DISCLAIMER- As much as I wish they were, the characters of (Young) Hercules, Iolaus, Jason, Lilith, and so on does not belong to me, they belong to Renaissance Pictures and Universal Studios. In fact, mostly all the characters and places in this story don't belong to me. Kal is also a product of Renaissance Pictures, he appeared in the 5th season Xena episode "Chackram" The warlord and his men, and all of the hinds exempting Helaine and Serena are my creation, but if you want you can use them.
Kal, god of war in the Asia Minor Lands, sat brooding on a throne in his favorite temple. Ares, Greek god of war was known to all, even those outside of Greece who had their own respective gods of war. However, practically no one outside of his own lands knew Kal. True, next to Ares he was the most powerful god of war, but for Kal that wasn't enough. He needed something, something that would make him King over all the gods, especially the Olympians.
The thinking wheels in his head turning swiftly, Kal motioned with a hand, and a dark clad, tall, dirty man appeared before him.
"Kal! Supreme High god of war, for what do you summon a…"
"Shut up and listen, Orarin. I've got an idea. Now, here's what I want you to do."
The afternoon bell rang at the Academy, and the cadets poured out of their classes. "Remember, your report on one of Aristotle's theories is due next week!" Feducius shouted behind them, in a vain attempt to regain some of the order that had been present only a few seconds ago.
"We've got a report due?" Cried Iolaus frantically.
"Sleeping through class again, Iolaus? I thought you said you'd given up napping in class when Cheiron caught you snoozing through geography a few days ago. Now you've got stable de-mucking duties for a week," Lilith reminded her short, blonde friend, at the same time trying to smother a giggle at the memory. Their four-legged teacher hadn't been happy when he found Iolaus dozing, probably dreaming of Kora, and had given the repeat offender one of the Academy's least enjoyed, however necessary, tasks.
"Which reminds me, I'd better go clean them out now so I don't have to do it this weekend, I've got plans."
"Exactly what kind of plans?" Hercules asked, not quite wanting to know the answer.
"This weekend I've promised myself I'll find a girl who actually likes me," Iolaus said, determinedly.
"Oh really? Well then you better hope for a loooonnngg weekend," Theseus teased.
"Ha, ha. Very funny."
"Well, Iolaus, if you're going to go looking for a girl this weekend, you're going to have to do it alone because we've got a camping trip planned, or have you forgotten?" Hercules reminded his best friend.
"Oh yeah…well, I'm sure me finding a girl can wait, it won't be that hard. I am, after all, the master at getting girls."
"Uh huh, whatever." His friends laughed. Once Iolaus was done his stable duties, the four cadets headed out of the Academy, and into the woods. They walked for awhile, then stopped when they reached a clearing.
"This looks like a good place to set up camp," Lilith observed.
"Hear that? There's water nearby. Hercules, I hereby challenge you to a fishing contest. Whoever catches the most wins. The loser has to cook. Are you up to it?" Iolaus assumed a fake almighty swagger.
"The question isn't if I am up to it, the question is, are you up to it?" Herc responded.
"Of course I am, so get ready to lose."
"Oh no, no, no. You'd better brush up on your cooking skills, because you're going to need them…on second thought, I'd better let you win because I'm too sure I want to eat anything you've cooked."
The two best friends continued on and on in that fashion as they made their way to the water. Lilith and Theseus set up camp, then sat down and waited for the demigod and hunter to return. "It feels so weird," said Lilith abruptly.
"What? I don't 'feel' anything," Theseus countered.
"I just mean that Jason isn't here. Not that it isn't great to have you along on one of our camping trips, just that it's t first time we've went on one without him."
"I can understand that. From what everyone's been telling me, Jason's a great guy. I wish I could meet him."
"Why not? When Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee," Theseus laughed at Lilith's nickname for the pair, "get back, we can ask them if they mind if we end the trip a little early and stop by Corinth. Jason's probably bored stiff, and is in serious need of a good game of bagball."
"Yeah, why not? I've never considered the downside of being young, and being a king. It must get lonely after awhile, not being able to see your friends that much and all."
At about that time, Hercules and Iolaus returned, with more than enough fish between the two of them. The friends ate, and once it was dark they told ghost stories around the fire. Eventually they tired themselves out, and the four cadets turned in.
