The Hunt


Ollaea stumbled out of the med hut. She found all her sisters gathering their weapons and mounting horses. Something is wrong here, she thought. She set off to find Xanthea.

On her way to find her biological sister, Ollaea was stopped by Queen Celosia. The leader of the Amazons stood right in front of her, blocking her path.

"What are you doing up and about?" Celosia inquired.

Ollaea responded, "I was feeling better after the treatment Xanthea gave me, and I wanted to find her to ask what is happening."

"Seriana, a newcomer, just joined the tribe, she is also the daughter of Ares. She has turned Thalia, Tern, and Medea into demons and plans to destroy the tribe. We are going to hunt them down and bring them to justice," Celosia explained.

"That's not what I heard," Ollaea retorted.

"What do you mean?" asked the Queen.

Ollaea inhaled a deep breath and began. "When I ran out from Xanthea's hut I felt that Medea was in trouble. I ran out to find her and her and Tern were standing in the sunlight talking and showing these hideous claws and teeth. There were other things they were showing, too. I fell over and I guess they heard me snap a twig or something. They started chasing me at an unbelievably quick pace," Ollaea stopped to take in another breath and let it out. "I was so frightened I ran into this strange guy and I guess we fell unconscious from the blow. That is all I remember."

Celosia stood quiet for a few moments, pondering Ollaeaís story. While the two were standing there, Belen came up and informed the Queen that the Amazons were ready to leave.

Decided, the Queen told Belen to cancel the attack. She would have to deal with the situation a little more delicately.


"My Queen..." Xanthea bowed. "Two of the parties are gone, we cannot call them back."

Celosia took a deep breath. "We have to find them and stop them before they find Thalia and Seriana. We must capture them, alive. We need to find out what's going on here. Find those search parties before any Amazons are hurt."

"Yes, my Queen."


Amongst the noise of the night no one noticed or saw the small black lizard on the tree trunk, eavesdropping. As the tribe gathered for the hunt, it slipped away into the darkness.


Celosia shook her head as she sat down in her hut. The whole situation was out of control. Who was she to trust? There were witnesses on all sides. Had some of her Amazons really been taken by demons? If so, which ones?

"Are you all right?" A voice interrupted her thoughts. She looked up to see Alcina peering in.

Celosia nodded. "I'm fine. Just trying to figure things out. I will be all right. Any sign of the Amazons?"

Alcina shook her head. "None of the search parties, either."

Celosia pursed her lips. "We must find them before they do any damage. I want all four of the missing Amazons brought back alive. Subdued if you must, but alive. I want to find out what is going on here."

"Yes, my Queen."

The black lizard perched above the doorway as Alcina left. A small lizard smile crept over its face as it formulated a plan, before scurrying off.


"There!" One of the Amazons pointed. "Look!"

Something leapt out of the tree and started running. It looked like . . . Thalia! Close behind was Seriana. But something was wrong. They had claws! The Amazons pursued them, but they managed to escape.

"Someone . . . go tell Celosia . . ." Belen panted. "We've found the culprits."

The two escaping Amazons ran into the underbrush. Morphing back into Tern and Medea, they gave one another wicked grins.


Celosia sat in her hut thinking. How could Tern and Medea turn on her? How could Tern let Medea do such a thing? And for Tern to be sucked into something sinister . . . there HAD to be a logical explanation. Tern was a chosen one of Artemis. The Goddess had assigned Medea into her care and training.

Maybe this was all a mistake. Maybe Tern and Medea had been kidnapped and demons were posing as her sister and cousin. Stranger things had happened.

"Celosia?" Hercules asked, entering the hut. She looked up.

"I don't know what to do Hercules. If itís true . . .I have to put my own sister and cousin to death for treason. But if it's not, then one of my oldest friends must die. Amazon law must be upheld."

"You will do what's right. That's why youíre Queen."

"You're not really helping," she said. He put one arm around her shoulders.

"I know. I just don't know what to say. Isn't there anyone who can straighten this mess out?"

Celosia leaped to her feet.

"Thatís it!" she exclaimed. Hercules stood, alarmed.

Several Amazons burst into the hut. "My Queen what's wrong?"

Celosia waved them out. "Nothing, thank you. Leave me," she ordered.

Hercules remained, his eyes questioning.

"I know who can resolve this. I just don't know how to find her. Only Tern does," Celosia said.

Hercules frowned. "Who?"

