Two Months Ago
Watchtower Training Room
Clark's hand tightened around the bo staff as he gazed admiringly at Diana as she walked across the floor and turned to face him. Like him she was in workout gear and sneakers. His eyes couldn't stop moving occasionally to her well toned abs, chest and posterior now that they were a steady couple. Before he always would have kept a respectful eye above her chest, now...well, there were perks to being her boyfriend, in that he did not have to feel like he was being disrespectful but simply was adoring her every asset. He noticed she checked him out often too. She was subtle about it, after all she was an Amazon but it gave him a sense of pride to realize she appreciated him in return.
She'd turn the simulation room into the courtyard of a Greek temple overlooking the Mediterranean. It was the closest he'd ever get to understanding how it felt to being trained in the atmosphere she did, given what recently happened to Themyscira. Diana promised if ever her family was restored she'd take him one day and they'd watch the sun rise and set from her favorite cliff top hangout in the sanctuary she had for her rescued animals.
She had been training with him on and off ever since he had been hit with red sunlight by Lobo but now that they were dating, she had taken a special interest in getting him to train with a weapon. At first Clark had been reluctant. He didn't like the idea of using weapons but Diana had convinced him that hand to hand combat sometimes was not always possible or effective. So he agreed and put himself in her hands because when all was said and done, he trusted her. Diana chose a staff weapon first because bladed and blunt ones required more skill and time to master and Clark was a total novice when it came to swords and axes. They met at least three times a week to train and spar and Clark had to admit, he was enjoying it. Spending time with Diana was always a plus and he could let go in a way with her he could not with anyone else. For a man who had restrained and suppressed his abilities and himself for so long, it was a relief to be himself. Being Superman often felt like he was like that captured mustang he once saw as a kid, only allowed to frolic in a paddock and never run wild with a herd, unfettered across the plains.
"I hope you've been practicing, "she smiled, holding the staff horizontally in front of her and slowly began to spin it.
"I tried my best,"he replied, returning her smile, as the spinning became faster and she turned to the side and continued to rotate the staff as part of her warm up.
"Aren't you going to warm up?" she mused.
He cracked his neck to one side and returned with a wink, "I get warm just by looking at you."
Diana tried not to laugh. Since dating him, she found he wasn't as introverted as some might think he was. He had a mischievous streak in him at times and often he took her by surprise by how disarming he could be.
"Flirting with me won't help you," she returned, pivoting elegantly and coming to a stop with her staff pointing to the ground over her arm. " Today I'm going to push you hard."
"Really?" His brow quirked and his eyes twinkled. "I look forward to that."
"Ready?" She took her position , facing him side on. They crossed staffs and gave brief head nods.
He took his position. "Ready."
She came at him fast, her bo coming down at him hard. He kicked the end of his staff up with a foot, turned to face her and brought his staff up high with both hands to take her hit. Diana then came at him low and he blocked her strike. Both rocked back and hit staffs and the sheer force of the strike sent them both flying backwards.
They ended up on their behinds.
"Ha, at least it's not only me this time," he remarked wryly.
She grinned and scrambled to her feet to come at him again with a thrust. He moved quickly to parry. She moved forward, the staff rotating over her arm coming down at him, pushing him backwards. Forcing him to parry; parry; parry. Clark spun and their staffs smacked together again. Diana pushed and used the end to try to take his head off, forcing him to duck, then she elegantly side stepped him and forced his staff down to the ground. He blocked only to have her sweep and he jumped into the air and hovered.
"No flying!"she reprimanded.
"Sorry, it's almost second nature," he returned sheepishly.
This time she came in, spinning and hitting, jumping high and hitting down while he went backwards and parried again and again. She spun and the end of her staff hit him in the gut, his staff flew from his hand and he went sliding backwards. She was coming at him while he hit the end of the staff with his foot and it flipped into his hand and he grabbed it up in time to block.
They grappled and then disengaged to go into another series of attacks, and parries.
This went on for fifteen minutes.
"Your defense is better," she breathed. "I only hit you once today."
He returned in a dulcet tone, "And here I was counting on you hitting me twice."
She smiled and with a sly dash to the left took his defense by surprise. Diana attacked again and he had to pivot to get into position, blocking from the side, then she got under his guard and the end of her staff stopped an inch from his neck.
"Twice," she countered.
"You won't get me a third time."
"We shall see. You attack me now."
Clark took the initiative now and moved in on her, his strength was greater than hers but her agility and technique kept him from overwhelming her. Sweat began to bead their brows but more so for Diana. Clark moved in on her, staff coming down, Diana ducked, leaped and went up the side of a wall to get some height and somersaulted over him. Her pole suddenly morphed into two and she had double sticks.
Clark's eyes widened. "Hey!"
He got hit in the shin and went down on one knee, then got the stick in his rib and then one up against his throat. A blade came out and caressed his neck.
"That's not fair." He narrowed his eyes up at her.
"Villains don't play fair, Clark." She gave him a hand and he stood up with a wry grunt. "Simulation off," she said loudly.
The room changed into the original training area.
