Learning of Fly  

By Isabelle Jennings

Diana has lived on the island paradise of Themyscira all her life, protected by her people's patron goddesses. Lately though, she'd dreamt of challenging the storm barrier and venturing out into the outside world, to test herself, and find the truth of her own heart. Once she does though, the world is not at all what she might have expected, and she struggles to understand. It's then that she meets Remoni-Notra, a Star Sapphire shining with the power of love made manifest, but she also happens to be also a wanted criminal and a thief, running from two Green Lanterns, and Diana, of course, decides to take the side of the beautiful woman she's attracted to, instead of the two violent men perusing her. Somehow though, that might end up getting her into quite a lot of trouble... but then, maybe that's not such a bad thing? SAPPHIRE--THE COLOR OF LOVE BOOK 2: LEARNING TO FLY PART 1: THE THINGS WE WISH FOR ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ --- DIANA --- Diana smiled as she skimmed over the waters of the ocean around Themyscira, her island home, touching the water's surface with her fingers as she went. She put on more and more speed, then arched straight up into the sky, through the clouds and towards the sun. The warmth felt good, and, though the air hitting her skin was very cold that high up, it was all just a thrilling, joyous sensation, bringing her no pain or discomfort. As she rose though, she began to see the hidden storm and thunder. She was tempted to keep going, but once again let her mother's voice hold her back. This barrier of storms was the work of the goddesses, meant to keep her and her people safe from the world beyond that had been so full of hardships and strife that Athena, Artemis, Hestia, Aphrodite, and Demeter brought together the souls of their faithful followers and made them born anew though Gaea's grace--immortal and forever to live here in paradise. They set her mother, Hippolyta, as queen and in time fashioned her a daughter as answer to her heart-felt prayer. That was who she was, Diana, the only daughter of paradise, gifted with power like no other, for what reason she did not know. 'Surely the goddesses would look poorly on any who sought to turn away from the gift of paradise' her mother told her. 'It would be best not to test their forgiveness. Besides, what could you hope for that is not already given you?' But, to herself, Diana always wondered: Why would the goddesses give her the ability to fly far and wide if they did not mean her to use it? Why would she be trained as a warrior if not to experience an adventure? Diana sighed. "Maybe tomorrow, my great mystery." She told the storm. She floated down to the island and smiled as she saw a familiar face on the cliff where she liked to come and read sometimes (over the long centuries, her people had written some truly great books; history, science, philosophy, fiction, she particularly enjoyed the romances, and more besides--she herself had even written a book of poems and short stories at one point in her younger years). She landed in front of this woman and kissed her, pressed her body into hers and felt her loverfs body welcome her; her lover's arms, hands slide over her body. Her warmth, her scent, the feel of her skin on hers, the fabric of her clothing, the small, intimate sounds she made, their tongues dancing together in a playful battle for dominance that neither cared to actually win. "MMmm, my beloved." She smiled to her, resting one hand on the other woman's shoulder, the other caressing her hair. "Diana." Phillipus answered, smiling, her hands resting on Diana's waist, eyes looking into hers. Phillipus: Her mother's general at arms and protector. She had been Diana's first crush and, for the last two years or so (one didn't keep exact track of time for most things on Themyscira), she had also been her lover. Diana kissed her softly again and Phillipus kissed her back with a little more of a sense claiming in her lips this time. Phillipus was so beautiful and so full of life, but she was also brave and strong, and even Diana's mother deferred to her on some matters. She was considered one of the very best warriors on the island. And she was also very kind, tender, and exciting as a lover, while also being... noble and so sure of herself. It all added up to this sort of magnetism about her that made Diana feel so... lost to her sometimes, overwhelmed, in a way she very much enjoyed being overwhelmed. Diana smiled joyfully as the kiss ended and she pulled back a little. "You looked for me here? You missed me?" Diana asked, pleased if her assumption were true. "You do seem to fly away from me more often of late, it worries me... where I am ill used to worrying such over anything at all." Phillipus admitted with some small hint of uncharacteristic insecurity in her voice. Diana's smile softened and she stroked her lover's beautiful face, searching Phillipus's eyes for an answer to a vague question that was not yet fully formed in her mind's eye. "I may fly away, that is true, but the memory of the touch of your lips, your hands, always draws me back, does it not?" Her heart was beating faster now than it had when she'd been flying. Something wasn't right between them anymore, and she badly wished for it not to be so. Badly wished to forget that feeling and just be lovers with no care for anything but one another's sweet touch once again. That's how it had been between them in the beginning, but something had crept in, some thief, or imagined demon, so that it seemed every time Diana saw her lover now, there was a little more... fear... in her eyes. It was confusing and Diana hated it, hated that she could somehow be the cause of it; but, at the same time, as much as she searched for an answer, she didn't know how she could have caused it, or how to make it go away, besides perhaps ending it between them, which her heart very much did not wish her to do. Phillipus smiled to her for saying this. A sweet, charmed smile, one that showed of an innocence and soft joy she would rarely show to others. A lover's gift, one to be treasured, thought Diana, feeling very privileged to be able to see such a thing and know it was meant only for her. Her mother had been right, Diana thought as she kissed Phillipus softly again, trying to forget her worries, there was precious little in her life that she could rightly want for. And yet, even as she pressed her lips more closely to her lover's, opened her mouth, and danced her eager tongue with her loverfs, still there was a longing in her. A longing to test herself, to see what her limits were. How far she could fly, how true she could love if challenged, could she look in the mirror one day and see the nobility and sure grace she saw in her lover in her own eyes perhaps? She knew the souls of her sisters had seen great tests and trials before they were carried here to paradise, and that they all carried with them the memories of that shared experience. But she had no such memories of the soul, no such shared connection of history to bind her so to her sisters. And she wished to. She wished to be able to walk with them on the beach and feel herself their equal, truly their equal. To be able to say that she too had struggled and fought and shown her bravery--proven, if only to herself, the quality of her soul to be a match for theirs. If she could do that, she thought to herself, then maybe... maybe she would know what to say or do to make things right between her and her lover again. Maybe she would know how to make things right within herself. "So far, it always has it seems." Phillipus replied as their kiss ended again. They stood there in a close embrace, the ocean's winds blowing against them. "The dreams I have, of testing the storms, they trouble you still. You believe... that I will not come back to you, not keep faith with you in the outside world, perhaps?" Diana asked without judgment. Phillipus lowered her eyes from Diana's. "You cast unearned shame on me, asking such a thing." She replied softly, looking again back to Diana's eyes. "I do not worry for your fealty as a lover... Should you chose another over me one day, I could accept it. It is often the way of such things for us here. Forever is a long time indeed, after all." "Then what? What troubles you so?" Diana asked, secretly a little disappointed in her lover's reply. She would have... hoped, perhaps, for some, well, if not jealousy, a stronger sense of propriety or possessiveness then. A stronger denial, a stronger belief in their connection, or perhaps just a stronger belief from Phillipus in Diana herself. Or possibly that belief was there and Diana simply didn't know where to look? She doubted herself, found herself doubting herself more each time she flew into the sky and came back down to the ground, letting her mother's words hold her back. "The world outside this island, Diana..." Phillipus began, but stopped as she saw Diana begin to close herself off. She brought her hand up to caress Diana's long raven hair. "I worry that it will one day take you from me. If..." She sighed, deciding to admit to a selfish thing, if only to cover up the larger worry in her that she knew her lover would not easily forgive her for voicing. "If you took another of our sisters as a lover in my place, I would still see your smile each day, be able to talk with you, play in the water, or spar with you. You are the only one here who can best me every time, and that is a rare gift, you know... But if this other world