Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or the Justice League.

Chapter 3

Wonder Woman gently landed on the shores of Paradise, closing her eyes and taking a deep breath of the sweet air of the island. Familiar scents tickled her nose and welcomed sounds resounded in her ears as she enjoyed the moment.

It had been a long time, too long if she was honest with herself, since she had been Home.

Oh, don't get her wrong, she didn't mind the Man's world, and all the wonders within it, but often the darkness and depravity she saw within that world was stomach turning, a layer of filth floating atop the golden souls of the rest of humanity, more prominent and easily seen than the small kindnesses, done often without thought and taken for granted, that were performed.

It made for a startling contrast and was rather confronting at first for some who was raised in Paradise.

On the Island, the roles of 'good' and 'evil' were clearly defined. The Amazons, her people, were the custodians of the peaceful land, granted residence by the powerful Goddesses that they worshipped, escaping the evil and taint of the Man's world, and were too keep it untainted from the hands of Men.

They were Good.

On the other side, a gate to Tartarus, the residence of Hades and his demonic minions, also resided on the island, which her mother, Hippolyta, and by extension the rest of the Amazons, were charged to watch over, to keep sealed for eternity. The darkness of Pit and it's denizens was well known to all that had even the slightest portion of knowledge about Greek legends and mysticism.

They were Evil.

The chaos of the rest of humanity outside of the Island confused her.

But she learned.

New things, new experiences. New friends, even of the male variety, something that wasn't possible on the Island.

She shook slightly in remembrance of something different.

She had been quite lucky that their patron Goddesses had interceded after she had brought the rest of the League to the Island, speaking on her behalf to the rest of homeland.

They had granted leniency, in part, for her going against the law of allowing men on the Island, even if it had been done to save the Island, and the world, as whole from the predations of Hades.

She had been banished, exiled, as she expected.

But only for a time.

That had astonished her.

Knowing full well the punishment for bringing men onto the Island, she had done so anyway, knowing the consequences of her actions and that, despite her status, she wouldn't be exempt from the law.

Had she not been who she was, she would have been meeting Hades again far sooner than she would have liked.

It had not been the easiest of decisions, but living the life she did had taught her that life was never easy.

Forgetting all decorum, the manners instilled in her by her mother since she was but a babe in arms, the respect that she was taught to give to all deities, she asked why they, the Goddesses who bowed to none, who followed stringent laws, who almost never interfered in the mortal world as openly as this, had granted her this clemency, this mercy, allowing her to some day to return to her homeland, to see her mother once more.

The Queen of the Gods, the great Hera, patron of the Amazons, had then turned to her, emerald green eyes showing wisdom beyond knowing, rivalled only by the grey eyed form of Pallas Athene that stood beside her, meeting her own sapphire eyes and those of her mother's.

'The Future twists and turns,' the Goddess had spoken, regal and patient, a true Queen's voice, 'and it's true path is known only to few. But all Gods, of any stripe, from any domain, have a sense for time, can catch fleeting glimpses of that well hidden path.' Her face took a pensive expression, as if unsure, doubtful, worried. 'I saw something not this morn, a crossroads being reached. Three paths did I see, each of them different, and the final destination of each, all of them stemming from this very moment, and the choices made here.' That regal and beautiful face firmed, determination in her eyes, as she met Diana's sapphires again, 'I know not why, I know not how, but your continued bond to, and contact with, your home land and your mother is important for the best of those futures to come into fruition.' Those green eyes now filled with warning, the Goddess' face turning stern, 'You are destined to do great things, child. Make sure they are the right ones.'

Diana still sometimes had chills run down her spine when she remembered those words. Those emerald eyes had told a story. She had been granted mercy by her goddesses, but it came with a price. She would have pay that price eventually.

She shook her head from reminiscing. Now was not the time for those kind of thoughts, she had other things to do. Happier ones. Like telling her mother that her elder sister was alive and well.

She firmly strode up the sandy beach, her boots crunching the pristine white sand, easily seeing the familiar trail she had to follow to go to the Palace. She wouldn't fly there, it was both rude and disrespectful and it wasn't an emergency. She would go through the motions and formalities. She was here on official business and would play the role as such.

Her mother taught her the importance of politics, at least the form of politics from ancient times, when she was younger, a necessity for the supposed Crown Princess, even if the title was a mere formality. Her mother wasn't at risk of dying anytime soon.

Sadly, it seemed those skills were not very applicable in the Man's world. It was rather frustrating to find that such boring, but necessary, lessons, which she really didn't like in the first place, were all for naught in the world of Men.

She moved through the tropical jungle with familiar ease, a slight smile on her lips. The beach she had landed on was one of her favourite places on the Island, one that she came to frequently whenever she needed to think, looking out over the rolling waves calming her thoughts to do so clearly, or she just wanted to be alone or have a swim. She remembered the nights, when she was younger, that she had left the palace to take a dip beneath the light of the moon.
She was soon reached the edge of the tropical jungle, glimpsing the cleared field that surrounded the city walls of the Amazon's home through the now sparse vegetation and the bright gleam of the armed and armoured sentries that patrolled and guarded it.

"Sisters!" She called, never breaking her stride and walking openly, hiding nothing from her sisters in arms, easily attracting the attention of the guards.

The two guarding the large wooden gate, that was the only official entrance in the white stone city behind it, were quick to lock eyes on her, two sets of brown eyes quickly looking her over with practiced ease. No doubt they had seen her before she had even exited the tree line.

"Princess!" They returned in unison, ducking their heads in acknowledgement and no more. Whether Diana was of a higher rank or not, Amazons bowed to none but the Gods.

"Welcome back-" the blonde haired gate guardian said, a smile on her helmeted face.

"-Princess. It's been-," the blonde's red haired companion continued, leaning on her long spear slightly and an identical smile on her own lips.

"-A while." They both finished in unison.

Diana laughed heartily. She had missed the Twins. Their antics and great humour were well known on the island.

"Open the gate please, Sisters." She said with a smaller smile, getting a hold of her self. Work before play, after all.

"Yes, Princess," they both nodded in acknowledgement, turning together and each of them setting a single hand against the stout gates. Without seeming to strain, merely pushing gently with their Amazonian strength, the great wooden gates opened slowly with a low, but loud, groan, revealing the streets of the city within.

"Enter-" "-and be welcome." The Twins intoned formally as they finished opening the gates and turning to give a respectful nod to Wonder Woman.

"My thanks, Sisters," Diana said with a small nod of her own, passing through the gates and enter the paved streets of the city proper.

The small city was bustling, as much as the small community could be, with merchants and customers. Just because they were a very isolated community of warriors didn't mean that they neglected commerce. Noticeably to any stranger to the Island, each resident went about their business, always armed with at least one weapon, underneath the light of the sun bouncing off the bright white walls of each building.

After various raids and events long ago, as well as events far more recent with Faust, it had been policy for any resident of the island to always be armed.

The words of a certain Roman had been taken to heart in her homeland.

She received looks and calls of welcome from the populace as she walked up the main thoroughfare leading to the palace, which she nodded and smiled softly in response to, never breaking her stride.

It was like being welcomed home from a long absence.

She was soon at the wide and tall white marbles steps that were the final hurdle before entering the palace proper.

"Diana!" A familiar voice from a familiar person called as said person strode down the steps, a joyous smile on her lips.