She put the two sticks together and it morphed into one staff. " One of Hephaestus' creations."
He leaned on his staff and watched her go pick up two towels. "So the point of the exercise was that villains cheat?"
"Yes and no." He took her offer of the towel. He had a very light sheen while she was full on sweating. She wiped her face and neck. "It was a good work out but you have to find an alternative when you are...what is the saying... facing the wall?"
"When your back is against the wall."
"Ah yes. You didn't anticipate me changing tactics."
"No. But I guess I could have used my heat vision if I was thinking that you could have changed tactics."
"That is how you must always think. Not just wait for it to happen."
"Like Bruce's prep time?"
"Not even that. You can never anticipate every variable. Never. Prep time can only work for something that you know. Batman's experience with the world is not that extensive that he can know everything. He's a human man. I don't want to sound obnoxious but what he knows of this universe is a mere drop in the ocean. There are realms and worlds beyond Gotham, the US, the Earth. There might be a time you yourself, so blessed with so many abilities...none can help you if you don't think tactically. The choices you make too can decide whether you live or die. Don't just rush in blindly with your fists if you don't know what the opponent is capable of. "
"So what should I do? I can't let a villain rampage and hurt people."
"I know. I know the desire to protect is strong with you, and it nearly got you killed many a time. I'm not asking you to change who you are, "she replied and caressed his face as if to emphasize that. "Fight to win for those people, even if it seems that you are going to lose," she replied enigmatically.
"Riddles, Diana?" He caught her hand to his cheek and held it there.
"No, Clark. Just some Amazon wisdom. It simply means, always choose your next move very carefully and try not to die." She tiptoed and kissed his lips. "Now let's hit the showers. Since I won you owe me a massage." She threw the towel over his head and retreated towards the shower rooms.
His pulled the towel off to see her shoes, then mid riff top, then spandex leggings lying in a trail on the floor. Her high, rounded bottom in cute boy shorts was the last thing he saw vanishing behind the door. He grinned and picked up her clothes and blurred after her.
Choose you next move very carefully and try not to die.
Her voice still echoed in his head as he saw a magical fire-ball heading towards him.
Don't engage. Move! The ball might be magic but to do any harm it has to hit you first!
A burst of super speed and he was behind her. The energy blast hit a building and shattered windows. Circe scowled and looked around. She sent more blasts and he dived and shot above her like a rocket, in an effort to avoid her hitting buildings, and shouted into his comlink.
"Zee, Vic, Hal...I have a witch on my tail and she is relentless!"
"Slippery as an eel!" Circe commented. "It is rare anyone can out run my blasts."
She vanished and appeared in front of him. "You are not going to get away from me." She began to sing a strange language. The words themselves seemed to take form from her mouth and crawl like luring hands towards him. Clark felt himself being drawn to the hands as they reached for his face.
"Siren's song! Don't listen! " cried Zatanna's voice from above. She was with Hal on a green platform. "Block your ears, Lantern, and get Superman away from her!"
Hal's ring created earplugs for himself and he used a huge golf club to smack his friend out of Circe's thrall. Superman went flying across the river and landed with a thud on the ice.
Circe snarled and looked up at Zatanna. "Why, you little trollop!"
Circe transmogrified a set of gargoyles from Westminster Abbey to life and they attacked Zatanna and Green Lantern.
Superman sat up with a shake of the head and muttered. "Thanks for the golf ball treatment, GL."
"You're welcome, Blue. Just keep your butt outta this chick's orbit!"
He turned to look and see Zatanna and Hal try to keep Circe at bay. His eyes looked down at the ice. "Where are you, Diana?"
Diana fought her way past the tunnel of creatures, and suddenly landed heavily in what appeared to be a wide cavern shaped like a Hall. She straightened up to see herself surrounded by scores of Hyena Men.
They growled at her and she braced herself for their attack.
A voice drawled. "Well, well, it is our baby sister."
The Hyena Men suddenly parted like the sea and knelt and she saw a dais. Sitting on a large chair was a giant of a man in black armor with a wild black locks and a beard. Ares and Eris stood alongside him.
Ares beckoned her forward. "Come, my dear. Meet our long lost brother."
Diana stood her ground. "Brother?" She stared at the man and he stared back at her. She could feel fathomless pools boring into her. It made her uncomfortable. It wasn't even curiosity or lust but his eyes seemed to devour her as if he could consume her very soul.
"Yes. The First Born of Zeus and Hera. Apparently our dear father tried to kill him and when he could not do that he forced him into limbo for all time. Like a good sibling when I found out, I did my best to rescue him."
"Why would Zeus try to kill his own son?" she asked, keeping a wary eye on them and the horde around her.
"Why indeed? Our father is very selfish, as you know. He does not take kindly to anyone who can rival his power. Our dear brother is actually the most powerful of all of Zeus' and Hera's progeny. More than you and I could ever be."
Eris interjected, "And me."
"Oh and Eris too, " he added with an eye roll.
"What does your rescuing your brother..."
"...your brother have to do with Circe attacking London? Why is she there? The creatures she commands are coming from here. What have you got up your sleeve this time, Ares?"