stole you from me, I could, we all could lose you... You are a light to us Diana." She caressed Diana's face and looked deeply into her eyes. "You have become a light to me; my life would be darker for your lacking, and I do not wish it to be." She admitted. Diana felt her defenses go down and warmth sweep through her heart once more. She kissed her lover and felt her skin come alive at touching her. "Your words are beautiful... They sing to me. Sometimes though, I think words... only get in the way?" She kissed her lover's neck, behind her ear, slid the cloth from her shoulder. "Diana..." Phillipus sighed. "Shh..." Diana kissed her lips again. "Just be here with me--I am here with you, am I not?" She asked hopefully. "...You are." Phillipus agreed, kissing her forcefully, her hands coming to Diana's cheeks. Diana felt the rush of passion come through her as she kissed back just as ardently, sliding her hands over her lover's body, seeking to free her of her of her clothes. "Lay for me..." Phillipus told her. Diana shivered a little at the tone of her voice, the desire she heard there. The need. "No, not yet..." Diana smiled to her playfully, looking into her eyes as if in challenge for a moment and liking what she saw in them back. A question: 'Would you have me lie for you then?' Diana considered it. She did enjoy being on top, being the one to claim, even though she more often found herself being claimed where Phillipus was concerned, and she liked that just as much, if not, perhaps, just a little bit more. But no, later, now she wanted to... to let her lover know something somehow, and she didn't have words for it, so she hoped maybe this would do as well... Her lover's clothes falling from her, Diana stepped back and undid her own clothing, letting them fall from her, even as their eyes never left one another. She then stepped forwards and brought her hands of Phillipus's chest, her thumps to her nipples. Phillipus held her waist and looked into her eyes, hunger there, trust, but also, she was unsure of herself, or more likely, of Diana, of what Diana was going to do, and not just in this moment, and that bothered Diana, she wanted... she wanted to prove to Phillipus... something... She lowered herself slowly to her knees then, running her hands down Phillipus's body, relishing the feeling of her skin and her sleek, sinewy physique. On her knees, she began to lick her lover's sex. "Oh, Diana..." Phillipus spoke softly, spreading her stance a little and bringing her hands to Diana's head, tangling them a little in her hair and caressing her scalp as Diana moved in closer and pleasured her. Before long, it became evident to Diana that her lover was having trouble staying on her feet (surely, Phillipus was strong enough to, if she were to master her desire, but truly, why would she wish to?), and though she knew she could hold her up, easily even support her weight on her face if she wanted to, the grass seemed a somehow more sensible option, so she stopped and sat back a little, looking up into her lover's face, running her hands up and down Phillipus's waist. She didn't speak, nether did Phillipus. Her lover just caressed her hair, brought her hands down to her cheeks and looked into her eyes before lowering herself down to her knees as well and kissing her. "You are so beautiful..." Phillipus softly told, climbing astride her lap and kissing her more forcefully. "Mm, no more talking..." Diana asked softly into her ear, nipping at it playfully, though she naturally appreciated the complement. She urged Phillipus up a little and took one of her tits between her lips, kissing and licking at it, Phillipus holding her head to it tighter. Diana's hands had been on her lover's ass, but she brought one up to her second tit and the other down between them to Phillipus's wet and waiting sex. She played her fingers up and down it's opening, waiting a moment until she heard Phillipus groan a little more neadily in want before slipping her fingers inside. Just teasing a little at first, she soon pressed her fingers deeper in and started to rock her. Letting go of her tit and using her free hand to hold her ass again, she switched her mouth from one nipple to the other, Phillipus grinding herself on Diana's hand, taking one hand from Diana's hair to her back and leaning more of her weight on Diana as she moved over her in steady rhythm. Feeling her lover against her, the way she moved, her heat, her life, the amazing way it felt to feel her like this, so close to her, and to give her such pleasure, hear her soft sounds as she made love to her, it always went to Diana's head, thrilled her, gave her such a feeling of being alive. It was like nothing else, being with a woman you loved like this. She badly wished for it to be enough, for it to bind her and her lover together and make their worries fall away forever until this was all there was and all she wanted. At moments like this, she could even believe that might, would happen. She felt the flood of Phillipus's orgasm over her hand, heard her soft cry of ecstasy, and simply held her to her, resting her head against her chest and closing her eyes, wishing that moments like this of clarity, where everything felt perfectly right, would last longer, but she could never quite hold onto them for long. She slid her hand from Phillipus's sex and brought it's fingers to her lips to taste her lover. Phillipus watched this and their eyes met and Phillipus moved in to capture her lips in a lingering, bliss-filled kiss. "What you make of me..." Phillipus spoke softly. "What do I make of you, I wonder? I wish to work my ways on you again... hear you call my name..." Phillipus moved up from her lap and Diana found herself being laid on her back below her lover, the thought of resisting this advance the very furthest from her mind. She kept looking into her lover's eyes and was captivated once again by them. When Phillipus looked at her in this way, Diana knew herself to be utterly helpless to resist her--when Phillipus looked at her like this, Diana could do nothing but give herself over to her lover, heart and soul. "I am yours..." Diana pledged softly, touching her lover's face reverently, remembering how many times when she was younger she dreamed of this, of being with this woman, and how completely fulfilling it felt the first time her desire had been fulfilled, the second time, the third... and so many times since. "Then be mine, Diana, be mine..." Phillipus moved down on her and kissed her roughly, taking her wrists and pressing them to the grass, sliding her thigh between Diana's legs and sliding against Diana's already very aroused sex. She started kissing Diana's neck, behind her ear, then she captured Diana's lips again, moving her hands up Diana's wrists until they were holding hands. Diana raised her legs up and felt her lover slide her wet sex over her thigh too. She arched her back and closed her eyes when Phillipus broke off kissing her and started nipping at her ear and the skin of her neck. "Oh, yes..." Diana breathed, moaning as she arched her back again. She was so completely turned on, her body was singing just pleasure, happiness, lust, passion... love. Before too long, Diana felt herself just falling, crashing, flying over the edge of sexual and emotional fulfillment. It just felt so good. That was one of her gifts too. Not only had Aphrodite given her uncommon beauty, she had also given her a gift for making love. She instinctively knew the ways of another woman's body, what would bring her lover the most pleasure. And for herself, she had seemingly endless stamina for this, especially so the more her heart and soul were completely invested of course. "You didn't say my name..." Phillipus told her softly, running her fingers over Diana's now sensitive feeling sex, still holding one of her hands with her other hand. Diana looked through bliss-filled eyes to meet her lover's gaze and she smiled softly to her. "Then take me again, my love, and again if you want... I am yours, remember?" "How could I forget?" Phillipus replied just a little playfully, a flicker of uncertainty behind her gaze appearing and disappearing. "What?" Diana asked softly. "...It is not something I am proud of, but... Sometimes I wonder if I am more yours than you are mine." Phillipus told her honestly. Diana looked into her eyes, her gaze hardening. "Then perhaps I should leave? Perhaps you would be better off with someone... more worthy of your trust?" She made to sit up, feeling angry and embarrassed, vulnerable and a little ashamed or guilty, she wasn't sure which. "Diana, no." Phillipus pushed against her, but to no effect; she could not stay or move Diana back an inch, Diana was that much the stronger. With effort, Diana made herself stop. "What do you want from me? To be someone other than who I am? That makes no sense!" Diana told her a little bitterly. "I will be someone different, in time, like anyone else, but who am I to say who that woman will be? And how long she will take to come into being? Or if she will even be a woman you will still love? You have a choice. Love me, trust me now, as I am, and stop wishing I were someone other, some woman who does not even exist, for that surely won't happen, or just... let me go." Diana met Phillipus's eyes with challenge. Phillipus looked away a moment, then slowly met her eyes again. "You shame me." Phillipus responded softly. "...Deservedly so, I think." She admitted, caressing her cheek gently. "I have... I have never loved easily, Diana. And rarely, if ever, with