That Which Binds, That Which Reveals

Above the clouds, existing above its physical counterpart, ethereal Mount Olympus possessed many balconies from which the gods pondered humanity. Upon one such marble overlook stood she whose birth was unlike any other. Formed of sea foam, she became the quintessence of love and beauty. Her gentle hands resting on the marble balustrade, her eyes peered through the wispy clouds that blanketed Gaea, looking toward one particular place: an idyllic island upon which lived her daughters, the immortal Amazons. A soft, perfect smile adorned her face. Joining her was her sister, the Grey-Eyed One, and she, too, found the insular nation a pleasant place to set her gaze.

 

“They have done well adjusting to their new home. Aphrodite… You are certain they must wear those accursed manacles?”

 

“Aye, Athene. They must never forget their enslavement to Herakles and those who serve the whims of Ares. They will adapt. You will see.”

 

For a whisper of a moment, she thought about the women whose souls had been plucked from Gaea’s womb to engender a new age. She pictured, simultaneously, the moment each woman’s life had been snuffed out in a previous life, only to be reborn as Amazons. Wisdom demanded that a force of femininity meet that of the warlike masculinity of their brother, Ares. In her immortal heart, she knew the world would see tremendous change because of her daughters.

 

“I am sure they will, sister.” Her grey eyes glistened in the light of Helios’ sun. “They have already built a great city, created a vibrant sisterhood of love, compassion, and strength, as well as built shrines to honor us.” She paused. “It is time for me to seek out another of our own sisters while you visit your husband.”

 

With a nod, Aphrodite vanished in a whirl of rose petals. Athene took the form of an owl and soared through the sky to another side of the mountain. She flew through a high window in the main hall and alighted on the edge of the firepit where her sister sat, coaxing the flames with her hand.

 

“Greetings, Athene. Take care not to singe your wings.” She giggled.

 

The owl morphed into the goddess once more, laughing in response.

 

“Worry not, dear sister. How does the fire burn?”

 

Hestia dragged her finger through the charred embers. “With a desire to grow.”

 

“It is time, then. Have you decided whether or not you will help? You do not normally involve yourself in the affairs of the gods.” Athene put her hand on Hestia’s shoulder.

 

After a brief silence, she replied, “Of course. If it will further the bright future of your daughters, then I am happy to help.”

 

“Very well. We should meet Aphrodite, then.”

 

An owl and a crane departed Olympus and traveled across the vast ocean to a small island just south of the Peloponnesian peninsula and resumed their forms by a brazier inside a small circular temple. A turtledove joined them, transforming into the goddess of love.

 

“Welcome to Cythera, sisters.” Aphrodite took the hand of each goddess into her own. “We are here to bring forth a great gift for the Amazons. Hestia, I am grateful you decided to join us.”

 

The eldest of the gods nodded and smiled.

 

“Why are we here, Aphrodite? Surely, Olympus would have been as good a place as any?”

 

“Athene, this place where I first set foot after my birth is a place of Love. What better place to create such a powerful tool than here, but we must wait until sunrise.”

 

A short time later, the tip of Helios’ sun chariot peeked over the horizon, and then the ritual began.

 

• • •

 

Hippolyte, the Amazon queen, along with the rest of the Amazon nation, had just witnessed her daughter Diana best the final trial of the Tournament—deflecting bullets with her bracelets—before removing her battle helmet to reveal her identity to the sisterhood. At that specific moment, the queen realized what the goddesses had meant two decades earlier when they spoke of a prophecy about a sister who would bring honor to the Amazons. Hippolyte congratulated Diana, and handed her the armor that would signify her place as their ambassador in Man’s World. After she explained the iconography, she nodded to two sisters, each one removing one of Diana’s bracelets, replacing it with one of glistening silver.

 

“They were wrought by Hephaestus from shards of Zeus’ aegis.”

 

The queen pulled back a fold of her robe to reveal a coiled cord hanging at her hip, one that flickered like a small sun. In her hand, it seemed to pulse with life.

 

“This, daughter, is the Golden Lasso, bestowed upon us by Aphrodite. This is how we acquired such a treasure.”

 

She spoke of how Aphrodite, a year after the Amazons had arrived on Themyscira, wished to give them a gift, one that would aid them through a prophecy where one among them would change the minds thus changing the world around them. The goddess of Love approached her husband, the smith god Hephaestus, and asked her to remove some of the gilded metal from her magic belt, a strophion that sat just beneath her bosom and had the power to control the hearts of men, evoking love and desire.

 

In the meanwhile, Athene spoke with Hestia, the tender of the Olympian hearthfire, to convince her to aid them in their task. The eldest daughter of Kronos and Rhea consented, taking a small brazier filled with fiery embers with her and Athene. They were to meet somewhere special where this enchantment could take place. Owl and crane flew across the sea to the southern tip of the Peloponnese, meeting a turtledove on the island of Cythera.

Aphrodite told them this island was the birthplace of Love, the first place she had set foot after her seafoam birth, and would be the perfect site for the ritual. Hestia set the brazier down in a small circular temple, its eager fires dancing proudly. Athene placed an owl feather in the brazier. Lastly, Aphrodite lowered a cord of woven gold, and the fires flared.

 

For three days, Aphrodite, Athene, and Hestia danced around the brazier, singing songs of glory, praising the spirit of womanhood, bonding all three elements into one. The fire burned until all that was left was the cord itself, its surface shimmering with life. At the closure of the rite, Aphrodite raised the lasso and spoke the final piece:

 

“Forged of Love and Desire, tempered with Wisdom, and joined with the Fires of Truth, may this lasso be the instrument of change for she who wields it.”

 

All of the Amazons had hung their head out of reverence as Hippolyte finished the tale, and the queen handed the rope to her daughter. Diana held it, her palms open, as if the cord were a newborn bird.

 

“Wh—What does it do?” The princess smiled.

 

Hippolyte put her hands on Diana’s shoulders.

 

“Anyone bound within it must obey she who wields it. At your command as well, it will burn away deception to reveal truths, even those buried deep within the mind. All of that, tempered with wisdom will aid you in changing minds in order to change the world. May compassion guide you as you use it, daughter. Through this gift, the prophecy will be fulfilled.”

 

As Diana closed her hands around it, she uttered, “It scares me a little. Am I worthy to wield such power?”

 

“Attend me, daughter. You know that your were formed by my loving hands and brought to life by Aphrodite. What you do not know is that your soul was the last to leave Gaea’s womb, and it was of an unborn child.. Unlike your sisters, who knew life before and lost it by Man’s folly, you came into this world pure, knowing only love. You have never known cruelty, disdain, or hatred. That makes you worthy to possess such power. Make us all proud, as I know you will.”

 

She placed a new tiara on Diana’s brow and kissed her cheek.

 

“You will bring wonder to Man’s World.”

 

The ceremony concluded, Diana donned her new armor and thrust her hand into the air, the lasso gleaming above her head. The Amazon nation roared its approval. When Diana looked over at her mother, she saw Hippolyte’s smile, and she knew for herself that she was indeed worthy.

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© 2014 by DAVID BERGER