"Up my sleeve? I have nothing to hide, Princess. Circe is here to help us. It is a tricky thing to get father's attention. I expect by now our lackey brother Hermes might be alerting him now Circe has revealed herself. We are all set to go visit Olympus so Father can reunite with the First Born. This time my brother is not some helpless babe that Father can discard like one of his used sluts like your mother. He will face Father on an equal footing. Come, Brother."
Diana bristled at the reference to her mother but kept her calm.
The grizzled giant stood up. He looked to be wearing boots and gauntlets with Rhino like horns. His cape looked to be made up of scales.
Diana looked at them suspiciously. "What are your intentions with Zeus?"
"Since when do you care about Zeus?I thought you made it clear you did not care about our father and Olympus. "
She did not but this little gathering did not bode well. It almost smelt like a coup.
"Are you going to harm Zeus?" She moved closer to the dais.
"That is none of your business," Eris retorted as the trio headed towards a portal Ares' opened up.
Diana unfurled her lasso and let it go after Eris. It grabbed her and she yanked her close to hold her around the neck , the xiphos at her throat. "What do you intend to do?"
Eris blurted out with gleeful laughter, "Dethrone him, of course!"
Diana shouted at Ares, "Are you crazy?!"
Ares's spun around and narrowed his eyes. " Let Eris go. You know you will not kill her! Or do you really want a confrontation here and now?"
Diana weighed her options. She could not allow them to ambush Zeus. If Hermes was already contacting her father it would not be long he would come to Olympus, unsuspecting what was coming. Who knew, maybe he was already there. As bad a husband or even as vacillating a ruler, Zeus still was not unnecessarily cruel. She did not know who First Born was nor what he was capable of and Ares seemed to have some control of him. She was only guessing Ares intention was to use him to get control of Olympus. She could not allow that to happen.
Diana kept the sword around Eris neck and pulled the lasso tighter. She hissed in her ear. "Get us to Olympus but before you do delay your Brothers!"
Compelled by the lasso Eris suddenly grew exponentially in size, Diana rising up with her, and she stomped on the dais causing Ares and the First Born to fly backwards with the force and hit the cave walls. The dais cracked. The rumble was like an earthquake that caused the Hyena Men to drop to the ground from their position.
Eris created a portal and they vanished.
Ares cursed as he regained his footing and composure. He looked at the First Born who had risen to his feet. The giant observed, "She is a cunning one. I like that."
"We have to get to Olympus! Now! Come, Brother!" He opened a portal and they both vanished in it.
Superman watched as Zatanna, Green Lantern and Circe engaged in battle. He heard the ice suddenly begin to shiver. He could hear the creatures hitting the ice from below. It would be a matter of minutes before they broke through. Now Superman could easily amp up his response but he could not afford to. The city and civilians around made it important he tried to minimize damage and loss of life.
"Vic, we need back up!And I need another weapon. The witch took my staff weapon!"
Cyborg replied. "I'll be there in seconds!"
Cyborg had access to boom tube technology. He appeared next to his colleague with a flail. "Here. It's the fastest thing I could get out of the Watchtower armory. Should be able to take many out. I will boom tube as many as I can further down river while you take those coming in the frontal attack. That way we control the influx of them. I can't boom tube them anywhere because they will simply cause more problems for others. We have to destroy them."
Superman took the spiked ball on the chain. It glimmered with power. It was Norse or Germanic origin and famed to belong to a God once and was called the Morning Star. Batman had paid a fortune for it and passed it on to the League when he realized it was not just an antique.
"And try not to lose this one. Bruce will kill us," said Zatanna's voice over the shared commlink.
Superman replied, "Keep the witch off my back, and I will."
Cyborg asked, "Zee, how are you and Lantern doing?"
"Trying our best to keep her occupied, Vic."
The ice cracked and the hordes appeared.
"Here we go!" said Cyborg.
Cyborg put out his arm and blasted several away , then boom tubed another set. Superman went in with the Morning Star, and what he did not have in skill he made up with sheer speed and force. The spiked ball smashed into them and they dissipated with flashes of gold light.
Amanda Waller sat quietly looking at the international news on her laptop when the phone rang.
It was Steve Trevor. "Are you seeing this?"
"Yes. I am."
"Are we sitting this out?"
"They are not on US soil. It's not our fight."
"Amanda, this could be the start of something that could affect our shores. We could help them nip it in the bud before it worsens."
"Steve, we are the Justice League of America. Not the World. Our forces are not to be wasted. Not for one city. If these things decide to come on US soil today we don't want our team abroad. We have to protect our borders. This is not just some alien invasion or crazed megalomaniac. It's magical forces and we don't even begin to understand how to fight that. British Special forces are struggling it's true but they have the Justice League. We watch and wait and we analyze the opponents. For now."
"How can you be so heartless, Waller? People are dying."
"People die every day. Not only because of armies of rotting man beasts. They die from civil war, starvation, greed, famine, natural disasters...we don't run into all countries, you know that. We watch and wait, Colonel. That will be all." She cut him off and turned her attention back to the laptop.
