Most of the structures on Themyscira were ancient Greek style in construction, as their culture was largely ancient Greek in makeup, and built of marble or limestone for the most part. A training center near the middle of the island was one of the largest. Like most structures, it had a walled open courtyard all the way around it, four entrances into the structure itself, and large marble columns that held up the stone roof. The inside of the perimeter wall was adorned with gardens with a track of clean sand right inside of the gardens that measured over three miles around the building, and inside of these were the training fields for this facility, and they were all in heavy use this day. Four obstacle courses, one on each side of the huge, three level structure, were of varying degrees of difficulty for different kinds of training and were named for Greek Gods.
On the south side of the structure, a group of women had just finished training on what was considered the hardest of themthe one called Hades. All of the women were very tall and very muscular but one, and it was this smallest of them who was most out of breath. They were all dressed in the undergarments that would be worn beneath their armor. This allowed them freedom of movement and would be much cooler in the Themysciran heat this time of year. They also all wore polished gauntlets of a silver looking metal that was many times stronger than steel, though much lighter. These gauntlets, worn by all Amazons as reminders of their commitment to Themyscira and the Gods and for misdeeds long ago, were rolled at the wrists and formed to fit the forearms perfectly nearly to the elbow.
This smallest of the Amazons was not quite seventeen years old, still lacking a few months before that happened. With her whole body covered and dripping with sweat, she slammed her back into the cold marble of the wall in the shade and rolled her head back, gasping for breath through her mouth, her long, obsidian black hair cascading behind her as her eyes were closed against the fatigue that racked her. While most of the Amazons were nearly or over six feet tall, Elissa was only about five foot six. Her lack of stature did not deprive her of an Amazon build, however, and she had strength far beyond any mortal on the outside world, just like other Amazons, but being smaller, she could not match any other on the island. There was something almost delicate about her as well, something that might make one think she was fragile, though she kept pace with the other Amazons nicely despite her small stature.
Also out of breath, a statuesque woman who had wisely worn her long blond hair up, approached and took Elissa's shoulder, smiling as she complimented, "You did better that time."
Elissa took a few more breaths and finally opened her deep blue eyes, looking on the tall woman before her as she gasped, "I
Hate that course!"
With a smile and a nod, the blond haired woman pointed out, "Just remember that which does not kill us only"
"Only makes us stronger," Elissa finished between gasps.
"Words you should take to heart," another tall woman advised as she approached.
Elissa glanced at her, then looked away.
This woman also had deep black hair that dropped all the way to her lower back. Dressed as the others were, her build and the tone of her body made her stand out among her own people. Having run the course herself, she was also glossy with sweat, though she was not as winded as the others. The features of her face were much like Elissa's, though far stronger, far more experienced and her dark blue eyes locked on the little Amazon before her as she set her hands on her hips and nodded. "You're doing better, Elissa, but I'd like to see improvement still. Your stamina seems to be lacking."
Elissa nodded, her eyes closed as she still worked to catch her breath.
"Princess Diana," the blond haired woman said as she caught her breath, "do you ever get tired?"
"I do, Cassie," the tall, black haired woman confirmed, "but quick fatigue is something that can be trained out of you. It just takes lots of hard work."
"And the blessing of the Gods," Cassandra added.
"Yes, that helps, but I still have to work hard to keep myself in top form. When do you go back?"
"A couple more days," the blond woman replied. "I've been in serious need of some major Amazon training lately, that and I think I just needed to get away for a while."
Princess Diana smiled. "Sometimes we do. I'm sure they've missed you the last few weeks."
"No more than you, Princess. How is the Justice League getting along without you?"
"I'm sure about the same as the Titans are without you."
Cassandra laughed. "That badly, huh?"
"Oh, they'll get by, I'm sure." Diana looked to the smallest Amazon and asked, "Where do you go next, Elissa?"
Opening her eyes, Elissa's breath finally caught up to her and she replied, "Shower, study a little, then I have training at Thermopylae Square." She turned pleading eyes to Princess Diana and begged, "Do I really have to go?"
