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
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
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
Decided, the Queen told Belen to cancel the attack. She
would have to deal with the situation a little more
"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
"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
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
Alcina shook her head. "None of the search
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.
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
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
"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,
Several Amazons burst into the hut. "My Queen
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
"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
Hercules pondered over this for a moment. He said,
"Do you still think Seriana is responsible for this
"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
"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
That evil chill ran down Seriana's spine once again,
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
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
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
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
"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
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
"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
"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
"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
"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
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
"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, 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
Celosia was stunned at the sudden reappearance of her
long lost cousin. "LeeLee, is it really you?"
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
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
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
"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
"So that was Pelee, huh?" Iolaus asked
Hercules eyed his young friend. "Easy, Iolaus.
Magic women can only lead to trouble. Especially if they
"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
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
"All right, we..." Seriana stopped, looking
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
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
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
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
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
"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
"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.