Showdown

From YoungHerculesWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
« Back to "YHFFS2.21 - Showdown"


2021.gif

Preview

      The following is an episode of the Young Hercules Fan Fiction Seasons, a non-profit virtual season project; written for fans by fans this is done to help keep the legacy of the short-lived television series Young Hercules alive on the Internet. The overall direction of the story that takes place in this virtual season may not be exactly what took place if an actual televised season had been produced.

ON THE NEXT EPISODE OF YOUNG HERCULES:

(Amazons lift swords, and chant "War! War!")
THE AMAZON NATION PREPARES FOR WAR
Dying Amazon: "Queen Cyane has been kidnapped"
AND HERCULES AND IOLAUS ARE CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE
Amazon, to Iolaus: "You killed my sister."
(Young brown-haired Amazon dies in Iolaus' arms)
IT'S A TEST OF FRIENDSHIP
Iolaus: "Meg."
(Angry Hercules lifts Iolaus of his feet, and screams something at him)
Hercules: "It's the same thing as then."
AND HERCULES FIRST ENCOUNTER WITH HIS WICKED STEPMOTHER
Hercules: "Hera!"
Hera: "So we finally meet, Hercules"
Hercules: "You have a thing with controling young women."
(Hera throws a Lightningbolt in the direction of Hercules)
(A lightingbolt strikes Hercules and sends him flying)
(Hera lets out a wicked laughter as she stands over Hercules)
PREPARE FOR THE MOST DRAMATIC YOUNG HERCULES EPISODE YET

UP NEXT!

Teaser

PREVIOUSLY ON YOUNG HERCULES:

      Hercules, in a version of his top that was half white and half black, was shocked. "My dark side!"</P>

      Dark Hercules, wearing black leather pants and a sequence black vest, laughed sinfully. "...This is the first time in your life where you fully gave into me, bringing me out of you and into a path of my own. One in which you only need to call upon to assist you, because I'm part of you, and don't need to be battled to come out any longer, and I'm not just your dark side. I'm your darkest and most violent side. The one with bloodlust, anger, hate, and a need to kill and destroy anything that opposes you; sort of the malicious dark side."</P>

      Hercules felt a chill come across him.

      "This time you allowed me to help, as your ally, not part of you," Darker Hercules explained." Once I come out, I can be tamed and controlled, but not put back in, and you now understand that. I am like your worst enemy, but I'm really your greatest friend if you will allow me to be... will you?"</P>

      Hercules kindly stated, "I don't want you to be my ally. You will force me into things without thinking, thus hurting everyone around me."</P>

      Darker Hercules chuckled mercilessly, sickened by his good counterpart's words. "If you say so. But, if you need me, and you won't even have to say because I don't need an invitation. I'm out and ready. I'll be right at your side ready to do battle whatever that plagues and troubles you. Punishment and pain we will bring to all! Wake up and smell the muses... the party is finished. Life has begun, and the most testing and dark part approaches.... I'm you... if not at this moment, then for sure next week, month... year...!"</P>

---

      "Are you ok?" Hercules asked. Shyly she nodded, brushing a stray lock of flaxen hair back from her face. The sides were clipped back and the rest fell down her back. Her dark blue robe reached the ground, belted at the waist. Dark eyes that were almost black stared at him. Pale skin, turning pink from sunburn was stark against her hair.

      "I'm Hercules. You're safe now." he smiled at the lovely girl.

      "Thank you for your assistance." she said softly. "Megaera. Call me Meg please. I've heard of you, Hercules."

      Iolaus's eyes widened when he saw the glimpse of blue flash under her robe. It looked like. . .no. He was seeing things.

      As Hercules and Meg strolled towards Corinth, and chatting, Iolaus lagged behind them.

      Hearing bits and pieces of the conversation, Iolaus was disturbed by the fact they had extensively talked about Herk's life. And Zeus. Lots about Zeus.

      "I. . .was a priestess."

      "Was? Isn't it kind of a life thing?" he asked.

      "Not if you lose your faith." she smiled charmingly and Herk felt a strange pull in his heart.

      "It's not just Zeus. In the past year, various family members have made themselves known to me, and most of them are not pleasant." he sighed. "In fact, they're down right psychotic."

      "I realize all the gods have their bad sides but when all you see is the bad, it's hard to support that. I've been in service since I was a child, and leaving the grace of a goddess is not a wise choice." Meg said, almost absently.

      "Then why did you? If you don't mind me asking." Herk flashed his smile and Iolaus watched jealously as Meg looked up at him coyly.

      "It's hard to condone her actions when revenge seeps into each one." Meg replied.

---

      Meg slipped her shoes on and crept to the window. Stepping onto the balcony the cool night air washed over her with pleasure and she took a deep breath. Hercules and Iolaus. . .the annoying small one had followed. Though they kept a safe distance, she periodically looked out the carriage to make sure they were there.

      With a cat's grace she slipped over the balcony and shimmied down the side, dropping quietly to the ground. The movement in the trees hadn't been imagined. Stealthily she hurried towards them.

      "Herk?" she whispered. A whiff of odorous cologne hit her. Iolaus was definitely nearby.

      The tall demi-god-god stepped out from the shadows.

      "Herk!" Meg ran to him. Eagerly they embraced, hugging each other tightly.

      "I was afraid you wouldn't be out here." she smiled up at him.

      "Of course. I told you I would help you." he smiled down at her. Iolaus rolled his eyes, shuffling his feet in the dirt to catch their attention. The shorter young man had noticed the dark blue robe of Hera was gone. She wore a shorter, white robe, that ironically enough displayed her smooth shoulders and long legs. The thin gold chain fell into the soft folds of the dress but when she moved, Iolaus caught the flash of blue hiding.

      "Iolaus, stand guard while Meg and I talk."

      "Of course." with a sigh, the curly haired cadet made himself comfortable on the ground. Why was Meg still wearing her pendant of Hera?

      Hercules took Meg by the hand and they walked further into the woods.

      "It was the strangest reception Herk. At Hera's temple, we eagerly welcome in new followers. This was so. . .solemn. I felt. . .trapped. Suffocated." she shuddered at the memory; as Herk promptly put one arm round her shoulders. Standing under the full moon Herk held her gently.

      "It'll be ok. You're closer to the Academy now." Herk said softly. Meg laughed bitterly.

      "Hercules, once I'm initiated to Hestia's service, there will be no male visitors. If I'm found out here with you, I don't know what would happen to me. To be thrown out of Hestia's service-"the dark eyes filled with tears, "There's no telling what my father would do to me."

      "Shh. It'll be ok. We'll figure something out. Iolaus and I always do. We won't let you got through this alone."

      "Iolaus. . .I don't think he likes me very much." Meg whispered.

      "Iolaus likes everyone. Especially girls. He's just something of a clod." Hercules chuckled. Meg didn't appear convinced. "I'll pretend I'm your brother or something. Better yet, we'll dress up as distant cousins." Hercules laughed, imaging Iolaus in a long skirt with a powdered wig on his head.

      "You're really determined to do this aren't you?" Meg asked, surprised. "Help me I mean."

      The soft smile on her lips stirred an unfamiliar sensation in Herk. A split second flash of Eurydice flitted through his mind before vanishing. Hercules smiled at Meg.

      "I have a thing for helping women." he smiled. Meg was special, like Eurydice had been. The tilt to her chin when she looked at him was so touchable. Deep, luscious coal colored eyes with no bottom.

      Not thinking, Herk ran one hand through her silky locks of hair.

      "What was that for?" Meg asked breathlessly, the thumping of her heart drowning out everything but his answer.

      "It just. . .needed it." he said softly as their lips drew closer.

      A loud cricket chirping startled them both and each pulled back.

      "Someone's coming." Herk whispered, pulling Meg into the shadows. The demi-god couldn't tell whose heart was racing faster, his or the one he held in his arms. A moment later the chirping came again.

      "False alarm." Hercules breathed. Meg didn't relax.

      "This is so risky." she whispered fearfully. "I should get back."

      "Yeah. I don't know want you tired tomorrow. . .for whatever it is you do. What do you do anyway?" he asked. Meg shrugged.

      "In Hera's temple I was a priestess. I led the daily prayers and rituals, meditations. Others came to me for advice. I took the new followers under my wing." tears rose again in her eyes. "Here I'm starting over. . .and I'll never be anything important, like a priestess."

      "Why not?" Hercules asked.

      "I'm sent to her as a reject of another god. . . .I have spent my life devoted to Hera and now I must change that all around for Hestia. It's more than just a vow of allegiance. It's faith." she whispered, wiping her tears away.

      "That doesn't seem fair." Herk said mournfully. Another bitter laugh escaped Meg.

      "When have you known the gods to be fair? Zeus wasn't very fair to you, was he?"

      Hercules nodded, thinking about his absentee father. And Ares. . .the demented God of War didn't exactly fight fairly either.

      "I suppose you're right." he sighed.

      "I have to change my entire life now. And just to be accepted by my father." she turned away from Herk to hide the flood of tears.

      "You said you left Hera's service because you lost you faith in her."

      "I lost my faith in her goodness. When her messages and dreams sent to us were only about revenge. . .I had to question her. You were one of her targets. And you did nothing to warrant such hatred. The compassionate mother figure I had known is gone. And I couldn't stay there. But I didn't think Father would send me here either.

      "Being sent to Hestia is to punish me for disgracing my father. As the oldest daughter and no brothers, it was up to me to set an example. And I've destroyed that. I'll never reach a level beyond initiate. I would have to devote my entire faith to Hestia. . . and I don't think I would be accepted."

      "Why not?" Herk asked, intrigued.

      "I've kissed a boy before. Hestian virgins must be as pure as a new day to be accepted as a priestess. Most of the Hestia's virgins have been here since they were very tiny."

      "I see." Herk murmured, not really seeing.

      "I'll reach my majority soon. . .and then I can do as I wish. But I have no skills to aid me in the world outside of the temples." tears gushed down her smooth cheeks. "My father will disown me if I leave. The only option is marriage and seeing as how we're not allowed male visitors, that's out of the question."

      Hercules hugged the sobbing girl.

      "I wish I could do more for you."

      "Just be my friend Herk. I need friends." she murmured against his leather shirt.

---

      "I can't believe I slept in the woods last night on the ground because you and miss ga-ga were talking all night."

      "We had a lot to talk about." Herk grinned at his pal.

      "I bet. Like, getting to know each other." Iolaus rolled his eyes. "How can you spend all night talking with a beautiful girl?"

      "Have you ever spent all night with a beautiful girl?" Hercules demanded.