such... intensity... as you bring out in me. It... you, frighten me sometimes. You are so much stronger than me, than any of us. You could lift a mountain for all I know, but that has never scared me about you... What scares me, is... how easily, with just a few words, you could cause me such pain as I have... rarely felt. And do not wish to feel again... It is cowardly, is it not?" She spoke in quiet confession. Diana met her eyes and soon smiled, just a small, gentle, little smile. "It's honest." Diana replied softly, caressing her lover's cheek with the back of her fingers. "And... such honesty is... it's anything but cowardly, Phillipus. You have no cause to feel ashamed..." Diana kissed her. "We can work, we can be together." Diana smiled a little ruefully. "It actually makes me feel a little better, to tell you my own truth." "...Why would it do that?" Phillipus asked. Diana smiled just a little wickedly. "Because it means you have a flaw, like me. You're not perfect. When usually... that's just how you seem to me. Perfect. It can be a little intimidating, if we are confessing things. I often wonder, actually, why you chose me." Phillipus shook her head a little. "I didn't choose you, not really." She told her honestly. "...What do you mean?" Diana asked. Phillipus caressed the side of her face fondly. "It always felt to me, like -you- chose -me-. That I had little choice in the matter." She admitted. Diana was confused by that and it apparently showed on her face. Phillipus shook her head. "That was supposed to sound romantic, I'm sorry." She smiled a little. Diana shook her head a little. "In the beginning, it was so easy between us, wasn't it? We spoke the same and heard the same. No longer, it seems." "...Words aren't everything." Phillipus told her. Diana met her eyes. "No. To a bird, they are nothing at all. To us though, they are as a painter's brush, are the not?" Phillipus was silent a that. She remembered the book those words were from. She'd read it too. Without the brush, there was still paint, still canvas, but if you had to use your bare fingers only, the painting would be far less than it could be. Words were not the world, and they were not a woman, but without them, the book argued, life for a woman would be far less than it could be. She sighed. "They are that." She admitted, though she somehow wished Diana's mind were not always quite so keen to make such arguments so readily. She often found herself surprised by her in that way, and not always pleasantly. Particularly lately. "We are both too easily stung by them, none the less, I think. Both, perhaps, too proud." Diana considered that. "...That may be true." She admitted, though reluctantly. Privately, she doubted whether it was though. "If it is though, what is to be done about it?" Phillipus asked softly. Diana considered that for only about a second before she grew frustrated and decided she didn't want to think about it any longer. That maybe Phillipus had a point about ignoring words, at least for the here and now. So she got up to her knees and turned to face her lover and meet her eyes. She placed her hands on Phillipus's shoulders and pushed her back gently to the ground, conveying with her eyes what she wanted. Phillipus was caught in Diana's eyes and very glad that she'd decided to end their conversation in favor of something far more easy and enjoyable. She had never been one who was overly skilled in matters of verbally communicating her emotions to a lover, having become far too practiced at keeping such things to herself over her long life. It was why she always had trouble keeping a lover for very long. Her lovers would invariably grow frustrated with the emotional distance between them and leave, or she would break it off before it got to that point when she saw it coming. With Diana though, she had opened herself up more to her than she had to anyone in... a very long time. And she was trying, trying very hard, to keep her from leaving. Because the truth was, no matter what she'd said, she was... frightened, perhaps even a little terrified... of the idea of Diana leaving her, even only for someone else on the island... of how much she knew it would hurt her to go through that. Diana's lips were on hers--demanding, hungry--their hands exploring one another's bodies. Phillipus gasped as Diana broke the kiss and began to kiss her neck, then down further. She had loved this way once before. Only once. The one she had loved... when Antiope, sister of Hippolyta, had split from them before the exodus to Themyscira, her lover had gone with her, while Phillipus had reminded loyal to her queen, as she always had. Over the long years since, she had gone over that decision many, many times, wondering if she had chosen correctly or not. As Diana's lips closed on her tit and began to suck roughly, she felt shocks of familiar pleasure, yes, but her mind, refusing to quiet yet, wondered to herself if she was now at a similar moment of choice. The trouble was, she did not know which choice would allow her to keep the one she loved this time. Should she insist Diana stay and risk it driving them apart, or support her desire to leave and risk her safety and the possibility that she would not return, or return and a different woman, one who she might ill recognize and who might no longer hold feelings for her the way she once had? Before long though, Diana's attentions had driven such thoughts from her and she found herself completely focused on the here and now and wishing to enjoy her lover while she had her, for she had lived far too long to think that there were any guarantees of keeping her. They spent much of the rest of the evening like that; making love, enjoying one another's company, both trying to forget what troubled them. Later in the evening, they went out to the beach to watch the sunset together in one of their favorite spots. Epione and Mala join them and Diana started a conversation about what the outside world might be like now. Epione and Mala each offered their own theories, Epione was more optimistic, saying that she's hopeful things have changed, while Mala told them that she hopes for the best for that place, but honestly feels it doomed to suffering, for women most of all (she brought up Aresiafs story as evidence that the outside world had changed little in their time away), and that she is simply grateful to be so blessed as she is. Phillipus was mostly silent, only offering token replies. Later still, the two lovers walked along the beach together under the dying sunlight and the half moon, Diana deciding to break the silence that had been growing between them. "You were silent." She made the observation. "...I'm not sure what I could have said." Phillipus admitted. "I don't know how to help you with this." "You worry about me still, I see." Diana looked off down the beach towards the palace. "How can I not? Your eyes when you talk of the world outside our home tell the tale all too clearly. They tell of where your heart truly lies, and I fear it may not be with us." Phillipus confessed. "Perhaps not even with me." Diana stopped and Phillipus turned to face her. "So now it is your turn to cast shame, I see." Diana looked up to meet her lover's eyes. "You do not understand my feelings, nor I yours. No matter how I might wish it were otherwise." Diana turned away and walked over to a large rock to sit on. She looked and saw Phillipus coming to sit next to her. "Tell me then, tell me of your feelings, sweet Diana. So that we may come closer to this true understanding that is lacking for us." Phillipus offered. Diana studied her lover's eyes a moment, then looked to the sky. "Every time I fly there, yet turn away, I feel... shame. I feel..." She looked to Phillipus's eyes. "Less and less worthy of you." Phillipus looked genuinely surprised. "How could you...? Diana." She took her lover's hands. "Help me understand. How could such a thing be? That you feel such things? Has someone... has someone said these unkind things to you, to make you doubt yourself?" She looked truly angry at the very thought. Diana laughed. "No, no one has done any such thing. Though, I suppose, everyone, even you, has brought this on in me. But the fault is not yours or anyone else's but my own." "Diana, sister, speak plainly, please." Phillipus urged. "That's just the thing, just there. We call each other sisters, but are we truly so? You have all been tested together, proven yourselves. Proven yourselves fierce and noble; you all share this... this way about you. A shared memory, a shared past, some great trials you have fought through and... and earned your place here." Diana spoke. "But not so you." Phillipus spoke the unsaid thought, understanding finally coming to her. Of course Diana might feel that way, she felt herself blind not to have seen it before now. It explained so much. "Not so I." Diana repeated. "How can I not doubt myself, when I feel as though I don't yet -know- myself? When I don't yet know as it is plain for me to see that you know of yourself--that you truly have courage, that you can truly say to a lover that you would fight for her, suffer for her if need be.h Left unsaid was the fact that Diana had never felt physical pain or felt herself in any danger no matter how skilled her sparring opponent. Sword, spear, arrow, stone, ocean, fire--none could harm her in the least. Not once in her life had she ever felt physical pain; did not even actually know what it was in any real sense. She wondered if perhaps she even could -be- challenged in a fight, could ever