The Cost of War




"I've never seen her like this before," Seriana confessed to Xena while she watched Gabrielle play with Karma.


The Themiscyran was deeply troubled about two members of her family; both seemed to have gone off the deep end.


A sympathetic Gabrielle looked up from Karma. "I saw Jadea return, Xena. What did she do to drive back Athena's army?"


The Warrior Princess looked up from Seriana to her companion. Both she and Seri were seated. Gabrielle stood in front of them, holding a now quiet Karma. "Those medallions we got from the Majie war are powerful. She harnessed their powers to send out some kind of-"


"Pulse." A newcomer finished when she entered. The voice belonged to the Highland Queen, Dolphinea. She, too, was upset by the recent turn of events. "We've got reports from our scouts. Athena's army has been destroyed," the Queen stated grimly.


Bewildered, Gabrielle's eyes widened. "What, all of them?"


When Dolphinea nodded, Xena jumped to her feet. "Gabrielle, you stay with Seriana," she turned her head to address the Highland Amazon. "Queen Dolphinea, where is Jadea now?"


The woman hesitated in her confusion. "She's...with Queen Medea, I believe."


"Good. Let's go."




"Rider!" Amazon scouts shouted from the trees. The tribal Queens came quickly in answer.


Although Medea questioned the identity of the rider, it was Jadea who received the answer when Themiscyra's Head Scout sent her a mental message: A messenger who declares she has urgent news for Jadea of Cirra.


"Let her pass!" The Sorceress shouted, only to receive questioning looks from her fellow Queens.


The rider trotted in on a black Arabian horse. Her auburn hair fell just above her shoulders. She let her hazel eyes travel from Amazon to Amazon until they rested on the Sorceress Empress. The woman dismounted and bowed her head to Jadea before approaching with a rolled parchment. In Latin, she told the Sorceress that the message came Angus.


Jadea nodded and thanked her before reading the parchment. Rome knows. They've altered course to do battle with her at Greece's line. Your orders, Jadea Sorceress Empress?


Her head instantly came up after she'd finished. With a look that startled those who caught a glimpse of it, she gave her command. "Move out. Stop them."


The messenger seemed to understand, for she bowed her head with something of a respectful smile on her face. As she left, the other Queens inquired about the message.


"Medea, expect a visitor to drop in unannounced. My Sisters, this war is not over. We had a small victory over the gods, but we won't hold it for long," Jadea declared. She was prepared to speak again but all eyes turned to the sky as Samsara took everyone's focus.


Flying high above Themiscyra's lands Samsara circled, her eyes cast downward upon her Sisters. The Goddess had decided to restore the Rhea Ruby to Prince.


Mariko's eyes darkened with displeasure.


Jadea smiled knowing the action signified her niece's return, her true return. Only Artemis knew how long it would last.





She nudged Prince down and landed him near her aunt. The other Amazons parted for her and her Pegasus.


She wore a long black cat suit which covered her entire body from neck to ankles. She wore armor all around her body. A cape fell from her shoulders, midnight in color. She wore all her weapons, ready for a fight.


"If Roma and the Gods want a war, we shall give it to them!" she cried, pulling out her Hephaestian sword. She raised the weapon high in the air to the cheers of her Teloans. The others willing to fight joined in on the whooping. Her eyes glinted as she rallied the Amazons.


Mariko had brokered a tense peace with Athena. She would rather the Pantheon not fall so soon, but if it must, "Then so be it," she said more to herself than to anyone else. "Remember the responsibility you take on, Goddess."


The Goddess did not hear or heed her warning. As she looked around, she met eyes with every single Amazon she possibly could, feeding off their energy and giving back her own. She decided what was needed was a speech to prepare them.


"We march into battle, Amazons, as one Nation and we will be victorious as one Nation. Our strength is not only in our skill, but in our numbers. We shall be victorious against any and every enemy that chooses to do battle with the most skilled of warrior women. We are daughters of war and we shall become its master! Do not sacrifice your lives for the Amazon Nation; make them sacrifice theirs!" She sheathed her sword and pulled out her royal Teloan staff. "As Queen Empress of the Teloan Amazons and Master of War, herself-" by now she had sliced open her palm and held it up to the sky.


