In the forgotten jungles of Mexica before the elder god changed the destiny and time of every man and god.

The tall man turned slightly his gold and red feathered head dress swayed in the moonlight, he lowered his gaze looking at the young woman in front of him. Her medium length hair which was the colour of the sun was splayed out in a messy fashion, her hair was just over shoulder length. She wore a red and black leather upper bodice which had strange weaving leather patterns on it none of which he recognized.

Her stomach wasn’t covered by any clothing of any kind and he could see scratches all over her arms and legs all looked like they’d been made branches and trees. Around her waist was a black leather belt which had gleaming steel patterns. Her skirt was red and black in colour at least it had been once, it was now faded brown.

On her wrists were muddy steel wrist guards as well as weaving shining metal coils on her upper arms. She had a necklace on which looked like it had painted pearl segments a thin leather chain held it around her slender neck no doubt it was a prized trinket. All her clothing was encrusted in dirt no doubt from her travel through the jungle.

He moved his foot up gently using it to turn her over fully he could see the two rather odd looking three-pointed-blades in her dark brown boots and a staff which she used to trek through the jungle. She was not from this land, far from it she was foreigner from somewhere far away.

On her back was some sort of serpent which had been tattooed in to the skin it was long and winding like the feathered serpent god he knew but the wings weren’t feathered like his they were like a bats. The strange serpent had long weaving whiskers coming out from its manned head. It also had clawed hands and feet.

He kneeled down he had never seen hair that was the colour of sun on a woman before he’d also never seen one with her shade of skin ether which was light and cream in colour. He looked up slightly seeing that that her camp fire was still burning and the pack she carried was lying next to her.

She wasn’t sleeping though far from it. He could see the wooden mug on her hand which was lying on the floor he put a hand on his chin as he used his other to open her eye which was an even stranger colour. It was as green as any jungle forest he’d ever seen he smiled slightly how odd and perplexing that a persons eyes could be this colour.

He looked closer seeing that pupil hadn’t dilated she was with out a doubt drugged. His companion has said she was strange to look at and he was right. He had stumbled on her camp some hours ago and she had offered him food, she obviously didn’t know that she would be seen as a great and unique prize.

A prize to give to the great sun god him self as a sacrifice, for what god wouldn’t want something as unique as this. It was almost a shame that he couldn’t keep her for himself he’d never seen any woman like her. He folded his arms in disgust still he wouldn’t get much time with her though his duty was to petrol the area to find sacrifices.

To find fools whose blood would feed the gods he looked down again her heart would give new blood to the sun god Huitzilopochtli. Funny how strangers could be so trusting and foolish to, she’d been offered a drink and had taken it. Even if she was a true warrior though he highly doubted it, she had far too much heart.

He watched as his companion came out of the trees and in to the clearing. The smaller man stopped adjusting his jaguar skin and feathered head dress as he came forward. The smaller man smiled as he eyed the unconscious woman. “You see how she will please the gods.” Itzli looked up slightly. “She will please our god but I don’t see why we can’t have her.”

Tlaloc took a step forward. “We would displease the sun god greatly if we took her.” He leaned down putting a hand on the woman’s upper chest feeling her slow beating heart. His gaze turned to the rising godly temple in distance which she’d been looking around earlier before she had just given up and set about making camp.

They had both seen her from a distance looking at the temple, before she had set about making the fire. He picked up her torn cloak lying on the ground near by he grinned as he moved up to her face touching her sunlight hair. “Were do you suppose she’s from?” Itzli looked up slightly. “I have no idea I have not seen any one like her before.”

He put a hand on his chin as he looked at the words which she scribed in the dirt before passing out. “What did she want here?” Tlaloc looked at the badly written words. “She was looking for the elder god C’thulon.” Itzli laughed slightly. “Then she is even more of a fool than I first expected. She walks these lands to find the one god who doesn’t exist.”

He looked down again. “We should move her, the sun will rise soon and her blood will soak the temple in the mornings light.” His companion nodded as he leaned down picking up the small woman. He flung her over his shoulder while picking up her quarter staff. Tlaloc eased up her belonging as they both moved away from the fire.

A year and a half later on Greek shores

Xena pulled back the chair as she sat down she smiled putting both her feet on the empty table with its empty plates. She folded her arms watching as the musicians carried on playing. Amphipolis really did know how to throw a celebration that was for sure. She turned looking at the decorated statues behind her with vines growing up them.

Her gaze drifted slowly back to the huge lake close to the long table were people were dancing and enjoying them selves on the grassy area. There were tables and tables of food all being served up. Her mother had invited them to come which in her eyes was a good idea it had been so long since she’d been home, really home.

Her gaze moved to her lover who was dancing her long blonde hair hung down way over her shoulders. She was wearing her green halter top with its lighter green collar that went down her upper chest and was held together with a piece of leather string. Her leather belt with its pattern caught the sun light and her light brown skirt flowed as she moved to the music.

Her brown leather boots which where tied up at both side hit the ground as she danced to the music. She had her smaller leather wrist gauntlets on she paused slightly as the song came to an end. Her green eyes moving slightly before she made her way over to one of the tables to refill her wooden goblet and get a bite to eat.

Xena turned slightly seeing that her mother was coming up behind her, she raised an eyebrow as he sat down next to her. Her mothers blue eyes wandered for a moment as she smoothed down her dress and adjusted the long sleeves. “Not up for dancing I see.” Xena turned slightly. “Not right now mother.”

Cyrene leaned forward slightly her smile widening “You’re missing out on the all the fun dear.” Xena leaned over easing the tankard off ale the table. Her mother had a point still she could join Gabrielle after this dance. “I’ll join in soon.” Her gaze followed her lover as she went back to the other dances the younger woman looked like she was enjoying herself

Cyrene breathed in deeply. “So what happened in Messene?” Xena turned sharply slowly meeting her gaze. “A lot of things happened in Messene mother.”