She resized a window and the face of Lex Luthor cropped up. He was in his orange overalls and sitting in his jail cell but Lex had privileges many did not have. Money still talked as well as a certain amount of paranoia about meta humans.
"I told you, Waller. I warned you all. These meta humans will destroy humanity and overrun the earth if we are not careful. We have given them enormous power to police us, now look at what we get for giving them such trust."
"I hardly think they asked for this."
"They bring these dangers with them, be they aliens like Superman or magic users or Amazons or freaks of nature or the laboratory."
"Luthor, we owe our lives to many of them..."
"Oh I know about that little team you've been building. You think if you can control them you have the upper hand. You don't. You'll soon be rushing to me for help when you don't know what else to do. Tell the Chiefs I'm here should they need some human counsel."
His screen went blank. Waller leaned back deep in thought.
Wonder Woman and Eris appeared in the middle of the throne room of Olympus. Diana's eyes swiftly took in the huge columns surrounding them, the elevated dais and the night sky that seemed right over their heads. Stars, galaxies, distant planets twinkled above but she had no luxury to contemplate anything because sure enough Zeus, Hermes and Hera were already assembled. Zeus was looking upon the scrying pool and his face was rigid with anger.
"What is the meaning of this? Who let her out? And those creatures...they look familiar."
Hermes said, "They should be, Sire. Some are the famed Hyena Men that roamed the earth many moons ago."
"Hyena Men? But they only existed when ..." Zeus' trailed off and he scowled. "How does Circe have control of them? And they look deformed." He turned to Hera.
Hera herself was confused to see Circe. Having no love for the witch herself she truthfully answered, "I do not know...I..."
The blast of light made them turn and they saw Eris and Diana.
Zeus' eyes narrowed, Hermes' widened and Hera looked even more confounded. To see Zeus' bastard made her cheeks flush.
"What is the meaning of this?" Zeus asked. "Why are you here?"
Diana kept Eris in the lasso and said, "Pardon my intrusion but I needed to warn you. What you see is Ares' doing. He has conspired with Circe and raised an army of the dead by reanimating them. He also has freed someone he calls the First Born!"
Hera let out a gasp and Zeus's eyes instantly darkened as if a squall had overcome them.
Zeus looked at Eris, who looked as if she was thoroughly enjoying herself, despite being bound. "Is this true?"
Eris smiled cheerfully, "Yes, Father. It has been quite a year , what with a new baby sister and now a big brother!"
Zeus clenched his fists. "He dared."
Diana came forward, dragging Eris with her. "They are coming to Olympus as we speak! They..."
There was another flash of light and this time the God of War and his giant companion appeared.
Hera's jaw dropped instead. She grasped the ledge of the scrying pool. Hermes grasped his caduceus tighter. He sensed a confrontation about to go down.
Zeus eyes sparked as he beheld the duo. They stopped at the end of the hall. Ares was smart enough to put distance between them.
Ares smiled. " I see baby sister spoiled the surprise. Quite the family reunion. Hello, Mother, you look stunned. Father, you look displeased. Hermes. " He gave the messenger a cursory nod.
Zeus looked as if he was trying to keep his temper. His voice was strained. His chest puffed out and fists clenched. "How dare you, Ares? I will not stand for this treachery!"
Ares simply put his hand out. "Brother, say hello."
The First Born gazed around. " This is Olympus. This is what you tried to kill me for, King of the Gods? I will not insult you nor myself to call you Father. And you, woman, you stood by a lecher and murderer for...position. Power truly knows no blood. I have suffered for eons. Falling in blackness until I knew not even my self or words to speak. Today, I have but one ambition. To wreak vengeance upon the ones that made me suffer."
He put his right hand out and a huge falchion appeared as if from the air.
Hermes immediately stepped up and crouched, ready for battle alongside his King. Hera stepped back, and Eris clapped her hands.
"OOH a fight!"
Diana let the lasso off her and she stepped up along side Hermes. Zeus looked at her and his eyes softened for a moment but he waved at them both.
"Step aside. This is between us."
"But the prophesy..." began Hermes.
"Damn prophesies. I defied it once. I will again." A thunderbolt appeared in his hand and a shield, with Medusa's face engraved on it, on his arm, known as the Aegis.
Hermes grabbed Diana's arm. "Move back!"
Diana was pulled back swiftly and she had to hold on to Hermes briefly as the force of Zeus' bolt meeting the First Born's blade shook the entire throne room. They fell back and then Zeus went in low, which First Born parried, and then he attacked with a hit from above. The falchion hit the shield so hard it caused a ringing sound, almost like a ghostly wail was coming out of Medusa's mouth. Zeus twisted into the air, leaped and used the shield to hit him under the chin and sent him flying backwards. The falchion went tumbling, and as the First Born fell he saw the lightning bolt coming at him. He spun around and the tip hit his cape of dragon scales pinning it to the ground. The First Born unclasped his cape swiftly and freed himself while Zeus produced another bolt. The giant took up position again, this time he pulled out a spear with two crescent blades.
