sounds of three tribes filled the air as the Rite of Battle was
performed. It was a time of feasting, celebration of life, and
departure to death, for many sisters would fall in this war.
trills of the music and the sounds of staves beating on the
ground were testament to the brave souls that would sacrifice
their lives, not just for their Tribes, but for the Amazon
Nation. The descendents of the Tetomlec Women, the daughters of
war, the daughters of Harmony and Ares, and the symbolic
children of Artemis. Heiresses, Commanders, Generals, Queens,
and Rulers. All women. All having the burden of the doubt of
Grecians who refused to believe, all having the stigma of being
"man-haters," hunted from their moment of birth
through First Blood, Last Blood, until Rite of Passage when they
meet the Lady of the Dead.
and Mariko returned to the main area to see the Thermodonians
and their Thermodon Queen finish their dance. Their moves were
wild and reckless as their ceremony demands, but the entire
coordination was organized.
approached the two. "Samsara," she said, head high.
"You must dance with your Tribe."
took a moment to register, but the Goddess knew what Serena
meant. And this was the problem she would have to resolve sooner
or later. Was she Teloan or Themiscyran?
Gabrielle would leave with her companion. Gabrielle was merely
the symbolic Military Queen to her. Samsara was the true Queen
Empress, the one to lead the Teloans, for it was because of her
ascension, on the back of Ephiny II's death, that the Tribes
were consolidating. Athanase was well inclined to believe this.
She held Velasca's belief that Gabrielle would not be the one to
lead the Amazons to their rightful place as fierce warrior
Achala Kakistos let down her black hair, gripped her staff, and
walked to the center of the camp as Queen Marcella and her
Thermodonians dispersed. Marcella nodded in respect for the
twenty-something, but young, Amazon Queen and gripped her
forearm. Samsara nodded. She knew who Marcella recognized as
Ruler of Teloq, and it wasn't the Battling Bard of Potidaea.
Tribe gathered behind her. Medea looked on, wondering what the
implication of this was. Who did Samsara owe allegiance to?
Seriana joined them upon her sister's request, leaving Karma in
Mariko's arms. The infant smiled up at the Eastern Woman,
knowing that her intentions were good, despite how she rubbed
Jadea the wrong way.
Teloan dance looked more organized, although the Thermodonians
were seasoned warriors. The Teloans beat their spears and
staves, causing the dusty ground to rumble. Their melody filled
Samsara sent a message to Jadea. We have to keep within our
territory. I think I know of a way to defeat them without
quirked an eyebrow at that. She was afraid of having to leave
the grounds to fend off Caesar and she felt it perhaps the best
of ideas, rather than have him enter camp and force their move.
they continued dancing, the wolf howled with the women, matching
their strength in volume and melting into their song as if he
were born for it. The sounds carried far from the camp.
listened from her cell. Jadea was had put a force field around
the jail to keep her from even considering an escape attempt.
She was saddened that she would miss this ritual.
away, Celosia did a similar dance, hearing the chants of her
sisters. Ean watched her, having seen his sister do similarly in
times of war. He admired the woman who allowed him to travel
with her. He observed her liquid moves, her fluid transition
from standing to crouching, her graceful arm movements, and
smooth, rich voice with awe.
ended with a prayer to Artemis, that her sisters live, that she
return to her Themiscyrans in one piece.
at camp, the Themiscyrans conducted their Rite of Battle.
Samsara joined in, as did Seriana. Soon, all three Tribes were
dancing in unison, shooting and whooping together, beating their
weapons on the ground. The Elders watched as did Mariko and
Karma. The Eastern Woman pushed back wisps of the baby's hair
and spoke to her.
is the Tribe you will lead, young one," she said. "And
you will be a wise leader, because you will learn from your
fate deemed the Highland Amazons would approach the gates of
Themiscyra just before the Siberian Tribe. When the Head Scout
spotted them, she flew back to Queen Medea to relay the news.
the Amazon Queen smiled, exuberantly happy that she'd get to see
the Highlanders again. As different from them as the Celtic
tribe was, Medea held better relations with the
Highlanders than the Teloans.
wasn't long before the Queen Regent had her hand clasped with
Dolphinea's. Both women had changed somewhat in each other's
eyes. The two had risen into positions of power rather suddenly
and it had given them both a more regal bearing.
'tis a blessin' tah see ya again, Queen Medea!" Dolphinea
expressed with light in her eyes. Despite her outward composure,
Themiscyra's Queen detected her Sister's deep concern.
here, my Sister!" Medea returned as their grasp slid back.
