light in the sky. "We'll have
to camp here for the night. I'll go catch us something to eat.
Can you light a fire?"
After a moment of hesitation, Seriana nodded.
"Okay. Itís risky, but I donít fancy raw meat. Try
and get one started, I'll be back in a little bit," Thalia
headed off through the woods.
No bow and arrow or any weapon, I'll have to morph and catch
something, she thought to herself.
Back in the clearing, Seriana bent low to the ground as she
gathered sticks and for a fire. It didnít take long to amass a
good sized-pile and begin sorting them into a pile to light. She
was wondering how long it would take her to rub sticks together
or find flint in the dark when she heard a twig snap behind her.
Leaping to her feet, she whirled around. Standing in front of
her was a woman. Seriana squinted, but the woman was only
outlined by the moonlight, she couldn't get a good look.
"You are in danger," the woman's voice was smooth
and flowing. "The one who has befriended you, the one named
Thalia, is your enemy. She leads you to a trap."
Seriana felt her blood grow cold. This was what she had
feared. But who was this, some sort of guardian watching out for
her? She obviously had some sort of power, she had appeared out
Still, the Amazon had done nothing to her. "B-but, she
hasn't harmed me. She spared me in the temple," she said.
She felt her body starting to ache from tension.
"She is wise in trickery and she means to fool you.
Here, I will show you," the figure waved an arm.
A cold wind whirled around her and she found herself in a
different part of the woods.
"Look ahead of you," the figure's voice whispered
through the trees.
Seriana peered through the leaves to see Thalia walking
through the woods. Looking around her, the Amazon closed her
eyes and leaned over, becoming a gray-haired dangerous looking
Seriana clamped her hand over her mouth to keep from gasping.
A second later she found herself back in the clearing.
"She is a demon, as you saw with your own eyes,"
the figure said, appearing before her.
"What . . . what do I do?" Seriana felt herself
"You must not let her know what you know. Act as if I
have not been here tonight, but when the chance presents itself
. . ." the figure pulled a dagger out of her cloak,
"You must kill her."
"Kill her?" Seriana's heart was threatening to beat
out of her chest. "I-I don't know if I can do that . . .
"To save yourself and save many other innocents from
harm? Why, it is your duty," the figure held out the dagger
Shining in the moonlight, it had a double edge with jewels
studded in the hilt. Seriana looked closer and saw a small
dragon carved into the handle. She looked back up at the figure.
"I will do as you ask," she sheathed the dagger in her
boot, well hidden from sight.
"Thank you, you do a service to all who live in these
Before Seriana could blink, the figure had vanished into the
shadows in a gust of wind.
Seriana stared at the air where the figure had been just
moments ago. She looked down at the dagger before sheathing it
in her boot, well hidden from sight.
A moment later Thalia reentered the clearing, "I got
some dinner!" she called cheerfully, holding up a rabbit.
"Is that fire ready yet?"
"Oh, I um . . . almost," Seriana hurriedly threw
the sticks in a pile.
"Okay, good. I'm starved!" Thalia set the rabbit
down on the ground and dropped down beside it. She pulled her
carving dagger from the little sheath at her side. With
practiced ease, she slit the rabbit up the center and began to
peel away the fur and gut it. Looking up at Seriana she noticed
the woman watching her, a sick look on her face. "Are you
"Oh, I'm fine, I-I'm just a little spooked, that's
all," Seriana said quickly. "Not much light out, and
unfamiliar woods . . . you know?" She forced a laugh.
"Itíll be better once the fire is lit," Thalia
prodded. She knew it would take time to get the sticks to come
to fire. "Youíll feel better then."
Sheís a good liar, Seriana thought to herself. Thaliaís
suggestion came off as being friendly and helpful. If Seriana
hadnít seen her change into a demon wolf with her own eyes,
she'd have believed the Amazon was telling the truth. It's
all a trick, Seriana reminded herself. It's what she
does. I have to save all the other innocents and myself.
