Diana looked to Hades. “It is a disturbing story my lord,” she said, “but not much different a thousand I have heard before.”
Hades looked at her as a parent would at a confused child, and spoke to her with both understanding and contempt, “It is not just a story child, it is your story, and the story of your mother, in both of your lives.”
The truth finally occurred to Diana, and shock gave way to a few tears. “You know of the Cavern of the Souls, and of how you were born from there, but the goddesses never told you the truth about what happened before that,” he said, “but the story does not end there, child.”
“What is more?” Diana asked, “for I was trapped in the great cavern and born from there.” Diana looked around they were no longer beneath rather in the now empty cavern of souls, the work of Hades near omnipotent power. She felt unnaturally easy here in the place which was once home.
“No Diana,” Hades answered, “what of your father?”
“My father?” Diana asked, “trapped in the underworld of some forgotten pantheon no doubt.”
“Child,” Hades said almost chastising her, “was it not my niece Athena who granted you great wisdom, must I really tell you?”
Hades was right, Diana was confused by emotion and not by an inability to comprehend. “You are clearly Addas,” she said, “the names are too similar, to be a coincidence, these early people called you otherwise.”
“Yes,” Hades responded
“And so you have my father?” Diana asked.
“In a sense child,” Hades responded, “this second part of my story may perhaps be more shocking than the first. It is within reason to think of the gods as divine versions of humans, which we are in fact, but we have devised these concepts to allay the questions of our followers. We are in fact beings of great power, more energy than mass.”
“What do you try to tell me lord?” Diana asked
“Your father was one of the first to come to my gates for the afterlife, your people had been one of the first to recognize us as gods,” Hades explained, “but your father with his fighting spirit was not ready to give up on his wife and child so easily. He begged me to return him to the land of living. I could not do such a thing, it is beyond the power of the gods combined, but I could offer him a compromise.”
“What compromise?” Diana asked.
“I shall put this bluntly,” he replied, “I was a being of energy in need of a body, he had a strong one to give. He sacrificed his soul so that his body might again know life and see his family.”
“My lord, do you mean to tell me that … you are my father?” she asked.
“In one sense yes,” he answered, “of course it is presumptuous to think of it in those terms. You are a mortal not a demi-god, my specific power does not course through your veins. But the life which once inhabited this body does.”
“What do you mean that the life from your body is within me?” Diana asked, “My mother formed this body from clay?”
“Child I do not know if you mean to test my divine patience, or if you jest, or maybe this is mortal naivety,” Hades answered, “but you are no more made of clay than I am of air.”
“I don’t understand though,” Diana said, “if my mortal body died in the womb of my mother as you have said, where then do I have life from?”
“I see your confusion,” Hades replied, “perhaps it is more clear if I relate a quote from that adult author of children tales ‘You do not have a soul, you are a soul, what you have is a body.’”
“C.S. Lewis,” Diana replied, “but then what when I have reverted to clay? It has happened more than once?”
“Child your questions are beside the point, but if you are referring to the actions of Circe or my younger brother, then those were divine magics meant to confuse you and test your faith,” Hades said.
“I have seen the images from the goddesses though,” Diana protested, “of my birth.”
“Child I can see perhaps this is the tenacity which you have become known for but you are obfuscating the topic,” Hades replied, “when your mother signalled she was ready for you, she created the effigy of a child from clay to be certain, but this is not you. It was the act of creation which caused that I set you free. She could have formed the clay into the shape of a pigeon and you would still come to be as you are now.”
“My lord, it was you who released my soul?” Diana asked
“Diana,” Hades answered, “do you really think my sister and nieces can control aspects of the underworld to create this cavern without my knowing? They were certainly surreptitious with their actions, but they underestimated my true power and presumed I didn’t control every aspect of my realm. This cavern exists only because I allow it to.”
“Then if I might be so presumptuous to ask my lord,” Diana continued, “why not simply return my father to life when he pleaded with you?”
“The innuendos and semantics of this case are complex my child,” Hades replied, “but there is a difference between returning one to life and of not ever really being dead.”
“So this was me? And mother?” Diana asked again.
“I created this whole cavern as a vessel for the two of you,” Hades answered, “as a service to the mortal body I now inhabit and the love he once shared for you. I understood the intentions of your goddesses and it was a noble cause so I left them to their devices, but it was I who cared for your souls and the souls of your sister Amazons for those millennia before your lives were ready to be renewed.”
“But my lord … ?” Diana started.
“No, the time for questions is passed,” Hades said, “know that I tell you this all for a reason, not to confuse your life. Until now I saw no need to burden you with the truth, but it is actually not so much in your interest that you know this, rather mine. There are forces which only I know of that are intent on destroying first me and then the rest of our pantheon. You must be alert to them as I will be unable to stop them alone, nor do the gods have any chance at this, for the assaults will come in my domain. You will soon be approached by the consort of this dark beast, but also a man who is my champion. He must remain nameless for the time being, for he does not know that he has been working for me for so long, since a childhood tragedy befell him. You will know who he is when the time is right though.”
“I am up to the task of course, my lord,” Diana said, “but how am I too be effective, when the gods are powerless?”
“Because, dear child,” Hades responded, “in almost every sense of the word, you are my daughter.”