AMAZOS - a WW origin story UPDATED 01/01/2022

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AMAZOS - a WW origin story UPDATED 01/01/2022

Post by tallyho »

Ok, so you get a load of really good writers (and me) and get each one to contribute a story or two as to how Wonder Woman gets her powers/ items. Sounds interesting, yes? Well, I think so, and guess what? This is it. My name is above the door but don't let that put you off, we will have contributions from CENTURION, DR DOMINATOR9, SGWRITER, DRAVATAR , LORD GRIFFIN, VOID and ABDUCTORENMADRID so if you are a fan of any one or all of those fine fellows (and if not why the hell aren't you?) you may want to take a read of this. My own contribution will be the filler between posts and as such I am the guilty party responsible for the first few, setting the scene, but I hope you will stick with it beyond that to read the missives of these fine wordsmiths. I hope you enjoy it and I hope you post a comment if you do or don't


EDIT JANUARY 2020.

It's with profound sadness that we learned of the passing of a great contributor to the genre on this forum and a writer who made a great contribution to this collaborative work in particular. Sadly Centurion passed away before this saga has reached its conclusion. He always wrote with a light and humorous touch that made his work accessible to anyone and a pleasure to read. If anyone reading this has not sampled his work I urge you to read his ISIS story on this site. Most prefer his Fuschia Fox series, but I enjoyed the one offs he did such as ISIS and Aquagirl. But they were all good in different ways.

So on behalf of all the contributors I would like to dedicate this story to him

For Centurion - thanks for your input - you helped make this story what it is.
Wherever you are reading this from, I hope you enjoy it. Feel free to post a comment ;)
Miss you buddy.

NEW UPDATES WILL BE ON THE FIRST OF EACH MONTH


A-mazos

August 26th 479 BC on the Eve of the Battle of Platea



The old sentry pulled his cloak tighter about himself as he squinted into the night, counting the pin pricks of light in the darkness that marked the Persian encampment. A rough rule of thumb was 5 to a flame. Men that is. There were tens of thousands of campfires. Had to be around 80, 90, 100,000 men at least. He felt the nervousness of the young soldier next to him, some 18 summers old. In his fathers cuirass, with his grandfather's sword. 'Still,' he thought, 'we all started out like that'. He looked casually over his shoulder at the much smaller Greek army, some 30,000 men, laid out behind him, a sea of identical points of light. It was full of such boys. Well not quite full. Around half, But the other half...the other half was the stuff of legend. Around 5,000 battle hardened old Greek soldiers such as himself from Corinth, Athens, Thrace, Thessaly, Euobea, Phocis and a dozen other smaller states. Veterans of Darius' wars.

They had taught him what it meant to face the Greeks. And now, ten years on they would teach that same lesson to his son's army. For the rest of the Greeks were the full Spartan army, some 10,000 strong. Men of iron, as strong as their shields, as sharp as their spears. The Persians had tried to draw the Greeks to fight on the plain where their cavalry would ride them down, but Pausanias the wily Greek commander had refused battle. So they had sat here facing each other for 11 days. But it was the Greeks who had benefited from the respite, fully rested now after the long march from all parts of Greece. While the Persians were camped in a marsh, plagued by flies and no doubt disease.


'There are so many'....the boy next to him said half to himself, gripping his spear tighter.


“Same as there were yesterday...save the scouts we killed.” the old soldier who went by the name of Agatheon said tiredly.


“Will we fight tomorrow do you think ?” Palos the younger man asked.


“We are running low on food, as are they. We will withdraw tomorrow back to the Boeotia capital “ he spoke of the city of Platea. “They may try and hit us on the march. But Pausanias will be ready.” Agatheon said with finality.


“So many, though...so many...” Palos said again, licking his lips nervously. “They say, ...they say the Immortals come alive again at night....” he spoke of the Persian elite regiment. “After they are slain...”



“Do they?” Agatheon said with a sigh. “Or do the Persians just promote soldiers from the other war bands into the Immortals to always make up the numbers overnight, so in the morning their losses are made anew? You decide, boy.”


“Are they good, the Immortals?”


“The ones who have been in longer than a day are....” Agatheon answered drily. “Look. We have THE SPARTANS with us. The Persians are dead men already, they just don't know it.”


“Are the Spartans the greatest soldiers ever, Agatheon?”


The old soldier paused in thought, suddenly distant. A long moment passed before he answered.
“No, no boy, good as they are, I've fought and seen better...” he said.


“But who? Who could best the Spartans?” Palos asked.


Agatheon's eyes narrowed and he looked through Palos to a time long before. The firelight made the scar that stretched to his part-severed left ear look ragged and raw.


“They never fought each other... but I saw them fight...and I fought against them myself long ago...and they were better than Spartans...”


“Who Agatheon, who?”


“I speak of the A-mazos boy. The warrior women to the north of Thrace in Scythia. I tell of the Amazons.”


“You fought with the Amazons?!!! Are they as comely as they say ? A rival to even Spartan women or the beauteous maids of Lesbos?”


“Fairest in all the World. I have travelled most lands and not seen their like...”


“But they are of legend!!! Are they not?”


“As real as you or I boy, or the Persian lights below us. Or they were. Before we conquered them and slew them.”


“You fought them and lived to tell the tale?!!! I can scarce believe it Agatheon.”


Agatheon moved over to stand by the small watch-fire, warming his hands. "A long time ago. When I came from a different land." He sighed heavily in thought. " A long time ago...." he paused in reflection his eyes glazing over in remembrance. “We defeated them through treachery. Ambushed them. There was a king born of Thessaly who ruled a land now dead to the world, swallowed up by Thrace. Malaxios was his name...” he paused in thought, remembering events long passed. “I...I was ….I was in his army when...when he betrayed them. He was at war with a neighbouring kingdom to the south of the A-mazos lands. He offered the warrior women the one thing they desired above all else...”


“GOLD! MOUNTAINS OF GOLD! HE WAS RICH, THIS MALAXIOS, yes?!!!” Palos cried out like the excited boy he was.


“No, not gold. But he was rich in wits. He offered them that which they desired above all else. Peace on their borders. He sent the emissaries to offer them that – help him fight his war against Atraxis and in return he would guarantee peace to the south of their lands.

But he had persuaded his rival that the Amazons were a greater threat to them both. So the A-mazos marched south at the head of the joint army, Malaxios' men behind them. But when the Atraxians struck and ambushed the head of the army, Malaxios turned on them. Trapped between the two and taken by surprise, the women were slaughtered. But, by the Gods how they fought! Mennus the Atraxian king was slain and most of his army destroyed, for Malaxios was clever and he hung back and let them do most of the fighting. But still they fought like demons. None were taken alive. Well, save one. But she did not live long.”


“Were they all killed then?“ Palos said in awe.


“No. Most, but not all. A small band fled. But whilst they had marched south Malaxios had sent a force by the Dark Sea to destroy their villages and towns. Their kingdom was destroyed and the small band of survivors hunted.”


“What happened to them?”


“They are lost to time boy. Some say they were spirited away by the Gods themselves. Save one. One has stayed in the world of men, they say. There was a Princess, Diana by name. She swore to hunt down every man in Malaxios' army and kill them all. Some say she has.” He smiled. “But I am still here. And old Rennios in the Phocian contingent..In truth most died when Thrace and the Thessallians over-ran his kingdom and Malaxios fled. But every now and again the rumour arises. But rumour is a twisted bitch of a Goddess.”


“You call them 'A-mazos'... is that true then, that they cut off their left breast to fight better?”
A-mazos meant 'without a breast ' and was the term the Greeks used for the Scythian warrior women.


“No boy! Just a fireside tale. But they did strap them down in battle. Ah, old Rennios! I have not seen him in a long while. I will seek him out tomorrow on the march.” Agatheon said wistfully.


“Rennios? The old bow captain? Did you not hear? He was found this morning with his throat slit ear to ear.”


Agatheon's face clouded with rage. “PERSIANS! NO MORE! JUST THE PERSIANS! NO VENGEFUL AMAZON!” He swirled staring wildly into the night in all directions.


In the darkest shadows of the night the Amazon crouched, hidden, sword drawn, as she watched him and heard his words. And remembered.


She remembered how it all began.


She remembered everything.
Last edited by tallyho 3 years ago, edited 45 times in total.
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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin collaboration

Post by Disciple »

Holy hell, it's like everyone's doing their own WW: Year One these days. This board, DC Comics itself...

And me, with my own thing on the backburner.

I wish you all very, very well.
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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin collaboration

Post by tallyho »

Ours isn't a year one story. Its year 479 B.C. ;)

Thank you for the well wishes
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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin collaboration

Post by SGWriter »

Excellent opening Tally, the Greek background gives it that great 300ish kind of feel. Should be a fun project and excited to see what the other writers can come up with. Look forward to getting to work on my own contributions.
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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin collaboration

Post by tmon »

Excellent start!!!
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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin collaboration

Post by shevek »

Speaking of Wonder Woman origins: gotta warn people. Wonder Woman: Earth One is just terrible. I feel like I was ripped off $35 by DC with the misleading front cover (and I've no overall problem with DC..I got Starfire and Power Girl and enjoyed them immensely). If I had just waited a couple weeks, I could have read the whole thing online and known not to waste the money, The book is sold in stores sealed hardcover (unlike most softcover trades) so I couldn't look at it in the store. Got sucked in by the hype. Caveat emptor.
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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin collaboration

Post by tallyho »

Er...ok, but maybe you should post that in the lounge... any thoughts on this,good or bad?
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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin collaboration

Post by DrDominator9 »

shevek wrote:Speaking of Wonder Woman origins: gotta warn people. Wonder Woman: Earth One is just terrible. I feel like I was ripped off $35 by DC with the misleading front cover (and I've no overall problem with DC..I got Starfire and Power Girl and enjoyed them immensely). If I had just waited a couple weeks, I could have read the whole thing online and known not to waste the money, The book is sold in stores sealed hardcover (unlike most softcover trades) so I couldn't look at it in the store. Got sucked in by the hype. Caveat emptor.

Thanks for the heads up, shevek. I'll save my money for a better purpose now.
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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin collaboration

Post by tallyho »

Thanks everybody, here is the second part, I hope you enjoy it and if you do or don't please post a comment


PART2

“His men are laggards!” Aila said at Diana's shoulder as she nodded contemptuously towards Malaxios' men, the Dorlians, straddling and strung out in pockets along the column of march. They had been on the road south for three days and his men had started at the front of the column but each day saw them slip further behind. They were no match for the Amazon superior physicality. Aila just hoped they could fight better than they marched. They were lightly armed, spear men and bowmen mostly but with little armour beyond leather tunics. There was a small core of more heavily armoured hoplites. They all wore white robes over the top like the desert tribes of the far south lands, the hoplites having red trim.


Diana turned in the saddle, palm on her horse's rump, gazing at the column. It was true. Around half his men were bringing up the rear, the others spread amongst the Amazons in the centre of the column, mixed in amid the wagons, and its head was now all Amazon, marching proudly behind their queen. Malaxios' scouts at least seemed up to the task, having skillfully avoided a small Atraxian ambush and turning the tables on the attackers. Diana and the Amazon captains were on horseback, but most of the Amazon army was on foot. It was for practical reasons – the lands west of Dorlia would offer little forage and they had a shortage of pack mules and wagons. Feeding a war horse on campaign needed 3 mules to carry its food for each horse taken.


Diana felt proud of her sisters as she surveyed the mixed armies. Some 4,000 Amazons and around 6,500 or so of Malaxios' men. The Atraxian army was around 8,000 and although her sister soldiers could handle them on their own it would be bloody and costly. United now and outnumbering them, victory would be certain and a lot easier. And then peace. Peace for a generation at least, giving both Kingdoms a chance to prosper.


“I don't like this alliance...” Aila said for the hundredth time.


Diana sighed “You hate all men anyway, nothing to do with the alliance.”


“You mark my words, they will hang back for us to do the dying when the fighting comes...”


That did worry Diana too. When the battle started they would have to be wary of their new ally. But in fairness to Malaxios, he had behaved honourably towards them in the three years since he came to power, improving the sometimes tense relations and even conceding some of his disputed territory to them, to prevent war in the past. He had given them no reason to doubt him. Yet Aila was right. He may well let the Amazons weaken themselves on the Atraxian blades before committing his men.


The rear guard bothered her too. All men, and all bowmen to boot. No shield bearers among them. If the barrage of arrows didn't stop anyone riding them down, they could be easily scattered. Not much use as a rear guard. She turned in the saddle.



“ MELA!” she called. “Take a group of sisters, stand with the bowmen as rear guard.” Mela was a skilled and capable warrior who oozed confidence to those around her. She looked back as her name was called and simply nodded. She immediately started picking her captains and their detatchments of sister warriors to stand with her. When she had gathered some 200 of her fellow warriors she set off back to where the 400 or so bowmen of the rear guard were languishing. A 600 strong rearguard was ample in this terrain, still in essence friendly territory as it was the western part of Dorlia, though they had already had a few minor skirmishes. When they crossed the river into Atraxian lands, they would double it. The river, Pharancxios, was just a way ahead, and marked the border with Dorlia, but Diana was confident that they could brush aside all opposition even if the crossing was contested. They were foresaking the bridge crossings in favour of a little known ford, well off the beaten track, known to the Dorlians and having driven off the Atraxian scouts and ambush party, they would hopefully catch the enemy off guard.


An Amazon rider Diana didn't recognize, approached from the head of the column.


“Sisters!” She greeted them. “We are at the river. Scouts report nothing from the far side. The Queen will lead the invasion this hour!” she was excited, her eyes shining. She was young. “She asks her daughter to join her!” she addressed Diana.


“Whats your name?” Diana asked


“Kanda”


“We have not met Kanda, so how did you know between us two that I was the one for the message?”


“I recognised the horse from the Royal stables! “ Kanda said with a smile that brought a huge guffaw from Aila .


Diana smiled too. “ Tell the Queen I will be there presently” Kanda nodded and rode back the way she had come.


“Not joining her?” Aila asked puzzled. Diana frowned squinting in the sun as she looked around.


“No...not yet. Something is wrong here....see how the men have grouped? Clusters of bowmen surrounded by shield bearers and spearmen... “


“That is as it should be.” Aila commented.


“Yes, but...all to our left...and most seem to be facing the road not the treeline...”


“MEN!” Aila said dismissively. “No good at war”


“No. No something is wrong..” Every way Diana looked there seemed to be groups of Malaxios' men gathering, subtly forming up.


Suddenly a horn sounded off to their left. It was answered by another, away to their right. Diana's misgivings seemed to be misplaced as the male groups came quickly back into line of march, interspersing themselves with the Amazons and standing ready. But still in their clumps. A third horn behind them made them turn in time to see Mela make eye contact and nod, then urge her sisters to form up in front of the bowmen, shields at the ready.


Everyone waited. Then there was the final horn call far in front of them. And all of Hades broke lose.


She realized the horns were a clever distraction as well as a signal, sounding one after the other and creating uncertainty and paralysis, with no orders given in reaction to one before the next sounded, as well as indicating that they were surrounded and the attack could come from anywhere. Diana glanced to the rear but she need not have worried: Mela had already lead her force back, past the bowmen and formed up in a shieldwall to protect them , and to their credit the bowmen had already formed a firing line two deep, a few paces behind them. Diana knew that the enemy could not hit them in strength from all sides at once as they just didn't have the numbers– the horns could be nothing more than a handful of scouts delaying them. But being strung out on the march was a nightmare scenario. How had their Dorlian scouts not found a trace of the enemy army? It had to be a bluff.


Aila was taking charge in the centre of the column just as Mela had at the rear. But suddenly a 600 strong rear guard seemed wholly inadequate. Diana reined in her skittish horse as an eerie silence descended. It was broken only by the barked orders of the bowmen captains to their men.


“Knock arrows!” was the cry as each man was ordered to load his bow. But the tension on the arms would be heavy and Diana knew no draw and loose orders would be given until targets were sighted.
She was genuinely surprised then when Rennios the Bow Captain raised his sword high and called “DRAW!”


She looked around quickly at the distant tree line some 70 feet away on either side of the road, to see what he had seen but could see no sign of the enemy. She looked back at the rear and saw each bowman standing ready, his aim high over the ranks of Amazons at their front.


“LOOSE!” Shouted Rennios with a sweep down of his blade and to Diana's horror she saw the bowmen drop their aim and fire point blank into the backs of Mela's women. Mela's force was 2 deep, with herself at the centre of the front rank and the rear rank fell instantly, scarcely aware of what had happened. As the screams erupted all around her Mela turned bewildered. Her eyes met Dianas as she glanced about her and in an instant she realised what must have happened. But then the cry came again and the second line of 200 archers fired whilst the first reloaded.

The screams of the dying women were drowned out as a huge shout went up from all the Dorlian soldiers as they turned on their former allies up and down the column.


“LOOSE!” Barked Rennios once more and Diana could only watch helplessly as the second shower of point blank shafts cut down her sisters. Mela winced as two arrows struck her in the shoulder and chest, just managing to bring up her shield to fend off a third.


“KNOCK -DRAW -LOOSE!” Rennios barked again and the first rank of archers fired once more. With only some forty or so of her sister warriors left standing after the second volley, there were fewer targets to concentrate on and as Mela screamed in rage and tried to lead a charge six arrows hit her. Fired form only 15 feet away they plunged through her leather armour, hitting her in her thigh , her right side, one straight through her breast plate, a second in her right shoulder, one above her left knee and finally in her throat.


“MELA!” Diana cried in despair as she saw her collapse to her knees, dropping her sword to clutch at her throat. She had already started to pitch forward, her eyes glazing over as a final command unleashed the second ranks' second volley into the ten or so Amazons that were left wounded but still standing. Diana and Aila watched in horror as the bowmen fell on their victims, finishing them off with their small daggers by slitting their throats or plunging the blade into their chest.


“WE ARE BETRAYED!” Aila cried as she fended off a spear as all around her Amazons were being treacherously stabbed in the back with spear and sword. She hacked down her would-be assailant and then struggled to turn her panicked horse as someone grabbed the reins.


Diana was still in shock. In mere seconds she had seen Mela's entire force wiped out and none of them had got with in ten feet of their attackers. Now Rennios and his bowmen were turning on the Amazons in the centre of the column.


“DIANA!” Aila cried, breaking the spell as her friend hacked about her and spun her horse to ward off the enemy that swarmed around her. “WE MUST GET TO THE QUEEN! RIDE ! RIDE FOR YOUR MOTHER AT THE RIVER!!!”


Diana too started to wield her sword about her to left and right, cutting the lightly armed men around her down, with sprays of blood that tarnished their white cloaks. Some Atraxian infantry appeared then, heavily armed Hoplites, brandishing their big round shield and spears, in the tree line away to the right.


Rennios had his bowmen start to break into smaller groups of 5 or so men, running up to the individual Amazons in the centre and firing at them point blank as they were busy fending off the swords of those around them. Each passing second saw more of her sister warriors fall and so each second saw the odds shift inexorably in favour of the enemy. Diana realised with a terrible sense of dread that this battle was one that they could never hope to win.


“DIANA! YOUR MOTHER! YOU MUST SAVE THE QUEEN! GO!” Aila shouted and then screamed as a spear thrust took her in the side. She swept her sword down, severing the arm of the man that had wounded her , his hand still clutching the spear as he screamed and fell away. Her horse reared and fell to the side sending her sprawling, the spear shaft clutched in her hand as she dropped her sword and toppled to the ground.


“AILA!” Diana called as she saw her go down and rode to her side cutting down foes to left and right, as she pulled up and wheeled her steed about, forcing the enclosing enemy to back off. She just missed a sword slash that's tip nicked her hand as she raised it in protection as she swayed back out of range before returning with a lunge that took her assailant in the throat.


But though down, Aila was not slain. She pulled the spear from her side and scrabbled around for her sword in the bloody dust, dropping her shield and clutching at her wound as she sprawled on one knee. Two of her sisters formed up around her, easily dispatching the lightly armed Atraxians that closed to finish her off. All was noise and suffering as the Amazons, hopelessly outmatched, tried to form up and make a stand.


“CALLISTAE!”Aila called to one of the young captains “I CAN RIDE NO MORE! QUICKLY TAKE DIANA TO HER MOTHER! SAVE THE QUEEN! GO! GO NOW! TAKE MY HORSE”


“AILA!” the young woman cried as she saw her wounded friend, stopping in her stride to finish two of her treacherous former allies. “YOU CAN RIDE WITH ME!”


“NO!” Aila cried forcefully, teeth gritted with pain, “ I cannot. Not with this wound. And it will be hard riding if you are to get away. My place is here, with our sisters! Go, GO QUICKLY! SAVE THE QUEEN! CROSS THE RIVER IF YOU CAN, THEN HEAD NORTH EAST, MAKE FOR HOME VIA THE HIGH MOUNTAINS.TRY TO WARN OUR VILLAGES! WE MUST FLEE! THESE MISERABLE BASTARDS WILL FALL ON US LIKE WOLVES ON A CARCASS! GO! GO NOW, RIDE FOR THE QUEEN!”


Callistae helped Aila to stand, finding her a shield, as about her a small group of sister warriors massed, some sixteen or so strong, one of whom had retrieved Aila's horse. Their assailants stayed away, concentrating on the easier pickings of those Amazons still isolated and surrounded, finishing them off mercilessly one by one before moving on to the next.


“DIANA!” Aila called again, “THIS DAY IS AGAINST US! YOU MUST GO, NOW! CALLISTAE! RIDE WITH HER!”


The young captain nodded, glancing quickly at the princess with the unspoken question -”Are you ready?”


Diana nodded reluctantly, never taking her eyes from Aila as Callistae mounted Aila's horse.


“No need for words Princess...” Aila said with a sad smile. “Survive this day, avenge us all! Avenge this foul treachery! Let Dorlian mothers weep for their lost sons! Live, and kill them all!”


“I will, I swear it, before all Olympus. By all the Goddesses on high I will see their blood. I will see every man on this battlefield dead before my blade sleeps in my hand, Aila, my sister.” Diana said as the hot tears flowed down her cheeks. “You will all be remembered this day! And you will all be avenged. Upon my life I swear it will be so, by my blood!” she raised her bleeding hand to the High Gods as she looked heavenward.


“Spoken like a true Amazon Princess! NOW RIDE! SAVE THE QUEEN!” Aila said.






On high Olympus, Hera waved a hand over the watching pool and its mirrored waters cleared of the image of the Amazon massacre. She turned on her heel angrily.


“ZEUS!!!! WHERE IS HE? HE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS!!!!!!” She bellowed angrily, spinning around and knocking the offered cup of nectar from Hebe, her handmaiden.”WHERE IS HEEEEEEE????!!!!!” she screamed again, her rage uncontrollable. From every part of Olympus the female deities were hurrying to her side, a hubbub of noise as they wondered who would have invoked them all at once, which grew quieter as each Goddess came within earshot of the Queen and saw her terrible rage.


'WHERE?!!!!' she rounded on the luckless goddess standing nearest her “WHERE IS MY HUSBAND????!!!!!” It was her handmaiden.


“H-he is not here my Lady...” she said hesitantly throwing a nervous glance at Athena, who wisely knew when to stay silent.


“WHERE HAS HE GONE???!!!!! OUT WHORING AGAIN AS A SWAN OR A BULL OR SHOWER OF GOLD??!!!! IS THAT WHY HE HAS DONE THIS? BECAUSE SOME AMAZONIAN REFUSED HIM? SO, LIKE A SPOILED CHILD, HE HAS WREAKED A JUDGEMENT ON ALL OUR BRAVE FOLLOWERS? WELL?!!!!” this time she turned her full attention on Athena, who dropped her gaze in silent acknowledgement of the answer.


“ATHENA! YOU MUST HAVE KNOWN OF THIS? WHY DID YOU NOT WARN ME? WHY?”


“He forbade us, great Queen...”


US? WHO AMONG YOU KNEW OF THIS?” the Queen raged, looking about her.


With trepidation, three other Goddesses came forward meekly , heads bowed and eyes averted from the Queen's dread gaze. One was the Goddess of Delusion and Ruin, Ate. She glanced now head bowed in submission at Eris, the goddess of Strife. Eris looked guiltily at the third member of the trio


“It was Peitha's doing! She's the one!” Hissed Eris pointing a quick hand at her.


Hera nodded as she looked at them. That made sense. Zeus pressured Peitha for this. And once he controlled the Goddess of Persuasion then he could win over Ate and Eris. Ate and Peitha were key in persuading and tricking the Amazons and leading them into the ambush. Where Eris Lady of Hardship and Strife would need to be included, for her silence, to hide the deed from Hera.


Zeus. Worthless wretch. This was all his doing. Hera took a deep breath.


“And where were you, Athena, that you did not help them see through this deception? Where was your wisdom for our mortal sisters?”


“I could do nothing, Great Queen. Zeus forbade it.”


“NIKE! GO! GO TO THEM, QUICKLY!” Hera commanded the Goddess of Victory.


“It is too late, mistress Mother.”Nike said hesitatingly, “The battle is lost, there is nothing I can do for them. They are to be destroyed. It is the will of Zeus.”


“AND WHAT OF MY WILL???!!!!!!!” Hera screamed. “A blood oath, sworn before us all! YOU ALL HEARD IT!!! When is the last time this was called with a pledge of death to see vengeance done? WHEN? Often mortals invoke all the gods of Olympus but when do they invoke all the female deities at once? And swear to kill or be killed before they rest? Nike, you cannot give them victory, but go with Elpis and together you can give them the Hope of Victory. They will fight harder and buy time whilst we decide what must be done. ”

Elpis, the Goddess of Hope bowed and held Nike's hand. In an instant they had vanished, descending to the mortal realm to aid the Amazons.


“ENYO!” Hera called on a minor deity for war. “Go too, do what you can”


“I will make the Pharanxcios a river of man-blood” Enyo vowed and then disappeared.


“Zeus, my husband, goes too far this time! He takes the core of all of us! Which goddess here was not worshipped among the Amazos? Who? NONE! None, for they honoured us all. And he knows by depriving us of our followers he weakens us all. WE CANNOT LET THIS STAND!” Hera raged once more.


“My mother, we cannot save them....” said Athena, but then looked as Metis, her sister goddess of wisdom, interjected.


“No mother...we cannot save them ALL...” she gave Athena a knowing look.


“JUST SO! Athena, Metis – go! Guide them from this field of blood. Save all you can, especially the Amazon who called on us! I have plans for her. Hecate! Mistress of Witchcraft, give them a safe place to hide...”


“I will clothe an island in mist and tempest, hidden from the world of men...and the gaze of Zeus, for now. “ Hecate bowed.


“Make it so and as they only sought peace let the survivors live peacefully there for eternity. You Goddesses of Nature! Give the isle beauty in spring and stream and glade and wood and mountain! Demeter! Give them good harvest! Nemesis! You will be the instrument of the blood oath for that Princess. She will see all those men dead before her! But we will all guide her! We will give gifts to aide her. Hebe! You will grant her youth to see her quest fulfilled!
Artemis, you will work with Nemesis to help her hunt down the surviving men from this battlefield when all is done.”


“My lady, Zeus will not look favourably on such gifts, O Mother of All. He will be angered that we have spared some from the slaughter.... He will not let us each bestow a blessing on that one warrior”


“THEN DAMN HIM AS HE HAS DAMNED OUR MORTAL FOLLOWERS!” Hera shouted.


“Revered Mother! Artemis is right! He will not stand for each of us giving her aid to defy his will! He wished the Amazons destroyed. He will be in rage that we have defied him and spared them, he will not tolerate such gifts – if I grant her eternal youth she will be as us – raised up to a Goddess! He will not tolerate it.” Hebe, Goddess of Youth hissed, desperate to be believed by the Queen of the gods but anxious that a male God may over hear her and tell Zeus their plans.


Hera considered her words and calmed herself. She spoke her thoughts aloud.


“He cannot begrudge us creating the island, and making it a pleasant place. Such an idle pleasure we have always enjoyed. But you are right. As for us saving them, and placing them there....He will not stand for such endowments as you other Gods can offer. So.....What must we do? Are we to do nothing, when our loyal acolytes beseech our help? Yet we cannot aid them, he will forbid such gifts.”She spoke rhetorically, then pondered and reached a decision. “Then we will give no gifts, no blessings. She will gain them, through pain and trial. They will be prizes that she must win, challenges that she must face and overcome. A payment for her courage.

She will have the instruments of her vengeance. But she must earn them.”
Last edited by tallyho 3 years ago, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin collaboration

Post by SGWriter »

Another great chapter Tally. I really enjoyed the Goddesses getting started on saving the Amazons and conspiring with one another to work under Zeus. One of the strengths of this story has been its classical Ancient Greek feel.

Great Work :)
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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin collaboration

Post by flirty_but_nice »

I enjoyed the whole betrayal part ... I mean, we could see it coming, but still, when it did, it was exciting!
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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin collaboration

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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin collaboration

Post by Void »

Interesting stuff! This whole thing looks like a really cool, intriguing project. I really look forward to seeing how it all comes together, and how all the different styles of writing blend into one story. I sort of wish I could leap through time to the finished product and then pick it up - maybe I'll hibernate for another year?

I really enjoy what you already have - you know I enjoy how you tell a tale. I'm a total sucker for this setting and I think you bring it to life well. I love the gravitas of a lot of the dialogue. Godly proclamations are the best.
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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin collaboration

Post by tallyho »

Thank you all, hope non contributors are enjoying it so far. This post and then more of mine and its into the co-authors. Wales are just about to go and beat Belgium so I will edit this for typos on my return, so please excuse any temporary errors, and enjoy! As ever, please post any comments.(Good or bad)


PART 3

Callistae and Diana cut their way through throngs of Dorlian troops that crowded about them, as a thin screen of Atraxians advanced from left and right of the path, emerging from the treeline, widely spaced and only one rank deep. As they rode, all about them they saw their sister Amazons isolated and being cut down by bow, spear and sword, desperately forming up into little groups of two or three and trying to coalesce with another body nearby only to be separated and overwhelmed one by one, as Rennios and his bowmen systematically moved forward. Firing at point blank into the women warriors. They aimed low, at legs and feet for fear of hitting their own men but such hits were enough to cripple and maim, leaving the women helpless to fend off the blade and spear attacks they faced from all sides.
Diana was crying as she saw her childhood friends fall about her; women she had grown up with, trained with, fought shoulder to shoulder with. She saw Celene who had taught her the spear riddled with arrows before being gutted like a sow. The bulk of the Amazon force had been near the front of the army with around a thousand strung out through the rest of the column. They passed one large pocket of resistance where some 80 or so of her sisters had managed to form up with their backs to the supply wagons and were able to fend off the frontal attacks by the lightly armed Dorlians. But they were hopelessly outnumbered and the Atraxian hoplites were forming up in phalanx order 4 lines deep to charge their position. Diana had to ignore their desperate pleas for aid, knowing their fight could only end in one outcome as she rode desperately for the Queen, her mother.


As they neared the river they could see that the head of the column had fared much better, being a much more coherent group. They had still lost around 600 or so that she could see but the remainder were solid, well drilled and gathered with their backs to the river., their shields locked and ready.Their situation was desperate, but at least they were able to fight. Riding hard she cut a way through the surprised ambushers from behind, scattering their ranks. Here the bulk of the Atraxian army had fallen on them and around 4000 or so now ringed the women, with around 2,000 Dorlians who were noticeably hanging back. The Amazons here had clearly taught their treacherous ally a lesson as the ground was strewn with white cloaked soldiers now swathed in red where their blood had been shed . But Diana knew that once the Dorlians and their allies had finished with the rest of the column, then another few thousand would come down on this desperate group.


There were bodies of all three sides everywhere but to Diana it was clear that this was not the full Atraxian army of some 8,000, even allowing for perhaps a thousand hoplites hitting the rest of the column; more around two-thirds of it. She recalled Aila's words. The rest must be hitting the Amazon homeland even now. She felt more angry tears come as she thought of the old and young left to defend the villages and towns. They would be no match for an army of some 3000 or so. They would not let themselves be taken. Better death.



The Goddesses appeared on the battlefield, invisible to those mortals around them.


“Come, sister.” Elpis held Nike's hand tightly and stared into her eyes intently. “ Let us touch their hearts.”


“No. Wait.”the Goddess of Victory waved her other hand and all time stopped. The noise of the battle ended in sudden, eerie silence as all the protagonists were frozen in time. Nike looked about her. “It saddens me so to see this...It angers me to give them false hope of victory...where there is none to be found...it is deception upon deception...”she flicked an angry look at Ate, the Goddess of Deceit who had helped lead the Amazons to this end.


“Judge me not harshly sweet sister...” Ate said sadly. “This did ache my heart also...but it was the will of Zeus.”


“We will deceive them no more. They have loyally followed us all, they do not deserve such an end.”


The Morai, three triplet sisters, known as the Fates appeared, the Weaver of the strand of Life,Clotho; its Measurer; Lachesis and its Cutter; Atropos.


“You cannot change their fate. The God of Gods demands all die here on this battlefield!It is his divine wish! It must be so.” All three Morai said in unison.


“And so it will be. All who remain here will die as Zeus demands. But not all Amazons will stay here. We owe it to Hera our Mother to save them.” Athena said.


“We dare not sister... we might save but a handful from the slaughter, if we even risk that!” Nike said


“A handful...” Athena looked at her hand, splaying and turning her fingers in thought.” Then a handful we shall save!” she declared with a smile.


“To what end, Athena? A handful who will wither and die as crones on Hecate's hidden isle? They would favour an end here, now, in battle! Let it be so!” Enyo, the battle Goddess uttered.


“No. How many is a handful in this realm of men?” Athena asked, though she knew the answer


“Five ..ten ..maybe a few more...”Ate answered bewildered.


“Are we not the Gods of Greece? Do we not hold larger dominion than mortal man? We too have five fingers....let us save a hundred for each finger on our hand...”


“FIVE HUNDRED?!!! Zeus would never stand for such defiance!”


“Perhaps...but there are ...what 20 hamlets and villages of the Amazos? Let us save one elder and four young from each...that will make a hundred. And from this field of blood let us save a hundred each- we who knew of this and hid it from our Mother. Ate, Peithia and Eris will make amends, aye and I too.
We will save 400 from this field of blood. Though they will be hunted and pursued in the days to come...a hundred of their number will fall...such that three hundred will reach the Witchy Isle of the Dark Mistress and salvation, where the 5 from each village will reach them unmolested.. Then, when Zeus in his anger asks how many we saved we can answer in truth fewer than a handful Lord. You will tell him Peithia, with your tongue of silk and words of gold, you will let him see it is a paltry number and they should live. We will not tell him it is a Goddess' handful we speak of.”


“But how can we guide those from the villages?” Enyo asked.

Athena looked to her left and gestured. “We have the fastest of all the Gods here with us. Swifter than even Hermes. For nothing can out fly Rumour. “ She smiled at Phema, who bowed graciously. She had another name 'Ossa', which meant a pair of eyes. And she was often known as Ossa Phema, watchful Rumour; Rumour, who witnesses all.


“I will guide them as a whisper on the wind. They will reach safety” Phema said. “Even now, word is spreading. Shepherd boys have heard the great cries of war. They have told their fathers. They have told their wives. Their wives will tell their neighbours and so my fame grows...” she said with an air of triumph.


“I will travel with your words sister.” said Elpis the Goddess of Hope.


“I feel your burden upon me ,Ate..” Nike said turning to the Goddess of Deceit. “To give false hope of victory is for them to die with deceit in their hearts once more.”


“We cannot give them victory. This day is lost my sister.” Nemesis spoke. “We cannot give them the betrayer, Malaxios, for our sisters the Fates say he is for the Princess another day” she cast a glance at the strand of Fate that was Malaxios' life being spun by Clotho, who first shook her head to deny them his life then nodded in confirmation. He was to be Diana's.


“But what of the other King, here Mennus?” Enyo asked


“His life is long...” Lachesis said stretching another strand out.


“No more” said Atropos who cut the strand with her shears well short of the end, causing her sister to hiss in disdain.


“Then whilst we cannot give them victory...we can give them A victory” Nike said with a smile. “We can give them the head of Mennus”


Hebe the handmaiden appeared, looking around at the frozen scene of horror about her.


“Maiden Goddess! You who favour Great Beauty! Leave this place of dead flesh!” Hissed Ate.


“She is right! There is nothing here for you! There is no beauty here but the stench of Death and dark decay!” Athena said.”And youth lost!”


“Hebe, Goddess of Youth and Great beauty, is here by the will of Hera. I bring a message. A God's handful it shall be. It is her will.” Hebe said with tears in her eyes as she looked on the slaughtered bodies of all sides.


Nike smiled at Athena “Then 500 shall leave this field and the Amazon lands! And 400 of them shall make it to Hecate's isle of Magicks.”


Athena smiled too, in relief. “If they are to escape this bloody field they will need a distraction, before the men finish them off. Mennus' death will serve our aims”


“How may we give it to them sisters?” Nike asked. “Mennus stays well back from the ranks, all his men between the Queen's army, the Princess Diana and himself...”


“Malaxios' men linger along the column, letting the Atraxians face the most Amazons. He has still not brought up his bow men to the head of the column, and still he lets some Amazons live along it in their small groups.” Athena said.


“The one called Aila still lives...” Lachesis said, holding her strand of life. It was frayed and worn near its end where the spear thrust had claimed her earlier. Though still alive, it was a mortal wound she suffered.


Nike smiled again “She has always honoured me. Now I shall honour her with a noble death”
She turned to Athena. “ The few Atraxians along the column are forming up. Let Aila's band fight through to the larger group at the wagons NOW, before they are ready to charge. Bid Malaxios' still stay his hand. Then let them take Mennus”


Athena smiled “There is wisdom in your words, sweet sister.”


“You change the Fate of mortals too much this day! “Clotho said, tutting in a disparaging way.


“Then let it not be at our bidding. Let us give Aila and her Captains the choice of their Fate as it was to be...” Nike said.


“Slaughtered at the wagons by bow and spear...” Atropos said snipping her shears in the air for emphasis.


“And the death we can offer them, that some of their sisters and the Queen might escape” Nike finished.


“We know what they will choose...” Ate said


“BUT IT IS THEIR CHOICE, NOT OUR COMMAND..” Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos said together and nodded contentedly.


“Go to Aila” Athena bade Nike. “ I shall whisper the plan in Malaxios' ear to let the Amazos take Mennus”


“WAIT!” said Hebe. “There is more to My Queen's message. Ares walks abroad. We are in his house here, on this field of war. Watch for him and guard your words amongst yourselves, lest Ares hears and tells Zeus our plan.”


“Ares will be where the battle is hottest – he bathes in the blood of those who die at the river. Hebe - he is fond of you. I bid you to flatter him, praise his lordliness and to keep him away from earshot of our machinations.” Hebe nodded. “To your tasks, sisters.” Athena commanded.


Nike and several of the others darted through the frozen throng until they came first upon Aila's small group. Only some eight or so were left. Nike waved her hand and the Amazons became unfrozen.


“NOBLE SISTERS! HEAR ME!”


Aila turned at the shout, still clutching her wounded side to see Nike in her radiant glory, with other Goddesses standing behind her.


“SACRED VICTORY! THE GODS HAVE HEARD OUR PRAYERS!” Aila said smiling with tears of joy, a look that turned to one of horror, the smile frozen on her face as, as one, the Goddesses turned their faces half away, shunning her gaze. It was the Greek sign of rejection


Nike spoke , her body still facing Aila, but her gaze elsewhere. “ We come not with open arms, but our faces half away. As observers we approach. We have not come to save.”


The words were like a second spear in Aila's side. She gnashed her teeth then set them on edge, hissing as she spoke “Then the Gods of Greece are cruel indeed to mock us so. Begone! Let us die abandoned by those we served so well” Aila spat bitterly.


“HOLD YOUR TONGUE MORTAL!” Nike bellowed in rage. “Remember to whom you speak!”
Nike faced her. “You are to die this day. You know this. It is the will of Zeus that your Amazon nation be ended. So it will be. But we give you this. An ending to burn brighter than the stars, such that all Greece will tell its tale and all men will sleep in fear of meeting the Amazos blades! Fight your way to the wagons where more of your sisters make a stand. There you will command, Aila The Brave. Before the Atraxians charge for a fifth time let your blades cut through the White Cloaks. Let them seek out the Atraxian King, Mennus. And in his arrogant triumph spit his men and take his head. This for your loyal homage, we grant you. The Queen and some hundreds will escape, they will found a new nation on an island hidden from men. And there they will prosper. This we give you, this day.”


“What of Diana the Princess? What will be of her? Does she still live?”


Nike smiled. “She will live and be a protector for her people.”


“That is fitting.” Aila nodded in relief.


“But the choice must be yours.” Nike said. “Death here is certain. But it will be quick, finished with bow and spear. But a bloodier, more painful death will await you all there.”


“There is no decision to make!” Aila scoffed.


“But there is. No gift of the gods comes without a price, a sacrifice. Who among you would lose all that you are, for your sisters?” Nike asked.


“EACH ONE OF US!” said Liobe hotly, a young Amazon famed for her spear throw. She had her left breast strapped down to aid her aim.


“Then, Speaker, it shall be you.” Nike turned to face her. “Nothing in the world of mortal man comes without a price. We give you the head of Mennus. You give us your lives. But it is not enough. You, Speaker, will give all that you are. You will die in pain and shame at the hands of your enemies, you will lose all that you hold dear as an Amazon.”


“I ...I do so gladly, a sacrifice for my Sisters” Liobe said swallowing hard as she tried to put on a brave face.


“They will not know of this sacrifice. When we restart the slaughter they will forget. You will be seen to die for nought, as any screaming woman. You will be stripped and violated and bloodied. You will die screaming in pain with the laughter of your foe ringing in your ears. You will be helpless and ashamed, raped before the eyes of your sisters who can do nothing to save you. When you die your body will be mutilated. You will wander the Underworld sightless, unknown by those who loved you in Life and unable to call out even your name. There will be no glory for you in the end of your life and only pain in the Afterlife.”


Liobe looked at Aila, a pained look on her face. She could not speak up but nodded tearfully in acceptance.


“NO! LET IT BE ME!” Aila said, but Nike shook her head.


