-The Last Daughter-
By Jess Single
What is it like to live with the hand of destiny against your back. To feel the fingertips of fate constantly pulling in you into directions you never dreamed were possible.
It is wonderful and terrible at the same time.
It is said upon my birth all my sisters and aunts wept to behold the last daughter of the Amazons. The goddesses themselves appeared on our tiny little corner of paradise to bestow their gifts. Demeter, Aphrodite, Pallas Athena, Artemis, and Hermes whispered their words of wisdom into my little ear. Kissing my lips they imparted their breath into me and I felt the love between child and parent, but more, I sucked in the immortal souls of those ageless creatures into myself and was increased beyond the comprehension of mortal man, beyond the agelessness of my sisters for the briefest of moments I was the stars themselves, looking down up the world, shining with joy.
I was born a princess of the Amazon sisterhood, last daughter of Amazon queen Hippolyta from the line of Athena herself!
My name is Dianna and I am cursed.
That is the curious thing about blessings and curses; they are the opposite sides of the same coin, flipped by the hand of destiny, the cruel mistress of fate. Knowing that your birth heralded the end of your world is a tough thing to live with. Are we all just pieces to be moved by the whims of the Gods? Do any of us have any real choice in the matter that we live in our lives?
When I was still young, only in my mid-three hundreds, a man came to my island. Oh, he was a man of wax my mother said. All my sisters were eager to make his acquaintance, even though it would be a fruitless union, they all missed the brief blood boiling touch of mortal man.
He was a warrior for a new age of man, an age of machine. Oh, the trials of foolish mortals, you think you know pain and suffering. You think the misery you inflict on your fellow creatures is new to the eyes of the Gods.
It is not.
The wailing of all children, starving, unloved, forgotten, discarded are all, unfortunately, as old as the stars. The only thing that is new this time is that man has finally found a way to harness the destructive strength of the Gods. They have created a weapon, as destructive as the wrath of Zeus himself, in his foulest temper that angry, vengeful God rained destruction the likes of which destroyed humanity so far back into the caves that language was lost for generations. But without the healing power of a God to restore life where it was once lost. For grass did grow green again, the water became drinkable, eventually. But not with this weapon, not this time. Now these mortals in their quest for dominance over other men have harnessed the power of the atom. And no war will ever be complete until they eventually destroy themselves.
The day the man came, as I touched his hand the Gods opened a moment in time and I saw the future as it would come to be if I did not leave to give his people my aid. I could not breathe from the pain I saw. The ravaged land cried out through blood soaked grass, the mountains could not reach through the dark clouds of the nuclear winter from the destruction. The darkness consumed humanity and they lost more than language this time, they lost their souls and no passage of time would ever restore that. I fainted into his arms and awoke in my mother's house.
I never faint.
Mother held me as she did when I was young and wept in her arms. It was my choice after all, to leave my happy home. My island paradise in the sun and all my beautiful sisters and aunts. They brought fourth the physical gifts from the Goddesses and their own handcrafted jewels, clothing, weapons and other bits of themselves for me to take on my journey into destiny's hand.
"Mother," I asked, my voice shaking with emotion, "will I ever see you again, will I be allowed to come home?"
She held my face in her hands as she did when I was small. "I do not know my daughter. But as long as you walk the world of mortals, I will bide myself here to wait for you, until the Gods call us all home, together."
At her words, several of my sisters and aunts stepped forward and declared that they too would wait with mother, wait for me, until the Gods called us all to cross together. I wept at their words and found new strength and comfort then. I knew I would never be the last Amazon; though far I may be from those who I loved best, I would never know the darkness of the lonely soul, never walk the world alone.
The man and I traveled to the world of mortals and learned many things about the bitter nature of duty. Though I aligned myself with this brash American and his Allied forces, I could not deny the beauty of the military precision of the Axis. That war waged across the entire planet in a way that no other war previously had. Once it was though the pounding of the cannon was the supreme sound of destruction, but that is a mere sneeze compared to the weapons these cleaver little humans devised.
