Appearing in "The Dearly Beloved"
Synopsis for "The Dearly Beloved"
In Damascus, Strife visits with her brother War, and proposes that he join her as her accompaniment to the wedding between Hades and Wonder Woman. War staunchly refuses to go, stating that he chooses not to attend second weddings, as they merely signal the beginning of another failure. As he leaves, an IED blows up nearby, a product of War's work.
Meanwhile, Zola, Lennox, and Eros aren't taking the news of Wonder Woman's capture by Hades all that well. Zola blames Hermes for his stance that he must not return to Hades to save Diana, as he had promised to look after Zola, and leaving her exposed would be breaking his oath. Eros, meanwhile, is unhappy that Hephaestus gave up his pistols to Hades, and then they ended up being used against Diana. Despite the fact that Hermes cannot leave Zola, Hephaestus has an invitation to the wedding, and as such, he can bring Eros and Lennox along with him as guests without the messenger's help.
Meanwhile, Diana prepares for her wedding, fingering at the hole left in her chest by Eros' bullet of love. Her attendant informs her that her husband-to-be has given her a gift. Wonder Woman looks out the window to see that Paradise Island has been recreated in Hades using the souls of the dead. The sight brings Diana to tears, and her attendant promises to let Hades know that she would rather not be reminded of home. As the girl closes the curtains, Diana notices that she is bleeding. Timidly, the girl admits that she had tried to escape by slitting her wrists, but to no avail. She is Persephone, the first wife of Hades.
Zola is confused by the fact that time seems to have passed more slowly on earth while she was imprisoned in Hell. As she and Hermes walk in the woods, they are surprised by the appearance of the goddess of love, Aphrodite. Zola is surprised to learn that this most beautiful woman is the ugly Hephaestus' wife, though Aphrodite admits that he has other charms. Zola - who happens to be quite pregnant - admits that in comparison to the goddess, she has never felt more unattractive. Aphrodite warns that she should not feel that way, as she has beauty of her own. She adds that it is wrong for Zola to fault Hermes without considering his message. Before taking her leave, Aphrodite admits that she will not be attending the wedding, as love has little place in Hell.
In Hell, Hades sits on a throne made from the imprisoned and shackled soul of his own father, Cronus. Strife arrives to the wedding early, and expresses her happiness that he has found love. This thought gives Hades pause. She apologizes that Hera and War are not attending, and Hades expresses some disappointment that more than just they are not attending. Feigning concern, Strife claims that she would hate for Hades to be disappointed by love again, and proposes a method to be sure of his success.
Hephaestus, Eros, and Lennox arrive in Hades via the River Styx. Their plan is merely to take their seats at the wedding, and see what happens. They are surprised by a brilliant white light, and Hephaestus explains that Hades must have invited every soul in Hell to the wedding, as they step out onto streets illuminated by souls.
Diana's preparation is nearly finished, dressed in an ornate red dress. She mounts a horse next to Hades, and the two of them ride toward the altar, through a mass of souls. As they ride, Hades wonders whether Diana might be feigning her love for him in order to protect Zola, and warns that if her love were to prove false, he would certainly seek Zola out and capture her. Diana insists that she does love him, and so, glancing at Strife, Hades proposes that Diana should prove her love by wearing her ring before the ceremony. Diana agrees, but soon she sees that the ring Hades spoke of is actually a noose fashioned out of her Lasso of Truth. The truth about her love will either bind him or hang her.
- This book was first published on May 16, 2012.
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