Latveria, in the post Latveria-Asgard Wars:
Doombots scour the ruined part of Latveria, amongst smoke and flames. 'A full sweep of the crash site has been completed' one Doombot reports. 'No other survivors detected’ another Doombot announces, while a third states that the demonic air-sentries have done their job well. Lying among the wreckage are Hippolyta a.k.a. Warrior Woman and the mysterious Caroline Le Fey. 'Collect these two interlopers. They'll wake to find themselves in the war-pits' another Doombot orders, while, gathering on a cliffside nearby, some citizens of Latveria stare down at the damage.
'What happened here, Papa?' a child asks, but their father replies that he does not know. 'It... it is madness' an older woman remarks. 'What could possibly drive outsiders to come here?' she asks. 'Why would anyone try to invade Lord Doom's domain?' she wonders, as the massive giant robot lay across now broken homes and buildings.
Amongst the city, several children run down a dirt street, 'Come on! Come on!' one of them exclaims, announcing that the games have already started. 'Please proceed in an orderly fashion' a Doombot states, 'Hurry!' one of the children declares, as they line up to enter an arena. 'Please proceed in an orderly fashion. Lord Doom welcomes you' the Doombot states to more citizens who arrive and join the line to enter.
Standing on a private balcony over the arena, Emperor Doom addresses his gathered people, assembled in the seats overlooking the arena, he tells them that on this, day 1,206 of their games, he invites them to remember what it is they celebrate, and what it is the revere. 'On this day, I invite you! To recall how Doomstadt stood... even against the gods... and stands to this day! We have weathered the storm! These games are a celebration of death! The death of those who stand against us! And a celebration of life! For we live though the very immortals have fallen!' Emperor Doom boasts, and the crowd cheers in celebration.
Three days ago
'What am I looking at?' Hippolyta a.k.a. Warrior Woman asks as she stands with Wolverine, Colonel America and the Hulk, all looking up at images projected from a glowing pink ball. 'I would think it's obvious. This is what happened during that oh-so inconvenient period of time while you, dear Hippolyta, were dead. This is what became of the Amazons. This is how they died. This is how they were slaughtered. And this...is the murderer who led the charge against them' Caroline Le Fey responds, as they watch the Amazons under attack, and a mysterious shadowy figure riding on a horrid winged beast. Standing in Defenders Headquarters, New York City, Hippolyta asks Caroline, who only introduced herself as a “friend”, why she would show her this. 'Because I know where to find him. I can take you right to his doorstep. And I expect relatively little in return' Caroline replies. She remarks that their end goals are not so different. 'If I help you reach yours...you help me reach mine' she points out. 'Now hold on a second' Wolverine tells Hippolyta, remarking that this broad waltzes in here, opens up a Pandora's Box full of secrets and now she is just going to run off on some suicide run? 'Something don't smell right' Wolverine points out, while Hippolyta continues to look at the images of the Amazons being slaughtered. Colonel America agrees with Wolverine. 'How can we trust this woman?' he asks. 'How did she obtain this footage? Why was it even recorded in the first place?' Colonel America enquires.
Caroline smiles and points out that the Amazons, under the rule of Queen Artume, often recorded their battles for both entertainment and educational purposes. 'And pish, posh, dear Colonel. I could obtain both your shield and your lost eye if I decided to throw enough money into the effort' Caroline adds, referring to the patch that Colonel America wears over his left eye. Hippolyta tells the others that she doesn't expect them to understand. 'I was betrayed and assassinated by my own daughter' she reminds them, adding that her daughter thought she knew what it meant to be an Amazon, to be a queen – but she knew nothing of life, she knew only war and death. Hippolyta puts her mask on, as the image projected of the mysterious man riding a large creature hovers over her. 'And that's what came for her...for all of them. Now.. .it is my time to set things right' Hippolyta announces. Colonel America suggests they talk to Stark or Strange before Hippolyta goes anywhere. 'We can't just let you run off on some blood vendetta' he points out. 'I'm no fool, Colonel. Both Stark and Dr Strange prize information. Surely they knew what really happened to my people...who really killed them. They knew it but decided to keep it from me. And if you honestly think you can stop me...you're welcome to try' she informs him.