END OF PART ONE.
Hercules awoke with a start. He was in a temple, one he didn't recognize. But from the swords hanging over the doorways and grotesque battles scenes painted on the walls, he guessed he was in a temple dedicated to his half-brother, Ares, Greek god of war. As if Ares had heard his younger brother's musings, the war god materialized before Hercules.
"Ares. I would have thought as much. But what are you going to do? You know you can't kill me."
"Little brother, I'd have you know that I am not as dimwitted as Strife. And anyway, this is a dream," replied Ares.
"And that makes even less sense. You've already tried to destroy me through a dream, and you're not the type to try a failed plan twice."
"I will if I fixed it to make it work. But that's now why I've asked Morpheas to bring you here."
"Just wait, would you? I don't like this anymore than you do. But there's something going on, and for some idiotic reason Zeus has decreed that we, meaning the Olympians, cannot get involved."
"What does all of this have to do with me?"
"You aren't one of the Olympian gods. You can get involved, and Daddy can't control what mortals—or half mortals—do."
"So…what could you possibly want me to do, and how do you expect me to believe you?"
"I don't. I know you're a goody-good. You'll save them whether or not I tell you to. I'm just trying to give you a head start. I hate it when people mess with my favorite creatures, okay? There, I admit it. I've got a bit of a soft spot for them, and thanks to the Daddy whom you admire so much, I can't do a thing about it, which is something…else…I…HATE!!!" Ares finished the last part so loudly and angrily that he shook the walls.
"Whoa, ok, easy. Look, I don't know who or what you're talking about, and I also don't know how I'm going to be able to trust and/or believe you. But if you are telling me the truth, then it won't matter 'cause I'll find out for myself anyway."
Ares, who had regained his composure, began to fade away. "Do whatever you want, little brother. But I suggest you take a side trip to Artiemis' sacred island if you wanna do what you do best." With that Ares vanished.
"Herc, c'mon, wake up big guy! It's getting late, and if we want to make it to Corinth by lunchtime we're gonna have to get a move on!" Iolaus shook Hercules, trying to wake the tall blonde up. "What? Iolaus, stop it, I'm up already," mumbled Hercules.
"Man, Ace, I've never seen you sleep so late before. You're usually first awake, and the one shaking Iolaus up, not the other way around," Theseus said.
"It looks like somebody finally decided to wake up. Good. I wanna get a move on to Corinth." Lilith dumped a load of fruit she had collected next to Hercules. "We had some fruit saved from breakfast for you, but you kept right on sleeping and Iolaus' eyes were practically bulging out of his head looking at them, so we let him eat the rest."
"That wasn't exactly how it happened," laughed Theseus.
"Yeah? Well, somebody seemed extra worried that we get to Corinth as soon as possible. Is she maybe anxious Jason…?" Iolaus teased. Lilith blushed scarlet and was about to retort when Hercules interrupted around a mouthful of orange.
"Don't even start you two, I'm trying to think."
"About what? You just woke up," asked Lilith.
"I'm thinking about why I slept in so late."
"You really can't stand to be the last one up, can you?" Theseus shook his head in disbelief.
"No, it's not that, I'm thinking about the dream I was having. For some reason I couldn't wake up until it was over."
"Only Morpheas has the power to do something like that," Lilith thought out loud.
"That's just it, Ares was in my dream and he mentioned having Morpheas there, or 'bring you here' as he said it."
"Ares was in your dream?" exclaimed Iolaus. "And he was talking to you?! That can't be good."
"What was he talking about?" Theseus pressed.
"He said something about not liking the fact that he had to come to me, but Zeus decreed that the Olympians can't get involved. And that I was a goody-good, so he knew I'd do it, since it's what I do best."
"What did he mean by that?" Iolaus interrupted.
"Your guess is as good as mine. The only other thing he said of relevance that I remember was to go to Artiemis' sacred island."
"Hey, that's where Ruff is!" Iolaus practically shouted.
"Yeah, but I doubt that Ares would really care much about Ruff," mused Hercules.
"Hmm, I guess you're right," the blonde hunter agreed.
