Me Not Into
Amoreena had been at The Temple for about a month now and was still in the dark as to how she had come to be there. Not only that, she still had no memory of her past. The first thing she remembered was waking to find herself on the steps in front of a huge foreboding structure. Two of the women from inside had found her, disoriented and clearly uncomfortable with the strange surroundings. They had taken her in and have been trying to help her recall any pieces of her past that they can.
Amoreena was shown to her room and told to make herself comfortable. Someone would be back in a little while to show her around. After sitting in the room staring at the walls for what seemed like an eternity, she decided to go and take a look around by herself.
She had only been at the Temple for a couple of hours when she had her first encounter with the God of War. When Ares had first found out his Priestesses had taken somebody in he was furious. They knew nothing about her or where she had come from yet they took it upon themselves to offer her his hospitality. He was ready to do something about it when he saw her for himself. He found himself drawn to this stranger and uncharacteristically decided to let her stay. And now, here he was, leaning against the wall with his huge well-muscled arms folded against his chest. One leg draped casually over the other at the ankle and bent slightly at the knee. He had an incredulous look on his face as he just stood and watched her marvelling at her beauty. He didn't make a peep, just continued to watch the newcomer with wonder. Finally he cleared his throat letting her know that she was no longer alone. Amoreena turned at the sound and found herself gazing into the most delectable dark eyes which seemed to draw her right into them. For a moment she was lost, unable to pull herself from their grasp. Taking advantage of the situation Ares moved toward her his muscles rippling as he uncrossed his arms. Startled she stepped back. He was just reaching out a hand in a welcome gesture. "Hello" he said.
Amoreena smiled and returned the greeting, "Hi yourself, I hope no one minds, but I was getting ancy waiting for someone to come and show me around so I just thought I would do some exploring on my own." She had no idea who she was addressing, he had not introduced himself and he was not around when she had first arrived.
Ares shook his head, "You're free to look around, but I'd be happy to take you on a tour myself." There was a twinkle in his eye as he took her arm to begin their journey.
Ares was curious about the stranger. No one seemed to know anything about her. He could sense that she was empty inside, a void where memories should reside. The silence was deafening.
He was quite taken with her beauty and felt the beginnings of a bond growing between them. It was as if he knew her. There was something pulling them together. He couldn't explain it. What Ares didn't know then was that the longer he was in her company the deeper the bond would grow until it became all encompassing.
As they made their way through the Temple Ares explained about the weapons displayed throughout. "Every piece of weaponry on display here in the Temple was forged by Hephaestus and used by Ares the God of War himself,” he said, watching her carefully, waiting for any sign that she knew who he was. If he was expecting acknowledgement he would be sorely disappointed.
As they passed by one particular display she turned to get a better look. There were three swords strategically placed above an impressive shield. Separately each sword was majestic, but when placed as they had been, at precise angles above the shield, the whole sight was mesmerising. There were scenes depicted on each of the sword hilts and on the front of the shield itself. When the swords were placed together, the scene became a complete picture, a close up of part of the larger scene shown on the shield. It was a portrayal of Ares’ greatest victory, symbolising his strength and power over mortals. Amoreena was taken by the impressive sight before her and couldn't help herself. She reached out a tentative finger and lightly traced it along the shaft of the centre sword, slowly sliding it down the full length. Ares reached out and gently removed her hand "Careful, it's very sharp. I wouldn't want you to cut yourself."
She lowered her arm but still couldn't take her eyes away from the magnificent scene depicted right before her eyes. "This is exquisite, breath-taking, it makes me want to take the shield and a sword right down and step into the battle. I feel like it's beckoning to me, like there is some force at work, trying to get through to me."
He took her hand and started to lead her away. He was pleased with her reaction; this had to be his favourite collection in the Temple. Maybe one day he would let her handle his sword, but not right now.
They continued on their way, walking and talking as if they'd known each other forever. She was beginning to feel very comfortable with him. Soon they were nearing the front hall. There seemed to be a fair amount of noise emanating from the foyer. Voices were being raised. Stepping into the hall, Ares was accosted by a vile tempered, odious female. She was clearly pissed about something. "Ares, you had better call off your Buffoon Brigade before I fry them,” she said raising her arm toward one of the other women.
"Ah, Discord, how nice of you to pop in. As always, it's a pleasure to see you dear sister,” Ares remarked as he approached her.
"Just who are YOU calling a buffoon?" questioned the woman on the receiving end of Discord's wrath.
"Ladies - and for you Discord I use the term loosely - please, let's try to control ourselves. Remember, we have a guest, must we disillusion her so soon?" Ares laughed.
Amoreena was taken aback by the realization the she was in the presence of the God of War. Why had he not told her who he was? He had made no mention of it; in fact he had been speaking to her about himself quite boastfully. "Ares" she said, looking up at him.
"Later," he said and vanished in a blaze of blue light. Discord disappeared soon after, leaving the women alone in the hall.
"Who in blazes was that?" Amoreena questioned. "She certainly knows how to make an entrance doesn't she."
"That was Discord. Ares' acrimonious little sister. She's a pain in the butt, just ignore her, we always do. She comes around when she's bored, figuring we're the day's entertainment. One of these days, I'm going to tear her apart limb by limb. Just don't let her bother you, her lot in life is to antagonise. She's the Goddess of wishful thinking, sees herself as one-day taking Ares’ place as Goddess of War. That will never happen, not as long as there is breath in this body." She reached out her arm to motion to Amoreena to follow her. "Let's go find the others. You haven't met everyone yet." With that, they headed for the garden.
Ares looked at Discord with disdain. "Just what in Tartarus did you think you were doing? You don't just come in here and start to threaten my priestesses. Start talking, before I start blasting," he said as he raised his hand in her direction. "Well, I don't hear anything. Cat got your tongue? It was flapping fine a few minutes ago." Ares was enjoying this. Putting Discord in her place was something he relished, she had pushed him to the limit in recent days and he had finally had enough. She would be sorry she chose today to show up and start something.
"I just came by to see you. I never intended to start anything with anybody. I was just minding my own business when all of a sudden I was attacked from behind. She was on me before I knew it. She doesn't like me you know,” she said it as though it was something new to her, the fact that somebody didn't like her. Ares laughed, his head going back as he did so. Mimicking her he repeated "She doesn't like me you know, here's a news flash babe,” he’s really laughing now "I don't even like you." With that he blasted her with a bolt of his lightening. "See you around sis," he said and disappeared again, his laughter echoing in the room as he vanished.
He appeared in the garden a few feet behind the two women. They were unaware of him at first. They were too involved in their conversation to notice that he had appeared. He thought he would take this opportunity to watch Amoreena. She was so beautiful, he found himself wanting her more and more. Time to introduce myself he thought. He headed straight to them "Ladies" he said.
"Ares," both women said in unison. "I see you put out the garbage" noted the taller of the two women.
"If you mean Discord, yea, she's gone, for now," he said, smiling. "Amoreena, let me take this opportunity to welcome you to my Temple. I never really did before. Hopefully your stay will be a pleasant one." Ares took her hand and lead her away. "I'll bring her back in a while," he said as they moved off.
"So tell me, what exactly do you remember?" Ares was facing her now.
"Not too much really. I remember waking up here, not knowing where I was, it was frightening. I can recall bits and pieces but they are so few and far between that they don't make a lot of sense yet. I feel like I've been here before though. The longer I am here, the more I feel I've been here before. I can't explain it. Have you ever seen me before?" She asked, hoping against hope that maybe he had.
"Sorry" he said. "If I had ever seen you before I certainly would have remembered, you're not the type one would easily forget." Amoreena walked on, leisurely exploring the gardens. "You have some beautiful flowers here. The colours are so vivid. It's amazing. I feel like I'm seeing everything for the first time. I guess in a way I am."
"How is it you remembered your name?" Ares asked.
Amoreena casually shrugged her shoulders. "I don't know. I just did. I can't explain it."
He was truly curious about this woman. He couldn't read her at all and that bothered him to no end. He was a God, and that meant he should be able to sense things. Not with this one though. All he got was empty space. A big blank. Nothing. Nadda. Oh well, he'd know something soon enough.
They were passing by a fragrant bush when all of a sudden she stopped to smell it. She bent down in front of him. He didn't stop and walked right into her backside. She could feel him against her ass. He didn't move away, just stayed there, pressing himself against her. He reached around and caressed her face. Slowly he moved, stepping around her so he was facing her. Taking her face in his hands he slowly brought it towards him, his lips brushing against hers, lightly at first then more intensely. He wrapped his arms around her, holding her close and began to probe her mouth with his tongue. She pulled herself away and smiled at him. "So do you welcome all strangers who show up on your doorstep this way?" she asked with a giggle. He was definitely stirring up feelings in her and she felt like grabbing him right here and now and showing him a thing or two she did remember. 'Behave yourself Amoreena, he'll think you're a harlot,' she thought to herself.
