Ephiny and the Battle for the Amazons
by AJ Marks
Ephiny wasn’t sure if she should be insulted or proud to be staying behind after all the flurry of activity earlier in the day. Staying behind meant she would miss the battle yet she was staying behind to guard Princess Gabrielle. Both Melosa and Valaska were leading the Amazons into battle along with some of the Conqueror’s troops. She looked on seeing everyone preparing for the upcoming battle.
Valaska returned not much longer with even more information. It seemed that the romans had been joined with even more Amazons, those who were probably loyal to Tanis, and were part of the group, Valaska’s Chosen.
Much to Eph’s surprise she found Gabrielle quite helpful in the entire situation. Eph’s main concern was Valaska who would be out for revenge on Tanis. The princess was angry at Tanis for several reasons, not including using her name for a rebel group after being banished. Passing Valaska, Eph thought she heard her mumble what she would do to Tanis is she caught her.
Eph continued on to her hut where Eponin was.
“I guess its really going to be war,” Eph said.
“Seems like it,” Eponin replied back to her. “The Conqueror is already bringing up her support and going to place it under Amazon command.”
The statement shocked Eph, placing her troops under the command of someone else seemed highly unusual especially for someone who appeared to be so controlling. Perhaps they had misjudged the Conqueror all this time.
“What about the Conqueror, she’s all right with this?” Eph asked.
“She’s the one who suggested it,” Eponin replied back to her. “Looks like its going to work out though, heard Jana is going to be working with the Centaurs and hopefully things will go well.”
“And I get to stay behind and protect the princess,” Eph said, still unsure about the assignment.
“Only because her normal guards are going with us,” Eponin stated. “The Conqueror requested at least one person stay behind with her.”
Eph nodded her head in agreement knowing that a thousand armed Roman soldiers were on their shore and adding to the problem were several traitorous Amazons which only weakened their position. Melosa called to see how many were missing and found out a dozen were gone, including Koni and Ligeia. The part which worried Eph was she felt sure their defenses were compromised.
“Looks like Tanis will stop at nothing to become queen,” Eph stated.
“I know, and because of that we have to be careful,” Eponin replied.
Eponin finished and they looked at each other for several seconds before giving each other a good bye. They walked out and saw Gabrielle and the Conqueror standing not far away. Eph watched as Gabrielle gave the Conqueror several pokes, but saw the worry in her face. The Conqueror gently grabbed the hand and pulled Gabrielle in for kiss.
“You’ll come back safely?” Eph asked.
“I’ll do everything I can,” Eponin replied. “But you also be careful.”
“I will,” Eph said watching as Eponin then joined the rest of the troops waiting nearby. Ephp hoped they all would return but knew many would not, not with the numbers of soldiers which would be in the battle.
“I take it you normally go with them?” Eph heard Gabrielle ask and looked over to see their princess standing there. She was still nude but wore an armband which indicated her rank within the Nation.
“Yeah, normally I would, but the Queen has a different mission for me this time, as did the Conqueror,” Eph replied back watching as the warriors left the village.
“Watching them go off into battle is never easy,” Gabrielle said. “It’s not the first time I’ve done this, and each time I hope she returns back to me safe and sound.”
Eph thought it was a bit strange to be worried about the Conqueror, one of the most legendary warriors she ever knew.
“Must be tough,” Eph said, being on the other side for a change. Normally she was leaving, heading into battle but this time it was different for her and wondered what she might do.
“Never is, come on,” Gabrielle said, heading over to the dining hall which was being set up as a healer’s tent in anticipation for wounded.
Eph watched in fascination as Gabrielle seemed to almost take control of the tent, never hesitating or waiting to pitch in but seemed to know what to do and where to put things. She realized Gabrielle had a lot of practice in such tents while working for the Conqueror to return from battle.
Eph felt like an outsider watching ass everything went on around her. She made her way outside to give people room to work and found herself in an empty training area devoid of any warriors. Usually warriors were here from dawn to dusk working, training, sparing with each other or training the younger ones. Even the field where the children play was empty, having gone with the elders to a safe spot.
Sitting down she lost track of time. Each time her mind went in the direction of the battle she pushed the thought away now wanting to know what might be happening right now. They had the Conqueror helping them, along with a lot of help yet she still thought they could lose.
Realizing she had been out of it for a while she turned to head back to the dining hut and stopped at the sight of several figures emerged. She thought it might be some warriors returning in injured, yet none of them appeared injured. As she got closer she recognized Tanis and she wondered if the warriors had been defeated.
She knew she had no other real warriors to help her out against four amazons. She could defeat one, but all four would be difficult and held no illusions of winning. She had sworn to protect the village and that enemy now stood in front of her smirking.
“Well, well, well, if it isn’t the queen’s pet Ephiny. What’s the matter, not good enough to join the real warriors?” Tanis taunted.
“No, just guarding the princess, something more important,” Ephiny replied in anger before mentally kicking herself for saying that.
