She remained standing there and toyed with a dagger. It was
quickly becoming a bad habit, but that didn't matter to her.
What mattered was what was going to happen at this meeting. That
was the priority.
The gods were deathly quiet. What was a deathly quiet hall
became even more so when the Goddess Kakistos spoke.
"Before I get to the heart of this sweet family
get-together, there are some things I need to get off of my
"The first is this horrid reference you puny gods make -
Samsara Kakistos? What in the Hades is that?" Some
stiffened up at the inflection of her voice.
"From now on," she continued, not lowering the
level of her voice. "You will refer to me as the Great
Destroyer; your Great Destroyer." She walked around the
rows of thrones, flipping her dagger. "And I want certain
privileges afforded to me."
"And why would we submit to that?" Hera responded
Samsara stopped, turned, and glared at the woman. She
suddenly threw her arm out, dagger in hand. "YOU will be
QUIET until I am THROUGH!" Her eyes smoldered in anger at
being interrupted. She put her arm down and straightened herself
out again. "You will submit to whatever demands I have
because I have the hind's blood. And sorry, Zeus was the one to
give it to me. No one, not even the King of the Gods himself,
can take it away from me ever."
Zeus shook his head. She was the Protector of the Blood
because she saved his life from Discord's malevolent use of it.
He knew she spoke the truth. No one could ever take it from her.
The other gods stared at him, searching. There was no denying
it, and they knew it when they looked into his ancient blue
"Now, I'm willing to throw a little consideration into
the pot! I am willing to... bring Kaia and Ares back for a small
price." She smiled. "You let me keep the title and the
privileges of War and Father remains just a mere immortal. No
powers, no privileges, no temples, nothing. Just a plain
immortal like I was, but with less powers. I don't want him to
be able to conjure up so much as a spark in his hands."
The gods were aghast. They knew she could do it. Question
was, which of them was brave enough to stop her?
"I want to keep my temples, take Father's and make them
my own. I am the Daughter of War and now I will become its
Athena had enough. She stood violently, her jaw squared, her
teeth clenched. "You? Master of War?" she cried.
"Your armies are marching on my city as we speak! Why
should I stand by and let you destroy it at will?"
Samsara laughed. "Because you can't do a damn thing
about it. Your cities, Athena, are guilty of assaulting, raping,
killing, and enslaving Amazons. Did you know this Artemis? Your
dear sister has allowed these atrocities to continue for
decades. Almost centuries. Demonstrates your weakness."
Artemis stiffened as she looked across to the Goddess of Wisdom.
The look in her eyes was sad and angry at the same time.
"So you intend to seek revenge by pillaging my
city?" Athena answered.
"There is no Goddess of Justice as far as I know,
Athena," the Great Destroyer remarked. "So I must take
it upon myself to avenge my Amazons when their Matron refuses to
do so. And pillaging is nothing compared to what I intend to do
to all of the villages in your city-state."
She turned to the Queen of the Gods. "Of course, we have
Hera to thank for all of this. Athena, Artemis, you can turn to
your mother; your Queen. Had she not wanted Hercules dead, my
mother would have remained in Tartarus. Don't you like this
idea, Hades? You, Zeus, and Poseidon cast lots. Zeus won the
Heavens, Poseidon settled for the Seas, and you were stuck with
the sad, desolate, lonely Underworld. Don't you think you would
at least have some dominion over your territory? Shouldn't it be
safe from the whims of Hera? The Fates never cut her chord when
Mother fell into the quicksand--"
"They never cut Perdicas' but they were forced to,"
"SILENCE!" her voice boomed throughout the halls.
"She wasn't supposed to die that day. But she fell into
your dominion, and Hera, on a whim, decided to take her out. Did
she ever consult you? How many times has your territory been
usurped by the whims of the Queen of the Gods?" She turned
to the rest of them. "This day. This fateful day is all
courtesy of Hera! Had she not abused her authority, I would not
exist! Such a shame that I do not desire death or oblivion. Then
you might have a chance to be rid of me.
"Now, if you don't push against my power, I will return
Father and Kaia."
An hour later, Jadea returned to her hut. She was full,
exhausted, and a little restless. Her eyes set upon the still
sleeping Seriana, and the sorceress smiled. Such innocence
still lives even in adult Amazons, she thought to herself
and lightly stepped across the room.