"Well, I don't like the sound of this. It has 'trap' written all over it," interjected Theseus.
"I agree. I know this isn't really Ares' style, it's a little too easy to see through. But he doesn't give us any reason to trust him. If there really is something going on, I'm sure we'll find out somehow. Herc has the uncanny ability to find trouble." Iolaus stated.
"But that's almost exactly what Ares said! He said I'd find out somehow what's going on, and 'do what I do best.' He said he was just giving me a head start. I don't know, this is so weird."
"Definitely," Hercules' three friends agreed.
"Hercules, Iolaus, there you are, I'm so glad I found you. I need you help, we all need your help." The four cadets turned to stare at the deep brown eyed, red haired speaker.
END OF PART 2
"Helaine," Hercules almost-whispered, "what are you doing here? It's not safe. You should be on…"
"Artiemis' sacred island." Iolaus finished for the demigod. Hercules, Iolaus, Theseus, and Lilith stared at each other in wonderment. Parts of the puzzle were beginning to fall into place.
"Helaine, right? Please excuse my friend's rudeness. I'm Lilith, and this is Theseus. From what I've heard you already know Hercules and Iolaus."
"Speaking of, I never got a chance to properly thank you for saving my life. If there's anything I can do…"
"Well, normally I wouldn't want to be as selfish as so take someone up on such an offer. But my sisters and I are in grave danger." Helaine said.
"Grave danger? Ace here does grave danger with his eyes closed," Theseus replied.
"Very funny. Tell us what's wrong, and we'll do all we can to help." Hercules sat down, expecting a long story. The others did the same.
"As you probably know," Helaine began, "my sisters (golden hinds call each other sisters even if they're not related) and I live on Artiemis' sacred isle. We leave occasionally, because it can get boring, sitting around on the same island for a long time. That's how you met me. Anyway, a few days ago a ship stopped at our island, and all of these men came out. We later learned that the ship belonged to the foreign warlord Orarin, and the men with him are the best in his army.
Then he just started attacking all of the hinds on the island. We've already lost a few of our number, and many more have been wounded. It's true that most of us are extremely good archers, although I am not one of them, but even so we are not able to hold our own against these war experienced men. Strangely, the only creatures on all of Artiemis' island that Orarin lets his men go after is the golden hind. I've even overheard him order his men not to go after an animal that provoked them. Stranger still is the fact that despite all of our desperate pleas, Artiemis won't help us. She even appeared to us once, explaining that as much as she wishes to help us, and how badly Orarin and his men will one day burn in Tartarus, she is powerless to interfere. My sisters and I would be angered with her if not for her extreme displeasure at not being able to come to our aid." Helaine finished, taking a deep breath. Lilith passed her the water bottle as she spoke.
"But it doesn't make any sense. Artiemis should be allowed to interfere if someone is messing with her sacred golden hinds, especially if all the events are taking place on her even more sacred island."
"No, no…" Hercules said as he thought, "it does make sense! My dream was real, and I don't think it was a trap. Ares said I should go to Artiemis' sacred isle, and do what I do best. And according to Ares, saving people is what I do best, even though he's always said it in sarcasm. He also mentioned that he wants to get involved as well. A hind's skill with archery is famous; it wouldn't surprise me if Ares took an interest in the golden hind."
"Ares has visited us before, trying to urge us to become more warlike. But we only ever fight in self-defense. He hasn't, however, made it a secret that we are among those he favors, in the same category as the Amazons," Helaine informed the group.
"Then it all comes together! The only thing that remains in question is why Zeus won't allow any of the gods to interfere. But since Ares and Artiemis can't, Ares grudgingly came to me, knowing I'd help. He did it in a dream 'cause he knew if he tried to talk to me when I was awake, I wouldn't just stand around and listen to him. Your dream-self is usually more calm and reasonable, for some reason." Hercules took the water-skin from Helaine's outstretched hand. The cadets and the golden hind (in her human form) sat around for awhile, each thinking about what was to be done now.
Not really sure what to do or say, but still uncomfortable with the silence, Theseus spoke up. "So, I guess this mean's I'm not gonna get to meet Jason this weekend after all."
