What if? Part 10 finale.

Peace and a good idea:

I awoke to a little girl’s giggle and so did Ares.
"Is he nice?" Helena asked and Ares smiled.
"Yes, little trouble, he’s a very nice man."
She looked a bit sheepishly at him.
"Can I have a cuddle, too?"

Ares simple held out his free arm. He whispered in my ear:
"Is she always that cute?"
"Yes," I answered him, "I wish she was mine."
"We can always try for another one later." Ares said smiling, "I’d like that."
"I bet you would," I said, playfully punching his arm.
Just then Aphrodite and Helena the elder appeared.
"Did you wake them up, you little devil?" Aphrodite inquired, "Good morning Ares."
"Your little sister is a lovely child, Aphrodite." he replied.

Aphrodite sat down next to him.
"Thanks for your help, brother."
"I really enjoyed helping." he said. Aphrodite giggled.
"I hope you know I had nothing to do with you falling for her?"
"Yes," he said with a smile, “A woman as beautiful a warrior as your friend Odyssa has no need of your help to seduce a god of war."
Aphrodite softly caressed his cheek.
"Friends?" she asked,
"Friends." he answered.

Wow, I thought, so there are new alliances being formed on Olympus, interesting. I caressed little Helena to feel, if there was any more Circe in her, but the time with her two sisters had evidently sort of erased the previous feelings.
"You don’t look angry at all any more, aunty Odyssa."
"No, sweetie," I replied. "I am a contented woman, now that things can settle down here."
"Will we be going home to mum now?"
"Soon, little one, but I want to meet Penthesilea first."
"Does she have burning wings, too?"
"No, Helena, she does not. Penthesilea is the queen of the Amazons and now the queen of Lesbos. She is by far the greatest human warrior and she taught me how to fight. I want to say goodbye to her, before we go back to mum."
"She calls Circe mum?" Ares asked, "Why?"
"Interesting question," I replied. "But you’ll have to ask her. I have no clue."

Helena giggled and snuggled even closer to Ares.
"I wish Odyssa was my mum, but that is impossible, so I chose the closet option." she giggled. "Can I call you uncle, uncle Ares?"
I was surprised to see the indulgent smile on his face, that most certainly reached his eyes.
"I think I’d like that. But don’t tell your sisters, I don’t want Aphrodite to tease me by calling me that, too." I just about heard him whisper in her ear.
"Yes, she’d do that," little Helena said, "She is that silly sometimes."
"I heard that!" Aphrodite said fighting very hard not to laugh, "It’s OK, Ares, I won’t. Big promise."

Just then Kassandra arrived, too, and put her arms around Helena from behind her. Helena immediately leaned back into her embrace. I was happy to see them getting so close.
"Kassandra, sister, I am happy to see you happy, finally."
"It is such a shame, Odyssa, that Circe cannot be here with you, I’d so love to at least see you once as happy, too, in the arms of your love."
"Yes, that I would love, too. It would be so nice, if the two of you could meet at least once. Maybe Aphrodite can take you and Helena to come and see us in my time?"
"Having heard her and you joke about things and having seen the magic even humans can wield, I am not sure, if I could survive there."
"Magic that humans wield?" Ares asked.

That got Helena telling him about the doughnut machine. I could not help giggling and neither could Aphrodite. Ares looked from one to the other with an amused frown on his face.
"After the birth of our son," I told him "We’ll go and get some doughnuts there together. But that is NOT magic. My armour is more like it. The black suit doesn’t cut and the Titanium plate hardly ever bends."
"I was wondering about that," Ares said, "Would my sword cut it perhaps?"
"That is an interesting question. I think we’ll try that, before I leave. Now, what about breakfast, everybody?"
"Apart from you two everybody else had breakfast long ago." Little Helena giggled.
What? I thought, Ares has been watching me all that time? That is so sweet! He must really be in love with me. What do I do now?
"Knowing your taste from the brunch in New York," Aphrodite said, "I have brought you some bread and cold meats."
Ares chuckled.
"What?" I asked.
"Oh, I just have never met a woman like you."
"You should mix with Amazons more often." I said laughing.
That evidently got him thinking.

I got busy with my breakfast, and since Ares was still in his human form, he joined in eating as heartily as myself. Even Kassandra and Helena were watching us now with a smile on their faces. It was so good to not feel any obligation or pressure any more apart from my urge to go home. Everybody else had made themselves comfortable around us and talked about the events of the last days. Hearing them I could not really decide on going to see Penthesilea right away, so when Hector and Andromache turned up, too, with their son I asked him to send for Penthesilea to join the celebrations. He immediately agreed, as he really wanted his mother’s sister there, too. Priamos would just have to get used to her presence. So while Ares and I prepared the test of his divine sword against Derek’s “magic” Hector sent a messenger to the Amazons.
Then, before we actually could do anything else, Hekube came herself with Demeter, to ask my presence as a guest of honour at the celebrations. She looked shortly at Aphrodite and Ares, but both of them had cloaked themselves in average human form and she just accepted them as people she did not know and dismissed their presence. Me, on the other hand, she wanted to talk to.

"Lady Odyssa," she began. "I know that my husband never was in favour of female fighters, but I still hope, that you will forgive him his problems accepting the fact, that without you we might all have been doomed, as Kassandra had foreseen."
"Well, Queen of Troy, were it not for your sister and Kassandra, I would never have been here. But Kassandra is more than a sister to me and Penthesilea was a mentor, without whom I’d never have been able to do what I did. So I’d like to ask of you to accept your sister as as much a guest of honour as myself."
I could see the emotions of the inner fight passing over her face. This she had not expected, but I would not let her off without a lesson. She was born an Amazon, she’d better own up to her inheritance. I could see the fear she had of offending her husband, but I wanted her to overcome it, so that Kassandra, Penthesilea and Helena would have a better standing at court. Maybe I had to show my true self to Priamos after all.
"I can see the struggle you have, Hekube, to overcome the habit of bowing to your husband’s opinion. Perhaps you need a little help."