"Might do you some good," Cassandra said optimistically. "You're already almost expert with the staff but you need improvement in empty hand to hand."
"I know," Elissa grumbled. "It doesn't help that I'm the smallest one out there."
Diana roughed the girl's hair and assured, "You just need to find a way to overcome. I have something to attend to and then I'll be home. And I'll expect to find you studying, okay?"
"Okay," Elissa assured.
As Diana turned to leave, Cassandra called after her. "Not going to shower, Princess?"
"No," Diana sighed, "too much to do. I'll just have to take care of it at home. Don't mess around too long here, Elissa."
"I won't," the girl answered dryly.
Diana returned home sooner than she thought she might, but far more tired than she thought she would be. With a handful of parchments, she entered the modest, Greek style house she shared with her mother and daughter and strode to the open area, to a desk there and dropped the papers in the middle of it. While home from the outside world, she helped her mother, Queen Hippolyta, with the tasks of running the island they lived on, and as things in the outside world became more and more complicated, so too did the tasks of running Themyscira.
This was a spacious house made of white marble with mosaic marble floors. The furnishings were ancient and reasonably comfortable. Technology had found its way here and a flat viewer, a TV to the rest of the world, hung on the wall. It was rarely watched and seemingly only turned on when they needed news about the outside. On the desk was a closed laptop computer with a red case. Beside it, a tiny communication box, a phone, was closed and unused as well. This was her direct link from the island to the Watchtower, the orbiting stronghold of the Justice League, and apparently nobody there wished to disturb her while she was away.
Her own room was secluded and overlooked the gardens, and was at the opposite end of the house from the Queen's. It was neat and orderly. The bed was made, the desk was neat and ready for work and everything was in its place. A cherry wood wardrobe was the biggest piece of furniture in there, even bigger than her bed, and this is where she went. She opened the doors and removed the hanging attire she would wear, then went to the bed and laid them down, sitting down to remove her sandals. Her movements were almost automatic as her mind was otherwise occupied and she stood and stripped off her clothes and tossed them into the waiting wicker basket with the rest.
Her private bath also overlooked the garden in the back of the house and there is where she went. Everything in it was marble, but for the cherry wood vanity and frame around the mirror, and the one cabinet where her towels and toiletries were kept.
Reaching into the lavish shower, she turned the water on and made sure it was good and hot before she stepped in. Again, her movements were automatic as she bathed, lathering her body as her eyes stared blankly at nothing. Heavy on her mind was something she had awaiting her in Patriarch's World, and heavier yet was the most difficult task she had ever undertaken: Raising a teenage girl.
Her shower finished, she dried and dressed and finally returned to her bedroom and sat down on her bed again, her elbows resting on her knees and her chin in her palms. Everything else had been forced to succumb to the one issue at hand, and that was her daughter. It seemed that every waking moment this girl was on her mind, as was the daunting task of motivating her as well as keeping her a secret from the outside world. Her enemies could never know of Elissa, and therefore, no one could. Drawing another deep breath, she looked about and found her sandals still on the floor beside the bed, and decided they could remain there for a while.
Leaving her room, she walked to the other corner of the house where, hopefully, there was a sixteen year old little Amazon studying hard or at least at the task of attending her chores.
She paused, her eyes fixed on the five display cases against the far wall. They were glass from floor to ceiling, about two feet wide each and trimmed in cherry wood. Her eyes were blank as they fixed on the contents of the last one, a costume and armor that she herself would don again in the coming week. It was also a reminder of many of her woes. Friends awaited her in Patriarch's World, and so did many powerful enemies, many incomplete tasks, and one matter she had put off for seventeen years.
Most rooms of Themyscira were as Elissa's was with little taking up space but books, a personal computer of some kind, a bed, dresser, desk, wardrobe and the things a young woman would want. Elissa's also included images of the outside world, which hung all over the walls. Pictures of pop stars, movie stars, exotic places, fast fighter planes and such were hung randomly about. The room was also cluttered with clothing and boots, sandals and a few of the weapons that should have been hanging on the walls or put in their places. Her desk was an absolute mess.
