With the approval of Queen Hippolyta, her daughter Diana along with the Martian Manhunter (J'onn J'onzz) set off to explore the caverns that lay beyond the Gates of Tartarus. There they believed they would discover the origins of the Amazons' technology.

Royal guard Aella, who had spent many years carrying out a vigil of the gate, warned them not to go, and told them that they would find shadows and flame beyond the gate. Her warnings went unheeded. After losing her temper, and embarrassing herself, Aella left the Queen's dining pavilion and went to a temple to pray to Hera.

There she bumped into her sister, a Heran priestess named Nione. Nione saw that Aella was troubled. Aella explained to her what had happened at the pavilion.

Later that night, after they left the temple and ate dinner, Aella was more clear-headed. "I have taken an oath to give my life for the princess, and that's what I shall do", she said, "but no Amazon will die by my hand." The entrance to the
Cave of Tartarus would be guarded by soldiers led by Captain Mala. Aella, swordless, would attempt to fight her way past the guards with the help of loyal Amazons who knew of the horrors that lay beyond the gate.

Nione believed that there had to be another way. Aella knew Captain Mala would never agree to let her go to Diana. But Nione insisted that Captain Mala, although she had a sharp tongue, had always been loyal to Diana, and had shown reason in her decisions. She convinced Aella to guard her temper when speaking with Captian Mala and be truthful to her. Aella agreed to her plan and left with a cohort of loyal Amazons to meet Mala.

(Photos from left to right: Joanne Whalley from the movie '
Willow' as "Nione", actress Lucy Lawless as "Aella"; the photo on the left is a design from the game 'Mage Knight')