Amoreena was sitting in the dining room with the other women after dinner. She found herself to be the main topic of conversation. It was thought that certain questions might stir up the memories. Still she remembered nothing. She knew about weapons and gardening but other than that nothing had come back to her. Since she seemed interested in swords she was invited to participate in practice the next day if she desired, Ares himself was attending this practice. She felt it would be an experience to remember. Shortly thereafter she excused herself, "I hope you don't mind if I call it a night, it's been a long day and I'm exhausted."
"It has been a long day and a strange one for you. It must be disconcerting waking in a strange place with no memory. Just remember we're here if you need us," one of the priestesses said as Amoreena rose to leave.
"Good night. See you in the morning." Amoreena said as she walked from the room. As she neared her room she saw Ares.
"Can I interest you in an escorted tour of the gardens?" he inquired.
"I was just going to bed" she remarked casually, "thanks for the offer, could we make it another time? I'm really quite tired."
Ares was taken aback that she opted for sleep instead of his company. He was sure he had sensed her desire earlier. It was the first thing he had been able to sense since she had come to the Temple. He wondered if she was teasing him. He usually got what he wanted when he wanted it. Well, she hadn't exactly said no had she, just that she was quite tired but would go another time. He would wait, for now. He nodded and said "Just let me know when and I'll be happy to escort you."
"Thanks, I appreciate it. Everyone has been so friendly since I got here. I can't tell you what it means to me, that you would take in a stranger without so much as a question. Good night. I hope I'll get to see you tomorrow."
As she went to pass him he reached out and took her hand, he raised it to his lips and kissed it. "Good night then and sweet dreams." He smiled at her.
She opened the door to her room and entered it, keeping her eyes on him the whole time until she closed the door behind her. She leaned her back against the door and let out a deep sigh. He was having such an effect on her and she wasn't sure how to handle it. She readied herself for bed and found herself wishing that she were not going alone. She climbed into the bed and shut her eyes.
It seemed so real. It was hard to believe it had only been a dream. She woke up in a cold sweat; relief flooding through her, then quickly giving way to panic, afraid, but unable to explain why. A foreboding feeling was awash over her. It was like someone was trying to tell her something. Cryptic images, that's all she could remember.
Amoreena shuddered as she tried to recall the details of her dream. She remembered darkness, a feeling of danger, someone or something watching her, following her, but being careful not to get too close.
She got out of bed and lit a candle so she could see better. Slowly she headed toward the window, gathering up the robe she had draped over a chair before retiring for the night. She put the robe on and continued to the window. Leaning on the ledge, face in hands, she looked into the night sky. Something wasn't right. She wasn't sure just what, but had the definite feeling that something was out of sync. She straightened up, wrapping the robe around her, when all of a sudden it hit her. The stars were all wrong.
She once again looked up into the night sky and didn't recognise the star patterns. They weren't where they were supposed to be. She could distinctly recall the constellations in the sky and these were not them. With this small clue she began to feel the first inkling of hope register, that maybe, she would be able to rediscover her past.
Unable to go back to sleep she decided to go out to the garden. It was beautiful, peaceful and had a fragrant aroma that she found to be soothing. She was entranced, so deep into her reverie she didn't notice when Ares materialized behind her. As she walked, her robe hung loosely over her slender form, the gown beneath it transparent in the moonlight. Ares just stood back and watched.
Right in front of him was a vision of loveliness. She was having a profound effect on him. He was a God, damn it, he should be able to control himself, yet where she was concerned he was finding that it was a losing battle.
Amoreena turned and came face-to-face with the God of War. "Ares, what are you doing out here in the middle of the night?" she questioned.
"I could ask you the same question" Ares remarked. "I saw you through my window and thought I would make sure you were all right."
Amoreena took his hand in hers and looked into his eyes "I'm ok. I had a nightmare and couldn't get back to sleep. I love it out here and it's so peaceful, I thought I'd go for a walk. I didn't expect to run into anyone," she was unconsciously massaging his hand as she spoke.
Ares leaned down and gently kissed her. She responded and brought her arms around him, kissing him with a passion newly born in her. He ran his fingers through her hair and the kiss deepened until she gasped at the intensity of it. Her heart was pounding in her chest so fiercely that she was sure the God could feel it through the flimsy material of her nightgown. Ares crushed her to him and lowered his lips to her neck. He placed light kisses there and then lowered his head to her breasts. The War God buried his face in them and kissed her through the material, raising his head he began to kiss her neck again, beneath her ear, slowly making his way until he was standing behind her. He placed his arms around her and hugged her to him. She felt as though she could melt into him. Her legs were beginning to feel unsteady and she had to lean into him to keep herself from falling. He was caressing her breasts from behind and pressing himself against her. She could feel how much he wanted her. Turning to face him, taking his face in her hands, she gently kissed him. When she looked up she found that they were no longer in the garden, they were now in her room. Ares picked Amoreena up and gently deposited her on the bed easing himself down beside her. He pulled her to him and she moaned as his lips covered hers once more.
Amoreena had finally fallen asleep. Lying in Ares’ arms she had been able to relax enough to drift off. She snuggled into him and held her close. He watched her as she slept, the way her chest would rise and fall with each breath she took. She looked as peaceful as a dove. It was hard to imagine that she was in such turmoil just a few short hours ago. The nightmare had really scared her even though she wouldn't admit how deeply, Ares knew it had been bad. When he had found her in the garden she had told him she was all right but he could tell she wasn't being truthful. He didn't want to push her so he just let it go. Not wanting to leave in case the nightmare returned, Ares fell asleep holding her.
She could feel a presence nearby; it was calling to her. She tried to run but was frozen in place. It was getting closer, so close that her skin began to crawl. It passed right through her like a cold wind - chilling her to the bone. She began to shiver uncontrollably. It was behind her now. Her feet still wouldn't move. The order to run was coming in loud and clear but her feet refused to listen. All of a sudden she saw an image that was being projected into her mind. She could see a couple. Their faces were obscured, they were trying to speak to her but she couldn't make sense of what they were saying. Finally she was able to move her feet and began to run, faster and faster. Whatever was there began to chase after her. Looking up she saw a strange looking knife about to plunge into her chest. "NO" she screamed.
The piercing scream woke Ares with a jolt. He tried to calm her down, to convince her that it was only a dream. He held her until she stopped shaking. "Do you want to talk about it?" he asked.
"I'm so cold," she began to shiver again.
Ares continued to hold her, trying to warm her up. "Oh Gods, Ares, I really thought I was going to die. I was running, not looking where I was going, just trying to concentrate on running faster, I looked up and there was this ... big ... knife aimed right at my heart. I thought ... Oh Gods ... it seemed so real." She buried her head in his chest and began to cry.
"Hey, it's over now, it was just a dream," Ares said as she stroked her back and placed a kiss on her head. "I'm not going to let anything happen to you. I'm going to help you through this, we'll figure out what's happening, don't worry." He held her until she stopped crying.
"I'm sorry Ares, I don't mean to be so much trouble. I just wish that if there was a message in these dreams, it would hurry up and play itself out." She got out of bed and grabbed her robe.
"You OK now?" Ares questioned.
"Thanks to you I'll be fine. I'm so grateful you're here. If I had been alone I don't know what would have happened."
Ares rose from the bed and was fully clothed in his leathers by the time he reached her side. "I'll leave you to get dressed," he said kissing her forehead. "They’ll be serving breakfast soon, after which we have practice." You're still coming, right?"
Amoreena nodded "wouldn't miss it." All the priestesses attended these practices and she felt lucky to have been invited to attend with them. After seeing the displays of weapons throughout the temple and her reaction to them, she couldn't wait to finally hold one in her own hand. To learn how to use one. It was exciting!
"Good. I'll be waiting," and with that Ares was gone in a flash of blue light.
Diana and Autumn were already in the dining room when Amoreena arrived.
"Good morning, how did you sleep?" Diana inquired.
"Not that well I'm afraid. I had a couple of bad dreams. Things are starting to come to me but I can't make much sense of anything yet." Amoreena answered.
"Give it time," said Autumn, "don't try to rush it. It'll all come back when the time is right."
"I know, it’s just so ... oh ... darn irritating. It's all in here," - points to her head - "but not being able to bring it to the surface is a real pain. I just feel so lost." Amoreena sat down and continued, "I guess I have to learn to be more patient."
They continued talking about the dreams over breakfast. Finally they headed outside to meet the others for practice.