“The deal is made. The price must be paid” Ate said.


The Morai nodded. “It must be so.” they said in unison.


Nike waved a hand “The bargain is struck. Back to your places, you Amazos. Aila the Brave you will remember what you have to do but nothing else. Liobe of the Spear you alone will remember all we say here, and endure the pain of knowing what can never be, and live the fear of knowing what is to come.”
Nike turned to the other Goddesses. “ Now sisters, we aid the Queen”


“Wait!” said Aila. “We will all forget and only Liobe will remember what she has given for us all? Only she will remember these moments here, and what you have said?”


“It will be so” Mnemosyne Goddess of memory nodded.


“Then come, sweet, brave sister of mine. Let us embrace and remember, you, now, this love and gratitude we all give you that we will forget in life.” she hugged Liobe , who wept in silence. “Are the Gods of Greece not cruel indeed?” she whispered in her ear. “When you wander in the afterlife, remember this moment of love we all have for you, and know that though we are doomed to forget, you will remember for us all, Liobe Bravest of the Brave” One by one, the other Amazons embraced her before each returned to their positions. At a nod from Athena, all resumed instantly their former stance, frozen in place.


“Now.” said Nike. “We aid the Queen”
Last edited by tallyho 5 years ago, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin collaboration

Post by DrDominator9 »

Such a sad sacrifice by Liobe, and noble beyond reckoning. I salute you, Tallyho, for such an excellent start to this series. All hail the warrior author!

(psst, did I say that like you wanted, TH?) :D
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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin collaboration

Post by Void »

I'm appreciating how involved the classic lore is here, and I think the dialogue matches it really well. Some interesting philosophical issues are creeping in here to do with agency and freedom for the afflicted amazons. To be treated like a pawn on a board, and to be so very much at the mercy of 'Gods' - it would be enough to put a chip on anyone's shoulder! There's something so emasculating about fate, and that goes triple if it is written for you by aloof beings from above. Good stuff to keep in mind for the character development to come.
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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin collaboration

Post by Abductorenmadrid »

Stay strong, brave Liobe. Indeed how strange are the ways of the gods, and how cruel, TallyHo. Nicely done :)
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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin collaboration

Post by SGWriter »

I loved the Goddesses all scheming and working together in this part. Agree with Void here its tough to see the Amazons basically pawns in the games of the Gods. Like he said, it gives the whole story a classic Greek feel.

Fantastic job Tally :)
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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin collaboration

Post by tallyho »

Ok so this is the last BUT ONE of my bits other than an intro piece to Centurions effort IN TWO months and it is a bit of a monster. I was in two minds whether to split it or not but I couldn't settle on a good spot without (for me) disrupting the flow of the narrative. So please don't be daunted by its size, I hope you stick with it or just read it in small doses just to get to the good stuff my colleagues are going to post after this. There is an awful lot in this part but it is setting things up for the story to come, so it needed to be as it is. Anyway I hope you all enjoy it and please post any comments


Part 4


“HOLD STEADY SISTERS!” Aila shouted to her small group.


“What do we do Aila?” cried Carraxia a veteran, at her shoulder. “ALL IS LOST!”


“The bowmen spare us...they fire long or short...or straight at our shields..they toy with us...the Dorlians are letting the Atraxians fall on our spears! Malaxios betrays two allies this day!” Aila laughed.


She looked along the line of march, where after the initial slaughter it was noticeable that it was the thin screen of Atraxians that had emerged from the trees that were now doing most of the fighting. They were winning, and still picking off isolated Amazons, but they were taking heavy losses in doing so. They were young, inexperienced soldiers and they were receiving a baptism of blood.


“Carraxia! The Atraxians are forming up again! We make for the group of sisters by the wagons, fight our way through before they are ready to charge! Stand ready by that mule...” she pointed a few feet away to where a panicked mule was braying, still caught in the harness of the small cart he had been pulling which was overturned and wrecked on its side. “Cut it part lose from the traces, when I give the word cut the reins and we will drive it into the half formed phalanx, it will break it up then we can finish them and head for the wagons!”


The other Amazons closed tightly up around Aila, as the Greek men stood some thirty feet away, having been beaten back in three bloody attacks with heavy losses. Sporadic arrows flew towards the women but many overshot or landed short.


Up and down the battlefield it was now isolated Atraxian soldiers who found themselves cheered and lauded and clapped on the back as four or five Dorlians would surround them, hailing their prompt arrival and the joint victory, before making sure that no one could see their act. And when the little knot of men dispersed there was one more Atraxian with his throat cut on the ground as the Dorlians moved on to the next victim.


“Dorlia is doomed this day. No friend nor foe can ever trust them again. They are a small state and now will have no allies. And no foe will trust them to honour any truce. Thrace or Thessaly will swallow them whole as a northern colony. They are as doomed as us, but do not even know it” Aila declared as she looked across the bloody field of Ares.
“Are we ready?”she glanced over her shoulder “NOW!”


Carraxia cut the final straps of the harness and slapped the mule's rump with the flat of her sword as she screamed at it. It had the desired effect and the animal bolted towards the two lines of Atraxian heavy infantry, with the clutch of Amazons hot on its heels. A few quicker ones in the front rank lowered spears but the beast swerved to avoid them, cannoning into a few of those who were too slow to lower their weapons. The Dorlian bowmen and soldiers let the Amazons go, watching the women break towards the infantry with just a few peppered shots in response.


The mule bucked and reared and fell as it was speared in the shoulder but the damage had been done as it sprawled and kicked out, its body landing across some of the levelled spears as it fell. The cohesion of the soldiers was broken and as the Amazons surged towards them the front rank barely had chance to draw swords before Aila and the others hacked them down. As the second rankers tried to lower their spears they realized that the women were within the length of the shaft. Many of the women just grasped the wood as it came down and pushed it aside- and then the man's life was theirs to take.


The centre of the two rank line was cut to pieces and panic filled the hearts of the inexperienced soldiers. Those not directly opposing the women dropped their spears, drew swords and backed away. Others were more obviously afraid and just turned and fled.


Aila and the women broke through and kept on running, though her injured side slowed up the Amazon captain. They made for the throng of bodies around the largest group of Amazons at the wagons but as they ran she fell further towards the rear. One of their number was speared in the back and as Aila became the last of the little group Liobe slowed to her pace and turned, using her shield to protect them both. Carraxia took the lead and after they cut down or drove off the few scattered soldiers between themselves and their goal they reached the backs of the Atraxians who ringed the wagons. They ploughed into them with total surprise, hacking at the exposed backs of the soldiers before them, slashing the backs of knees and hamstrings to bring them down before either moving on or slicing into the exposed throats. It was brutal, gutter fighting, without honour – it was all about survival. As their running progress slowed Aila and Liobe caught up with the little group but as Liobe turned to face the immediate threat of the men behind her a Dorlian arrow took her in her left thigh. She screamed and sagged but straightened to kill the terrified Atraxian soldier who stood wide eyed before her. But the gap between her and the group widened. The Dorlians and the Atraxians that they had broken through now started to pursue them but their shouts and cries made the Atraxians in the throng around the wagons think a much larger force of Amazons was at their rear, rather than the handful that was the reality. They panicked , and started to break, pushing against each other desperate to escape the blood curdling cries of the rampaging women. Sasso, an Amazon from the northern hills supported Aila and helped her on but they were both only able to escape as Liobe continued to cover them, beating aside threatening spears and arrows with her shield at the risk of exposing herself. Her defence was fierce and ferocious and soon her pursuers had learned to keep a wary distance from the frenzied woman who seemed possessed by the Gods themselves.

Liobe, for her part knew what was coming for her ultimately, as the words of the Goddesses still rang in her ears; the tears that streaked her face were from her pain, but not because of the wound. She was afraid, and bitter too, at her treatment from those she had always served loyally. Fame in battle was the ultimate accolade for an Amazon, and knowing that no matter what feats she performed this day she would be forever forgotten by her sisters as the will of the gods demanded was a harsh notion for her to bear. But it was the knowledge that her sister Amazons would revile her, shun her in the Afterlife, that was gnawing at her soul. Well, this day was to be her last. And now all that was to happen would be beyond her control, she could do nothing to change her fate except fight until she could fight no more. But the arrow through her leg was hampering her progress as she tried to back away towards her sister warriors. Each second that passed left her slightly weaker, meant more effort was needed to raise her shield, to strike with her sword. She knew as she stumbled backwards on her wounded leg that the end couldn't be far away, She risked a half glance over her shoulder. Aila and Sasso were some eight feet ahead of her, but the Atraxians around the wagons had recovered from their initial surprise and were now starting to converge on the group as they cut their way through. A huge enemy soldier suddenly blocked her view, running up behind the two women and lifting an enormous axe, high above his head. Liobe didn't hesitate and turned swiftly, hurling her sword with tremendous force the five feet or so into the back of the big Atraxian soldier. It struck him where the neck met the shoulders and he was dead before he hit the ground, falling like a huge oak, pitching forward onto his face in utter silence. Sasso and her charge were completely oblivious to the threat that had so nearly claimed them and the pair limped on., still making for the larger group. But Liobe was now without a sword and with her back to her attackers. She screamed and winced as a second arrow struck her high on her left shoulder. She felt the strength leave her arm and her shield sagged, suddenly too heavy to hold. She turned back and raised it with both arms just in time to stop two more arrows that thudded into the tough leather hide over the metal fronted wood of the shield.


She continued to edge backwards, now slower than ever, but stumbled as her heel hit the body of the big axeman she had felled. Her wounded leg gave out and she fell heavily. A soldier darted in to finish her off but as she still had her shield she gripped its rim and jabbed it forward breaking his legs just above his knees. She felt the satisfying crack as his femur shattered and as he pitched forward screaming to land beside her she had snapped his neck before the scream died in his throat.


She struggled up onto one knee grabbing the spear he had carried and using it to hoist herself upright. She glanced backwards again but all she saw were the backs of the soldiers who had closed behind the retreating Sasso and Aila.. She was cut off and wounded, surrounded and barely able to stand now. But again she had a spear. And was she not known among the Amazons as 'Liobe of the Spear'? She smiled as she looked at the cedar shaft supporting her weight, her temple resting against her hand that held it. It felt good to hold the smooth warm wood in her hand. She rallied, standing unaided as she levelled the spear at the attackers that ringed her.


“Who among you seeks death? TAKE A STEP TOWARDS MY BLADE AND MEET HADES!” She roared. She half turned and lunged towards those standing behind her, but it was a feint to entice forward those to her front. She had dropped to a crouch, and spun holding the spear shaft in two hands at its end, her spear point slitting the throat of the one luckless soldier who had strode too far forward.


“THE BITCH! WE'LL MAKE HER PAY! TAKE HER ALIVE!”barked one of her assailants.


“This is your last chance to surrender....No? Then count your lives by seconds!” she spat as she lunged forward. She had killed four of them before she was finally overwhelmed when, weakened by her wounds, a swifter soldier dodged her strike and another gripped the spear shaft and six of his comrades closed in on her. She felt rough hands grab her arms and wrist, the spear wrestled from her grasp as she struggled before a sickening blow to the back of her head finally robbed her of all strength.


Aila and Sasso were oblivious to what had happened behind them and as the Atraxians rallied and closed around them they still would not have made it but for a sally by some 20 or so of their sisters at the wagons. The soldiers who were facing them were unsettled by the commotion to their rear and as the women raised a shout and charged they broke, giving ground until the handful of Aila's band broke through and the sally party formed two flanks of ten around them, holding their ground as the lead warriors in Aila's party turned to protect Sasso and her charge, suddenly running no more, but cutting their way back towards them. The enemy parted like water, with no stomach for the ferocity of their charge and Aila and Sasso gratefully stumbled into the protection of the group and safety behind Carraxia's shield.



A cheer went up among the band of women at the wagons that carried to the other group at the ford. Diana heard it and her questioning glance as to its cause was soon answered when Hallane, a young lookout with the keenest of eyes skipped lightly up on to a wagon wheel, paused for an instant on one leg there as she glanced to the East and then landed back nimbly on her feet. as she jumped back to the ground. A few seconds later an arrow cut through the air where she had stood for a view over the throng.


“Our sisters to the South East still fight on by the wagons – some more made it through to their company” she reported.


“Can we not break through to them?” Hyppolyta the Queen asked but Hallane shook her blonde head.


“Too far. Five, six hundred yards off.” she said dismissively, in an off hand manner.


“YOU ADDRESS YOUR QUEEN!!!” Lammassa, the Queen's huge bodyguard bellowed. She was 6ft 2inches at a time when a tall man was 5ft 10.


“F-forgive me your Majesty” Hallane said abashed and dropped to one knee, dipping her head. “I forgot myself”


“Enough. Rise child. Your Queen has led you to slaughter. I do not deserve your respect any longer...” Hyppolyta said.


“MOTHER!” Diana cried “This was not your doing! This is not your fault! We all thought this war would gain us peace! We all believed Malaxios' lies. You cannot blame yourself!”


“I am your Queen. I am the one who brought this upon you. This IS my fault. I had hoped that you would have a better teacher to show you how to rule child. Perhaps it is best that this will now never come to pass.”


“Do not speak so, mother. We are not dead yet and we are Amazon. I have sworn to see each man here dead by all the goddesses of Olympus– and I will! Diana said vehemently.


Unseen on the ethereal plane, the Goddesses of Greece stood among the women. Nike turned to her sister Goddess Athena.


“Whisper words of wisdom in their ear, guide them in thought and deed that they will make Hecate's isle.”


“Wait. What will we call this place they must flee to? They must know where they are to go, even though wind and trail will guide them there.” one of the others answered


“Its creation is restitution for a divine wrong. Let it be named after the Lady of Divine Justice. Let it be 'Themiscyra' after our lady Themis” Athena smiled


Themis, the Goddess of Divine Justice nodded graciously.


“Mark this! ARES IS HARD BY! Hebe could not delay him! We cannot speak our message to the Queen. He will hear us! “Athena said, alarmed.


The 9 Muses appeared, manifesting themselves was a rare occurrence for the Goddesses of the Arts.
When they spoke they alternately uttered the words between themselves


“Ares-”
“-is-
“-a-”
“-brute.”
“He-
“-understands-”
“-not-”
“-the-”
“ -finer-”
“-things in life” they all finished in unison


“We “
“-have-”
“-no- “
“-place-”
“-here.”.
“-He”
“-will-”
“-ignore-”
“-our-”
“presence.” they all finished


Then each spoke a sentence.

“We will visit them.”

“We will convey your message”

“It will be our message”

“Borne upon our soft words!”

“They will remember”

“They will understand what they must do”

“They will act as we wish it”

“But we must appear before them”

“You must make us manifest”

“It must be so” - they all spoke.


Nike looked questioningly at Athena who nodded imperceptibly. Nike then waved her hand, freezing all but those around the queen


The Muses appeared before Hyppolyta, who listened in stunned silence as they sang their lament for the Amazons, each alternating a line, dancing and spiralling around the warriors as they half-sang, half -spoke their strange, sad poetic ballad.


“Here you stand with your own kin,
At the end of everything!
Finally your dream is gone!
Nothing left to build upon.


You, who came here with all your friends!
Leaving behind those age-d in years!
Leaving the young in floods of tears!
For a prospect of peace that would never end.!


Yet it all ends in blood, this very afternoon!
Zeus himself has sealed your people's doom!
Your nation here was paradise too soon!
Now there seems for you no miracle in ruin!


All this landscape is your hell
Grim as the reaper, as mournful as a bell!
With a sea of bodies where your nation fell!
And none to know your tale but those that WE tell.


Here side by side, lie the brave and the scared
Here lies the truth for those who hoped and dared
To trust a liar with the peace they above all craved
But here is a new truth: that some might yet be saved


Your nation will rise like the autumn moon
Your lament now will become a happier tune
But move with haste for you must act soon
Now there IS to be a miracle from this ruin


Take those that you can, across the ford
The water will not run where once it poured
Take those brave enough to leave all that you knew
Take those with the courage to start again, anew


Head for the hills to the North, then West
To the port of Thrapsis without any rest
Take ship for Themiscyra, not found on man's charts,
Pray you listen to us, The Nine Ladies of the Arts


The wind and waves will steer you true
To an island sanctuary to start anew
A haven of hope, an island of peace
A place unknown to the men of Greece.”


One of the nine stepped forward, Calliope, the muse of epic poetry who had started the song, and now she spoke simply “We are but poor in gifts and aid we can offer you; our help for you will be that you are remembered in song and fable. Other Goddesses have heard your blood oath Diana of the Amazos. You will reach safety if you have listened wisely to our words. There, once safe, years will pass in peace, for a time. While this land will be steeped in blood.
Kingdoms will fall and kings fall with them - but you will rise, stronger from this ocean of sorrow...” she looked about her at the bodies of the dead and dying. “But remember your blood vow. Here lies the pride of the Amazon nation – humble as the dust. But the day will come when you will show the Greeks that you are proud again. You will be summoned in time , to fulfill your oath. No man here will live his natural course.”she pointed to Diana.
“YOU WILL BE THE SHEARS OF FATE THAT CUTS SHORT THEIR STRAND OF LIFE.
YOU WILL BE THE HAND OF NEMESIS.
YOU WILL BE THE MAKER OF THE SLAIN.”


Hyppolyta looked anxiously at her daughter, unaware of the details of Diana's pledge, her face a frown of incomprehension.


“I have sworn to kill them all Mother. Would that I could kill them this day, before Phoebus Apollo's light fades...” she looked at the Sun, then turned back to face the Muses “ I am ready now.”


“Now is not your time. Our gift is that your tale will be sung and told through the ages. This we do, as this is in our power. But other Goddesses...they will bestow more tangible gifts of vengeance upon you. Great skills and artifacts await you, Diana of the Red Hand.” the Muse looked to where the cut had bloodied Diana's shield arm. “You will be a protector for your people.”


They bowed graciously and then vanished, leaving the Queen and her entourage wide eyed in shock, as the silent battlefield remained frozen for an instant before springing back to life with its roaring tumult of noise, of sword on shield and the screams of the dead and dying. The noise broke the spell.


“You heard the Gods Mother! We must flee! It is their will that we escape this slaughter house. We must make haste” Diana said urgently.


“Y-yes... it grieves me to leave my people, yet it is the will of the Gods...” Hyppolyta said. Then she regained her composure. “Gather the wounded! Quickly! We mus-”


“NO MOTHER.” Diana said forcefully. “We cannot take the maimed and the crippled. If we are destined by the Fates to start again, we will need the young and the strong, - and the wise” she touched her mother's arm. “Those wounded must stay behind. Callistae! Gather what horses you can and pick your best riders – we will sweep the far bank clear -” she gestured to where around fifty or so bowmen stood peppering the Amazons intermittently with arrows, with another few hundred or so spearmen and hoplites to protect them. “Find what bows you can and suppress their fire whilst we charge. We will break through and ride west, They will think we flee but we will circle around to the North then sweep down on them and clear the river bank. Then Mother, you and those who can, may cross. We will strap-saddle the horses-” she referred to the Amazon practice of hanging leather straps from the horses' saddles – it meant that up to 4 warriors could trot alongside a single horse and rider, traveling much further and faster than they could running purely on foot over short distances. The horse didn't get tired supporting the weight as the runners were basically clinging on for added momentum between their own strides, rather than actually being carried. They needed to be fit and it was a practiced art – but they were Amazons, and it was a technique that they learned from the age of 12. Diana continued “- we can rotate the riders for the runners to rest every ten minutes.” It meant each runner would have a brief breather whilst the riders changed, as would the horse. It meant the most anyone had to run for would be an hour, with 6 rest stops in that span; they should be able to cover 6-10 miles an hour easily depending on terrain and keep up that pace for several hours.


Lammassa looked at the Queen. “She is your daughter” she said simply and Diana's heart surged with pride.


“You are right my daughter, and wiser than your years. Gather those able to travel fast and hard. I would wish to stay here for all the gold of Midas, yet it is not to be” the queen said bitterly.


“Those Goddesses who sang our lament...they were the Muses?” Lammassa said in wonder


Hyppolyta nodded, angrily.”Our deaths are to be sung about...where is Nike? Where is Athena? The Goddesses we need today desert us. But the Muses...the Muses will sing of our end...” she laughed bitterly.




On the ethereal plane, Nike made to reveal herself but Athena held her. “We do not want to attract Ares' attention. Besides...the Amazon Queen is right”




Aila winced as her spear wound was bound. It would do little good, she knew, but after the hectic scramble to the wagons she was glad of the respite. Only 5 of them had made it, and all had suffered some wounds in doing so.


“I do not see Liobe...” Sasso said.


Aila sighed. “ I lost sight of her..I think she was ahead of us...”she swallowed her grief. “No matter. We will see her soon enough.”


Sasso smiled, then looked over the battlefield. “These Dorlians dally. We should try and fight through to the others at the river...” but she said it without conviction. They both knew they were too few and the distance too far.


“Who commands here?” Aila asked.


“Makkra” someone called out.


Aila sought her out. They gripped forearms in the traditional greeting. “We must try and reach the others, just as we reached you...”


Makkra shook her head. “It is too far...we will not make it, too many in the way. We are barely a hundred here. And more fall each minute”


“To wait here is to be slain by the bow. There is no honour in such a death.” Aila said, grimacing as a surge of pain gripped her from her side wound.. “How many times have they charged you?”


“We have beaten off four attacks...” Makkra answered proudly. “Many mothers will mourn their dead sons this night”.


“Soon Rennios and his bowmen will be here...we will not stand past a fifth assault. Oh what I would give to slay that snake Malaxios...” Aila said almost abstractly.


“How about his brother serpent? Mennus of the Atraxians sits high and proud a-horse, yonder...” Sasso gestured to where the Atraxian king was sitting calmly looking at the surrounded Amazons at the river. He was at the back of his army, well screened from any charge Hyppolytas forces might make. But he seemed oblivious to those at the wagons who were behind him.


“Spread the word as swift as Rumour's wings – we will break out, but not for the others, we would never make it, it is too distant. But Mennus is half that distance. Makkra, get your best spears. If we unhorse him we have a chance.”


Suddenly a shout was raised from off to the left, the way Aila's group had come.


“AMAZONS! AMAZONS! IS THIS WHAT YOU ARE?” a big Dorlian Captain that Aila recognized as Talgartha shouted. As she watched, the frontline parted and a body was dragged out by the elbows and upper arms. It was limp and beaten and bloodied. Talgartha stood behind her and pulled back on her hair, matted dark with her blood. It was Liobe.


“AMAZONS! THIS IS YOUR BOAST? THAT YOU RATHER DEATH THAN DISHONOUR? WELL, LOOK YOU UPON THIS WHORE! THIS IS THE FATE THAT AWAITS YOU ALL!!!”


The two soldiers holding her arms dragged her to the ground pinning her there as others spread her legs, holding her ankles as her leather skirt was ripped from her body, her leather bodice was torn from her as rough hands grabbed her breasts and her thighs.


As she was man-handled Liobe screamed as the pain from her many wounds was agitated. But to her watching sister Amazons it seemed as if she screamed from fear. They carried high and shrill above the noise of the battle at the river.


For the next twenty minutes Liobe was brutally raped by four of the Atraxians, her screams turning to sobs as they mercilessly drove deep into her.


Sasso gripped her sword tighter and gritted her teeth at the screams, ”GET ME A SPEAR!”but Aila held her arm.


“Stand. We need our spears for Mennus” she said, then raised her voice to reassure the others. “HOLD FAST! THEY SEEK TO GOAD US INTO BREAKING RANKS! THEY HAVE NO AMAZON! FOR NO REAL AMAZON WOULD LET THEM TAKE HER ALIVE!” she spat contemptuously before mumbling under her breath. “Liobe of the spear...you betray your race with your cries..” she said, unaware that it was Liobe who had guarded herself and Sasso as they fled.


When they were done, they crowded around the limp carcass, laughing and jostling each other. They obscured the body from view to the remaining Amazons but then raised a shout as the bloodied rags that were Liobe were tossed into the air with blows raining down on her as she landed. They repeated the act again and again and on the third time Liobe started to scream once more. It seemed she had only passed out under the duress. Her screams only drew more laughter.


Barely conscious, she was dragged once more before the Amazons, again her limp body held between two of Tagartha's soldiers.


“We asked her to surrender...but she didn't listen..”he closed with her and brutally hacked off both her ears as her screams reached a new intensity...”maybe now she will hear a little better...” he and his men laughed uproariously.


Her head lolled onto her chest and Talgartha gripped her hair once more to haul her head back as he stood behind her. Liobe made a low moan.


“WE ARE MERCIFUL...SHE WOULD NOT WISH TO SEE YOU LOOK UPON HER LIKE THIS...SO WE GRANT HER WISH...” callously he plunged a dagger into her left eye as she came to with a terrible shrill scream before sagging again with the pain. Brutally he hauled her head back once more and took her other eye in similar fashion, then had another of his men grip her head upright as he moved around to her front as there was more laughter and cheers from his men.


“DO HER SCREAMS UPSET YOU? LET US EASE YOUR DISCOMFORT” as his men held her jaw open he used the knife to saw off her tongue, her gargling screams choked off as her mouth filled with blood. He threw it contemptuously towards the Amazons.


Still there was no reaction but silence from the little group as they watched her mutilated. Finally Talgartha stood beside his victim, once more pulling her head back. Blood was streaming down Liobe's cheeks and the dark sightless eyesockets gazed out at her sister warriors. “ENOUGH OF SUCH SPORT! AMAZONS! YIELD AND YOU WILL LIVE. RESIST, AS SHE DID-” He slit Liobe's throat and let the body fall backwards. “AND YOU WILL ALL DIE AS SHE DID!” as the body hit the ground Liobe was already dead but even so his men closed about her and proceeded to hack her to pieces.


“No matter.” said Aila. “ She let herself be taken. She was not one of us. She was no Amazon.”


But as the moments had passed the group at the wagons had readied themselves, gathering spears and preparing to attack Mennus. Talgartha had tried to goad them into an attack, a reckless charge that would break their cohesion and make them easy prey. But his actions had the opposite effect. They had rested, they had composed themselves and they had planned. They had reluctantly finished off the wounded who could not move. Better to die by an Amazon blade than to suffer Liobe's fate. Now all was ready.


Aila looked at Makkra and then turned to Sasso as they both nodded. They had formed a fighting wedge with the three Captains at its point, which was facing Mennus, away from Talgartha's grim demonstration. In its centre were some ten or so of the best spear throwers among the survivors and another 8 or so skilled with the bow. As the Atraxians prepared to charge the Amazons unleashed a mixed volley at those immediately before the women on a narrow span to their front and some six or seven of the lightly armed soldiers fell from the front rank. Aila and her sisters charged into the gap as the bow-women and spear-women fired a second volley at those behind the first row. As they ran forward the spearwomen retrieved what spears they could as the loose triangular formation ran over the broken ground littered with bodies.


The shout they raised finally caused Mennus to turn his horse. He saw the gap in his men open like reeds before the wind as the women were suddenly in among the men around a hundred and fifty feet away from him. The third volley the women aimed directly at him. His horse reared in fear as the spears and arrows landed about him and it was only the swift actions of two of his bodyguard that saved him, one raising a shield to save him from a spear whilst a second lifted his own shield high to protect his king but himself was hit through his cuirass by the arrow. But no one was protecting Mennus' horse. The spear hit it in the centre of its right shoulder as it reared. It was a death blow and the wide eyed animal bucked and kicked as it reared, braying in its agony. Mennus was thrown and when the cry went up from one of his immediate retinue “The king is down!” panic spread in the ranks between them and the Amazons as they assumed he was killed. Sasso and Aila had got to within 30 feet of their goal before some semblance of order was restored in the Atraxian ranks. The women continued to fight on hacking their way through the shaken troops with a terrible savagery as they fought for their lives and their honour. Yet as deadly as they were, each second saw some of their number fall and the group get smaller and smaller. When they were two thirds of the way to Mennus only forty or so of the women remained, at the three quarter mark just twenty and when they were finally stopped as they were met with a wall of spears they were just ten feet from the king but only some seven of them remained. Makkra had fallen to an arrow fired high that landed in her back but Aila and Sasso still stood, bloodied but unbowed. But the levelled spears were impenetrable and as the women lost momentum so hope faded and the adrenalin left them. Suddenly tiredness and despair sapped the remainder of their strength as the realization that it was hopeless and they had failed hit home. Both sides eased up and took a breath as the soldiers behind them brought up spearmen also, such that the little group were ringed with spears. They formed up back to back, facing the men, determined to sell their lives dearly. Knowing now that he was safe, Mennus made his way through his men to stand facing them. He was smiling as he took a spear from one of his men.


“YAAAAAGGGGGHHHH!” Aila cried and the little group tried to beat aside the spear points with the flat of their swords and close but there were too many. Most of the women got passed the first one or two but the third or fourth would claim them. Only one of them Cama, at the the rear made it to the ranks that surrounded them. She killed the two spearmen who had failed to kill her only to be spitted on the swords of the men who stood beside them. Aila ran at Mennus himself, Sasso giving her life to beat aside a spear that would have claimed Aila and then impaling herself on another to give her the best chance of closing with the king. But he had stepped back and when Aila beat aside a spear to her right with her sword now high and clear he lunged forward with his own spear. It struck her in the stomach and with her own momentum carrying her forward it slid through her body and out of her back with a sickening crunch. Aila winced and grimaced as all strength left her, her sword dropping from her hand. Her vision swam and as she opened her eyes the grinning face of Mennus greeted her at the other end of the spear, just three feet from her. Her hands dropped slowly to grip the shaft, her lips curled down in her pain. She gripped the shaft and pulled, with a gasp, sliding herself along it swiftly until suddenly Mennus was just before her. He wasn't smiling anymore but looked amazed and afraid. Now it was her turn to smile.


“Come Mennus...let us embrace...” Aila gasped as she gazed into his scared eyes, gripped his head on either side and with a sudden swift twist snapped his neck. She watched his dead body fall and she herself was dead before he hit the ground as his men hacked her down, but she died with a laugh in her throat, not a scream.


As her body fell, in the ethereal plane the battle Goddess Enyo's spirit stood where she had been, having possessed her body to give her the strength for that final attack.

“A worthy end for Aila the Brave” she said and smiled.


At the river, Diana had seized the chance created by the uproar when Mennus was unhorsed and she sped across the river with her riders. The Amazon bow women had done good work in suppressing their male counterparts and the riders had made it to the far bank with no losses, As their courage faltered the bowmen scattered and the hoplites formed up, spears at the ready. But Diana did not engage them, instead heading off past them to their left , her right, hacking at the exposed end of their line and bludgeoning aside the four or five lightly armed troops who tried to block their path. The blocking force numbered some 500 or so, 150 bowmen around a hundred light troops and 250 or so Hoplites. They had been caught by surprise by the break out. The river was strong and above knee deep and a strong hindrance to those on foot. They had expected to defend a mass breakout and so have time to see it forming up on the opposite bank and then act themselves. The speed that the forty or so riders had shown had caught them napping. After Diana had ridden off, they now formed up and pressed closer to the bank, protecting the bowmen more than they had done before. Diana rode hard for three or four minutes until she was confident they were not pursued, then reigned in, gathering the others about her.


They formed a line and turned letting the horses walk back through the woods the way they had come. She had modified the original plan, sending only some 15 or so of her force to swing down the bank from the north. The rest she lined up in the trees. They were directly behind the Atraxian bowmen who were now standing with their back to the unseen threat. Diana drew her sword and raised it high for all to see.


“Spare no one...” she said quietly, then louder , with iron conviction “SPARE NO ONE!”


“NO QUARTER! NO PRISONERS!” the Amazons answered her and they charged from the woods with a noise like thunder as the hooves drummed on the hard ground. There was an answering sound to the north and the Atraxians turned first one way then the other.


Ate, the Goddess of deceit wafted a hand and the dust rose from the horses hooves obscuring their true number. The other Goddesses on the ethereal plane whispered doubt and fear into the minds of men. The bowmen froze in fear as it seemed hundreds were now closing on them from two sides.


“They come for you”-”They will ride you down”-”You cannot stop them” - “They will hack you limb from limb”- “They come to kill you”-”They ride for you alone” -”They are unstoppable” - “ They are She-Demons”- “ The Gods are against you”- “The Fates have claimed you”- “Even now Clotho cuts your thread of life”-“You will die here this day”- “You cannot stand”-”RUN!”-”SAVE YOURSELF!”-”RUN!”- “RUN!” -”RUN!- “RUN!” the whispers echoed around each man's head, preying on their fear, confirming what they knew - they were doomed.


Panic seized them and only a few fired hasty, wayward shots before they broke and fled, running off to their left away from the Amazons attacking to the north. Diana led some 20 of her sisters straight into the hoplites at the river bank as around ten of her riders peeled away to ride down the scattered bowmen. Had they rallied and formed up they could have easily shot down their pursuers, but they were the younger members of the army, inexperienced and stationed here where it was thought they would see little action. They panicked and their fear was tangible, multiplied by each cry made as one of their number was cut down.


“Keep pressing them!” Diana called to the pursuers “DON'T LET THEM REFORM!”



Athena looked to the north, where the river Pharancxios was born in the high hills of the Dark mountains. She nodded her head and then Enarete, wife of the God of storms sent wind and rain and crumbled the river banks upstream, narrowing the channel and lodging a fallen tree from the bank across the gap. More debris accrued and the level of the river downstream at the ford started to drop significantly. Athena bowed a thanks in gratitude to her sister and smiled her approval. It would allow the Amazons a much easier and swifter crossing.


With the bowmen driven off a signal horn was blown and Hyppolyta began crossing the stream with her force.


The hoplites at the river bank were now caught between the riders at their backs and the Amazons fording in front of them. Diana's force scattered the centre of their position but to their credit they did not break completely but formed two smaller groups of around a hundred or so in each but Callistae concentrated her bow strength from the far bank, her warriors firing systematic, tightly grouped volleys into the group being hit from the North and by Diana's force on their other side. The more northern group of enemy broke, as the ten or so men facing the main army were all hit by Callistae's bow-women within a few minutes. Those facing the riders were subconsciously backing away but were forcing their comrades towards the bank. There were desperate cries to hold ground but some started to lose their footing on the bodies the bows had claimed. The sight of Hyppolyta's force now almost upon them was too much and they broke and scattered, trying to run past Diana's horsewomen, dropping their cumbersome spears as they fled. Diana felled any that came within reach of her sword arm but the urgency was to clear that part of the bank for the Queen to cross in safety. Hyppolyta crossed between two horses, draped in shields for their protection, with Lammassa her bodyguard behind her, with her shield held high to protect them both from the peppering of arrows that were falling about them.


Callistae had shown just how the bowmen from Dorlia should have been used, with tight, concentrated volleys rather than the lazy, sporadic peppering of arrows that Rennios had allowed, but as Hyppolyta made her escape and with news of Mennus' death reaching Malaxios, he finally brought up his bow strength , showering the Amazon positions. But it was too late - Hyppolyta's group had crossed safely with only a few casualties. Diana's force too had only lost a few though each death was keenly felt. Around 60 or so of the hundreds who crossed had died or been wounded. But for most of the wounded it would mean that they had to stay behind, though a few of the lightly injured elected to try and make it with the Queen. Some would succeed. Some wouldn't.


Hyppolyta gratefully greeted her daughter clasping her forearm, as Diana leaned down from her horse.
“Daughter! How glad is my heart that you are safe! Lammassa! We mount and let us leave our sisters shamed though we are to do so, as it is the will of the gods..” Hyppolyta said as she mounted one of the horses that had protected her on the crossing.


“Not I, great queen...” Lammassa said with a heavy heart “I never was any good at strap saddle running...” she pulled an arrow from her back with a grimace, at the lower shoulder below the protection of the shield rim that she had lifted high to protect Hyppolyta. She winced as she pulled a second from her right foot.


“I cannot run, great queen, And I am too big a lump to ride and tire a horse that could carry five of our sisters to safety. Diana must guard you now. I will return to the army...”


“LAMMASSA! YOUR DUTY IS BY MY SIDE!” Hyppolyta cried, distraught.


“No my queen. My duty is to see you get away safely. I cannot run and I will not ride if it means more will be left behind. You will need them to help you start again...”


“But you have been with me a lifetime! Since we were children...” Hyppolyta said tearfully.


“And I will still be with you.” Lammassa smiled. “Now you must go...”


“Hyppolyta, Queen of the Amazons will not flee battle 'til her sword has tasted blood!” Hyppolyta said as she seized a spear borne by one of Diana's riders, and kicked her heels into her horses flanks, spurring it towards the second group of Atraxians further down the riverbank.


Lammassa watched her ride off with a rueful smile. She had seen the Queen with that look in her eye before. She was not worried for her safety. Gamana, a young girl from the coastal villages helped her turn and head back across the river.


“MOTHER!” Diana cried as she saw her mother ride off. All other mounted Amazons nearby urged their steeds on after her but she was too far ahead to be caught. As she rode, Hypopolyta tossed the spear levelly in front of her, re-catching it having reversed her hand, now with her palm face up, having shifted her grip. It was now ready to throw. She bore down upon the small group of soldiers, before reining in and as her horse reared she threw the spear with tremendous force into a luckless soldier in the front rank. It went straight through his breastplate and he doubled up and fell sideways, knocking aside the spears to his left. Hyppolyta seized the opportunity and wheeled her horse around inside the reach of the spear points, the big animal's body knocking aside more of the deadly shafts. She steered the horse into the gap and hacked to left and tight, cutting down the hapless infantry.


The sight of the fifty or sixty Amazons riding after Hyppolyta coupled with the disruption to the groups cohesion was too much for many of the young soldiers and those on the far side started to cast down their spears and flee. Panic gripped the men as Hyppolyta struck them like an avenging Fury, constantly wheeling the horse to prevent the gap from closing. The first Amazon to her side cut down two men before she was herself speared, but her horse fell with her, crushing two men and destroying any hope they had of closing ranks. A third Amazon arrived and didn't stop, riding past her queen and straight into the backs of the far side of the little knot of men, killing as she went, her horse knocking several off their feet and into the river. It was the young lookout, Hallane, and she found her mark now with sword and spear as the group of men broke . Then Diana and the others hit them and all cohesion left the group. They dropped their spears and whilst some tried to draw swords most simply fled and were either ridden down or cut down before they had a chance to get very far.


“NO MERCY!!!” Screamed Hyppolyta as she slashed and hacked her enemy down. Diana closed with her and grabbed her fore arm. Reining in her own horse as she did so.


“MOTHER! MY QUEEN! WE MUST LEAVE!!!” Diana begged her. “OUR PEOPLE HAVE LOST EVERYTHING! OUR HOMES, OUR LAND! YOU ARE ALL THEY HAVE LEFT! THE GODS HAVE SPOKEN! YOU MUST LEAD THE SURVIVORS TO SAFETY!”


Hyppolyta looked at her sadly as the bloodlust diminished in her, and nodded reluctantly. “I could not have lived with myself, if I had not raised my sword to defend those who were dying to defend me...”


Diana nodded. “I understand Mother but we must go NOW, QUICKLY! YOU DO THOSE WHO DIE NO SERVICE IF YOU DIE ALSO! COME!”


Hallane, the keen eyed lookout rode up and saluted her Queen.


“We still hold the far bank, though it has been tough. You must ride my Queen. But I ask permission to take a horse to the Dark Hills on our Western border. What survivors make it from our villages will head for the sanctuary of Hope Pass. I will gather them and head for Thrapsis where the Gods said we would take ship...”


The queen looked hesitant. “ Each horse is precious...four runners and a rider can be borne..”


“My Queen, your own daughter Drusilla is still at the Palace. I ride for her” Hallane said simply. “ If I make it then I will save many more lives than the four I may cost in taking a horse...” she saw Hyppolyta still hesitate. “My queen, she is your second heir... she must be saved...”


“She is but a child - we will need warriors to defend ourselves, not children...” Hyppolyta said, still racked with doubt.


“Do not children grow up to be warriors, great Queen? I beg you , let me ride!” Hallane urged and finally Hyppolyta nodded. Hallane dipped her head in a bow and rode hard for the Amazon Western border.


Hyppolyta turned to Diana. “You did not speak to try and save your sister....”


“My sisters are dying all around me. It needed to be your decision. You were worried it would look like you favoured your own blood. But they are your subjects. They understand..”


Hyppolyta nodded, looked reluctantly at those on the far bank, her friend and bodyguard Lammassa among them.


“They will be avenged mother. But we must flee. Look! Dust, but a few miles off to the south. No doubt Malaxios has brought up his cavalry to pursue us. He did not expect us to force this crossing. He probably had them raiding the Atraxian northern villages. That is a mistake he has made this day that he will pay for with his blood. But we must go now. We are but a few hundred, we don't know how many he brings. We must flee. To fight and win another day...”


“DIANA!” Lammassa called from the far shore. “The days ahead will be dark for your mother... You must be her light” She waved and turned away abruptly limping from her wounded foot. She turned to Gamana “You are still able bodied. Go.”


“My blood sister fights here, she has a wound. If she fights on I will fight by her side. If she has fallen then I will fall beside her ...” Gamana said.


“Your duty is to your Queen, not your blood. Go. We need the strong and the able. Your sister fights for you to flee. Do not let her die for nothing. Go. GO NOW” Lammassa insisted and reluctantly Gamana crossed to rejoin Diana and the Queen.



As the Amazons had crossed the river, the missile fire falling on the army left behind had intensified with arrows and spears falling like rain upon the Amazon shields. The lines held, but at a heavy cost in lives. For over an hour after the crossing they had beaten back sustained attacks as Malaxios desperately tried to break through to pursue the Queen and her heir. Lammassa had rejoined them and took command of what would be their last stand. There were around 800 or so left in a tight knot trying to defend themselves with their shields.


Falthos, an Atraxian Captain stepped forward between the two armies as the attackers drew back and both sides had a brief respite from the bitter fighting. Malaxios had finally led his cavalry in pursuit of the Queen via a second ford further downstream after Demeter had dislodged the dam and the trickling river again became a raging torrent


“WHO SPEAKS FOR THE AMAZOS?” he called, and Lammassa slowly limped forwards between the shield wall, heading out to meet him between the two warring sides. Falthos looked her up and down, clearly intimidated by her large size.


