Ephiny and the Battle for the Amazons
by AJ Marks
Eph glanced over at Queen Melosa and Princess Valaska before looking over to where her mother and Eponin stood next to her. She watched Gabrielle make her way down the center in her new ‘Amazon’ outfit. It consisted of a simple skirt, a bit too short in Eph’s opinion, and several necklaces which covered Gabrielle’s breasts. An armband and wristband revealed her position within the Nation. The outfit had been a source of debate, mostly due to Gabrielle’s stubbornness.
Gabrielle stopped in front of Melosa as every watched on.
“Gabrielle, tonight, among your sisters and allies you shall become a part of our family. Who here will accept Gabrielle into their family?” Melosa asked, despite already knowing the answer.
“We will,” Eph said, stepping forward along with her mother and Eponin.
A family is willing, are there any challenges to either the family or the adoption of Gabrielle into the Nation, Melosa said.
Now Eph waited, nervous, hoping no one would challenge anything. The silence stretched out for several heartbeats until finally Melosa stepped forward to continue the ceremony.
A flash of light caused Eph to close her eyes, blinking them open she noticed not one, but two figures standing in front of them. She quickly recognized the beautiful, scantily-clad woman as Aphrodite and the other woman, dressed in leather, she had seen in her dream, Artemis.
Both goddess walked over to stand behind Eph, causing her nerves to double. She had no idea what might happen next.
“I announce the newest member of the Amazon nation, Princess Gabrielle,” Artemis said, her voice ringing though the crowd. She turned taking the mask which would be Gabrielle’s and turned. Eph noticed a slight change in the mask as Artemis handled it before standing in front of Gabrielle. “I now crown you a princess of the Amazon nation.”
Eph watched as Artemis turned, giving a smile to Melosa and Valaska. The Conqueror appeared focused on someone else, not the two goddesses in the front, but someone else in the crowd. Eph looked back and thought she noticed a man standing in the shadows and looked slightly familiar, tall dark-haired and looking back at them.
“Now, let’s party,” Artemis said, breaking Eph’s train of thought.
She turned ass the assembled group excitedly began to talk about what happened as she noticed her mother’s stunned expression as she stood there next to the two goddesses.
“Um, guess I forgot to mention that Gabrielle is Aphrodite’s Chose,” Eph said.
“You both knew?” her mother asked.
“Yeah, I guessed correctly when we were in Corinth,” Eph replied.
“Well, I guess I gained a talented daughter,” her mother finally said.
“Isn’t this exciting!” Aphrodite said. “So much energy, I love this. I’ll have to get Artie to allow me to more of these parties.”
Ephiny looked out at the crowd understanding what Aphrodite meant.
“Thought I saw someone who looked like Ares,” Eph finally said.
“He was keeping an eye on his daughter, even if they don’t get along,” Aphrodite said.
“About killed him to ask me for permission,” Artemis replied.
Ephiny realized that the Nation was protected from interference by other gods by Artemis before heading to the group seeing Jana along with the Centaur Marcus. Off to one side she noticed Bele standing next to another Centaur.
“Bele is the one who is pregnant,” Eponin stated.
Ephiny’s eyebrows went up at that statement and she wondered if she would have a boy, a girl or a Centaur and noticed Gabrielle and the Conqueror walking towards them.
“Princess,” Eph said, giving a small nod towards the Conqueror.
“That was different,” Gabrielle said indicating the ceremony. “I’m glad you accepted the assignment to Corinth.”
“You poor women, have no idea what you’re about to get mixed up into,” the Conqueror said, laughing as Gabrielle nudged her in the ribs and turning to see Aphrodite walking towards them.
“Aphrodite, I didn’t know you were coming,” Gabrielle stated.
“And miss an event like this and an Amazon festival? Like, I wouldn’t miss this for anything,” Aphrodite replied. “More wanted to come, but Ares limited the number so it wouldn’t overwhelm people.”
“Only you were allowed?” Gabrielle asked.
“He couldn’t have stopped me,” Aphrodite replied back to them.
“Ares stood in the back watching everything,” the Conqueror said, somehow not surprising Ephiny that she knew he was there. “Good thing he told me beforehand so I wouldn’t so anything.”
“Is that why you were so tense earlier,” Gabrielle stated and Eph noticed the soft touch Gabrielle gave the Conqueror at the mention of Ares’ name. “And here I thought you might be tense over this presentation.”
“Nah, as long as I know, and I can see where you are I know where trouble is,” the Conqueror replied back.
“Keep it Xena,” Gabrielle said, glaring at her.
“Only speaking the truth, they’ll learn,” the Conqueror bantered back looking at Ephiny and Eponin.
Eph had a feeling she would learn about all of this, but until then they had a festival to attend. She knew tomorrow her life would change again, but tonight she could have some fun and dragged a reluctant Eponin into the dance going on, surprised when Gabrielle did the same with the Conqueror.
For now, life was good.