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."
"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.
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."
"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."
"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.
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