Even though the events of the last couple of weeks had made things a lot better, a slight feeling of uneasiness remained for Odyssa. Yes, so far peace seemed more secure, but they had not yet been everywhere to get the treaty signed. As a result she set off again with the Deara the two destroyers and Suha, who this time was accompanied by Kasu, in the Anagara, to investigate the farthest reaches of this universe. Two more Lizard communities signed the treaty and they were already asking themselves if they needed to turn around, when they were attacked by a small fleet of unknown ships. Both Kasu and Circe clouded their the squadron in protective spells, but the fire from the alien vessels took a lot of energy to ward off.
Lacking the fighters from the Pa’an as well as Sala and LaSaDa Odyssa took the decision to find and eradicate their base. Sori and her were frantically scanning the surrounding planets for any signs of life, each with her own method and Odyssa finally spotted a heavily camouflaged cluster of life not too far away. Sharing the information with the squadron she ordered every other ship to fight off the enemy to the best of their ability, while she would invade the enemy planet with the Amazons. Kasu created portals to transfer the Lizard Amazons to the Deara, where things got a little crowded. Then, with the remaining three ships guarding her back, Odyssa led the attack in the Deara.
They soon spotted the pyramid like buildings on the surface of the unknown planet, that was pretty much barren like the one they had defeated the Homm on. There was a nagging suspicion in the back of Odyssa’s mind, that they had not yet seen the last of the dark force. Blade agreed. Among the pyramids was a castle like structure that caught Odyssa’s attention, as it seemed, that whatever life it was, it was centred there. Well surprise attack was always the best defence she thought and had the Deara hover close enough to the ground to deploy the Amazons. Then she instructed Circe and Kasu to keep in contact with her and send magic when needed. This might be the one decisive battle.
The joined Amazon force left the Deara and rushed towards the castle. As soon as they were on the ground the Deara lifted off again to be able to give any assistance from the air, might it be needed, while the remaining ships
kept the enemy fleet at a distance. Odyssa grouped her Amazons for an assault on the gate, that she planned to simply kick in, once she had reached her full size. But just then what seemed like an impossibility, a group of Demon like beings rose from the ground before her. They were all sorts of strange beings, some more like humanoids even like humans, some more like Lizard people, but all of them with sharp claws and teeth rather than weapons. The first one had reached Odyssa, who, true to her way of leadership, was at the tip of the wedge formation the Amazons had formed by instinct.
As the claws of the demons tried to tear at her flesh they found her suit impenetrable. Not even their claws could cut Derek’s fabric. Happy to know that her human Amazons were just as protected as her she remained in human size and Blade started singing her song of death, accompanied by the frustrated cries of the demons, that all to quickly turned into cries of pain, fear and then death. To the left and right of her the Amazons showed their training and determination. Their weapons were not as efficient as Odyssa’s magical blade, of course, but quick and well aimed slashes and stabs cut off limbs and claws and sometimes even heads. What was left was taken care of by the following Amazons in the wedge. Slowly the number of demons growing from the ground diminished and Odyssa saw her advantage, as the Deara blasted the gate and the towers supporting it away with her phasers. The Amazons stormed through the rubble into the courtyard, where another formation of even more frightening entities blocked their path.
This time Odyssa didn’t hesitate to use her full powers. Almost instantly she had grown to more than fifty feet again and her wings were burning in a deep all consuming red fire. A fist blast from her left hand scorched a path through the demons towards the human like figure at the centre behind them. As soon as it realised what Odyssa was doing it vanished.
‘it is retreating inside’ Blade informed her.
‘Can you reach Circe?’ Odyssa asked.
‘Ask her if she can seal it in the room it is in.’
A few moments later she was informed it was done. Odyssa had a very good idea whom she was dealing with. First of all she killed all demons left in the courtyard by ordering her Amazons out and then simply scorching the place with her fire. It seemed like a dragon spewing flames of incredible intensity, but in fact she had put Blade back over her shoulder and was using both hands to project flames everywhere she detected a rest of life in one form or another. The courtyard cleared she reduced her size and started into the central building itself. Room for room Blade and her examined the building, making sure nothing was left in any of the rooms. Wherever they went nothing was left than smouldering remains of tapestries, furniture and other decorations.
Finally they reached the throne room, the only one left and Odyssa could feel the wards sealing it off. So this was where her prey was hiding. Circe and Kasu took their spells off the door to let her through, then the seal the room up again. Odyssa entered the room to find a crying boy sitting on the throne. He looked at her with tears streaming and pleading eyes.