Wonder Woman also smiled widely. It seemed she didn't have to wait any longer to meet her mother.

The statuesque blonde woman that was mother, Hippolyta, engulfed in an almost suffocating hug. Strong bronze arms wrapping around her and pulling her into a tight embrace. Diana returned the embrace just as exuberantly while also being mindful of the cloth wrapped item she held.

Her time of exile may have finally run out roughly a month ago, but there was still a space between both mother and daughter due to the experiences and responsibilities Diana had in the Man's world. For a family as close as the two were, it was, while bearable, not something that they both liked.

But they both still soldiered on, living their life as best they could, knowing that life is never fair to anyone or anything. One a wall upon which the enemies of Man fell, the other Queen protecting her people.

But, occasionally, responsibilities ebbed for both of them and they could reunite once more. The masks of Queen and Champion falling aside to reveal the true faces of a mother and a daughter.

These occasions were cherished deeply by both of them.

"Welcome home, my daughter," Hippolyta whispered into her daughter's ear, gently pressing her lips into the raven wing's hair of her slightly shorter daughter. The Queen drew a deep breath, taking in the familiar scent of her daughter, letting her generally regal demeanour slide away for a time. "You have been greatly missed, my little wonder."

"As I have you," Diana said just as softly, pressing her cheek deeper into her mother's breast. A grown woman she might be, but she still loved her mother above almost anything.

They stayed in that embrace, in open view on the steps of the palace for a time, ignoring the world around them, take comfort in each other's presence.

After a while Hippolyta finally managed to get a hold of herself, placing her strong tanned and calloused hands on the shoulders of her daughter and, reluctantly, moving her out of the embrace to allow her blue eyes to meet those of her daughter's.

"It is good to see you again, my daughter," she repeated softly, even as she eyed the form of her precious daughter, her eyes inwardly narrowing as her experienced warrior eyes noticed the signs on her daughter.

Scuffed and slightly bruised flesh that was covered from her sight but still present in how Diana held herself, subtle movements of her bracer clad (and obviously sore) wrists. She had seen battle, one that had been able to injure even one of such birth as her daughter.

It worried her.

And that was not the only thing. The Queen's blue eyes looked at the wrapped bundle in her child's arms. She may not be mystically inclined, but she was experienced enough, had experienced enough, in the ways of Gods and their artefacts to have a small sense of arcane, to be able to tell magic from charlatanism.

And whatever was wrapped in that white cloth bundle was exceptionally powerful, perhaps even more so than the Royal Raiment that her daughter wore at this very moment. More powerful than a raiment crafted by the Gods and blessed by Athena herself.

That more than worried her.

"Come," she said, before Diana could get a word in, putting those worrying thoughts out of her mind for now. She would no doubt get her answers soon. She would enjoy her beloved daughter's company until then. "Lunch is about to be served. I think you can spare yourself enough time to join your lonely old mother?" She smirked teasingly at her daughter, gently wrapping her toned arm around her wonder's shoulders, guiding her up the stairs to the palace's dining hall.

"...I must have misheard you," a soft voice said calmly, "would you care to repeat that?"

Harry shivered slightly as he looked into those sapphire orbs that belonged to his mother.

Now he was many things. A good fighter. A powerful magic-user, even if he was forced to rather specialised in his field of study. A brilliant cook, the Dursley days of his life and living on his own making the skill a necessity. Rich. Powerful. Intelligent. Skilled. The list of his traits and abilities could go for quite a few pages. In fact, he consider himself rather blessed in that department.

That said, he would willingly become a brain dead idiot lying in a gutter if it could get him out this conversation, out of the room and away from his eerily smiling mother. Now.

"Because I swear you just said that you deliberately used an unpracticed spell just to intimidate those who encountered us," her smile went from ear to ear in a Cheshire grin, all teeth, soft giggling sounds could be heard coming through the pearly white teeth. The humour didn't seem to touch her eyes however, the orbs becoming pools of sapphire flames of wrath and ire.

Harry was sure that the mere sight of that face shaved a decade off of his lifespan.

"And even worse," his mother continued, idly stroking the rim of a large, heavy, crystal bowl that sat in the middle of the small table that the private guest quarters on the Watchtower had, "you- what is the term that you young men use these days?" She questioned herself idly before falsely brightening as if struck by an epiphany, "oh yes, 'fucked it up'!" she roared, her smiling face now that of a demon's, her mouth spewing fire and brimstone.

Harry couldn't do anything but cower. The only exit was directly behind her and trying to run would only make this worse.

In short, he was screwed. Royally.

Beware the rage of an angered mother.

"I thought I taught you better than this!" She yelled, stomping around the table, her sandals echoing off of the hard metal flooring, "I know I did!" Firm hands gripped his now human fleshed shoulders and shook him. He didn't attempt to try and stop her. "Do you know what you could have done?! The price that you may have paid for such stupidity!? Where were your brains?!" The shaking became more violent, making him feel like he was a maracca. "What could have possessed you to do something so clearly foolish?!"

"It was the best thing I could think of." He slurred, his voice blurring as the Repentant Queen that he called mother kept shaking him, though she did slow down as he began to speak. "My prana levels were pretty much shot and you were just captured and rendered helpless. So I tried to bluff our way out." The shaking stopped, making him groan slightly in relief and nausea as the room kept spinning like a top, even as he was finally able to focus a little more. "To make myself look more dangerous than I was or, if the bluff failed, put me in a position to at least fight back for a time and be able to free you." He lifted his head for the first in the 'conversation', his green eyes showing a hint of fire, defiance and determination, "I had just got you back, I wasn't going to lose you again any time soon."

Those words seemed to strike a chord and made Penthesilea deflate, her strong hands releasing him and letting him fall back into his seat. Her face slightly stunned.

"Was it risky?" He continued, never letting his eyes leave hers now, striking while the verbal iron was hot, "Yes it was, but it was the best option that I had available to me at the time out of a whole list of bad and worse choices. Did I fuck up? Yes I did, but I took the best precautions that I could at the time and, thus, I am still here to greet you once more. Would I do it again?" He leaned forward, his eyes emerald coloured steel, "In a heartbeat."

The two, mother and son, stared at each other. The mother was taken aback. Never had she encountered such forceful determination from her own child, at least when disagreeing with her. When they had been reunited in the Grail War, he had been just a child, a broken and battered child who had clung to her with fervour, listening to her every as though it were the wisdom of the Gods themselves. Never would he have spoken back to her like this in the past.

Her son had grown up, maturing. And she had missed those growing years, just as she had been forced to miss his first steps, his first words.

He was a man now, whatever the laws of the modern era said. Young, slightly inexperienced and still very attached and unwilling to leave his family, but a man nonetheless.

Willing to stand against whatever the world threw at him head on. To endure hardship unflinching in pursuit of his goal.

The true measure of a man was shown, not in his wealth, not in physical might. Not in intelligence or his skills. Anyone could improve these traits if they tried.

To gain strength, exercise.

To obtain wealth, work harder.

To receive knowledge, study more.

To improve your skills, practice them.

No, the truth of a man, the very foundation that his character was built upon, was in his ability to endure.

And now her son, in her eyes, was a man without compare.

He had weathered pain, mental and physical and spiritual. He had seen the worst of the worst among humanity, had even been drenched in it's physical manifestation, and still he moved on.