They attacked each other head on and the fight became harder and faster, moving out of the throne room, down a series of wide steps and out onto a sprawling concourse that overlooked the other levels of Olympus.
Superman and Cyborg were in the middle of battle themselves when they head the sound of thunder above. They looked up and could see clouds gathering as if in a swirling whirlpool. Lightning streaked across the sky and thunder rolled deafeningly.
"That's not normal," gasped Cyborg.
Superman tried to use his super vision and he could not even penetrate it. The feeling of magic was heavy in the air. It made him feel suffocated. Normally he was used to his super senses being sharp and prickling with awareness. Now they felt slightly fogged up. He could not even see beyond the thunderstorm.
"No. It's not. It reeks of magic but different. It's like nothing I've ever felt."
Zatanna who was trying to divert Circe's energy blasts, with Lantern's help , looked up and murmured, "That's not good."
Circe herself looked up and smiled. "Ah, the battle for the heavens has begun."
She suddenly stopped and smiled at Zatanna. "Enjoy my bestiamorphs. I have more urgent things to do."
Hal exclaimed, "Where did she go?"
Zatanna frowned. "I have a feeling she is up to more mischief. Let's go help the guys get rid of those creatures!"
Diana looked down at Zeus and the First Born battle and she muttered to Hermes. "We should stop this. He's struggling."
It was clear to all Zeus was only just holding off his opponent.
"Our Father has grown older, Diana, he is not as hungry as he used to be and First Born was born with strength to rival his father. We cannot stop this. Divine law states this is his battle. No Olympian should intervene."
"I'm not a God."
"Zeus would not forgive you, Diana. It is important he wins this by himself."
Diana winced as she saw the First Born slam Zeus over his head and into a column and broke the thunderbolt into two.
Meanwhile, Hera's fingers grasped Ares' arm. "You must be insane to even consider this!"
"Why, Mother, not enjoying the show? I would think you of all would be fed up of Father's antics."
"Ares, you do not know what the First Born is capable of."
"Oh, I know. Hades told me of his exploits."
"He cannot rule here!"
"Who says I want him to? We have you. The natural order of things should anything happen to father is you would rule. I'm sure we can convince our dear brother to let you take the throne."
"Me?" Hera looked intrigued even against her own will.
Ares whispered in her ear. "Yes, Mother. Queen of Olympus. Doesn't that have a nice ring to it? You rule above and brother and I will get free rein of Earth. It's not as if you care for those little worms beneath us. You would live the rest of time with no one degrading or demeaning you. Think of all those women he ploughed. The children he flouted in your face. Look at Hippolyta's spawn. Even now so arrogant to think she can come here. You could even take as many lovers as you want."
Hera stared at her husband as he recovered and threw his shield to tumble the First Born onto the steps. He caught the shield as it flew back to him and he leaped, his foot came hard down on the Giant's bare back. He raised the Aegis to bring it down on his neck.
Queen of Olympus. No more being under Zeus' thumb. No more humiliation. It was tempting.
"We cannot help him," she murmured. "We are not permitted by law."
"His law. But there are loopholes in law. We might not but she can," he replied.
And before Zeus' aegis could slice the neck of the First Born, Ares opened a portal and Circe appeared.
Hera's face turned dark. "You brought this witch here!?"
Circe smiled slyly at Hera and she recited a spell to create a huge energy blast and hurled it at Zeus' back. It sent him flying off the First Born.
Diana and Hermes gasped. Eris clapped and snapped her fingers and a flagon of wine and a goblet appeared. She sat on a ledge of the scrying pool and drawled, "Anyone ready to take a wager? My money is on our hairy brother."
Circe floated down to the concourse. "Greetings."
Zeus rose and his eyes were literally spitting sparks. "YOU! HOW DARE YOU?"
She smiled. "I am here to even the odds a bit."
The First Born rose swiftly, he roared and came at Zeus from behind. They tumbled and grappled. The giant had him on the ground and began punching him in the face. Circe ripped the shield off his arm with a wave of her hand and it went flying off the concourse to tumble down onto another level and fall into one of the myriad gardens into a river that flowed upwards as opposed to down.
The First Born drove his thumbs into the sparking eyes and used it as leverage to smack his head into the ground as if in a frenzied rage. Zeus bellowed in pain and fell back dazed. The Giant smiled cruelly and raised a horned gauntlet as if to stab at him as he grasped the air.
Diana leaped off the terrace and flew down to grab the giant by the neck and she heaved and swung him off the King of the Gods. Diana gasped and somersaulted and fell on her knees as the creature flew over head and slammed into the ground on his back . The sheer weight of him was the heaviest she ever lifted, not withstanding airplanes and aircraft carriers.
Hermes cried, "Diana, no!"
The First Born spun around with a growl and he saw who had tackled him.
"You. So you want to fight me, wench. Come. I will rip your arms off its sockets and then finish off the King."
He leaped at her and she felt his fist against her cheek. The pain was worse than being hit by Doomsday and she remembered that clearly. The giant was even faster than the creature. Diana felt his fingers curl around her throat. She could see Circe in her peripheral vision land before Zeus and put her feet on his chest as she leaned down to peer at his face. She murmured some words and bands appeared around Zeus' arms and legs as if to pin him to the floor.
