morning started to sift through the leaves of the Themiscyran
woods, Xena and Gabrielle were loading up Argo. Wanderlust was
stirring again; it was time for them to move on. Seri was
helping them, making polite conversation and saying final
wish you'd come with us, Seri," Gabrielle said. "Just
so we could keep an eye on you, know that you're not getting
into trouble. Themiscyra can be a dangerous place."
tightened the buckle on one of the bags, stuffed with supplies.
"I'm staying right here. This is my home now, and unless I
stay to protect it it will be even more dangerous for my
sisters. I may move on someday, but not for a long time
care of yourself, then," said Xena. "We'll send
someone in a month or so to check up on you."
opened her mouth in a silent cry of protest. "I don't need
to be 'checked up on', Xena! I'm an Amazon warrior."
are still a child to me and I'm sending someone anyway. Like it
or lump it." Seri lumped it. She gave Argo a hug, then
swung up onto Deinus to escort her friends to the edge of the
were leaving the village, Seri spotted Jadea, still asleep on
Angus' shoulder. She grinned, glad that her aunt was happy but
still ignorant of what Jadea was feeling. That was all right.
Seri was still young.
with Xena and Gabrielle as far as the border, where the woods
stopped and the open plains and fields of the rest of the world
began. She exchanged final hugs, farewells, and blessings with
them, then turned back into the shade of her forest and went
riding for a while, just her and Deinus. She didn't return to
the village for hours.
Gabrielle crossed the river neither of them feeling all
that talkative. Of the two women, Gabrielle was more the talker.
But even she felt a quiet solace come over her. Both warriors
wondered when their paths would next cross the Amazons'. The
Warrior Women meant a great deal to them both.
and the Sorceress Empress had conversed until Apollo began to
ascend the stairs of his throne in the sky. Exhaustion fell upon
them both, and they fell asleep leaning against each other. Some
time during the night, Jadea's head had fallen to her left to
rest on the man's chest. He'd woken up at her movement but
settled the moment he saw she slept peacefully.
knows how long the Amazon might've remained in the company of
the man had it not been for her guardian hawk. Top of the
sorceress jolted up and blinked repeatedly at the light that
shined in her eyes. "Ardra?"
her, Angus moved slightly and yawned. He resisted the conscious
world whenever possible.
just missed Queen Gabrielle and the Warrior Princess.
They're gone?" She asked, stifling a yawn as she tried to
gone?" A sleepy man at her feet questioned.
a few minutes ago.
message?" Jadea asked. Xena was known to leave them with
trusted allies - and the Amazons were among the few she counted
that I saw. Queen Medea might know.
Jadea shook her head to herself. She'd meant to get back to her
co-ruler. That whole disappearing business the night before had
been gnawing on her mind.
Amazon looked down at Angus who tried desperately to curl up and
fall back asleep. "Angus." Nothing.
What?!" He jerked up, trying to make his eyes open. He was
just too bloody tired. Love can do that to a person.
up! Go to camp!" She said hastily, displeased that she'd
let herself be so sloppy as to oversleep.
grunted but got to his feet, draping the blanket around himself
like a cape. He slowly made his way toward camp, occasionally
mumbling about this or that.
Sisters, Ardra noted as two of them approached.
Medea is asking for you." Queen Dolphinea informed.
stood beside her. The sunlight made her face glow. She wore a
simple grin on her face. No doubt caused by the last update
she'd heard on the Sorceress Empress. It had spread through camp
she?" Jadea asked lightly. She had a thing about bantering
with her Sisters. Sometimes they made it too easy for her. Often
though, they surprised her with witty counter remarks.
she lied. She's been bellowing, actually," Antigone
chuckled and Dolphinea grinned widely.
raised an eyebrow. "Well, in that case...I'd best go see
what she wants, hmm?"
three of them walked together back into camp. Originally, Medea
had sent Dolphinea to get Jadea when she found that the woman
wasn't in her hut. Queen Dolphinea had run into Antigone on her
way, though, and the two united for the brief mission. The trio
split ways once they hit camp. Dolphinea headed for the training
grounds to get in a little practice. Antigone decided an apple
would be ideal for a late breakfast.
found her co-Queen in the Queen's hut. Medea sat with one leg
over the other, a sword laying across her. She made long strokes
down the blade with a river rock. Her eyes were intently laid on
Medea?" Jadea asked when she stepped in. Purely to get the
woman's attention, really.
looked up, set the stone down, and laid the sword beside her. "You
may want to sit down for this, Jadea," she said grimly.
Medea was overall beginning to act like a queen.
you are saying this, then I had better," Jadea commented
and took a chair located at the small table to her right.
looked into the air for awhile. She didn't like what she was
about to say, even though it agreed with her personal opinions
about a particular woman. At last, the Queen Regent's eyes
looked at the Sorceress. "There's no easy way to say this,
so here it is. I have reason to believe that Samsara has teamed
Sorceress Empress sat quietly. She knew Medea had it in for her
niece. But she also knew that Medea, despite the impressions she
gave off, had integrity. And what further helped her credibility
with this was that fact Jadea had wondered something of the sort
before. "All right," she casually replied. "You
sound like you have proof, so what or where is it?"
Medea stood up to call the name firmly. An Amazon guard
immediately walked in.
Queen Medea?" She respectfully spoke upon her entrance. Trynka
was a member of the Guard in Themiscyra.
arrow, Trynka!" Medea stated.
she answered and pulled it out from a place on her waist. The
arrow was peculiarly small and light, and screamed to Jadea,
"I was not made by a mortal!" It was obvious to her
eyes that a mortal hadn't constructed it. Trynka handed the
arrow to her Queen.
will be all. Thank you, Trynka."
my Queen," the Themiscyran responded, bowed her head, and
handed the arrow to her co-Queen. Jadea examined it, already
knowing its owner.
it?" Queen Medea asked, knowing the answer. If she herself
knew it was Cupid's, surely the Sorceress Empress would know as
nodded and laid the arrow on the table. "It still
doesn't tie my niece to Discord," she remarked. Jadea was
reluctant to believe that Samsara would make any kind of
arrangement with a goddess she hated so greatly.
thought you might say that," Medea commented. She hated
this next part even more than the previous. "Ares." The
Queen Regent spoke his name like it was the most vile word in
all languages ever spoken. But he appeared at her call.
his presence, Jadea stood up and drew her sword. "We
had a deal Ares," she was quick to remind him.
I am here only by request," he threw his hands up.
glared at him in disgust. She didn't like him as God when he had
powers to speak of, and she liked him less now.
kept her sword raised between herself and the God of War.
put it down!" Medea instructed.
Amazon sorceress shifted her gaze to Medea. She looked utterly
surprised. Medea had never once called her by that name before.
That, and it alone, brought Jadea to lower her sword. However,
she refused to sheath the blade. "What's he doing
here, Medea?" Jadea quipped in her deadliest tone.
knew she had little slack to work with here. So, she got right
to the point. "Tell her, Ares."
and Samsara are working together," he stated.
why would they do that?" The Sorceress inquired.
wants Kaia back," he answered, mindful of the blade Jadea
held in her hands. Ares seemed to be upset with his answer, as
though he didn't agree with Discord's intentions.
what does Samsara want?" Jadea shot back at him, her eyes
gods if I know! I offer the girl everything, and she
a guess, then!" Jadea shouted and took a step towards him.
didn't answer, for whatever reason, Medea cut in. "She
wants to drive me insane, Jadea," the Queen Regent
certainly brought the Sorceress Empress away from Ares. "A
short ride Medea," she commented tartly, but added,
"for all of us."
moments of silence passed while Jadea processed the information
she'd been given. She had to determine what was true and what
wasn't. That could be tricky, especially if a god was involved. Finally,
she looked up at Ares. "All right. Say I believe your sorry
black-leather-clad butt...what's your part in all of this?"
She asked suspiciously. As much as Jadea hated to admit it,
the explanation seemed plausible. Samsara disliked Medea enough
to mess with her. And the prospect of playing with Medea's mind
now was even more tempting since she was Queen. And Discord
would want to get her daughter away from the Amazons. It didn't
all fit, but the pieces seemed to have places they could go.
He asked innocently. "I'm just a guy trying to get my
daughter not to hate me. It doesn't help that every time I turn
around, Discord is up to some "plan" of hers. She
knows Kaia is powerless, and she wants her back. Maybe she
thinks that getting her back will undo whatever you Amazons have
done to her."
Jadea stated crisply. She didn't like this one bit.
can leave now Ares," Medea advised. The God gave a look of
annoyance before leaving.
women exchanged looks. Jadea sheathed her sword and turned to
are you going to do?" Medea called after her.
turned back around and eyed the arrow on the table. "Make
sure that gets back to Cupid. I'm surprised he hasn't noticed
that he's missing it." She turned again to go.
are you going to do, Jadea?" She asked again, this time
looking over her shoulder, the sorceress replied, "I'm
going to give Discord her bitch back!"
observed from her viewing pool. She frowned when she saw that
Ares had helped her Sisters figure things out. They still didn't
know her plan, per se, but they'd just learned a chunk of it. "Father,
if you had any balls I'd cut you down to half as many!" She
threatened aloud, though no one was present to hear.
hadn't noticed his bow and arrows missing because he was
currently too preoccupied elsewhere. He was tending to two
lovers on opposite sides of a war where lies were spread causing
the two lovers to fight thus fueling the war - basically a big
mess that he had to clean up.
noticed how Queen Medea handled the situation with her aunt. It
appeared as though she'd pulled rank on Jadea, and that Jadea
had buckled. That didn't set well with the Great Destroyer. "Hmm...I
wonder what she'd do if her own horse disappeared?" Samsara
mused, snapped her fingers and a horse appeared in her temple.
She laughed in absolute amusement.
way to fetch a neutralized Kaia, Jadea's path crossed
Thalia and Seriana. "You can't possibly be thinking
what I think you're thinking," Thalia remarked, planting
herself in front of Jadea's.
isn't the best time, Thalia," she returned quickly, her
voice smooth and deadly.
the Scout was getting better with her hearing. She knew what the
sorceress was planning to do. Or, at least, she thought she did.
"It's never the best time, Jadea. You know that."
her, Seriana chimed in, "You can't let Kaia go!
She'll try to kill us all."
shook her head. She had neither the time nor the patience for
this right now. Vanishing, she appeared behind Kaia Kakistos.
turned to Seri. "You know, I really hate it when she does
nodded with a slight smile. "You're not the only one."
should we do now?" Thalia asked her Sister. The latter
shook her head.
nothing we can do," Seri sulked. She'd enjoyed the relief
of not having to worry about Kaia. It'd been one less threat to
concern the Amazons.
began to walk away. Seriana paused for a moment before
following. Nothing we can do ... maybe.