I got up and made a bit of space around myself. Little Helena was already giggling, she must have sensed what my intention was. I did not grow in size, but I carefully spread my wings just enough to frighten Hekube more than the fear she had for her husband. She was about to prostrate herself, but Demeter and Kassandra prevented that and held her up.
"Mother," Kassandra said, "Look at her! She doesn’t mean you any harm. She is trying to teach you a lesson!"
"Yes, I am." I added. "Once you have learned to look at me without fear, what threat can be your husband? He’d cower before me just as you wanted to do, if he ever saw me angry. And for him my lesson would NOT be gentle."
Her eyes wide Hekube slowly raised her eyes towards mine. I smiled at her and held out one hand for her to touch and the other for Kassandra, who took it without the slightest hesitance. Seeing that the flames did Kassandra no harm she, after a struggle with her fear, took the other. I enfolded the two of them in my wings, that to them I made feel like silk.
"How much I love you, sister!" Kassandra sighed.
"I will talk to my husband." Hekube said.

Well, that settled I was looking forward to celebrating with my loved ones, just a little sad that Circe would not be there, but Ares and Aphrodite had been talking and came up to me with their idea.
"We have been pondering the possibilities, Odyssa." Ares said.
"Now that you have eliminated Odysseus, we’d better make sure, that you and Circe meet." Aphrodite added. "So the two us will go and get the present Circe to come here. If nothing else, at least you will have met, so that she can remember you in the future."
"I have been worrying about that, too." Kassandra chimed in, "I’d never be able to live with you not being able to go back to a Circe, who remembers and loves you."

I could not help but burst into tears. These people loved me so much, I could not believe their thoughtfulness. One by one they all came to hug and soothe me, even Hekube, who understood more and more, that I was just as much a loving woman as a fighter. And she understood now, that to be able to be just that, you had to sometimes overcome your fears, as I had done several times myself by now. To burn my former self had been the last and most threatening act, as I had been thinking exactly along the lines of what I just heard. But my love for all of my friends here at present had outweighed my fear for my own future. This had been the last of my sacrifices, since it was not me, who tried to rectify things, my friends were doing it for me. My tears of joy and happiness flowed freely.
"You are the best friends I could ever ask for." I sobbed.

A celebration and good byes (part one):

And so I had been able to put my mind at rest for the time it took to assemble everybody. Penthesilea really was only a short boat trip and a days ride away, now that the Greeks were out of the surrounding seas and countryside and Circe, even if Aphrodite and Ares could not simply just bring her, would only take a week at the most to get here by ship. Time to relax and enjoy the preparations.

The mood in Troy had changed completely. The fear and deprivation had gone: kids played in the streets again, farmers came to the market and travel was not restricted to armed escorts and escape during the night. The fact remained, that the Greeks had conquered some neighbouring kingdoms, so Ares, Kassandra and I had some fun mopping up the last pockets of Greeks in the surrounding countryside, where we also found Paris first wife and child and invited her to Troy and be a priestess of Scamander there.

I only had one near run in with Priamos, that Hector defused by telling his father, that he had condoned Kassandra to accompany me in the patrols. We said nothing of Ares, who – now the war was over – seemed to get bored quickly. We had the test of the suit and not even his sword was able to cut the Kevlar, but he made one serious dent in the Titanium. After a couple of days the word had spread and what remained of the occupying force had gone. Without their leaders the warriors preferred to stay alive rather than stay in place. So the patrols soon were more like leisure than war. After the third day Penthesilea came with us, too, having arrived around late afternoon the day before and having passed the evening with her sister.
It was interesting to see Ares looking backward and forward between her, Elaria, Deara and Anagara and the young Andromache, who hardly ever left my side. He clearly had no idea about the life of the Amazons. We, Elaria, Kassandra and I had recreated the same situation as with my room in the palace at Skyros, and soon the children of Creusa and Aeneas, the son of Hector and Andromache, Helena and the young Andromache were sleeping cuddled between us adult warriors and the women and I was reminded of what Aphrodite had said that time, that I would be bringing the same peace to Troy.

Kassandra and I went visiting Pyrrha one night in her dream and she was very happy to know we were safe and the war over. I invited her to come to Troy for a while with our daughter, but with the Greeks returning frustrated from the war, she did not really have the possibility to leave, her Myrmidons would need her leadership to fend off frustrated tribes and mercenaries alike. I learned from her that Klytemnestra had taken up the empty throne of Agamemnon and was making efforts to return to female rulership and inheritance of the throne.

Not that I was very hopeful for that to last, but any effort in that direction would make Kassandra’s time on earth more secure and happy. In the end time would work on merging the lines again and restore “normality” to arrive in the 21st century unchanged. Just smooth over the ripples and ignore the waves. But I was not concerned about that. All that was important for me was, that those I loved would be fine. And it looked like I had achieved that. At least for a while.
What I was worried about was what would happen, when Circe and I would meet, now that I was here as Odyssa and not Odysseus. I got goose pimples and butterflies in my stomach just thinking in that direction. Aphrodite and Ares had been gone for a day. If they were able to just bring her here I was sure they’d do that, so why did it take so long? Kassandra found me fidgeting, when she came to ask me to walk the walls with her.
"Worried about Circe, sister?" she asked immediately.
"More like nervous before my first ever date, Kassandra."
"If she is anything like you describe her in your time, she is probably going to find you incredibly cute." she replied with a grin, "And she’s not going to know about your wings or anything else either. Just be the sweet and innocent beauty you were with Pyrrha. I am sure she’ll love you for that alone."