"By my sword and my staff!" she continued.


Those who knew the refrain joined in. "By my dagger and my wits!"


"Blood promise of life!" Athanase added.


And together, hundreds of rich voices said in unison: "FIGHT TO THEIR DEATH!"


The voices filled the air and turned to whoops and cheers. The voices seemed to fly to Olympus, straight into Artemis' ears. The Goddess smiled, knowing her women were ready. Athena meanwhile, furrowed her brows in anger.


"They want war?" she demanded of no one in particular. "THEY SHALL GET WAR!"





One of Caesar’s messengers came running up trying to catch his breath. Caesar looked at him, wondering what was going on. "Do you have something to tell me?" Caesar said.


"Great Emperor, the Amazons are ready to attack. They want war,” the messenger said panting.


Caesar began to smile a evil smile. "Why messenger, as a Roman, we give people what they want and I will give those bitches a bloody war. But the blood spilled will be theirs, and it will stain all of this land. Then, the land is mine. Go to my generals and tell them to get my army ready for battle. Tell them to kill every Amazon save one – I want Zia brought to me. And let Xena know that I was expecting her company."


Then Caesar’s smile disappeared and grew darkened. "Tell my nephew Octavius to get ready for Zia. Tell him to be ready."





Queen Medea was all but enthusiastic over Samsara's newfound zeal for war. Although the Queen Regent herself delighted in a good fight, she felt that this fight wasn't going to be easily won.


Celosia's sister immediately took her co-ruler aside. The look of fear emerged in her eyes as she confided her concerns. "Jade, this has gone too far. She has gone too far. If we don't do something to stop this, the Nation will fall," she voiced the confliction she felt. It was well known Medea disliked Samsara. However, Medea's hands were tied since Samsara was Jadea's blood and Medea needed Jadea on her side.


"I realize that, Medea. But I need her willing to fight." Jadea, herself, knew the extent of darkness her niece battled against. The slightest falter would send the Goddess over the edge for good.


"Why?" the Queen Regent questioned immediately.


"Because she's going to lead her army and mine," the Sorceress Empress replied, noting the dramatic change in Medea's eyes.


Themiscyra's Queen became livid then. "You knew this would happen? You knew? This was part of her plan, and you knew it!" The woman's voice rose and drew the attention of all the Amazons around.


The tribal Queens began to order their Amazons away, assigning tasks that suddenly had utmost priority. Soon, the only witnesses were the Amazon Queens, Samsara Athanase, and the Warrior Princess.


"Queen Medea, what's going on?" Marcella, who'd obtained a minor injury in her time on the battlefield, stepped through the others. Her eyes moved between the two Themiscyran queens.


Medea now had a choice to make. She could reveal Jadea's plot, thus weakening the bond of trust between the Queens. Or, she could keep silent; and in so doing, support her Co-Queen. The Queen Regent shot Jadea a look.


The latter understood and silently displayed her gratitude. She cleared her throat to address her Sister Queens. "Queen Marcella, Medea and I were discussing our next course of action."


The Amazon Queens exchanged glances, clearly not convinced of Jadea's explanation. However, it passed when Seriana rode up with her staff in hand.


"My Queens, come quick!" She yelled, followed by a procession of the Amazon royalty.


So swiftly did Medea, Marcella, Dolphinea, Cyane, and the others react, none realized the timely, or perhaps untimely, disappearance of the Sorceress Empress.





"They're moving!" Seriana said, quietly but with furious urgency, to the others who were perched in various places in a dominant oak tree near the edge of the territory, where they could look down on the low valley housing the Romans. They were all still, both to keep from breaking branches and to keep from being seen by the enemy watchers.


"Camp that size can't move very fast," Medea decided, "But they're moving all right."


"They outnumber us dozens of times," Dolphinea hissed. "We've got a couple of hundred at most. That's a whole legion."


"I've got my one thousand," Samsara offered. "And Seri has her fifty, if we can get them here."


"Still not enough. That's more than four to one."


