Disclaimer : Superman and Wonder Woman belong to DC comics.
Thanks to my beta Imfanci.
What if Diana did not grow up to be Princess of Themyscira? How would this affect her destiny as Wonder Woman and those men and women that she calls friend and ally, especially the Man of Steel? Is fate and destiny ordained or charted?
"Princess Diana! Princess Donna!"
The sound of a female voice could be heard echoing in the verdant glade that housed the ruins of an old temple of Apollo. The temple was a wilderness of flowering vines and weeds, shrubs and small trees. Broken pillars were lying on cracked marble slabs or resting partially upon what were once walls that hosted a domed roof.
"Your Highnesses, where are you?"
The voice belonged to a tall woman dressed in a short Grecian style tunic with a cuirass, warrior skirt and high laced sandals. She carried a short sword at her side and a round shield on her back.
She sounded a little exasperated. "Princess!"
Another voice emerged from the trees and spoke. It belonged to a similarly dressed woman with smooth dark skin and she sounded a bit amused, "What, Euboea, no sign of them?"
"No. I'm calling and they are not answering. Diana ran away from her training and when we checked for Donna, she was not at the stables either."
Phillipus, General of the Themysciran army looked at her Amazon sister, Euboea, Captain of the Guard, and remarked, "Well, Diana must have gotten a little fed up of all that repetition. Weapons' training is not necessarily that interesting to a child. She is only ten years old, and Donna is six. There are times they might just want to play. We, who are thousands of years old, must remember that."
"Oh, I know that. It's just I don't like it when they wander off into the forested areas. It can be dangerous. They got into trouble with the harpies who strayed from their aerie last month. It was fortunate both are blessed by the gods with great strength and flight, else they might have ended up dead."
Phillipus sighed. "Yes, I know. Queen Hippolyta was horrified when they came home in tattered clothes with claw marks on their pretty faces." She scanned the ruins. "They like to come here and play. I wager I can find them."
The General walked towards the ruins and studied the surroundings. Sure enough she could see parts where the grass was flattened by small feet and evidence of flowers being picked from the vines judging by their missing heads. She smiled and headed into the heart of the ruins. She entered the temple. It was a mass of dappled sunlight and shadow, and she could hear whispers coming from under the once ornate altar. Phillipus carefully picked her way through the overgrowth and went to lean over it. There was a crack and she could peer down to see the two missing girls.
They seemed to be making a chain from the flower heads.
Donna was saying, "I cannot hear them anymore, Diana."
"They must have gone. Here, give me another flower."
"You make the prettiest garlands. You think they will be very vexed with us for running away?"
"We did not run away, Donna. Euboea left me to go talk to Phillipus and said I was to complete my exercises, which I did."
"But you left without telling her…"
"We told the stable attendant, did we not? Besides, we are entitled to leave when we want to. Look, all finished…" She put it around her sister's neck.
Donna exclaimed, "Oh, that is lovely! Can you make one for my wrists, too?"
"I do not know, Donna, I have to go and look for more black eyed blooms. I think we picked them all here. There is some down in the next vale ….but that means going beyond the markers and …"
A voice from above interrupted. " And it is getting late and you two should know better than to wander off into the forest alone."
The girls looked up and flushed.
The General said sternly, "Come on out, both of you."
The two Princesses crawled out from their hiding place. They stood up and faced Phillipus. Both had raven hair tied up in a top knot and wore white tunics and sandals. And like all Amazons wore metal bracelets on their wrists. They wore garlands and had flowers stuck in their hair and the corded belt at their waist, a good indication that they had indeed been frolicking and playing in the ruins for some time.
Their resemblance was startling but the one called Diana had something radiant about her. Her eyes were a more vibrant blue and her hair seemed to have soft waves and short curls that kissed her brow and cheeks. Her features were classic whereas Donna's were more piquant. Both promised to grow up into beautiful specimens of womanhood. But then not everyone had been blessed by Aphrodite herself.
Phillipus raised a brow at them as if waiting an explanation.
Diana said lamely, "We were looking for black eyed blooms and they only grow here."