She'd watch Thalia and wait for the right time.
Two pairs of eyes watched the Amazons in the clearing.
"It worked better than I could have even imagined,"
Medea's eyes lit up in glee.
"She believed every word that you said," Tern
agreed. "Now we have a Themiscryan Amazon on our side.
Medea, you're brilliant!"
A smile crept across Medea's face. "I know."
A cold wind swept through the forest, echoing their laughter.
Later that night, Tern stood on the edge of the cliff
overlooking the Thermadon. Everything was going smoothly,
according to her plan.
The dagger given to Seriana bore not just any dragon, but her
dragon . . . recognizable only to Celosia and Pelee. Now, if the
Amazon would just take it to Pelee and Celosia . . . they would
If Tern's true mission were revealed or if it failed, the
bloodshed would be irrevocable. Medea would be lost forever.
Somehow, some way, she, Artemis' Chosen, would have to find a
way to prevent any more deaths.
Back at Themiscrya . . .
Celosia sat in her tent, meditating. The daysí events had
frustrated her and she needed inner peace in order to lead the
tribe. The Amazons were upset enough without her jumping down
A whirl of soft air and light whispered into the tent and
formed into Pelee. It didnít take but a moment for the Queenís
blade to be at the intruderís throat.
"Pelee," Celosia breathed. "This is not a
night to be sneaking around." She sheathed the blade and
returned it to her side.
"I cannot believe Tern would turn into an evil
force," Pelee said, ignoring the Queen.
"LeeLee, you've heard the reports, seen the damage! Tern
is capable of anything!"
"Which is why I know there must be more at stake here.
For all her craziness, Tern is a loyal Themiscryan. Itís your
sister Medea who is the loose cannon. Tern was chosen as Medea's
mentor and teacher. If they're into something evil, there must
be a reason."
"LeeLee, half my tribe wants both of their heads on
spears. The other half is doesnít know what to believe."
"Donít lose faith in Tern," Pelee stood her
"I have several Amazons out there, missing and possibly
dead at their hands. Ollaea is one of Medeaís oldest friends.
You know how close they are, how much trust and friendship there
is between them. Yet you saw her lash out and knock Ollaea down,
then all three vanished," Celosia sighed. "I don't
know if I have time to trust Tern to bring her back."
Pelee laid her hand on her cousin's arm. "I have to
leave. If I'm to stop whatever is about to happen, I can't be in
Themiscrya. Please, take no action until I return. If Tern and
Medea are captured, which I doubt, do NOT let them be punished
until I return."
"Which will be when?" Celosia demanded.
"As soon as I get the answers I need," her voice
lingered in the air as her body turned into light and winked
The dagger seemed to burn against her calf as Seriana
hesitantly put a little food in her unsteady but empty stomach. Kill
her, whispered an angry and terrified voice inside her. Kill
Thalia; be safe.
But even as the voice hissed, her stomach trembled at the
thought of spilling blood. The food she had swallowed threatened
to make itself known again. Mars had called her a warrior, but
how could that be right when she became ill at the very thought
"What do we do now?" she asked hesitantly, brushing
meat juices from her mouth.
Thalia poked the fire with a long stick and sighed.
"Well, I can't see how we can do anything else now. I think
the best option would be to go back to the village and try to
explain all this to the Queen. I'm not exactly looking forward
to that, but I don't see any other choice. We need to see if
anything can be done for you . . . to help you remember."
Seriana reached down and idly touched the dagger just under
the top of her boot. Would it be possible to fulfill her
commission in a village full of Amazons? But what if Thalia was
There was no way to decide . . . not when she couldnít even
remember her own name. If anything could be done to reverse
that, maybe things would be clearer. "All right," she
decided. "Let's go to the village."
Thalia banked the fire and stood up. "Well, then, let's
go. Maybe we can even get some sleep once weíre there. If
"I can't remember when I slept last," said Seriana,
smiling a little.