Oh the cunning of destruction and death that they brought to each other, it was exquisite in all its torment. The breath taking horribleness of scorched earth and bodies devastated to shreds so fine even the Gods were turning their faces away in pain. Souls were ripped from flesh so quickly that many of them did not even realize what had happened until the battlefield dissolved into the peaceful green banks along the river Styx.
When the mortals had their fill of the destruction, the imparted a lasting foot print upon their home by stomping with the mighty foot of Zeus, yes, they dropped the atom bomb, so cleverly created by the best minds of men. In a blink of an eye, death swept over the land consuming mortal, animal, vegetable, and mineral life.
I almost went home that day. The pain of it consumed me and I cried out for mercy to ever God. But mercy was not granted; only my own tears to sooth my wounded heart. I guess that was the mercy for me, the exhausted sated feeling after a good long hard soul-cleansing cry.
That and the memory of the darkness that would have come if I had not chosen this path into the mortal world. That instead of just two pinpricks against the land, there would have been fire and darkness for all of them. Bitter is the knowledge that some must still be sacrificed to save many.
So this war that set the whole world into upheaval slowly wound down to the regular every day battles that soon became the usual day-to-day business. I grew weary of fighting, the blood lust of mortals is never truly sated, and they quested again in their different ways to feed.
I found if I turned my skills to the smaller more domestic issues I felt more useful than trying to keep the entire plant from spinning off into the void. I often wondered how this burden came to be mine, what wrong I did in a former life that I must now atone for it. To be so alone and yet not alone.
I dreamed of others like me, special, touched by the Gods, sent to aid the mortals. Slowly they came swept to me on their own winds of destiny. Unaware as I was that they were indeed chosen for this task. Made special, different, walking along side the mortals but not in step with them, people out of the normal river of life, the flow of mortal time.
Except one man.
He raised himself up to be like us, but he was not the same. His own personal ambition to put right in his own way what he found wrong. Mister, "The ends justify the means," Bruce, "my-parents-were-killed-and-I-hate-everyone-now," The Batman, regardless of the consequences of those actions, Wayne.
I think I hate him.
Such ego, even mothers stories of her dealings with Poseidon were nothing to the foul temperament of this mere mortal. I tried to ignore him as best I could. I knew if I avoided him long enough that he would age and turn to dust before I had even turned around twice.
On evening I was home alone with my cat and I heard a noise, no one had ever before dared entered my sanctuary with out my permission. I crouched low, prepared for a battle when I saw him sitting there, cross-legged on my floor, his head in his hands, crying. Like a heart broken child crying, there in my house. I went to him, found myself putting my arms around him and comforting him. Neither of use spoke a word, my kisses stopped his tears and soon I found myself consumed with the blood boiling passion that I had only ever before heard told of from my sisters and Aunts. The lust that blots out all reason, all logic, and the only way to end it was to see it through to its conclusion.
I was a woman lost to him.
Imagine, me, lost to the most obstinate, headstrong, disobedient mortal that ever walked this planet.
But it was glorious.
He came to me every night, the longest cycle of one moon through the night sky that I had ever before felt and just as suddenly as it had begun, it was over. The night of the new moon and he visited me no more. I was too proud to admit that I missed him, that I needed him, that my bones cried out at night, and that only his touch could comfort me. I hid my pain and my tears, it was part of my destiny to love a stupid mortal, and I knew that. I was here to help man, not love him.
But as another moon past and another I found my melancholy shifting from weepy sheppard girl to befuddled woman. Was it possible that the Gods were wrong, that I was truly not to be the last of the Amazon women? My heart leapt with joy at the possibly that I was not the harbinger of death to my people but instead the instrument of change.
I was pregnant.