Hermes tried to move forward only to have Hera put her arm out in front of him.
"You cannot intervene." It was a command. After Zeus she was next in line and he had to obey. Hermes looked at her in shock. "You would allow this?"
Hera said coldly, "The Fates brought my son back. He should be dead but he is not. Zeus was cruel to an innocent child and I allowed it. Let this end here and now. Let the Fates decide."
Ares commented. "The first wisest thing you have said, Mother."
Circe said sweetly, "Ah my poor King. You look to be in pain. Do not worry, your son will attend to you soon after he finishes off Hippolyta's bastard. Look."
Zeus turned to see his daughter struggle and somehow manage to wiggle her free hand to get her xiphos from her thigh and slice the giant across the cheek and tried to scramble backwards. The First Born growled and grabbed her by the boot and dragged her to him. Diana kicked back and got him under the chin, he faltered momentarily but recovered and grabbed her again. This time he body slammed her and then stomped her in the abdomen. The armor she wore protected her organs from going to mush but she was sure he broke several of her ribs. She tried to rise, blood dripping from her mouth as she winced in pain. A foot pressed her shoulder blades down. She heard the sound of a sword's blade being drawn as it caressed the air and she could see the silhouette of a huge serrated blade over her head. The blade rose in the air.
Zeus roared and broke Circe's bindings. His eyes glowed and with his roar the sky darkened and lighting and thunder shook Olympus. Rain suddenly pelted down along with gusts and Circe felt herself being blown over like a leaf in the wind. She shrieked in shock and tried to steady herself but she was blown straight off Olympus. The others looking down had to move back in the shelter of the throne room. The First Born kept his foot on Diana and put his arm up in the buffeting winds, trying to steady himself.
A thunderbolt appeared in Zeus' hand and he aimed it it at the giant. It sped in the air and hit the First Born in the back sending him flying across the concourse and off the edge to tumble into a lower rung of Olympus. Zeus rushed over to Diana and as he bent down to check her the winds seemed to die down.
Diana was aware of the King of the Gods bending to cradle her in his arms and lift her.
His voice was gentle. "You will be fine, child. Though that was foolish risking your life to help me."
He placed her on something like a stone bench and she wheezed in pain, as she tried to regain her breath.
Zeus called, "Hermes!"
The messenger appeared. "Sire."
"She needs healing. She needs to be taken to her comrades."
She was about to say something when she saw a hulking shadow leap behind them. Diana screamed. The giant was bleeding but he was coming at them in a blur.
He slapped Hermes away, sending him reeling into a parapet. Zeus stepped in front of Diana to protect her and First Born grabbed him and leaped with him to the throne room.
Zeus grappled with him. "You cannot kill the King of the Gods!"
"No but I can treat with you the same way you did with me...Father," he riposted coldly.
They landed before the scrying pool.
The First Born looked to Hera. "You can end this. You can make up for what he did to me. You see how he protects the bastard girl? Yet he wants to kill me. His flesh. Your flesh."
Zeus bellowed, "Hera, do not listen to this monster!"
Mind made up, Hera went to the scrying pool and she emitted green bolts from her hands. The pool cracked almost like a mirror would, shattering to bits and a gaping pit appeared. It looked endless and dark.
"No, not the Eternal Pit!"
"You put me there. Now you see what endless desolation feels like!"
The First Born threw him in and he vanished in its dark depths.
Hera stared at the pit, almost stunned at what just happened. All her life she had loved Zeus and suffered for it. Now her rage finally found an outlet. It felt like she had opened a valve and all the pent up hurt and jealousy and frustration was let out like hissing coils of steam. What she just did was selfish but oh it felt good.
Ares voice sounded behind her. "Ah, Mother, you surprise me. I honestly did not think you had it in you."
Eris chortled. "I have never been more entertained in my life. Does this mean she is ruler now or is brother our King?"
First Born looked around. He said with chilling determination, " I was denied my birthright. I will not place myself in a position of weakness nor be subservient to anyone. I lay claim to the throne and the powers of the King. I won it by combat. I will have Olympus but I will have the earth too."
The giant looked down at Hera. "I will never forget your part in trying to kill me. A mother is supposed to love her children but you...you chose ambition and position over me. You will feel the desolation inflicted upon me!"
Hera stiffened and backed away, her arms raised, green energy still pulsing from her finger tips. He was not going to hand over anything and she sensed danger. "I had no say in the matter. It was Zeus' doing. What the King decreed all had to obey."
The Giant reached for her neck and he lifted her up to eye level. She choked.
Ares began, "Brother, she helped you..."
"Yes she did."
He tore the crown off her head and threw her aside.
Hera screamed and put her hands to her head. She saw the green energy from her hands fizzle. "No. No. Noooooo!"
Eris suddenly gasped. "Did he just do what I think he did?"
Ares muttered, "Yes."
The First Born studied the crown and then turned to Ares and Eris. They both dropped to their knees fast.