Sorceress Empress teleported behind Kaia, she made sure that the
goddess could sense it. Kaia turned around, her eyes
YOU did this to me!" She yelled and charged for Jadea who
merely made herself disappear and reappear behind Kaia again. Kakistos
growled furiously. She despised the Amazons. She despised her
sister Samsara for being loyal to them. She despised herself for
being among them - and for being weak.
have good news, Kaia," Jadea smirked while she spoke. Her
voice was acrid and dangerous. Any Amazon in their right mind
would've been able to detect this. But Kaia was no Amazon, and
she certainly wasn't in her right mind. "You're going
home," she added a minute later.
stared at her suspiciously. She didn't trust Jadea as far as she
could throw her. "Just like that, huh? You're lying,"
right. It won't be 'just like that.' You get to go back to
Discord Dearest...as a mortal. Oh, won't Mommy be
Kaia howled and tried again to attack Jadea. This time she was
kicked hard in her stomach for her efforts.
powers are gone, Kakistos. And since you're no longer a threat
to the world, you may leave Themiscyra. As your aunt, of distant
relation of course, I will grant you one final favor."
glared at the woman with contempt. She said nothing, but it
wasn't for lack of want.
won't make you leave here like a mortal," Jadea finished
and snapped her fingers. With that, Kaia Kakistos vanished from
Themiscyra and appeared before Discord. Jadea sighed with
satisfaction and walked outside. "Ah, what a glorious
day!" She observed aloud. Several Amazons stopped and
stared at her. They then shook their heads and smiled.
viewing bowl the Goddess could see clearly what was
happening. She didn't like this turn of events.
sister, back home.
only meant that her powers were permanently Samsara's. She toyed
with her dagger. She knew that returning her sister's powers
would be a trial. Someone was going to end up in lots of
feared that one of them might regress if she returned Kaia's
powers to her. She knew that both of them had grown, and were
growing, quicker than the average god. In mortal time, Samsara
was only 8 and Kaia was 4. Should one of them lose their powers,
they would go back to their mortal age. Samsara supposed that it
wouldn't be a bad thing for Kaia, but it would be devastating
smirked when she saw her daughter on her hands and knees before
her. "Now your mongrel sister has nothing over me."
appeared. "We need to control her, somehow," he said.
"At least for the time being." He smiled. "She
won't be Master of War for long."
Ishtar continued her long journey out of
the Land of the Dead. The child in her arms pull on her hair and
gurgled happily. The Shamaness Priestess smiled despite the
great sadness in her.
Terreis had been the one who had taken
Ishtar in when she escaped a group of traders attempting to sell
Sumerian women to Greek landowners. The two had been close,
about the same age. When Terreis had been killed, Ishtar had
secluded herself for days.
It had been Melosa who had made the
decision that Ishtar remain with the tribe, however. It was the
Queen she owed her life to.
And it was the dead Queen Melosa who
appeared before Ishtar as she and the child walked the long,
lonely, barren road back to the Land of the Living. Ishtar
instinctively knelt down as her way of showing respect for the
may rise," Melosa said. "There's no need for you to
bow to me." The Priestess rose. "You are on
a mission to save our Queen Empress."
my Queen," she responded.
you realize how dangerous this mission is?" she asked.
"You only have a small window of time to complete your
mission. Tarry and you may become a lost spirit, unable to rest
for the rest of time."
knew the Queen was right. She could feel herself slowly coming
back to life, and time was not on her side. In addition, she was
taking a child born on the other side with her, one that was
intricate to the plan to save Samsara. Ishtar nodded. "I do
realize. If Jadea's visions couldn't sway our Empress, perhaps
what I can do will."
said their goodbyes.
continued walking. She was almost at the border.
was lost in thought. She was thinking about Ishtar. The emotions
were getting stronger. The Goddess had effectively shut off the
tear ducts after her mentor's funeral. She was not about to let
them open up again.
smiled as she forced herself to think of something other than
the loss of Ishtar and thought of Medea's precious horse in her
stables on Olympus. It brought to mind her own beloved beast,
Prince. She thought of his glossy black flanks, bereft of the
wings that should rightfully be folded majestically against his
side and the soft cupped area in the center of his forehead that
should contain the blood-red ruby that would return them to him.
up. "Time to get that ruby for my horse!" Endeavor!
She knew exactly where it was. She was surprised she didn't go
as soon as she was back on Olympus. She walked toward the exit
of her throne room, vanishing.
was livid. "That... that... OOOH!" She paced
around the stables. "Smyrna, are you
you didn't see anyone walk in?
Guard shook her head. "No one came in."
knew it! I just KNEW it! That Goddess... she won't stop
meddling, will she?"
Goddess?" Smyrna queried.
turned to her and snarled. She was going to get Jadea.
did Medea know that by the time she would get Jadea, the horse
would be back right where it was supposed to be.
little wretch of a niece stole my horse!" cried Medea as
she dragged her co-Queen to the stables. Jadea knew that Samsara
was playing a few tricks but she didn't take kindly to Medea
pulling her about every time the Goddess did something.
sure she'll give it back to you when she realizes that nothing
that she does will affect you," the Sorceress commented.
was far behind and chuckling at the scene. That was his Emerald
Jade all right.
made him turn around. It was Garrett. He cocked an eyebrow.
"And how are you this fine morning?" he commented.
c'mon, mate!" he cried. "Don' go on treatin' me this
way! I said I was sorry! Besides, don' ya see now that you
really like the girl? Why don' ya go talk to 'er?"
eyed him and smiled. "Angus, you showed me that I have to
talk to her at some point. I just don't have the guts to go see
mate," Angus said, slapping him on the shoulder. "That
Thal's got spirit and that's what a man would like in a woman
that pretty. Go an' talk to 'er, will ya?"
smiled. He was afraid of what her reaction may be.
Medea was taken aback. There was her horse and mounted on it was
one of the younger Amazons. Valkyra was holding the reigns and
leading the young one around. "WHAT IN THE HADES
YOU DOING WITH MY HORSE?"
Weapons Master looked at her. "I'm teaching Constantia how
to ride. Didn't you get my note?" Medea's eyes
came up to her and impishly handed her a parchment. "Valkyra
couldn't find you so she left a note with the last guard. I
guess she forgot to give it to you..."
snatched the papyrus from the woman. Sure enough, it was
Valkyra's writing. She wanted to use a good horse and Medea's
was just right for the young, but lithe study.
had climbed the rock face with agility. This was the one place
that the Gods could not teleport too. High above was Prometheus.
The Titan was still in his chains and the vulture ate at his
liver and flew away by the time the Goddess reached him.
turned his massive head and looked at her. "What do you
seek?" he asked. "No God has come to visit me without
some kind of request."
nodded. "Where is Rhea's Ruby?" Very much like the
Cronos Stone, Rhea's Ruby held a lot of power. She needed it to
make her horse into what he was destined to be.
continued to look at her. "Do you realize that if that
stone falls into the wrong hands..."
all Tartarus will break loose. But it is for Prince. He needs
his wings. He's an Olympian horse dropped onto the Earth to die
and I will restore him to his rightful status.
Titan nodded. "Understood." He knew the story of
Prince. Born to Pegasus, Hera wanted to be sure that there was
only one winged horse, so she sliced off his wings and sent him
hurtling down to Earth, injured and ready to die. Samsara found
him and healed him, and as lasting gratitude, the horse had
never left her side. She was feeling the loss right now and to
make it up, she was going to endow him with Rhea's Ruby. He
needed to get his wings and she was going to give them to him.
cocked his head to the vulture circling about. Samsara looked up
and saw it in the vulture's eye.
see the trade." If she killed the vulture, he would not
have to suffer having his liver eaten every day. All for
bringing fire to man she thought. Fair's fair.
realized that she would be incurring Zeus' wrath, but no matter.
She was Master of War.
a laugh, Jadea still couldn't hide her smirk. She looked at
her co-ruler as if to say "Well...?"
Regent Medea growled. "Next time, ask me in person!"
She snapped at Valkyra who helped the Amazon to the ground.
bowed her head slightly. "Yes, Queen Medea. I'm sorry for
clapped her hands together. "Well, this concludes another
fine epic, Medea. Now, if you'll excuse me - I have a little
goddess to fry."
Sorceress Empress headed out, Medea quickly on her heels. "And
just where the Hades do you think you're going?"
stopped and turned around, appearing to be annoyed and in a
hurry. "Discord wants to play games. Fine! I can play,
disappeared before Medea had the chance to say a word.
held Kaia in her arms. She felt unnatural in such a position,
but it was her daughter and she'd rather Kaia be with her than
appeared but kept herself hidden. She possessed an ability most
of the gods resented - the ability to conceal herself from any
god or immortal.
watching Discord...watching and thinking. He hadn't been able to
formulate a solid plan yet. The God of War had always been
uncanny with predicting Samsara's next move. This time, however,
he was at a loss.
all powerful is powerless...how poetic, Jadea mused. She
began to walk around the temple, gazing at various weapons that
ornamented the walls. She felt bored, somehow. Bored and
restless...a combination that lead to mischief in no time.
Jadea smiled as three swords hit the floor.
Discord jerked their heads up.
there?" Ares asked, his voice booming.
glared at him. "Who's there? What do you think they'll just
step right out? Uhh! How did you get this job, again?"
up, okay...just shut up," He quickly shouted.
I just hate it when that happens, Jadea snickered as a bow
was thrown across the room. It crashed into a wall.
right! That's enough!" Ares yelled in absolute hostility.
made herself seen. Her crystal pendant glowed three shades of
blue, the center of it being the darkest.
Discord stammered and clutched Kaia tighter.
back in the village...
helped Constantia down from Medea’s horse. Constantia, quite
concerned, asked, “Is Queen Medea going to stay mad at us for
using her horse?”