“YOUR QUEEN HAS DESERTED YOU. LEFT YOU ALL TO DIE...”He called loudly past Lammassa so the whole Amazon army could hear.”WHY THROW AWAY YOUR LIVES FOR SUCH A WRETCH WHO ONLY WISHES TO SAVE HERSELF? SHE LED YOU TO THIS DAY, YET SHE FLEES WHILST YOU ARE LEFT TO DIE? WHY SERVE SUCH A RULER AS THIS? WHY FIGHT ON AFTER SHE HAS LEFT YOU? ”


Lammassa stepped slowly forward and saw him shift his weight nervously.


“WHO WOULD YOU RATHER WE SERVE? MALAXIOS THE BETRAYER? YOU ATRAXIANS – HOW FEW NOW IN NUMBER – YOU HAVE HAD A HARD FIGHT THIS DAY! YOUR DORLIAN ALLIES HAVE DONE LITTLE BUT LOOT OUR DEAD – AND YOURS!”


“YIELD AND YOU WILL BE SPARED I PROMISE YOU” Falthos interrupted her, afraid her words would sink in with the Atraxians.


“HA! A DORLIAN PROMISE! WRITTEN ON THE AIR! AS WORTHLESS AS WHAT YOU THINK YOU HAVE WON HERE, THIS DAY! YOU HAVE NOT WON A KINGDOM – YOU HAVE DESTROYED THREE. LOOK AT YOUR DEAD- THEY ARE GREAT IN NUMBER AND WILL GET GREATER STILL BEFORE THIS DAY IS ENDED. YOU WILL NOT HAVE ENOUGH MEN LEFT TO DEFEND THE LAND YOU HAVE WON. NOR YOUR OWN HEARTHS. ”


She suddenly stamped her good foot and he flinched cowering back, raising a huge laugh from the Amazons.


WE GIVE NO GROUND....AND WE BREAK NO PROMISES” she called “AND I PROMISE YOU THIS, FALTHOS THE CRAVEN, THIS DAY WILL BE YOUR LAST. I WILL SEE YOU DEAD, SNAKE! YOU WISH TO OWN THE GROUND WE STAND ON, MEAGER THOUGH IT IS? THEN COME TAKE IT. BUY IT FROM US WITH YOUR BLOOD. “ She spat contemptuously at him and turned away. She had only come to the parley to waste a few minutes – every minute they held out brought darkness nearer and aided Hyppolyta's escape, preventing these soldiers from joining the pursuit.


She shuddered as Falthos' throwing dagger hit her square between the shoulder blades. She cursed herself inwardly for turning her back on him as she sank to her knees. A great shout of anguish was raised by the Amazons as they started to break ranks.


“ SO MUCH FOR YOUR WORDS AMAZON! SO MUCH FOR YOU SEEING MY LIFE END TODAY! “ Falthos taunted her. But as her life faded his words gave her strength.


“HOLD!!!” Lammassa bellowed with a voice like an earthquake and the Amazons stopped in anguish and reluctantly fell back in line.


She rose slowly upright, picking up a spear as she did so. She turned and levelled it and watched as his face went white with fear.


“YOU HAVE HAD YOUR THROW...NOW I'LL HAVE MINE...”


Falthos turned and fled for the safety of his own men who were themselves rushing forward.


“BOWMEN!!!!! BOWMEN!” he called desperately and Lammassa heard the whoosh of the hail of arrows that would take her life, but not before she saw her spear pierce the centre of his back and burst through the middle of his breast plate in a fountain of blood. She died with the cheers of her sisters in her ears.


What was left of the Amazon army held out for another bloody half hour, and three more assaults, before they were so few in number the order was given to finish them with arrows.








As the last Amazon fell, on the other side of the river , now many miles away, Diana reined in her horse as a young rider came up from the back of the fugitive column. It was Kanda who she had met earlier that day. She was one of three outriders who carried no passengers, two scouting out ahead as Kanda kept watch at the rear.


“Malaxios and his riders aren't far behind. They will catch up with us before dark...”


“Damn him to Hades...” Diana spat and looked to her mother. To her surprise she was smiling.


“Good. Let him come. I fought in this land as a girl scarce older than you are now. I know this place. And I know where we will stop him.” The Queen said. “ Get some branches!” she ordered.



An hour or two later Malaxios and his cavalry burst through the tree line of a large clearing a few miles further on to find Diana sitting on her horse alone, leisurely leaning on her forearms which were on her pommel. She had given her horse rein and the tired animal was gratefully dipping its head to crop the grass at its feet. She was around 80 yards away, across a large clearing. Behind her a few figures on horseback could be seen murkily through a large dust cloud in the fading light.


Something about the scene made Malaxios uneasy and he reined in his horse, his men following suit. As he stared at Diana and those behind her, his demeanor gradually changed as he realized there were just a few riders circling with branches tied behind their horses, whipping up the dust to make it look as if there were many of them.


He roared with laughter “HA! DID YOU THINK SUCH A STUPID TRICK WOULD FOOL US?! “he declared. “DID YOU THINK SUCH A RUSE AS TWIGS AND DUST COULD HIDE JUST HOW FEW YOU HAVE LEFT AS YOUR REARGUARD?!!!” He roared with laughter again and the uproar was taken up by his men.


Diana smiled and leisurely drew up her reins pulling up her horses head. It was a given signal and behind her the few riders stopped their circling and cast off their towed branches, forming up behind her and then slowly walking their horses up towards Diana as the dust cloud slowly settled.


Diana cast a brief glance behind her and smiled as the dust slowly began to clear, then she turned back to address Malaxios.


“You are wrong, as ever, Malaxios, Betrayer and breaker of oaths. The dust was never to hide how few we were... It was to hide how MANY....”


As her words sank in, Malaxios looked again at the dust cloud now breaking up behind Diana. Gradually more shapes became visible. There were riders. Many more than just the 5 or so he had first seen, perhaps 80, perhaps a hundred. He licked his lips nervously. But he still had 300 men with him, he still out numbered them...Then he saw movement in the trees to left and right. Hundreds more, on foot. He desperately looked about him. Each second more women appeared. He started to pant in desperation and his eyes grew wide as he wheeled his horse first one way then the next.


Diana drew her sword with a shrill ring of steel on steel as it pulled clear of her scabbard. All the Amazons answered her with a 'chang' sound as they beat sword and spear against shield or greaves, just once before letting silence descend. Then again and a lull. Then again and a shorter lull, then again, then again , then again. It was the sound of death coming for the Dorlians. In the ethereal realm, the Goddesses smiled at each other.


The Dorlian horses neighed and reared, frightened by the tension in the air and the heavy, oppressively tangible fear that they were picking up from their unsettled riders.


Diana glowered at her foe from beneath her brow.


“Spare no one” she said quietly and was answered by her sisters shout.


“SPARE NO ONE!” was the roar as, as one, the Amazons charged at their enemy from all directions, with Diana leading them.
Last edited by tallyho 4 years ago, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin collaboration

Post by SGWriter »

A gut wrenching chapter their Tally. The battle scenes were intense, but dug the Amazons' determination. Aila's charge and the defiant cries of the Amazons, coupled with the sweet ending. Ah revenge a dish best served cold. Really dug the story here Tally and look forward to seeing the first collab parts.
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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin collaboration

Post by DrDominator9 »

Incredible chapter, Tallyho. Absolutely wonderful in so many respects. The detailed fighting, the heart-wrenching sacrifices in battle, the nobility of the Amazon sisters. It was great, great stuff.

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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin collaboration

Post by lordgriffin »

I have been a bit behind, a bit I just finished the read. Tally you do a great job with the minor Greek deities, and the action moves along well. I have to admit I got a bit....tired of the betrayals...but they were set up well and made sense.

Enjoyable read for a story that (mostly) had no sex :)
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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin collaboration

Post by tallyho »

Thank you guys for the comments. I have to apologise this was supposed to be CENTURIONS part but my own last wrap up bit dragged on longer than I intended so it got to the stage where I didn't want Centurion to share stage with me - he deserves to have his chapter on its own as do you all so as mine had grown I have decided to bump his back to October.

But you will all be relieved to know that I am done now after this chapter - the stories will all be by the guest artistes and the few I have read so far are jolly good too, so please stick around for the future offerings

PART 5

As Diana had sat astride her horse in the clearing waiting for their pursuers to arrive, she had pondered the terrible sights she had seen that day, of lifelong friends dead or dying, maimed or left behind to die. Yet of all those sad scenes one affected her more than others. In the past hour , as they fled, they had discovered the bodies of their Amazonian scouts, murdered by their Dorlian allies. These had been the first to fall, probably before the first soulful horn blasts that signaled the start of the ambush. She had found the bodies of the twins Jocasta and Jula. They had been inseparable in life as they were in death. Jocasta had been lying on her side, three arrows in her back, a look of shock frozen on her face. Jula's body had been draped over her, lying on her back over Jocasta's hip, her hands clutching at her gut, ripped open by a dozen frenzied stab wounds, her head lying back on her sister, blood dried in a thick trickle from the corner of her mouth. Yet her face bore a look of peace, almost gratitude in death. Diana thought what a wrench it must have been for one twin to see the other die and face the prospect of a long life without her. When death came for her a moment later, she must have been relieved.


Diana had been about to ride on, when a glint of silver at Jocasta's throat caught her eye. It was the tiny silver bear claw necklace that they had both won for scouting in the annual games two years ago. They had been inseparable in the contest and both had been awarded one, a second having to be made. Diana had smiled as she remembered how happy they had both been for each other. She looked for Jula's matching necklace, but her throat was bare – it had been looted by her killers. Somehow that one act, that almost inconsequential violation of a corpse's possessions stood out in her mind above all the horrors and bloodshed. She had taken Jocasta's claw and made a silent vow to unite it with its twin. And so she waited, clothed in anger, yet calm, like a storm cloud viewed from afar, when none of its rage and wind and rain can be seen and it looks almost at peace. Yet it still holds a dark and terrible power. This now, was Diana's aspect as she waited calmly. Waited to unleash her wrath for all the wrongs she had seen that day. Waited with a dark and terrible anger in her soul.



As Malaxios had entered the clearing he was euphoric. His plans had worked perfectly, or nearly. His losses had been heavier than he would have hoped and the Queen fleeing over the ford had not been expected but he had no doubt he and his men would hunt them down long before they reached safety.

He was already holding a victory feast back at the river where his Atraxian allies were enjoying the wine he had provided for them. When Mennus had died he couldn't believe his luck! He had urged his captains to reassure the Atraxians that all was still well, that the alliance would hold true but with Mennus' infant son instead. He had given precise orders that his men were to drink the wine too, to reassure the Atraxians that it was not poisoned. Or rather half of them were and then to not have as much. It was laced with a sleeping agent which would mean in a few hours their throats could be slit more easily and then just the few left could be finished off. Then he would lead his army to capture Atraxis and then either buy off those left in the Atraxian army that had raided the Amazon towns, or ambush them as they returned home. Yes, it had been a successful day.

Yet when his men had burst into that large clearing to find the single woman on horseback and then a few others wheeling around in the dust behind her, something had frightened him. His mouth had gone dry and he sensed that something was wrong, that this was a trap. But he was Malaxios the Cunning and he would not ride headlong into danger. So he and his riders had reined in until he could work out what this witch was doing. But now, as the dust cleared and the shapes of the warriors could be discerned, he realized that he HAD fallen into the trap. Pace was his one advantage in the pursuit. Numerically he was out numbered, but when pursuing fugitives, often strung out or isolated, the chasers, in one cohesive unit, could get swift local superiority. Their speed over people often on foot was the advantage that meant a smaller force could chase and harry and pick off those of a larger one. But now , having stopped dead, his cavalry had no momentum. By the time Diana had sprung the trap the Amazons on foot had flanked his men on two sides and the group of riders to the front numbering perhaps 60 or 80 were already at the trot as they closed, about to spur on into a charge. His men were flat footed , turning this way and that as the trap was sprung. Arrows from left and right were already claiming some with a deadly accuracy.


“RIDE THEM DOWN!” he shouted as he urged his men forward, but he himself hung back. Each Dorlian killed or unhorsed immediately had his horse calmed and mounted by one of the Amazons on foot. Hyppolyta herself was gathering the strays and leading them to her subjects on the left flank.


Diana, at the gallop, rode through the first group of riders like a knife through butter, killing a man on each side of her and her horse smashing into the flanks of a third rider that made his horse rear and throw him. But she only had one aim, and her goal right now was riding to the back of his men. As her sisters joined her and smashed into the leading ranks of his soldiers, Diana started to force her way through the melee towards him. The Amazons on foot were dragging down the riders on the fringes whilst the bow-women continued to pick off individuals, each time an Amazon taking the dead man's horse.


The sight of Diana coming for him made Malaxios abandon his men, spurring his horse back the way he had come. Diana broke through the last line of his riders a moment later and rushed on oblivious to the fact that the ranks had closed behind her.


“DIANA!” Callistae called after her but the princess rode on, calling for a spear which was tossed to her by one of the Amazons on foot who had lunged at Malaxios with it, but missed. Diana took it cleanly and rode hard after her quarry. They had travelled some miles with her tired horse gaining little ground before she realized she wasn't going to catch him on this mount. She reined in, took aim and threw the spear. She would have killed him, but at the last instant he turned his head to see where she was. The spear struck him on the left side of his helmet, dislodging it and slicing off part of his ear. He screamed and toppled from the saddle and Diana thought she finally had him, when suddenly another group of Dorlian riders emerged beyond him , with many more behind them.


She cursed and reined in, then suddenly heard hoof beats behind her. She turned in alarm thinking she was surrounded but it was Callistae and Kanda. They reined in alongside her.


“PRINCESS!” Callistae gasped. “We must leave him! There are too many of them! We will have won by now back at the clearing – we will have almost a horse each now, we must ride for Thrapsis!”


Diana turned to Kanda “Ride back to my mother, tell them more Dorlians approach. I will lead them away if I can. I will see you in Thrapsis. GO!”


“WE will lead them away” Callistae said. “Go!”


“Hera be with you both”. Kanda said and nodded a goodbye as she dug in her heels and urged her horse back the way they had come.


Callistae turned to Diana and smiled mischievously “Best way to get them to follow us...”


“Kill a few of them!” Diana finished with a laugh as they spurred their horses straight at the larger force closing on them, Malaxios, safely ensconced amidst his men merely turned to witness the fight.


They seemed destined for the central group of riders but wheeled suddenly to their right, the left of the group. Callistae ducked one surprised swing and dispatched the soldier in the same movement whilst Diana's horse slammed in to the flanks of another, unhorsing the rider. She swept her sword at his flailing leg and took it off at the thigh, the man screaming as he and his horse hit the ground.


“SALIDES!” Malaxios shouted “TAKE FORTY MEN! HUNT THEM DOWN! SHE IS THE AMAZON HEIR ! I WANT HER HEAD!” He shouted to a lieutenant who gathered men about him and set off in pursuit.


The women rode easily through the Dorlians and raced each other through the trees, enjoying the thrill like they did as children, the speed of the trees that flashed by, the feel of the horse- warm and strong beneath their bare thighs. They glanced at each other as they raced, laughing, suddenly wheeling now and then to dispatch the nearest rider behind them before riding on, ducking low branches and every now and then holding one to release it, to spring back into the face of their pursuer.


Malaxios saw three more men unhorsed or slain in seconds as the women disappeared from view with Salides' men in hot pursuit and considered the odds.


“Calathon! Take fiftty more, after them!” he ordered another officer.


“Fifty, Highness? There are but two riders....?”


“DO IT YOU DOG!” Malaxios shouted and the man hurried to obey, mustering his men.


Malaxios, now mounted, reined in his horse as the rest of the men gathered about him for orders. “COME! WE GO AFTER THAT BITCH OF A QUEEN OF THEIRS!!!” he bellowed.


“But Sire where are the men who were with you?”some luckless soldier asked.


“Join them.” Malaxios said as he run him through. There were no more questions as they headed for the rest of the Amazons.




In the realm of the Gods, the Goddesses looked on in satisfaction.


“Time has been won.” said Athena. “These few minutes have made the difference. They will not catch them before dark. When these men reach the butchery at the clearing they will not go on. They will not go further, but the Amazons will walk the horses at night and put more miles between themselves and these rats, then ride on at dawn. They will reach Thrapsis and on to Themis' Isle and safety.”


“But what of the Oathtaker? How will these two fair?” Ate asked.


Nike simply looked at her sister Goddess. “Blood must flow. For look! Ares has found them!”



The two women rode hard, crossing their own trails and using any tactic to delay or startle those behind them, breaking off limbs from trees and flinging them back into the face of the horses that drew near, causing them to rear in alarm and sometimes throw their rider . Salides had soon realized that to follow them too closely was becoming a death sentence and had dropped back through his men to suddenly re-find his courage when Calathon's men joined him.


They were struggling to gain any ground on the two riders before Ares appeared in front of Diana's horse. Diana could not see him, but her steed grew wide eyed and reared as the ghostly figure clad in shining blood red armour appeared on the ethereal plane and manifested itself to the creature. Diana suddenly found herself unhorsed and thrown backwards, landing heavily, the breath knocked from her. Callistae, slightly ahead of her, had seen nothing and rode on.


Dazed, Diana came slowly to a few seconds later to find the enemy horsemen reining in about her , she looked desperately for her sword, lost when she had been unhorsed but it was out of reach in the undergrowth. She rose slowly, looking at the grinning cruel faces before her.



“WE CANNOT LET ARES CLAIM HER! “ Athena said with alarm.


“Easy, my sister. He will not. I will oppose him.” Enyo the battle goddess said calmly, casting a look down her own body that clothed her in armour and a helmet, a sword and shield in her hands. Gone was her gown of white samite.


“You are no match for him! He is too strong, you will not defeat him! You will lose! It is certain!”


“It is. But sometimes in battle, sister, you have to fight without hope of victory. And sometimes it is not about the winning. But about WHEN you lose” Enyo smiled as she manifested herself to Ares.


“YOU WITCHES!” He bellowed, “You would deny me all that our father Zeus promised me! The bones of the Amazons are to build my palaces! Their eyes are to stud my crown! ALL THIS DID ZEUS FORE-SWEAR WOULD BE SO!”


“Our father promises many things to all of us...” Enyo said “But I thought you loved to fight? How better then, that you fight me for their lives? If I lose, then you have the victory and all those men left in the clearing can slay them and I will not interfere.”


“HA! BOASTFUL SOW! YOU ARE NO MATCH FOR ME!!!!! I STRIDE THIS EARTH FROM SHORE TO SHORE ! I LIVE IN THE HEARTS OF ALL MEN ! NATIONS SHAKE WHEN I WALK ABROAD” Ares voice boomed.


“Well then, boastful Lord of War... what are you afraid of?” Enyo said as she drew her sword.


“I FEAR NOTHING!” Ares bellowed as he swung at her and missed.


Athena suddenly smiled. Enyo knew her craft and her especial gift was to bestow skill in battle. And she showed that skill herself now as she used her words to anger Ares, making him wild and brash, striking when off balance, his movements easy to read. She could not keep it up for ever, sooner or later his blow would find its mark but for now she was winning which had consequences in the realm of men.


As the men closed in on Diana there was a sudden shout and Callistae thundered into the group scattering them and making their mounts rear in alarm as she killed three in quick succession. Diana seized the moment and pulled down a rider, taking his sword and dispatching two others as she took his horse.


On the ethereal plane, Athena glanced at reality and smiled as every blow Enyo landed against Ares meant another man died in the real world. She could not hurt him and Zeus had forbade gods to kill gods without his sanction but each blow that landed cleanly took a man's life.


Blow after blow fell upon his cuirass, his greaves, his shield, all unanswered as each hit made him angrier and his anger made him careless. And in the realm of men more died with each blow.The very numbers of the riders hampered their efforts. Though some 90 had been involved in the pursuit, ten had fallen in the chase and now the two women had killed eleven between them but the biggest problem the Dorlians faced was actually closing with them as horses and men got in the way of landing clean blows. More fell and more still and now half the Greeks were dead. But then Ares feinted before rolling to his right and this time as Enyo tired after finding his shield it was he who landed a blow, hard and heavy like a hammer against Enyo's ribs. Her armour took the hit but she winced and shook, staggered by the shock.


In the clearing, Diana sliced through the top of one man's head but turned in horror as she saw Callistae finally ringed by ten riders, one of whom landed a devastating slash to her exposed back. As she screamed and arched a second man stabbed her through the stomach and she slumped over her horse's neck as her sword slipped from her fingers, a great cheer raised from her attackers.


“CALLISTAE!!!” Diana screamed and though she wasn't to know it the anger that surged through her was born of the pain of Enyo in the other realm.


Enyo grimaced and felt her blood boil, but unlike Ares she retained control, ducking and weaving beneath his mighty blows, determined no more would touch her, landing crisp, light strikes of her own.


Diana felt her rage rise, steeped in anger as she saw her friend cut down. There were some forty Dorlians left now but with her implacable rage that was never going to be enough to stop her. Though she was not foaming at the mouth, to all intents and purposes she went berserk. The Dorlian horses could sense the change in her even if their riders could not - they neighed and shied away, jostling to escape the madly flailing blades that all about them were hacking down their masters. Diana grabbed a second sword and rode with the reins between her teeth slamming into the nervous and timid animals , creating panic and fear. Two riders were killed in the fall from their mounts whilst another was unhorsed and then trampled to death. The Dorlians struggled to stay in the saddle as some of the other Goddesses took a lead from Ares own tactics and appeared, frightening the animals even further. Diana was mad with bloodlust and actually leaped from her horse to kick one man down, snapping his neck with the strike to his skull. Her twin blades were a blur as she spun and struck, ducking and diving beneath the horses bellies to emerge on the other side and cut down the bewildered riders. More men fell by the second until finally only Calathon and Salides were left. She stood breathless facing them, her face a mask of blood and her eyes bore the look of focused hate. Most of the horses had bolted just leaving the three of them in the clearing amid a sea of bodies.


The two men looked at each other nervously and then around at the host of bodies of the dead, maimed and dying that littered the small clearing. Salides licked his lips nervously and then turned and spurred his horse away , back towards the river.


“I shall gather reinforcements!” He called over his shoulder to Calathon.


“Worthless dog!” Calathon spat after him. He steeled himself “I shall tell the future in your entrails woman!” he said as he spurred his horse towards her.


Diana threw her two swords straight at him, burying themselves up to the hilt in his breastplate. “ Let me save you the trouble – for you have no future.”



Ares finally beat aside Enyo's blade, kicking her tired legs from beneath her to stand over her triumphant, his blade at her throat.


“HA! WHO IS MASTER NOW, WOMAN?!!! THOUGH WELL FOUGHT! I, ARES, LORD OF WAR, WIN!!!!”


“Great God of War, you are victor. The women may fall to all the men in the clearing as we agreed...”


Athena smiled as Ares' look of triumph turned to anger as he gazed on the real world and saw that there were no men left alive in the clearing to claim his prize.


“You serpents! I will send more men after them!”


“It will be dark soon. There are only that handful of scouts that are near enough to pursue her before dark falls! “ Athena said.


“Then they will take her for me!” Ares declared.


“That was not the wager. You may guide them to her but she will kill them. If you interfere then we will interfere also. Let her go, great Lord Ares.”


“NEVER! I WILL GUIDE THOSE SCOUTS TO HER. There are still some ten of them. I will not fight for them nor you for her. If you will not aide her then she cannot claim them all.”


“My lord, we have watched her make men eat grass all day. Watch you her now. And learn what it is you seek to destroy. You will fail.”




Diana ran to Callistae, who to her surprise was still alive.


“You must ride p-princess...” Callistae said weakly .


“NO! WE must ride!” Diana retrieved her own sword in the fading light and swung up behind her friend. The wound to her back was grievous. “Lean back against me. We will be with the army before dawn.”


“Not I, princess....not I...”


“Would you disobey your Queen? We are to meet her and take ship at Thrapsis”


Callistae smiled weakly “You never listened to her as a child...”


“We are no longer children...” Diana said sadly.”We will ride west, meet up with the army on the far side of the mountains. Skirting the hills...” They set off at as fast a pace as Diana dared, but they had scarce gone a few miles when Callistae turned her face to her. She was deathly pale and Diana knew the end wasn't far away for her.


“No more. The pain. Stop. Please. I can take no more...” They stopped beside a shallow river. It had a bank of soft grey mud that rose high in a bluff on one side, shaded from the sun and still wet from last night's rain. Whilst on their side the bank was but a foot high.


As Diana helped her friend down gently she could see her spine through the wound in the last of the daylight. Diana got her some water and cradled her head as she drank.


Callistae looked at Diana's armour and slowly ran her fingers down the leather, stained dark red now with her blood from the wound in her back that had pressed into Diana as they rode.


“The..the red...the dark red suits you...” she said weakly.


Diana found she had no more tears left to shed. She looked down at her leather corset below the metal rim of her breastplate “ I will only wear red leather from now on; it will remind me of all my brave sisters that I have lost this day...”


Callistae smiled and her hand fell away and Diana realized she had gone. She kissed her tenderly on the forehead.


“THIS WAY!” a sudden shout was heard some way off and the lone horse left startled, bolting away and leaving Diana alone and on foot. Through the trees she could see torches. She carefully lowered Callistae's head down and looked around for a refuge or a place to make a better stand.


The scouts of Ares' bidding came upon the body beside the river bank and dismounted, approaching cautiously, carrying several wooden torches. Ares had carefully steered them this way after his prize.


“Spread out! Look for tracks!” their leader barked as they fanned out. They found one set of horse tracks and then a single set of footprints heading for the river.


He followed Diana's tracks to the river where they disappeared. He waded through the ankle deep water trying to spot signs on the river bed in the twilight by the torch he carried. He froze and raised his head from looking down at the water, slowly scanning up the muddy clay bank. As his head came up level two eyes suddenly opened in the clay before him and a blade appeared ,snaking out into his gut. He gasped as the steel took his life.


“What is it Nazol? Nazol? “one of the others called. He gasped as a figure slowly emerged from the clay, caked in the grey mud. Nazol's body fell like a stone with a splash and slowly started to float a few feet before stopping against a stone in the river.


The nine men left had started to gather now, two holding the horses reins as the other seven stood looking on in wonder as the shape of a woman emerged from the mud in the flickering torchlight.


“B-BY THE GODS! A WOMAN SHAPED OF CLAY! A DEMON FROM HADES!” cried one of them, terrified.


Diana strode purposefully across the stream, the men opposite paralyzed with fear as she neared them., each step shortening their lives as death came for them. One dropped his sword and sank to his knees which just made it easier to decapitate him. Two others just stood staring at his corpse and she had sent them to Hades in an instant. The other 4 suddenly sparked into life, three turning to fight her whilst one ran screaming away from her, ignoring his horse as he sped off into the night shouting as he went.


“A WOMAN MADE OF CLAY, SHAPED BY THE HANDS OF THE GODS THEMSELVES!” he yelled, frightening the horses and making them bolt from the hands of one of the men, who dropped his torch and fumbled with his sword.


The three that closed with her were wide eyed and fearful in the torchlight and had lost the fight for their lives before they had even lifted their swords. One swung with the torch and lost an arm for his trouble, the flame falling into the second man whose robes, soaked with wine after toasting the victory went up in an instant, sending him running, screaming for the water, all thoughts of Diana forgotten. She slashed him across the back as he passed her and that just left the last terrified fool before her.
She ducked below his slash and snatched the torch from him as she run him through the gut. He fell to his knees and she pushed him aside.


The former horse holder had finally drawn his blade and screamed at her as he charged. She jabbed him in the face with the firebrand and sliced through his stomach as he clutched at his burnt face. The remaining man still held the other five horses in his charge and the torch aloft, seemingly frozen in place. As she neared him she could see now that he was just a boy perhaps 14 years old. She stopped herself then, and for the first time that day felt her anger dissipate. Then she saw a glint of silver flash in the flickering light from the torch. It caught her eye and as the glimmer resolved itself into a tiny silver bear claw she stabbed viciously up through the bottom of his jaw as all her rage returned tenfold. She felt nothing as she looked at the slight look of surprise on his face as he clutched at the wound briefly. She lowered her blade and let the body drop, sliding slowly off the blade with a slow, wet sound.


“If you are old enough to loot the dead...you are old enough to join them.” she said coldly.




The Goddesses returned to Olympus.


“Great Mother. It is done. The Queen and her people will make Thrapsis and then on to Themiscyra” Athena said with a bowed head.


“Good. Let them recover. Let them enjoy a time of peace there. Ares is already engulfing the land.”Hera said.


“I am on fast wings to Euobea and Boeotia. Then Corinth and Thessaly and Thrace.”said Ossa the Rumour Goddess. “Thrace and Thessaly will turn on the Dorlians. Within the year Malaxios will have lost everything but his head.”


“Excellent! Many of those at the battle will fall in the wars to come. Athena. Give the Amazons three years respite. Let them know peace and forget the ways of war. Let them recover their innocence. Then go to the Oath Taker Diana, and remind her of her vow. I, Hera, Queen of the Gods, declare it must be so.”


On Olympus the years of men pass but in an instant. When the day came for Athena to call on Diana mere moments had passed in the realm of heaven.


“Revered Mother of All!” Hebe her handmaiden declared and dropped to her knee before Hera. “ I have heard that my Lord Zeus knows of her vow. He plans to thwart your attempts to aid her. He plans to hide those who have survived thus far through out time...” she looked up hesitantly”forcing her to break her oath to us all.”


Hera thought a moment. “Then she will need to hunt them down through time herself. Athena. Go to her, guide her to her first task and let the prize be the means to go where she pleases...WHEN she pleases.”


On Themiscyra Diana had almost forgotten the horrors of the battle at Pharancxios. Almost. When a beautiful Amazon approached her that she didn't recognize, something stirred in her memory. The figure smiled, a beatific smile. But she herself looked surprised as a second Amazon appeared beside Diana. It was Mnemosyne, Goddess of Memory. Diana frowned and looked from one to the other.


“Zeus our father, has decreed she is to be an innocent in the ways of the world...” the new stranger said to Athena with a pained look. “ So...” she tapped Diana lightly on the forehead with her index finger. “ for this task she will be as he commands...”


Athena nodded, reluctantly. “Diana , Princess of the Amazons. Your time is come.”
Last edited by tallyho 5 years ago, edited 8 times in total.
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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin collaboration

Post by Abductorenmadrid »

And so Diana has reached the end of the closing chapter of her old life and now begins the story of what comes next. Good job Tally, the battles , the betrayals, the murders and Diana's path to revenge along with the schemes of the gods are wonderfully done. Centurion, over to you!
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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin collaboration

Post by SGWriter »

Excellent conclusion to your parts Tally!

I liked a lot how the battle between the Gods effected the world around Diana as she fought, blows to Ares leading to him losing more men, but a blow to the goddess resulted in Diana losing her friend. The scene about Diana wearing red to honor her sisters was great along with the mud clad Diana coming out of the river. Very good use of the idea of history becoming legend, the tale of Diana being made of clay.

You outdid yourself sir with these opening chapters :)
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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin collaboration (no its not missing an 'N')

Post by DrDominator9 »

Fantastic conclusion to this opening of "Amazos", Tallyho. I especially enjoyed how Diana came out of the riverbank of clay. Brilliant in all ways: tactical, storytelling, myth enforcing...all of it! I eagerly await to see Centurian's upcoming chapter.
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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin collaboration (no its not missing an 'N')

Post by tallyho »

Part 6


"The Night Mare" by CENTURION





“Who are you? You are not Amazons! I know all my sisters here!” Diana said, alarmed. “THAT...that touch- y-you have poisoned me some how!” she said feeling slightly dizzy as she turned from Mnemosyne to face Athena.


“Be at peace, my mortal sister. We are here to aid you.”Diana frowned at her words, but stayed silent as she listened. “You remember the battle that drove you here?”


Diana's frown deepened. She recalled something distant, a struggle filled with pain and hate that seemed to lessen each day.


“The waters of this isle ease your pain, as each draught from the spring is straight from the River Lethe..” she spoke of the River of Unmindfulness in the Underworld. “When you are away from here you will remember more.” Athena continued. “You vowed vengeance on those who drove you from your homeland....”


“I...I think I remember...it seems long ago now...” Diana said confused.


“But 3 short years in the realm of mortal man. You swore an oath to the Goddesses of Olympus. To US” Athena gestured to herself and Mnemosyne. “We are here to help you fulfil your oath, and to make you a champion of your people.”


“I swore...I swore to kill men...” Diana said, struggling to remember.


“You did. All those at the battlefield who butchered your sisters through deceit and treachery. We will aid you with that task. We will guide you and give you the means to end their lives.”


“ALL I NEED IS A SWORD!” Diana said vehemently as the memories came back to her.


“No. You will need your wits, and skill at arms, yes. But you called on us to aid you. We answer you. For you need us. Zeus knows that if you fail, with your broken oath you will weaken all the female deities. So he has hidden those who still live. In the three years you have lived here in peace your lands have fallen to Ares. Of the thousands that survived the battle at Pharancxios most died in the wars that followed. But Zeus has scattered the survivors all over Greece and the Aegean to try and thwart your oath. Some he has taken beyond your reach. We will give you the means to find them. Hera our Mother has sent us to guide you. Other of our sisters will appear to you as needed. But Zeus and the male deities are ranged against you. They will stop you if they can. You must be stronger, wiser than your foes. You are the sword of Nemesis. But first you must be sharpened. You will face many trials, and earn rewards that will aid you. We are here to send you on the first of these tasks. You go to aid a soul in torment. Only you may ease his suffering.”


“His? Why should I help any man?”


“Why should you not? He has done nothing to you. He is not even of your time...” Athena waved a hand and all three of them were no longer on Themiscyra, but at a little harbour where a small ship seemed to be waiting for her.“You are centuries into your future, Diana of the Amazons. Now you must fulfill your destiny. The ship will convey you to where you must go. You will know what must be done.”




A brief voyage later and she found herself at a city that was foreign to her.


Syracuse.  It was a city of white houses packed closely together as they clung to the mountainside in tiers, facing the harbor like the seats of some vast, irregular amphitheater. Standing on the quay, Diana felt the sun and smelled the clean salt smell from the sea.  The breeze stirred her long, luxurious raven-black hair, and fluttered the hem of her short white tunic around her lean legs.  The Amazon princess scanned the rooftops with her dark brown eyes until she spotted the king's palace with its gold dome, high on the promontory.  She started up the narrow street that wound through the city, ignoring the interested looks she attracted from the men she passed.


At one curve in the road, a stonemason was repairing the parapet of a house.  Standing halfway up a ladder, the man was struggling with a rope and pulley to raise a heavy stone to the roof.  The girl gave the wooden scaffolding a wide berth, but quite suddenly a middle-aged man came running out of a public building.  Heedless of the construction going on, he leaped awkwardly over the mason's tools with a shout of "Eureka!"  Unfortunately he bumped against the ladder, causing the mason to fall, letting go of the rope.  The pulley squealed in distress as the huge block of stone plummeted directly on top of him...


Without a thought, Diana darted forward and scooped the hapless man into her strong arms, pulling him out of danger as the slab fell with a crash to the cobblestone street.  It was only then that it dawned on the young woman that the man was completely mother naked!


"Eureka!" he shouted again, so excited that he hardly seemed to notice his close call.  "It was so childishly simple, I'm surprised no one saw it before!  But I have found it!"


"I can see that," Diana said, catching her breath as she spotted the appendage dangling in between his legs.  For some reason the girl couldn't fathom, the sight of it made her cheeks red and her heart beat faster.  "But don't you think you should put something on over it?"


"Well, I just came from the baths.  I had the most brilliant idea about how to determine the volume of an irregularly shaped object!  You'd never guess in a million years--"  He seemed only then to realize that she had rescued him from being crushed.  "Great Hermes!  That stone could have killed me!  My thanks, young woman; you've saved my--"


Then he really noticed the girl for the first time, taking in the stunning beauty of her face, the gently rounded curves of her youthful, athletic body.  For a moment he enjoyed the swell of her wonderful bosom inside her white tunic, then let his eyes wander over her slim waist to her long alluring legs and sandal-clad feet.  His boner automatically began to stiffen and rise up.  And in response, the girl's startling blue eyes grew wide.


"By Hestia's sacred chalice," the man chuckled, covering himself modestly with one hand.  "You act as if you'd never seen a man's weapon before."


"Well, I haven't seen one on a living man before," Diana confessed with a gulp, her eyes riveted upon his half-erect manhood with childlike fascination.  "On ...Themiscyra, I live with only my sisters."


"Oh I see," the man said sagely, raising one eyebrow.  "My name is Archimedes.  You're a visitor to Syracuse, then?"


"I have been sent--"  Diana paused, prying her gaze away from his member.  Maybe she shouldn't tell him about her mission.  Men had a natural distrust of Amazons, in the same way that Amazons in general distrusted men.  "That is, I have heard of the king's troubles, and I have come to offer my aid."


"Many men have tried, young woman," the mathematician said skeptically.  "I strongly doubt whether a slip of a girl could succeed where they failed."


"That problem you mentioned," Diana said suddenly, with a tilt of her head as though she had been considering it in the back of her mind all this time.  "The volume of an irregularly shaped object?  Couldn't you immerse it in water and catch the overflow?  That's how I would do it."


Archimedes looked stunned.  As he pondered her extraordinary clear-headedness, it struck him that he did after all owe her something for pulling him out from under that stone.  "Young woman, I think that perhaps we should go and have a talk with King Hieron."  He started to walk off down the street, then swiftly did an about face.  "...As soon as I've collected my clothes."


In the ethereal realm Athena, smiled and looked at Hera as she gave her a scornful glance “Her own doing I swear it...”





In the throne room, Hieron eyed the two visitors wearily.  The man seemed old and gray before his time.  He had bags under his eyes and looked as if he hadn't slept in weeks.  "I have no time for your quaint riddles today, Archimedes," he said testily, waving them away.  "My bravest warriors have tried to stop the thing and failed.  And you bring me a GIRL?  Away with you!"


"This maiden seems wise beyond her years, sire," the mathematician said.  "I would listen to her if I were you.  Perhaps she knows some folk remedy of which we are ignorant."


"More likely old wives tales to waste our time!" the king snorted.  "Take the scullery wench back to the kitchens where she belongs, and leave me in peace."


"Confound it, cousin!" Archimedes said, stamping his foot in exasperation.  "As a man of philosophy, I know that I'm meant to be wise.  It is not wisdom to keep trying the same things over and over, and watching them fail!  Perhaps it is time to try a different approach!  Yes, even old wives tales!  Or would you rather suffer under this curse for the rest of your life?"


The king slumped into his throne.  He looked too weary to argue any more.  He turned to Diana.  "About a year ago, I arbitrated a peace between the Carthaginians and the Libyans.  In gratitude, they sent me a robe, made of the most noble Tyrean purple, embroidered with gold.  I was so proud of that robe that, in an unguarded moment, I said that I must look more regal than Zeus himself."


The room was silent for a moment as Diana considered this blasphemy.  "Zeus heard," Hieron continued.  "And he bade Morpheus send the night mare.  Each night it appears.  No locks, no bars, no walls can keep it out.  Each night I feel helplessly compelled to mount and ride.  It carries me away, across the mountains, across the seas, riding, riding until I can endure no more.  And in the morning it returns me, to fall exhausted into my own bed."


"Has anyone else seen this beast apart from you?" Diana ventured to ask.


"Do you think it is only a dream?" the king scoffed, angrily lifting the hem of his long robe to show his left leg.  Up and down his leg were a score of bite marks, some fresh, some old.  "Men of my personal guard have volunteered to stand over my bed.  In the morning, they are found, slain!  Is that the work of a dream?  I have prayed and made offerings to the goddess Hera, begging her to intercede on my behalf with her husband, all in vain."


Diana took a deep breath.  "Oh king, great Hera has heard your humble pleas.  By your leave I will sit with you tonight and guard your slumber.  If it is the will of the Fates, this beast will trouble you no more.  And if it is their will that I fail instead, then you will have only rid yourself of a troublesome wench."


Hieron looked at her long and hard.  "So be it.  Archimedes, take her to the armory and outfit her with whatever weapons she may think she needs."


Archimedes and Diana bowed low as they backed away from the throne.  "I hope you haven't bitten off more than you can chew, girl," the mathematician said out the side of his mouth.  "Because it would make ME look bad for recommending you."


Diana smiled.  "Athena will be with me."


"With both of us, I hope," Archimedes corrected.  "You don't think I'm going to let you sit alone in the king's chamber, do you?  Anyway, I'm curious to see how you intend to go about this.  Now, you're a big girl; I'm sure we can find some armor to fit you.  what kind of sword and shield do you favor?  Or do you want me to choose for you?"


"I will have no need of armor, or a sword," the girl said.  "I will require a large bronze basin, and if possible, some gold thread."


"Gold thread?"





In the realm of the Gods, Athena looked down on the scene in the waters of a watch pool. She looked up idly as Artemis approached.


“My Lady of the Hunt...” she greeted her.


“Sister of Wisdom” Artemis acknowledged her with a tilted dip of her head that Athena reflected back to her.


“You watch our...instrument of justice?” Artemis asked.


“Yes. You were absent when Zeus chose to slay our followers...” Athena left the unspoken question hanging in the air.


“I was hunting...” Artemis said with a sly smile. “ But I was aware of what was happening.”


“Yet you did not come to their aid...”


“You are the Goddess of Wisdom...yet some knowledge is unknown to you, for you do not know ALL things. I have my reasons for being absent. Time will reveal all”


Athena merely nodded and looked back at the scene at Syracuse.


“Speaking of time....this scene is amiss? She is dis-entimed, is she not?” Artemis enquired


“She is. Zeus has taken steps to thwart her. We take steps to thwart him.”


“A most dangerous game to play with our Father...” Artemis said looking on. “Her nature...it is changed somehow....softened from the warrior-hunter I have followed...”


“Mnemosyne's touch. It was the will of Zeus that she be as an innocent on this task. He has taken her worldliness, that she might fail. But he forgot to take her wits” Athena smiled in satisfaction as she looked sideways at Artemis.


“ Our Father...like all men, only sees one task and one resolution...”Artemis grinned back.