      "Of course I have!" Iolaus ducked his head when Hercules glared at him. "Well, uh. . .not exactly I suppose. Your mom is beautiful and I've spent the night there."

      "Iolaus," Hercules stopped running to catch his breath. "Meg is awesome. She's the greatest girl I've ever met. Since we met I can't stop thinking about her!"

      "Well, if I were you, I would try. Something's not right about her." Iolaus blurted out. Herk narrowed his ice blue eyes.

      "What are you talking about?" the demi-god demanded, his jaw tightening. Iolaus swallowed. Once again, he spoke before he thought.

      "Something bothers her me about Herk. She's too. . .perfect."

      "She is perfect Iolaus! She's so perfect." Herk sighed happily thinking, remembering their tight hug when they parted ways before dawn. Soft and. . .nice, he thought, chuckling.

      "Herk, haven't you learned by now that if something is too good to be true, then it is?" Iolaus asked. Hercules placed his hands on his hips, jaw tightening.

      "Iolaus, I finally met a girl that's really special. Like Eurydice was. But Meg is alive, and she likes me too."

      "Herk, I just think something's not right. She was a priestess of Hera. Remember when we killed her peacock? And that Protector creature thing came after us? It almost ate me! Hera is really powerful and she hates you."

      "I can't believe what I'm hearing." Hercules snapped. Iolaus sighed.

      "Herk, she wears a pendant of Hera! Haven't you seen it? That shiny blue peacock feather thing around her neck?"

      "What are you saying Iolaus?" Hercules snarled, towering over his best friend menacingly.

      "Whoa, Herk, I'm just saying something's not right about her." Iolaus put his hands up in defense.

      "And I say everything is right about her." he snapped. "Meg said you didn't like her. Is this why?"

      "Herk, I just think she's not being honest with us!"

      "I think you're jealous." Hercules smirked. Iolaus sighed.

      "You always get the girl. But I'm being serious."

      "You're being jealous." Hercules snapped and resumed his fast pace towards the Academy. Iolaus had to jog to keep up with him. The rest of the trip was silent.

---

      After half an hour of talking, the magistrate, Jason, Hercules, Meg and Cordonius headed to the museum. Hercules was unable to provide an alibi for the robbery at the museum the night before, for fear of endangering Meg.

      "See those fingerprints?" Iolaus demanded. "I put this powder on the paintings yesterday!"

      "Iolaus, how can we prove those are Auto's?" Meg asked coldly.

      "All we have to do is get something he's held recently, dust it with powder and it'll be the proof."

      "You're desperate to cover your tracks aren't you boy?" Cordonius demanded. The magistrate held out a piece of parchment. Truly, the Prince of Thieves except Prince had been crossed out and KING written in.

      "He would have had to have touched this."

      Iolaus quickly dusted it but the smear that came up was no good. Too many people had touched it.

      "You were with him last night." Cordonius turned to his daughter. "Auto couldn't have stolen the paintings."

      Meg swallowed hard. "There's a vase at the house he was admiring. It would have his prints."

      "You believe this?" Cordonius stared at his daughter. Meg turned and walked towards her house.

      Hercules remained silent. He knew Iolaus didn't take the paintings, as did Jason but what good would that do when Cordonius already had him convicted?

      Iolaus was on pins and needles waiting for Meg to return.

      Sure enough, the powder revealed a matching set.

      "That boy-I welcomed him into my home-" Cordonius whispered, stricken "-trusted him with my daughter-"

      Suddenly he turned on Meg. "You! All that time you spent with him-what were you doing? And you were supposed to be with him last night!"

      "Talking father, just talking!" Meg raised her hands in front of her face as to ward off an attack. Hercules temper flared.

      "You gave him keys didn't you! What favors did you bestow on him?" Cordonius roared. Meg burst into tears.

      "None father! I don't know how he got in! I swear, I had nothing to do with it!" she pleaded.

      "You whore! Get back to your room!" Meg fled in tears.

      "Don't talk to her like that!" Hercules burst forth. Jason groaned.

      "You, whelp! You stay out of this! You've received enough of my daughter's attention! If you come near her again not even the king can protect you!" Cordonius spat, turning on his heel and leaving.

      Hercules turned in despair to Jason, who was dumbfounded. The demi-god stepped towards Iolaus.

      "This is all your fault Iolaus!" he shouted. The curly haired cadet paled.

      "Herk, you know it's not. Your just angry-"

      "If you hadn't started this witch hunt for the Prince of Thieves, none of this would have happened!"

      "Herk, calm down. Come on, let's go back to the castle." Jason put one hand on his friends arm but Herk shook him off.

      "You can go back. But I'm not going anywhere that he'll be!"

      "Look, Cordonius is just mad that he got away with his paintings and he's taking it out on you. That's the kind of man he is."

      Hercules stormed away, leaving the King and Iolaus to stare helplessly at each other. How could they repair this?

AND NOW, THIS WEEKS EPISODE...

      Mount Olympus sat on the highest hill above the clouds, concealed away from all humanity. Inside its hallowed halls most of the gods had their own private quarters, each fitting their personality.

      The first room on the left was decorated with the most unusual-shaped furniture. The walls were covered with a substance that bubbled. This could be the room of only one god, Deimos, the god of terror. The loose-screw god sat in one of the corners, testing new laughs out, than asking everyone around him what they thought. Dumbfounded, he didn't understand that nobody answered because nobody was there.

      Across the hall from Deimos was his cousin, Strife, whose room was decorated with all black vinyl furniture. The godling sat on a cushioned chair, pricking dirt out from behind his fingernails, mumbling in boredom.

      Next to Strife's abode was Discord's. Her room was dimly lit with black candles, in fact everything was decorated in black. Her bedding and draperies were made of leather. Chains, of all various shapes and sizes, were hung from the walls. Discord was nowhere to be seen, but one who listened carefully could hear her breaths coming from under a pile of cushions.

      Across from Discord's kinky abode was the exact opposite, a cheerful place. Decorated with pinkheart-shaped pillow cushions, stuffed animals, and a large heart-shaped bed, and not to forget many, and many accessories. This was Aphrodite's comfortable abode. The goddess herself was rummaging through her closet, filled with a variety of shoes and pink leakages. On top her dresser was a cabinet filled with various love potions, and perfumes.

      Next to Aphrodite's abode was an empty room. This used to be Hephaestus' quarters, but since Hera exiled him from Mount Olympus, the god of fire's room was vacant. Had Hera not considered her ugly sons' disease so deadly, she might have allowed a lesser god to live in his room.

      Across from the empty room was a rummaged down room, filled with old furniture. This was Hermes room. The only bright spot's were the golden wings on his sandles. The overweight, and drunken down messenger god laid in the midst of his room, belching loudly from time to time, and massaging his stomach. He had an array of messages around him, some with urgent delivery marked on them.

      Next to Hermes' room, the goddess of the hunt made her residence. Artemis' room was decorated with plenty of Amazon memorabilia. Artemis proudly displayed her favorite bow's and quivers above her bed. The athletic goddess was busy keeping herself in shape with an her daily workout of 3000 pushups and than situps.

      Right next door the god of war made his residence. Severed heads were proudly displayed on the mantle above his fireplace. Those were the head's of the warlords who gave his chosen few the greatest battles. A dart board has been posted on one of the walls. A sloppy image of Hercules was drawn on it, with Strife's signiture. The god of war was nowhere to be seen. He was eithe roff making war, giving his most hated nephew trouble, or finding a dalliance for the weekend.

      Across from Ares' room, the striking goddess of wisdom and war, Athena, had her abode. The goddess room was filled with shelves displaying many books and scrolls. Tapestries decoratedher walls. Athena sat back in a comfortable cushioned chair, her mind away in the book she was reading. From time to time she would take a refreshment off the table, either a sip of nectar from her silver goblet, or piece of jelly-like ambrosia from a plate.

      Some of the lesser gods shared the next few rooms. Proteus: God of Shapes and Colors, Fatuus: God of Prophecy, Lachrymose: God of Despair, among others, hadn't made a name for themselves, or didn't have the favor of another higher god, so they shared space.

      At the end of the hall, Zeus and Hera's once whole room was separated not only by a physical wall, but an even stronger emotional one. Zeus and Hera hated each other. But that wasn't alwaysthe case.

      At one time, Hera was proud of mankind, and loved Zeus, as Zeus loved her. But Zeus's love for humanity, especially female forms, enraged the queen of the gods. She grew to hate her husband. His children because of those conquests, half-breeds, both mortal and god, were her living nightmares. But since none of them did much, some didn't even know the strength they possessed or cared, after some time Hera got over them, but when Zeus and Alcmene were responsible for the creation of the demi-god Hercules, it was the last straw for Hera! Hera never hated humanity more. They, especially Hercules, would pay for her husbands infidelities, even those who were coincidental, or a son that never met his father.

      These days, Zeus rarely spent time on Mount Olympus, opposite Hera, who spent most of her time plotting the destruction of Hercules, a thing she couldn't do herself because Zeus and her decreed a law before time began: that a god cannot kill another god, a law which Zeus also extended to Hercules.

      When plotting, Hera would sometimes remain in her room for a month with a mortal interested in making a name for himself by killing Hercules. When she came out, every god would hide. Even Ares, who had his mother's favor, would go to his temple for a few days to avoid any built-up anger the only god left on the mount might receive.

      Although Zeus rarely stayed on Olympus, when he would, he would watch the entire world he had created from an oval-shaped window in the Chamber of the Gods, the god's throne room. Zeus loved humanity, and his son, Hercules. But the king of the gods felt that his son was a better man without him, and stayed out of his life Of course his all around cowardliness played a major part.

      One day everything came to a head on Mount Olympus. Zeus, as usual, spent his time admiring everything he had created from the large window. And as usual, everything was peaceful...till Hera arrived.

      "Zeus!" Hera shouted as she materialized ways behind her husband.

      Zeus turned around. His usual calm, but cowardly look that he showed when Hera was around was replaced by an angry and determined one. With his mighty hands he created a thunderbolt, and aimed it at Hera, who laughed, and snapped her fingers.

      Suddenly, Zeus' lightning bolt disappeared, much to his dismay.

      "You forget dear husband, I have powers as great as you. You couldn't kill me in my sleep if youtried." Hera smirked. "Of course you wouldn't disobey the rules, would you?" Hera tauntingly asked as she walked up to her husband.

      Zeus turned away, frowning. "Even if it meant killing you," he somberly stated.

