A Solstice Carol


Samsara Athanase Achala Kakistos

(Samsara Ishtar'ijahe)



***Kaiaís Warning***

Samsara sat in her new temple and meditated. The sandalwood smoke rose from the floor as the room filled with white air. She was satisfied with yet another battle against another insolent enemy. She was very content with her life, despite the fact that she had to get rid of her sister and father somehow.

"Sam," came a voice.

The Goddess snapped out of her concentration. "Whoís there?" she demanded.

Kaia appeared from the cloud. She was pallid and in chains. Instead of her usual garb, she wore a robe in the fashion of a Roman toga. The rattling of chains disturbed Samsara from her calmness.

"Why are you wearing that? What is wrong with you?"

"Iím wearing the chains of my life, Sister," she responded, lifting a link. "This is the result of my life. You know: I tried for so long to make you into something you are not and never really will be. My entire life was devoted not only to making you suffer for being the good girl, but to turn you dark just as Daddy wanted. This made me destroy many lives, including two Amazon villages. Now that Iím gone, I have to face what Iíve created. Youíre right, when you destroy you create as well."

"Very true," Samsara agreed, standing up. "Why are you here? What do you want to tell me?" The Princess-Heiress was one to get to the point of any conversation.

Kaia sighed. "To tell you to mend your ways. Are you happy as the new Goddess of War, having sent everyone away, leaving your tribe?"

"Is this a selfish ploy to get you and Father reinstated? Everyoneís content without you, you realize this? With no Ares and Kaia Kakistos to wreak havoc, war will only happen for good reason."

"There is always a good reason for war, Sami," Kaia reminded. "If not to settle disputes which would be otherwise left unresolved, but to cleanse the earth and ensure survival of the fittest."

The Goddess Kakistos laughed. "Of course, Iím happy. And there never really is any good reason for war. You say it just so people can fill your temples with sacrifices of war. Humor me some more, would you?"

"Heed my warning, dear older sister," she responded, turning. Wind picked up mysteriously as she moved. "If you donít mend your ways you will become like me. Remember Kakistos, Samsara. Remember me." She walked away, beginning to disappear. "Remember me. Remember meÖ"

She became nothing more than the cloud of incense.

The wind died.

A man took her place.

***Ghost of Solstice Past***

"Who in the Hades are you?" Samsara demanded.

"Iím the Ghost of Solstice Past," responded the cheery figure. It was Dachus, her general, second-in-command of her army. He was dressed in peasant clothes, not in the plunder from the raids they went on together.

"Dachus?" She peered at him. "What are you doing?"

"Iím here to show you the past." He extended his hand. "If you would, miílady."

She scoffed. "What is the meaning of all of this? I am not going anywhere with you, darliní. Come Tartarus or high whatever, Iím not going anywhere with you."

He laughed. "Well, that Ė for once Ė is not for you to decide." He snapped his fingers and soon they were in a cavern. There was little light from the opening above. The shadows danced in the dark. They turned to the scene: a cooing baby in a wicker basket.

Samsara knelt down and looked at the child. "She is so beautifulÖ"

"She should be," he said, smiling. "She is you."

"Me?" she said, looking at Dachus. "She is me? Where is Mother?"

He pointed ahead of him. Callisto sat on a rock, holding her knees to her chest. She was rocking back and forth, her eyes darting from the wicker basket to the opening in the ceiling.

"MotherÖ" Samsara called. "Mother?" She started toward her, but Dachus stopped her.

"You canít go to her, you know. This is the past. These events have happened; you canít call for your mother because she canít hear you."

"She never held me, did she?"

"You werenít with her for long. She used all of her powers as an immortal to get you out," Dachus explained.

"SHUT UP, YOU SCREAMING BRAT! You screaming pathetic excuse for a warrior child!" Callisto had had enough. The baby stopped crying.

Samsara looked away. "I know Callisto never carried me. Iíve seen enough."

Dachus laughed. "We havenít even gotten started yet, hon," he said, snapping his fingers. They were in Teloq.