She made an effort to cover her own grief. "I'm sorry Jade
couldn't be here to greet you. She's-"
someplace plottin' a contingency plan or escape route?" The
Highlander cut in, nodding with a gentle, understanding smile.
"Believe me, I know how she gets in times like these."
Medea nodded and returned the smile. Mentally, she cursed
herself and her co-ruler. The woman didn't feel overly confident
about any of this. But as Queen, it was Medea's responsibility
to keep her Amazons spirited. Demoralized troops were nothing
but sheep to the slaughter. "Well, come on! We have to
debrief you, and the others are waiting."
balanced herself on a high limb of a tall oak and gazed into the
far distance. Her crystal pendant shined as Apollo's beams
reflected brilliantly. From a span away, two Northern scouts
caught sight of the glint and instantly told their Queen.
her horse, she smiled. "I've been told she always knew when
to keep a candle in the window," the woman turned her head.
"Pick up the pace, Sisters! We'll be there before
Sorceress Empress soon saw a bright flash of light in the
distance. She faintly smiled and sighed. After a moment, the
woman jumped down with a single spin and landed upon her feet.
going to need more plates, a voice observed humorously in
her head. Exhausted but with her mission completed, Ardra flew
threw the trees to land on Jadea's outstretched arm.
believe we are. How did it go?" She asked, aware of Angus'
potential to cause mischief and trouble.
and ready, Jade, Ardra answered.
later, the Amazon tribes were reunited. Not a single tribe had
failed to send their warriors; and each tribe had arranged for
the security of their lands. When all discussions and strategies
had been made and approved, a great feat given the number of
Amazon Queens present, the warrior women prepared for their
Queens stood together in a circle and chanted in ancient tongues
seldom, but still used. Afterward came a mixture of war songs
and spirit speeches and the Amazons broke off into large groups.
An Amazon could wander from group to group without taking more
than a few steps and be inspired all over again.
was during this time that Queen Jadea and Queen Regent Medea
made a personal visit to their only prisoner. Since Celosia's
sister was not one for sentimental talk, Jadea spoke first.
"Zia, I have discussed the matter with Queen Medea and we
both feel that you are wanted and needed here," her voice
was clear as she gazed into Zia's eyes.
stepped around her Sister. "Yes, but you are not to take on
the Roman Empire alone. Is that understood?"
young Roman Amazon looked from Queen to Queen and nodded.
"I understand, my Queens."
but simultaneously, both women replied "Good." Medea
and her Co-Queen exchanged a look, both feeling awkward at the
coincidence but neither responding to the effect.
you are hereby released from custody," Jadea finished,
letting the Amazon pass by her to exit the prison.
stopped just long enough to add, "Thank you."
Queen Regent looked at her Sister with reservation. "Have
we done the right thing?" Where her voice was steady, her
sighed softly and looked away for a few moments. She glanced
back and drew a breath. "I've spent time in Gaul before.
While I was there, I learned a new phrase that I think is
perfect for the occasion," she paused while Medea gave her
another of her varying looks.
what's that?" The woman asked, her head cocked a little.
'All for one, and one for all.' " She smiled and turned.
both women walked out of the jailhouse, Jadea heard her Sister
say softly, "Huh?" The Sorceress Empress smiled,
knowing her co-Queen was now deep in thought.
was something that Medea found herself doing a lot lately. She
couldn't remember thinking so much in her life. Had she known
that being Queen would require the Queen to think long and hard
on things, she might not have wanted the position so badly.
Roman Amazons entered Greece like Hades riding in his chariot
out of the Underworld. They would halt soon, turn around, and
create a human wall along Greece's borders. In unspoken words,
the Amazons of Rome declared their allegiance to their
Sisterhood and the Amazon Nation. Although some Roman legions
were already grounded in Greece, the Roman Amazon tribe would
make it a hefty feat to send reinforcements or supplies.
leader of the Roman warrior women went by two names. Laena
Cottaus. She was fierce, wealthy, wise, and adaptive. Her age
was guessed to be in the late twenties, although none of her
Sisters knew for certain how many years she'd breathed.
word reached the Sorceress Empress of the Roman Amazons border
encampment she said, "So her premonition was true after
all." Because she'd allowed the words to slip in front of
both nieces, Jadea was forced to tell more than she'd wished.
premonition? What is going on?" Samsara asked fervently.
Seriana stood beside her with the same curious look.
Claw is in Greece. She's brought a phalanx of warriors with
her." Jadea bit her tongue so as not to reveal the whole
truth. So far, she'd not lied to her nieces about anything . . .
except about the deaths of two people - one a Celt, the other
Athanase gasped, handing Karma to Seriana as she stood up.
