Disclaimer: Characters aren't mine. Macaria's story is created by a friend and may not be used without permission.
Author's Note: Yes, this story is kind of rushed, but I got blocked and wanted to finish it. I might revise it to be longer in the future.
Twisted Lies Part II.
Iolaus was late. Hercules had woken up with the world's worst hangover. He'd spent the morning quietly trying not to be sick and failing. Once that had passed the hero took a hot shower and got some food in his system. Still, Iolaus was nowhere to be found. Hercules checked all the local spots Iolaus could be and even asked around.
Where in Hades was his friend?
Now the demigod was packed up for the day since the inn's keeping expired after lunch. He worried and fretted for a few moments and left word with the inn-keeper Iolaus knew that he was going on ahead and would meet up with him. Traveling the same path that Iolaus himself had, Hercules's foot crunched over something sharp.
He bent down to retrieve it. A ninja star was in his hands. Hercules trained his eyes on the scene, noticing that there had been a scuffle. And...there was something else. Beneath the signs of the scuffle the demigod noticed a feather. He pocketed the ninja star and bent down to retrieve the feather.
His body chilled immediately. Hera. And the puzzle pieces fell together from his foggy brain. Hera had sent one of her many assassins to kidnap Iolaus.
But the question was...why? Why Iolaus? And wasn't that such a boring, tired idea anyway?
But still. Iolaus was in danger.
Hercules continued to follow the clues. It was too easy and he was on instant alert. The sloppy, easy plan made him wary. The demigod began to scout the area. There was nothing else left to give away clues except what he held in his hand; a single peacock feather. It lead Hercules to the middle of the forest, where there was nothing but a cave nearby.
"And that's typical." The demigod mumbled. His senses were tingling. Knowing his luck, Iolaus was more than likely inside the cave. This had to be the work of Discord and her trusty sidekick, Strife. It was so them. Better get this over with. Hercules heard the rustles of footsteps and quickly jerked behind a tree.
A young woman came out. Hercules peered out, watching her. She headed to a small pond and knelt to the ground, whispering. The demigod listened hard but couldn't hear to whom she was talking to. She works for the Gods.
And namely, Hera. Hercules felt it. He also felt that Iolaus was in that cave. As the girl was talking to whoever was in the pond, Hercules choose this moment. He stepped out. "You know." The demigod said as he tossed her ninja star near her. "When you want to kidnap someone, next time you might want a better plan. And a better hiding place."
The girl rose, swirled around and was on instant alert. There was something familiar about her but the demigod couldn't place where he'd seen her before. "Maybe I wanted you to find me."
Of course she did. There wasn't something right about this. "Whatever god you're working for, it's not worth it."
That made the girl laugh. "What, do the two of you talk like that all the time? Ooh. The gods are bad and evil. Ooh."
"So you do have Iolaus." Hercules confirmed his own questions.
"Right. Took you long enough." She studied him carefully, her hands in front of her and seemed ready for a fight. "I wondered when you'd get here."
Hercules could feel the anger radiate off the girl. Most of the people who worked for the gods had this similar sort of anger in them but this was something else. "Do I know you?"
The smile on the girl's face changed and became cold. "Do you?" She questioned. Hera had warned her about this meeting with Hercules and she was ready for it. She walked carefully towards the demigod.
He was nothing like what she'd imagined. And there was something that tugged at the girl, some kind of feeling—Macaria shut it off, reminded herself of who he was. A liar and a cheat. Her eyes narrowed and she felt her hands ball into fists and another old, familiar feeling rushed in at her—hatred.
There. That was much better.
"I've never seen you before in my life." Hercules insisted. Apparently those were the wrong things to say.
Macaria snorted. "Never say never, Hercules." She warned. "I know a lot about you."
"Then you know I won't let you get away with hurting my friend. Wherever you have him." Hercules's glance went to the cave. "And I bet he's right in there. In a trap."
"Good guess." Macaria grinned. "You know." She walked a small, careful circle around the god. "Hera was right about you."