That comforted me a bit and we went walking the walls arm in arm. When we met Hector on his inspection round, he simply aborted that task and kept us company, now with Kassandra on one and myself on his other arm. We walked in a comfortable and companionable silence, enjoying the peace together, ending up at the palace, where us two women went to the women’s quarter and Hector to his private section, where he lived with Andromache, who nevertheless spent a lot of time with us Amazons in our “big tent”, reminiscing about our time together in Colchis. How long ago that seemed to be now. When night fell, and the children got drowsy and started to cuddle up to us adults, Hekube came in search of me. But instead of following her out, as she seemed to indicate, I motioned for her to come and join us. I was sure that she had not had physical contact with Kassandra in a very long time.

Just then Penthesilea came in, too, and pulled her sister towards Kassandra and me, who were cuddling young Andromache and Helena. The two girls snuggled up to me and Penthesilea hugged Kassandra and then pulled Hekube into her embrace, too. I could see she was uncomfortable at first, but then the peaceful atmosphere had the same effect on her as the other time on my mother, when I was Deidameia. Here the difference was, that there were some boys with us, too, Andromache’s, Creusa’s and Helena’s sons. At least they would grow up with different experiences of girls and women. Maybe that would be a new start, as at least two of them were destined to become rulers. It was a small bit of paradise, we were allowed to experience.

Once most of the kids had gone to sleep in the arms of their mothers or the younger warriors, Anagara and Deara, I gently freed myself from Helena and Andromache, whom Elaria took over, and Penthesilea, Hekube and I went out to talk.
"Never in my life, Odyssa, have I experienced such peace." Hekube admitted.
"That, sister, is Odyssa’s gift to us. I can never thank her enough for this." Penthesilea said, "I am reasonably sure the peace will outlast at least our lifetime, Hekube."
"The two of you saying that," I answered them, "Already is all the reward I need."
Penthesilea hugged me, gently caressing my cheek with one hand.
"If it wasn’t for you the Amazons might be extinct by now. I can feel it in my bones. Will you ever tell me the whole story?"
"If you are intent on hearing it, yes, but it is not a pretty story, Penthesilea."
"Can I hear it, too, please?" Hekube answered and since I knew Penthesilea I did not need any answer from her.

So we settled in the queens chamber, she ordered some food and wine and I went into the tale, starting with the torture Kassandra had had to endure in the other timeline. Hekube went as pale as death, even though I only described very little in detail. Then I told about the fall of Troy and how Penthesilea had succumbed to Achilles, who then had raped her in death. How Ajax had raped Kassandra and raped and killed Kassandra’s protégée and how Agamemnon had taken her as his slave.
"I wondered, Odyssa, why you had killed Ajax in such a brutal and degrading manner," Hekube said "Now I think you were incredibly restrained."
Penthesilea was very quiet, too.
"So that is how you predicted the ambush, Odyssa. You already knew what had happened. But how did you prevent Achilles from coming to fight?"

So I went into my own story further. How I had met Circe in my time and how she had recognized me. I told them about how I had earned my flaming wings in getting Achilles out of Hel, how I had been inserted into Demedea’s womb at the birth of Deidameia by Aphrodite and how I had used Thetis’ ruse to transform Achilles into Pyrrha. The two of them were speechless for a long while.
"And now, Odyssa, you have killed your old self and nothing is sure about your future any more?" Penthesilea asked.
"Apart from the fact, that Ares and Aphrodite are trying to work out a solution, yes." I sighed.
"You will always have a place with Andromache and myself, but I assume you knew that anyway?"
"Yes, love, I did." We hugged and kissed much to Hekube’s surprise.

Nevertheless I had to spend the night in suspense after that, no news from my two friends.

A celebration and good byes (part two):

The next morning there was still no sign from Ares and Aphrodite and I was getting worried. Kassandra and Penthesilea kept me company and even Hekube came to sit with us, as I began to truly fret. Finally just after lunchtime they appeared. Ares face was thunderous and Aphrodite’s equally so. When I asked what the matter was, they explained, that Zeus had tried to sink the ship carrying Circe as revenge. I was about to get up and let my anger fire, but Penthesilea held my arm in an iron grip.
"Never rush at something in anger, love. Hear them out."
I did my best to control the need to set fire to the whole of fucking Olympus. What a base way to try and get back to me, attacking my love. That was enough for me to fry his sorry ass.
"The ship was sunk and Circe captured. She, of course has no clue what is going on, as she has never heard of you or what has been going on here." Aphrodite explained. "Now they are trying to win her over against you."

The tone of my voice was enough to make Penthesilea tighten her grip. Ares filled us in with the details, then looked at me with such sadness in his eyes, that it melted my heart and calmed me down a bit.
"They won’t let you near her, Odyssa. They have blocked Olympus for outsiders."
"Well, I said, that is the last drop for making the barrel overflow. Brother, will you be my messenger?"
"What do you want to do?"
"In my own time, Ares, we have weapons, that could not only erase Olympus from the face of this earth, but leave a crater, that would encompass at least half of Greece as well."
Ares looked at Aphrodite in shock. She just nodded, confirming that I was not exaggerating. Fortunately she did not know what I would have to do to get that kind of fire power here, but her confirmation that it existed was enough for Ares.
"Go back, brother, and tell Zeus this: He has got exactly until sunset today, before I blow him, Olympus and much of his world into oblivion. I will spare as much of Asia Minor and other regions, where he is not powerful as I can. But if there is any harm done and she is not here before sundown, this world is doomed. I am, after all not only the angel of mercy. I can and will be the angel of death, if he provokes me any further."

