iolaus_dw: (iolaus close up)
I'm not the kind of guy who keeps an eye on the sundial and worries about every minute of every day, like Salmoneous who's thinks that Time is Dinars. Whatever that means. Okay, sure, I admit I've got a lousy memory for birth dates and anniversaries and stuff because, hello? where am I going to keep a calendar? It's not like I have any pockets and, even if I did, those things weigh more than Cerberus! Let the Romans hump them around in all that crap they drag with them; I travel light.

As far as I'm concerned, the most important thing about Time is how fast you can get from where you are to where you're going. The bad guys and monsters aren't going to just stand around waiting for me and Herc to show up to beat the crap out of them, you know.
iolaus_dw: (iolaus looking up close somber)
166. Do you believe in ghosts?

What's not to believe? I've seen them with my own eyes. And not just one spectral spirit here or there, either. I've seen an entire army of ghosts! They were pretty pissed off, too. See, Tantalus was in the middle of a civil war between King Memnos' son and daughter. Herc and me went to try and settle things down when we heard that the bodies of the warriors who fell in battle were disappearing off the field. Just gone, poof! Now, everyone knows there's nothing that raises a ghost faster than messing with its body and denying it a decent burial. And here we had a whole army of them!

Boy, were they upset! And not just because something was desecrating their bodies. See, once you're dead, you know things you didn't when you were alive. You kind of get a better overall picture of things and these ghosts suddenly realized that everything they'd fought for was a lie. Ares' lie. Can you believe the bastard engineered that whole civil war just so he could feed his dog, Graegus?

By the time Herc was finished, that mutt was eating dirt and Ares was running off with his tail between his legs. And the ghosts . . . all of those lost souls . . . were finally laid to rest.

Seeing is believing.
iolaus_dw: (iolaus herc conversation)
Iolaus cocked his head a bit to the right, as if that slight change in perspective would grant him better insight. "What do you think?"

"I think it looks like a tunnel," said Hercules.

"I can see it's a tunnel," said Iolaus with an eloquent roll of his eyes. "What I meant was, what do you think is on the other side?"

"Why don't we find out?"

"Just like that?" demanded Iolaus as he hurried to keep up with his friend's long-legged strides.

"Just like that."

"Sure, why not? In fact, why don't we knock first? Let whoever's inside know we're coming. I mean, we wouldn't want them to be surprised, would we?"

Hercules arched an eyebrow. "Where's the fun in that?"

Iolaus opened his mouth to retort then stopped as he thought better of it. "Good point," he admitted. Indicating the opening with a flourish, he said, "Brawn before beauty."
iolaus_dw: (iolaus hercules)
"That's it! I'm pooped!" To prove his point, Iolaus fell backwards onto the soft grass, arms and legs splayed wide.

"Really?" replied Hercules as he sat down beside the smaller boy. "I was just getting warmed up. I could easily run another league. Maybe two."

Iolaus groaned at the very thought. "You know, sometimes I wish you were mortal."

Hercules shrugged apologetically before laying on his back to look up at the summer sky.

"Herc?"

"Hmm?"

"You remember that promise we made at the Academy? About going out together, fighting back to back against impossible odds?" Iolaus propped himself up on an elbow. "I just thought of something. What if you can't die? I mean, what if being Zeus' son makes you immortal? You could live forever!"

"Not without you."
iolaus_dw: (iolaus pensive)
When you're a warrior, revenge is more than a creed; it's your duty to your brothers in arms. Let no wrong or foul deed go unpunished and, most important of all, never let murder go unavenged.

The thing about revenge, though, is that it can eat you alive. It's a burning hatred that never dies. The embers may cool but they never go out, waiting for the perfect opportunity to fan them into flame. Like any fire that burns to long, the heat of revenge warps and twists everything around it. Turning a valiant warrior into a murderer himself. Or turning an innocent child wronged by fate into a woman bent on making everyone and everything in her path pay for what was done to her. Revenge often doesn't stop with punishment of the guilty. It goes on to consume everything in its path, like the raging fire of hatred that spawned it. Just look at Callisto. She's the perfect example of the horrors that can be done to innocents in the name of revenge. Living for revenge is what twisted her into becoming exactly the sort of warlord she'd grown up hating. It made her worse.

