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|In lieu of a recent find
of the remains of an ancient tribe of warrior Amazon
women in Southern Russia near Turkey, I decided to write
a story about them. This is dedicated to any woman who
ever felt like running off and joining a tribe of warrior
women. <g> - Katy
"Most good women are hidden treasures who are safe because nobody looks for them." -Dorothy Parker
"The entire being of a woman is a secret
which should be kept."
"I really want to thank you for letting me tag along with you, Alex," Galina said. She looked out of the window of the plane and smiled comfortably.
"Hey, no problem. I know my brother wouldn't mind. Hey, how do you say 'brother' in Russian?" Alex asked.
"It's 'brat'," Galina said. Alex laughed out loud. "What is so funny?" asked Galina, perplexed.
"Brat is a word that describes an irritating or annoying child," Alex explained. Galina laughed.
"In Russian, someone who is annoying is 'razdrazheetelnye'," Galina said.
"God bless you!" Alex said. Galina smiled and they both laughed.
"Thanks again, Alex. For letting me come along. I mean it," Galina told her.
"Don't worry about it, Galina. Everyone needs a break from the Legacy every once in a while. A little vacation will do us both some good after the last five months," Alex said. "I was killed by the devil and brought back to life. I watched two Legacy members and a family die right in front of me, then we were hunted down along with everyone else in the Legacy by some demon and lost more than half of the Legacy members, some of them close friends. I watched you come back to life. I watched Derek and Nick almost lose their sanity over a dead, murdered woman. I was almost being killed in Hatshepsut's tomb and then I was stuck in Nick's body for over 24 hours. I definitely NEED a vacation!"
"You said it," Galina replied. They both looked at each other and smiled, "I could go for a cocktail, how about you?" Galina said. The steward brought over a couple of martinis. "That's more like it. Now, what is Brazil like? I've never been there," Galina asked.
"It's a great country, really very beautiful. A little over five months ago my brother found a lost city and he's in the middle of excavating it right now," Alex explained.
"Oh, we won't be disturbing him?" Galina asked.
"Oh no, Ethan won't mind at all. He's really excited about this find, it turns out all of the people in the city were killed in a horrific battle. There are plates and things left on tables as if they were all caught completely unaware by whoever attacked them. Ethan found all of the villagers in a giant burial mound, mostly just men and boys. No women. All of the men were all killed in the battle, it's strange," Alex told her.
"That does sound strange," Galina said. "No women? Anywhere?"
"No,the women seemed to have been carried off by whoever killed all the men," Alex said. The pilot came over the intercom and announced that they would be landing in Macapa in a few minutes. Galina and Alex handed their glasses to the steward and fastened their seatbelts.
"Alex! Over here!" Ethan Moreau shouted. He ran up and hugged his sister warmly. "How've you been?"
"Great! Ethan, you look wonderful!" Alex said, hugging her brother back. "This is my friend, Galina Perovskaya. She used to be with the St. Petersburg House and now she's a member of our team," Alex said.
Ethan took Galina's hand and said, "Dobrayeh ootra! Ochen' rat!"
Galina's eyes lit up and she replied, "Spaseeba! Ochen' rada!"
"Hey, I don't speak Russian," Alex said, smiling.
"I was just welcoming Galina to Brazil," Ethan said, smiling back at her.
"Yes, he speaks Russian very well," Galina said. She walked ahead of them.
Ethan whispered to Alex, "I love her Russian accent, it's beautiful." Ethan took a few steps before adding, "So is she."
"Ethan, she's Nick's girlfriend," Alex said. Ethan frowned.
"Darn!" he said. Alex grinned at him. "Is it serious?" he asked her. Alex nodded her head vehemently and Ethan frowned again.
They stuffed their luggage in the back of Ethan's jeep and headed off towards a town called Obidos. Ethan explained that his excavation site was forty-five miles outside of the town. Alex and Galina both noticed that the farther they got away from Obidos, the more rugged and wild the land became. It made them nervous to be so far from civilization.
"So," Alex said.
"So?" Ethan asked.
"Well, how is the excavation going? Discovered anything new yet?" Alex asked.
"Pretty much the same, all the boys and men were dumped in a burial mound and all the women are missing," Ethan explained. He looked uneasy.
"What's the matter?" asked Alex.
"Well, I...I don't want to ruin your vacation Alex. I know how hard you work," Ethan said.
"Ethan, if something is wrong and you won't tell me it will ruin my vacation anyway," Alex told him.
"All right, lately, my crew and I have had the feeling that we're being watched," Ethan said. Alex stared at him.
"Watched? By whom?" asked Galina.
"I don't know. It's that feeling you get when the hair on your neck bristles and you feel that tingling in between your shoulder blades when someone is standing behind you. All the workers have felt it too, they're getting a little wary about working," Ethan explained.
"What do you think it is? Could there be another team in the area?" asked Alex.
"No, the closest people to us is the town of Obidos. And I don't think it's anyone from the town. They're terrified to come out into the forest. A lot of the townspeople from Obidos and two other towns, Faro and Alenquer, have been reported missing over the years. They think there is some kind of devil living in the forest," he said.
"Does it frighten you, Ethan?" Galina inquired.
"What do you mean?" he asked her.
"Well, do you feel afraid? Does it feel in any way threatening?" she asked.
Ethan kept his eyes on the road for several moments and wrinkled his forehead. Finally he said, "No, as a matter of fact. I don't feel threatened. I just feel weird. I mean, no one likes being watched."
"Well, we'll keep an eye on things," Alex said.
"I'm sorry, Alex, I know you just wanted to rest," Ethan said.
"It's all right, Ethan. I can still rest. Galina and I can go hiking and stuff. It will be fun," Alex said.
Ethan admired his sister's determination. He grinned at her and she grinned back. Suddenly Galina felt like she was a fifth wheel. She smiled to herself. It was nice that Alex was so close to her brother. Galina's smile faded when she thought of her own brothers and sister.
"Sorry, Galina," Alex said.
"Yeah, when Alex and I are together, we tend to be inseparable. We can both be a real pain in the butt. I don't know how our mother ever got on when the two of us had something planned," Ethan said with a mischievous grin.
"Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello, Crosby and Hope, and Moreau and Moreau. We're the wonder twins," Alex laughed, leaning over the seat to look at Galina, "do you have any brothers or sisters?"
"No," she lied.
"Oh, you were an only child then? Well, more attention for your parents to spend on you, right?" Alex said, chuckling.
"My parents are dead," Galina said, coldly. Alex's face turned rigid and Ethan looked into the rearview mirror at Galina.
"I'm sorry, Galina, I didn't mean to pry. I'm really very sorry," Alex said to her.
"It's okay, don't worry about it," Galina managed to say with a fake smile. She grabbed Alex's hand and gave it a quick squeeze, but inside Galina was saddened by the memories Alex's questions brought up.
"Well, what do you think?" Ethan asked after giving them a tour of the site.
"Ethan, I have to say, this is pretty damn cool!" Alex said buoyantly as she hopped around. Ethan was glad his sister was in such a good mood. He hadn't seen her this relaxed in a long time.
"It's beautiful," Galina said, "I can't wait to go exploring!"
"Well, if you do, stay around the campsite, all right? There are a lot of wild animals out there and there are a lot of pitfalls. So just be careful," Ethan commanded.
"Sir, yes Sir!" Alex said, saluting. Ethan laughed at her.
"All right, smart ass, you think I'm kidding? I'm serious, don't wander off too far from the site," Ethan said, grinning. He looked at Galina and said, "See what I have to put up with?"
"Okay, okay," Alex said. She turned to Galina and said, "Are you up for a little hike before nightfall?"
"Love to!" Galina said and the two of them headed off towards the trees.
"Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." -Bible, Matthew 6:34
"A belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness." -Joseph Conrad
As they were walking by the river Galina said, "You're really lucky to have such a great brother. Your parents must be really proud."
"Oh, our mom and dad are dead. Dad had car accident and died at 32 and Mom and Gramma raised us. My mom died a few years ago from a stroke. But Gramma is still running strong," Alex smiled.
"Oh, I'm sorry Alex," Galina said sadly.
"Hey, that's the hand fate dealt us. We were thankful for the time that we did have with our parents," Alex said.
Galina walked ahead of Alex, feeling rotten for having lied to her about her parents and siblings. She stopped and looked around at the beautiful trees that loomed over them.
"Are you okay Galina?" asked Alex, "Is something bothering you?"
"Do you ever feel unappreciated Alex?" Galina asked her.
"Only all the time," Alex said. She mimicked Derek's voice and said, "Alex, you stay here and wait for me to call you with any news. Alex, see what you can find out about so-and-so in this stuffy computer room while Nick and I go out and play like little boys. Alex, do I have any messages? Alex will you copy this for me? Alex will you get me some coffee?"
Galina giggled and said, "Hey, that was pretty good, you could make a living being an impersonator."
"Yeah, that's what Philip says too. I think he feels the same way we do. Nick and Derek are always out getting the bad guy, or bad demon, whichever is running around, and I feel like the rest of us are just gophers. I'm always on the computer, Philip is always translating something. It doesn't seem fair, does it?" Alex asked.
"No, I've only been here for a short while and already I feel like that. Not that Nicola is overbearing or anything, I mean, I can handle him," Galina said.
"So I've noticed," Alex said with a grin that stretched from ear to ear.
"I just feel like I'm always in the background. And sometimes Derek and Nicola do it consciously, for my sake I guess, and sometimes they do it subconsciously. All I know is that I needed to get away for a while," Galina told her.
"I know, too bad Philip couldn't come with us, I know he was about due for a vacation," Alex said.
"He didn't want to come. The man would never give himself a vacation, he works too hard. There is nothing we can do about that. I feel so bad for him sometimes. He's always putting so much pressure on himself. If he's there and something goes wrong, he blames himself for being there. If he's not there and something goes wrong, he blames himself for not being there," Galina said.
"For someone who's only known Philip for a couple of months, you've got a pretty good grasp of the situation," Alex said.
"I've known Philip forever," Galina murmured to herself. She stopped, shocked at the words that escaped from her lips.
"I'm sorry, what did you say?" Alex asked.
"I said-" Galina began. She looked around her and asked "Did you hear that?"
"Oh come on, Galina. That's not funny," Alex said.
"No, I'm not kidding. I heard something," Galina said, looking over the area.
Alex realized that Galina was serious and her eyes scanned the jungle. "No, I didn't hear anything," she finally said.
There was a rustling in the bushes and Alex jumped. "OKAY! I heard THAT!" she said. They were about to take off running when a small monkey jumped out of the bushes and scampered up one of the trees. Both women sighed in relief.
"You know," Galina said as they continued their hike, "I've noticed in your American horror movies that a person will hear a noise and jump only to find out it is the cat, then they are relieved and say 'Oh Fluffy, it was only you' and that's when the killer jumps out and murders them," Galina said. Alex frowned at Galina.
"Oh gee, thanks, Galina. I needed to hear that," Alex said. Galina smiled but before she could say anything something heavy came crashing down on the back of her head causing her to see millions of stars flashing in front of her. As she sank to the ground she heard Alex crying out her name.
Alex tried to open her eyes but her head hurt so much that she abandoned the effort. She reached her hand over and found Galina's wrist and felt for a pulse. Alex sighed with relief when she found one. The way that man had bashed Galina over the head with a tire iron had terrified Alex. It terrified her even more when she watched Galina sink to the ground before her own lights were knocked out.
"I think one of them is awake," a male voice said. Alex froze.
An American, she thought. What the hell was happening? Alex opened her eyes slowly and tried to sit up. She was kicked hard in the stomach for doing so.
"Don't move," another voice told her. It was full of coldness and if Alex hadn't been so busy trying to breathe from the kick she would have shuddered. Alex did as she was told and lay on the ground motionless. She felt the dirt under her cheek and thanked God that her and Galina were still out in the jungle somewhere, maybe even close to Ethan's campsite. He would come looking for her soon. She smiled slightly at the thought. He would definitely come looking for them and would probably bring some of his workers with him.