“That will be the curse of mankind through the ages...” Athena laughed back at her.





That night, after the sun had gone down and the stars glittered in the sky, King Hieron retired to his bed chamber.  The oil lamps hanging from the ceiling were trimmed low to provide a feeble illumination.  He tossed and turned for a long while, fighting against the exhaustion of his body and the dread of what he knew was coming.


In a corner of the room, Diana and Archimedes sat cross-legged on straw pallets.  Earlier in the evening, Diana had cut several thick locks from her long, raven-black hair, and the rest was now bound to keep it out of her way.  She sat silently, working those locks with deft, delicate fingers, braiding them together with the thread she had obtained from the king's goldsmith into a sturdy rope.  The shallow bronze basin she had asked for was sitting nearby with a cloth cover over it.


"Themiscyra?" Archimedes whispered pensively after a while, his middle-aged joints popping as he eased himself into a more comfortable reclining position.  "Themiscyra?  Is that the little isle just this side of Lesbos?"


"It's very far away," Diana said wistfully.  "I miss it.  I miss the green trees, the white beaches, the cliffs from which my sisters and I would practice diving into the ocean."


"And there are only women there?" he persisted.


"Only my mother, my sisters and I."


"If they all look like you, any man who was shipwrecked there would think he had landed on Paradise Island."  Archimedes raised himself on one elbow.  "What is that you're making?"


The girl held up the object she had fashioned from her hair.  It consisted of two loops, one larger than the other, linked together with two side supports.


"A bridle?" the mathematician said, then raised his eyebrows in sudden understanding.  "Made of the hair of virgin bound with gold, the purest and noblest of metals.  But what do you hope to catch with it, my dear girl?  Surely you don't think--"


"SHH!" Diana said, clamping her hand over his mouth.  "It's coming..."


Far away, they could hear the distant drumming of hooves coming ever nearer.


As they looked toward the king's bed, a gaunt, black horse had appeared, seemingly materialising from nowhere.  Its coat was dead black, its mane and tail ragged and unkempt.  Its eyes were as red as a blood moon, its hooves were adamant, glowing like embers.  Its teeth were sharp fangs, and when it snorted, flames and sooty smoke escaped from its nostrils.


"The Night Mare," Archimedes whispered, trembling as the horrible thing turned toward the sleeping king.  "The demon horse... but that's only a myth..."


Without a sound, Diana reached over and flipped the cover from the basin, gently pushing it forward.  Archimedes could see now that it was half filled with blood.  That explained why she had gone to the kitchens this afternoon.  He had heard them slaughtering a pig, and yet...


The night mare's nostrils flared as it turned away from the king, sniffing the air.  It had smelled the blood, and its mad, red eyes searched the corners of the room for the source.  The mathematician froze, his bowels turning to ice.  The creature was walking straight toward the two of them! The clip-clop of its hooves on the stone floor filling his heart with dread!


Archimedes wanted to run, but his body as trembling too hard to move.  He felt his skin crawl as the hell horse stopped nearly within arm's reach and began to drink the blood from the basin.  He glanced at Diana, but the lissome young girl sat unmoving and unconcerned, watching and waiting.  Then, when the blood was nearly all gone, she silently crept forward, holding her halter and reins ready.   Archimedes watched in tortured agony as the beast lapped up the last of the blood from the bowl and lifted its head.  Diana quietly eased the noose over the night mare's nose.


At the touch of the bridle, the creature let out a squeal of outrage that was deafening in the enclosed room, pulling back and rearing, its hooves striking off sparks form the stone floor as they hit with the sound of a thunderclap!  Diana tightened her grip on the reins of the halter, grimly holding on as the steed almost yanked her slender body off her feet.


Hieron snapped awake at the noise, sitting up and turning pale with horror.  Diana was holding onto the bridle, wrestling with the beast.  Its nostrils spouted flames and hot, stinking smoke right into the girl's face, but she dug in her heels and held on to the reins.  The night mare reared again, its fiery, iron-hard fore hooves striking out at the beautiful, seemingly defenseless young maiden.


"Diana!  Look out!" Archimedes shouted.


"Great Hera!" Diana gasped, as the flailing hooves grazed her shoulder, knocking her to the floor.  The girl rolled across the stone tiles as the hell horse dropped to all fours again, pursuing her, breathing out a stifling hot miasma which quickly made the entire room feel like an oven.


Diana scurried this way and that, her silken skin now glistening with sweat as she tried to dodge out of its reach.  The deadly fore hooves came down on either side of her tunic, pinning the young Amazon to the floor.  Then its head darted forward, sharp teeth clamping shut just short of her  rosy flesh as they ripped open the left shoulder of her tunic.  As it swept down for another try, the girl caught hold of the bridle with both hands, struggling to hold it off.  It was too strong for her!


Hieron was paralyzed with terror, unable to move.  Archimedes looked frantically for some sort of weapon.  The only thing that came to hand was the now empty bronze basin.  In desperation, the mathematician snatched it up in both hands.  "Hyah!" he shouted, swinging the bowl at the side of the night mare's head.  "Get away!  Hyah!"


The bowl made a hollow ringing sound as it struck.  Unhurt, the demon horse turned away from Diana toward its new attacker.  Archimedes retreated, cringing in fear as the monster backed him into the corner.  As it lunged, he instinctively raised the bowl in front of him like a shield.  The night mare's flaming breath struck the concave inner surface and rebounded, temporarily blinding it.



Diana saw her chance.  With a jump worthy of the famed Minoan bull-leapers, the Amazon vaulted onto the night mare's back.  The hell horse bucked violently, fighting to throw her.  Squeezing her creamy thighs tightly against the monster's gaunt sides, the girl desperately clutched at the scraggly mane, holding on for dear life as her fingers sought out the bridle.


The night mare kicked backward with both hind legs.  Diana slid forward and almost lost her seat, her smooth bare legs slipping on its deep black hide, the short skirt of her tunic flying as her sassy tail bobbed up and came back down again and again onto the creature's hard-edged spine.  Clinging to the animal's powerful neck, the girl managed to grab the halter as it twisted around, trying to nip at her legs.  She yanked the reins, snatching its head back.


Incredibly, the beast seemed to calm.  It stopped bucking, although still snorting and tossing its head restlessly as it fought Diana's control.  Archimedes looked up and breathed a sigh of relief.  The worst was over!  Praise Athena, praise Hermes, the maiden had actually done it!


But with another deafening shriek, the night mare reared again.  Wheeling about, it ran straight through the wall of the bed chamber, vanishing into nothing, and taking Diana with it!


Invisible to mortal eyes, the night mare carried Diana across the roof of the palace and leaped into space.


"Suffering Sappho!" the Amazon gasped in fright, holding on tightly to her bridle, the torn shoulder of her tunic fluttering in the wind as the terrible steed carried her onward, galloping across the sky on thin air.  Above her was the starry night sky, below them a sheer drop onto sharp rocks and pounding surf.  Still the girl kept her deathgrip on the reins. 


Across the moon-lit sky they flew, the wind whipping the Amazon's cut short hair, and then the demon horse plunged downward abruptly.  Falling like a rock, the fiery hooves crashed to earth, nearly unseating Diana again as it thundered across the ground.  Suddenly the Amazon found herself deep inside a dark forest, riding at breakneck speed down a narrow path -- so narrow that the bare, leafless branches of the trees brushed her on either side as they passed.  The trees themselves were gnarled and ancient.   They seemed almost alive, glaring at her with evil, knotted faces, limbs swaying in the night breeze as if they were deliberately trying to hit her.


The night mare dropped its head.  Diana saw the oncoming branch just in time to duck behind the horse's powerful neck to avoid it.  The branch swerved toward her, its twigs scoring a line of scratches across her face like claws.  The trees WERE alive!


Then blows were coming thick and fast, plucking at her clothes, trying to knock her from her seat.  All she could do was press herself tightly against the horse's neck.  Diana felt branches catch on her tunic, ripping the other shoulder.  Suddenly her garment was completely stripped from her.  Her loincloth and sandals followed suit, leaving her smooth body absolutely unclothed.


This couldn't be real!  Diana realized with despair that the demon horse had brought her into its native plane, the land of dreams and nightmares.  But although unreal, the perils here were no less deadly.  If she were thrown from its back here, she was utterly lost.  There was no telling what would become of her!  "Hera, give me strength!" the girl prayed, heart thumping between her bared breasts as she pressed her knees more tightly against the horse's sides.  "Athena, Artemis, Aphrodite... all you goddesses stay with me!"


Cobwebs appeared across the path directly ahead, but the night mare didn't so much as slow down.  Diana felt a shudder through her body as she ripped through the stringy mass, feeling the sticky strands clinging in her hair and her naked skin, spiders crawling and climbing all over the smooth curves of her body.  Her very flesh cringed at the contact.  She tried to swat them off with one hand, but the horse swerved, putting on a sudden burst of speed.  Diana lost her grip, feeling her bare thighs sliding along the creature's gaunt flanks as her hands reached out desperately for its scruffy mane.  Twining her fingers in its coarse hair, the Amazon caught herself, hiking her slender body back into her seat as she grabbed for the reins again.  All she could do then was close her eyes and hold on.


Suddenly the forest was behind them, the spiders and webs were gone, and the hell horse was galloping flat out across a barren plain.  Its coal-black coat gleamed with sweat.  The steady pounding of its hooves transmitted directly through the ridge of its back to Diana's inner thighs and cleft in a persistent, not entirely unpleasant sensation.  Clinging helplessly to the back of the hot, sweaty animal, the girl found the incessant up and down motion unexpectedly stimulating, arousing, setting her nerves on edge.


On across the plain the horse ran.  Diana felt as if she been riding for hours, her pert, bare breasts jiggling, her fingers growing numb as she held onto the reins, while that hunger in her loins only grew more fierce.  Eventually the night mare reached the top of a ridge.  Rearing, it plunged down the other side, slowing its gait from a gallop to a canter as it passed through a line of standing stones in curious shapes, and entered a city of ruins.


Diana gasped.  The ruins... they looked like Themiscyra!


A silent circle of mysterious figures in white robes and hoods was waiting.  The night mare slowed to a halt, rearing and pitching restlessly as the circle closed around them.  Diana looked around fearfully at the mob surrounding her, silently menacing.


"I knew that she would fail," said Hieron's voice, coming from one of the hooded figures.  "I knew it all along.  What were you thinking, Archimedes?  I ask for warriors, and you bring me a serving wench!  You should have kept her in the kitchen where she belonged, the stupid cunt!"


"I told you from the beginning," replied Archimedes, lowering the hood of his own robe.  "A mere slip of a girl, as I said.  Ridiculous to think she even had a chance.  She should have stayed at home playing with her dolls and not meddled in the affairs of men."


"No... please..." Diana whimpered, feeling a rush of shame as the men removed their hoods, laughing and jeering at her, gawking with undisguised pleasure at her virgin nakedness.  The mathematician who had befriended her was foremost in the group, and he looked as loathsome as all the others -- deceitful, lecherous, greedy, vain, cowardly, lazy, petty -- a gross caricature of every one of the worst qualities her mother had always told her that men possessed.  The Amazon felt her heart sinking in despair.


"Still and all," said Hieron, "it's not a total loss."


"Aye, there is that," agreed the travesty of Archimedes, looking up at Diana with his eyes full of sudden lust.  "We can take turns fucking the little bitch until she screams for mercy!"


With a shout, the men attacked -- dozens of hands reaching for her, touching her tender flesh, caressing her legs, her creamy thighs, her smooth, rounded butt as they tried to pull her from her steed so that they could have their way with her.  Diana's youthful body shivered with a yearning to be touched even as she tried to fight them off, all the while holding fast to the bridle of her mount, her vulnerable womanhood quivering moistly as it rubbed against the horse's withers.  The groping hands reached higher, fondling the silken skin of her torso, pawing at her round, unprotected breasts, nipples hard and willing...


Was that all she was then -- a girl, a female, a weak-willed pair of arms and legs with a vagina attached, suitable only for breeding and household chores?  Was that all that men expected of a woman?  Diana struggled against the despondency that threatened to flood her heart, and against the physical urgings of her soft body which was sorely tempted to give in, to surrender and let the men have her.


She looked up with dismay at the full moon shining overhead, and then she remembered the covenant the Amazons had made with Artemis and Athena and Aphrodite and the other Goddesses.  That same moon looked down upon Themiscyra, where her mother and her sisters were counting on her.  She remembered that she wasn't just some ordinary girl -- she was an Amazon, Hippolyta's daughter!  And fear and doubt were just two more enemies to be fought.

 
"I am Princess Diana of the Amazons!" she announced proudly, her strong fingers clenching tightly around the black and gold reins she had fashioned from her own hair.  "I will prevail!"


The night mare, worn out from fighting her, yielded to Diana's control and reared, sending her attackers reeling back.  Then, responding to her tug on the reins, it obediently wheeled around to head back the way they had come.  The circle closed ranks to prevent them, the men's faces changing into jutting, vulture-like beaks, their arms becoming black, tattered wings ending in long, nasty-looking talons.  "Stop them!  Catch them!" the creatures shouted maliciously.


Diana dug her bare heels into the horse's sides.  The hell horse obeyed, leaping over the circle of nightmare creatures and galloping back up the ridge.  The creatures pursued, flapping those ragged vulture wings.  "Stop them!  Stop them!" they screeched, more like crows than people.

  
As the mare ran, Diana could sense the animal giving in, surrendering to her will.  Fleeing back across the plain, horse and rider became one in their mutual desperation to escape.  The night mare's black coat began to fade gradually from gray to misty white, its scraggly mane becoming softer and fuller.  But the nightmare creatures overtook them.  For a moment, Diana could see nothing but black wings as the horde engulfed her and her steed like a dark cloud, pecking and clutching at them.  The horse stumbled and almost went down...  
 





Dawn was coming up, rosy-fingered, over the eastern horizon.  Hieron and Archimedes had been waiting sleepless all night long -- the king hardly daring to believe that the monster which had plagued his dreams for so long was truly vanquished, the mathematician anxiously wondering if he would ever see that beautiful, raven-haired young maiden again.


To their incredulous eyes, the mare appeared again, out of thin air.  The men jumped back in alarm, but the demon horse was changed.  It no longer belched fire and smoke.  Its eyes were liquid blue, its mane soft and flowing as a stream.  Its hooves were ivory, its coat the pale silver of the full moon at daybreak.


The day mare stood tame and docile as Diana lifted her sandal-clad leg over its back and slid to the floor beside them, the skirt of her tunic swishing around her thighs.  "Hola, King Hieron!" she said.  "The Night Mare will trouble your sleep no more."


"I... I can hardly believe this, maiden!" the king said, his voice trembling with joy.  "Where all my men have failed me, you alone have rid me of this grievous curse!  I have a son, only fourteen years of age now, but he shall have your hand in marriage, and you shall sit in my court all your days."


"I thank you for the kindness, oh king," Diana said.  "But the only reward I require is the mare herself.  Let me take her and leave your kingdom in peace."


"Then take it by all means, and go with our thanks."


"I stand amazed at your spirit and audacity, young one," said Archimedes.  "Can you not stay?  It is rare for a woman to be offered a place in the academy, but for you I would make an exception."


"I fear not," Diana said, her blue eyes fixed upon the brightening horizon outside the window.  "I have many trials ahead of me, and this is but the first."


"Then may Athena go with you," the mathematician said, embracing her.


The day mare was gently nudging her shoulder with its muzzle.  Diana felt its telepathic contact inside her head, its only desire now to do her bidding.  She hopped onto her bare back and tugged at the reins.  "Be well, oh king," she said.  Hieron and Archimedes watched as the horse obediently wheeled about and they both stepped through the wall of the palace, fading into thin air.  As the day dawned, it was hard to believe that they had actually been there at all.


"Now this is interesting," said Archimedes after a moment, stooping.


"What is it now?" snapped Hieron.


The mathematician had picked up the empty bronze basin from the floor, noting how its inner surface was charred where the night mare had breathed on it.  "I was just thinking of the way I used this as a shield to fight the beast," he said, running his fingers around the curve of the bowl.  "The parabolic curve reflected the flaming breath like a mirror and...  You know, cousin, this gives me an idea.  It would have to be much larger though..."
Last edited by tallyho 3 years ago, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin story CENTURION's chapter

Post by Abductorenmadrid »

A clever little mix of fact and fiction, Centurion. And what a prize for our heroine to attain. Nicely done!
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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin story CENTURION's chapter

Post by SGWriter »

A great opening for the first of the guest writers :) I liked the mix of the history and fiction, also how Archimedes crafted the name of 'Paradise Island' there. Prefect way for that to get passed down into legend. Excellent work Centurion!
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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin story CENTURION's chapter

Post by flirty_but_nice »

It took me awhile to find the mood to get into this, but that finally happened and I am so glad I persistently tried a few times. Excellent job to both of you, so far. Like SGWriter said, that was cool, the part with Archimedes and his eureka moment. I think it's always terrific when fiction blends with elements historic reality. Well done!
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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin story CENTURION's chapter

Post by lordgriffin »

Hey Centruion:

What a great and imaginative story, I love horses so the idea of a Nightmare is awesome (though I think that the "Daymare" should have a cutie mark)
You also have a great use of vocabulary.....

I particularly liked the blood part, where the mare was drinking, though It might have been a bit more controversial if it had, had to be HUMAN blood. With Archimedes, you could have him "bleed" several humans and then bind the wounds...

I was not completely clear WHY Diana decided to help the men, but it was nice to see she at least likes the view. I didn't really get why Archimedes was naked though.....

Over all i really enjoied this chapter and it felt just about the right size
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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin story CENTURION's chapter

Post by tallyho »

Great little piece Mr C, loved the inclusion of Archimedes and the touches of humour. A good concept, really well executed. Bravo!
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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin story CENTURION's chapter

Post by tallyho »

PART 7


"A PYRRHIC VICTORY"
By ABDUCTORENMADRID



On high Olympus, Athena met with Hera.

“It is done. The Nightmare is ended. The Amazon has the Daymare. It will convey her at speed where she wills it to go”

“And through time too, I have heard, my sister Wisdom” Nemesis said as she approached and bowed before Hera.

“A powerful prize indeed” added Artemis as she nodded a brief greeting to Athena and Nemesis before a more formal bow to her Queen. “Perhaps too powerful....”

“How so , lady Huntress?” Hera said with concern.

“Such an animal may attract your husbands eye, Great Lady. You know he has a yearning for horses. He may wish to sire the mare with his famed stallion, Pegasus....”

“A good point. We need a wise solution...” Hera said pointedly as all turned to Athena.

Athena thought for a moment. “If she were to use the beast daily, it would indeed catch our Father's eye...so let its use be only borne of necessity. When speed is of the essence or great distance, aye or time must be crossed then let the Mare bare her. Else let her journey by conventional means on her path of vengeance.” Athena looked to Nemesis who smiled her acceptance.

“Vengeance is in no haste to fall upon those who deserve it. It is a wise plan my sister.” Nemesis said. “Talking of time...Zeus will think Geras will do his work for him, should she survive our trials and with men hidden from her lifespan through the ages...” she said referring to the God of Old Age. Geras was both a God and a Goddess, as old age fell on both man and woman alike. As such 'she' could not be trusted upon. By hiding those Diana would seek vengeance on through time, Zeus would hope that they will outlive her and so she would fail.

“Yes. She will need to be eternal to fulfill her vow...”Hera said.

“No mother. That she cannot be, for it is to make her as a God. Let her age, yes, but slowly. Geras may yet claim her if she fails but it will not be for millennia.” Athena spoke softly.

“It will still be difficult to bestow such a gift in defiance of Geras. Zeus will not let us give her such a prize.” Nemesis said.

“We GIVE her nothing.”Artemis said. “ She hunts the prize, as she will hunt the others. And like all hunters, she may return empty handed from the hunt. I have already given thought to this my Queen, my sisters. Zeus will watch us closely.” Artemis turned and beckoned and Pasiphae an oracle Goddess stepped forward. “Let Pasiphae, beholder of the future, convey her task in a dream.”

“It will be my honour, my Queen.” Pasiphae bowed.” A Blood Moon will soon grace the realm of man. A time of prophecy and portents...” she spoke of a lunar eclipse ”...a time for dreams and visions. I will visit her as she sleeps before the shadow falls upon Hecate.”she said meaning before the eclipse of the new Moon. “I will visit her this night in a dream and guide her to her destiny – to where she must be when the moon turns to blood.”

“Let it be so.” Hera nodded her approval, though she looked slyly on Artemis with secret disdain, resenting that the suggestion had been hers.

“And what of the Daymare, great Mother?” Athena asked.

“It seems a pity that she must only use it sparingly...” Hera added.

Athena smiled. “I have a thought. It is indeed a great prize. But no doubt rumour of the beast will have reached our Father's ears. He will look upon her closely as she performs the next task. The mare will keep for more arduous times. For this trial, it is not needed. Let her steed be a humble beast of burden....”





Diana led her donkey to the mouth of a cave and secured her hard working companion by tying its lead rope to the old tree which stood like a lonely sentry nearby. Drawing back the cloth coverings protecting her possessions Diana revealed the donkey's heavy load. She unhooked a wooden pail and placed it her animal's feet and then filled it with some coarse feed from a small sack, rewarding her humble beast for its efforts.

To the west the sun was setting and low in the Eastern sky the usually pale crescent form of the moon began to take on an unusual red glow, just as a vision she had seen had foretold. The night of the red moon would grant Diana an audience that would lead her to a new prize of great importance, so the vision said.

Following the instructions in the vision she had retrieved what seemed nothing more than a short thick carved wooden stick from the shores of a river and had been guided on to the place where she now stood. Here she would gain more knowledge of what the small piece of wood meant and how it would help her in her quest for vengeance.

Diana made camp, unloading the burden from her donkey, preparing a fire and eating a small meal all the while it grew darker and darker. As the last remains of the day were consumed and the moon overhead grew redder and redder Diana steeled herself for the encounter with the unknown waiting inside the cave. Diana looked at her pile of possessions under the Hessian cloth. Amongst it was her armour, her sword, and her shield but she had been told she didn't need to take any of them with her.

Brandishing a torch which Diana lit it in her dying camp fire she set forth into the cave, pausing only a moment in the gaping mouth of the stone entrance to take a breath before continuing. Diana had been told she must enter by three hundred paces and quietly she tallied the number as she strode cautiously into the depths.

Eventually Diana came across a small clearing within the cave. It was flat and there was a prepared but unlit camp fire in the centre with furs marking an area around it. In a small pile by the fire were the bones of what looked like rats, mice and perhaps even bats. This was the spot the vision had told her to reach and so, taking a chance, Diana used her torch and lit the fire.

The noble Amazon sat on one of the furs by the fire and warmed herself, waiting for the one who would tell her more of her quest. Sat crossed legged , the criss crossed straps of Diana's sandals reached up her muscled legs to nearly her knees while her plain brown tunic top, cut from heavy cloth subtly hinted at the warrior form concealed beneath.

“HA!” screeched a voice, the voice bouncing from all directions off the walls of the cave.

Diana glanced about the cave looking for the source of the voice to no avail.

“SPEAK! ….. SPEAK! …. WHO HAS COME?” screeched the voice of an old woman again.

Then, crawling with great agility the source of the voice appeared. It was a woman in rags, a cloth blindfold covering her eyes, her teeth brown, her limbs thin, her patchy white hair exposing her scalp ridden with sores atop her emaciated body.

“WELL? Don't tell me you have no tongue in your head, SPEAK!” the old women demanded.

“My name is Diana,” said the warrior, her head tilting as she took in the sight of the curios woman.

“AH !! There you are,” the women exclaimed as she scuttled across the floor to the source of Diana's voice.

The blind woman passed around the edge of the fire reaching out with her bony fingers and laid her hand on Diana's thigh.

“Good bone, good flesh, you are a WARRIOR, like those SPARTANS!” the old woman said with her haggard voice as her hand rose and felt one of Diana's upper arms.

“Good shield arm, yes, and beautiful too,” the old woman rasped as her hand settled roughly on Diana's cheek before scurrying onto a fur of her own, her body turning to face the warmth of the fire.

Diana frowned at the oddity that was in front of her, she hadn't been expecting to encounter anything or anyone like this.

“What is your name?” Diana asked warmly.

“NAME? Ha! If in another place we were, equal to yours it would be,” the old woman said blindly into the night, a deep chesty cough throwing doubt on her health.

“I was guided here by a vision that told me you could tell me who the owner of this is. I am meant to find them, they are to lead me to a great prize,” Diana said as she reached to the old woman and placed what looked like a wooden stick into her hands.

“Ohhhhhhhhh, do you know what this IS?” the old woman said reverently like she had been given a great treasure.

“The vision told me where to find it, but no, I don't. What is it?” Diana shook her head.

The old woman thumbed the stick which was about the length of the width of a man's palm. In its length several notches had been carved into the stick, a group of three stripes, then an X and then three more stripes. The old lady began to grumble to herself as she examined the stick thoroughly, mapping in her mind every mark that had been made then offered it blindly back to Diana.

“THAT is the mark of a dead man and yet he LIVES!!!” the old woman cackled as she spoke.

“I don't understand,” Diana said as she re-examined the simple stick.

“Before campaign the men of this man's city make a pair of these markers, one to carry on their bodies, and one for a pot. At the end of the campaign each man reclaims his mark and the marks that remain in the pot are those of the dead. That way the people know who to mourn!”

“So, if he lives, and this mark is unclaimed surely he must be a prisoner, or ….” Diana paused mid-thought.

“Ha! YES! A deserter! Put his mark on another body he did…...left its twin unclaimed ..... the one now in your very hand...” the old woman cackled almost wickedly.

“Do you know who the man is?” Diana asked hopefully.

“Oh yes …. yes I do …I SEE HIM NOW!” exclaimed the old woman, hacking between her words.

Diana sensed she was being provoked into pressing for an answer, the vision would not have sent her if this woman was not going to help her. Then Diana realised that there would be a price to pay. In all affairs of the gods there was always a price.

“And what would it take for you to tell me?” Diana asked, her tone dubious.

“And sharp too you are, Diana! Very well, I shall tell you how to find this man, I will tell you everything I can see …and in return you will honour my body with yours,” the old woman cackled.

Diana looked down to the floor, eyes closing. If that was what the gods had decided was a fair price then that was what she had to pay. Vengeance would be hers at any cost and there were far greater prices that could be demanded of her than pleasuring this woman.

“So be it,” Diana said with one firm nod.

“Good, VERY good!” cackled the woman.

The old woman raised her arms and Diana drew the rags up over her head revealing the woman's withered torso, her crinkled skin revealing her bony frame and thin muscles that somehow seemed to hold the old woman together.

“Kiss my neck, my back, worship my flesh and listen well for I will only tell you once,” the old woman said wickedly.

Diana was sat on a fur , her legs either side the old woman who huddled in front of her facing the fire. Brushing aside the coarse white hairs of the old woman's head Diana placed a kiss on the base of her neck.

“You have the lips of an angel, you please me, now listen well! From here you will take the road to the town of Elis!”







The young shepherd boy watched his flock from under an olive tree with difficulty, the winds had been strong for days and the sun baked earth had been driven into the air, limiting the view and casting an eerie light. The goats bells jangled gently as they grazed, the animals occasionally becoming skittish as the long grass danced in unison with each gust of wind.

The boy then heard a new noise approaching on the track and with his keen young eyes he scanned into the dust filled haze. A dark mass approached, a person, an animal, perhaps both. A different sort of metallic jangling could be heard and the boy slowly deciphered with his ears what his eyes could only offer clues to.

A cloaked figure, hood down, led a small donkey, the animal's burden of two packs on its flanks making a metallic noise under their Hessian wrappings. The figure strode by, the dark sandy haze hiding all detail of the mystery person. What the boy could see though was the strong spear arm that led out each confident pace, using a wooden staff to mark each step.

As the figure drew level with the shepherd boy it stopped, then faced him, lowering the hood of their cloak to reveal a face, Diana's face.

KTIIIIIIING !

Two coins flew from the hand of the figure, arcing through the air while they spun vigorously, sent into motion by the woman's thumb no doubt. The shepherd boy reached out and plucked the coins from the air.






In the cave, the shadows thrown by the campfire danced along the rough uneven walls of stone. Diana turned her head, clearing her own dark hair from her path as she kissed gently down the soft wrinkled skin of the old woman's back. How long had it been since this woman had known love, known the kiss of anyone? Diana didn't know but thought it sad that it may have been a long long time.

“Hmmmm the wind will conspire against you, it will try to hide the way to Elis but the shepherd boy knows which road to take. Pay him! If you do not he will lead you astray but pay too much and he will think to send you where only his brethren thieves tread”

“Then what should I pay him?” Diana asked with a frown.

“Pay him with some food that he cannot eat …...” the old woman said cryptically.

Diana closed her eyes and absorbed the woman's wisdom then resumed her tender efforts with her lips.






The shepherd boy caught the coins mid flight and his eyes widened when, in his hand he saw the colour of the metal in his hand. He was a humble shepherd, watcher of his family's flock and money rarely reached his hands. However he wasn't stupid and knew well what it was that sat in his palm, two ears of barley ! Not the crop of course, but those well known coins that bore the image of barley on the back.

“The town of Elis?” asked Diana, her voice warm and confident.

The boy was silent as he calculated his new worth, not measured by finery, but in the eyes of his mother, his father and his sisters when he brought this tiny treasure home. Six obols, six! One whole drachma! That would mean good bread and olive oil on the table for the week to come. Some shepherds would have to work several days to do so well.

“Follow until the fork and keep left, you should see it in a day at your pace,” the boy finally answered.

With a thankful hand gesture Diana moved on and passed by peaceably, the herd of goats scurrying out of her way only to settle on new fresh grass to eat. The boy tracked the stranger and slowly her outline was consumed by the dust filled air until she and the donkey, carrying its burden, were gone.


Diana eventually made it to the outskirts of the settlement of Elis, the approaches dotted with soldiers watching for trouble, though she passed by unhindered. Passing through the open city gates she sought out the way to the Agora, the usual meeting point of the townspeople. There she would find the market stalls where she could get some provisions and also find the man she was looking for, the one who could tell her what she needed to know.





The cave camp fire crackled and sparked as the wood burned, the pair sat in the cave bathing in both its warmth and its light.

“The town's merchants keep the company you seek....” The old woman said, turning her blind eyes to one side feeling Diana's cheek rest on her shoulder blade, the muscular arms of the warrior enveloping the old woman around her waist from behind in a caring embrace.




The Agora was teeming with people, the market stalls well stocked. Slowly Diana passed through the Agora looking for the man she sought. The warrior glanced about her, the woman of the cave had told her that the man she sought was a soldier and the he would be here although none of the people working the stalls looked like a former military man.

“The merchants keep the company I seek” Diana murmured quietly to herself as she explored the market place and realised that the man she sought did not work a stall at all, he must be something else, but who?

“Keep the company, keep the company, keep the company, they keep him, they keep him, what is he, what is he?” Diana spun around studying what was going on around her.

People were picking their goods, bartering, paying, taking, paying, taking! Who else takes, who else is kept by the merchants? THE TAX COLLECTOR. Each merchant needed the seal of the town to be able to trade, and so each morning they had to put their seal in his hands. Then during the day they could sell their wares and for that seal's return they would pay their toll, ready to do it all over again the next day.

Diana watched and waited. At the closing of the day, as the daylight faded and the towns watch prepared the fires for the night the tax collector would surely come to the merchants and take his daily toll. Then it happened, he appeared, two soldiers by his side and a slave in attendance, the symbol of his office about his neck.

He was a tall man and with more than forty summers. To Diana's eyes the frame of the man betrayed his prior service as a soldier though she could see his civil life had softened him.

On the tax collector's belt there were two pouches, one full, one empty. Pulling a baked clay disc, a seal, from the full pouch he read the name and sought the merchant, extracting his tax once he found them. Eventually he had visited each merchant, their taxes paid, their seals returned and his money bag full, the slave having noted in a journal all the takings for the day.





“Show him the truth discreetly and let him wear it about his neck, his prize must recognise him when the time comes” the old woman said as she allowed one arm to stretch out to her side, barely more than bone and skin.

Diana supported the old woman's arm with her hands and from the shoulder gently placed kisses on her loose hanging skin towards her finger tips, one small step at a time.





The Tax collector exited the treasury, his takings deposited, the slave and his notebook incarcerated for the night, his two armed escorts taking up station on guard inside. Diana had followed him to the building and waited in a narrow street for him to appear and when he did, she struck.

Taken from behind, he barely made a yelp when she covered his mouth with her hand, his eyes going wide as Diana presented the simple stick before his face. Diana felt his resistance end the moment he could see it, his breathing calming when he understood the truth, the dead soldier had been found out, he was alive, a deserter.

“Do you recognise this?” Diana whispered.

The man forced out a nod behind Diana's hand which held him silent... “Hmmhmpfff”

“Cry out and we will taste the spears together, deserter! I am not here to rob you or seek retribution, I seek something else, understand?”

“Uhm-hmmm” replied the man through Diana's hand which she cautiously began to relax from his face.

“I knew this day would come. I am Pyrrhus and that was my mark.” the man whispered as he sought to take in breath.

“The gods have brought us together, Pyrrhus , you have a chance to redeem yourself in their eyes,” Diana whispered.

“The mere fact you have that and have found me is the work of the gods for sure. Come to my house and we shall talk, I will honour xenia if you do,” Pyrrhus said softly.





Diana, ran her kisses down the woman's forearms and onto the back of her hand before pressing the woman's palm onto her cheek, letting the warmth in her face radiate into the old woman's hand.

“He will promise you xenia but be mindful of his conduct and certainly be mindful of yours,” smiled the old woman. Diana continued to worship her, the pair illuminated by the orange light of the campfire.

The woman closed her first and second fingers together and placed the tips of her digits to Diana's mouth and she accepted them slowly. First kissing the tips of the bony fingers, then letting them in bit by bit Diana worshipped each digit, letting them deep into her mouth.






Pyrrhus took Diana into his house and showed her the small space that would be hers for the time she needed to be there. It was sparse and simple and Diana arranged a bed for the night while Pyrrhus prepared a small meal.

At the simple table of his kitchen Diana and Pyrrhus drank some wine and the bowls of vegetable soup were consumed with bread. Pyrrhus was not rich but he lived comfortably as evidenced by the fruit he placed on the table to finish the meal.

“So, what would you and the gods have of me?” Pyrrhus began.

Diana looked up startled by the question and remembered the words spoken to her in the cave, a smile appearing on her face for a split second.

“First, as a sign of good faith I offer this gift so that you do not fear the same fate as Damocles,” Diana said, placing the grooved stick in front of the man.

Pyrrhus slid his tunic sleeve up his left arm revealing his bicep and his mark that had been scarred into his skin, three lines, an X and three lines, matching the marks in the wood.

“It was fifteen years ago I last saw that and its twin. One mark for me, one for the general's pot. I was in a column, a small force being sent to aid our General in the east. I was sent ahead with a small party to protect a messenger. We were ambushed by robbers and everyone was killed, I fought but ..but it wasn't enough. Later when I went to see if I could retrieve the message to carry it myself I saw that a comrade's shield arm had been cleaved clean off. I saw it as an opportunity to desert, there were no witnesses,” Pyrrhus explained, bitterness in his voice.

“You exchanged wooden markers with the dead man and fled?” Diana asked assertively.

“Yes, to my shame I did. They check the bodies, the scars, the marks, and compare the pot that holds the marks of the men in service. Without his shield arm they relied on the wooden mark alone, in their eyes it was me that was dead and my comrade who had deserted.” Pyrrhus explained.

“Evidently someone thought something amiss, your mark was left in a place for me to find it as commanded by a powerful vision,” Diana explained.

“Odd for my mark to have survived so long, this is either from the body or the pot but either way they usually get burned. So what is it that the gods need of an old soldier like me? ” Pyrrhus wondered, shaking his head.

“The vision told me that years after you deserted you saw a great prize in the hills. We are to recover it together,that is why I am here,” Diana said.

“If you know of it then truly only the gods could have sent you. Yes, after I deserted, during my first few years of freedom I was a hunter. My party of five men were hunting but became lost when tracking a deer in the hills. There we found a hidden clearing and in the centre a pile of swords, shields and the discarded armour of two hundred men. All sorts of armour was there, from centuries past until our days now,” Pyrrhus said, his hands gesturing, as he described the scene.

“In the centre of that pile on the very top, was a large gold chest which must have weighed several talents just on its own. Protecting it was a strange and deadly serpent, it killed the others before they even got a few hundred paces from the prize. ” Pyrrhus explained, his face painted with dread as he recalled what happened to the other hunters that were in his party.

“Would you show me the way there, if it were possible?” Diana asked humbly.

“I can take you to the hills but I was never able to find the way back to the clearing again,” Pyrrhus said bitterly.

“Perhaps you would wish to try again? Would you want to come with me?” Diana asked.

“Certainly, in two days time. Then it is Noumenia and the start of the festivals, we take no taxes those days. If we leave then we should arrive at the clearing on the day of Athena, and return before the day of Poseidon, if you are prepared to wait.”

“Yes, of course,” Diana replied with a nod.

“May I ask, how do you intend on killing the monster if and when we get there?” Pyrrhus asked.

“I will tell you of my plan when we see the prize,” Diana said cryptically.

“So be it, I promise to see to it that you get your share of the prize in your very hands” Said Pyrrhus solemnly.

“And your share in yours. I only ask that you wear your mark about your neck so that the prize will know it is you that has come for it, as it has been foretold to me....” Diana added.

“A fair price. Until we leave you are welcome to stay in my house but now I should retire. The merchants will be keen to start early while the weather is still good and I must be there to greet them” Pyrrhus said.





The old woman paused thoughtfully as she listened to the crackling fire. “Bargain struck, he shall indeed deliver on his promise! Hmmm, next my feet, child!” the woman said as she splayed out her legs.

Diana repositioned herself by the fire and carefully cradled the woman's leg, placing the old woman's heel to her chest and began to massage the aged soles with her thumbs pecking a kiss onto her toes.

Diana imagined that once upon a time the old woman in front of her was a loved wife or a cherished daughter, her mother, or husband bathing her in fresh clean water from the top of her head to the tips of her toes. Perhaps Diana could help the blind old woman relive those memories if only for one night.


“Until you leave Elis for your prize you and Pyrrhus will honour xenia in your own way!” The old woman said sternly.








For the next two days Diana followed the same routine, rising at the same time as Pyrrhus, clearing the remains of the previous nights fire, preparing the next for the night to come and then going out for the day while her host attended to his civic duties as tax collector.

“Honour xenia in our own way ..” thought Diana to herself. Xenia, the obligations of host and guest was a central part of social life in their world. Pyrrhus was to attend to her needs whilst Diana was to not be a burden on him.

As the sun continued to rise Diana fed and watered her donkey then performed labour for the merchants and towns guard, fetching, carrying, doing whatever casual labour she could find. Little by little she earned a few orbols, enough to put bread on the table for the evening with some olive oil or perhaps a good fish caught by the fishermen from the nearby rivers. Then as each day ended Pyrrhus would conclude his duties at his offices, return the seals of the merchants and collect their taxes before ending his working day. Being the host, Pyrrhus would prepare the meal that Diana had worked to gather during the day before they both retired for the night.







“You honour me kindly, Diana” the old woman said, feeling the warmth of Diana's affections.

“If the gods are true to their word than so must I be to mine!” Diana said as she supported the heel of one of the old woman's feet and began to kiss up her calves towards the knee.

The old woman reached behind her own head and undid the knot of the blindfold covering her eyes and passed it blindly towards Diana. The old woman had eyes that were glazed over in pure white, her sight long gone causing Diana's sense of sadness for the pitiful creature to deepen.

“Make your eyes like mine, be blind as I am blind. Your kindness is quite like love which all know is also without sight,” the old woman said, almost with a hint of compassion.

Diana read this as the woman's mercy. Perhaps the old woman thought Diana would struggle to give herself freely to her withered body while she was able to see? Diana complied and put herself into the same darkness as the woman.

“Ah now where were we? Oh yes, you will journey north, your dozen feet for three days. Your fruits of xenia will lay ahead of you while his will lay just behind!” The old woman groaned in pleasure as Diana resumed her task.







Diana and Pyrrhus made the journey northwards on foot, their attendant donkeys carrying their loads up towards the hills along the dusty track. It would take three days to arrive at the hills but there they would begin plotting to find the clearing and the prize.

Each night during the journey the pair would take turns to take watch, their turns marked by the revolving heavens and the points of light in the night sky. Diana slept deeply and at ease during the dark moonless nights as Pyrrhus took watch.

Each night at the appointed time Pyrrhus would take his blanket and obscure the camp fire from the view of those watching from the South, making his signal three times before a pinpoint of far off torchlight replied.







A blindfolded Diana found herself guided by the woman's hands, her mouth presented to the blind yet all knowing woman's breasts which seemed deceptively full for her aged and emaciated state.

The woman kept Diana clamped into her bosom as her younger companion blessed her with unrestrained affection. A trail of kisses marked the path to each raised nipple of the woman's breasts as Diana sought to honour the all knowing, all seeing old woman with no name.

“Find the sign of the messenger,” whispered the unseen woman into the ears of the blindfolded Diana.

“What sign? How shall I know them?” Diana asked.

“You shall know them just as your new friend had done,” the woman replied, cryptically.






Diana and Pyrrhus made it to the wooded hills on the third day as they had expected. The area was familiar to Pyrrhus, it was where he had first set forth after the deer that led him and his ill fated party of hunters to the clearing and the golden box.

“I returned here many times in search of the treasure but never saw it again.” Pyrrhus said bitterly.

“I was told a messenger would show us the way,” Diana said.

“And who would that be?” Pyrrhus asked.

“When I was told I did not know, but now I think I do. You were led by a deer once and we shall be again,” Diana replied.

Diana crouched to the ground and saw the tracks she had been looking for. The deer that had made its mark had not long passed by, it seemed. Pyrrhus noted Diana's interest at the ground and realised what she had seen.

“The deer is the messenger?” Pyrrhus asked with a frown.

“Yes, your first finding of the clearing was not by chance, you were led by the messenger of the gods,” Diana said, glancing up at her companion.