Lying belly down on the unmade bed, Elissa had her personal computer open as she studied the screen with wide, dark blue eyes. Absently, she would reach to the bowl of grapes beside her from time to time and slip one in her mouth. Her muscular legs were bent at the knees and crossed at the ankles, slowly kicking back and forth as her lips silently mouthed the words she read. Her long, black hair was pulled over one shoulder and much of it rested on the bed. She was propped up on her elbows, arching her back as her fingers delicately tapped the keyboard from time to time as she read. She had not removed her sandals, which were tanned leather that had straps that criss-crossed around each calf to the knee, nor had she changed into her training attire for the Thermopylae Training Center. She was wearing casual garb that was similar to what her mother was wearing. Facing away from her door, which was wide open, she did not see her mother lean on the door jamb and fold her arms.
Diana watched her for a long moment, and as she saw what was on the computer screen, she slowly shook her head, feeling a little disappointment once again as the girl was studying issues about the outside world and not her school work.
Pushing away from the door, she slowly, silently padded to the bed, and not quite an arm's reach away, she stopped and loudly cleared her throat.
Elissa's entire body jumped and she rolled clumsily over, sitting up quickly on the side of the bed as her wide eyes stared up at the tall Amazon Princess. Raising her brow, she greeted, "Hi Mother. Just studying like you said."
Diana's eyes narrowed slightly as she looked to the computer. "Studying what?"
" Elissa stammered, "it's, uh
post-Greek culture and how the world
Greek influence and stuff like that in
" She cringed and drew her shoulders up as the Princess reached for the computer, and she looked away as she expected the worst.
Reading what was on the screen, Diana's eyes remained blank, but she shook her head as she read aloud, "The latest fashion trends in Hollywood and Paris. Bruce Wayne: The most eligible bachelor in Gotham City, or the world? Denim for formal events this fall." She looked down to Elissa. "Something tells me the Greeks had nothing to do with any of this."
Elissa swallowed hard, still not looking at her mother as she admitted, "I guess not."
Dropping the computer back on the bed, Diana folded her arms again and turned narrow eyes on her. "Is this what you call studying? I just came from the university and your marks are unacceptable, you've been avoiding the training you need with your sisters in arms
You've hardly done any training at all lately unless I assign it to you and make sure you go!"
"I was at the Spartana Training Center all morning," the girl reported dryly.
"Well, now. What a surprise. You went to the training center only an hour late and with your mother harping on you the whole time."
"I go every day, Mother."
"And after, you just lie around in here and read about what is going on outside of Themyscira."
"You expect me to do nothing but train and study," Elissa grumbled, still not looking at her mother, "and I'm curious about the world beyond this island."
"And the triathlon a few days ago? You hardly trained for it and
" Diana loosed a breath and turned away from her daughter. "You should have been out in front of all of them and instead you lagged behind and struggled to finish fifth."
"Fifth isn't all that bad, Mother."
Elissa loosed a little breath of her own, turning her eyes down.
Her mother rubbed her eyes. "I simply don't understand why you aren't more motivated lately. Every other woman out there gives it everything she has every day, but you are content to just get by."
"It doesn't matter how hard I try," Elissa complained. "You're never satisfied."
"I push you for a reason, Little One."
Slamming her hand down on the bed, Elissa shouted, "I'll never be you! Why can't you just accept that?"
"Do not raise your voice at me again!" Huffing another breath, Diana shook her head again and ordered, "Get your armor and your shield. You are expected on the training field at Thermopylae Square in an hour." She turned and strode to the door, warning, "And you'd better not be late this time."
"This is because I'm small, isn't it?" Elissa accused.
Diana stopped in the doorway, her eyes finding the floor in front of her. Something about those words stabbed at her.
"I'm not as big as other amazons," the girl went on, "I'm not as strong, I'm not as tall and I never will be. And all of the training in the world will not change that!"
"Has it occurred to you that there is a reason I push you so?" the Amazon Princess asked softly, frustration evident in her voice.
"Because you want me to be you, but I'm not, Mother. I can't be. Nobody can live up to your standards."