"I stand by you."Penthesilea speaking. "I don’t want this world at that price for you." Hekube, to my surprise, got up and stood next to her and so did Kassandra.
"To make the threat a bit more believable, I will come with you and smash their defences, before you go to negotiate. And I will ask, who of the gods will stand by me."
I had no doubt about Ares and Aphrodite, neither about the Huntress Artemis. It would be interesting to see where Poseidon would stand. I was reasonably sure, that Nerëus would decide for the happiness of his daughter. As for the rest they did not matter much to me.
Thanks to Penthesilea my rage had become cold and purposeful. I concentrated on collecting as much energy as I could and felt, that from all of my friends there was anger flowing to me joining my already considerable resources. Ares and Aphrodite took one of my hands each and we vanished, manifesting before what seemed to be an invisible wall, before a set of magnificent temples on top of a mountain.

I tested the defences, by touching them and it felt just like an ordinary wall, only see through and invisible. I could see Zeus and Hera on the other side, making out the gleeful expression of Hera.
"The fucking bitch grins." I said.
"You can see them?" Aphrodite asked aghast.
"As clear as you and Ares."
"That should be impossible." Ares said.
"Ah," I said, "In that case ... "
I gathered all my energy and punched my fist at the invisible wall and it went straight through. So much for magic, that relied on belief, I thought with a grin. As soon as my fist was inside I released a fireball, aiming directly at Zeus crotch. It hit and set his balls on fire. He sank to his knees with a scream, desperately trying to douse the flames. I kicked a larger hole into the wall and stepped through. There I grew to about fifty feet tall and spread my wings. Aphrodite and Ares following in a dazed state. Nobody seemed to have expected, that it would be so incredibly easy to break down their defences.

I watched the panic spreading on the faces of those present.
"Is there no honour in this dung heap?" I thundered and saw them cower.
"I offered you an honest duel, you coward!"
I shot another fireball at him, this one large enough to completely engulf him. I let him burn for a moment. Then with just a flick of my wrist I doused the flames.
"Other than your puny lightening for me, my flames can hurt you. I want your captive, NOW!"
Hermes and Athena brought a shivering Circe towards Zeus.
"Get the poor woman away from that shit!" Everyone flinched at the tone of my voice, Circe included. "Let her go."
Hermes and Athena gladly retreated.
"This, you idiot of a coward, is your very last warning. Next time I really am going to fry your sorry ass!"

I reduced my size, folded my wings and smiled kindly at Circe, who evidently had no idea any more what to think. I held out my hand and said:
"Come here, beautiful lady, I mean you no harm."
She did not seem able to move, until I had reached human size.
"Please?" I pleaded.
She looked into my eyes. Was there something like recognition dawning? I did not want to frighten her, so I stayed still. Ares and Aphrodite came to my side. Both of them held their hands out, too. After a short moment of doubt and hesitation she came closer, still avoiding to touch me.
"Never could I have imagined such power." she whispered.
"It is all yours to command, lady Circe."
"Because I want you to remember me, when we meet again. May I invite you to come and meet my friends?"
Finally she took my hand and I gently pulled her close and enfolded her in my now silky soft wings.
"You’ll always be safe with me."

I swept her up in my arms and Aphrodite and Ares held one of my arms each and we vanished, only to reappear in my room, where I ever so softly put her down. She had closed her eyes, and as she opened them now she looked deeply into my eyes. I sent all the love I could project into them and saw hers widening.
“Who are you?"
"My name is Odyssa. I have invited you, because I want to introduce you to my friends here."
"Where are we?"
By now everybody started piling into the room. Kassandra was the first, her eyes full of tears.
"Odyssa, sister, I am so happy!"
She hugged me and then put an arm around Circe, who clearly had no idea, what was going on.
"Lady Circe, this is the princess Kassandra of Troy." I introduced her.

Circe looked around at all the others, Penthesilea, Hekube, Helena, Andromache, Creusa, Elaria, Anagara and Deara and the men, Hector and Aeneas and the three boys. Then, with a cry of joy, little Helena came running, Andromache in close pursuit, and threw herself at Circe, putting her little arms around her neck and hugging her fiercely.
"I was so afraid for you, mum." she sobbed.
"Helena," I said softly, "The lady Circe has not met you yet. She cannot remember you."
Circe looked up at me and said:
"I feel I should remember you, kind lady, yet how? And you, you sweet girl, you I think I should know, too, but …"
Helena looked at me asking a silent question. I knew what she wanted to do, but I had no idea, what kind of an effect that would have. I looked at the others and nobody seemed to have an idea, until I looked at Penthesilea, who simply mouthed: do it. That was all I needed. I nodded to Helena, who renewed her hug and whispered in Circe’s ear.

Circe closed her eyes and slowly her face registered confusion, surprise and then joy. When Helena let her go she set the girl down and came to me. I stood still, locked to the spot, not daring to move. She touched my face ever so softly murmuring:
“So soft … so beautiful … so kind." Then touching my hair, "So strong, so loving, the fiery one."
"I love you." I just whispered and took her hand and kissed it gently.
A shiver went through her whole being and she looked into my eyes:
"I will be waiting for you."
I broke down crying big crocodile tears of joy and everyone gathered around us wanting to be introduced, to ask questions, to congratulate or just express their happiness for me.

A celebration and good byes (part three):

Somehow little Helena had made Circe understand what was at stake here. There was no other way to interpret what Circe had said to me. So finally everyone was in a mood to celebrate. I introduced everyone to Circe, one by one. Penthesilea waited to be the last, but before I introduced her she whispered in my ear:
"Odyssa, my love, I take your promise for the act." She smiled lovingly at me "Spend as much time with her as you can."
Circe had watched closely and her face showed nothing but kindness and love. She gently put her hand out towards Penthesilea as I introduced her:
"Circe, this is the Queen of the Amazons, Penthesilea, my mentor and a lot more than just a best friend."
Circe did the same as she’d done with me, gently touched Penthesilea’s face, but looking in my eyes as she did so.
"There is a very special bond between you two," she said, "A bond that probably only warriors can understand. I am very happy to see the love between you, as it belongs to this moment in time. Your love for me, my fiery one, I know will last forever."