“To what end?” Pyrrhus wondered aloud.

“Perhaps so that one day you could bring me here too?” Diana speculated.

“Truly the games of the gods are complex,” Pyrrhus said, perplexed.

“Come, the trail leads this way,” Diana said, rising to her feet before leading the party deeper into the hills.




Diana's blindfolded head was escorted by the woman's hands downwards towards her stomach, which somehow felt firm, no doubt held fast by the remaining muscles holding her thin old body together.

Diana continued to bathe the woman with her tender kisses, her price for the knowledge of her adventure to come, being sure to remember each little detail.

“When you find the messenger you will be shown the way....“





For hours the adventurers followed the trail of the deer which seemed to be tantalizingly close and yet just a step ahead. The sound of the rustling bushes and fresh tracks drew them on until eventually Pyrrhus found himself in a familiar place. They were at the mouth of the narrow gorge that lead to the hidden clearing.


Diana and Pyrrhus set up camp, the pair unloading their donkeys of their burdens after securing them to trees. Slowly the small camp took shape, the pair setting up a fire ready to be lit and then they laid out their weapons and armour in preparation to be donned.

“Let us see what lurks inside the clearing first,” Diana suggested.

“It has been many years since I was last here, I cannot say for sure what lies beyond,” Pyrrhus said as he looked apprehensively at the narrow passageway that would lead them both to the prize.

Navigating their way through the channel in the rocks the pair eventually reached the edge of a small forest that Pyrrhus recalled ringed the clearing. The pair quietly pushed forward towards the centre and the open plateau where their prize awaited.

Eventually the unlikely pair found the grassy patch in the centre of the forest. The green space was several hundred paces across and bathed in the sunlight and in the very middle a metal heap glinting temptingly. Surrounding the metal haul, the bones of the dead littered the ground, picked clean and bleached by the sun.

“There! It is just as I remember! See? The armour of the dead, their swords, their shields!” Pyrrhus whispered.

“And on top, the golden chest!” Diana said, her keen eyes squinting into the glare from the reflections of the metal pile.


PPPFFFFFSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSST!!

A loud hissing sound filled the air as huge serpent like creature slid into view from the opposite side of the clearing, a bizarre creature with fan like fins on its back, a forked tongue and large slitted eyes that blinked bizarrely. The creature seemed to taste the air with its tongue as it slid in a loop around the metal pile coming to rest while keeping vigil over its treasure.

“It must be as long as a column of five hundred men and eat horses for breakfast!” exclaimed Pyrrhus under a low whisper.

“It moves quickly for its size. Even with the gift I have been given, the task will be difficult, ” Diana whispered calmly, motioning for the pair to return to the camp.

“The gods they have given you something with which to fight this beast?” Pyrrhus asked as they cautiously edged away back to camp, making sure the serpent did not follow them.

“Fight? No. Outmanoeuvre? Yes. I will show you,” Diana said as the two pushed on to the camp and away from the clearing and the ominous monster.

The two adventurers returned to the camp and Diana moved to her unloaded pack. Drawing back the plain sack covers she unbuckled her shield from the straps securing it to the rest of the load and drew a wooden drill sword from the leather loops that held it.

“You were a soldier once, HERE!” Diana said as she thrust the hilt of her wooden sword and shield at Pyrrhus.

Pyrrhus slid his left arm into the leather loops, binding his forearm to the concave disc shield before grasping the wooden drill sword in his stronger right hand. Pyrrhus tapped the edge of the shield with the flat of his sword while his
feet stomped on the ground, preparing to dig in, preparing to fight. It was an almost instinctive action the second he found the sword in his hand. The soldiers of his army, like gorillas that beat their chests, clattered their shields to show their strength, their aggression, their deadly intent.

That tapping, that clanging would be heard all along the battle lines, the sound symbolising the question, 'What have you GOT?!' , the desire 'Come at ME!', the message 'I will KILL YOU!'

“And so, what do YOU have in reply?” asked Pyrrhus as he settled back into his role as soldier.


“I,” began Diana “have just this, and I shall only show you once for it is precious and all but spent..”





Diana, blinded by the cloth covering her eyes felt that the time had come, she had honoured the old woman with her kisses on every part of her body bar one and her companion in the cave now guided her face lower and lower to that one remaining spot.

Diana boldly placed a restrained kiss onto the old woman's intimate flesh to find it soft and warm, and just as tender as she imagined her own to be. Diana tested again, cautiously with her tongue eliciting a moan from the woman. To Diana the taste was somehow divine and addictive and she found herself plundering deeper and deeper with every stroke of her tongue.

Diana felt the hands of the old woman hold her head, the blindfold slipping from her eyes to reveal the true nature of the old woman who she worshipped. The curls of the golden haired young woman framed her beautiful face, her mouth parted in ecstasy as she watched Diana work her magic between her thighs.

“Who would think such heavenly sensations would be delivered by mere mortals..” the divine woman thought to herself as her hands scrambled to keep her torso inclined, her fingers digging into to the sandy floor of the cave while Diana drove her towards unknown pleasure.




Diana, from her belt produced a tiny pouch held closed by a drawstring and carefully tugged it open, dipping in her thumb and forefinger.

“And what is THAT?” Pyrrhus said with a frown as he opened his arms, stretching his limbs as they began to remember how to wield the tools of war that had been thrust back upon him.

“This,Pyrrhus is a mere few grains from the sands of time itself,” Diana said confidently as she put herself squarely in front of her drill partner.

“And what do they do? How do they work?” Pyrrhus asked, his eyes looking inquisitively at the tiny pouch.

“You recall your drills? Set, advance and strike! Whichever strike you prefer,” Diana said, standing unarmed and unguarded.

“Very well, set the pace,” Pyrrhus said. There was a concern in his tone, and doubt too. The drill, normally conducted with an equally armed opponent always ended with at least some bruises.

“On the third round, SET! ADVANCE! STRIKE! - SET! ADVANCE! STRIKE! ...” Diana began, setting the slow steady tempo of the drill, Pyrrhus, inhaling deeply as he prepared to commence.

“SET …..” Pyrrhus began the third round, his intention to follow Diana's tempo.

Pyrrhus set his sword and his shield imagining that Diana had the same at her command. His eyes over the top of the shield, his sword set horizontal and low, ready to unleash his reliable straight thrust.






The golden haired woman writhed as Diana continued to work her magic with her tongue, her fingers finding the magical spot of heaven she knew would be there from the innocent exploration of her own body.

Diana's lips broke their seemingly infinite embrace with the soft flesh between the blond's legs and locked eyes with her companion in the cave. The blond knew her spell had not just been broken but had been smashed, her disguise melting beneath each kiss. Diana truly was as pure, kind and as giving as she had thought.

Diana did not know how the transformation had happened or why but the old woman was gone, born again or transformed into the beauty in front of her. Whatever the reason though Diana intended to see out their bargain, driven on not by pity she had had for the old woman of before but for her desire of the beautiful creature now at her tongue's mercy.

The blond's fingers gripped harder and harder into the sandy floor, the fine grains slipping through her fingers. Diana was driving her on, closer, closer towards to what the goddess thought mortal women must think as the sweet release of death, the head rush of pleasure exploding inside her mind.








“ADVAAaaaaaa..” Pyrrhus began to call as from the small pouch Diana withdraw a pinch of sand, throwing it into the air.

“AAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa” Pyrrhus continued to say, his first step towards his target starting at an incredibly slow pace.

His eyes widening in anticipation of the unknown, the man took his first step, his body preparing to get behind his thrust. His trailing leg rose ready to carry through the next step, his lungs still pushing out the sound of his call.

Diana saw the few grains of sand drifting downwards but knew she had time. Stepping forward and diagonally to her right the world passed by slowly and for the world around her she seemed to move incredibly quickly. Pyrrhus was finishing his second step, his sword arm loading up like a spring ready to strike his target.

aaance!” Pyrrhus finished calling as his sword drew back, to the trigger point. His eyes focusing on the area of space occupied by Diana's un-armoured stomach except....

“Sheeeeeee's …. nooooooooooot …. theeeeeeeeeere” his eyes began to report.

In the blink of his eyes Diana had circumnavigated the advancing man, passing by his shield arm and in close behind him.

Striiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii” began Pyrrhus, his mind, eyes, mouth, and sword all desperately out of synchronisation as he discovered she was gone.

Diana finished her movement as the last grains of sand touched the floor, breaking the time distorting spell.

VWOOOOSH!

With a restrained thrust of the blunted wooden drill sword, Pyrrhus prodded at the empty space where Diana had once stood.

“Strike” Diana said quietly, directly behind her opponent.

Pyrrhus stumbled through his missed thrust and was startled by Diana's reappearance directly behind him.

“By the GODS! What a GIFT!!” Pyrrhus exclaimed as he spun around to face Diana once again, his mouth left open in surprise.







Diana lay in the embrace of the spent blond on the floor of the cave by the fire.

“What a gift I have been given here in the mortal realm ...” the blond said softly as Diana nuzzled herself into her cave dwelling companion.

“Was it necessary to deceive me?” Diana whispered.

“Oh Diana, I am born of those who always seek to deceive, whether it be to impart wisdom, or find a truth, to test loyalty or for mere amusement …...” the blond replied.

“And which was this?” Diana asked with a guarded upwards glance to the eyes of the one who held her close.

“All or none, it no longer matters. What matters is that we have honoured our bargain. I have told you of the path ahead while you gave yourself freely and you have done much to help your cause,” The blond said, offering Diana a small pouch.

“What is this?” Diana asked, her tone curious.

“So hard did I wish for our moment to last forever that the sand slipping through my grasp became frozen in time....time you will need back”

“What can it do ?” Diana asked in wonder at the gift in her hand.

“I will instruct you in its use for you will need it! ” the blond beauty explained.








“Yes, a great gift, but one that is dying with every use, we have very little time left in this small bag. We must be wise with what we have left,” Diana said as she drew the pouch closed once again.

“We must devise a stratagem then? What should we do?” Pyrrhus asked, the sword and shield at ease by his side.

“The chest looks to be made entirely of gold, one might lift it but...while you are under the spell of the sand such things as weight are barely a hindrance,” Diana said, her eyes closing as her mind calculated the weight of the prize from what she had seen.

“Is that so?! Well, then perhaps.......” Pyrrhus began.



Pyrrhus and Diana were crouched together at the edge of the clearing once more but now the pair were a little more guarded. Pace and mobility would be key to their success as fighting such a beast was pointless. There was little need for weapons now, but they would not go completely un-armoured. Protected by their lightweight leather bracers and shin-guards meant they could absorb some blows if it came down to it. Diana paused a moment as she took in the sight of her deep red leather bracers, the colour that her enemies would come to know and fear her by, the colour admired by Callistae.

“Whoever is pursued first should act to distract it,” Pyrrhus reminded Diana, his comment dragging her back into the moment.

“Hopefully it shall not come to that,” Diana replied, motioning with her head to the heap of armour and the gold chest atop of it.

Looking across to the pile of metal it was evident the beast had gone, perhaps to hunt or perhaps hide. Truly the heap of metal with its gold chest on top had kept the beast fed with adventurers who had become enchanted by the treasure only to be consumed.

“Then, we are ready?” Pyrrhus asked nervously.

“Yes,” Diana said, her eyes transfixed on the pile of metal in the distance.

“Then , marks,” Pyrrhus said as he brushed the ground clean with his hands in front of him, Diana doing the same with her piece of ground.

“Set,” the pair looking intently ahead, listening for the beast, eyes on the prize as their legs, fuelled by their fear began to coil up, ready for their explosive get away.

“Go!” The two warriors exploded out of their starting positions and sprinted across the open ground.

The pair began to put a little distance between each other to avoid both being within reach of one fell swoop of the beast if it were to appear. Knees rising, thighs pumping they closed in on the grey metal heap of armour that seemed to loom larger and larger as they approached. Diana made it to the base of the pile first and began to ascend the small hill of discarded armour, some of the shields and swords clattering as she sought to climb up.


PPPFFFFFSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSST!!


Diana looked around anxiously as she heard the monster's angry cry sound out across the clearing.

“GODS! It's coming!” exclaimed Pyrrhus as he began to ascend the slope a little way from Diana.

“Stay your hand, remember .....” Diana began, too late to stop him casting up the first grains of precious sand.

Pyrrhus saw the world around him slow to a crawl. Diana's arm stretching out to him, her hand gesturing to wait, but he was not waiting.

With all his fear fuelled energy he pushed himself up to the golden chest, his greed filled eyes setting upon it up close for the first time. The chest looked heavy, gilded in gold, perhaps full of treasure but in this distorted world the box would be but a feather. Then he saw it, the mark of his old General emblazoned on the lock of the chest. An omen perhaps, a message that the chest was his!!

Pyrrhus assessed the scene. Diana had begun to turn her head in realisation that Pyrrhus had made a move for the chest. The monster at the same time had begun to swoop in closer and closer albeit at the pace of a snail compared to before. All the while the grains of sand drifted down and down closer to touching the ground.

Pyrrhus snatched at the handle of the gold box and lifted it with ease, it was as Diana had promised, it was light as a feather.

Then Pyrrhus saw it, sheltering beneath the box, the beast had offspring, small and vulnerable. In that instant he reworked a plan already in the making, a plan that not only meant he would keep the treasure from Diana, but that he wouldn't have to share it with anyone else either.


PPPFFFFFSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSST!!

Suddenly time was returned to normal and the beast approached!

“Nghhhhhh” Pyrrhus grunted. He was stopped dead in his tracks as the box returned to its normal weight, causing him to stumble.


“.... the PLAN, Pyrrhus !!” Diana finished saying, her expression revealing she knew the point was moot, he had used some sand already and had moved some distance in the blink of her eyes.

Diana's head turned this way and that to lay her eyes on Pyrrhus and the chest again just in time to see him throw up another pinch of sand.

In that moment Pyrrhus put his plan into action. Looking down in the small nest Pyrrhus could see the infant beast rearing up in incredibly slow motion, its mouth widening, fangs unfurling. Snatching the creature up from the ground and dragging the lightweight box with him he began his run, reaching Diana and placing the deadly creature into her hand before continuing down the metal slope.

Beyond the metal pile the adult beast was rearing up inch by inch though to Diana it must have been rearing up at lightning speed. Dragging the chest behind him Pyrrhus ran another twenty paces before time was restored.

Yanked to the ground by the incredible weight of the box Pyrrhus looked back to see Diana. Her hand was reaching for her pouch ready to throw up her first pinch of sand before suddenly realising in her other hand was the mid-drift of the monster's offspring.

Pyrrhus threw up his pinch of sand once again as the juvenile serpent was about to strike Diana with its fangs. The treasure chest became light once again and Pyrrhus began running for all his worth towards the tree line.

To Diana her world played out in normal speed but if Pyrrhus were to turn his head he would see the action resolve itself at a crawl. Diana's thumb and finger were emerging from her small pouch of sand, preparing to kick it into the air while the juvenile serpent lunged up at her un-armoured upper arm.

“Aaah!” cried out Diana just as she began tossing up her own magical sand.

Pyrrhus was slammed to a stop by the box returning to its normal weight, his own magical moment spent. The adult serpent lunged down at Diana, its huge mouth opening ready to swallow her whole when she suddenly became a blurry haze.

Pyrrhus knew that now to her he seemed to be at a crawl. Could she escape the bite of the juvenile or would the adult eat her first while time ran slow around her? Pyrrhus reached to his little pouch of sand knowing few grains remained but he was half way to the edge of the clearing.

In the moment that Diana had managed to get her sand into the air the juvenile serpent's fangs were just breaching her skin, and now in its slow motion crawl its fangs sank deeper and deeper. Diana had her grip on the little serpent's middle and tried to draw the creature away but was too late, the venom had already begun to be pumped into her arm.

Diana battled hard to reposition her hand and managed to prize off the creature. Drops of venom fell in slow motion from the fangs that began to retract bit by bit into the miniature monster's mouth. Diana now noticed how close the enormous head of the full grown adult had approached and so she hurriedly moved to sidestep the creature while tossing the juvenile back towards what she presumed was the nest.

Diana glanced towards Pyrrhus, his head was turned looking back at her but was slowly turning to face ahead, towards the tree line.

“He betrayed me!” Diana exclaimed as she looked at her punctured skin. The only way the miniature serpent had ended up in her hand was if the treacherous man had placed it there himself.

WHOOOOOOOSHHHH!!


Normality resumed and overhead the adult serpent lunged forward at the now open air, deceived by Diana's movement. The monster's head turned this way and that trying to see its target only for Pyrrhus to fall into its sights, taking chase.

Diana reached for more sand and flicked it up and went in pursuit of Pyrrhus too. Clattering down the side of the metal heap she reached the grass and took a few paces before her betrayer in his slow motion crawl managed to push his own sand into the air. Now the pair were running at magical speed, each in their own little microcosm while the the monster took chase at a much reduced pace in normal time.

Pyrrhus panicked as he realised the monster was attempting to close in on him along with Diana who must surely know had been betrayed. Dragging the lightweight chest behind him he was closing with the edge of the clearing but he knew Diana was catching up.

The monster lagged behind Diana as she ran though feeling sicker by the second as the venom seemed to take hold of her. Preparing for the moment her magic induced timewarp would end Diana put her hand back in the pouch ready for more sand. Little remained, she would have to act quickly and decisively when the moment came.



PPPFFFFFSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSST!!


The monster saw its prey ahead, Diana emerging back to normal time briefly before Pyrrhus also ground to a halt, his heavy burden taking its toll. The chest clattered to the ground, the impact causing it to spill forward and the lid to burst open.

“No!” yelped Pyrrhus just in time to see Diana turn into a blur once more.

Diana had tossed her last pitiful amount of sand into the air, her last gasp, but even with the magic sand she began to slow inside her own little bubble of time, the poison starting to give her pain. Moving at an agonising time warped jog she drew up to Pyrrhus. She now faced a choice, take the gold box or ruin the traitor's chances to escape.

“If I am to die I shall see he does not profit from it!” Diana thought and snatched the pouch from the slow moving Pyrrhus's belt before stumbling onwards towards the trees.

Time suddenly resumed to normality again for Diana and as Pyrrhus turned back to recover the chest that had slipped from his grasp he discovered his pouch of sand on his belt had gone.

“Whaaat?! NO !” Pyrrhus whimpered as he fell to his knees in front of the golden chest, its contents spilled out in front of him.

Scattered on the floor was not the gold or gems he had hoped might be inside, though the chest alone was worth a fortune. Inside had been hundreds of wooden sticks, each with their own marks carved into them. The marks were of dead soldiers, ones killed in an unnecessary battle, all for the want of a lost message, a message Pyrrhus had left behind when he had deserted.

The General had long ago sworn to avenge his lost men and had carried their marks with him until he was killed by the monster. So in a way, the General was getting his revenge with a trap baited with his golden tomb of his dead soldiers.

The monster reared up directly in front of Pyrrhus who was facing back towards the metal pile. It was now that he learned why the juvenile creature slept in a bed of metal. For metal does not easily burn, most fortunate if at times when you are agitated you breathe fire!


BWWWWWRRRRRRRRRRRFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFSHHHHHHHH!!

The angry serpent unleashed a volley of fire down at the ground incinerating Pyrrhus where he knelt causing his blackened body to fall forwards into the pile of wooden sticks, his scorched marker about his neck landing in amongst all the others.

Diana, using the last of the sand from the traitor's bag saw the bright flame and turned around to see all that had transpired, the bright flames receding in their slow, slow pace, the blackened body of Pyrrhus falling in slow motion to the ground.

Diana stumbled on and on, a fever rising, her vision blurring as she made it to the camp. There she crawled and crawled until she was on her fur bed. Closing her eyes in pain and with fever, her muscles burning and her insides cramping, she decided to make her peace with the gods. She had failed her test, the gold chest taken back wrapped in the coils of the deadly beast.





Diana stood at the mouth of the cave with the golden haired woman and the pair shared an embrace in the morning light. Dressed in a simple tunic, a belt about her middle and simple hunting sandals on her feet the blond somehow seemed radiant.

“Good journey, Diana of Themiscyra”

“Good journey ….” Diana replied.


“When you have completed your task call to the gods ...”






Doubled up in pain, sure of her failure Diana found the strength to call to the gods.

“G..go gods hear me, see it well to take me to the fields, to Elysium!” Diana panted in agony.

“Oh sweet child , envy of Aphrodite, so ready are you to enter the afterlife?” answered the voice of the blond from the cave.

“You? But, is this not death that calls me?” Diana managed to say, pains stabbing through her body.

“And why should death befall the one who has done all that has been asked of them by the gods?” the blond replied.

“But the darkness comes for me,” Diana gasped.

“It is always darkest before the dawn my child” the voice said quietly.

“I, I don't understand!”

“And yet somehow you succeed! How is it you think you do not understand?” asked the blond calmly.

“I have failed, poisoned, the prize lost!” whimpered Diana, her life force seemingly ebbing away.

“You think the chest held the prize you sought Diana? Did Pyrrhus not promise to put your share of the prize in your hands? Did you not assure him that his part of the prize would be in his? Your true prize courses through your veins in this very moment. Bitten by the creature whilst under the spell of the sands of time bestows something most unlike death,” explained the voice.

“Then I am to live?” said Diana, writhing in agony.

“Yes child. When you awaken, for you WILL awaken, you are to go to the stream and fill your pail. When you see your reflection merely say my name and the woman you see in the water will be how you will seem to remain, a thousand days ageing you as if but a single day had passed” instructed the voice of the woman from the cave. “


“Your name? But ….” Diana faltered with her feverish agony.

“Hush! Now you will pay your toll with pain and sweat and tomorrow you will claim your prize” the blond said as Diana fell into her poison induced nightmare.







“Your name?!”

“YES, MY NAME ”

“But never once…..”

“DID I SAY IT? NO!!”

“Then ..how can I know it ..”

“YOU KNOW ENOUGH!”

“I asked you, you said if we were in another place it would be equal to mine”

“YES ….”

“Then it is Diana?”

“BUT ARE THERE TEMPLES TO DIANA HERE? ARE THERE FESTIVALS FOR DIANA HERE?”

“No but ….”

“THINK OF THE QUEST ...”

“It began with Pyrrhus … tax collector … soldier …... no ….hunter!”

“YES A HUNTER WHEN THIS BEGAN ...”

“He was led by a deer once …and then when we were together also”

“MY MESSENGER, GOOD ….. VERY GOOD!”

“Into the hills, the forests.”

“YES, MY DOMAIN!”

“And..found the treasure,”

“WHICH WAS ?”

“Not the gold, the serpent, the serpent was my prize”

“THE SERPENT, SACRED TO ME, SO WHAT DOES IT MEAN?”

“Your name ….goddess …. I know it!







With a sudden jolt Diana awoke in the camp she had shared with Pyrrhus. Diana could not tell how much time had passed but surely it had been at least a whole day. With a strong thirst and a hunger in her belly Diana rose uncomfortably to her feet. Amongst her possessions was her small wooden pail and she gathered it up and walked to the nearby stream and collected some water before returning.

Placing the pail down she knelt by it and let the water come to rest, taking a breath before peering down at her reflection. Diana paused as she looked down at herself and she finally summonsed the courage to speak.

“Goddess of the hunt, protector of deer, serpent and hound, watcher of the forests and the hills …...tell me it is so, our beloved Artemis, daughter of Zeus,” Diana said into the water.

From below the reflection changed, the blond goddess from the cave appearing within an ethereal aura of light.

“Yes, Diana of Themiscyra, it is so! I am Artemis, daughter of Zeus, goddess of the hunt. You have done well, the gift is yours and you shall need it. The road to vengeance is long but now you have the longevity to see it through. Now hurry, you must ready yourself for the fate which Pyrrhus has intended for you, enemies draw near!”


Diana recoiled from the water, she could sense the change in her body but before she could even think on that a new urgency drove her. Striding back to her heap of possessions she drew back the cloth that covered them to reveal her armour.

Buckling on the guards for her shins and her arms she prepared herself, the pain from her encounter with the poison ebbing from her body. Hurriedly she plucked up the belt that held her sheathed sword and drew it around her waist before lifting up her shield.

Diana's trusted round and concave shield glinted as it moved under the rays of the sun while she secured it to her arm and then she drew her sword, its broad and modest length blade ready to do battle. Diana listened intently, every bird, every bug, every leaf of every tree telling their tale. The movement of the soft wind sought to deceive but Diana ignored it until......

CRACK!

The sound of a fallen branch breaking under foot was unmistakeable. Diana braced herself, guarding her torso with her shield just as the first spear whistled through the small camp chased by a second.

Dodging the first missile and deflecting the second Diana's attackers stormed into the camp site, swords raised. The two tethered donkeys skittishly turned to one side, their eyes wide as they kept watch of the spectacle playing out before them. Silently the trees of the forest bore witness to the battle.


SHWING – CLANG –CLINK-CLINK- CLUNK – began the opening conversation of sword and shield.


Hnghh” grunted one of the men as he launched himself into a fresh attack.


CLANG – CLANG – CLANG – CLANG sang the swords as they danced with one another.


Yah!” - The air forced from Diana's lungs dallied with her vocal chords as she leapt out of harms way of the thrusts of one of the men.


VWOOSH... the air groaned as it was cut by a blade that failed to find its dance partner.

VWOOSHCUNKLSSHHHHHH – The sound of metal striking flesh filled the air as the green forest floor turned crimson.

“BITCH !! WELL NO MATTER, IT MEANS A BIGGER SHARE FOR PYRRHUS AND I ..” a male voice grunted, the owner seeing his partner fall to the floor.

CLANG – CLANG – CLANG – CLANG – CLUNK

“Then it WAS treachery !” Diana said with anger realising that Pyrrhus had planned all along for his friends to help overwhelm her once the golden prize had been taken. She recognized the soldiers as the tax collector's bodyguard

CLINK – CLANG – CLANG – CLANG rang the swords as they began to mark the final bars of their deadly song.

VWOOOOSH

CLANG !


VWIIIIIISHHHHHHHH! - Sword and spleen met, their words few, their conversation short. Diana's sword was embedded most of the way to the hilt into the second man's ribs. The two locked eyes, Diana able to almost see the life within him dwindling.


“Ungh, Pyrrhus, Pyrrhus will aven-.” groaned the second man, his life leaving his body rapidly.

“Avenge you?! Pyrrhus is DEAD!” Diana said sharply. She wanted the man to know that vengeance would not be forthcoming for him.

The man's face managed to betray his sense of disbelief just long enough to give Diana satisfaction before his life force left him.

SHWING, sang Diana's sword as she withdrew the blade from the man's body causing it to fall to the ground lifelessly in a heap.


Diana used the cloth of one of the men's cloak's to wipe her blade clean. Little did the dead men nor Pyrrhus himself know that their pact had been the source of their downfall. Their bargain, struck while Pyrrhus was meant to honour the rights of xenia had drawn scorn from the gods. Diana had been warned to be mindful, that each would honour xenia in their own way; his was with treachery. Even as they set forth on their journey Diana remembered the fruits of her honour would lie ahead whilst those of Pyrrhus were behind them, one day behind them to be exact, and now his fruit lay dead and rotten on the floor.

Many were the men to be slain on Diana's vengeful path, some notable, many not, but her tally had begun in earnest. Unknown to Diana the first scattered men from that day of betrayal were now being led to the realm of Hades having just fallen to her sword.




At the watching pool up above, Hera, the queen of the gods with Nemesis, Artemis and Athena at her side looked down into the all seeing water with a sense of accomplishment.

“Do you think my husband, your father, will be displeased if he learns news of our deeds today?” Hera asked of the daughters of Zeus.

“The life of Pyrrhus was mine already, his General had pleaded for vengeance against the traitors who failed to deliver their message. Father cannot deny me my right, even if I have taken until now to see it through,” Nemesis said.

“And the gift of long life?” Hera pressed Artemis, the one who had steered Diana on her path.

“Were they not in my realm, the hills and mountains where my sacred serpent roams? Besides, it was the treachery of Pyrrhus which placed the gift of long life into Diana's hand, not any act of mine,” Artemis said as she smiled at the images in the water.

Hera looked at her with concealed scorn. Athena was wise, but it was Artemis who was cunning. Hera was wary of the devious Huntress and her schemes.

“And what say you, Athena?” Hera asked of her goddess of wisdom. It was well known that even Zeus would seek her council, and Hera wanted to know what she would say if consulted.

“Your words as said are pure, your rights, your privileges spent justly,” Athena said cautiously. Say any more and she would reveal uncomfortable truths. She knew it had all been a cunning conspiracy to pass the gift of long life on to Diana without blatantly helping her. If Zeus knew how his will was being undermined the consequences could be cataclysmic.

“A wise answer,” Hera said, her gaze confirming to Athena that her diplomatic response was appreciated.

Hera swirled her finger into the waters sending the watching pool clear once more. Diana of Themiscyra, her prize taken was free to move on to her next challenge.
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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin story ABDUCTORENMADRID's chapter

Post by DrDominator9 »

What a terrifically-written chapter: the intrigue, the action, the use of time itself. Great stuff!!

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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin story ABDUCTORENMADRID's chapter

Post by tallyho »

Subtle, clever, awesome!

Great job AEM, loved it from start to finish, wonderfully constructed with nice elements to give it a period feel. Very well done!
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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin story ABDUCTORENMADRID's chapter

Post by tallyho »

PART 8

"AMAZON BRACELETS"
By Lord Griffin


Diana knelt, head bowed, before their patron Goddess in the Themiscyran temple. Beside her, stood Diana’s mother, Hippolyta. The raven haired amazon warrior arched her neck, her hands outstretched in supplication to Hera, the Queen goddess.

“Diana, rise my daughter, if you wish to be the champion of the Amazons, and my chosen Champion” The Mother of the Gods intoned “then you will need a defense. Something befitting your status as my chosen people.”

Diana stood and took up her proud stance, hands on her hips eyes forward, her short white toga rustled, showing off her smooth muscled legs, in the soft breeze of the temple.

“Goddess, I shall quest to get the Aegis shield, all protecting, to use for the defense of you and my people.

Hippolyta gave a brief clearing of her throat as Hera, clad in her own toga, a polos on her head, replied.
“You would start your quest for justice as a thief? Stealing my own husband’s shield?”

Diana was taken aback; she had expected the offer as a gift befitting a Champion. She thought but a moment then said “The shield was forged by Hephaestus, I will go to him and have him forge a new Aegis.”

Her mother, Hippolyta, took a step forward, silken black hair cascading down her own flawlessly smooth back.
“Be careful my daughter, the Gods are not one to trifle with, nor do they often simply bestow gifts.”

“Mother, I am an Amazon warrior, and Hephaestus may be a God but he is STILL just a male, and no match for the whiles of our kind. I will win it by combat if I must.” Diana replied.

Hera looked intrigued “You think you can just fight a battle like a male? Brute force? What would you offer the forge of the Gods? Or will you simply slay him?”

Diana considered “A contest then, I am sure he does not get many visitors” she smiled “let alone beautiful women, though none so beautiful as his wife, Aphrodite.”

Hera frowned, she had nearly killed Perseus for that very same insult, perhaps this little lynx needed a comeuppance. Hera relaxed and smiled as a thought came to her. “Be careful to the quest you pledge, Hephaestus’ forge lies in the very bowls of Tartarus, for only there are the fires hot enough to forge the metals that he uses.”

Diana showed no fear “Then that is where I shall go, and I will win my shield, or forfeit my claim to the title.”

Hera considered and then raised her staff, stamping it on the ground she intoned “SO BE IT!”

In the depths of Tartarus...

Princess Diana left Themiscyra for the Greek port of Cythera near where Ulysses ruled. There, she reasoned, with amazon gold she could hire a ship and crew for the voyage to the gates of Tartarus, past Scylla & Charybdis. The legends of Ulysses’ odyssey would find the port full of naive adventurous men seeking the fame and glory of that Greek king, and yet the legend of the Amazons would keep the arrogant men, for the most part, from their lecherous ideas with her.

Standing in the middle of the square holding aloft just a small bag of gold Diana smirked “who here has the courage to sail with the Princess of Themiscyra? What wonders will you see…or…is a woman braver then the men of Greece?”

The men eyed the gold greedily, muttering among themselves, of heroes such as Heracles, and Ulysses and the shapely amazon with the alabaster skin and jet black hair “Will you COMFORT us wench?” A man named Acestes asked.

“Who are you” Diana fixed him with a fiery gaze.

“Acestes, ships carpenter and claimer of women!” he laughed.

Diana tossed him a single gold coin “Get as much COMFORT as you can from this, touch me and I will break that arm, but if you would JOIN me on adventure…then perhaps you might be...WORTHY, of an Amazon.”

It turned out that the ship and crew were easy. Men’s hearts, so greedy for gold. Once underway, however, it was not long before the men were viewing her as the only woman on a ship full of men. That lasted until Acestes, boldest and biggest of the crew, had grabbed the Themiscyrian Princess and tried to force a kiss on her.

They thought it was amusing, it was easy enough to keep her promise and break his arm, bring his own sword to his throat, leaving Asestes howling in pain, Diana looked down her nose at the men of the crew and tossed the hapless carpenter into their mass as easily as a child with a doll. After that the laughter stopped and the men left her to herself. She hated having to use men, but this was her quest, not her sisters.
It took many days’ sail to reach the gates to the Underworld. The journey to Tartarus, for a mortal, must proceed over the face of the earth.
Neptune kept the sea safe, Father Zeus cast no lightning and now she stood at the gates to Hades realm, with the men, courage boosted by the thought of gold, at her back.

The gates were deep in a cave where no one would look; dank and dark, full of rotting matter and guano. Yet when a torch was lit it’s flickering light framed a magnificent marble gate.

The marble as pale white as death itself, bloodless. Scenes of death adorned the gates. Skeletons dancing, bass relief of flames and pitchforks but worse,were the whispers. Whispers of voices from the past. Whispers in the dark. Whispers singing from the stone of the cave like arrows into the ears of men. Hollow, emotionless yet pleading, longing, lost.

Several of the male crew went mad, holding their ears as if the voices were screams and shrieks, while others saw themselves beyond the gate, slaving and tormented in the flames of Tartarus. Half of the men were driven insane; they fled blindly toward an underground chasm, casting themselves over the precipice, their ghosts then rose mournful and hollow, passing the gate for their comrades to see, seized by horrors and cast into flames. Having claimed the weakest the whispers subsided.

Then, from the gloom, standing snarling and salivating beyond the pale white gate, stood Cerberus. The huge mongrel dog stool as tall as an elephant, chained to the gate, it’s three heads snarled and snapped at the intruders foaming at the mouths. It stopped just barely shy of crossing the gate’s threshold, straining at the chain a murderous red glow to its eyes.

Diana nodded as the remaining men braced themselves with spears and shields, trembling. Diana drew her sword and advanced on the monster.

Suddenly, the Monster stopped and dropped its heads, whimpering, its tail wagging.

“What is this trick?” Captain Dmetor demanded “This monster…”

Silence” Diana commanded “Do you not know you are in the presence of Lord Hades?”

Lord Hades!?” Vettias, the ships navigator, asked “I see no one!”

Diana smirked “Who see’s DEATH, foolish male? Why else would a faithful cur calm, except to greet its master? Hades, show yourself to me!

“Really Diana, of the Amazons,” a rich but hollow voice, devoid of all emotion said “I would appreciate it if you did not come into MY home and try to kill MY pets. The dark figure ran a hand thru the beast’s fur affectionately. “Why do you trouble the dead? Do you not know we do not suffer the living here?”

Standing beside the huge animal the shadow sharpened, the figure smiling like a death skull… Hades, clad in leather armor, black and shiny as hot pitch. It contrasted his pale white face, and bloodless lips. Eyes that had no irises and were black holes in the skull, and skin, rich and full but somehow looked as thin and fragile as paper.

“Hades” Diana nodded with a slight bow “I have come seeking Hephaestus...”

“Who is the wench speaking to?” Vettias asked the captain

“I do not know” Dmetor responded “perhaps she is just crazed, but I am not going to challenge her after the gold I have and you saw what she did to Acestes.”

“Hephaestus?” The Lord of the Dead replied “Then enter if you dare, but do not count on me for aid, and do not seek to upset the rules of my land, those that are here pay for the crimes of their life, and I show them neither mercy nor kindness nor will I show you.”

Diana nodded silently as she and a dozen of the braver men, Acestes among them, his arm tightly strapped to his chest with a small wooden shield lashed to his upper arm, descended past the gates.

Cerberus growled, but was restrained by his master as the men in their armor passed, Diana clad only in her toga, girded with a sword smiled defiantly though she felt the chill of death on her skin.

In awe, the men swept past the temple of Medusa. The gorgon kept herself hidden, though the outlines of her victims, frozen in stone, in their last moments of agony stood between the marble columns as statues for her temple.

At the River Styx,a horn hung on a dead tree branch, illuminated by the dim light of the torches that some carried. Diana placed the ram’s horn to her lips and sounded the single mournful note, that stretched across the dead land with no echo, as if the sound itself were dead.

Charon, the Ferryman appeared from the mists and Diana showed her coin of passage to prove that she could indeed pay, but did not hand it over to him, the dead man at the tiller saying not a word. She had heard the tale since a child. You only pay the ferryman when he gets you to the far shore. Diana smirked back at the men, who stood staring open mouthed at the skeletal ferryman. Not one proffered his own coin, which suited Diana. She would proceed alone.

On the other side, she held a second coin, to prove she would pay for the return trip, but retained both. The Ferryman nodded a silent acceptance of the bargain. She saw Hades appear from under his cloak of death.

“This is not your time Diana; I cannot dissuade you from this foolishness? Even were I to grant you a child by my loins as a gift?”
Despite being the god of the dead, Hades was hawkishly handsome, for a corpse. The god was well muscled but sleek in his black armor that seemed to have the very stars themselves embedded within it.

“Lord Hades, I have Hera’s permission….”

The God chuckled “Your mother may be queen of the Gods, but I am the Lord of the Dead. However, I will honor Hera’s safe passage, and give a final reminder. Eat nothing, drink...NOTHING while here in my lands, else I will sample that lovely body of yours as my permanent guest here.”

Diana nodded “I am familiar with your wife, Persephone, but why so magnanimous Hades?”

Hades slicked his dark black hair back against his skull and, with that smile of death, vanished.

Alone now, Diana walked in the realm of the dead., As she moved further and further into the bowels of the earth the heat became oppressive, yet the chill of death remained in her bones. Around her, ghostly spectres floated, their hands out in supplication. Prometheus, he who brought fire to man, lay chained to his rock, Zeus’s eagle ripping at his belly. The titans face contorted in agony and he groaned in pain as the eagle feasted upon his living entrails. Sisyphus, labored beneath him, hot lava burning his bare feet as he labored to roll the stone up the hill, the stone destined to ever roll back down before reaching the summit.

Diana smiled, this was worthy of a male; the King’s self-aggrandizement had earned him this punishment. Then there was Tantalus, cursed with a burning thirst and hunger, to stand in a pool of cool water, with fruit above him. For trying to steal from the gods, when the man bent to drink, the water lowered, or reached to eat, the fruit raised.

Tantalus made Diana shiver. Was she trying and cheat the gods? No, she was a Daughter of Hera, here to serve her will.

What Diana saw next caused her heart to weep. Gaia, the mother of the Titans, the gods who ruled before Zeus, goddess of nature, stood naked and bound to the hot rocks, her beloved plants constantly burning and charred, consumed by the fires where the Olympians had cast them. Diana hated to see a woman so bound, especially one who had only ever brought fertility and gifts to the world.

Beyond Gaia, stood a passage, unlike the other areas, that glowed a dull red, a bright yellow white light shone down this tunnel. Approaching, the heat was so intense her toga began to smolder, a hot blast of heat assailing her.

Hanging on the wall was a large heavy leather apron and sandals. Sweat pouring off her body, Diana’s toga burned away and she sought the apron to cover herself and the heavy sandals, to keep her feet from blistering on the yellow hot rock.
Once she donned the heavy garment, she found it protected her from the immediate burn of the heat, though her cheeks felt as if she were in the hot sun.

Now, with her feet protected from the hot bare rock, she descended. At the bottom she saw a towering male, hunched over an anvil that was easily the size of an entire ship. He was covered in sweat and black grime from his forge. Around him flowed rivers of molten metal. Rivers of gold, silver, iron, copper, nickel, all flowing like streams of water.

She watched the figure. He was as large as a Cyclops, and had a massive hammer clenched in his right hand. Seemingly not noticing her. He reached up and pushed a leaver. A stone trough swung diverting the nickel into a crucible with a spectacular shower of fiery sparks. Then iron, and gold… Once the metals had been mixed, the figure picked up the white hot ladle in his bare hand and limped toward a mold.

As powerful and strong as the figure was, Diana noticed both feet were clubbed, giving the figure a cruel gait and a hunched back. Despite his muscles and strength, the male was as attractive as a warthog.

“Well don’t just stand there” the figure said in a rich but gravelly voice, “I know you are there, if you're trying to steal my secrets, don’t bother, it’s been tried.”

Diana’s hair whipped around her from the blast of heat as the sweaty male worked the bellows on his forge, the huge device moving ponderously like the breathing of some ancient dragon’s lungs, each exhale belching noxious hot fumes. Diana stepped into the light “Hephaestus….”

The hulking male turned to smile at her, his teeth showing black marks as he mopped his brow with the back of his arm, serving only to smear the black grime. The god’s hair was fair and fine but was plastered to his head and face. Diana could not help thinking she could see the beauty of a God, had his back and feet not been misshapen and had his muscles not over developed from his trade.

Adjusting his own leather apron, he took the white hot medal in his hands and laid it on the anvil, rising the hammer it crashed own with a defining noise that sent a shower of sparks everywhere “What do you want woman, this is a man’s trade.”

Diana stood and took a proud stance before him, head up fists on her hips she declared “I am Princess Diana of Themiscyra, an amazon princess and the equal to ANY male. Man OR God. I have come to ask you for a shield, like Aegis, so that I may defend my sisters and my homeland.”

The smith did not even look up as he raised his hammer and sent a second crashing blow to the metal “And what do you offer as payment for
is…shield?”