It made her both sad and proud. Proud to be a mother of such a wonderful son. And sorrowful that her son had to endure such things, to grow up so quickly and at such a young age.

He was a young lion, baring his fangs to world and cutting lose with his first roar.

It was part of being a mother to protect their children. But her son wasn't a child anymore. He was a man that would protect everything that was precious to him, even onto his own destruction, in a heartbeat.

It worried her greatly.

Add in his own brand of magecraft with this mind set and she went past worried and went straight to a step below absolutely terrified.

But there was little she could do about it now, his Origin was too ingrained into his very being. The best she could do was try to teach him to use his brain before he jumped in with both feet.

She sighed wearily, her anger leaving her and making her feel drained of strength.

"Much as I want to, I can't fault you, completely, for your actions," she grimaced slightly as she knelt down, wrapping her arms around her precious son. The height difference between them meaning that, despite her son being tall for his age and seated in a high backed chair, her head was on the same level as his, the benefit of being both an Amazon and a daughter of Ares meaning that she was no short woman herself. "But I want you to look after yourself as well," her voice was stern, almost reprimanding, as she clenched him closer, hugging him tightly.

"Things are different now," she whispered into his ear, "I am here and am staying here." The resolve in the last two words was enough to fuel a mouse to move a mountain. The tight grip she had on him loosened slightly, becoming more comforting and soft.

A mother's embrace.

"But my staying here will mean nothing if you somehow depart." Her soft voice entered his ear again. "Just as you have lived, have fought and even died for me, placing myself above your own concerns, so too do I value you and your love." The embrace tightened once more. "Your pain is my pain. Your joy is mine to share. Do not throw away your own life, risking it needlessly, just so that I have a chance to live." A slim yet strong hand lifted his head, green meeting a soft blue. "Even if we have barely been together for less than a year, I can no longer fathom a life with both of us in it together." Soft lips pressed into his forehead. "I thought I had lost my family twice already," her voice whispered, almost choking with the stifled emotions. He could feel a slight dampness through his mop of black hair, his nose filling with the unique scent of salt and water. "please do not make me have to live through it again."

Harry did the only thing he could think of at that moment, his mind and body more than slightly confused at the predicament he currently found himself in, having never ever seen his Mother so out of it and sorrowful, outside the memories he had of the dream cycle from the Grail War.

Firm and toned arms of a preteen boy slowly wrapped themselves around the waist of a distraught mother, showing his own love and care for the woman as he embraced her close, never wanting to let her go, even as his mind churned and spun in thought.

He remembered when he had first saw her, tall and straight and proud, even as he lay in a pool of his own blood. It had been a surreal sight for the young and inexperienced boy, like his mind had slipped sideways into the realm of madness, never to emerge from the rabbit hole.

It had only grown more so with the events that came after.

Eventually, however, he came out of the dream, the fantasy, and saw that the dreams had been real, that the illusion had been more than that.

He couldn't help but shed tears of joy at that moment.

He had a mother.

In the eyes of many, this would not have been anything important, taking for granted that someone was there to fill the maternal role. But to a boy that remembered nothing, who had no memories of a maternal figure, who had seen the joy and laughter that other children received from their own mothers and had only felt the lash of fist and tongue from his guardians...

It was pure Heaven.

And there was nothing that he wouldn't do to keep it that way.

As the War had moved on, however, he learned more and more about his mother. The fights she had been in and the life she had lived. The sorrow she carried and the burdens she bore on her very soul.

He wanted nothing more than to carry those burdens himself, to relieve the only person he remembered to have given him even a single iota of kindness of those terrible sorrows, even if it meant that he would be in pain. It wouldn't have been much different from his normal days, he figured, as pain was part and parcel for him in the Dursley household. It would be even more bearable now that his mother was here with him.

Unfortunately, the world seemed to conspire against him.

The Grail War all too soon came to an explosive end, at the hands of his mother and himself, completely severing the link between the two of them.

Despite his selfish desire to want to keep his Mother with him, more than willing to cast the rest of the world to the abyss if it meant that she stayed (they had done nothing to help him in his years of need, why should he help them? Were his bitter thoughts.) He did not want to disappoint his mother. He wanted to show her that he was different from his be damned sire.

It had been the hardest thing he ever done, to destroy something that he knew was his mother's only tie to the world of the living. To consciously sever the bond between them, no matter how much either of them wanted to stay.

He still had tears come to his eyes whenever he remembered the soft aching sorrowful and yet proud smile on his Mother's lips as she slowly dissolved into golden dust, even as he knelt in despair in the still warm and charred remains of a chapel, before she finally vanished completely with a last harsh breeze.

He didn't remember much of the rest of that night, only glimpses of trees and leaves rushing by and his lungs venting his screaming soul as he ran. Trying to get away, to deny what had happened, what he had done.

He had been forced to destroy the Grail, the only thing he knew that could breach the veil between life and death.

He had killed his own Mother.

It was a weight on his soul, feeling like something tearing their claws through his chest, snapping ribs and rending muscle, just to reach his heart.

He was no better than his monster of a sire.

When he had finally exhausted his lungs and soul with the agonised screams and wails of despair and grief, he had collapsed, the darkness quickly overwhelming him.

He had then awoken in thick scrub, his body having fallen behind a large bush, as the sun had risen. His heart had still ached so much that he wanted nothing more than to tear it out of his chest with his bare hands and his mood was blacker than the abyss.

He wanted to kill himself, to shed his mortal skin and rejoin his Mother. But he held himself back.

He knew that, even if he killed himself at that moment, he wouldn't reunite with his Mother in the realm of the Dead. His Mother was part of a higher existence, removed from the cycle of life, death and rebirth.

One such as he, a murderer, a kinslayer, would never be able to reach that vaunted Throne where his Mother resided. All because of the Damned Grail...

His thoughts had stopped at that point, a new one emerging, glinting with light.

He may not be able to ascend, but maybe, just maybe, his Mother could descend once more. It had happened once after all, that meant it could happen again.

And so a glimmer of light had entered his mind, a small flame burned in his steely soul.

For years he sought answers to his questions. What was death? Where was the Throne? How could a soul be resurrected? He had Criss-crossed the world, his feet never stopped moving, his eyes and hands delving into books, seeking that forbidden knowledge.

It had taken him time, years actually, but he had finally found a possible answer, ironically enough in the least likely of places.

The founding of that knowledge was probably the only good thing that came of him attending that waste of a school...apart from acquiring a few other objects of interest.

Using that information, he had managed to contact one of the Endless, Death herself, and made the Bargain. The price had been steep, resurrection of anything or anyone was no minor thing, but through a bit of ingenuity, a few weapons and a small reliance on the ignorance of the so called Wizarding World and he had his fee in hand.

He could finally free his Mother, bring her back, to dwell in her embrace once more...even he didn't deserve it.

He had performed the ritual as soon as he could, though it had been a devil and a half trying to find her final resting place, and had succeeded.

Her bright blue eyes, her dark hair, the noble features. This was the sight he had seen after the ritual and had gone through.

It was a sight that he would never let go of again, never let see come to harm if he could help it, even if it had meant his own life being forfeit, his own soul destroyed. He had seen her die once, by his own hand no less.

He refused to let it happen again.

But now, he struggled to think, she had asked something of him that he wasn't sure he could fulfill. She had asked him to put his own life and health equal, if not above, her own.

