The Quiet Survivor

by GabbysHOPE

Disclaimer: The characters, names and storylines which have appeared in the syndicated television show Xena: Warrior Princess are copyright property of MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. No copyright infringement was intended in the writing of this fan fiction. All other characters in this story and the story itself are the sole property of the author. This story can not be used or sold for profit in any way. This story has been written solely for the reading enjoyment of Xena: Warrior Princess fans of the internet.

Setting: This story is meant to take place between the episodes "Sacrifice II" and "A Family Affair".

Note To Reader: The author has tried to present Hope as she is on the show. She is a dark character. She has however on occasion shown some small interest in her mother. Her love for mother is not guaranteed, however there is always.....hope.

GabbysHOPE@ aol.coom


"Why mother!? Why!?" she screamed as the hot winds of the lave pit pulled her down. She was falling and powerless. Her arms were flailing madly to the air, desperately reaching out for anything to grab. Nothing. Her thoughts were not of mother, or her duties to father, or even herself. Only the fearful uneasiness of her decent.

Her arm hit a side of the pit and she was sent into a new direction. She could see her mother's body twirl around in the air above her. Then she lost sight of mother as she too rolled around to see the boiling lava below. She let out another scream that echoed through her mind, making her feel all the worse. No! This could not be happening to her. She was Hope. She was the daughter of the god of all fires and evils, Dahak.

A deafening sound caused her to snap her eyes to the lava below. A huge column of flame shot out towards her. She tried to shake herself to the side but it was useless. She had no footing from which to move. All she could do was scream further as the flames raced up towards her and covered her body. . . .

Chapter 1:

A hypnotic feeling of warmth washed over Hope as she floated within a realm of pure fire. Her skin felt the flames as they brushed across her body and yet somehow she knew she was not being burnt. She took a slow, deep breath and was greeted by the smell of brimstone and ash. In her thoughts, she smiled as it was a welcoming scent she knew all too well. This was the realm of father. The realm of Dahak himself.

Dahak was an elemental god of fire. His powers extended far beyond the limited imaginations of mortals. He was not merely fire but a thinking, living being as were all within this place. No mortal could ever begin to truly comprehend this realm. Comparing Dahak to a simple campfire would be as meaningless as the relationship between the life of a human being compared to that of a blade of grass. The depths of awareness here, flowing to and through one another were indescribable to the human mind. This realization surprised Hope as well, for she was afterall limited to the nature of mortality herself. She was the daughter of one such mortal, an Amazon bard named Gabrielle. Her thoughts quickly returned to her surroundings as she opened her eyes, not in a physical sense but somehow through thought.

She was silenced by the surreal beauty of this realm. Colors she could never have imagined moved around her. This realm was alive with fire. It was a never-ending ocean of flame, molten lava and inferno. All manner of creatures lived here: from the armies of the various fire gods, to the demons and lost souls of other beliefs, to the presence of the realm itself. She somehow knew that the fire realm was believed to be a great form of life from which all around her originated.

It was very easy for a mortal such as herself to loose her control here. She was strongly tempted to view the great depths of this realm and forget herself. A change in the flows of the flames around her caused her to focus her attention. A presence was forming around her. She could feel it. She knew that another life was in contact with her and this one felt powerful and familiar.

"Father." She thought out loud. "I am pleased that you have delivered me to this place of rest."

Dahak's thoughts were deep and echoing like thunder. "Daughter. This is not as it was meant to be. Your work is unfinished. You are to return to the realm of mortals."

"But how is that? I have fallen beyond reach. Surely this is what they refer to as an afterlife."

"No, my daughter. It is much more than such a limited definition. You live. It was I who reached up to guide you here. To save you."

Hope smiled at that. "Thank you father."

"You are to return to the realm of the mortals and continue your work. Your child is safe. I have sensed it. It shall make this mortal realm in my image as will its siblings. Then my power shall rule the world. I shall extend my reach well beyond this realm into many others."

"Yes, father." It was all that she felt needed to be said.

Hope could sense that she was being lifted through the ocean of flames. Her thoughts reflected towards the place known as Greece. As she considered her activities there, she could feel that father had already taken her there. A great column of flame reached up from the pit and brought her to the very edge from which she had fallen before. She was placed gently down upon the cold stone floor. The flame then returned to the lava pit and she was left alone.

Hope resisted the urge to shiver. The air seemed so cold compared to the fire realm. Even the heat from the lava pit below seemed inadequate. She opened her eyes and sat up. Looking around her, she could see that things were just as she had remembered them. To the far back wall was the huge skull which rested against the wall. She had no idea where father had found it. To the sides, she could see two tables. As she looked around however, she noticed that several decorative items were missing. This caused her to frown. She would have to look into this matter if time allowed.

No one was here except for Hope. Ares was nowhere to be found. This angered her slightly. He was to be her chosen. She shook her head is disappointment. How could she expect anything less from him. He had seen her fall with his own eyes and had probably considered her lost. It was of no great concern. He would likely return soon enough once he realized that she was safe.

She stood and examined herself. Her appearance was just like mother: blond hair, green eyes, a simple brown cloth skirt and a green top. Hope brushed the dirt and ash off of her as best she could and walked toward the entrance. She started to leave but paused. Her hands went to her stomach as she felt the slightest of movements. Hope smiled. Her son would soon enter this world and make it in her father's image. She walked out into the sunlight and started toward the place father had suggested. Father had mentioned only one simple word to her that held great meaning. "Poteidaia."

Chapter 2:

Hope had been walking along the dirt trail for several hours without meeting anyone. Only the rustle of leaves in the warm autumn breeze and the occasional forest animals greeted her. She looked down at the trail as she walked. The grass slowly began to reclaim the path, a sure sign that it was not often traveled upon.

After some time, she became restless with her journey and remembered it would be time to eat. Almost dutifully, a small brown and white rabbit hopped along the trail toward her. The rabbit stopped some distance in front of her and looked up at her. She returned the stare with cold green eyes. The rabbit seemed taken by her glare and remained motionless. She smiled. In no time at all, she had the animal as she needed it. She took out the ceremonial dagger attached to her brown skirt and began to prepare the defenseless rabbit for her meal. A slight movement of her finger created a fire for the evening.