      Hera laughed. "I see you admire the world. But not all of it is your creation. Beyond Greece we have no powers," Hera said changing the subject. "Each culture has there own pantheon. Only those on the steppes have no gods."

      "They use magic and sorcery!" Zeus snapped. "Powers as great as the gods. But I do not fear them!" Zeus turned around and looked his wife straight in the eyes. "I have heard of your impending plans, to unite all the amazon nations together. Those from Anatolia and Greece...all to wage a bloody war on Greece!"

      "You object?"

      "I do," Zeus firmly told his wife, "Greece is my domain!" Zeus slowly turned away from his wife and returned to calmly staring down at earth. "My word is final."

      "The other gods wouldn't agree with you; they would side with me," Hera said with assurance.

      Zeus swiftly turned around. Suddenly and with the stomp of his foot all of Olympus shook. Hera even staggered.

      "You listen up and listen up good," shouted Zeus, "I am the King of the Gods. It's come time I started acting like it again. You understand me?"

      Enraged at her husband's gall, Hera approached her husband closer. "Back down," she threatened as her hands conjured up a fireball.

      Zeus stood his ground, blowing the fireball to nothing with a small breath. "Not this time," he casually said with a smile.

      "You won't get your wish, dear husband. I will see to it that the amazons bring war to Greece. But I do wonder what you fear more: the prospect of the amazon nation ruling Greece, or the power the amazons of the north hold." Hera materialized away in a flash of light, laughing.

      Zeus fearfully said to himself, "I fear the plot you have hatched to kill my son."

---

      It was mid afternoon at the Academy. Hercules and Iolaus were sitting on separate bundles of hay near the stable, not the same long bundle one they had sat on every other time. This wasn't surprising, especially after all they had been through during the past few months that slowly butsurely was creating a wedge between them. Any mention of Meg, Hercules' love in Corinth, would spark a vicious argument.

      "Just another afternoon at the Academy," Iolaus said as he watched a few cadets happily chatting amongst themselves about the upcoming summer vacation.

      "Yeah it is," Hercules said as his eyes wandered off elsewhere.

      Concerned, Iolaus asked, "You okay, Herk?"

      "Been better."

      "What are you thinking about," asked the curious Iolaus.

      "Who said I was thinking," snapped Hercules.

      "I know Hercules."

      Hercules stubbornly replied, "...and I know Iolaus. Just because my eyes wander off, and I'm bored, and thinking, doesn't mean I'm thinking!"

      "Ah ha! Thy Herk contradicts himself! Yes."

      Hercules stood up; he sighed. "Iolaus..."

      Before Hercules could say more, his eyes shifted to a woman the same age as him, dressed in amazon clothing, staggering towards him. She was badly cut all over and breathed in and out heavily; sweat dripped down her face. The cadets stopped what they were doing and took notice, and Cheiron, who was in his office, peaked out his window and spotted her.

      "Are you Hercules?" asked the weary Amazon, as Hercules helped her lay down in a pile of hay.

      "Yes. I'm Hercules," stated the demi-god in a concerned tone of voice. "Who are you? Who or what harmed you?"

      "I was sent from Cyane," the weary Amazon said as she sat up a little and coughed, "to deliver a message to Hercules." Feeling weary, she slowly slumped back down into the hay.

      Iolaus looked on, concern etching every inch of his face, but with some hidden disappointment in his heart. Cyane knew he and Hercules were a team, but she only sent for Hercules.

      "What did you need to tell me?" Hercules asked as he grabbed a water pouch from the ground.

      "All amazons are dead. Only Cyane isn't. She was kidnaped, by Barbarics. Savages that live to the north east of here. Far away."

      "I'll rescue her. I promise." Hercules assured the amazon, his concern now including the intense determination he had when it came to rescuing a friend...a lady friend.

      The Amazon gave Hercules a smile before her eyes closed and she breathed her last breath. Hercules placed his hand on her head.

      "Are you okay?" Iolaus asked with concern, as he kneeled down next to Hercules.

      Hercules ignored Iolaus, and kept staring down at the dead amazon. "Cyane, you won't wind up like her."

Act One

Showdown

Also Starring
Nathaniel Lees as Cheiron

Guest Starring
Charles Keating as Zeus
Meg Foster as Hera
Josephine Davison as Artemis
Claire Stansfield as Altina
and
Kevin Smith as Ares

Based on "Young Hercules"
Created by Rensissance Pictures

Co-Producer
Euterpe

Co-Executive Producer
Medea

Edited by Tern O'Brien

Written by Kent Simmons


      "Herc, would you mind explaining where were going?" Iolaus said as he paced about the dorm hall, while Hercules packed supplies into a brown sack.

      Finished with the packing, Hercules grabbed two long brown wool dusters from the compartment under his bunk and threw one over to Iolaus, who reluctantly caught it.

      "Shoot first, ask questions later," Iolaus unhappily said.

      Hercules persistently put the duster on, picked up his sack, and headed down the dorm hall. Iolaus quickly caught up, soon passing his friend. Iolaus blocked the doorway. Hercules stopped inches away from his friend. By the look on Iolaus' face, he knew Iolaus wasn't joking.

      "Herk, just answer a few questions for me, then I'll move."

      "We don't have time. If the wounded was alive, Cyane couldn't have been taken that long ago. We might catch up with our adversaries before they leave Greece." Hercules stepped forward. Iolausput his hand out to stop his advance.

      "Please Hercules, just listen to me for a few seconds." Iolaus carefully pleaded.

      Hercules impatiently sat down on one of the bunks. Iolaus on the bunk across from his friend.

      "I'm counting," Hercules commented.

      "What makes you think Cyane was really kidnaped by these Barbarics?"

      "What about a dying amazon, asking me to rescue her Queen? It's gut instinct."

      "Maybe, or maybe its something else...like your feelings."

      "You know about Cyane and me."

      "Yeah, you decided your relationship just wouldn't work because Cyane was an amazon queen, and your destiny elsewhere. But that's not what I was referring too."

      "What we're you referring to then?"

      "Meg."

      Hercules eyes sparkled at the mention of Meg. His heart melted.

      Iolaus said, "The same thing is happening again. Hercules has to comfort and save the damsel indistress, even without looking at the circumstances and danger surrounding the matter athand."

      "You're just jealous, Iolaus!" Hercules stood up and headed for the door.

      While muttering something to himself, Iolaus grabbed Hercules by the shoulder. Hercules swirled around, taking a deep breath as he turned around and stared down his friend. Iolaus removed his hand from his friends shoulder but continued to stand his ground.

      "In case you didn't know, your seconds were up," Hercules said, nearly shouted. "Unless you want to come along, goodbye. I'll be back soon."

      "Herk, just do one thing, actually two things before we go. Go and see Cheiron. He knows about uncharted places like where we're going. While you do that, let a few cadets check out the amazon camp, just to make sure. Please, Hercules."

      Only because he wanted to shut Iolaus up and knew Iolaus would persist to come along with him any where, Hercules stubbornly nodded his head. "Okay, Iolaus...but if they don't return when Cheiron finishes talking, we head out."

---

      "Hello Hercules," Cheiron said as he spotted Hercules entering his office. The demi-god impatiently approached his mentor.

      "What's bothering you?" the centaur asked.

      "Why does something always have to bother me?"

      "Concern for something requires no words, only the showing of the concern you have forit."

      "You know about the amazon?" Hercules creased his brow. "How come you didn't come out and see everything closer."

      "Why do you think you came here?" Cheiron suddenly posed a thought provoking question.

      "I don't have time for riddles!" Hercules said calmly, but with some impatience.

      "I've taught you and the others how to handle these situations. You knew what to say, and what to do. My assistance, although welcomed, was not needed."

      "What I need is to know more about the Steppes, where Cyane was taken by theBarbarics."

      Cheiron definitely didn't except Hercules to ask about either place or people. For a few moments silence filled office. Finally Cheiron spoke up, not too happily.

      "Where you are going is no place for someone to go. Anatolia is the opposite of Greece, let alone Corinth and The Academy. The gods have no power there. Magicians and sorcerer's claim the souls of human beings, conjuring them into demons or conjuring demons from the after-life to torture living souls. Its no place for you or Iolaus."

      "But Cyane...I have to make sure she is alright."

      "Have you spoken to Simula?"

      "Theo and Lanirus went to see the destruction toll. That was Iolaus' idea. He doesn't trust gut instinct like I do."

      "Perhaps he trusts it better then you do, Hercules," suggested Cheiron. "I've sense things between Iolaus and you have been rough, ever since you met Megaera."

      "The usual jealously pattern. One minute he's jealous, the next minute he's not. I've done the same to others. You probably have done to same. It happens."

      "And what if its more than, or not jealously? What if gut instinct makes Iolaus sense more is to an event than meets the eye?"

      "I don't think so. I've got to go. Its summer break. I'm free to travel for three months. We'll be sure to return for our final year at the Academy." Hercules headed for the door.

      "Just remember Hercules..."

      Hercules stopped as Cheiron said, "...You only have one best friend. Don't let that bond be broken by jealously, or determination."

      Without so as much as a nod, Hercules trailed out into the hall.

      "Be safe, Hercules and Iolaus," Cheiron said in a soft whisper.

---

      Iolaus was patiently waiting near the Academy gates. He walked back towards the Academy as he saw Hercules heading out the doors, wearing the duster, supporting a sack over his right shoulder, and carrying a sword in each hand.

      "Herk, the amazon village is empty. No bodies, dead or alive. Some blood on the ground. No scattered weapons."

      "That means the Barbarics took the bodies of the fallen victims to showcase.. We can't let our friends be desecrated," Hercules said as he passed Iolaus.

      "Maybe Herk....or it could be something else." Iolaus posed the suggestion.

      Hercules ignored it. "Come on, Iolaus. We have to pick up some horses from the Corinthian stable before they close for the night, and you've already wasted enough time."

---

      For the next three weeks Hercules and Iolaus traveled on horseback. They headed north-east, crossing much of Greece, then advancing into western Anatolia and dry desert, and finally northern Anatolia, and the beginning of the steppes. This land truly was the opposite of Greece.

      Greece was filled with beautiful nature, the sky was blue, and sun shined bright. The steppes were not. They were rustic: the sky never turned blue, it remained orange, almost as the sun wanted to stay hidden behind the clouds.

      In the distance, the sounds of battle arose. Hercules and Iolaus grabbed the reigns of their horses tighter, making the steed's gallop faster towards the action.

      Those sounds were the cries of now dead amazons, brutally slain. The cutters were several of the Barbaric's, large well-built men, wearing ankle-length fur tunics, carrying short curved blades that were sheathed on belts tied about there waists.