For him, who had dedicated the entirety of his existence, after he had learned of her own, to seeing to her revival, who had no care for himself, it was an almost impossible task. If it ever came down to it, he would make the exact same choice that he had when the League had arrived.

And yet, even if he wanted to protect his Mother (silly as it may sound for a pre-teen boy, even if he was a powerful one, to guard a very experienced and powerful half divine Former Amazon Warrior Queen.), her happiness and well being were just as important. A life with out joy is no life at all.

And her joy, it seemed, was directly related to his own continued health and happiness.

That left him only one option, only one path he could take.

His arms wrapped tightly around the shoulders of his Mother, drawing her even more deeply into his embrace.

"I will try," he whispered in her ear, "I cannot completely promise you this, every man has his time to pay the final debt, but I can promise you that I will do my utmost best to stay with you. This, I so swear."

He felt his Mother clench him tighter as he spoke his words, even as her shoulders oddly lost the large amount of tension within them, as if she were reassured at his words.

He didn't need to hear the sigh of absolute relief, the barely breathed thanks to the heavens, or to feel his hair becoming even more damp, to know that He had made the right decision.

Now he just had to keep to his chosen part.

Which may be a little harder than he had first thought.

The Queen of Themyscira stared at her daughter in absolute shock, her mind frozen at the impossibility that her dearest little wonder had dropped on her...

Yet evidence and proof of her daughter's claims lay on the table between them, the light of the early afternoon sun reflecting it's rays off of the object's burnished and polished bronze blade, looking like it burned with a white hot inner fire.

She knew that weapon, had held it before. It seemed to be slightly changed, a few different colours and a more surreal feel about, making it somehow seem to be unrealistically perfect, a trait that was common (if such a mundane term could be applied) to the more unique and powerful God-Forged weapons, but it was undeniably the same weapon that her elder sister had used before her death, the object thought lost along with her sister's body.

To think that she would see it again...

"How is this possible?" The Queen breathed in quiet shock, sinking back into the plush purple cushions of the divan she sat in, her body limp as a noodle as she tried to reconcile the news her daughter had brought before her.

Her sister lived again.

"The League is not exactly sure," her little wonder answered, her face, a mirror of Hippolyta's own sister she realised now that she could actually think about her sister without having her stout heart ache in grief, frowning lightly, "what information we do have is limited, but the instigator of the event has spoken of the process he had gone through to cause the disturbance. Our own independent inquiries are still ongoing."

Despite her current confusion, the Queen of the Amazons understood immediately what her daughter was saying. It was all good to get information from the source, the horse's mouth so to speak, but it was always a good idea to take what someone said with a grain of salt, no matter who they were.

Her daughter's blue eyes looked intently into Hippolyta's, "Are you sure this is Penethesilea's weapon?" She asked, her eyes filled with questions.

Hippolyta drew her shattered composure together again at her daughter's question, answering it absently as her mind whirled with thoughts of the possibility of this occurence, and what she would do next.

"Yes, there is no doubt of that," the Queen assured the Princess, reaching out almost reverently to caress the gleaming weapon, it's bronze shining with an otherworldly fire. "I was there when my sister, your aunt, received it from a goddess." The queen gently lifted the double-headed axe with the ease a child would lift a feather, such was her Amazonian strength. "Crafted by Hephaestus himself and blessed by Eris, the goddess of Discord, Strife and Chaos," she twirled the weapon effortlessly, the masterwork of weapon moving easily in her skilled hand, "it was made to challenge even the Titans themselves, the predecessors of the Gods, should they somehow return to the world," she flipped the blade, catching it close to the head and running a delicate and ghostly finger over the sharpened edge, as though wary of spilling blood from just the proximity of the blade. The Queen's eyes then became flinty, harsh and angered, as she remembered a certain event. "Able to be truly wielded by none but her, the weapon was lost when my sister's body was thrown aside after she was struck down on the plains of Troy." She snorted softly, derisively, as she gently set down the labrys back on the table, a touch of old disdain and begrudging respect in her face as she eyed the weapon one more time, "The gift of that weapon and the actions on the field of Troy after my sister's death were probably the only times that our Father showed any sign of paternal instincts."

Her daughter said nothing, her own face showing her own agreement.

Hippolyta sighed heavily and put her own thoughts on her sire's character and beliefs to the side. She had more important things to discuss than the failings of her bloodthirsty father.

"The fact that you have this weapon at all is all the proof I need to see the truth of your words, my daughter," she said with a soft smile, releasing a small chuckle at her daughter's slight surprise. "Come now," she chided her beautiful wonder, "I was born when the Gods still walked the earth openly, creating miracles with their every step. While surprising and very shocking, it is still within the realms of belief that my own sister has been resurrected. Goddess above, such an act has been done numerous times by our pantheon alone. Dionysus with his mother, Asclepsius as well. Even the mortal bard Orpheus had almost succeeded in returning his beloved Eurydice to life."

Hippolyta smiled at the slightly sheepish look on the face of her precious daughter. Despite the lessons that Diana had been taught and her own maturity, people tended to forget that her precious daughter had been raised in almost isolation, having never set foot off of Paradise Island until that invasion foreign beings some time ago. Intelligent her daughter may be, but she was still somewhat inexperienced and young compared to the many other Amazons on the island, a mere babe in arms to the eldest.

Hippolyta looked over at the weapon once more, her gaze filled with longing, remembering the firm hands of it's wielder and the wielder herself. The grief she had felt on that day, when the goddess Hera herself had delivered the news of her vanished sister's death, had been unbearable. It was only because of her own sense of duty and knowing her sister would disapprove greatly of the action, that she did not fall upon her own sword.

But now, it seemed that the Fates had shown some degree of heart.

Her sister now lived again.

However, Hippolyta frowned slightly, it also created a few...problems. Problems that did not have just to do with her sister either.

"I take it she wanted to arrange a meeting?" She asked her daughter, putting aside her own desires, the persona of Hippolyta the Mother stepping back into the shadows of her mind as the persona of Hippolyta the Amazon Queen stepped forth. For all that she loved her sister dearly, wanted to meet her and embrace her as soon as she possibly could, she was still the Queen of a nation, small though it may be, and had responsibilities to look out for, even above that of her own desires.

Such was the burden of a leader.

Her daughter nodded carefully, her blue eyes looking intently at Hippolyta, as if seeing her for the first time. It wasn't far from the truth. Hippolyta always strived keep the matters of the court separate from her own personal life with her daughter.

"The League has offered the Metro Tower as a possible neutral meeting place," Diana calmly informed her mother.

Hippolyta nodded to herself in agreement. A well planned move for Penthesilea, if that was who she truly was. The integrity of the Justice League was well founded and had enough members of sufficient strength to separate the two of them should things devolve into something of a brawl and a possible deception be revealed.

She honestly couldn't see that happening though, not with the proof of her identity on the table before her, but her political and battle trained mind wouldn't let her accept it completely until her own two eyes had laid on the one claiming to be her sister. More elaborate hoaxes had been pulled off before, after all, and she had no desire to be tricked and toyed with as well as have her Kingdom pay the price for her own folly.

Caution was the word of the day.

"Very well," she said decisively, her royal eyes firm, almost stern, "please take word back to this woman, daughter, that the Queen of the Amazons will meet her three days hence, at the place known as Metro Tower, at high noon."

