Disclaimer: No copyright infringement is intended in this work. This is a non-profit effort done out of affinity and respect for the comics and their characters.

This story is based upon Pre-Crisis Wonder Woman and Justice League of America. It has multiple chapters which will be posted periodically over the next few months.

Enjoy!

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A dazzling array of multi-colored light emanates from Moulton Park, a peaceful Little League baseball field as recently as ten minutes ago. Sirens blare in all directions as the small town of Marston becomes the epicenter of an unexpected and violent confrontation. Minor Earth tremors extend over a five mile radius. Brave members of the legendary Justice League of America work in unison. The majority devote themselves to safeguarding the public. The remainder concentrate upon the threat itself.

To the small number of onlookers who remain close enough to bear witness, the scene is bizarre and confusing. While peril is undeniably imminent, its source is most unclear. The forms of Green Lantern and Zatanna can be made out amidst the chaos. The Emerald Gladiator hovers high above the glowing phenomenon and erects an enormous green energy dome around it. Zatanna stands just outside Green Lantern's shield. Arms raised above her head, the young magician casts a mystic incantation to fortify her colleague's efforts. Three blurs circle the danger zone at dizzying speed just within the confines of the green dome. Superman, Flash and Red Tornado combine their power to create an immensely strong whirlwind which further contains the massing energy field.

So intense is the brilliance of this energy, it completely obscures the two figures at its very core. Even the vivid golden glow of the magic lasso is lost in the spectacular spectrum of color. Although they are separated by a mere three feet, Wonder Woman can barely make out the form of her arch foe, Circe. The wicked sorceress curses at the Amazon princess as she fights to free herself from the golden coils wrapped snugly about her torso. Of Diana's many adversaries, Circe is the only one immune to the mystical qualities of the Hestia's lasso. Coupled with her vast supernatural prowess, she poses a grave challenge for the Amazon champion and her colleagues.

This fact has not gone unnoticed on Mt. Olympus, home of the legendary gods of Greek myth. As per the decree of Lord Zeus, the Olympians now rarely intervene in the affairs of the mortals on Terra. The arrogance of humanity has led man to turn his back upon them; as such the king of the gods believes man must learn painful lessons of survival without their divine guidance. In this instance, however, Zeus agrees with the appeals of his wife Hera, and goddesses Athena and Aphrodite. The ageless Circe's mastery of the occult continues to escalate. Although she is not yet deemed a danger to Olympus itself, this is an inevitable eventuality if she isn't thwarted.

*****

Hours ago, Princess Diana was summoned into the realm of the gods by Hermes. Throughout Olympus, the daughter of Hippolyta is highly regarded, although in the cases of Ares and Heracles theirs is a grudging admiration. Seeking to quell the burgeoning threat Circe presents, the gods offered Wonder Woman the means to neutralize the sorceress. The mission would be exceedingly perilous, but to the surprise of no one Diana readily accepted. Her lariat is therefore temporarily charged with additional mystical energy. Using her incredible physical strength as a power source, the magic lasso can now serve as a conduit to a parallel universe entirely devoid of magic. Once banished to this dimensional plane, Circe will be rendered powerless and thus live out a normal and harmless lifespan.

Wonder Woman has clashed with Circe several times during her super heroic career. The witch's hatred, jealousy and fear of Diana remains constant. Her powers have grown noticeably over the years, thus influencing the heroine's decision to risk her very life to entrap her nemesis. Circe must be stopped, now.

Armed with a viable weapon to use against the sorceress, Diana called an emergency meeting of the Justice League half an hour ago. The group began contemplating potential strategies to draw Circe out into the open when the enchantress made such discussions moot. Seeking the annihilation and humiliation of Wonder Woman, Circe launched an audacious offensive in rural Marston. With sheer glee, the diabolical witch transformed a dozen men into mindless, lower-animal forms forced to obey her every command.

As Circe expected, her callous spectacle drew the prompt response of the Amazon princess. As per Diana's wishes, her Justice League allies remained out of sight so as to allow the heroine to spring her surprise attack. Wonder Woman easily fended off charges from a pathetic assortment of Minotaurs, and other foul man-beasts. Circe looked on in amusement as her foe shed this onslaught. Always pompous, the witch conducted herself with the carefree swagger of a woman who believed herself unbeatable.

Flinging aside the last of her assailants, Wonder Woman whipped out her magic lasso. Circe sneered and boldly invited the Amazon to use her trademark weapon. Diana's toss was true. As the golden lariat unerringly looped about Circe's upper body, the field erupted in a sea of brilliant, cackling energy unanticipated by both the princess and her quarry. They groaned in shock as the initial jolt staggered each of them. Seeing this unexpected twist, the JLA charged to the scene to provide necessary relief.

*****

Circe feels desperation, for she now recognizes the dire threat Wonder Woman and her golden lasso pose. As such her counterattack is swift and vicious. Her potent retaliatory spell surges through the golden twine until it strikes the Amazon princess with heartless fury. Wonder Woman is nearly knocked off of her feet. Every instinct of self-preservation mandates that the heroine release her grasp upon the magic lasso, but her iron will demands otherwise. By now, the energy discharge is so bright that Diana is completely blinded, but she needn't see to know what's happening. Her limbs ache and stiffen by the second. Her flexibility and strength wane and her mind struggles to focus. "Great Hera!" Diana thinks to herself. "Circe's reverting me back into the clay from which I was spawned! But that's impossible! She's never had that kind of power!"