Valkyra returned Medea’s horse to the stable, she smiled at
the child and said, “Oh, I am sure that Queen Medea will rant
and rave for a while, but she will get over it soon enough. Do
not let her scare you; she is just letting her temporary
appointment as co-queen go to her head. Occasionally she is
insensitive and becomes out-of-control. She and some of the
others sometimes forget the true Amazon sisterhood spirit of
sharing and teaching. Just be glad that Samsara isn’t here as
looked up at Valkyra and said, “I’m afraid of her.”
is no reason to be afraid of her,” Valkyra replied, “Just
stay out of both Medea and Samsara’s way until you have the
power or ability to overcome them.”
asked, “Will you still teach me how to ride?” she then
patted Medea’s horse.
answered, “Of course, you shall be quite a horsewoman when you
finish your lessons. We cannot use my mare, Melody, for she is a
trained battle steed and very dangerous to all except me. Now, I
wasn’t going to show you until after you had your next lesson,
but under the circumstances I think you should see him now.”
who? Who should I see?” asked the young Amazon, now becoming
you remember when I brought all those horses here to the village
right after Winter Solstice?” Constantia nodded her head. “Well,
since then, I have been gradually training some of them for you
and the other children. You shall each have your own horse,”
said Valkyra. “There is a young crème-colored stallion over
in the corral waiting just for you.” Valkyra teased, “Now of
course you cannot ride him until you give him a name.”
shall give him the best name ever!” cried Constantia as she
ran ahead toward the corral.
thought to herself, “There is nothing like teaching children
to stir up maternal feelings in oneself. Well, maybe some day
before I grow too old.
course that would mean I would have to find someone to father
looked around and saw Medea having words with Jadea. Valkyra
said to herself, “Medea better calm her temper or she’ll
have a insurrection on her hands. I hope Queen Celosia comes
back soon. Now, I do believe that I will have a little talk
about responsibility with the guard who was supposed to give
Medea my note.”
insulted, Ares," Jadea remarked, noting that Kaia was
but a helpless babe now. The idea of killing Kaia Kakistos
was one that'd entered her mind. She was glad now she hadn't
liked the idea much. "No grand welcome? No words of
gratitude? How utterly thoughtless! And you - Discord - why I
never pictured you as the motherly type. Oh, that's
right..." Jadea paused, her voice inclining as she gushed
sarcastic delight. "You abandoned that pathetic creature
without so much as a second thought to her welfare! How careless
of me to forget."
sooner did Jadea finish speaking than Discord shot bullets of
energy from her eyes. The sorceress easily deflected them with a
wave of her hand which threw up a shield when she was hit. "Temper,
temper, Discord!" The Themiscyran admonished. Her eyes
began to get the same bloodlust look that Callisto's had in her
time. "I have a deadlier temper than yours!" Jadea
noted an instant before shooting a fireball straight from her
hand toward the goddess.
"Jadea!" Ares yelled and drew his
sword. He began to charge towards her but she raised her left
"I really wouldn't...Ares."
"We had a deal," he stated
"That's right. We did. What, did you
think you were the only one capable of lying?" She snarled
back at him as a bitter memory intruded her mind.
"Men lie. . .and then they die,"
one of Jadea's loyal warriors had stated in a rather insightful
tone. She'd been surprised to hear such a comment - come from a
Jadea's pendant darkened to gray. Her eyes
changed their expression, losing the amusing glow they'd had
before. She closed her eyes, summoning an enormous amount of her
energy. The temple began to shake and soon the walls were
crumbling as though under heavy attack by artillery. A pillar
fell hard to the floor and shattered.
"Get out of here, Ares!" Jadea
shouted through the ruckus as his temple came apart chunk by
When she finished, the Sorceress Empress
vanished, returning back into Themiscyra. She appeared unusually
calm and collected for someone who'd just destroyed a temple to
the god of war.
One of the Amazon children ran up to her, a
giant grin on her face. "Jaaydeah!" She shouted and
hugged the woman's legs.
Jadea bent down and picked the little girl
up. She walked with the child on her hip, smiling as if she
hadn't a care in the world. "What have you got there,
little one?" Jadea asked as the girl showed her something
"It's a bunny! Anti said I could have
one when I'm older," she beamed happily.
Jadea took "Anti" to mean
Antigone. The young Amazon child had a small feather stuffed and
sewn animal in her arms. "Well, if Antigone said it...then
she must be right." The sorceress smiled and gave the girl
After a few moments, Pike walked up to
Jadea. "Queen Medea wants to see you," she informed
"Why am I not surprised?" Jadea
"Come along Aura." Pike said and
took the girl into her arms. The young girl giggled.
Ah...I wonder how long it will take-
"JADEA!" A voice bellowed out her
Longer than I expected, but still
relatively on time.
Medea marched up to her co-Queen, a hard
look on her face. All I want is some peace and quiet, is that
too much to ask? She asked herself.
"Have you lost what little mind you
have left?" She questioned, flailing her arms wildly.
"Why, whatever do you mean?"
Jadea returned sweetly.
"You...you!" Medea growled and
clenched her fists in frustration. "You gave Kaia back as a
"Why, yes, yes, I believe I did. How
did you know?" Jadea asked curiously, though she suspected
she knew. What she heard next would nearly shock her to death.
"I have someone you should see! I
believe you know her. After all, you did go to our Land of the
Dead to see her. Follow me," Medea instructed in a tone
that left no room for protest. Not that Jadea would have,
anyway. "You! Get back to work!" She snapped at a few
Amazons on her way to the command hut.
Jadea stepped in behind Medea. Out of a
shadowed corner emerged Ishtar. She held a sleeping infant in
This wasn't in the plan. This isn't
happening! This can't happen! Her mind screamed to her.
"Jade, I'm sorry." Ishtar replied
"Wh-why?" Jadea looked
dumbfounded, her eyes seeming to twinkle with water.
"I had to bring her. It was the only
way, my Sister," Ishtar answered.
"NO!" Jadea shouted and stormed
out of the command hut.
Inside, Ishtar and Medea exchanged looks.
The Queen Regent bit her lower lip. "She took it well, I
think," the Queen remarked.
The Teloan shook her head and closed her
eyes. "What have I done?" Ishtar asked herself
"Don't worry. Jadea will come around.
I know she will." Medea reassured, though she herself
"Corestarah!" Jadea beckoned one
of the Highland Amazons to come at once.
"Aye, Empress?" The woman asked
upon her arrival.
"Send Queen Dolphinea at once!"
The Highlander nodded and was off quickly.
Angus watched silently from afar. He'd seen
a dangerous thing in Jadea years before. For some mysterious
reason, the man began to feel traces of that "thing"
You're worried, aren't you? Ardra
inquired, perched nearby.
Aye, he sighed. I've never seen
her like this - not with Amazons.
The guardian hawk agreed. She, too, didn't
know the cause for the change Jadea was going through. Unlike
Angus, however, Ardra had nearly accurate suspicions.
What if she . . . He thought.
The hawk wouldn't let him finish the
thought. She won't!
She could, though. What's to stop her
from. . .
Again, Ardra was adamant. I said she
won't! But after a few moments of complete silence between
them, the hawk added, she has us. She has the Amazons.
Aye. But are we enough, do ya think? Angus
asked while he watched Jadea pace back and forth. A few Amazons
stopped to stare but quickly looked away when Jadea glanced up
at met their eyes.
Ardra never answered. She wanted to
reassure both Angus and herself that she was. But she
couldn't. Lingering doubts and remembrances prevented her from
Back on Olympus . . .
"All right you big ugly flying pile of
dung! Come and get it!" Samsara shouted upwards.
She'd given the giant bird an incentive for
returning so soon. Herself...in the deceitful appearance that
she was vulnerable. To further draw the large vulture in, she
killed a cow in the valley far below the rocks.
Waiting...waiting...how she hated waiting!
At last, though, her "patience" was rewarded.
"Not yet...not yet...come on, you know
you want me!" Samsara insulted the bird and continually
made comments until the vulture had landed.
Rolling over onto her stomach, Samsara shot
a lightning bolt to her left which cut the trigger to a
primitive spear launching catapult. The long, thick spear
pierced the hide of the bird and went through him. He emitted a
low pitched cry.
On the spear's tip, Samsara had poured a
thin line of hind's blood - enough to kill the creature without
using too much. The Great Destroyer used her supply of hind's
As the bird's head hit the ground, Samsara
was ready. She threw her breast dagger straight for his eyes, a
small ball of energy right behind it. The dagger hit the ruby
and the energy knocked it loose.
Greedily, the Goddess stretched her hand
out and pulled it in toward her body. The ruby came to her
through the air and she caught it with both hands.
Back to Themiscyra...
As Queen Dolphinea of the Highland Amazon
Tribe approached Jadea, Queen Regent Medea did so from another
direction. Somehow, the three met in the middle.
"Jadea, what's goin' on?"
Dolphinea asked immediately concerned.
"That's what I'd like to
know," Medea remarked.
"Stop it, both of you!" Jadea
snapped, but her eyes instantly apologized. "Look, I'm
just...fine. I went to Ares' temple and toyed with him and
Discord. The Goddess had a baby in her arms."
Dolphinea gasped quietly. Could things get
"A baby?" Medea asked in
"Kaia." Jadea stated regrettably.
She hadn't known that stripping Kakistos' powers would turn her
into an infant mortal. All she'd wanted was for the damn vixen
to be mortal - not an infant.
"How is that-" Dolphinea started
Jadea shook her head. "I took her
godhood from her."
"You can do that?" The
Themiscyran Queen asked in amazement. She was learning new
things about Jadea every day it seemed. Not all of them she
"Not by myself, but yes I can,"
Jadea answered and waved her hand to dismiss that part.
"There's more. I destroyed the temple. All three of them
were inside when I left." A minute was taken to absorb
"How does Ishtar and her baby fit into
this?" Medea asked, breaking the silence.
Dolphinea raised her eyebrows at Jadea. She
didn't know about Ishtar, the baby, or either’s relation to
"During the war, I went to seek
Ishtar's help. She agreed to aid me in restoring Ares as god of
war," Jadea abruptly cut herself off, and it showed on her
"I take it there's more," Medea
Her co-Queen nodded. "This wasn't a
part of our plan then. Ishtar plans to give Samsara the child to
"That rabid bitch? Raising a baby?
Have you both lost your minds?" Medea retorted sharply.
"Not yet, Medea. But you seem to have
a head start!" Jadea quipped back instinctively. A hunger
to fight was growing inside her rapidly.
The Sorceress Empress sighed. "Ishtar
believes that if Samsara sees the child, the light and innocence
the baby possesses will-"
"I get it," Medea interrupted.
She knew the power a child could have over others. "So, why
is Ishtar here?"
Dolphinea may not have had much of a clue
as to this Amazon Ishtar and her child, but she wasn't entirely
ignorant. "Obviously she thinks Samsara will soon come
here," the Highland Queen pointed out. She was confirmed by
a nod from Jadea.
"It's trickier now, though. Kaia is a
baby now. She's innocent."