That should be sufficient. It gave her time to look into this reputed 'Throne of Heroes' that her daughter had mentioned in her narrative, the term was vaguely familiar to her for some reason, the name niggling at her mind.

It would also give her the advantage in the discussion, assuming the role of the higher power. This woman, if she was truly her sister, was seeking an audience with her, already bowing her head to the Queen. This time, in which she could easily cancel the audience at a whim, would have the woman on edge, waiting for the hammer to fall.

She would hate to do this, especially if it was truly her sister, but the duty of a monarch came before the life of the person.

Besides, she frowned slightly once more, there was also the matter of who it was, exactly, that had resurrected her reputed sister, and for what reason it was that they had gone as far as to enter into a Bargain of all things, something that even the strongest and wisest of the Gods themselves hesitated to do, in order to bring forth her sister from the realm of the dead, or this 'Throne of Heroes'.

Her daughter had been rather circumspect, even hesitant, in identifying this powerful sorcerer, saying only that the caster of the spell, one that even Paradise had felt the backlash of, the magical force of the ritual shaking the ethereal realms like an earthquake, saying that he was only a young man, which in itself was rather startling, practitioners of similar power generally more aged than what her daughter had implied about the young man. It raised questions, serious ones. Ones that she didn't have answer to but, by the Gods themselves, she would get them soon, one way or another.

"You can also inform her," the Queen continued, the thoughts flying through her mind at light speed, barely a real pause between her previous declaration and her current one, "that it will be required," she emphasised the word, firmly making her demand clear, "that her supposed summoner will be present in the meeting," her eyes went flinty, "returning her to life or not, this young man has disturbed the final rest of a former Queen of the Nation," she nodded her head at the sudden gasp and face of shocked realisation and dread on the face of her little wonder. It seemed that her daughter had understood the meaning of her words. Good. Her little wonder was learning well in the Man's world.

"I don't have to tell you what the possible consequences of this may be," Hippolyta said softly, "especially considering the boy's gender."

Hippolyta couldn't help but frown at the pale face of her daughter as she nodded her understanding. Was she truly so worked up over the young man? Suspicions slowly arose in the Queen's mind. Companionate her daughter may be, but she understood the reasons that laws were in place and must be bowed to, to a point. She hadn't even protested her own exile for Olympus' sake.

And, sadly, this young man seemed to have broken one of the greatest laws of the Island:

Disturb not the dead.

Due to the Amazons standing guard over Tartarus and all of it's denizens, magic involving souls and death were looked upon harshly. When the living passed, their time is done, and it was then that they paid the price for the life they had lived. Their virtue rewarded and their sins punished.

Disturbing that balance, interrupting that cycle, went against the laws of the natural order, of the Earth itself. As people tied to the cycle of the Earth, such a thing was blasphemous to them.

Worse yet for this young man, it was a supposed Amazon of the royal line.

The Amazons may be an ancient race, but their Queens were few and far between, mostly due to their own ageless immortality. Only three Queens could be truly counted among them. The first mother, Otrera. Her deceased, and now seemingly resurrected, sister Penthesilea. And herself.

It then came as no surprise that their fallen Queens were honoured so.

Many would think that this young man had tainted her, an Amazon of power and might. She knew that the majority of the residents of this island would think it an insult to them and would no doubt call for the man's head.

And all this wasn't already taking into account of his gender.

All in all, the future seemed grim for the young man, even if he truly has returned her sister to the world of the living.

But there was a small glimmer of hope.

For one, Penthesilea was not interred on the Island, her body lost from even the eyes of the Gods. As such, the Bargain the young man had used was not performed on the Island but in the world of Man, where her arm could not touch, not technically breaking their laws on their soil.

Secondly was the exact nature of the resurrection. Most rituals involving resurrection were dark, tainted by the negative emotions and depravity needed to perform them. The Gods and Demons reigning over such things also equally as despicable.

This ritual, however, seemed to be more...neutral she supposed. Powerful, certainly. Dangerous, anything involving the deathly forces was. Evil though?

She didn't think so. She had seen enough years go by to understand that Death was not a necessary evil in the world, but a neutral force that must be carried out.

Sometimes, to mere mortals such as herself or those of the world of Men, Death seemed uncaring, callous, unfair. And it maybe it was. At least to them.

Mortals are unable to see the big picture, inherently blinded by their own perceptions, their own mortality, to even understand the subtle, but vital, workings of this eternal force.

Death had been there before the beginning of this cosmos and would be here long after the end. It could not be defined the inherently human concepts of 'good' and 'evil', of 'right' and 'wrong'. Such things were ephemeral, fleeting and changed fluidly, having vastly different meanings to everyone.

Death was no such thing. Implacable. Immutable. Final. The ultimate manifestation of order.

It just...was.

Truly did it, and it's brethren, deserve the title of Endless.

And the young man had been able to enact a Bargain with such a force. That alone would let her give him at least the benefit of the doubt of him being one of the darker wielder's of the arcane.

Death was not one to truck with such, in it's eyes, insignificant beings, nor was it one to let go a soul that had entered it's grasp unwillingly, fighting to keep the dead where they belonged. Resurrection, true resurrection, was theoretically within it's domain, but it would not do such a thing unless there was a Damned good reason.

And letting a soul lose just so the Bargainer could taunt the soul's loved ones was not a reason it would accept.

There was something big happening there and Hippolyta was thinking that finding out what should be a priority put forward sooner rather than later.

The Throne of Heroes business also threw things off a fair bit. She would be hitting the scrolls heavily after this.

The last sliver of light on the horizon came from the feeling in her gut. Her instincts screamed that there was something her daughter was holding back about her sister, about this young mage that had done the impossible. There was a link between them, and through them to her daughter and thus herself. She wasn't entirely sure what it actually was, but she would bet drachma that it would be something that hovered on the border of outrageous and quite possibly mind-blowing, even more so than the possible news that her sister walked the realms once more.

Hopefully, it would be something that could possibly stay her hand.

She watched quietly, her tongue silent, as her dutiful and beloved daughter made her excuses and left the palace, her daughter's face troubled. A handful of moments passed and the Queen then saw her little wonder, her Diana, soar into the air, quickly leaving the domain of the Island.

Hippolyta looked once more at the proof of her daughter's claims, the large weapon her sister had wielded with all the ability of a warrior true. She gently caressed it, her fingers sliding softly across the side of the blade, feeling the soft tremor and rippling of that familiar magic contained within it.

It was a fine weapon, one of the best she had ever seen, now or in the depths of the past.

She could only hope, pray, to the Gods that this was not an elaborate hoax.

It had broken her when the news of her sister's demise had reached her in the days of yore. Having found a hope of her revival, she didn't want it to be false, to feel that jagged and miserable emotion called grief again.

"I truly hope that is truly you, sister," she whispered into the air, her eyes far gone in the distant past, memories of the days of old surfacing once more.

One in particular made her heart twist. One of a small family, for those distant times, of five. Two adults and three young girls. An adult woman, tall and toned, clearly of Amazon breed, with flashing sapphire dark blue eyes and shoulder length hair as straight and dark as a raven's wing, leant against golden armour of the taller and very much broader form of the man. His square and rugged jaw quirked in a slight smirk, his blue eyes gleaming with sharp humour beneath his close cropped golden blonde hair. They both lay beneath a tall oak, the leaves thick enough to create an almost solid canopy of shade, as they watched the four girls.

