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posted by Zeus - 4 January 1999

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

Oops! Wrong fandom! <g>

These are the Iolaus Scrolls…

In a shimmering golden explosion of sparkles and rose petals, the goddess Aphrodite appeared, lounging on the wall of Alcmene's garden. Hercules and Iolaus looked up from where they working, a grin spread across Iolaus' face.

"Yo! Bro! What's the go?" The perky goddess chirped.

Hercules sighed in resignation. A visit from this particular sister always meant trouble. Iolaus failed to notice his companion's sigh as he was too busy ineffectually wiping his hands down his leather pants in an attempt to get his hands clean.

"Hello Aphrodite." Hercules muttered.

"Well." She huffed. "That's appreciation for you. Especially considering I've come to do you, or more importantly, Iolaus, a favor." She turned her attention to the shorter man. "Hey sweet cheeks!"

The pink that touched Iolaus' cheeks would have been called a blush on any other man.

"A favor?" he asked.

With a point and a sparkle, the blond goddess turned the nearby wheelbarrow into a plush divan and sat herself down provocatively. Hercules covered his eyes and Iolaus felt his jaw hit his feet.

"Right boys, it goes like this. See, the old man, in a fit of omnipotent graciousness, has agreed that if a mortal can bring this golden box that Hephie made to Hades on the night of the Winter Solstice, then Hades can exchange the contents of the box for dead dude. Or babe, as the case may be."

Iolaus turned to Herc in happy surprise. "That's great! Herc, you can get Deianerra or Alcemene back!"

A new male voice broke into the conversation. "What was that about Alcemene?" Jason said, walking towards the men, looking in confusion to the empty air the pair were conversing with.

With a sudden breeze whistling around his ears and a gentle laughter echoing all around, Jason realized what, or more importantly whom the two men were talking to.

"Hello Aphrodite" he said looking around. With a quick sparkle the Goddess popped up in front of him. Right up in front of him! Hercules quickly stepped over to his half-sister and gently guided her back towards her divan!

"Spoil-sport" she muttered in his ear.

"C'mon Sis, tell me about this box deal. Father has never been this generous before. What's the story? He wants something, doesn't he?"

Aphrodite shrugged her shoulders and jiggled enticingly. "I'll level with you bro, this time I really have no idea. All I know is that I was checking out the surf over by Crete, man were the some pretty heavy duty waves happenin' out on the break - I was just coming up behind this really choice set, I was going to scare several years out of the fishermen - When suddenly… Boom! Bang! I was hoisted lock-stock-and-barrel straight to Dad's throne room on Olympus! That man has absolutely NO sense of timing." She turned towards Iolaus and Jason. "He was always cramping my style! Every time I was about to score with some lusciously lovely lad, Dad would always yank me back to do some deed! I remember a time-."

"Aphrodite!" Hercules snapped "The throne room?"

"Oh yeah." she said demurely. Rearranging herself on the divan she uncrossed and re-crossed her shapely legs. Iolaus took in a very, very deep breath. "Anyway. Apparently Hades has been complaining to Dad about overcrowding and the fact that he and Persephone never have any time to themselves anymore. Apparently Persephone is getting quite shrill about it! It had been nearly six months since they had…" She left the sentence hang. Iolaus shut his eyes and turned to face the other way.

Hercules felt rather sorry for his friend. Subtle was not a word that really described the Goddess of Love!

"Hades is always complaining about overcrowding. What's different this time?" Hercules queried.

The blond goddess shrugged. "I didn't stick around to ask. Why risk him changing his mind? Good luck is good luck!"

Hercules wasn't happy with the reply but Jason was continuing with the cross-examination.

"So are you telling me that if a mortal finds this box and gives it to Hades they can bring back anyone?" Jason inquired

"That's the ticket!" Aphrodite grinned "But it absolutely HAS to be a mortal that presents it, so Big Bro you're going to have to sit this one out I'm afraid. My advice to you would be to start rounding up your friends and family for a treasure hunt."

"Wait a minute." Iolaus said "A mortal has to present this box thing to Hades, is that right?"

"You got it Curly!"

"And he or she has to go to the Underworld I am assuming?"

"Yeah, that's what I'm assuming too."

"But for a mortal to cross the river Styx doesn't that mean they've got to be sort of… dead themselves?"

"Y'know, I hadn't really thought of that." Aphrodite said raising a finger to her lips. "But now you come to mention it, that would seem to make sense, no use screwing up the Karma downstairs."

"Then how in Zeus's name are they s'posed to get it to Hades without dying themselves?"

Aphrodite flashed a smile in his direction! "Well I s'pose they could get you to take it across! You seem to have a permanent pass to Tarturus already."

"Why you little…" Iolaus flustered as he stormed towards Aphrodite. Just as he reached her she shimmered and disappeared. Iolaus looked around in disbelief. "She did it again! I can't believe she did it to me again!"

Hercules and Jason looked at each and shrugged. Neither of them had the faintest idea what Iolaus was talking about. Suddenly the air next to Iolaus shimmered and Aphrodite was back.

"Oh one other thing I forgot to tell you. When I was dragged to Olympus, Ares was also there for the talk, he knows about the box too. He has the same information. You might want to do something about that." And she was gone.

Jason looked at his two friends.

"You'd better get going. If Ares has this information he won't waste anytime getting his hoards together, we're going to need some hoards of our own. I'll stay here and co-ordinate things, you two get out on the road and start looking for that box." The two men started bounding down the road. "However!" Jason called "Greece is pretty big you might want some help."