Donna twirled enthusiastically. "Look, Phillipus, look at me! Do I not look like a woodland nymph?"
"That is very pretty, Your Highness. Go outside and show Euboea. She's waiting for you."
Donna smiled and danced off.
Phillipus looked at Diana once more. " Princess, do you really think it wise to bring your little sister all the way out here? Considering what happened last month?"
Diana looked a little guilty. "We made sure not to go beyond the markers. The harpies would never come here. Apollo oversees us."
Phillipus sighed. "Your Highness, danger does not discriminate. Have we not taught you that? Those that seem friend can be foe and what can seem tranquil can be simmering with danger."
Diana said, "Well, if danger did come, I can fight them like I did the harpies. I did defeat them, you know, Phillipus. And Mother did say one cannot be tested properly unless one faces real danger."
Phillipus snorted inwardly. After Hippolyta had banned Diana and Donna from a week of riding, she then had praised them for their bravery and resourcefulness. Truth to be told they were all proud of the two children for getting out of danger themselves. It boded well for the warriors that they were to become but it had made them, especially Diana, a little over confident. Since she essentially lived in a paradise, Diana could not know how dark the outside world could be. They were innocent of all the hate, greed, and pain that had been the world the Amazons had been born into. They had been spared the rape and humiliation and near murder of the tribe. It was something neither was aware of, being too young to understand. All they knew was that the Gods had blessed the Amazons and given them Themyscira and immortality for their good deeds. The children had never questioned that there were no human men on the island. There were males in the form of minotaurs, centaurs, fauns, the Gods, and this was as natural to them as the dryads, sirens, mermaids and every other enchanted creature that lived on the island. Human men were the heroes in myths. To be read in books and marveled at. They had not been essential to their young lives.
"Princess, you are ten years old. You have much to learn. You must never underestimate an enemy and always maintain vigilance."
"But I do. I heard you and Euboea long before you came into the glade."
"And why did you not answer us? Is it your desire to make us worry?"
"No, but I knew you would make us go home and I just…It is just so beautiful out here and so peaceful. And sometimes we get to see our nymph friends or talk to Chiron."
Phillipus was aware that the children had encounters with some of the more benign creatures on Themyscira. In fact, it was only with the children some creatures would interact. Even Chiron, the solitary centaur, appeared to like Diana and Donna.
Diana sighed. "I am sorry, Phillipus. I apologize. Will you tell mother?"
"No, of course not. This is between us." She rested her hands on Diana's shoulders. "I know it is hard at times having to train and study while you just want to enjoy yourself. And yes, it is very beautiful out here, but Princess, you are first in line to the throne. You and Donna are Themyscira's heirs. It is our duty to keep you safe until such time you can do so yourselves. Please, if you want to come wandering, take an escort; that is all I ask."
Diana rolled her eyes. She hated escorts. But she could see Phillipus' point. She heaved a weary sigh. "Very well."
Phillipus frowned but said nothing. Diana was nothing if a willing pupil but she definitely needed a little lesson in learning not to be complacent. She made a mental note in her head to try to put her point across in a future lesson.
They both went out to see Donna perched on Euboea's shoulder and the garland around the Captain's head. Phillipus shook her head in amusement.
"Very interesting head dress, Captain."
Euboea said wryly, "Well, I am a woodland nymph apparently."
Donna beamed. "Diana can make you one too, Phillipus. Then we will all match."
The General put her hand up politely. "Er, no, thank you. The sun will set in an hour. Let us go home."
Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, headed down the long marbled corridor towards her daughters' bedchambers. It was her custom to check on them and bid them goodnight. She had been delayed a bit having had a late session of the Senate. They might be asleep but she needed to see them, even if it was to kiss their brows and thank the Gods for them.
Hippolyta was not a mother in the normal sense of the word. The children had not been born from her body. As a three thousand year old immortal Amazon, she did not think she could have children, even if she had tried with a man. Her body, along with the bodies of other ageless Amazons, must have forgotten how to bear a child as there was no longer that need to procreate. But it had not stopped her from grieving for a child. The child she had lost when she had been a mortal woman eons ago. She had prayed and the Gods had answered her. Diana had been birthed from the clay of the earth. Life had been breathed into her. She had been the very child Hippolyta had lost, harvested from the well of souls and had once again been given life.