      The man that appeared to be the leader spotted one of the amazons that was still alive trying torun away. Without any concern, he charged at her, with his blade hefted above his head. He plunged his sword down into the amazons back as he caught up with her. The amazon slumpeddown on her front; blood trickled down the sides of her mouth and her eyes gushing out as the blade was twisted back and forth in her back.

      "That'll teach you to invade our lands, amazon bitch," the Barbaric spat at the dead amazon.

      The Barbaric's shared a laugh as they gathered the dead amazons to take back as trophies. Suddenly they stopped. Everything grew silent. Their eyes moved cautiously at the galloping sound.

      The wind rustled; a spear hurled forward, plunging right into one of the Barbaric's chest, making him gasp as he fell on his back. The other Barbaric's suddenly charged forward, seeing a young amazon on horseback riding toward them. She was radiant and strong; determination flared in her eyes.

      As she rode past one of the Barbarics, she severed his head, than yelled out a war cry as she somersaulted off her horse. She landed next to a Barbaric, whom she then ran through with her sword, showing no emotion or care as she did so.

      Struggling to pull the sword from the barbaric's chest, the amazon was grabbed by three other Barbaric's. She grinned as they threw her on the ground. Secretly, she pulled a dagger from her sheath, then suddenly leaped up, and ripped the dagger across one of there necks, drawing blood.

      Shouting out, she turned around, kicked a barbaric in the stomach, and ripped his neck open with the same dagger.

      She flipped backwards, kicking the third barbaric on his back. After, she let out a war-cry as she fiercely plunged a sword into the fallen barbaric's chest; she forced it back and forth, raging like a wild animal. Blood trickled down the sides of the barbaric's mouth. His eyes died at a stand still.

      Before the amazon could even rest for a moment, more Barbaric's arrived, these even more hostile-looking. They carried curved blades in there right hand, and ax's in there left. The amazon pulled the spear from a dead barbaric. As the Barbarics hurled their axes, The amazon leaped in the air, flipping over them, landing before them with the spear stretched outward. She fiercely plunged the sharp spear-head into the Barbaric closest to her, then pulled it out, and swatted another, using the handle as a fighting stick. The other barbarics laughed, almost amused. They weren't laughing when the agile amazon spun her foot around and kicked each of them in the stomach, than picking up her sword and swung it with rage, cutting one of there throats. The cut barbaric grabbed his throat as he spit blood from his mouth, and then drooled it.

      The other barbaric's grabbed the amazon as she attempted to leap at them. They hit her with bare fists. They beat her till she was laying on the ground, badly wounded. She tried fighting back, but couldn't. One of the barbaric's prepared to end her with his sword, but a stranger suddenly appeared behind him, thrusting a sword into his side with fury. It was Hercules. Iolaus lagging a few inches behind, unsheathing his sword.

      The Amazon kicked herself up, suddenly in a fighting mood again. She fiercely kicked one of the barbaric's, as Hercules grabbed another and threw him aside.

      Iolaus struggled with the barbaric he was fighting. Punches and kicks did nothing. This barbaric was too strong for that. Iolaus swung his sword at the barbaric, who caught the handle and forced blood from his own hand to show his muscle. Iolaus ducked down, shocked, and suddenly put his foot out, tripping the Barbaric. Iolaus admired his handiwork for a moment, then ran off the assist the amazon, who was dealing with four Barbaric's.

      Hercules used his strength differently than usual, as he showed off. Several Barbaric's were easily thrown down as they charged at him. He even lifted one above his head, than dropped him into his friends, laughing. It was more fun than fight.

      Meanwhile, the Amazon had one Barbaric to deal with. The others were either dead or severely wounded and unable to fight. She toyed with him, seeing he was tired. Finally she thrust her sword outward, laughing, only to miss as he ducked. The amazon fell, getting swatted across the face by the barbaric.

      Iolaus suddenly ran through the last barbaric with his sword, but un-expectedly, the barbaric fell forward, trusting his wobbly blade into the grounded amazons stomach.

      "No," Iolaus shouted as he ran over to her. The hunter grabbed the barbaric, threw him off, and gently pulled the blade from her stomach.

      Iolaus and Hercules cradled the amazon in their arms.

      Hercules watched as the dying amazon and Iolaus had several parting words.

      "I'm sorry...I should have been more careful." Iolaus emotionally chastised himself.

      "It's okay, Iolaus...that's you're name isn't it. It's a beautiful name." The Amazon sniffled as her eyes closed and she breathed her last breath.

      "Stop!" A female voice shouted. Iolaus and Hercules looked up. There were at least ten Amazons standing before them, all angry. They looked down at Iolaus' hands, which were specked with blood. They looked unmercifully at Hercules, whose hands also had blood on them; he was holding a bloodied sword.

      "Saderah! She's dead. You killed her!" the first amazon shouted as she spotted the amazon's dead body.

      "I...I didn't. She fell, and, well...one of her attackers cut her with his sword.," Iolaus replied with much concern.

      Hercules, interrupted as the amazon was about to speak. "Perhaps you should point us to ward Queen Cyane, leader of the Telequire amazons, kidnaped by a tribe called the Barbarics."

      "Telequire? What are Telequire Amazons!?" the second amazon was puzzled. "The only amazons that rule here are us, formerly the Chertomlik."

      "Neither my friend or I know much about ancient amazon history," Hercules explained. "But Iknow what I saw, Cyane's tribe dead, and a dying amazon asking me to find her captors, a tribe known as the Barbarics.

      "You mean the men you help in the slaughter of Amazons, like my sister, Saderah!" the first amazon said with sarcasm. "You really better watch out for them."

      Hercules got angry. "Why do you insist we killed your sister! Why would we be standing over the bodies of your enemies, if we weren't against them?!"

      "Your diplomatic skills are pathetic," the second amazon snarled. "Consider the fact you are...."

      "...a man, yeah I know."

      "Actually, if you were a woman I'd distrust your word as much. I can't determine you guilty," the first amazon said, taking the conversation to a close. "Only my queen can do that!"

      "Perhaps your queen can shed some light on further subjects, since you aren't much help."

      "You two are under arrest!" the first amazon ordered as she looked at Hercules and Iolaus. Then she turned to the other amazons. "Restrain them, take them to the yurts. Our queen will determine them liars or telling the truth."

      Iolaus shot Hercules a angry look. "Next time, look before you leap."

      "Don't take one little messy situation, and turn it into more," Hercules snarled as the amazon tying his hands behind his back kicked him to walk forward.

      "Yeah," Iolaus griped as the amazon who had tied his hands behind his back kicked him to walk forward. "Nice mess you got us into, friend."

---

      The amazon camp was located on the outskirts of a forest. Several yurts made up the living quarters and store houses. Most of the middle aged amazons spent their days training for battle.Some trained the younger, inexperienced amazons how to kill there enemies by using dead Barbaric's as practice dummies. Several of the elderly amazons spent there time doing chores around the yurts, or went with some of the younger to hunt the nights dinner.

      Everyone stopped what they were doing once Hercules and Iolaus were brought to the camp. The Amazon Queen, a strong woman in her early twenties, with shoulder length brownish-yellow hair, and wearing a long fur tunic over the traditional amazon clothing, left her yurt and walked over to where the two newest prisoners were being ordered to kneel.

      "I see the Barbaric's have sent children to kill amazons now." The Queen turned to other amazons who had brought Hercules and Iolaus in. "Where is Saderah?"

      "She's dead," the first Amazon said as she shot Hercules and Iolaus a look, "They killed her."

      The Amazon Queen grew angry as she heard the news. Saderah was her blood sister.

      "I told your leader I wanted peace," the grieving Queen screamed at Hercules and Iolaus, "but he sends you to murder us. My sister is dead! Bastards! All of you!"

      Hercules sniffled as he stood up. The amazon behind him put her spear at his neck.

      "Queen, I am sorry you lost your sister," Hercules solemnly spoke. "Her death was not our fault. We came here to rescue Queen Cyane of the Telequire Amazon Nation, kidnaped by a tribe known as the Barbarics."

      The Amazon Queen's grief turned back to anger as she heard the word barbarics. "Don't speak that damned word again in my presence, you murdering heartless bastards. Don't try and tell me lies about Barbaric's trying to kidnap some amazon queen you supposedly know. Amazons aren't kidnaped by the Barbaric's...they are only slitted and stuffed!"

      "It was my fault. I killed one of the men trying to kill Saderah, and he stumbled onto her as he died, and killed her," Iolaus suddenly spoke up, with some hesitation. Iolaus shot a look at Hercules and quietly said, "I told you!"

      The Queen grabbed Iolaus by the arm. Iolaus cringed a little as she squeezed his arm tightly, and it began to turn blue. "Listen up barbaric child; if what you are telling me is true than you are and your friend might be released." The Amazon Queen turned to face one of the yurts. "Altina," she hollered.

      Suddenly, the rustle of the wind grew louder as the cloth door on the yurt was moved away and ahand reached out. "Yes, Queen Cyane," the screechy voice answered. It was the voice of a tall middle-aged woman, wearing elk-skin slacks, elk-skin tunic tucked in, a long over-tunic made ofanimal fur, and a helmet with antlers sticking out on the left and right side. Her face made everyone cringe for at least a moment. A frightening site; intimidating and eerie.

      "Queen Cyane?" Hercules asked. "We've been duped, I suppose."

      "Yeah," Iolaus said with some anger. "Who knows why but we have been, and I told you. If youhad asked me I would have told you the origin of Queen Cyane's title, CYANE!"

      Altina suddenly grabbed Hercules and Iolaus by there necks. They cringed as she looked into there eyes and read them. "They lie!" she screamed as she shot a look at Queen Cyane.

      "What?" Hercules shouted. "You listen to the words of a witch!?"

      "Shut up," Altina shouted as she slapped Hercules hardly across the face, sending him onto the ground. Iolaus grew a little angry. Altina laughed and did the same to him as she had done to Hercules.

      Queen Cyane looked down at the dazzled Hercules. "Altina is our shamaness. She can look into the hearts of man and woman and see the truth. I'd trust her with my life. If she tells me you and your friend lie, you have lied. You will be executed come morning, when my sisters return with the rest of the Barbaric's army."

      Altina sinfully smiled as she looked at the fallen Hercules and Iolaus. "You're as good as dead," she cackled under her breath.

      "Artemis would never approve of mass slaughter," Hercules shouted.

      "Who's Artemis?" Cyane was bewildered.