suffer a woundc unless perhaps she fought a god or a goddess, and that seemed such an absurd thought to her. gYou need not wonder of such things in others, only in me. Sometimes... sometimes I wonder, why you chose me? As your lover? I know I've asked before, but you never really answered. Surely another would havec" Phillipus laughed a little, she couldn't help it. "You truly don't know, do you?" She asked quietly. "Know what?" Diana asked in return. "When you look at me, what do you see that makes you love me?" Phillipus smiled. "Only everything, that's all." She told simply, looking out over the ocean. Diana was quiet then, and they sat there in the night with only the moonlight to see by. "I think, perhaps I should go." Diana finally spoke. "Diana, why..." Phillipus stopped herself, and then looked over to her lover. "Why can't you simply..." She took her lover's hand in both of hers. "Can you not just... let yourself be happy here?" "So far I have failed at that, it seems. In recent times, at least." Diana admitted. "I know, and it saddens me greatly that... This is a blessed place Diana. The things you envy, they are not truly, they are not what you see in them. Not things anyone should seek, least of all you." Phillipus touched Diana's face. "You asked what I see in you, so I will say: Among the many qualities that make you desirable, one among them is that you are so... untouched. Perfect you could even say. You have no bad memories, none of the things you say you covet in us. It reminds me, perhaps, that I was once that way, a very long time ago. And when I look into your eyes, I suppose I feel that way again, if only perhaps fleetingly." She looked into Diana's eyes with great intent. "It is a singularly rare gift, Diana. Precious in any time or place. To have what you would so easily throw away. I suspect many here would gladly trade you their suffering for your lack." Diana got up from the rock and looked out over the night ocean. "...I hadn't realized that you..." She spoke. "I think... I think perhaps I should be alone, for a time." She considered, not looking back to her lover as she started to walk inland towards the forest lands. "Diana... Just... give it more time, please..." She called. Diana turned to her. "More time?" She asked. "A few decades, maybe a century. Just stay, stay and try to let this place heal your doubts. I will, I can be enough for you. If you'll let me. I have to believe that." Phillipus spoke with passion. Diana kept eye contact and walked towards her lover, giving her a soft kiss. "Thank you." Was all she said and then she was gone, Phillipus looking around in all directions and finding her nowhere. It was no use, she knew--with her gifts, Diana could be on the other side of the island already for all she knew. Momentarily at a loss, Phillipus cast her eyes upon the palace and hung her head. "My queen, what am I to do with this daughter of yours?" She asked softly to the night, raising her head to go ask Hippolyta that question in person. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PART 2: SOME THINGS SHOULD BE BROKEN ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ --- DIANA (continued) --- Diana flew high in the night sky, few clouds left about, the moon's light and that of the stars reflecting on the waters below. She looked up again, imagining she could see the storm barrier she knew was there but could not see at this distance unless she focused her eyes deliberately on it, which she did not want to do. She floated there for minutes on end, looking off into the seemingly endless night sky and thought to herself: What am I to do? Should she listen to her lover, and try to simply let time work it's magic upon her, or should she... should she listen to the call within her? And was it a call, or was she being a fool, letting her own doubts about herself rule her where she would be wiser not to? Phillipus loved her, she would have to be blind not to see it was so. Wouldn't it be the proof of her heart's quality to honor that gift and stay for her when she was so wanted? She sighed. If only the decision were a clear one. Her doubts had given birth to many children this night. She wanted to believe the best of her lover, but even there, Phillipus's words could be taken in a poorer light that she did not like to think on. How she longed to know for sure. To have a sense for this, to be able to tell what was truth from what was not. She turned her back to the sky and flew to the spot she had met Phillipus on the cliff earlier in the day. She sat on the edge of the cliff there and just let herself think. She hadn't realized how the time had passed when she saw the first rays of sunlight. Sighing to herself, she levitated up and alighted on the ground, deciding to walk back to her home. "I have decided then--I will stay." She told herself, having decided sometime during the night that she could not quite bring herself to say no to her lover's plea. Even if she were not quite sure of herself, she decided she had to believe in the one she claimed to be in love with--otherwise, what was the point of being in love in the first place? If you didn't believe, didn't trust enough to open yourself, you couldn't even have very good love making, could you? So she had to believe, otherwise, she'd be a coward, and that was the one thing she most dearly wished not to ever be. She thought of going back to their home to tell her lover of her decision, but instead she decided on a whim to go somewhere else. And so, in seconds she found herself in a far off corner of the island. By the water there was a tower that hadn't been used in many years for anything but storage until Aresia had asked to have it for her own. She had wanted space for... reflection, Diana remembered the word the blonde haired younger woman had used. Aresia had come to the island from the outside world, cast upon their shores in a shipwreck. She had had a terrible experience at the hands of men on the ship she had been a passenger on. She had seen her mother be ravaged and killed before her eyes. Diana found she could hardly imagine such things, even now. She understood the words meanings intellectually, but the fact of them just made so little sense to her. She rang the bell by the door and waited a moment. "Aresia?" Diana called. "It's Diana, are you at home?" She asked, but got no immediate answer. She sighed and let herself float off a little, looking past the tower out to the ocean, listening to the waves. She had made friends with Aresia, had been one of the only ones who really had been able to (not that others hadn't tried of course), she closed herself off so much. They had even been lovers, once, if only for two nights. Aresia had cried the second night and told her she needed time and that she'd wanted to be alone. Diana had given her that, approaching her again in a few days. They'd stayed friends, but had never been lovers again, and in recent years Aresia had been keeping to herself more and more and Diana had let the friendship wane more than she probably should have, occupied with her own growing inner struggles and with a new lover as she had been. "Diana?" Aresia's voice spoke, Diana turned and smiled to see her friend at the door. "Hi." Aresia smiled back a little shyly. Diana floated down to the ground close to her friend and smiled more brightly. "You have a lover in your bed, I can see it in your face." She spoke her instant appraisal happily, hugging her. "And she makes you very happy." She assessed, standing back and looking into Aresia's eyes. "She does..." Aresia admitted, tilting her head to the side a little and smiling just a bit indulgently to her friend. Diana had always had a way of being surprisingly perceptive where Aresia had been concerned. Sometimes Diana thought perhaps that was the reason they hadn't worked as lovers, that she'd seen too much of her friend too quickly and that had caused Aresia to shy away from her. "Would you... like to meet her?" "If you want me to?" Diana asked, playing with her friend's hair a little. Aresia took Diana's hand in hers and kissed it in a way that showed how she cared. "Come in then." She took Diana by the hand and led her inside and up the stairs to the top level of the tower and Aresia's bed chamber. The warm sea breeze blew in and the view was lovely, especially, Diana had to admit, if she looked over at the bed where a woman was opening her eyes and getting up in bed, smiling to them both disarmingly. Diana was surprised though, because... she'd never seen this woman before. She thought she knew everyone. True, there were thousands of women in Themyscira, but Diana had been sure she knew them all by sight, knew all their names, and had talked with them all at least once in her life, most a good deal more than that. "Hello..." Diana offered, curiously looking this woman over and trying to decide if she were... trustworthy. "Hello... Diana of Themyscira. It's a pleasure to meet you." The woman offered her hand, covering her chest with a sheet. Diana took the hand and held it for a little, her and the woman's eyes holding one another's. Diana let go and looked over to Aresia who was just now sitting down on the bed next to her lover. "This is Cassandra Colchis, she's a..." She looked over to her lover momentarily. "Visitor. To your beautiful island." She told, getting out of bed and going to retrieve her clothes, giving Diana a view of her unclothed body. Nudity wasn't a taboo in Themysciran culture, though it was accepted to wear clothing in public; in a residence or on the