Don't get me wrong; I'm just as human as the next guy. And yeah, there are times when I let my emotions get the better of me and I long for revenge. But I don't hang onto it. I won't let it turn me into a murderer or a criminal. Believe it or not, that's the one valuable thing I learned from Callisto. Revenge warps you. It isn't justice, it doesn't make you feel better, and it never, ever brings back the dead.
iolaus_dw: (iolaus mishot standing forest)
Do you see that village over there? It looks the same as any other, doesn't it? The houses made of wood and clay, maybe a bit of straw thrown in; the stable; a forge; a bit of a market place where farmers and tradesmen can sell their wares. There's probably a well in what serves as the main square; more of a meeting place than a watering hole. It's where all the good gossip can be had. Oh yeah, and there's a tavern. No village worth its salt would be without one.

Now look at the people. Look hard. What do you see? Nothing special? Well, let me tell you what I see. I see men and women and children struggling to survive. Some of them have a harder time of it than others but nothing is handed to them. Nothing is free. Everything they own, every piece of bread on their tables to the clothes on their backs, is earned by hard and honest work. Tear down their homes and they'll only rebuild. Burn their crops and they'll resow their fields. Take their lives and others will rise in their place.

If anyone asks you to define the Spirit of Man, don't look at the warriors or the priests or the nobles. Look at these simple people, leading their day to day lives in a dangerous world. Surviving whatever nature or the gods throw their way.
iolaus_dw: (iolaus hercules)
I'll tell you what comfort is, and not just to me, either. Look over there. See him? Yeah, him. The big guy over by the well, surrounded by all those villagers. Now take a good look at their faces. They look pretty happy, don't they? Not to mention relieved. You would be too if someone saved your village from a three-headed monster with six inch fangs and a sweet tooth for human flesh. I've seen that look of relief a thousand times in people all over Greece. It comes from knowing that, no matter how terrible the situation, there's always hope -- because there's Hercules. He's not the kind of hero who fights for money or glory. Herc fights straight from the heart to defend the helpless and downtrodden. He's strength and courage against impossible odds. Wherever there's danger or injustice, that's where you'll find him, right in the thick of things. That's what comfort is. It's knowing that we live in a world with Hercules.
iolaus_dw: (Default)
Truly mine, huh? Hmmmm. I don't own property. Not any more, any way. I sold the farm after Anya and my son died. No sense keeping land if you're not going to work it or even see it for months -- maybe years -- on end. I travel pretty light, too. Sure, I have some weapons, but they get some pretty hard use. If I had a dinar for every staff or sword I've broken in a fight, I'd have Salmoneous following me around like a drooling puppy dog. Not that I need them. Most of the time, I just rely on my hands and my feet and my sense of balance. A little guy like me has more leverage against a bigger opponent than you might think, if he has the right training. You know, come to think of it, that's what's truly mine. My experience. And my skill.
iolaus_dw: (iolaus midshot)
It means that 'Dite or Cupid suddenly take an interest in you and your affairs, usually when you least expect it and not always at the most opportune time. Not that I'm saying that's a bad thing! I'm very grateful for any number of lovelies they've directed my way. And 'Dite . . . well, what's not to love about Aphrodite?
iolaus_dw: (iolaus midshot)
You know, I've never really thought about that. I really don't know. Seriously! I mean, I've done the whole domestic bliss thing. It was great for a few years but it didn't end up too happy. My wife and son died, which puts a bit of a crimp on any plans for happily ever after. And let's be honest; I wasn't cut out for animal husbandry and farming. So a family doesn't seem to be the answer. Then again, I don't really want to be a 90 year old geezer sitting around the local bar spinning war stories.

Maybe . . . well, maybe my happily ever after has everything to do with Herc. I mean, I know he wants a family and kids again. Don't get me wrong! He deserves some peace, too. A chance to be a husband and father without worrying about some jealous bitch who calls herself a goddess turning them into charcoal. Again. So yeah. That's what my happily ever after would be. Living to see Herc have another family and kids. And, of course, their Uncle Eye-O-Less getting a chance to spoil the little tykes rotten.
iolaus_dw: (Default)
I'd say the Elysian Fields are about as far from Thebes as you can get. You'd almost think I owned real estate down there, wouldn't you? I mean, I've been toast . . . what? Four times? Five? Pretty bad when you've been dead so many times you start losing count. Of course, there was that one time I ended up in The Light instead. I wonder which is actually further from Thebes. One is up and the other is down, but they're really not part of the world, are they? Maybe they're equidistant?
iolaus_dw: (iolaus)
It wasn't funny back then because it was serious stuff to a kid. But looking back on it now . . . it's pretty damned funny. See, before I figured out my father the "great general" was a complete and total jerk, I dreamed about following in his footsteps. I mean, what son doesn't, right? I was going to be a great warrior, just like dear old dad, and lead armies into battle. A group of kids in the village would get together and play war in the afternoons after chores. We staged all sorts of mock battles. Trojans against the Spartans. That sort of thing. Sometimes even gods against gods. When I wasn't playing general, I wanted to be Ares. After all, he was what helped make my father such a great general. I used to imagine Ares sitting on Olympus looking down on six-year-old me and saying, "Hey, that kid's got talent! He's gonna be a great general, just like his dad!"