"Maybe you can…" Lilith said, her face lit up with enlightenment. Suddenly, it fell. "But I'm not sure if…"
"Why not?" Iolaus appeared to be thinking the same thing as Lilith. "I mean, Artiemis' sacred island isn't that far from Corinth, who knows, Orarin might move his army of to Corinth when he's done with the hinds."
"But why in the first place would Orarin be after the hind?" asked Theseus.
"We don't know" Helaine said sadly.
"Well, he might or might not be after you for hind's blood, but even if that's not what he's after, he's still probably got some. And hind's blood can be very dangerous in the wrong hands. I don't doubt that Jason will want to help, but he's going to need a justifiable reason for moving at least part of his army out on matters not directly related to Corinth." Hercules finished, then looked at the others for agreement.
"Yeah…yeah, I think we can do it! At least we've got try. Even with our help, the hind's still are going to need more people behind them to defeat the enemy," exclaimed Theseus.
"Helaine? Do you think your sisters will accept help from the Corinthian Army, if it is offered?" asked Lilith.
"We will gladly accept any help anyone has to offer," replied the hind.
"Well, what are we waiting for? Let's go!" Iolaus jumped to his feet in a heroic stance, and the others got up to follow him in the direction of Corinth. Hercules was the last in line, when all of a sudden he thought of something. "Guys, wait! I've got an idea! I know someone else who might be able to help us."
"Then what are we waiting for? Off we go!" Iolaus leapt around and started marching in the opposite direction. "No, wait!" Herc cried. Iolaus stopped, turned around once again, and looked at his best friend. "Make up your mind, will ya?"
"No, what I mean is you guys should go ahead to Corinth, with Helaine, and I'll meet up with you on the island." Helaine turned with curious eyes to the tall blonde demigod. "How are you gong to know where on the island to find us?"
"If I get the help I'm thinking of, that shouldn't be a problem." Hercules looked back at Helaine, who's eyes quickly lit with understanding. "I see, yes, I agree with you. We don't have much time to waste, and I think now that Hercules will be able to find us on the island." Not quite sure what was going on, but not really wanting to ask just yet, Iolaus, Lilith, and Theseus nodded, and set off again in the direction of Corinth. Hercules watched them go for awhile, then turned and jogged towards Kora's Inn.
END OF PART 3
"I wonder what that was all about," asked Lilith, eyeing Helaine. Helaine looked at them, and answered. "I think I know of the help Hercules went to get." With that she stopped, although it was clear the others wanted to know more. "And…" Iolaus prompted.
"And I can't tell you anymore." Helaine looked at Lilith, Theseus, and Iolaus' disappointed faces and attempted to explain. "There are…reasons. I'm not even sure what those reasons are. Believe me, I know only a little more than you do. If Hercules is able to get this help, you will learn more. Please don't push, that is all I can tell you." The three weren't quite satisfied, but they could sense there was no use in probing anymore.
The group continued on to Corinth, conversation now focused on the state the hinds were in, the nature of Orarin's men, and why they might want to attack the hinds for reasons other than hind's blood. They finally reached Corinth, and made their way towards the castle gate. Right as they prepared to go in, and tall, burly guard stopped them.
"Halt! What business do you have inside the palace?" The guard's voice was rough, dripping with contempt. Iolaus' mind raced for a good excuse. It was clear this guard wouldn't let them in even if they said they were Jason's friends. Luckily, Ophistus happened to be walking past them inside the palace grounds. He stopped them, figured out what was going on, and headed over. "Ah, Iolaus, Lilith. Jason will be most pleased to see you. I fear the company of old men like me is beginning to bore him, although he won't admit it. I see you brought more friends. We must be introduced. I am Ophistus, one of Jason's advisors."
"And my name is Helaine."
One the introductions were over, Ophistus turned toward the guard. "Greetings, Metophicles, I see you have been moved to guarding the front gate. I trust that from now on you will allow King Jason's closest friends to pass through, now won't you? We wouldn't want to have to report this to his majesty, now would we?"
"Of…course not, sir," stammered Metophicles.
"Well then, we'll just forget this little incident ever happened." Ophistus turned back towards Iolaus, Helaine, Theseus, and Lilith. "Where is Hercules?" he asked. While the group walked up to the palace, Iolaus explained that Hercules was somewhere else, and he would have to wait till they got to the throne room if he wanted to know any more.