"That's OK Jason." Iolaus called back. "I think I know where we can find some willing volunteers."

To be continued…

[The wheelbarrow was not harmed during the making of this post - however from this point on it groaned whenever someone placed dirt in it!]

 posted by Tirabes- 31 January 1999

Fancy Meeting You Here!

Tirabes stoked the small campfire carefully, poking the toasting fish with a long stick in the hopes he'd be able to eat them soon. His stomach had been growling for what seemed like hours. Satisfied they were cooked, if not slightly charred, he rescued his lunch from the fire and sat in blissful solitude, juggling the hot flesh between his hands and blowing on tender white pieces before putting them into his mouth.

He'd barely begun eating when the sound of voices floated from the nearby road. Male voices, two of them. Tirabes straightened, sitting taller on the fallen log and casting wary eyes in the direction of the sound. Thieves and warriors were frequent travelers in these parts, neither of whom were ever up to any good. Tirabes detested violence and had no intention of fighting for his small pile of dinars, his food or his medicine pack, let alone his life. He quickly stamped out the fire, gathered his things and slipped further into the woods to hide until the travelers passed.

Through the green shield of leaves, Tirabes watched the two men arrive. One tall, one short, both wore smiles and laughed with ease at the other's words. Too dissimilar in looks to be brothers, their familiarity with each other marked them as long time friends. They were both dressed as warriors, the shorter of the two carried a sword, not a good sign. Tirabes shrunk further into his cover.

"The fire pit's still hot, whoever was here must have taken off as soon as he heard us coming."

A cheerful laugh. "Our reputation precedes us." The sword was drawn and an exaggerated pose struck. "Mighty warriors, Iolaus and Hercules, scaring off miscreants with a single laugh!"

Tirabes gasped. Hercules and Iolaus! What were the chances? Could these two strangers really be the Great Hero Hercules and his nephew Iolaus? Only his sense of self preservation if these two weren't who they claimed to be held him in his place.

But it was too late, he'd already been discovered. At the small sound of his surprise, the two men turned to look his way. Both scanned the foliage with practiced eyes. Tirabes held is breath as his eyes locked with the small blond man. The shorter man nudged his friend lightly with is elbow and silently pointed in Tirabes' direction.

"We won't hurt you. Come on out." the taller of the two spoke with authority. When Tirabes held his place, still too unsure of the pair to risk his life on a wild hope, the man continued. "My name is Hercules. This is Iolaus. We promise you won't come to any harm. Why don't you join us for lunch?"

His stomach grumbling loudly at the prospect, Tirabes took a deep breath and let it out shakily. Hercules. The Great Hercules. The Goddess Fortune had been kind to him. He clutched his medicine pack tightly to his chest and walked into the clearing. He couldn't help but stare as he drew closer. He'd never seen a true Hero before.

"Hercules. I am honored to stand in your presence. I have fresh fish, still hot from the fire. Please honor the memory of my family and share my food and camp for the mid-day meal." He struggled to keep his eyes downcast in respect. A muffled snort had his head turning in surprised offence to Iolaus. The nephew of Hercules had replaced his sword in the scabbard and was trying unsuccessfully not to laugh. Tirabes looked quickly away.

"Ahhh, thank you." Hercules said awkwardly. "That's very kind..." he looked at Tirabes expectantly, if a little warily. When Tirabes didn't offer his name, still standing open mouthed in wonder at his good luck, Iolaus prompted bluntly.

"Nice to meet you. You know my name, what's yours?" and he held his hand out in the offer of a warriors grip.

Eyes wide, Tirabes took the strong arm in his hand, feeling the calluses on the others' hand and the firm muscles in the strong grip. "Tirabes. My name is Tirabes."

"Well Tirabes." Iolaus slapped him on the back in a friendly bonding gesture. "Let's eat!"

Over a lunch of charred fish, as well as a generous helping of fresh bread and strong cheese contributed by Hercules, Iolaus coaxed Tirabes' story from him.

The young man told of his parents, honest farmers killed by a warlord. He told of his twin sister, his best friend and dearest confidant, killed in the same raid so many years past. He spoke of his adoption by the village healer Kulius, and his time training with her, of the years spent at her side learning the art of healing. He spoke of Kalius' sudden sickness, her long-lost daughters return and their deathbed vigil. Finally he spoke of Kalius' death and her daughter's insistence that she take over the healing practice while he move on. So Tirabes took to the road with his medicine pack and his handful of savings. A week later here he was.

"Where are you travelling to?" Hercules asked.

Tirabes shrugged listlessly. "Anywhere. Nowhere. Wherever I can be of help to people." He watched the hero and his nephew exchange glances. These two seemed to be able to hold entire discussions with nothing more than a glance.

"Tirabes, we may have just the task for you." Again that silent conversation then Iolaus picked up the story, hands waving with great flourishes and voice emoting widely as he spun the story.

Tirabes regarded the pair intently. "So you are searching for this golden box, to exchange the contents with Hades for a single mortal soul?" he summed up.

"Exactly. So you want in? You'd be a great help, with those healing skills and all." Iolaus grinned engagingly.

Tirabes didn't have to think long before making his decision. These two were offering him a chance to help others, the chance for adventure... and perhaps even the chance to visit the underworld and see his family once again.

"Hercules, it would honor me to join you and your nephew in this quest."