"She's been missing for so long. I have no clue where to find her," Celosia sighed. "But maybe thereís a clue in Ternís hut or perhaps Yakut could search for some answers, or possibly Aurora has a prayerÖ"

"WHO?" Hercules demanded, interrupting her spoken train of thought.

"Tern's twin sister, Pelee."


Celosia's conversation was audible enough for Ollaea to hear. She stood against the side of the hut, out of the view of the Queens Guard.

Pelee, Ollaea pondered for a moment. Artemis will want to hear this.

A few minutes later, Ollaea was at the edge of the woods that separated the village from outside, her quiver and bow on back. She snuck off into the woods in search of the strange man she had fallen over earlier.

The nocturnal noises grew quieter and quieter, until they were heard no more. Ollaea was oblivious though, she remained focused on finding the man.

About a mile away from the village, she saw Seriana and Thalia mounted on Deinus, with two strange black lizards perched on the tree in front of them.


"She has a what?" Hercules asked.

"Twin sister. But only Tern knows how to reach her, IF Pelee is even still alive. No one has seen or heard from her in ages. Last I knew, she was sent on a mission. That was before my mother died," Celosia got the words out. "No one ever heard from her again."

"And you have no idea how to find her?"

"None. Medea might be able to but . . ."

"No help there," Hercules sighed. Celosia ran her hands through her hair.

"There are other options at my disposal. We have to find Pelee. If she's alive, she may the only one who can stop this insanity."


"When the accident happened I went with Tern to an oracle. Tern was having severe trouble in coping with this and she wanted to ask an oracle would they ever be reunited. The oracle told Tern that a strange Amazon would enter the tribe, and she would hold the spirit of Pelee. The only new sisters I have welcomed are Ollaea and Seriana."

Hercules pondered over this for a moment. He said, "Do you still think Seriana is responsible for this chaos?"

"Seriana is Aresí daughter, which would give her the motive of doing his bidding. Ollaea is Xanthea's biological sister, so there would be no motive there," said Celosia.

Hercules said with a half-smirk, "The Gods work in mysterious ways."

"So they do . . ." Celosia trailed off.


Ollaea was perched under the brush behind Deinus, who had Seriana and Thalia mounted on his back. She watched one of the black lizards crawl to the bottom of the tree and morph into Tern.

Thalia, followed by Seriana, immediately jumped down from the great stallionís back. Tern had changed her attire, she wore all purple, the color of the third eye.

Thalia took a step forward to say something, Tern lashed a claw through the air and the biomorph quickly stepped back.

That evil chill ran down Seriana's spine once again, she shuddered.

Tern's eyebrow cocked, "Seriana, where is your heart beat? Oh, there it is..."

Seriana stood still for a moment, her father had once told her that she would be silent, not even the God could hear her. Somebody else must be out here, she thought, careful not to let Tern know this.

"Where is Celosia?" Tern asked Thalia, showing her fangs.

"I would dare not betray our Queen. If I have to kill you to assure this, so be it," she and Seriana exchanged glances. Then Medea's figure appeared.


Pelee looked around her environment carefully. She was lost and desperately trying to make her way back to her sister. A few weeks ago she had a nightmare so vivid and heartbreaking that she knew at all cost she couldn't stay in Egypt anymore. She had to start looking for her sister Tern.

Kidnapped and sold into slavery years ago, it hadnít been easy getting away from her captor, Octigon. But she had eventually been able to find her freedom and break away.

Returning to her Amazon village, sheíd found only remnants. No personal belongings had been left behind and little trash. It became clear that it had been a choice to move instead of a slaughter. Then she found the solemn plaque naming the river the Amazon, and relating a story of a motherís woe.

Lysippe had lost her son Tanais to the perils of the river and the jealousy of a Goddess. Unable to function in the ancestral home any longer, she had packed up her daughters and her tribe and gone to find a new homeland free from tragedy.

Pelee had been following the trail around the Black Sea ever since.

At the mouth of the Thermadon she had come across another deserted village. Well placed at the headland between river and sea, it was unusual to find such a well-protected and established site empty. But as she had before, she again saw signs the occupants had simply moved on, not been destroyed.

Following the river inland was the obvious choice and she had taken it. Now she wandered in among the lush forest, avoiding the swampy areas near the river.

She heard footsteps coming her way and she jumped behind a huge nearby tree.