"I only saw her with you. She didn't have men in my
doesn't have men," Jadea corrected, inadvertently
leading her nieces straight into a paralyzing truth.
doesn't have men?" The Teloan goddess repeated, her tone
rising with every word. The Amazon looked thoughtful for a
second before her eyes conveyed clearly her revelation.
"She has Amazons in her command?"
the Goddess stared at her aunt through wide, disbelieving eyes,
Seriana took the initiative. "How is that possible? Unless
Athanase finished in a calmer tone than the composure she held.
"Is she, Jade?"
Cirran looked from her elder niece, Seri, to the younger, Sami,
noticed the familiar expression on Samsara's face. She shook her
head and firmly stated, "I will handle this,
Samsara. You have a daughter to raise and a people to lead. I
convinced Medea to follow your plan. Don't make me regret my
choice." She gave her niece a final look of warning and
began to walk away.
gave her sister a glance; and Seri immediately nodded. The
Teloan Goddess ran after the Sorceress and blocked her path.
"No! Please...let me help you," she sounded desperate,
as though she feared for Jadea's life, and consequently her own.
best way you can help me is to keep your focus," she told
her, again stepping away. Only, this time she stopped herself
and looked back. "And if you happen to have any more
premonitions about Red Claw, please tell me. I don't know who
she's fighting for yet."
would not be the last exchange the Sisters had before the action
Amazon warriors were spending more and more of their time
training for battle. The usual chores in the village were often
put aside so here would be more time for fighting practice.
Valkyra, the Weapons Mistress, wandered through the training
grounds observing the fighting styles of all the different
tribes. When she came upon the archery range, she noticed that
the straw targets for practice resembled Roman soldiers.
was quite pleased that the number of arrows striking the
targets’ hearts were increasing. “However,” she told the
archers. “The Romans usually wear breastplates of metal. This
helps to protect their chests from harm. I will also be pleased
if you can hit a soldier’s uncovered leg or arm as well. True,
you will only wound him, but it may be enough to stop him or to
make him vulnerable for someone else to kill him with a
continued to teach, “I observed how Roman infantry fight. They
fight as a team; they try to stay close together. The soldiers
will even overlap their shields to form a moving wall that makes
it very difficult for their enemy to get at them.” Valkyra
took her bow and demonstrated what she said next. “The Roman
centurions will often order their archers, who usually stay
behind the heavy infantry, to ‘clout’ shoot at their
opponents.” She then shot an arrow up into the air at an angle
so that it came down hitting a straw target in the neck.
“These archers provide the infantry with a covering fire. So,
keep your shields ready to protect yourself against falling
arrows. We can use a similar tactic to break their ranks or at
least to thin their front line a bit.” She raised her shield
as if to stop falling arrows. “When the Romans raise their
shields like this to protect themselves from our falling arrows,
the rest of our archers can shoot straight at their unguarded
then moved on to the women fighting with swords and other
weapons. She occasionally stopped to show someone the proper
technique. Soon all the warriors were really showing their
developed skills in quite an aggressive manner. Valkyra knew
that she could tell the Queens that all her warrior sisters were
ready as well as they could be for war.
observed Valkyra as she helped the different Amazons with their
techniques. She was intrigued by the woman and she felt her twin
sister, Hippe, could learn much from the Warrior Woman of the
Caucasus mountains. Hippe agreed and she walked with the lithe
Imperial Guard, meanwhile, wasn't sure whether to talk to her
Queen Empress or not. She was the one who provided the goat's
milk that poisoned the infant Princess.
spotted the Empress as she went to the training grounds. Samsara
stopped, knowing that she wanted to speak with her. She wasn't
sure how to regard the Imperial Guard. She knew that Hippoppih
pledged no allegiance to Athena whatsoever. She smiled as one of
Serena's elite Imperial Guard approached her.
bowed her head in regard. "Queen Empress," she began.
stopped her from saying anymore. "You had no idea. Say no
more." She threw her staff down, drawing her sword.
Halcyon and Antigone were speaking in the stables as they
prepped the horses. Halcyon of the Thermodonians was in awe of
Antigone and vice-versa. The two spoke of hunting techniques and
of being part of the Falcon house of skilled hunters. They moved
from horse to horse until they reached the royal stables.
security reasons, and not because Samsara bid them to be so,
Prince was corralled in that stable. Two Amazon Guards crossed
their spears before them, then allowed the two to pass. Inside
were Xena and Gabrielle, grooming Argo.
pairs smiled at the other. There was the unspoken bond that was
Amazon, even if Xena wasn't born of or inducted into a Tribe.