The demi-god gripped Tirabes hand enthusiastically in a warriors grasp but Iolaus was groaning aloud. "Nephew?" his voice rose in indignation. "Nephew?!" The golden warrior glared at the first member of their team. "Where in Hades did that stupid rumor get started? For the first and *last* time, I am *not* his Nephew." He crossed his arms over his chest. "Got that?"

"Y-yes." Tirabes stuttered in surprise and nervousness. "I apologize. The bard spoke of Iolaus as the nephew of the Great Hercules, I meant no offence. Have the stories I heard not been true?"

Iolaus glared for a moment longer before a laugh cracked the serious facade. "Don't fret, kid. You really need to lighten up, laugh a little. Now those stories, some of them are a pack of lies, but there are plenty that aren't. Perhaps you'd like to hear a few while we travel?" He made himself busy collecting his few belongings and Hercules and Tirabes followed his example.

The trio stepped out onto the road, Hercules in resigned silence, Iolaus launching enthusiastically into his favorite story and Tirabes hanging onto every word in rapt fascination.

For the first time in many moons Tirabes felt a spark of something deep inside. Something that could almost be called... happiness. One thing he knew for certain. This was going to be the biggest adventure of his life!

To be continued...

[No fish were overcooked in the making of this overly long intro post]

posted by Rimsey- 31 January 1999

The Trouble With Blondes!

Rimsey sat at the tavern table - things were not going well for her at the moment! Two days before winter solstice a belligerent trader had rather unceremoniously clobbered Rimsey as he plowed his wares towards the Cynestian market. Two months later and her right shoulder still hurt like crazy.

Turning her attention back to the food and wine in front of her, Rimsey toyed with the stew on her plate. She had tasted better - in fact she had tasted hog-swill that was better. But what the food lacked in - the wine more than made up for. She had decided some time ago that it was time to get seriously drunk! And Arakos was no finer place to do it. The vineyards around Arakos were famed for their fruity taste. Creating a wonderfully exotic, mystical and yet somewhat cheeky wine. Everything that Rimsey like to describe herself as.

Shoving the plate of slop across to the other side of the table - Rimsey reclined and put her leather booted feet up onto the vacant space. Reaching back she rubbed the base of her neck, a small sigh issuing from her lips. She ran her slim fingers down the length of her thick brown hair, well as far as her shoulder would let her.

"Man I have to get something done about this" she muttered to herself. Not that anyone else in the room would be interested. "What I wouldn't give to get my hands on that lowlife, pond skimming, son of a motherless goat who did this!" The past two months Rimsey had been dreaming each night what she would do the trader who injured her. Revenge was not her business - but that little accident had put a serious dent in her weekly earnings. Normally she would have been in the lap of luxury not ferreting about in a slime hole like this tavern!

"Hey sugar!" a drunken voice slurred. "Them's nice lookin' pair of legs you're showin' off there! How's about you come over here and drape them pretty lookin' things over *my* chair!"

Rimsey looked around to see a man sitting on a chair two tables back. His matted graying hair was greasy with sweat and straw. His few remaining teeth were crooked and brown. And the stink that he was giving off! Maybe the food wasn't so bad in here after all she decided. The sickly noise of over-wet lips being smacked together turned her stomach.

"Better nip this in the bud!" Rimsey said standing up. Adjusting her skirt in the process the young woman walked towards to the older man. "So you like what you see!" she said, looking down at him.

The man's eyes did a visual scan of the woman standing in front of him. Starting with the soft brown boots and working up the soft leather leggings exposed by a skirt hooked up at one side of her wide leather belt. The oversized white blouse the billowed around her torso was partially undone and was in the process of being even more so as Rimsey began to unlace the front. The old mans breathing got heavier. His eyes worked up her neck to her face. Her soft lips slightly parted showing good clean white teeth. He smiled. Her eyes caught his. Their almond shaped luminescence catching his attention. They were yellow! Yellow and shaped like a cats.

"Git away from me you freak." The old man yelped as he sprung back. Every eye in the tavern was now on the pair. "She's a freak I'm tellin' ya! A freak!" he shrieked backing away. He watched as the girl edged closer to him. He watched astounded as her pupils expanded and dilated to those of a cat who was stalking a mouse.

"So now I'm not so attractive huh." She said - her voice like ice. She raised her hand as if to scratch him, and then let if fall. "Nah - you aren't worth my time!" Turning around Rimsey threw two gold pieces on the table and stormed out of the tavern a faint smile on her lips.

Walking down the crowded streets, Rimsey helped lighten the load of several unsuspecting merchants. She was helping herself to an apple when she noticed an 'old friend'. Throwing the apple aside she reached behind her to the knife nestled in the small of her back.

"Well, well, well! The fates are kind today!" She growled. With a swift movement Rimsey had cast the dagger from its sheath! The one good thing about her encounter with the merchant was that it was her right shoulder that was injured. And seeing she was left handed! Well let's put it this way! It was good for her anyway! The dagger whizzed through the air and embedded itself into the lock of the wagons strongbox. Startled by the fact that his chest was now growing knives the trader spun round. Rimsey made no attempt at concealing the fact that she was the culprit.

"You!" he blustered! "What do you mean by this!"

"Oh it's what you call fair play! You've ruined my work prospects for the next couple of months so now I am after a little bit of compensation. Now hand over that box!"