Cyrene leaned forward putting both hands together. “I heard some very strange things talk of about the king of all werewolves and some warrior called Horn Hind.”

Xena eyed her lover, Gabrielle didn’t like that whole event and despite her role in it she really didn’t want people to know about it. She had wanted her humanity back so desperately and she’d had to go through Tarturus to get it back. “We did run in to the werewolf king, yes.” Cyrene looked at her for a long moment. “I was really worried about you someone said that you both nearly died.”

Xena took a long gulp from her tankard. “We where fine mother it was nothing we couldn’t handle.” Cyrene looked up slightly. “People told me that you later vanished and no one knew where you were.” Xena took another long drink the three and a half weeks vacation in Apollonia had done both her and Gabrielle a world of good. “We took a long vacation.”

Cyrene breathed in sharply. “You should’ve sent word to me Xena” Xena looked at her mother for a long moment both her and Gabrielle needed that vacation after the event involving Lycaon which had been very emotionally and physically draining. She turned the tankard slightly. “I’m sorry it’s just we where exhausted after what happened, we spent most of our time in bed.”

Cyrene turned slightly. “I’m sure you did but that’s no excuse not to send me word.” Xena raised her eyebrow as she met his gaze. “I know.” Cyrene put a hand on her chest. “I am your mother after all.” Xena looked at her mother for a moment. “I’m sorry it won’t happen again I promise.” Cyrene put both hands together. “I should hope so I don’t want you both to scare me like that again.”

Xena raised an eyebrow. “We won’t.” She stopped watching as Gabrielle slowly walked towards her. The younger woman leaned against the table as she took a drink from her goblet. Xena put her tankard down as she looked at her lover. “Dance with me.” Gabrielle turned sharply almost coughing up her cider. “You want to dance?”

Xena felt her smile widen as she pulled her legs of the table she took the younger woman by her arm. “Come on Gabrielle.” She turned eyeing her mother. “I don’t want to miss out on the fun, now do I?” Cyrene watched as her daughter moved towards the dance floor with the young bard, deep down she was just happy to see them so relaxed.

Gabrielle didn’t get a chance to speak as she was brought towards the dancers. “Xena…” Xena pulled the younger woman gently around so she was facing her. She lowered her voice to a whisper as she took her other hand. “Come on dance with me.” Gabrielle raised an eyebrow slightly. “You know I’m not very good with this song I can never remember the steps.”

Xena smirked slightly as she pulled the younger woman closer. “Just watch my feet and copy me.” She raised her eyebrow. “You’ll be fine.” Gabrielle looked down slightly. “I just don’t want embarrass you with my two left feet.” Xena shrugged slightly. “Gabrielle you don’t have two left feet. If I remember right you danced beautifully for me in Apollonia.” She put her hand around her lover’s waist.

Gabrielle eyed her for moment as she tried to get her steps right. “Yeah but that was a private showing…it wasn’t public.” Xena felt her grin widened. “Well I really enjoyed it.” Gabrielle looked up sharply as she moved a little faster to match the music which was pounding now as the instruments got faster. “Thank you.”

Xena looked up slightly as she swung the younger woman around she moved her feet faster trying to keep her pace with Gabrielle’s. All the couples around them where starting to move faster with the dance. She turned slightly catching sight of the lake which for a moment looked like it had a huge shadow under it, she blinked looking closer only to see it disappear. She suddenly felt Gabrielle move her face back so they were looking at each other again.

Gabrielle felt her smile widen. “I think I’m getting the hang of this.”

Xena pulled up the younger woman’s hand kissing it. She watched as her lovers smile widened she felt her feet move as she got back in to the rhythm of the music. Maybe she was seeing things that just weren’t there it wouldn’t be the first time. She moved her feet trying to keep pace with her lovers as the music hit her ears.

Gabrielle felt herself go tense she knew the feeling it was a familiar and almost horrible presence. One she hadn’t felt in a very long time and had almost forgotten. Xena felt her self stop as she looked at Gabrielle who had suddenly tensed up. She leaned closer to her lover whose eyes were slowly moving towards the lake “What is it Gabrielle? What’s wrong?”

Gabrielle watched as the lake started to churn…it couldn’t be! He couldn’t have made it these shores? The Greek gods would stop him! They would never let him come here not after what he’d done centuries ago. She watched as the lake suddenly began to churn steam rising from it surface as it heated up she found herself breathing in faster as she felt her fear take over.

Xena watched as horror as the surface of the lake burst upwards as a massive creature came up from its depths. Its huge snake like head was first to surface it had a massive mane of purple feathers. Its huge neck followed it had purple feathers running down the back of its green glistening scales which covered its bodies face and sides, it’s under belly was covered in yellow scales.

Huge feathered wings broke the surface of the lake there blues and purple feathers catching the light. Three huge hooked fingers where at each wings end they splayed outwards in a frightening manner as the serpents lower body hit the surface its half submerged lower body wrapping like a snakes as its huge tail broke the surface its huge end covered in both purple fur and feathers.

Its face turned as it opened its jaws wide showing off its huge teeth which where all curved back a huge red snake tongue flicked out. Its eyes narrowed there snake like slits catching the light. The creatures roar hit the air causing panicked screams and cries, as people saw it in all its horrible glory. What in Tarturus was is?

She didn’t get a chance to think that thought, through as the huge tail came down smashing the ground. Tables and chairs were sent flying with the force of the blow along with the dropped instruments. Chaos seemed to break out instantly as people ran screaming for cover as they tried to get away from the serpent.

To be continued in part 3

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