And with that she very gently put my hand in that of Penthesilea.
"Your love, Queen of the Amazons, is very generous. I cannot deny it and neither does it hurt me, if the fiery one is with you one last time, before she goes to find me waiting for her in her time. I will be all too happy to get to know all the others, who are so important to my love Odyssa, that she risked everything for their happiness. Such sacrifice needs to be rewarded, and if I can contribute but a little to that reward, I’ll give what I have."
Now it was Penthesilea’s time for tears, as I kissed her softly on her lips, right in front and with the blessing of Circe. She hugged Circe fiercely and said:
"As long as I live, lady Circe, I will watch over you and your happiness. Call me, if you need me. I’ll always be there. If your island is threatened the Amazons will fight for you."
Kassandra had come to us and had heard the last of the exchange. Now she pointed at the ring on my finger, that had enabled me to watch over her. I had almost forgotten about it. Circe took one look at it and her face turned into a smile again.
"Give it to her."
Since I was still holding hands with Penthesilea I took off the ring and put it on Penthesilea’s finger. Then Circe kissed the ring and said:
"Now, Queen of the Amazons, you will always be able to see where and how I am."

Penthesilea looked at the ring and saw Circe’s face in the stone. Her eyes went wide as she looked at me and I explained, why I had it and how it was now not necessary any more, as Kassandra and I could meet at will in our dreams. Kassandra happily smiled and hugged me, then she hugged Circe.
"Odyssa and I are like sisters, would you mind, lady Circe, if I called you sister, too? After all, we have to thank you for the fact, that she is here at all.”
"Me?" Circe asked perplexed.
Kassandra took her arm saying:
"Oh, that needs a long explanation, I think." and looking at me, "May I explain, sister?"
I was not really sure if I was happy letting Circe go, but then Kassandra would only have a couple of days to get to know her a bit, while I would have all eternity, so – though reluctantly – I let her lead Circe away, walking arm in arm with her, like we always had done, and I saw Helena joining them, taking Circe’s other arm. Penthesilea looked at me and laughed.
"You’re not jealous, Odyssa, are you?"
"It is difficult, Penthesilea. I just found her and yet not. But I have her promise. She is so generous and kind. And so are you, lovely queen of the Amazons."

Hekube had meanwhile started preparing the real celebration. As she led all of us a little later into the throne room and introduced Penthesilea, Circe and myself as well as her old friend Elaria and her daughters as guests of honour, Priamos was astonishingly courteous and Hekube gave me a wink, when I caught her eye. As he was at least courteous, we were the same, respectfully bowing, even Penthesilea, although she was of the same rank, Circe even curtseyed, a gesture us Amazons would not afford even Priamos. Hector hugged us all and so did Aeneas. Then the other guests were welcomed, a couple of lesser kings from the neighbourhood, who had managed to survive, the surviving captains of the army and those soldiers, who had distinguished themselves were there with their families. I was not at all surprised to see Andromache (the younger) and little Helena take charge of the children, who looked in awe at us women warriors, as did their fathers, who had seen me fight.

Even only after so few days the food was plentiful again, the farmers had hidden what they could get away with well and Hekube had made sure, that the people of Troy had their share in it, too. There were even musicians and jugglers and some acrobats. And a bard. So here I now heard for the first time, who I would be referred to in the legends to come. The fiery one. And what an epic this bard had already created. His lyrics were beautiful and his music, too. So for the benefit of those, who had never really seen the fiery one in combat, Kassandra and I showed them one of the shorter but very fast ones of our routines.
When we had finished the whole room was silent for a few moments. Then it was Penthesilea, who, encouraged by Elaria, Anagara and Deara, as well as Helena, Andromache and all the kids broke into joyous whooping and cheering. Even Hector and Aeneas and finally Hekube joined in. I caught Circe’s eyes and they were full of pride.

Now it was time for the feast, after which we would all disperse and walk the city, to show the people our appreciation of their support during the siege. Only now I realized, how ravenously hungry I was. As Kassandra and Helena were still monopolising Circe, I enjoyed my time with Penthesilea, time and time again broken by people, who wanted at least once to have exchanged a word with me. Naturally Hector brought round all the distinguished soldiers, whom I gracefully presented with their special gifts. In between we ate of the delicacies, that had been created by the local people for their king’s celebration of victory. Penthesilea and I were really enjoying ourselves, as were all the children, also most of the adults were regarding us with awe, while we were friendly and gracious with everyone, adults and children alike.

It was quite late, when we finally started to walk the city, that was lit everywhere by torches and fires, meat was roasted over open fires and the bakeries were still baking. Penthesilea and I did not split, arm in arm we walked the city, people here made space for us, more out of fear of our war like dress and attitude, than because they had an idea, who we were. Still we stopped here and there, when someone recognized me and gaped in awe, until in front of one tavern a group of drunk soldiers challenged us for bearing arms as women. Both of us did not know whether to laugh or be angry, as we did under no circumstance want to taint the joyous atmosphere. There was one particularly belligerent one and I was about to put him in his place, when I felt a well known presence next to me and Ares said with a lot of threat in his voice:
"You have to be glad, that the lady is so gracious and friendly, scum, because she’d have your balls for breakfast, if you went on provoking her."

The man did not look properly or had already too clouded a brain to realize, but Ares had just put down his huge sword and bared his upper torso, preparing for a fist fight.
"Stay out of this, bugger, these two are ours for the night."
Ares just laughed.
"And where are the twenty heroes you’d need, to even come near me?"
The guy threw a punch at him and Ares easily and gracefully just avoided it. Penthesilea appreciatively watched him move and I, having had a bit of wine, too, whispered in her ear:
"I already carry his child, Penthesilea," She threw me an incredulous glance "Want to share?"
"He’s built like a god! Who is he?"
I could not help but to giggle madly.
"He’s the god of war," I got out between giggles "Ares."

