Ephiny and the Conqueror’s Treaty – Part 1

Ephiny and the Conqueror’s Treaty

by AJ Marks

Part 1

Ephiny carefully, and silently made her way towards the two familiar people in front of her hiding in the bushes. Pausing a moment to pull the cloak closer around her to ward off the wind before continuing forward again towards her targets. Stepping lightly on the forest floor avoiding any twigs. The wind picked up bringing a chill causing her to stop for a second before continuing again when neither head in front of her turned around.

She watched a snowflake drift past her nose before glancing up at the grey sky. Winter would arrive a bit later than normal and today was one of the coldest days Ephiny could remember this winter. The clouds seem to indicate they were in for a big winter storm soon.

Refocusing on her targets she moved forward again before pausing again and waiting a second, neither woman seemed to have noticed her approach with their attention forward. Ephiny smiled reaching out to shake a nearby branch watching the snow fall down upon the unsuspecting women.

“Damn it, who?’ one said standing up and shaking off the snow and turning around to see Ephiny laughing at them. “Eph, we’re on duty here.”

“Aw, poor Poni,” Ephiny said, pulling out a heavy cloak and handing it to Eponin. “You forgot this when you left.”

Eponin took the cloak but still glared at Ephiny. “Not funny, we’re expecting visitors, what if they showed up right now?”

“Which brings me to the second part of why I’m here,” Ephiny said, looking at the two amazons. “The Queen received word the Conqueror will probably arrive sometime today, not tomorrow as we expected.”


“The Conqueror-“

“I heard the first time,” Eponin said cutting off what Ephiny had to say.

“So, this is why you’re out here,” the other guard, Solari, stated causing them both to look over at her. Ephiny watched a few more large snowflakes drift down between them.

“Yep, I’m the official welcoming wagon for the Conqueror,’ Ephiny said.

“So, she’s really coming here,” Eponin said.

“And she’ll be here today, Melosa’s already called a meeting for all council members,” Ephiny said to them knowing what Eponin would say at that.

“All members, but I’m on the council,” Eponin said, frowning at the thought.

“And Ariel will be here soon to relieve you to make the council,” Ephiny replied back to her.

“Um, I hate to break you two lovebirds up, but we have company coming,” Solari said pointing to the road and the distant horses and figures coming towards Amazon territory.

Ephiny glanced in the direction seeing a dozen horses coming up the road. She made out the lead horse seeing two riders on it from what she could tell. The group slowly made their way up the road in no hurry to get there which confused Ephiny a bit. She would be rushing to get here before it really started snowing. She also realized she would have to come out of hiding to greet this group, probably the Conqueror.

“Well, wish me luck,” Ephiny said to other two.

“Don’t worry, we’ve got your back,” Eponin said to her. “And remember, they are supposed to be our guests.”

Ephiny looked back at Eponin and Solari before heading out of the hidden spot to greet the approaching group. She made out a few other riders, some appeared to not have any weapons, others were obviously guards. The lead horse with to figures still perplexed her.   She kept her eyes on them watching and figured out the front one was a blonde-haired woman, while the other was a dark-haired woman, probably the Conqueror. The front woman made some sort of gesture with her arms and turned to look back at the other woman.

Ephiny blinked at the sight, the Conqueror smiled at whatever the woman said. Were the whisper of rumors right? The Conqueror had mellowed a bit due to a slave?   At that moment the Conqueror looked right at Ephiny pinning her with a stare. Ephiny took a moment to regain her courage knowing that despite the rumors the Conqueror was still a very dangerous woman.

She looked over the group seeing mostly woman, but a few men and a potential sticking point in the negotiations, men were not allowed in the village overnight. The group closed in and the lead horse stopped in front of her. Everyone but the blonde dismounted who merely pulled the cloak more firmly around her.

“Conqueror, I welcome you to the Amazon Nation and Queen Melosa,” Ephiny stated waiting to see what would happen next, would the Conqueror be nice or gruff.

“Thank you, and I bring greetings from Greece,” the Conqueror said, giving a slight bow then looking up at the blonde, who merely smirked.

“We were not expecting you until tomorrow,” Ephiny stated unsure what to make of the non-verbal communication going on between the two women.

