Disclaimer: The characters aren't mine. Macaria is a mix of Hercules's daughter in mythology and Illea on the show. Her background was created by a friend and may not be used elsewhere.

Hercules: Twisted Lies

The young woman lay asleep. Her face was placid, lines of worry gone. In sleep she took on a youthful look, less of a warrior and more of the child she should have been. Her breathing was deep and in her dreams she was a child once again.

In her dreams she was running outside a pleasant looking house. It wasn't anything special but was more than any castle to her. A dog followed her and the constant barking and playful yips made her heart beat. She turned back to the hut, seeing a woman with wild flowing hair walk out. The woman was wearing green and it made her hair and eyes stand out.

She opened her mouth to speak, but when she did a fireball from the sky hit the woman. Instantly she burst into flames, her whole body ignited. The small girl stopped and screamed out a single word, the word most children form the moment they can speak: "Mama!"

The woman was still standing, burning alive. Her screams made the small child clap her hands over her ears. Her now skeletal mouth opened and she was saying something, calling her by a name...

###

Macaria bolted out of a sound sleep, placing a hand over her heart. She hated that dream. The girl closed her eyes and breathed in. "By Olympus." She whispered. She didn't have that dream very often but when she did it was enough.

The girl swung her legs over the edge of the cot and rose. The feeling of the dream was still on her and she shook her head. Sleep was not to be had, not right now. It was time to light the fire in her cave and get breakfast. Macaria headed out to greet the day. It was not a pretty, Grecian morning at all. Instead it was dark and dreary, looking like heavy rain. Macaria headed into the forest not too far away. She worked swiftly, gathering what pieces of wood she could find.

After that chore was done she set to work making herself a fire. The traps had been set up last night before bed, perhaps there was some game in there. Once she had a roaring fire the girl headed to check her traps. Sure enough, there was a rabbit snared inside. She took the creature and prepared it. The rabbit would provide her with two meals; breakfast and lunch. She'd have to re-set the trap for dinner.

Macaria worked meticulously, and once her meal was done she sat in front of the fire and ate. With food filling her up she came more awake. There was things to be done today. The dream had started to fade a bit but it was still in the back of her mind. After breakfast, Macaria rose and used ash to put out her fire. She donned on her warrior leathers, and headed out. Taking the path near the hunting traps the girl came upon a small pond. She bent down and cupped her hands. Letting clear water stream into the girl splashed her face.

That's when she saw the eyes.

Beautiful green slanted eyes. There was mocking laughter that accompanied it. "You're late, girl." Came the voice of Hera, Queen of the Gods.

Macaria backed away a little. "I'm sorry, my Queen." She gave a respectful bow. "I...I had that dream again." The girl explained.

"Of the woman burning up?" Hera's voice demanded.

"Yes. What does it mean, my Queen? Why do I keep having that dream?"

"It's time you knew, my child. That dream isn't a dream—but it's a memory." Hera said.

"A memory?" Macaria frowned. "A memory of what?"

"Of when you were a child. The woman burning was your real mother."

This made the young woman stare down into the pond. "The woman burning alive was my mother?" She half whispered, shocked.

"Have I ever lied to you?" Hera responded. "I know all about you. Remember, I saved you from your father. He helped to kill your mother and your brothers but I favored you. I saved you from the same fate."

Yes, Macaria knew that one. She bowed her head feeling respect for the Queen of the Gods. "Thank you, Hera."

"And you remember your promise to me? To avenge your family's death?" The goddess questioned.

Macaria nodded. Her eyes were cold, hard. "Yes my Goddess." She whispered. "I do remember my pledge. I will kill Hercules."

Hera's cruel laughter rang out, and made the girl smile. "You are my Champion." Hera said. "And I expect no less from a champion of mine. Now go, and make me proud. Once you have killed Hercules, you will get your just reward."

Macaria rose, and nodded. She seemed almost in a trance. "I'll kill him." She promised the goddess. "On my word of honor I will kill Hercules. And make you proud of me." She turned and with a dark smile took a path from the forest that would lead her into town.

