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"The Fate of Iolaus"

"The Fate of Iolaus"

Well, fellow Iolausians, we never actually thought they'd do it, did we? But, as we all know, they did. The character we all grew to love--the warrior, the hunter, the friend, the lover, the brother--is dead.

Regardless of whose choice it was, OUR Iolaus has crossed into the light, leaving in his place the Alternate Iolaus that we first met in the episode Stranger in a Strange World.

So how did it all come about? It all started in the Fifth Season opener Faith. Hercules and a reluctant Iolaus travel to Summeria to aid the demigod Gilgamesh in retrieving the nectar of the Summerian gods. While there, Gilgamesh sells his soul to the One Great Evil, Dahak, and attempts to extract the "Warrior's Heart" from his sister, Nebula. Ever the hero, Iolaus jumps in front of the knife meant for Nebula and is killed.

With Iolaus' death, Dahak gets his "Warrior's Heart" after all. Using his good intentions against the hunter, Dahak takes possession of Iolaus' body and traps the hero's innocent soul inside with him. We get our first taste of this Iolaus in the ep Darkness Rising.

In the ep Let There Be Light, Iolaus returns to Greece to destroy the Olympian Gods and "take over the Known World." The epitome of charisma, he preaches his message of light to the lost souls of Greece. He's gathered up a considerable flock by the time Hercules, Nebula and Morrigan catch up with him.

With the help of an immortal named Zarathustra, Hercules attempts to exorcise Iolaus' demon in the episode Redemption.

It's certainly no easy task, as Dahak holds tenaciously to Iolaus' mortal body. Dahak also has a field day torturing the son of Zeus with the knowledge that his best friend willingly invited the demon into his heart. Hercules, however, knows that Dahak tricked Iolaus into thinking that he could accomplish much good with the demon's help.

Hercules finally reaches Iolaus' soul and after doing battle back-to-back one last time, Dahak is destroyed and Iolaus is at last allowed to cross over into the light.

Then comes an ep called Stranger and Stranger in which the Sovereign is killed, and Alternate Iolaus or, The Jester, as he is known, must help Hercules to free the imprisoned Olympian Gods. When all is put right, this Iolaus confesses to Hercules that the only thing that kept him going through this adventure was the hope that perhaps he could return with Hercules to his world and begin anew.

Hercules is also hoping for a second chance...a second chance to keep his friend safe. This new Iolaus returns with him and in Just Passing Through, we see the beginnings of a new friendship, as Hercules comes to terms with Iolaus' death and the potential for his relationship with this new man who shares his best friend's face.

But wait! Whoever said that individuals clamoring for the return of their Golden Hunter never accomplished anything? That's right. After a season of death, demons and an Alternate Iolaus, along came an ep called Revelations and with it, OUR Iolaus was back!

So how did all this come about? Well, Hercules started having these visions. Visions of his late best friend, Iolaus, warning him about the end of the world. After convincing himself that he wasn't just suffering the aftereffects of some bad rabbit stew, the Big Guy grasps Iolaus' hand and pulls him back into this world. And with a simple but very powerful "Hi buddy!" the Golden One was back. Needless to say, Herc was thrilled.

Iolaus tells Herc all about his being a Guardian of the Light. It's pure bliss. Well, all except the fact that there's no women, no food...and no women. Herc knows something must be really wrong for Iolaus to have returned. Sure enough, Iolaus informs Herc that the Light isn't too happy with mortals right now, and so has released the evils of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, who bring with them War, Pestilence, Famine and Death. So the boys are back to business as usual, trying to stop the Four Horsemen and with them, the end of the world.

Iolaus explains to Herc that his warning about the end of the world could bring him real trouble from one of the other Guardians, Michael, who is the one releasing the Horsemen. Even though he knows he can't stay long, Iolaus works together with Hercules and, yes, even Ares to stop Michael and the Horsemen from bringing about The End.

Hercules does his demigodly best, but soon realizes that he is "way outta his league" and no match for Michael. The last Horseman, Death, is released, and Michael orders it to go after "the traitor" first. As Death comes barreling down on Iolaus, Hercules risks his own life by intercepting and wrestling with Death. They both fall over the edge of a pit into flames and burning lava. Iolaus watches his best friend die.

Suddenly Herc finds himself in a room with a smiling Michael. Guess what? The whole thing was a test. The fact that one man was willing to sacrifice his life for someone else was enough to halt the end of the world. But what about Iolaus? Herc asks. He's the one who risked his immortal soul to warn him. Where does that leave him? Michael nods and with a a wave of his hand, Iolaus appears beside Hercules, just thankful that the big guy is alive. Michael agrees that their strength of friendship also played a huge role in garnering mankind a second chance.

However...Iolaus MUST atone.

And Iolaus HATES atoning.

Yes, Michael announces that Iolaus' punishment will be his banishment from the Light...and his returning to earth to continue to fight by Hercules' side until he is once again ready to be judged by the Light. Needless to say, both Iolaus and Herc are thrilled. The big guy thanks Michael for letting Iolaus return to earth and Herc and Iolaus find themselves back in the village, ready to live out the rest of their lives together side by side and back to back.

Faith picture courtesy of Dragona. Revelations pics courtesy of Maigrey. Other pics in this section courtesy of Shauna.Thanks guys!

And what about the Alternate Iolaus?? Check out his amazing story here!

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