Two young men around her age passed by. The first was tall and muscular, with very light brown hair and blue eyes. The other was short with extremely curly blonde hair.

"Hercules . . . What do think is up with Tern and Medea's sudden betrayal of Celosia?" The short one asked. His voice was laced with worry.

Pelee's eyes grew large with recognition! Tern . . . Celosia . . . Medea . . . Her family! Could it be they were talking about her family?

"I don't know Iolaus, but I'm going to do anything I can to help Celosia and to give her my support. It is going to really tough on her to enforce the death penalty on her cousin and sister," he said.

The pair continued to walk away from where Pelee was hiding.

Oh my Gods . . . What have you done sis! Pelee thought, shocked. She stepped from behind the tree and carefully followed the men. Perhaps they would lead her home.


"All right, let's not have any fighting now," Medea said calmly as she solidified. "I don't want Ares' daughter being injured."

"And why is that so terribly important?" Tern asked without sarcasm.

"Because Ares demands a sacrifice," Medea answered, her cat-like eyes flashing. "He could take this power away from me. The only way to prevent that is to keep his bargain."

"You didn't tell me you were in league with Ares," Tern commented. If she was disturbed, she didn't show it. Seriana and Thalia had no such control; Thalia recoiled in horror and Seriana went pale as a corpse.

"Ares," Seriana snarled. There was startling hatred in her voice.

"I will give him his sacrifice," Medea continued, "even though it's ahead of schedule. The person should more than compensate."

"Let me guess," Seriana said. "You make a sacrifice, he solves all your problems and the rest of your existence belongs to him."

"In a nutshell. Did he make you the same offer?"

"No, but mine wasn't much different. The only difference was that I went down kicking and screaming and you're jumping in."

Medea shrugged. "The price of power."

Seriana drew her dagger and Thalia set an arrow to her bowstring. They stood ready to fight. Ollaea put a hand to her knife . . . just in case.

When Seriana spoke, her voice was calm, fierce, filled with hatred. "I will not be sacrificed. I would much rather die in battle."

Tern didn't move. She merely watched.

Medea raised her clawed hands and faced them off . . . smiling, excited, ready. The Amazons waited for her to make the first move.


Tern's mind spun quickly and if she didn't maneuver the situation quickly, all would be lost. "Stop," she commanded. She eyed Medea. "Ares will have his sacrifice, my apprentice. But not yet."

"I will not let you escape," Thalia said softly, facing off to her former friend.

The smile from Tern's lovely features could have frozen Tartarus. "I will allow you believe that. Tonight is not the night to end this," she announced.

Seriana narrowed her eyes. "Who are you to say so?" she asked boldly.

The steel gray eyes focused on her. "No one of concern to you. Come, Medea."

Purple lightening blinded the three Amazons momentarily and when their vision returned, the witches were gone.


An Amazon shrieked in the distance, the rest were quickly after the noise, Celosia in lead. When they arrived, Alcina spoke to Celosia of being bitten by a snake. Celosia ordered that Xanthea and the rest go back to the campgrounds and assist the wounded girl. Celosia had business to attend to. Once the crowd diminished, she set out to find Hercules. She had a new plan.


Seriana and Thalia looked at each other.

"Donít worry, theyíll be back," Seriana said. In an undertone, she whispered, "but there is someone else here. I heard the heartbeat." The pair separated and began searching the nearby shrubbery.

Ollaea inhaled a deep breath and shrank up against the tree just as Thalia's hand wrapped around her arm.


"Here!" Thalia cried in surprise as she felt Ollaea's arm. Instinctively, she grabbed it and hauled the Amazon out of the brush, a little more violently than was necessary.

"Ollaea? What are you doing out here? You should be back in the village."

"I was ... looking for you." Ollaea said quickly as she stood up. "I was lucky Tern and Medea didn't catch me."

"Very lucky." Seriana commented dryly.

"I don't think you two have been introduced," Thalia said. "Seriana, Ollaea. Ollaea, Seriana."

The two shook hands; a silly sort of gesture on such a dangerous night. Seriana felt a gray impression across her mind: did she have reason to mistrust this sister, too?

No, of course not. She was tired and frightened, and seeing danger at every turn in these unfamiliar woods.

"Where have they gone now, Seriana?" Thalia asked.

Seriana closed her eyes and tried to feel. "That way," she indicated at last, "But a long distance. It might take us most of the night. Longer, if Deinus has to carry three riders. Ollaea, you should probably go back to the village. Maybe you can get the Amazons to call of the hunt."