A town where Hercules and his best friend Iolaus happened to be lodging in.

###

"Oh come on Iolaus." Hercules laughed at his friend's latest story. "I think you'd probably look cute in a pink tunic. And you won the competition right?" He grinned charmingly.

Iolaus, who was not amused rolled his eyes. "It was all Salmonues's idea!" he thundered. "Not mine. I had nothing to do with it."

Hercules merely chuckled. He glanced over at his friend and shook his head. "All I know is I'm looking forward to some quiet time. It'll be nice to actually spend some time together without being in life or death situations."

Iolaus nodded in agreement. "Hey maybe we can even do the guy thing."

"Guy thing?"

"Ya know. Drink ale, talk to beautiful women and just relax." Iolaus grinned. "Maybe have something to eat while we're doing that."

Hercules shook his head. "Isn't that something you do every day?"

Iolaus just grinned. "Yeah, but not with you. And if there's anyone on this Earth who needs to relax Herc, it's you!" He said. "Come on." Iolaus motioned for his friend to follow.

Hercules just shook his head. Maybe Iolaus was right and he could use some fun. It would certainly be a different time, that was for sure.

The tavern Iolaus lead him to was called The Thirsty Hydra. Hercules shook his head at the sign of a three headed Hydra drinking a mug of ale. He walked inside and scanned the room. It was your typical tavern—dark, kind of on the seedy side. Iolaus made his way to the bar area and ordered two drinks, placing a few dinars down. Hercules sat down beside him on the seat and tried to relax.

"Take that look off your face Hercules, you'll scare the locals." Iolaus hissed as he sank into a seat next to him.

"What do you mean? What look?"

Iolaus rolled his eyes. "That, I'm expecting trouble at the next corner look." He shook his head. "We're here to relax remember?"

"I'm trying, Iolaus." Hercules was honestly trying. "And if you think about it-"

"Don't even say it. Drink up, Hercules." Iolaus took a healthy drink from his mug.

Hercules gave a shrug, sat back and followed suit. He just didn't feel right sitting in this tavern and drinking when he could be doing something for someone. Maybe Iolaus was right...maybe he didn't have to be doing something every single time.

But Iolaus had his charms and convinced Hercules that drinking wasn't a sin. Before the demigod knew it, he'd polished off a third drink and was feeling pretty happy. Iolaus was being amusing, and every pair of ears in the tavern were engaged with his re-telling of some of their adventures. Hercules found himself getting up, staggering a bit, to display his massive strength which made some of the local women gasp with surprise and the men look jealous. The demigod grinned, made a sweeping bow and tried to sit down on his seat.

His bottom hit the floor painfully. "Ouch." Hercules said and looked up at Iolaus. "I missed my seat."

Iolaus stared at him for a moment before answering, only to have his face crinkle up and the laughter began. "Herc, I think...I think you're drunk!"

The demigod certainly felt drunk. "So that's why..." He slurred slowly, arms wagging. "I'm on the floor."

Iolaus was of no help as he bent over, laughing. He laughed, wiping the corner of his eyes. "Come on Herc." He held out a hand to help his best friend up. "I'll help ya to your room. I should have warned you what to drink."

"Wine?" Hercules asked helpfully.

Iolaus guided his best friend out of the tavern despite the many protests of the people inside. "Hey Hercules you were a hit!" Iolaus patted him on the back.

"I was?" Hercules gave an endearing grin. "Let's go back. We have more stories!" He started towards the tavern, but Iolaus pulled him aside. "No, I think you need a bed." Iolaus said. "And some water. And maybe bread."

Neither men noticed the shadow thrown across a patch of ground that followed them.

###

It had been a battle to get his friend into a bed, Iolaus found out. But now Hercules was peacefully sleeping and the hunter shook his head. He himself needed bed, but he didn't want to go to sleep yet. The moon out and bright and it was a perfect night. Iolaus decided to head outside. The air was still warm despite the oncoming of fall. Iolaus started walking in no particular direction.