"I'll see you in Tartarus first!" the man replied. Snapping his fingers two burly men at arms stepped out from behind the wagon. "Would you like to discuss it with my business partners miss? The box is yours - if you can get it!" He sneered as the men drew out some vicious looking swords.

"Who needs to come over there?" Rimsey said quietly. Reaching down under the left-hand side of her skirt a sudden flash of brown darted out. The eight-foot tongue of the whip whistled through the air and wrapped itself around the hilt of the dagger. With a deft twist of her wrist Rimsey recoiled the whip, box and all!

"After her you morons!" The trader screamed as Rimsey fled down the busy street. But it was too late - she was gone!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

After ducking and weaving for about three streets, Rimsey sat down to examine her spoils.

"253 gold pieces! Not bad!" She said to herself content with her work

"Not bad at all" A new voice added! "Too bad you're going to have to give it back."

As she turned to face the speaker, Rimsey's hand automatically flew to her daggers resting place - only to find it was gone. With no other course of action Rimsey took the only avenue open to her. With a tremendous leap she back flipped in the air only to find herself land smack in the arms of a rather tall man.

"Feisty!" her captive said as she struggled.

Suddenly a peel of laughter brought her struggling to a halt. She knew that laugh - and for that matter she knew that voice!


The young hunter stepped out of the shadows.

"Great Zeus it is you! What are you doing here"

"Getting you out of trouble again!" He said with a grin "Um Herc! I think you can put her down now!"

Rimsey's head twisted around to see the son of Zeus glancing down at her.


"Hi Rimsey!"

"How long have you been following me?"

"Long enough to see that little incident with the trader"

"Oh that!"

"Yes - Oh that!"

We saw you come out of the tavern and followed you." Iolaus said "Herc spoke to the trader - he's willing to let it rest if you return the money"

"Like Hades I will" Rimsey muttered "He owes me that money! This is what happened…." She then proceeded - at length to tell them about her run in with the trader. "So this money is compensation! I'll be out of work for week with this!" She said clutching her right shoulder.

The two men looked at each other.

"You seemed pretty good when you did that flip!" Hercules mentioned

"Oh! Well it's hurting like crazy now!"

Hercules looked at the young woman.

"Iolaus you can explain it to her - I'm going to take this back to its owner!"

"Explain what?"

"Rims we need your help…." Iolaus explained to Rimsey their quest and what was required! "So we need all the help we can get - cause Ares isn't going to take this lying down. I'm pretty sure that there are other IMLers out there willing to help and Herc has a few friends too - but I would really love you to be in on this! What do you say?"

"Iolaus you know I would go to Hades himself for you. Of course I'm in."

"Good - we are sending anyone we meet back to Alcmene's house - Jason has agreed to me you all there." Iolaus paused as Hercules rejoined them "Good news Herc! Rims has agreed!"


"Anyway, the first thing I'd like you to do is go back to our camp just north of the town. There is a young healer by the name of Tirabes there. I'd like you two to meet and head back to Alcmenes! But be gentle - Tirabes is a little shy! Be gentle with him!

"You got it!" Rimsey replied giving the blonde hunter a hug! "Y'know Herc - the problem with blondes are….. They're just so adorable!" She said patting the side of Iolaus's face. "I'll see you soon - good luck finding the others - I'm sure they're around!

Rimsey watched as the two men walked back into the crowd.

"Hey Iolaus!" She shouted! "Where's my dagger!"

With a sudden blur of gray, a shape sped towards her. Catching the dagger in her fist she pumped her hand up in salute to the one man she would risk her life for!

"And so it begins!"

To be continued....

[No sideswiping, ego driven, maniac traders were harmed during this post - however their purses are about 100 gold pieces short!]

posted by Alida - 31 January 1999

And Then There Were Three!

"Where to, now?" Iolaus wondered out loud.

Having sent Rimsey off to join Tirabes north of the town, Hercules and Iolaus set off to find more of their friends who would be willing to join them in their quest.

"South is good," remarked the demi-god and he led the way out of town.

They had not gone far down the path when Iolaus jumped. "Hey!" he exclaimed, holding his hand to the back of his head.

Hercules turned, puzzled. Then he also jumped as a tiny missile smacked him in the chest before tumbling to the ground. He knelt down and scooped the nut into the palm of his hand.

"See this?" he asked his companion, who was busy scanning the area.

"A nut? So, what are we looking for - a squirrel?"

A giggle reached their ears, one they knew well. Throwing a smile at Iolaus, Hercules launched the nut in his hand towards the branches of a nearby tree.

"Hey! No fair! I don't have your strength, Hercules!" came the protesting voice. The body the voice belonged to was hidden in the leaves. "No way did I leave a bruise on you!"

Hercules and Iolaus strode over to where the nut thrower was perched. "Come down here, Alida," called Iolaus.

The woman dropped from her branch, a throwing knife in one hand and a partially eaten apple in the other. Taking a final slice from the apple, she tossed the core over her shoulder before slipping the knife into its padded slot in the pouch at her waist. Her leather boots made no sound as she made her way over to the men.

Shorter than Iolaus, her brown hair was cut close to her head. Her pale brown eyes twinkled with good humor and were accompanied by a slight smile on her unlined face.

Alida could see the sun catching highlights in the mass of blonde curls atop Iolaus' head as a few rays of the sun managed to penetrate through the leaves of the tree above them. Shaking his head, he grinned at the woman in front of him. "You always were a troublemaker," he remarked as she held out her hand in greeting.