"You can't be serious, Jadea. Kaia
Kakistos is the daughter of Discord and Ares. She is not
innocent!" The Queen exasperated. She was backed up with
"Regardless of her parentage,
Medea...regardless of whether we like it or not - Kaia is
innocent. Do you think as a child she knows of all the
horrendous things she's done?" Jadea was quick to defend a
innocent, even if it was Kaia.
Only one way existed for Kaia to have her
powers back. And Jadea had made sure that the one way would
never come to transpire. Even if Discord gave her daughter
ambrosia, Kaia would still be mortal. And if word got out that
Kaia Kakistos, the evil goddess, was a helpless little baby?
Mercenaries, assassins, Amazons, Centaurs, and hordes of other
enemies would swarm to hunt the child down and kill her.
About this time, Ishtar made herself known
as she cleared her throat. She'd approached the three Queens
with light steps. In the presence of the Sorceress Empress, her
spirit was stronger as she fed off Jadea's energy in much the
way Seriana could with Thalia. “Sisters?"
Two heads turned. Medea could look at the
Teloan without turning.
"Ishtar..." Jadea's voice trailed
off. She wanted desperately to help her Amazon Sister, but she
"I understand," the woman
Queen Medea shot her co-ruler a look.
"Understand what?" She asked intuitively.
"What must be done," Jadea
stated, meeting Ishtar's eyes. "She'll soon come for her
horse, Prince. We do this then. Dolphinea, ready the
"Jade, what's-" She was given a
"Just do it," Jadea responded
with a half-sigh.
An hour later..."Rider
approaching!" The message was sent through the camp.
Jadea and Medea both rushed toward the
gate, taken aback by the surprise guest.
"Do we attack?" Valkyra asked
The Queen Regent glanced at Jadea.
"No! Hold fire," Medea instructed right before asking,
"What does he want?"
Jadea stared forward. "I may have
killed his daughter…so revenge."
"Why come through the front door,
then?" Medea asked quickly. Indeed, she was beginning to
think like a leader.
"Sometimes the best tactic is the one
least anticipated. I'll go," Jadea stated and began to move
but Medea caught her arm.
"Jadea, if he so much as flinches the
wrong way, I'll-"
The Amazon nodded, a small smile curving
her lips. Despite their differences, the Amazons cared about
Medea watched her co-Queen walk the dirt
path that lead up to the god of war. Hidden behind some bushes
were several warriors. Up in the trees were archers, poised for
firing if given the word.
Neither Jadea nor Ares spoke until she was
in front of him. They were only out of earshot by a hundred or
"That was some assault," Ares
remarked in a low, dark voice.
"No assault. I was returning medicine
to Discord," Jadea observed.
"Didn't know she dabbled in
medicine," he declared offhandedly.
"What do you want?" Jadea
questioned pointedly. She had no time for word games.
"You," He answered smoothly, his
eyes on hers.
"I'm flattered," Jadea returned
after a few seconds. His ready response had taken her off guard.
"Won't Xena be jealous, though?" She added to better
regain her composure.
"Discord has taken Kaia. She refuses
to let me near my own daughter."
"You're breaking my heart, Ares,"
Jadea said less than remorsefully.
"If she remains with Discord, she'll
grow up to be like Callisto.....and Xena."
Silence. Jadea was again knocked off her
guard. A moment or two passed before a single question was able
to be pulled up to counter his problem. Why would Ares have a
problem with his child turning out the way Callisto was and Xena
used to be?
"Your point would be? Nothing you've
said concerns me," she stated simply.
"You think not? All right, then answer
me this. Do you really want Kaia to slaughter your tribes and
wipe out every village from here through Rome?"
No, she thought to herself. “So, you want
me to help you get back your screaming brat based on the
assumption that she's going to grow up to be a warlord?"
"If Discord raises her, I'd say that's
a little stronger than an assumption. Wouldn't you?"
"I handled Kakistos as a goddess. I
think I can bring down a mortal warrior," the sorceress
turned her back on him and took a step.
"You thought you could save Callisto,
The woman stopped and didn't move.
"What is she doing?" Medea asked
herself. A couple of sounds came from the trees to ask the Queen
for an order. She gave none.
"Back in Cirra, remember? You thought
you could save her. But you couldn't. And then when you found
out she was alive still? She wasn't immortal yet, remember? You
thought if only you could reach her...oh, but you couldn't
manage that either."
Jadea's pendant burned a bright red. She
clenched her fists at her sides. Her body was tense.
From her spot, Medea watched anxiously.
Come on. Come on, Jadea! Give me a sign.
Give me something.
The Queen didn't want to make her move
until she knew one was called for. The Amazons around her felt
the same impulse.
"Wait a minute," Ares began after
letting the silence hit Jadea. "You can't be blamed for
that. Rumyna kept you from finding your sister, didn't
Jadea didn't answer. She didn't even turn
"Didn't she, Jadea?" Ares
repeated, knowing he was endangering himself by antagonizing
The horse behind the God of War whinnied.
Ares made a quick glance at him. When his eyes were forward
again he found Jadea was facing him.
"I have a plan to fix both our
problems, Ares. You're going to love it! Well, half of it. You
can keep Kaia...and even Discord. You can even help raise Kaia
if you like."
He lifted an eyebrow at her. "What's
"Discord and Kaia can
never...leave...Olympus," she said, emphasizing her words.
"You want me to ask Zeus if I can
raise my mortal daughter on Olympus? No chance." Ares
replied. He saw that Jadea smirked darkly.
"Too late. It's done," the
sorceress remarked then raised her hand at the God. He
disappeared along with the horse he rode in on.
One down. One to go. Come on Sami. It's
In Samsara's temple...
"Well, Greek fireballs!" The
Goddess yelled. One of her temple guards ran in, thinking
something was wrong. She turned her head at the sound of his
"Great Destroyer! Is there a
problem?" He asked, his sword already drawn to fight.
She looked at him with amusement but sighed
and shook her head. "Nothing you can solve. Get back to
"Yes, mighty Kakistos!" He
answered and was gone before she could tell him not to call her
that. The mighty part was perfect. The latter was what had
Samsara tried to swallow the shock that her
sister was now a crying, squirming little baby mortal. She'd
just recently returned to her temple and had witnessed the
charming exchange between Ares and her Aunt.
"Father, you really don't know your
limits, do you?"
The Goddess picked up Rhea's Ruby in front
of her. She admired its beauty and power. "Well, I can't
think about that right now. Time to pay a visit for Prince. Oh,
I really do hope that Medea won't spoil things. She has a way of
doing that, you know? Spoiling plans...usually perfectly crafted
"So, what happened?" Medea
interrogated her co-ruler.
"Ares and Discord were having a
dispute over the baby. I stepped in to make a decision they
couldn’t. They'll share custody of a very mortal baby Kaia on
Olympus. Of course, that means that Discord and Kaia will be
confined to Olympus," Jadea explained, her eyes glittering
their normal way now.
Queen Medea had nothing to say to that.
Jadea turned to Dolphinea beside her.
"Aye. Confused...but ready," she
answered sadly. The Queen didn't really want to leave. And it
unnerved her greatly that Jadea wasn't confiding in her the way
she'd done with Vorgeen.
"Good. Tell Angus to get Prince out of
the Themiscyra Stables."
"Aye, Empress," she replied and
"Umm, Jadea? Mind clueing me in here?
I am the Queen, you know?" Medea asked from behind her.
The Sorceress turned. "When Samsara
comes for Prince, Ishtar will deliver her babe to the only other
daughter she's ever known - Samsara. Once she has, Ishtar's part
of our deal is complete."
"Wait, what deal?" The Queen
Regent demanded to know.
"I must leave, Medea. I'm sorry. I
know my timing couldn't be worse what with Celosia gone.
But..." Jadea found she could say no more. Medea's puzzled
and hurt look was too much for her. The Sorceress shook her
head. "I'm sorry," she repeated and walked off.
Leda caught up with the Co-Queen before she
could reach the sanctity of her hut. “Jadea!" She called
out, and Jadea stopped.
She didn't like ignoring her Sisters -
ever...even though she sometimes did. "Aye?"
"Some of the Highland Amazons have
been talking. There's a rumor that you're going to take them and
leave," she paused for a second. "Is it true?"
Jadea's expression answered for her. Guilt
was already setting in. This wasn't how she'd planned to fulfill
her part with Ishtar. But then, things often didn't go according
to plan. "Aye,
Leda. It's true." She softly answered. Jadea was just about
to apologize yet again, something she never did unless she meant
it with every fiber of her being, when Leda asked, "When
will you be back?"
The Amazon wore a solemn light in her eyes,
reflective of the hope she had that Jadea would return. Celosia
leaving? That'd been hard enough to accept. Celosia and Jadea
gone? Not to mention the Highland Amazon Tribe? Granted they
were guests in Themiscyra's lands, but nevertheless - the
Themiscyran Amazons had become accustomed to them being around.
Friendships, even love, had been established.
"I don't know. Look, I have some tasks
to attend. Please excuse me, my Sister," Jadea said briskly
and left, this time by using her powers. She collapsed on her
bed and buried her head under a blanket.
"Go away!" Came her muffled
An aching pain had filled the woman's
heart. She'd tried valiantly to fight it back. Slowly but
surely, the feeling had gained ground. Like it or not, Jadea was
missing something in her life. All her denial and involvement
with wars had allowed her to keep the loss buried for quite
awhile. But now there were no wars, to speak of. No great crisis
to handle. And her denials were losing their ability to cover
Jade? A voice called her name again.
Under the blanket, she groaned but came
out. Standing up, she glared at the entrance and debated whether
to knock out whoever was on the other side.
"What?" Jadea yelled.
"May I come in?" The voice asked
respectfully. It was Ishtar.
"By all means, do," was the
The Teloan came inside, her babe in her
arms. She walked in slowly and studied Jadea before approaching
"Ishtar, about earlier - I didn't mean
Shaking her head, her Sister interrupted.
"I know. I understand your grief. I wanted to give you a
present, my Amazon Sister."
She handed Jadea her babe wrapped in a
white cloth. The latter seemed uneasy and completely
uncomfortable with holding Ishtar's child. But in no time at
all, Jadea was gently cradling the newborn in her arms and
rocking from left to right.
Ishtar, as the adoptive mother of Samsara,
had long since been able to recognize the purity of a child. She
saw now that Jadea gazed lovingly at the babe.
Many moments passed. Ishtar listened as her
Themiscyran Sister hummed a foreign lullaby to her babe. It had
been a song native to the Cirra valley and province. A lullaby
Jadea had hummed to herself continuously in the days that
followed Cirra's destruction. Years after, Rumyna had asked her
protégé to sing the words. Surprisingly, Jadea'd found she
hadn't forgotten them despite that she'd always just hummed the
With this, though, came a revelation which
struck Ishtar with a new light. "You have a daughter?"
