20462Wonder Woman The Forgotten 3
- Nov 9, 2013
J’onn listened intently as his beloved led him across a spacious pavilion lined with stately statues of the Olympian deities.
Nubia said, “I have been reading a few of the mysteries that you and Ralph love so much and if I may use the vernacular, I intend to begin by returning to the scene of the crime so to speak! That is, I mean to journey to Mount Olympus itself and ask the gods to explain the plight that has befallen my homeland!”
The Martian Manhunter smiled broadly. Nubia was a remarkable woman in so many ways. It pleased him that she had taken an interest in his favorite reading materials!
He said, “I admire your logic among other things! Will your plane enable us to make such a cross-dimensional journey? I know it may traverse space itself!”
Wonder Woman said, “Actually, our means of travel is directly in front of you! Look upward at the Grey-Eyed goddess and prepare yourself for a magical experience!”
J’onn studied the huge statue of Athena that loomed far above all the other statues. He knew that Athena and Aphrodite were the main patronesses of the Amazon nation.
“Fascinating! The eyes of the statue are portals to Olympus! I believe I can detect an energy aura that flickers ever so slightly across her eyes when I study them with my Martian vision!” he said.
“You are one of the only people to realize this. My mother and sisters and I were the others. You are part of the family now so it is only fitting that you know the secret of the Oraculum as we call the portal!” she said.
He leaned over and kissed Nubia for a moment and then as she smilingly extended her hand, he flew skyward and the two passed through Athena’s right eye to emerge in an entirely different realm!
J’onn glanced around the seemingly endless vista to see an enormous plaza filled with gleaming temples and ornate columns, pottery, statues, and altars that defied his sense of space and time as they appeared to exist in more than one dimension at a time.
“What we are seeing is merely a representation that our minds may process! The true nature of this realm defies mortal senses!” he whispered.
Nubia said, “It is breathtaking! Donna told me about it and our artisans have created their own versions of it as imparted to them through divine inspiration but it is truly beyond words!”
J’onn frowned and he said, “And it is empty! I can sense no living beings with any of my Martian senses although magic may in fact be clouding them!”
Wonder Woman said, “By Hera! Something is upon us!”
She jumped forward and brought her sword around in a dazzling arc that met a charging beast who seemed to materialize from out of thin air!
The creature was heavily armored and combined the attributes of bird and lion! It roared and screeched its defiance through a razor sharp beak that opened to reveal gleaming teeth. It spread its golden wings as it reared up on its back legs.
Nubia whirled around as she allowed the sword to finish its arc. She kicked out at the griffin and drove it backward from the force of her blow.
J’onn flew upward and then descended with crushing impact. He struck the monster’s back and elongated his arms until they encircled it.
“I can hold it but I can sense it is not alone! I think some kind of invisibility or mental shield is cloaking more occupants!” he said.
Nubia nodded as she ducked beneath a swiping paw and used the hilt of her sword to knock the griffin out.
“I feel them too! Some warrior instinct tells me you are right!” he said.
She grabbed her lasso from on her hip and began to spin it around in a widening circle until the magical fabric began to hum or vibrate as it passed through the air!
“The air is blurring around us! The lasso vibrations are bringing concealed aspects of this realm into sync with us!” she said.
J’onn understood the concept since he was aware that Nubia’s sister Diana had adopted a process not entirely different in technique in order to alter her clothing when she needed to change rapidly from her role as Diana Prince to Wonder Woman. While she had only started using the enchantment or the lasso’s vibrational ability after he had left the JLA years before, he knew about it from a meticulous study he had made of all JLA records upon his return years later!
Slowly, the duo began to see what the magical distortion field had previously concealed. Mount Olympus was not entirely deserted! A few wild monsters from myth roamed aimlessly through the citadel and something….something dark and powerful lurked beyond them within the Palace of Zeus, King of Olympus!
Nubia said, “You feel it too! I can tell. The heart of this mystery lies within!”
J’onn said, “I can handle the monsters if you wish to enter!”
Wonder Woman smiled winningly and said, “Thank you! I hate to wait even a moment when so much is at stake for my sisters!”
She felt the same thrill that J’onn had brought into her life when they first met. He respected her abilities completely and had no hesitancy to trust that she could take care of herself. She didn’t doubt his love for her and she relished the truth that he was completely free from any desire to try to control or inhibit her. He merely loved her and knew that she was driven by the very traits that endeared her to him to risk life and limb as few others could ever do!