It was nights like this that he loved. The moon was out, it was quiet. Iolaus felt centered and his steps were quick. If it had not been for the alcohol in his system he probably would have noticed more than what he did. As it was, the reaction came almost a moment too late.

He'd triggered some sort of trap, and released a pair of flying stars. The hunter ducked, bending almost backwards and falling onto the ground. "Hades!" He exclaimed, his heart pounding.

It was a trap. An amateur trap at that. Iolaus's eyes quickly became adjusted to the night and he rose carefully to his feet, hands out in front of him. Now the hunter was alert. Someone was watching him. He moved to inspect where the ninja stars, seeing where they had been set up.

"Poor job." The hunter mumbled. But it wasn't just a poor job—it was a warning.

Now his feet were careful as they trudged along. Iolaus kept his eyes narrow, his ears open. From above the trees, a figure jumped down and was silent behind him. The hunter knew this but said nothing as he gazed around him.

It was a trap.

"I know you're behind me." Iolaus spoke softly. "So don't think that-"

A kick to the back sent the hunter in the air and he landed hard. Iolaus scrambled to his feet. He turned to the figure. "About time you show your face."

There was just mocking laughter in front of him. A dagger came flying at the air towards him. Iolaus barely ducked as it ricocheted off his shoulder. He winced. "Hey! How about trying to fight fair?"

"You want a fair fight?" The voice sounded amused. "Fine. I can deal with that." The figure in black back flipped to where he was and sucker punched him. Iolaus doubled over, now wishing he hadn't convinced Hercules to drink. He was slightly off due to the alcohol in his system and now-

A pair of elbows came onto his back. Iolaus went down and felt his hands being yanked upwards. He felt rope being tied around him in thick double knots. "Hey! You can't do this-" A gag was shoved into his mouth, and then came a blindfold around his eyes.

Darkness.

###

Macaria smiled to herself as her work was completed. She checked on her tasks, then headed to the small pond not too far from the cave. It wasn't like anything was going to happen, she was sure of it. She peered into the waters. "Hera." She whispered. "I did it. Phase one is complete."

The goddess's eyes flashed immediately. "You have Iolaus?"

"I do. He's knocked out, in the cave." The girl responded.

"Very good, Macaria." Hera's voice boomed. "Now the next step is to bring Hercules that much closer to his demise."

Macaria felt a small smile growing on her face. "I can do that. I have done this much haven't I?"

"Killing Hercules is no easy task. Don't get over-cocky." The goddess warned. "That is where many have failed. Remember, you must think like him to beat him. Now, what will he be doing this very moment?"

The girl chuckled. "Waking from a nasty hangover, is what I assume."

"After that."

"Finding out his dear friend is kidnapped with no clues left behind." Macaria grinned. "And that's where I come in."

"Exactly. Now go, do your work. You won't have much time."

Macaria watched as the goddess's eyes flashed once, then faded from view. What was left in her place was a single peacock feather. Macaria picked it up knowing it was a promise of things to come. She attached it to her leather arm band. The girl headed back to the cave. Iolaus lay not very far, he was still unconcious. Good. Macaria went through her plan again.

There was no way he could get out of those chains. The girl walked over to him and kicked him in the side.

Iolaus grunted and came to. His eyes fluttered and he moaned. "Whoever you are, this isn't going to hold me for long." He warned trying to move up into a sitting postion. Iolaus let his gaze go up and he looked surprised. "You're a kid." He said.

"I'm not a kid!" Macaria lashed out. "I'm a warrior."

"Some warrior. Hitting your victim with his back turned? Let me guess, you work for Ares don't you? His warriors play like that. Whatever he promised you kid it's not worth it."

Macaria laughed.

"What's so funny?"

"I was told you'd say that." Macaria grinned. "And don't worry, you won't be here for long. Not if my plan works out the way I want it too." She gave a laugh and headed out, leaving Iolaus alone in the darkness of the cave.

TO BE CONTINUED