Samsara recognized the huts and smiled. "Home," she said, grinning. "Why are we here?"

"To see how you were as a young Amazon."

Little Samsara was attempting to work with nun-chucks and kept hitting herself when the weapon recoiled. She was practicing alone, not wanting to embarrass her guardian. Solari watched and laughed, unbeknownst to the young girl.

"That little girl was me, wasnít she?" Samsara said. "And that is Solari laughing at me."

The young girl realized who was there and began to cry. She ran away and the two followed her.

Ishtar came out of her hut, knowing her wardís cry. She knelt down, hugged the young girl, and wiped away her tears, telling her words of encouragement.

"She always helped me. She was there when my mother was notÖ" she observed.

"You must have loved her very much," Dachus said.

"I did. And she loved meÖ"

The scene was the funeral pyre. Young Samsara was standing, dressed in dark clothing and pulling back tears. "I shall never cry again."

"I never did," Samsara repeated.

"And you hid that as well as you could," the general continued. "You did all you could

to bury your pain."

Images of Samsara fighting against Solari crossed their eyes. "Solari was always the type to laugh at me. It was only fair for me to treat her similarlyÖ"

"You rose to a great position when Velasca left the tribe. You wielded your power like there was no tomorrow. Reminds me of when you first led the tribe. You bossed us around and made sure we knew who was the leader."

Samsara nodded.

"But you blackened your soul. You never realized who you hurt."

They were suddenly in Phaedraís hut. Solariís sister looked at the looking glass and cried.

"Whatís with her? Iíve always been nice to her!" Samsara exclaimed.

"Just listen in," the warlord said to her. They turned to observe more.

Phaedra wiped away her tears. "Will I ever be good enough for Samsara? If my sister is nothing to her, what can I be anything of worth?"

The Great Destroyer scoffed. "Excuse me? I affect her that much?"

"You affect many Amazon, Great One. They look up to you. Some worship your every step." Dachus chuckled. "Many want to be you!"

"Like Hades I have that much power."

***Ghost of Solstice Present***

"Ah, but, oh Great One, you do," said a woman. Samsara turned around.


"Yeah, yeah, itís me, and what?" asked Regent Medea. "Iím the Ghost of Solstice Present and I will show you around. "Iím not here for long, missy, so Iím gonna make this quick. So, how about it?"

"Fine," Samsara responded begrudgingly.

"Now, you know, the powers that be decided that I can only take you to one place and you know what? That one place is gonna be Ďhome.í Iím taking you to Teloq and you will see what youíve left behind. Now remember, this is the kind of mess youíll leave for me and Cel to clean up in Themiscrya, so youíd better clean up your act."

Samsara laughed. "You are telling me that I need to clean up my act? Well, then!" Sheesh, the Teloqian thought. Some people are just . . . UGH! Takes one to know one, huh?

"Hey," Medea responded. "I heard that. Donít try to put one over me now, all right? So, listen up, Ďcuz Iím only gonna say this once."

Immediately, they were in Ephinyís hut. Serena was with her and they were having a secret conference. "I donít know what to do about the young ones," Ephiny said to the Chief Elder. "They are surly and unruly and they wonít listen to reason."

Serena sighed. Her white hair was braided and fell down her torso to her waist. "If only the Princess-Heiress had been more . . . gentle with her words and actions. Now, we have a problem on our hands. How will we survive if they grow up like this?"

The Goddess laughed. "Youíve gotta be kidding me. You mean to tell me that by the way I "actedí these Amazon kids are disrespecting their elders? I never, ever disrespected anyone that didnít deserve it."

Medea chuckled. "Yeah, but you did rile Solari at every turn and that is what those kids saw all the time."

"Well, what about you, Missy?"

She snorted. "Well, excuse me, Hon. Those kids knew me to be this way. Iíve always been this way and itís never been without consequences. Besides, this isnít about me at all. This is about you. And if you donít shape up, Cel and me are going to have a huge problem on our hands. Kids take after their elders and if you donít fix your attitude then we are always going to be the butt of tavern jokes.