“We pushed a bit harder to get here in front of the weather,” the Conqueror said, glancing again at the blonde before continuing. I apologize for any inconvenience and tried to send a messenger ahead.”

“Your messenger got here earlier this morning,” Ephiny said, looking up at the sky. “And it does look like it’s going to snow soon.”

“Yeah, gotta keep some out of the cold, they get ill easily,” the Conqueror said, looking again at the blonde.

“Perhaps we should continue to the village, a warm meal and then we can begin?” Ephiny stated.

“Sounds lovely,” the blonde said speaking up for the first time as the others looked at her. “What? I’ hungry.”

The Conqueror merely chuckled before mounting up again and following Ephiny back to the village.


Ephiny sighed in relief when she noticed the queen making her ways towards them. It meant her part in this was almost over, especially considering they were almost at the village. The walk back had been in silence which unnerved her.

“My Queen,” Ephiny said, dropping to a knee.

“Rise Ephiny, good work,” Melosa said before turning her attention to the Conqueror. “Empress Xena, I see you made good time here, our mid-day meal is about to begin. I’m sure we can accommodate a few more if you wish to join us.”

“Your hospitality is most welcome Queen Melosa,” the Conqueror replied back in a normal voice. “I think we should stable our horses, they deserve to been tended to and if one of my guards can be shown where we can make camp.”

“Of course,” Melosa said not missing a beat. “Ephiny can show you to our stables, and Lena can show you a place to make camp.”

Ephiny inwardly groaned at the fact she would be with the Conqueror a bit longer, or more like an Amazon tour guide in her mind. She turned to see the group waiting to follow her like a group of waiting younglings for instruction. She watched a couple of the guards head off with Lena heading for a spot to make camp while the others looked at Ephiny.

“Lead on,” the Conqueror said, smirking before getting a slight backhand by the blonde. Eph waited for the blow up but nothing happened. “What, I’m being good,” the Conqueror said to the blonde. The entire interaction threw Ephiny off especially considering the smaller blonde seemed to have no fear of the Conqueror.

“Ah, if you’ll follow me, the stables are this way,” Eph said remembering her role, leading the group off towards the stables. Extra room had been made available for the visitors. “I should warn you not everyone will be friendly, so stay in certain areas and try not to wander off.”

“Understandable,” the Conqueror replied. “No one will give you trouble, got that little one?”

Eph turned a bit to see the Conqueror looking down at the blonde who looked right back without any fear. Eph thought she saw a bit of a smile on both of their faces and neither one backing down.

“Me, I try not to cause trouble,’ the woman replied back to the Conqueror and Eph wondered if she might see an execution of a slave. Instead she heard chuckled from the rest of the group followed by laughter from the Conqueror. It seemed like intelligence reports were severely lacking in some areas, or such intelligence reports were never given to the Council by the Queen.

The wind had started up a bit an indication the weather was coming. Reaching the stables Ephiny took a moment to study the group. Even the Conqueror brushed down her horse, not allowing anyone else to do it. That much Eph expected from the Conqueror. Someone who took charge and was not afraid to do it herself. In that regard the Conqueror demanded a lot of respect, even from many Amazons.

If it wasn’t for her ruthlessness she might even be desirable by most Amazons, tall, piercing blue eyes, and long black hair.

The other guard returned telling the others where they could set up camp and a few took off with the supplies in hope to get the tents up before the weather hit.

Eph looked on at the rest before focusing on the blonde who sat off to the side her cloak pulled tightly around her. Even as Eph watched the blonde seemed focused entirely on the Conqueror, watching her every move but it was the look in her eyes which seemed strange. The blonde wasn’t studying the Conqueror like a warrior, but more like a lover. The blonde was an enigma, and one Eph wanted to solve.

The sound of a rumbling stomach caused everyone to focus on the blonde.

“I better hurry up and get you fed, and warmed up before you catch a cold,” the Conqueror said.

Ephiny led the group to the mess hall where most Amazons were already finished with lunch and therefore wasn’t crowded at all. Walking in she spotted Eponin eating probably having just returned from being on duty. She grabbed a place and made her way over.