"Hey," the other voice said, "don't be getting any ideas. We're miles and miles away from your site. No one will ever see you or your friend again." The man laughed and Alex's stomach flipped over when the man with the cold voice spoke out again.
"Shut-up, Storren. Don't talk to the cattle, they're meat for the altar," the man said. Alex turned over and tried not to throw-up. She opened her eyes again and looked at the men that held them captive. The two men stared at her, their faces were red. They weren't just painted red, they were dyed red. They wore black combat fatigues. Alex moaned when one of the men got up and started towards her. She tried to crawl away from him but wasn't fast enough.
"I said DON'T MOVE!" the man yelled. He grabbed her by the hair and yanked her up. He started punching her in the face and head. She clawed at him but it only provoked him to hit her harder. All of a sudden he stopped and began making choking sounds as if he were gasping for air. Alex looked at him and saw an arrow sticking out of the man's throat. She gasped and fell to the ground when he let go of her.
"Storren!" the other man screamed. He ran forward as a slew of arrows plunged into the tree he had been leaning against. As he ran forward Alex shot up painfully and grabbed Galina's arms and dragged her away from the man coming at her. He stopped as if he was hit by some invisible source and Alex saw that he had been hit in the leg with an arrow. He grabbed the shaft and fell to the ground screaming in pain. Alex dragged Galina along the ground and farther and farther away. The man screamed once and then he fell silent. Alex fell to the ground by Galina, exhausted and unable to carry her any further.
She heard a noise above her and looked up at the trees to see several figures looming over them. She rolled over and shielded Galina with her body. The figures in the trees climbed down and stood over Alex. When she looked up at them again, she noticed that they were all women. They were dressed in tribal garb and Alex had never seen anything like it. On their heads were the heads of skinned cougars, the paws rested on thier shoulders. The women gathered around Alex and all bent down and kneeled before her. One spoke to Alex in a fervent voice. It took Alex a few moments to realize that the woman was speaking in Greek. She thanked her lucky stars that Derek had taught her Greek. The woman spoke to her again.
"I am Azalais. We are your servants. You are safe from evil now," she said. Alex slowly moved into a sitting position.
"My friend needs medicine, she's hurt," Alex said. Azalais moved over and gently touched Galina's head. She motioned for the others to help her and they lifted Galina's unconscious body and carried her towards the riverbank. Alex guessed Azalais was thier leader and watched her in awe.
"Woman is woman's natural ally." -Euripides, "Alope"
"In our civilization, men are afraid that they will not be considered men enough and women are afraid that they might be considered only women." -Theodor Reik
When Galina opened her eyes she saw a cougar staring at her. She screamed and tried to get up but several hands held her down. Someone was saying something to her in Greek and Galina responded.
"Where is my friend?" she asked.
"I'm right here, Galina," Alex said. "You were hit in the head, but you're okay now. Just try to rest. We're safe." Alex watched the cougar-women kneel before her one by one and leave.
Galina leaned back on the soft bedding. "What happened?"
"We were abducted by two men in black uniforms. They had red faces and they were talking about killing us like we were a sacrifice. These women saved us," Alex explained.
"Greek, someone was speaking in Greek," Galina said, rubbing her forehead.
"It seems to be their native tongue," Alex told her.
"We're in Brazil, Alex," Galina said.
"I know, but they all speak Greek," Alex said.
One of the women came in and kneeled on the floor, handing Alex a small medallion. She said, "Sister of Apollo, Lady of all Wild Things, please take this as a sign of our worship and dedication to you."
"What?" Alex asked. Galina bent forward and grabbed Alex's arm, motioning for her to take the medallion. The woman got up and backed out of the hut.
"Sister of Apollo, Alex, they think you're Artemis, Greek Goddess of the Moon and the Hunt," Galina said.
"That's ridiculous," Alex said. "I'm not a goddess. I'll tell them-"
"No, don't! I don't think they would believe you anyway. Besides, I think I know who they are," Galina said.
"Who?" asked Alex.
"I know this is going to sound crazy, but I think they're the lost tribe of the Amazons," Galina said. Alex laughed.
"Amazons?" she asked, "You're right, that does sound crazy."
"There was a tribe of Amazons in the city of Ampelopsis over three thousand years ago that built hundreds of ships and sailed away. There have been several theories over why they left. Some say their lands were constantly under attack by the Spartans and Athenians. Others think there weren't enough resources anymore. They seemed to have disappeared from the face of the earth. I think this is them," Galina said. She looked out the front of the hut and pointed out to Alex. "See the men? How servile they are? The men seem to be the child-rearers and the women are the hunters and providers. Spanish explorers named the river the Amazon because of a tribe of female warriors they saw in the area. Besides, the Amazons worshipped Artemis, which is who they think you are," Galina said.
"Terrific," Alex said.
"We've looked everywhere, Dr. Moreau. We couldn't find them," Jared said. Ethan tried to swallow the lump in his throat and push down the fear in his stomach.
He walked over to his tent and picked up his cell-phone. "Derek Rayne? This is Ethan Moreau, Alex's brother, remember?....Yes, something is wrong....no, Alex and Galina, they've disappeared....no....no they went out for a walk and that was five hours ago. We haven't been able to find them anywhere," Ethan said. He was silent for a few moments and then hung up the phone. He left his tent and told Jared, "My sister's colleagues are on their way now, if anyone can find them, they can."
Derek hung up the phone and ran into the control room. "Nick, we're going Brazil."
"Has something happened to Galina and Alex?" Nick asked, standing up.
"They're missing. Come on, get packed, we're leaving in twenty minutes," Derek said. Nick's stomach lurched when he thought he might never see Galina, or Alex, again. Nick and Derek ran upstairs not knowing Philip had listened in on their conversation.
As they were walking towards the helicopter, Philip ran up and tossed his bags inside. "What do you think you're doing?" Derek asked.
"I'm comin' with you," Philip said, firmly.
"Look, Philip, we don't really need you," Nick said.
"You might not, but they do. And I'm comin' with you," Philip said.