Sunset fell quickly upon the land. Hope's fire was all that could be seen for some distance. She sat back against a fallen elm tree and watched as the flames of the campfire reached up to the sky. The edges of the flame raced desperately upwards and to the side as a gentle breeze passed over her camp. The quiet rustling of the weeds preceded the gentle breeze which chilled her slightly. She drew her cape around her tightly and stared into the fire. With only a slight thought, the flames rose higher and the night seemed warmer. Hope relaxed and closed her eyes. As she slept, the flames of the campfire appeared brighter than normal. As though a far greater power was watching over her.

Chapter 3:

"C'mon Ceredis! Move! We ain't got all day." Gareb was frustrated from all his effort of pulling the old cart. He was a big stocky man in simple peasant clothing. His half-witted brother Ceredis traveled with him on occasion. Ceredis was supposed to be pushing the cart as he pulled it, but Ceredis frequently lagged behind. The poor condition of the dirt road was no help. Gareb was in a bad mood from having to pull the cart since sunrise. It was loaded with all kinds of goods and merchandise: most purchased and some stolen.

"I'm trying, Gareb. Honest." was his brother's only response.

"Well, try harder. We'll never make it to the next village at this rate." Ceredis pushed along as best he could which didn't seem to be helping as far as Gareb was concerned. If it wasn't for his brother needing to support a wife and child, Gareb would have left him behind long ago. He grumbled as he continued to pull the cart along.

Up ahead, Gareb could see that a woman was walking up to the road from a side path. She was travelling in the same direction as they were. As he continued to pull the cart, she stopped and looked to both of the men. Her eyes held a confidence in herself that he rarely saw in women. Gareb smirked. He had conned more than one woman out of their gold. He didn't see why this one should be any different.

The woman stopped and allowed them to pull the cart past her before continuing. Ceredis gave an enthusiastic greeting much to Gareb's annoyance. The woman returned the greeting quietly, studying the goods on the cart as they all continued to walk. Ceredis mind was simple and easy to direct. In no time at all, the conversation revealed that the two brothers made a living by trading goods from town to town. Ceredis admitted from time to time they took things, but only from abandoned places. Empty huts, caves and unused temples.

Ceredis was telling Hope of a recent trip to a war god's temple when the cart abruptly stopped. Gareb walked to the back and yelled at Ceredis before turning to Hope. "Listen miss. We're in the business of buying and selling. You want to buy or not?"

Hope was not interested in purchasing anything, only in where some of the merchandise on the cart was taken from. Gareb frowned. He knew an accusation when he heard one. He placed his hand on the young woman's shoulder to warn her away, when a sharp pain caused him to lift his hand quickly. He shook his hand and looked at it. It felt as though it had been on fire. He looked to the woman and growled, taking a swing at her. She easily moved to the side and kept her foot in place. Gareb lost his balance and fell.

Ceredis backed away to the far corner of the cart and watched. He saw his brother reach for a club and swing at the woman. He missed both times. An unseen force threw the big man up into the air and then to the ground. Ceredis leaned against the other side of the cart unable to look. Sounds of movement stopped with a sudden yell. Ceredis recognized the sound of his brother's voice. He closed his eyes.

Ceredis opened his eyes and yelped. The woman's face was just inches from his own. He hadn't even heard her move next to him. She asked where the temple of the war god was located and he dutifully pointed, his arm shaking as he did so. Hope tilted her head and smiled to him. He returned the smile nervously. As Hope's smile grew colder and a flame-like glow began to form in her hand, Ceredis got the distinct impression that this wasn't a very nice lady.

Chapter 4:

The trip to the war god's temple remained uneventful. Hope encountered no further delays as she made her way through a wheat field near the temple. The wheat rose to her waste as she passed through it. She was surprised that Ares allowed for such things near his temples, but quickly remembered that the Olympians were one's for cooperation on occasion. That might be a factor to consider in the future, though she doubted the gods would be prepared for the sudden force her father would use.

The temple appeared as she had expected, menacing and suggestive of power. Huge columns of dark gray marble stood near the entrance and to the sides. Designs of soldiers fighting and of a great battle were carved into the upper sides of the temple roof. Some warlike weapons lay scattered upon the ground and there were also burn marks near the main path. She quietly walked up the ancient steps to enter the temple, holding a small pouch of gold pieces previously owned by the two unfortunate thieves.

The inside of the temple was equally impressive. Large tapestries, weapons and statues decorated the main hall. She walked toward a bronze statue of a Roman soldier and admired its craftsmanship. Various gifts of weapons and gold lined the sides of the main hall. Golden cups, chalices and plates were filled with all kinds of valuable jewels. Hope placed the pouch of gold coins with these other items. She then looked to the distance to see the two individuals who were quietly speaking to one another.

A man and woman were having a conversation. By their actions, Hope determined they held some level of authority among their own people. The man wore a small crown and dark cape around his clothing. The woman was dressed in black clothing as well and was seated on what must be a throne. She seemed comfortable sitting on the throne. As Hope approached them, the woman looked over and took notice of her. The man turned to look at her as well. Both seemed to study her as though they recognized some similar feeling of power and authority.

The woman stood from the throne and greeted Hope. "You stand in the temple of an Olympian goddess. I am Discord, goddess of war." The man near her nodded a greeting toward Hope. "This is Hades, lord of the underworld."

"Goddess of war." Hope thought out loud to herself. "Then Ares is no more?"

Discord looked to Hope with minor disapproval. "Ares....has found himself in disfavor with Zeus and most of the other gods. For reasons I am sure you are well aware."

Hope shrugged. "He has a way of turning loss into opportunity."

"Yes, he does." Hades responded. "You seem to understand him well."

"Of course she does." Discord responded. "She and Ares planned on creating a new race of gods. They think alike."

Hope could sense by Discord's words that the goddess felt uneasy. She studied Hades for a few seconds. "Hades, god of death. I find your interests to be favorable." She looked deeply into his eyes. "I see no reason why Ares should be the only one to benefit from the new order that will come to pass."

The god of the underworld smiled slightly to her, averting her attempted control over him. "Order is easy to plan, but often difficult to ensure. Either way, in the end all come to me in due time. I have learned to be patient."

Hope considered his words. "Times change. They always do. The new rises up to replace the old. It is that way with mortals and gods alike if I understand history correctly."

"Hades may choose to be patient if he wants. But I didn't just earn this power to have it taken away." Discord stepped forward to face Hope directly. A bright ball of orange flame surged into her hand and she quickly threw it at Hope.

Hope's eyebrow raised upward in interest. Had this one intentionally done something to harm Ares? She looked up from her thoughts just in time to see the flame blast into her. She was thrown back slightly, more by the force of impact than by the flames. The flames were easy enough for her body to absorb. Rage overcame Hope. She had been targeted where her child now rested.

