Title: Jewels In The Crown V: The Amazon Way (2/3)
Pairings/Characters (this chapter): Lois, Diana, Mala, Hestia, Jacintha
Genres: Drama, Slice-Of-Life
Rating (this chapter): G
Warnings (this chapter): None
General Summary: Lois arrives on Paradise Island to write a story on the Amazons.
Chapter Summary: Flowers, books and art…what could be a better way to spend a day? J
Date Of Completion: September 15, 2020
Date Of Posting: April 16, 2021
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count (this chapter): 1750
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Notes: This series deals with Diana’s Amazon heritage. The entire series and this story’s chapters can be found here.
MARBLE AND GOLD
There are otherworldly things
That captures the human heart
In golden ecstasy.
“Is it not a beautiful day?” Diana asked as she swept her arm over the blossoming Royal Gardens.
“Mmph.” Lois rubbed her eyes. “No coffee on this Island, huh?”
“Sorry, Lois. We have tea, wine, lemonade, pomegranate juice…no coffee.”
Diana laughed. “You are grumpy in the morning.”
Dian’s smile was amused. “Sorry about that.”
Lois waved her hand. “Let’s tour the Royal Gardens.”
“Certainly.” A brown-haired Amazon appeared on the path. “Ah, here is Hestia.”
“Good morning, ladies,” said Hestia. She wore a green tunic with matching leggings. “I am the Royal Gardener. Let us begin the tour.”
Despite her grumpiness, Lois enjoyed the tour, taking in the colorful flowers as Hestia spoke cheerfully about the design of the Gardens.
“We have adapted several cultures’ styles. Over here is an English garden, and next to that we have a Japanese Zen set-up.”
“Any Greek gardens?” asked Lois in amusement.
“Yes, and a few Roman ones, too. Would you like to see our lemon and orange groves?”
“Sounds very tropical.”
The trees were abundant, and Hestia said, “The kitchens squeeze out fresh lemonade and orange juice.”
“No Minute Maid?”
“We have maidens who take more than a minute to pick lemons and oranges.”
“Oh, I like you, Hestia.”
Hestia laughed. “And here we have our pumpkin patch.”
“Pumpkin patch?” Lois asked in surprise.
“Yes, Steve provided the seeds,” Diana said.
“So do you celebrate Halloween?”
“Actually we do.”
Lois blinked. “Sort of a side dish to Samhain?”
“You know about Samhain?” Hestia asked.
”Diana has brought back many ideas from your country.”
“Well, Halloween is a good import.”
“We have apple trees in the next grove.”
“Orchard,” Lois corrected automatically. “Oops, sorry.”
“No worries, Ms. Lane.”
“This way to the orchard, Lois,” said Hestia, waving a slender arm.
Lois was impressed by the bountiful orchard. Apples were starting to grow on the branches.
“They will be ready for harvest in a few months,” said Hestia.
“Looks like they’ll be nice and juicy.”
“They are trending that way.”
“You must be proud of your work.”
“I have a good staff.”
Lois and Diana spent an hour in the orchards and gardens and they took leave of Hestia, who was happily pruning a rosebush.
“As a writer, I thought you would appreciate the Library next,” said Diana.
“Well, I can’t argue with that.” Lois had decided to ‘go native’ again and had chosen a short tunic with her own delicate gold necklace and Amazon bracelets. “These sandals are so comfortable.”
“They are practical as well as beautiful.”
“I noticed that. No stiletto heels for Amazons, eh?”
“Heavens, no! Why women in your world wear such torture devices is beyond me.”
“I agree with you.” Lois shook her head. “I guess women like the look of the things.”
“And men like them?” Diana asked.
“Oh, yeah, to the point of fetishtistic.”
“Yeah,” Lois said with a saucy smile.
“I would wager you cheat at Scrabble.”
They reached the Royal Library, gleaming with white columns and massive doors. Once inside, Lois was immediately drawn to the mosaic of the Library of Alexandria in the entrance hall.
“I’ve read about this library and the woman who cared for the collection.”
“Yes, Hypatia met a violent end when the library was destroyed by followers of the New Religion.”
Diana’s tone of voice was sad, tinged with anger. Lois remembered some of the details she had read and mentally shuddered. Diana noted her reaction but said nothing.
“I’m afraid religion has a lot to answer for,” Lois said.
“Some more than others.”
After a moment of silence, Diana said, “This way.”
Lois followed her friend through the Main Reading Room. There were patrons seated at various tables reading books or papyrus scrolls. Morning sunshine filtered through the stained-glass windows, creating rainbows of light on the walls and floors.
They went up to the second floor and passed stacks of books and scrolls. Lois noticed the framed paintings on the walls, most painted in a style evoking the Greek classics, and the subjects were of scholars in libraries and other settings of learning.
Diana knocked on the door of the Royal Librarian’s office.
They entered the office, and a woman with flaming-red hair looked up, spectacles perched on her nose. “Ah, good morning, Princess.”
“Good morning, Jacintha. This is Lois Lane of The Daily Planet.”
Jacintha stood, holding out her hand. “An honor to meet you, Ms. Lane.”
“Lois, please.” They shook hands and Lois said, “You have a beautiful library.”