      Hercules was a little shocked. "You've never heard of Artemis, the patron of the amazons and goddess of the hunt?!"

      "We don't worship gods here," Cyane said as she strode toward her tent. "We will take over aland that does though. A land called Greece!"

      As the amazons picked the two fallen heros up and took them to a yurt that would be used as a jail, Hercules and Iolaus gave each other a variety of looks.

---

      Altina escorted Hercules and Iolaus into the yurt. She headed for the door as she checked to make sure their hands were still tied.

      "Hey Altina!" Hercules shouted as the shamaness was about to exit the yurt. Altina swiftly turned around and eyed the demi-god, who was sitting on the floor, with Iolaus a few feet away.

      "What!?" she said as she kneeled down and stared her eyes into those of Hercules, making the demi-god gulp.

      "Just who are you?" the demi-god said with guts.

      Altina snickered. "The ultimate bitch."

      Hercules snickered. "I'd agree with that...I really would."

      "I suppose you want to know why I lied to Queen Cyane about you?" Altina said. She shot a look at Iolaus, who was itching to say something; Iolaus fell down suddenly.

      Hercules paid no attention to Iolaus. His concern was getting an answer from Altina.

      "Well," the shamaness explained, "I raised Cyane after her mother died, and she entrusts the power of this tribe with me! I forced her to banish the former shamaness, an old wrinkled up hag. She lives in the woods now...a pitiful excuse for a conjurer and seer. I now tell the amazons where to hunt, battle, and who is friend and who is enemy. I know whyyou came, and I know your future...its filled with betrayal and death, not tomention MUCH suffering along the way....of course, that's changed now that you will dietomorrow." Altina cackled.

      "What about this war with Greece? What does Greece have that Cyane wants!? Huh!?"

      "Absolutely none of your business," Altina snarled as she caressed her finger across the demi-gods forehead, making him a little fearful of why she was doing this. "I wouldn't want you to die knowing everything, now would I?" Altina cackled.

      Hercules spit at the shamaness. "Your trying to control Queen Cyane! Luring us here with a dying amazon, and the name of my friend! What sorcery is this that lures us here?"

      "None!" Altina laughed. "Who you are is what brought you here.

      "You created the event!" Hercules stood up slowly. "You filled Cyane's mind with thoughts of us killing her sister and who knows what else. You must want something from us. I demand too know!"

      Altina snickered, then headed toward the flap exit. "I did fill Cyane's mind with lies of you and many others things, but who's going to stop me from doing it again?" Altina shot a look at Hercules as she prepared to walk out. "Not you!"

---

      In the shadows of a yurt, a tall figure with pale blue eyes lurked, waiting for something or someone to arrive.

      As Altina entered the yurt, the figure made itself known. It was Hera.

      "Hera," Altina said with a nasty smile. "My good friend, and partner in crime. I thank you for the chance to pester those two idiots. If you didn't want them dead, I would happily torture them till I slit there throats, and enjoyed drinking their blood as it dripped out as I..."

      Slightly repulsed by the shamaness words, Hera's eyes glowed. "That's enough. I'll let you imagine that on your own time. This is my time." Hera's eyes returned to their normal pale blue state. "I never did thank you for supplying me with the power I need to kill my bastard stepson and his pesky friend, that Iolaus. Because of you, my cowardly husband will bring about his own demise once he sees his dead son. I will rule supreme over Greece. As much as I would like this barbaric amazon nation to kill enslave all Greece's mortals, it wouldn't work. Your working this feud between amazons and Barbarics, with the added touch of a dying spy, to lure Hercules here and allow me to kill them with this special magical power while his heroic heart keeps him here to stop the war...that pleasures me. I will soon reign supreme among supreme among gods!"

      Altina seemed bored. "Whatever you say," Altina snarled. "Now give me what you promised to give me if it did everything you just said."

      Hera pulled a sharp dagger from her boot and handed it to Altina, who gasped and then gave a pleasurable smile at it. "The dagger which can kill a shamaness, and take her powers from her! Thank you."

      Hera wickedly smiled. "Its all yours, Altina. I will return to kill my bastard stepson once the time is right." With that said, Hera materialized away.

      "Now, I go and murder the former shamaness, Vernesa, and gain enough power to kill Cyane and rule the amazons forever." Altina cackled. Lightening bolted across the sky followed by a furious thunder.

Act Two

      Awhile after Altina left, Iolaus awoke from his little nap. Hercules, who had been mumbling to himself his disgust for coming here, suddenly stopped. Instead of asking Iolaus if he was alright, Hercules said, "I can't believe Cyane doesn't know about Artemis, protector of the amazons. I thought all amazons were protected by Artemis."

      "Some people don't care about the gods," Iolaus pointed out to Hercules. "Some would rather not. These amazons don't. Get it?" Iolaus was a little upset at Hercules for all this.

      Hercules' jaw dropped as he saw Iolaus move his hands freely. They were untied. "How?" asked the demi-god as he looked at Iolaus' hands.

      "Old hunters trick," Iolaus casually said, breaking the serious demeanor for a second, but only that. "Speaking of tricks and instincts....your gut instinct brought up here. Now it better get our behinds out of here before those amazons kill us and take Greece."

      "No," Hercules abruptly said. "We will go to that shamaness in the woods that Altina said was banished. She might know the whole story. If we know the truth, we might be able to stop the war between the Barbarics and amazons. That's would surely end an attack on Greece, don't you think?"

      "Yeah it would, but since we were lured into the situation with lies, wouldn't it be possible this invasion of Greece could be a lie as well? I mean, what would these amazons, who have everything here and don't look impatient to leave, want with Greece? C'mon, Hercules. I think we better just get away. That way, we're safe.

      "Dammit, Iolaus!" Hercules got angry. "I admit this was a mistake, coming here was. But now we have a chance to make something right; a chance to end a war that Altina started between amazon and barbaric! We came all this way for nothing if we don't stay and help."

      "Guess so," Iolaus hastily agree. Iolaus then whispered to himself, "Yeah, all because of a woman Herk cares about." Iolaus was jealous.

---

      On Mount Olympus, Deimos, the god of terror, was comparing laughter with his cousin, Strife, when Discord materialized in the same room.

      Unable to stand the annoying sound her fellow gods were making, Discord shouted, "Shut up!" and slugged Deimos, than Strife. "I've never heard anything more annoying," shouted the disturbed goddess.

      "Than you haven't heard this," Deimos spat in laughter.

      Strife and Deimos combined their annoying laughter, making Discord even angrier than she already was. It wasn't a wise move, as the goddess conjured up a fireball with her hands, and hither un-expecting cousin, Deimos, who flew across the room. Still laughing, Strife, was hit with a fireball. He flew across the room and landed on his fallen, but still laughing cousin.

      "Discord, why do we have the honor of spending our afternoon with you?" Strife carefully ask as he stood up and brushed himself off.

      Discord roared like a ferocious cat, then grabbed her annoying cousin by the neck, and began to ring him back and forth.

      "Boo!" Deimos came up from behind Discord, who dropped Strife. Deimos broke into an annoying laughter again, of course followed by Strife's.

      Suddenly Ares materialized in the room. "SHUT UP!" he shouted at the top of his lungs.

      The three quieted down. Ares had spoken.

      "What's up cousin," Deimos asked as he approached the god of war, careful not to get too close.

      "You are so annoying, Deimos." Ares turned away from the loose screw god and gave his attention to Discord and Strife, his usual second and third in command. "Hera has formulated a plot to kill our enemy, Hercules."

      "So what's new," Discord sarcastically asked, since Hera always wanted to plot Hercules' death. It wasn't anything new. Strife and Deimos seemed to agree.

      "Not the usual plan," assured Ares, "but something that will actually get the job done."

      "What will get the job done would be for Deimos, the most powerful god on Mount Olympus, the sexiest, most attractive, and most deadly god, the god who will..."

      Never more annoyed, Ares turned around and knocked his cousin out with one punch to the mouth. The god of terror slowly fell on his back, wearing a large smile, but soon turning it to a frown as he body, especially his head, hit the floor.

      Ares turned around, totally exhausted with having to deal with Deimos. "Now where was I," Ares stressfully said, trying to regain his composure.

      "You were going to tell us about Hera's latest plot to kill Hercules!" Discord was impatient.

      Ares laughed. "Hera has lured him to the steppes, a place outside Greece, where a god can kill another god and not face Zeus' wrath, but a place where she has no power...."

      Discord was startled. "But if she has no power, how can she kill Hercules?!"

      Ares grinned. "This is the fun part! She has conjured up enough power from a local witch to have some juice to get the job done." Ares imagined the world without Hercules, such a great place for violent war, bloodshed, and conquests. "I can't wait till he dies!" he shouted.

      "But I always thought you pleasured the idea of killing your half-brother yourself," Discord asked, knowing Ares deep hatred of Hercules, and how he always wanted to be the one to end Hercules life.

      Ares knew where Discord was coming from. Yes, he would have enjoyed killing Hercules, but a dead Hercules was a dead Hercules, and it worked for him. "Any death will do," he simple told the leather clad goddess.

      "But if Hera kills Hercules, what's to stop Zeus from going there to kill Hera?" Strife posed a smart question for once, surprising both Discord and Ares.

      "He will be so grief stricken that he won't let himself live after seeing what's been done." Ares breathed in the pleasure of his father, the mighty Zeus, perishing. Maybe Hera would allow him the position of "King of the Gods."

      Deimos shook himself off with his hands as he stood up. Ares took a goblet of wine from the table, and held it high, as Discord, Deimos, and Strife grabbed there's. They made a toast. "To the death of Hercules," said Ares!"

      Outside the room, the king of the gods had listened to every single word. "I think not," he said. Zeus wasn't going to let Hera's plan succeed.

---

      In the Chamber of the Gods, a concerned Zeus paced back and forth, placing his hand on his chin, presumably thinking about his concerns.

      A blinding light flashed in the room. Tall and strong, long reddish-golden curls flowing down over her shoulders, the muscular body clothed in a short golden skirt and revealing golden top. It wasArtemis.

      "Why have you called me here, father?" Artemis asked, getting straight to the point.

      Zeus clapped his hands over his daughter's shoulders. "Do you protect the Northern Amazons, those who claim to not worship gods, and possess powerful magic, the same type of power we gods were born with!?"

      The goddess of the hunt looked strangely at her father, brushing away from him. "Yes. Why do you ask?"

      "You should be protecting them now!" Zeus chastised his daughter harshly.

      "What if they wish to serve a master, your wife, Hera."

      "They don't follow Hera..."

