DISCLAIMERS: The characters of AMAZON HIGH are the sole property of Rob Tapert, RJ Stewart and Renaissance Pictures. No profit is being made and no copyright infringement is intended in the writing of this story.
POSSIBLE SLASH WARNING: Well, it takes place within the beginnings of the Amazon Nation, and after the Chieftainess proclaims that their new mission is a life without men in order to honour their dead husbands, sons, brothers and fathers. You can draw your own conclusions about how they while away the long, cold nights. :-) But not all stories will contain explicit scenes of a slash relationship. There is more to life, after all. :-)
AUTHOR'S NOTE: AMAZON HIGH was a pilot created by the makers of Xena. It starred Selma Blair (Zoe from ZOE and a participant in The Kiss with Sarah Michelle Gellar in CRUEL INTENTIONS) as Cyane, Danielle Cormack (star of various NZ and Aussie films, Ephiny from XENA, Raina from CLEOPATRA 2525) as Samsara and Claudia Black (Aeryn Sun from FARSCAPE, roles in several Aussie productions) as the unnamed Chieftess of the tribe. AH was shot in 1997 and finally sold in 1999 but by that time, none of the actresses from the pilot was available to work on the series. However, in the interest of cost-cutting, several scenes from the AH pilot was reused in the XENA episode, LIFEBLOOD. Claudia Black and Danielle Cormack are brilliant actors, and I loved the scenes of AMAZON HIGH that we saw - read my review on it at Whoosh! I really thought that it could have been something special and relevant, if handled correctly. This is my interpretation of what may have happened, had the series been produced.
This story will totally disregard the repercussions on the Amazon Nation that was covered in LIFEBLOOD... because it just didn't make any sense. (Why would Samsara be worshipped by the Amazons if she left before the tribe officially begun? Why did they take on Cyane's name if they forgot all her teachings? Why... but you get the idea.)
Oh, and for anyone wondering what happened to AMAZON HIGH after it was finally sold? It was radically retooled and redeveloped until it became (wait for it)... CLEOPATRA 2525. Oy vèy.
COMMENTS: Please. I crave 'em. :-) email@example.com
The Beginning Again
Nyrea sighed as she closed the opening to her tent, and stripped herself of her clothing. She washed herself briskly with water from a bucket that stood in a corner, before she could no longer resist falling into her bed. It had been a long day.
It had been a long few weeks, with little opportunity for rest. Once the Utma - their saviour from the future - taught them how to harness the power of the horses, they had finally been able to defeat their enemy, the Varanas in a decisive battle. The Tretumlec men had been avenged. And now that the Varanas were no longer a threat, her tribe had felt safe to finally give up their nomadic ways and begin to rebuild their village, on this side of the river.
Thermodon, she murmured to herself. It was what the native people had named the river.
It was she who directed the rebuilding of their village, on this side of the Thermodon. And - now that Samsara had gone - it was she who had to spend time with Cyane, teaching her the way of the Tretumlecs.
No, not Tretumlecs. Not anymore. She smiled as she thought of the name that their Utma had given them.
With their new name, she knew that they had finally put the past behind them. It had taken a long time, but she had finally began to see some hope for their tribe. The mission she had proposed for them - that in honour of their lost fathers, sons, brothers, and husbands, they take no more men into their tribe but dedicate their lives to helping others - had motivated many of the Amazon women to finally move on. They had found a land where they were welcome, and the rebuilding plan drawn up by the Council of Elders was likely to be completed without interruption. All it would take was time, and it was time that they had right now.
Her head was buzzing with other plans for supply, sanitation and defence of the village... the younger Amazons should also probably be set on a training program immediately, teaching them the warrior way. And now that she was thinking of the younger Amazons, the issue of how they were to make more - now that men were no longer allowed in their tribe - would have to be addressed sometime. But that could wait until later. Right now, their main focus was to rebuild the village
There was also one other problem, which everyone thought about but no one dared speak of.
Nyrea sighed, as she turned over in her bed.
