Okay, so this took a while. It's mostly a lot of backstory, which I felt Eurystheus deserved. It should be obvious that this is a retelling of modern history; in fact, I made a significant revision to work in some new research I did in the process. I picture the stormtroopers as something like a design I came up with for the Exotroopers "Space Nazis" story. I'm debating whether or not to try to do any more with them. The "centaurs" introduced here, however, will most certainly be back...
It was a tale told early and often that in the early days of the reign of Lord Eurystheus, he declared to his counselors that he would have a great pyramid for his tomb, like the Pharaohs across the sea. But, he said, it seemed wasteful to build such a thing for a dead man, when the Epicures had shown that a man's soul was a vapor that perished with his body. Therefore, he would build his own tomb, and make it a mansion he could enjoy while he lived. So he razed a mansion his family held on the highest hill of Tyrins, and built his pyramid in its place. Afterward he declared that his chief counselors and servants of his household should gather with him in his pyramid, as the servants of the Pharaohs did to their masters. Thus, the pyramid became the center of the government of Tyrina and all Mycenae. Then afterward, when his counselors and servants who dwelt with him mentioned ever so discretely a certain apprehensiveness at the fate of the servants of the Pharaohs who survived their masters, Eurystheus would only chuckle.
"Here is Lord Eurystheus' first Mercedes Benz," Moliones told the heroes as they proceeded through the store of the Lord's gathered possessions. "Here is Lord Euystheus' first wife's Mercedes Benz..."
"Second," muttered Dyanera. At that, Theseus gave a curious "hm?", but she said nothing more.
The voice of the guide for the school children echoed from ahead: "Here is Lord Eurystheus' suit. Here is Lord Eurystheus' tie. Here is Lord Eurystheus' coat..."
"What, no underwear?" mused Iolaus.
Hercules hitched up his belt. "I do fine without it," he said.
Moliones chuckled. "Of course, Our Lord indulges in a certain amount of silliness, especially for the children," he said. "But it is the silliness of a jester, to teach a lesson: That Eurystheus, though a Tyrant, is still a man like other men, and if he rules, it is because other men will to be ruled."
"Really?" said Iolaus. "I thought it was because the other men didn't have guns."
"Oh, every household in the realm has at least one gun," said Dyanera. "Our Lord encourages it, so that we can better prepare for war. But he keeps all the tanks."
They reached the end of the hall and center of the pyramid, where a circular well held a great column encircled by three balconies. "But here is something more substantial," Moliones said as he led them up to the second balcony. "This is the hall of Lord Eurystheus' war with the Etruscans and Hyperboreans, by which he made himself Tyrant of Mycenae." Arrayed about the balcony and the circumference of the column were paintings and photos, almost all prominently featuring Eurystheus. One of the few exceptions was an obviously old portrait of an old man in a rather minimalist crown.
"Eurystheus' father, Sthenelus, was ruler of Argolis, but never crowned its king. The rest of the lands of Mycenae were ruled by their own kings: Arcadia by Amphidamas, Elis by Augeas, and Achaia by Dexamenos, and also a large part of Argolis was occupied by the Tyrant of Corinth. Sthenelus was old, and the other kings reckoned him without the strength or even the ambition to make the throne of Mycenae anew. But after the unexpected birth of his son, he was like a new man. By his will, he became strongest of the kings, and by his strength, he made the rest his subjects, even making a vassalage of Corinth. But to enforce his will, he had to take money, arms and finally men from the Etruscans, who were themselves all but vassals to mightier Hyperboreans. The day came when his son declared to his face that he was a puppet king to another puppet, and the day would come when his strings would be cut. For that, wise Eurystheus was ordered expelled from Mycenae, but Eurystheus found shelter with Augeas, lord of Elis, who then arranged passage into the mountains of Achaia, which were then nearly lawless.
"At that time, there was a great migration of Centaurs into Achaia, and Sthenelus gave no heed to Dekamenos' pleas for aid when they began raiding. Many good men at arms perished trying to oppose or pursue the Centaurs, including every one of the sons of Dekamenos, and other men took to banditry themselves. Then the nine great mountain barons rebelled against Dekamenos, declaring they would each rule their own lands, as it had been before their forefathers chose one of their number to be king. But then the barons remembered old feuds and found new quarrels, and soon brought worse devastation on each other ant the land than the Centaurs and bandits. Eurystheus' first campaign was to aid Dekamenos in restoring order to the kingdom, not by brute force or trickery, but by negotiating equitable truces and giving aid to those in need." A painting showed two half-starved men smiling and shaking hands, while Eurystheus looked down beaming from the turret of a Fiat 3000 tank that pulled a wagon full of grain. "In the end, even the chiefs of the Centaurs pledged fealty to Dekamenos as king and to Eurystheus as Lord of Mycenae."
They passed a sculpture of a male centaur suited for a cavalry charge that nearly filled the balcony, though it was slightly less than life-sized. The man-like upper body was wholly encased in armor, and the right hand was covered or replaced by a great ax blade while the left arm was covered by a great shield with a light cannon mounted in the center. The lower parts were an armored but streamlined chassis, shaped vaguely like a boat upside-down and backwards, with two wheels on either side of the wider front and a large drive wheel within the tapered rear. The helmet bore a visor that completely concealed the face, and long, sweeping horns that marked a chief.