Diana stared at the floor for long seconds, her hands clenching into tight fists, then she turned her head slightly and countered, "You can at least try." She strode out, reminding, "Thermopylae Square in an hour."
Diana stormed through the house common area and to the garden out back. Many plants were in bloom, trees had fruit awaiting harvesting, and birds and butterflies flittered about carelessly. Fountains and statues blurred by as she strode past them with her hands clenched into tight fists, and finally she reached the wall at the other side and propped her forearms on it. She could see the ocean from here, but even the beauty of her home could not calm her restless, angry mind. Looking down at her arms, she saw the gauntlets that were permanently affixed there, seemingly indestructible metal reminders of her commitment to the Gods and to Themyscira, the bondage that she and all Amazons lived in, the servitude they were blessed with and condemned to for all eternity. They meant something more than the simple tools of battle they appeared to be, but her own daughter simply could not see it.
Another woman joined her, leaning her gauntlet encased forearms on the wall as she looked toward the ocean.
"Still at odds with your daughter, I see," the woman beside her observed. This was also clearly a warrior woman of Themyscira. Though many more years had been put behind her than most, an outsider would never have noticed as she still appeared as youthful as any, and one might think she was in her mid twenties. Her long black hair was much like Princess Diana's and, despite having lived the life spans of many mortals, she still remained shapely, tall and strong like the younger members of her kind. Drawing a deep breath, she finally said in a voice that was immune to her many centuries of life, "Thank you for attending to that matter in the Hall of Zeus."
Diana nodded, still staring at her gauntlets.
Her black hair shimmering in the broken sunlight of the garden, Queen Hippolyta turned dark blue eyes on her daughter, just staring at her in silence for a time. She wore the loosely fitting garb of the ancient Greeks and her sword arm was bare. Her skirt fluttered around her knees and her sandals were of the finest quality. One foot was flat against the ground while the other rocked carelessly up on the toe.
Finally, she spoke again. "Such troubles only find you when you are not getting along with my granddaughter."
Diana nodded again.
"She's still just a girl," the Queen reminded.
"I know," Diana confirmed softly, "but now is when she needs to focus. Now is when she will build her greatest strength."
"And at her small stature she will need all she can get," Hippolyta added.
Looking away from her, Diana informed, "That's another reason for me to worry over her like I do."
Grasping the Princess' shoulder, Queen Hippolyta assured, "Diana, if she were ten feet tall you would worry over her all the same." Turning back to the house, the Queen shook her head as she strode that way, entering a few moments later and looking toward the display cases. A smile found her lips as she strode toward them.
With her sword in its sheath on her belt and her shield held over her shoulder by the strap, Elissa stared into the last of the five glass cases against the far wall, and she had her hand almost tenderly on the glass that separated her from the contents as she looked inside.
Hippolyta silently approached and gently slid a hand onto the girl's shoulder, asking in a soft voice, "What is troubling you today, Little One?"
Elissa would not look back at her and even averted her eyes from the older woman's reflection, redirecting her attention to the warrior's garb within. "I grew up wanting to be just like her, and I guess she wanted me to be as well, but I never will be. I've accepted that but she hasn't. She won't."
"Perhaps she just wants you to realize the potential within you. Every mother wants her daughter to grow up to be all the woman and warrior she can be and meet her destiny with great vigor."
"But what if I want more than that? What if I want to leave here someday and see what else is out there?"
Queen Hippolyta slipped an arm around her and pulled her close. "Every now and then a restless spirit like yours emerges. Come here, let me show you something." She led Elissa to the first display case.
Within was an ancient and tattered scarlet top much as the women of the modern Themyscira wore, though this one was trimmed in gold with a golden raptor embroidered across the chest. With it were leather sandals that were just as ancient, and in disrepair. A battered round shield with a gold eagle on it and war weary sword and spear were also displayed, as were rusty greaves and silver gauntlets.
"Her name was Dianitis," the Queen informed, "and she would be the first of us to leave Themyscira. She traveled alone by ship to Greece and found herself locked in a legendary battle with them against their enemies."