      "They do," the goddess said, sounding disappointed, "even though I always watched over them, even if they never knew or cared. I'll admit I betrayed them, by not telling, but plotting to wage war in Greece's name, well that's the last straw! Hera has gotten to them, I know it." The goddess of the hunt was deeply hurt, at herself, for not being a better protector. But she was a fair goddess, and didn't want to force anyone into servitude if their will didn't wish for it. It wasn't morally right.

      Zeus shook his head more intensely. "You are wrong my daughter, very wrong." Zeus than recalled to his daughter more of what he had heard when listening in on Ares and Discord's earlier conversation...

      The king of the gods could hear Ares and Discord's every word.

      "What about Hera's amazon war?" Discord asked.

      "It's all a setup," Ares replied, "to lure do-gooder Hercules to the steppes. He thought his former amazon love, Cyane, was kidnaped by some savages. Hera decided to have that witch convince the amazons queen, also a Cyane, to wage war on the Barbaric's, to at least give Hercules something to stay for when he learned he was duped."

      "Do-gooder's won't run away," Discord vainly said.

      "No, they won't. But Hercules will run into Hera's fist," Ares laughed.

      "So what you are suggesting is that the amazons aren't serving Hera willingly?" Artemis asked her father, hoping his answer would be yes.

      "Yes," Zeus responded. "All so she could kill my son, Hercules."

      "I don't mean to intrude on the rules, but why not extend them beyond Greece?"

      "Many of the gods believe the rule "Olympian gods shall not kill olympian gods" should apply to the entire universe, even where we don't have power," explained Zeus, "so once Hera returns, the gods will vote on a new law. With your support, the law's opposers will be lessened, and it will be passed."

      "You have my support," Artemis graciously agreed. "But now I have to go, and help the ones I vowed to protect." Determined was the tone of Artemis' voice. Knowing the amazons, and their queen were duped maybe not by Hera, fueled her to go and make the wrongs right. She knew her amazons needed her.

      "Would you care to join me," Artemis kindly extend the offer to her father, knowing he concerned the safety of his son above everything else, even if he didn't speak of it. Why else would he have told her this. Certainly not the amazons, who Zeus was never a fan of.

      "Perhaps another time," Zeus replied, "since I need keep tabs on what is going on here, on Olympus, for the better of us all, even Hercules."

---

      From the flap entrance of the yurt, Hercules and Iolaus watched as the amazons rode off to battle the Barbaric's later that afternoon. With only a few guards outside the tent, they could escape into the woods and visit with the shamaness.

      Despite his instinct, which was right so far, Iolaus agreed to go along with Hercules. It was safer than being left at the camp with angry amazons, savage amazons at that.

      Hercules waited for Iolaus to lay down before he shouted, "He's hurt! Help! Help!" Hercules hid behind a empty barrel. As the amazons ran in and spotted Iolaus, drooling from the mouth and gagging, Hercules leaped out from behind the barrel and pushed both unexpecting amazons on the ground as he growled.

      Iolaus slowly stood up. He was ready to help Hercules, but Hercules had already banged the amazons heads together, knocking them senseless.

      "Lets get moving," Hercules instructed his friend as he exited the yurt. Seeing no one around, he jogged toward the forest. Iolaus grabbed a small ax from the belt of the unconscious amazon and jogged to catch up with Hercules.

---

      After walking for awhile through the forest, Hercules and Iolaus found a cavern. They searched it, finding writing on the walls. One of them was two young men, who were drawn like them, fighting amazons and then each other. They figured the shamaness was writing about them, and their disagreements.

      "Come closer," an elderly female voice called. Hercules and Iolaus turned around. The elderly shamaness was sitting face to the wall, drawing the start of the battle between the amazons and Barbarics. "This cannot be finished. Maybe it can be today, but not tomorrow."

      Hercules kindly asked, "Can you speak without riddles?"

      The shamaness turned around. She smiled at the demi-god. "Sit down and hear the story you came to hear. I will tell it without riddles."

      Hercules and Iolaus sat against the wall and listened to the shamaness' story.

      "My name of Vernesa. You are Hercules and Iolaus. You come from Greece."

      They nodded. "We are," Hercules quickly said, just as Iolaus was about to. Iolaus didn't seem quite alright with Hercules getting the ultimate word so far on this journey....for the last few months most times.

      Vernesa continued to talk. "I was Cyane's foster mother when Altina killed Cyane's mother, the former queen of the amazons and descendant of the first Cyane, a woman from the far future, a leader that was sent to us to ally us with our savage enemies and help them teach their children a new way. I learned that Altina killed Cyane's mother. I told Cyane, but her love for Altina pushed her to banish me and make Altina the new shamaness. I knew it had to be done, so Cyane could banish Altina herself, and prove herself as the queen of the tribe."

      "You said the battle had to end between Barbarics and amazons? We've come to stop it."

      "I know," Vernesa said in a whisper. "You must stop it. You must let the truth be told. But they won't trust you unless you prove it."

      "How can I prove it?"

      "The sword of veracity!"

      "What's that," Iolaus quickly asked, making Hercules's face turn red for a moment once he beat him to asking.

      "Its an eastern sword, from an island to the east of this continent. When held to a person, they cannot lie. They must tell the whole truth. There's only one catch." Vernesa paused. "It resides in the amazon land of dead. Altina conjured a spell that sent it there, to avoid the truth be told. You must retrieve it, a task near impossible."

      Hercules laughed with disbelief. "Impossible to get to Hades, my Uncle's domain?" The demi-god shouted out, "Uncle Hades! Its Hercules! I need to get to the amazon land of the dead!"

      Vernesa tried to hide her smile as she shook her head. "The young and the senseless....Hades is a god. Here gods have no power. Besides, amazons don't go to the afterlife from which origin they live in. They go to a special place. They got to the Amazon Land of the Dead."

      "Oh," Hercules replied. "How will we get to this land of the dead?"

      Vernesa pointed to herself. "I can transport one of your spirts into the afterlife with my remaining powers. Than I can bring it, and the sword back. I warn you, before you accept it...its very risky. Death could surely follow if something went wrong. I fear my powers may not be strong enough. I grow old; death will surely follow soon."

      Without reasoning, Hercules nodded. "We go."

      "We?" Iolaus asked. "Only one of us can go."

      "I will go, but you will sit here and watch over me. You can make sure nothing happens. Do the watching stuff."

      Although insulted to an extent, for the first time on this adventure Hercules had asked him to help out. He had said do something "together." He would do what was asked of him.

      "Lay down," Vernesa instructed Hercules

      Hercules hurriedly laid down on the ground. He closed his eyes. "So, when am I going?"

      Vernesa moved her hand across Hercules' face, covering him with an aura. She watched as his spirit left its body and floated into the air, soon disappearing. Iolaus looked on, not seeing any of this.

      "Sorry, Iolaus. Only shaman's can see that." Vernesa regrettably said.

      "Yeah, not the nobody called Iolaus," Iolaus mumbled to himself

      Vernesa suddenly felt something. "I must go," she warned Iolaus. Vernesa headed toward the cavern entrance.

      Iolaus took a damp piece of cloth and wiped Hercules' head from time to time as Herk's forehead warmed.

---

      Back at the amazon village, Altina stormed out of the yurt where she had jailed the demi-god and his blonde haired friend. "Damn fools!" she screamed. She looked down, spotting foot prints which led to the forest. "They escaped. They are going for the shamaness. They will find the sword of veracity. They will know everything!"

      As Altina strolled into the forest, the two amazons who were supposed to guard Hercules and Iolaus, but Hercules had knocked out, breathed their last breath. They were dead. Altina had killed them.

---

      Hercules awoke. His body was shivering, or his soul to be exact. He was standing, in only his leather pants and yellow tunic, in the midst of a snowy mountainous area. From behind several snow covered rocks, amazons came. Seeing a living member in their community angered them.

      "Alive soul," shouted an older amazon with only one arm. Her other arm had been lost somewhere along the line, maybe why she was dead, and she had passed on with only one. She charged at Hercules. The other amazons followed.

      "Now I'm dead," Hercules said as he put up his fists to defend himself.

Act Three

      Hercules quickly ducked as the one-armed amazon jumped at him. She fell over him as she jumped and landed on he ground. The other amazons started to punch and kick the soul of Hercules.

      In the real world, Iolaus panicked as Hercules body got warmer, and blood tricked from the sides of Hercules' mouth, and blew out from his nose. "No," Iolaus whispered as he frowned. "Don't let it come to this. Don't let him die." Iolaus got emotional as he wiped the blood from the sides of Hercules' mouth.

      Meanwhile, the amazons continued to attack Hercules from all directions. Saderah appeared, and shouted, "Stop," to call the dead amazons off. She ran in front of the fallen soul of Hercules and shielded him from more attack

      The amazons stopped and heeded their sisters words.

      "He helped Iolaus fight off my attackers," Saderah explained to the amazons. "He needs to uncover the truth about that war...to stop more of us from coming before there time."

      "Thanks," Hercules gratefully said to Saderah, as she helped him to his feet. "Do you know where the sword of veracity is?"

      "In the cave." Saderah pointed to a cave nearby. Hercules nodded and jogged off to it.

      Saderah grabbed an arm from the ground, which an amazon had lost when trying to punch Hercules (This amazon had died with an arm nearly falling off) and held it toward the other amazons, scaring them off. Even dead, the arm smelled and the amazons could smell it.

      "Works everything and all the time," Saderah said as she admired the arm.

---

      Hercules entered the cavern, suddenly feeling warm. He spotted the sword, on an altar, on the other side of a fiery chasm. He couldn't take the jump across, let alone even get closer without the heat perhaps melting him.

---

      Meanwhile, Iolaus watched over Hercules. He had wiped the blood off. Hercules looked calm and peaceful.

      "Hercules always has everything, and me nothing," Iolaus said to himself with jealously. "Why couldn't I have gone to retrieve the sword?"

      Suddenly, Iolaus changed his angry face to a concerned one as Hercules' body coughed blood up.

      In the amazon afterlife, Hercules was hanging from the other end of the fiery chasm. Sweat dripped profusely from his brow. He had attempted a leap. With all his strength, he pulled himself up to the ground. He staggered over to the altar and grabbed the sword.

      "Iolaus!" Hercules exclaimed as he saw his friend sitting beside his laying body. His body had magically been reunited with his soul in the real world after he had gotten the sword. Iolaus carefully helped Hercules up.

      "You got the sword," Iolaus exclaimed. "Let's go!"

      Hercules had to sit down for a moment and rest.