"Meanwhile, things went for Sthenelus as his son had warned. He was compelled to send his own loyal troops to wars abroad, and admit more warriors of Etrusca and then Hyperboreans in their place. He was even made to surrender the functions of his government to Etruscan administrators, until he was little more than a prisoner in his own palace. But even the Hyperboreans' terrible stormtroopers feared to tread in the mountains where Eurystheus made his strongholds." Their guide pointed proudly to a black spiked helmet, still instantly recognized and feared after a generation, with a single bullet hole through the eyepiece.
"Eurystheus soon drove his foes from the north, and ranged far into the Argolid. I myself gave them a stronghold in the land of Nemea." Moliones beamed as he showed painting showed Eurystheus shaking one of each of Moliones' two pairs of hands. "At last, aided by the armies he had gathered in the mountains, and a host led by Augeas, Lord Eurystheus heroically stormed Tyrina and captured his father in the palace. Then he led the heroic retreat when the Hyperboreans called down paratroopers on the city." He paused at a painting of himself and Eurystheus running away with Sthenelus held between them while a heavily-dented Cacus waved the tatters of a white flag before a squad of stormtroopers who had ceased fire while they unlimbered a flak gun.
"The Hyperboreans made no effort to restore Sthenelus to the throne, instead trying to kill him along with Eurystheus. But Augeas surrendered to the stormtroopers, and for reasons still disputed, mm, mainly by Augeas, the Hyperboreans installed him as ruler. Then a terrible campaign was launched to annihilate utterly Eurystheus and his supporters. The stormtroopers overran the Argolid and invaded Achaia from east and west. But they had stirred up even their servants against them, and even their warbirds and terrible Tigers could not match the wrath of the people. The Hyperboreans took a terrible toll, and still prevailed in any brute test of arms, but no loss they inflicted upon us could match the losses from their own small numbers and even more limited resources..."
"To be sure," mused Theseus, "and the time they lost an entire armored division in one week in Scythia couldn't have helped."
"All counseled Eurystheus to strike again at Tyrina, but he insisted that he must first take another prize. And he did, not by conquest, but by romance." He stopped before a large but faded wedding portrait, in which the bride and in-laws all looked to be smiling a little too widely, and Cacus was evidently best man. "He married Antimache, princess of Arcadia, and so became heir to its throne and commander of its army. From the courts of Arcadia, he gathered more allies, from Sparta , Attica, and the lands of West and East." Theseus frowned in recognition at an indifferently-shot photo of himself meeting with Eurystheus and two ambassadors who looked at each other very much like Eurystheus' in-laws did at the camera.
"With their aid, he executed in swift succession lightning raids that paralyzed the Hyperboreans, and then he again assailed Tyrina. Augeas surrendered, professing that it had always been his desire to give up the throne and return to Elis once the Hyperboreans were departed. That very night, Eurystheus received his crown from the priest of Apollo." A grand portrait showed Eurystheus taking the crown with one hand and holding a Tokarev pistol in the other. "Then and there, he pardoned Augeas and agreed to restore him to Elis in return for the pledge of a vassal, and there he reigns to this day. To Dekamenos, he granted the privileges of a full ally, particularly to govern the people of his land by their own laws. To Antimache, he apologized while denying any direct responsibility for the accidental shelling of her father's Mercedes. Then he declared himself Tyrant of all Mycenae, by his own will and strength, and announced to all present that they had but two choices: To swear to serve him as Tyrant till his death or theirs, or else try to take the crown from his dead hands. All took the oath." As Moliones spoke, he rubbed one arm behind his back.
There was a silence. From below, they heard the children's guide: "Here is Eurystheus' bookshelf. Here is Eurystheus' armchair. Why- here is King Eurystheus!"
"Eurystheus is here on the tour? Then we can go see him now!" Hercules said. The heroes hustled for the stair, but Moliones stepped in their path.
"What is the meaning of this?" Theseus exclaimed.
"I am Eurystheus' personal secretary," Moliones said. "None may see him without my approval. I do not give it."
Dyanera stalked up to him, thrusting out the precious paper. "We have our papers!" she shouted in exasperation. "We have a matter of great importance to state security! Why would you deny us?"
"It is quite simple," Moliones said. "These men have no standing to set foot in the Tyrant's presence."
"What are you talking about?" Dyanera hissed. "Eurystheus has never hidden himself away in his own courts. He calls himself man of the people, and he grants to every one of his subjects the right to an audience with him."
"To you, I would surely grant the privilege," said Moliones. "But what of these men? They are foreigners, and what standing do they have even among their own?" He gazed critically at Theseus, and scornfully at Hercules. "A king who gave up his throne, and a red-handed ruffian! Why should they be granted the privilege of a citizen?"
Dyanera sighed, and straightened. "If I have standing, so do they," she said. "As a woman in service as a man at arms, it is my right to ask to give myself to a husband, once my Lord releases me from his service. As a woman of Achaia, it is my further right to present any man I would wish to marry to my father, along with any kin and companions who can pledge for him. I invoke both rights."
She pointed to Hercules. "I pledge, that I wish to marry this man. I ask, as citizen, and woman of war, and as daughter of Lord Eurystheus, to petition for the right to give myself to him."
Moliones turned back his smiling face and said, "Follow me." Iolaus, with jaw dropped, and Theseus, frowning more than ever, had to take Hercules' arms and lead him after their receding guide.