Hulk stands between Hippolyta and Colonel America and remarks that Warrior Woman is his friend, but that Colonel America and Wolverine are his friends, too. 'Don't make Hulk choose sides!' he pleads. He turns to Caroline Le Fey who just stares back at him, as she and Hippolyta start to leave the chamber. 'Well... look at it this way...what's the worst that could happen?' Wolverine replies.
In the cells beneath the arena, Hippolyta paces about, while Caroline sits on the small bed. 'They hear cries, and Hippolyta remarks 'Listen to them. They don't even know who they are cheering for'. 'They don't care' Caroline replies, explaining that the games keep them occupied and the bloodshed keeps them docile. She realizes that their captors have no idea, that they don't realize that Hippolyta couldn't have been captured unless she wanted it. 'They don't know that you could rip your way out of this cell without a second thought'. Touching one of the cell bars, Hippolyta replies that this way is better, for they come in peacefully, strike when the time is right, then make their exit. 'Odysseus would be proud' Hippolyta adds, before declaring that this is why she was brought back from the dead – this is her destiny. 'Destiny' Caroline declares, tossing the mask resembling the one Doom wears that she had been examining to the ground. 'I once believed I had a great destiny before me. Until I found out I'd been deceived' she announces, before beginning her story.
Flashback images narrated by Caroline Le Fey:
Caroline, as near as she can tell, was born sometime during the 7th Century, the daughter of a would-be goddess and a time-lost tyrant. As a young girl, she wondered if they loved each other, but she soon realized that it didn't matter, for they were beyond such perfuntionary emotional attachments, and, regardless, her birth was unexpected. She doesn't know why her mother decided to banish her to her mother's future, this present, and once upon a time, Caroline thought her mother was positioning her as a resource in some grand scheme. Caroline grew up in the care of her mother's loyal followers, people with means – wealthy and cruel enough to give her all the resources she could ever desire. But like any child, she dreamed, only she longed for the day when she would be called upon to aid her mother – her real mother – in her conquests.
'But the call never came' Caroline laments, revealing that her mother and father conquered half the world and they never even gave her a second thought. 'So now I dream only of making them suffer' she reveals, while an armored guard appears at their cell door. 'Let's go. It's time' the guard announces. 'Put your toys away' Hippolyta warns the guard as she shoves his spear away from her. He goes wide-eyed as Hippolyta tells him that she would hate for him to lose his ability to sire offspring all because he needed to prove his manliness by brandishing a weapon. They are led towards a gate which rises and bright light shines into the cell area. 'Are you ready?' Caroline asks. 'This is why we are here, is it not?' Hippolyta replies. 'When the fighting starts, stay close to me' she adds. Caroline tells Hippolyta to make no mistake, for although she might have seen both sides of life and death, this world is a merciless #$%&. 'She still has surprises in store' Caroline declares. 'For both of us' she adds, as they are led out onto the arena, and the crowd starts to roar. Standing before the two women are two dozen female warriors including Lady Deathstrike, Misty Knight, Callisto and Delphyne Gorgon. 'And now... my subjects... I present a truly one-of-a-kind spectacle' Doom announces.
Doom continues, declaring that, decimated though they may be, the warriors of fallen Amazonia have been gathered once more, their forces bolstered by some of the finest killers in the world, and that some among them remember their queen abandoned them in their moment of need. He adds that the records of history might show a different fate for the Amazons had mighty Hippolyta been by their side. But now, they stand before the citizens of Latveria to fight and die for their pleasure, against their fomer queen, Hippolyta, and her vassal. 'Vassal?' Caroline mutters. 'Today, they have the chance to repay their queen for her transgressions!' Emperor Doom announces. 'That...is not my father' Caroline declares. 'No. Of course not' Hippolyta responds, as several of the warriors move towards her, she starts to defend herself, knocking them back. 'This... is... a... farce!' she screams, repelling all of the warrior women. Hippolyta calls out to Doom and his people, informing them that she will not kill these women for their amusement. 'I will not murder them to appease your own guilt! And it sickens me – sickens me – to see how far you have fallen!' she declares, before commanding the Amazons to stand down.