Ares was waiting as they came out. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shinning and there was a slight breeze.
"OK ladies, you can each take a turn against me. Do you think you're up to it?" Ares grinned.
"Maybe the question should be are you up to it." Diana retorted with a grin, looking straight at Ares.
"OK. Who's first," Ares considered each of the women. "Autumn" he announced, "You get first crack."
One by one the women all took their turn sparring with the God. It was a good learning experience, Ares had a few new moves he used on them and when Diana took her turn she nearly skewered him, much to his chagrin. Overall he was impressed with their efforts.
Amoreena held the sword up and admired its beauty. She appreciated the feel of the weapon in her hands. She had enjoyed the early morning practice and had impressed everyone with her ability, including the God of War himself. A slight apprehension quickly gave way as a wave of euphoria swept over her and she couldn't hold herself back. She lunged and parried with the God, matching each of his moves with her own. She was good. She was a natural; it was almost as if she had been born with a sword in her hand. Amoreena enjoyed the experience so much that she found herself savouring the attention the priestesses were showing her, wanting it to continue. She thrived in this atmosphere; it made her feel alive, strong and even invincible.
Ares was well pleased with Amoreena's performance with a sword. He was seeing another side of her; one that she probably didn't even know existed until right this minute. This side of her loved an audience and she was milking them for all they were worth. He was seeing great potential in her and that potential he planned to take advantage of.
One month later...
Amoreena was adjusting to her new life. She still had not regained much of her memory and continued to hold onto hope. Each little advance she made was taking her one step closer to self-discovery. She had grown so close to her new friends and was finding herself wondering if it might not just be best to let sleeping dogs lie. No one knew if her previous life was one to be proud of or afraid of. All she knew was the here and now. That here she was safe and accepted for who she was. 'Whoever that may turn out to be!' she thought.
She had decided to spend some time reading in the garden. She was relaxing under a tree, lying on her stomach happily humming as she read, scrolls methodically placed on the ground around her. It was late afternoon; the sun was partially hidden by soft billowy clouds.
She was enjoying the scrolls Ares had given her, although the selection was somewhat limited. One she was particularly interested in was about the Oracle at Delphi. Shortly after finishing it, Amoreena began to wonder if she might be able to get some answers from the Oracle.
Ares was having some ideas of his own. He knew Amoreena was having doubts about digging up her past. She had confided her fears to him and he had told her he would be there for her, whatever she decided. He then proceeded to investigate for himself. He knew he could find any information he desired, he had his ways, he was a God after all! He went about his investigations without her knowledge.
With each day that passed, Amoreena found herself wondering what her future held. She had made new friends here, and Ares had certainly welcomed her with open arms, but she silently wondered just how much longer it would last. Sure she helped out as much as she could, but unlike the others she had no temple duties. The others all served Ares; she was just a guest. She didn't really know enough about the Gods to be able to make that kind of decision, whether or not to serve Ares. Although Ares did seem to have a loyal group of priestesses here she still hadn't learned enough about him for herself. Amoreena couldn't just follow anyone. Even with no memory of her past she knew she would never blindly follow, she had to learn for herself. Everything needed to be checked and re-checked, no stone left unturned. It wasn't that she didn't like him or even care for him because she did, but in order for her to be able to serve him like the priestesses, she would have to believe in him and at this precise moment she couldn't. She couldn't understand why she had this uncertainty; she surely had grown fond of the God.
After spending much of the evening and the next day thinking, Amoreena decided that she had to come to terms with her memory loss. She had to either discover who she was or forget the past and just begin anew, living each day to the fullest. She knew deep down that she could never just settle for not knowing. She had to find herself, especially if she were to make the decision to officially serve Ares. So, with her mind made up, she approached the others and told them of her plans to seek out the Oracle at Delphi. She explained about the scroll Ares had lent her, about the Oracle, and that she felt this might be her best hope to get the answers she desperately needed.
That night Ares came to her. He was curious as to why she felt the need to consult the Oracle. There was nothing anyone could say to dissuade her, she had made the decision, and intended to stick with it. He didn't like the idea but agreed not to stop her. He held his arms out in front of himself and a beautiful sword materialised in them. Handing it over to her he explained that Hephaestus had forged it especially for her. She moved closer to him and placed a soft kiss on his lips. He grabbed her around the waist and brought her to him. Holding her tight, he began to hungrily kiss her.
The kiss was much more intense than any they had previously shared. His tongue began to probe her mouth and at the same time his hands found and cupped her ass.
Amoreena's hands began their descent down the God's body, feeling the strength of his muscles and the heat emanating from him in his desire. Being in this close proximity to him she could feel his arousal. He lead her to the bed and the next thing he knew he was lying on his back looking up at her in shock. He couldn't believe that she had the audacity to push HIM on the bed.
She stood there at the end of the bed seductively looking at him. Parting his legs to allow herself room to move between them, she crawled onto the bed with him. Amoreena ran her hands along the length of his inner thigh, loving the feel of the leather under her hand. She made her way up his legs until she reached his groin. In the next breath Ares had her pinned to the bed under him, his erection pressing hard against her. He trailed fiery hot kisses down her chest, as her nightgown conveniently vanished.
Ares continued kissing a path down her body. She parted her legs as he reached them, to allow him access, and he quickly moved between them. He kissed and licked his way up the inside of her creamy white inner thighs, then used his fingers to gently open her nether lips. The War God plunged his tongue into her, making her gasp with pleasure. She reached down and grabbed his head trying to push him in closer forcing him to go deeper. Ares complied and she thought she was going to die from the sheer pleasure he was giving her. He removed his tongue and replaced it with a finger, moving it in and out, slowly at first, and then adding another one as he increased the pace. Amoreena began to writhe under his ministrations, begging him to go faster and deeper. Ares sat up, his vest disappearing as he did so. He kissed and licked his way back up her body stopping at her breasts, taking her nipple in his mouth and gently biting it. She reached down to try and speed up the removal of his leather pants. Laughing, he made them disappear as well. He positioned himself and with one quick thrust he was inside her. Ares moved slowly, wanting to savour each delicious moment. She began to thrust her hips, matching his movements with her own; Amoreena grasped his firm butt and pressed him tight against her begging for more. Ares pulled himself out just long enough to turn her over. He had her get on her knees and once again thrust into her harder and deeper than before. She leaned down from the waist to give him the opportunity to go deeper still. He reached around in front of her and touched her breasts, squeezing them, rubbing her nipples between two fingers. She began to shudder and he reached down and began to play with her clit, he was thrusting harder and faster building up to his crescendo. She was panting and bucking against him forcing him deeper with each thrust until they both reached the pinnacle of their pleasure.
She fell asleep in his arms, sated. For the first night in many her nightmare did not return.
The next morning the women were getting ready to leave when Ares appeared.
"I still don't think this is necessary" he ventured, looking directly at Amoreena.
"You said you wouldn't stop me Ares,” she asserted.
"Still, I don't have to like it. I happen to think you're making a big mistake but I agreed I wouldn't stop you and I won't." Ares reached out and touched the side of her face. "I just hope you find what you're looking for" he stated, and left.
They started out from Sparta just after dawn wanting to get an early start. It would be a long trip and they hopped to be able to reach Corinth by nightfall. Ares had seen to it that they had everything they would need for the trip, including four of the best horses he had.
"I don't understand why Ares is so against this trip. He knows that I can't pledge myself to him until I find out about my past. I thought he'd want to help me." Amoreena said to no one in particular.
"He probably has his reasons. You're lucky he's not trying to stop you." Wind volunteered. "I must admit that he has been acting strangely where you are concerned. He's usually more of the demanding type. He's not usually so understanding, if he wants something he just takes it. One thing Ares demands is loyalty. By letting you go, maybe its his way of showing you that he knows you'll make the right decision, regardless of what you do or do not discover about your past."
Amoreena thought about it for a moment. "He has been so thoughtful, he gave me this sword last night." She unsheathed the sword to show them. "He had Hephaestus make it for me. He made me promise to arm myself on the journey, and then he gave me the sword.
They had been travelling for the better part of the morning when Diana suddenly pulled up on her mount stopping him. She could sense something up ahead. They continued on up the road trying to keep to their schedule. Diana motioned for Wind to follow her. They rode ahead of the others.
"Do you feel anything weird?" Diana questioned Wind.
"Like what?" Wind responded.
"I don't know, I can't quite put my finger on it. But I definitely get the feeling something is not as it should be." Diana shrugged her shoulders.
Up ahead, unseen by the women, a dark figure stood leaning against a tree, watching them carefully.