"We'll need someone to stay behind and sit by the phone in case-" Derek began. Philip turned around sharply and glared at Derek.
"Then hire a damn secretary, Derek," he said and climbed inside the helicopter. The rest of the flight to Brazil was flown in complete silence.
Alex and Galina wandered around the small village. The tall trees grew up and over the village covering it to anyone who might be flying over. Small huts populated the scene and Alex found it completely refreshing. She turned and gasped. A large, black wolf was sitting by a bush and staring directly at her. She grabbed Galina's arm.
"Look, over there," Alex said, "a wolf."
Galina looked and turned back to Alex, "I don't see anything."
"It's right over-" Alex stopped. The wolf was gone. She shook her head back and forth and blinked her eyes.
"You know, we were both hit over the head pretty hard, Alex," Galina said.
"I wasn't imagining it, I saw it," Alex said. Azalais approached them. She started to kneel and Alex stopped her.
"Is there a problem, goddess?" asked Azalais. Alex was about to tell her she wasn't a goddess when Galina grabbed her arm again and shook her head.
Galina cut in, "No, no problem. Tell me, who were the men who attacked us? Do you know them?"
"They are our enemies. They are followers of Hecate," the Amazon said. Alex was about to ask who Hecate was when Galina said, "The men on the other side of the river, the camp, they found a city of no women. Do you know what happened to them?"
"Our ancestors had a battle with them. They treated their women like slaves and we fought them, the women came with us," Azalais told them. "We have been watching them. They have not threatened us or our village, so we leave them alone." Azalais bowed and left them.
"Hecate, why does that name sound familiar?," Alex inquired.
"Didn't you ever do your homework, Alex?" Galina asked, smiling.
"Well, most of the time," Alex smiled back.
"Hecate was the Greek Goddess of Night, the goddess of the dark nights when the moon is hidden, patroness of witches and ghosts. She wandered around with her pair of lions and devoured the innocent. She was the daughter of Cronos, and was the only Titan to retain power when Zeus overthrew them," Galina said.
Alex put a hand to her forehead, "Now I remember. That must be why people are disappearing. Some cult devoted to Hecate has been abducting and murdering people from the town and surrounding areas."
"Alex, do you know how to fight?" Galina asked, suddenly.
"Fight? I know self-defense," Alex said.
"No, Alex. Do you know how to kill? If you needed to?" she asked.
"No," Alex said, intensely.
"I'm going to teach you," Galina said.
"No thanks, Galina," Alex said.
"Alex, it's important. You know how Derek and you have the sight? I have it in dreams only. When I was unconscious, I had a dream. And I dreamed about death. A lot of people are going to die. There will be fighting and killing. Alex, look into yourself, can't you feel it?" Galina asked.
"No, I can't sense anything at all," Alex said. Galina's eyes widened.
"Then there's a reason for that and it scares me. Let me teach you how to fight, please," Galina said.
"No, Galina. I can defend myself. That's all I need," Alex said, walking away.
"No it isn't," Galina said to herself.
Alex walked back towards the hut. She froze when she saw the wolf again, only this time there were two of them. She made no sudden movements but for some odd reason, Alex knew the animals wouldn't hurt her. They stared at her and then went off into the bushes. It was a few moments later that she was hit from behind. She turned around and saw a man dressed like the ones that had attacked her and Galina before. Only this one had a knife. He came towards her and swung the knife at her several times. Then he screamed out in pain when Galina grabbed his wrist and yanked it so hard Alex heard the bones snap. He dropped the knife and Galina let go of his wrist and delivered a double kick to his face that sent him sprawling to the ground. Alex stared open-mouthed at Galina who screamed at her to duck as another man swung at her. When Alex ducked Galina grabbed the man by the collar and hurled him over Alex's head. She pulled him down on top of her and then kicked him up and over her head before somersaulting backwards and delivering the fatal blow to his face.
"Alex! Get down and stay down!" Galina screamed.
"What the hell is happening?" Alex cried.
"The female of the species is more deadly than the male." -Rudyard Kipling
"A cat pent up becomes a lion." -Italian Proverb
"We're being attacked!" Galina screamed. She yelled something in Russian when she was grabbed from behind. It was only a matter of seconds before Galina had the man down on the ground and screaming for his life.
Alex looked around her and saw arrows flying everywhere, people dropping to the ground left and right. There were men and women in black uniforms with red faces running around like ants attacking anything that got in their way. The Amazon men huddled down with their children, only fighting when their young was threatened. Galina ran forward and grabbed Alex by the head and pulled her down to the ground.
"Stay here!" she barked. Galina got up and ran off. Alex watched her take out several of the cultists in a matter of seconds. She had never seen anyone fight like that before, not even Nick. She gasped when she saw Galina caught in a choke hold. Galina whacked the woman in the ribs with her elbow and sent a kick down to her knee cap. Alex winced when she heard the woman's screams as the bones in her knee turned into powder from Galina's kick. She turned around and kicked her once more to the ground. Galina bent down low, and with a swift fist to the woman's face, killed her.
Galina cried out and ran for Alex when she saw the man running at her with a knife and in a sickening instant, Galina knew she would never get there in time to save her friend. Alex turned when Galina screamed and saw the man descending down on her. She closed her eyes and waited for the inevitable. Galina gasped when Azalais flung herself in front of Alex. The man's knife plunged deep into the Amazon's chest. She dropped to the ground spitting up blood. It was all the time Galina needed to get to Alex's side. She screamed a battle cry that turned Alex's blood cold and, for a few seconds, Alex was afraid of her. Galina flew at the man, hitting him head on. Alex watched them disappear behind the hut. Galina reappeared holding the man's knife in her bloody hands.
"Are you okay, Alex?" she asked. Alex nodded but crawled forward and bent over Azalais.
"She's dead, she saved my life," Alex said, her eyes welling up with tears.
Galina nodded and snapped her head up when the shrill cry of victory crackled through the air. The men and women of Hecate were retreating into the jungle. The Amazon women cheered and held their spears and arrows up over their heads. Galina got up and walked over to the river's edge, washing the blood from her hands.