Her hand moved from left to right in simple motion. The
result was the appearance of a comfortable chair. She retrieved
the parchments from her side, sat down with her right leg
crossed over her left, and prepared to read whatever message
laid within the scrolls her niece had given her.
The space was darker, seven candles in odd places provided
the only light. Yet as the woman unrolled the parchment, her
pendant illuminated her view. Nearby, Seriana's soft breathing
could be heard.
Samsara's message read as follows:
"I first met you in the cave and you've kept me from
self destructing time and time again. You wanted to keep me from
going down the path my mother did; the path of hate. I'm afraid
I may turn down that way because there is nothing I despise more
than someone who hurts my sisters.
"This is happening because of the possession of the
godhoods, and that is something that I alone will have to deal
with. You've helped me time and time again, dear Aunt and
Sister, and there is nothing I can do to repay you aside from
fixing what I've broken. How I intend to accomplish this only
"Thank you for your support. Don't worry about Seriana.
Something tells me that neither of you will leave me alone for
"The parchment inside is something I worked on for a
while. Ardra followed me for ages and she became a soothing
presence at times of frustration and friction between me and the
other gods. I only hope that this belated Solstice gift will be
of the same use should you be separated from anything that
belongs to you alone.
"By my staff and my swords, by my dagger and my wits we
will crush our enemies. Blood promise of life, fight to the
death. AMAZONS UNITE!"
A wave of silence swept over Themiscyra's sorceress. So
powerful that even her mind was quieted. She could think of
nothing to say or feel or think. For but a few moments, all that
she had been and all that she was - was no more.
Yet as if cued by the powers that be, a voice was then heard
and brought Jadea out of her seemingly trance state.
It was Angus. His voice was low, perhaps fearing he'd
I'll be right out, she sent back to him, not wanting
to disturb Seriana's slumber. Jadea's niece had fought well in
the battle and it showed in the peaceful depths in which she
Jadea returned the parchments to her side. She had plans for
Samsara, but they could wait until later. The Solstice gift her
niece had sent was a parchment with Samsara's family's crest and
nothing more. It was a symbol of her allegiance to the Amazons -
to her family - despite what her actions said.
Quietly, the Themiscyran crossed the room and left her hut.
She found Angus waiting for her. Jadea made three steps forward
before speaking to him.
"Is this a bad time?" He asked quietly, recognizing
right away that her visage was nothing as it had been earlier.
Such could be her way, though.
"When is it not a bad time, Angus?" She asked him
The Celt glanced away for a moment, collecting the words he
wanted to say. "Vorgeen told me that the Highland Amazons
are goin' home at tomorrow's light," he stated rather
casually, but his meaning didn't escape his audience.
"Aye," was her only response. Apollo's light
remained hours away, and for that the Sorceress Empress was
grateful. Without knowing it, she intended to wrap the night's
darkness around herself.
"She also told me that you declined her offer to
go," he added two moments later.
"Please excuse me if I fail to see how that concerns
you," Jadea replied without anger.
Angus took her arm with his hand. She looked up from his
hand, her mouth opened as if to speak. "If you're to stay,
then so will I," he told her with certainty.
The man was incredibly stubborn, but so was Jadea. It was no
wonder, then, that they each rammed heads every so often. This
time was different for the Amazon, though. What frightened the
man was that when she spoke, she did so in a manner suggestive
of absolute surrender.
"You want to stay, Angus? Then stay. But do not forget
that you are in the Amazon world. And here, there is neither
rest for the wicked nor mercy for man's crimes." With that,
she pulled from him to return inside her hut.
He let her go, at a loss for words.
Further into the night, Jadea mounted her snowy mare. Seriana
came out just in time to see her aunt trotting away towards
Themiscyra's Queen Regent...Regent Queen, you know what I
mean...handed something up to the seated Amazon.
"You know I could order you not to do this, don't
you?" She asked with a stern voice.
"True, but then you'd have one more Amazon to find. At
least this way, you know where I'll be." Jadea answered.
Most of Themiscyra still slept, those that were not posted on
watch. Xena soon came out. She wore a hard look on her face. One
might have thought she were about to attack.
"Samsara won't be happy to see you. Sure you want to go
alone?" She asked. Something in her demeanor implied that
she'd have been willing to whistle for Argo, mount, and leave
with her at a moment's notice.