Amoreena was enthralled with the beautiful scenery. The countryside was lush. The trees were in full bloom and there was a delicate scent in the air. It was so easy to forget the task at hand and just lose herself in the beauty all around her. There were birds singing merrily in the trees and the wind was gently blowing the leaves, causing a rustling sound to accompany them.
It was nearing midday and the women decided to stop and refresh themselves. There was a stream nearby and large densely foliaged trees to shade them from the rays of the sun.
Amoreena, Diana and Autumn went down to the stream to refill their water skins. Wind had stayed behind to set out the picnic. She was attending to her task when Ares appeared.
"What are you doing here?" Wind asked of the God.
"Listen Wind, I don't have much time. I don't want her to know I was here, so just listen, OK. She can't get to the Oracle. I don't care how you stop her. Just do it." He was overly insistent and this made Wind curious as to why.
"You better do better than that if you want me to stop her." Wind said. "I'm not going to crush her hopes. She thinks this is the only way she'll get the answers she craves."
"Oh she'll get them all right," he snapped back, "but they won't be what she wants to hear."
"How do you know? Oh Ares, tell me this isn't something you've orchestrated for your own benefit." Wind leered at him.
"I had nothing to do with it, sort of, I didn't do it personally. I never even knew about it. Let's just say that it wasn't ME." Ares grinned. " But it's better if her past is left that way, in the past." He said sternly.
This was something he couldn't let happen. He had to stop her from getting to Delphi. If she found out the things that he had discovered, he wasn't sure how she would react. She had a past and an identity all right. When he found out the truth, it shocked even him.
By the time the three women returned from the stream, Ares was gone. In the same amount of time, Wind had made her decision. There was no way she was going to stop this journey of discovery. Wind had always been rebellious and tended to be a bit brazen at times. She was strong willed, outspoken, and she was definitely not afraid to voice her opinion no matter the outcome. Sometimes she wondered why Ares let her get away with such behaviour because he had been known to kill for less. But, when Wind got something in her head, all of Tartarus couldn't stop her from seeing it through. If Ares was that determined to stop Amoreena from visiting the Oracle, what he found out about her must be pretty damned good. Wind believed that Amoreena had the right to know. Not to mention that Ares had sparked her curiosity. 'This could turn into the adventure of a lifetime' Wind thought to herself. After their last conversation she was sure he knew a damn sight more about this than he was letting on. All that gibberish about 'not me, I didn't do it, sort of' what kind of crap was that supposed to be? It was so unlike the Ares she knew.
They had covered a good distance this day; in fact, they had reached Corinth earlier than they had planned. They set up camp for the night just outside of town. They were all weary and knew they would be making another early start in the morning.
Wind was standing off by herself repeatedly going over what had transpired between her and Ares earlier in the day. She was trying to figure out a way to get Ares to tell her what he had found out. She was about to start back to the camp when he appeared again.
"Why haven't you turned back yet? You're still heading for Delphi," he noted. "You were given a direct order to stop her." Ares glared at Wind. If it had been anyone other than Wind, he would have done something right then and there, but with Wind, he had come to expect such behaviour. She amused him to no end and that was the only reason he put up with her insolence. Besides, she had the good sense not to do so in public. One day though, he knew she would push him too far and she would have to be punished, and he could see that that day was soon approaching.
"And we'll still be heading for Delphi next time you show up too!" Wind informed him. "Just how do you expect me to stop her?"
"Come on Wind," Ares purred, "You're a resourceful woman, think of something."
"Why? What could possibly be so important that you'd want to keep it from her? Just who is she Ares? It's as clear as that adorable nose on your face that you know. Why don't you confide in Wind," she places her arm around his shoulder. "Come on. Maybe it'll help to have someone to talk about it with." Wind was tracing a path down his arm. She could be quite convincing when put to the test.
But Ares would have none of this and smacked her hand away. "It's not going to work so just stop it." He said. "I can't tell you anything about it, and that's final. You had better think of a way to stop her and fast!" Ares snarled.
"Fine. I sure hope we make good time on the rest of the trip because now I can't wait to get there myself. You could make this a whole lot easier you know. If you would just open up and tell me I'd be able to help. You do realize that the more you try to stop her the more she'll want to keep going. What are you going to do then?" Wind asked.
Ares took Winds' chin his hand and squeezed. "You are insolent and I will deal with you later," he warned her. "What I plan on doing is of no concern to you, so don't worry about it. Just concentrate on finding a way to stop the trip to Delphi." Ares said as he dissolved into thin air.
The more Wind thought about it, the more certain she became that she had to tell someone. She headed back to the camp and hoped somebody was still awake. As she reached Diana she gently nudged her with her foot.
"Diana, you asleep?" When she got no response she reached down and shook her. "Di, are you awake?" Wind said trying to be quite so as not to wake the others.
"I am now," Diana said as she slowly sat up to face Wind. "What's going on?"
"Ares is up to something."
"Isn't he always? Wind, when have you ever known him not to be up to something?" Diana said as she straightened the blanket around her.
"That's not what I mean. He told me to stop Amoreena from talking to the Oracle. He somehow found out who she is and its something he doesn't want her to find out." Wind was speaking very softly so as not to wake up Amoreena who was asleep on the other side of Autumn.
Autumn stretched and looked toward Wind and Diana. "What's the matter? She inquired of them.
"Seems our boy doesn't want Amoreena talking to the Oracle. He told Wind to find a way to stop her." Diana rose as she spoke. "Let's talk over there," she said pointing to the grove of trees near where Ares had spoken to Wind.
"He knows who she is and said it would be better to just let her past stay in the past." Wind told them. "He wouldn't tell me anything other than she wouldn't like what she discovered."
Diana looked seriously at Wind. "She has the right to know and he has no right to stop her. This is something she feels is important."
"So what do we do? Do we tell her what Ares said, or just continue on to Delphi and see what the Oracle can tell her?" Wind asked them.
They soon felt the displacement of air the always accompanied the arrival of a God.
"So big brother knows all her secrets. I’ll bet you're just dying to find out what they are." Discord taunted. "It was such a shock, when he found out that they..."
“SHUT UP DISCORD!" all of a sudden an irate Ares appeared, looking at Discord with a murderous rage in his dark eyes.
Discord kept right on going, determined to get the better of her brother "...have known each other for centuries. Isn't that right. In fact, they know each other very well." Discord spit the words in Ares' face daring him to retaliate. Wind, Diana, and Autumn were not sure what to say so they just stood there waiting for the other shoe to drop. Ares was waging a silent war with his sister. He was staring her down, inviting her to continue if she dared. If she had half a brain (which we all know she doesn't!) she would have left well enough alone, and accepted the small victory she had achieved over Ares and just left. But being Discord she dared to tread where anyone else would fear to go. "Go ahead brother dear. Tell them the sordid tale. It was so good. I never would have believed it if I hadn't been there when you found out." Discord purred, so proud of herself. "Go ahead Ares, tell them, or would you prefer for me to tell the tale?"
“SHUT THE FUCK UP!" Ares raised his hand in her direction and a bolt of lightening found its target. It danced off Discords' arm. "Next one will not be a warning." He bellowed. "You DARE to defy the God of War! Get out of my sight before I do something you'll regret!" Discord laughed. In spite of his anger she was still tempted to tell all she knew. She finally decided to heed his warning and leave. "You should really tell them all about it Ares. It might make you feel better to get it off your chest." Discord laughed as she left.
"Well, she certainly put things in a new light, didn't she." Wind mused. "So Ares, are you going to fill us in or not? So how come if you've known each other for centuries, you didn't know her when she first got here?" Wind wondered.
"There's nothing to tell. I didn't know her. I'd never seen her before you found her at the Temple." Ares answered. He stood there for a moment, not saying anything. "Maybe she should go to the Oracle. She should find out the truth, but I can't be the one to tell her."
"Tell us, maybe we can tell her for you. It can't be that bad. Can it?" Autumn suggested.
Things were certainly not going as he had hoped they would. "Just go ahead with the trip to Delphi. Don't let on that anything has changed and don't let her find out that you know anything more than you did before." Ares lectured. "Just be there for her. She's going to need your support after she finds out."
"Ares, what if the Oracle doesn't have the answers?" Diana asked.
"Of course the Oracle has the answers. I found out didn't I!" Ares stated.
"I just think it should be you that tells her, wouldn't that be better?" Diana continued. "To come from you. Since it's starting to sound more and more likely that you somehow had a hand in this to begin with."
"NO. I won't do that, and when you do discover what really happened, you'll see that I had nothing to do with her predicament." Ares was growing impatient with stating facts that to him were blatantly obvious. "Just go back to sleep and in the morning you can continue on to Delphi. I'll be waiting for you." Ares said and then he was gone, leaving the three women standing around wondering what they should do now.