"Galina? You were terrific, I mean, I've never seen-" Alex began.
"It never comes off you know. No matter how much you scrub and wash and rinse...the blood never comes off your hands," Galina said. Alex stared at her and instinctively decided to not to say any more to Galina.
Ethan walked forward and said, "Father Callahan? What are you doing here?"
"I'm here t'find my friends," Philip said. "Does anyone have a problem with that?"
"Uh, no, that's fine," Ethan said. He introduced Derek, Nick and Philip to his assistant Jared and to some of the workers. He set up a tent for them and excused himself when one of his men called out for him. Nick watched the man pull on Ethan's sleeve. Ethan's face fell and he ran off with the worker.
"Oh God," Jared said.
"What? What was that man saying?" Nick asked.
"You don't speak Portuguese?" asked Jared. Both Nick and Derek shook their heads. Jared hesitated and said, "They found a woman's body floating down the river."
Nick broke out into a run, tearing through the camp in the direction that Ethan had gone. Derek and Jared ran after him. From his tent, Philip watched Nick take off and started running himself. As Nick ran past Ethan's jeep he collided into him.
"Nick," Ethan breathed, "It's okay, it isn't either one of them. But you'd better see this anyway."
Nick and Derek stared at the dead woman lying on the ground. She had blond hair and strange tribal clothes on. Philip's brow creased in thought. Derek bent down and pulled the medallion from her neck. He wore a strange expression on his face and said, "This medallion has Greek writing on it."
"Greek?" Nick said. Derek nodded. "Well what does it say?" Nick asked.
"It has a picture of a woman with bow and arrows, and it is inscribed with the name of Artemis, Greek Goddess of the Moon and the Hunt," Derek said. He looked around him at the jungle and then down at the river. "Of course!" Derek yelled. "The lost tribe of the Amazons," he said. Nick frowned and Philip's eyes widened in recollection. "There was an Amazon tribe that left Greece thousands of years ago and was never seen again," Derek explained. Philip nodded.
"Even if that's true," Nick said. "Could they really have survived here in Brazil all this time without being seen or without anyone discovering their existence?"
"You forget, they have been seen. Why do you think the river is called 'the Amazon'?" Ethan asked.
"You think the Amazons have abducted them?" Nick asked.
"No," Philip broke in, "that's not likely at all. If Alex and Galina are with the Amazons, it's of their own free will."
"They wouldn't do that," Nick said. "They would try to contact us, to let us know they were okay." Philip stared at Nick but refrained from saying anything.
"This woman was murdered," Ethan said, examining her. "She has several abrasions on her arms as if she were trying to protect herself. And her throat was cut. Then she was probably dumped into the river."
"What in the hell is going on here?" Derek asked, frustrated. Philip left them and walked off towards his tent. He sat down and tried to remember what he had learned about Artemis when he studied mythology in school. He spoke to himself out loud, "Goddess of the Moon. Twin sister of Apollo. She was armed with a silver bow and arrow forged by Hephaestus. The God Pan gave her a pair of wolves swifter than the winds and capable of knocking down even lions. She lived in the jungles where she hunted and protected." Philip sighed and rubbed his eyes. He got up and snuck off beyond the trees. He hoped to high Heaven that it was the Amazons that would find him instead of whatever he knew was out there with them. The minute Philip stepped foot in Ethan's camp, he felt the evil in the air. It was thick like a fog. After several minutes of walking, Philip heard a noise behind him.
After the cremation of the Amazon Queen, Azalais, Alex grabbed a torch and went looking for Galina. She was amazed at how bright the moon was in the jungle.
"Galina?" Alex asked. "It's so bright out here, you hardly need a torch."
"No city lights to reflect against the sky, this is the moon's true light," Galina said.
Alex was quiet for a while and then she asked, "Will you teach me how to fight?"
Galina turned around and asked, "Why? What changed your mind?"
"Azalais. If I was able to defend myself properly, I could have fought the guy off and Azalais would still be alive," Alex said.
"Did they choose a new queen yet?" Galina asked, turning back around.
"Her name is Semele. They wanted my approval for it. I didn't know what to do so I just nodded. You know?" Alex said. Galina smiled. "Will you? Teach me, I mean?" Alex asked. Galina turned and nodded.
Alex's kick sent the melon exploding into a hundred pieces. "Good!" Galina cried. They had been practicing for hours. Alex sat down beside a tree and looked at Galina.
"Where did you learn how to do all that?" Alex asked.
Galina looked at Alex intently and was extremely quiet for a long while. Alex didn't want to ask her again for she knew Galina was thinking about how to answer and Alex didn't want to push her. Finally, Galina said, "I do not know why I'm going to tell you this, but you have to swear by everything you believe in that you will never tell anyone else."
"Galina, I think you know you can trust me, I would never betray a confidence," Alex replied.
"I used to be with KGB," Galina said.
"How much feeling there is in that sad song, How much suffering in this refrain That deep in my chest it felt like My heart once again was aflame." - "The Little Bell" traditional Russian song, by I. Makarov
"Women are never stronger than when they arm themselves with their weaknesses." -Marquise Du Deffand
"What?" Alex asked. She wasn't sure if she had heard Galina correctly.
"My parents aren't dead, and I have two older brothers and an older sister. It has been over five years since I have talked to them last. My parents were KGB. They loved Communism, they loved their country and everything it stood for. They were patriots. My brothers and sister joined the KGB as well and when I turned 18 I was joined," Galina explained. She was quiet for several moments.
"Is there more?" Alex asked, carefully.