The woman asked calmly, though quite surprised.
The Sorceress Empress looked up from the
baby in her arms. She was stunned. "No," she answered
and looked back down at the infant.
But the feeling wouldn't leave Ishtar
alone. She was certain of it. "Yes, you have a daughter,
Again, Jadea's eyes shot up. She looked
angry, almost as if she might lash out. But soon, the look faded
and was replaced by one of anguish. "That was a long time
ago," she said softly.
A long time ago? Ishtar wondered just how
old she was. No one really knew. She suspected her to be younger
than Callisto, but she wasn't sure. Perhaps, Queen Celosia was
the only one to know. If that was the case, she hadn't ever
indicated Jadea's age to the Amazons.
Jadea stepped lightly toward Ishtar and
handed the child back to her. She looked at the babe, now in her
mother's arms. Meeting the Amazon's eyes, she thanked her.
"How did you know?" She asked.
Ishtar smiled. "I didn't...until I
Jadea gave her a strange look. "I
meant, how did you know that she was just the medicine I
"Something Xena said once about the
light of a child's face affecting the darkness inside a
person," she smiled. And in that moment, Jadea realized how
wise Ishtar was. She knew that many of her Sister Amazons were.
It just took some a longer while to get there.
As Ishtar left, Jadea took a deep breath
and slowly exhaled. She gathered up a few belongings: her sword,
her Solstice gift, her letter parchment from Samsara, and a few
other items. Leaving her hut, she made certain what remained
behind were what she intended to leave - and that all was placed
just right. On her way to talk to Medea, the Sorceress ran into
The Scout eyed her with a kind of angry
pain. "So it's true, then?" She shouted, though not so
loud that everyone heard.
Jadea reached out to Sister, but Thalia
just jerked back. She shook visibly, acting as if she'd just
been stabbed through the heart by her own blood. "How can
you do this?"
"Thalia," Jadea spoke softly to
calm her. The Scout stared at her angrily and ran off.
I'm beginning to see why Celosia chose
one big clean meeting. She might've warned me this would happen.
Seriana was next to find Jadea. By the
Gods, could she never reach a destination without being stopped?
Luckily, Seri was more saddened than angered by the true rumor
she'd heard. "I wish you weren't leaving," she said
"Seriana, I'm glad you caught
me," Jadea stated as lightly as she could. "I want to
give you something."
"What?" She asked.
Jadea pointed in the direction of her hut.
"I want you to take care of the place while I'm gone,
The Amazon didn't answer for a few moments.
" 'While' you're gone? So, you're coming back then, right?
Jadea nodded and hugged her niece. "I'm coming back."
"You promise?" Seriana pulled
back out of the hug to look into the woman's eyes.
"I promise," Jadea pledged,
hoping beyond hope that she could keep it.
"All right, then," Seri sniffled
before adding, "I'll keep your hut clean and ready for
Jadea laughed slightly. "I also mean
for you to use it, if you like."
Seriana cocked her head to one side.
Her Aunt nodded. "Really."
"Ahem " The Queen Regent stood a
few feet away, blocked from Jadea's view. Seriana gave her Aunt
one last look before making a hasty retreat. She'd yet to engage
in a major fight with Medea, and she wasn't anxious for that to
"You're disappointing many of your
Sisters, you know?" Medea asked rather rhetorically.
Perhaps she meant it as a last ditch effort to sway Jadea's
"Aye, well they're not the only ones.
I've given Seriana occupation of my hut."
"So I heard," the Queen
"Yes, well, she may wish to use it for
a few days after I leave. I've left many herbs and other things
you can use if needed," Jadea added.
"None of this will make it easier,
Jade. Who will help me run this tribe, hmm?" Medea
questioned meaningfully. Celosia had left Jadea with the
responsibility of helping Medea.
"I won't be gone long," the
Sorceress replied after a minute. "You won't even miss
"That’s the worst pile of horse dung
I've ever heard. And believe me, I've heard some raunchy, rank
piles of it!" Medea quipped back.
Just then a loud call spread throughout the
camp. Samsara had arrived. The Queen looked at Themiscyra's
Sorceress. "You owe me big time, Jadea," she informed
"For?" Jadea returned as she
"For what I'm not going to do. I could
demand a challenge, order every Amazon in Themiscyra to stop you
from leaving...among other things."
After a few seconds, Jadea decided consent
would be better. "I owe you."
"I saw what you did back there,"
the Goddess said from across the open spaces of Themiscyra.
Spears, swords, and arrows were pointed at her as the Amazons
waited on Medea or Jadea's word. As far as some were concerned,
Samsara committed an act of treason when she "killed"
Xena during the war.
The Goddess Kakistos sensed something
strong stirring in her soul and within the gates, but she
ignored the thoughts. "You turned my sister into a four
year old," she smirked. "Unfortunately, that has to
change. Her remaining followers already know. I can fend them
off with my army. No worries. But that is not what I came here
for." She looked toward the stables. "I came for my
horse." She kept Rhea's Ruby well hidden. No one knew of
its existence except for a very few.
Jadea looked at the Amazons training their
weapons on the Goddess. "Hold," she commanded. They
lowered their weapons. "There is someone you need to
see," her voice was cold.
"Yeah, that's another thing. What's
with your leavin'?"
There was no time to answer the question.
Ishtar walked out from the crowd. She stood behind Samsara.
The Great Destroyer froze. She knew who was
behind her. Her eyes began to well up, but she would never dare
cry. Especially not in front of the Themiscyrans and never
before Medea. "Mama?" was all she said.
"Our deal is complete," the
Shamaness Priestess said.
Samsara turned around. "What?"
Ishtar walked to her foster-daughter and
pushed her still-loose hair back. "You're beginning to act
more like Kakistos than Samsara. There is only one way to get
you back on your path," she handed the sleeping child to
The meaning was implicit. No one questioned
what was happening.
"Please..." Samsara said.
"I can't. You understand this,"
Ishtar responded. She placed her palm on the Goddess' forehead.
When she removed her hand, wind picked up from below. Once the
air stopped moving, Samsara was back in her natural Amazon
clothes. Her eyes were the chocolate brown they used to be.
"Tie up your hair if you desire. I always thought the
ponytail was more becoming of you," she began to fade.
"My time here has come and gone. Jadea, I have held up my
"Mama.... Mama stay..." Samsara's
voice had begun to crack. She wouldn’t let the tears fall, but
she had no control over her voice. "Mama, what am I
supposed to do...?"
"Raise my daughter the way I should
have raised you," and with that she was gone.
Samsara turned back to Jadea. Her eyes were
deadly, but sad. "What have you done? What is going
Jadea looked away as she walked toward the
gates. She mounted her horse. "I have to leave,
Samsara," she responded simply.
"No. No, you stay!" She got no
response. She got angry. The much-older woman still gave her her
back. Samsara turned and handed the child to Seriana. She
slammed her staff down violently. "Jade, I will not allow
you to leave. You, Sorceress Empress, will not leave the
Jadea trotted a bit ahead. She couldn't
look at her sister's daughter. She couldn't bear the look on
Samsara pulled out her sword. "As High Princess,
Princess-Heiress to the Teloan throne, I, Samsara the Great
Destroyer challenge Jadea, Sorceress Empress of the Amazons,
native of the Highlanders, as is my Amazon right," her
voice was wavering greatly. She let go of her tears. It had been
the first time in four years that she cried openly and at all.
Her grip on the sword was strong, but the stance was shifting
violently. "I can't let you leave!"
"Oh, not this again," Medea whispered.
"Don't fight someone you don't have
the courage to kill," was Jadea's dark response.
And at that Samsara sheathed her sword.
"Then I won't fight you," she took the child out of
her older sister's arms and cradled it in her own. "At
least give me my horse back."
Jadea snapped her fingers and Prince
appeared. Samsara mounted the son of Pegasus and faced the
opposite direction as her aunt. "Then this is
good-bye," she said quietly. She regained some composure in
her voice. She didn't look at Jadea. She started off then
"By your sword and staff!" called
"By your dagger and your wits,"
"Blood promise of life..."
"Fight to the death!" Samsara
galloped away to the far end of the camp, toward the river.
Jadea trotted away, leaving word with Dolphinea as to when to
Meanwhile on Olympus...
Zeus slammed his fist down onto his table.
He was quite unhappy. He was also unsure of which to put on the
top of his list: Kaia's 'infantilization,' Samsara's
insurrection, or the fact that the vulture assigned to eat
Prometheus' liver was killed for the Rhea Ruby.
Athena paced by her father's side. "We
have to wait until things cool down. Once everything is calm and
back to its original state, then we retrieve the stone. We can't
have another winged horse."
Meanwhile, Samsara let Prince graze as she
held the babe in her arms. The events of the past few
candlemarks threw her for a loop. Was she still Master of War?
The Academy still ran smoothly. Jadea was gone. Ishtar came and
left after barely a moment and left her with a gurgling, infant
child to care for.
She looked at the child. She had tufts of
Ishtar's auburn hair. Her eyes were almond-shaped much like her
mother's and were a piercing green. Samsara smiled. "You
child... you child are a blessing: pure and true... You're just
like Mama," she kissed the child's forehead. She pulled on
Samsara's hair, now in a ponytail.
"You can come out, Ser'," Samsara
said. She knew her sister was nearby.
"You know I meant to be found,"
the red-haired beauty walked to her younger, but older-looking
sister and sat down on a log next to her.
"What are you naming her?"
Samsara paused. "Karma. I'll name her
Karma," she handed the child to Seriana and stood up. She
drew her sword and looked upon the Thermodon. She aimed
carefully and shot the weapon into the water.
"What are you doing?" Seriana
said. "You need that."
"I have my staff. I don't need to
fight anymore, especially now with Karma," she sat down and
took the child again. "I can't let her out of my sight. I
can't let her grow up the way me or my sister did without Mama.
I can't let her become evil like I did and I won't lose her like
I did my sister."
"I know the story behind
Kakistos," Seriana said. "Don't think I didn't read
your scrolls when you left for Olympus that second time. What
happened is not your fault. She was ruled by Velasca just as
Medea was. There was nothing you could have done to stop
"I found her. It was my
responsibility. Now I will spend the rest of eternity making up
for that fault with this child. Just as I destroy I can create.
I have hardly created but I have destroyed so much. Perhaps it's
time I fix that."
Seriana nodded. She understood what her
sister meant. She just wish it had come in a different way.
Aphrodite appeared. "You called?"
she said in a sad voice.