That was where Jason sat. He was on his throne, situated in a way that fully emphasized his mood. Perched upon the throne, even in all his "kingly splendor", Jason looked totally, utterly, and completely…bored to death. At least until he spotted who came into the room behind his chief advisor. A wide grin spread over his face and he jumped off his throne in a rush to greet them.
"Iolaus, Lilith, you have no idea how great it is to see you? Where's Hercules, who's…Helaine?" Jason turned his eyes to the half-woman, half-deer.
"I think it's time for the explanation," hinted Theseus. Lilith took a deep breath, and began. She told Jason all about Theseus, their adventures with him, then skipped over to the night before, then up to what was happening now. When she was finished, Jason shook his head. "So you have no idea where Hercules is?"
"Well, actually, Helaine does, but she won't tell us," Iolaus said.
"I'm sure she has reason enough not to," Jason stated. Helaine smiled gratefully at the young king, who continued. "Guys, I really want to help you, I do, but I can't promise anything. I've got no idea whether or not I can get the soldiers behind me. I can't just go hauling troops off into danger in matters not relating directly to Corinth."
"We will have to hold a conference regarding the situation. I will go get the other councilors and the general. You wait here." Ophistus headed out of the room. "Great, just great. Look, this is gonna take awhile, why don't you go wander around the palace until we're done? Iolaus, ask the cook and he'll gladly give you plenty to eat. If you try to sneak something again, I don't know how I'm going to stop him from skinning you."
"Should I be a part of the meeting too? I am the one coming and asking for help."
"No Helaine, I don't think that's a good idea. It's one thing talking to a bunch of men about golden hinds, and it's another thing sticking one right in their midst. You'd better stick with Theseus, Iolaus, Jason, and Lilith." The mentioned three plus Helaine left the room, just as the men who were coming for the meeting began to file in. Lilith cast one last look of pity at Jason, who smiled weakly, then left.
"Alright then, off to the kitchens!" shouted Iolaus, who practically ran off down the hallway. "With Iolaus, you'll always know when it's lunchtime, or for that matter breakfast, dinner, or snacktime." Lilith laughed at Theseus comment.
The four spent the next few hours wandering around the palace talking, or eating in Iolaus' case. Eventually, they made their way back to the throne room. Iolaus was leaning down to press his ear up against the door when it opened, knocking him aside. Luckily, he was out of the way of the stream of feet of the people who poured out. Theseus helped Iolaus up, and they, along with Helaine and Lilith, walked into the room. Jason sat once again upon his throne. He was slumped, with his chin resting on his hand. He looked glum, and defeated. Ophistus was seated to the side, in deep thought.
"It didn't go very well, did it?" asked Theseus. Jason shook his head disheartendly. "I'm sorry, Helaine, I fought your case to the last. Some people just don't understand that you can't just sit around and never help anyone."
"I understand, Jason. I came here merely with the hope of getting help from Hercules and Iolaus. Getting even part of an army to help was beyond my expectations."
"There may be a way for us to get the army to help the hinds, although they won't know at first that they are." All the heads in the room turned toward Ophistus. "This is deceitful, but for the greater good."
"And just what do you have in mind?' Iolaus asked.
"Jason, why don't you go with your friends to Artiemis' Island?"
"But Ophistus, by myself, how much of a help can I really be?"
"Please allow me to finish, my king. If you go, Corinth could not in it's right mind allow it's young king to put himself in such danger alone. The state will be forced to send it's army out to help him." Ophistus looked at the others for approval, especially Jason and Helaine. "Yeah…I think it just might work!" exclaimed Lilith.
"It's worth a try. Thanks, Ophistus. You'll make sure everyone knows where I went, but not too soon, right?" Jason queried.
"Leave everything to me, your majesty."
"Alright!" Jason laughed, then he and his friends made their way out of the palace, and into the swiftly growing dusk.
END OF PART 4
Kora was just finishing putting the last of the chairs up on the table. She had her travel cloak on, and her hair was down. All of a sudden, someone started pounding on the door. "How many times do I have to tell you people, I'm closed today!" she shouted.