"My first assignment was to assassinate a man who was an enemy to the Soviet Union. He was an American spy living in Moscow. I killed him," Galina said, sadly. When she thought of the first person she had ever killed it was like a stab in her heart. "A few nights before I dreamt about my doing it. I would have all kinds of dreams and they would come true, like premonitions. I would dream about death and the next day or tha day after I would kill someone. Some 'enemy' of the Soviet Union. I tried to spend as much time as I could at the library, reading everything I could on the supernatural and paranormal. I would arrest people and take them away from their homes and thier families for only expressing thier opinions of the government. They did no real harm. But those people were never heard from again. I wanted to quit but I had another assignment and had to go to St. Petersburg right away. My oldest brother, Yuri, went with me. Well, a lot of things happened, and Yuri was killed. I dreamt about it happening and I couldn't do anything to stop it. I drove like mad to a safehouse to wait for someone from the agency to come and get me. A woman arrived, but she wasn't KGB. It was Tatiana, the precept of the St. Petersburg house. She had been watching me for some time. She said she had a connection to me, she knew about my dreams and said my destiny was to make an impact on the balance between good and evil."
"She asked you to join the Legacy," Alex said.
"Yes, I told her I would think about it. I was really confused. Three days later my country fell apart. There was the coup and so long KGB. My parents were devastated, more so for the death of our country than for Yuri's death. I was so angry with them for that. I screamed at them and they called me a traitor. They actually turned on me and so did my other brother and sister. They became free agents along with a lot of other ex-KGB, and they spread it all over that I was a traitor and a spy for the Americans. My life was in danger so I went to Tatiana. Well, you know as well as I that there is no power, no government stronger than the Legacy. They were able to change my identity, to erase me from all computer databases. My name isn't Galina Perovskaya, it's Irina Yevgeny Reznakovna. The Legacy gave me a new life and helped my old one disappear. No one will ever find me."
Alex sighed, "I never would have guessed it in a million years. I'm sorry I dragged all of that out of you. I'm sorry you can never see your family again."
"It's all right. I needed to talk about it anyway. It was building up. Anyway, you and the others are my family now," Galina said.
"So your name is really Irina?" Alex said. "It's a pretty name."
"No, I'm Galina. Irina is dead," Galina said. Alex remained quiet for a few minutes.
"Where did you get the name Galina Perovskaya?" Alex asked, finally.
"It was Tatiana's mother's name. Galina is Russian for Helen," Galina said.
"Really?" Alex asked.
"You know, your name is a very popular one in Russia. Alexandra for girls or Alexi for boys. I had a friend when I was growing up. Her name was Alexandra," Galina said. She got up, "Well? Shall we try some more?"
"You idiots!!" Charis screamed. She got up and paced around the room.
"Mistress, they were too powerful," a woman said. After the words had escaped her lips she regretted it. Charis turned around and smiled wickedly.
"It looks like we have one of our own to sacrifice along with the captured Amazon," she said. The woman said nothing, bowing her head to her mistress. "Everyone get out," Charis ordered. She waited until the room cleared and pulled out a flask of blood. She drank it down and sighed with pleasure. She turned at the altar before her and said, "Goddess of the Black Night, Hecate, give me the power to defeat your enemies and mine. Give me the power to sweep death down upon them." Charis smiled and started to dance around the room.
Alex had been practicing the moves Galina taught her for hours and it was nearly daybreak when she finished. She watched the Amazon women fervently running about and asked Galina what was going on.
"They found a man lurking ab-" Galina stopped when she saw the man being dragged into the village. "PHILIP!" she cried. Galina and Alex ran forward.
"Thank God," Philip said. Alex tore the ropes off of his arms and hands.
The new queen looked at Alex oddly and Alex said, "He is a friend! He is not an enemy!"
Semele replied, "He is a man! A stranger!"
"You dare anger the Goddess?" Galina asked. Semele and the rest of the Amazons backed off and kneeled before Alex.
"We are sorry, forgive us great one," Semele said.
Philip looked back and forth between Alex and Galina. "They think you're Artemis?"
"Yep," Alex said.
"Cool," Philip smiled. " 'Bout time someone treated you like a goddess."
Alex was touched but said nothing. Galina asked, "What are you doing here?"
"Ethan called Derek and he and Nick flew down immediately. I made them take me with them. There was no way I was sittin' by the phone while you two needed me," Philip said. "I told Derek to get a secretary. Rachel is busy at work at the hospital and Derek actually thought I would just sit around the house waitin' for someone t'call?" Philip said angrily. Alex was a little taken back by Philip's anger but understood it completely.
"What are you doing out here in the jungle?" Alex asked.
"At the campsite, Ethan found the body of one of your Amazons in the river. I knew immediately you were with them," Philip explained.
"How?" Galina asked.
"I don't know, I just did. Just like I know there's somethin' else here in the jungle. Somethin' totally evil, am I right?" Philip asked. Galina and Alex told Philip about the Hecates. "I snuck out of camp and the Amazons found me," he said.
"Philip! What if it had been the cultists that had found you instead of the Amazons?" Galina asked, incensed that he had risked himself to get to them.
"It was a risk I had to take. Why didn't you contact anyone to let them know you were okay?" asked Philip.
"I don't know," Galina said. "We just didn't think of it, I guess."
"He's WHAT?!" Derek yelled.
"He's gone, Philip is gone," Nick answered.
"Of all the stupid, irresponsible things anyone could do! To sneak off like that and put himself in danger! Now we have three people missing. Wonderful!" Derek yelled. He was swimming with fear. Derek put a hand to his forehead and quietly asked Nick, "How could we go on without them? What if we lose them? Have we ever once told them how much they mean to us? Or the Legacy?"
Nick bowed his head, feeling fear like he never had before. To see Derek so terrified like this rattled him. Nick, like everyone else, always got his strength from Derek's calm and composed nature in a time of crisis. Now Derek was pacing around terrified, and Nick wanted to scream out for help.
"When we got here, I felt something. Something evil. Philip sensed it to, I know he did. And I know this evil, it's familiar to me. I've dealt with it before and now it's back," Derek said.
"A woman's desire for revenge outlasts all
her other emotions."
"Weave the crimson web of war Let us go, let us fly Where our friends the conflict share, Where they triumph, where they die. We the reins to slaughter give, Ours to kill, ours to spare: Weave the crimson web of war." -Thomas Gray, "The Fatal Sisters: An Ode"
"The Hecates are moving in. One of the Amazon scouts saw them massing a few miles away. This time, it's their entire cult. The Amazon scout saw thier leader, Charis at the head of the pack," Galina said. When Alex heard Charis's name she blanched. Philip snapped his head around and looked at Alex. "What is it? Are you two okay?" Galina asked.