Penthesilea burst into deep laughter.
"And you offer to share HIM with me?"
"As I said, I already carry his child. We sealed the peace for Troy that way."
"Sister Odyssa, you’re on!"
We returned our attention to the fight. Ares was making fun of the guy by never letting him hit. The guy was like a raging bull now. Penthesilea looked at me and I back at her and we understood each other immediately, stepping to either side of Ares. The next time the man threw a punch Penthesilea grabbed his wrist and stopped the movement dead. Surprised to suddenly find resistance he tried to throw another punch with the other hand and this time I caught it with the same force. Then in unison we applied more pressure and forced him to his knees. He was wincing in pain, as he looked up and into my eyes, that were like steel.
"I think, it is time you apologized to the Queen of the Amazons." I said, indicating Penthesilea with a nod.
He went white.
"And to the Lady Odyssa," Penthesilea rubbed salt into the “wound”, "Who is also called the fiery one."

To my surprise the guy simply passed out. We let go of him as Ares laughed out loud. I turned around and said:
"You may as well laugh while you can, good sir. Now YOU are OUR Prize for the night."
He looked from me to Penthesilea and back.
"We’re serious, you know." she laughed.
"I hope I’ll survive the two greatest female warriors of all-time." he replied with a chuckle, gathering his clothes and sword. When he was dressed again he offered us an arm each, and we kept walking around for a little while longer. When we passed a reasonably clean and wealthy looking Tavern I pulled Penthesilea and Ares inside.
"I am sorry, you two, but at some point, I will have to go back to the palace."
"For the lady Circe!" Ares and Penthesilea said in unison and chuckled.
I simply blushed, what made them laugh outright.
"And this is the woman, who made this outrageous proposition?" Penthesilea giggled.
"Don’t ask me how she does it," Ares chimed in. "But she always seems so innocent."

Then he went and got us a room. Three hours later I left Penthesilea and Ares still making incredibly tender love. They had both been gentle and loving, as Ares had been the first time, and I had experienced them as so similar in the way they made love to me it was almost uncanny, but I was sexually satisfied beyond belief. Now it was time to go and be close to Circe. From today onwards I was going to be hers and hers only.

When I got to the palace and our room, most of the others were already there and sleeping, just as before at Skyros mixed among them were the kids. Kassandra was there between Andromache and Helena with Circe on the other side of Helena, still sitting up, but almost asleep. I slowly and softly made my way towards her, being careful not to wake anyone up. She realized my presence and was about to get up, but I put my finger to my lips, motioned to her to stay down and sat behind her, taking her into my arms and kissing her neck. She sighed deeply.
"I love you." I whispered in her ear.

She sighed again, cuddled Helena to her, who did not quite wake up but made some kind of purring noise, and then fell asleep herself in my arms.


Waking up with a Circe in my arms who was smiling in her sleep made my heart skip a beat. She looked almost exactly like in my time. What will I look like in 2700 years time? Could I stand the thought, that this wonderful woman would now be waiting for me for 2700 years? Oh no, I was back to all this timeline worrying. The only thought, that kept me going was that the Circe I was going back to actually had waited for me that long, but now she had known it was worth the wait. Or did she? What had Helena shown her? I’d have to ask.
She stirred and Helena woke up, too.
"Oh, aunty Odyssa, you are back."
"You just purred like a cat when I came back and slept on, Helena." I said smiling.
"I don’t remember you coming back either." Circe said.
"Oh." I sighed, disappointed. "I took you in my arms, kissed your neck and said I love you."
She grinned mischievously.
"Ah, that wasn’t a dream then." she giggled.
I was really tempted to tickle her in return, but she surprised me by turning and giving me a deep and passionate kiss, making me melt into her warm lips. Helena giggled reminding us of her presence.
"I think, my love, we’ll have to wait until Andromache has taken her off our hands." I said smiling.

Just then a deeply satisfied Penthesilea came back and winked at me from the entrance. Circe looked at me with a silent question in her eyes. I smiled at her and told her the story of our meeting with Ares and the resulting events. She looked at me with wonder.
"You seem a rather popular woman, Odyssa."
"Well, my love, I have never really fancied a man, ever. But when Ares asked, if we could seal the peace for Troy like that, I could not refuse. To my surprise he was almost as gentle as a woman with me and I am now carrying his son under my heart. But we agreed, that after this we’ll be just friends, and parents to our son. He knows, that you are the only one, who truly owns my heart. And when I went home last night, those two were still having fun together." The last bit actually made me giggle.
"That wasn’t really a sacrifice, though, was it? Admit it."
"No, my love, it wasn’t. I enjoyed every minute of it. But I do love just you, the way only lovers do."

She cuddled more deeply into my arms, while Penthesilea found a place to lay down for a bit of rest. Circe and I looked around at the wonderfully peaceful scene around us.
"Is this how the Amazons live?" Circe asked.
"In peacetime? Yes."
"I think I might just live with them, while the peace lasts."
"I am sure Penthesilea will welcome you with open arms."
And I really was. Penthesilea had already assured Circe of her support, and like that she would not even have to worry much, having Circe so near. With the ring on top there was nothing that could go wrong, really. And I’d feel much better, knowing she was in good hands. I hoped that Circe would actually move to Lesbos for a while.

Evidently the feast and celebration had gone on for quite a bit longer for more than just Penthesilea and myself. It took a while for people to wake up. The celebrations were supposed to go over three days, so it was no problem for anyone to sleep in. Kassandra began to wake up, too. She looked at me and searched Penthesilea with her eyes.
"She’s just come back, sister," I said grinning, "We shared a bit of time with Ares, she more than me."
Kassandra rolled her eyes overly dramatically, then giggled.
"That woman in insatiable," she commented, "I have heard her exhausting three men in one night, when she was younger."
Circe did not quite follow, so I explained, that Kassandra had been brought up as an Amazon by Penthesilea, and how the reproduction worked for the Amazons. She did not know any of that.
"So in that respect you and Kassandra are sisters, too."
"Yes, my love. Only the two of us left the Amazons, before we really started a love life as one."