"Kora, open up! It's me, Hercules!" Kora sighed, and opened the window and looked at the blonde cadet. "I'm closed today Herc, I'm sorry."
"Oh, no, I'm here to get your help."
"Look Hercules, I've got enough work cut out for me."
"Well, let me in, and we'll talk, and maybe we can help each other." Kora eyed Hercules, thinking. "Oh alright, fine, come in." Before she could reach the door to open it, Hercules climbed in through the window. "That's one way to do it," Kora muttered.
"So, you tell me why you're closed today, and I'll tell you why I need your help." The innkeeper gazed at the demigod, thinking, but she gave in and began. "Oh, alright. Because of my ties to Artiemis, I can sense when any of her sacred animals or places is in danger. Recently, I've been sensing it. Usually Artiemis appears to me, and gives me instructions, so that's what I've been waiting for. Except this time, Artiemis hasn't shown up. I can't wait any longer, I'm going to find out what's going on, even if I have to do it by myself. Now, what do you want me to do?"
Hercules had a somewhat smug grin on his face as he answered Kora. He told her the whole story, even the part about his dream. When he finished, Kora looked puzzled. "But why would Zeus decree that the gods can't get involved? If Orarin gets his hands on enough hind's blood, he could pose a serious threat to the gods. You'd think Zeus would want Orarin stopped. And the poor hinds are getting slaughtered, and neither Artiemis or Ares can really do a thing to help them." She sighed again, heavier this time. "What do we do now?"
"Now we head to the island an meet the others. Shouldn't you do your shiny golden huntress thing first?"
"I could, but if I do it around here, out in the open, someone walking down the path could see me," Kora replied.
"That's right. Well then, let's take a path in the woods and once we get deep enough you can transform," decided Herc.
"Good idea. Let's go." Hercules and Kora walked out of the inn, Kora locked it behind them, and the two headed off into the woods. They conversed for awhile, about nothing in particular, just how things at the inn and Academy were going.
"Sounds like you cadets have been having a lot more 'fun' than me. Things have been slow ever since the talent contest I held."
"Yeah. I was kinda hopin' Ares would lie low and lick his wounds for awhile, leaving us alone, but no such luck. He's since kidnapped Cheiron, controlled Cyanne's mind, forcing her to try to blow up the Academy, and set an Amazon with a lost father complex on me."
"Ouch. Ares really doesn't like you, does he?"
"Nope. Oh hey! It looks pretty deserted here. Why don't you give the Huntress thing a try? I'll cover you in case anyone comes around."
"OK. Move back a little." At Kora's command, Hercules moved back. He surveyed the area once more, then turned his head to the young innkeeper. Kora lifted a bow she had grabbed before leaving the inn into the air, and began.
"Artiemis! I call upon you to give me the power of the Huntress, so that I may do your will in protecting your sacred creatures!" She waited, eyes closed with face toward the clouds. Hercules looked on, holding his breath. Both waited, tension piling up. Finally, Kora let her arms drop, and she turned dejectedly to the demigod.
"Nothing's happening. I don't understand. Artiemis has never refused me the spirit of the Huntress before."
"Maybe she's really occupied. She could be watching Orarin and his men, trying to think of some way around Zeus' order. Why don't you try again?" Hercules suggested.
"Oh, alright. Guess it won't hurt anything." Kora turned back around, and lifted up the bow in her hands. "Artiemis! I call upon you to give me the spirit of the Huntress, so that I may protect the sacred golden hinds!" Instead of a patch of golden light descending upon Kora, a space of air beside the innkeeper and Hercules twisted, and Artiemis, goddess of the hunt, appeared.
END OF PART 5
"One o'clock and all's well!" the town crier in Corinth called. Ophistus could hear it from the window in the throne room of the palace. He turned from the window to the room of half-asleep men. "You all know why I have called you here. King Jason has gone missing, and I fear that he went off on that quest to Artiemis' Sacred Island. As the King's personal guard, I do not see how you could find it possible to allow him to run off on such a dangerous mission as this."
"Ophistus, you're crazy." Balin, the captain of the guard and the army, pushed his way to the chief councilor. You're asking us to only send out the Royal Guard after our young king? You heard what he said at the meeting. There is a whole war-hardened army out there. I say we move out at least half of ours. This isn't just some silly adventure King Jason's plunged into, this is practically a war."