beach it was very common to go unclothed if you preferred. This woman looked like she'd had to take a moment to decide between modesty and expediency--apparently having decided on the latter. Diana saw Aresia looking at her lover with obvious want as Cassandra got dressed and that made her smile, that she was at ease with herself enough to feel that way in front of her. She seemed... better. More comfortable in her own skin, Diana supposed. "If you are, that would be a first to my knowing. Unless you are a goddess, but I've never heard of a goddess with your name." Diana spoke curiously, sitting down on the edge of the bed a little ways from Aresia. "How did you get here?" "Oh, you'd be surprised where I've been, Diana... No, I'm no goddess. Though, like yourself, I'm not without... power. And you needn't worry over me with your friend. After all, would I have been able to come here at all had your goddesses wished to bar me?" Cassandra asked. Diana just shook her head and smiled a little. "You are a wonder then." She told. Cassandra titled her head to the side a little and smiled as though amused. "If you say so, I thank you for the complement." She replied, moving between Diana and Aresia to get back on the bed. Diana turned around and Aresia went to snuggle up to her lover against the headboard. "Come closer." Cassandra beckoned Diana. Diana complied, taking off her sandals and moving to the center of the bed and crossing her legs. "You haven't been to see me in a while." Aresia commented. "Is it because of Phillipus... or because of me?" Diana tilted her head down a little. Aresia was nothing if not too the point--even tactlessly blunt at times--it was another quality Diana liked in her. "Some because of Phillipus." She admitted, looking up to her friend. "None because of you. Mostly because of myself. I fear, besides time with my lover, I've been rather... anti-social, of late. Perhaps you could relate in some small way?" She teased Aresia. Aresia smiled. "Me? Oh, never sister." She actually blushed, just a tiny little bit. Diana smiled at that. She was always acting... strong, in control around other people, but she wasn't like that when the two of them were alone. She was happy Aresia had found a lover she could show this part of herself around too. "So, uh, what made you imitate me then? And, then, are you here for advice on brooding perhaps? I can give pointers." She offered playfully. Diana saw Cassandra close her eyes and snuggle into Aresia's hair a little, sniffing her, at this. It was cute. "No, I am as talented as I care to be in that area, thank you for your offering." Diana answered with a little of a smile. "But, what... made me your imitation, is a... restlessness. I wish to test myself, fly against the barrier. I wish it more and more as the days pass. But everyone tells me no. To give myself time. What do you think?" She asked. Aresia was quiet a moment, thinking. "I think... maybe you should go. The outside world, they... there are probably a lot of young girls, women, out there, that you could help. But... it is... awful, and ugly. I wish I could... I wish it could be like it is here, with no... men. Sometimes I dream about killing them. As though if I could travel through time, as I am now, and kill the men who murdered my mother. Save her from them--save everyone. But... it's your decision, Diana. I would, I would never tell you to leave your home, for a place like that." Diana could see the anger, the hatred in her friend's eyes. She had seen that look in some of her other sisters' eyes when they talked about the before, but never so intense. It made her sad, but it also made her angry as well, that someone had put that look in her dear friend's eyes. "Thank you." Diana answered softly. "For what?" Aresia asked. "Many things." She simply replied with a small smile. "And what about you, mysterious visitor to a hidden land? What do you think I should choose?" Cassandra looked to her. "Do what makes your heart... sing." She advised. "Is that to fly away, or stay with your lover here?" Diana thought of it. "Both." She admitted. "Which one more?" Cassandra asked. "Differently. One is a wonder, one I won't know until I travel there. The other is... I am in love, but it is... fragile, I think. I fear it may break, easily." She admitted. "Some things should be broken, Diana. Some things, you smile just a little when you break them, don't you? And anyway, if this love of yours is worth having, it wouldn't break so easily as that, would it?" She offered. "Don't act, or fail to act, from fear. Fear is a monster Diana, to be beaten, bloodied and butchered, at every opportunity. Love makes your heart fly, princess of paradise, but it also makes it afraid of falling more than anything else." Diana just looked at this woman and shook her head a little. "Unusual advice, but... worthy, none the less, I think." She admitted. "I will think on it. And I thank you as well. Now, tell me, if it would please you to, what is your story, that you come to our island so?" She was still curious, and she needed to think on that counsel both of these women given a while. Cassandra smiled and met Diana's eyes intensely. "I like that you can meet my gaze so easily." She complemented. "Not many can." She looked to the ocean and seemed to let her thoughts drift. "I am from the same homeland as your people, your sisters. Greece. I was born a long time before your mother and her sister colonized the Sapphic Isle though. I was born on another island. I was singularly gifted in the arts of magic. A long story made short, the magic inside me lets me neither age nor die. I've lived many lives, known many people, and now I am here. As for why? I visited once, many years ago, but found no peace here. I thought to perhaps give it another try. So far, it's going somewhat better than I'd expected." She kissed her lover. "Does my mother know you are here?" Diana asked curiously. "Only the three of us know that." Cassandra answered. "Besides the goddesses." Diana allowed. Cassandra laughed softly. "Well, I wouldn't presume to speak for them." Diana smiled a little at the corner of her mouth, not quite sure what to make of this woman. She was hard to get a sense for really, more so than anyone Diana had ever met. She could usually get a feel for a woman the first time she laid eyes on them, that sense did not come so easily this time. She shook her head a little. If Cassandra were as old and as well traveled as she claimed, perhaps that explained it. Perhaps she was simply very complex inside? "Well, you've both given me much to think about, but I think I should leave my friend Aresia to further puzzle out the mysteriously beautiful woman she has taken to her bed, yes sister?" She asked Aresia, moving to get up from the bed and retrieve her sandals. "A task I will enjoy." She kissed her lover and then went to hug Diana goodbye. "I wish you luck with your soul searching, Princess Diana of Themyscira." Cassandra gave Diana a hug herself. "I'm sure we will meet again." "Yes, come back and visit... if you're not off... testing your limits." Aresia offered. "I will. Should I leave, I will return at some point after all." She told, getting up off the bed and leaving. Diana went down to the beach and took off her sandals again and carrying them with her by the straps to walk in the sand a while. No one usually came to this part of the island, so she was alone with her thoughts. After a while of walking, she sat down on a log and gazed out at the ocean, then a while after that, she took off her clothing and went for a swim. She thought perhaps her friend, Panopea of the Neriedes might be there waiting for her to play games with as sometimes happened, but she wasn't. She was actually kind of glad of that though, the time by herself did seem to make her feel better, it gave her time and space to think --- PHILLIPUS --- Phillipus sat in a lounge seat in the home she shared with Diana in the palace. She still had her own rooms, she supposed, but as things had developed between her and Diana, she had moved in with her and left her previous home vacant. She'd talked at length with Queen Hippolyta about Diana and she'd confided her feeling and her fears with her, as much as she felt able to, and had sought her advice. She considered Hippolyta one of her closest friends, the one she most often turned to when in need of advice, and Hippolyta wholeheartedly approved of her as a match for her daughter. The advice and comfort she had received though had not done very much to help her decide what she should do though. She still felt woefully inept in the role she found herself playing. She wished, more and more, that love could just be simple. It always felt that way starting out. With Diana especially, things had just clicked, right from the start... but of course, it hadn't lasted. She knew, for some perhaps it did. Her dear friends Menalippe and Penelope being the obvious shining example--the couple had been together, monogamous, for nearly as long as she'd known them and they never seemed to fall out of love or lose passion for one another. She'd never known them to have even a small argument for that matter--a fact that she was, actually, not just a little dumbfounded by if she were being honest, given her own life experience in this area. Her amazement at them not withstanding though, it did tell her very plainly that finding lasting love -was- possible. It was just that she, apparently, had little talent for it. It was then that Meda, one of her four captains, came in and asked if they