Despite her past transgressions, having killed the former
Siberian Tribe for Alti included, the Themiscyran and the
Thermodonian admired her for her efforts.
a while, Xena and Gabrielle left. Halcyon and Antigone groomed
more horses and talked shop. Both reached the Pegasus and smiled
upon the creature in fascination. Prince snorted and bobbed his
head, accepting both women's presence.
things weren't fun and games for long, for in Samsara's hut
appeared Discord and she brandished a vial of poison.
try this again," she whispered.
taste of freedom was so sweet. She was finally able to get out
of that jailhouse. She was so happy that she decided to ride off
with her horse
around the Amazon village.
Amazons were all right with Zia’s freedom and smiled as she
passed. Others thought her release was a huge mistake and
frowned. The Gate Guards had no orders to keep her in the
village and let her pass when she rode up.
rode off into the surrounding forest, enjoying the quiet freedom
of a ride with her horse. After a while, she found a lovely
little clearing and dismounted, letting her horse free to graze
the tender grass. She relaxed against the grass, staring up into
She had never felt so....alive. Then she remembered the sweet
taste of Octavius's lips against hers. She yearned for that so
the surrounding forest she heard a horse approach and sitting
up, saw that Thalia had found her. The Scout followed her
example and let her horse graze while she sat down next to Zia.
The two began aimlessly talking and Zia turned the discussion to
the last time she’d seen Octavius.
must really love that boy Zia," Thalia said.
I do. I am just afraid for his safety. Caesar has discovered how
Octavius feels about me and that puts him in great danger. But
no matter what happens Thalia, I want Octavius as Emperor of
Rome so Pax Romana can finally be realized. Then we will go our
separate ways to our own destinies. His to be Emperor and mine
to be an Amazon," Zia said.
young girls decided to return to the village and remounted their
horses, who were now well-fed and refreshed. It didn't take long
to return to the stables, unsaddle the animals and settle them.
They were on their way to the Mess Hut, enjoying the cool
breeze, when they heard strange noises coming their way.
noises Zia and Thalia heard came from the training grounds. A
loud shriek pierced the air followed by many feminine shouts.
Both Amazons rushed toward the sounds, terror and wonder in
they arrived, the pair saw Valkyra kneeling down beside a
wounded Teloan who'd fallen in practice. The Weapons Master had
already sent for Xanthea who arrived just behind Zia and Thalia.
With the help of three Amazons, one who walked in front of the
injured woman to clear her path, the healer brought the
middle-aged Teloan Amazon safely to the Med Hut for treatment.
gathered Amazons watched for a few seconds, but most soon
returned to their training. An injured Sister was nothing new.
And although her pain was felt among her kind, they knew they
couldn't allow their sympathy to hinder their focus or else more
and more wounded would follow.
young Amazon looked up the Head Scout, concern in her eyes.
"I hope she's all right."
gazed off in the direction they'd gone but looked back and
smiled. "She'll be fine. I think the fall startled her.
Besides, the Teloans are a tough breed."
couple of nearby Teloans overhead Thalia's remark. They smiled
and continued with their routines.
Athena had granted Discord one last shot at Karma. In Samsara's
hut, the little girl slept soundly after having consumed a
poison less meal.
and Zia entered the training grounds, each grabbing a bow and
quiver on the way. Thalia had no preference whether it was a bow
and arrow or crossbow since she was adept at either. She
practiced often knowing that if she wasn't there to cover her
sisters at the start of battle, it could mean the loss of many
of her sisters. She pushed herself to the limit when it came to
training so that she could protect her tribe.
played with the bow in her fingers for a moment before quickly
stringing and arrow and letting it fly into the center of the
bull’s-eye. She let a few more arrows go, slicing into the
center of one another, before setting it aside. While she was
excellent at archery, her sword and staff skills could use some
she tossed Zia a staff. "Join me in the training
bet!" Zia smiled, catching it.
tossed Thalia a staff of her own as she entered the circle.