“The princess, you mean that slut slave, what a joke,” Tanis replied with a chuckle as the others chuckled as well. Ephiny looked at the others, recognizing Kona, but didn’t see Ligeia even as Tanis continued on. “That slut will be my ticket to becoming queen like I should be.”
“You never had the intelligence to be queen,” Eph replied trying to think of a way out of the situation and still protect everyone. She knew Tanis was far better than she was and wished Eponin was here.
“I had enough intelligence to pull this off, now tell me where the slut is and I might make your death painless,” Tanis said drawing her sword, ready for a fight.
Eph watched the sword, the sunlight glinting off the metal, knowing she was losing the chance to stall Tanis. Eph started to draw her own sword but stopped when a thought came to her. Her actions confused Tanis who hesitated in her attack.
“Where’s your Roman leash, after all you went crawling to them, men,” Eph said hoping to gain some support from the others at the mention of needing men’s help.
“I have no owner,” Tanis growled back, her face a scowl.
“Funny,” Eph said, taking a more relaxed posture despite the danger. “You ran to Caesar, and everyone knows he doesn’t share power. Did he promise you something in return?”
“You should realize, I’m already Queen. Melosa and Valaska will die in battle today, and I’ll have the Right-of-Caste,” Tanis said with confidence. Eph had a feeling it wouldn’t matter what anyone said, Tanis figured she was right.
“Then the Nation will cease to exist. All you’ve done is doomed us to be slaves of Rome,” Eph replied back to her privately hoping to get through to her.
“Not likely, I’ve already got plans for Caesar,” Tanis said with confidence.
“And it won’t work,” a voice said behind Eph. She didn’t have to turn around to know who said it but glanced anyways to see Gabrielle walking towards them. Looking back at Tanis and her group, Ephiny noticed that Gabrielle had the same effect on them as everyone else as they looked the small woman up and down.
“So,” Tanis said recovering from shock. “The Conqueror’s slut shows up at last.”
“Probably best she didn’t hear you,” Gabrielle replied back calmly and Eph wondered how she remained so calm.
“Or what, she’d kill me, I’ve seen her fight and I’m not impressed little girl. Caesar’s told me all about how easily she can be defeated,” Tanis stated swinging her sword a bit to loosen up.
“If that was true why hasn’t Caesar defeated the Conqueror already? Did Caesar tell you he uses everyone around him, or how he allows now else to gain power. You’re more his slave than I am the Conqueror’s slave,” Gabrielle said to her.
“You bitch,” Tanis said, moving forward, her face red in anger.
Ephiny almost failed to noticed the aggressive move towards Gabrielle but managed to place herself between the two, which might not be the smartest move she made today.
“You wish to challenge me? I’m more of a warrior than you ever hope to be,” Tanis said
“Maybe not, but I’m more of an Amazon than you ever will be,” Eph said, dodging Tanis’ blade as she attacked.
“Amazon, you don’t even know what the words means,” Tanis said, her voice growing louder. “Only I do, I’ve been chosen by Artemis herself.”
“Then she’s appeared to you?” Eph heard Gabrielle ask.
“Silly slave, you know nothing about the gods, no, of course you don’t. She doesn’t have to appear, but I’ve seen her signs,” Tanis stated with confidence.
Eph managed to dodge another attack before countering with her own attack which was easily blocked by Tanis. Eph barely had time to block another attack feeling slightly better that the others had not joined in. She knew if they all attacked at once she would have no chance.
She paused as Tanis backed off wondering what would happen next.
“You’re not worthy of me killing you,” Tanis said smiling slightly. “Koni, Riga, kill her.”
Eph glanced at the group behind Tanis noticing that Ligeia and another Amazon now stood beside her.
“With pleasure,” Koni said, unsheathing her sword and advancing on Eph. “The Nation is ours, and the warriors to stand in our way are off fighting the Romans.
“Not all of us,” another voice said causing Eph to glance in the direction of the voice. She noticed Erika and another elder standing there. Her first thought was she hoped none of the children had come with them.
“How sweet, has been warriors,” Tanis said with a laugh. “Not that it matters, kill them all. And as for you ‘princess’, I’d love to sample your pleasure but you’re holding my Right-of-Caste.”
Eph backed up a bit giving herself some room to fight as Riga and Koni faced off against her. The arrival of the two elders did help their chances as she noticed Tanis move towards Gabrielle who stood not far away leaning against a staff.
“I suggest you focus on us, unless you wish to die looking at your princess,” Koni spat.
Eph attacked hoping it would give her an advantage, taking several swings at Riga, forcing her off her feet before turning to block an attack by Koni. She heard the other battles start up around her knowing she could do nothing about it at the moment.
“You know, this battle is futile for you,” Eph heard Tanis say. “Give up and I’ll make sure to end your pathetic existence quickly.”
Eph turned to block another attack by Koni as Riga stood up and joined in again. She dodged the swipe and slashed out at Koni forcing her back. The battle didn’t look good.
“I see you lack the ability to understand who is defeated already,” Gabrielle said.
End part 2