could talk a while. Phillipus accepted. She and Meda had been lovers before, on and off. She'd lost count of how many times they'd gotten together and broken things off between them over the years. Meda was apparently just as bad at long term relationships as was she. They'd always remained friends though. Of everyone on the island, she supposed Meda was probably the one who knew her most completely. Flaws and all. "I'm not the only one troubled this morning, I see." Meda observed softly, sitting on the other end of the seat with her, facing her. "No... what troubles you though?" Phillipus asked, actually more than happy to focus on someone else's troubles rather than her own. "Clyce left me yesterday..." She admitted softly, shaking her head. She looked a little like she might cry actually. Phillipus sat up a little and moved over towards her friend, touching her hand. "I'm... very sorry to hear that." She comforted gently. It was downright depressing to her, in fact. Meda had been with Clyce for nearly the last forty years now, she'd thought maybe they'd last. She'd been happy for her, despite that it had made her jealous sometimes before she and Diana had gotten together. Meda smiled charmingly to her. "It was good wile it lasted." She replied simply. "But some things are meant to be broken, I suppose. Not so with our friendship at least." She squeezed Phillipus's hand. "Never that." Phillipus smiled reassuringly to her. "No, never that." Meda affirmed, sitting up and kissing the back of her hand softly. "Meda..." Phillipus met her friend's eyes and was somehow lost in them. Lost in time. And somehow, it was as though it were the first time for them. She remembered, she felt it, felt her heart beat fast in anticipation of that first sweet kiss she knew was only moments away. They'd been friends so long, and she'd been there for her to help mend her broken heart after the exodus. Of course it made since that they should be lovers. "Kiss me." Meda softly encouraged her. Phillipus did so without reservation, leaning the willing woman back on the pillows and running her hands over her body. "I am betrayed." She heard the soft, rough sounding words and stopped what she was doing, looking down into Meda's smiling face. She got up, suddenly feeling herself again and realizing what she'd done. She looked over and saw Diana standing there, saw the tears on her cheeks and the devastated look in her eyes. "Diana..." She looked over at Meda who now had an innocent, questioning look on her face--as though to say: 'What's the matter, what's wrong?' It made no sense. She looked back to Diana. "Diana, no... I didn't... that is I..." She was at a loss for what to say, how to explain herself. "There is no need for words, my love. You were right. They don't matter as much as I thought they did." She told with quiet emotion as she turned to leave. "Diana, no..." Phillipus tried again, but Diana was gone in an instant. She sat down on her heels, stunned. "You must feel very foolish in this moment, I imagine." Meda said. "You..." Phillipus turned on her friend in anger, but it wasn't Meda who was there to meet her eyes, it was a woman she'd never seen before. "Who in Hades..." "Shh..." Cassandra spoke, touching Phillipus's face and moving to kiss her again. The kiss was like a blow to the head from behind for Phillipus, she didn't see it coming and it laid her out cold before she knew what hit her. "You've played your part in this lover's tragedy. Now is simply time for the next scene. Truth be told though, nether I not The Fates know it's seeming. She may come back to you yet, my foolish one." Cassandra spoke to her before she disappeared from the room without a trace, almost as though she had never been there at all. Hours later, when Phillipus awoke, she remembered none of this though. She would look for Diana. Hope. Pray. But in the end, she would conclude that Diana had simply left without saying a word to her. She wouldn't know the truth, wouldn't know why. Her heart would simply break, and she would be left with the choice of all abandoned lovers: Wait for your love to return, or grieve and try to move on. What path she would chose, only time could tell. --- DIANA --- Crying, Diana found herself at her friend Aresia's door again, ringing the bell. Aresia answered more quickly this time. And, upon seeing how upset she was, immediately asked her to come in. They went up to her room and Aresia offered her all the comfort she could, telling her that it would be alright and that she'd find someone else who would be even better for her. Cassandra came in around then, and similarly offered comforting words. Diana told them both that she had made up her mind and was going to leave on her journey, through the storm barrier, to the world beyond. Aresia told her that she supported her, but again, warned her to guard against men, that they should not be trusted, that they were enemies. Diana asked Cassandra if this was so. Cassandra told her that Aresia spoke the truth, but that there were many truths in the world and that Diana would have to chose which ones were hers. She gave Diana a necklace with a small, clear crystal on it. She told Diana that if she ever needed her help, to touch the crystal to her lips and say her full name and she would come. Aresia, for her part, gave her a pair of daggers to take with her. Ones blessed by Athena herself, which Hippolyta had given Aresia as gifts when she had completed her training as a novice warrior. Diana had at first refused the gift, knowing how much Aresia valued them, but Aresia insisted, saying she would not be able to forgive herself if she sent her off without weapons into the world of her birth. Diana relented and accepted one of the daggers only, wishing to set her friend's mind at ease, and saying she should keep the other one as a reminder of their friendship. Aresia agreed to the compromise. Diana thanked her and hugged her friend and Cassandra goodbye and asked Aresia to tell her mother goodbye for her and to explain for her why she was leaving. Aresia promised that she would, and Diana left, up into the sky, flying up to dare the storm at last. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ (to be continued) PART 3: DIANA IN THE WORLD ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ --- DIANA (continued) --- Inside the storm was like nothing she'd ever felt before. Even it, apparently, could not harm her physically. But this storm was not just one in the air, but one of mind and spirit as well. It shook through her, made her see nightmares and dark things. Not wicked things, but fierce and wild without form or thought. They laughed, they roared, they danced and hunted after and around one another. Tempting her and frightening her all at once. They made her see things in herself, not all things she very much liked or knew to be there. If losing Phillipus as she had hurt her, this hurt her nearly as much. She found herself laughing at one point right along with these creatures of storm. In that moment, part of her wanted to stay with them and be like them. But she did not. And though it took great focus and determination, she did finally make it through. Once through, all she saw around her in all directions was open ocean. No island, no home. She looked back and made herself see the storm barrier again. It comforted her that she could still see it if she wanted to. That she indeed had a way back home, that the goddesses had not hidden the way back from her as punishment for leaving the paradise they had given her as her birthright. She closed her eyes then, and just felt the sun and wind and smelled the air. She looked out across the world, and then up, into the sky. She smiled and flew--straight up. As she flew, it grew deathly, impossibly cold. It did not hurt or harm her, but she had never felt such a feeling before. As though she were so... alone in the world. At the same time, as she flew faster, she felt heat burning around her, and that felt good, exhilarating. She went faster still, until in just a few moments, the heat was gone and all was still. She looked around. All was utter silence. No air against her skin, no sounds, only sight. She saw the sun as she never had before. She looked down and saw the Earth from above and was struck with wonder. She looked all around. Saw the moon--a barren place, not so romantic as she might have imagined. She cast her sight further and saw planets. One, Saturn, had life on it, she realized. Red people. One, she imagined, noticed her and looked back at her. She waved, and realized how silly that was. She shook her head and decided to save the up here and the out there for another time. There was a whole world below, the world of her birth, that she had only seen a small, protected part of. She wished to see it all. To challenge it, and find her path in life once more--find the truth of her own heart. So she headed down again, this time towards land. She had seen maps from the time before the exodus and she was able to recognize the area of the world that was Greece. She went there first. She introduced herself to a few people here and there. The forms of the Greek language she knew were apparently quite out of date though, so she had trouble making herself understood at first. And, of course, she met her first men. She found them strange to see, odd to her eyes and misshapen. That women coupled with them here, she could hardly imagine how that would work. There were books with stories where men and women coupled back home, and she had read a few, though had