"Thanks, Ser!" She caught it, twirling it around.
swung in, Thalia ducked to the side to avoid it and swept out
for Zia's feet. Zia jumped, bringing the staff down just as
Thalia threw hers up and blocked it. Zia whirled around,
knocking Thalia's knees out.
good," Thalia smiled. "You got the first hit."
held out her hand to help the Head Scout up. The two got back
into fighting position and resumed. Thalia swung and Zia
blocked, but it was a faked maneuver and Thalia brought the
other end of the staff around to catch Zia in the side, bringing
her to the ground. She dusted herself off, and Thalia held her
up. "We're even."
two continued sparring, each losing ground, then gaining it
back. Sweat beaded on their brows, furrowed in concentration as
the staffs whirled so quickly they could barely be seen. As they
fought, a figure approached the circle.
had been some time since Medea had really laid into
Thalia. The Head Scout could easily note the Queen's intent to
watched for another minute before approaching. Both Amazon
warriors paused to give the Queen Regent recognition. Medea
nodded at the young Zia with a brief smile. She held up her hand
to signal that they not continue.
gotten a little better, Thal," Medea observed acridly,
though she meant it somewhat.
Scout had tried desperately to stay out of Medea's firing range
and she'd been moderately successful. She'd been aided by the
efforts of acting Queen Jadea, but now without her around Thalia
was fair game for the headstrong Themiscyran Queen.
Head Scout nodded mildly. "Thank you, Queen Medea,"
she said politely.
politely, the Queen thought. Medea felt the need to fight
with someone. She had too much restless energy and frustration
pent up. The Romans weren't coming fast enough, and the woman
needed some way to release the steam heating up inside her.
see if your moves would stand up against a real opponent,"
Medea firmly suggested. With a single nod to nearby Amazon, the
Queen was thrown a staff which she caught above her head and
brought down with sweeping motion from right to left.
was hesitant about this. Her Queen's eyes told the Scout that
the fight was for real. While a part of the young warrior would
have liked nothing more than to settle her differences with
Medea in an all-out fight, her heart just wasn't in it. She
glanced around twice to see if the Sorceress Empress might be
watching. But there was nothing.
take my kid...I take yours," Discord seethed as she neared
was on the training grounds. Samsara had returned from a
conversation with Mariko in time to feed her daughter, after
which Karma fell sound asleep. The Goddess had stepped out only
to see her aunt for a moment and Discord had pounced on the
opportunity. She didn't count on one thing, though...
Discord!" Aphrodite said. She was Discord's
entered her hut in time to hear the Goddess of Love question the
Goddess of Mayhem about her actions. A spectacular predicament
to say the least.
you send my message?" A tall woman stood with her back
turned to warrior she spoke to.
Red Claw. The Sorceress Empress knows you are in Greece,"
the woman stared at her Commander's back, startled when her
leader suddenly turned around.
I think our reunion 'tis long overdue. Ready my horse!" She
another part of Greece and at the same time...
divisions of Romans marched on Teloq where they met with a
blockade courtesy of the Warrior Princess.
and Gabrielle had paid Teloq a visit before heading for
Themiscyra. They'd spoken to Serena the Elder and reached an
agreement. The blockade would force the Romans to take a three
day detour around the village. The detour would lead the two
divisions toward the Cirra Valley.
was aware of this, although she'd kept it from the man
commanding her troops until just that morning. By telling the
Celt that he was to act as reinforcements insured that he
wouldn't lead the warriors into Themiscyra. He'd made a similar
move in battle years before, which ended up being a costly
worried, aren't ya?" Dolphinea broke in on her Sister's
looked up quietly and nodded. "Aye."
a curious, lilting tone the Highland Queen asked her why. "Ya've
been here before, my Empress. This is nothin' ya've not faced in
the past," The Amazon observed in her best effort to help
her Sister. Her words had the opposite effect.
it, though?" She asked and shook her head while glancing
off. "Name me once when the Amazon Nation was at
stake," Jadea said as she gazed back at Dolphinea. The
Sorceress then sighed. "No...no we've not been here before.
fell between the two Queens. At last, Dolphinea commented rather
thoughtfully, "And what of the Tyra Rebellion?" The
Highlander said nothing further, remaining only a few moments
longer before quietly walking away to give Jadea her peace.
Sorceress Empress thought at length about her fellow Queen's
observation. When she could think no more, she left the sanctity
of her hut to seek out her nieces. This would prove to be more
difficult than she could've imagined. Seriana, she learned by
word of mouth, was demonstrating her signature flip - a
combination of several moves that she and Sami had collaborated
in creating - to a group of Amazons of varying tribes.
one and only child, Samsara, was not so easily found. Jadea had
suspected that where Seriana could be found, Samsara could be
found. While this theory held true most of the time it was not
true this time.
tried the stables, thinking that Samsara would spend time with
Prince before all Hades cut loose on the Amazon world. The
Co-Queen came to find her niece had been there earlier, but had
left. That's when Jadea gave up and went to the most obvious
place; the Teloan's own hut. Samsara and Jadea's huts had both
been set up for Karma's needs, but Jadea had just come from her
own and knew it wasn't the place to find her niece.
she finally approached Samsara's hut's entrance, sparks flew.
as a mother, she'll be more dangerous than ever..."
was perhaps the first time that Samsara had gotten this angry
since Ishtar had given her Karma. "What... in... the...