The giant walked to the throne and sat down upon it and said bluntly, "A King needs a Queen."
Ares' eyes suddenly lit up. "Ah, if I may?"
"Rise then and spit it out."
Ares rose and pointed to the Wonder Woman who was now struggling to her feet and picking up her lasso.
The First Born studied her from where he stood. "A bastard. A half blood. She tried to attack me."
"Our mother hates her."
"Then she will be perfect. Bring her to me."
Diana coughed. She held her ribs and tried to focus. She barely had time to know what had happened. Zeus had taken the brunt of the creature's rage to protect her and then she heard and felt a huge explosion from the throne room. She did not know what had happened but something told her it was not good.
The lightning and thunder above had gone silent. The stars darkened by red stained clouds. She suddenly felt a portal swallow her and she was falling in the throne room at the foot of the steps leading to the throne.
She heard Ares' smug voice. "Here you go, Brother. Your new Queen."
Diana's eyes clouded in confusion. New Queen?! Who?
Hera rose to her feet and climbed to the throne. She was spitting. "You took my Godhood! You took my power! For this creature?! Are you insane, Ares, to even suggest it? I helped you get rid of Zeus, my husband! I opened the Eternal Pit for you!"
Diana struggled upright. She could see the former scrying pool , a yawning chasm and she tried to piece together what was happening. They got rid of Zeus?! She looked around and could see no sign of the King. Only a smirking Ares, a drinking Eris looking thoroughly amused, a red faced Hera and a First Born that seemed to be studying her again with that devouring expression.
Hera continued to rave like a mad woman. "If I had known you would do this, I would have never helped you! You betrayed me, Ares! For this brutish savage! This sadistic barbarian! You would suggest an outsider, a bastard to sully the Halls of Olympus in my stead!?"
First Born got up and stood before Hera and back slapped her. "Silent!"
She fell back to the ground near Diana with a shocked cry of pain. It was something she never experienced in her life. Physical pain. When she thought she could never experience more humiliation, she was wrong. She tasted something metallic in her mouth and her lips stung. She touched her mouth. It was split and she spat blood. Mortal. She was mortal. She looked to see Diana staring at her with something that looked like pity. It was if she was seeing her reflection in Diana's because Hippolyta's bastard's beautiful visage also was bleeding and bruised courtesy of the First Born.
The First Born looked upon Diana. "You will accept the crown."
"You cannot force it upon me," she replied, realizing that Ares was spitefully getting his revenge on her and Hera when he made the suggestion.
"I can. Refuse me and I will kill her before your eyes. I will tear her limb from limb," he replied pointing to Hera.
"That is your own mother. Yours too." She glanced over her shoulder at Ares, astound at his own indifference.
Ares shrugged. "Those are ...the breaks as they say."
First Born replied, "She is nothing to me. But her torture and death will be on your head. She is a mere mortal now so it will be even more painful. I will begin with breaking her fingers, one by one, then I will mutilate her face. I will peel the skin from her body. You will listen to her screams. Ares mentioned you have sympathies for humans and beings you barely know. Hera cursed your mother and sisters. I would say she deserved it."
Hera paled. He would do it too. She knew of his cruelty over the centuries to humans. Her fate was left now to the one being she hated. She had taken away her home and family. She closed her eyes and cursed the Fates. She could almost hear the mocking laughter of the Moirai.
Diana slowly rose to her feet. She put her hand out to Hera. "No one is going to die today."
Hera stared at her as if she was defected in the mind. "Are you an imbecile? Do you know what he will do to you?"
"Take my hand. Please."
Diana's blue eyes entreated her. For the first time in an age Hera saw genuine compassion for her. The last time she saw any gentler emotion was eons ago when Zeus used to love her. But in the last millennia Hera had been accustomed to only fear, scorn, anger, pity, indifference, from her husband, offspring and fellow gods. Oh humans worshiped her but they always wanted something in return. This...this...creature was going to sacrifice herself for her?!
"Please. Are you so proud to prefer torture and death by his hands?"
Hera reached up and took her hand and Diana eased her to her feet.
First Born put his hand out for Diana to take his.
Ares' brows crinkled. He was surprised to see Diana's reaction. Something was not right. Amazons never submitted to foes or men so docilely.
It happened fast. A glare of light flashed. A portal tore behind Diana and Hera. Hermes' hand reached and took Diana's. Still holding onto Hera, she tightened her hold on Hermes and he pulled them both through.
The First Born let out a roar and the crown flew and hit the air as the portal closed.
The thunder and lightning had stopped but the dark clouds swirling overhead was just as ominous.
The Leaguers stared up at it even as they fought the remaining bestiamorphs.
Zatanna saw the red pulsing light in the heart of the sky. The clouds continued to swirl.
Lantern floated up alongside her. "Zee, what's happening?"
"Hal, it looks like a portal. I've seen my share of dimensional shifting and this is definitely one."
"Can you stop it?"
"I would need to know what it is and where it is coming from and what is the force behind it. I can't close a door without a key either. And I can't just abandon you guys." She touched her ear. "Bruce. Can you hear me?'