One was a pre-teen female version of the male, at least in colouring, with blonde hair and blue eyes, that ran swiftly after the youngest looking of the four, a girl with emerald green eyes, a trait unique to her, and strikingly straight crimson locks, yet another unique trait, both of them laughing and giggling. The third one chased after the previous two, with emerald eyes flashing in delight and her long hair streaming behind her, gleaming like spun gold in the light of the sun.

The last girl, older by several years, her body at the stage that it was slowly shaping itself to become her womanly one in the future, smirked her own amusement at the younger there's antics, her blue eyes gleaming with the light of pride and happiness as her dark hair flowed freely down her back. She did this without loosing a beat in a series of movements, like a dance. Her feet kicked out and lifted her high. Her arms spun and twisted and lashed out. All the while, the sounds of pipers and drums played in the distance as she danced the deadly dance of the warrior.

They were the picture of peace, a true family.

In her mind's eye, however, Hippolyta could see what had become of them all, the way that they had fallen, in one way or another.

The youngest of the family, her dearest sister Antiope, slain, while heavily gravid with child, by her own brute of a husband, Theseus. Her crimson hair mixed with the spilled blood on the stone floor of the palace, a man of black and sea green eyes looking down at her fallen body with distaste.

Her emerald eyed sister, Melanippe, also fell by the hand of a man. A brute among even the swarthy frames of the men of yore. Her killer was Telamon, grandchild of Zeus and uncle of the hate-skinned beast that made play he was a human. But even beyond that, a hulking shadow of another man, tall and thick and powerful, a monster amongst monsters, loomed behind the son of Aeacus. One that had been a bane to the Amazons time and and again.

The eldest woman, her mother Otrera, the first Queen of the established nation of Amazons, had also fallen by the hand of a man. Arrows and stones from above had fallen upon her, piercing her body and bludgeoning her skull. The laughter of the man who did the deed rang out loudly from where he sat, mounted on a silver horse with massive wings as it floated high above.

Even her eldest sister, Penthesilea, had descended into the realm of the dead, falling at the hands of the brutal son of Thetis, her body mutilated and despoiled before being cast aside like trash.

She herself had also fallen from grace, unwittingly having helped the monstrous Hades in his bid to topple Olympus and ascend the throne there. Thankfully, it hadn't succeeded, she herself having barely realized what was truly happening before it was too late and managing to turn on her former lover. She had more than surprised that she hadn't tossed into the depths of Tartarus with him for her actions made in her ignorance.

Despite all of this, they were not the worst of the falls made by the members of that small family. That honour, if it could be called so, belonged to the sole male.

The blond man, the father of the family, had also fallen, despite his divine status. For all that Ares, the Olympian God of War, was a divine being, revelling in the chaos of his domain, he had still been one of the few gods that cleaved themselves close to mankind. Mostly because his domain could really only exist because of mankind's own existence. War was a very human concept after all.

Because of that close bond with man, however distorted and twisted it was, it had allowed this force of war, blood and carnage to become more human-like, able to feel things with the same intensity as humans could. He had begun to develop a heart, a yearning, for Otrera, a bond stronger than the primal lust he had for the daughter of Dione. His bloodlust had slowly begun to be, not quenched, but focused. Instead of spreading the chaos of war, he had focused on the guardianship of the people. Instead of spilling blood wantonly, letting the battle spin on endlessly, he had struck hard, often brutally, but with purpose, putting an end to the chaos. Instead of conquering new lands and people, he had defended those under his aegis.

It had been a turning point for the God of War, a savage brute becoming a true warrior.

But it had not lasted.

Otrera and, by association, his daughters had been the lynchpin, the anchors that had kept his bloodlust in check. With the loss of each these, he slowly began to revert back the conniving warlord he had been.

It had been the death and despoiling of his eldest daughter, the one who had been the strongest of them and the majority of his own traits as befitted a demi-goddess of his lineage, of Penthesilea that had been the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back and Zeus' denying him the chance to revenge his favoured daughter's death had only pushed him further.

And the Bloody Ares, the Lord of the Slaughter, had returned to the world.

Even if he was now an enemy of her nation, Hippolyta couldn't help but think of better times with her sire, yearn for the return of the protective parent he had once been. She couldn't do it alone, she had tried only to fail miserably, to the point of becoming someone he saw as an enemy despite the blood they shared.

She couldn't do it alone but perhaps, just perhaps...

The chariot of Helios passed across the sky towards the western horizon as the Queen of Themyscira lost herself in thought and memory, all the while caressing the weapon that had brought her hope.

The golden helmed visage of Doctor Fate walked through the cold metallic corridors of the Watchtower. Purpose in his booted steps and determination in his shoulders.

"Truly a wonder, is it not?" A familiar voice spoke within the confines of his mind, one that been with ever since he had donned the helmet and taken up the mantle of the hero called Doctor Fate over a century ago. It was voice that held wisdom in every tone, the voice of a mentor and teacher towards a student. It also conveyed a sense of power unimaginable, like an ivory tower reaching into the heavens themselves, disappearing amongst the clouds, looming over everything else that it encountered. The tower itself could be called planned, crafted, purposeful. Of Order itself.

Unsurprising considering the source of the voice and the title it held.

'A wonder for you perhaps, Nabu,' answered the man who had assumed role of Doctor Fate, his face grim beneath the magical golden helm, 'my own opinion is more...conservative.'

The man felt the quiet acknowledgement from the Lord of Order before the powerful force retreated to the depths of his mind, leaving the man to his own thoughts.

The mage frowned in thought as he walked through the halls. Despite what he had said to his powerful patron, he couldn't help but slightly agree with him. The resurrection of anyone, be they good or bad, for whatever purpose it was done, could be considered a wonder, a miracle. Even more so considering who it was that now walked the mortal realms again and from where their soul had been pulled from.

The Throne of Heroes, the domain of the Heroic Spirits, was whispered in the annals of his predecessors with awe and reverence. A place for the greatest of humanity's heroes and icons, and maybe even those beyond, to dwell and watch over those they had protected in life. And even, in some cases, to lay their ephemeral touch on the mortal plane to guide those who came after them on the correct path.

And a denizen of that exalted dimension had been summoned from the great beyond, far from the reach of even his patrons or their counterparts.

All because of the determination of a lonely and sorrowful boy who merely wanted to hold his mother in his embrace, to the point of Bargaining with the Endless of Death, sometimes referred to as Teleute.

Doctor Fate grimaced to himself. The Endless were beings beyond his patrons power, symbolising the very foundational forces of animate reality. Without these forces existing, life could could not either. They dwelled on a plane so far above that of the earthly province, that any being native to this base dimension would be destroyed, mind and body and soul, if they were to set foot on the Endless' plane. Their very beings would not be able to accept, to understand, the nature of it.

The only way to interact with them was for them to voluntarily descend to this plane, which was not a small matter for any of them.

It worried the magical hero greatly that an Endless was willing to Bargain with a mere child. What could have possibly caused Death itself to be willing to do so with a young child? What was the price the young boy had to pay? What were the objects he had to retrieve? And where were they that Death was unable, or maybe unwilling, retrieve them herself?

These were very serious questions, and he most definitely wanted answers.

And they were only the tip of the iceberg!

Who was this child that the Endless was willing to Bargain with him to the point of almost violating the stringent laws of Death's domain?