HADES are you trying to do?" the Goddess screamed, fireball
had her hands on her hips. She wasn't exactly happy that one of
the babies she blessed was one of Discord's targets.
what do you think I'm doing, mongrel?" Discord demanded,
vial of poison in her hand. "I'm doing away with your brat
of a child because you and Jadea had a hand in neutralizing
fireball in Samsara's hand only intensified. "Never mind
that she is a psycho maniac who prided herself on hurting my
Sisters! Why don't you put the vial down, Discord, before I end
your life right here."
entered, hearing the all-familiar voice of Samsara's anger. She
knew something was up. Her eyes became slits when she came upon
Samsara could make a nasty remark, she heard the neighing of her
horse and her body stiffened. She knew Prince's call well and
this sound did not warn of danger, but was one of abject pain
and suffering. She looked to her aunt and to Aphrodite, then
immediately vanished out of her hut to reappear in the stables.
She knew that the Sorceress Empress and the Goddess of Love
would take care of the Discord situation.
she reached the royal stables, she encountered a sickening
sight: Prince was on the ground, writhing in pain, blood gushing
from his forehead as he neighed in agony. Samsara's eyes and
mouth opened wide. She looked up to find Deimos, holding the
Rhea Ruby in his hands.
had such fury burst from the young Goddess. Never had the Amazon
felt so violated and so enraged that she could not control her
swift movement was all she needed to pull out her long dagger,
stain the edge with hind's blood from her pendant and end
Deimos' life. She ran to him and stabbed him directly in the
heart, and he crumpled onto the floor.
rushed in and skidded in the blood to kneel at the horse's head.
Samsara turned, eyes full of tears, unable to speak or to move.
Eastern Woman saw this as her opportunity to make the Teloan see
that she had to make a choice. She knew the horse could be
saved, but she needed Samsara's focus. "You must choose,
Goddess. Your steed may not live. You are inheritress of the
Pantheon. Do what you must."
gripped the Ruby and slipped it into her pouch. She sent a
message to her aunt. I have a score to settle on Olympus.
Jadea hadn't the time to deal with her niece's vengeful nature.
She had bigger fish to fry. Discord stood poised to poison the
eight month old child.
and Discord stood across from one another, neither twitching,
both watching for the other to make the first move. Karma fussed
impatiently between them, feeling the magic building in the
clatter from one end of the room caused both of the women to
break eye contact and turn their heads. Samsara's water jug,
standing inside the door, had fallen over after being hit with a
had thrown the rock. In the moment of distraction, she darted
in, grabbed Karma rather violently, it couldn't be helped, and
sprinted out the door as fast as she could go, ducking the power
bolt Discord flung after her.
was grazing at the edge of the village. He reared in alarm as
his mistress landed on his back and pulled violently on his mane
with her free hand to keep balance. Seri's skill as a rider,
even on this horse which was so undeniably hers and no one
else's, barely kept her and her niece on the broad black
shoulders. Crushing Karma with one arm and clutching Deinus'
mane with the other, she drove her heels deep into his flanks.
lunged forward like a stone in a catapult, took three long
strides, and jumped the pasture fence.
knew Seriana well, as a thoughtful and steady girl that never
did anything spontaneously, and for that reason she was totally
unprepared for the instantaneous attack and flight of her niece.
By the time she got reoriented, Xena was sprinting to the stable
to help Prince, Jadea was working her spells, Medea was
bellowing like a wounded tiger to get things under control, and
Seriana and Karma and Deinus were in the shadow-filled woods.
The Themiscyran woods had been chosen to house Themiscyra
because they were so impossible to navigate, and no non-Amazon
could find an Amazon in them. There was no safer hiding place.
was safe, for the time being. The rest of them were another
stood as soon as the Warrior Princess bolted into the stables.
"Warrior Princess," she said, giving her a set of
dampened herbs. "He will survive, but he must be cared for
know," she responded, kneeling down to her enemy's horse.
The poor animal was braying now, his pain apparent to all in the
room. The other horses were neighing in empathy, frazzled by the
attack that Deimos launched. He meanwhile, lay dead on the
Eastern Woman looked at Xena and continued. "I knew Lao Ma.
You have her knowledge. Use it." Mariko did know Lao Ma.