Hope quickly backed away and avoided another blast of fire. Her eyes focused on one of the four main columns of the temple. With a slight thought, the base of the column snapped. Discord turned quickly to see the massive slab of marble which was meant to crush her. Hades hand shot up into the air and the falling debris quickly aged into dust, which dropped harmlessly to the ground like a blanket of powder.

Hades turned to address Hope. "All things, mortal or otherwise, can be made to die by my hand."

Hope looked to him and then slowly withdrew herself from the Olympian temple. "Indeed, all things can be made to die." Hades took no immediate threat from the suggestion. Discord however was ready for further conflict. She stood covered with dark Grey powder, looking angered as Hope left the temple.

Chapter 5:

Hope looked back to the temple of war from a distance. Beyond the wheat field it appeared as only a small shade of Gray against the horizon once more. She found herself wondering what had happened to Ares. Had he been betrayed by the one named Discord or perhaps the Olympians had imprisoned him somehow. Most unfortunate, considering he was one of the few gods she had encountered who held promise. He held a love for those events which would soon come to pass. True, there were other gods from other lands who devoted their efforts to warfare, but Ares had a certain....character that she found interesting.

She continued her pace along the dirt road, walking once more in the general direction which would lead to Poteidaia. It was a sunny, warm day, with almost no wind at all. The winding path before her appeared to rise and then fall into what was probably a valley. Upon reaching the crest of the hill, Hope saw a farming village. There were over twenty homes and a few larger buildings. She smiled to herself, thinking these mortals would eliminate her boredom for a time.

As she made her way to the village, Hope could hear the faintest sound of rustling within the wheat field. She turned and looked across the top of the field, trying to decide what was making the sound. Her eyes narrowed slightly and the wheat began to part. The rustling sound moved further to the left but Hope's concentration quickly found her target. With a short thought, the wheat around the object flattened out to reveal a small blonde haired girl. Hope stood there quietly looking at her. She wore a simple brown dress with her hair tied back. She smiled and giggled innocently, running off through the wheat field and back to the village. Hope frowned but let the child return.

Hope approached the edge of the village when a sharp pain caused her to cry out and she fell to the ground. Her hand reached to her stomach where her child was, concerned for its safety and puzzled at the same time. She felt as though the child was on fire, but knew that was not the case. A couple of villagers must have heard her. Two men and a woman approached her.

Hope was in no mood to deal with the mortals. She slowly stood and told them to return to what they were doing. The men hesitated for a few seconds. She seemed to be standing now and all right so they returned. The woman stayed and walked with Hope. Her name was Alyssa. Hope considered giving a forceful response to the woman to send her on her way, when she saw the young child once more. The little girl ran up to Alyssa and smiled, looking to Hope and then back to Alyssa. Alyssa returned the young child's smile and reached down to hug her daughter.

"This is my darling daughter Amber." Alyssa said with a mother's pride.

Hope looked to the child with a slight sense of emptiness, thinking of those years she had spent away from her mother.

"Hello." Amber said as she looked up to Hope. "I'm Amber. I'm gonna be a Amazon princess when I grow up."

Alyssa smiled softly. "Yes, I'm sure you will be. Now run along now like a good Amazon girl."

"Yes mommy." Amber ran along the road back to the village, making play sounds as she fought off imaginary villains that would dare to attack her Amazon village.

Alyssa explained that two Amazon women helped her family fix a broken wagon several weeks ago and Amber had taken a liking to them ever since. She thought it was good for the child to want to be strong. Hope agreed to that, pausing by a tavern door. Alyssa looked to her and asked is she was ill. Hope explained that she was expecting a child soon.

Alyssa was surprised. "You don't appear to be far along, judging by the look of you."

Hope smiled slightly. "My family always has had unusual child births."

Alyssa smiled politely and offered to take her into the tavern and rest. There were a few rooms upstairs. Hope agreed to enter the tavern for a drink of water, but she would require a quieter place to rest. A more private place. Alyssa understood. They entered the bar where the owner was cleaning up from an apparent brawl. Two tables were broken and several chairs had been thrown around.

The owner saw the two women and returned behind the bar to get their drinks.

Hope drank her water quickly and asked of a barn or stable that might be nearby. Alyssa was a bit concerned that she would be staying in a barn with her condition but guessed that it would be only temporary. She promised to talk to the village healer. Their healer was a wise woman who would likely provide shelter for Hope when the time came.

Both women left minutes later to find a place for Hope to sleep that night. A local man from the bar entered to get a drink. He looked around at the mess and smirked. "Busy night Reyn?"

Reyn the tavern owner grumbled. "These fights are going to send me to the poor house."

The man nodded sympathetically, pointing to a bottle of ale on the back wall. "Farm fence dispute?"

Reyn reached for the bottle and a mug. "No, some woman actually."

The man took the mug of ale and took a sip. "Woman?" He smiled in disbelief.

Reyn leaned forward against the bar talking to him. "Yeah some woman." He shook his head at the thought of her. "A warrior by the look of her. She had some crazy, miserable look in her eye the whole night. Like she'd lost her best friend or something. All I know is she busted up the place."

The man nodded his head listening. He reached over to the bowl of bread sticks.

Reyn glanced briefly out the window, watching the farmer's wife Alyssa talking to a new friend of hers. Reyn looked back to the man at the bar and continued to explain with a shrug. "She paid for the damages so I let her sleep it off in a room upstairs. Man, that lady can hold her ale, and she had alot of it too. I just hope she wakes up tomorrow with a better attitude and moves on."

The tavern owner looked out the window again at Alyssa and her nice looking friend. He smiled to himself. "We don't need women like that one upstairs in the village. They're nothing but trouble."

The man at the bar nodded his head in agreement.

Outside, Hope glanced briefly at the tavern and then around the village. She thanked Alyssa for her generosity and headed home with the woman. Perhaps she would spare these people so that they might serve her father. She smiled coldly at the thought as Alyssa took her to her home. . . .

Chapter 6:

Aaordus' made a scuffing sound as his shoes dug into the mud along the narrow village road. It was late at night and his drunkenness made the long trip home seem even longer. Aaordus was tired and not in a good mood. The approaching storm didn't make him feel any better. He looked up at the clouds and knew that he wouldn't make it back to his home before the rainfall started. Almost dutifully, a light mist began to fall on him. He grumbled to himself and continued reluctantly on his way.