Samsara laughed. This is ridiculous, she thought. Kids acting like this just because I do? I donít affect people that much AT ALL.

She blinked. Medea was gone.

***Ghost of Solstice Yet to Come***

The Goddess turned around. A faceless figure, dressed in a black cloak, stood before her.

"Do you believe you can scare me with this get-up?" she demanded. "I am the Great Destroyer, Goddess Kakistos of Destruction! Itíll take more than that to intimidate me!"

The Cloaked Figure said nothing. With a wave of his pallid hand, he whisked them away. Seconds later, they stood at the head of a dinner table. All the Themiscryans sat at the table and listened as Celosia spoke.

"We gather here in celebration of life," the Queen began.

"ĎCelebration of Ďlifeí?" the Goddess repeated. "Okay, excuse me, Cloaked One, but this is a death dinner? Is this why theyíre gathered like this?"

She got no response.

She returned to the scene.

"She was a true Amazon. Her family was slaughtered by a warlord and she could have easily turned evil, but she came to us and learned of the forces of Good, just the reason she was sent for . . ."

The Goddess blinked. "Excuse me? Iím . . . dead? No. No, I canít be! I am immortal. I am eternal! I am Samsara; I can never be completely broken! When I die, the world dies, you got that, Oh Great Cloaked One? Huh! I will always exist. I am here now, tomorrow, and forevermore!" Her face became flushed from the tension. The figure said nothing. She turned to the scene again.

Celosia continued. "Milaís death was unfortunate. Samsaraís blade was too quick for anyone to stopÖ"

"ĎSamsaraís bladeí? You mean, I killed Mila? NoÖ I am not my mother. I am not Callisto! I would neverÖ" she let the sentence dangle. She lost the power of her voice. The Cloaked Figure refused to respond. Her mouth dropped. She killed Mila?

"But in that act, Samsara died."

The Goddess stopped. Dead? How can it be?

"Artemis, using all her power, struck her down. Now we are less two wonderful Amazons and a matron," Celosia raised her goblet, as did the rest. "I raise a toast to Mila."

"To Mila," said the others in unison, drinking wine.

"Now, to Samsara."

Medea lashed out. "The day I raise a goblet to that wench is the day I betray every single one of you."

"Medea, please, I do believe you should toast," Celosia urged. "You arenít the only one sheís wronged."

"Yeah, but I was the only one to see it when she first set foot here. You know, I had a good mind to tear right into that witch, but I didnít. I should have!"

"Medea, please," Tern responded, motioning to her cup. "Take your chalice and toast. Itís Solstice-time!"

The Regent grumbled and raised her cup. "To Samsara."

Samsara frowned. "Okay, Iíve seen enough."

The Cloaked Figure raised a hand and they were away.

"Where in the Hades are we?" she demanded.

He said nothing. She looked about her and gasped. She was at her grave. She knelt down and touched the stone marker, wiping away the thin ice that was morning dew.

"Here lies the body of a heavenly spirit, woman, Amazon. Trained as a foot soldier; skilled in horseback, chobos, battle-axe, sword, crossbow, and royal staff. Fitted with the Phoenix feather and the skin of her first satyr. Orphan, ward of Ishtar, Shamaness Priestess. Appointed High Princess, Princess-Heiress, Warrior and Protector of the Teloq Amazons, here lies the body of Samsara the Great Destroyer. May Artemis hold her in her heart."

She looked up at the dark figure.

"This is my destiny?" she said, fearful. "This canít be! Oh, by the Gods, Cloaked One, I can change!" She fell onto her knees and gripped a section of cloth. The figure looked down at her and shook his head, turning away. "You donít understand! I canít be all bad if I realize the folly of my ways! I can change; I know it. You know it! You canít give up on me now." The Cloaked Figure walked away, leaving the Goddess to her words. "I can change," she whispered, grabbing blades of grass. "I can changeÖ"

***In the "Here and Now"***

Samsara opened her eyes. She was back in her temple. She knew what she had to do. She had Aresí Mantle. She had the power.

You can view this special holiday tribute in its place within the story line. Confrontations





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