Samsara, the greatest warrior in their tribe. Samsara had wanted to chase down the few remaining Varanas and slaughter them like sheep, but Nyrea saw no use in it. She had disagreed with her in public, and their confrontation had essentially cemented her authority over the tribe. Samsara had rode away on one of the horses and they had not heard from her since.
She had thought about her a lot, in the past few days. She and Samsara had been close, once, as close as if they were sisters. Nyrea had been a few years older, and the younger girls of the tribe had looked up to her as a leader. Samsara however, was a loner, preferring to practice her warrior skills or stay with her father and listen to the men talk of battle. It was Nyrea who approached Samsara first, and Samsara soon became her constant companion. They were a good match; Nyrea's cool demeanour soothed Samsara's fiery spirit, and she had come to depend on the younger girl as her second, someone who she knew was fiercely loyal, yet fiercely independent.
That had all changed when the Varanas raided their village. There had been smaller raids at first, when the cannibals had grabbed children of their tribe for their cooking pots.
Her soul recoiled at the thought.
The Tretumlecs had fought back, of course. They had long been warriors, even the women. But when it became clear that they were unlikely to stave off the advantage the Varanas had in numbers, the Chief had sent the children into hiding, with the women to protect them. None of them could bear the thought of another Tretumlec child being eaten by a Varanas.
But Samsara had begged her father to let her stay with the men. Samsara's mother had died in childbirth, and her father had doted over her since. He couldn't refuse her request if it would let them be together for a little while longer - even though it was likely that it would lead to her death. Besides, Samsara was already recognised as one of the best warriors in their tribe and they needed her fighting skills.
When the Varanas had attacked at night, the Tretumlec men had met their deaths bravely. Samsara however, had been asleep in one of their yurts. When she heard the Varanas' attack, she had been fully prepared to join the battle. But when she looked out, and saw the fierceness of their attack, their brutality as they sliced off the heads of her tribesmen and drank their blood, her first instinct had been to run, to hide, to flee the gruesome scene. The young girl shrank back into the safety of the yurt, hiding from sight as the cannibals entered, then sheltering under the fallen roof when they torched the building. And throughout it all, she was forced to watch as her tribesmen - including her father - were slaughtered, their death cries slicing the night air. That night was burnt indelibly into her soul.
Nyrea still remembered the morning after, when the women and children returned to camp, to find their husbands, sons, brothers and husbands all dead, bodies burnt and some picked clean of flesh. Her own mother - and many of the other women - had been driven mad by grief and horror right then.
With the wails of anguish echoing around her, she was the one who had found Samsara crouching beside her father's body. When she had touched her on the shoulder, her head jerked up. There were no tears in her eyes, just a haunting emptiness.
The life had never returned, not in the years that followed. Nyrea had been burdened with the leadership of their tribe, and all her time was spent on ensuring their survival. She could do nothing but watch, as Samsara became more and more distant and withdrawn. Samsara teetered on the edge of sanity, she knew that. There were times when she was unnecessarily vicious and cruel, but Nyrea believed then that she needed to work out the anger that still burned her soul.
She now cursed herself for doing nothing to help her.
If Samsara decided that the Amazons were her enemy, she could be a bigger threat than the Varanas ever were. Nyrea herself was the only one who could remotely match her as a warrior, and she knew that if it came to a fight, she would eventually go down to her. When driven, Samsara had a focus and intensity that none could match.
She tossed again in her bed, thumping the piles of fur that she was resting her head against. All she could do was hope that Samsara would choose the right path.
Nyrea heard a sudden rustling by the entrance of her tent, and she immediately gripped the dagger that she kept under her bed. "Who is it?" she asked sharply.
Someone stood outlined at the entrance.
Nyrea propped herself up on her elbows. "Samsara?" she asked, squinting at the figure silhouetted by the bright moonlight. "Is that you?"
No answer. But Nyrea could have recognised the long curls and sinewy body of the warrior anywhere. She sat up on the pile of furs, as the woman entered and sat down beside her.
"Why is she still here?" Samsara's voice was low and unmistakable. It was a voice tinged with bitterness, anger, pain, regret. Nyrea wondered how long it had been since she heard her speak without that bitterness. She wondered if it would ever go away.