"I don't have an Amazon under my command that couldn't beat four Romans," Marcella declared.


"Their strength increases exponentially," Seri said, as if she were reciting a lesson, which she may have been, considering her time studying under Ares. "Twice as many Romans have four times as much power."


"Should we launch an offensive?"


"Celosia told us not to leave the woods. We're safer in here, where we can disappear when we need to and they can't use those big clumsy warhorses of theirs." Deinus shorted from the base of the tree. "Hush, you. The strength of the Amazons is their lands. I say we get archers in the trees and pick off as many as we can, while we wait for the men to come in from behind."


"No one asked you, Seri," Medea snapped.


Her eyes flashed. "As you say, my Queen."


"I need to go consult with Dachus," Samsara decided. "Sending one thousand men against a Roman legion borders on suicide."


"But what if the gods tell the Romans where you are?" Seri asked, keeping her voice low so Medea wouldn't have to snap at her again. "The second you transport they'll feel it." Sami looked sideways at her. "Hey, you think force, I think stealth. You'd have to take Prince,” she said.


"Take my horse out of these woods? Into catapult range? You're insane."


"If you don't want to take Prince, I'll take Deinus. He's the fastest horse in the camp, and he's not wounded."


"Will you two shut up?" Medea hissed. "We're trying to think over here."


Samsara looked dangerous and Seriana looked unnaturally calm. "I've done my duty. It's up to the commanders and the armies now. Just tell me what to do and I'll do it. Until you decide, Deinus and I are going Roman-hunting." Deinus whinnied his approval. "Shut up already, you great lump of useless horseflesh, you'll get us killed. Why I couldn't have a proper bay mare like a respectable Amazon I'll never know. And don't you look at me like that."


Samsara and Xena both shook their heads. Seri insulted Deinus as faithfully as she fed and groomed him, and the more she abused him the more he loved her. She climbed down the tree and slipped into the saddle, taking the reins firmly in her hands. "I'll see you all in peace, victory, defeat, or battle, and may you retain your honor in any case."


Samsara looked out again over the Romans, then down at her sister. "Where's Karma?"


"With Gabrielle. She's fine."


Samsara bit her tongue. "I need to be sure."


"Get on." Seri scooted forward on Deinus' back to give her sister room to mount behind her.





The Sisters went closer to the border. Dachus and Samsara's one thousand soldiers, trained like Spartans and Amazons at her War Academy, were watching the movement of the Romans. Her commander was sure to wait for her word to move out.


"Great Destroyer, Silver Hawk," Dachus said, lowering his head and kneeling. Those about did the same. He stood as the women dismounted. Samsara spoke first.


"Where is Miletos, Macris' cousin?"


"I was aware that you may desire the help of your sister's bodyguards, Great One," he answered. With a wave of the hand, Seriana's fifty men stepped out of hiding. Macris met eyes with his charge and they smiled.


The Goddess nodded in approval. She looked out to the valley. The legion knew that there was an army within the forest and a barrier between them and Themiscyra.


"I believe that Caesar expects us to charge toward them."


"Very astute," the Teloan answered. "It's quite obvious that Caesar's heard of me and believes he can crush me."


"Your name has traveled as far East as the Land of Eight Islands and as far West as the edges of Britannia and Celtia," Dachus commented. "As north as Scandinavia and likely further south than the Sahara."


"That indeed is true," she breathed. She looked down and furrowed her brows. "Prepare the archers. If Caesar wants to run, let's give him a reason."


Samsara’s army wasn’t going to shoot just any kind of arrows. They were shooting arrows with fuses at the ends of them. When Samsara took her army East, she had picked up a few tricks.





While the united league of Amazon tribes battled the hardened soldiers of Rome, one of their own heard reports of the war on her travels.


Celosia had journeyed across lands she'd never before stepped foot upon. Thus far, her adventure had not been exceedingly dangerous. That was soon to change as she and her traveling companion, Ean, walked further north.


By this time, the Amazon had grown accustomed to the man's nature. Ean talked often, and at length, on nearly every topic under Apollo. When he noticed that Celosia didn't care to hear anymore of his Amazon upbringing, Ean opted for other stories he'd heard.