This time she had been blessed by the Gods and Goddesses. Beauty, wisdom, strength, flight, speed, empathy with animals and rapid regeneration. Donna had come along when Diana was four. Diana had often wondered why she was the only child on an island of adult women. She had longed for a playmate. The innocent, pure, and unselfish yearning that only a child could express. The magic of the sorceress, Magala, had used a powerful magical mirror to create a template for a sister to Diana. A sister who had Diana's powers, but with her own personality and slight variation in appearance.
Both children were the two gems in Themyscira's crown and Hippolyta knew she was blessed. She could not imagine life without either of them. They were her life.
She came to their door. It was being guarded by two Amazons, who saluted at the sight of their Queen. Hippolyta entered the room quietly and walked past the slumbering attendant on the truckle bed in the antechamber. She went into the bedroom where the girls slept. Both had their own beds. The ornate headboards were engraved with their names and gauzy canopy hung down over silken sheets.
But both the beds were empty. Hippolyta was about to raise her voice to call the attendant when she heard voices. She followed it and sure enough, found her two daughters out in the terrace lying on the top of the balustrade, head to head, looking at the night sky.
Diana was giving Donna a lesson in astronomy. "See that? That is Perseus and Pegasus. And look next to them. That is Andromeda. Athena put her there after she died."
"Who is she again?"
"The Princess Perseus rescued from the monster Cetus. He used Medusa's head to defeat the monster. Medusa is one of the Gorgons. One look from her can turn anyone into stone."
"Oh. I remember now. He cut her head off and Pegasus was born from her blood."
"And he and Andromeda got married and had many sons and a daughter."
Donna frowned. "What is married?"
Diana regarded the stars and said as one who had no clue as to what she was talking about, "I think it is when Eros shoots you with an arrow and you go and build a palace and live forever with someone."
"Oh and did they pray to the Gods to get their children or have a magic mirror?"
"No. The woman carries the baby in her stomach. Like how the animals make their babies here. I think the Gods must put the baby in her and then she passes it out of her body…just like how Zephyr gave birth to her foal last week."
Donna looked disgusted. "How is it no one here makes babies?"
"These are myths. Amazons do not need to make babies. We are immortal and will live forever," replied Diana with a shrug.
Donna suddenly sat upright. "How come we do not have anyone like Perseus here?"
Before Diana could answer, Hippolyta came forward. "Because we do not need Perseus here. We do not need anyone to rescue us and save us from monsters. We Amazons are warriors born and can defend ourselves."
Both girls floated off the balustrade and went to embrace their mother.
She took Donna up in one arm and pulled Diana into her side. "Why are you not in bed? It is late and you have to wake early to join Penelope in the temple tomorrow."
Donna laid her head on her shoulder. "We were not sleepy. Diana was just showing me the stars. Mother, have we never had any men here?
Hippolyta cleared her throat. "No. Never. And it is our tradition. We Amazons have the blessings of the Gods and Goddess. We have lived in peace for eons. Men can bring…trouble."
Donna frowned. "What kind of trouble?"
Diana said, "I think they fight and kill each other just as they do in the stories. Don't they, Mother?"
Hippolyta said briskly, "Yes. We do not need that. Your sisters have vowed to do what we need to keep Themyscira safe. Too often outsiders want to come and conquer and take what is not theirs. These bracelets that we all wear are a symbol of who we are. A free people.
Diana and Donna got into their beds. Diana was looking thoughtful. "Mother, do you hate men?"
Hippolyta sighed. "No, my child. I do not hate them. There are good men."
"Like Perseus," chimed in Donna.
"Like Perseus," she agreed. "But there are bad ones too and so far our lives have been better without them. One evil person can create chaos in a world full of good ones and this is not something I want to risk. Sometimes people say and do things to make you believe what they say is true…when all along they never meant it at all. It is why we Amazons pride ourselves on always being truthful with each other."