Diana stepped up to the anvil and laid the treasures of the Amazons upon it. Jeweled crowns, priceless metals ornately done, all in a small uch that had been concealed beneath her robes.

Hephaestus used a massive hand to sweep the payment onto the ground stepping upon the artifacts.

Diana stood staring “Wha..how…Those were works of ART! Treasures of my PEOPLE.!!!” she declared angrily.

The God gestured with his hammer at the flowing rivers of gold, precious stones set in the wall, as well as precision machines made from the substances. The Khalkotauroi itself stood snorting and pawing. A bull made completely of metal yet looking as alive as any bull she had ever seen. “I am not interested in your trinkets. I MAKE artwork wench. You have nothing you can offer me.”

Diana stood frustrated “then... I will fight you for the right.”

Another swing of the hammer brought a loud laugh “Do I look like a FIGHTER? Besides why would I fight? For the privileged of doing work for you? I need only say no…”

Diana approached but was driven back by the heat as the God deliberately worked the bellows again.
“Damn you Hephaestus WHAT do you want?”

At this, the God paused, his back to Diana and looked up “what do I want? You. You who consider yourself above all men and equal to a god….” He turned looking up and down at her hungrily.

Diana blushed. “You want me? You would dare insult….”

Again he laughed a booming laugh cut her off “You flatter yourself. Aphrodite is my wife, I have no interest in your flimsy body, I would break you with my first thrust. However, you know, I need a comely decoration around here, and my wife might like a companion at her feet. So, Amazonian wench, here is my proposal.”

He turned to show her a glowing ingot of metal “this is the metal you seek. I made it myself, stronger than even the Aegis metal, I have not even decided what to NAME it yet, it need only be forged. Once made, it cannot be breeched or broken. Father Zeus himself cannot pierce it. This metal as a shield will even attract weapons to it, rather than let the weapon hit you. Prove yourself my equal, and I will forge you what you ask.”

Diana smiled but was wary “What must I do?”

Hephaestus turned and pointed to a magnificent white stallion, tethered at a hitching post, built like a charger but larger than the largest draft horse. Tossing it’s head the beast pawed the ground. “That is Abraxas, he belonged to the Titan Helios, the Sun god before father Zeus and his brothers cast them into Tartarus. “He needs to be Shod so Zeus can ride him. You are dressed as a smith. To appreciate the work, you want me to do. You take the very metal you seek and make the simplest form of the blacksmith, 4 horse shoes, and shoe the beast. Do that and I will forge your shield.

Diana nodded “and if I lose?”

“If you lose” the god said, reaching out a course sweaty calloused hand “then instead of a shield, I will forge slave shackles, bracelets for you with this same unbreakable metal and, you will wear them for all time. Then, just like Gia, I will chain you and you will stay here with me forever for my amusement and for my wife.”

Diana considered, and nodded. She was a warrior and every bit as good as a male “So be it!”

Hephaestus laughed again and held out his hammer “any smith can shoe a horse in four marks of a candle. I give you 24”

Diana reached out for the hammer, taking it she pulled back cursing, it was HOT.

Again he laughed “I will enjoy having you to look upon” he smirked and then limped away leaving the woman alone at the forge of the Gods.

Alone, Diana looked at the task. Had she been too boastful, like Tantalus? She felt the heat on her back, the leather apron protected her front, but from behind she was as bare as the day she was born, and already the sweat poured from her. In her clenched fist she still held the coins for the ferryman. She hid them for her return journey, buried discretely. How she wished she was on board his boat now, in the chill of the air above the Styx. She longed for fresh air and a respite from the heat. More than anything she wanted a cool drink. to restore her strength, but Hades had warned her, eat or drink nothing.

Taking the hammer, she lifted. The weight was enormous. But the strength of Heracles himself flowed thru her. She grasped it and approached the forge. Where the god handled metal with his hands, even she was forced to grasp metal tongs. Taking the metal she plunged it into the forge, and with her other hand pulled on the bellows rope. Slowly the bellows rose, filling with the hot and fetid air when she released the rope the forage roared and the hot blast nearly singed her. She labored to work the bellows, making the metal white hot before taking it to the anvil and beginning to beat the metal into a U shape.

After the first dozen blows she looked incredulously at the metal. She had barely dented it, and it was white hot, any hotter it would melt and her thirst began to burn within her. Sweating heavily, the drive to drink was cruel.

Panting, she redoubled her efforts. Fueled by her quest and by the threat that lay over her, it took Diana nearly 7 hours to get the first basic shape.

Using the tongs, she approached the huge equine. It tossed his head and snorted. “Easy there Abraxas….”
Holding the glowing metal, she managed to lift the beast’s hoof. The shape was still too large. The beasts flank was hot and sweaty next to her face, the rock hard muscle beneath was warm, living, but the sweat reminded her of her thirst.

Toiling, it was nearly 9 hours before she found herself driving nail holes thru the shoe. Taking a file and a hoof pick, Diana cleaned the hoof, and quenched the metal. Leaving it just hot enough to melt the hoof material before the final quenching and nailing. This would ensure a perfect fit. Diana would show this God Amazon workmanship.

She looked at the time piece that Hephaestus had left her. She would have to do better. Taking the next blank, the amazon began to beat furiously at the metal. With each swing of the God’s hammer, she felt herself growing more confident, the metal responding better each time. The heat, was so hot, but she would make this hers, she would WIN her quest, like the labors of Heracles himself.

As she fitted the second shoe, she smiled, this one had only taken her 5 hours. If she could cut just one more hour off, for the remaining two, she would win.

As her driving thirst gnawed at her she looked at even the brine water, longing for a drink. Diana lost track of the time, swinging the hammer again and again, sweat pouring off her weakening body. The smoldering metal responding to her. The sweat coated her body so she shimmered in the glow of the forge, but she stood proudly.

Finally, she held the last shoe in the tongs, she held it up triumphant, she need only nail it in place…. when a gong began to sound.

“Wha…NO!” dread filled her, she had been so concerned with her thirst, she had lost track of time, Lost track of her goal! She looked at the time piece and heard the limping God approach “Well, well, well” he chuckled “Let’s see what the little amazon has done.

Diana looked about, as the god limped to the stallion “Hmmm not bad for a novice” he picked up the fore hoof “it fits and is right…You impress me:’ He went next to the hind hooves “Hmmm very nice”

Diana stood frustrated, she knew the god toyed with her

“Ooh…what’s this?’ he looked up with a smile “you missed a hoof…” he held up a single finger and wagged it back and forth “now that IS a shame.”

Diana glared. Because of her praise of Aphrodite, Hera had said no help would come to her, Hades as well had warned her.

The God walked over to the anvil…crooking his finger and speaking to her as if to a naughty child “come here Diana.”

Swallowing hard, chin up Diana approached. Hephaestus reached out watching to see if she resisted as Diana felt him remove the thick leather apron, leaving her naked body exposed to him.

He smiled “Do not be so modest Amazon, you were formed from clay I hear men say. I like the workmanship, but you do not compare to my wife” he pointed to the anvil “your arm”

Fighting tears, she stretched her wrist upon the anvil “I am sorry mother...I have failed…”

Hephaestus took the horse shoe, made of the very mythical metal that Diana had sought for her shield, and divided it in two…beating it he began to fashion two slave bracelets. “He looked at her and smiled “Cheer up… you have the metal for your shield and you get to watch me at my forge, and will be immortal here with me” chuckling at his own joke.

Diana blinked “Surely you… you cannot THINK to bind me with the same metal that was to…don the bottom of a horse’s HOOF!

With the bracelet, ready for its final forming he nodded “Yes vain woman, you are worth no more than a horse’s shoe to me, now place your wrist in the metal.”

Diana balked “it’s white hot it will burn me.”

The God roared “DO as I Say wench! You lost and I am not some amateur, I am the GOD of the Forge...show your courage!”

Diana expected this to be part of her punishment, metal that would burn her for eternity. She stretched out her wrist, but when she touched the metal...it was...COOL!”

Not wasting any time Hephaestus, swung his hammer. Even Diana cringed as it smashed into the metal. One miss and the hammer would smash her wrist into less then steam.

But the god did not miss a stroke, beating the hot metal together “This bracelet will have no latch, no opening, they will encircle your wrists for all eternity, as a reminder of your vanity and boastfulness.”

He repeated the same with Diana’s other wrist, and when done, bid her plunge her arms into the brine water barrel by his forge. “Quench the metal and with it seal your fate, for, once quenched, no force known will be able to break it” he chuckled. “You know; I had wondered what to call this new metal. When I put Nickle and copper with Iron I call it Brass… but in your honor I shall call THIS metal Feminum, and these shackles shall be bracelets of submission.

Diana felt the steam blast past her, as she plunged her arms into the cooling brine. As the bracelets cooled, contracting around her supple wrists, they took on a smooth luster, looking like they were still white hot metal yet still absolutely smooth and cool, they were now a symbol of her defeat, her failure, and they would be beautiful.

Hephaestus laughed again, and pulled her by her bracelets to the anvil. He forced her to kneel and retrieved a golden chain. Using the heat, he connected one end of the chains to her bracelets, and the other, he melted the rock into liquid magma, and embedded the chain there.

Now defeated and bound, Diana knelt. The God went back to his forge and began to continue his craft, smiling every so often at the naked amazon chained to his anvil.

Her head down bitterly, she felt his course hand as he treated her like a pet. Her thirst and hunger burning.

The God labored at his task. Diana no longer kept track of time, she no longer cared, she had failed her task.
Finally, some long time later, The God lay his hammer down on the anvil…and limped off to rest, reclining on an ornate metal chair he had made, he was soon snoring.

Diana knelt there, her back against the warm metal of the anvil…listening to the roar of the flames and the moaning of those souls in Tartarus.
A movement caught her eye. Not because she cared, but it was the wisp of a soft sheer fabric, so out of place in this harsh environment.

A soft voice entreated her “Diana…”

She looked up. Before her, clad in sheer silk, stood the flaxen haired Goddess of love, Aphrodite herself.

Diana stood “Come to have me attend you?”

The goddess wrinkled her nose looking at the sweating female “as comely as you can be Diana…I think not…. I have come to remind you of your pride.”

Diana looked confused “why would you help me against your OWN husband? What is more HOW can you help me? Hera herself said she would not help me, so did Hades”

Aphroditie smiled “well as for WHY, it is because my friend Persephone asked me, soooo I would say that about coverers HADES. As for me, I think I would prefer NOT to have a naked amazon constantly beside my husband when I am not around” she smirked. And as I am NOT Hera….”

Diana looked up “you will defy your husband?”

Aphrodite twirled her long golden hair and pushed her lip out in a pout “nooooo but I WOULD point out that in LOSING the bet, YOUR part was to WEAR those bracelets, as you now are. I do not think anything was said about you not being able to escape.”

Diana looked bewildered “Escape, but HOW, this, Feminum is unbreakable, even by the gods, your husband made it so, and more I failed my quest, I have no shield.”

That is true” the goddess agreed “however your CHAINS are not MADE from that” she smirked “are they?”

Realization dawned on Diana. It was true, the CHAINS were of GOLD! “but my quest for a shield…”

Aphroditie shook her head “Oh COME now Diana, I am a lover not a fighter but even I know in hand to hand combat…”

Diana realized, she HAD her shields, small yes, but they were impervious to ALL weapons…and Hephaestus had GIVEN these to her!

Aphrodite shook her head with a chuckle “and they say *I* am a dolt…Well Diana if you WANT to stay here and wait for my husband…”
Diana stood and placed her foot on the anvil…using all her amazon strength she began to pull. Her head rang as she struggled, her heart pounding, then there was a sound, a crack like the breaking of a tree. The chain gave way, failing right where the weld met her bracelets.

Free! Free at last, she fled up the tunnel…away from the forge and oppressive heat. She paid the Boatman her two coins and didn't look back as she stepped off his punt. When she emerged from the cave she was alone. The Greek sailors having taken their payment and fled assuming her dead, which was perfect, no male would EVER know!

Climbing to the top of the mountain on the island, feeling the cool sea breeze on her sweaty body “Mother Hera” she proclaimed “I am Free! I will not forget the lessons I have learned!” She smiled seeing a peacock in the distance, and below it, the mast of a ship…with an amazon sail…she was going home.

Hades watched as she fled his realm, invisible to her. He smiled casually as he stroked his chin. “ So Diana of the Amazons... you survive. But us male Gods know of your vow. Phema, Mistress of Rumour never could keep a secret. Your quest will bring you back here to my realm once more. And then your hardships will make this journey seem as nothing...”

But on high Olympus Ossa Phema, Watchful Rumour, already whispered his words at Hera's ear. Hera smiled. “Thank you daughter. Bid my Sister-in- Law, Persephone, good tidings. And tell her to be ready.”
Last edited by tallyho 5 years ago, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin story LORD GRIFFIN's chapter

Post by Abductorenmadrid »

Making bargains and wagers with gods can be a tricky affair but no more tricky than a jealous wife it seems! In this tale we have a good goal, an interesting journey, a tricky task and then a clever escape, well done LG.

For those who are only reading this tale and not participating in its creation you should understand we haven't tried to unify our heroine's character too much although the overall arc of the story is planned. For example, in LGs version Diana seems to be a proud, strong-willed and outspoken leader. She knows her place in the world and that is as a champion of women. She is also confident of herself and not intimidated by the gods who have come to the fore in her life. In my version of her I have her more humble. Although of royal birth she is a displaced person - her kingdom overrun - and so she keeps a low profile, living modestly while moving from place to place on her quest for vengeance. For my tales she will be more in awe of gods knowing that she is but a fleck of lacquer on a pawn in their game of chess.

I hope the readers out there will enjoy the slight variations in character the array of writers will create!
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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin story LORD GRIFFIN's chapter

Post by tallyho »

Great job LG, REALLY nice touches and a clever plot that made for an enjoyable read, well done.
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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin story LORD GRIFFIN's chapter

Post by tallyho »

Ok guys I am awaiting chapters from some contributors so to keep the narrative going I have done a three part filler , so you are temporarily stuck with me! (again) but there is more awesome work from Abductorenmadrid, SGWRITER, VOID, Dravatar and Dr Dominator9 SO PLEASE STAY TUNED. (I will edit for typos once I am back on reliable broadband rather than my phone)

Part 9

“Our charge forgets herself. She is as inconstant as our sisters The Winds...” Nemesis said as she gazed down on the watching pool at Olympus before flicking her gaze to Hera the queen of the Gods.”She honours us then treats us with disdain and arrogance in her boastful pride...”


“Not so, revered Mother!”Artemis interjected. “My sister Vengeance forgets that it was to Hephaestus, a male God that Diana showed a contempt for. Diana is still true to us and her cause. It is natural that she despise the male Gods who were the makers of her nations undoing.”


“Truely spoken.” Hera acknowledged,with a slight bow of her head. “Yet I sense your impatience my daughter.”She said to Nemesis. “You seek blood for blood, do you not?”


“You always could read me Queen -Goddess.” Nemesis smiled. “She swore that her sword would not sleep in her hand, yet three mortal years and more have passed since her oath...”


“We have let Ares do her work and thin the herd for slaughter, as War has destroyed Atraxia and the Dorlians just as surely as the Amazon nation was laid waste.” Athena added. “We all agreed it would be so, lest Zeus take too much of an interest and stop her for good. A broken blood oath to all the Goddesses would weaken us all. Our Father knows this and in his idle pleasure he seeks it,albeit indirectly.”


“I am famed for my patience in action, Mother.” Nemesis said. “But there are still many survivors alive in her time who need to pay Charon.”


Hera pondered before looking at Nemesis, Athena and Artemis in turn. Though she was Hera, Queen and Mother of the Gods, none of the daughters before her was her own. Her husband was all too fond of other bed chambers than her own. Nemesis was strong and unstoppable in purpose, Athena was wise and a battle goddess of tactics, but Artemis, the huntress, was one for traps and schemes and an animal cunning. Hera did not trust her as she did the others. Never the less she smiled at all three now. She raised a questioning eyebrow at Athena.


“It is time our warrior maiden tried out her martial skills once more.” Athena said.


“Then so be it. Nemesis. Choose your victims. Artemis, guide the hunt. Athena. Let her learn from this deed.”


The three bowed and the queen left them. Nemesis turned to the others.


“You have chosen?” Athena asked.


“I have.” Nemesis answered. “Let it be the brutes who defiled brave Liobe of the spear. Four raped her and Talgartha their leader mutilated her. Now their lives are mine. There will be blood for blood.”


“Talgartha is a survivor. He fled Atraxia when it fell to the Thessallians. Like many, he and his men went south and now he has joined with other soldiers to become brigands in the hills. I will guide our mortal sister to them.” Artemis added.


“They are men without honour, without nation, outlaw. They showed great Hubris as they claimed Liobe, a braver soul than all of them and condemned her to roam the Underworld sightless, with no tongue to speak of her pain, her mutilated ears carrying the muffled echoes of disdain from her once sister Amazons who now no longer know her.” Athena added


“They did. Though it was at our behest.” Artemis pointed out.


“But they enjoyed it; mocking her in her capture though she had fought bravely and slain a dozen of her foes. It is their laughter that they will pay for, not the deeds themselves.” Athena continued.


“Then it is settled.” Nemesis spoke with relish. “For they are food for ravens.”


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------






Diana sat idly on the rocks by the shore, soaking up the glorious sunshine with her eyes closed, braced on the palms of her hands out straight behind her back as she sat leaning semi-upright. She felt it cleanse her, Pheobus Apollo's gift the one touch of a male that she didn't resent, albeit a male God.. It was warm and soft yet its latent heat was inherently powerful. She felt relaxed and totally at ease, to the point that she idly let one hand slip beneath her short white cotton tunic, slipping up over her bronzed hips, smooth and strong, her sensuous skin barely concealing the sinews and muscle of her powerful thighs. Her long, delicate, fingers strayed beneath the gentle fold of her underwear, a short white cotton
loin cloth of sorts, so soft to the touch that it was hard to tell where it ended and her own body began, Only the small trimmed hairs of her pubis mons tickling the back of her fingers told her she was nearing her goal. She sighed softly in the sunshine her eyes still closed as her finger tips explored the delicate folds of the most intimate parts of her body. She felt the hard warmth of the middle finger nail slipping inside her, heated by Apollo's rays.


“It is a brave hunter who enters an unknown cave...all manner of ...creatures with strange desires may dwell within...” said a female voice near her that made her jump with a start.


“OH! I -I w-was just-!”she stammered clumsily before realizing that the woman before her was not one of her sister Amazons.


The stranger stood on the rocks before her, a radiant glow emanating from her as she smiled. It rivalled the Sun for the warmth it cast upon her skin. Her draped robes shimmered in gold and silver over her shoulder, whilst her other was bare save for a golden bow. Diana recognized Artemis immediately.


“My lady of the bow!” she bowed her head. “I am honoured by your presence!”


“I am here to help you with your oath. No gift this time, save that of knowledge awaits you – if you prevail.”


“What am I to do? “


“Many days sail from here to the North East, lie the Gates of Fire. In the mountains to the west are a large band of brigands. Many of them fought with Malaxios. Their leader is Talgartha...”


“TALGARTHA! THAT VENOMOUS SNAKE! I WILL SEE HIM FALL!!!”


“It will not be easy. He has around a hundred men with him.”


“I have faced more and prevailed.” Diana said with conviction.


“You had allies then. This time you will be alone”


“Then let me die or triumph alone as the Gods will it.”


“It is not our will, but your skill that will determine victory. You will need to take Talgartha alive, to learn what he knows.”


“Then he will live. But he WILL SUFFER.” Diana said with venom.







------------------------------------------------------------------



At the watching pool on Olympus, Nemesis smiled. Nearby, Artemis turned to Hubris, the sister goddess of Nemesis, who always went before her. The goddess of sinful pride and offence to the Gods watched her vengeful sister's delight. “Your dark sister enjoys her craft...”Artemis said.


“As do we all - it is our nature after all.”Hubris replied. “None more so than you, Artemis the Hunter. User of traps.”she added meaningfully.


“I seek no more than concord between us women of Olympus.”Artemis answered defensively. “Soon Ossa will reveal all to Hera” she spoke of the rumour Goddess. “And she, in her rage, will be most terrible. All I do, I do for that day, that mortal woman and divine one may stand united still.”


“Yes...” Hubris strolled casually away before angling her head back over her shoulder coyly in a playful mood. “And you do so love the Hunt....and the Hunter's traps.”



---------------------------------------------------------------


Two weeks later in the realm of man and the warm sun of Themiscyra seemed a distant memory to Diana. She was camped around a meagre fire in the cold, high mountains to the west of Thermopylae, the Gates of Fire, so called for the vents and geysers that produced hot springs. There was no snow but the temperature at night was just above freezing. She was waiting to be attacked. She had made deliberately slow and conspicuous progress for the last few days, swathed in a cloak and moving as if she were an old crone with a laden pack animal. Ripe pickings. Around 4 that evening she knew she was being followed. At 6 they started baiting her from the dark – shrieks and cries to terrify her. She had built a hasty fire and pulled her cloak tighter about herself. And now she waited. She didn't have to wait long.


From the different cries she knew there were 4 of them, and it was a measure of their over confidence that all 4 approached her camp now together, arrogant and cocky. They would die that way. She had used her slow progress to scout out these hills, seemingly taking a variety of dead ends she was actually reading the terrain in this valley and the next. Sometimes you could work out where your enemy was by working out where they weren't.


She had found traces of 2 older camps and as winter in the high mountains was no laughing matter she guessed any brigands worthy of the name would be heading south to warmer climes, now it was fast approaching. One camp was clearly older, indicating the direction of travel. A large body of men needed a lot of food and as such would have several groups like this one of 4 -6 men out after any traveller. They would need to move on every few days and so stick close to trail valleys through these mountain passes, as then they could ambush and rob the unwary. She had narrowed their location down to one of two places. She would kill 3 of these 4 and then head to the most likely of the two passes the survivor would take,and if he went that way she knew the main camp was in that direction, one perhaps two valleys ahead. If not , then equally she knew it was likely to be in the other location. Either way, they were hers. They would all be hers.


She crouched huddled in her old shawl pulled tight about her. She had sank a hand into the dirt gathering up the dry soil. That would be hurled into the face of the nearest attacker when they started to charge her, if they charged her. If they came one at a time, all the better. Her shawl would be thrown into the next one, via the embers of the low fire, showering the men in sparks and potentially flame if the wool caught alight. That should take care of the next two, maybe all three, but safer to allow for two. Surprise would allow her to be ready for the forth – his surprise at the fate of his three comrades and the surprise of being confronted by a battle ready Amazon rather than the old crone they had stalked. She would aim to kill the first three, the last would be her pathfinder for the camp.



“HO! CRONE!” one called as they approached. “Dangerous hills to travel alone! There are brigands abroad I have heard....” his companions sniggered as he slapped one in the gut with the back of his hand for silence. “May we offer you and your fine animal protection on this dark night? All we ask is to share your fire...”


Diana sat, hunched one eye closed to protect her night vision against the shower of sparks when she swung her cloak through the fire. She nodded her assent.



----------------------------------------------------------
On Olympus, Artemis looked to Athena “I did not teach her that.” she said slightly sour faced.


“You are the Huntress. Few hunts use fire at night. But I am the Goddess of WISDOM.” she said pointedly, secretly delighted as Artemis bristled. “Those four fools will be blinded by the embers and dazzled when the fire flares up. Their lives are lost already.”


---------------------------------------------------------

“Crone? Why do you travel so, with such a loaded beast? Surely you must know it will...attract the wrong sort of attention? Lucky for you we saw the flame of your fire.”


“Unlucky for you that you did...” Diana responded, head still bowed.


It was her voice that warned him. It was full of youth and vigour and out of place with the visage of the hunched old figure before him. The talker hesitated, nervously twitching his hand toward his hilt, licking his lips as he suddenly realized something was wrong. Diana sprung into action hurling the dust into his face with one hand as she half rose , sweeping her cloak through the flames into the faces of the others with her right hand. She released the cloak, revealing herself in her full bodice and armour, her leather bustier glowing dully in the night by the firelight, as the cloak fell into the nearest three distracting them further.

She had already dropped to one knee to retrieve her sword, buried in the sand surreptitiously from beneath her cloak as she had sat by the campfire. It swept up now, slicing up through the throat of their leader, shattering his jaw as it swept back out through the flesh of his cheek. She was already in the lunging position before he had chance to scream and had spitted the gut of the second brigand with a straight thrust whilst the fourth stood open mouthed and the third was beating off the flaming cloak and sparks that engulfed him. She didn't need to, but purely for effect she spun on the spot to end up facing the last man as the third stopped his ineffectual flapping and the top third of his torso slid one way whilst his legs remained standing. Her eyes were locked upon the last man who stared back in terror.


“Tell Talgartha the Woman of Clay comes to claim him.”


He stood, frozen, terrified.


RUN” she hissed and he screamed, bolted and fled. Diana straightened and watched him go, checked the dead over for anything she might need, retrieved a useful looking throwing knife, then calmed the agitated donkey. She wiped her blade on the smoldering shawl of her crone disguise and then set off at a trot, using her formerly closed eye to see the dimly lit path. As she ran after him she whooped and screeched and screamed, giving him a dose of his own medicine.


By the time he stumbled into the sentries of Talgartha's camp an hour and a half later, he was scared witless.


“SHE COMES! SHE COMES FOR YOU, TALGARTHA! THE WOMAN OF CLAY! SHE IS REAL! I HAVE SEEN HER! SHE WAS AN OLD WOMAN , HIDEOUS AND -AND WRINKLED AND BEFORE MY EYES HER FACE CHANGED! THE YEARS FELL FROM HER AND SHE TRANSFORMED INTO A BEAUTIFUL WARRIOR, HER CORSET RED WITH BLOOD! AND SHE COULD SEE IN THE DARK AS WELL AS ANY OWL! SHE HACKED US DOWN – REMBA, KANTHOS AND MERAN, ALL DEAD! I BARELY ESCAPED WITH MY LIFE! SHE COMES TALGARTHA! SHE COMES FOR YO-” he froze mid sentence as Talgartha gripped him by the upper arms, frowning ,before he slumped forward and all saw the throwing dagger embedded in the base of his neck.


Talgartha looked around into the inky blackness as he pushed the corpse away. “STAND TO! STAND TO!” the cry went up to rouse men to arms. Talgartha had heard the rumours after the battle – that one woman in particular had been created by the gods to avenge those betrayed. But he hadn't believed it – a warrior maiden, hewn from the clay? Madness. Unless the Gods themselves had done such a deed. And now this – the man had said he'd seen her transform before his eyes from old witch to young wench. Yet this woman was clearly Hyppolytas daughter. All his men were armed now, facing out into the night. Diana would leave them like that and go and get some sleep. They would break camp at first light but now they would be tired men on the march. They would barely cover 10 miles through the mountains in a day, if that.





---------------------------------------------------------

Artemis looked on as her charge returned to the mule and slept for three hours. It was three hours more sleep than her prey had. Artemis again looked at Athena with grudging admiration.


“She will be rested when she takes them on tomorrow.” Athena smiled back.


“She won't need to fight them all. “Artemis replied. “Her plan is simply to kill one man.”


“One?” Athena said surprised.


Artemis smiled. “Yes sister. The LAST one.” she looked slyly at her sister of Wisdom. “I taught her that.”




-------------------------------------------------------




The following day Diana had sent her pack mule back down the trail unburdened with a slap on its rump. There was a poor hovel around 5 miles down the valley. Its inhabitants had already been robbed of all they had by Talgartha's men. But the animal would be like a gift from the gods for the poor goat farmer and his elderly wife. The bandits had left him with but three sickly and weak animals and would soon come for them in the days to come. But now they would winter in peace.


Talgartha's column had broken camp and been on the march for over an hour without breakfast when they first started to note some men were missing, once they stopped for the first rest.


“Where is Arra?” someone asked and a quick look around revealed him and some 8 others were missing. A small party went back over the trail and found the bodies, well spaced out. Diana let them return to the camp and spread the fear, but picked off the last man when they were but some 40 paces away from it.


They heard his cry and hurried back to find the arrow in his back and the man dead. The 7 men left stared out at the featureless scrub and craggy rocks, before gradually falling back to the camp. When a clear candidate arose, she put an arrow through the throat of the last man. He fell just some ten feet from the camp.


“CAN YOU SEE HER? CAN ANYONE SEE THE BITCH?” Talgartha cried but no one answered.


Diana retired a short distance and ate her own breakfast. A little late in the day but she had been a busy girl. She ate some bread and cheese and waited for them to break camp once more. As they retired, again she picked off the last man. Sooner or later someone would make the connection.


“AWKK!” cried the man as the arrow took him through his neck, sending his body quivering to Hades.


“TESSIDES!” someone cried and grabbed his falling body as those around them scanned the brush.


“YOU FIVE!” Talgartha indicated with a sweep of his sword. “FORM A SHIELD WALL AS REAR GUARD”


“M-me? But she is killing those at the back” someone said hesitantly and finally then the rumour spread. “She claims the last man.”



----------------------------------------------------


“Good work, Ossa Phema” Artemis complemented the Goddess of Rumour, as the word spread through the group of bandits. Suddenly the fear amongst the group was tangible.




----------------------------------------------------

“Skelios! Take 40 men and sweep her from her cover! GO!” Talgartha commanded to a junior commander who reluctantly began to assemble his men.


“We should not split up like this!” another man challenged Talgartha's order. “This is madness!”


“DO YOU SEE HER? DOES ANYONE SEE HER?” Talgartha bellowed in his rage as all surveyed the broken scrub and rocky out crops all around them. The air was still and silent and took on the aspect of the grave in its quiet.


The men exchanged nervous glances and it took but a whisper in the ear from Ossa Phema for the seeds of doubt to be planted. “She said she comes for Talgartha, not me...” a thought that grew in the minds of the men. Some exchanged looks then slowly slipped away in ones and twos


“SHE IS BUT ONE WOMAN, YOU DOGS! AND YOU CREEP IN FEA-UGH!” Bartes, a captain, had his rallying speech silenced when an arrow took him in the throat.


“UP!” Talgartha commanded . “Sweep up the hill to the summit! Then we will see her and root her out!”


The men exchanged more awkward looks. No one had signed up for this kind of blood feud. Yet for self preservation they did as commanded and formed a skirmish line sweeping up the hillside to the low mountain top some three hundred yards above them. Only when they arrived and formed up in shield wall formation did they realise that another four men had fallen.


“She is a ghost...” one man whispered and Phema did the rest, fear gripping the hearts of the men.


“THERE! THERE SHE IS! “ someone cried as they saw a flash of her red bodice darting through an out crop some 40 yards to their left. As one the group descended upon her, charging headlong in that direction as she disappeared from view.


The first few men behind her had already fallen over the precipice before they even knew it was there, the rocks falling away suddenly with no sign of their quarry. Diana had actually dropped to the ground , rolled backwards 10 feet, then scrambled up on all fours behind the outcrop that she had just broken cover from, knowing her pursuers would mentally track her as running left to right and look for her or signs of her further right from their last sighting. She was out of arrows but the time she had bought herself allowed her to loot a spear and some extra arrow shafts from those she had already killed.



“HEY, THERE SH-UGGH!” cried the only man who saw her as the spear took him in the chest.


“FORM UP! FORM UP, DAMN YOU TO HADES!” Talgartha barked but some of his men just turned and kept on running. There were only around 60 of them left now.


“TALGARTHA!” she cried, her voice echoing around the mountainside. “I come for you and the men from Dorlia!” the Amazon called. The Dorlians in the company looked nervously at each other then at Talgartha. That was all she needed to identify them, though many still had their battered white cloaks, stained more grey now here and there and worn threadbare after the years of flight.There were around 18 of them and they stood close by Talgartha


“FORM UP! BACKS TO THE RAVINE!” Talgartha barked and those still with him obeyed.
And then, Diana did ….nothing.


She left the men there, in full armour in the mid day sun, tired from their sleepless night, separated from the packs at their temporary rest stop and their water skins. She left them alone for 2 hours whilst she ate some bread and water, retrieving a few more arrows from some of the dead. Holding a shield up is heavy work. Their arms ached and felt as lead. Their throats became parched and dry. Their morale crumbled. And physically they weakened.


“How can we fight a ghost?” one man asked with fear in his eyes.


“She is no ghost!” Talgartha said with disgust.


“The Woman of Clay, a warrior made by the very Gods themselves...” someone muttered, his voice carrying in the still mountain air. For an hour or two they sweated; then as the sun started to drop in the sky the chill started, cramping tensed limbs, causing muscles to ache. And all the while there was the dreadful thirst of dry, fearful mouths.


“TALGARTHA, TALGARTHA WE CANNOT STAY HERE! WE MUST GO BACK TO OUR PACKS, OUR FOOD, OUR WATER!” someone finally said and reluctantly Talgartha nodded.


TAL....GAR....THA...” the call was almost ethereal, echoing around the hillsides. “I...COME...FOR....YOU....”


“We are but half our number that we were this morning...”one said desperately looking about them. “THERE MUST BE MORE THAN ONE! THERE MUST BE!”


“Quiet. There is just that bitch.”


“SHE HAS KILLED 40 OR 50 MEN!”


Talgartha grabbed the man by the throat and held him close. “NO YOU SCUM. SHE HAS SLAIN TEN MAYBE FIFTEEN, MOSTLY BY ARROWS IN THE BACK., THREE FELL TO THEIR DEATHS, THE BLIND FOOLS, THE REST RAN LIKE DOGS. HALF THE ONES SHE KILLED WERE BECAUSE WE NEVER KNEW SHE WAS THERE. BUT WE KNOW NOW. AND NOW THAT WE DO, WE WILL KILL THE BITCH” he pushed the man away roughly. He was wrong -she had claimed over twenty.


She let them reach the packs to find their water skins slit. She fired an arrow or two at them but as Talgartha said, forewarned was fore -armed. They held their shields high and this time the arrows skittered off the hoplons harmlessly. She wasn't unduly worried.


Talgartha cursed her . “Form up two abreast. There's a stream in the next valley.” They set off, so ordered but there was some jostling as to who would be the last pair. While distracted by each other she loosed a low shot catching one man in the thigh. He screamed and fell, the other three instantly cowering behind their shields, exchanging nervous looks once more.


“DID ANYONE SEE THE BITCH?​” someone called, but of course no one had.


“T-Talgartha ! I cannot walk!” the wounded man said desperately.


“Then she will claim you.” Talgartha said simply. The column moved off slowly, with three at its rear, the central man stepping backwards gingerly.


The wounded man struggled to stand, limping slowly after them using the shaft of his spear for support, his other hand trying to stem the wound.


“PLEASE! PLEASE WAIT!” he cried looking fearfully over his shoulder with each step. Diana watched him with little compassion. She would leave him be for the moment-his cries were playing psychologically on the minds of the others. Instead she made clay, pouring water from some of the skins that she had taken from their packs into the dry soil and shaping it to pack around some of the food bowls that she had also taken. When she had made three or four into almost sealed domed jars she headed deeper into the rocks.


“And now?” Athena asked questioningly of Artemis. “They are weakened and bloodied yes, but in formation and ready for her. The cover she has used will be less in the next valley...”


“Formations can be made. And formations can be broken.” Artemis answered with a smile.


Diana let them inch forward, as they were, for another half hour before she struck. The makeshift pot sailed through the air in a lazy arc, easily spotted by the men in the little column. One raised his shield slightly higher and it shattered harmlessly against his hoplon. But as it broke three rock snakes fell amongst his feet, slithering over his sandals and striking out in their agitation, One bit his toe and he screamed as the fangs sank in.


AAAAGGH! SNAKES! SERPENTS!” he cried in panic as other pots exploded in amongst the men and as the clay shattered more serpents fell among them. Diana watched the panic seize the men from her vantage point among the rocks, constantly moving and flinging more bowls as she went. She had arranged them in advance and just ran to their location, threw one or more and moved on.


She had only found five snakes among the rocks and one of them was totally harmless whilst the others were not deadly. But she had supplemented their number with strips of rope taken from the camp packs, Packed with clay around them and covered in wax and pitch from the packs it only needed a few real snakes to make the tired and scared men believe that every thing they saw was a serpent. The first pot had only held two real snakes and a strip of tarred cloth. Many of the last few food bowls that she threw were empty whilst others just contained rope but the damage was done. The lines of men fell apart and she watched them scatter. A few that ran near her she dispatched easily as she finally showed herself to the clutch of twenty or so men that remained as Talgartha calmed them.


“THEY ARE BUT ROPE OR HARMLESS, STAND STEADY! STAND STEADY, YOU VERMIN!”



Diana strode purposefully toward the rear of the column, plunged her sword through the wounded man's neck as she snatched the spear from him, hefted it to test the weight and balance and threw at the man standing beside Talgartha. He saw it late, still looking down at the 'snakes' all about him, but as he raised his head it went straight through his face and through the back of his helmet.



“There! There she is ! GET HER !” Talgartha lambasted the men and five ran at her. She ran towards them and leapt forwards, kicking the lead man full in the chest on his breast plate and slicing under the armpit of the second man in a devastating arterial wound. She landed and spun into a crouch, dis-embowelling the third. As she withdrew her blade she kicked down viciously on the head of the first brigand, snapping his neck. The forth lunged at her but she swept to her left on tip toe. Cracking the hilt of her sword down on his head with enough force to crack his skull. The last man swung and missed twice before she buried her blade through his gut. The fight had lasted mere seconds. For the few left around Talgartha it was the last straw. Most turned and ran but when Talgartha ordered the three that stood with him to get her, whilst he obviously intended to hang back, it was all they could take. They dropped their spears, swords and shields and fled in the opposite direction.


Talgartha set his teeth on edge and cursed under his breath.


“Worthless fools! I remember you Amazon! You were the Princess were you not? I heard your whore mother died as you ran like cowards from the battle!” He goaded her. “So are you the 'Queen' now of a nation dead? “He laughed. “I have never fucked a Queen before. But I shall enjoy screwing you!”


“She lives. As does the Amazon nation.”


“MADE OF CLAY! PAH! WHAT LIES AND RUBBISH HAVE YOU SPREAD?”


“I am beloved of Artemis. And my god has sent me for you.”


Talgartha licked his lips. “THE GODS!” he said disdainfully. “They deserted you”


“And yet you fear my words, that they have sent me for you now?”


“I FEAR NOTHING!” he roared as he drew back his arm and lunged at her with his spear.


“You SHOULD” she answered simply as she avoided his thrust. He was big and strong and quick. But he was also tired, and angry and nervous. His sword thrust was wild and his follow up sweep even wilder as Diana skipped lightly on her toes out of the way.


“YOU JUMP AROUND LIKE A DAMNED NAIAD!”Talgartha yelled angrily, referring to the nymphs of streams and pools. “I'll enjoy fucking you like I screwed that other Amazon whore”


“Amazons don't get taken” Diana said. She was unaware of the fate of Liobe, though she had heard rumours as she travelled the world of men that one Amazon had been taken alive. But there were rumours that she was made of clay herself and she didn't believe them either.


“This one did. A sweet young thing, dark hair and bright eyes. She was cocky and defiant until my men broke her. Split her apart with our cocks...” he roared with laughter as Diana circled him, now her turn to feel the anger rising.


“I don't believe you.”


“I don't GIVE A DAMN WHAT YOU DO! “ he shouted, laughing uproariously and kicking around in the dust. “DO YOU HEAR ME? I DON'T CARE! I TOOK HER AND TOOK HER AGAIN! SHE HAD THE SWEETEST TASTING TITS, LIKE HONEYED OATCAKES! HMMN I CAN TASTE THEM NOW!!!!”


Diana checked her anger, yet something in the way he spoke made her believe him. Time to end this.


She started to close with him and then checked at the last minute as she heard the whoosh in the air of an arrow behind her. She ducked and turned stepping to her right and it just missed her. But suddenly a whip wrapped itself around her ankles from behind her and yanked her from her feet.


She cursed her stupidity. His shouts and bellows and laughing and kicking up dust –all just to make a noise , all to hide the sound of some of his men returning who had circled around behind her. She landed heavily on her front but instantly rolled onto her back and hacked through the whip, though the coils of its end were still tight around her ankles. She had only loosened them a little before the first of the four men behind her closed on her. She spun around, swinging her bound legs into his and knocking him from his feet. A second closed and she swung out with her sword forcing him back but at the maximum arc of her swing a third man slammed his own blade into hers, knocking her arm down to the floor where he then stepped on the blade to pin it and her wrist to the ground.


“NNNGGGHAAA!!” she panted desperately as she tried to pull it free but the others were on her, two dropping to pin her legs as she wriggled to free them whilst a third fell on her free arm. The fourth dropped beside her to put a blade to her throat as she frowned in anger and rage at being taken like this.


“Amazons don't get taken' Talgartha mocked her and he and his men roared with laughter. “No doubt they don't get raped either....” his men laughed as he smiled with obviously evil intent.



-----------------------------------------------------------

On Olympus, the female Gods at the watching pool were startled. Hera was not present, but the Goddesses Artemis and Athena exchanged looks of alarm – neither had expected this. But Hubris strolled to the watching pool calmly looking down at the scene.


“THIS IS YOUR DOING!” Artemis hissed angrily.


“It is my nature sisters. Am I not arrogance and pride personified? And as I and my sister Nemesis can attest- Pride comes before a fall.”
Last edited by tallyho 5 years ago, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin story new chapter

Post by Abductorenmadrid »

I love the sense of fear you build in the men as they are slowly picked off one by one. I can imagine it being like one of those "one set" kind of films like in Ten Little Indian's or Riddick. A pretty intense psychological warfare you wrote there, TallyHo!.

Now in the moments closing in on victory dear Hubris has her own plans for Diana though I suspect her motives may not be clear as we imagine!
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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin story new chapter

Post by wondergirlsupragirl »

Wow this is an awesome read tallyho, really enjoying the intense exciting battle action! Can't wait to read what happens next!
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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin story new chapter

Post by tallyho »

Thanks all, hope you enjoy the next part, by my own not exactly fair hand, more withered claw. And also (and my sincerest apologies for the omission) it contains a valuable additional piece from ABDUCTORENMADRID.