All the while the two traveled, a rather strong bond began to forge between them. Celosia was wary of such feelings. Amazons didn’t trust males easily by nature, even if they were related to other Amazons. Still, Celosia's experience as Queen had brought with it some lessons and consequently some wisdom. As each day passed, she grew fonder of the young man.


"How far do you think we've come?" Ean inquired as the stopped for a brief rest.


The Themiscyran had said little in the past few hours, her mind insistently drifting to the war her Sisters were engulfed in. She had struggled to think of other things, and she had been successful often. Once, the Amazon had caught sight of a flock of birds that soared together in patterns. The image had a humbling effect on the woman and also served as a bit of inspiration. She composed a melody which she hummed that night when they camped.


"I don't really know," Celosia answered distantly. She had noticed some activity ahead.


The two came to find that a warlord and his men had a line of slaves roped together. The slaves, starved and tired, were being marched westward. As Celosia and Ean neared the lot, the man's eyes set upon one of the slaves in the middle - a young girl no older than twelve years of age.


They would later discover that the warlord was one of notoriety. His name was Dracon and he was the son of Draco. Dracon reached and surpassed his father's reputation. He made the fortune needed to pay his men and fed his avarice by capturing people from villages he plundered and selling them into slavery.


When he met with Roman resistance, as he sometimes would while Rome expanded her territory and control, Dracon merely pledged his loyalty and support to whatever Roman general happened to be in the area. To further appease Rome, Dracon offered them prime choice of his litter of slaves.


The Amazon and her comrade were now faced with a choice: to attempt a rescue, or let the warlord and his property pass on by. It wasn’t much of a choice for either of them.





Meanwhile back in the oak tree Medea said to Marcella and Dolphinea, “I have to be sure that those two don’t get themselves in trouble,” she declared. “Who knows what Samsara and Seriana are doing out there!”


She looked toward her Weapons Master. “Valkyra, take your company of warriors and follow them. The Romans may have set traps.”


“Yes, my Queen!” Valkyra answered. She then mounted her battle steed and bid some of the other women to come down from the trees and get to their horses. Although Seriana and Samsara had quite a lead on them, they soon caught up, but stayed well behind so as not to encroach upon the Great Destroyer. They were told by Queen Medea just to keep a protective eye out for Samsara and Seriana.


From a considerable distance the Amazons watched the Goddess’s archers fire explosive arrows at the Roman camp. Their acute observation skills alerted them to something happening in the forest towards Samsara and Dachus’s left rear flank. Valkyra and her warriors saw that there were Roman infantry moving through the trees. Apparently they were trying to mount a rear surprise attack.


Valkyra quietly told Scyreia to ride to Samsara and let her know about the intended attack. She realized that Dachus’s men on watch would not detect the Romans in time. She knew that she must delay the Roman infantry long enough for Samsara to send part of her army to counter the assault. If she didn’t, many of Samsara’s men would be killed in the surprise attack.


Seeing that the trees were too close together to stay on their horses, Valkyra and the others dismounted, formed a semicircle and fired their bows again and again. This surprised and killed many in the front line of soldiers. It also caused the Romans to believe that there were more Amazons than what there were.


The Romans quickly spread out and rushed the women. The Themiscyrans knew that they would not have time to use their bows again, so out came the swords and other weapons. Valkyra ordered her elite warriors to attack and hoped that she and her sisters could halt the Roman advance until Samsara’s army would become aware and could take over the fight.


The skirmish was especially brutal. Several women were killed during the heavy fighting, but even more men were cut down by the ferocity of the Amazonian warriors. The death of their sisters incited the anger of the remaining women, thus making them even more determined than ever to win the combat. Although the women were greatly outnumbered, they would never be convinced of that.


Megakleia, who had just recently turned 19, was in her first real fight. She was fighting a Roman who was well-seasoned in battle and knew how to handle his broadsword very well. In spite of this, the young red-haired Amazon was holding her own quite well and would soon dispose of this soldier.