      Suddenly, he popped up as he heard a scream come from the entrance. Iolaus jogged towards the entrance. Hercules followed behind, carrying the sword of veracity with him.

      Meanwhile at the entrance, Altina was violently lashing out a beating to Vernesa. Vernesa was bleeding all over, and breathing in and out heavily. Altina wore a wicked smiled. She enjoyed watching people suffer.

      "So you pathetic excuse for a shamaness," Altina snarled as she grasped Vernesa by the neck with her left hand and pressed the special dagger against Vernesa's throat with her right hand.

      "Please," Vernesa pleaded with a whisper. "Let me live my remaining time in suffering...just take my power if it pleases you."

      Altina dropped the dagger and tensed her face; her eyes turned bloodshot red. She violently swat Vernesa across the face. "Damn idiot! The shamaness can only gain the power of another shamaness with the dagger." Altina kicked Vernesa on her back, laughing wickedly as she did so. Altina kneeled down slowly, picking up the special dagger at the same time. She caressed her right hand on Vernesa's cheek and traced the dagger across the left side of the elderly shamaness's face.

      Cackling, Altina lifted the dagger and thrust it down into Vernesa's stomach. The shamaness gulped as her power drained from her and into the body of Altina.

      "Baddest bitch wins," Altina arrogantly said with a smirk. Altina sat back and watched with happiness as Vernesa's body wrinkled. The prune-like skin then festered off. Vernesa was a skeleton of her former self. The bones soon turned to dust.

      "Altina!" Hercules shouted as he and Iolaus suddenly appeared from one of the cavern tunnels. Hercules guarded them with the sword of veracity.

      With lighting flashing in the sky, Altina stood up and roared as she hurled a black sphere of power at the sword, which knocked it from Hercules hand, and shocked both demi-god and golden hunter.

      Hercules and Iolaus fainted at the twist of Altina's fingers.

      "Its time for you to die," Altina snarled as she picked up the sword and hefted it above Hercules body. "Perhaps I can take your strength from you...then I would betray Hera, but since when have I given a damn who I betray." Altina laughed as she prepared to strike. She suddenly dropped the sword and left as she heard amazons talking. She ran outside to find several amazons heading towards the cavern.

      "Prisoners tried to escape," Altina shouted "Take them back and lock them up."

      The amazons nodded as they ran to re-capture Hercules and Iolaus. As they entered the cavern, Altina used her power to hide the special dagger and sword of veracity behind a rock.

---

      That night, the amazons returned home after the battle. Their axess and swords were covered with the blood of their enemies. Most of them had smiles on there faces as they told the story of battle to fellow amazons who stayed behind.

      Cyane seemed melancholy, despite victory being achieved. Altina strode over to the Amazon Queen, wickedly smiling as she took in the smell of blood still lingering off the weapons.

      "You won!" Altina exclaimed. "You know what you must do now."

      Cyane shook her head. "The casualties were many, for them, but their best survived the battle. They will return, soon."

      "Why so glum? They are the enemies. We kill them to stop them from killing us."

      "No," Cyane said as she started to tear. "A child, a young boy, merely ten was killed as he tried to prove himself to his father." In Cyane's head, the memory played back many times, haunting her: she saw the boy falling into his fathers unsuspecting arms.

      Unable to hold her emotions in her, Cyane broke down in front of Altina. "All because of this damn stupid war we've been fighting in. One day the Barbaric's were men of peace, bearing children for both them and us, and now they become our enemies! What the Tartarus is going on here!"

      Altina tried to calm Cyane. "It's not good to get upset yourself over them. The kid got what he deserved. Besides, it will save you from killing him when he grows older. We should round up their children and kill them first! They are the easiest. It would be an easy snack."

      Cyane's eyes flared as her face turned red. "You murdering bitch," she screamed as she grabbed Altina by her arms and shook her back and forth. Cyane's face was draining with the perspiration of sadness, anger, and disbelief.

      Altina brushed Cyane off violently. "I warn you! You might be the queen -but I am the shamaness.- I see what lies ahead, and if they live than you die!" Altina stormed off. "I will order they come in the morning to battle us here. They will die with the prisoners," she whispered to herself with a deceitful grin.

      Cyane nodded slightly, then picked up her sword. She had more memories. She saw the young boy charging at her, with a small sword. She swirled around as she heard an roaring sound and stabbed the boy. She suddenly dropped her sword, and ran off calling a retreat as the father caught his child and let out a roar. He was shocked; he was showing emotions that Cyane had never thought even the Barbaric's, when they were friendly, would have shown.

---

      As the night grew older, in the prison yurt, Hercules and Iolaus were tied to poles. Unable to free themselves this time, they didn't bother escape. Neither said much to each other. Both were obviously mad at each other.

      Awhile before they overheard the returning amazons getting ready for the upcoming rematch with the Barbaric's at the Amazon camp. Hercules thought they could use that to bring peace to the amazons and Barbarics.

      Iolaus wasn't even caring anymore. He argued that the whole land of the dead trip, going for the so called "truth sword," as he called it, was for nothing. They were soon to be dead, with no sword and no truth.

      As the two friends were about to say something to each other after a few hours of silence, Cyane walked into the yurt. As the flap opened, the sunlight outside glared in. It was morning. Hercules and Iolaus had stayed awake and silent all night.

      "What are you doing here?" Hercules aggressively asked. "Shouldn't you be getting ready for battle."

      "Yes," Cyane regrettably sighed. "A war I wish I could have resolved earlier, before yesterday came."

      "What happened?" Hercules asked, hoping to comfort the amazon queen.

      Iolaus suddenly spat out, "All he cares about is getting free to talk to you. He doesn't care about you or anyone else!" the golden hunter smirked at Hercules, who grew angry.

      "I will set you free anyway. I don't give a damn about war anymore." Cyane went over to the posts and untied both Hercules and Iolaus. She then stormed out of the tent, emotion dripping off her face as she walked over to her chamber.

      Suddenly, something overcame her. She turned around, facing Altina.

      The shamaness had done something to Cyane. "They will arrive shortly," Altina snarled. "Prepare the amazons to kill them all!"

      "Yes," Cyane vengefully shouted. Her voices echoed for miles, even heard by the Barbaric's who were walking across the brush and to the amazon camp.

---

      Although freed, Hercules didn't want to leave as Cyane had allowed them. He wanted to stay and end the war. He had snuck his head out of the yurt and see Cyane demand war after Altina stared her down. He asked Iolaus to return to the cavern and retrieve the sword of veracity if it was still there.

      Although hesitant to return, if the sword wasn't there, Iolaus was asked to take part and agreed to do this. He snuck under the bottom of the yurt and ran behind several others, then finally into the woods and back in the direction he had jogged the day before.

---

      "Do you have it?" Hercules asked with a shout as Iolaus snuck under the yurt later that morning. Iolaus took a moment to catch his breath as he sat down. He finally spoke moments later, still exhausted. "No, its missing," was all the golden hunter said.

      Angry, Hercules grabbed his friend by his top and lifted him off the ground. "What are you telling me?" he shouted. "That was our only chance to stop this damn war from happening, and you ruined it!" Hercules dropped Iolaus and shrugged. "Just lost our only chance."

      "I'm sorry I'm such a disappointment, Hercules. I did all I could, thank you." Iolaus sat down on a barrel and sobbed. "I'm sorry I was ever born," he whispered to himself.

      "I'm sorry," Hercules sorrowfully said as his anger cooled down. "I shouldn't blame you for that entirely, it was also Altina's fault." Hercules smiled. "How about you go pick up some horses from the stable we saw on our way here?"

      "Thanks," the hunter said in reply to Hercules half thoughtful apology. At least it was an apology though, and his name was mentioned. He accepted it. "I'll go and get the horses, the smaller job while you do the fighting," Iolaus quietly griped.

      Not hearing everything his friend said, Hercules questioned him intently, "What did you say, Iolaus?"

      Before Iolaus could reply, and a reply he was going to give Hercules, the two heard the amazons assembling outside. They watched what was happening from the entrance to the yurt.

---

      The amazons had assembled there legion on one end of the village, that near the start of the forest, a logical escape. The Barbaric's walked in from the brush. There leader held a white flag, the traditional sign of truce. The barbaric's dropped there weapons as they entered the amazon village.

      Cyane, although angry, dropped her sword. The amazons dropped theirs, commenting things to each other, some good things about the truce and others bad things. Vengeance clogged some hearts. The same could be said for some of the Barbaric's.

      "The death of my son made my heart melt for a peace," Racork, the leader, said with much sadness for his son's death, as he approached the frowning amazon queen.

      "I am so sorry," Cyane said as she sniffled a little. "If I had known it was a child."

      "I forgive you, as I should. Its really my fault, for teaching him to murder and pillage. We started this war, for no reason, but now it ends." Racork extended his hand in peace.

      Intense anger filled Altina. Peace couldn't happen. Forget Hera and Hercules, if the amazons and Barbaric's made peace, what would stop them from exposing her somehow.

      "No," Altina shouted as she strolled over to Cyane and Racork. "You can't do this! You cannot do it. The Barbaric's only know bloodshed. I will show you the past if I must. Please don't make peace."

      Cyane shook her head. "Ever since I was a child I loved you and trusted you, but you have gone to far. I trusted your word too long," Cyane defied Altina. "No more!"

      Suddenly, all eyes were on the blinding light that formed the goddess of the hunt, Artemis, near the prison yurt. Because the amazons had never seen Artemis, they had no idea who she was and some picked up there weapons. The tall, statuesque red headed goddess wielded the Sword of Veracity.

      Altina slowly walked backwards, for the first time ever showing some fear. She was stopped from going any farther by several amazons. Altina withered with fear. She would be exposed. However just then she remembered she had enough power to kill everyone. No matter, she would win anyway. Let them expose her! Obviously she forgot that Hera would be angry at her.

      "I am Artemis, a goddess from the Grecian lands," Artemis began to explain. "Although you don't worship me, or serve me, I protect all amazons...except lately I have not done so for you because I feared Altina and her powers. No more!" Artemis handed the Sword of Veracity to Hercules.

      "Thank you," Hercules gratefully told his half-sister.

      "That's what family is for," Artemis said with a small smile.

      Iolaus remained in the yurt, watching from there. Hercules was going to steal the spotlight yet again. He might as well not even get stressed watching it happen.

      Hercules pointed the sword of veracity directly at Altina. "This is the Sword of Veracity! Only the truth can be spoken in front of it once its pointed at someone."

      The amazons and barbaric's trusted the words of Hercules, knowing of the sword's legend, a legend which they believed and knew was real.