Before the Green Dragon killed his mother, Mariko visited with
her and both exchanged knowledge. Mariko knew that Lao Ma was a
wise woman, and she knew how to run the affairs of her House.
raised her hands and went to Olympus. Mariko saw the power of
the one-god, and although she wanted the fall of the Pantheon,
she fought a battle inside her. Should she save the Gods and
broker peace, or allow them to suffer and die at the hands of
the Great Destroyer?
go check on Jadea," Xena instructed with her eyes on
Prince. When the blonde bard gave her companion a look of utmost
concern, Xena added "I'll be all right here. Go."
nodded and ran out of the stables. She heard thunder booming
overhead and knew the sound to be unnatural. When she reached
Samsara's hut, the Sorceress Empress walked out and gazed at her
before moving past.
The Co-Queen shouted as Amazons hurried out of her way. The
woman's crystal pendant had filled with a crimson liquid color.
She scoured the camp for the Queen Regent, finding her at a far
corner encircled with fellow Amazon Queens.
The Sorceress shouted fiercely and heads turned to her.
Celosia's sister stepped through the others and walked toward
happened? What the HADES happened?" Medea questioned,
unaware of the change in her Sister.
answered her with a single word: "War."
sent Discord back to Olympus, but only after stripping the
Goddess of Mayhem of her powers. Immortality, Discord still had,
but that was all. Jadea's ability to remove an Olympian's powers
came with a great price . . . a price that only increased each
time she used the power.
wasn't long before word came in that Roman troops were marching
their way. Dachus, the great commander of Samsara's army, was
already in place. Angus, the ally the Amazons' perhaps trusted
the least, held his position and awaited the two Roman
divisions on their way from Teloq.
Amazon Queens of three tribes deployed their cavalry. Two flanks
of archers also accompanied the first wave to be sent.
Themiscyra's two Queens proceeded to aid the tribes' efforts,
all the while restricting Themiscyrans to remain inside
Themiscyra. This would change, however, once the battle provided
the tribe to acquire more territory - an appealing thought that
soon came to pass when Teloans pushed back the first Romans a
mile from Themiscyra's border.
times, Amazons heard the bird calls of their Queens. The archers
moved further from Themiscyra, following the cavalry. At last,
they let a stream of arrows shoot high into the air. The wave
was shot so that the arrows missed the line of Amazons on
horseback, and landed just inside the Roman lines. Their
commander, a young and exuberant man who'd been launched on
this, his first campaign, called for a retreat. The Romans
turned back only to be surprised by five hundred angry warriors
and one very loyal leader - Dachus.
Samsara arrived on Olympus, not a god nor goddess was unaware.
She blasted through the walls with large shots of energy. The
woman set ablaze a number of statues depicting the hierarchy of
the Olympian order. The Great Destroyer took her time in
reaching the Main Hall, where a rather upset Zeus and anxious
Hera sat on their thrones.
fie fo fum. I smell toast. You are gods are done!" The
Goddess beamed with a deadly smile and threw two fireballs aimed
at Zeus and Hera. Athena had yet to show herself. She knew
Samsara was on Olympus. This allowed her the chance to take
command of her army. Athena launched a full-scale assault the
moment the Teloan Goddess had left Themiscyra. The Goddess'
tactic would have gone down in legend had it not been for a
single element - the Amazons' readiness.
second Dachus' men realized warriors loyal to Athena had
arrived, they pulled back swiftly. The Amazon cavalry and
archery flanks provided the men cover off the battlefield.
Amazons fell as the Romans desperately tried to take down as
many as they could.
Marcella left Themiscyra with reinforcements, arriving with
impeccable time and brought Dachus' men safely into new
Themiscyran territory. There, the men regrouped. Those wounded
and unable to fight were separated from the wounded who were
able to fight.
a result of this devious, albeit genius, maneuvering was a fight
between Athena's legions and Rome's. Athena wasn't present to
correct the situation. When the sparks were no more, over half
of her personal army littered the lands. Infuriated, she
teleported onto the battlefield. The longer she gazed around at
her slain soldiers, the angrier she became. The Goddess then
attempted to teleport herself into Themiscyra with the intention
of wiping the Amazons out herself. When she found she was unable
to bring herself into Themiscyra, the Goddess drew her sword and
began to fell Amazon after Amazon.