Valkyra was constantly trying to keep herself in a position so that she could help the less experienced fighters, but that was not always possible. Valkyra often had to do combat with numerous opponents at the same time so that she could not immediately come to another woman’s aid. As quickly as the Weapons Master slew the enemy, more would take their place.


Aneira, an older, experienced Amazon who had scars to prove it, swung her axe across a soldier’s neck. As he was falling, he dropped his sword and reached out blindly, trying to grab on to anything. That anything was Megakleia’s right arm. That gave her opponent the opportunity that he needed to slash her open. Megakleia looked down at her internal organs spilling from her abdomen. She then sadly smiled at Valkyra and fell dead to the ground.


Valkyra screamed in horror. She quickly left the soldiers that she was fighting and ran over to Megakleia, killing the man blocking her way who happened to be the one who had slaughtered her friend. As Valkyra gazed at the disemboweled young woman on the ground, her eyes began to water. She screamed again, this time in anger and sorrow. She then turned to face the numerous Roman soldiers who were still advancing. Dropping her shield, Valkyra took hold of her sword with both hands and went at them.


Even the scrolls cannot tell us how many soldiers that Valkyra killed before Samsara’s troops arrived. When all the Romans in the woods were dead, Valkyra’s sisters said that they had to hold the warrior woman and keep telling her that it was over and that there were no more to kill. They said that was the first time that they had ever seen their Weapons Master cry.





As the women held a saddened Weapons Master, Samsara turned to Dachus and lowered her head. She commanded the men on the field to pull their swords out and kneel on one knee. They removed their helmets in respect and held a long moment of silence for the fallen heroines. The Great Destroyer held her staff close to her body, top fist over her heart.


After Valkyra quieted, Samsara delegated duties. The dead would be taken back to camp to be properly given their last rites and ceremony. Those able to fight would regroup and those injured and unable to be of service were taken back as well. As this was an Amazon war, Dachus offered the services of some of the soldiers to spare the able-bodied women from having to leave the front.


The Teloan walked to the Themiscyran and bowed to her. "My most humble words of condolence and gratitude," she said. "You saved my infantry at a great cost and I will always be indebted to you."


Valkyra nodded. "We do what we must to survive, Samsara," she responded.


The younger lifted her head and took her forearm. "Ready to roast some Roman carcass?"


"You bet," the Warrior Woman of the Caucasus Mountains vowed. "You bet."


Seriana came out of the forest and saw the fallen Amazons. Her eyes furrowed as she turned to Macris. "My father has something to do with this. All of this." She knew her sister felt it as well. Ares indirectly had something to do with the movement of the Roman soldiers from the valley to the summit into the woods.


Suddenly, her sister faltered in her step. Seriana and Dachus were the only ones to see that. The others worked on their assigned tasks.


Seriana, she sent, sadly. I got another premonition.





Seriana's face grew pale as her sister's premonitions were becoming more frequent. Silver Hawk, herself, had been known to have a premonition or two. But hers always came in visions while she slept. "Sami?" She asked, terror written in her eyes.


Samsara shook her head, as though dismissing the grave concern Dachus and Seriana emitted. "I have to get to Jade. She has to know. Seri, go back to camp and check on Karma. I'll meet you soon," the Teloan directed and didn't give her sister the chance to object.


Samsara began to run hard. On her eighteenth step she jumped into the air and landed on Prince's back. The born again Pegasus reared back before charging forward.


Valkyra reached Themiscyra's camp before her Teloan Sister, Samsara Athanase. The latter, although pressed for time, made a side trip to the Amazon detachment standing over a ridge and some brush.


The reinforcement guard held their position, having received no orders to pull back or push forward. Pike was in command of the detachment, Amazons numbering twenty in total. She ordered two scouts to the front. When she later heard both of them whistling, Pike knew something was up.


"Strike when I say, not a second before or after!" She yelled, following Medea's style of command in combat. It wasn't but a minute later that Pike retracted her order.


"Still your blades! Hold fire!" Her lungs carried the order across the expanse her Amazons stood.


"Samsara," she said with a tightened jaw. The Goddess noticed Pike's hostile nature towards her. She said nothing to the affect, however, but kept her eyes on the woman's.