The early morning air was fresh and crisp. Amoreena had risen first and had made her way to a nearby stream to bathe. She was nearly finished with the ties on her top when she felt the familiar displacement of air, which she knew signified the arrival of a God. She turned and came face-to-face with Ares.
He took her arm and said, "We need to talk."
She figured he was about to try and convince her to give up her quest and she was about to protest when he continued. "You don't need to seek the Oracles' help." Amoreena didn't let him say another word, she firmly told him, "I'm going to find out about my past and I'm not going to let you or anybody else stop me," she was livid and he had to be stern to get her to listen to him. He placed his hands on her shoulders and dug them into to her to force her to stay still.
"Look at me!" he demanded.
She looked up at him with disdain.
"Now, just keep quiet and listen to what I have to say. I found out some things that you need to know. You don't need to consult the Oracle because I can tell you what you need to know." Amoreena stared at him; not sure she had heard him correctly.
"You what?" she replied.
"I know who you are," he told her. She just looked at him unsure of what he would say next. "Look, I knew how much you wanted to remember, so I did some investigating myself. I found what you're looking for. It’s better if you hear it from me. Just listen to the whole story before you make any decisions or judgements. I want you to give me your word. All right?" he said tenderly.
"No. If I have a question I'm going to ask you. This is my life we're talking about after all. I'm not going to sit idly by and just listen like a child." Amoreena told him.
Ares looked at her and said, "I'm trying to help you here, if I were you I would be a little more co-operative. I'm just saying you should listen first and ask questions later."
Amoreena didn't agree but if she wanted any answers she knew she would have to do this his way. "All right. I'll listen," she said.
"Where do I begin" he asked himself.
"At the beginning is usually the logical place." intoned a voice from behind.
"Discord. I told you to mind you own business. This is none of your concern. Now leave before your decision to interfere becomes the last you ever make." He looked into his sister’s eyes with a look that clearly told her she had better not cross him again.
"You always spoil the party. This could have been so much fun. But I suppose since she is family..." Ares gave Discord such an icy stare that she decided that, at this time, it was not worth the threat of violence to push Ares any further.
"OK, where was I?" Ares started. "You're from a time many, many years in the future. The reason we felt such a connection upon meeting was somehow brought on by the fact that we share a history - in the future. In the time you come from, we had been together for centuries. In that time many things have changed, and yet many things have remained the same."
Amoreena interrupted "You're speaking in riddles." She admonished. "I don't understand what you're telling me."
"He's saying that in the future you pissed him off so badly, that his future self sent you back here in a fury to teach you a lesson you won't soon forget." Discord had reappeared and just had to stick in her two dinars worth.
Amoreena looked at Ares, eyes wide in disbelief. "That's not true, right? She's just being her nasty old self and trying to hurt me."
"She's telling the truth. She just conveniently left out a few important points. Like the part where she comes into it." He said looking daggers at his sister. "Like I said before, we had been together for a long time. We had been having - a communication problem - I suppose is the best way to describe it. We had been arguing a lot and my dear sister took that as her cue to interfere. She started to plant ideas in the mind of my future self. She had evidence to back up her claims. She knew exactly what would set me off and she played her hand extremely well. Then she set it up so I would catch you in the act. She knew the one thing that I wouldn't stand for and would never forgive, and proceeded to set her devious little plan into action. I can't believe that I actually believed her, my future self must have been very naive. Anyway, she set up the scene, I still don't know how she did it, I only have the details, but she somehow arranged for you - the one I had chosen to spend eternity with - to betray me with Hercules. She knew that my future self would go stark raving mad. What she didn't know and couldn't know was that I wouldn't kill you. I just sent you away." Ares had become agitated and had to stop to calm himself. "She thought I'd kill you both and then because of Zeus' "No God can kill another God decree," I'd have the wrath of our father to deal with, which would leave Discord to clean up, finally getting what she had been after for centuries. The title of Goddess of War. But things didn't go exactly according to her plan because no one died. She never expected me to send you back in time." Ares finished. He watched Amoreena, waiting for a reaction.
She just stood there trying to absorb everything he had just told her. There were things she didn't understand and she had questions. It was so much to take in. He had said they had been together for centuries, so that meant she must be immortal. "How did you find out?" She asked.
"I told him," added a new voice.
Hercules had appeared beside Amoreena. "When I found out what Ares had done I came from the future to find you. You had always been so helpful to me in my relationship with my brother. Discord saw this as a perfect opportunity to cause problems by impersonating you and seducing me. She knew that I had long adored you from a distance and that out of respect for you and your love for my brother (and make no mistake, you do love him) I would never compromise our friendship. She knew you would never betray Ares no matter what he did to you, so she came to me as you, and she played the part so convincingly. She told me about how he reacted to our friendship and that he accused you of being unfaithful to him. She also said that you had always been attracted to me but never had the courage to act on it until then. One thing lead to another and soon we were making love. That's when Ares showed up. He was furious and we had the biggest fight of our lives. Neither of us noticed at first that you were gone. When the fight ended he stormed out to find you and course when he did, you didn't know what he was raving about. He locked you in your room while he planned what he would do. I didn't realize at first that it hadn't been you I was with. When I finally got Discord to admit what she had done it was to late. Ares had already had your memory wiped and had used his newest toy on you - The Emerald of Eternity - to send you back in time. After he had calmed down enough to be reasoned with, I was able to convince him that Discord had been playing him for all he was worth. When he found out that you had been telling him that truth all along and had never betrayed him he went after Discord and forced her to admit what she had done. So now he knows, and now you know. The question remains though. What do we do now?" Hercules looked at Ares and Amoreena waiting for their response.
"He would have just left me here for eternity if you hadn't found out the truth, wouldn't he?" she asked Hercules.
"You have to remember, he thought you had betrayed him with his most hated of enemies. He wasn't thinking straight." Hercules told her.
"If you're such big enemies, why are you defending him?" Amoreena questioned. She couldn't understand why he would be trying to help someone that hated him so much.
Ares grinned at them. "Maybe he's become wiser with age and has finally come to realize that I've been right all along, that my way is the better way."
Hercules gave Ares an icy stare, "Yeah, when Tartarus freezes over," then faced her. "I'm not doing this for him, I'm doing it for you. I don't make a habit out of helping Ares and he certainly hasn't appreciated the few times I've tried to. There is one more thing you should be aware of. I'm sorry to have to tell you but you can't go back. It was a one way trip."
"How will you get back?" Amoreena questioned, concerned that he would have to stay in the past as well.
"I'll be OK I can go back no problem." Amoreena looked at Hercules confused. "It's a God Thing." Hercules informed her.
Ares looked toward Hercules and then Amoreena and said "Well, you see my dear, it seems that in the future, dear old dad finally gives in and allows Gods to travel through time. Apparently something happened and the only way to save themselves was for someone to go back in time, since then it's been allowed on certain occasions. Isn't that right brother?" Ares asked, practically snarling the last few words.
Hercules nodded. "It's not forbidden any more, but, it's also not something that is encouraged."
Ares grinned. "Well I suppose Zeus has some way to be able to keep you future Gods from running amok through time."
Part 7 - The Banishment
Amoreena sat in her room unable to believe that Ares had actually locked her in. He was furious with her and for what, she had no idea. He had accosted her in their bedroom earlier in the day ranting about her betrayal. She couldn't get a word in edge-wise. She had never seen him this irate before. He wouldn't listen; he just kept on with his relentless vicious verbal attack. Then he stopped suddenly, advising her that he was leaving, before he inflicted bodily harm.
He never even told her what she was supposed to have done to incur his wrath. All he said was "How can you deny it, woman, I caught you in the act!" He was beyond reason, all logic having escaped him.
Amoreena hoped that when he calmed down, he would come back and tell her what he was accusing her of. She would never betray him and he knew that. She had loved him for eons. They had been through so much together, but in all that time she had never seen him like this with her before. He wouldn't even touch her, and she was full of trepidation about what he was going to do to her.
The more she had time to think about it, the worse it became. Amoreena wondered why he hadn't bothered to come back yet. She cried herself to sleep, waiting for her love to come back.