Who was this young boy that he even had enough power to pull off this ritual of resurrection?

A myriad of other thoughts and questions spun in his mind, all of which he needed answers to, and with haste.

His eyes flicked to the signs above each of the doorways in the corridor, before focusing on one, seeing that it was his destination and the current residence of the two beings in question that he wished to obtain his answers from, at least at this current point in time.

His blue clad hand reached out as his steps took him to it, before rapping firmly on the hard steel door thrice, as his eyes gleamed with magic behind the helm even as the golden amulet that held his cape also glowed subtlely.

To his eyes, the door suddenly no longer existed, his vision unhindered by the metallic portal, allowing him to see the two he sought.

He felt a twinge of regret in his heart at the sight he saw.

The tall dark haired woman, Penthesilea if he was informed correctly, was seated at the small table that the room offered, her toned but feminine arms, free of scars or imperfections, were clasped tightly around the form of a young man, a boy really, holding him close and rocking him gently even as the boy had buried his face in the crook of her shoulder.

It was a picture of domestic comfort. He hated to have interrupted such a scene, but needs must.

Though the rather quelling glare that the mother gave in his direction, her blue eyes flashing and wrathful, may have had something to do with those regrets.

'Ware storms of a woman's wrath. And double for a mother's.

Doctor Fate ended the spell quickly, the steel portal once more coming into focus. Judging by the wrath in those eyes, he didn't want to get on her bad side more than he already had. Though he had managed to get something out of the glance.

The woman was most definitely the former Queen of the Amazons, his true sight showed him that much. No truth could hidden nor any deception be unpierced by the Amulet of Anubis, and the spiritual crown of a queen adorning her head and the spectral ravens hovering about her, a symbol of regret and sorrow, gave him enough information to ascertain the truth.

Though he still didn't know much about the boy.

Looking at the back of the boy had dimmed his sight to a degree, some base truths about the young man unseen but unhidden, but others were clear.

The boys age was just short of thirteen, with natural black hair and green eyes. Tall for his age and his muscles were well toned, crafted in a way to be used rather than to put on a display like the vain fools at Muscle Beach.

Numerous scars littered the boy's body, making the arcane hero narrow his eyes. Experience told him that none of them could have been self inflicted, nor could all of them be attributed to accidents or fights, even deadly ones. The hot breath of anger and loathing filled his mind and soul as the Doctor came to the only possible conclusion that made any degree of sense.

His hands tightened into fists as he strived to shove down those enraged thoughts. Now was not the time to indulge in them. He forcefully focused his mind on other aspects of the boy he had picked up beyond the physical.

The spiritual aspect of the boy was far more unique. His aura, his very soul, encasing him skin tight, as though his soul and flesh were one and the same, an spiritual impossibility for a being of the mortal plane as the mage knew it.

Mortals, whether human or any other species, were made up of three distinct, yet harmonious, elements.

The first was the element of Flesh, also known as the Body. Despite the name, it was meant more than just meat, blood and bone. It meant the primal life force, the spark of existence, that existed in all natural living beings. Without this portion of existence, even the smallest dregs of it that a ghost, spirit or other undead being had, one was unable to even exist within the mortal plane without the world, that some mages mistakenly call 'Gaia', rejecting it. It was for that very reason that vampires drank blood and that zombies were reputed to devour flesh. As they could not produce that life spark themselves, they sought to take it from others, which dwelled heavily in the living giving fluid called blood and within the mortal flesh, especially in the heart and liver.

The second element was called the Mind or the Spirit. This was one of the more difficult to define elements, one that was often mistaken for the third element due to the similarities and more powerful links between them. It was based on one's experiences, memories. If the Flesh was the instrument of a person, performing the acts, then the Mind was what governed it, allowed to be able to learn, to understand the world around them and make decisions upon that, often incomplete, understanding. Thus it was because of this that memories and experiences were it's basis, for how could one understand heat when one has not experienced a burn? It was also the most fluid of aspects of a person. The Flesh is unchanging and inviolate, despite what Morpheus or shapeshifters would have you think. The Mind was more fluid, malleable, adaptable, changing slightly with each experience. This fluidity, however, made it all the more fragile, vulnerable. If you take away a person's memories, all of their experiences that they have learned, what are they but a breathing, unmoving husk?

The third element, and arguably the most vital, is known as the Soul or the Heart. Without the Soul, a being with the other two elements is merely a learning automaton. The Soul is the basis of one's own individuality, their uniqueness among others. It is what drives us to succeed, to live. It is the seat of one of the most important parts of a person: their emotions. The Mind might let us know how to do something, the Body may let us perform the deed, but it is the Soul gives us the drive to do it, the will to do it.

And magic, from whatever land, from whatever time, at it's most basic of principles, is the act of willing a certain phenomenon, a spell, to manifest in the material world.

Thus, without a soul, one cannot perform magic.

Mind, Body and Soul.

Spirit, Flesh and Heart.

These three elements are what made a man, a man. Take away one of them and one could no longer be considered a man.

However, despite the closeness of each of them, the links between each, they are all naturally separate from one another, despite being contained within a singular vessel. There were transfers of power between them, of course, otherwise a man was not able to move.

The Mind decides what would happen, which is then received by the Soul which wills the Body to perform the action and the body then gives feedback to the Mind. That is the cycle of life, of action, of existence. Each aspect of a being's very existence flowing from one part to another but also remaining separate from them. They had to so as to remain uncorrupted and functional. Any unbalance or displacement of these aspects, metaphysically moving them closer or further away from the others could have disastrous effects of the victim.

Slower thought processes, dulled reaction times, inability to cope with emotions. These were just some of the possible effects. Others, at higher levels of displacement, reached complete paralysis, catatonia and complete irreversible insanity.

This young child, however, in some fashion, had seemed to have...merged might be the best word...his Soul and Body into a single aspect, without seeming to have any negative consequences that he could determine from the brief glimpse.

That should not have been impossible, it should have destroyed the child's physical form long before it happened. And yet he saw it with his own eyes.

It seemed he would have more questions for this mother and son duo Than he had originally thought.

Doctor Fate was drawn from his musings as, with a whisper of a pneumatic hiss, the metal door parted down the middle and the two halves withdrew into the frame of the portal, revealing the stoic face of the former Amazon Queen.

"Can I help you?" The firm voice of the Amazon enquired, her face no longer showing the irritation he had glimpsed just before.

"I am Doctor Fate, my lady," he spoke behind the golden helm, his voice slightly echoing from the hollow of the golden apparel, as he gave a slight bow to one of royal blood, conveying respect but not subservience, "I believe that my colleagues have informed you that I may approach you?"

"They did," she nodded, her blue eyes raking over him, judging him and checking for any sign of deception or danger. He noticed her eyes lingered on his amulet for a longer moment, no doubt sensing the power within, before raising up to meet his eyes, dismissing it as a threat at that moment. "I take it you wish to talk?"

"If I may?" He acknowledged respectfully. Despite his own prodigal powers over the arcane and not insignificant physical might, he knew that this warrior queen would be able to react much faster than he could possibly sling a spell. It would be best not to anger her.

Her eyes narrowed at him, trying to see through any deception he could possibly make, but found nothing untoward.

She stepped out of the doorway, wordlessly allowing him entrance, and in doing so allowed him to see the face of the young man, who now sat at the small table within the room, for the first time.