“Thank you,” he sobbed “for saving me from the demons.”
He came rushing at her with open arms as if to embrace her, but Odyssa had recognised the slight smirk he tried to hide. She let him try to cut her suit with his suddenly appearing claws, just to realise they had no effect. Then she simply kicked him so hard in the side, that he flew against the wall. He vanished. But Odyssa wasn’t deceived. With a blast of her fire she melted the armour, that had been standing as decoration not too far away, and with a scream of pain the boy reappeared.
“You should have believed me, when I said the next time you annoyed me I’d fry your sorry ass.” Odyssa said slowly closing in on the boy.
He did not even try to use his lightening, instead he vanished again. As Odyssa was reasonably certain he could not escape she started torching everything in the room, one thing after another, until only the throne was left. She instinctively knew that was where Zeus was hiding.
“Come on,” she said teasingly “at least die like a man.”
A small blast of fire set the throne ablaze, but instead of Zeus appearing another dark cloud, like that one that had attacked Elaria formed, but just like that time on the bridge of the Deara it was suddenly contained in an impenetrable shrinking bubble of light. Through a portal Circe stepped into the room next to her love. As the bubble had reduced to almost nothing it vanished with a scream of pain and death and Circe turned to Odyssa.
“I think, my love, that about finished the mopping up.” she said with a smile and gently stroked Odyssa’s cheek. “Sorry for ending the fun, but there is work for you. Kasu has already got Elaria in as well. Some of your Amazons got hurt. Those were not only claws, they were poisonous as well.”
“I really should have tortured that asshole Zeus!” Odyssa was absolutely furious.
“It would not have changed a thing my love.” Circe said soothingly “Come, Kasu will open a gate to the Deara. You are needed there. You might also want to invent a couple of new tricks in using your fire.”
“Just as well that I have already tried my hand at healing. Do you know how Elaria is doing?”
“She is working hard, but the poison is working fast and she is just a girl, still. You are the adult daughter of the flame of life. You should be faster and more efficient, my love.”
They stepped through the portal Kasu had created and emerged on the hangar deck of the Deara. Sori was there and all the Amazons.
The first thing Odyssa did was to go to Elaria and ask her if she needed anything.
“Energy!” Elaria sighed and with a silent prayer to her mum Odyssa started feeding her fire into her. Elaria perked up instantly.
“Anything you need to tell me, Elaria?”
“The poison is potent and working fast, but I think you should be able to handle it much quicker than I can, mum.”
“I asked your granny to help you, Elaria.” Odyssa said with a smile before getting to work.
She soon found that her flames were more powerful, if she decided to treat the poison as an enemy, rather than a poison. She sent several flames into each of the victims and told her flames to chase the enemy and kill it quickly. It worked on the humans and humanoids. The lizards were more difficult to heal, but there were a lot less of them hurt than the humans and humanoids. Those were mostly caught on the bare skin of their hands. The lizard’s skins were more difficult to penetrated, as Odyssa knew from experience, and she was happy to have sent the Amazons out, before killing the more dangerous Demons in the yard of the castle. Nevertheless there were some of the lizard Amazons in serious condition, as they had not been as fast and well trained as the human ones.
Odyssa also needed to consult with her mother on how to cure them. The eternal flame of life, she thought, well first of all we need more time, so I’ll strengthen the life force in the victims, then find out how to counteract the poison in a lizard’s system. So first of all she touched each and everyone of the hurt Amazons strengthening their life force and thereby their resistance. Then she tried to determine the effect the poison had on the lizards.
“It seems to affect their respiration, mum.”
Elaria had been reading her mind and intentions.
“Try and clear their lungs?”
“You mean like make them breathe out fire like dragons?”
“Sori, we need to land and quickly.” Odyssa told her
Soon the Deara was on the surface again and almost a dozen new Amazons were standing just outside the hatch blowing flames like dragons from a fairy tale, feeling better after a couple of moments. Odyssa was grinning.
“You know,” she said with a giggle “maybe we should make them into a special platoon, Elaria.”
Circe and Kasu were looking on in wonder, as Odyssa and Elaria made the hurt lizard Amazons spew fire like mythical dragons. It did not take them long to clear their lungs of the poison and while the treated Amazons felt weak afterwards, they also felt a lot better and told Odyssa that they thought the poison gone. Odyssa gave all the credit to Elaria, as it had been her, who had the idea and all the Amazons cheered their healer. Then the Anagara landed as well and Suha came rushing over anxious to know the fate of her fellow Amazons. Odyssa pulled her into a hug.