(Thank you AEM)


PART 10


“So, Amazon...you said you come for me? Well, I will MAKE you cum for me!” Talgartha said with a raucous laugh as his men grinned evilly around her.


Pinned down by four of his men Diana couldn't move, the sharp dagger point pressing into her throat.


“GUT THE WITCH AND BE DONE WITH HER!” one man shouted angrily. “SHE KILLED TESSIDES!”


Pah! Why waste such a body? A gift from the Gods lads, made of clay apparently...” they all laughed again. “And I'm sure our late friend Tessides would wish us to enjoy our revenge....”



--------------------------


On Olympus, Athena rounded angrily on Hubris.


“YOU CANNOT LET THIS COME TO PASS! YOU CANNOT PUNISH HER PRIDE THIS WAY, WITH AN END THAT WILL WEAKEN US ALL!”


“SHE IS RIGHT HUBRIS! THE CRIME OF HER PRIDE IN HER FEATS AND SKILL AT ARMS MUST BE FORGIVEN!” Artemis added.


Hubris looked at them coolly. “I do not punish her. But this is a reminder that all Goddesses of Olympus have a hand in this maiden. She is not your toy , nor yours, Artemis of the Bow. We all have an interest in her, and we all will aid her where we can.”


“THEN WHY PUNISH HER LIKE THIS? WITH CAPTURE AND RAPE?” Artemis declared angrily


“I do not punish HER pride, my sisters, I PUNISH YOUR ARROGANCE. Look to yourselves and find humility, as I Goddess of Boastful Pride restore the fortunes of our charge....” Hubris smiled at the look of surprise of her sister Goddesses as they looked at each other.



--------------------------------------------


“HOLD HER DOWN! PART THOSE THIGHS! WATCH HER, THE BITCH HAS A KICK LIKE A MULE!” Talgartha commanded the men holding her down.


Two men gripped her ankles and pulled her thighs asunder as she bucked and writhed in their grip. The man with a knife at her throat shifted his position so that he grabbed an arm and stretched it out above her head as he squatted on his haunches, pinning her at the wrist and elbow, his fellow bandit did the same with her other hand, likewise squatting beside her head. There he had a good view of her heaving bosom as her torso strained and lifted against the weight of the men holding her firmly down.


GNNNAHHHHAAAA!” Diana grunted through gnashed teeth as she struggled but then relaxed completely going limp in their hands. They took the chance to strengthen their grip and one of the men pinning her arms shifted his position moving up and squatting on his calves with his shins on the rough ground.


This was what Diana had been hoping for, and the reason she had relaxed.


“HA! I've seen dogs with more spirit!” one of the men declared.


She looked about her. Four men holding her down, Talgartha starting to open his clothing and some six or seven others standing around admiring the view.


She raised her head as much as she was able, chin to her chest. “Talgartha – the gods have sent me to claim you and all that you know – do you really think they forsake me now?”


“What do I care of your Gods, woman? And as for all that I know, I know that I will be one of the few men on this Earth to have fucked two Amazons against their will!”


As she had spoken, she had turned her wrist and since her captor had obligingly moved his position and brought his boot within reach, she was able to draw out his boot knife from his winter sandals.

She was still restrained, held at the elbow and the wrist, but the mans own body had hid her actions from his companions. She looked at him and smiled. He frowned and then she sliced through his Achilles tendon. He screamed and released her and in one movement she had arced the blade into the back of the neck of her other captor, holding her other arm. She drew back her knees pulling free of the surprised men holding her legs and then kicked them both in the face with a satisfying crack that indicated at least one shattered nose. She threw the knife into the throat of the only man who seemed to respond aggressively as the others just looked bewildered. She snatched a sword from the man she stabbed in the back of the neck and then slashed around her forcing them back as she flipped herself up onto her feet and crippling two more into the bargain.


Talgartha had backed up, hastily re gathering his falling tunic as he tried to cover his exposed manhood, suddenly feeling very vulnerable.


“KILL THE WITCH!” he bellowed desperately.


“I come for you Talgartha...” she said quietly her eyes locked on his.


“KILL HER! KILL HER, YOU DOGS!” he screamed.


The first man who took half a step towards her was dead before he completed the full step. She kicked his body away from her into two of his former friends and then whirled to her right, dodging a downward slash and then flicking aside a second blade to bury her own in the swordsman's neck. She snatched his sword from him and then, twice armed, she twirled and swung, her limbs a blur as she first blocked a thrust then claimed a life with her own weapon.


The ten or so men that ringed her backed away from the blurred blades and she never took her eyes off them as she easily killed the two men who had been bundled to the ground by the corpse she had thrown at them, stabbing downwards viciously with the two blades, taking one in the chest and the other in the back. Her jaw was locked tight and her eyes narrowed but gleaming with the adrenalin rush from the kill. In an instant she had gone from helpless victim to battle-crazed warrior and the men that faced her had no answer, knowing they were no match for her. She knew it too.


“KILL HER! KILL HER!” Talgartha bellowed again.


Those left alive exchanged nervous glances, shifting the grip on their weapons They were tired and frightened, the buzz of triumph they had felt but a moment ago replaced by fear. Talgartha had finally re attached his sword belt but he kept backing away, putting distance between himself and the witch who had come to kill him.


Diana ignored him, rolling her wrists to rotate the two swords easily before extending them at arms length, pointing down as she slowly stepped around the circle, never removing her gaze from the men that surrounded her. They outnumbered her ten to one. But it was never going to be enough. She made her move, suddenly kicking up a cloud of dust towards one man which was enough to force him that half a step further away, hindering the prospects of an attack from the man to his right as he now hampered his route to Diana. As she scuffed up the dry earth she moved away from the dust victim, launching her attack instead on the man to his left, arcing her sword high. He lifted his horizontally to parry – but Diana had two swords to his one and before her high swing had struck his blade she had dis-embowelled him with the other weapon.. She dropped to a knee to duck below the wild swing of the next man, and thrust into his gut as her blade swung clear of the belly of her first victim. She stood in an instant and turned, both blades extended once more at arms length, and backed carefully into the gap she had made in the ring of aggressors, flicking her gaze from man to man. She stepped carefully over the bodies of the fallen. She was no longer surrounded, the 8 or so men left now all before her.


“I can do this until Apollo's chariot leaves the sky...but you will not last that long...” she said in a voice laden with menace.


She heard the whhoosh of an arrow off to her right and answered its song by hurling a sword in that direction before raising her bracers to deflect the arrow harmlessly. Her sword embedded in the chest of the bowman and there was a low moan before the bowman, hidden in the bushes, fell through them to collapse dead on the rough, dusty soil.


“Who is next to feed the carrion?” she asked , raising an eyebrow. "Who would be the food of ravens?"


Talgartha was some twenty feet away behind his men now, and he finally turned and ran. Some of the others heard him and glanced over their own shoulders. They looked at each other and turned and fled after him. It was the four men who had held down Liobe, though Diana did not know this. She strode purposefully towards the four men left, stamping down on the flat of a blade in the air that lay across the legs of one of the fallen. It flipped up into the air and she caught it easily, spinning the blades by rotating her wrists once more.


“Oh, Ares!” one man uttered.


“He won't save you now.” Diana said coldly as she brushed aside his thrust and run him through.


Only three were left now. The sense of doom was palpable.. One dropped his sword and instead drew two elaborately handled blades from a cross sash that he wore over his tunic. It was clear he was a knife fighter; 'Tavern scum who probably murdered drunks in back alleys', she thought. She checked her progress, letting out a weary sigh. He smiled at her evilly.


"Well, Amazon? Your two blades against mine,eh?” he smiled as he started to circle her.


He had expected her to move too, to begin circling him. But she stayed still, dropped to a crouch and then made a thrust with a lunge straight through his chest. She stood as he clutched at the wound, a surprised look on his face.


“Not much point. My blades are longer.” she said simply as she turned to the last two.


“We have no quarrel with you...y-you said you come for Talgartha... go! Take him and let us be.”one of them said.


“That was before you were so willing to rape me. Now, war was declared and battle come down upon you, and you have been found wanting. Now, in your time of defeat you seek to end the conflict? The boatman waits for you... and I will send you on your way...”


Her words sparked action and one swung low whilst the other went high. It was a good tactic but as she had two swords she was able to easily block both.. They came back at her instantly, both going high this time and over the next thirty seconds it was only her agility that saved her, jumping over a blade as she parried or ducked beneath the other. It was clear these two had fought side by side before. They were good. Very good. But she was better..


She dropped to one knee, her swords crossed above her head to block both men swinging down at her head. She rose in a powerful step towards them, ringing the swords apart and forcing both men back on the defensive. They moved further apart to make it more difficult for her and then fully moved around to stand opposite each other with her in the middle. She stood once more, her blades extended towards each man respectively.


She noticed one of them had a wide stance, his left foot planted far forward of his body. It was an attacker's stance, aggressive and threatening. But when defending it left you exposed. She took a step towards the other man and then as he backed away turned suddenly, knowing instinctively that the first man would have made his move. She beat aside his swing and stabbed down into his foot with the other blade before spinning and turning to block the attack from the second foe.


The wounded man screamed and staggered back, clutching at the leg of his bloody foot, limping badly.


The other swordsman blanched visibly, his face baring a look of desperation as his last swing was blocked, She rolled her wrist and disarmed him, his sword spinning away into the scrub. Her defenceless enemy took a half as step back, his face a mask of fear as she drew back her blades across her own body, her right fist by her left shoulder and vice versa. She took a half a step nearer and extended her arms, the blades slicing through the man's neck from either side.


GYYYYAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!” she cried, letting her rage escape as his head went bouncing away from the torso, which sank to its knees, spraying dark, arterial blood from his severed jugular artery.


The last wounded man limped away from her, clutching his leg, panting and grunting with the pain as he sought to escape. He tried to hurry, but she caught him easily with a fast walk. He could hear her coming up behind him and half turned but was way too late.


She drew a blade swiftly across the hamstring in his good leg and he screamed as he collapsed to the ground, dropping his sword.


“P-please...” he panted “Talgartha...and the four who fled...they are who you want...t-they...they used to boast of how they took her, y-your Amazon...how they took her again and again in front of your whole army...”


“LIES! I was with the army, no one yielded! I WAS THERE!” she said angrily her sword point at his throat.


“They...but...this is just what they said...but they told the story many times, it never changed!”


Diana considered his words. She had heard these rumours as she walked the world of men, away from Themiscyra. Could it be true?


“And what did you do, when they told such tales? Hmnn?” she asked him.


“I- I don't know, I-I don't remember!”


“I do. You laughed and you jeered and you delighted in the tale, as did the rest!” she drew back her blade.


“NO! NO, NOT I!. BY ZEUS I SWEAR IT!”he said desperately, holding up a splayed palm as he tried to raise his body from the dust.


“Wrong god to invoke.” she said simply as she thrust her blade home, a gargled cry dying in his throat.



--------------------------------------------------------------------

On Olympus, Hubris looked smugly at the surprised faces of Athena and Artemis.


“You see, my sisters? I have not let her fall. But you two would be wise to watch your actions with regards the warrior maid. And pay heed to the cares and affairs of your sister Gods. Now you may go back to your little games, as I have had my pleasure. Mistress of the Hunt? It would seem the Hunt is on....” she waved a hand dismissively at the watching pool where Talgartha and the four survivors could be seen scrambling over the rocks and boulders, trying to find refuge, then she walked elegantly away.


“WHO DOES SHE BELIEVE SHE IS?” Hissed Artemis belligerently.


Athena simply smiled philosophically. “Is she not right my sister? We were consumed with our own machinations. There was wisdom in her warning. Look now to your duties as Hunt mistress...”


Artemis smiled reluctantly and dipped her head in acknowledgment as she looked back to the pool.



---------------------------------------------------------------

Diana watched the four men scramble after Talgartha. She went to the body of the bowman in the bushes, stripped him of his quiver and bow and then knocked a shaft. She raised the gut to her cheek levelling the bow and drew a bead on the last man.


“Artemis, guide my aim” she invoked and as she loosed the arrow the Goddess, unseen blew gentle on it in flight, shifting it an inch or so to its right. It hit the last man through the back of his thigh on his right leg, causing him to scream and fall. The others turned at the sound, noting Diana was around 150 yards away still standing by the clutch of fallen bodies.


“LEAVE HIM !” Talgartha barked and they all hurried on after him leaving the screams of their fellow brigand behind them.


Diana watched them go and instead of pursuing, gathered arrows and a spear, and one of the knives from the knife fighter and the whip that had nearly proved her undoing. She retied the length she had cut through to free herself. Not perfect but it would do for her purposes. She then took anything of value she could find from the corpses, in order to make restitution to the poor goat farmer further down the next valley. She had a good haul of coins and rings for him. She rested for half an hour, drinking and eating some oatcakes, before making up her pack and then setting off after the outlaws.



She caught up with the wounded man quickly, as he had not made it far, and whilst she could have dispatched him, instead used him to frighten the others. She pressed him on his role in the rape at the battle, twisting her knife in his arrow wound, his shrill screams echoing up the valley after his 4 companions. She kept that up intermittently for a half hour before finally permanently silencing him mid scream with a slash across his throat with the looted dagger.


Talgartha and the others heard him stifled mid scream and exchanged silent looks of fear.


“We go on.” Talgartha said grimly.


“We need to rest....” one panted in reply.


“You can rest all you wish in the afterlife, like Macoon.” Talgartha nodded his head in the direction of the dying scream. “We go on.”


“Do you think she will give up soon, when it gets dark?” one of them asked desperately. No one answered him.


-----------------------------------------------------------------------


On Olympus, Hebe the handmaiden approached the watching pool. “Hera, our great Mother would hold council with her talented daughters....” she bowed and retired.


Artemis held her hand over the pool and clenched her fist, the image disappearing to show only clear blue water with the mosaic map of the Mediterranean showing through from the tiled bottom of the pool. Athena had moved away and only taken a few steps before she hesitated and turned back to stare at her sister. Artemis had swept her hand across the pool once more to reveal the image of the hunt below near the Gates of Fire.


Artemis watched on at the scenes playing out in the all seeing waters not realising she herself was being observed.


“Watching over the oath taker, I presume?” Athena asked, causing Artemis to break her gaze.


“And what if I was?” Artemis responded, an outstretched finger breaking the surface of the water and ending whatever scene was playing out before her eyes.


“Sister, I thought, like myself, you had been untouched by the hunger for affection. But it seems that your little dalliance with Diana in that cave has changed you somehow,” Athena said, her tone slightly adversarial.


“I have never been completely without need of company, or do you forget my poor lost Orion?” Artemis responded. She wondered what the driver of this conversation was about.


“No I have not forgotten, but I thought perhaps you had! ” Athena retorted only to draw a scowl from her sister.


“I think he would forgive me that, after his passing I would move on.” Artemis said angrily.


“That is not what I meant, dear sister. I merely remind you that mortals are exactly that, no matter how long their finite lives are lengthened. I do not desire to see your heart broken.” Athena replied.


“Ah, and now we get to the truth. You need not fear for my heart but you are right; what passed in the cave did change me. She awoke something hidden inside myself, a new way to hunt, a new way to kill and I feel driven to share it with her. But first I must make use of this most special warrior while the goddesses all still smile favourably upon her,” Artemis said before making a brief clicking noise with her tongue. 


“And why would they not? Sister, what is it that you know?” Athena asked. She knew well the look that Artemis had, she was planning something.


“You will see soon enough... After all, I will be counting on you” Artemis grinned as her messenger deer trotted to her side which she then pecked a kiss on its head. “Perhaps now, in the audience with our Mother all may be revealed.” 



-------------------------------------------------------------------------------


It was almost night fall when she took her next victim. Talgartha and his three companions had made it to a small outcrop of rocks and taken refuge in amongst them. But in the dark they had made a mistake. It was a false summit. Their outcrop dropped away but on one side only for a few yards before rising again to the true summit. Diana stood in the darkness there looking down at the four frightened figures below her, dimly visible in the dusk. Well rested, fed, watered and inherently fitter than the tired men below she had easily overtaken them at twilight. She needed to turn them from their current southerly course, to get them to head eastwards. What better way than to take another life.


The outlaws were hunkered down in amongst the rocks, staying silent for the most part. But fear rarely keeps men quiet for long.


“Do you think she has passed us by, missed our trail in the dark?” One whispered.


“Why don't you go down and see for yourself?” one answered sarcastically. The silence resumed. Most were looking back at the trail the way they had come. Diana had crept silently to within ten feet of the nearest man without anyone suspecting a thing.


She chose a small, fist sized boulder, tested it for weight with a little toss into her palm, then hurled it far into the night over their heads, back the way they had come from.


The noise had the desired effect as all four heard it and instinctively crouched lower. Then her man slowly rose to try and discern something in the near dark. His head was silouhetted against the sky of the false summit and her whip had snaked around his throat and yanked him backwards towards her before he knew what had befallen him.


AAUUUUGGGGGGKKKKK!” he cried as he dropped his sword and shield with a clang as his heels scrabbled over the rocks trying to slow his progress towards doom.



“ASCIADES? ASCIADES?!!!!” the man nearest his former position turned and called out into the darkness but there was no answer.


Silence was the loud reply to his calls.


“ASCIADES???!!!” he called again.


“SHUT UP, YOU FOOL! YOU ARE GIVING OUR POSITION AWAY!” Talgartha barked.


“I think she knows where we are already...” the other man answered drily.


Diana had knocked her charge senseless. She dragged him back up to the true summit and there proceeded to torture him slowly for 3 hours. His screams were a wound to his comrades confidence.

She drove a knife in under his knee cap and slowly prised up his patella. He confirmed between passing out the story once more – that they had indeed captured an Amazon. She was vaguely aware that three wolves had gathered, drawn by his screams and the scent of blood. She let them claim him, the snarls and growls mixing with his screams and playing on the minds of those left on the lower hill top as they ripped him apart.


“THE BITCH ISN'T HUMAN....” one of them said loudly.


“We-we should go and attack her whilst she is busy with him...” the other said without conviction.


“Talgartha ? What do you think, Talgartha?” But Talgartha had already fled into the night, leaving the two of them alone. Though they did not know this and so wrongly assumed Diana had taken him.


He had left some 20 minutes before, deciding to leave when the screaming had first started before finally leaving when it seemed to reach a peak. But now he was heading East, the way Diana wished him to go.

Towards the Gates of Fire.
Last edited by tallyho 4 years ago, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin story new chapter

Post by Abductorenmadrid »

Well that was a relief that Hubris had not thrown a spanner in the works. In the meantime, the sense of doom falling on the dwindling ranks is intensifying. These guys are dead men walking, but maybe they will be glad of death rather than live with the terror of what is waiting for them. To the gates of fire then!
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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin story new chapter

Post by tallyho »

Thanks AEM

The next part features a large and most excellent contribution from AEM. I hope readers will show their appreciation and comment


PART11





Diana watched the two men break cover and come running towards her in the dark. She could have killed them then, easily. But these were men who had openly boasted of raping an Amazon. She would find out what they knew, then she would help Nemesis claim them in a slow death. She watched them run before rearing out of the night suddenly, with a demonic roar, in their path, her arms spread wide as some demon of vengeance to claim them. Behind her the wolves snarled and growled at each other as they ripped her last victim apart. Their noise added to the impression that she was unworldy, an ethereal figure.


The men screamed and one dropped his sword as they turned and ran back the way they had come and didn't stop when they crested the false summit. Diana threw a rock in the night ahead of them to their right and they responded as she knew they would veering away to the left and on down the slope.


She couldn't see them in the dark but she could hear them. She let them run ahead into the night. Their progress would be cumbersome, with many falls over the broken ground in the dark. She however would gather her gear and follow them at her leisure.


She retrieved a small shield from one of the corpses, hefting it for weight and balance. Unlike the large round hoplon, this was a smaller covering, not metal but cedar wood and leather. It was lighter, better suited to ambush and hand to hand actions that bandits would carry out. It felt as if nothing was on her arm. She flexed her arm, rotated it. This one was a keeper.


She kept a leisurely pace, their occasional cries and curses as they stumbled in the dark ahead of her guiding her path. She walked with one eye closed, alternating it to improve her night vision. Every once in a while she would deliberately make a noise to let them know they were being pursued. It was enough to keep them frantic in their efforts to get away. And panicked prey was easy to kill.


Just before dawn, she rested. And drew her plans against them in her mind. Though her quarry were the two men immediately ahead of her, she was really scheming on how to take down Talgartha. She had heard their voices carry in the still of the night and new that their leader was not with the two men ahead. When she was below them on the false summit she had heard someone sneaking away, but relaxed once he had kept on going rather than trying to circle behind her. She knew it had to be that worthless wretch. But first things first. As dawn broke she set off once more. The valley was silent now but she had heard them splashing through a stream a while back. She nodded a greeting to the Goddess of the dawn whose gift of light would guide her to her prey. This would be their last day alive.



Diana, shield on one wrist, sword in her hand, trotted up to the stream and paused. With a glance left, right and then straight on she looked for the clue that would guide her to her prey which she knew could not be too far ahead of her.



On Olympus, the goddesses gathered after an angry meeting with Hera. Inexplicably to some, Hera had forbade future aide to the Amazon. Artemis knew the reason. Rumour had told Hera that the source of Zeus' lust had been Diana herself. Now, Hera's jealousy had got the better of her and she would deny help to Diana from the female deities.


“What are we to do? Athena asked angrily of no one in particular. “If the blood oath is broken we all weaken! Zeus wishes this!” She and a cluster of other Goddesses entered the viewing chamber to find Artemis already there. “OSSA!” Athena addressed the Rumour Goddess sharply. “You have told Mother this! You have doomed us all!”


“Be at Peace, Wise sister.” Ossa replied calmly. “I had to. Yet I did it in my own time as I always fly so, both fast and slow to many ears...I have given our other sister enough time to act. Our Mother's rage will pass.”She nodded to where Artemis stood by the pool. “And when it does, the true hunt for vengeance will continue.” Athena calmed herself and nodded in acceptance as did Nemesis.


From the watching pool Artemis looked on, a soft half smile forming on her face as she observed Diana analyzing the scene.


“The trail is there, Diana, find it!” Artemis whispered strongly as she lent onto the rim of the pool looking intently at the water.



Diana lunged into the shallow stream with a splash and looked down at her feet to see the muddy bed turn the water a reddish brown. With a snarl she now knew for sure and turned to face downstream and began to trot through the water looking for the signs of her prey making their way onto the banks. She saw the marks in the riverbed gravel where one man had gone on and the other left him for the riverbank. She headed for the bank herself.


“Yes!” Artemis whispered to herself her eyes closing as she willed Diana onwards.


Diana knew if her prey had run upstream there should be murky water flowing towards her but there was none. If he had crossed to the other side she would have seen his marks on the bank but they were absent. The only way the water could be clear was if he had run downstream, the murkiness carried away with the current. Diana trotted onwards, confident.


Artemis felt a warm hand rest on hers as she lent on the rim of the pool causing her eyes to open once more.


“You have done well, young huntress, ” Athena said warmly as she joined her sister. The godly form of Artemis was youthful, barely within adulthood by mortal standards though her true age was immeasurable.


“Sister Athena, I will take the oath taker to her prey but I know that in battle it is folly to think of a man as being like simple game. It surely falls on you to help finish our work,” Artemis said quietly.


Wading in water Diana saw the wet slip marks left on the bank where her quarry had left the stream and she clambered up in pursuit. With a glance she saw the damaged branches of a bush and knew the direction to take chase.


“Being the keeper of justice it always pains me to do the venomous work of Nemesis,” Athena said, her eyes narrowing on the scene playing out on the water.


“And yet her hunger for my intervention is kept at bay,” Nemesis said, approaching unseen, taking a position the other side of Artemis.


“I would have thought what Diana carries in her heart would be hunger enough ...” Artemis began to say.


“CHILD, hush!” hissed a newcomer to the scene. She was the ancient Titaness Mnemosyne the goddess of memory, aunt of Zeus himself and mother of the Muses.


Artemis looked to her sisters for support but Athena herself bowed reverently in silence causing the huntress to do the same. Wise were the ones who respected their elders.


“Listen to the three of you, are you but sheep? The source of this turmoil as to who does what is seated within Diana. She pursues that man to kill him yet her mind fears what it means to do so. To desire vengeance Diana must accept the stories of what happened to one fair Amazon to be true, a painful choice. But if she denies this truth her heart will not burn bright enough to kill these worthless brigands,” Mnenosyne said, strolling casually around the pool.


“Then let Nemesis aid her instead of I!” Athena said, petulantly walking away. She was still in a turmoil at the sharp words from Hera, and being reprimanded as a sheep now by her aunt angered her, pricking her pride.


“It vexes me how .....” Artemis paused as Athena cast her a gaze from the distance.


“Go on,” Nemesis said, filling in the pause as she too saw Athena give her a long glance at her with the goddess of the hunt.


Artemis saw Athena nod subtly to her then turn away, the arm of the wise goddess rising as her owl swooped in onto her wrist as she left.


“...how at odds you should be and yet how well you both get on,” Artemis said, comfortable now that Athena was out of sight.


“An error that is easy to understand. Ask of my name and peoples minds turn to dark moments. Athena's name however shines in the light of ideals. The reality is that revenge is a form of justice for those with hot blood. Justice on the other hand is a carefully measured revenge for a calmer mind. Perhaps you would be surprised to learn that I am inadvertently sought to do Athena's work, and she mine.” Nemesis explained.


“And so, just as each can do each others work each can see it undone?” Artemis asked innocently.


Nemesis shot Artemis a knowing glance, the hunter's question seemingly snapping closed like a trap around the goddess of revenge.


“Why do I know there is more to that question than just mere interest, young huntress?” Nemesis replied with her own question.


“Forgive me sister, I am what I am,” Artemis replied apologetically, she knew she had been found out.


“Forgiven, but in future ask me directly, not pursue me like game to run into your trap. The answer is yes, so close are Athena and I that our meandering paths often undo the works of the other. But be mindful, not of I or Athena, but of the ones who invoked us in the first place. Their wrath may become doubled upon seeing their retribution undone.” Nemesis said sternly.


“Wise words, more alike to Athena you are than I realised, dear sister.” Artemis said with a polite bow of the head.


“Quite, now leave me before I am what I am with you,” Nemesis said, a mischievous grin appearing on her face, the matter resolved in her own mind.


“As you wish,” Artemis said then turned away and left. Having failed to hide her trap for Nemesis she knew it best not to wait and see what the expert in vengeance could concoct in reply, no matter how playful!




Diana slashed at the bushes and drew into a clearing and finally set eyes on her prey. A sword in his hand a shield on his arm he looked ready to fight. He charged her whilst she was still in the broken scrub and though the same foliage that was in her way as was in his he body checked her with his larger shield, knocking her back on her heels, allowing him to break through those same bushes. His weight and speed had surprised Diana initially but she recovered her composure now.


Yaaaaaaaaaghhhhhh” screamed Diana as she lunged into the fray, her eyes wild as she looked over the rim of her shield down the the length of her sword's flat side.


SHWING -TING- CLANG- CLANG- TIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIING


The metals sang their own notes as each was struck against the other. Swords sought flesh while shields deflected metal leaving the opponents to stare at one another as they took breath. He was physically bigger than Diana and whilst they were evenly matched in strength his weight behind the blows had slowly forced her to give ground slightly, edging her back towards the river bank.


Athena had returned to the pool where Nemesis and Mnemosyne still stood when Artemis rejoined them.


“Sister, why do you waver?” Artemis hissed at Athena. “Have you not reconsidered your intervention?”


“Do not look to Athena when we know who truly needs to strike!” retorted Mnenosyne as she looked at Nemesis.


“But Nemesis cannot if our Mother has forbidden it ...” Artemis began to protest.


“Are you not cunning with your traps young huntress?” Mnenosyne growled with disdain.


CLANG- CLANG- TIIIIING- VWOOOOOSHHHHH !!!!


Below in the watery image Diana stumbled back, her shield swept clean off her arm to one side into the undergrowth by the man's swordplay. Her feet suddenly ran out of ground as the river bank sloped away behind and beneath her causing her to teeter before being forced to step down to keep her balance, This gave the brigand a huge advantage in height and meant his blows carried even more force. Her quarry, spirits raised with his success closed in on his opponent to strike. Artemis went wide eyed in desperation sensing all eyes for some reason were on her. With a quick mind the young goddess of the hunt suddenly realised what she must do.


“Then Mnenosyne, place the memories of that mortal's transgressions to the fore of his own mind!” Artemis urged her great aunt. “We are still obeying Hera. We are not helping Diana but restoring memory to her foe...”


Diana saw her opponent loom over her his sword swinging down at her head. With a quick reaction Diana
manged to block the strike, her sword ringing in protest as he raised his sword again,


“I AM GOING ...” he grunted.


CLANG!


“TO FUCK YOU....”


CLANG! The brute smashed the sword from Diana's hand.


“JUST AS I DID..”


CLANG! Sang Diana's bracelets as the blocked the man's blow.


“THAT SPEAR TWIRLING AMAZON BITCH!”


CLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!

The smell of straw stuffed targets filled Diana's mind as she recalled the skill the young Amazon women had with the oldest of weapons, the humble spear. The man's words had conjured up memories of the drills the chosen girls would perform to perfect their skill with the weapon, the thrust, the parry, the throw. Oh how they could dance, the spear and warrior moving gracefully as one. To think this beastly man could ever have taken one of them, even if only half as good as their very best like …


“YOU WILL PAY!” snarled Diana.


The man's eyes glazed with fear at the sight of the woman looking up at him, his sword frozen above his head preparing to make his fatal strike. The Amazon should have been at his mercy and yet her glare had set him like stone with terror.


At the watching pool Mnenosyne looked intently at the children of Zeus who's jaws slackened at the sight of Diana's anger. Then suddenly the eyes of Nemesis rolled back into her head, her mind filled with the power of hate that emanated from the waters.


“Ohhhh, sisters, look away,” moaned Nemesis as the fuel for her wrath filled her veins.


The pale skin of the goddess of vengeance was driven deep purple and her eyes a fiery red, while her hair came to life like the coiling serpent locks upon Medusa's head.


“DIANA .. SLAAAAAY THAAAAAT MAAAAAAN!” howled Nemesis into the watching pool sending ripples across the water.


From outside the clearing the screams of a man could be heard as his unseen terror played out. The reversal in his fortunes were inexplicable but no one but the gods would ever know what happened next nor how it came to be.


“No!.. No! … Please! …... Aaaaaaaarghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!


Mnenosyne looked at Artemis who winced at the sight of Diana's acts playing out in the water.


“Oh Nemesis, dear sister, what slaughter!” Artemis exclaimed, covering her mouth and turning away as she finished speaking. She was unable to watch.


“What bloodlust, Nemesis! How can her mind not be unharmed by such acts!” Athena said, horrified by the deeds of their champion.


Nemesis rested her head on the rim of the watching pool having dropped to her knees from her exertions. “Forgive...sisters....for I am...overwhelmed,” the panting goddess managed.


“If you wish it, the memory of these events can be made to fade, but perhaps you should make use of Diana's drive while she has it!” Mnenosyne said firmly.


“Yes, of course, thank you, daughter of great Gaia,” Athena said as she wrapped an arm around Artemis who was hesitant to look back into the water. “But has not Nemesis just incurred our mother's wrath?”


“Hera said after this day no one may aide the Oathtaker...You forget. This day is not yet ended...” Mnemosyne said with a smile.


“Oh, that …. that was ….epic..” groaned Nemesis as she rose back to her feet.


“Hmmm, you young things, no stamina ...” Mnenosyne quipped as she spun away from the pool.


Artemis, Nemesis and Athena shot each other a glance as their great aunt left them alone.


Unobserved, her body drenched red in the blood of her enemy, Diana stood feet firmly upon the bank, the sandy soil stained black-red. In her hand was a leather pouch which contained the ears, eyes, nose and tongue of the man she had been driven to disfigure before sending him into the afterlife. Driven by a bloodlust she did not understand the warrior of Themiscyra began to seek out her next victim.


The last of Talgartha's men was unarmed, the fool who had dropped his sword the night before when she had reared up before them in the dark. He had stuck to the river and Diana merely trotted along her bank scanning the far bank for sign, as she looked at the river bed and her own bankside for tracks. She found none, which simply meant she had caught up with him in no time. She heard him at first, his splashing and pants carrying from up ahead. She out ran him, so that when the exhausted man rounded a bend in the river the sight of her waiting for him was all he could stand. He started to sob, filled with despair at his plight.


“Please...please...it was not me...I-I was not even there! I did nothing I-I was not with the army back then...i-if any of them were left alive they would tell you it was not I!”


“Unfortunately for you I WAS with the army back then...and I remember you...” this wasn't true, but she just wished to see his reaction. She silently asked the goddess of Truth for forgiveness.


“I...w-well...I -I HAVE A TWIN! It was HIM! HE WAS THERE! HE IS THE ONE YOU SEEK!” he said desperately.


“Then how do I find him, this twin?” Diana played along with him.


“He-he is dead! He died many years ago! I swear it!”


“Wait, was he taller than you, with blonde hair rather than your black? A scar on his left cheek?” she asked.


“YES! YES THAT IS HIM!” the man said clutching at straws.


“So he looks nothing like you? “


“NO! NO, HE AND I ARE VERY DIFFERENT!” he said desperate to be believed


“Then if you do not look alike how could I mistake him for you....?”



“I....” the man realised he had fallen into Diana's trap



Artemis gave a grateful nod of recognition to Athena's skill in preparing the verbal trap that Diana had delivered so dexterously, and Athena dipped her head in accepting the compliment.


The bandit realized there was nothing left for him now, and sank to his knees sobbing, his chin on his chest.


“Tell me of the girl, the captured Amazon...”


“And you will let me live?”


“No, but I will let you die faster...”


For the next hour his screams filled the valley. Several miles ahead of her, Talgartha heard them and shuddered.



“She will lose him. He has a large start upon her and his trail is cold to her now, obscured by the two she pursued and the river. By the time she back tracks and picks it up again, he will be three hours ahead of her. She will not catch him by nightfall.” Nemesis addressed Artemis and Athena with concern.


“Be at ease, my sister...for the moment has been prepared for....” Artemis said with a smile.



Diana stood as the screams died in his throat. She was covered in blood, yet had no urge to wash it off. It was a badge of her deeds, evidence of a promise fulfilled. She looked around the still valley and listened. Her eyes were squinted and sharp like a hawk as it strikes, but at this moment she did not know where her quarry was. The two men she had slain both told the same tale as the others. She was in no doubt now that one of her sisters had indeed been taken and brutalized. And that made her angry.


“Lady of the bow....guide me now...” she closed her eyes in prayer and opened them once more to scan the hillsides. Away to her left there was movement. A flash of brown. She looked harder and saw....nothing. Then suddenly a deer broke cover and sprinted up the valley. She smiled.



“Your messenger...?” Athena smiled at Artemis, remembering the kiss she had bestowed upon a fawn a short while before. Artemis simply smiled in acknowledgment.




With the deer her guide, Diana ran her prey to ground, able to maintain a fast trot nimbly across the rocky landscape whilst her foe struggled to clamber over rocks that she deftly avoided. She didn't need to waste time looking for a trail as long as she kept the deer in sight, and she made sure she did so until after an hour and a half she could see Talgartha scrambling above her. He reached the crest of the valley they were in first and dropped from sight. Diana increased her pace but made sure she didn't crest where he had, rising some 40 feet to the right. Above the skyline to where her foe had gone. Sure enough, there crouched among the rocks below her was Talgartha, spear in hand waiting for her silhouette to be framed against the skyline.


She smiled and thanked Artemis, before throwing a stone well past him so that it clattered behind him to his right. He rose and whirled expecting to see her, his spear arm drawn back but there was no one there.


She called his name and he turned back to face her in haste and fear, and badly off balance. He threw the spear as he panicked ,with all his might. It was a poor throw and she dipped to one side and caught it as it flew past her. His eyes widened and he turned and ran once more down to the valley bottom where steam hissed and bubbled from the hot vents and geysers that gave the place its name – Thermopylae, the Hot Gates or the Gates of Fire, so called because these geysers and mudholes littered the valley bottom at one of the few accessible passes to the region. It was rumoured to be an entrance to the Underworld. There were black tar secretions that occasionally would be lit by lightning strikes or superstitious locals to appease the Gods in some way. The smell of Sulphur was strong and the air grew more acrid and smokey as he descended deeper in amongst the vents.


She hurled the spear after him, hitting him on his left shoulder, grazing it across the shoulder blade as he ran, shredding his cloak and slicing through his leather armour beneath it. He screamed and dropped the small shield he carried, cursing her name and stumbling onwards. She drew her sword, and rolled it in her wrist as she stepped assuredly after him. Each step solid, confident, inexorable.



His breathing was ragged as he ran sword in hand, clutching his grazed shoulder.


“DAMN YOU WOMAN! MAY ARES CURSE YOUR BONES!” he bellowed as he ran, fear heavy in his voice as he stumbled.


The sulphurous gases made him cough and wheeze where as she held her breath as she strode purposefully after him, controlling her breathing and only inhaling through near-closed lips. The smoke and gases grew denser about him, his eyes stinging as his vision blurred. Sobbing he finally turned at bay.

“COME ON THEN, DAMN YOU!!!! COME DIE LIKE THOSE OTHER WHORES IN YOUR ARMY!!!! WE HACKED THEM TO PIECES!!!! HA!!!! AND WE WOULD HAVE DONE THE SAME TO YOU, TOO, BITCH, THAT DAY, IF YOU HADN'T RUN LIKE COWARDS INTO THE NIGHT! COME OUT DAMN YOU, SHOW YOURSELF!”


Silence greeted him as he peered into the white grey smoke looking about him. Like a silent ghost Diana darted in behind him and slashed through the back of his leggings before disappearing into the smoke once more. He screamed and swirled around thrashing empty air with his blade. He slowly crumpled as the strength left his injured leg, before he used the blade to support his weight as he struggled upright on the other leg. Diana swept in to cripple his other limb, hamstringing him completely in the right leg as he screamed once more.


“YOU WITCH! YOU RUTTING WITCH!!!!” he roared in anger. “FIGHT ME!!! FIGHT ME!!!!” he cried out in despair as he sank painfully to his knees.


“I am fighting you. You are losing.” a voice called from the mist and her laughter seemed to echo all around him.


“YOU FUCKING WHORE!!!! GNAAAAHHHHH!!!!!” he slashed wildly around himself, but cut only air, before he pitched forward onto his sword hand.


Diana closed in and sliced through his right hip before walking slowly off into the unearthly fog.


GYAAAAAHHHHH! DAMN YOU! ZEUS, HEAR ME!”

“You forsook the Gods, remember?”she taunted him. “And they have forsaken you, Talgartha!”


“Then let me die facing you whore! SHOW YOURSELF!”


“Tell me what you know, Talgartha....” she asked as he grimaced with the pain.


“WHAT I KNOW? HA! I KNOW MANY THINGS! ARRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHH!” he screamed as she slashed deep into his left side.


“NOT LIKE THIS! NOT LIKE THIS YOU BITCH!!! I DON'T DESERVE THIS DEATH!!!”


“Tell me of the Amazon you took....”


“HA! Her? WHY SHOULD I , WHORE? ARRRRGGGGH !!!!” He screamed again as her blade stabbed through his already injured shoulder from behind him before she was gone once more.


“Because, fool, I can kill you even more slowly than this if I choose....” said her disembodied voice.


“She...SHE WAS JUST SOME DARK HAIRED LITTLE BITCH ARRGGGGHHHHH!!!” she slashed his upper arm holding the sword.


“Alright!!! ALRIGHT!!! CURSE YOU!!!!” he said through painful gasps.


She strode through the sulphurous smoke to stand before him, “Tell me of her, and watch your tongue...." she brought her sword up beneath his chin, the point forcing his head up. He suddenly grabbed for the blade with his supposedly injured free arm but she was ready and skipped back lightly sweeping the sword as she did so and leaving three of his fingers on the ground.


ARRRRGGGGGHHHHHH! YOU BITCH!!!” he cried in pain clamping his injured arm beneath his other armpit.


“Tell me what happened. NOW.” Her blade was once more at his chin, but this time he knew the fight was over.


“She was...was some dark haired little bitch...I think from Sasso's company...I don't know her name. That fucking whore killed twelve of my men! TWELVE!!!! Calathon's brother among them! But we showed her!!! We got her in the end...and we fucked her good and justly!!!” He sneered but in an instant there was a sweep and his ear fell to the ground.


AAAAARRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHH! DAMN YOU!” He sobbed as he clutched the bleeding hole on the side of his head.


“WATCH ...YOUR ...TONGUE. Now SPEAK, while you still have one. How was she taken?”


“I don't know!!! I DON'T REMEMBER! “ she pierced his shoulder with the sword point in a sharp jab


TRY.” she encouraged him


“I...I don't know! She was wounded in the breakout.... she had that damned spear! She got surrounded but cut my lads down again and again. Then someone dodged the blade...grabbed the shaft and we jumped her. ...” he leered “AND THEN WE REALLY JUMPED HER! WE ALL FUCKED HER LIKE THE WHORE SHE WAS!!! WE MADE THAT STUCK UP BITCH WEEP AS OUR COCKS SPLIT HER OPEN!!! HA!!! WHAT DO YOU SAY TO THAT AMAZON ?” he laughed. He knew she would kill him, yet he just wanted one last verbal twist of the knife in her as that was the only weapon he had left.


To his surprise she did not react.


Diana sighed, and pierced the ear that was lying on the ground with her sword tip. She dipped it into a nearby pool of hot water that was steaming and bubbling, dislodging it.


“AN OFFERING FOR MY LADY PERSEPHONE, WHO BLESSES THIS LAND WITH HER DIVINE GIFTS....” she declared sweeping her sword to indicate the hot pools and geysers.


She emptied the small bag of grisly remains from the men that she'd killed earlier. Talgartha looked aghast as ears and tongues fell out into the water. She produced a small pigskin flask and poured the water into the little pool.


“MISTRESS OF THE UNDERWORLD...I GIVE YOU THIS OFFERING AND ASK FOR YOUR HEALING WATERS TO AID THIS MAN IN HIS HOUR OF SUFFERING....” she then tipped the other bag of severed appendages in beside it.