He pulled her to him for a brief hug as she smirked at him. "Troublemaker?

Who, me? No, I'm just a paragon of goodness and virtue." She stuck her tongue out at him as he released her.

Hercules grasped her arm in greeting as he remarked, "Goodness and virtue, huh? Right. Just like Iolaus. Two of a kind."

Iolaus burst out laughing, followed quickly by the other two. They walked back over to the path and stood there for a few minutes, trading pleasantries and news.

"I saw Xena and Gabrielle up north. Gabrielle sends her love." Alida threw a mischievous glance at Iolaus.

The hunter wrinkled his nose at the woman. Alida was a young widow who traveled through the countryside searching for the men who had killed her husband while he lay asleep in his sickbed. Even though he knew that she had had occasional flings with men in various villages, Iolaus knew that Alida would never settle down again. Her true love was waiting for her in the Elysian Fields. That never stopped her from trying to play matchmaker for her two favorite heroes, however.

Hercules smiled at his friends. Turning to Iolaus, he asked, "So do you think she can catch up to Rimsey and Tirabes?"

Alida stuck her lower lip out in a pout. "Sure I can. Who are they and why should I catch up to them, though?"

Iolaus explained the importance of the golden box to her. When she heard that Ares was also interested in the object, she was decided.

"Of course, I want to help!" Alida declared.

Hercules gave her the directions to their camp just north of the town. "They may have left by now, though. We sent them to my mother's house. You do know how to get there from here, don't you?"

The female warrior grinned up at the handsome man who towered over her. "I've only gotten lost once, Hercules and it was because a certain son of Zeus gave me the wrong directions!"

Iolaus chuckled behind her and she whirled around to face him. "Don't laugh. Your directions were just as bad!"

Hercules described the other two she would be joining up with. "Cat's eyes? You mean the stone? Like on a necklace or something?"

"No, we mean she has eyes like a cat. You'll see when you get there. Get her to tell you the story - it's a long walk to Alcmene's," said Iolaus as Alida headed north.

Resting one hand on the hilt of her sword, Alida waved the other in farewell. "See you up the road, my friends," she called. The woman did a slight skip as she broke into a light jog up the path.

As the distance between the two heroes and herself grew greater, Alida grinned wildly. Finally! Something exciting to do and new people to meet. This was going to be great.

To be continued...

[No body parts were permanently bruised by tossed nuts in the writing of this post]

posted by Jewel - 1 February 1999

A Wet Jewel!

Jewel huddled closer to the fire. This day had started out badly and had only gotten worse. Breakfast had not agreed with her stomach, so much so that she'd only been able to keep some tea down at lunch. It wouldn't have been to bad if she'd been anywhere near a town. But no, her she was in the middle of nowhere, soaking wet and hungry. She was feeling better at suppertime, so is decided to catch a rabbit. Carrying the rabbit back to camp, she had stop by the lake to get a quick drink when the bank gave way. Now her she was, wet and with no food. At least it was warm and she wouldn't freeze.

Jewel had just put some water to boil for tea when she heard someone coming down the path. Oh great, she thought, am I to be set upon by bandits now?

To be continued...

posted by Jewel - 4 February 1999

An Easy Mark!

Thalia silently watched the merchant from where she stood. It was getting late and the marketplace was nearly deserted.  She walked up and fingered the tunics. She had singled out a simple dark green one. She industrly shifted through the stacks. She set her carry sack at her feet, arranged so it was overshadowed by the cart. Another shopper was haggling with the merchant on the other side of the stall. That was what Thalia was waiting for. With praticed easy, she bent over to pick up her bag, carefully pulling the tunic with her. She stuffed in her bag and causally walked away.

After walking down numerous side streets and alleys, she finally decided she had gotten away with it. She smiled as she took a bite of the apple she had picked earlier, turned and headed out of town.

posted by Jewel - 8 February 1999

A Wet Jewel! (part two)

Jewel took a wait and see attitude. The water she had put on began to boil. She reached into her carry sack for a wooden cup and her satchel of tea leaves. After putting a few leaves in the cup, she poured boiling water over them. As she settled herself against the log she had pulled up next to the fire, she listened to the sound of feet on the road.

posted by Jewel - 8February 1999

An Easy Mark! (part two)

Just when Thalia thought she had gotten away scot free, the cry of "Stop thief," rent the air. It never failed to amaze her that stop thief was said like they actually expected her too. She might be a thief but she was stupid. She took off running in the direction that lead out of town. If she could make it to the trees...she spared a glance over her shoulder.

posted by Alida - 8 Feruary 1999

On The Way!

A huge grin stayed plastered on Alida's face as she headed towards the town. Not having had a chance to eat, she decided to cut through the center of the village and find a tavern for a quick bite and mug of ale.

The tavern she chose looked halfway decent. She leaned onto the bar and waited for the big bearded man behind the bar to make his way over to her.

The barkeep finally saw the small woman waiting patiently. He ambled over and leered at her. "So, sweetheart, what'll it be? Fine food, a warm bed, loving arms...?"

"Some ale and stew will be fine, thank you," she replied with a chill to her voice. She met the big mans stare calmly. "And a table as far away from you as I can get."

Turning her back on him, she pulled out a knife and her sharpening stone. Throwing a disgusted glance over her shoulder at the lecherous cretin behind the bar, she set to work while she waited for her meal.

Grumbling, he lumbered away to fill her order.