“Suha! How nice of you to care that much!”
“It was difficult to hear the news of the poison. What a devious and evil thing to do!”
“That dark entity was an old enemy, who never got to hurt me. So this time he thought he’d get to me via my Amazons, the asshole.”
“Wow, I have not heard you use terms like that before, who was it?”
“A would be god called Zeus. He should have remembered I promised to fry his sorry ass, if he annoyed me again.”
“You killed Zeus?” Suha asked incredulously.
“It was team work,” Odyssa replied “Kasu, Circe and I worked together.”
“So it was him, who finally killed Kronos, his father.”
“Yes, Suha, you remember a lot of earths mythical history from school still. I am amazed and I dread telling Gaia.” Odyssa replied.
“Maybe you should take her back to earth with you instead of Kasu and myself.” Suha offered.
“I think I’ll take all three of you back.” Odyssa ventured with a smile “But is it so kind of you to offer, Suha. When you come back from your honeymoon, I want you to be my Vice Queen of the Amazons here. Of all of them, Humans, Lizards and Humanoids.”
“You know, that is exactly what Mimi said. That it would not wonder her if I became the leader of the Amazons here.”
“Seems like our little friend has developed more than just a technical ability?”
“Yes, Odyssa, it really seems like that. Do you think she already knows?”
“I believe, that for the time being she thinks she is just voicing her thoughts.”
“You’re probably right there, my Queen.” Suha replied with a laugh “She is a lovely friend though, one way or another.”
“I like her a lot, too, Suha.”
Chapter thirty: the end of the war.
The poison eliminated and her Amazons safe Odyssa ordered the squadron to return to the command base. She would go through everything again with Ara, Kasu, Sala, LaSaDa and her new Lizard friends. Then she would go and visit Gaia, to tell her about Zeus and ask her, if she was happy to come back to earth with her, at least for a while. The various groups of Amazons returned to their ships and the squadron jumped to hyperspace. It didn’t take them all of one day to arrive at the command base and as Odyssa left the Deara Ara was waiting for her. Odyssa embraced her.
“Ara! It seems we have done it!”
“More like you have done it, My Queen.”
“Nonsense, Ara. I would not have been able to do it without you, Rai, Mimi, LaSaDa, Kasu, Sala, Kan … the list is endless. I was nothing like a sort of catalyst to unite your forces.”
“Well,” Ara replied with a smile “no one could accuse you for being immodest, My Queen.”
“Right. Where is my favourite little armourer?”
“I gave her and Rai some holiday, Odyssa.”
“Well done, Chief of Staff. Have they gone anywhere?”
“Yes. They are with Gaia at the moment.”
“A nice place, have you been?”
“Not yet. But I plan to go and see it. I heard it is very much like Earth, where you are coming from.”
“Well, sort of. A very fresh and unspoilt version of it, really. At least since Gaia has got most of her powers back.”
“There have been rumours, Odyssa, from our recruiting point, that there is trouble on Earth. Some kind of unbalanced power thing, if I am reading things correctly. You might want to go home and get things back into order.”
“Oh dear. You haven’t got anything specific, have you?”
“It is like one of the major powers had gone crazy or something. Some kind of weird president, I think.”
“OK, I’ll have to check with my mother. Just as well that things are practically finished here. I have made Suha Vice Queen of the Amazons, by the way. And she and Kasu have fallen in love.”
“Oh, Kasu of all people? How?”
“Suha is a magnificent warrior as well as a very beautiful woman. I think she had her eyes on Kasu from the day they met.” Odyssa responded with a smile
“So when will your time come, Ara?”
“To be honest, My Queen, I thought people like Kasu and myself were immune to feelings like that.”
“The right time and person will come for you as well, Ara, believe me. Now that peace seems to have come, love will blossom.”
“It is a bit of a scary concept for me, to be honest, Odyssa.”
“In the beginning it is, I’ll admit. But if you overcome the fear … ask Kasu. She’ll be on the Anagara with Suha. They should be here any minute.”
Just then the rest of the squadron started to drop out of Hyperspace and they were joined by Kasu and Suha, Sori, Circe, Helena, Thorgal, Elaria and the three women Lizard leaders. Kan, Sala, LaSaDa and Oda would not be long either. While the others got busy preparing festivities to celebrate peace and Kasu and Suha’s love, Odyssa got Circe to seal a little room for them and in the arms of her love sent her dream body to meet Aphrodite. She found her nervously pacing the balcony of Circe’s villa on Cyprus. Aphrodite had never met her before like this, so she was shocked to see Odyssa with her mind’s eye, without there being any physical presence of her.