She jumped across the plaza and raced up the winding stairs that led into the Palace of Zeus.
He recognized the nearest creature as a Cyclops! The massive humanoid grunted and stumbled about guided by one central eye!
“Green man, you will be a fine meal in spite of your strange hue!” said the Cyclops.
J’onn said, “I beg to differ. In fact, I’d suggest you consider going vegan!”
He stood his ground as the beast lumbered toward him and reached out with a twisted hand.
He grabbed the monster’s wrist and twisted with his own super human strength. The monster cried out and sailed through the air to land with a crash!
It lurched upward for a moment only to collapse as the Martian Manhunter connected with a final punch.
“I hated to do that. The poor creature seemed nearly mindless. I fear that whatever has happened to the Amazons has also left creatures of myth like the Cyclops in a frightened and frantic state!” he thought.
He prepared to intercept the remaining beast as it charged toward him.
The beast combined the attributes of a serpent with a bird. The red scaled creature sniffed the air with a flickering tongue and flapped two leathery wings as it approached.
“Some kind of dragon or…worse still, a salamander!” he gasped as the monster breathed a cloud of black smoke and flames!
He fell backward as the flames sapped his strength.
“My Martian weakness to fire would come into play at the worst moment!” he thought as he rolled to one side and began to study the area in search of the best tactic by which he could defeat the monster!
He ignored his weakened muscles and struggled to plunge into a clear pool that floated as if in the air nearby. Moments later, he emerged across the complex. The salamander was now off in the distance!
“The waters are another form of the portal that led us here. I supposed avoiding the beast is as good as defeating it!” he mused.
He flew toward the Temple of Zeus and hurried to find his wife!
Within the Palace of Zeus, Wonder Woman quickly made her way down empty halls and emerged in a gigantic audience chamber which was dominated by a massive throne.
“Zeus is not here nor are the other Olympians! I may only assume their absence is what has caused the blight on Paradise Island and led to the rather uncontrolled actions of some of their customary captive beasts like the griffin and the bear-maid!” she mused.
She shuddered involuntarily as the dark presence she had felt from outside made itself know!
Dozens of savage looking faces appeared out of a cloud of inky darkness! The heads seemed to be disembodied but they numbered around fifty and they moved with a weird unison but no matter how close they came to the Amazon Princess, they never emerged from out of the blackness that enveloped them!
“The Briareus! The legendary bodyguard of Zeus!” she gasped as the creature rose up and she finally glimpsed its hundred arms from beneath the fifty heads and the inhuman darkness that composed its body.
Nubia was as fleet as Hermes himself but she could not dodge so many hands at once! She fell beneath the crushing embrace of the monster and she gasped as each touch chilled her skin and seemed to freeze her!
“I’m losing feeling in my body! Its touch is poisoning or numbing me!” she thought.
Her sword clattered to the ground after several of the grasping hands had torn it from her. She could not reach the lasso either since her hips had been completely covered by more of the smothering hands.
As her breathing began to slow down, Nubia grabbed her tiara and hurled it with the precision of the Warrior Princess!
The golden tiara sliced directly through the monster’s chest and returned to her outstretched hand.
She grunted with pain as the beast slammed her against the floor and then dropped her as it clutched its own wounded chest.
At that moment, she retrieved her fallen sword and sought to rub the feeling back into her numb limbs. She sheathed her sword and swiftly wrapped one end of the lasso around her other hand. She calmly took her time as the monster moved toward her and then allowed it to charge at her as she nimbly danced aside and looped one pair of its hands within the golden lasso.
“Creature, you who once battled Zeus on order of the Titans, have long since served as his loyal minion! See, the truth that the lasso that binds us both, compels me to speak! I merely seek Great Zeus and wish him no harm! My people have long revered the glory of Olympus!”
Briareus hesitated as the magical power of the golden lasso reached even its small brain and the inhuman creature seemed to cower in confusion.
Nubia studied the beast and then realized, “It doesn’t know what happened to Zeus! Without Zeus and the others to guide them the monsters of myth have been left aimlessly wondering where they may! The curse on Paradise Island is due to the very same source. The blessings of the gods are withering away in their absence! The malice I sensed from Briareus was merely the hostility of what could almost be called a scared and abandoned pet.”
J’onn flew into the room and said, “I sense the truth from your expression! Mount Olympus holds no answers to what has happened to your patrons! The gods and goddess have literally vanished!”
Nubia nodded grimly. “What kind of power could abduct or compel them to leave their home and desert their followers?”