"I agree with you wholeheartedly, Balin, I just did not want to be as brash as to propose such a thing when it had been vetoed earlier today," Ophistus said.
"That was until Jason personally involved himself in this situation. Before, it wasn't Corinth's business. Now it is. I say we prepare to move half the army and the personal guard out at dawn," Balin proposed.
"Well then, all in favor?" asked Ophistus.
"Aye!" The room was filled with unanimous agreement.
"Then I guess we move out at dawn." The men in the room nodded, and began to leave. Just before Balin walked out, he turned to Ophistus. "You'll be running things around here until our King is back, am I right?" Ophistus nodded. Balin in turn nodded his head in agreement. "Oh, one more thing."
"King Jason planned this, didn't he?"
"I'm afraid you know our young king all to well, Captain."
Balin chuckled. "He'll turn out an excellent king. A large heart he has, and a fearless sense of adventure. Almost a shame he is stuck being a king. He could go out into the world and do great things."
"He will do great things in Corinth, you'll see. Besides, I am sure he will find a way to even when he is busy being a king."
"That's our Jason." Balin shook his head, and walked out the door.
Iolaus, Helaine, Theseus, and Lilith had made it to the small seaport village of Gallietha by the time the last of the stars had appeared overhead. Jason got them rooms for the night at a quaint looking inn. Iolaus woke up early the next morning, hoping that before too long, Hercules would show up. The former thief knew the chances of Hercules actually showing up here were very slim, but he couldn't help it. Iolaus missed his best friend, and was also worried about him. He didn't know why, but he sensed that there was something more than a warlord and his army behind the attacks on the hinds. Iolaus' pondering was brought to a halt as Lilith plopped herself beside him.
"Hey Iolaus! I've never seen you up this early. Everyone else is still asleep. Is there something wrong?"
"I'm worried about Hercules." Iolaus answered.
"Why? You know more than any of us that Hercules can take care of himself."
"What if Ares is behind all of this? He could be the one sending Orarin and his men to attack the hinds. This could be another trap. A really elaborate one."
"I doubt it. Why would Ares send someone to attack his favorite creatures, even to kill Hercules? And are you sure nothing's wrong? Hercules is usually the worrier, and you're the one who never thinks things through."
"Well with big guy gone, somebody has to worry," joked Iolaus. "But seriously, I really feel that there's something more to this whole situation; that there's something, or someone, behind this who's more powerful than Orarin."
Lilith reassured her uneasy friend. "We all feel that way, at least a little bit. The best thing we can do is get to the island. There we're bound to find out more. For now, we should stop worrying, because until we each the island, there's really not anything we can do." At that moment, Helaine walked up to them from the hallway leading to the rooms, and Jason & Theseus walked through the door from the outside.
"Morning Helaine!" Lilith said. "Jason, Theseus! I thought you were asleep."
"Oh, no, we were awake before Iolaus. We went out, and between my smooth talking and Jason's influence we've found a ship that will drop us off on its way to Crete," Theseus stated happily.
"What's the catch? I've done this sort of thing before, and there's always a catch. Are we working as deck swabbers, hard laborers, or is there just some evil captain with monsters or who knows what as cargo?" asked Iolaus. Jason answered him.
"There is not catch. To avoid any problems like last time," (see Young Hercules episode "Girl Trouble") Iolaus flashed a 'who, me?' look at Jason, "I made sure I went along as we went looking for a ship. The captain is more noble than Zared, and he is honored to have the King of Corinth and his friends travelling along."
"I don't get it. The captain didn't want anything in return?" Lilith asked, clearly confused.
"It looks good to merchants who are searching for ships to find a boat and captain that a king obviously trusts. With that recommendation, Captain Nemus was more than happy to take us aboard. The ship leaves port in two hours," Jason explained.
"Supplies. We're going to need to get supplies. Even if Captain Nemus has some, we'll need more for when we reach the island."
"Good thinking, Helaine," complimented Jason. "That's what we'll do. We can write a list of what we need, then split it up, divide into groups, get what's on the list, and meet at the dock in two hours."