Ares couldn't face her again, not now anyway. Every time she denied her transgression, it hurt him, he would see her writhing beneath Hercules and he'd lose it again. He had caught them himself. Why did she have to choose Hercules of all people? Ares, in his exasperation, had decided it had been to get back at him, probably for his reaction to her friendship with his half-brother. Could she not comprehend what it did to him when he saw his hated half-brother fucking the women he loved? It had taken him years before he finally realised that he could learn to love. She had shown him that. She had taught him what it meant to love and be loved. He had been happy with her and they had a good life together. Then one day, she had to ruin everything by mentioning the one name he had despised through the centuries. She told him that she had met Hercules and that she couldn't understand why they hated each other so much. Hercules had seemed like such a warm and genuine person. Over Ares’ protestations, she had forged a friendship with Hercules. Amoreena came to believe that part of the problem between the brothers, was Ares' jealousy over his displacement as Zeus' favoured son, with the birth of Hercules.
She worked hard to placate Ares. To assure him that she loved only him and was only interested in a friendship with Hercules. Ares liked to hear this; it inflated his ego to know she would always choose him over his brother. Some nights as they made love, he would make her tell him this over and over. Ares finally agreed that he would try to tolerate her relationship with his brother, if she promised not to try to bring the brothers together because he vowed that would never happen.
Ares knew he had to deal with her betrayal and soon. The longer he left it, the harder it would be.
He decided he would erase her memory and send her back in time, back to a time when he was more ruthless and wouldn't stand for disobedience. A time five hundred years before he first met her.
He hoped the Ares of the past would mellow her and remind her what her duties were. He thought after spending some time in a more primitive era with an Ares who was known for his callousness, she would be ready to come back to him and be glad to behave in a manner befitting the partner of the God of War. He loved her, but if he did nothing about her infidelity, she would think him to be weak and tolerating of her deceptions. He couldn't let that happen. No crime goes unpunished, and as far as Ares was concerned, there was no greater crime than the one that she had committed.
He wanted to get this over with and soon, so he put things in motion. He summoned Asclepius to administer the drug that would erase her memory. Ares was told that her memories would return, over time. Her memory would come back slowly, in dreams, and they would start to become more frequent until all her memories returned.
Meanwhile, Amoreena waited for Ares' return. She didn't know what had caused him to go off like this, and she had not been able to think of anything she had said or done that could have provoked such behaviour from him.
When he finally reappeared he was still very angry and not very receptive to her feminine wiles. He sardonically informed her that this was the behaviour that had caused her downfall, and while she might have been able to tempt Hercules with her actions, it would not be working on him again any time soon.
Ares proceeded to tell her that she could stop playing innocent, it wouldn't work with him. He finally told her everything she was supposed to have done. She was too stunned by his accusations to react at first. She was flabbergasted! He was accusing her of sleeping with his brother. This was the furthest thing from her mind when she had been trying to figure out what had him in such a state. She thought he had trusted her. They loved each other. She had never even entertained such a thought, about being with anyone other than Ares. Well, OK, maybe she had thought about it, but thinking isn't the same thing as doing. Ares wasn't the least bit receptive to her protestations of innocence. He told her to save her breath; she could never convince him that she was innocent. He asked her what kind of a fool did she take him for. When you see something with your own eyes, its damned near impossible to refute, and he had witnessed the act himself. End of story. She was guilty!
He administered the drug and with one swift movement, before he changed his mind, he used the Emerald on her. The next instant, Ares was standing in their bedroom alone, she was gone.
Part 8 - Reflections
Amoreena was in shock. She didn't know how to react. It was all starting to sink in now. She had been set up. It had all just been part of Discord's plan. She was angry, but not quite sure whom she was angrier with.
The hardest part was the fact that she still had no memory of this. They were talking about her life yet she felt as though they might be speaking of someone else. None of her memories had returned and the dreams she had been having were only serving to confuse her more.
She had wanted so much to find out who she was and now that she knew, what was she supposed to do? Her life was in ruins because of the actions of a vindictive Goddess. She was stuck hundreds of years in the past with no hope of going home. Amoreena thought even if she could go home what would she be going home to? Someone who didn't trust in her enough to believe in her. Hercules had said that she loved Ares, well, for all the good that did her.
She began to wonder what was going to happen to her now. She couldn't go home, but what would she do here? How could she stay here knowing she could never go back? This place had become so inviting to her. She had been growing closer to Ares and the other women, but knowing about her relationship with her Ares, how could she stay? If she did, would history repeat itself? What was she worrying about? She hadn't even bothered to think about how all this would affect this Ares. How would he react? He'd been so quiet through everything so far. She began to wonder just how long he had known, and what else he knew that he hadn't seen fit to tell her yet? She supposed she could always ask Hercules to fill in the missing pieces, then again, did she really want to know? Oh Gods, what was she going to do?
If she decided to stay with Ares here, what would she do if he rejected her? She had feelings for him, she was sure of that, but how did he feel about her? Especially after learning everything he had, she wondered several things: if he believed Hercules when he said it had not been her, but Discord, who had been with him when her Ares found them together; how long it took her Ares to finally believe Hercules; and if Ares really believed Hercules at all. What if he never believed Hercules? What if he thought Hercules was only trying to save his own skin? What if that's the real reason her Ares didn't come here himself, because he still thinks she betrayed him? What if she can go home? What if Hercules just told her she couldn't go home to keep her here? Maybe he didn't want her going back to face Ares' wrath. Oh what if, what if! If her Ares still didn't believe in her, how could she expect this Ares to believe she wouldn't betray him? Amoreena thought maybe it would be best if she just left. She could start a new life. Not many people knew her here. She could go somewhere and begin over again. At least she wouldn't be trying to discover who she had been; she could concentrate on who she would become. Oh, Amoreena, she thought to herself, you think too much!! She was wondering what her Ares was telling people about her absence. She still had too many unanswered questions, and was determined to get the answers before she made any plans.
Ares and Hercules were both watching her. She had been silent for a while and they were both starting to wonder if she was all right. Finally she seemed to be coming out of her reverie.
"OK boys, enough is enough. I want answers and I want them right now!" Amoreena said as she placed her hands on her small, shapely hips. "Let’s start with you." She said pointing a finger at Ares' chest. "Is there anything you haven't told me? Is there more I have to worry about?"
"You know everything I know about this particular situation." Ares told her.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Amoreena asked.
"I know you should be getting your memory back, in fact, you should be remembering more everyday. It'll start coming back faster and faster until it’s all restored. Do you remember anything new?" He took her hand in his as he asked her.
"No. Not yet. Do you two have any idea of what I'm feeling inside right now? I've just found out I've been exiled into the past by the man I love! For something I didn't even do. I had a home, a family, a life, and now I have nothing. I lost everything because of Discord, and Ares lack of trust in me. I guess he didn't love me as much as he professed to." She was looking at this Ares while she spoke of the other. "Hercules, why didn't he come here himself? And don't bother to say its because I wouldn't have wanted him to, I won't believe that for a minute. He had to have his own reasons or he would have come. He still thinks I betrayed him doesn't he? That's why he didn't come. He wouldn't listen to you. Why would he? You're the one I supposedly betrayed him with. He wouldn't have given any credence to your story." She looked into Hercules' face for any sign that would tell her she was correct. "I'm right, aren't I? He never believed your story. In his mind I betrayed him and that's what he still believes, doesn't he?" Amoreena knew she was right, but she wanted Hercules to confirm her fears.
He couldn't lie to her any more; she deserved to know the whole truth. "You're right. He wouldn't let me finish telling him; he wasn't interested in listening. He had already formed an opinion, and, as is usual with my brother, he wouldn't listen to reason. To him, we were both guilty and I was just trying to cover for you."
"So, all that talk about me not being able to go back home, was that a lie too? Could I go back if I chose to?" Amoreena looked directly in his eyes.
"No, he really did find out it was one way for you. You are here for good I'm afraid. I'm sorry for the deception earlier, I just thought it might be easier for you if you thought he had believed. I thought it might ease your mind about having to stay, especially if you thought he was feeling remorse for having sent you here in error."
"I wish I could remember. Not being able to makes this whole situation so much more difficult. I can't even defend myself. I don't know what happened. I have to rely on the two of you to get any details. I hate having to rely on others for any kind of information regarding my life. One thing I want to know, why was it so easy for him to believe I would betray him? If we had been together for that long, wouldn't he have known me well enough to know that I'd never do anything like that to him period, especially not with you." Amoreena said, looking at Hercules. "No offence, Hercules, but if I loved Ares that much, you'd be that last person I'd betray him with."
"Yeah, I know that, but I couldn't get him to listen to me. I'm really sorry, I feel so responsible. If I hadn't fallen for Discord's trap, none of this would have happened. I should have known you'd never do anything like that. You loved Ares; I knew that, yet I let her convince me that you wanted me. I can't begin to apologize enough." Hercules admitted.
"We were both taken advantage of by Discord. What did I ever do to her to make her hate me this much?" Amoreena asked.
"You had Ares." Hercules told her, matter of factly.
"I may have had him, but now she's made sure I have nothing."
