life on the island of Themyscira is about to change.
DC Alt The Justice Society: Four Seasons
Volume 1 Autumn
Chapter 1 – Diana
Sparks showered her as the spear of her opponent slid along her bracers. Her opponent now committed to the attack would not embrace defeat. Princess Diana expected no reaction from the training statue she faced as she brought her defending arm in a fraction of an inch before sending it back attacking the spear itself. Momentum already committed to the attack sent spear and training statue careering off balance. Diana knew she would not have long to press her attack, unlike human opponents the Amazonian training statues could not be taken by surprise for very long. The next strike to the back of the statue’s knees would put it fully on the ground. With the advantage on her side, Diana brought her fist down into the middle of the statue’s back, each strike harder than the last as the living marble armor flew in every direction. Several strikes in her hand hit something harder than metal, the statue’s ruby enchanted heart. A point scored the match ended as the ruby heart began the long repair work.
As she watched the ruby heart at work she could hear her sisters clapping and cheering for her. Diana stole a glance towards the one person in the coliseum who mattered, Phillipus, training master and the look was more disappointment than congratulatory. "Well done princess. This was very impressive. However, this is now how I trained you. I trained you to be efficient and quickly eliminate your opponents using only enough force required not this wasteful overwhelming power. A brute will fulfill all its forces, but we are better than the beasts"
"If there was more I could have raised the alarm." Diana knew the answer Phillipus wanted to hear, she could have taken out the training statue within moments but something was troubling her. It was an unfulfilled part of her she couldn’t explain to herself much less put into words to her mothers.
"your body is here but your mind is not. Where is your mind princess?"
“I do not know Phillipus, I see an eagle, a falcon, a bat, a canary, a hummingbird, the Phoenix's green flames, an owl and other birds flying around me. I feel incomplete without them. an unfinished statue. I would be happy here, but I'm not."
“Perhaps the princess needs some alone time. Training at this point will undo only what we try to instill in you. Remember your duty".
She could not deny that Phillipus was correct. To continue training now would only undo all that she had accomplished. As she turned in her weapons she could hear the whispers of her sisters, their worry about the changes in her could not so easily be hidden. She was in paradise and yet she felt she should be elsewhere doing something else. What she was expected to do was unknown to her. She had visions of animals, more often than not birds although some cats were involved. She knew that they were allies somehow but none of the legends that the oracle and her teachers told her about quite fit with them. Perhaps the owl represented a follower of Athena.
Diana remembered hearing about three sisters who were changed by Dionysus into bats but something in her was telling her that was not the case. A little voice inside her told her that the Bat represented someone of intelligence who actually listened to the world around them as it is rather than how it was portrayed to be. She would have to speak with the oracle on this later after she cleared her head.
She found her peace in the grove dedicated to her mother’s sister Antiope. She waved to her sisters who were swimming in the lakes waters as she made her way to her special spot under a nearby tree facing southeast towards the island’s harbor. She could just see the fishing village and harbor over the city walls and could imagine the life of fishing or repairing the fleet they never actually used. During her lessons from her mother she had learned how the wood for the fleet was created and enchanted, it seemed easy enough when she heard the explanation but pulling off the enchantments proved a bit difficult. It was a beautiful fleet even if they only used it one time before she had been born. No trade existed outside the island and so the fleet remained in port.
They trained every day in case someone broke out of Tartarus again. So far they were lucky in that had only happened one time, but that one time was enough. They were certain they had captured all the creatures that had escaped but in the battle many sisters had fallen and spent time in the city of the dead before returning, reforming really to rejoin the city. The sisters that came back weren’t the same as the ones that had left. The oracle had explained it to her as rebirth so it was and wasn’t the same person. Of those who fell only one did not go to the city of the dead and this was her namesake, the sister she was named after. She was a sister from an island further out who in their time of need sacrificed her life to help reseal the doors to Tartarus. Her sister’s honored the stranger by building a statue of her, although Diana had never actually seen the statue she knew that it was held in the halls of honor where statues of other Amazons who fell that day stood.
“Goddess, I’m here. What am I to see?" Diana hadn’t expected an answer to her question. What she did see was a tiny speck that did not appear to be a bird. It looked strange and out of place covered in metal with glass on the top of it. From the body of the craft, a great deal of smoke poured out as if it were on fire. She watched as the craft drifted through the air from the south heading north over the city itself and deeper into the island. Before she had realized what was happening she was moving running towards the eastern gate at full speed. She was certain that Phillipus was already gathering sisters to investigate and in that time she could certainly scout out the area for them. If she was to hurry she wouldn’t have time to saddle her favorite horse. To her surprise, however, the oracle, Menalippe stood by the gate holding the reigns of her horse.
“A vision told me about your need" was all the explanation that Menalippe would give even as she waved away the guards who wanted to follow the princess to investigate the bird.
The metal bird had traveled so far since Diana first saw it in the sky but she could see it had made it past the harpy nests along the cliffs of mount Gaia, although she could see some of them returning to their nests with something metallic in their claws. She hoped that they had only taken some of the bird’s armor although it still felt strange to think of anyone putting armor on a bird. From the angle, the bird was still flying it looked like it would make it past some of the more dangerous terrain but would take it into the heart of the Centauride territory. They wouldn’t like the intrusion into their territory although the bird should be safe enough if it didn’t bite the hand that feed or tried to heal it. She was a bit curious at the harpies, however, why did they attack?
She had a number of things to ponder as she took the road that would lead her past the doorway to Tartarus. She was halfway to the door when she remembered a small detail of the story of her namesake. She came to the island inside a bird made of metal that could fly among the clouds. She wondered if this meant that the doorway would open again if so her sisters would be prepared. As she rode past the doorway Faruka waved letting her know that all was well with Tartarus for now.
The metallic bird didn’t get as far as she thought it would but that might have had something to do with the harpies attack. It landed near the mouth of the nymph’s river and within view of the forbidden island, a smaller island set apart from the mainland. Had it landed there it would have been in trouble. She could see it in the sand on the other side of the river delta buried almost completely with a line of the ground behind it where it appeared to have tried to land. There was still smoke pouring out of the metal bird but it didn’t seem like a threat so she crossed the river moving closer to it. She could see Phillipus leading her sisters on the other side of the river already so she waved them in before turning her attention back to the bird. She climbed up onto the bird looking into the glass dome that lay on top of it looking right into an injured person inside the body of the bird. She couldn’t sense any life from the bird itself so using her strength she ripped the glass dome off waking up the individual inside who weakly spoke up “help…”
The woman’s voice sounded strange to Diana, she must have been far more injured than the princess had realized as she scooped the woman out of the metal bird settling her down on the bird’s damaged wing.
“Where are you wounded?"
The woman seemed to not understand her so she removed the helmet on her head noticing something strange about her. She had not seen so much hair on someone’s face before but at least she was alive.
“It seems to be seriously injured but not fatal." Diana noticed some of her sisters seemed to be holding back laughter, she wasn’t certain this was the time for it and was about to say something when Phillipus raised her hand to quiet her guard.
“Princess, this is a man and banned from the island. This thing can be taken to the island of healing. We can determine it's fate there."
“What is a man?" Diana looked from the injured sister noticing her sisters all had puzzled looks on their faces.
“Sometimes we forget you have not seen one. Come on, princess, I'll tell you what it is."
Diana watched as her sisters placed the woman in the strange clothing onto a litter to be taken to the harbor and later to the island of healing. The woman seemed to be strange but her sisters appeared to treat her as if she had been taken sick by something dangerous.
The Justice Society: Four Seasons Vol 1 Autumn Contents