Elissa nodded. "The Battle of Thermopylae, the place one of our training centers is named for."
"And she fought with great vigor and savagery," Hippolyta went on. "When the Greeks retreated, she stayed at the side of King Leonidas and his handful of elite Spartan warriors until the very end."
"And she was written out of their history by the very people she fought with," Elissa added.
"That by design, child, to keep Themyscira a secret from the outside. Leonidas' wife saw her remains and armor brought home, and after her son grew to manhood she returned here to live out her days as one of us." She led Elissa to the next display case, one housing scant leather armor that was supplanted with formed steel plates over the shoulders and vital areas. With this armor was a dilapidated sword and a horribly decayed wooden shield. "Boudicca was one who sought to bring peace to a far away land, and was instrumental in uniting many warring tribes." She sighed. "Alas, they had an enemy of great power."
"The Romans," Elissa confirmed softly.
The Queen nodded. "Yes, the Romans. She did not return, but her few belongings were brought back here by a soldier she fought with."
"She was very brave," Elissa said softly.
"All of them were." They moved on to the next were a form fitting suit of steel armor stood. It was in very good condition for its age and the gloved gauntlets still held a heavy broadsword. Etched in gold across the chest was the image of an eagle, and the helmet bore golden wings from the sides and an eagle's head just above the forehead. The gauntlets themselves were marred and battered by many battles and contact with many swords. "The armor of Cassiosha," Hippolyta said. "She was yet another of our greatest warriors, one who left Themyscira to help make peace in a turbulent world."
"And the first to return alive," Elissa added grimly.
Smiling, Queen Hippolyta confirmed, "Yes, the first to return alive. She fought against tyranny in Europe for many long years before coming home."
"Why didn't she stay?"
"I suppose she missed home. It's also possible that she saw the futility in trying to help people who only want war with one another. I'm glad she did, though. She and I were always good friends and I cherish that friendship to this day."
Pulling her grandmother toward the next display case, Elissa looked in and observed, "And here is yours. You left in the late nineteen thirties when you saw where the world was going to take a bad turn."
"World War Two," Queen Hippolyta confirmed. She reflected in silence for a time, just staring blankly at the outfit within. It was form fitting and a heavy material that seemed as if it was meant to repel projectiles. There was not much to it and only covered her from breasts to thighs, ending in a short blue skirt that was covered with white stars. The piece over her torso was all bright red with an eagle of gold across the chest with its wings almost all the way around the back. Settled on the head of the mannequin it was displayed on was a gold tiara with a single red star in the middle of it. Red boots trimmed in gold went all the way to the mannequin's knees, and a golden lasso hung on the right side of the gold belt that was modeled to form what appeared to be two W's in the front, one atop the other.
"You were the greatest of all the Amazons who left Themyscira," Elissa said with a girlish enthusiasm. "You fought the powers of evil when the whole world was tearing itself apart with war."
"That it was," the Queen confirmed softly, staring blankly at the garb before her.
"You don't talk about that time much anymore," Elissa observed.
Smiling slightly, Hippolyta replied, "Perhaps I just ran out of stories to tell."
"Oh, no you didn't. There were adventures and battles you had that people still talk about. You are Themyscira's greatest hero." Elissa stared at her for a moment, growing a little uneasy at the blank look she had. "Granna, what's wrong?"
The Queen drew a breath and softly answered, "It was often a horrible time for me. Some of the things I saw there, some of the things I experienced were so horrible that I don't like to recall them at all, and sometimes they haunt me anyway."
"It wasn't all horrible. I remember the stories you told me when I was a little girl."
Smiling slightly, Elissa's grandmother looked to her and said, "No, they weren't all bad times. There are many pleasant memories there, too." She shook her head. "But, Little One, I am not Themyscira's greatest hero." She looked to the fifth display case and led the girl there. "No, there is one who did far more than I did, one who stayed in Patriarch's World far longer, and one who touched many more lives."