Medea!" An exhausted Pike ran up to her queen. "Ath-
Athena's killing us!" She informed while regaining her
this time, Jadea was already gone. Medea knew this when she
couldn't find the Sorceress with one glance. She looked at the
warrior before her who was obviously ignoring the pain and
focused on her desire to fight back.
right. Pull in our border guards! Tell Valkyra to lead her
company through the gates!" Medea nodded to give Pike her
reassurance. "Antigone!" The Queen looked around,
unable to find her Huntress. "Somebody find Antigone and
get her here!"
tall spike-haired Themiscyran was right to pull back her Amazons
from the boundaries. A few minutes after her order, Jadea would
use the Majie medallions to send out a pulse. The power of this
killed Athena's remaining soldiers and the Goddess knew it the
moment it happened. Each attack she made at the Amazons cost
her. Without a word, Athena returned back to Olympus.
timing could not have been worse. Karma's angry, vengeful mother
waited in the Main Hall for the Goddess of Wisdom to appear. The
Amazon drew her dagger, pre-stained with hind's blood as she'd
been anticipating Athena's arrival, and prepared to throw it.
Just as she started to pull her arm back, Samsara Athanase
vanished against her will. She reappeared, dagger still in hand,
in Themiscyra's village.
if on cue, Xena walked out of the stables and lead Prince by his
reins. He looked as healthy as ever, if you overlooked the fact
that the magnificent creature lacked wings again. Before all
else, Samsara saw the Warrior Princess with Prince. The sight of
her horse trotting behind Xena, as if nothing had happened to
him, neutralized her anger at being robbed of her revenge.
She ran up the horse who whinnied and settled when she began to
stroke him. Xena smiled faintly. She'd never thought that she
would ever have common ground with the Warrior Princess.
thanked Xena while asking just how the woman had healed him. Not
long after the reunion with Prince, the Sorceress Empress made
didn't look at her niece, she simply gazed at the raven-haired
Warrior Princess. "Xena, Seriana is asking for you. She's
with Karma. Sayde will take you to them."
gave the Sorceress a strange look but nodded and left. It was
Samsara's turn to avoid eye contact. She gazed quietly at Prince
and continued to rub his neck lovingly with an occasional pat or
two. Her incessant petting seemed to convince her that Prince
was truly alive.
Sorceress Empress kept her eyes on Samsara, her stare boring
straight through the Amazon. "You went too far," Jadea
said a moment later.
know," Athanase replied softly. She still would not look
into Jadea's eyes.
you? Do you realize the burden you've placed on me? Do you
realize you've done?" The Queen inquired in a tone Samsara
had never heard her use before. She turned to face her.
you talking about?" She questioned intensely.
to her relief, the Sorceress Empress didn't get the chance to
answer. The Queen Regent rode up on her horse, glancing from
Jadea to Samsara to Prince. At last, Medea's eyes rested on
plan worked after all," she said casually, though a bit of
amusement shined in her eyes. Medea hadn't had the fullest of
faith in their plan.
celebrate yet," Jadea warned and then whistled loudly. Her
snow white mare came bounding out of the stables. The woman
grabbed the reins and pulled herself up and onto her horse.
Eastern Woman stepped out of hiding and walked toward a stunned
Athena. The Goddess of Wisdom looked at her with wide eyes.
"Who are you?" she demanded.
stopped where she was and put her hands on her hips.
"Athanase will destroy you, Athena."
Olympian responded, "I want that Rhea Ruby back. If she
doesn't relinquish it, I will be forced to attack again."
again and you give her cause to kill you. She is very
REALIZE THAT! As a mother she is only more dangerous. You tell
her that if she doesn't give up that stone--"
was interrupted by Ares. "Athens is under siege."
Athena chose to strike against the Amazons, she had divided the
family. Artemis, Apollo, Hephaestus, Aphrodite, Pyros, and
Hestia were all angered. Each God quickly organized their
faithful worshippers and launched an assault on Athens as soon
as they could.
can stop this," Mariko said. "If you desire to keep
your post as Goddess for the time being, then I suggest you
allow me range."
turned to the woman. "Who in the Hades are you to come to
Olympus and tell me that you can solve my problems?"
only want peace once I have departed."
gave her a peculiar look, not really understanding what the
woman meant. She shrugged and waved a hand, indicating her
acceptance of the deal.
Mariko left Olympus. With a fluid movement of her hand,
she erased the worshippers memories of the reason they were
there attacking the city and sent them back to their temples and
stood alone at the gates of her city.
turned to her as soon as she was done. "I cannot guarantee
that Athanase will not go after you again, but to keep her from
doing so, you must swear not to attack her."
Goddess of Wisdom looked at her. "I don't know why you're
doing this for me, but that mongrel stole Rhea's Ruby and upset
the punishment meted out for Prometheus."
can do nothing about that. You cannot kill the Great Destroyer.
Leave it be," she mounted a horse and galloped off back to