Within the next half hour, he was soaked from the relentless downpour. The quick and forceful flashes of lightning showed the path ahead. Aaordus saw that he was passing the home of the farmer's widow Alyssa.

A sudden clap of thunder was accompanied by a sharp scream. He jumped at the sound of it. Aaordus stood there numbly for awhile, but he could hear nothing. The rain continued to batter down upon his face and run through his hair. Rolling thunder from the east suggested that the worst of the storm was yet to come.

Curiousity got the best of him, and he reluctantly walked forward to the old wooden gate that barely separated Alyssa's property from the dirt path. He walked carefully forward. A sudden clap of thunder directed his attention to the right, where the big red barn was located. He squinted his eyes and could see the faintest impressions of shadows against the window panes. There was a lantern being used.

A second scream from within the barn sent a cold chill down his spine. It wasn't a very long scream or forceful, but it sounded unlike anything he had ever heard before. He glanced to the left and then to the right, a bit of fear edged in his thoughts. A flash of lightning revealed a pitchfork not too far away and he gratefully walked over to take it.

Aaordus crept slowly to the front barn door, realizing that it was unlocked. He reached his fingers into the entry hole of the door and pushed the door out slightly, just enough so that he might brush in between the doors and enter the barn. Aaordus walked inside with the pitchfork raised, looking to the lofts on either side and then to a few hay bails which lied scattered around on the floor. When he was about halfway into the barn, he could see a bag on the floor. It was the medical bag of the local healer Celeme, a trusted woman within the community.

Aaordus' frowned. Celeme's bag and the items in it seemed to be thrown around on the floor without concern. That wasn't like her to be so messy. Aaordus walked forward and kneeled down, still keeping one hand on the pitchfork. He reached for the bag and quickly drew his hand back. He had worked on the farm long enough to recognize the look and feel of blood when he encountered it.

Aaordus stood up quickly and spun around. His breathing increased considerably. He felt like a person who had unexpectedly walked into serious trouble. He looked quickly back up to the lofts on either side and then around him. He could hear nothing but the thunder outside.

Just then a sound of hay scraping against the floor sounded to his left, well behind the larger bales of hay. He ignored the wrinkled blanket which lay near the overturned medical bag and focused on where he heard the noise. Aaordus felt a bit of concern for his friend of two years so he called out to her.

"Celeme?" His voice sounded more worried than he wanted it too. He took a few cautious steps forward, barely a few feet from the large hay bails. He walked around them and stopped suddenly, taking a deep breath as he saw what was left of Celeme.

A sudden scraping sound made him turn sharply around. It had come from the opposite side of the barn. Aaordus' eyes were wide open now, desperately searching for the person or animal that was responsible for this. He wanted to run to the barn door and keep running all the way home, but something told him that he wouldn't make it out.

Aaordus held the pitchfork out in front of him, ready to stab anything that moved. He walked slowly around the side of the hay bails until he caught the impression of a moving shadow behind them. He could see something that looked like an animal. An animal that was still chewing on something. His fighting instincts took control of him and he jabbed the pitchfork forward.

The animal moved with incredible speed. It bolted back to the other side of the hay bails and then Aaordus heard the scraping of claws against hay. The sound moved very fast up the side of the hay bails. Time seemed to move painfully slow for Aaordus as he slowly drew the pitchfork back in his arms. A few brief flashes of lighting showed a roughly dog -sized animal covered with sharp quills. He was still stunned by the sight of the animal when it sprang upon him.

Outside the storm continued to rage on with the wind and rain hitting the house and barn. The thunder rolled on and the lightning flashed with a loud crack. Another almost unearthly scream could be heard from the barn for a few seconds before it was drowned out by the storm.

The beast within had had its meal for the evening. It rested now in the loft above. Its big blue eyes looked to the barn entrance, blinking slowly with a child-like innocence. It sighed and rested its head, waiting for mother's return.

Chapter 7:

Reyn, the tavern owner, jumped up out of bed in the middle of the night. He had just heard the most horrible of screams. It came from within the tavern. He quickly lit a candle and walked into the main drinking area, using the lighting as much as the candle to find his way to the stairway. He walked up the stairway and stopped at one of the doors. The door was open. He stuck his head in to find something flying directly at him.

"Aaahhhh!" Reyn was pulled into the room and slammed against the wall. Someone had a hold on him in a viselike grip and he couldn't break free. Over the thunder of the storm a woman's voice called out to him with a cold, threatening tone. "What do you think you're doing?"

"I uh-I was just checking on a noise." Reyn took a deep breath.

The woman's hold on him relaxed. She let go of him after a few seconds and walked over to sit on the bed. Reyn could see that she was feeling sad about something. She wasn't drunk like the previous night, but she still felt miserable. "Is there anything I can get for you?"

She brushed her hand over her face, giving him a sad smile. She whispered her response. A simple, "No."

Reyn nodded his head, not really understanding but trying to act like he did. He was going to ask her a question when a strong knock sounded at the door below. He excused himself from the room and made his way down the stairs to the door. One of the townsmen was there, a farmer that lived on the outer east edge of town. He mentioned hearing some screams from his neighbor's home. The man seemed upset.

Xena stood quietly within the doorway of her room, listening to the two men. Reyn suggested finding Celeme if someone was hurt. The farmer left to look for her while Reyn put on a rain coat. He turned to pick up a dagger hidden behind the counter, when he saw the woman standing before him. She was already dressed and ready for travel.

"I heard what he said. Thought I might join you." Her voice was calm and controlled.

Reyn nodded. He could see the sword and another round weapon of some kind at her side. He welcomed her assistance. If she was half as good with a sword as she was in a barroom brawl, she could hold her own. They made their way quickly down the main road toward the outer edge of town. The rain was still strong, but the worst of it had past.

Reyn could see that the woman wasn't one for unnecessary conversation. She was a woman of action. As they approached the gate of the widow Alyssa's home, the woman took on a noticeably more aggressive role. Xena walked into the yard first, narrowing her eyes across the darkened area, looking from the house to the barn. She could see the barn door gently rocking back and forth. She and Reyn made their way to the barn.

As they reached the front of the barn, Xena slowly drew her sword. She held it in front of her, carefully looking inside before entering. Reyn followed her inside with his dagger drawn, keeping to the side wall of the barn. Xena walked carefully inside. She could see hay scattered around the floor all the way to the entrance. A few bails of hay had been knocked over. There was also a lit lantern and a bag of some kind on the floor.