He returned mere moments later, slamming the bowl and mug down in front of the warrior. "You know, with that kind of attitude, you could get yourself in a lot of trouble, girl. Put that knife away; this is a respectable establishment."

"Respectable, huh? If you're respectable, then I'm Aphrodite."

Slipping the knife back into its slot, Alida flipped a few coins onto the bar and gathered up the bowl and mug. She headed back towards a corner table, well aware of the glare focused on her retreating back.

Alida sat down with her back to the wall and proceeded to make short work of her stew. As she half listened to the conversations floating around her, she thought she heard Hercules' and Iolaus' names mentioned. Focusing in on that particular conversation, she caught the tail end of someone complaining about a thief.

The complainer's table mate slapped him on the back and laughed heartily. "At least you got it back!" With that, the two men pushed away from their table and headed out of the tavern.

Alida drained her mug and stood up, ready to get back on the road. She wondered if the conversation had anything to do with the two she was going to be meeting shortly, for what little she had heard had sounded rather interesting. One thing Alida knew for certain, whenever Hercules and Iolaus were involved, nothing was ever boring.

posted by Jacinda - 8 Feruary 1999

What Evil Lurks In the Hearts of Men...And Gods!

"Jacinda!!" the war god bellowed loudly from his ebony throne. "Tartarus! Why can I never zero in on that little minx long enough to transport her here when I want to?!"

"Take a breather, brother dear," Discord drawled as she materialized in front of Ares' throne.

"I think I specifically called for Jacinda not Discord," Ares replied as he propelled himself out of his ornate chair. "To what do I owe this displeasure?"

"Awww, what's the matter, Ares?" the pale goddess asked in mock sincerity. "The race is on for that precious little box and Hercules and his annoying little pet have the jump on you?"

"No one gets the jump on the God of War!!" Ares shouted as he spun around to pin his sister with a cold, calculating gaze. "Never fear, Discord, I will find that box before that half breed and his buddy do! Make no mistake about that!"

Discord watched as her brother seethed silently, pacing the black marble floor of his temple. "Now don't get all hypertensive on me; I just want to know the plan, that's all."

"Right! Tell you so you go get the box yourself," Ares huffed as he crossed his well-muscled arms across his leather-clad chest.

"Ares...darling," she mused as she slithered up against his back, draping long, red finger-nailed hands over his biceps, "if you can't trust your own enemies..."

She laughed as the god of war shrugged her off and slouched back in his throne, one long leg hanging lazily over the arm.

"You'll find out the details when I say so, Discord," Ares smiled icily. "Now beat it. I'm about to have company."

"Ares?" a feminine voice called from the outer room.

The goddess pegged her brother with a condescending stare. "Mortals. Whatever do you see in them?"

"Jealous, my dear?" the dark god laughed.

"You'll pay for that remark, brother dear!!" she snarled, her eyes glowing red. "I'm outta here."

Just as the goddess vanished in a swirl of black flame, a young warrior woman entered the main temple area.

Ares caught her eyes instantly and admired the raven-haired beauty that ascended the steps to his throne.

"Lord Ares," the young woman inclined her head briefly and fixed her dark green eyes on the god of war.

"Jacinda, my lovely warrior," Ares addressed her as his dark eyes traveled slowly up her body, taking in the leather shorts and halter with appreciation. "What news have you, my dear?"

"The rumors you heard were true, Ares," Jacinda replied standing in relaxed repose, the hand of one slender yet well muscled arm resting on a curvy hip. "Hercules and Iolaus are already rallying the troops, shall we say. They've recruited at least three good hearts to help them on their quest."

"Well done, Jacinda, very well done," Ares said, a suggestive grin curling about his full lips. "You heard word of this yourself?"

"Oh yes, from the horse's mouth," Jacinda smiled, running a hand lightly over her bare abdomen. "I was there when Hercules and Iolaus convinced the one called Rimsey."

Ares let out a devious laugh. "What is my brother pulling together? A rag-tag band of two-dinar thieves?"

Jacinda was silent. She knew that Ares' brother was intelligent enough to know what he was doing. She also knew that if they didn't step it up, the demigod and his sidekick would find that box first.

"Not to worry my dear, I do have a plan," Ares remarked into the silence.

"I hate it when you read my thoughts Ares," she replied, just the barest

hint of defiance in her voice. "You promised you wouldn't do it anymore."

"Do you have something to hide?" he asked with a laugh that stopped abruptly. "Should I be concerned with what's going on in that lovely head of yours Jacinda?"

The young warrior did her best to clear her mind.

"Of course not, my lord," she replied with a steely gaze that softened as she made her way to the throne. "As a matter of fact, why don't you tell me what I'm thinking right now."

She was leaning seductively over the throne, her face inches from the war god's.

Ares held her gaze for a moment then said with a feral grin, "I like your style!"

She stood up to her full height again, hands on her hips. "You taught me all I know."

"Yes, yes, I did, didn't I?" he replied with an air of smug appreciation.

"So what do we do now?" she prompted, eager to get this show on the road.

"Search the taverns in town," he ordered, rising from his throne and descending the steps. "I'm sure you're bound to run into several interested parties. Have them meet back here at my temple. Oh, and Jacinda, feel free to use whatever coercion you deem necessary."

And with a deep rumbling laugh, he disappeared.

Jacinda took a deep breath and exhaled. "Finally."