"We've won the latest attack, my Sisters. Pull back to the forest and rest yourselves." Samsara told them, immediately seeing the defiance in Pike's face.


"You are not in command, here, Samsara," Pike hissed angrily. She resented a challenge to the authority granted to her.


Athanase groaned slightly, annoyed by the inconvenience this posed. Beneath her body, Prince's muscles tightened in restlessness. To appease both horse and human, Samsara shrugged casually. "So be it. But when Queen Medea asks why you've not returned, I'll be sure she knows that I am not the reason. Hiiiyah!" She yelled, turning Prince sharply around and galloping the direction she'd come from. A few seconds later, Prince took flight and carried his Mistress safely into camp.




By the time Samsara found her aunt, news of a second Roman legion had arrived. Most of whom had been defeated by Jadea's men under Angus' command. The surviving Romans of this legion were the last Roman soldiers in Greece. For the time being, Caesar could not penetrate the Roman Amazons that lined the borders of Greece.


Samsara spotted Ardra perched on the top of the command hut. When she moved to enter, the hawk flew at her suddenly and narrowly averted a collision when she swooped over the Teloan's head. "Hey!" She cried out for lack of anything better to say.


The Amazon entered the command hut, where she found Medea and Jadea sitting together alone. They seemed to have been in a discussion until Samsara's voice outside silenced them.


Queen Medea neither stood up nor said a word. Her gaze moved toward the Amazon but returned to Jadea. Both Themiscyran Queens looked eerily solemn. Samsara looked from one to the other twice, finally resting her eyes on her aunt. "What the Hades is it?" She screamed finally, her anger at their reactions getting the better of her.


The Sorceress Empress looked at Medea, whose own gaze still rested on the former. Their eyes met, and Medea nodded slightly at last. Jadea then slid her eyes back to her niece. "Dolphinea," she said with a clear voice. Although Jadea'd meant to say more, her eyes said the rest for her.


Samsara shook her head slowly in disbelief. "No. No. No."


Jadea stood up and stepped toward the Amazon. Samsara shook her head violently and threw up her arm to keep her aunt distant. Sharply, she turned on her heel and ran out of the command hut. Jadea followed in two steps before she heard her Sister's voice behind her.


"Let her go, Jade."


The Sorceress turned back around and stared at the space past Medea. She looked into her Co-Queen's eyes when she spoke. "I knew there'd be casualties. I just never thought that...I never thou-" She broke off and looked away, ashamed of herself for so many reasons.


"I know." Medea quietly said, her eyes fixed on the woman before her.




In the mountains of another part of Greece...


"Rome is run by fools." A highly respected Roman Amazon commented to her prisoner - a Roman messenger with the misfortune to be intercepted by an Amazon scouting party.


The prisoner, a man of some years and a soldier's build, scoffed at his captor. "A fool is a Roman who turns his back on Rome," the man retorted, contempt in his eyes. For his biting remark, he received a stinging slap across his face.


The Amazon struck her prisoner so hard that her hand left a mark upon his cheek. "A fool is a man who loses his life by brandishing his tongue to his opponent," She hissed while a dozen or so Amazons watched on. "I will ask you this once more. Where is Julius Caesar headed?"


The man stood silent with prideful stubbornness. The message he'd been carrying was already in the Amazons' hands. The problem was that the message had been scribed in code which could be interpreted more than one way. The Amazons could neither afford nor were they willing to take the risk of deciphering it incorrectly.


The Roman Amazon turned from the man for but a moment. She looked into his eyes again. What she saw she knew to be the Roman bearing, the poise of a Roman soldier. "Release him." She instructed calmly. Immediate gasps and voiced objections were heard, but the woman stood by her command.


The prisoner was unbound and allowed to leave, however reluctantly. Once he passed beyond earshot, the Roman Amazon turned to her right arm. "Follow him. When you know where he's going, kill him."


As the Amazon nodded and moved to comply, an addendum was made to the order. "And make sure that Rome finds his body."


The woman stared across her camp into the far stretches of Greece. She made a silent prayer for their queen.