Xena walked over and reached for the bag, immediately drawing her hand back. She raised her hand up to her face to smell the blood. She heard Reyn yell and spun around to see him shaking, standing near the side wall behind a stack of hay. Xena looked around quickly and joined him. What she saw surprised her, even with her battle experience. Something had made a meal of two people.

As Reyn took his time to regain his strength, Xena made a quick search of the barn and lofts. She returned to him and let him know all was safe. It was probably some wolf or bear most likely. She walked to the barn entrance and looked out, noticing the faintest of blood trails on the ground. It extended straight out, past a tree line and into the forest.

Xena gave Reyn a few last minute instructions of locking the barn up and going back for the authorities. She intended on following the trail. Whoever did this needed to be brought to justice, and besides that she needed something else to do to take her mind off the loss of Gabrielle. She couldn't keep up the attacks on Ares' temples forever. With her sword drawn and at her side, Xena walked carefully into the forest behind the barn to find the animal responsible for this destruction.

Chapter 8:

"But why? Why can't we go back for mommy?" Amber asked as she tried to keep up with Hope.

Hope looked down to the little girl with a smile. "Mommy will understand. She's busy with breakfast."

Amber nodded and continued to follow Hope down the trail. Hope and the child had been traveling for some time now. The real reason that they left the village was due to her son's unexpected appetite. Hope would have preferred to stay longer, but when she returned to Alyssa's home to find her, the healer and another man no longer alive, she knew it would only be a matter of time before suspicions were aroused.

The sun was just starting to show in the morning hours. Hope frowned at the tall wheat fields that surrounded the path they were traveling on. Somewhere out there in the field, her son was racing around building up his practiced speed. She shook her head softly as they continued along. Her son was frustrating at times, but she still cared for him. He had a special place in her thoughts and in her father's plans; however, she would have to talk to him about open displays of affection. He had wanted a hug from her when she returned to the barn, but considering what he had done, she felt no interest in doing so. She had pushed him aside. He had sat there quietly looking at her. He was strong, she reasoned he would survive.

The sun was farther into the sky now. The path was easy to see. As they continued along, Amber asked Hope about the noises in the fields around them. Hope told her it was just the wind. Amber asked why the wind always seemed to blow around them in a circle and then rush off to the side. She was sure the wheat near her had brushed against her a few times. Hope assured her it was just how the wind behaved. She dare not tell the child that her son was nearing another meal time. She knew what he wanted his meal to be, but Hope would not allow the child to meet that fate.

Just then the sound of voices could be heard further up the trail. Hope grew tense for a few seconds, unsure of what this unexpected situation would bring. She closed her eyes briefly in thought, and the rustling sounds within the wheat field stopped. They continued forward until they saw four people in the distance. All of them were women.

Amber's eyes lit up with excitement. Despite Hope's concerns, Amber called out to them and waved. The Amazons came closer and upon seeing Hope, they immediately bowed their head in greetings to their honorary queen. Hope was surprised. She quickly realized why they paid her such respect. She returned their greeting and asked of their journey, carefully using an innocent, pleasant sound to her voice which she had practiced.

The Amazon warrior leading the patrol reported that they were headed toward the next village for supplies. It was the village Hope had just left. While Hope and the Amazon leader spoke, one of the other Amazon women noticed Amber and smiled. She told Amber that she was one of the two women that had helped her parents long ago. Amber told her about how she was going to be an Amazon when she grew up. All of the Amazons smiled at the child's enthusiasm.

The Amazon leader asked a question. She was never told that Gabrielle had a child. Hope explained that Amber was a friend. They were hiking on a nature trail just like the Amazons do. The woman nodded, accepting the explanation. Hope saw an opportunity and asked if the women might take the child back to the village while she headed down the trail. The Amazon leader agreed and Amber seemed pleased with the idea. Everyone said their good-byes.

The youngest of the Amazon women, Lyssa, would accompany Gabrielle on her journey. It was a tradition among the Amazons for the youngest to follow the most experienced. Hope and Lyssa continued along the trail for some time before the young Amazon asked her queen about the rustling sound in the fields. Hope explained it as probably being a deer or rabbit. Then she paused as she recognized the thoughts of her son in her mind, calling to its mother.

Hope turned to Lyssa and told her this would be a perfect opportunity to practice her hunting skills. Lyssa was eager to prove herself to the Amazon queen. She obediently took out her dagger and headed into the field to find the meal. Hope was certain that a meal would indeed be found.

Chapter 9:

The crackling sound of burning sticks and pinecones could be heard from the evening's campfire. Hope sat quietly across from it, watching the shadows and light dance across the trees and grass on the fire's opposite side. She was relaxed on this evening, content with the manner in which her work was proceeding. The child was well fed and sleeping, the young Amazon was no longer a concern and she could once more turn her thoughts to the days ahead.

Her thoughts of the Amazon women and their ways brought images of mother into her mind. She imagined what mother would look like dressed as they were. The entire idea of mother being an Amazon was mildly curious to her. Gabrielle was afterall a peace loving woman. She did not seem suited for a warrior's role. No doubt there was much of her mother's past that Hope did not fully understand.

She frowned slightly. So much that she did not understand. And there was indeed an interest within her to understand her mother. Hope wasn't sure exactly why that was, but on occasion, when her duties permitted, she allowed herself to imagine what mother's life was like before she arrived.

Of course, she was well aware of the changes to mother's life after her conception in Britannia and her birth just outside the Banshee forest. Her thoughts and ability to understand her special purpose in life had matured at an unexpected rate by mortal standards. Just before her birth even, in the stable belonging to the knights, she held the full knowledge which she had now. The more basic human emotions had a greater effect upon her then. The smiling. The infant talk. The need for hugging with her mother. Mother's encouraging words.

Words which were not returned in the eyes of that other woman. Hope could tell even at such a young age, that the other woman didn't like or trust her. It was a moment of genuine concern for Hope, as her powers had not fully matured with her mind. The knight watching over her and her sleeping mother was easy to deal with. He was so trusting and calm, but the woman, she was protective and careful. She could do nothing to that one. So she did the only thing she could do at that time. A few well timed laughs and smiles were all that Gabrielle had needed to fulfill her protective motherly role.

The Banshee's did their best of course, rescuing her and persuading a lone couple to continue raising the child that had been delivered to them. Hope was uncertain what had become of them. Her attention had been directed on her powers and a few brief contacts with father. She had received no news from father that the couple had been disposed of, so perhaps they had been allowed to continue their simple life near the forest.