"Charis is the reason I'm in the Legacy. When I was just a simple social worker in the city, there were children found murdered in strange rituals. Most of them were inner-city. I was counseling one of the children who was a witness and this tall Dutchman and this Irish priest come in and introduce themselves. I managed to stumble upon the cult compound and was almost killed when Derek, Jacob and Philip showed up," Alex explained.
"Jacob?" Galina asked.
"Jacob Miller. He was in the Legacy before Nick joined. Nick was actually his replacement. He was killed trying to save my life. Charis escaped and most of her coven was arrested and tried. Not long after, Derek showed up at my office and told me it was my destiny to fight evil. To make a difference. And the rest is history," Alex said. Philip closed his eyes at the remembrance of Jacob's death. Alex put her hand to her forehead and said, "So Charis has escaped down here and infiltrated her way into this cult, taking over. Doesn't surprise me. " Alex turned and swore colorfully.
"Alex!" Galina gasped. "I've never heard you use language like that before. Especially in front of you know who," Galina said pointing to Philip.
"Yeah well, I never thought I'd see Charis again and now that I'm about to, I have to say I'm going to enjoy this immensely," Alex replied coldly. She had an animal look in her eye that scared Philip and Galina.
"Well, you're going to get to use that energy real soon," Galina said looking past Alex. "They're here."
A cry was sounded and the Amazons scattered around the village. "Philip, the children!" Alex cried. Philip turned and ran for a group of children who were alone and unprotected. Alex ducked under a blow that one of the Hecates swung at her. She grabbed the woman by the hair and turned, throwing her over her shoulder. Alex brought her hand down on the back of the woman's neck and felt the spine snap. Alex froze up.
"Alex, you don't have the time to feel remorse right now!" Galina shrieked at her. Galina ran for a man that had one of the Amazons in a bear hug. She kicked the man in the back and he dropped the Amazon and turned. Galina pulled the man's head down and threw her leg over him. She brought it down and whirled backwards with his head still in her grasp. She twisted her legs until his head snapped back. She whipped around and picked up a spear one of the Amazons had dropped and thrust it forward as one of the Hecates ran towards her.
Philip watched Semele struggle with one of the Hecates and went to help her. She quickly grabbed the man by the shoulders and bashed her head into his, dazing him. She whirled around and with her leg swept his legs out from underneath him. He dropped to the ground and Semele brought her foot down to his throat. Philip winced and stepped back. Semele looked at him as if to say, "I don't need you" and then ran off.
Alex grabbed the pinky finger of the man that grabbed her and twisted it until she felt it snap. She turned and, in a move that Galina had taught her only hours before, hit him at the base of his nose with her palm and shoving it upwards towards his brain. It killed him instantly.
Alex looked at the man she had killed and heard someone call out her name. Thinking it was Galina she looked up. It was Charis.
"Alex Moreau," the woman hissed. "What a small world it is. Is that bastard Rayne with you too?" she asked. "I know Jacob isn't. He's right where I planted him. Six feet under," she said. "Come on, then, where's Rayne?" Charis laughed unevenly and it sounded like someone had strangled a cat.
"He's not here. It's just me," Alex growled between her teeth.
"Well, you'll have to do," Charis said in a level voice.
She kicked Alex in the face and sent her sprawling back. Charis ran forward but was hit in full force from behind by Semele. Charis swung a knife at Semele who ducked and swung her fist back at Charis, hitting her in the face and knocking her knife to the ground. She swung again and Charis jumped back. She kicked Semele twice in the stomach. As Semele lay on the ground wheezing, Charis bent over her, ready to break her neck with her bare hands.
"You sick, twisted bitch!" Alex howled and screamed in fury. She jumped and threw her arms around Charis's neck and yanked her backward. Charis gasped for air at the tight grasp Alex held on her throat. Two Amazon women dashed in and dragged Semele away. Philip watched Alex and Charis struggling and ran forward.
"Philip, no! I've got her!" Galina said. She quickly killed the woman she was fighting with and ran for Alex. Philip's defense capabilities were limited to that of a gentle, Irish priest and Galina knew he would be no match for Charis. She'd kill him in seconds. Galina ran at full speed and when she was ten feet away from Alex and Charis, she jumped and flew forward, slamming into Alex and Charis and sending all three of them flying to the ground. Alex hit her head on a large rock when she landed on the ground. She put her hand to her head and felt the warm, sticky fluid that ran down the side of her face. She looked up to see Charis and Galina exchanging punches. Neither one retreating a single inch of their territory. Galina would deliver a kick to Charis who would in turn deliver one of her own.
Someone grabbed Alex from behind and in a fury she turned and pummled him with her hands and fists until there the man lay still. She fought off several more attacks, taking a few blows to the head every time she turned to see if Galina and Philip were okay.
Galina managed to knock Charis to the ground. She looked at Alex and then at Philip to see that they were safe. One of the cult members was about to jump Philip when a band of Amazons grabbed the woman and brought her down to the ground. Galina turned her attention back to Charis. She didn't see the knife Charis picked up. When she did see it, it was too late and Galina wasn't able to get out of the way in time. Charis swung the knife and caught Galina in the side, slashing open her shirt just above her belt. Galina stumbled back a few feet and looked down at the blood that seeped from her side. Philip cried out her name and ran forward, throwing his arms around Galina. Charis threw a kick that hit Philip in the face and sent both he and Galina sprawling to the ground.
"Well, well, well! If it isn't my favorite priest!" Charis snarled. "I get to kill Moreau and you too!" She laughed again and said, "You'd better start praying for your life Father." Charis started to walk towards Galina and Philip. Galina tried to struggle out of Philip's grasp but her strength was drained.
"By this storm grew loud a pace, The water-wraith was shrieking; And in the scowl of heaven each face Grew dark as they were speaking." -Thomas Campbell
"When myth meets myth the collision is very real." -Stanislaw Lec
"Let me at her, Philip!" Galina said.