Almost reluctantly, Elissa looked to the last display. It was almost identical to the forth, but it did not have a skirt and just ended in a blue field with white stars, leaving the legs completely exposed. The boots were pretty much the same, though they seemed lighter. The material it was crafted from was much lighter, seemed to breathe better and was clearly made for freedom of movement, for agility rather than protection. The same kind of tiara was on the brow of the mannequin, the same golden lasso. This was the costume her mother had worn for many years.
"This is Themyscira's greatest hero," Queen Hippolyta informed straightly.
Elissa turned a perplexed look on her grandmother. "My mother?"
"That surprises you, Little One?"
But she didn't fight a great war or anything, no great battles."
"Yes, Elissa, she did, and she helped to win that war. Her enemies were often unseen and often struck first and decisively. Hers was not just a war of brute force but one of deception and cunning. She often did not know who or where her enemies were or where they would come from. Dealing with all of that is not an enviable task and I'm not certain I would have come through it as she did."
Lowering her eyes, Elissa pondered what she had been told.
"She truly wants what is best for you," her grandmother went on, "just as any mother would."
Elissa nodded, but countered, "She doesn't seem to always know what that is."
"I'm sure she thought the same of me at times, Little One." Patting Elissa's shoulder, Hippolyta said, "You have much to consider and the training center will be waiting for you."
Starting to turn that way, Elissa paused, her eyes on the floor before her. "Granna, it won't matter. When I do my best she doesn't even notice. She just wants more."
Approaching from behind, her grandmother took Elissa's shoulders and kissed her gently on the back of the head. "I'm proud of you, Little One, but if I'm to remain so, you have to give everything in your life your very best efforts. Do something spectacular and unexpected and show your mother that you are every bit the Amazon warrior she was at your age and more. Just know that she really does believe in youand so do I."
Elissa nodded and softly said, "Thank you, Granna." She felt her grandmother pat her shoulders one more time, then she heard her turn and stride out of the common room. Turning slightly, she fixed her eyes on the outfit her mother had worn, on the tools she had used to bring peace to the world and fight off the evil that still plagued it. No sword, no weapons, just her lasso, her boomerang tiara, her gauntlets, and her wits. A light took her eyes and she raised her chin slightly, then she turned back toward her bedroom and strode that way with a purpose she had never before felt.
The half walled garden behind the house of the Queen of Themyscira was always a beautiful place, well kept. Marble walkways offered pleasant strolls among the flowers and the butterflies that visited them daily. Ancient statues of Themysciran warriors could be found every so often and there were many marble benches about. This was a place that made one think one might be stepping back in time to ancient Greece. Grape vines and olive trees also grew back here, and somewhere in the center was a vegetable and herb garden. However, this only seemed visible to those who took the time to slow their minds and enjoy it, and this day Princess Diana found she could enjoy nothing.
All of that was far from the mind of the woman who had much of the burden of representing Themyscira to the outside world and secretly raising a teenage daughter to adulthood, and the latter weighed itself most heavily upon her.
She was at the other end of the garden after wandering for over an hour and leaned on the four foot tall stone wall, her eyes staring beyond the trees that surrounded her house. She stood there a while, lost in her thoughts, then was drawn from them by a gentle hand slipping around her shoulders.
Queen Hippolyta hugged her tenderly, then finally asked, "You have burdens well beyond your place, Diana."
"And the heaviest of them bears the name Elissa," the Princess grumbled.
"My granddaughter is not so different from you at that age, Diana." When she got an astonished look, she smiled and assured, "Oh, you worked much harder at tasks you were given, but your spirit was then as restless as hers is now. You remember the day you"
"Yes," Diana interrupted, "I do. You were more angry than I had ever seen you, before or since."
"You had something to prove to me. You thought you had something to prove to everyone."
"I was also at the top of my class, the best warrior on Themyscira at the time, and I poured myself into what was tasked to me, not futile studies in the outside world."
"Those futile studies would have served you when you got there."
Reluctantly nodding, Diana softly agreed, "I suppose so."
Taking her arm, the Queen turned her and they walked back toward the house. "Perhaps if you were there to watch her train then she would be a little more motivated to do her best."
