This is a page to keep track of all of the canon references within the books.
Then Hercules had first come to Cheiron's Academy to be trained as a warrior, he'd thought the poles were stupid. "When is that ever gonna happen in real life?" he had asked Cheiron, the centaur who ran the Academy.
Now Hercules knew better. For one thing, he had had to fight on similar poles in real life. For another, it was good practice. If you could fight while keeping your balance, fighting on solid ground was a lot easier.
Having learned his lesson the last time he had taken leave, the centaur did not put the Academy's bursar, Fiducius, in charge.
- Probably a reference to 1.11 - Battle Lines I when Cheiron left Fiducious in charge, and Hercules and Iolaus ran away to follow Cheiron and got captured by Amazons.
Throwing up his hands, Strife said, "Just trying to help out, Unc. You know, cause a little
strife, maybe get something going."
"Like you and Discord attempted with the Amazons and centaurs?"
Strife's face fell. "Well, okay, maybe that wasn't a
complete success. Unc, but hey, nobody's perfect, right?"
"Oh, any decent ruler would probably be able to keep war from happening. But Corinth doesn't have a decent ruler anymore, they just have a boy. And young Prince Jason doesn't stand a chance of holding off the centaurs." Ares scratched his bearded chin thoughtfully. "Of course, his dear, departed father, King Aeson, surely would have been able to prevent a war." Ares smiled. "That was one of many reasons why I killed the old man."
Cheiron found that he wished for Hercules to be the one to meet him. He had to admit to a special fondness for the boy. Someone with his abilities could very easily have taken a dark path. Indeed, another half-god son of Zeus, Lucius, had taken that very path.
He didn't get the chance to respond, though. Iolaus took advantage of Jason's distraction to swing hard at the prince's weapon. The stick broke, and a large piece went flying off toward an oak.
Jason stared at the small twig that was now no wider than his fist.
Hercules had broken Jason's sword with his new one and almost lost Jason's friendship. Eventually they did make up - aided by Hephaestus replacing King Aeson's sword with a stronger one.
His eyes went wide as he stared at Iolaus. "That was my favorite stick! My father gave me that stick! I'll kill you for that!"
"In your dreams, pal," Iolaus said.
Then Jason leaped at Iolaus, and they both fell to the ground.
Hercules shook his head. as with the "sword fight", they weren't really trying to hurt each other. They just rolled around in the dirt, laughing, Jason's mock anger quickly gone.
The son of Zeus was grateful that Jason could laugh about that subject. Months earlier Jason had been given a beautiful sword and shield that had belonged to his father, King Aeson. Hercules was jealous - his father had never given him anything like that. In fact, his father had never given him anything. So Hercules had called in a favor to the gods' metalsmith, Hephaestus, to make him a sword of his own.
Iolaus, however, wasn't letting him get a word in. "Right, it's much better if we stay here. At the Academy. Where we spend each morning beating each other with sticks while standing on poles. Not to mention our breaks and holidays, where we get to deal with all the crazy members of your family, both god and half-god, plus Bacchae, giants, basilisks, satyrs, phoenixes-" He turned to Lilith. "Did I leave anything out?"
"War-crazed Amazons and centaurs," Lilith said.
Lilith sounded a little bitter. Hercules couldn't blame her. Her parents and older brother, Marcus, had been killed by bandits when Lilith was a child. She and her other brothers were raised by her sister until she went off to the Academy.
"I'm not surprised," Lilith said. "Your mother's really great." She now had a good collection of pebbles cupped in her left hand.
Hercules smiled. Lilith had met Alcmene when she'd joined him, Iolaus, and Jason for the festival of Persephone at his village. "Yeah," he said, "she really is."
Lilith sat on the ground facing the stream. Leaning her back against the rock Hercules was sitting on, she dumped the pebbles in a pile next to her. "My sister always meant well. She wanted me to be a good little woman and marry some nice guy."
"Oh, yeah," Hercules said with a smile, "That'd be real rough, marrying some nice guy."
Lilith swatted Hercules lightly on the ankle. "You know what I mean. I didn't want that. But it's what
she wanted for herself." She picked up a couple pebbles and started tossing them into the stream with each sentence. "She never understood how I felt." Splash. "She never even tried." Splash. "She just did what she thought was best for me."
"Of course not," Hercules said. "But look at it from your sister's side. I mean, out of nowhere, she's got the responsibility of raising you and your brothers by herself. The only thing she could do was what she knew, and what she knew-"
"Was to raise me to be like her," Lilith finished. She sighed and tossed another pebble. Splash. "I guess so. But I had to be a warrior. She never even tried to figure out why, even when I told her."
Lilith shook her head. "This wasn't a phase." She grinned. "Deciding to wear palm leaves on my wrists when I was eleven was a phase. But being a warrior... I'd wanted that ever since my parents and Marcus died. I remember when the bandits started attacking - I felt so powerless. I hated it. There was nothing I could do. I just had to hide, hoping they wouldn't come and kill me, too. I never wanted to feel like that again."
Hercules had heard part of this story before, when he and Lilith had been trapped in a cave by Ares. "So you want to become a warrior so you won't feel that way."
"Exactly." Splash. "If something like that ever does happen - if I'm ever in trouble, or someone I care about is - I won't just sit in a corner and cry the way I did then. I'll fight." She turned to look up at Hercules. "That's why I'm here now. Cheiron's in trouble, and I'm not going to just sit around."
"I know what you mean. Remember when Ares had Morpheus send those nightmares after me? Cheiron was the one who figured it all out. He helped me rescue you guys from the dreamworld. And I've learned so much from him. Not just about fighting. I mean, anybody can show you that, but he's also shown me when not to fight. That can be at least important, and I'd never have known that without him." Hercules smiled. "That's probably already saved my life once or twice."
Jason shook his head. Being reasonable was getting him nowhere, so he moved over to the throne. Stepping up to it, he glanced at the golden fleece that hung above and behind it. He had led Hercules, Iolaus, and the others to get the fleece in order to save his father's life. His father had still died in the end, killed by Ares. But the fleece was Jason's. He swore he would never let it leave Corinth's throne room for as long as he lived.
Jason seated himself on the throne. As Ophistus always insisted, he sat up as straight as his spine would allow. He rested his hands on the throne's flared armrests.
Jason leaned forward. "And I have the golden fleece. Against a powerful giant and the god of war himself, I won the fleece. I think it will take more than even the mighty Centaur Nation to take it away from me."
"Maybe I don't understand centaur ways as much as I thought. But I do understand this: Corinth has a strong army. We've successfully defended out borders for decades. You know how you said the people of Corinth are prejudiced against your kind? Well, those same people will see you invade and believe all the lies they've heard about centaurs being subhuman. They will rally behind the army."