Hope entertained the possibility of allowing those two to share in her father's grand new order. Just as she considered the option for others such as her mother or the child Amber. Her eyes were growing heavy and the need for sleep was becoming more evident. Through tired eyes she could see the flames of the campfire grow slightly stronger and they frequently did. She allowed herself the briefest of faint smiles to the campfire before falling to sleep.

Chapter 10:

The next few days were rather uneventful. A simple walk along the grass and dirt paths, occasionally interrupted by travelers that passed by her to their own destinations. Hope spoke to only one or two of them, always remaining polite as she imagined mother would be, and in return they told her the proper direction to her village. She thanked them and continued on her way. On one occasion she had stopped, having heard a traveler cry out in pain. Then she shook her head with a slight smile. It was the smile a mother gave when they were proud of their child's actions.

Hope could see a winding stream which passed near the path ahead. She stopped there to get some water. The rustling of weeds behind her caused her to look back slightly. With a simple thought, she gave the child permission to get a drink. His speed was impressive to her. He darted out and began to drink the water within a few seconds of his mother's permission.

The child had finished with the water and approached her. Hope looked down to him and checked to see that he was alright. As she did so, he reached out and touched her leg acting as though he wanted to be hugged. Hope sighed at the child's need for affection. If he were to be a Destroyer as father had promised, then such acts of love would be out of character for him, but the child was rather insistent on that day so she relented and allowed for a small hug.

They continued along the path and eventually reached a clearing. There were several people there. Some were washing clothes while other attended to farming duties. Among all of the villagers, a young woman with shoulder length black hair was waving to her. Hope raised an eyebrow in mild amusement as the woman approached her. She reached out and hugged Hope before she could think of a proper response.

"Oh, its so good to see you. How have you been? Mother has been so worried about you. Are you staying for long?" The young woman continued with several questions. Hope did her best to answer them well enough to satisfy her.

The young woman was apparently named Lila, a sister to her mother. Yet another part of mother's life which Hope was unaware of. She soon found out that mother also had parents as well, a father named Herodetus and a mother named Hercuba. Hope looked at the peaceful surroundings of this simple village. Lila was taking a break from her jobs to lead her sister back home to see mother and father.

Hope followed along dutifully as a good sister would. She looked to the surrounding fields and gave a simple command to her child. He was not to harm anyone here. He could hunt animals for now if he needed food. Hope turned her attention back to her aunt. She allowed herself to relax as Lila continued to tell her of recent events in the village. She had arrived in Poteidaia. Now she could fullfill her father's dark plans for this small, peaceful village.

Chapter 11:

"So when is this... friend of yours coming back anyway?" asked Herodetus as he sat on the front porch of his home. The evening meal had been finished and all of the family members now sat outside, enjoying the veiw of a colorful sunset.

"Herodetus. Really." Hercuba gave him a slight frown in response to his question. He let out a low sigh, continuing with the repairs to a basket that had a tear in it. Gabrielle's mother continued. "Xena is her friend. If Gabrielle wants to travel for awhile and see the countryside, then she should."

"I bet its been very exciting." Lila was taken by the idea of exploring. It was easy for anyone to see, including her parents.

"And it can be alot of trouble too. You just remember that Lila." her father reminded her.

"Yes father." Lila responded as father would want her to, but she still chanced a small smile to Hope.

This had not been the first time he had brought the subject up. Hope imagined he felt his daughter should have stayed at home as this Lila did. The past few weeks had been most interesting for Hope. To look around this simple village and see the typical lifestyle led by everyone, it was hard to imagine anyone from here could be worthy of father's attention. Of course, mother's experiences with Xena played an important part in that. Hope was mildly amused with the knowledge that she and Herodetus shared a common distrust for the warrior woman. Perhaps with a few more carefully timed tales of danger and fights.....

Hope's thoughts were cut short by Herodetus' frustrated voice. "Poultry. Always getting past the fence."

He stood up and placed the basket on the ground. Hope noticed that there was an all too familiar rustling in the weeds not far from the home. She knew that curious young eyes were watching her.

"No need father." Hope stood up and walked down the stairs to the dirt yard in front. "I can get it. Probably just another hen again."

"Probably. Well see to the fence as well if you would. I'm sure some of them are getting out of there. I don't understand how though. I set the fence up so that couldn't happen." He frowed and shook his head. Hercuba patted him on the shoulder encouragingly and headed inside for the evening. He followed her along with Lila close behind him.

Hope watched them go back inside and then she walked over to the area where the chickens were fenced in. She was well aware of why the chickens were disappearing. Her son had a healthy appetite. She glanced back to the house once more to see that no one was looking. Hope walked further into the weeds and lowered herself to her knees, waiting for her child to approach her.

He moved to stand before her and looked up to her, letting out a soft moan. Hope knew what he wanted, but she could not allow it. He wanted to be with his mother more often and he wanted to meet those people that mother spent time with, but Hope knew what their response would be if he approached them. She reached out to his face and whispered to him. "Shhh! Quiet. Be quiet now. We mustn't be heard."

The child's big eyes blinked slowly, looking to his mother. He reached forward to touch his mother's arm and left the smallest of cuts where his quills brushed across her. Hope frowned at him but said nothing. She really would have to do something about these needed displays of affection. For now she allowed his hug once more, assuming that with age and growth, he would no longer desire such things.

"Mother has to go on an important trip tomorrow. Would you like to come with her? Would you like that?" Hope could tell by her son's quickened breath and the look in his eye that he did like the idea. She smiled to him and promised him they would go together first thing tomorrow morning.

She needed to check on issues related to father's work. She also needed to let her son feed on animals outside of this village. The number of livestock reported as missing would begin to look suspicious in a few more days. The would make the third time she had went on one of her supposed nature hikes since she arrived in Poteidaia. The family was trusting and accepted it as her way. She instructed her son to return to a nearby cave he had found. She would come for him tomorrow and they would leave then.

Chapter 12:

It was another bright and sunny day as Hope and her child made their way across the open land. The path was wide and the view was more open here. There were no travellers to be seen so she allowed her son to walk alongside her. He kept pace with her easily enough. She insisted that he do so instead of racing around the area at his top speed. Too much exercise would build up too much hunger for him, and there didn't seem to be a suitable supply of livestock. This was a valley well between any inhabited villages.