“Aphrodite, sister, I hear there’s trouble?”
“I sent my dream body, sister. What is going on?”
“It started shortly after you left, sister. Bit by bit things got more and more unhinged. Without you and Circe here the power balance has gone. We desperately need you two back and I had no idea how to reach you.”
“Well, the rumour has reached here, even. The war here is won and Zeus is finally dead. He killed Kronos and even almost killed his mother, too.”
“Well, that explains a lot already. When will you be back?”
“Soon, honey. I’ll bring some guests. You’ll like them.”
“Good. Just make it quick, please? Things might get out of hand otherwise.”
“I will. See you soon, Aphrodite.”
Odyssa brought Circe up to date and Circe could not believe what she heard.
“And Aphrodite and I were afraid you might endanger our favourite world.”
“Seems like I kept the balance of power somehow. We’ll get back as soon as possible. We can always come back here later. What do you think, shall we take Gaia?”
“Yes, my love, I think that would be a good idea. She still is the mother of our earth, after all.”
Their news was met with a lot of sadness, as nobody had expected Odyssa and her family to have to leave so soon. Elaria decided to stay and keep an eye on Gaia’s planet for her and since Humanoids were now also accepted as Amazons, Suha recruited more of Muk’s soldiers as her own Amazons and the human ones followed their princess Elaria to the new planet, Mari becoming Elaria’s friend and trusted commander. Sori, sad to see her commander leave, joined Elaria and Mari with two more destroyers to protect the planet just in case and the Deara became Elaria’s flagship. There were tears in Odyssa’s eyes, as Sori, Mari and Elaria took their leave. She would definitely have to come back here at some point.
Odyssa ordered Kan and his squadron to stay at the command post as a force to watch over the peace while Ara and Sala and LaSaDa went home to Kasu’s realm to keep order there, as Kasu and Suha went with Odyssa and her family to earth. They’d leave as soon as Gaia would arrive. The hardest for Odyssa, though, were the good byes to Mimi, Taka, Gora and Zima. Mimi she loved like a daughter and the three Lizard Amazons had become almost like sisters. Ara she did not worry about, as she realised, than Kan was showing interest in her, now that the war was over. Who knew, perhaps, when she came back for another visit, he might be courting her.
Gaia arrived with Rai and Mimi in a small and fast transport, Rai and Mimi had used for their holiday. Odyssa handed Rai and Mimi into the care of Ara and Suha promised to be back and form her own Amazon unit with Ara and the humanoid volunteers, Rai and Mimi as first candidates.
Odyssa spent quite a long time with Mimi. She held the girl in her arms stroking her hair, as she explained what Suha and her had thought about as to what was happening to her. Mimi was not really surprised, as Rai had told her similar things already. She had already made Mimi accept, that there was a completely new role waiting for her to fill it and Mimi started to see, that she would have to grow up quickly and take on a lot more responsibility even. The strictly technical abilities were only the beginning of who she was becoming.
“My Queen, Odyssa,” Mimi said finally “You told me I’d one day see what LaSaDa did to me was in fact a beautiful gift. Well, thanks to you, it really had become that. I love you so much for what you have given me.”
“Mimi, sweetie, you really have become like a daughter to me. I want to come back and see you and Rai often, as well as Sala, LaSaDa, Elaria, Sori and all the others. This world has become a second home to me. Once things have settled down and I have brought order and balance back to Earth, I hope to see you visit one day so that you can get an idea of what Earth is like.”
“If it is anything like where we’ve just been, My Queen, I know I am going to love it.”
They finally let go of one another, Circe, Helena and Thorgal had said their farewells meanwhile and it was time to go. Kasu opened the portal and Circe led everybody through to her home, Kasu and Suha holding hands as they stepped through the portal and Gaia and Odyssa were last. Those of the friends that were able and watching had tears in their eyes, hoping and some of them praying, that Odyssa and her family would come back for another visit soon. Those who could not cry were nevertheless deeply moved and quickly everybody went back to their everyday tasks, to distract themselves from missing their commander in chief and Queen of the Amazons.
