Ages ago when a man first struck a woman in violence with death, a dark purgatory was created. Alone and unloved, Hippolita sat and for centuries, weeping at the betrayal of her beloved. Then, something horrible happened. She was no longer alone. The shapeless realm soon became home to more and more victims. They spent uncountable centuries in the shapeless place known only as "The Grey".
One day, after yet another member had joined them, their wails of despair became so great, the noise saturated every corner of the underworld. To their surprise, Hades, lord of the death-realms burst through, bellowing in anger.
"WHY?!?!?!" he screamed in anger. "Why do you feeble wenches wail endlessly in this haven?!?!?"
All the women cowered in terror, save for Hippolita who faced the dark god.
"Haven, my lord, Hades?" She inquired. "Surely you jest. There is nothing here but heartbreak and emptiness. We are in no haven."
Realizing his architects had made a grievous error, and that the other gods would not tolerate such a mistake in his rule of the underworld, Hades quickly crafted a plan.
"Why…. Yes… I see," he softly announced, panning the scene of tortured souls. "I don't know how this could have happened. Your afterlives were to have been a tranquil release from your painfully ended earthly existences. But alas….."
And with that, he pulled a flaming feather from under his robe.
"This…." He paused. "This is my most dangerous possession. The feather of a phoenix, forever burning with the flame of life."
The girls stared intently.
"I offer each of you a chance to live once more, but not without some….. limitation."
The girls simply stared, waiting for his offer.
"You may return to my realm so long as you live again. Furthermore, the flame of life will always be within you. Should even one of you step foot upon a land, I will have no power over that land. Without death, the natural order will become disrupted and only chaos and madness will prevail. For that reason, you must never leave the island I set you upon."
As each girl nodded in agreement, a spark burst from the feather, lighting her aflame and carrying her away from the underworld. One by one, they all disappeared until only Hades and Hippolita were left.
"What is it, child?" He inquired. "Do you not wish to join your sisters on the living plane?"
"I do, Lord Hades…it's just that…." She hesitated, for the first time afraid. "Before my husband struck me in anger, I was with child."
Hades looked at her understandingly. "You want the child you could never have."
She nodded and as she did, Hades simply smiled and nodded back as a flame burst from the feather, sending her to the world above.
Hippolita awoke to find herself among her sisters. To their surprise, none of them had bodies, but were instead living flames themselves. Hippolita and the others went about their new lives, consuming wood and enjoying their new haven on earth. Then, suddenly, Hippolita experienced the most frightening and painful thing she could ever imagine. Somehow, her flaming form was about to give birth. She cried in pain and joy as her first an only child was delivered, but then despaired as a seemingly healthy HUMAN girl came forth. She wept, knowing she could not hold, much less succor the child. As she wept, three women suddenly appeared to her.
"So," one said, surveying the scene. "This is where my brother sent his little blunder."
Hippolita stared at the three, confused.
Another looked at her. "Good afternoon and congratulations, your majesty. You may bow to us."
Hippolita was as confused as ever.
"Come now, sisters. We must explain ourselves. She may be eternal, but she's still a simple mortal."
With that, the second one picked up the crying babe and handed her to Hippolita, who was delighted to find she could hold her daughter after all. The strange woman then turned to the new and relieved mother.
"I am Athena. This is Aphrodite, and that is her majesty, Hera, Queen of the gods."
Respectfully, but slightly bewildered, Hippolita lowered her head.
"In my day," Hera grumbled, "a woman new to BOW to a goddess."
"Oh, leave her alone," Aphrodite retorted while beaming at the infant, "She's got her hands a bit full."
Hera simply scowled at the other goddess.
"Be that as it may," Athena stated, "We are here neither to comfort her, nor to teach her the proper etiquette when addressing a goddess. We are here to give her warning and instruction."
Hippolita looked concerned.
"First," Aphrodite started, "Though she is born among you, and is the only physical thing on this earth, not of Olympus who can touch you, she is not completely one of you. She has a body. And if ever she leaves this island, once away from you, she can die. But I do not leave just warning, but also a gift." With that, Aphrodite waved her hand over the child. "I give her strength and grace to match any man. And a beauty to conquer their hearts and make her every desire their own if she so chooses."
With that, Aphrodite stepped back and allowed Hera to step forward.
"As I'm sure you noticed earlier, I did refer to you as 'your majesty'. I did not make this out of mockery or jest, for it is a title the queen of gods does not bestow lightly. As the first of these women, and the bravest, it falls to you to be their queen, and thus to her to be their princess. But I come not just to deliver a message of duty, but a power of my office blessed upon her." And with that, Hera merely waved her hand, causing the child to suddenly come out of its mothers fiery hands. The infant slowly floated over to Hera. "Just as I command all things in Olympus with my very thought, so too shall you command all things in the physical world. If you can touch it then you need not for it to obey you."
With that, Hera gently rested the child in Hippolita's arms and stepped back as Athena came forward.
"Just as they, I too give you warning before a gift. They have spoken of her mortality and royalty. I tell you how they relate. Some day, as Aphrodite suggested, your child shall one day desire to leave here. Though you will want to keep her, you must not, for that could be as detrimental as leaving yourselves, the consequences of which my half brother already explained to you. Just as this island is an afterlife to all of you, she could never truly live if she stays here forever. Additionally, as your princess, it will be her duty to be your ambassador to the outside world. And now my gift." As Aphrodite reached to touch the child, a massive blue flame burst forward from her fingers, enveloping the infant. Hippolita screeched slightly as even her own hands singed slightly, holding her daughter as she seemed to burn. When the flames subsided, leaving the young princess with an eerie but comforting glow, Athena spoke again. "I give her the gift of the flame of wisdom. In addition to making her wise, she too shall be able to burn wisdom into the souls of others, setting aflame lies, injustices, and inequities."
As she stepped back, the three women started to depart until Hera paused and turned back to her. "We never thought to ask…. Her name?"
Hippolita thought for a moment.
"Well then," Hera looked at the child, "We shall be watching you, Diana, princess of the Phoenix women of the Grey."