She glanced over occasionally to her son as they continued along. He was growing rather well. He would be nearly as tall as her shoulders in just a few days. Hope knew that at full heigth, her child would be nearly twice as tall as her and very powerful. He would never possess the powers that she had of course, but he would hold a brute godly force like no other living thing before him.

She thought of his general appearance. It was very similar to that of father's. On those evenings around the campfire when she was in contact with father, he would allow images of his true nature to enter her mind. This child appeared similar to her father's natural form. Father's true appearance would cause untold fear within a mortal's mind just as her son's appearance would. He had once told her briefly of a battle in the fire realm where his speed allowed him to defeat a rival fire god's army with ease. Her son held such speed and she knew that father was pleased to know this.

He had decided to give his daughter a more pleasing appearance while dealing with these mortals. Subtlty was to be her chosen weapon. Hope practiced her careful deception well, appearing as open and as friendly as her mother. It was a simple thing to do. At first it was mildly annoying to consider behaving as an equal to these mortals, but if it furthered her father's plans then it would be done.

Her son abruptly rushed off to the left into some overgrown brush. Hope imagined he was hunting for food. She thought to call out to him, but a sudden rush of warm air caused her to turn and look behind her. She was greeted with a flash of energy which hit her and threw her back to the ground.

"Well, who would've guessed. A nature lover too." the smirk in Discord's voice was unmistakable. "I just thought I'd drop in and see how well your little vacation through Greece was going so far. So many lively sights to see." Discord smiled and threw another blast of energy at Hope.

Hope barely managed to avoid the blast, moving to the side. Her eyes narrowed and Discord was thrown back some distance. "You have either grown incredibly strong or foolish since our last meeting to attack me Olympian."

Discord stood up rather quickly and hurled a couple of large stones at Hope. "Danger comes with the title in case you hadn't noticed. Can't always play it safe letting others do your dirty work." One of the stones struck Hope in the chest and knocked her down again. The other halted in the air and busted to pieces as Hope focused her thoughts on it.

Discord's laughter was cut short when a sudden burst of wind started to circle around the two of them. Her eyes darted all around her at the unseen thing that was racing around them. Hope took advantage of Discord's confusion and several large stones raised up into the air. They all flew forward and slammed into Discord, throwing her to the ground forcefully. She shook her head, trying to regain her senses as Hope stood and walked over to her. Hope was in the mood to take the first life of an Olympian god and Discord could see it in her eyes.

"Sorry, but I got a few wars that are already waiting. You'll just have to take a number." Discord laughed at that and disappeared in a burst of light.

Hope stood there looking down to where the Olympian had been. She frowed and all of the stones that had hit Discord shattered into little pieces. The wind that had been racing around the two of them stopped abruptly. Her son stood by her side once more looking to his mother. She thanked him for his assistance and assured him she was well. She also promised to save that particular Olympian for her son when the time was right. She would enjoy seeing Discord as a toy for her child's amusement.

Chapter 13:

Hope reached her destination on the third day of her trip from Poteidaia. She was still well beyond the nearest of villages, but there were supposed to be people nearby regardless. A lightly scattered amount of trees surrounded the valley, separating it from the cliffs not far beyond. Before her, Hope could see a simple and small structure. It was built as she had requested it. It was to be her focus for Dahak's followers, a newly constructed temple not far from mother's home village. She had intended to travel there long ago, but events with Xena and mother's unexpected sacrifice had delayed her.

She walked up the main steps with her son following closely behind her. As she proceeded along, she could not help but notice the leaves and branches which covered the steps in a few places. Such things suggested an unattended temple and Hope was displeased by this. She opened the main temple doors and looked inside. What she saw inside displeased her further.

The evidence of looting was rather obvious. Some benches were overturned. A few decorations that hung against the walls or set up along the banisters were missing. Leaves and dirt were scattered across the floor as well. Hope did notice however that there were three individuals who were attempting to correct this. They were three men by the look of them. All were wearing faded brown robes with pointed hoods over their heads.

One of the men turned to see her and immediately rushed to her side, kneeling down and bowing his head to her. "My goddess. It is an honor. We had thought-- I had thought our services were no longer pleasing. I am overjoyed at your return."

Hope looked around once more. "With the appearance of this temple, I can see why you would think I was displeased. Does service to my father and your continued life mean so little to you?"

The man clearly appeared fearful. "No, no my goddess. Not at all. It was-- well it took time for me to heal and by then thieves had already visited..." His voice trailed off uncertainly. As he looked up to her, she could see a healed area on his neck where he had been in battle. She recognized him then as the high priest who had spoken to her on Callisto's behalf. He had apparently survived Xena's attack unlike most of the other followers.

Hope thought of a couple of thieves she had dealt with not long ago. "I understand. Thieves can be most annoying." She chose to ignore the temple's appearance for now, looking to the other two men who were quickly clearing the area around the alter for her approval. She looked back to the high priest. "Tell me. Where are the other followers?"

"They... they departed my goddess." disgust was in his voice. "Thier minds returned to their foolish ways during your absence. I kept them here for several days, but their lack of vision and focus was unworthy of your greatness. They fled the temple after my words of warning were given to them."

Hope watched as he bowed his head once more. She had noticed that the half-constructed walls of the new temple appeared weathered as well. Several rain storms had left a lasting effect on the sides nearest her. So much to rebuild and so little time. Not to mention father's brilliant plan given to her just nights before.

"And Seraphin? The priestess of the blood?" She thought briefly of the misguided friend of mother, whose blood had allowed her to be born.

"Unknown my goddess. She was one of those who fled. I tried to stop her, but her mind was paniced. She would not listen to me." he explained, all the while looking down to the floor.

"There is much which you seem to not have done properly." She noted the nervousness in his breath and quickly added, "No matter, my father's plans have changed. This temple will not be needed. There has been a new location chosen for his grand temple. See to it that the items in here are properly taken care of."

"Yes my goddess." The high priest gratefully stood and bowed his head respectfully to her, backing away and joining the other two men in their cleaning duties. Hope excused herself and stepped outside to look around. Her son walked up the stairs to stand near his mother, looking to her out of curiosity.

Hope was not pleased at all. Callisto was of no further use to her. Her followers were gone as was Seraphin. The followers who were here had been unable to perform the simplest of tasks, seeing to the temple's upkeep. The temple itself was no longer of importance to father, which meant that any more time here was wasted. Hope sighed. Father often allowed her to make her own decisions on how best to proceed with his work. She would need to find more followers. New followers in keeping with father's new plans.