Ollaea thought a moment before answering . . .


Ollaea responded, with a hint of mischief in her voice, "OK. Do you want me to bring back reinforcements?"

"No," Thalia responded with some animosity. Ollaea nodded and darted off in the woods, heading east.

Seriana glanced at Thalia. After reassuring each other, they mounted Deinus and rode north.


Celosia walked in hurried strides until she heard some males talking behind her. She turned around and there was Hercules and Iolaus. "Hercules, I have a plan to find Pelee."

Pelee, who had been following the men, sprang out from the brush and hugged Celosia. Hercules and Iolaus were shocked to see the Queen of the Amazons return the hug, tears sparkling in her eyes. "Pelee!" she exclaimed. "Where have you been?"

"Time enough for that," Pelee said, drawing back. "First, we must find my sister."

A small black lizard ran between them, crossing over Peleeís foot as she looked down. She shivered at the touch.


Celosia was stunned at the sudden reappearance of her long lost cousin. "LeeLee, is it really you?" she asked.

Pelee nodded. Her lustrous dark hair had grown out wildly, but she was still stunning.

"You're Pelee? Tern's sister?" Iolaus asked. "You two look nothing alike!"

"I know." Pelee smiled charmingly at the curly haired youth who was instantly smitten. "Yes, I'm her twin."

Celosia interrupted the mundane conversation. "Lee, Ternís a demon. Somehow she and Medea-"

Pelee held up one hand. "We need to go somewhere where no one can hear us."

The four headed deeper into the forest. When they reached a bed of wildflowers in a small clearing, Pelee cast a spell to shield them from unwanted eyes and ears.

"Celosia, I can't tell you much about why I disappeared. I can't even give you a good reason why I canít tell you. But you have trust in me. If Tern has become a demon, there must be a very good reason. Artemis would not give her up so easily," Pelee said.

Celosia studied her cousin. "What are you saying?"

Pelee shook her head. "Forgive the mystery, but I have to keep quiet about all of this. Celosia, have faith in Tern. No matter what half -baked stunt she pulled, she always came through for us. She will this time too."

The men remained silent, waiting.

"Are you back for good?" Celosia asked.

Pelee shook her head. "No. I'll have to leave shortly to take care of other business."

"Pelee . . . if you're wrong, Tern and Medea will be put to death," Celosia informed her cousin.

Pelee nodded. "I understand. That's why you have to trust me on this. Give me some time to prevent needless deaths."

Celosia noticed how tired her cousin looked. Being kept in the dark frustrated the Queen, but she could see it was a necessity. Pelee had trained as a Shamaness under Celosia's mother, Lysippe. She wondered if Pelee's disappearance had some connection with her motherís unfortunate death.

"Go back to the camp. I'll contact you as soon as I can," Pelee said.

Celosia nodded. She started to ask another question, but her cousin faded and was gone. Only the scent of wildflowers remained.

"So that was Pelee, huh?" Iolaus asked dreamily.

Hercules eyed his young friend. "Easy, Iolaus. Magic women can only lead to trouble. Especially if they are Amazons."

"Let's go," Celosia said, flashing Hercules a warning look. "There is work to do."

Thalia and Seriana

Seriana and Thalia rode through the forest atop Deinus. Seriana pulled her stallion to a stop and looked around.

"Can you sense which way they went?" Thalia asked. She removed her arms from Serianaís waist and leaned back, grateful for a momentís respite. She heard her backbone crack as she twisted slightly. This was no way to hunt evil, she thought.

Seriana closed her eyes for a moment. "There," she pointed into the forest. "They're that way."

"Then we'll go after them," Thalia straightened and clasped her new friend around the middle.

Seriana turned to her. "Do we have some sort of plan?"

Thalia bit her lip. "Not exactly. I just want to find out what's going on, and hope that something comes to me then. Under the best circumstances we'll be able to get Tern and Medea back from whatever is affecting them."

"What if it's them and not a demon?" Seriana cocked her head.

Thalia sighed. "Let's hope that's not the case."

"All right, we..." Seriana stopped, looking up quickly.

Thalia froze as she heard to too. Voices.

They listened closer; it sounded like two women arguing. They dropped down off Deinus and stole into the bush for cover, pulling the war-horse in after them. Seriana kept a hand on her steedís nose to keep him quiet, but her eyes remained focused on the deer path they had been following.