Diana saw sadness in her mother's eyes and something clicked in her mind. She asked tensely, "Did a man hurt you, Mother?"
Hippolyta reached to touch Diana's clenched fist as if to soothe her. "Yes. But it is not like when Phillipus knocks one down in sparring. When you are older, I will tell you about it. But for now you need to know that I love you both. Whatever I do and say is to make sure you are safe and you grow up to be a pride to your tribe and sisters. You are both my heirs and one day may sit where I sit."
Donna protested. "But you will live forever, Mother…."
Hippolyta smiled. "I hope so, my love." She bent and kissed Donna nosily on her nose and cheeks to her delight. Then she kissed Diana's brow. Her fingers lingered on Diana's hair. "May Morpheus bless you with sweet dreams, my little Princesses. Good night."
She turned down the lamp on the bedside table and left the two girls who were finally ready to sleep.
Diana and Donna spent the next morning with the priestess, Penelope. Just as their physical training was important, so was their spiritual one. Penelope had the princesses do their ritual offering and then continue their lessons in meditation. This was a little more challenging for the likes of Donna being younger than Diana but nevertheless being taught to concentrate and clear ones mind was a vital starting point for any would be warrior.
It was mid morning when Penelope allowed them to leave. They had a history lesson with Mnemysone in two hour's time and took the opportunity to relax by going for a swim. Keeping her word to Phillipus, Diana requested a guard escort to accompany her and Donna to one of the myriad of coves around Themyscira.
Two guards followed them down and sat on the sands whilst Diana and Donna frolicked on the shore, wading into the surf, and exploring the rocks and pools. Diana was collecting shells and Donna was building a palace with the wet sand.
The guardswomen smiled indulgently as they watched the children. One of them looked up at the blue skies above Themyscira as a large shadow passed over. She smiled. It was one of the Sentinels. They were the giant eagles that acted as guardians of the air above Themyscira. No intruder could come in unless they wanted them to and if anyone did breach the space, they attacked or raised the alarm. The bird continued its path, which was a direct circuit of the whole island. It or another one of its mates would pass over again at regular intervals.
The other woman suddenly frowned. "Can you hear that, Liandra?"
"I do, Ione. It sounds like thunder in the distance." She scanned the blue skies. "But the sky is clear. There is no sign of a pending storm."
Liandra stood up and tightened her hand on her spear. She scanned the whole cove. It was an open space but they were out of sight from the Palace and the other buildings. To get to the cove one had to walk a distance and then descend stone steps carved into the gently sloping cliff. The vegetation beyond the sandy beach was lush and the women knew there were creatures that lived within. But no creature that ever attacked anyone.
Ione stood up too. "What is it? You see something in there?"
"No. But listen. No sound of birds or anything. Watch the Princesses. I will see what it is."
Liandra headed towards the trees. Ione looked back at the girls. Diana was among the rocks, investigating a rock pool; Donna was now digging a deep hole. Both looked absorbed in what they were doing. Liandra slowly went into trees as Ione waited.
Minutes passed. Ione frowned. She glanced at the children again. They were fine and totally oblivious to anything being amiss. She headed towards the trees, and looked up the slope. Everything was dappled in sunlight and looked as calm and tranquil as ever.
"Liandra?" She could not see any sign of her. "Hera, this is not a jest. Where are you?"
Suddenly Ione felt something drop overhead onto her face. She looked up and her eyes widened. Hanging from the branch of a tree with a slash across her neck was Liandra. Ione gasped and her hand moved to the horn at her side. Before she could blow it, the tip of a curved sword suddenly erupted from her stomach. She gasped in astonishment and stared as blood bubbled up her throat and splattered from the wound as the tip withdrew as fast as it came.
Ione staggered and turned to see a man standing looking at her as he watched her fall to her knees. He was tall and lean. He was dressed in a strange garb whose colours and fabric were vibrant and rich. It was like a large sleeved tunic nipped in at the waist and fell to his knees. The sleeves were slashed, revealing a white shirt beneath and he wore a sleeveless long robe, fitted leggings and boots. He was wiping the blade of his sword with a silken cloth with calm demeanor. Taking her last look and breath, she fell sideways but not before she saw two winged looking demons alight behind him.