Caesar and a small band of soldiers rode toward the Amazon village. Some of the Amazons rushed out and attacked the soldiers. Those who tried to attack Caesar were kicked in the chest by the horse's hooves.


Caesar set a command for the soldiers to stop fighting. The Amazons were prepared for any sudden movements.


"Amazons. When I set my eyes on something, I get it no matter what. No man, woman, or god can stop me from getting what is rightfully Rome's!" Caesar declared. "I have captured 3 of your young Amazons. For now, they are alive and well. If you do not want me to have them prepared to fight to the death on the arena, then  you will give me what I want. I want this land. I want Zia. Bring her to me and I will return your Amazons. You have three days.”


He and his band rode back to the bulk of his army.





The Great Destroyer shook her head irritably. "Go away, just go away!" she hissed angrily. She didn't have time to think about the implications of her premonition. She didn't want think about the implications. All that mattered now was Dolphinea was dead.


"No," she moaned in emotional agony. "NO!" she seethed, and slammed her fist into a nearby tree.




Medea paced the hut Dolphinea's body had been laid out in, lost in what was more than thought, but which she refused to call emotion. There was no pain. Yet there was so much. It made no sense. None of it made any sense.


"She was a Queen," she whispered, almost awed as she lowered herself gracelessly to the dirt floor. "Queen's don' just doesn't..." She tossed her head and stared at the ceiling defiantly.


Dolphinea had been stupid. She'd gone out there and played the hero. The stupid didn't survive. It was the first thing her mentor had taught Medea. Only stupid soldiers lost their heads. 'Play it smart and look out for number one.’ That was how you made it out of a battle. That was how a Queen fought. That was how survivors fought!


"You idiotic wretch....look what you've done to yourself," the blonde spat, flinching at the bite of her own words. She dropped her gaze and bit her lip regretfully. It was as if the Highland Queen could hear her somehow, even if she was no longer breathing. Medea stood and leaned over the table where the Queen lay, staring with vacant eyes into a distant emptiness the living couldn't see.


"...we were supposed to unite the tribes together, Dolphinea," Medea sighed in a long-suffering manner. "I can't look after your mangy Highlanders reek of musty furs, y'know that?”


She stared at the lifeless body. “It wasn't supposed to be like this. We were supposed to work alongside each other and make rude comments about the starchy Teloans, remember? We promised to remain surly and sarcastic no matter what. And we would've done it too, because we would have had one another to keep us from becoming too civilized. How the Hades am I supposed to do that when you've gone and gotten yourself killed? I might as well go slip into one of those awful Teloq robes now! I sure can't make fun of them anymore. It's hard to make comments to the freaks we have running around here, none of them understand people like us. You and I...we're a dying breed of Queen. They can't comprehend the way we work. None of the women around here—Dali zi, Dolphinea, you were supposed to be my FRIEND!" The Queen finally hollered at the top of her lungs, glaring down at her deceased colleague as if the woman might sit up and defend herself.


She, of course, didn't.


Medea's hands shook with rage as she ripped a hanging from the wall and draped it over her deceased friend. This was no time to lose her head. She could NOT lose her cool at a time like this.


"You stupid Highlander," she sniffed, whipping herself away from the corpse. "You stupid, spirited, glorious Highlander..."


Celosia's sister closed her eyes for only a second to stop the convulsing in her throat then left the tent with a cool, firm mask in place. There were things to be arranged. She could think about all this later. Much, much later.


If Celosia could only see me now...





If only Medea knew that Samsara felt the same thing, only more so, because she could have prevented it. She gazed at the dent she made in the tree she punched, standing rigid.


When she saw the premonition of Zia awaiting a fight in the coliseum, she also saw a flash of Dolphinea running to her death. She shook the thought off - Dolphinea couldn't possibly be that foolish! She had thought that it was just her mind playing tricks.


Her hound walked out of the protection of the brush and sat on his haunches. He looked up at his mistress and she knew that she had to do something to defend her sisters. The initial offensive was over. Now it was time for the fireworks.


What Starts A War

Coming Soon!


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