      Having no choice, Altina told everything: "The Greek goddess Hera wanted to kill her stepson, Hercules, and needed godlike power to do so outside Greece, where she could kill him. I supplied the power she need, and in return she supplied me with a dagger I could kill Vernesa with, just like I killed Cyane's mother, and take her power from her. The war was started between barbaric's and amazons to lure Hercules here, and I ordered Cyane to wage war on Greece so Hercules would stay and try to avert that war, and this current war with his heroic heart. I feared I would be exposed." Altina frowned. "That's everything."

      Cyane was both upset and angry. She turned to Altina, who was dripping with fear.

      Suddenly, before Cyane could even pronounce one word, Hera materialized in the middle of the amazon camp. She was angry, very angry.

      "Hera!" Hercules hatefully snarled.

Act Four

      "So, we finally meet," Hera snarled as she wore a wicked smile. She formed a fireball with her hands. "And now you die!"

      Hera threw the fireball at Hercules, who grabbed a sword off the ground and blocked the fireball with it. He quickly dropped the sword as it was burnt to a crisp by the fireball. Hercules was shocked. This Altina had given Hera some power!

      "You seem to like to control young women," Hercules said as his shock wore off. He wasn't just referring to his amazons, but his girlfriend, Megaera, whom was once under Hera's servitude and because of it things just didn't go well between him and her.

      Hera laughed. "Soon the entire world will be under my control," Hera said as she formed another fireball. She aimed this one at Artemis, who suddenly had her bow loaded.

      "I'm not involved in your fight with Hercules," Artemis said as she dropped her bow. "I only brought the sword so my amazons could be told the truth. The rest of the problem is yours."

      Suddenly, Hercules lunged forward and tackled his stepmother to the ground, forcing the fireball onto the ground where it was smite to dust. Hercules balled his fist and vengefully punched his stepmother's forehead several times. It did no damage; Hera was immune to him, laughing, not so much as a bruise.

      Laughing, Hera pushed Hercules with one hand, sending him off and her and onto the ground. Hercules persisted to attack again, so much energy and emotion circulating through him because of everything his evil stepmother had done to him and his loved ones, and lunged at Hera, who sent Hercules across the village as she created a lighting bolt and threw it at him.

      Covered with black soot, Hercules was exhausted from that hit. Hera laughed as she flew on her feet several inches above the ground. She landed right next to her stepson.

      "Times over for you, Hercules!" Hera created another lighting bolt. She laughed as her pale blue eyes glared red and looked intently at Hercules' every fear.

      "No!" Artemis shouted.

      Hera smite the lighting bolt with a breath and swirled around, to look as Artemis had her bow loaded and an arrow aimed right at Hera.

      "One move and I'll shoot!" Artemis threatened.

      Meanwhile, Altina had escaped. But to her surprise, Iolaus had tracked her into the woods. He pulled the special dagger from his boot and surprised Altina by ripping it across her stomach. Although she didn't die, she slowly felt her shaman powers leaving her.

      Iolaus grabbed the weakened Altina, took her in his arms, and carried her back to camp. Of course she was older and larger, so heavy to carry, but he wanted to show he could help and could carry a load, just like Hercules.

      "Your killing my powers," Altina screamed. Iolaus ignored her.

      "Just taking you back, not for Hercules, for me! This is my chance." Iolaus smiled.

      Meanwhile, Hera confronted Artemis.

      "Why! You said you only interfered because of your amazons. Hercules is my concern, not yours, Artemis."

      "He is my concern. He's family." Artemis shot her half-brother a small smile. Hercules slowly got up to his feet.

      As Hera created a fireball, she began to feel the power Altina had given her fading away. As Altina lost her power, the power she gave Hera was also fading away.

      Together, Artemis and Hercules grabbed Hera and threw her across the village. Hera landed on her back, screaming like a wild banshee. She tried to form fireball after fireball but nothing was created. She tried to stand and was powerless in doing soon. She was totally mortal now; an old desperate wench who put her hands over her face to hide her fears.

      "So stepmother dear, how do you like mortality?" Hercules brashly asked as he and Artemis stood over Hera.

      Hera desperately begged, as tears welled around her eyes, "Kill me! End me now! Don't let me be disgraced like this."

      Artemis shook her head. "Even powerless gods can materialize back and forth. Go back to Olympus."

      Hera tried to laugh, but couldn't, so she said what she was going to represent by a laugh: "Oh I will, and I'll return. I'll return and kill these amazons, and Hercules if he ever leaves Greece again. It will happen, believe me it will." Hera shot Hercules a wicked look.

      "No it won't," Artemis said with assurance. "The amazons, as long as they exist, I will protect them from anyone who brings them harm, even my mother! As for Hercules, Zeus has decreed a new law which states gods cannot kill other gods even outside Greece. It will be passed when you sign against it with Ares and his lackeys. You might as well make history and have everyone sign agreement to it."

      "Never," Hera said in a whisper. "I won't let myself be disgraced, even if I lose! The amazons can go to Tartarus for all I care, and Hercules...we will meet again!" Hera materialized away; her evil laughter was left behind for a moment as her eyes appeared in the sky and a peacock feather fell into Hercules unsuspecting hands.

      "What's new," Hercules sighed as he tore the peacock feather and threw it on the ground.

      Everyone's attention turned to Iolaus as he hauled Altina over to Queen Cyane. He dropped the shamaness at Cyane's feet. Altina cringed fearfully, her power almost gone. She was at Cyane's mercy.

      Hercules muttered to himself, "You finally did something right!" he casually walked over to his friend.

      Cyane pointed towards the open brush. "You are too powerful to be even a shamaness. I thus banish you from this tribe. Go and live your miserable existence alone." Cyane was never more determined.

      After nodding, Altina began to stagger off.

      "A witch without magic is a most miserable creature indeed," Hercules teased, getting a laughter from the barbaric's, amazons, and his half sister. Iolaus wasn't amused; his friend had cracked a joke he was thinking of, to get an arousal from the others.

      "And that's a fact," Altina snarled back as she walked off. "But I will return." She shot a nasty look back at the camp one last time before she headed farther off to sulk.

      As the amazon cheered for Hercules, saying that the demi-god's power took away Altina's power and Hera's, Iolaus sulked in a yurt. He had essentially defeated Hera, and got no credit what so ever.

      As the Barbaric's and amazons came together to celebrate peace, Hercules strolled over to gather the supplies the amazons had snatched from him and Iolaus when they captured them, and Artemis walked over to Queen Cyane.

      "I assure you, Hera won't harm you again because I will protect this tribe from any god or mortal who opposes you," Artemis said as she extended her hand to Cyane. Cyane gratefully smiled as she extended hers and the two came together.

---

      "Thank you, Hercules, and also your friend," acknowledged Cyane later that day as she walked with Hercules, "for helping restore peace."

      "You're welcome," Hercules replied.

      The demi-god sighed. "Of course you shouldn't thank Iolaus. If it was his choice, we would have never come." By the way Hercules said this, one couldn't tell if he was serious or joking. But to Iolaus is wasn't a joke. Unknown to anyone, Iolaus was standing close behind Hercules and Cyane, hearing every single word they said. Anger, hurt, and jealously all raged through the sidekick's body, neither having a problem with outdoing the other. It even worsened when Iolaus saw Cyane kiss Hercules on the cheek.

      "You will make a good queen. Standing up to Altina, even if she was powerless showed guts, Hercules admired. "Best of luck!"

      "You also. Thank you," Cyane said as she nodded.

---

      On Mount Olympus, Hera sat in her throne, filled with rage as she saw in her mind the memories of several hours ago, the time when Zeus announced the new laws the decreed has stated, a decree which was won by majority. The majority of gods though it was wrong to kill other gods outside of Greece. Since the original law extended to Hercules, this law did too. Hercules would be safe.

      Zeus wore an impeccable grin as he walked over to Hera's side. Seeing Hera so upset brought him much enjoyment. "I could sit and watch you all day, look like that." Zeus laughed as he materialized away.

      Grinning, Hera looked into a reflecting mirror. "Yes dear husband, this time you won...but remember, gods still cannot undo what gods do to mortals. The next time, it won't be so easy for you to interfere." Hera looked into her mirror, now seeing Hercules and Iolaus walking home to Greece. Iolaus was lagging ways behind Hercules.

      Hera grinned wickedly. "Perfect for my next plan to be set into action!"

Act Five

      Hera continued to watch:

      "Hey Iolaus, catch up," Hercules said out-loud. "C'mon. We need to get to the stable and pick some horses up. Move it." Not once did he look back while he said anything, unlike many times before when he would always look back first to make sure Iolaus was still there.

      "I'm the shadow. I'm the hero's sidekick, the nobody," he said back out-loud. "I get the scraps and nothing else. The hero, you, get the girls, the acknowledgment, the victory I helped you achieve over Hera and Altina, and more. Bah! It sickens me."

      "You're such a comedian, Iolaus," Hercules said with a chuckle. "Your always good for a funny joke, even when you joke about yourself."

      Hercules didn't look back, because if he had he might of seem the tears welling around Iolaus' eyes and thought different about what he had just said.

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS
Kent Simmons & Tern O'Brien

Credits

Co-Starring

Deimos & Strife: Joel Tobeck
Discord: Meighan Desmond
Aphrodite: Alexandra Tydings
Athena: Paris Jefferson
Hermes: Murray Keane
Queen Cyane: Brooke Satchwell
Saderah: Veronique
Racork: Bruce Burfield

Creative Team
Aura
Barb Soden
Euterpe
Kalina
Kaya
Kent Simmons
Maggie Z
Medea
Pelee
Tern O'Brien
Thalia

Edit and Proof Read
Pelee
Tern O'Brien
Tracy Viader

Special Thanks To
Ed Naha
Mrinda Jez
Saderah

Technical Assistance
Jose Estreda

Young Hercules and its characters are © by Renaissance Pictures, USA Network, and
Studios USA. This fan fiction story, and virtual season project, are nonprofit and we by
no means want or intend to infringe copyrights of the characters and the television series.

Visit us Online
[http://www.hostultra.com/~kszonew/lwoff/younghercules]

Please do not repost any of this fan fiction episode without the
permission of the Author and Producers.

As it turns out, Cyane and the Telequioe Amazons were just out hunting, but
Cyane and the Northern Amazons ended up getting impaled a few years later
by a certain spinoff princess...urged to do so by more of Altina's decietful
ways. The things you pick up when reading the closing credits, eh?

2000/2005 lWo Fan Fiction Productions