The man looked at the two creatures that were dressed in armor and carried energy weapons. They walked out into the open and saw the two girls.
The man held his sword still. But he put the tip down to the sand and looked at the two creatures next to him. "There they are. Get them. Remember they are not to be hurt. Use your nets."
The creatures took to the air.
Diana had just picked up a pretty turban shaped shell when out of the periphery of her vision, she saw the two winged creatures rise up and fly towards Donna. Diana could not see Ione or Liandra. Her heart began to beat rapidly. Donna's back was to the creatures.
Diana screamed. "Donna! Move!"
Donna looked up to see the things coming towards her. She gasped. Diana dropped her bounty of shells and she dove towards her little sister, grabbing her up before the weapon sprouted a strange electrical looking snare that fizzled when it failed to hit its target. They flew backwards and Diana pushed Donna. "Go! Fly home!"
"W-what is that? " Donna gasped.
"Now!" shouted Diana. She pushed her hard and turned to face the oncoming creatures.
She dropped to the rocks and lifted one of the boulders and threw it at them. It hit one and sent him flying backwards. He fell hard upon the sand, his weapon falling to the ground. Diana saw his wings were broken, making her realize that it was not real but some part of it armor. The other growled and fired at her. Diana weaved to avoid the electrical discharges. Diana turned to see to where Donna was. She was still cresting the cliff and the creature was aiming its weapon at her.
"No!" Diana charged it. Her only thought was to stop it from snaring her sister, regardless of the consequence to herself. The creature saw her and aimed at her once more. Diana was entangled in the net and she plummeted like a stone to the ground.
She writhed and tried to get up. She saw the creature land before her and then the man with the sword approach.
The man looked at the creature scathingly. "You let the other one get away. Did you not see that is what this one was doing?"
"We can get her, too. She cannot have gone far. She is only a cub."
The man heard the sound of horns from the distance. "Fool. Now they know we are here. We had only a small window to come here and get what we wanted. These lands are protected by Gods and magic. It will not be so easy to return for the other one after this. This one will have to do. Stun her."
The creature obeyed. It was the last thing Diana saw before she lost consciousness.
Diana woke and found herself lying in a cage. She gasped and put her hand to her neck to realize she was wearing a metal collar. She tried to pull it off but each time she pulled, she felt a jolt of pain that went straight to her nerve endings. She looked wildly around her and saw she was in some large chamber with dozens of cages. Inside them were beings. Diana was not sure what she was seeing. Some were humanoid. Others were like nothing she ever saw. Alien. And then there were adults of all different species. Diana gaped at them. Some looked broken, beaten; some were crying while others were defiant and yelling. And to her astonishment, she realized she could understand them all. She touched the collar in wonder.
"Let us out!"
"I want to go home!"
"You cannot hold us, you animals!"
"Abduction is illegal in this sector of the galaxy!"
The noise made her head ache.
Standing guard were several of the winged creatures and the whole floor seemed to hum and vibrate, making Diana wonder if they were moving. One caged creature tried to break its bonds and Diana watched one of the guards prod it with a long staff that seemed to make it scream with agony.
"Any of you who try to break free or escape will get more than a shock!"
She swallowed. Where was she? And where were her mother and sister? Where was Themyscira? Diana did not understand why that man and creatures would come to try to take her and Donna.
She looked at the cage next to hers. She tried to speak to the person. One of the guards hit her cage with its staff and snapped words at her. "What did I say, human? Be quiet!"
Diana huddled in a corner of the cramped cage and put her head down upon her knees. She was trying not to cry. Amazons did not cry. Her mother's words came echoing back to her.
"…often outsiders want to come and conquer and take what is not theirs…"
She must have fallen asleep. She was awoken by something hitting the bars of her cage. It was one of the demon creatures. She saw it open the door and wave for her to step out.