"No, Galina," Philip said. He turned so that his entire body was shielding Galina's. There was no way she could fight in her weakened condition.
Philip exhaled heavily when Charis stopped and stared at something behind Philip's line of vision. It gave Philip a few seconds to pick up Galina in his arms and carry her away from Charis. He turned to run back for Alex but stopped when he saw the two wolves nuzzling Alex's legs. Philip's stomach fell and he decided to risk the possibility of attack to save her.
Alex felt a gentle, furry touch on her hands and looked down at the pair of wolves she had seen earlier. All of a sudden she felt a surge of strength and walked towards Charis, who was standing next to a pair of lions that had bounded out of the jungle and over to her side. They stared at each other for what seemed like hours. Something in the back of Philip's mind told him to stop where he was and back away from them. Galina limped over to his side and he put arm over her to stop her from moving forward.
"I have to help Alex," Galina said in a ragged voice. Philip wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her back.
"She doesn't need our help and you don't have the strength," Philip said.
A small, gentle wind kicked up around Alex and Charis. The two women gasped simultaneously. The lions roared and hissed and the wolves growled and snarled.
"Artemis!" Charis spat out in Greek.
"Hecate," Alex replied. At the mention of their names the atmosphere became thick and heavy.
"Holy..." Philip wasn't able to say anymore. He was at a loss for words as his full attention was on the two women in front of him.
"Alex," Galina moaned.
"That's not Alex," Philip told her. "Look at her!"
Galina looked at Alex. Philip was right. There was a strange glow around Alex and her eyes had turned to a dark blue color and her hair seemed a few shades lighter. Even Charis seemed different.
"You can't defeat me!" Hecate screamed. "You Gods of Olympus are dead, but the Gods of evil will never die, not while there are still those who revel in their sins and pay homage to me!"
"I've waited too long for the opportunity to tear you to pieces, Hecate!" Artemis shouted. The two goddesses leapt for one another and Philip grabbed Galina and hit the ground.
When the cries of the Gods filled the air, everyone else stopped fighting. Some of the cultists ran in retreat, others stood watching with the Amazons as the wolves of Artemis lunged at the lions of Hecate. The skies clouded over and there was a rumbling in the dark clouds overhead.
Artemis and Hecate locked arms and struggled around in circles. Philip covered his ears at the painful cries of the lions as they were ripped to shreds by Artemis's wolves. The victorious beasts howled in triumph. Hecate turned at the sound of her beasts and cursed at Artemis who threw a volley of punches in Hecate's direction. Hecate blocked every one of them and she kicked back and sent Artemis flying. Hecate grabbed on to a vine and climbed to the top of the trees. In seconds Artemis climbed up after her. Philip squinted and tried to get a look at Alex and Charis up in the trees. He could barely make out their forms as the two women fought back and forth among the treetops.
Artemis stood with her feet firmly planted on the tree branch as Hecate delievered kick after kick. Artemis blocked each kick and when Hecate hesitated for a split second, Artemis slammed into Hecate, sending both women tumbling to the ground, hitting branch after branch on the way down. Philip thought for sure that both women were dead when they hit the ground but the two of them jumped up quickly and resumed their fighting. One of Artemis's wolves leaped on Hecate who grabbed the animal and wrestled with it, snapping it in half. Artemis used the delay to pull a silver arrow from behind her. A bow materialized in her hands and Artemis aimed the arrow at Hecate's heart.
Everyone shielded their eyes from the bright light that flashed when the silver arrow plunged into Hecate's heart. Philip looked back up to see Alex crouched down on the ground and Charis dead. He got up but the Amazons beat him to Alex. They bowed down and began chanting and singing and cheering. The few Hecates that remained alive fled into the jungle. When Philip reached Alex she looked at him perplexed. The remaining wolf had disappeared.
"You don't remember anythin'?" Philip asked her. She shook her head.
"Did we win?" Alex asked. Galina hobbled over.
"Alex," she said, "You were amazing."
"You kicked some major evil-goddess butt," Philip commented. Galina and Alex broke out laughing.
"Evil-goddess butt?" Alex asked.
"Well, yeah, somethin' like that," Philip smiled.
Derek's search party had scoured every inch of the jungle. They all gasped and rubbed their eyes when a bright flash lighted up the jungle. Finally, an hour later, one of the men cried out. Derek, Ethan and Nick ran forward. Their missing friends stood before them, smiling as if they had shared something sacred. Alex's face was black and blue and covered in blood. Philip was holding on to a pale-faced Galina who bleeding slightly from the side. Nick ran forward and gathered her in his arms.
"Ouch! Careful!" she said.
Derek sighed so loud that a flock of birds took off from the riverbed. He grabbed Alex from Ethan's arms and hugged her and Philip together. He looked over at Galina and Nick. "Galina, are you alright?" he asked, breathlessly.
"Oh, I'm fine," she managed to croak.
"What happened?" Nick asked.
"Galina and I were abducted by Hecates, saved by Amazons. Galina taught me how to kick ass. Our old friend Charis showed up and then we turned into goddesses and beat the crap out of each other while my dogs ate her cats and then I shot her with my silver arrows and she died," Alex rambled. Everyone looked at her.
"Well, that's about the size of it," Philip said, smiling.
"I can see this is going to make quite a report for our Legacy files," said Derek. "Are you sure it was Charis?" Derek asked. The look on Philip and Alex's face told him it was.
As they walked back towards Ethan's campsite Alex looked back at the jungle and saw several faces smiling back at her from the trees. She smiled back and stopped when she noticed the lone wolf staring at her. It seemed to be smiling at her as well. She watched it vanished and turned around. Alex didn't know how to explain it, but she knew that she would never be the same again. She knew from looking at Philip and Galina that they had changed too. A lot more was going to change before Alex was through.
"Things are going to be a lot different from now on," she said to Derek and Nick.
"Yeah," Galina and Philip said in unison.
"Why do I get the feeling that we're in for a serious reprimand?" Nick asked Derek.
"Because we are," Derek replied, wistfully.
Now go e-mail Katy and let her know what you think!