I returned home to my beautiful island paradise and surrounded by my mother, sisters and aunts I comfortably enjoyed the new life growing inside of me. It was an experience that changed how I viewed the world and mortals, now as mother to one of them; I felt I was able to love them all better now.
The time finally came for my child to be born and I already had her name decided. It took me a full week to recover from the shock that my beautiful daughter was instead a perfectly formed male child. A son. But not just any son.
My son, how strange those words sounded to my ears and yet how oddly joyful. Harbinger of death and change, indeed. The hand of fate was pressed firmly against my back as plotted the path of our lives.
All my family praised him and gave their blessings to this new life. I was allowed to stay a year and one day with my child in the bosom of our family to recover from the strain of his birth and once again find my feet to stand under the weight of destiny.
My mother held her last grandchild close and whispered a secret into his little ear. I did not need to hear what she said; I could feel it in the flesh that joined us all. She was telling him that she would never forget him and that when the time was right he too would remember us all and find is way back to paradise to say goodbye to us and find his own path among the mortal world. My heart almost broke as I felt the weight of destiny shift from my shoulders to his.
I was instructed to take him back to the world of mortals, to be raised by kind people. I was allowed to visit, to be known as his aunt. To help him as best I could. He was raised as a second son in his adopted family. He and his brother knew they were not blood kin but they all knew the love between family was never just about the line of our mothers. It was my joy and my sadness to watch him grow from afar. To love him so and not be able to always be there was a heaviness that I was not always certain I could bear, but I did.
I did it for him.
Then the day came when the winds of fate once again blew our lives back together. I had not seen my son's sire in almost two decades, though he was not much altered, until that moment when they met. I was not there in the audience the night his adopted parents and elder brother were killed, for I am certain that had I been, I would have stopped it and that was not what destiny had in mind for either of them.
I arrived late to the funeral, grief stricken at the loss of people I loved as my own flesh. I found myself stopped in time, watching them speak together; unaware of how much they were alike. Was I the only one who noticed this, the near duality of father and son? Perhaps the rest of world was told to not notice or perhaps the great differences in their ages and temperament made them appear unalike. But one very wise older man did notice.
He caught my eye at the graveside, looking from me to them. His eyebrows raised in the question. I caught my breath and nodded my answer to him. He smiled and winked at me, that wily old butler, Alfred, he knew. Of course he had known where Bruce was, who he visited, where he went. The man was blessed with skills he did not even know he had. Then he winked at me and I knew my secret was safe for a bit longer.
They caught me unaware, walking up on the interchange between me and the old man. I threw my arms around my son and saw the shock in Bruce's' face. "You know each other?" he asked me. Confused my son looked at me and to his father and asked the same question. I smiled and explained to Bruce that I was Richard's Aunt, "a friend of the family." I then turned to Richard and said that, "Mr. Wayne and I have in the past been business associates." Both accepted this half-truth and the wind of fate slowed into a gentle breeze.
The two men left together to form a bond of friendship so deep they themselves were unable to admit it was the love of father and son. The unfulfilled need for both of them, called together and they knew not why.
Our paths crossed on occasion and Richard was not entirely surprised to find that his Auntie Dee was in fact Dianna Price, the one the mortals called 'Wonder Woman'. As the years wound on I found age catching up with my Dark Knight. It was one particularly cold winters evening that I found myself at his bedside, wondering where my young lover was inside the shell of that fragile old man.
They were together, father and son. The old man imparting his final wisdom, his last words of love to the boy that was his, "If I had ever had a son, I would have wanted him to be just like you." I put my hand upon theirs with my golden lasso entwining all our wrists, our lives, our last moment of truth before one of us left the mortal world.
The Gods smiled and granted me their mercy and we were allowed the precious gift of time and shared memory. I spoke my truth, that I was born a princess of the Amazon sisterhood, last daughter of Amazon queen Hippolyta from the line of Athena herself!
I looked to my child and said, "and you, are the first born son, the new line of the gods."