Medea paced. Talons clicking and wings fluttering, she paced.
She was making a full transition. It seemed the foolish Amazons
hadn't been so foolish after all; she wasn't just a goddess, as
she had first thought. No, she was definitely something more
than that. A demon, certainly, but the God-given power of deity
still burned in her veins.
Demon Goddess, the words bloomed before her like crimson
orchids. Well, it made sense, didn't it? Clawed hands, icy
cat's eyes...That wasn't a normal part of the goddess
transformation. Then there were the wings, fangs, and horns.
No, this isnít normal. Ares must have done something
. . . somehow tainted that ambrosia . . . somehow turned me into
a half-demon and . . .
And it didn't matter. Medea's breath whistled from between
her venomous fangs. It didn't matter. She loved what she was
now. Loved the power, the rush. No one was angry when she
thrilled in a kill now. No one would dare knock her in the dirt
when she celebrated her blood lust now.
On a whim the demoness whipped a ball of crimson electricity
at Aresí temple wall, shaking the structure from roof to
foundation. In a corner she heard Xanthea whimper. A wicked
smile blossomed on her lips and she slowly turned her pace
towards the blond Amazon.
She'd been here two days now. Medea had been slowly sucking
her dry of blood and slowly torturing the woman, delighting in
her agonized moans.
The platinum blond ripped her claws across the pale woman's
thigh and heard that moan again. It made her skin tingle,
sending a chill down her spine that made the demon want to cry
out in ecstasy. She closed her eyes, savoring that feeling
before she approached the terrorized Amazon again.
Xanthea stared at her with tears in her eyes. She'd been tied
to a beautiful little contraption Medea had invented. Leather
straps bound her to the stone wall where two spikes cradled the
sides of her neck. Her ankles, waist, and wrists bound to their
positions by similar spikes and straps. This wouldn't cause too
much pain, unless Medea felt playful and decided to experiment
with the woman's pain tolerance. Its main purpose however, was
one that served a much more practical and violating purpose.
"I'm hungry, little Amazon," Medea rasped, tracing
her claw down the blondeís cheek. Her statement caused a tidal
wave of fear to run through Xanthea, one that fogged the
demonessí mind with an even stronger, more feral hunger.
"No Medea . . . Gods no, please . . ." tears ran
fierce down the beautiful Amazon's face. She'd fought the first
time Medea had tried to feed from her, and the second time, and
the third. But she weakened each time, her life draining away
into the demoness.
Medea licked her lips. The healer didn't have enough blood
left to put up much of a fight. The most she could do was cry
and make weak protests.
"Shh . . ." Medea crooned. She slowly pricked open
the scars on Xanthea's neck. A painful breath escaped from the
woman's lips and the demoness' blood was on fire. "I'll
only take a little . . ." she whispered. "I want you
to live . . .you're my favorite toy."
Lowering her head, she fed.
The platinum blonde stepped back before every drop was sucked
from the Amazon. She kissed the wounds on the womanís neck and
scabs formed, preserving the woman for the next meal.
Xanthea followed the demoness with her eyes, revolted by the
sight of Medeaís blood stained face. Then something else began
to happen to the demoness. "Y-your skin it's . . ."
Xanthea's eyes were wide.
"What?" Medea demanded, pinning the woman to the
wall with her gaze. Xanthea only shook her head, unable to
answer. "What?" she bellowed. But no answer
slipped past the healer's parched lips.
Medea turned to the pool of blessed water and stared at her
reflection. She took stock of what she saw. Ebony horns,
pearly fangs . . . she screamed.
The water froze through to the bottom then shattered into
thousands of tiny splinters.
It couldn't be, not my skin! She'd changed in every other
way, but not her . . .
"Still love being a demon?" Xanthea asked boldly,
finding her voice.
Medea lifted a hand and threw a surge of bloody lightening at
the Amazon. She watched the skin of her outstretched hand take
on a greenish hue and become decidedly reptilian.
She and Ares would be having a chat.