Weeks passed as J'onn J'onzz, the Martian Manhunter, rested and regained his strength. He received a letter of condolence from the Amazon Queen Hippolyta for his injuries, and an invitation to dine with her and her court. He was also given a tour of their island city, Themyscira.
As J'onn walked through the streets of Themyscira he felt as though he was walking the streets of ancient
But what most impressed J'onn was their technology. During his tour he witnessed miraculous healing devices, armor that was virtually indestructible, and even a flying machine that could become invisible. But over time the technology of the Amazons became so advanced that there was no need to repair it. Eventually the Amazons became technologically regressed, knowing how to use their technology, yet knowing nothing about how it worked. Some had even begun to refer to it as magic.
After J'onn's tour of the city he was lead to the Queen's dining pavilion where he waited with the queen's court for the royal family to arrive.
After they had finished eating, J'onn's presence was announced to everyone. He stood up and thanked the Amazons for their hospitality. Queen Hippolyta, sitting beside her daughter Diana, asked J'onn what he thought of Themyscira.
J'onn was very polite. He spoke of their elegant pools and frescoes. The idea of magic permeated Amazon culture, and he resisted mentioning the technology he had witnessed, but his curiosity overcame him. He talked about their amazing healing devices, and its potential to cure diseases.
The idea of technology was no stranger to the Amazons. While the Amazons isolated themselves on and island in the
J'onn became more confident. He asked about a large structure nearby, called the Gates of Tartarus, and expressed a desire to explore it.
"No", bellowed a voice from the corner of the room. Everyone turned to see who had spoken. It was royal guard Aella.
"I'm sorry. I meant no offense", J'onn replied.
"Not at all", Queen Hippolyta said. "You are our guest. Please continue."
J'onn mentioned that during his time in Themyscira, he had learned that the Amazons no longer knew how or why their technology worked. He suggested that the answer may lie behind the gate.
"Shadows and flame, that's what lies behind those doors", Aella added.
Queen Hippolyta took notice, and introduced J'onn to royal guard Aella. She told him how Aella had spent many years carrying out a vigil of the gate.
"Have you have seen this with your eyes?", J'onn asked Aella.
There was a hush in the room. Aella was offended. "I have not. None but the royal family may venture beyond the gate."
"This is true", Queen Hippolyta added. "No one has ventured beyond the gates in over a hundred years."
The queen's daughter, Diana spoke. "I will go with him", she said bravely.
"No!", Aella shouted.
"You dare insult my daughter?!", the queen asked.
"Forgive me, highness", Aella replied. "I fear for thee, Diana."
The queen asked Diana, "Diana, you would go with this newcomer into the Gates of Tartarus?"
"I would", Diana said bravely. "In my travels I have learned much of this new technology. J'onn will show us what truly lies beyond the gates."
"Aella, what do you know of what lies beyond the gates?", the queen asked.
"Forgive me princess", Aella spoke to Diana, "but all who venture there know the stories of what lies beyond the gate--shadows and flame." Then she said to J'onn, "Tell me you do not believe in magic, J'onn J'onzz. Can you tell me that the device you hold in your hand does not have a miraculous healing power?"
"If you could see through my eyes, Aella", J'onn answered, "you would see no difference between a sword and this healing device in my hand. I see these things as tools, each one built for its own purpose."
"What is a sword without the warrior to wield it", Aella responded haughtily. "Swords are nothing without a warrior's spirit to guide them."
"Aella!", the queen commanded. "You will show our guest some respect!"
Aella was embarrassed. Her temper had got the better of her once again. She bowed to J'onn J'onzz, son of Ares, and left.
(Photos from left to right: Indian actress Aishwarya Rai as "Diana", Phil Morris as the Martian Manhunter, actress Lucy Lawless as "Aella")