As she ran from the temple to do Ares' bidding, the war god and his sister reappeared at the steps of the throne.

"You know Jacinda wants the box to bring her poor dead husband back to life, don't you oh mighty god of war?" Discord said. "I thought you'd want to use the box to resurrect Strife...the schmuck."

"I do. And that schmuck is your son," Ares replied.

"He's still a schmuck," she said with a dismissive wave of her hand. "The point is what are you going to do about Jacinda?"

"Absolutely nothing. She helps lead me to the box, and the rest is, as they say, as easy as falling off a log!"

Laughter swirled around the pair as they vanished from sight.

To be continued...

 posted by Miraseth, 8 February 1999

Evil Rides Again!

The rabbit paused; ears attuned to danger, nose and whiskers twitching as the human scent drifted downwind. Miraseth thought of a hot dinner, raised the blow-dart to her lips, took a deep breath...

... and felt the faint ever present tingle around her ankle spread like wildfire. //No. Please no. Please!// The world around her clouded, wavered and swum into focus once again to reveal the dank chill of Ares temple.

Stifling a scream of frustration, the redhead spun around to scowl into the face of the God of War.

"Hello, my pet. I have a job for you." The god of war graced his disciple with an evil smile.

His reply was a grumbling stomach. Raising an eyebrow he circled Miraseth, tapping a finger against his lips and studying his slave. "You really should take better care of yourself. You're half starved. How can you expect to work if you don't eat?"

Miraseth growled in frustration. "What did you think I was trying to do when you zapped me here with no warning! You're my boss, *you* feed me!" she glared at the God.

'Feed you?" Ares looked appalled at the very idea. He dismissed the entire conversation with a wave of his hand. "I'm sure you can pick something up on the way."

"On the way *where*?" Miraseth's eyes narrowed dangerously. "I thought after that last job" the courtesan shuddered at the memory "that you were going to give me a vacation."

With a shrug, Ares strolled back to his chair and lounged back into it. "So I lied." He fixed steely eyes on the woman before him. "I have a job that needs doing and I'm not leaving the results to chance. Hercules and that annoying blond tagalong of his are already on the trail of small golden box. Jacinda is already recruiting for the search." he glared at the young woman. "This is *very* important to me."

"Hercules and Iolaus?" Miraseth laughed. "Oh this is wonderful. It's doomed to fail. You're never a match for that bastard half breed brother of yours!" the sounds of her amusement echoed through the temple.

With a flash of light the God of War pressed up against her, his hands curling around her throat. //Yes!// The courtesan's laughter died abruptly. Ares eyes were almost glowing with anger.

Miraseth met his glare, refusing to look away or deny her words.

Silence stretched.

"Go ahead and kill me. You know you want to." the whisper was husky.


Ares laughed.

Almost negligently, he tossed her across the room to land with a painful thud against the wall. "You *do* amuse me, pet. But death is just what you're looking for and I'm not about to let one of my favourite slaves go free." Brown eyes full of hatred stared at him from amid a tumble of red hair but Ares paid them no further attention. "Get yourself cleaned up and on the road to Messenia. Zeus has an oracle there. Ask for the location of the box."

"Why don't you ask him yourself. He's your father."

Ares silenced her with a look. "Don't push your luck. You know from experience that insolence can be very... *painful*. You have your orders. Go!"

Miraseth staggered to her feet and escaped to the fresh air and blue sky outside the temple. Her right ankle gave off flashes of pain each time she put her weight on it and she could feel a large bruise developing on her right shoulder. Still, she smiled grimly to herself through the pain. He'd been furious with her, all due to just a few little words. The feel of his fingers around her neck still burned her skin. //Close! So close.// Perhaps next time, if she pushed just a little harder, just a little further, he would finally kill her.

And in death she would be free once again.

[No rabbits were eaten during the making of this post. There are no guarantees they will be safe next time Miraseth appears however, as she is still hungry.]

 posted by Liriope, 9 February 1999

An Offer She Couldn't Refuse!

Liriope walked down the dirt road toward the tavern. She knew she would not be allowed in, she was of age but looked significantly younger than her 23 years.

It was still the best place to find her victims. Scamming the drunks for their last dinars was easy pickings. In their inebriated state they would believe just about anything she told them. She sold one the deed to the Parthanon for 5 dinars.

They were an easy mark, but she was particulary tired as of late and didn't have the energy to plan something more demanding.

She was waiting outside the tavern when she was approaced by one of Ares henchmen, or should she say henchwomen.

Jacinda was as exotic as her name would imply. She was a young warrior with raven hair and remarkably green eyes. Liriope could easily get lost in a crowd, not Jacinda.

"Looking for another easy mark?" Jacinda asked casually.

"I'm not in a particularly creative mood today, Jacinda."

"I'm disappointed. You always come up with truly creative ideas to dupe the general public. Ares would be disappointed, too. He is looking for new recruits to work on a special project close to his heart. You do owe him a favor." Jacinda said, leaning toward Liriope.

"What makes him think that? I work alone."

"Perhaps, you'll make an exception, this time."

"What's in it for me?" She questioned with the suspicion she held naturally in her heart.

"You did vow to get revenge on Hercules and Iolaus. Now's your chance to get even. That is if you're woman enough?"

Jacinda could see the blood run like ice water in the face of Liriope. Liriope may look ordinary, lacking the womanly figure and exotic looks of Jacinda. Still, she did not appreciate the barb.