"I don't know why she's been so flighty lately," Diana grumbled. "I couldn't wait to get up in the morning and get off to the University or Thermopylae Square or
The only thing she doesn't fight me on is flying. I should just send her to the Air Corps and she'll be their problem."
"You don't mean that, Diana."
With a heavy sigh, Diana shook her head and admitted, "No, I don't. She just frustrates me so! Hera help me. If only she realized how much I love her."
"And the legacy continues," the grandmother chided with a big smile.
"You aren't helping."
"If you were listening, I would be. Diana, she was the first child born on this island and you have to remember that she is not of pure Amazon blood."
"She is as pure an Amazon as any who have come here," Diana argued. "How many have we taken in over the centuries? How many embraced the Amazon gifts that were offered them?"
"They were almost all adults, and all their own woman when they came here. Elissa is still far too young to have grasped her destiny, and so far she has been given nothing beyond her Amazon heritage by the Gods, unlike you."
Diana pulled away and quickened her pace toward the house. "Sixteen years is plenty of time for her to know who she is."
Taking the Princess' side again, Hippolyta shook her head and reminded, "You were curious about the outside at her age as well, much more than I was ever comfortable with."
As they entered the house again, Diana continued to complain, "She's forgotten who she is. She's forgotten her
"Purpose?" Queen Hippolyta finished for her.
Diana huffed a breath. "No, Mother, her duty to Themyscira and the people here, her duties to the world."
Queen Hippolyta laughed softly. "You were much older than she is now when feelings of responsibility and duty became a part of you. And you must remember, daughter of mine, that you are often attending your duties in Patriarch's World and she goes long periods without seeing you, and she worries terribly when you go out to battle the enemies of peace."
Venting a deep breath, Diana turned her eyes down and shook her head again. "And that battle is all the more reason she needs to train harder than any other. I can't bear the thought of what could happen to her if she is forced into such battle now with her training incomplete as it is."
Halfway across the common room, a muscular woman with long brown hair and dressed in light armor entered and strode toward them. She had a sword at her side and her breastplate bore the silver image of a falcon. Raising her chin as she reached her Queen and Princess, she held a hand to them and offered, "Good afternoon, my Queen, my Princess."
"Good to see you, General Phillipus," Queen Hippolyta replied as she took her hand.
Princess Diana's eyes narrowed as she asked, "Aren't you supposed to be at the Square training Elissa?"
General Phillipus half turned her head, her eyes locked on the Amazon Princess as she informed, "She never came to Thermopylae Square. I came here to fetch her."
Diana looked to her mother, who lowered her brow and looked back.
"She isn't here?" the General asked.
"She left for Thermopylae Square an hour ago," Queen Hippolyta informed almost hesitantly.
"Something's wrong," Diana declared. She turned toward the girl's bedroom and froze as her eyes fixed on that last display case, and she breathed, "Oh, Hera! No!"
The other women looked and Hippolyta's eyes widened as she saw the case empty but for the mannequin that was still inside.
All three darted to her bedroom and Princess Diana was the first to burst in, calling, "Elissa!"
As they glanced about, they noticed her wardrobe stood open and some simple clothing, her flight suit, her computer, a few books
All were missing.
"Her duffel bag is missing," the Queen informed, looking to the bottom of the wardrobe.
Princess Diana approached the bed, slowly reaching down to retrieve a folded parchment from the pillow and opened it, reading a few lines before she tightly closed her eyes to collect herself. Looking to the note again, she read aloud,
I'm sorry I'm not everything you want me to be. I intend to make you proud of me no matter what so I'm going to continue the legacy you and Granna started in Patriarch's world. I've borrowed your outfit and armor from the display cabinet, but I promise to bring it back as soon as I've made my mark on the world like you and Granna did. I learned more than you think so don't worry about me. I'm ready and I'll do great. Tell Granna I love her and know that I'll come home a hero just like you did.
I love you,
Princess Diana closed her eyes again and dropped the note, raising a hand to her eyes as she whispered, "Oh, Athena. What have I done?"
