the sound of someone's cries seems to sap the weariness out of her. time is so strange here; diana doesn't know if she's been walking for hours or minutes or days. she only knows that she's been alone in a never ending field of death, and the sound of screams ignites every nerve in her all at once.
she runs as fast and hard as she can into the gloom, trying to aim for the noise of cries. the smell of gunpowder and smoke fills her nostrils; the sound of horses beating at the earth; cries of war mingle with those of mourning. it is pure hell and chaos; and still diana pushes through to the heart of it all. it doesn't matter that she has no weapons here, that she can feel fear coil around her heart.
someone outside of herself needs saving.
she finds that the terrain slopes downward. she follows it, down, down, until the smoke suddenly lifts. her heart stops in her chest at the sight before her: a valley of bodies strewn about. some are whole, but splayed, covered in blood. others have been butchered to pieces viciously, strewn about haphazardly.
diana inhales it all, the smell of blood and death. her hands shake as she walks among the bodies, calling desperately out for someone, for anyone who is alive. her heart beats frantically in her own ears as she goes, trying not to focus on the feel of ground beneath her feet, on the feeling of blood on her skin.
she keeps walking, keeps trying to go towards the sound of someone alive. it always seems just out of reach--there are only more bodies to see, more deadened eyes. something in her head is telling her that something is off, something is wrong--the valley resembles themyscira, but as her eyes take in some of the bodies, she can tell that they were men, were boys. that the women there weren't themysciran warriors--
"please," her voice shakes, as she turns and turns. there are only dead eyes to greet her, only people splayed in horrific positions, "is someone-- is anyone alive? can anyone hear me? can--"
a rock hits her, sharp on the side of her neck. diana turns in the direction of where it came from: and there is a little girl there, her face coated in dust and blood, cheeks bisected by tear tracks. immediately, diana's hands go up in surrender; it makes the girl angrier, launching more and more rocks at her.
they hit diana harmlessly. "please-- i'm not here to hurt you--"
"yes you are! yes you are!" the girl's voice is raw, as if she'd been using it for hours on end. diana comes closer. another rock is launched, and when diana catches it, the girl starts to shake. "you're gonna-- you're gonna kill me. just like you killed the rest of us!"
diana's heart drops. the rock that's aimed at her this time, she doesn't even respond to. she can hardly take a breathe, her throat restricting on her. the little girl seems to be in the throes of her own shock, her eyes boring into diana's in defiance of death, of war, of diana's own wrath crashing down on her.
the feeling, the knowledge that diana caused this, that she could cause this turns her stomach to acid. horror lodges itself into her throat, her soul. "i would-- i wouldn't--"
there's a whistle of wind.
the girl's face twists into agony. with horror diana realizes what's happening before her eyes registers the arrow portruding from the girl's chest. she screams in rage, and horror when the girl's body falls over, and she can see that the shaft of the arrow carries her colors.
a roar of pleasure pierces the air, and diana lifts her eyes.
she sees herself, adorned with ares' helmet, wearing the skin of the Nemean lion. her lips are stretched into a cruel, spiteful smile. her sword drips with blood.
hate sparks inside of diana, raw and primal.
this awful version of her, with her lips pulled back to reveal blood stained teeth laughs, and says, "do not cry, sister. we are one and the same. the battlefield is the home of our true self--do not look so pained."
diana can feel tears tracking down hotly on her cheeks. "she was innocent."
the other her laughs, the sound of it more like the clash of swords and shield than anything human. "she was war fodder." her sword touches diana's cheek, her voice mocking, "were you not taught that, princess of themyscira? were you not born a warrior, meant to wage war, to cut down your enemies no matter who they were?"
diana raises her eyes to her. "not like this. never."
this time, her laugh is full of war cries and shaken spears. "you will learn your lesson. you will learn how you really are in good time." her laugh grows, and grows until diana is feels that there is nothing but the sound of war all around her, pulling her down into it's bloody depths.