Liriope whipped out her dagger and held it to Jacinda's throat. Jacinda smiled. She did not expect it of Liriope.

"My womanhood is called into question only when I deem it so. Do you understand?" She returned her knife into the sheath behind her back.

"Sorry, Geez. I just wanted to see how far I could push you. Not far, I might add."

Liriope grinned. "If get a chance to see Zeus' mutant offspring and the blond shrimp get their come-uppance, I'm in. But make no mistake about this, Jacinda. This is a one time deal, if Ares thinks I owe him a favor, I'll pay up. But I'm not paying a lifetime of favors. What do you want me to do?"

"They'll be meeting at Ares temple. We'll go over details there."

Lirope nodded and sidestepped out of Jacinda's path.

"What other vile miscreants have you managed to dig up?" She asked.

"Oh, you're the first, but I'm sure you won't be the last."

 posted by Tirabes, 9 February 1999

When Shall We 3 Meet Again?

It was just past dawn when they saw the figure in the distance. Rimsey and Tirabes stopped in their tracks, debating internally if the warrior would be friend or foe. Tirabes took a hesitant step backwards. His usual plan of action was to hide until strangers passed him, before resuming his travels. Rimsey scoffed at the plan.

"You want to help people, right?"

Tirabes nodded enthusiastically.

"Then how do you expect to be able to help anyone if you hide from them all the time?"

It made perfect sense, but Tirabes still hesitated. "How do you know they're friendly? Whoever it is looks deadly, they could attack us."

Rimsey shook her head in bemusement. "Then we fight back!" Tirabes got the impression that the answer should have been obvious to him.

In the time the pair had been arguing, the warrior had walked closer. Tirabes could see it was a woman. She was clothed in leather pants and a sleeveless top, unusual clothing for a woman, but not for a warrior. She carried a sword and who knew what other weapons that could be concealed.

She stopped before the pair, regarding them from head to toe. "Are you Rimsey and Tirabes?" she asked.

Rimsey drew herself to full height, cat eyes flashing. "Who wants to know?"

Alida regarded the woman with the strangest eyes she'd ever seen, seeming to make up her mind about the strangely mismatched pair. A smile spread over her face. "I'm Alida. I have a feeling that you're Rimsey."

Still not willing to trust, Rimsey stood her ground. "And just why should I trust you?"

"Because I was sent to meet you by Hercules and Iolaus."

At the mention of the hero's names, Tirabes brightened. He almost bounced forward in enthusiasm. "Why didn't you say so in the first place?" Taking the strange woman by surprise, he threw his arms around her in an enthusiastic hug. "I'm Tirabes and you were right, this is Rimsey. We're going to look for a magic golden box, are you looking as well?"

Alida managed to extract herself from the embrace and take a breath. Rimsey was looking at the young man with amused exasperation. So naive and trusting. But it looked like his instincts had been correct. Still...

"How did you know who I was?"

The warrior grinned. "You're eyes aren't exactly inconspicuous."

Before Rimsey could reply the woodlands came alive with sound as a half dozen warriors emerged from cover, swords drawn and looking mean and spoiling for a fight.

[Despite the lack of trust in this post, no-one's feelings were harmed during it's creation.]

 posted by Alida, 10 February 1999

First Fight!

"Friends of yours?" asked Alida as she drew out her sword, eyes trained on the approaching warriors.

"Funny, I thought they were with you."

The two women moved in front of the healer, who carried only a knife and who did not look as if he had seen much hand to hand combat before. Alida held her sword at the ready as Rimsey uncoiled a whip.

"What are you going to do with that?" hissed Alida as the six attacked.

Rimsey's whip snaked out to yank the sword from one of the warrior's hands. "That!" she laughed.

The enraged warrior ran at Rimsey, only to draw back, his face a mask of shock. He looked down as the cat-eyed woman withdrew her dagger from his belly. Stumbling back, he fell to the ground, dead.

Tirabes looked on in horror. Alida was trading blows with two of the warriors, a frightening grin spread across her face. She looked to be enjoying herself! Another warrior lay unconscious just beyond her. A smear of blood across her forearm sent droplets flying with each thrust of her sword.

Rimsey was fending off the other two, using her whip to grab a hold of their weapons, their arms and their legs. A final crack of the whip sent the two crashing into each other to lie insensible in the dirt.

She turned to see Alida still struggling with the remaining men. Swords flashed lightning quick. Alida ducked into an opening and thrust her sword into one's stomach. As he fell, she turned her attention to the last man standing.

Rimsey stood back and watched, seeing that Alida did not need any help. The two danced around each other, turning in a circle. When Alida's back was turned to the seemingly unconscious warrior, he leapt into the air.

A flash of leather and cotton met him in mid-air with a yell. He was soon knocked out once again.

"Thanks!" shouted Alida over her shoulder as she brought down the final man with a swat from the broadside of her sword.

"No problem."

Standing amidst the fallen warriors, Rimsey and Alida turned towards Tirabes. He stood there, a knife still clenched in his fist.

"It's over," Rimsey assured him.

Alida slid her sword back into its sheath and inspected the minor scratch on her arm as the other woman went over to talk to the healer. "Well, that was fun," muttered the warrior. She could see that the young man looked rather upset at the turn of events. Remembering the enthusiastic hug he had greeted her with when she had announced who had sent her to them, she smiled and hoped he would be okay.

She could tell already that she was going to like this mismatched pair Hercules and Iolaus had sent her to find.

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