Grasping her shoulder, Hippolyta ordered, "Get yourself together. We may still have time to catch her at the air base."
The three women arrived on horseback and jumped down from their mounts, running up to the blond woman with the clipboard who had just left the tower.
Looking to the women who rushed to her, she raised her chin and greeted, "Queen Hippolyta. Princess Diana. What"
"Did my daughter come here?" Princess Diana barked.
"Um," the blond woman stammered, "of course she did. She just took off a half hour ago."
"Where was she going?" Diana pressed.
The blond woman looked confused. "She had the charts you gave her. She said you had
" Her eyes widened. "She said you sent her. For the love of Hera!"
"The transponder," General Phillipus said suddenly. "All of our aircraft have them. We can track her with that even if she's enabled invisibility."
They rushed into the hangar where one of the locater stations was and the blond woman checked her papers for the airplane Elissa had taken. "Here it is. It's an IJ121. Even at its top speed it should still be well within range." She assumed the station and began working the controls. "Okay, code in, and here we are." She blinked as she stared at the screen.
All four women looked to a tool bench on the back wall of the hangar as they heard a rhythmic beep start. They all approached the bench and the blond woman picked up the transponder, staring down at it as she shook her head. "That girl is too smart for our own good."
"How do we find her?" Princess Diana asked desperately.
The blond woman answered, "In that plane, we don't, not without this."
"We know what she is going to do," Queen Hippolyta informed, "and where she is going. Diana now is not the time to panic. We will find her. We will only need to watch their transmissions, and we will know where she is, and when it is time we can bring her home."
Diana slowly shook her head. "She isn't ready for what she'll face. She just isn't ready."
"Don't underestimate her," the Queen ordered. "Elissa may not be especially motivated in her school assignments but she is a girl of tremendous wits and cunning, as she's proven today."
The Princess' hands shook and she took notice. This was a fear she had never experienced and it began to consume her. To calm herself, she drew a breath, then turned to the blond woman and ordered, "Ready an airplane, whatever you have that can leave now!"
The blonde's eyes darted to the Queen.
Hippolyta clenched her jaw and turned her eyes down, and softly she said, "No."
Turning fully to her, Diana barked, "Mother! I must go and"
"And do what?" the Queen snapped back. "Rattle what little confidence the girl has? How do you intend to even find her, Diana? Settle yourself down and think. If we go there now and start searching for her then the whole world will find out about her. Your enemies will find out and then they'll stop at nothing to get to her. We know where she is going, but America is a big place."
"What if she gets hurt?" Diana cried. "Mother, anything could happen to her!"
"Have you no confidence in your own daughter?" the Queen countered.
Diana could only stare back and found herself unable to answer.
Setting her hands on her hips, Hippolyta scolded, "You trained that girl yourself for the most part. She is stronger than any mortal she will meet, she is just as quick with her gauntlets as any of us and she is very well trained."
"She's only sixteen," the Princess said in a meek voice.
"And determined to take up our struggle, and determined more to follow in your footsteps. Besides, I believe Cassandra was younger than that when we released her upon the world."
Diana turned her eyes down, softly countering, "Cassandra isn't my daughter."
Hippolyta drew a long breath and stared back at her daughter for long seconds, then finally offered, "If you would like to go after her now then you should go. I'll support whatever decision you wish to make. Just remember there is already a rift between you two. I remember the rift I caused between us years ago and I don't want to see that happen between you and Elissa."
Her mouth tightening as indecision waged war inside of her, Diana finally nodded and absently said, "I can call Clark. Perhaps he can watch out for her and come to her aid if needed."
Raising her brow, the Queen started, "What about"
"No!" Diana barked, looking back at her mother. "Not now. Not yet."
"He'll have to know sooner or later," Hippolyta pointed out.
"I know," the Princess conceded, "but not now. Things are still too tense."
Nodding, the Queen softly conceded, "As you wish."
Diana took the Queen's hands, terror and distress in her eyes as she admitted, "Mother, I've never been so afraid!"
Something somber was in the Queen's face, and yet she managed a little smile. "So we have come full circle, you and I."