"So you do work for Hera." Hercules held something out. The peacock feather Macaria had worn on her gauntlet. It had fallen off when she'd fought Iolaus the other night. She looked surprised and reached out to grab it, but the demigod grabbed her fist first. "If my friend is hurt there's going to be hell to pay."
"Let me go!" The girl swung a leg out and Hercules moved quickly. This was not what he expected. It was all too easy. He expected more from Hera.
"Why are you working for her? You're just a kid. You should be in school, with your family-"
That remark earned another swift kick which Hercules simply dodged and continued on. "Whatever lies she's promised you, you should know they are all lies."
Her anger was large, Hercules was surprised with how much he felt it radiate towards himself. He was taken aback. The prickle of deja vu was on him and he didn't know why. This girl was someone Hercules was sure he'd never encountered before.
"She's never lied to me! You're the liar!" She swung out at him and Hercules gave her a gentle push which sent the girl reeling to the ground.
"If you don't know me how do you know I'm the liar?"
"Gods above." The girl grunted. "Are you pretending to be that naïve or is it actually a trait? Because I know I sure as Tartarus didn't get it!"
"Who are you?" Hercules demanded. It was obvious she knew him and well, with Iolaus being in danger Hercules wanted to be prepared. "Come out with it."
"Now that wouldn't be too much fun would it?" She grinned impishly, her blue eyes twinkling. "Show me what you've got!" She back-flipped and cart-wheeled into the cave.
"This is what I get for drinking the night before." The demigod mumbled and took off after the girl. The cave she was in wasn't big at all and Iolaus was easily spotted—dangling off a piece of flimsy looking wood that jutted out of the cave's edge.
"Hercules! It's a trap!" Iolaus exclaimed. His arms were held up in chains.
"I know." Hercules walked in, glancing carefully around him. "She's working for Hera. Traps around?"
"Watch out, Herc!" Iolaus exclaimed as the girl back-flipped towards the god and kicked him in the back. Hercules felt the impact and was jolted a bit. He turned and ducked just in time as a fist came at him.
The fight wasn't much of a fight. The girl had the basic trainings of one of a god's warriors, but her anger was clouding her. Hercules was able to block and flip her around much too easily. Part of him knew she was baiting him and the demigod wanted to wear the girl out before she struck again.
Easier said than done.
If she'd been a warrior for Ares, her moves would have been more precise, cleaner. But clearly she wasn't getting that kind of training and—Hercules sought the perfect moment to get her. He swept her feet out from under her and the girl went down. The demigod placed his own heavy gauntlet on her chest.
"Don't. Move." The demigod warned. Macaria tried to, but Hercules pressed down with all his strength. She was stuck to the rocky ground. "Now, one last time. Who are you?"
"You don't even recognize me, do you?" The girl asked. Her eyes flashed and she shook her head. There was a bitter look in them.
"I told you before, I don't know you."
Something seemed to be going on in his attacker, some sort of inner struggle. And then, that wall came up easily those cold eyes that said more than a fifteen year old should know. "My name is Macaria!" She thundered.
His sharp intake of breath made Hercules almost stagger back. "That's impossible."
"Is it? Look at me. Don't I remind you of anyone?" She asked. Hercules studied the girl, recalling the feelings of deja vu he'd gotten earlier. He saw the shadow of his dead wife in the young face and even some of himself.
"But that's impossible. Macaria is dead."
"No, she's not. Hera didn't kill me. She kept me instead because she saw the potential in me to become a great warrior."
That sounded so very much like his step-mother. Hercules eyed the girl, hope lighting up in his heart. For years he'd thought all his children dead and to learn that Macaria was alive...
"Yaaah!" the girl let out a strangled cry and managed to push Hercules off her, jumping up and flipping in front of him. She kicked him in the face and the demigod stumbled backwards. Macaria's hits and punches and kicks were fast and angry and Hercules barely had time to react to them.
If this was really Macaria—if his and Deianira's only daughter had survived-
"What do you know of me?" Hercules caught Macaria's wrist as she tried to hit him.