Jadea nodded. "Her intentions are well-meaning, but she
knows not what she's doing."
Suddenly, Celosia appeared. She'd kept her presence hidden
for minutes now.
"How long will you be gone?" The woman asked, her
face glowing from a nearby lit torch.
"I am not sure. I do have one favor to ask of you. Look
after Garrett and Angus while I am gone. Thalia's friend will
likely try to find her. He'll get himself killed. And mine is
foolish enough to try to follow me. Hog tie 'im, if you must.
Just keep them both alive. With any luck, I'll be back before
next harvest." She tried her best as sounding confident.
Xena came around to her side and slipped something in one
Jadea's bags. The latter raised her brow.
"For luck." The Warrior Princess explained. She
didn't really believe in luck...well perhaps in small doses, but
she certainly never relied on it.
"Ladies, keep the home fires burnin'."
And with that, Jadea left. It took her an hour to realize she
was being followed. One really must love an Amazon tracker. The
Amazons teach their trackers to be the best at what they do. And
this Amazon was no exception.
On Mount Olympus...
"Very well, Great Destroyer." Zeus remarked with
defiance in his eyes.
A few minutes of private debate among themselves, and the
gods had reached a decision. To the hawk, Ardra, though...it'd
been too easy a victory.
Samsara, it's a trick. That was too easy.
Paranoia runs in this family, the goddess shot back.
But she, too, was feeling awkward now. It wasn't like the gods
to be so submissive. Surely, there should be some display of
contempt or utter opposition for Samsara.
Their calmness was a warning sign. And soon a portal opened
up behind the Teloan. The hall was filled with a rumbling sound
and the pulling wind that spun. Samsara began to slide towards
the opening. She exerted her powers to remaining stationary.
Ardra half-expected to see Ares and Kaia come flying out of the
vortex. This wasn't the case, as Samsara had sent them
Quickly, the goddess found herself being surrounded by the
Olympians as they neared her. For some reason, the portal had no
affect on them. Only Ardra and Samsara were being pulled toward
the blue and white hole.
At the very last possible moment, just as it looked as though
Samsara could hold out no longer, the vortex snapped shut
without warning. In its place stood a tall brown-eyed,
flaxen-haired woman wearing leather and chain mail. A flustered
Samsara rose up and turned her head.
"Mother? " She gasped in complete disbelief.
The woman did not look at Samsara. Her eyes were set on the
gods, Zeus and Hera namely.
"Not the family reunion you were hoping for, is
it?" Artemis glared at Samsara.
The next moment, Artemis vanished. The gods around her gave
each other puzzled "What the Hades just happened?"
looks. They didn't know it yet, but the Goddess of the Amazons
hadn't teleported out of there of her own will.
The blonde woman walked forward, her eyes set in a steely
"The decree has been given that the Olympian order will
fall. Now, I'd be lying if I said this didn't please me greatly.
However, I have no say in when you gods fall." Her voice
stopped while she scanned the Olympian gods. She failed to find
the one god she was seeking.
No matter. His time will come, too, she told herself
regarding Ares. He'll pay...for everything Cirra, Xena, my
"Mother, what are you doing here?" Samsara asked,
her voice bouncing off the great walls of Olympus. Still,
Callisto would not answer nor look at her daughter. She knew
that if she did, her focus would suffer greatly and all the
anger and guilt would return. She needed her focus now.
"While I can't kill you gods I can certainly make you
existence an immortal agony. And who better to know about what
that feels like than someone you have made immortal and
tortured? The irony appeals to me."
"How...dare...you..." Zeus began and a lightning
bolt formed in his hand.
Callisto laughed a wicked sound remarkably like she did in
her former days. The gods couldn't understand how she could be
there but not be there. The song of her amusement echoed even
after she had stopped.
"Quite easily, Zeus. I dare what I relish and relish
what I dare. Heed this - ALL OF YOU! If any of the gods
challenge my sister, or my daughter for that matter, you will
all suffer greatly. What would this world be without gods, hmm?
Without temples? Without offerings or sheep to worship you?
Without half-gods running around because some Olympian decides
to bed a mortal? What would you do, hmm?"