Nyrea kept her tone level as she replied, though she couldn't deny the wave of relief that washed over her. "She was summoned to save us, Samsara. She has done so once... perhaps this was not the last time that we need her help."
"Why? We have to help her more than she helps us. She can't fight and seems intent on getting herself killed. She knows nothing of our ways. What makes you think she won't run off with the first young stud she meets?"
"Samsara." Her voice held firm. "Cyane has already proven herself. Her courage is real, and the ideas that she has from the future are what make her so useful to us. The shaman has anointed her as our saviour, and she will be treated with the respect that the Utma deserves. By all members of the tribe."
"I hate her." The statement was flat, direct.
Nyrea smiled, and shook her head. "No, you don't. You've saved her life three times Sam, and twice was after you got to know her. You might be jealous of the attention she gets from the rest of the tribe, and you may be confused with her strange ways... but you don't hate her."
If she had been anyone else, Nyrea knew that Samsara would have already cut her tongue out, for daring to speak to her so impertinently. Instead, her friend just looked at her, a pathetically wounded look that was almost comedic and she knew that she had hit upon the correct reason for Samsara's feelings towards the stranger.
Nyrea laughed, suddenly knowing that everything would be all right. "Come here..." Samsara didn't resist as she pulled her into her bed. She slipped her arms around her friend, and held her close, closing her eyes as she buried her face in the soft, golden curls. Nyrea felt Samsara - finally - begin to relax, warmed in the comfort of her embrace.
"Where have you been the past few days?" she murmured.
Samsara sighed. "Up in the mountains. Thinking."
Another sigh. "Rea, ever since I saw my father murdered before me, all I thought about was ripping Targa's black heart out through his chest. I finally killed him, and my father has been avenged... but you won't let us destroy the Varanas. They deserve to be destroyed for killing our menfolk..."
"They are as good as destroyed, Samsara." Nyrea said gently. "It will be a long time before the Varanas grow again to be a threat to anyone else... and perhaps in that time they can find the right path to walk. We must temper revenge with mercy... I know you believe that. You did once."
Samsara swallowed, and shook her head. "You've always forgiven more easily than I do," she said, a little bitterly. Then she sighed and closed her eyes. "Where do I go now, Rea? I've sought vengeance for so long, it's hard to want anything else."
"I think you've taken the first step, Sam." She pulled away slightly, to study her friend. Her warm grey eyes seem to glow in the darkness of the tent. "I'm glad you decided to come back."
"I haven't yet." With that, she stood up and went over to the opening of the tent, crouching down and looking through the flap to the village sleeping outside.
Nyrea sat up. "Then where will you go?"
The warrior shrugged, not looking at her.
Until she felt a light tap on her shoulder. She looked up, to see Nyrea holding something out to her. Two oddly shaped short staffs, they were weapons that she had created. She had called them chobos; she and Nyrea had been testing them together, working on a set of exercises, before the madness occurred with the Varanas. All she had thought about since that time was vengeance, she didn't even know what had happened to her set of the weapons.
But Nyrea had obviously kept hers. "Samsara... I'm asking you to stay. The tribe needs you as a warrior, as a teacher... and I need you as a friend. I want my friend back."
Samsara looked at her. Her eyes were an unusual colour, a beautiful golden-brown. But Nyrea was startled by how empty they remained. She instinctively wanted more than anything, to watch life come back into those gold eyes. Time, that was what it would take, time would be the essence.
Samsara finally nodded, and looked away. "I can't promise anything, Rea. I've changed... we all did. But I will stay. For now."
Nyrea smiled, and nodded. "That will do. For now."
Everything would be all right again.
The End. For now.
(c) November 2000. firstname.lastname@example.org
Author's Endnote: Should I continue writing stories set within the AMAZON HIGH framework? I have my own opinions on how AMAZON HIGH should have unfolded, and I've got vague plans to continue this as a series. I'm also thinking about switching to screenplay style (kind of like the Another Season 5 series for XENA or the AUTOLYCUS: King of Thieves series) rather than continuing it as prose. If you have any opinions, please email me at: email@example.com