That – of course – made it necessary to tell her the other story, about our time at Skyros, me as Deidameia, getting pregnant by Pyrrha/Achilles. By the time it was told people around us were generally awake and Hekube organized another feast, this time a sort of breakfast. After that, Kassandra, Helena and I walked Circe around the walls and explained, how the war had ended. The two girls Andromache and Helena were jumping and playing around us like puppies. Peace became more and more real, as craftsmen, traders and shopkeepers bowed deeply to their princess and her friends, a lot of them not knowing, who I was, as I was just wearing a white shift, like most women, and had my hair braided like a married woman. Well, in a certain way I now was.
The gates were still heavily guarded, just in case, but I was sure that after the burning of the horse and all the men inside, the Greeks had no great incentive, to try and come back. And almost all their leaders had perished, thanks to Ares and myself. Even with Circe besides me I now wanted to go home, to find her in the distant future. Kassandra was the first to notice.

"You are longing to go back to your time and the Circe there, sister, am I right?" she asked later that afternoon.
"Yes, Kassandra. I long for just her and me and little Helena playing and swimming in that wonderful cove at the foot of the hill below her house. And having all the leisure and time to make love to her, when Aphrodite takes her little sister off our hands, which she generally does sometimes."
"Yes," Kassandra sighed. "I, too want some time alone with Helena."
We both smiled and hugged.
"You are free to go, Odyssa, any time you want. Nobody is going to begrudge you wanting to go home. You have done so much for us here, you have got every right to be exhausted and wanting to go home."
I hugged her for a long time.
"Thank you, sister, I love you."

So that evening I told everybody, that it was time for me to go home. Everybody was fine with my decision, even though they all said how much they would miss me. I was teary eyed for most of the evening. Penthesilea assured me of her intention to look after Circe, and the two of them decided, that they’d go back to Lesbos together. There was just one thing I still needed to know, if Penthesilea, just like myself was pregnant by Ares. She grinned sheepishly at me when I asked.
"I know I am carrying his son, and he is going to be immortal, due to the fact that I am. That kind of thing transfers cross gender, meaning that if you have a daughter, she will be immortal, too. A son, on the other hand, will most certainly be mortal."
"How do you know these things, Odyssa?" Penthesilea asked aghast.
"Partially because of the advances of science in my time, partially just instinct." I replied, "The knowing it’s a daughter for me is the second. If you give birth to a daughter, Penthesilea, I would like her to grow up with her half brother. Both being immortal, I think it would be best, if they grew up with Circe and myself."

Penthesilea agreed with me and would make sure, that her daughter, if that was what her baby was, would know and understand, why from the onset of puberty onwards, she would live with her half brother and either Ares or me. The two of us, too, hugged for a long time. Then I gave her my suit and armour for Andromache, I kissed the Circe of this time for one last time and Aphrodite appeared to take little Helena and myself back to the 21st century. She took both our hands and we simply disappeared.


This time I did not wake up in Circe’s bed, but rather the three of us just suddenly stood at the foot of it and it was Circe, who was just waking up. She looked at us and in one swift movement was out of the bed and hugging little Helena and myself, then Aphrodite, crying happy tears of joy.
After she had sufficiently greeted Helena and Aphrodite she came back to me and kissed me deeply, sighing with pleasure.
"Odyssa, finally you are all mine."
"Yes," I replied smiling, "And now you are going to be a mother."
"What?" she asked incredulously.
"I sealed the peace for Troy by sleeping with Ares and now I carry his son under my heart."
She was speechless for a moment and then laughed joyfully.
"I was so jealous of Kassandra, that she could accompany you through a pregnancy. But now I can experience the same and you are with the child of a god! WOW! How I love you, Odyssa!"
Her face wore the happiest expression I had ever seen on her.

"What about doughnuts and large Americanos for breakfast? Helena, want to come to New York to buy some?" Aphrodite asked with a mischievous grin.
"Yay! Doughnuts." Helena screamed.
All three of us adults grinned.
"Say hello to Valerie for me, sister." I said.
Aphrodite smiled and Helena and her disappeared. Circe and I started kissing the moment they were gone and were on the bed, naked, only a couple of minutes later. I was tired from the whole experience at Troy, but Circe was more than just wide awake and I had no intention whatsoever of disappointing her. It was the most tender moment of our relationship yet. The only comparable moment was the first time she had me remember who I had been while being transformed into a woman, but that had been a sad affair. This was joy at its most complete.

We were kissing and caressing each other like it was the first time, exploring again and discovering each other. I experienced the same desire to simply give myself, to enjoy her assertiveness and be the soft, vulnerable, loving and receptive woman I always had been and would be in her arms. She on the other hand was starved of my presence and could not get enough of my soft moans and just a little later cries of joy, her caresses were evoking. Those same moans and cries seemed to arouse her beyond measure, too, so when I was finally able, after a small series of incredible climaxes, to return kisses and caresses, her own climax and two more to follow were quick to arrive.
The first desires satisfied we settled in each other’s arm to talk about how much we had missed each other and how much she had been afraid of what might happen, if I confronted Zeus and Hera. I explained the challenge I had issued after Zeus had tried to kill me with a lightening strike and Circe was very much surprised at the fact, that I had simply absorbed the electrical energy of the lightening. She was also happy that I had not retaliated in kind, as she now thought I might have involuntarily blown the whole world into oblivion. I wasn’t at all sure about that, but one thing was certain: none of us had any idea yet as to the extent of my power.

