Ephiny and the New Princess – Part 5

Ephiny and the New Princess

by AJ Marks

Part 5

Ephiny found herself fending off several Amazons, all of whom were asking questions about what happened.

“Silence,” Eph finally shouted, waiting several seconds for things to quiet down before noticing that almost everyone from the camp was around her.  “All right, by now word had probably spread that something happened to Terreis, she was assassinated on our walk back here earlier in the day.  We are working with Greece officials to identify the attacker, who is still unknown, but we are getting close.”

“I heard Centaurs did it, when do we strike back?” one Amazon, Jana asked, always quick to speak before thinking, but Eph knew she spoke from the heart.

“We don’t, we tacked the tracks, which were originally Centaur, back towards the Cnetaur camp,” Eph said knowing this was going badly but hoped to get the rest out before the group charged the Centaurs.  “Short of the camp the tracks changed to a regular horse, and the tracks then led towards the Roman camp.”  She hoped a few might actually listen to that last part.

“Roman?” one asked.

“Yes, there is thoughts they are upset with our new agreement with Greece, but for now, we must stay calm,” Eph said.

“Who got the Right-of-Caste?” Jana asked changing the topic.

“We,” Eph said glancing over at Eponin and receiving a nod, “felt that due to the current condition and investigation, its better to keep that a secret in case whoever tried it once tries again.”

“Or they might decide to rid the Nation of two more Amazons,” another voice said.

“Are you sure they would get the right person?” Eph replied.

“Remember, the priestess isn’t here,” Eponin said.

Eph watched as the group absorbed that bit of information as everyone looked over at Eponin for a few seconds.  Eph decided she had enough of answering question and headed to her tent despite several Amazons pestering her for more information.

“We don’t know the real motivation, and the investigation is going on, what I do know, whoever is behind it wanted us to blame Centaurs,” Ephs aid to them.

“What if they really did do it?” Jana asked.

“Then I’ll allow the Queen to decide what actions the Nation will take to deal with it,” Ephiny replied turning to face Jana.  “For now, my job is to give her all the information we have so she can make a decision based on facts and get the right person instead of being manipulated by someone else.  We also know that Centaurs can’t fake human footprints, so they must have an accomplice.”

Her words got them to stop and actually think and backed off for a second.

“Now you understand the need for some secrecy, and patience,” Eph said, knowing that if the Romans were involved things were going to get very dangerous.  “Now, I need a volunteer to head back to the Nation with the news.”

“I will,” another Amazon said.

“I’ll write up the note for you to take,” Eph said.  “And make sure only the Queen receives it.”

“Of course.”

“Then go get ready for the trip, I have a not to write,” Eph said watching the Amazon take off to the tent before realizing that she had to write up the note and somehow, soften the blow.  Not only that but she had to inform the Queen about who had the Right-of-Caste, and the information she received from Artemis, all while keeping a secret.

She walked into her tent watching as Eponin walked over to the bed and fell down on it.

“You know, its strange, not being able to trust our sisters,” Eph stated.

“Strange, I think its downright weird,” Eponin said back to her.  “I have to keep shutting my mouth before I say something I don’t want to.”

“I know,” Eph replied back to her.  She still had to wrap her mind around the fact that Gabrielle was an Amazon princess now, and had Artemis’ blessing.  “I guess we should start accepting it for fact, though I’m not sure how the Queen will accept it.”

“You going to warn her about a possible Roman involvement?  Or even some other Amazons?” Eponin asked, the last question was a bit hesitantly.

“I don’t see how I can’t,” Eph answered.  “The Romans have become too pushy lately.”

“There is a possibility that this has been planned for a while,” Eponin said.  “After all, we didn’t have the normal meeting with them this year after accepting the Conqueror’s offer.”

“Could be,” Eph said, looking over the scrolls of parchment she would need.  “Let’s take one step at a time.”

She quickly got her ink, scroll and tried to figure out what she was going to say to the Queen in this note.


“Ephiny, you’re wanted at the palace,” Jana said, interrupting the short nap Ephiny had been taking.

Groaning slightly she rolled out of the bed and walked out of the tent.  The message back to the Queen had been sent, and she hoped to catch up on some sleep after a very exhausting day so far but it appeared the gods had something else planned.

“All right, any idea what they need?” Eph asked, as Eponin walked up next to her and she noticed a palace guard.

“The Empress has requested your presence,” the guard answered.  “She believes she has some information about the situation.”

“All right,” Eph finally said looking over at Eponin, knowing she would be going with her and turned to Ammira.  “You’re in charge until we return.”

“Okay, do you need anyone else to come along?” Ammira asked.

“No, I think the fewer who are involved the better things are,” Eph replied.  “At least until we discover who is behind this and why.”

“I don’t’ like this,” Jana said.

“Neither do I, but this isn’t for the new princess’ safety, but the Nation as well,” Eponin replied.

“Let’s get this over with,” Eph said, as they made their way away from the camp and towards the palace accompanied by the guard.  Eph hoped the Conqueror had found something out.