"Aphrodite..." the Great
Destroyer said. "You said I could have one wish that I
could use whenever I wanted, correct?"
"Oh, I know where you're goin' with
this, honey, you know I can't grant you that wish!"
"I know I promised, but I can't break
a deal and I can't resurrect someone whose cord Atropos cut.
There's an order--"
"And you have to abide by it. I
understand," Samsara never looked at the Goddess of Love
"I can do something that would kinda,
sorta help you," The Goddess of Love twisted her fingers.
"Like, I know how this kinda feels, what with Ishtar
showing up and Jadea leavin. I don't like sadness."
"You weren't cut out to be the Goddess
of Sorrow," Samsara smiled slightly at her barb.
"Hehe, yeah. Well, expect a visitor in
due time, great Goddess. I suppose that is the only way I can
grant your mondo, but well-spent wish."
The Goddess of Destruction turned to her
and smiled. "Perhaps. You do seem to know well, 'Dite."
She giggled. "I really like it when
people call me that! Oh, and by the way, the kid looks cute.
She's got your mama's best features. Not like Ishtar had any bad
features, but you know what I mean." She kissed the baby's
forehead. "I bless you with the eternal capacity to love,
Karma scrunched up her nose and gurgled.
Aphrodite scrunched her nose too and grinned toothily.
"Okay, bambinas, I gotta go. I've got some mean, old
warlords to turn into smoochy, young lovermen." She waved.
"Toodles!" She shrugged slightly and she disappeared
in her usual fashion.
"In due time, huh?" Seriana
remarked. "I wonder who's coming."
Overhead, Ardra looked down as her Mistress
galloped away from Themiscyra.
The hawk was to stay behind with the
Themiscyra Amazons - sent to either Celosia or Jadea only under
the utmost need. At present, she disobeyed the order to follow
the Sorceress Empress. The bird feared that a slice of history
was about to repeat itself.
She's going to seek him out. I just know
she's going to seek him out! Ardra thought grimly. Would he
know she was coming for him? Would he be ready for her? Would he
try to run or hide? Or, would he want to fight her? Did he even
still have men in his command?
Back in Themiscyra...
The Queen Regent was anything but lenient
now. It would take some adapting before her softer side dared to
peek out again. Now she had Samsara Kakistos, the Great
Destroyer in her camp...and with a baby!
The other Amazons were skittish, unable to
make heads or tails of what they thought. More than one wanted
to kill Samsara for what she'd done. And still other women
pointed out that she was now a mother. Perhaps not the natural
way, but a mother nonetheless. They argued that they had no
right to take the child's mother way. To this, many countered
that they'd be doing Ishtar's baby a great duty by killing
Samsara and sparing her the life of being raised by the Goddess.
Medea wouldn't concern herself with Samsara
just yet. The Goddess was of no threat to her right now, as she
was far more preoccupied with what'd just transpired. Instead,
Themiscyra's Queen Regent helped the Highlanders with the last
touches before they were to leave. She spoke to Queen Dolphinea.
"Are you sure I can't change your
mind?" Medea asked, unconsciously fiddling with one of her
"No, but orders are orders. You're a
Queen now. You know how it is," Dolphinea remarked with her
cool Irish brogue.
Yeah, I know how it is, Medea said
She hated this. There'd been far too many
drastic changes happening too close together. The Queen Regent
began to wish for Celosia's return. She missed her sister
greatly. Not to mention that she was starting to understand the
anxiety and concern an Amazon Queen had to endure.
Dolphinea tightened a bag on her horse, a
tall and magnificent black stallion named Dark Angel of the
Night - Dark Angel for short. She looked to her right where
Medea stood, sadness in her eyes. "Jade's decreed that
Angus come with us, as well."
Medea nodded. "She knows he wouldn't
stay put anyway."
Dolphinea smiled and nodded. "Aye. But
I think it'll be harder than we suspect. He and that Garrett lad
have made themselves comrades, aye?"
The Queen nodded. She didn't like the men
being in camp. She didn't like men - the vast majority of them.
Nevertheless, Medea had seen enough to know that Angus and
Garrett were helpful to the Amazons. They did their share, and
more, of the work and without complaint. They'd provided the
women with some interesting entertainment from time to time. But
perhaps this was for the best. With Jadea and Angus gone, Thalia
and Garrett would have no choice but to have that long overdue
Corestarah and few other Highlanders came
up to their Queen. Dolphinea sighed at the sight of them. She
knew what it meant.
"It is time, my Queen."
"Each team ready?" Dolphinea
asked. Silent nods were given. "Very well. Corestarah, lead
us out. I'll be right behind ya."
The Highlanders nodded again and left.
Dolphinea looked at Medea. They exchanged looks, each knowing
what the other meant. Medea stretched her arm out and Dolphinea
clasped it, smiling as she did so.
"Was an honor to meet and fight beside
ya, Queen Medea!"
"Likewise," Medea managed to
reply. She wasn't the gushy type, but she felt the emotions from
time to time nonetheless.
Dolphinea mounted gracefully and looked
down at the Themiscyran next to her. "Ach, I almost forgot.
Jade wanted ya to have this," she said, handing down a
"What is it?" Medea asked
hesitantly. She wouldn't have been surprised to find a snake in
"Somethin' to use when ya want to
bark," Dolphinea commented, a grin on her face. Before
Medea could say anything, the Queen kicked her horse and charged
off. She gave a loud whooping holler to those of her Amazons who
were lagging behind.
Medea opened the bag and pulled out a
smooth oval emerald stone. Under the stone was a message written
on a small bit of scroll.
"Medea, you are now Themiscyra's
Queen. Celosia would not have trusted you with the rite if she
lacked faith in you. Know this - I believe in you. Use the
Twilight Bark only if needed. Jadea, Amazon sorceress of
In addition to this message was one
Dolphinea had previously given to Medea for Samsara. The Queen
Regent stared at it a moment, then decided to withhold it from
her for now.
Back on Olympus…
"This is ridiculous!" Ares' voice
boomed, as he attempted to get Kaia away from Discord.
Athena appeared and struck her brother
down. He flew backward and hit his head against the wall.
"Stop this, both of you! Because the two of you, we are now
in this mess! If you can't get along together, I will kill the
Discord hissed. "You touch my
daughter, Athena and I'll show the mortal world HOW DUMB YOU
"Discord!" Ares yelled her name
to warn her not to provoke Athena's wrath.
Athena's glare shifted from the
raven-haired goddess to Ares. "Keep your girlfriend in
check, bro. Or your precious Kaia will become an orphan...if she
lives." Athena left Ares to deal with Discord. The latter
snarled at the God of War.
In the main hall, Hera sat on her throne
and watched as Zeus walked around his table numerous times. He
stared and mumbled to himself. His wife, however, was quite
amused with how things were turning out. Two Goddesses
neutralized without them so much as having to lift a finger or
raise an army. The Queen of the Gods could now focus on ridding
the world of her stepson, Hercules. These thoughts she kept to
herself, though. The Queen hid a smile as she observed Zeus.
Angus had said his goodbyes to Garrett,
apologized to Thalia, and managed to keep a reserved composure
about him. But now, as he rode behind Dolphinea, Angus felt his
nerves starting to move. He peered upward and saw Ardra flying
back toward Themiscyra. She spotted him, as well.
Good luck, mate, Ardra wished him.
We need more than luck this time,
was his reply.
By the next morning, the troop of Amazons
had caught up with Jadea. They had broken off into teams to make
travel easier. Sometimes, hearing that a large number of Amazons
were on the move had villagers thinking the worst, often
assuming the warriors are going to attack them or they're
marching to war with another army.
It would be several days before the
Highland Tribe reached a port they could take back home. Jadea
often teleported many of her Sisters there, but this could only
be done in shifts and a small number at a time taken each trip.
This time, some Amazons went back by boat and some by magic.
Jadea left three Highland Amazon Elders
behind in Themiscyra. They were had no desire to make the trip
back to Britannia and their age made it unwise for them to do
so. They offered their services to Queen Regent Medea and she
called upon thier counsel every so often. Once, primarily, to
learn how to use her "gift" from Jadea to send and
A couple of days went by with few
squabbles. Samsara spent much of her time with Karma, and even
managed to repair some of the broken ties with her Sisters. Some
were wary of her, others did as they could to look past what she
had done. They, after all, realized they'd have done the same
thing, even if it meant sacrificing oneself.
The Goddess herself was sitting in her hut
sanding posts. The babe was old enough to sit up on its own. Six
months, she estimated. She supposed time went by really slowly
in the Land of the Dead. Karma had been there, and therefore
effectively dead, for nearly two years.
Samsara hummed a lullaby to herself as she
continued to sand. She stopped. She knew the song. Callisto had
sung it to her...
She remembered. She had just been born and
the immortal woman had no idea what to do with her. She grasped
the crying child in her arms and rocked slowly back and forth
until Samsara became quiet.
Her next memory was during Solstice time,
when Dachus's spirit had taken her to the Labyrinth. Her mother
had remembered where Samsara had come from and in her insane
moments she tended to leave the child alone in a dark corner by
the light. Callisto would huddle in a corner and rock herself
about, humming, then screaming for the baby to be quiet.
Samsara shook her head and looked toward
Karma. She set down her pieces of wood and picked up the child,
cradling her. "Aren't you a darling?" she asked,
touching the baby's face.
She thought of Jadea. She missed her aunt
dearly, but she knew once she completed whatever mission she had
to accomplish in Britannia, she would return to the
None of this was a matter to her now. She
had a child to raise, and she needed to be as peaceful as
Until Seriana burst in.
"Samsara," she said.
Samsara looked up. She knew it.
Mariko had arrived.
paced back and forth in front of her tent. Zanifus, her
blue-green dragon followed her with his eyes, wondering if the
Amazon was going to wear a hole in the ground.
"I need to talk to Garrett," she
mumbled to herself, wringing her hands. What would she say? What
was she supposed to do? She still loved him, yet did she still
love him? Everything was so different now, how much had they
changed? It had been so long...
Thalia jumped and whirled around.
"G-Garrett? Uh, hi! I umm.. I.." She fumbled for the
Garret approached and held her arms.
"It's ok, calm down."
Thalia let out a deep sigh.
"Garret..." just as he said "Thalia"
They both stopped and smiled sheepishly.
"It's been a while, hasn't it?" Garrett rubbed his
hand on the back of his neck nervously.
"I... too long." Thalia sat down
on a log bench, inviting him to sit beside her. "Garrett..
I... I don't know what to think right now."
"About me, you mean?" Garrett
cocked an eyebrow.
