This of their throne-rooms was one littered with ostentatious ornamention.
Behind the throne, there was a towering painted window, elegant shapes of red coloration upon a golden backdrop. The floorwork likewise held its own pattern, two rows of dots that led from the front entrance to the foot of the stairs up to the thrones. Ivory columns, plated in gold at their base, flanked the path to the throne. At the center of the room, atop a platform on a solitary column, there were the thrones, and there the king and queen of Apokolips were currently seated.
On the right, a helmeted man of well-muscled stature garbed in a navy-blue attire that appeared so tight fitting that it was like a layer of his skin; his skin, grey, rock-like, and his eyes burning red.
On the left, a woman with a similarly-muscular build; her garments, a pair of black jeans, a red tube-top that was lined with gold at the top, and a silver band around her waist. Her eyes were icy blue, her hair black as coal.
A well-aged woman in armor stood in front of them. A familiar sensation distracted them both from Granny's report.
"I will attend to this," said Diana, without looking at him. Darkseid said and did nothing in response, and said for Granny to continue as she got up. Calmly, she jumped off the platform, flying down to the floor, where she began to walk.
"I am quite aware that you are watching me, so you may as well dispense with the pretense that you are not," thought Diana aloud, wandering out the gate. The fiery and dreary cityscape of Apokolips met her eyes.
"You are scarcely the first one to employ some psionic trick or magical nonsense to spy on us, so that compels me to wonder why you are. Care to chat? You might actually have an original reason in mind, and be something that I have yet to hear of. No?"
She smiled. These people, hero or villain, never seemed so inclined.
"Very well, then I will conclude that you are of the second category of intruder, and decided to survey this world in order to learn what drove Diana the noble amazon hero to join the terrible Darkseid," a satisfied smirk broke out on her face, at sensing the uneasy mood which seeped into her surroundings.
"It was almost two-hundred years ago, when Darkseid returned from where he and Luthor had been sent by the Anti-Life Equation. Though he remembered nothing of the experiences inside, he came back with enough power to calm the civil wars that harrowed Apokolips, and finally end the eternal feud between the New God factions."
"Earth was the next world he targeted, and almost destroyed. Over the course of three terrible years, his armies invaded the earth, succeeding in reducing cities to rubble and slaying thousands of innocent people. Even with every hero that the Justice League counted among its members, the battle was a losing one."
"There was not a week where we did not lose a friend to his Parademons and other horrors. Worse, some of the heroes were abducted back to Apokolips, to be empowered and made his minion against us. I scarcely remember what they all became after Desaad was finished with them, just that having to fight and sometimes kill our allies took its toll on our morale."
"I never understood exactly what Darkseid had done to them. All I had was the certainty that they were terrible things, however vague, until Darkseid captured me. It was at the start of the second year of the war, a battle he attended personally. Neither side won that day, and only he and I survived. I was in no condition to resist him taking me to Apokolips."
"I was shown endless visions whose only purpose was to erode my beliefs, every day. What good is compassion for others if it opens you to be exploited by them? What value does free choice hold, in a society where your place is decided for you from birth until death, and is provided everything you need for that, and everything is truly better because of it?"
"I resisted his teachings, for quite a while as I recall, but all strength has its limits. After almost a month, I recognized that he indeed understood better than I what it took to bring peace and order to the world, and he returned me to earth. The eleventh and fourteenth Warhound squads were given to me as my first forces."
Her smirk grew predatory as she recalled what followed.
"My five comrades in the Justice League were the ones I killed first, among the heroes of earth. J'onn was the hardest, almost as satisfying as Shayera's screaming when I ripped off her wings, and Bruce the easiest. Surprised to hear me speak so openly of that? Then you aren't a very good listener, stranger."
Far from Apokolips, in a distant region of space, within a mountain-side cottage, a Thanagarian sorcerer sat down. His mood was one of dismay. He had hoped to glean military information, not her history.
"Does this answer your questions, stranger?" asked Diana, silently. "If so, I suggest that you tell me what backwater planet you're hiding out on. It honestly makes no difference to me. My husband and I have eternity to search the universe for you, and I have spies across this galaxy of mine, but most cultures would be quite annoyed to learn that they suffered because you were uncooperative."
Two of the Coluan psychics wondered if she was actually expecting them to tell her that. The mage leaned back in his chair, looking glumly outside. In a strange land, a stranger turned away.