Ephiny entered the room seeing the Conqueror, Gabrielle and Airlea sitting at the table before looking over at Eponin.  Making their way across she noted that the Conqueror had a strange look on her face making Eph feel nervous about the situation.

“You wanted to see us?” Eph asked, having a seat.

“I’ve received some, well, rather disturbing information,” the Conqueror replied back to them.  “Whoever is involved, they are meeting to finish payments on the deed.”

Eph glanced over at Eponin then back at the Conqueror hoping she had more information than this, and once more doubt entered her mind that the Conqueror had planned all of this.

“And how did you gain this information?” Eponin asked.

“From me, and I got it from a Roman source,” a male voice replied causing them to turn and see Autolycus walking towards them.

“I highly doubt the Romans are saying this out loud and in public,” Eph said knowing how that would look, especially if they wanted to start a war between the Centaurs and the Amazons.

“No, they didn’t, but when you know where to find information such things become easier, and it wasn’t the Roman leadership who hired the assassin, but Roman merchants,” Autolycus replied back to her.

Eph felt a bit of shock at that unsure what that really meant and how much influence Caesar had on the Nation.  She paused, giving it some thought and realized the Roman merchants were surprised at the news the Nation had stopped trading with them.  Perhaps they hoped to stir up a war where they could sell goods to both sides.  The theory had some merit she considered.

“I think we should be present at this ‘meeting’,” Eponin stated, looking over at Ephiny.

“I thought you would, and we should get moving then,” the Conqueror said before turning to look over at Gabrielle.  “You, stay here until this is over.”

Eph watched as Gabrielle gave a bit of a pout at the order.

“I never get to see any excitement,” she finally said.

“And for good reason, I don’t want this to get anymore complex than it already is without you trying to find more trouble,” the Conqueror said to her.

”I try not to cause any trouble,” Gabrielle replied and Eph noticed the Conqueror’s face soften before saying anything back.

“I know love, but you attract it like bees to honey, and I don’t’ need anything else this time,” the Conqueror said to her.  “Stay here with the guards, for me.”

Eph managed to not laugh at the pout the blonde gave the Conqueror, like a child who had been deprived of her favorite toy.  Looking around she noticed Autolycus with a slight smile along with most of the other guards and realized there had to be a story behind that as well.  She looked back at the two women.

“Princess, the Conqueror is right, you should stay here, we’ve already lost one princess and they might try for one of us to get rid of a second one, especially if the meeting goes wrong,” Eph said hoping to help the Conqueror.

“Fine, I’ll stay,” Gabrielle finally stated although she didn’t sound too happy about it.

“I’ll stay as well,” Eph said suddenly earning a slight glance from Eponon.  “We should have an amazon guard here with the princess, no offense Airlea.”

“None taken, I’m not a soldier,” the priestess replied back to her.

“Then I’ll go with the Conqueror,” Eponin said.

“I don’t have the stealth skills that you do Eponin, and you might need that with this, I trust what you’ll say when you come back,” Ephiny said to her lover.

“Well, you said they were meeting soon, lead on,” Eponin said to the other two

They watched the two head off alone with two other guards, a total of five people, small but with the Conqueror Ephiny had the feeling it was a deadly group.  She knew Eponin’s skills were quite good, and the guards were also probably highly skilled, and Autolycus, well, a skilled thief, they didn’t’ need her along.  She looked back at the group and sat down next to Gabrielle who looked at her.

“Eponin has better skills than me, and the more people the more chance they are spotted,” Eph said to the unasked question.

“I didn’t say anything,” Gabrielle replied smiling a bit, and looking over she noticed Airlea smiling as well wondering about some sort of inside joke when Gabrielle continued.  “I think this will take some time to get used to, me an Amazon princess.”

“Time, yeah, probably,” Eph giving it some thought again as another question came to her.  “What about you and the Conqueror?”

“Ah, well Xena and I talked about it for a bit, and there are some things you should know, I don’t plan on living anywhere but in Corinth with Xena,” Gabrielle said not really shocking Ephiny.

“I think that was the one thing which I figured would happen,” Eph finally said knowing that separating the two might be impossible, and it wasn’t because of the Conqueror but Gabrielle herself.  “I guess we’ll have to discuss this when you come for the new princess ceremony.”

“Um, this isn’t one of your all night long orgies, is it?” Gabrielle asked.

Eph coughed having swallowed wrong when Gabrielle spoke that and looked up at her, then over at Airlea who merely shrugged her shoulders.  She looked back at Gabrielle wondering if the woman was actually serious, or another rumor she had heard and found only interested green eyes looking back at her.

“Ah, well, you see that’s more of an exaggeration than anything else,” Eph finally said going with the safest answer.

“Oh, oh well,” Gabrielle replied sounding a bit disappointed in the answer leaving Ephiny a bit off balance.

“So, how’d you and the Conqueror meet?” Ephiny asked hoping it was a safe conversation.  “I mean I’ve heard how, but how did you and her become, well, you know?”

“Lovers?” Gabrielle said supplying the term Ephiny had a hard time saying.

“Its complex.”

End part 5

Concluded in part 6

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