Two figures stepped out from the concealment of the trees.

Tern and Medea were arguing with one another. "Iím tired of this game!" Medea snapped.

"Itís your fault theyíre out here," Tern argued in return.

"Itís YOUR fault. I wanted to kill them when we had a chance! You just . . . have . . ." she trailed off and stopped moving. She sniffed at the air and surveyed the area around the pathway. Her gaze fell on the brush where Thalia, Seriana, and Deinus were hiding.

"They know we're here!" Seriana hissed. "We've got to get out of here!"

"Ah-ha," Medea said. "Right under our noses." She gestured to Tern and both moved in toward the hiding place.

"We'll never make it," Thalia said as the women approached. "Get on Deinus and go as fast as you can, I'll try to hold them off!"


"Go! I'll catch up. I don't plan on staying with them for long! We cannot face them just yet; we need a plan and some kind of advantage. Our only hope is to stop them from hurting anyone and themselves!"

Tern moved the bushes out of the way as Seriana leapt up into the saddle. She caught a glimpse of her friend crouching down on all fours as she pushed her horse past the women, knocking them off balance as they tore down the pathway.

Medea's head snapped up as she saw Seriana and Deinus galloping away. Just as she started to go after them, a giant wolf burst out of the brush, tackling her.

"Thalia!" She hissed. "Insolent pest!" She threw the wolf off of her.

Thalia got to her paws and faced the two demon-Amazons, the dark hair on the back of her hackles raising as she growled. She raked a clawed paw against the ground, imitating a bull about to charge into the fight. Her wolfish teeth bared as she snarled at the women.

"Tern! See if you can find the girl on the horse. I'll get rid of this one," Medea said, raising her hand.


With a sly grin, the older Amazon chuckled and vanished from Thalia's sight.

Medea and Thalia faced off. Thalia rolled to the left as a shot of red lightening flew from Medea's outstretched hand.

When did she learn that trick? Thalia wondered. She shifted into her human form and slipped behind a tree as another lightening bolt ended in a shower of splinters.

Medea frowned. This little round would cost them time, though Tern should be able to locate the other one quickly.

"Medea, what's happened to you?" Thalia asked, moving back out into the road.

Medea grinned. "I'd tell ya but I'd have to kill ya," the teenager drawled. "Course I might just do that anyway."

"I think your anger is getting the best of you," Thalia goaded her. If she could get Medea to drop her guard long enough . . .

"You won't have to worry about my anger much longer," Medea grinned evilly.

Meanwhile . . .

Deinus raced through he forest towards the camp when a flash of blue lightening startled him, causing him to throw his rider. Seriana hit the ground roughly, knocking her head against a fallen log. Tern appeared and waved her hand over the unconscious Amazon.

"That should keep you out of my way," she muttered. When the Amazon woke, she would have no idea who or where she was. She turned toward the horse.

Deinus backed away from her. Tern studied the animal, cocked her head to one side and the horse morphed into a boar. She smiled at her handiwork as the horse went crashing into the brush, panicked beyond his reasoning.

That would keep them out of her way for a while, Tern thought. Only one person could undo her spells. Thankfully, that person wasn't around.

Back at the stand off . . .

Thalia barely escaped the red lightening that burst from Medea's hand. "Time to go!" she muttered, morphing into a squirrel.

"You think you can escape me?" Medea yelled. She raised her hands toward the tree as Thalia scrambled along the boughs and headed for the top.

Tern reappeared before Medea took aim. "We donít have time for this. Come, the others are taken care of. Without the horse, theyíve a long journey back to the village."

"Did you finish her off?" Medea asked, her voice a growl.

Tern grinned. "Let's go."

"What about her?" Medea asked, pointing to the little brown squirrel staring intently down at them from its high perch in the tree.

Tern waved her hand and Thalia felt herself growing cold. She tried to morph back to herself, but found she was blocked as her limbs slowly refused to listen to her commands. She tilted and found she could not regain her balance. She toppled over onto the ground, managing to miraculously land on her feet at the base of the tree. She found herself frozen in place, able only to listen to the demon Amazons as they cheered their victory over her.

Laughing joyously Medea clapped her hands. "When do I get to learn that?"

"When you've earned it. Let's go."

Thalia heard only the echoes of their laughter as the two demon-Amazons vanished.



Daughters and Demons

Chaos and Confusion


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