“Thought you might still be on duty,” Eph said sitting down beside her.

“Ariel arrived not long after you left, you were showing them the stables when I arrived, didn’t want to disturb any official business,” Eponin said taking a moment to study the others. “So, who’s the blonde?”

“Don’t know,” Eph replied recalling everything she had observed between the blonde and the Conqueror. “But whoever she is, the Conqueror seems to tolerate her better than anyone we imagined,” Eph said watching as Queen Melosa walked over sitting down next to the Conqueror.

“What type of outfit is she wearing?” Eponin asked looking over at the group.

“Outfit?” Eph repeated unsure about the question. She realized she didn’t know and took a closer look this time seeing skin, and a lot of it. “A pleasure slave I guess?”

“That would be my guess,” Eponin replied as they both looked on as the blonde seemed to be listening to the conversation the Conqueror and Melosa were having.

Eph realized it would be perfect for the blonde, a slave who people dismissed at the sight but actually listened to everything and seeing things the Conqueror might not see. It would be like having an extra pair of eyes and ears reporting directly to the Conqueror. Eph watched again this time with the knowledge the blonde was a slave. It still made no sense as the blonde didn’t seem to be a slave, if anything they appeared as equals.

“Stop staring,” Eponin said giving Eph a bump.

“All right, I guess we’ll learn more later on,” Ephiny said.

“If she attends the meetings,” Eponin replied.

Ephiny looked over once more then went back to her food. She had a feeling they would learn the truth and that the blonde would be at the meetings.


Ephiny walked into the council room shaking off the snowflakes in her hair. The weather had started up and everyone expected it to really start snowing any moment now by the appearance of the darkening clouds. She glanced around while heading to her seat and noticed the Conqueror and the blonde woman seated next to her. The seating puzzled Ephiny even more and the question came, was the woman a slave or not?

“I’d like to thank everyone for coming,” Melosa said after everyone sat down and Eph knew it was rare to have a full council as usually someone would be on patrol, or some other duty.

Next to Eph sat Eponin, as normal with Terreis, one of two Amazon princesses, on Eph’s other side. Valaska sat on the other side of the room for such meetings and she appeared only sl8ghtly curious about the meeting, usually she had a bored expression on her face when she was present. Next to Valaska sat one of the elders, Erica. The Conqueror and her people sat closer to the front and Melosa than the others as the meeting started.

“Now, Empress Xena made the request for such a meeting and I accepted, and I know we all would like to know why?” Melosa asked looking over at the Conqueror and waiting. A power play had started.

Eph watched as the Conqueror leaned forward a bit, resting her chin on her hands and looking over the group before speaking. “It’s quite simple, for too long there’s been unneeded hostility between our nations.”

“Unneeded!” Valaska said slamming her fist on the table making Eph jump. “You slaughtered an entire tribe of our people in the north under a flag of truce that was unneeded!”

“Valaaska!” said Melosa sharply and Eph heard the warning tone in her queen’s voice. All eyes went to the Conqueror to see what her reaction would be.

“Yes, I won’t lie to you, I made many mistakes in my youth, but were we all not foolish at one time or another when we were young? Thought we knew more than others?” the Conqueror simply replied back to them.

“My foolishness didn’t cost so many lives,” Valaska replied back still angry.

Ephiny watched the interaction between the two and suspected many thought violence would erupt at any time. Eph looked at the others seeing the blonde glaring at Valaska which took Eph by surprise. It was not the fact the blonde was looking at Valaska, but the look almost mirrored the look the Conqueror had. Then the blonde leaned over to the Conqueror and whispered something in her ear while stroking her forearm. The Conqueror nodded looking at the blonde before looking back at Valaska.

“It’s not my intention to bring anymore suffering, but a mutual solution for each of us to bring about a peace,” the Conqueror said.

“Oh, I can’t wait for this,” Valaska said sitting back and waiting giving every indication she doubted the words of the Conqueror. Eph had no idea what to think anymore as nothing seemed to make sense. She would wait to hear the proposal before thinking anything else. She also continued to wonder about the relationship between the Conqueror and the blonde slave.

End part 1

Continued in part 2

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