The Earth shook slightly and the bubbling pool nearby cleared and calmed.


Talgartha frowned. “What witchery is this? You would tend me?”


“As you say...you do not deserve this death by my blade. These springs are said to renew vitality and vigour. This one is especially for you. Drink. Let your suffering be ended.”


He leaned forward suspiciously, his head over the pool.


'Persephone's Waters' are what we Amazons call it... but elsewhere it goes by another name. 'The Wine of Hades'...”


“WHAT? NO!!! N-ARRRGGGGGHHHHHBUB BUB -BLUB” Talgartha screamed as he realized she meant an acidic hot spring before he was pushed face down into the acid. She had planted a boot on his neck and forced his head down into the toxic pool she had made and watched him struggle, compassionlessly, as his face was eaten away, the acid burning through his throat. His limbs flailed briefly and she had to shift position once to avoid being splashed, allowing him to raise his red-raw bloodied head, gasping before she grimaced and thrust her sandal back down on the back of the luckless man's head. She watched his face dissolving with a grim, passionless expression.

“You were right Talgartha...you did not deserve to be ended by the blade....” she said tersely.


When the thrashing had stopped Diana stepped back and watched the acid do its work with grim satisfaction.





Nemesis was grinning broadly, though the other Goddesses had blanched slightly at the gruesome end.


Artemis looked to Athena. “You had arranged Persephone's intervention?” To her surprise Athena shook her head.


“No, but Diana invoked her and our Dark Sister answered. She is not governed by the will of Hera the way we are – there are no days and nights in the Underworld.”


“What will happen now, with Hera set against her?” Nemesis asked.


“Hera's wrath will pass in time. But between now and then...we will have to wait and see. The days ahead will see what she is truly made of...” Artemis said, before she whispered in a voice so low only she could hear “But this time has been prepared for....”
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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin story new chapter

Post by DrDominator9 »

Incredible work from both Tallyho and Abductorenmadrid on these most recent chapters of Amazos. Vengeance both swift and terrible as well as slow and horrifying is wrung from those most deserving men who betrayed the Amazons in the beginning of this tale. And the writing of the goddesses in this story is absolutely perfect. You set the bar very high, gentlemen. Kudos to you both and to Lord Griffin too for his most excellent chapter. I look forward to what comes next.
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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin story new chapter

Post by Void »

Blimey, where to even begin. I'm stunned at how well the differing stories gel together - they are nowhere near as dissonant as I expected them to be. Tally, I can only imagine you've done a good job at smoothing each transition and keeping the story cohesive as its progressed, because it really does mix well. Sure Diana has slight shifts in character, but no more so than does WW between different DC authors. It's just so... grand.

Epic set pieces and battles that I missed from Tally. I'm a huge, huge fan of fantasy and fantasy battles, so that was pure gravy to me. I have to give particular props to some of Tally's dialogue - I really bought into so many of those characters because they had such good voices. I particularly like the steel of your Diana - you do her like I would do her... if everyone knows what I mean... which is presenting her in a story, of course. Phew, that almost got weird. Saved it, though.

I enjoyed the battle for dominance in Centurion's tale, and as others have said, I liked the blend of history and fiction. That's a hella powerful horse though... time travel is like, totally OP, to use gaming speak. Overall I thought it all unfolded cleverly and was written well.

AEM, I LOVED the way the story was told, mixing timelines and delineating the perspectives in italics. I thought that was very well built into and used throughout. Just great presentation to have two stories unfolding side by side, interrelating like that - it keeps the attention hooked. Still loving your use of sound in the story - it makes it more 3d for me as I read it and I appreciate the extra life it injects. I skimmed the second tale somewhat because I became pinched for time reading this behemoth from where I last read, but I really enjoyed some of the characters. I particularly liked the way things played out at the end with revenge being taken. It was cathartic. I liked how you did Diana in that scene...

LG! I liked it! Your writing was clear and slick to read. It all came across really well, and I loved the entire setting used and the way it was explored. It had your token villain-speak in it, and I was really glad to see it used in this story as smoothly as it was. I like the way you envisioned her bracelets coming about, sort of subverting what they stand for. It must have been hard for you to let her go and show restraint! I can only imagine how much further you would have liked Diana's punishment to go. Either way, I like how you played it out and had Diana in a moment of weakness. Thumbs up!

Bloody Gods, right? I really feel for Diana, dancing for the strings from above. Zeus will get his, am I right? It's a strange one... Diana is so powerful, so mighty, and yet she is constantly so disempowered by the world she lives beneath. It gives this whole journey real oomph and meaning. She will win her people's freedom! Argh!

My only complaint? MAYBE TOO MUCH CAPS.

But really big bravo to everyone, and most of all to myself for reading through such a beast in one sitting. Drinking victory soda as I type.
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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin story new chapter

Post by Abductorenmadrid »

OOoops, I think the intro to part 11 is a little misleading. That was mainly Tally's work, I just contributed a couple of set pieces. But like me I am sure everyone involved appreciate your comments on the project so far, Void so thanks for that!
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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin story new chapter

Post by tallyho »

Thank you Void for the very kind words about myself and the other contributors. Glad you are back on board. We all look forward to your own contribution in the future.
Now, to all, - brace yourself for the next awesome contribution from ABDUCTORENMADRID.
I won't say its good...because its BLOODY GOOD! But read it for yourselves, reach your own opinions and PLEASE, PLEASE comment after you do.




Part 12 'Diana and the Slave' (part 1) by ABDUCTORENMADRID

Diana of Themiscyra watched the children play their simple games in the corner of the agora as their busy mothers sought to buy what was needed to fill their bellies and those of their husbands who toiled in their daily work. The sun had not long finished its climb and had already begun the first stages of its descent, the shadows cast by the rays of light doing their slow circular dance around the stone columns that spawned them.

Diana moved through the marketplace, somehow managing to blend in, dressed modestly in her plain clothing. She looked among the stalls and bought some bread, some wine, a little oil, and even a good sized fish which her host would certainly be glad to see. Diana had found lodgings with the family of a craftsman, a stonemason, and this night would be her second there while she waited. She had somehow sensed the need to stay in the world of men, not to return yet to her home island but to await the will of the Gods; to wait for word of her next test. Word that was coming sooner than she realized.

Her hand basket full, Diana prepared to return to the house of her host and she made her way to the edge of the market and towards her temporary home. Entering one of the many narrow streets she felt the presence of …

Turning her head at a junction Diana frowned as she thought she had seen something from the corner of her eye. Turning off at a right angle Diana sought out what had distracted her, a faint clip-clop sound drawing her towards yet another little crossroad. There Diana glanced about, only to catch the sight of a shadow; something or someone was just one step ahead of her. Walking more purposefully Diana tried to close the distance to the vague figure that toyed with her , the sound of the marketplace fading behind her.

Making her way up a darkened crooked alleyway Diana felt the houses almost closing in on her and she hurried onwards, trying to catch the source of the clip-clopping quarry ahead. Then, at that the end of the almost tunnel-like pathway, the bright light indicated that the space was opening up ahead. Diana, her eyes struggling to adjust to the light squinted as she sought to lock on to who or what had led her there.

At the end of the alleyway the space did indeed open up. In the center of a small plaza was a fountain, a deer taking a mouthful of water from a trough. Here the shepherds let their herds drink before leading them on through the city, either to be sold or sent to the fields to graze or to be slaughtered. The deer, on seeing Diana, took flight and galloped out the opposite end of the plaza and into another of the maze like streets.

“A deer, here?” Diana mouthed to herself.

“Yes, Diana, a little strange, but do not fear, my messenger will be well” said a familiar voice.

Diana froze in her tracks as she heard the voice, her body relaxing as she placed her basket to the ground.

“Artemis!” Diana said, her mouth left open in bewilderment.

“Yes, Diana of Themiscyra. Come, sit at the edge of the waters....” Artemis said, her voice low and warm.

Diana picked up her basket and moved over to the stone trough and sat at its edge and looked down into the water. For a moment she could see herself looking back up at her, but slowly the water began to glow, the watery mirror revealing the face of the young goddess Artemis just as it had done once before.

“Your sword is at rest, Amazon?” Artemis asked. She had seen how the warrior had blended in with the local folk having wandered after the slaying of Talgartha and his men.

“I have bathed in the blood of many men. If I did not step back I …. I was in danger of losing myself. The touch of Nemesis was like a drug, a poison that was going to consume me,” Diana said, as she studied her hands. She knew she had slain many and in terrible ways and yet somehow specific memories had become locked away from her.

“Be wary that the touch of the human spirit can be as intoxicating to my dear sister as her touch is to you.” Artemis cautioned, her voice momentarily stern. Artemis had seen how Diana's anger had affected Nemesis at the watching pool. “Now my namesake, I seek a favour,” Artemis said her voice returning to it's more warm and friendly tone.

“Name what you wish to be done and I shall.....” Diana began enthusiastically before being cut off.

“So eager are you to please me, mortal?” the youthful Artemis asked with a smile.

“I did not wish to offend ….” Diana said, realizing her seeming willingness to comply. Bowing her head reverently she took a meditative breath, eyes closed as she composed herself.

“Remember, being in the service of the gods has no guarantee of success. We can be just as callous and cruel as any mortal man, so be mindful of the risks before you accept my task...” Artemis warned.

“Yes, my goddess” Diana said humbly.

“If you wish, return to the marketplace. A slaver will seek to sell his stock. Six slaves shall be in his lot and yet a seventh he shall find in his cage …. the seventh slave you shall buy,” said Artemis.

“A slave? Goddess, I am without the coins to be able to buy a slave, and to keep one would be an equally difficult problem” Diana explained hoping not to disappoint.

“The price, you know it already?” Artemis asked.

“Well ….. no ...but ….” Diana spoke only from her common sense. Slaves usually raised many hundreds of Drachma at auction, money she did not have.

“And know what it is to feed and keep this seventh slave?” Artemis followed on.

“This one slave? Well, to be sure I would have to see....” Diana began to explain.

“Then how do you know you are without the coins? How do you know the difficulty in keeping this one slave?” Artemis asked mischievously.

“So be it, goddess, I shall return to the marketplace and let the fates lead me where they will, for I will not steal what is not mine nor will I give my life away to the moneylenders,” Diana replied, not realizing she had become a little argumentative.

“And so I am gladdened to hear that one so favoured by us on the mount is so noble...go then Diana, let us see what the fates decide.” Artemis said, her image fading from the water.


----------------------------------------------------

Artemis turned away from the watching pool, the image of Diana fading from the water. Artemis had failed to hear Nemesis enter behind her and for a fleeting moment was startled to see she was not alone.

“Did Hera not forbid we help the oath taker?” Nemesis said accusingly. She knew who Artemis had been speaking with.

“Far be it for me to disobey great Hera. If you must know it is Diana who helps ME. Are not the mortals ours to command?” Artemis replied, a lazy finger trailing along the rim of the pool.

“Very well, but if Hera learns of this I know nothing, understand?” Nemesis said sternly.

“As you wish,” Artemis said, with a slight bow of the head before walking away from the waters.


-----------------------------------------------------



Diana returned to the marketplace, basket in hand in time to see a slaver's cart, its iron cage covered over with a cloth setting up at the auctioneer's block.

The slaver, a man in a tunic of quality, his sandals of good hide, had already found the town's crier, an announcer, someone who could drum up trade. After a quick handover of coins the crier took his place on the block, his strong articulate voice making itself known.

“Good people, may it be known that the humble stockmen of the port of Polidaea bring you today these slaves for auction! Today we have SIX, slaves of second grade, they are of good health, have the use of all limbs but do not speak the common tongue ….. we have four males, and two females …... due to a matter of great import all MUST GO from the block TODAY!”

Diana drew herself up to the small crowd that had gathered at the hastily arranged auction. Slavery was common, many households had a slave in service and to see a slave auction was a regular event, some states even counted slaves amongst those who helped keep the peace. What was transpiring here was a last gasp effort to sell slaves from what had no doubt been a much bigger lot. This was the the best of the worst or the worst of the best and their owner was probably looking to sell them quickly in order to make a fast return to home and collect a fresh new batch.

“LOT ONE …. Male ….. of approximately twenty two summers …. lifts two, three talents easily … well mannered ...no scars, no marks ….and so, what shall you bid, surely this one is worth a few mina's!”

Diana watched on as the small gathered crowd murmured, as their eyes judged a fair price.

“Half a Mina ...”

“ Sixty Drachma ..”

“ Seventy Drachma !”

“ ONE MINA !”

The bidding edged on upwards, finally settling nearer three Mina before the young man in his bonds was led away.

Diana watched on as the slaves were sold and the crowd thinned until the sixth slave stood on the block. Now, Diana stood with two remaining bidders, both with fat purses. So far no mention of the seventh slave had been made and Diana grew anxious. If she was to win anything at auction with one mere Drachma in her purse she had to bid alone and yet these remaining people in front of her seemed determined to buy.


This was going to be a test of nerves.


“Lot SIX …. female …. eighteen summers …. can lift a talent and one half easily, pretty and docile, but does not speak our tongue.... what shall you bid?”

Diana studied the creature on the block, her hands bound in front of her, her coarse plain tunic doing nothing to help her cause. This creature was from the east, her darker skin and jet black hair alluding to her origins. Then, Diana noticed something, the slave's hands......

“ONE MINA” Diana said confidently.

The two other bidders, both men glanced behind themselves at Diana, annoyed. With few bidders both seemed settled on the notion that they could have kept the price low, even if they were going to fight amongst themselves.

“Fine one mina and ten ...” bid one of the men.

“Pah – TWO MINA ..” Diana interjected.

“TWO?” the second bidder said with scorn.

“She is barely worth one !” the first said, incredulous at such a bid.

“Is she?” Diana replied, arms folded, eyebrow raised.

“Wait ….” the second bidder said, a hint of doubt in his tone.

“Do I hear above two Mina?” asked the auctioneer.

Diana remained serene on the surface but her heart raced beneath. To bid with money you did not have was as bad as theft itself. But only if you were caught!

“Two mina and TEN” the second bidder offered in panic. Was there something he was missing about the woman stood in front of him? He needed time to find out and so he bought that time with his bid.

Diana hid her relief, the game was continuing, could she eliminate both these men before the seventh slave was uncovered?

“Two Mina and one half ...” Diana said firmly, putting herself in harms way once more.

“Dammit, two hundred and fifty Drachma? What makes you think this one so special?” the first bidder said with confusion.

The two men turned to face the slave on the block only to see her eyes widen and nod as she peered over the men to Diana beyond. The auctioneer saw everything and realised what it all meant.

“Please do not be shy with your bids on this weaver of fineries ….” the auctioneer said nervously – unsure if the goods he was selling matched his description.

Diana had noted the marks on the young woman's hands, those of someone who had worked with needle and thread. But her hands were soft, kind, she was not one who made fishing nets or regular clothing. This one, with the right materials in her hands could make gifts worthy of princes and kings. It was Diana's imitation of the act of sewing that the young slave artisan had acknowledged with a nod.

“FIVE MINA!” the second man bid.

“SIX” the first replied, now realising what was at stake.

“SIX and one half” the second man retaliated.

“Bah! Fine ! Take her!” the first bidder said, his arms giving an annoyed shrug before storming off while grumbling to himself.

“You will do well to look after that one” Diana said.

“Oh I shall !” the winning bidder said as he counted out his money. He had been taken down to the last coin in his purse but it was a worthwhile investment. A slave of such skill would be a prized treasure. She would be treated well under his roof and want for little save for her freedom that she would not likely taste again.

After a brief moment the slave and her new owner left the corner of the agora. Diana stood her ground alone as the auctioneer and the slaver tallied up their takings. It was not a bad haul for a second grade lot. Then to their surprise, from within the straw bed of the cage a figure sat up. Hooded with coarse sack cloth, wrists bound in front, it seemed to be that of another young woman. Her pale bare arms and lower legs were all that was visible of her flesh, the rest of her body covered in plain slave rags.

“Oh for pity's sake!” the slaver said with disdain.

“Hah! Lost count of your flock?!” mocked the auctioneer.

“Oh, shut up …can't you see they miscounted at the pens? And I wanted to be done with this today” the slaver groaned.

Diana watched on with interest. This is the one that Artemis had asked Diana to buy? Surely there must have been a mistake, could it be she had been meant to buy the other slave instead?

“You! …. Do you still wish to buy?” the slaver asked.


“Yes .. but …..” Diana began uncertain, not knowing if this truly was the slave she was supposed to buy for Artemis.

“Give me but an Orbol for this one …. your keen eyes earned me Mina's, let me return the favour … take this one … one Orbol ...and she is yours! Then I can return home to my sick father,” the slaver said. His voice told Diana that she would be doing the man a favour in taking this last slave from his hands.

“Very well …. one Orbol,” Diana said despondently. Hopefully Artemis would advise her what to do soon now this seventh slave was in her possession.

“DONE!”






That night Diana and her slave stayed at the stonemason's house who's family had been her kind hosts. The evening meal had been a slightly tense affair with the topic of the slave being central. Fortunately Diana had placated the stonemason and his wife with her daily donation of food for the table. Diana had also sought to feed and give water to her slave too but she had refused, even not desiring the hood to be removed from her head.

Now Diana was amongst her furs on the floor of a small room with her slave seeking sleep. Slowly coherent thoughts melted into darkness as Diana sought peace, only to have that peace gently disturbed by the voice of the goddess Artemis.


“Diana of Themiscyra,” whispered Artemis.

“Yes, goddess?” whimpered Diana in her sleep.

“Open your eyes, Diana,” Artemis said firmly.

“Uhhh!” Diana opened her eyes as commanded.

“You have done well,” Artemis said, placing her hand to the cheek of the warrior from Themiscyra.

Diana panted as she sought to move only to find herself stood bound to a timber frame, a glance left and right revealing her forearms and wrists lashed to the wood, as were her ankles that were held far apart.

“Wha....what do you seek of me?” Diana asked, fear in her voice as her eyes locked onto the goddess in front of her. Her captor's radiant white dress seemed to glow, the silver belt and strap that held her quiver to her back sparkling.

“You and your slave will travel east to Brauron and then cross the ocean to Ephesus, tend not to her needs nor let her face touch the sun,” Artemis said as she let her hand drop from Diana's cheek, her finger dragging along the warrior's arm before tapping thoughtfully on the now permanent metal bracer around her wrist.

“I go to Ephesus ...of Ionia?” Diana managed to say as Artemis let her index finger draw back then down her mortal servant's neck and chest. The goddess teasingly began drawing a figure of eight around Diana's breasts which were confined by the plain tunic top that she wore.

“Yes, you are to take your slave there, but be warned, after this night you will have little respite. Forces beyond my control will be set against you, not even in Brauron will you be completely safe. It is important that your slave receive not ONE scratch from our enemies,” Artemis said, tilting her head as she gauged Diana's response to her touch.

“I understand. I will not fail you,” Diana said, her eyes passing between the finger that teased her and the eyes of the youthful goddess.

“Do not promise that which you cannot guarantee,” Artemis said.

“Yes, of course. I mean I will do my best,” Diana corrected herself.

Diana hoped inside that she was managing to obscure her lust for the goddess in front of her. It seemed so cruel to have placed such simple beauty and deep wisdom into the body of one barely within the age of adulthood.

“Do you know why I torment you now?” Artemis asked, her index finger trailing lower and lower down the warrior's torso.

“I am merely an instrument of the gods, if it is torment you wish for me, then...” Diana said, barely able to keep her composure.

“Look at you, like the prey trying to feign death in the presence of its hunter,” Artemis smiled as her hand rotated palm upwards and was presented against Diana's groin.

Diana bit her lip as she strained at the ropes binding her to the wooden frame, her neck straining forwards in a bid to elicit a kiss from her captor.

“Ah-aaaah....patience, prey! You will taste the sweet release of death when I am ready,” Artemis said slyly.

“De...death?” Diana whimpered.

“Do you not remember? It was you who taught me! In the cave where we first met….. the slow sweet kill. Gently you kissed away my defences,” Artemis began, her palm now performing its gentle undulating rhythm against Diana's body.

“Oh … ohhhhhhh” Diana moaned as she began to remember.

“It would be the same as if I ....” Artemis continued, her free hand stroking one of Diana's bound and outstretched arms, toying with the bonds holding her upper arm rock still.

“...I had deprived you of your shield, your spear, even your sword ...” Artemis said with her whispering torment.

Diana writhed under the remorseless touch of her captor.

“You took my armour which was my ugly disguise and softly pierced my flesh while I was defenceless,” Artemis said as she closed in, delighting in the reaction on Diana's speechless face.

“And in that moment I learned what a gift it is to be powerless at the hands of one who wishes to give such divine pleasure,” Artemis explained as she finally allowed her lips to press against Diana's, her fingers sensing the moist acceptance forming down below before curling upwards to find their way inside Diana's intimate flesh.

Diana's hands flexed in their tight bonds, desperate to escape, longing to overcome the youthful huntress in front of her but she was bound firm and totally incapable of …

“Oh ….” Diana's eyes rolled back as she understood what Artemis had meant. The probing fingers inside of her found that special spot, the one that would bring her towards the little death, the explosion of pleasure in her head.

“And now you understand why I wished it had lasted forever ..how the sands came to be!” Artemis said with an unseen grin.

The sands of time, formed within the clawing hands of the goddess in the cave during their first sexual encounter had helped Diana obtain one of her first gifts. Now Diana nodded, her eyes shut, her mouth silently begging for more while her writhing body seemed to seek escape.

“So, accept this gift! Being bound by my hand will always be a source of great pleasure for you from now on....” Artemis said.

Diana, stopped resisting in her bonds, her mind finally able to accept that being bound was not such a terrible thing when at the hands of a goddess. On the floor of the small room the hooded slave slept peacefully. Diana however moaned and twitched in her dreams as Artemis gently broke the captive mortal over and over and over again.






In the morning, Diana gave thanks to the family of the stonemason and set forth with her nameless slave and her donkey laden with possessions across its back. The day's light was barely starting as the trio of warrior, slave and animal crossed the empty agora and out of town. Their only other company were the sentries who manned the walls and the farmers who were bringing their goods into the settlement ready to sell for the day.

Brauron lay just over a day away to the east and Diana found herself looking into the rising sun, which thankfully was muted by a subtle morning mist. The slave wasn't resisting the forced march but found the walk difficult, blindfolded and bound and so Diana, cautious in trusting her charge loosened the bonds that held the captive and gave her a stick to assist with the walk.




In the heavens Hera sat at the side of the watching pool. She stirred the waters with her index finger causing it to swirl and ripple before allowing the clear liquid to come to rest. In the now still water the woman could see Diana and her charge making their way onwards towards their destination in the distance.

“Look at you, Diana. Once temptress to the king of the gods, now reduced to a mere shepherd by Artemis. I know you seek to please that deceitful huntress but let us see what she will think of you in your moment of failure. Hades, dear brother, let Diana taste defeat, let us see what Artemis thinks of her champion then!” Hera scowled.

Below the heavens the trio of warrior, slave and beast continued their journey. From time to time Diana would question her charge. Did she need food? Did she have thirst? Each time though the slave refused with the shake of the head ,walking onwards obediently. Diana was left to wonder what her new property looked like under the cloth covering her head and how she endured without food or water.

After many hours of travelling, the trio encountered a bend in the road. As the way ahead snaked between two small hills Diana stopped in her tracks and listened. From ahead could be heard the sound of baying dogs. So subtle was the sound it was barely there, but Diana focused intently on the noise. Packs of dogs could be dangerous and she had been instructed to not let her charge be harmed. How many dogs were there, how far off, what was there intent, all was unknown to Diana but she began to prepare for whatever was waiting ahead. Soon spear and shield were in her hands and cautiously she proceeded with her silent slave and her faithful pack animal, the hardy donkey.

The taunting sound of the dogs seemed to lure Diana on, further and further into the shallow valley until abruptly the baying stopped. Rounding the bend at the end of the valley Diana, spear aloft in her strong right arm, kept her eyes on the road as more and more of it appeared until she saw….

“Gods …... what is that?” Diana uttered to herself.

Kicking up the sandy soil to the side of the track was a creamy white form that seemed to reach up from within the earth all the while seemingly encouraged by a large three headed dog that sniffed and pawed at the ground. The dog whimpered and cried as it assisted the strange form which seemed to pull itself from the ground. A small dust cloud began to form by the motion of the object as it liberated itself only seemingly restrained by more of its own body trailing into the ground.

Diana froze to the spot as her jaw dropped at the scene playing out ahead of her. The dog continued to dig as more of whatever it was helping became free. First more 'neck' then something like a 'foreleg' appeared as bit by bit the possessed object seemed to tear itself from the ground. Next came the spine and perhaps ribs and then a huge hip bone as the creature wriggled and writhed free of the soil, all the while aided by the three headed dog.

Diana, with panting breath began to assemble what she thought might help her. Loaded onto her faithful donkey was her chest armour, her shin guards and her plated skirt not to mention her sword. All the while she prepared the creature continued to wiggle free of the earth assisted by the terrifying canine creature with three heads.

Rocking this way and that, suddenly the form rose up onto its legs and Diana realized what it was. The form of a skeleton horse was evident. The possessed horse freed up a half rotten chariot which rocked upright onto its wheels, kicking off soil as the demonic animal drew its load forward a few paces.

“Gods help us, gods help us, gods help us, gods help us,” Diana said as she buckled the last of the straps of her armour while she watched her terrifying opponent take shape ahead of her.

The three headed dog ran a ring around the waiting horse and chariot and began to bark at the back of the contraption, urging its unseen occupant to rise. A claw like bony hand reached up and grasped over the top of the rim of the rotten timber sided chariot, then another and then emerging from over the top of the rim a skull atop its neck and shoulders. The skeleton's dirt covered chest armour rose up next, two arrows resting through where surely once resided his heart, had the man been alive.

Now the two opponents stood facing one another in silence, Diana with fear in her veins and the undead warrior in his chariot, drawn by an undead horse.

Hera looked on at the imagery in the water intently not realizing that one by one the other goddesses filtered into the chamber keeping a discreet distance from Hera. They had heard Diana's call and yet all knew to help her was forbidden.

“No, Diana. You will face this test alone, alone like I was left while my husband was enchanted by your beauty,” Hera said scornfully.

The skeleton warrior's skull tracked the three headed dog as it took its place just ahead of the chariot. The dog looked towards Diana and her slave before one of the heads looked back and began to bark. Like an order, the three headed dog snarled out the command to the assemblage of bones, rotten wood and perishing armour.

The horse pawed the ground, the collection of bones clattering together until, with a crack of a whip, the horse lunged forward, tugging the rotting chariot into motion.

“Gods protect us!” Diana said as she trotted forward a few steps putting herself between her charge and the enemy.

Thundering closer and closer the undead charioteer began to notch an arrow to his bow. As his chariot raced by, he lined up on his target, the slave, ready to put an arrow through her chest. Shield raised, Diana realised what was about to happen and drew herself closer to the female slave.

Closer and closer roared the charioteer as he began to bear down on the target, his arrow slowly drawing back on the dirt stained bow string. Hooves thundered, wheels clattered. Diana who stood slightly stooped, backed up to the slave, eyes barely over the edge of her shield, her spear arm at the ready.


VEEEWOOOOOOOO – CLANG !

The sound of arrow striking shield was a familiar one. Diana's eyes had tracked the missile until it struck her hoplon, the arrowhead barely biting into the surface. With a lunge Diana's spear was let loose and it chased down her target, striking the charioteer through his side, going in just above the hip bone and clean through him, striking the inner wall of the chariot.

The charioteer's skull turned on its neck, its empty eye sockets gazing back angrily at the warrior from Themiscyra. Diana was at a loss. A clean, true strike like that on a man would have felled him like an axe through the trunk of a tree. This creature could not be killed?!

“Gods what am I to do?!” Diana asked.

Before Diana could think any further, the charioteer approached for a second pass, and all she could do was keep her slave to her back, behind her shield as the next arrow was prepared to be let loose.

VEEEWOOOOOOOO – CLANG !

The charioteer sped by with Diana's spear still through his body and so Diana had no reply to his attack. Diana thought quickly, if this creature could not die then probably it would never tire, never grow hungry, never get thirsty. Its attacks would be relentless until it had achieved whatever its goal was.

“Standing my ground is not enough, I must fight in a new way...” Diana reasoned.

SHWING – Sang Diana's sword as she drew it from its sheath.





“Hades can only stay the charioteer's hand for so long. If the dead warrior cannot pluck away the slave's life alone then he will take you both instead ….” Hera said into the water as she watched the battle play out. Yet there was no joy in her voice, no delight at her rival's misfortune; merely a flat, morbid fascination as she saw the scene unfold.

The goddesses, stood discreetly nearby, glanced anxiously to one another, Nemesis looking accusingly at Artemis. It was her quest that had put Diana in harms way.





The charioteer was returning, and with a lunge tore out the spear from his skeletal form, raising the weapon with a bony hand. Diana knew her own spear well, she kept it in good condition. It was sharp, well balanced and it could penetrate light armour, even a shield. The hooves thundered closer, the wheels squeaked and clattered along the ground, the dust cloud chasing behind.

Shield up, sword ready, Diana prepared to defend her charge once more.

“Hold … hold …..... hold ” Diana said to herself, her fear pumping in her body somehow making her stronger.

WOOOOOOOOOSH- SHUNK !!

Diana felt the thud of the spear hit her shield and in the blink of the eye the head and the shaft penetrated through until half the spear's length lay either side of the defensive surface, such was the strength of the undead warrior's throw. The shield was now just an unwieldy disk with a pole running through it. Luckily it had missed her and the slave but the damage to her chances had been done.

Diana cursed to herself as she cast off the shield, her ability to hold it up and move it to defend herself taken away from her. The charioteer sped forward before slowly making a turn, preparing to come back, the bow now the weapon of choice once again.

“No longer am I going to play the target for your games!” Diana growled as she swung down her sword on the rear part of her wooden spear, cutting off a length of the shaft.

Closer and closer roared the chariot, the charioteer drawing his bow string, the arrow preparing to let loose at the mute slave. Closer, closer, closer ….

In the same moment the warrior and undead charioteer let loose their missiles. The arrow, its rusting head barely glinting in the sun closed in towards the slave while Diana's wooden missile flew towards its own objective. The two missiles crossed in mid-air and Diana's left arm instinctively rose across her body.

The undead warrior's empty eye sockets tracked the wooden shaft in flight, unknowing of Diana's plan until the last second. The shaft was not destined for the horse, nor the warrior himself but flew at the wheel, its path taking it between the rotting spokes.

The wooden shaft, carried with the wheel's rotation smashed up to the underside of the chariot, ripping up into the floor while one of the spokes shattered. The collapsing wheel caused the contraption to tilt over until the axle buried itself into the ground. The chariot was thrown into a spin before the wooden arms tethered to the flanks of the horse tore through the skeleton beast.

Diana's left arm swung across her body and with a grimace, her eyes flinching, there was a tremendous spark as her bracer took the blow of the arrow full on. Diana yelped in pain as the blow seemed to shudder through her body, her left hand going numb and tingly from the impact.

Diana's heart pounded, the charioteer was stumbling on all fours, his horse shattered into a hundred pieces, the chariot a wreck. The warrior from Themiscyra realized this was her chance and with all her speed she charged, sword tucked in at her side. Diana made it to the skeleton charioteer , now starting to rise to his bony feet.

With a mighty blow from her sword Diana hacked at the creature's waist, again and again and again. Severing the charioteer in half she hacked at its legs and wrenched at the large hip bone ripping it away. Crawling forward, dragging only its ribs and spine the skeleton feebly sought retribution before its undead existence ended and lay still on the ground.

Diana glanced around for the canine monstrosity but could see the hell hound nowhere. She tensed , sword poised listening for the panting that must surely come from one of its three heads, but all she heard was silence. If it was still around it was beyond earshot. Finally she relaxed and straightened.

“IT IS OVER !” Diana yelled angrily looking skywards.

Diana knew this creature could only have been summoned by a godly power, the three headed dog was the messenger of Hades, keeper of the underworld and truly the charioteer had been a creature from that realm. Why the charioteer had been sent for her and the slave she did not know but it was not a good omen.

With an angry kick Diana decapitated the charioteer's body, its defeat complete. Sheathing her sword Diana returned to her slave and her donkey and gathered up her damaged shield. She would recover the trusty spearhead and have it mounted to a new shaft when she reached Brauron.

Now she was left to wonder about the bracers she wore on her wrists. A punishment turned gift for a failed trial, she had been told all weapons would rather strike them than seek their owners flesh, such was the metal's allure. But at times it seemed the bracers had even guided Diana's own movements. With a shake of the head she dismissed the notion and prepared to move on.

“Come – we must go on” Diana said as she resumed the march.

Unseen on the top of one of the small hills flanking the road the three headed dog turned away from the finished spectacle and disappeared from sight over the crest.




“FINE! The battle is over but the war is not! I grant you peace in Brauron but your slave should beware the perils of the sea!” Hera said angrily. Rising from the watching pool she spun around with a scowl and noted her silent audience, causing her to pause in her tracks.

The goddesses saw her expression and averted their eyes, bowing reverently. Hera's emotions were torn. She was queen, empowered to command, and yet she felt guilt. But why when it was her who had been wronged? Hera regained her composure and arranging her dress walked from the chamber, the assembled goddesses clearing a path for her, heads bowed.





Diana and her slave found shelter at the small port and settlement at Brauron. Diana sought a ship's master who was bound for Ephesus, a popular trading route for those bringing goods from the east towards Athens and vice versa. Diana's choices were many but the best bargain to be had was with a merchant who's vessel was heading east mostly empty. Under sail with a favourable wind the captain reckoned on the journey taking just over a day. Setting off at sun rise the next morning would mean arriving as the sun reached the top of its climb into the midday sky the following day.

Laying in a bed of her own furs in the house of a carpenter Diana let herself try to find sleep. Her slave slept obediently alongside of her and Diana had once again bound her within reason, any movement by the slave would wake the warrior.

Much troubled Diana's mind and sleep was reluctant to come. Who sent the charioteer and why? Surely only a god could have made such a monster come to life and yet was she not in the service of one of the many who ruled from the heavens?

“Oh Diana …. truly you have a lot to learn ...” whispered Artemis.

Diana flinched and woke to find herself in a different place. She was on the cold smooth marble floor of a temple, its many columns looming over her while the fires flickered in their braziers that lined the long rectangular structure. Diana was naked, not a piece of fabric hiding her body, though she was completely alone.

“Artemis ….. where am I?” Diana asked as she looked about herself.

“Somewhere safe, for now ….. in your dreams …..” Artemis whispered as she appeared mischievously from behind a column. Dressed in pure white, quiver and bow over her shoulder, a small deer at her side, she walked up to Diana who had begun to rise to her feet.

Artemis approached Diana and walked a circle around her, the small deer in attendance. Although Artemis was slender her godly presence caused Diana to feel humble despite being physically more imposing than the form of the young huntress.

“Goddess, did you not see the battle? Did you not see my enemy?” Diana begun, her body feeling the all seeing eyes of the goddess run over her.

“Eyes were upon you, yes. Athena herself would be impressed, killing that which was already dead,” Artemis said calmly.

“Surely Hades himself sent the creature, the three headed dog was there,” Diana said, frozen to her spot like frightened prey before the huntress.

“But who sent Hades?” Artemis asked as she leant down and pecked a kiss on top of the small deer's head before it trotted away.


“I … I do not know …who could hold such sway over the keeper of the underworld?” Diana asked humbly.

“Indeed, who? You see, the matters of gods are no more complex than those of a household with many squabbling children. Or perhaps you thought heaven was a world of divine perfection?” Artemis asked as she gazed about the temple.

“I dare not speak ill of the gods, they have granted my desire for revenge and I ….” Diana began.

“Yes, they have, and yet you are performing your favour for me instead” Artemis said, a hint of slyness in her tone.

“But, I thought that by helping you I would be taking a step closer to getting my rev….. WAIT ...” Diana said as her face revealed her realisation.

“Yes?” Artemis said, encouraging her mortal companion to speak.

“That is why you sought ME to do this favour, you KNEW another god would try to stop the slave reaching Ephesus!” Diana exclaimed, her anger rising.

“Many are the warriors of these lands but all would fail in this task. But YOU, however, are different. Much effort has been spent on making your people safe and setting you on your road to revenge. None desire to see that effort wasted with your death, no matter how much they wish you to fail in your favour to me,” Artemis said with a grin.

Diana's emotions were suddenly in turmoil, Artemis was using her! Had she been a mortal Artemis would now be feeling Diana's wrath! But Artemis was a goddess, she had the right to use Diana as she saw fit, that was the order of things in their world.

“Oh Diana, do not be angry with me. Of all mortals that could undertake this task are you not the one most suitable to see it done?” Artemis asked warmly, reading Diana's face.

“Forgive me Artemis for my mortal failings, unaccustomed I am to the ways of the gods of hunting,” Diana began, trying to rein in her anger.

“As am I to the ways of the warrior with all their honour and their code. My way, the way of the hunter, is so much more primal....more... direct,” Artemis explained.

“Then perhaps I should dedicate myself to the hunt when my time on the battlefield is over, so that we understand each other better,” Diana said, trying to prevent her tone from drifting to sarcasm.

“Oh, you will always be a warrior, Diana. But, you do not need to dedicate yourself to hunting to be welcome in my temples. There IS another way, ” Artemis said seductively as she continued to circle the feast for her eyes, the naked warrior. Reaching to her back Artemis drew an arrow and grasped it near the pointed head of the shaft.

Diana closed her eyes in thought. “The hunt, the mountains and the forests, mistress of animals, protector of women ...” Diana mouthed to herself but overheard by the godly presence.

“And giver of sanctuary to....?” Artemis let her question linger a moment as the feathered fletching of the arrow came to rest on Diana's naked chest.

Diana's eyes flashed open, the answer clear in her mind, only to see Artemis looking right back at her, confident and radiant.

“So, do we have an understanding NOW, my namesake?” Artemis asked firmly, slowly drawing the feathers of the arrow down Diana's stomach, lower, lower.

“You.. you ask too much! I … I am to be a queen one day!” Diana stammered.

“Your new dedication shall only be HERE inside your dreams, Diana of Themiscyra! Out there in the wilds you will still be free. Free to choose your way, free to say yes, free to say no, but HERE you are NOT a warrior, and certainly a world away from being a queen,” Artemis said warmly while Diana kept her eyes averted.

“Then here is sanctuary for me?” Diana asked quietly, looking to the floor in front of her.

“Yes, call me for sanctuary and I can grant it. But it must be your choice, Diana, and yours alone. I will not summons you to this place for I have been accused of using you like a toy. An accusation I shall not leave myself open to again. But now you know the rules. To enter this place you shall be no queen nor warrior,” Artemis finished, grasping some of Diana's hair in her hand, forcing her to look at the goddess.

“Yes, goddess, to be granted sanctuary I must be a.....” Diana began.

“Diana! It is time!” said the carpenter's wife as she gently woke the warrior in her bed.

Diana gasped, trapped in the moment of her understanding of the dream in the instance of wakening. Somehow though Diana felt rested despite the dream seeming so vivid that she felt she had been awake the whole time. Rising from bed the warrior felt the warm air of the newly lit fire in the other room and could see the new morning light starting to come through. Diana gently woke the hooded slave and prepared to leave the house after giving thanks to her hosts.

The carpenter walked with Diana and her slave along with their faithful beast of burden down to the port. The carpenter was needed by one of the ships masters to repair the decking of his ship and so he had risen early too. The narrow track that run to the waterfront teemed with flying bugs that danced in little clouds and made for an uncomfortable walk.

“Damned pests!” cursed the carpenter.

“I have not seen anything like this before” Diana said as she swatted away the tiny winged bugs.

“It's the bats, normally they get fat on these wretched bugs but we think they are diseased, the farmers found some dying in their fields just yesterday,” grumbled the carpenter.

“A bad omen for the season,” Diana said as she squished one bug that settled on her arm.

“Perhaps, but the bats will feast well when they finally return,” the carpenter said with optimism.

The slave walked on in silence barely reacting to the flying pests around her though her head seemed bowed downwards.

“Your slave, she eats little, drinks little, says nothing and serves you not” the carpenter said, changing tack, noting the slave's lack of participation in anything.

“I am to take her to Ephesus, that is my mission. What she does or does not do in the meantime is of no concern,” Diana said.

“Ephesus? Hah ….hold on to her tightly then!” the carpenter quipped before pausing in his tracks. “Well ... the ship I am to work on is over there ….. good journey Diana.”

“Thank you.” Diana replied, pausing a moment as she watched the carpenter go on his way before leading her trio in the other direction towards their own vessel.

As the sun began to peak over the horizon Diana found their ship and after a polite greeting the warrior, the slave and their hoofed pack animal boarded the vessel ready to cross the waters to Ephesus.

And whatever fate lay beyond the horizon.
How strange are the ways of the gods ...........and how cruel.

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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin story new chapter by Abductorenmadrid

Post by Void »

Good stuff AEM. I actually only meant to skim the update but found myself intrigued enough from the get go to read it properly - which tells you how well it reads. I'm liking the dimensions to this one, and the subtle hints you've left about the relationship between the gods and mortals. I like that it can be seen as symbolic as well as literal - an aspect I think is interesting to explore. The broader story taking place looks juicy.

Particular props for your portrayal of Artemis. Might be throwing down the gauntlet too hard here, but she might be my favourite depiction of a god so far in the story. You've taken time to highlight her ethereal and otherworldly qualities, making her really feel like a deity. I approve very much. I also approve of how sultry she is - I can think of worse things than being visited in my dreams by her every night. Poor Diana.

You said yourself that your Diana is a more humble, god-fearing woman that honours Olympus and accepts the order of the world - and her modest place in that order. Maybe I chafe a little at seeing her so meek, but it also makes her more stoic and measured, more like a badass priestess, which I do enjoy.

Look forward to more.
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Re: AMAZOS - a WW origin story new chapter by Abductorenmadrid

Post by DrDominator9 »

What a terrific set piece that battle was between Diana and the undead charioteer. The work of the great Harrihausen (spelling?) comes to mind, of course.

And the interactions of the gods is so deftly handled, the story shimmers. A wonderful read!
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