Hercules looked toward Ares hoping he would say something, but Ares stayed silent. "That's not true." Hercules told her. "You still have your life."
Ares moved to Amoreena and placed his arm around her protectively. He looked over at Hercules and finally spoke. "I may not have known you as long, but maybe I know you better than he did. So don't give it another thought. Just stay here with me. Try not to think about him. He doesn't exist in this time. I do." Ares pulled her to him and held her close. He brushed the hair from her face and continued. "You're part of our family now. You don't have to worry. You have a life here, with us. Any of the women will tell you the same thing. Your home is here."
Amoreena removed herself from Ares' protective embrace. "How can I just go on and pretend nothing has changed? That may be all right for now, but what happens when my memory comes back? Then what do I do? Right now I don't miss my family because I don't remember them. That will change with the return of my memories." She thought for a moment then said, "Was Ares my only family? Did we have children?" She was looking at Hercules again.
"Yes, you have children. It'll all come back to you in time. I don't think now is the right time to start on this topic. Maybe later Ares will fill in all the details for you. But, for now, you should go back to the others. You have a long story to tell."
"He's right." Ares said. "Let’s go home. We can fill Wind, Autumn and Diana in on all the details later."
Amoreena turned to Hercules. "What about you? Will you be joining us or are you going home?"
Hercules looked toward Ares, then spoke "I think its best if I go home. He is still Ares, and though he wants you to stay, I hardly think his hospitality extends to me." Turning back to face Amoreena he continued, "I hope you find happiness here, you deserve it."
"Thank you Hercules, I'm sure I will." Amoreena turned to Ares and said, I suppose we should be heading back now ourselves."
Ares and Amoreena headed back to the camp. As they walked away Hercules faded from view.
"So tell me about the children." Amoreena said.
"Let’s worry about that later, for now we have three very curious minds to ease." Ares told her with a grin.
"Um, Ares, would you understand if I asked you to leave? I'd like the opportunity to tell them myself. We'll meet you at home. Please, I need this time. It will give me the extra day to come to terms with everything I've learned."
'Great' Ares thought to himself. 'I'm trying to help her and she wants me to leave so she can do it herself!' "You sure? I could be there when you fill them in." He told her.
"Thanks, but I'd like the time. I need the time. It's important to me, please try to understand."
"Fine. If that's what you want."
"It is Ares." She kissed his cheek, then walked away in the direction of the camp.
Amoreena was feeling pretty good. She had told her story to Wind, Autumn and Diana. Ares had been right. They had all assured her that they welcomed her with open arms and were glad she was staying.
She was waiting for Ares. They had arrived back at the Temple a few hours ago. He had been waiting like he said he would. He welcomed them home then he had to leave for a while. He said he'd be back that night. Amoreena was relaxing in a nice hot bath. She had been thinking of what she could do at the Temple. She wanted to belong. Even though she already belonged to Ares, she felt she had to let this Ares know that she wanted to serve him. That she was his. That she knew the difference between them and was happy to be here where she was wanted. All of a sudden she felt a hand on her shoulder.
"Would you like me to wash your back?" He asked her seductively.
"Actually, I'd like to talk to you. I'm finished here. Just give me a minute to get dried off and dressed." Ares just stood there watching her. He didn't take his eyes off her.
She rose slowly. "Hand me the towel please,” she asked him.
"Here, let me help." With one quick wave of his arm, she was dry and clothed in her nightgown.
"Thank you kind sir," she said. "Can you please tell me about the children?" Amoreena was curious. She wanted to know anything and everything he could tell her.
"Are you sure you want to do this? I don't know if it’s such a good idea. You should give yourself time to adapt. Your memories will all come back and you'll be able to remember everything about your children. I wouldn't be in too much of a rush." Ares told her.
"I need to know. Can't you understand? I feel emptiness inside where my children belong. Don't you want me to know?"
"I don't think you're ready. It's too soon. You have only just learned the truth, do you really think you're ready to deal with children on top of everything else. Remember that he has the kids. You are here without them. How can learning of them but not being able to see or touch them possibly be a good thing?" Ares felt funny. He didn't want to talk about the kids. It was a weird situation. They were talking about children they had had together in the future. He hadn't even known about them until Hercules had told him his tale. Ares reached out to her and brought her to him.
"One day soon, Ares, you'll tell me." She put her head on his chest. She sighed, then looked up at him. His dark eyes swallowing her. "You're all I know," she told him. "I don't know him, only what I've been told. To me, you're my life. I've been thinking. I want to serve you. I don't want to remember him or our life together. I want to build a life here with you. I wasn't sure before, if I could serve you. I just know I want to be with you. To be here for you. You have made me love you in the time I've been here. You've been so kind and supportive to me. I know it’s the right thing to do." Amoreena was still looking in his eyes, waiting for a response.
"It's too soon. This isn't a decision you should be making so quickly. If you're going to serve me, I demand complete obedience. You'll come to me body, mind and soul. You will belong completely to me. I don't think you're ready for that kind of a commitment yet. It's too soon. You've just had a big shock. Give yourself time. I'll be here then if you still want to come to me." Ares told her.
'Deep down Ares doesn't trust me.' Amoreena thought to herself. ' Maybe he's afraid I will betray him as the other Ares has accused me of. Could this be why he says I'm not ready? Is this just an attempt to stall until he sees if I can be trusted?' She wanted so much to be able to prove her self to him but that would take time. "Ares, I know what I want, and it's you."
"You can still have me without serving me. Give yourself time. It's a pledge that's not to be taken lightly. When the time is right we'll both know. Until then, we can still be there for each other." He kissed her, then touched her face gently. "It's been a long couple of days. I'll leave you to get some rest. Good night." Ares said, then he left her alone to get her rest.
Amoreena sat down on her bed thinking. She thought back to what Ares had said about the children. He didn't think she was ready. Maybe he was right. Then she thought about what she had said. She didn't want to remember the other Ares or their life together. That meant the children too. But how could she not want to know about her own children? He didn't sound all that interested in telling her anything about them anyway. Maybe she'd just have to work on him. There had to be a way she could get him to talk. Amoreena lay down and covered herself with her blanket. She was asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow.
Ares had appeared in his room. "You were right. She's not going to stop about those kids. She feels some maternal kind of need."
Hercules crossed the room. "I thought so. She was very close to them. I guess she can still feel a bond even though she can't remember them. What are you going to do?"
Ares looked at the future incarnation of his hated half-brother. "What am I supposed to do? He has them. What do I do? Show up in the future and say 'I've come to take the kiddies to visit mommy.' I don't think so."
"He's been so caught up in his anger he hasn't bothered with them much. She always paid much more attention to them than he did." Hercules informed Ares.
"What are you getting at?" Ares questioned.
"Let me bring them here. Maybe seeing them will bring it all back."
Ares looked at Hercules. "Just bring them here. With his blessings. 'Here take my kids. I'll bet their mother would love to see them!'" Ares laughed. "You know he'll never let you take them. I wouldn't. I'd never let her see them again. If I was him and I thought she had betrayed me with you, I'd have killed you both. He must be going soft. She's lucky all he did was send her here."
"He only did that because he thought you'd throw your weight around and keep her in line, until he was ready to come and retrieve her. He was just using you to break her will. To put her in her place. So she would remember she belonged to him." Hercules told Ares. "She deserves the kids. They need her. He'll probably take all this out on them in the end you know. Think about it. Wouldn't you? In a way, they're your kids too! Why don't you be the bigger God and bring them to her. If you really want her, you'd have her for sure." Hercules said. He waited to hear Ares response. He didn't have to wait long.
"What are we dealing with? There are two right?" Ares said.
"There's a boy, he's about 3 I think, and the girl is a baby. I don't think she's walking yet," said Hercules.
"Is that it?" Ares said.
"No, but they are the only ones I would risk bringing. The others are already too much under their father's control."
"How do you propose to do this? And what if she still can't remember them after seeing them? What about the children. They'll think I'm their father." Ares said to his brother. "Just what I need. Two more kids. But I guess if it makes her happy, she'll really want to come to me. I suppose it's a small price to pay. If I want her, I'll have to take the whole bunch. OK. Bring them here to me. I'll decide how and when to reintroduce them." Ares said.
"I'll be back as soon as I can." Hercules said then he was gone.
Ares walked around his room. He was trying to decide how to let her see the children. He didn't know if she would know them or not. He decided he'd have her come to his throne room. He could have them brought in after her.
"Wonder how long it will take him to get the two of them and bring them here?" Ares said to himself.
He was pacing in his throne room when he felt the presence of Hercules. Ares reappeared in his room behind his brother.
"What took you so long?" He asked.