"Oh, you wanna talk do you?" The girl purred. "Let's see. That you were never there for me. Or for my mother and brothers. That you had lovers. That you'd rather go and save the world-" There was a punch to the side for that one, "Than stay with your family!"
"Hera's poising your mind!" Hercules exclaimed. "She lied to you. Macaria, I didn't know you were still alive. I thought you'd died with your mother and brothers. We never found your body but—"
There was a kick for that one. Not wanting to hurt her anymore than she was, Hercules devised a quick plan. "Besides. You should have been trained by Ares." Hercules ducked a blow. "Your skills are sloppy, your plan to kidnap Iolaus was shoddy and this plan. Well, there's a lot of holes in them!"
"Shut up and fight!" The girl exclaimed. It worked. She was now going into her own overdrive, and Hercules could tell he was wearing her down. She was becoming slower, more exhausted.
When her foot-work became sloppy, Hercules swung his feet out again to knock Macaria to the ground. She hit it, grumbling and Hercules turned to hurry to where Iolaus was. Iolaus was dangling on a chain, and the wooden board he was tip-toeing on was thin and about to break.
"Hercules, is she really Macaria?" Iolaus asked.
"I don't know. We'll find out later. What's important is getting you down!" Hercules approached the board. He couldn't stand on it; his massive weight would make it crumble, taking Iolaus down with him.
"Later, Iolaus." The demigod eyed the girl's work. If she was who she claimed to be they had a lot to talk about.
"No, but Herc, really-"
"I said later, Iolaus." Hercules shook his head as he felt the girl sneak behind him and turned grabbing her as she tried to attack him. "You are coming with me."
"Let me go!" She struggled out of his grip but it was pointless. "How do I get Iolaus down?"
"I don't know." She grunted. "Just, let me go!"
Hercules had other ideas. He still held to the girl, wondering if her identity was real or not and found a length of rope in her belongings. With careful double knots the god tied her up. She protested the whole time. Hercules then eyed the setup of the board, and where Iolaus was hanging up.
"Feel like hanging out?" Hercules asked with a grin.
Iolaus gave him a look. "Isn't that what I've been doing?"
"Oh come on. Some hang time will be good for you. Besides, I think it's stretching you out to be taller." Hercules cracked a smile. "Trust me?"
Hercules took one of Macaria's ninja stars and flung it at the chains that held Iolaus's arms. As he did that he kicked the board away. Iolaus was cut free, the ninja star unlocking the chains. Iolaus let out a strangled cry of surprise. Hercules dove, sliding across the rocky bottom of the cave and grabbing onto his friend's wrist quickly.
"See Iolaus? We should hang more. We never get time to really do that."
"Ha. Ha." Iolaus snapped.
Some time later, Hercules and Iolaus were back in the small city of which they had slumbered in the night before. Macaria had been a most unwilling companion to travel with. The men had ended up keeping her tied up. Hercules sighed as he forced the girl onto the bed he'd slept in. "Stay there." He warned.
"Like I've got a choice?" Her surly attitude and anger bothered Hercules. He went to join Iolaus in the tavern for a moment to think. Iolaus ordered a glass of wine, but Hercules kept water.
"Is she really Macaria, Herc?"
"I don't know. I..." Hercules gave a shrug. "Hera would do that. Keep her and train her and want her to hate me. I see Deianira in her. Don't you?" The demigod asked.
Iolaus shrugged. He hadn't got a good enough look at the brat to see. "It could also be a trap." He looked worried.
"But what if she is my daughter?" Hercules asked. "What if..." he trailed off.
"Then we have to find out. One way or the other." Iolaus lifted the wine glass to his lips and took a long drink. "There's only one God who would tell you the truth."
"And how do we get her to do that?"
Iolaus glanced up at the set of stairs that would take the men back to their room. "My guess is if what she said is true, then Hera knows she's failed and she won't even be in that room."
"It's happened before. Come on. I'm sure Macaria will lead us right to Hera and to the answers that you want." Iolaus was confident. After all, Hera lived to torture Hercules.
TO BE CONTINUED.