“Thank you. Maintaining this place is an honor. There is priceless learning housed here.”
“Spoken by a true bibliophile.”
Jacintha nodded. “It is practically a requirement.”
Lois laughed. “I’ll bet. Jacintha, may I see some ancient scrolls?”
“Yes, that can be arranged.” Jacintha pushed her spectacles back on her head.
“Come this way,” Jacintha said.
Lois and Diana followed the redhead through a maze of corridors until they reached an elevator. Lois was surprised to see it.
“Pulley system,” Diana said as if she had read Lois’ mind.
The three women entered the elevator and Jacintha pulled the ropes lowering them to a small room. A wooden door was the only thing of note in the room. Jacintha took out a brass key and unlocked it, revealing a stone slab wedged into a wall of rock. She pushed the stone aside using Amazon strength.
A tunnel was revealed. Carved out of rock, it was cool as the women traveled over the stone floor. Another stone was at the end of the tunnel and was rolled away.
Inside the chamber were shelves filled with scrolls. “We keep the dampness out by a cooling system our engineers set up,” said Jacintha. “Those scrolls are priceless.”
Lois noticed a box of gloves and Jacintha and, “Gloves are required.”
“Of course.” Lois pulled on a pair and began to eagerly walk through the vault.
“We have most of Sappho’s poetry fragments, including those discovered by Wonder Woman some years ago.”
Lois carefully took a scroll off the shelf. She unrolled it and laughed. “I know a little Greek, but I certainly can’t read all this.”
“I’m afraid it’s all Greek to me.”
The women laughed and Jacintha said, “Would you like a translation?”
“That’d be great.”
Jacintha read the fragment, speaking with passion. Lois listened intently. “Beautiful,” she said after Jacintha finished.
“Sappho was so gifted,” said Jacintha.
“But one of many?” Lois asked.
“Quite so. Let us delve into the collection.”
The women spent the rest of the morning in the vault, discussing poetry and literature.
“Amazon poets are an important part of our heritage,” Jacintha said.
“The Ancients did treasure poetry,” said Lois.
“Modern cultures do not?”
“Not as much, though Russia and some other Eastern European cultures do. We have a Poet Laureate in America, but nobody ever knows who he is.”
The visit ended with Jacintha urging Lois to return during this week’s visit and after lunch, Diana guided Lois to the Royal Museum. The marble building resembled the Library, but large vertical banners with depictions of the marketplace hung on the front of the building.
“The Museum contains artwork of all generations,” Diana said.
“I’m eager to see everything.”
“You would need a lifetime.”
Lois laughed, then realized that Diana was not joking.
They entered the building and were immediately greeted by a stunning mosaic of an Amazon hunting party on the floor. Lois crouched down and examined the artwork minutely.
“Mosaics are a Hellenic specialty,” Diana said.
Diana nodded. “Byzantine, Moorish, many cultures, but Greece excelled at this art form.”
Lois straightened up, dismayed as her knees cracked audibly.
“I can show you exercises for flexibility.”
“I’d like that.”
The walls of the lobby were covered in richly-colored tapestries depicting pastoral scenes of shepherdesses and Greek temples. Lois followed Diana into a large hall with marble statues and paintings in gold and silver filigreed frames.
“Like the Louvre, there are many paintings of the Gods and Goddesses.” Diana pointed to a large painting. “Zeus.”
It was a striking study of the famous god, his eyes fiery and his beard long and silky. Lois wondered if it was an idealized portrait or the real thing.
Diana has seen these Gods.
They walked through various halls, Diana waiting when Lois paused to study a painting. They reached a circular hall with a large statue in the center on a bronze base. Lois’ jaw dropped.
The statue was of a nude Aphrodite, her beauty so dazzling that Lois shaded her eyes. “This is…is…”
“Spectacular,” Diana provided.
“I have no words.”
The sculptor had captured Aphrodite’s beauty in such a way that Lois thought had otherworldly underpinnings. “Who sculpted this?”
“The sculptor is unknown.”
Diana nodded. “The statue was here when the Amazons arrived on the Island. Some say Aphrodite sculpted it.”
“It is priceless.”
There was a skylight far above the statue. Sunlight poured through, casting a soft glow on the marble-white statue.
“Should I just leave you here?” asked Diana in amusement.
“We have yet to see the statue of Athena.”
“On to Athena!”
Another circular hall featured another large statue. This one was worked in gold and Lois was stunned as another skylight allowed sunlight to pour in, setting the gold on fire.
“Let me guess, another unknown sculptor?”
“This is just as unbelievable as the Aphrodite statue.”
“No argument there.”
They went through other galleries and before leaving the Museum, Diana and Lois returned to the stunning statues. While Aphrodite was nude, Athena was in full battle armor, compete with sword and shield.
Lois finally pulled away and as she and Diana went down the marble steps outside the Royal Museum, Lois said, “Those statues are true gifts.”
“Remember, it has been speculated that the Goddesses themselves are the sculptors.”
“I wouldn’t be surprised.”
& & & & & &
I’m really in Paradise.
Hippolyta had been highly amused at Lois’ reactions to the statues, but confessed her own awe.
They are certainly memorable.
Lois fell asleep and slept comfortably. Tomorrow was another day for warriors, not sculptors.
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