The next few moments seem like an eternity as Wonder Woman defiantly clutches her golden lasso and fights against the debilitating effects of Circe's sorcery. She doubts her colleagues can even see her horrible ordeal, but it matters not for there is nothing any of them can do to help her. Diana is on her own. Her body trembles as her torso grows ever more rigid. Her torment escalates until she can hold back a scream of agony no more.

Diana's hair-raising cry of pain blends with a simultaneous outburst from her equally overwhelmed opponent. The blinding light cackling about the pair fades, as do their respective screams. Superman, Red Tornado and Flash break off their protective vortex and Green Lantern wills away his ring's energy dome. As the considerable dust from the maelstrom subsides, a singular form begins to take shape. Prone on her hands and knees is the Amazon princess. Circe is nowhere to be seen; Wonder Woman has prevailed.

*****

The Flash is the first to reach the beleaguered Amazon. He gently clutches Wonder Woman's left arm with the intent of assisting the heroine to her feet. Barry Allen is startled and frightened by her appearance. Diana's lovely face is beet red with the odd exception of several pale splotches sporadically spaced on her cheeks and forehead. Her arms, legs and upper body are a hideous shade of gray and her typically ideal skin is dangerously dry and chafed. The speedster's first instinct is that the whirlwind has simply covered her body from head to toe in dust and dirt. Alas this can't be, for her discolored skin contrasts markedly with her red, blue and gold costume which is as distinct as ever.

Barry frantically urges Diana, who is dizzy and barely conscious, to sit still. Suddenly, Wonder Woman lashes out at her fellow Leaguer. With a powerful backhanded thrust, she propels the Flash one hundred yards through the air. Superman flies to Allen's aid while Red Tornado, Green Lantern and Zatanna lead a cautious approach towards the still kneeling figure of Wonder Woman. By now, her complexion has recovered considerably. She is quite pale, but the gray tones are no longer evident. "Careful!" Batman warns. "This appears to be Wonder Woman, but she could be a deception on Circe's part!"

Princess Diana forces herself to stand. She is drained and barely able to remain upright, but she is determined to keep this vulnerability to herself. "No, Bruce!" she insists, "I am Wonder Woman. Circe has been dispatched to the alternate dimension where she can threaten us no more." The group eyes the Amazon princess with some skepticism as they weigh her words. "I truly wish I could have reached her." Diana laments. "She could have done so much good for humanity if only she would have buried her misguided hatreds."

Superman and Flash return to the fold. The speedster is slightly shaken up, but his super speed aura protected him the full brunt of Diana's super powered blow. Barry is both relieved and confused by the heroine's appearance. He is certain that he had seen her gravely ill mere moments ago, yet now her color is steadily returning to normal. Wonder Woman suggests that he was mistaken, but Flash sticks by his original account. "Something isn't right here!" Barry declares. "Diana, you have to be checked out."
Wonder Woman extends her hands out in front of her body and urges her concerned friends to back up and give her a little breathing space. The Amazon princess insists that she is fine other than for momentary disorientation and some slight fatigue. "Diana, you know the drill." Black Canary observes. "If a JLA member's physical or mental well-being is legitimately questioned by another, he or she must consent to a physical examination. Given what you've just been through, I'm inclined to think Barry is right." League members nod their heads in agreement.

The Amazon's heart races wildly as she faces the prospect of returning to the satellite for a checkup. Diana suddenly recognizes that she is deathly afraid; it is this intense fear that is generating the adrenaline which keeps the depleted champion on her feet. Wonder Woman has no tangible understanding as to why, but she somehow knows unequivocally that she must distance herself from all of her Justice League friends. "If I go back to headquarters with them, someone, and perhaps even all of us, will perish!" she privately theorizes.

"It's in your best interests, Di." Superman opines. Diana looks at Kal-El. The man is genuinely concerned about her and with his super senses can no doubt detect her ever increasing respiratory rates. "If I don't get myself out of here in the next half minute, I never will!" she thinks to herself while attempting to portray a calm demeanor.

"Listen everyone, I know about JLA protocol. I helped draft the rules. You're right about the physical, but I am overdue for pressing royal business on Paradise Island. I'll be there for a few days, but I give you my solemn word that Paula will give me a complete work up as soon as possible. The results will be immediately forwarded to you."

"Good enough?" Diana smiles while simultaneously levitating up to her invisible plane which quietly hovers above the group. Her delivery is so smooth. Wonder Woman is a stubbornly proud lady with a heritage that demands unusual responsibilities; therefore most of her comrades accept her proposal without challenge. Batman, Flash and Superman do not. The former two can not follow the princess through the air, but Kal-El can.

Superman floats outside the cockpit of the invisible jet before the anxious Wonder Woman can fly off. Diana is desperate to ditch the Man of Steel, but she dare not provoke an argument or confrontation. She commands her plane to head for Themyscira at half speed. Superman follows alongside the craft and Diana ambles out onto the right wing for a mid-air chat.

"Something on your mind?" Diana asks with a whimsical grin. Superman feels a little silly. "Well Barry thought ..." he begins sheepishly. "Barry thought I was dying, but it was just the final remnants of an illusion which Circe had tried to cast." Diana interrupts. "I assure you I'm fine. Now I'd love to continue this tete-a-tete, but we'll soon be reaching Paradise Island. And you know how mother frowns on male guests!"

Diana returns to the cockpit as Superman flies off. The super heroine mentally instructs her plane to complete its journey home and land on its customary runway. Now safe from the watchful eyes of her good-intentioned friends, Diana passes out from sheer exhaustion.