"Yes. Well, about... us. About what we
are now. We were young... and it was so long ago..."
"What are you trying to say?"
Garrett shifted to turn towards her.
Thalia sighed again. "I just don't
know what to think right now. When you went off to the war, when
you were captured and I never heard from you again... it was so
difficult for me, but I pulled myself through and I got past
that point in my life, and now suddenly you come here and-"
She broke off, not quite knowing what to say next. Her feelings
were strewn about, not having any sort of order. She didn't know
WHAT she felt, much less how she felt about him. She loved him,
yet did she LOVE him? Oh Zeus...
"I.." Garrett seemed lost as to
what to say. "I've been through... a lot. I can't talk
about it now, but everything is different. Things have changed,
I have changed, and I don't know how much you've changed. I
can't lose my feelings for you-"
"And I for you," said Thalia
softly. "I-I still love you, but I love what you were, and
now I feel... I feel like I'm meeting someone else, a different
Garret was quiet for a moment. "I
know, I know... but we don't have to think about that now. Let's
start over- start as friends. See where the tide takes us."
Thalia looked up at him, tears in her eyes.
"Thank you," she whispered. He leaned over and they
embraced each other tightly for a long time.
week after she'd left Celosia was lounging on the bank of the
Aesthecles River. She had traveled south along the Thermodon
River for a few days, then crossed over and picked up following
the Aesthecles, which would lead her west and northwest, until
she eventually reached the Caucasus Mountains. Her first planned
stop of her Nok'tana was a visit to the homeland of the Amazons,
high in the mountain range that separated the Black Sea from the
Caspian Sea. But for now, she was resting against a tree, hid in
She heard him approaching, but decided to
remain as though she were asleep. If he passed on, he'd live
intact. If he didn't.. she'd just have to play it as it went.
The stranger noticed the Amazon relaxing
against the tree. He crept over, and sat down a few feet from
her. Leaning over, carefully, as quietly as could be, he grabbed
hold of one strap of her pack, and pulled it toward him.
Oh no he doesn't, Celosia thought to
herself. She listened intently as he carefully, quietly opened
her pack and began rummaging through it. The light reflecting
off her dagger and into her eyes finally prompted her to action.
Without warning, she rolled over and
kicked, aiming for the man's head. However, he was fast, and
though he had been caught off guard, he managed to lean back, so
that her foot connected with his hand, knocking her dagger free.
Celosia brought her foot back again and used the motion to
launch herself to her feet. The man rolled backwards and pushed
off his hands springing to his feet. When he landed, he was
faced with one angry Amazon in attack position, her short blades
drawn and one pointing directly at his throat.
"Move and die," Celosia growled.
The stranger raised his hands. His face was partially covered by
a piece of dark cloth, revealing only his bright blue eyes and
dark blonde eyebrows. He started to move one hand toward his
face, and Celosia pushed her blade a little farther towards his
throat. He paused, then indicated he wanted to remove the cloth
covering his mouth. Celosia nodded, bringing her other blade up
next to her cheek so that the two were inline, ready to deliver
a death blow if needed.
The man swallowed, and Celosia felt the
motion through the short blade. Feeling he was going to be
cautious, she removed the blade at his neck a centimeter towards
her. He grabbed a part of the cloth at the back of his head, and
pulled it forward, unwinding it as he went. A firm jaw first
emerged, followed by a sculpted mouth and patrician nose, until
he was completely bareheaded, his short, spiky wheat colored
hair glinting in the sunlight. He dropped the cloth and moved
his hands back out to his side, holding them perpendicular to
Celosia backed off a foot, dragging her
pack with her. "You move fast for a man," she said,
keeping her blades drawn and ready.
"Against an Amazon I do," his
voice was slightly gravely.
Celosia snarled. "What do you mean by
"I was trained by Amazons. I know how
Amazons move, how they work.. and may I say you work quite well-
okay, okay no need to get defensive," he corrected as the
blades were once again near him, one at his throat, the other at
a place most men hold quite dear.
Celosia quirked an eyebrow. "Why were
you rummaging through my stuff?" she asked, not letting
down her guard.
The man bravely reached over and slowly
pushed the blade at his neck a little bit away from his throat.
He knew which blow would kill him and which would merely hurt
him. "I was trying to find out what tribe you were from. I
figured you'd have something in your pack."
Celosia removed the blades, cocked her
head, and began tapping her foot. "You claim to be raised
by Amazons, and yet you rifle through the property of one? Did
you learn nothing while you were with them, or are you lying to
The man sighed. "I realize I should
have probably waited for you to wake, but I didn't know if I'd
want to talk to you after I found out what tribe you were from.
And something I did learn from the Amazons was that if you're
not liked in their tribe, you don't want to be around when they
realize who you are," he said ambiguously.
"I am of Themiscyra."
"The Thermodonians erected by
Lysippe... I've never traveled that far north. Allow me to
introduce myself," he said. He reached forward to extend a
hand, and that sent Celosia back into battle stance. He pulled
back. "A bit testy, aren't we?" He sighed. "I
suppose I deserve it. Anyway, my name is Ean. My sister was
Telepadai, of the Ephesian Amazons. She and I were found as
orphans by the Amazons. They took in Paddy, and I guess I was
such a cute baby that they took pity on me." He chuckled,
but Celosia's raised eyebrow told him she didn't really believe
that reason. "Hrm. So I grew up among the Amazons, but I
made a play for the queen's daughter when I was about 13, and
they uhm, asked me to leave. So I've been wandering around for
about 10 years."
"Generally, people introduce
themselves after one person initiates it."
"I was making sure you'd finally shut
up," Celosia said. Ean grimaced. She sighed. "I am
"That's it, Celosia? I tell you my
life story and you tell me your name is Celosia."
"I didn't ask to hear your life
"Well I am asking to hear yours."
"Well you're not going to,"
Celosia replied as she knelt to find her cloth in her sack to
clean her blades. As she leaned over, her top crept upwards a
few inches, revealing a firm back and the tail of a green
dragon. Ean whistled softly at this revelation. Celosia whipped
"Queen, huh? What's a Queen doing so
far from her tribe?"
Celosia grabbed her cloth and sat down,
beginning to make long swipes of her blade. "You ask too
"And the fact that they are good
questions bothers you to no end," he said, crouching near
her. She looked over at him, then down at the feet he was
balancing on, then back at his face. He took the hint and moved
back a foot.
"Yes I am the Queen. I am on my
Nok'tana." Swipe of the blade.
"Aren't you supposed to do that before
"I didn't have a chance to."
Swipe of the blade, broadsided, knocked him
on his rear. "Because I didn't," Celosia answered
"Okay, okay, source of belated
Nok'tana is not to be spoken of," Ean said, pushing himself
up on one arm. "May I ask where you are headed?"
Ean rolled his eyes. "Where are you
"The Caucasus Mountains."
"Ah, to see the remnants of the
Amazons of old." Celosia looked over at him. "You do
know the Amazons from the Caucasus are scattered? After that
last great war with the Khan, they are hiding out in small
bands, avoiding his successors."
"I know. That doesn't mean they're
dead," she replied.
"You're right." He picked up a
pebble and tossed it into the water. "So."
"You don't talk much, do you?"
"Would you know what to do if someone
tried to talk as much as you do?"
Ean laughed. "Okay, I get it. You're
the strong silent type." He tossed another pebble into the
swiftly moving waters. "Well.. would you like a travel
Celosia looked him over. "You really
think you can keep up with me?"
He chuckled. "Honey-" He looked
down his nose at the blade. "Okay, okay no honey," the
blade was sheathed, along with it's partner. "I was raised
with Amazons. Not only can I keep up with you, I can do it with
style," he said, finishing with a grin.
Celosia rolled her eyes, jumped to her
feet, and swung her pack up onto her shoulders. "So let's
see this style," she said before whirling on her feet and
heading off in the jungle. She heard him following behind her,
until he caught up to her and grinned jauntily, walking by her
The two women spoke little as Samsara was
not entirely ready to deal with another reunion.
Seriana made sure Mariko was comfortably
lodged in Jadea's hut. The mysterious Asian woman looked about
her surroundings, lightly touching everything, but moving
nothing. She carried two swords slung on her hips, the scabbards
tied against her long navy blue tunic. Her pants were flowing
and long and as she walked it seemed as if she were floating.
Her hair, darker and longer than Samsara's, was braided and
placed in a simple bun, the braid coiled around near the nape.
The tunic itself was embroidered with
designs from the East. The reds and the yellows, obviously an
Indian influenced garment, melded perfectly with the blue of the
cloth. Her hands were long and slender, but to the touch they
were calloused, rough.
Seriana looked at the woman in wonder. She
understood some of the story. Her sister Samsara met Mariko and
her consort, Haisun, when she traveled East. She protected them
with her army, as they were being sought by Uzbek the Khan and
his men. As a reward, or payment, for her duties, Mariko taught
Samsara her lightning quick moves and how to channel her energy
into one force that can level mountains. She also told Samsara
that she had no sister named Kakistos and that she had no
father. Such ideas obviously upset Samsara and she chose not to
speak of them at length in her journal.
"Why are you here?" Silver Hawk
"My Waka-musubi -- young growth --
needs to find her path," Mariko responded. "She is
near it, but she needs to return to her destiny."
"I don't believe in destiny."
"Come, now, my child," the woman
responded. "All Fates have planned a grand scheme for
everyone. It is up to the individual whether or not she follows
the road set for her. If Samsara refuses to return to her path,
your Tribe will collapse and with it all the Amazons." She
understood that this was one hard, jagged, little pill to
swallow, so she added on: "My intent is not to change her.
I merely come so that she may continue in her instruction. Only
she can truly choose the path she must take."
Seriana looked at the woman. Things get
stranger by the day she thought.
lie in this world
Zen folk saying
Goddess finally got the courage to talk to the woman. She picked
up Karma from her newly made crib and cradled her as she walked
out from her hut across to Jadea's.
As she walked, some Amazons still glared at
her. Others avoided her eyes. Still some wondered at why she
threw her Hephaestian sword away. The intricate sword made of
his perfect, impenetrable, deadly black-steel. She ignored the
gestures and entered Jadea's hut stealthily.
"You remember well, great
Goddess," Mariko said. She kept her back to Samsara.
"I hardly heard your steps. Only the child gave you
away." She turned around, her oval face expressionless. Her
barley-colored eyes looked at her protégée.
"Where is Haisun?" Samsara asked
of the woman's consort.
