Hercules and Iolaus were still reeling from the experiences they had recently endured, including Michael’s allowing Iolaus to return to live out his life at Herc’s side.  This and the fact that they had been forced to team up with Ares who in his own words is ‘the God of War, I’m not supposed to be a team player.’  As they had parted company the God had stressed to his brother that ‘this changes nothing.’

Hercules and Iolaus had been expecting everything to return to normal including their <relationship> with
Ares.  So when the demi-god had been given the strange scroll he was amazed and leery of its contents, at
first.  They had read the scroll over and over again only to come to the same conclusion.  Could it have been a joke?  Ares couldn’t have written the scroll could he?  It was just not an Ares thing to do, no matter what the circumstances.  So this is how they found themselves on the way to Thrace, to once again confront the God of War in person.

Iolaus was walking a few feet in front of Hercules when he suddenly turned around.  “What makes you think that he did write it?”

“I don’t know, call it a hunch.  Yes, I know it’s way out of character for him to have done it, but I can’t explain it, I just think there’s a possibility he did write the thing.”  Hercules told his newly resurrected best friend as they continued on their way.

“But why would Ares of all people write something like that?  I could maybe see him saying it, but for him to actually have put it down on papyrus for all to see, It’s not his style.  He wouldn’t want this to come out
as common knowledge.”  Iolaus stopped suddenly again and once again turned to face Herc.  “Hey, Herc, is it in Ares’ hand?  I mean we could just compare it to something else he wrote and then we’d know for sure,” he said with a big grin.

“That’s just it Iolaus, I can’t ever remember seeing anything Ares has written.  We’ve never had reason to
exchange so much as a note to each other.  You know better than anyone the animosity between us, all we
seem to do well together is fight.”

“Yeah, but then how are you going to prove he wrote it?”

“I’m going to ask him Iolaus, that’s how,” he informed him.

“Oh, and you expect him to admit that he did something so totally out of character for him, so easily.”

“No, but I’ll be able to tell.  I can always tell when he’s not being entirely truthful, I always could.  I expect that he did write it, maybe as his way of saying thank you without having to come right out and saying the words, for helping out when we all thought the end of the world was at hand.  Of course he’d never admit he wrote it, but I’m going to make him feel uncomfortable about it.”  Hercules grinned like a child who had just been given a new toy.

“Let me read it again will you.  If it’s true it sure explains a lot of things.”

“Yeah, like why Zeus never did anything to him when I released the gods from their prison inside the  sphere. Here.”  Herc handed the scroll to the blonde hunter.

Unrolling the papyrus Iolaus began to read it aloud, “Hercules, in this time so soon after the events that forced us to become allies temporarily, I find myself often reflecting upon the circumstances surrounding the whole Dahak debacle.  It behooves me to relate the whole sordid tale to you so that you might for once
not judge me so harshly.  You will see that I acted as I did with good reason.

The gods had sensed something evil was preparing to enter into the world some time ago.  It was weak at
first, so none of the gods paid mush mind to it then, but with the passing of time it grew stronger and stronger.  You are well aware I am certain, of the events leading up to the conception and birth of Dahak’s daughter, so I will not dwell on that, except to say that with the birth of Hope, Dahak was set to enter this world.

It was unanimously, and I stress unanimously here, decided that one of the twelve seated Olympians would side with Dahak to buy us time to prepare a defense.  As God of War I was the logical choice.  A plan of action was formulated and promptly put into motion.  Dahak was a force to be reckoned with and as he grew more powerful, we found our strength and powers diminishing.  Shortly thereafter Hope informed me that Dahak intended us to join together; we were to mate and create the progeny that was to become a new race.   The Olympians thought that this might give them the edge they so desperately needed to finally defeat Dahak, hoping the offspring would inherit Olympian characteristics that could ultimately be used against Dahak. This unfortunately was not the case and eventually the demon spawned by Hope was killed by Xena shortly after it had mistakenly impaled and killed it’s own mother.

Things seemed to settle down for a while after this, but it was only the calm before the storm.  When Iolaus was killed be Gilgamesh, Dahak was finally able to enter the realm with the sacrifice of a warrior heart.  As soon as Dahak emerged, our powers became even weaker, nearly to the point of non-existence.  Something had to be done and soon.  An emergency forum was held and it was decided that all the gods would go through the vortex and be hidden until we had come up with a way to defeat Dahak once and for all.

The essences of all the gods, save myself, were captured in a sphere for safekeeping.  I was left behind to try to pick up the pieces and to put everything back together again.

I was continually growing weaker with each passing day and then the dynamic duo entered my temple and the rest as they say is history.

So as you can see, I’m not the bad guy here.  I did what had to be done no more, no less, end of story.  Think what you will of me, but after our recent experiences together I felt compelled to do this.  This is not something I feel we ever need to discuss and if approached, all will be vehemently denied.  As I told you when we parted company, this changes nothing!  NOTHING!


“I don’t know Herc, do you think it’s worth annoying him over.  He says right here he’ll never admit to it, so why bother?  Let’s just forget about him.  There’s so much I want to do and see, and I’m sorry Herc, but that black, leather clad, walking bad attitude brother of yours is just not on my to do list!”

“Fine Iolaus, you’re right, why provoke him.  Let’s just enjoy the time we have been given without any interference from Ares.  So where to first, buddy?” Hercules threw his arm around Iolaus and smiled as they started out on the next leg of their journey.