'You dare?' Emperor Doom asks. 'Yes! Yes, I dare!' Hippolyta retorts, taking the bird off of her mask, she tosses it towards Doom, 'I pity you' she tells him, and to wide-eyed horror of the warriors and of the citizens, the metal bird strikes Doom's head – and it explodes – revealing that this was not Doom all along, but a Doombot. 'Lord Doom?' one of the vast audience calls out. 'Who is that?' another enquires. 'A Doombot?' someone wonders. 'What's happening?' another exclaims. The metal bird returns to Hippolyta's hand and she places back on her helmet. 'I hope you know what you're doing' Caroline calls out to her ally. 'I'm curious...is it pride that brings you to skulk behind this fallen idol?' Hippolyta calls out to a figure she can see lurking on the balcony. 'Or is it shame? Which is it -? Father' Hippolyta demands as Ares, God of War emerges from the balcony, eyes flashing red, hammer in one hand, his other fist clenched.
'You should not have come here' Ares declares as he leaps off the balcony and lands with a massive thud, knocking several of the warriors back. 'You should have stayed dead' he tells Hippolyta, eyes flashing red. 'Oh... yes...' Caroline utters. 'This is much better'. 'Is this the kingdom you were promised? You, Father, who was a king... you who threw in with Morgana Le Fey... you who destroyed all the Amazons stood for. And for what?' Hippolyta asks, recalling the Amazons battling horrid creatures. 'So you could cower behind a marionette in a burned-out ruin of a city? Here, where you can't even show your real face... because no one would ever live under your rule' Hippolyta declares.
'Do not taunt me, woman' Ares replies as he rushes towards his daughter, hammer at the ready, while Caroline smiles and tells the female warriors nearby that they might want to join her in taking a step back. Ares roars as he slams his hammer into Hippolyta's head. 'You were the God of War!' Hippolyta exclaims. She gets up and strikes back: 'But now – you've grown so pathetic... you only lord over games!' she declares, adding that he so proudly wields Mjolnir, a weapon he would not be worthy to lift if its magic had not died with Thor.
Ares wraps one arm around Hippolyta's neck and draws her close to him, telling her that she knws nothing. 'I did not attack the Amazons for material gain! You were dead! They killed you!' Ares declares. Hippolyta breaks free of her father's grasp and smacks him back, 'Do you think I had forgotten that?' she asks. She tries to kicks Ares overhead, 'Mine was an act of love!' Ares claims, to which Hippolyta tells him that only a madman would cast love in such light. Ares kicks her in the neck, 'Mine was an act of retribution! I was a father avenging my daughter!' Ares shouts, slamming the hammer to the ground and knocking Hippolyta aside. 'Even if I believed you...how could I forgive you?' Hippolyta asks as she flies towards her father, slamming into him and pushing him towards the edge of the arena. 'Was it not you who painted such pretty pictures of war in my daughter's mind? Wasn't it you who told her I was unfit to lead the Amazons? Your revenge against Artume does not pardon you for placing the murder weapon in her hand!' Hippolyta exclaims as they burst through the outer of the arena, and to the amazement of the Latverians, Hippolyta flies upwards, higher and higher, 'All of you – clear out!' she warns everyone as she flies through more walls, and still more, before tossing her father to the ground, he lands in dity, and rubble that starts to topple onto him from the collapsing arena walls.
'You were dead. I never wanted you to see this. That is why I hid. I never wanted you to know -' Ares begins, face down in the dirt. 'My allies – the Defenders – must have known that Doom was gone...that you ruled in his stead...yet they chose to hide the truth from me' Hippolyta realizes, kicking a column onto the pile of rubble building up around Ares, she points out that he, on the other hand, hoped to hide his disgrace. Hippolyta crouches down beside her father and tells him that she could kill him – but she won't. 'I want you to live with the knowledge that I am better than you. And more merciful' she declares.
'The Gods of Death... they made you more powerful when they brought you back...have you not wondered why?' Ares asks Hippolyta, telling her that she is not here to be merciful, but to be their instrument. Hippolyta stands back up, and Caroline hands her her helmet. 'If the death lords are disappointed in me...I invite them to tell me so' Hippolyta tells Ares, while Caroline smiles and remarks 'Now that this business is...resolved...now that I've brought you here...I trust we can move on to my part of the bargain?' Hippolyta puts her helmet on, 'Yes. It is time to show Morgana Le Fey what I remember of war' Hippolyta declares, and picking up her father's now abandoned hammer, announces that she will not strike alone, for once more, the Amazons fight by their queen's side.
With that, Callisto, Misty Knight and the other warriors gather around and raise their weapons overhead as Hippolyta does with Thor's hammer, and Caroline folds her arms and smirks....