"In your conquest to destroy Uzbek the
Khan and his army, you allowed some of his soldiers to live, to
tell the world your story and spread your name across all known
lands. One of those soldiers returned with an army of Chi'n
warriors, bent on conquest of Mongolia and killed Haisun as we
doubled back toward our Land of Eight Islands." Her words
Samsara's eyes widened at the story her
instructor taught. "Haisun? Son of Amaterasu, dead?"
Mariko nodded. "Spilt water does not
return to the dish, great Goddess. No reason to blame yourself.
It was Haisun's time," she looked about her. "Your
Sorceress keeps a beautiful room."
"How did you find me?" Samsara
"Quite simple. Word travels slow of
the inactions of warriors. I went back to your Tribe and the
Queen Regent informed me of your whereabouts. Their Elder and
Imperial Guard returned from fighting with dark forces."
She paused and looked back at Samsara. "I believe I
returned at an important moment in your life."
"An important moment in my life,"
Samsara scoffed. "Mother returns for a moment, my aunt
leaves, Mama comes with a baby in her hands, and my Queen has
gone on her quest. Not important at all."
"Your tongue is as sharp as ever.
Haisun had no reason to worry."
"He did. He was never sure if you
could resolve Callisto as your mother--"
"And Ares as my father?"
Mariko stiffened. "My dear Goddess,
there is much for you to learn. Please let me cradle the young
Samsara blinked. She knew bad news was
Upon reaching the docks, many of the
Amazons began to feel restless. None of the Highlanders were
particularly fond of splitting up the tribe for the journey
Their Empress disappeared briefly to speak
with the ship's captain. When she returned, the woman had a
roster with her. Names were called out and each Amazon on the
list was to board the ship. Complaints and protests were shared
among those due to set sail.
"I do not like this," the
Highland Queen whispered to Jadea.
"You needn't worry, my Sister. They
will be safe," the woman assured her, confidence behind
what she said.
"How can you be so sure?" The
Queen asked, reluctance and doubt causing her voice to waver.
"I know the Captain," Jadea
As if cued, a tall dark-toned woman walked
down the plank. She wore a smile on her face as her eyes
expressively revealed her strong character. "Long time no
see, Jade!" She called out and warmly clasped the woman's
Jadea nodded, a smile too on her face.
"It's been too long, Nebula! I want to thank you-"
The woman didn't let her finish, raising
her hand as she stated, "Please, don't thank me! What are
The Empress gave a meaningful nod. She'd
not have trusted just any one with transporting her Sisters back
to the Isles. Nebula had a renowned reputation for being
sea-wise, clever, and utterly dangerous to her enemies. She'd
practically grown up on the ocean and never missed a good chance
to sail. Generally, the woman was a cross between a
merchant...and a pirate. She mixed a little in both trades,
which accounted for her having enemies. Still, Nebula
undoubtedly had the Amazon spirit within her - something Jadea'd
recognized when first they met.
Queen Dolphinea stepped to Jadea's side, a
quiet and reserved look on her face. She was not to go with her
Sisters on the ship. This made her uneasy as she never committed
to abandoning them, which through her eyes, she was now about to
Nebula saw the young woman and offered her
hand. "And this must be the fearsome Amazon Queen I've
heard so much about!"
Jadea cleared her throat and shook her head
slightly. She'd not told Nebula that Vorgeen had left; there had
been no time.
Dolphinea stood shaken and embarrassed.
"You've mistaken me for Vorgeen."
"Um, this is Queen Dolphinea. Vorgeen
left her caste with Dolphinea. She'll be going with me and the
rest," Jadea did her best to compensate for the innocent
misunderstanding. She was aware of Dolphinea's self-doubt in her
ability to fill Vorgeen's boots. The situation paralleled the
one in Themiscyra.
"I'm sorry," Nebula apologized.
The Queen shook her head. " 'Tis
alright, mah friend."
The Captain cleared her throat quietly, her
eyes moving back to Jadea. "I didn't expect this many,
"Neither did I. Are you sure it's no
trouble?" The Empress asked, beginning to have her doubts.
If word circulated that a ship load of
Amazon warriors was on the sea, Artemis only knows what could
happen. Yet, the Highland Tribe had little choice if they wanted
to return home.
"Shouldn't be. I've made the trip
before," Nebula commented in a slightly cocky tone.
"Aye, well if anythin' happens-"
"I'll send up a flare," Nebula
chuckled and clasped the woman's arm again. Each nodded.
"Safe journey, Captain. I'm entrusting
you with precious cargo," Jadea smiled, though she was
sincere in what she said. They Amazons were extremely precious
"Safe journey, Jade. The way I see it,
we've got a smoother ride than you."
The two then parted company. Dolphinea kept
herself beside Jadea. The Queen had an awful feeling in the pit
of her stomach. One of Vorgeen's lessons to her had been to
never ignore your gut feelings, no matter how obscure or
far-fetched they seem.
As a favor to her friend, Jadea spared
Nebula the endurance of Angus' presence. For her generosity,
however, the Empress herself had to bear the brunt of his
company. Until now, the Celt had kept a silent tongue. So
contrary to his behavior was this, that a few of the Amazons had
wondered if he was ill. Their Empress knew better. Angus could
exercise profound patience when it served his purpose.
Jadea escorted some twenty-five Amazons,
excluding herself and Angus. From time to time, she broke away
from the line to view other matters of the Amazon world.
Whatever scenes she was privy to she kept to herself. Never
before had the sorceress been so secretive with what she knew.
"This doesn't feel right,"
Dolphinea said to herself, not knowing that Angus overheard.
"I agree," he replied. The Queen
jumped, turned around and raised her hand to slap him. She
managed to refrain from following through on the impulse.
"I wish ya wouldn't do that,
Angus!" Her voice warned him coldly.
"We're on the same side, Dolphi,"
Angus answered indifferently. He didn't understand why the
Amazons were so quick to blame him. After all, he hadn't been
the one to betray them. But to him, it seemed that he was
forever punished in the place of the one who had.
The Queen shot him a look. Soon, though,
her mind returned to Jadea. The Empress was outwardly herself,
but it was the little things which made her Sisters unnerved.
When she returned, Jadea noted the tension
in the air. She chose to believe that it was due to a deep
desire to set foot upon Britannia once again. "All right,
here's the plan. I will take two shifts. Corestarah, your clan
will be the first so get them ready. Dolphinea, you and Angus
will come with the second. I want you to remain hidden until I
return for you. If any trouble arises, Angus you will contact
"Aye," he answered quietly. Why
must I stick behind? He asked himself, fearing that Jadea
had a hidden agenda. Angus couldn't prove his fear had merit,
though. That made him all the more agitated.
"Good. Now let's move," the
Empress stated crisply.
Darkness covered the sky in thick layers.
The first group of Amazons appeared on the northern shores of
Britannia. They swiftly traveled inland where they found their
horses already awaiting them. The forest was quiet when the band
reached the hills marking their borders. A small circle of fire
was spotted in the far distance. As they neared closer, another
was seen across from the first. The torches gave some light to
the gate watch.
When their Sisters realized they'd
returned, several shouts were given and the way was cleared for
them to enter. Corestarah quickly gave the signal to Jadea that
all was well. The latter then vanished to retrieve her remaining
The use of her energy over such a long
distance exhausted her greatly. She stumbled just as a strong
hand caught hold of her arm and lifted her to her feet. Jadea
looked up and saw Angus, a fretful look on his face. She'd seen
the look before.
"I'm fine, Angus. Where's
I'm here, Empress, Jadea heard in
her mind and looked to her left.
The Highlanders crept out quietly a few at
a time. They looked eager to leave, though no one said a word.
"Everyone here?" Jadea asked just
loud enough to be heard. She turned to Angus. "Go through
and headcount. I want no one left behind."
He nodded and soon returned. "We're
all here," he said bluntly. The Celt felt for his dagger,
keeping it concealed from Jadea.
Vesper dawned upon the Highlands as Jadea
appeared with the second group. Oddly, she seemed stronger when
they reached shore this time.
Queen Dolphinea was soon riding Dark Angel
and leading the others on the worn path toward home. Jadea
watched from a low hill top. A few moments of quiet counsel with
the land and she trailed down the hillside.
Without any warning, Angus dove from above
her and forced her to the ground. A struggle ensued with Jadea
feverishly fighting to overpower the Celt. Her effort was
futile, however. He knew how she fought, her moves and her
style. It was not long before Jadea was on her stomach, hands
forcibly kept behind her, and a blade pressed against her
"What in Brighid's name are ya doin'?"
She cried out angrily, her breathing fast as it came in gasps.
"Savin' ya! What's it bloody look
like?" Angus returned, driving his weight against her when
she tried to kick him. Unable to concentrate, Jadea couldn't use
her powers to get out of her predicament.
"Ya don't want me to answer that! Get
off me!" She shouted, fighting to get her hands loose. But
Angus was no fool. He knew her hands could inflict as much pain
as they could pleasure. Often more, actually.
"Not until ya swear ya won't go after
'im!" Angus answered, delivering an ultimatum.
"I don't know what ya're talkin'
about! Get off me, now!" Her anger began to boil, flashes
of the past racing across her mind's horizon.
In his zealous plan to keep Jadea from
doing what he suspected she planned to do, Angus failed to
realize that the new Highland Queen had ridden back to
investigate as to what hindered Jadea. Dolphinea quickly had a
crossbow aimed at Angus.
"Let her up, Angus!" She shouted,
her aim true.
His head looked up and saw the peril his
life was in. While he may not have had it in him to kill Jadea,
Dolphinea certainly had it in her to kill him. That much, he
knew beyond any shadow of a doubt.
Angus brought the dagger away from her neck
and raised up off her. She groaned in pain and got to her feet.
The man kept his eyes glued to Dolphinea, unsure if she'd still
fire the arrow.
Jadea shook her head, shaking her hair
loose, and brushed off the dirt from her clothes. Her eyes gazed
upon Dolphinea. The Queen's glare was steely and bore through
Angus like a blade into butter. Attacking an Amazon was a
"Impeccable timin', my Queen!"
Jadea shouted and began to walk towards her. "Let 'im
go," she said about five steps from Dolphinea.
"I can't do that, Jade. He tried to
kill ya," The Highland Queen stated.
Softly, Jadea placed her arm on
Dolphinea's. "No...he didn't." The Queen brought her
eyes from the man to Jadea. The latter repeated, "Let 'im
Dolphinea ever so slightly nodded. Jadea
walked ahead of her and took Dark Angel's reigns, awaiting her
"Step foot on our lands, and ya'll
die!" Dolphinea yelled down to Angus. He silently stared
back at her, then watched her quickly turn and retreat to her
horse. Jadea rode behind her. They returned to the Highlands
within the hour.