"I wasn't gone that long. Here." He handed Ares the baby girl. She was cooing happily.
"Where's the other one?" Ares inquired.
"He was with his father. I could only get the baby." Hercules told him.
There is a place, deep in the darkest innermost recesses of the mind, in which dreams and nightmare coexist side by side. The realm of Morpheus.
In this dark abyss, thoughts could spin out of control, creating a maelstrom from which nightmares escaped. Somewhere within the endless torrent of thought, Amoreena's memories were struggling to resurface. Singular strands of memory, desperately seeking out others, hoping to intertwine, to once again form the complete picture from whence they came. Bits and pieces, thrown together haphazardly, would get sucked in to the whirling vortex, only to be forced up to the surface, trapped amongst the nightmares. Dark mysterious shapes, disembodied voices whispering unintelligible messages, each more dark and disturbing than its predecessor. Unable to discern the memories from the nightmares, the fantasy from reality.
Amoreena drifted effortlessly through that bog which was her mind. Trying to grasp what few clues she could. Her mind was in chaos and she was being drawn in, to follow the thoughts which she was sure would lead her to the one thing she was seeking. The one thing that would make her complete. Her memories were somewhere within this pandemonium, and she was certain that soon, she would be reunited with them. Her memories would be hers again.
There were some things she needed to remember. She wanted to remember her children, and most of what had been her life. Although she had decided it might be better not to remember any details about her life with Ares, she knew that it was part and parcel of the whole picture. She needed her memories, all of them, good and bad, no matter how painful they turned out to be.
Amoreena enjoyed spending time with the Ares of this time. He knew exactly what to say to her and when to say it. She dreamt about him on the nights they weren't together, and on the nights when they were together, she didn't think of her missing memories too often, they were to busy creating new ones. She always felt so safe when wrapped within his strong godly arms. It was sometimes hard to think that she ever had another life, that she was someone’s mother in a different time.
The dreams would come and go, leaving her with vague reminders of a past she still couldn't recall. Buried deep within all the chaos, there were beautiful memories along with all the painful ones. Of this she was sure. The harder she tried to extract the memories the deeper they seemed to recede.
The nightmare would end, when either she stopped the fight and let the memories stay buried within her mind, or the process would reverse itself like it was supposed to. One way or the other, it was going to end and soon.
Ares held the baby close, examining her. She had chubby little arms and legs and big dark brown eyes that could melt the hardest heart. Her hair was so black that in some light it nearly looked blue. She was a happy baby she gurgled and cooed contentedly in Ares arms. She reached up with one of her tiny little hands and grasped a handful of his hair, pulling with all her might, trying to bring Ares face closer to her. Her little legs kicking out with each tug. She didn't give and kept pulling until Ares conceded and lowered his head. She was well pleased with the results her efforts had yielded and stuck out an inquisitive finger to feel his beard, missing and nearly poking his eye out.
Hercules had been watching the scene unfolding before him with some amusement. The God of War having his hair pulled by an infant was priceless. Better still Ares didn't know what to do about it. He had just stayed there, unmoving until she finally released him just to have her nearly poke his eye out while reaching for his beard. It was so cute. So unlike Ares to say and do nothing. Hercules couldn't resist the urge to laugh. "There's no mistaking who her parents are is there? She's the spitting image of you Ares. I can see her mother in there too, but she's definitely your daughter."
Ares was still looking into the face of the angel he nestled within his godly arms. He hadn't been able to tear his eyes away since Hercules handed her to him. He had been admiring the child. She was a beauty; she had all the best of her mother and father, harmonizing to create perfection. Ares found himself feeling proud that he had helped to create this perfect little being.
"He's not going to take this lying down you know. He will come after her as soon as he discovers she's gone. He'll know where she is, and he'll be coming after her." Ares told Hercules. "You watch her for me, I'm going to get her mother." Ares handed the baby to his brother on his way out.
Amoreena was sleeping peacefully as Ares appeared in her room. He sat on the edge of the bed, and, for a few moments just sat and watched her. He wanted her to be happy and he knew what he was about to do would please her. He leaned over and gave her a soft tender kiss. She began to stir. Ares gently shook her, calling out to her softly.
"Come on sleepy head. It's time to get up." He kissed her again. This time a longer more lingering kiss. She started to respond. She reached up and pulled Ares down to her. Kissing him passionately. Ares swung his legs up on the bed and lay down beside her. He took her into his arms and held her, kissing the tip of her nose and then placing a light kiss on each eyelid. "I've got a surprise for you." He informed her. "Come on. I've got it in my room. Lets go." Ares took her hand and they reappeared in his room almost instantly.
Ares motioned Hercules over and took the baby from him. He held her tenderly making sure that Amoreena had an unobstructed view. She looked at the baby, then at Ares, then back to the baby. Tears were beginning to well up in her eyes as she reached for the little girl. She took the baby from Ares and cradled her against her chest, tears falling freely, splashing on the child's hair. She kissed her daughter's head and looked up at Ares.
"Oh Ares, I'll never be able to thank you enough for this. My baby. I remember everything about her. I can't believe this." Amoreena placed a loving kiss on Ares' lips. She held the baby up in front of herself.
"Oh, Arianna, my darling baby girl, mommy's missed you." She snuggled the baby close. "Ares, I thank you from the bottom of my heart."
He put his arms around her smiling. "I'm glad you remember. She's a little vixen this daughter of yours. She's already got me wrapped around her little finger." Ares said, then kissed Arianna lightly on the forehead. "It's strange to look at her and see so much of myself in her." He said, looking at the child. "Amoreena, you have to be prepared. He is going to come after her, and we need to be ready. If you are sure that this is want you want, to have her here with us, I will protect you both. I won't let him take her."
"I can't lose her Ares. She needs me, and I need her." Amoreena looked up at Ares with those big blue eyes.
He turned to face Hercules who had been watching the reunion. "Thank you for all your help, but, I think it would be wise if you headed back. He'll soon be coming to reclaim his daughter, and I think it would help to have you back there to delay him as long as possible. I'll handle things here."
Hercules turned to face Amoreena head on. "I'm happy for you. I'm so glad you remember her. Take care of yourself and her. I'll take care of Ares for as long as I can. But, eventually, he will make an appearance so you can't ever let your guard down." Hercules warned her.
"Thanks Hercules. We'll be careful. I'm not going to take any chances. I'm not letting her out of my sight. I won't let him take her from me again. You be careful too, he wouldn't think twice about hurting you." She told him.
"Let's go Amoreena, we need to make some plans." Ares took her arm and they once again disappeared only to reappear in her room soon after. He took the baby from her mother and held her close. "She's beautiful. She looks a lot like you. She's strong; in fact she has an iron fist. She likes to pull hair too. She got a hold of mine earlier and pulled my head down to her. She seemed so proud of her accomplishment." Ares told Amoreena as he bounced the baby in his arms. Arianna was enjoying the attention.
"She's the image of you Ares. Just look at her. Are you sure you won't be uncomfortable having her around? I don't want you to regret bringing her here later. She's smitten with you by the looks of it."
"I wouldn't have brought her here if I wasn't sure I could deal with it. I'm happy to have you both. She is my child too. OK, so maybe I wouldn't have gotten to know her so soon if my future self hadn't been so quick to judge you guilty. We have him to thank. We'll adapt." He explained.
"So, are you saying that you're willing to have us stay and take over where he left off. She probably thinks you are her father. How would she know the difference? To her you are already her daddy. The way she looks at you with those big eyes, she feels safe in your arms. I can tell, besides I feel safe when I'm in your arms too." Amoreena wanted to make sure that Ares had thought this through. Even though he seemed OK with having both of them stay; she was willing to do whatever it would take to make certain that he remained that way. The child was his; sired by him, even if it had happened in another time, many years in the future.
"Amoreena, as far as I'm concerned, you are her mother and Ares is her father. Since I'm the only Ares in this time, that makes me her father. No one would dare question it. You can't miss the resemblance." Ares kissed her and hugged both her and the baby. "Just let him try to take her away from us." He said with venom in his voice.
"I'll won't let you down Ares. I'll never let you regret your decision. I'm going to make you realize you made the right choice." She kissed him passionately.
"You're a little temptress, aren't you?" He teased. "Let's put our daughter down and we'll see just how tempting you can be." He smiled as he laid Arianna down in the cradle that had suddenly materialized in the room.
"You think I'm trying to tempt you? You've been leading me into temptation since that first day I arrived here. The first time I laid eyes upon you I was done for. I never had a chance. I could feel myself being drawn to you and I couldn't fight it. So you see my love, you were the one tempting me all along. And now, here we are, ready to begin our life together."