Just as quickly as she appeared did she vanish. Artemis
reappeared then, as well. All eyes were on her but soon fell
upon Samsara. They seemed to be waiting for something. Each of
them expressively wanted to strike her down with their godly
powers. But Samsara wasn't about to give them the chance.
With a confident air, she straightened herself and commented,
"You heard the woman! Now...no more tricks, no more
waiting, no more chances. You want Ares and Kaia back? Find them
yourselves, then!" She declared and turned her back on
"Wait!" Athena shouted. She received glares and
shaking heads from her fellow gods.
"You have a deal," remarked the Goddess of Wisdom.
Just how wise would this turn out to be?
The Great Destroyer turned with a smirk on her face. She
couldn't believe it; The gods were submitting to her and this
time she had no qualms about it.
Ardra was still not so sure.
Samsara looked directly at the King of the Gods. "Good
that you should say that, Zeus. You owe me big time for saving
He sat back down on his throne. "Very well, Great
Destroyer. You will keep the title, keep the powers, keep the
mantle, and your father will be nothing but a mere
"To be tortured for the rest of his days," she
The gods gasped. Tortured?
"Yes," she shouted. "Tortured! For every day
that he tortured my mother, for every act that he committed
against every woman, for every day of his miserable existence,
and FOREVER MORE he will suffer a fate worse than Prometheus'.
Not only will his liver be eaten, not only will he be tied, and
not only will his missing organ grow back every day for it to be
eaten again, but he will also be burned at the stake. EVERY
"Ludicrous!" cried Athena. "Utterly ludicrous!
That is preposterous that you would demand that. He is
"Father! Yes, he is my father!" she screamed. In a
calmer voice, she continued. "Athena, you will never
interrupt me again, do you understand?"
Zeus put his arms out. "Agreed. Fine. Agreed. Now bring
my son back!"
Samsara smiled. She uttered an incantation and out came Ares
in his trap. He stood up, still confined by the four walls. He
saw the rest of his family looking at him, surprised at how he
was being held.
With a wave of her hand, Samsara released him from the
"Now, Sam," he said, ready to negotiate.
"SILENCE!" she demanded. "Don't you know when
to shut up?" She shook her head in disbelief. She snapped
her fingers and he was wrapped in Hephaestian chains to a pole
which appeared at the same time. He wrestled but could do
nothing to release himself from the bondage. He was naked from
the waist up. She snapped her fingers again and suddenly a
solitary angry wolf snarled. It charged the tied God and pushed
its paws up against Ares' chest, gnawing at his side until it
chewed out its liver.
Some of the gods turned away in disgust.
"What are you doing?" demanded Hades.
"This is to be a reminder to the forgetful. Cross me,
and you will befall the same fate. Understood?" Then she
turned to the gods again. "And before Ares lights up, I
would like to clarify something: I am the Great Destroyer, the
Goddess Kakistos of Destruction, Master of War. As we speak, a
war academy is being built. It will rival Sun Tzu's. There, only
the best generals will train and they will be admitted on their
word that they not use their knowledge to kill Amazons. That
when an Amazon comes their way, that they defend, but not kill
"So you see, Artemis, I have guaranteed the perpetual
existence of the Amazon Tribes, something you have failed to do.
Father, I have made sure that the existence of war continues,
but instead of being used in foolhardy ways, it will be revered
as the sacred art as it should have been. To the rest of you, I
have assured your existence for a bit longer."
She laughed, sheathing her dagger. "The pantheon was
upset when the Warrior Princess killed Callisto. You ultimately
have her and Hera to thank for your fall. You may thank me for
assuring your existence for at least a generation longer."
She snapped her fingers again and from the highest point of the
hall fell Kaia, flat on her face.
Samsara pulled out her Hephaestian sword and placed the tip
at the side of her sister's neck. "On your knees,
infidel," she ordered.
"As for you, dear Sister," she growled, "you
have meddled with my Tribes one time too many. Do so again, and
you will suffer the same fate as Father." She looked up and
glared at every single god. "And if ANY of you attempt to
free Father from his punishment, then YOU shall join him as
The wolf, once satisfied, landed on its forelegs and left
nonchalantly. Ares cries had filled the room for the duration of
"Now for the lights," She turned and left and as
soon as she did, the fire burned.
She went to what was formerly Ares' temple and sat looking at
the viewing bowl. She knew it was only a matter of time before
Jadea or Seriana came searching for her.