The irony of Poteidaia's importance in those plans caused her to smile. Poteidaia would be the location for father's new temple and the people there would be her loyal followers. Controlling their minds would be as simple as with the previous mortals. She glanced back to the temple with mild disapproval then over to her son. With a simple thought, she instructed him that three sources of food awaited him inside. She would be returning to the village. He could catch up to her when he was finished. Hope's child smiled eagerly to his mother and rushed up the steps as she returned to Poteidaia.

Chapter 14:

The return trip to Poteidaia was proving uneventful. Hope did not have any further encounters with Discord in the last two days. Whether Discord had become concerned or merely preoccupied, Hope was uncertain. She would of course be ready for her should the Olympian decide to return.

Her child was once more at her side, full of energy and looking all around him. His meal must have been satisfying. Hope was pleased to provide for him. It was a mother's duty afterall. The time would come soon when he would be joined with five others of his kind. It was part of father's prophesy. Six destroyers to reshape the world in Dahak's image. She hoped that Ares would find a way to return to her soon so that part of the plan could be fullfilled. He was clever. She trusted he would find a way to do so somehow.

Far up the trail, Hope could see that three people were approaching her. They were women. Amazons. She was amazed at how many there were in this land. Mother's influence must be considerable or perhaps their numbers were simply many. Either way, their strength would make an interesting addition to father's chosen.

Her son quickly hid within the brush to her right. She was pleased that he did so without her having to remind him. His understanding of such things was progressing nicely. The three women continued their approach. The main woman greeted Hope and announced herself to be Lilith. One of the other two women must have recognized Hope, because she bowed her head and greeted her queen with respect as did the other woman.

Lilith was apparently from a different Amazon tribe from the one commanded by Gabrielle. Her greeting was more calm. Hope would have preferred to see her bow her head as well but it was not an issue worth mentioning. The women had apparently heard of Gabrielle's return to her village and the one who originally bowed to Hope convinced her two friends to go there to visit.

Hope assured them that she was well and that she had just decided to rest in Poteidaia for awhile, taking a few nature hikes on occassion. These women were just as easily fooled. They wished Hope a safe journey and continued success in leading her Amazon tribe. Hope wished them well also.

As they continued on their way, Hope's son walked back to his mother's side once more. She instructed him against his desire to have a meal once more. If it were just the other two who were members of her tribe, she might allow it. But that other one, Lilith, was from a different tribe. Her absence might draw others from her tribe, and Hope didn't need to be bothered with that additional concern for now. His meal could wait.

The child seemed content with his mother's decision. Hope continued along the path back to Poteidaia with her son at her side. She began to instruct him on the duties he would have to perform. He listened eagerly, enjoying such moments with his mother. As she spoke to him, she thought of the preparations that would have to be made to make Poteidaia more suitable for a temple devoted to her father.

Chapter 15... CONCLUSION...

Hope had been woken up early that morning by a bright eyed and cheerful Lila, as had been the case on several mornings since her arrival home. Hope slept in her mother's bed. She had felt surprisingly relaxed and comfortable doing so. Mother's childhood decorations were not exactly of her choosing, but looking to them gave her further insight into her mother's past. She joined her family and ate her morning meal. Herodetus was complaining once again about chickens escaping the yard. Hope allowed herself a small smile at that.

After breakfast, Hope mentioned that she would be going to the village marketplace to look for a few things of interest. Lila offered to go with her, fortunately however her mother needed her for some work, so Hope promised that they would go together next time.

She did not bother to tell the family that she was looking for suitable alter candles and incense. She doubted that they would appreciate the value of such things. Hope wished to perform a small sacrifice tonight, with her son present. Perhaps she would allow him to take the life of one of the villagers.

Hope arrived at the village marketplace an hour later. It was full of many people. Some selling items. Some buying. This village seemed to be alive with activity every single day. There was a certain amount of happiness and hope that could be felt here. Hope knew that that energy would be put to good use soon.

She was standing near a peddlers cart, looking to the display of candles that he had. There were several to choose from and they were colored just as she wanted them. Black and dark green and red. She always had a fondness for black and red. She agreed to buy several of them. The man was very pleased and looked for a sack to place the ceremonial candles into.

It was then that Hope looked up and had a peculiar thought. She couldn't quite place the feeling. It was as though something familiar was in her thoughts, if only she could imagine what it was. She took the candles from the peddler and paid him, turning around to look at the other items for sale.

Hope blinked in surprise. There, across from her on the opposite side of the marketplace, stood the last person in the world she expected to see on that day. The woman she held the most dislike for of any mortal or god there was, with the possible exception of Discord. The woman on the other side of the marketplace was none other than Xena. The warrior princess.

Hope thought to avoid her and return the way she had come, but their eyes locked onto one another. There were a few pieces of cloth hanging on lines between them, but the connection was unmistakable. They were both focused onto one another. Time seemed to slow for Hope as her thoughts raced through her mind. She was thinking of how best to respond to the woman, who was certain to join her.

Hope could see several moods crossing Xena's mind just by the expression on her face. Shock. Disbelief. Numbness. Nervousness. And then joy. Xena had this warm, unbelievable smile on her face that Hope had never seen from her before. It was disturbing to see an enemy regard her in such an open loving way. Hope looked down briefly, thinking of how she would react. She musn't allow for any suspisions to take place. She would have to give her best performance yet.

As they crossed the center of the market place, and the faint image of the one named Joxer approached her from the side, Hope had already formed a plan in her mind. Her son. What better ironic way to pay Xena back for the misfortune she caused her. Her son. He would make his first sacrifice to Dahak this night. Xena would be that sacrifice.

Hope found herself openly smiling at the thought of that. The fact that Xena was probably misreading her smile as joy for seeing her made Hope smile even more. Hope was certain of one thing if nothing else. The next few days would bring about a final closing of events Hope had long expected. She was certain.


Aaordus...storm villager, Destroyer meal

Alyssa… ..mother, Destroyer meal

Amber… . .daughter of Alyssa, still alive, Destroyer meal

Ceredis….dumb thief, dead by Hope

Garab… …smart thief, dead by Hope

Lyssa........young Amazon, Destroyer meal

Reyn…… .tavern owner, still alive

chapter 11 and future ideas....

thoughts of fire realm, possibly rival gods

AOL based chat adventures

AOL npc sn as a character, possibly Min or another of my sn's

run in with a mythical beast

another Olympian perhaps, Artemis? or a made up half or quarter god?

random thought of Hercules, though he would be out of country i think by now

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