found them hard to relate to. She'd assumed they would make sense to the others who had experienced such things. But now, seeing for herself, she found it even harder to understand. Even the women here. Some looked familiar to her like what she would think of as a woman (though most were still very frail looking), but many were old or... somehow bloated. Many had paint on their faces and wore bizarre clothing she could make no sense of. There were children though, all over the place, and that was at least a delight. When she had been a child, she had been the only one. The reactions she got from these people varied from surprise to amazement to fear or shock. Her reaction to this world, so far, was one of curiosity and discovery, yes, but also one of her own kind of shock as well. So much about this world was simply... nonsensical. Even the air often smelled so badly that she'd just about given up on breathing except when she needed to talk. That she could fly was obviously disquieting to these people though, so during her visit to the Greek countryside, she kept to walking mostly. She went to see the island of Sappho where her people had once lived, then went to visit a large city. There she encountered many wrongs. But when she tried to help, many times the sisters whom she'd tried to help did not thank her for it. One time, men in uniforms challenged her, pointed metal inventions at her that shot metal pellets at her like stones. They didn't hurt her, but it was obvious they'd meant her death as a metal pellet flung that fast would likely kill others of their kind. Surely, she thought, that showed that Aresia had been right about males, that they would be so quick to kill for no reason. She drew her dagger and fought them back and slew them for what they had tried to do, but felt very little satisfaction from such an easily gained victory, besides the knowledge that these would-be murders would not live to kill others of her kind, others of her sisters who were not as strong as she and whom the metal pellets -would- surely kill. By slaying the killers, she would save their future victims, perhaps even a young girl as Aresia had been. She left and continued to look around the city, but more uniformed men came that she had to slay as well and people ran from her. It all made little sense and seemed somehow surreal to her. Like a badly written comical play. She decided to leave Greece and travel elsewhere. She found herself flying at night and was attracted to a city with many lights and a tower of metal. She landed and yawned, feeling a little tired. She hadn't slept in weeks, she remembered. She didn't need to sleep as others did, had tried to a number of times if only to fit in more, but it was not to be, was not natural for her apparently. No, the desire to sleep for her came whenever it pleased apparently. She could forestall it for long periods if she wished, but tonight saw no need to. Her ordeal in Greece had been tiring. It was the first time she had slain anyone in battle--the first time she had slain any living thing at all in fact, not even flora or fauna. Though she had read and heard many stories and it did not strike her as wrong if the cause was just, as hers had been. Still, it had been an ugly thing, a memory she would not particularly cherish. And the way she had been treated for the most part, the utter strangeness of this world, she found it tiring, so that the idea of sleep sounded very good to her right then. It was a problem where to go to do that though. It had never been a problem for her before. On Themyscira, everyone had a home and more rooms available in different parts of the island should they wish to have a change of scenery. She had no idea what the customs for that sort of thing where here, and she'd made up her mind to learn more about this world before she interacted with it as much as she had in Greece. At home, she would sometimes sleep outdoors, a few times she had slept under water with Panopea and her sisters. Outdoors seemed the least intrusive idea to her. She couldn't imagine any taking offense at that. So she wondered around a while looking for a place. Once, a male tried talking to her. She didn't understand any of the language in this place, so she didn't know what he wanted and she tried to just ignore him. He grabbed her arm though, and the look in his eyes was utterly repulsive to her so she slapped him away in reproach. Apparently though, she'd used too much force and his neck snapped and he fell to the ground, dead. She shook her head at the maddens of it all. She hadn't realized how fragile these people were. One of her sisters may have lost their footing a little at such a blow, if their feet had not been planted correctly, but it would not have harmed them at all. Perhaps, she wondered, men were simply more fragile than women? But no, the stories she'd read and been told said nothing of that. She must assume that all in this world were more fragile than her people and try to be more careful. A few had seen what happened and had run from her, and, not wishing to be drawn into any other troubles, she left. Her speed taking her quickly to another part of the city. There were buildings, homes, here, with expansive, remarkably beautiful gardens around them, nearly as fine and lovely as any on her native island. She relaxed some. Surely the people here would be more peaceful and reasonable she concluded, to keep gardens so beautiful. Feeling better and more at ease, she found a nice place surrounded by flowers. There was a fountain near by and she drank some water. It wasn't as good as the water from her home, but it was thankfully pure and unspoiled. Her thirst slaked, she lay down to sleep. Upon waking, it was morning and she got up, stretched, yawned, and smiled. Looking around the garden again in daylight. Aphrodite's gift of beauty to her meant that she would -always- be beautiful, that meant that she never got dirty or needed to bathe, nor did whatever clothes she wore ever need to be cleaned. In fact, if she were to put on dirty clothes, just by putting them on, they would become clean and fresh scented as though they were new. She noticed too, that the garden was even more splendid and beautiful this morning. Flowers in radiant bloom, birds chirping happily, a family of rabbits had even come to sleep a short distance from her on the edge of the clearing. She sat down and the rabbits came over to her and she petted them and talked with them a little while. The result of some of her other gifts. Demeter's gift meant that nature would always be her friend and welcome her, flourish around her, that the language of animals was hers to know, and that all animals would know her as a friend who could be trusted. It was this scene which the house's owner happened upon. An aged woman and six year old girl. Diana greeted them and they were kind to her, though she did not know their language. The aged woman seemed to invite Diana to stay with her, and Diana accepted. This to must be due to one of her gifts, she recalled. One of Hestia's gifts was that she would always be able to find a home if she needed one. Diana soon learned that the name of the woman who'd taken her in was Anais Guillot, and she spent the first with her day learning to speak French, the language that was spoken in this part of the world. Athena's gift of wisdom meant she learned quickly. As thanks for the offer to share her home and her help in learning the local language, Diana healed Anais of her aging and returned her to the beauty of her youth. It was one of her gifts from Artemis: The speed, stamina, cunning, sure-footedness, the aim of a hunter, perfect sight at night, and the ability to use moonlight to heal. Anais could hardly believe it and thanked her profusely, telling her she would always have a home with her. Diana ended up being invited to Anais's bed where they made love. It was surely a balm to Diana's soul to be with a lover again. Diana stayed with her over the next few days, not bothering to go anywhere. Anais had a girl of seventeen years, named Anna, who lived with her and whom she paid to help around the house and with her granddaughter while her daughters were away. Anna had witnessed Diana's healing of her employer though, and thought Diana to be something called an angel. She always made a sign over her heart when she saw Diana and looked at her with awe and reverence, being perpetually shy towards her. During the days though, Anna would take Anais's granddaughter away to a school and and and Anais would be left alone together. As she got to know her new lover, Diana found that in her youth, Anais had fought in a great war. That she had taken a title: Mademoiselle Marie, and done many brave and daring things to help save her country from a wicked foe. Diana asked her many things about the world she found herself in. She told her of what had happened to her in Greece and asked if it were true that all males were like that, enemies to women. Anais had laughed and said surely not, though she had admitted that they were often quite dangerous, and on the whole were far more warlike and violent than women. That seemed a reasonable answer to Diana, but she still reserved judgment on the matter until she had experienced more of this world for herself. Anais also explained who the uniformed men had been, that they were law keepers. Diana found the idea of laws to be very strange in practice. She had heard of the concept in books, but Themyscira had never had them, she and her sisters were always at peace with one