by Atalanta

Blood and Fire - An Amazon Story

My name is Ata, and this is my story.

Taios. A remote ransacked farm village near the borders of Suem.

Clouds part, my awareness stirs. Where am I? who am I? confusion.

I look around me.... I see fire...blood... carnage... crying in the distance... my head hurts... is that blood? my long red hair saturated with dried blood. I don't remember being able to cry blood instead of tears. I can't breath, too much smoke... the stench, by the gods, the stench is putrid, it's making me sick.

It all started about 10 days ago... that fateful day.

I remember a loud cry for help. A stranger came to town, ragged, soiled and apparently delirious. He spoke of a dark army, moving like a living shadow from realm to realm, leaving only devastation, fear and death behind. I helped him find shelter among my people.

The people of people, were in shock of such a tale. In disbelief the man was ignored and ridiculed. Having not seen war in 10 generations, my people became trusting...too comfortable, and had no time to listen to the ravings of a delusional, possibly insane individual from parts unknown.

My family took him in and cared for him... I listened to his fevered tales. Creatures... "creatures" he said, "too gruesome to behold even in your darkest nightmares... came like a swarm of death itself. Fire, lightning, ignited the sky and darkness fell". I watched as he spoke, looking blankly at the ceiling only to see the light of his eyes dim...his last word..."Aquilonia...". We buried him that same unmarked grave that only stated "May he find peace".

My mother even said to me "Stay away from the man, Ata", to let him... rest. Should I of stayed away? and maybe Death would of passed over? I don't know.... my mother... my family.

"MOTHER??!!" a sudden rush of panic came over me. I quickly gotup and I ran, I ran so fast as though my heart would explode... I ran towards our hut. I don't remember our home being so far away....running... WHY!!?! I don't understand...confusion sets in. Everything looks the same... shambles, blackened walls... "which one is it??!". I yell out "MOTHER!" but I hear nothing but silence.

Then I finally see it. Our home... or whats left of it. I search through the rubble... pain! I feel pain!... I don't know from where...maybe its my hands, torn, bleeding, and burned from tearing through blackened ruin. I can't see!... blood, tears... does it matter??

Does anything matter anymore....I found her.

Her grey eyes blankly staring at me, same as the stranger.... those same grey eyes that I see when I look in the mirror. My 3rd birthday... laughing, happiness, loved. I shake her... "WAKE UP MOTHER!! OH PLEASE WAKE UP"... reality sets in... blood.

Her neck was slashed. "NOOOOOOOO!!", "by all that is holy...mother..why....why...oh why". I don't remember how long I sat there, holding my mother's body. Minutes, hours... does it matter, if only I could turn back time.... I ask myself.

I cried blood and tears, yet I felt nothing.

I look over to my left... I see a bloodied dagger. Is this the same dagger they used on my mother?. Does anything matter anymore, everything is gone... life.. death... all is lost, all that I loved dear is gone. I feel pain... not my hands... my My heart aches! so much pain... I can't take it anymore. The dagger will stop the pain. There must be something I can do and I throw away the dagger and pray for hope.

Suddenly, a bright golden light blinds me. "STOP! ...". "Do not be afraid... though you see only destruction and death around you...there is HOPE". "Who..who are you?" I asked meekly. "I am the goddess Wiccana and I have searched far and wide for a mortal such as thee, one who has lost it all but yet does not seek revenge but Hope"... "the time has come for Hyboria to know that the gods have not forsaken its good people in these dark times... ". The eternal voice stated.

"I...I, I don't understand..." I say.

"Wisdom in Justice must always come at a dear price young one, as it always has been centuries past in this war torn world. But remember this well.... Whilst there is darkness, there is LIGHT as one cannot exist without the other"... "I offer you a new hope and a light for those whom have lost and those who will be saved. Take my hand and become my Avatar, not for revenge.. but for JUSTICE my child".

As I stared at the golden light...I slowly saw the shape of a woman...a tall, strong woman with bright fiery red hair... she wore a golden breast plate with lustrous flowing white silken robes and carried a golden spear. She came closer to me... her eyes... those grey eyes... like my mothers, like mine.

"Take my hand dear daughter... and become one with me, you will be my avatar and we shall join the war that is to come, a light for the realms of Hyboria, together we shall unite a Sisterhood of Justice"

I stand up, and slowly take her hand... warmth, love and strength flow through me.... knowledge and wisdom of ancient ways overtake my whole being. "Mother... I will make you proud." I slowly take the bloodied dagger, with it I cut off my long blood stained red hair. In one deep breath, I say to myself "With this dagger I vow to serve you eternally and shall carry it with me in battle in memory of my family."

Ata is no more. Thus Atalanta, Queen of the Amazons is born. Time to answer the bells of war.

"We are Blood and Fire, War on wings... We are Amazon!"


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