Pairings/Characters (this chapter): Steve/Diana, Lewis Lang, Hypatia
Genres: Angst, Challenge, Drama, Mystery, Romance
Rating (this chapter): R
Claim: For the dcu_freeforall Challenge (Diana/Steve)
Prompt: T 10; P 26: Library Of Alexandria
Prompt Count: (14/15)
Warnings: Disturbing imagery, violence
General Summary: An important archeological discovery leads Diana and Steve to the Library of Alexandria site in Egypt.
Chapter Summary: Diana and Steve encounter strange happenings at the excavation site in Egypt.
Date Of Completion: July 24, 2011
Date Of Posting: August 24, 2011
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1220
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Notes: Also written for my 2011 Wonder Woman Love Fic/Art 70th Anniversary Celebration Challenge and my 2011 DCU Fic/Art Steve/Diana Challenge.
This series deals with Diana’s Amazon heritage and can be found here.
THE MISTS OF ALEXANDRIA
Stars of my heart.
I have known love
And the joy of the sun.
I bow before the throne
Of Shining Aphrodite
And know that my place
Is mine to claim.
"The Mists Of Mystery"
(Discovered September 27, 2011 C.E.)
Diana stood in the middle of the ruins, absorbing the atmosphere that was heavily laced with the whispers of centuries.
In her mind’s eye she saw the great Library, gleaming white with is Ionic columns, rows upon rows of scrolls neatly arranged on shelves that reached up to the ceiling. Scholars from everywhere in the known world studied parchment, sitting at marble tables.
A tall, blond woman glided among the stacks, her flowing white chiton rustling softly along marble floors.
The Chief Librarian was the guardian of knowledge, serene and with an intellectual spark that gave her equal footing with the finest minds of her time.
Until they stripped you naked and flayed the skin from your bones with tiles and pieces of shell and killed you, then burnt your body at Caesareum, their great church, simply for guarding Pagan treasures of knowledge.
Diana recalled the horror in her mother’s voice when she had first told her the story. Hypatia had been a good friend. It had further shored up Hippolyta’s belief that the Amazons were far better off hidden from the world on their island.
“The world embraces darkness and ignorance,” she had said, and many Amazons were inclined to agree with her.
Diana watched the vision in her mind as she breathed in the ancient dust, the light streaming from the sun slightly different. Of course, it had been a much younger sun in those days and the ozone layer was unharmed.
She absorbed, listening to the sounds of a scholar as his rich voice recited a poem of Sappho’s, not just a mere fragment but complete.
Shimmering-throned, immortal Aphrodite,
Daughter of Zeus, Enchantress, I implore thee,
Spare me, O Queen, this agony and anguish,
Crush not my spirit.
& & & & & &
Diana held out her hand, and mere seconds later, a warm hand grasped hers. She smiled.
Steve remained quiet, following her lead. Diana closed her eyes again. The vision swirled around, soft-lensed and cottony, eventually fading. When it was gone, she squeezed her lover’s hand.
She turned to him. “You saw it, too?” At his nod, she smiled. “We are much in tune, eh?”
Steve laughed. “Always.” His eyes were shining. “Was that Hypatia who you told me about?”
“Yes.” Sadness drew a veil over her eyes. “It is a sorrowful thing, to think of how she died.”
Steve squeezed her hand gently. “I’m afraid that religious intolerance has never gone out of style,” he said softly.
She sighed, squeezing his hand back.
For several minutes they stood in the ruins, then a noise attracted their attention. Someone was approaching.
“Professor Lang! Thank you for coming.” Diana held out her hand.
“Of course I’d come, Wonder Woman.” The professor shook her hand, then Steve’s. He was a tall, ruddy redhead, dressed in khakis and a pith helmet.
“You made an amazing discovery.”
“It is amazing, isn’t it? No full poems of Sappho’s work exists in the modern world.”
“I must study this site.”
“Certainly.” Lewis Lang cocked his head. “Are you all right, Wonder Woman?”
She nodded and moved to another section of the ruins.
“Is she?” Lewis asked Steve.
“She is,” said Steve, hopeful that he was right.
Diana was restless, but after a good dinner and good conversation, she felt better. Lewis Lang was an interesting storyteller, and his daughter Lana would have been mortified by some of the stories told, Diana thought with a smile.
After they retired for the night, she and Steve settled on their cot in the tent that Lewis had given them. Close to the site, Diana was determined to get an early start in the morning. She fell asleep in Steve’s arms.
Diana awoke and frowned. She heard strange voices. Glancing down at Steve, she saw that he was still asleep. She deftly untangled herself from his embrace and walked outside in her long, white nightgown.
Surprised at the fog enveloping the excavation site, she strained to identify the noises.
Shouts and curses. Trouble!
She moved swiftly through the fog, dark hair loose and flowing, barefoot, yet every inch an Amazon.
The fog swirled around her, parting just enough to see sandstone buildings and a gleaming, marble structure with Ionic columns. A mob was gathered outside the building, and a golden chariot rumbled down the street. Diana recognized the blond woman at the reins.
“Hypatia,” she whispered.
The mob shouted, “Pagans! Sinners! This library is full of filth!”
The mob moved into the library with torches, the sound of papyrus ripping while other scrolls were set afire, sickening Diana. Marble busts of philosophers and poets were smashed as scholars were chased out by the mob.
Diana felt as if she was moving through molasses, her limbs too heavy to move. She wanted to scream a warning to Hypatia but no sound came out.
One of the ringleaders saw the chariot and pointed. “There is the Whore of Alexandria, purveying her filth. Do not let her corrupt our godly people!”
The mob set upon the chariot, dragging Hypatia into the street by her long, flowing hair, tearing at her long, shimmering chiton.
Diana pushed forward with Herculean effort, grabbing Hypatia after cutting a swath through the mob, desperation fueling her great strength.
The two women ran, the howling mob at their heels. The fog closed around them until no more sound could be heard.
“Hypatia, we must get you out of the city,” gasped Diana.
“Hippolyta?” Hypatia’s eyes were wide.
“No, I am her daughter, Diana.”
“You look just like her!”
“I am flattered.”
“Thank you for saving me, but you must go.”
“I must get you to safety.” She thought of Hypatia's fate and felt sick.
A small, sad smile curved Hypatia’s lips. “Changing what must be is always dangerous.”
Hypatia pushed Diana into the fog, cool tendrils of mist curling around Diana’s body.
Diana’s screams echoed in the fog, bouncing off in all directions as the mist closed in around her, the mob’s voices becoming louder…
Strong hands gripped her shoulders as Steve shook her.
She shook her head. The fog was gone, and she was standing in the middle of the ruins with Steve, who was clad in light-blue pajama bottoms.
“Are you all right?” he asked in concern.
“I…am not sure.” Her eyes snapped wide open and she grabbed his arms, not noticing his wince. “Hypatia!” Diana whirled, searching frantically.
“Diana, what’s wrong?”
She looked at him in sorrow. “I saw Hypatia being attacked, Steve.”
He swallowed. “Are you sure you weren’t dreaming?”
She shook her head. “I was there. I got her away from the mob, but I fear they found her again.”
He pulled her into a hug, rubbing her back as she trembled. The moonlight limned their bodies as Steve gently led Diana back to their tent.
Behind them a white marble building shimmered in the moonlight, fragments breaking apart and dissolving into rubble as flames leaped up to the sky.