Aphrodite and Helena reappeared giggling with bags of different doughnuts, bagels and coffees and so Circe and I threw on some shifts and we all sat on the balcony for breakfast. As we were eating Aphrodite relayed an invitation by Maureen, whom she had spoken to on her mobile phone, and also said, that Derek was looking forward to meeting Circe and myself, naturally in the presence of Julie. He had no idea yet of the fact, though, that Helena was to come with us. But then she was such a cute and sweet girl, I could not imagine anyone not liking her.
The rest of the morning was spent bringing Circe up to date of what had gone on at Troy. In the end Helena let her watch the final confrontation and me burning the horse, before I told her more details about my meeting with Ares, and how her ancient self had condoned my tryst with Penthesilea, that turned into a one off threesome, that got Penthesilea with child, too. I also told her about my offer, to educate both our children, in case they turned out to be immortals. She commented that there now was a lot to look forward to.

"I cannot wait, Odyssa, to see your belly growing. You are just going to be an amazing mother, I know it. And it is going to be the greatest pleasure of my considerable life span as of today to be watching you, my love. I am so happy!" She said.
"You are not jealous?" I asked.
"Oh, sweetie, no! To know you have had a man, especially one like Ares to boot, and are now a full woman and still prefer me is more than enough for me. I could not be happier for both of us, as I know what an amazing experience it is going to be for us."
"How much I love you, Circe." I sighed. "So are you ready to get to know all the friends I have made in this time?"
"You mean Maureen and Washington?"
"Yes, and Derek and Julie. I guess they are almost dying wanting to know how things worked out."

Circe smiled at that. Helena and I looked at her expectantly.
"And you are sure you want me to come?" she asked sheepishly.
"MUM!" Helena said "We are not going anywhere without you any more." She grinned "And you are going to just love New York."
"How are we going to get there?" Circe asked in return, "We cannot always assume Aphrodite to be taking us everywhere now, can we?"
"No," I replied with a smile. "But I bet she will like to come, too. Of course you can also magic up some legal passports for the three of us and we just take a plane."
"I think I prefer that," Circe giggled, "Can you imagine the four of us popping out of Valerie's broom box?"
I had to laugh at that, too, and Helena had a giggle fit.
"No, my love, I cannot and would not subject poor Valerie to that. It was bad enough for Aphrodite to confront her with me still in my Amazon leathers."

So we decided to get everything settled here and then go to New York by plane like most other people. Circe insisted on first class, though, since money was absolutely no object with her gold. All we had to do was to ask Aphrodite, to get some of it exchanged and into my bank account. Then I had an idea. Had not Maureen said she’d like me as her daughter? What if we asked her if I could officially be her daughter after a fling with some casual acquaintance during her time as a model? That would give me official records. As for Circe she would just have to create some Greek passports for herself and her daughter Helena. I got Helena to ask Aphrodite the phone number for Maureen. Once she appeared I got busy on her phone but had to leave a message, as both, she and Washington were evidently on duty. I left Circe’s phone number and made up my mind to buy myself a smartphone, too.

"What is all this about, Odyssa?" Aphrodite asked.
"Oh, just the fact, that I do not want to subject poor Valerie to you, me, Circe and Helena manifesting in her broom cupboard." I said laughing.
"You’re going to New York?"
"Well, first of all we need to get some official paperwork together, but yes, Maureen, Washington and Derek are anxious to know if I succeeded."
"Oh, we are going to have a whale of a time! When?"
"As soon as we got our passports sorted. We are flying by plane.” I replied.
"Marvellous, let me know when you are ready. I’ll book all of us in at Valerie's for hair and nails and waxing."
"Oh yes," I sighed, "I am looking forward to that. Also to know how Derek and Julie are getting on."
"Like a house on fire." Aphrodite giggled. "They are head over heels in love."
"You know, I understand more and more how much fun you are having coming up with little plots like that, sister."

Aphrodite excused herself again but promised to be there, too, when we got to New York. I started searching the internet as to what would be the best idea for where I should have been born, but that would depend on where Maureen had had photo shoots and, more importantly, a little break in her career long enough to have a baby. But that would have to be settled once she had agreed to officially become my mother.


Maureen, of course, had been all too happy to oblige and so, after Washington had called in some favours and a little magical intervention by Circe I flew to New York with an American passport and Circe and Helena with a Greek one with a multiple indefinite visa for the US. Aphrodite had transferred enough money into a bank account I had opened on Cyprus after my passport had arrived and we had a great three weeks in New York.

Ares was as good as his word and stood holding one of my hands while Circe held the other as I was giving birth to his son. It was all too obvious how much he was suffering only from watching me suffer the pain of it. When it was all finished he admitted, that he never ever had any idea, how much more tolerance for pain women had to have. No wonder the Amazons were such great warriors. He had actually made it a habit to visit Penthesilea regularly and told us that Circe’s ancient self was living with the Amazons on Lesbos. To all our surprise Circe actually had no memory at all of that. So the time line had fused again, smoothing out the ripples.

He reported that Kassandra and Helena were happily raising Helena’s son and that the two of them had kept the tradition of the shared bedroom of the mothers and children like the Amazons and with Hekube joining in, too. Andromache (the elder) was also spending much time there with her son, and Hector was happy for his son to grow up differently than himself with a lot more appreciation for his aunt’s ability as a warrior. Demedea was befriending Pyrrha and Penthesilea as well as Kassandra and they paid each other regular visits.

Unfortunately Ares could not stay long, as Penthesilea also was going to give birth and he wanted to be there as well. After all there were only a couple of weeks between us becoming pregnant. I would have liked to go, too, but so shortly after my own it was not really a good idea, to submit myself to the time travel. I went a couple of months later with my own baby to look at her daughter. She had confirmed to Ares, that she knew the baby to be one, and of course it was. So there would be two teenage warriors growing up with Circe, Helena and myself at some point in the future. But that might be another story.



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