another and her mother had never had to tell them to be so. As things went, she she ended up spending more than a week with her new lover, shared her bed, and many long conversations with her, but in the end she grew restless. What she shared with this woman was love, but it was not the deep kind of love of the soul that she wished to find, but more a love of mutual pleasure, friendship, and genuine affection. Diana told her that she had to leave, that she had her own adventures yet to have, and that she needed to find her place in the world. And her lover told her that she would miss her but that she understood and was simply happy to have had the time with her that she had been given. Anais thanked her again for her kindness in giving her back her youth and health and bid her farewell, which only proved to Diana that she had been right to leave. For if what they had was real passion for one another, their parting would not have been so simple. From there, she went back into the heart of Paris and, now that she knew the language, she felt better able to explore. The reactions of people in general to her were very mixed, and she found, as in Greece, that men and women did seem to live side-by-side in peace for the most part in most respects. Though for herself, she still found herself feeling weary of the men, uncomfortable around them in particular, imagining that at any moment one might attack her and she would again be forced to deal with it. More, the women also seemed foreign and unfamiliar in most cases. Likewise the customs, culture, and mannerisms of these people were still so strange and foreign to her in so many ways that she still did not feel herself able to assess this new world accurately. Most of what the adult peoples did all day was some complicated game or sport of barter for currency. Either they were involved in activities to gain currency, or to trade it in for objects or experiences they desired. She had read about currency as well, but hardly thought that people in the outside world would be quite so obsessed by it. She was sure there was probably more to understand about why they did these things, but honestly, it was so boring to her that she soon tired of thinking about it and determined to try to find something more interesting. She visited a museum, paying for entrance with the currency Anais had given her for such things. Anais had told her that museums were worth visiting. And indeed, she did find it somewhat interesting at least. Though, honestly, most of the things there looked to her as if they were made by novices. Which, she supposed they would have to be. Her people never died and so had much longer to refine their ability as artists. Some of the portraits of nature in particular though, she did like quite well. Still, it wasn't long before she decided to move on and travel to another part of the world. She walked out of the museum and floated off into the sky to expressions of startlement and wonder from those who saw her. She drifted up into the sky and let her mind wonder. This wasn't turning out like anything she might have imagined or guessed at. She was somewhat at a loss, honestly. It was then she heard strange sounds off in the distance. She turned around and, yes, off in the distance a ways, but getting closer, there were three people--flying, just like her! Her heart leapt with excitement. One of them had a deep pink/purple energy around her, the other two were green. The pink one was a woman, the green ones were men, and they were attacking her, Diana realized. She flew at them fast. One was firing some sort of beam at the woman who was forming a shield to protect herself. Diana got between the beam and it's target, knocking it away. The beam though, it actually stung her a little, she realized. At last, she thought, opponents that were not weak. The two men halted at her arrival and spoke in some language she did not recognize. "Who are you?" The woman spoke though, in perfect Themysciran, her voice very lovely to Diana's ears. Diana was very surprised by that but answered none the less. "My name is Diana, of Themyscira, I saw these attacking you... I wish to help, sister." The woman levitated to her side. "Well then, Diana of Themyscira... I thank you." She replied in that same soft, melodious voice, but now there was also clear interest and fascination there as well. The men spoke more then, directed at her; they were very insistent, but she didn't understand them. "What are they saying?" Diana asked her sister. "They're telling you not to get in their way; that they'll go through you to get to me if they have to, I'm afraid." She explained. Diana shook her head just a little and sighed. "Hardly surprising, I suppose." The one with reddish blonde hair seemed more aggressive than his brother in his words and he was quick to attack when Diana moved forwards. "I fight with my sister, leave her be or lose your lives." She told them in French, hoping they would understand that language at least. They seemed to understand her and the brown haired one said something back, but the blonde one charged at her and made a giant green energy fist that looked like it was made of brickwork and thought apparently, sought to strike her with it. She laughed and charged at him, striking the fist with her own closed fist and causing it to shatter. He formed a device that fired the same metal pellets at her that the men in Greece had. She had figured out that the energy was made of will or force, and that if she focused her thoughts, they no longer stung her. Still, she took his actions to mean that he meant her death as the men of Greece had and so decided to respond in kind for the same reasons. She could easily see that the power he had was emanating from the ring on his hand, so she moved quickly to grab his hand and crush it. His green aura disappeared and she tore his arm off and let him drop, discarding the arm and turning to face her other opponent, except that he was gone, chasing after his falling brother. "...He shows enough character to care for his fallen brother, at least." She thought out loud. The woman floated over in front of her and looked at her curiously. "Thank you, you were... very brave." She told simply. Diana smiled softly to her. "I'm glad I could be here for you... Do you know why they were attacking you by the way? Or did they simply do so for no reason?" She asked softly, only now realizing fully just how very beautiful this woman was. The most beautiful woman she had ever seen, in fact, and for her that was saying a lot. It was more than that though, something about this woman just... captivated her. She was attracted to her, intensely. Her sister smiled back, and Diana could tell the attraction was mutual. She moved forwards, closer to her. "They have rules, the green lanterns. I break them often, I'm afraid. They don't like that." She told Diana honestly. "Rules again... laws..." Diana remarked. "I recently saved a woman from attack, and that apparently was against these laws men have. They tried to strike me dead for doing so... This world seems mad in so many ways." She told gently. "But... I don't seem that way to you, do I?" Her sister asked. Diana shook her head 'no'. "You make me think I made the right choice to come here in fact." "So you aren't from this world either, then." Her sister asked. "This world..." Diana looked to her with a little confusion, but sighed. "That is an interesting question." She admitted. "It doesn't really matter." Her sister told. "You saved me, Diana..." She moved closer to Diana still, caressing her cheek. "There has to be some way I can repay you... Perhaps, with a kiss?" She asked hopefully. Diana smiled, charmed by this open admission of attraction, and responded by caressing the woman's forearm and hand lightly with her finger. "You owe me no debt. You should only do as you wish..." "And... what if that is also my wish as well?" Her sister asked. Diana moved closer so her lips were a breath from her sister's. "Do I seem at all unwilling?" She asked. She didn't have to say anything more, her sister moved forward and kissed her. Gently, a little hesitantly at first, but then, sensing Diana's receptiveness, kissed her with more abandon. Diana met the kiss with equal ardor, their bodies coming together as though they were magnetized. Diana couldn't get enough of touching this woman. The energy around her surrounded them both and it felt so amazingly good. Like being surrounded by love and passion, her heart soared at the beautiful sensation, the sense of connection that was there. They kissed and touched until finally Diana managed to gather her self-control enough to stop kissing this woman and asked. "Tell me your name...?" The woman's eyes met hers, communicating clear and intense want. "I... of course..." She conceded, and Diana could tell she was having a little of a hard time focusing on words at the moment, which Diana thought was a very flattering comment. "I'm Remoni... Remoni-Notra. A Star Sapphire, from Pandini." She kissed her again, moving forwards and whispering in her ear next. "I want you, Diana, in my bed... come home with me?" She asked, starting to kiss her neck. A shiver of intense desire swept though Diana. "Yes... yes, of course yes..." Diana spoke, caressing her cheek and hair and Remoni captured her lips again. It didn't make sense how this could be happening, but she felt it, deeply felt it, and had no desire to resist what her heart was telling her was absolutely right for her. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~