"Sounds like a plan," said Iolaus. The others agreed, and they sat down to begin the list.
The smell inside the tent was musty, of animal skins and dried grass. The tent itself, however, was richly decorated. A finely carved wooden chair was set off in one corner. On the other side of the tent, a goose-feather filled cot lay, with silk pillows and intricately woven quilts lying on top. Silver candle-stands bordered the edges of the tent, tall wax candles held inside their grasp. One could tell this wasn't the tent of an ordinary traveler.
All of a sudden, a tall man burst in. He was dressed in strange looking armor. It was fully body armor, obviously strong, but instead of being silver in color, in was dull green and brown. It looked quite out of place amidst the splendor of the tent. The man himself was tan skinned, clean-shaven, and had finely cropped dark brown hair. He was looking rather pleased with himself about something.
At that moment, another even taller man appeared beside the first. This one was dressed in a normal warrior-type leather outfit, and his skin was a shade darker than the former's. He has dark black hair, which went down just a bit past his shoulders. A sword was strapped to his side. Yet for all that this man looked ordinary, there was something different about him. A godly air surrounded him, even diviner than the riches of the tent.
"My lord Kal! It is an honor to see you! My men and I have returned successfully from the field of battle."
"Really Orarin? Then, please, tell me what happened."
"We met the hinds today in an open field. They seemed very anxious to get us away from the area, I believer we are drawing closer to their hideaway. Just as you ordered, we did not kill any, but wounded many. Those we injured we took back to camp, the ones we could get from the other hinds, I mean," Orarin started to stammer as he felt the god's mood begin to take a turn toward the worse.
"Y-yes, my liege. As I was saying, the hinds we took back to the camp were treated for their wounds, as we collected as much blood from them as possible. Then they were set free."
"I want you to start killing them."
"Killing them? But you ordered…"
"I know what I ordered, but things are going to slow. I want this blood now, faster, and I want more of it." Amazingly, Kal didn't even raise his voice, but on the other hand, his calm state was even more unnerving.
"Whatever you say, my liege. I shall repeat your commands to my men."
"See that you do." The god of war then disappeared, leaving Orarin standing by himself in the tent once more. For a few seconds the warlord seemed baffled, but his features quickly hardened, then a sick smile crept upon his face. He stepped to the entrance of the tent, and stuck his head out.
"Captain Stail! Prepare the men to do battle with the hinds at dusk! And this time, we take no prisoners!"
END OF PART SIX
Artiemis, Greek goddess of the hunt, stood before Hercules and Kora. "I know what you are trying to do. As much as I wish for your success, I cannot be a part of it."
"But Artiemis, the hinds don't stand a chance against a whole army, especially if Jason can't get the Corinthian army to help. Even then, the power of the Huntress would really help your sacred hinds," begged Kora of the deity.
"I understand," Artiemis replied, her voice strained, "but my hands are tied."
"What if you don't know that she's going to help save the golden hinds?" Kora and Artiemis' heads snapped towards Hercules, surprised. They had almost forgotten he was there.
"Of course Artiemis will know I've gone to help them, she'll have given me the Huntress power," protested Kora.
"But what if Artiemis gives you the power of the Huntress for some other purpose, then you 'sneak' off to her island?"
"It's a little risky…but that might work," Kora thought out loud.
"There is a poaching incident near my temple by Corinth that I was going to take care of myself…"
"Then that's it then!" exclaimed Hercules, "this will work! it has to." After a few moments to thought ,the innkeeper and goddess agreed with the demigod.
"Alright, I'll give you the power of the Huntress, but remember, use it wisely, and stop the poaching before you do anything else."
"I will, my goddess." Artiemis then disappeared, and a bright golden light surrounded Kora, shielding her from view. When the light faded, there stood Kora, not as the innkeeper, but as the Golden Huntress.
That's all I've got, at least for now. I don't know how much longer it'll be before I get more written. I guess that'll depend on if anyone reads this and tells me if they want to hear more. I want to write more, but I've got a mild case of writers block concerning this story for some odd reason. Any suggestions on what to do next, or for a different title, please tell me! And please review, I'd love anything you have to say, although I'll probably throw flames out.