It was all Doctor Fate could do not to startle himself as he saw a face that was very recognisable in a certain sect of magic users.

Fortunately, even as he stepped through with another nod of respect to the Amazon of the royal line, his mind spun furiously, his patron also conveying his shock to his host at what the Lord of Order saw through the eyes of his mortal vessel.

"Welcome, Doctor Fate," spoke the boy known as Harry Potter as he dipped his head in respect to the Avatar of Nabu, "I trust your day has been well so far?" the boy gestured to a kettle of hot tea, Earl Grey unless the Doctor's refined nose was mistaken, "would you care for a cup as we speak?"

"To a point," the Doctor acknowledged absently, his mind taken aback by the genteel refinement the young man exhibited. It was not what he had been expecting. "And no, I think I will pass on your kind offer."

Disguising his slight discomfort, he certainly wasn't prepared to deal with such a personage, he slid into the seat opposite the young man and his reputed mother, which by itself brought even more questions to mind. He had heard from the daughter of his old friend Zatara on the unique circumstances of the boy's conception and birth, but he certainly was expecting said boy to already be known to a select portion of the mystical world under a different name and identity.

It made the discussion he needed to have with the lad all the more important.

"So," the young man spoke, taking the reins of the conversation as they all got comfortable, after taking a pleasurable sip of the tea, "what can I do for you, Doctor Fate?"

The Doctor grimaced slightly beneath his helm, his body language otherwise betraying nothing of his unease or discomfort. Whether he was prepared or not for this discussion, it was going to happen anyway.

Cold blue eyes narrowed in a wrathful glare as he looked around at the carnage nature had wrought in this pinprick of a place in the country known as Turkey.

The owner of those eyes growled to himself as he scanned the massive circular crater, seeing more than just the physical with his senses.

To say Ares, the Olympian God of War, was unhappy at the moment could have considered a gross understatement.

He did not like this place. Too many painful memories, many of them still metaphorically weeping ichor and blood, were associated with this plain, river and the ruins in the distance. But even as he disliked it, he also protected it, a lasting legacy of one of the few people in this world he had ever respected, or even loved.

And now some mongrel had desecrated this place!

His hands clenched into fists as his temper spiked, an invisible aura of power and malice and rage filling the immediate area.

He fought to rein in his aura, wrestling with his temper, as around him fell the various men and women going about their business, their bodies collapsing under the strain of a God's wrath. Their minds filled with fear and terror, the companions of war.

Ares seethed like an angered snake, his face writhing and twisting inhumanly. His mystical senses could practically taste the remnants of the spell that had been invoked here, tainting the air with it's stench. The scent of Life and Death and the earth itself filling his metaphysical nostrils.

The spell used here had been powerful, he knew that much, and the devastation done to the trees and rocks were simply backlash from what had been performed in the middle of that crater.

He slowly calmed down, his anger banking, allowing him to think more clearly, coldly, analytically.

The mortal bugs around him, pathetically deaf and blind to his presence, began to raise themselves from the ground where they had fallen, their limbs shaky and their skin pale and sweating with fear and terror, unable to understand what had just happened to them. Ares had no doubt that the few brief moments that they had been exposed to a mere fraction of his aura would be the fuel of nightmares for years to come.

Good. These insects would learn their place in the order of things.

Eyes that see beyond the physical scanned the area once more, flicking back and forth as the realm of the Flesh moved away from his sight and his eyes pierced the veil into the realm of the Soul.

He frowned slightly as vivid electric strings of power were exposed to him. Remnants, trails, footprints of those who had passed by. There were more than he had thought, and some of them he recognised on sight.

His eye wandered over a meandering one of blue white, an indication of a powerful soul, surrounded by a soft mist of vivid green and black. There was only one soul he knew to have that particular mix.

It seemed that his granddaughter had been here. A little over a day ago if he read the strand correctly. Something that he would keep in mind. If he, Olympus forbid, failed to track the mongrel who had done this, a small family reunion may perhaps be in order.

He quickly identified a few other 'cords'. The Detective from Gotham. The girl mage from the line of Nostradamus. The one blessed by the Speed Force.

It seemed that the League was still able to react relatively quickly.

But they were not what he was looking for.

In the centre of the circular crater, that was now merely a large indent in the river bank, he saw the origin of the vast spell, the source of his current troubles.

He narrowed his eyes as he contemplated what he saw, puzzling it out.

Instead of one cord, he saw two.

One of them, a bright metallic silver coursing with smaller strands of a burning incandescent white and vivid blue with streaks of red, was practically all over the place, running back and forth along both sides of the riverbanks, some parts of the trail already fading away. It seemed that the origin of this cord had been in this general location for weeks, perhaps even months, searching for something.

And guessing by the destruction of the area, the person had found it.

Ares' eyes flared slightly with the flames of wrath and war. He was willing to bet good drachma that this cord belonged to the mongrel would had dared to defile this sacred place. He grinned coldly, this foolish mage would not escape him long.

He frowned even heavier before as he turned his eyes to the other cord.

It was another blue white one but instead of the green and black of his granddaughter's, it was threaded heavily with crimson, the colour of spilled blood. A symbol of the owner's affinity for the warrior's arts.

He felt his temper begin to rise again as he realised who it belonged to.

"They dare!" He hissed lowly, his throat to clogged with anger and rage to speak properly.

'Blasphemy!' His mind roared.

He knew to whom that strand of power belonged, having nurtured the owner in their formative years. Trained her, praised her, protected her, loved her as a father would his child. A child that was close to his heart, that had changed it more than even her sisters or their mother.

Some mongrel piss ant of a mage had dared to defile the resting place of his deceased favoured daughter. Worse yet, the mongrel seemed to have called her very soul onto the mortal plane.

The air grew heavier once more under his wrath, as he changed his sight to a mortal's own once more with a guttural snarl, focusing only on the strand of his daughter's as it trailed off into the distance, accompanied by the mongrel's own weakened cord.

Still invisible to mortal eyes, he rose into the air from his position at the lip of the crater that had defiled his daughter, Penthesilea's, grave. With a roar of the wind, he shot off, a hound on the scent and trail of it's prey.

'There would be blood for this,' Ares swore, his blond hair ruffling in the wind as he sped off, his own blue eyes becoming scarlet gems unknown to him, 'blood enough to stain the oceans crimson.'

As the sun set on that day, the sky itself stained red as blood, heralding a battle to come.

In an endless abyss of darkness and rot, surrounded by orbs of tainted purple and blue fire, a masked face watched the anger of the War God grow. It felt no satisfaction or anger, neither joy nor happiness, at scene it saw in the cloud of scrying darkness.

It merely acknowledged another of it's pawns had been moved.

The opening gambit had been played, the first piece had been moved.

Let the Great Game begin.

Author's Notes

Hi folks!

I know that this was not my best or quickest of chapters, and for that I apologise, however work has been piling up and tiring the hell out of me. That said, I will try to get the next update of my various works out a little bit quicker.

I know that this chapter is also a bit of a filler, but if I wanted to get this chapter out any time soon, I had to cut it off here. It lays the foundations for an upcoming fight in, hopefully, two or three chapters and shows a glimpse at a scheme behind the scenes.

In the next chapter, sadly, there will be more talking, mainly the Doctor Fate and the mother/son team but there will a nice little fight scene for one of the Leaguers.

Until then, read and review.