"Come on, human. Out! We have arrived!"
Diana was shoved into a line made up of dozens of prisoners. They were all filing out of the large chamber and though a doorway. Diana's eyes widened and jaw dropped as she realized she was stepping down a ramp and unto a large concourse. She turned and stared at the large metal machine that they had been imprisoned in. It was like nothing she had ever seen. Her face contorted from the smell of ash and brimstone. She could smell burning and could see flames lighting the horizon in the distance. Her eyes turned to stare at a barren cliff face that loomed overhead. She could see the silhouette of what appeared to be a large edifice sitting atop the land mass. The land surrounding them was all brown and devoid of any greenery. There was no sign of blue skies or that smell that she was accustomed to from her bedroom …of the sea, cypress and olive trees, roses and thyme.
She saw dozens of the winged guards above them, flying in pods or hovering, looking down upon them. Diana heard a low growl and saw large hulking monsters on four legs being ridden by the demons. The prisoners all huddled closer as if to keep their distance between them and these fierce looking beasts.
The man who Diana had seen on the beach was disembarking the machine from a front ramp as he was met by a short, fat woman with a mass of gray hair and a sneering expression. The callousness in her eyes spoke volumes. At her side was a young woman carrying a strange looking rod. She was dark haired and reminded Diana of an Amazon. But a very tall one. Diana had never seen a sister that tall. She was looking at the prisoners with some skepticism as well. She could not hear what words they exchanged but they walked on ahead and entered a large opening into the very cliff face.
The prisoners were marched in. It was a large metal chamber with armed guards and the prisoners were being yanked into separate lines. The adults were then dragged off towards a tunnel that seemed to lead deep into the ground.
Diana could hear shouts of dismay and protest as they went.
"You cannot do this!"
"We are not anyone's slaves!"
"Apokolips will pay for this!"
The guards struck and stunned those who tried to resist.
Diana was shoved into a group with children of different species but mainly all humanoid looking with slight variations in skin color and features. They looked confused and terrified. The man and his two companions came down to examine the prisoners. The fat woman said, "Well, Kanto, what did you get for us this time?"
They started with a young female that had blue skin and a ridged forehead. "An Aloi. She is said to have been born with telekinetic and telepathic powers."
The fat woman waved contemptuously, "Bah. Her wrists and ankles look weak. Any one of my trained girls can take on a telekinetic. And telepaths are too much trouble. She'd be better off as a Lowly."
The female was yanked out of the line. She screamed, "No! Please do not take me down there! I cannot live in darkness!"
No one paid attention to her.
Kanto gestured to a strong looking humanoid. "Khund. They have very dense bone and body tissue and are a highly advanced warrior race."
"Hmm, yes, we'll give her a chance."
Kanto pointed to a vampire-like one with red hair. "A rare one. She can absorb life from her victims through vampirism. She can suppress her victims' will and telepathically manipulate them. She can also sense presence of other beings in her immediate surroundings, and project telekinetic beams from her eyes."
"Oh, yes, we like her. What say you, Barda?" asked the woman.
The tall young woman nodded. "Yes, Granny. I think we have a lot of potential here."
Kanto pulled another. "Vuldarian. She can shape shift and convert her body into energy weapons."
"Oh, yes! We like that!" The woman called Granny pinched the female's cheek.
They stopped before Diana. Kanto said, "Amazon. Speed, strength, flight and regenerative healing factor."
Granny narrowed her eyes. She stared at Diana who was looking at her now with her beautiful blue eyes. She did not like this one's looks. Too…arresting even at this tender age and more than likely could cause trouble among the males. But the list of powers were impressive. "Human?" Granny sounded contemptuous.
"Human template yes but infused with magic of the Gods of Olympus. Her powers were granted to her by them."
Granny shrieked. "What? You brought a magic based creature and one who has Gods for patrons!"
Kanto said calmly, "She is from a race of immortal warrior women. I see her as having the best potential to become one of the Elite."
"The last thing we want is that…that thing…that corruptor of the laws of physics…magic…on Apokolips! No. I will not have such an anomaly here and rear her in our nest. Take her downstairs! They may find some purpose for her as a Lowly."