Both Kasu and Suha gasped, as they stepped out of the portal and onto Circe’s balcony. It was late afternoon and the sun was already close to the horizon, the play of colours in the sky, reflecting in the little cove, reminding them of Odyssa’s wings. Odyssa and Circe, on the other hand were shocked, to see a teenage Thorgal and a beautiful young woman, Helena, in her early twenties step from the portal. None of them had had any idea, how long the seemingly short time they’d been away was in comparison to earth years. No wonder, Odyssa thought, that things had got out of balance here. As both Circe and Odyssa had reached adulthood, of course, they did not seem to have aged. It did not take long for Aphrodite to arrive. Due to her habit she simply appeared on the balcony out of nowhere, and since there was no portal or any other means of travel to be seen, Suha and Kasu were shocked, to say the least. Then there was the now perfectly apparent similarity between her and Helena.
“Aphrodite, sister,” Circe greeted her “welcome.”
“I have missed you all.” Aphrodite stated “No one to have doughnuts with in NY. Who are your guests? If I didn’t know any better, I’d assume this beautiful Amazon to be the daughter of Penthesilea and Ares. But she is just thirteen now, like Thorgal.”
“Kasu, Suha, please meet my sister in mischief and good female friend Aphrodite, earth’s goddess of love and beauty. Gaia, you probably remember her, don’t you?”
“How could I ever forget her? Hello daughter of my former husband Uranus.”
“Gaia! I am tempted to call you mum.”
“I would not mind.”
“These two beautiful beings here,” Odyssa continued the introductions “are Kasu, the Queen of the people I went to save with LaSaDa, whom you have but briefly met, and Suha, my Vice Queen of the newly started Amazon tribe in Kasu’s and LaSaDa’s world.”
“Queen Kasu, Queen Suha, you must be two very special people, for Odyssa and Circe to have brought you here. And your tattoos are the most beautiful I have ever seen.”
“From a goddess of love and beauty,” Kasu said with a smile “that is high praise indeed. I do not know what tattoos are, these markings do identify me as royal and immortal, they developed naturally with my coming off age.”
She paused and smiled lovingly at Suha.
“When I fell in love with Suha and we held hands, they changed and became even more beautiful. Then they transferred themselves to her as my soul mate.”
“Oh, that is marvellous, Kasu. Suha, you are one lucky woman.”
“Both Kasu and I think,” Suha said with a grin “that some of your magic might have rubbed off on your sister Odyssa. We might have never met without her.”
Aphrodite’s clear and beautiful laughter was joyous and infectious.
“That one has a magic all of her own.” She said “Odyssa’s love is something else entirely. Isn’t it, Circe?”
“It certainly is. But now, please everybody, make yourselves at home. Aphrodite, you know where your room is, I will show Kasu and Suha theirs and you two, Thorgal and Helena, now are certainly old enough to run down to the village and get some supplies. Odyssa would you mind getting some wine from the cellar?”
Odyssa did not need to be asked twice and Helena and Thorgal helped themselves to some gold and went to get Giros and cold meats from the village as well as bread, cheeses, fruit and veg. Neither of the two seemed to be surprised by their sudden ageing. Back with some wine Odyssa and Aphrodite settled on the balcony, while Circe took Kasu and Suha to their guest room, where she simply created some contemporary clothes for the two, so that they’d have something to dress in, in the days to come. Aphrodite changed from her business suit with a pencil skirt, that she had worn to meet Maureen and Washington in New York, into one of the soft white tunics Circe, Odyssa and her preferred while in private. Then she brought Odyssa up to speed about the political changes in the US and the rest of the world. Odyssa sighed deeply.
“And I thought I had it difficult with the war. This mess seems even worse.”
“At least,” Circe said “none of the idiots has pressed any red buttons yet.”
“I think,” Odyssa replied “as a first measure I’ll have Circe and Kasu work out a means of disabling all of those.”
And then she added with a mischievous laugh:
“And then I might want to bring LaSaDa, Sala and the Pa’an here.”
“What is or are the Pa’an?” Aphrodite asked.
“A battleship, sister, that will scare the living daylights out of any and all of those politicians. The shields and weapons it has are enough to lay this whole planet to waste and wipe out all of the existing military in a couple of hours under my command, once the nuclear missiles are disabled.”
“You have become a lot more ruthless, sister, since you left.”
“I have been fighting dark forces worse than anything you can imagine, Aphrodite. By comparison those buggers here are nothing but children playing in a sandpit.”
“Oh, goodie!” Aphrodite giggled “sounds like we are going to have fun.”
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