Batman's voice from the Watchtower replied, "Loud and clear, Zee. "
"Has Diana gotten back to us?"
"Nothing yet." Batman sounded a little concerned.
"I hope she's alright." Zatanna looked over at Superman smacking his way through a train of creatures. She knew he could hear and it probably was taking his all to focus on the task at hand.
"I hope so too. Barring waiting for the forces behind this event showing themselves, she's our only hope to understand it."
The First Born looked as if he was about to explode with rage.
He turned and slammed the throne with his gauntlets. It cracked into two.
Eris whispered, "I always wanted to do that. With my foot."
"Shh, be quiet," Ares replied. "My King, she is but a mere speck in the greater scheme of things. We can find you a better Queen. One that can bring gain and power. Diana of Themyscira is a Princess of a dead people. You can hurt her best by attacking the humans she cares about."
The giant took a deep breath and turned to face his siblings.
"War and Strife, find the witch. We prepare to take over the earth. We begin with the city of Zeus' bastard."
Batman was going through the League data base on magical foes and cross checking it with any information he could find on the creatures rampaging London and the sorceress Zatanna mentioned. He had footage of Circe. Suffice to say social media was doing its job and there were tons of videos already uploaded on twitter, Facebook,and Instagram of the creatures and woman fighting the League.
He was systematically going through all the known magic users and witches in Greek mythology when a high pitched ringing sound and light burned the air behind him.
He spun around swiftly and reached for his utility belt. His hands stilled.
A portal closed behind Diana, and two people he was unfamiliar with stood with her. Hermes caduceus more or less indicated to who he was, given Batman knew of Diana's heritage. The blond woman in the green gown he was not sure about. She did not look very happy and was looking around with suspicion. Both her face and Diana's looked as if they had been hit by something or someone. Diana was leaning onto Hermes and holding her rib cage.
"Wonder Woman! What happened? You need to go to the infirmary!"
Hermes helped Diana to a chair. She looked up at the monitors and uttered at the chaotic scenes she was seeing. "Gaea! No infirmary. Bruce, it's going to get worse."
"Worse than that? Humph. What is going on, Diana?"
"Zeus has been dethroned."
Superman heard a buzzing in his ear.
The Man of Steel felt almost giddy with relief. "Is she okay?"
"She's a little injured but she'll be fine. We have more urgent problems. What you're dealing with is only the beginning. You'll have to regroup and be debriefed. I want to beam you all up."
"We can't leave London to the mercy of these creatures. We seem to be getting some control. We..."
Suddenly he could hear something like thunder, an enormous rumbling and a cracking. The Thames began to swirl and a huge jagged pinnacle began to rise from the waters. Its sides cracked the London Eye and both embankments taking down the buildings on either side, including Tower Bridge. The peak stabilized and was on par with the height of The Shard, London's highest building and it almost narrowly missed taking down the whole of Westminster bridge.
Superman stared up at it. He could see columns and steps, and a wide concourse and crisscrossing staircases. But the stone facade and the marble like columns looked to be almost infected with red vines that looked suspiciously like veins and arteries.
"Batman, are you seeing what I'm seeing?"
"What is it?"
Diana's voice came over the comlink. "It's the Throne Room of Olympus!"
"Long story but the Gods can open portals and the King can open dimensions. As we speak Olympus still hangs in the heavens but the throne can be here too. You have to get out of there! I'll explain when you get here!"
Superman pressed his comlink. He trusted Diana and Batman's warning.
"Guys, we have to go! Let Batman access your signatures."
In a flash of light Black Canary, Cyborg, Green Lantern, Superman and Zatanna were beamed up to the Watchtower.
The Leaguers appeared on the platform of the teleporter that stood on the port side of the Watchtower. They looked down to see the others gathered before the monitors. A strange blond woman sat looking rather sulky on the side.
Wonder Woman turned as she saw them and tried to rise. She winced.
Superman blurred to her side in a second. His arms went around her and she clung to him for a few moments. He whispered against her hair. "You're hurt."
"I'll heal," she sighed, happy just to hold and feel him close.
He eased her back to sit down.
Green Lantern uttered as the others came down, "Can someone explain to me what the hell is going on?"
Out of the bottom of the mountain peak, a chasm yawned and Hyena Men came pouring out. They were accompanied by Ares himself in his black armor. On the steps of the throne room stood the First Born, clad in his dragon scale cape and carrying a huge sword. Circe and Eris floated beside him.
"We will destroy the city and the people in it."
Circe touched his shoulders. "Why destroy, my lord? Why not enslave them? If you want to conquer the earth, you need subjects. Let me change some of their men to Beastiamorphs and you and your Hyena men can have the spoils and your pick of women. After all , you will need to breed more loyal to you. Humans cannot be trusted. They are also weak and easily killed. Beastiamorphs while easily controlled, are not smart. The Hyena Men will breed worthy soldiers."
"You speak sense, Witch." He pointed his sword at the city and bellowed, "Attack!"
Author's Note: Thank you for the reviews and for sticking with this fic even after all this time.