Diana felt two hands grab her by the shoulders and she was being dragged away. She felt her whole body grow rigid with fear and anger. She was being taken to the tunnel. To live in darkness as a slave!
She suddenly broke free of the guard and hovered into the air. She pulled its rifle off of it and kicked it hard in the stomach. Several more rushed at her and with trembling hands, she pulled the trigger just as she had seen them do with prisoners. They fell to the floor stunned.
Kanto growled. "Activate her collar!"
Diana felt the pain hit her but she put her hand to her neck and with a sobbing gasp tore it off.
Granny glared at Kanto. "Did she just tear off our collar? How in the name of Apokolips did she tear off our collar? I told you I do not want any creature of magic here!"
Kanto's smooth face looked rigid but his eyes narrowed. Barda was about to activate her mega-rod but he put his hand on her wrist. "No. I do not want her injured." He shouted, "Close all access and egress!"
Diana tried to fly towards it, avoiding the nets and blasts aimed at her. Being small and swift seemed to stand her in good stead as she dived behind metal objects, and rose high above them all to get closer to the roof. Right now she did not care about anything other than the fear coursing through her. Fear of never seeing daylight and those she loved ever again.
She saw the door slammed down like a portcullis. Her exit cut off. Leaving her only two paths. The tunnel and the other, a large well lit arch way that seemed to lead upwards and at that moment those doors were sliding shut. Diana put a burst of speed and she slipped through it, narrowly avoiding being locked in.
She flew up a dimly lit ramp that led into a long series of labyrinthine corridors. She gasped as she rounded a corner to come face to face with one of the giant four legged beasts. It was being ridden by one of the guards, and it had spikes around its neck and on the body armor it wore. Diana pulled up and turned to go down another corridor when another beast appeared. She gulped and watched the animals salivate and bare their lethal teeth. They circled her and moved to block her in whichever direction she sought to go. She raised the rifle to fire at them but only managed to hit the beasts' body armor. Diana saw one lunge at her and she fell backwards with it on top of her. Its heavy paw was pressed upon her chest and she could feel the heat of its acrid breath. Drool fell upon her face. The jaws came close. Diana's hand grasped at its jaw in order to keep it from tearing her limb from limb.
It was then she was assaulted with images of it as a cub. With its mother, being killed as it was hunted and captured by the demon guards. It being herded in a cage with other beasts. Trained and broken by merciless a taskmaster. Learning to hunt and kill.
Diana's hands relaxed and the creature stilled. Its large red eyes held hers. Then suddenly it reared on its legs and threw its rider hard and turned to face off with the next beast. Diana stumbled to her feet and the last thing she saw as she flew onwards was the two beasts fighting.
She flew onwards, her heart racing, not knowing where to go. She needed to find a window. A door. Light. To get out. She could hear the uproar behind her and knew she was now being chased.
She flew past stunned looking humanoids that looked like servants walking on the corridors. She saw a group of guards appear at the end of the long gallery. All were armed. Diana turned and heard the sound of more guards behind her. She saw large metal double doors before her and she launched herself hard at it.
Using all her strength, she actually knocked one door down. She entered a large Hall and flew in. She looked around wildly. There were people but her eyes were drawn to the one window. It was high above what looked like a dais. She went past two young males who gaped at her as she pushed down the guards in the room who came at her.
One of the males was human looking and dressed in rich garb. He was tall and had black shoulder length hair and a bluish tinge to his skin. His companion had a human body, but it was thick and short set and his head was almost beast-like, with a shock of wild black hair and canine teeth.
The young woman called Barda appeared at the broken doorway with some guards and shouted something. The two young males came at Diana. She took the arm of the human one and flipped him over, then whipped her foot around to crack the other in the jaw. She then backed away as she saw Barda and the other guards come at her.
Her back hit something powerful as she tried to mount the steps to the large dais and Diana spun around and looked up in awe. A tall, powerful looking giant, with skin that looked almost like blue granite and red eyes that sparked, looked down at her.