To play Ares, I'd put on all the old, battered, cast aside pieces of my father's armor I could find laying around the house. Didn't matter to me if it matched or not. Or if it fit. I remember there was this helmet so big the eye holes came down to my chin. I couldn't see a thing and bumped into a lot of trees. I was a scrawny little blonde kid pretending to be a great warrior. But I was more of a court jester in that get up than anything. Not a very dignified Ares.

The funny thing about that, looking back now, is that I did become a great warrior. Without having anything to do with Ares or his bloodlust. I was a little kid mocking Ares with the best of intentions. Now I do it on purpose.
iolaus_dw: (iolaus midshot)
Do you believe in the possibility of a true friendship between a man and a woman?

Yeah, I do. Always have, really. Maybe not on a conscious level. I mean, I have friends who are women. Warriors mostly. Their sex was never an issue in our friendship, maybe because they acted more like men – especially on a battlefield – than some guys I know. That's not the thing that convinces me, though. Hercules does. I mean, if you knew him the way I did way back when then met him today . . . you'd think they were two different people. Gabrielle had a really funny way of putting it. She called him a male chauvinist goat? Chicken? Cow? The kind of guy that thinks women are only good for taking care of men. That their only worth is cooking and cleaning and sewing and animal husbandry. Seriously! Herc was like that once! Right around the time I got married to Anya. But then something changed. Almost overnight. I don't know what happened but it was like the big guy had a revelation or something. Next thing I know, he's congratulating me on the wedding and treating Anya like she's a goddess. And damn me if he didn't find Dienara a few months later on one of his labors. They had that love/hate relationship that turned into real friendship, then true love. Maybe it was Dienara that changed his mind about women. Whatever it was, he's made some fast and true friendships since . . . Xena, Gabrielle, Atlantia, Niobe . . . Hera's Enforcer, if you can believe that! So yeah, I do believe men and women can be true friends. Herc is the living example.


Iolaus of Thebes
Hercules/Xena
270 words
iolaus_dw: (iolaus midshot)
You're kidding me, right? Iolaus of Thebes, here. Best buddy to Hercules? You know, the demi-god Hercules? Son of Zeus? Yeah, the Zeus. King of the Gods. Nice guy. Not what you'd call a doting father, if you ask me. I've met him a couple times, you know. Hard not to when you spend as much time traveling with Herc as I do. So what's not to believe? Zeus is real. So are the other gods. Sometimes it seems like I can't turn around without one popping up. Guess that's to be expected since they're Herc's relatives. Some I can do without, believe me. But others . . . well, let's just say I'd be happy to see Cupid or 'Dite or Bliss or Persephone or Hephaestus any time.

Iolaus of Thebes
Hercules/Xena
129 words
iolaus_dw: (Default)
I can think of a lot of things but number one? I'm thankful for not being dead. Again. No offense to Hades. I mean, the Elysian Fields are everything the PR says it is. I wouldn't want to spend my afterlife anywhere else. But I'd rather be right here on terra firma, traveling with Hercules and saving damsels in distress. Kinda goes without saying that I’m thankful to have Herc in my life. He's more than my best friend. He's my brother. My family. Because of him, I've met some pretty great people I'm honored to call friends. Gabrielle, Xena, Joxer, Jason, Alcemene. And I'm grateful to have had the love of three amazing women, Anya, Niobe, and Nebula. I'm a pretty blessed, alive or dead.

Iolaus of Thebes
Hercules/Xena
125 words
iolaus_dw: (Default)
Who would you like to see get their final comeuppance? And just what would you like to do to them?

It’s a 50-50 split between horse-face Hera and that loser Strife. Yeah, I know. They're gods and they're probably gonna get pissed and try to burn my biscuits for bad mouthing them. Well, you know what? It wouldn't be the first time and it sure as hades isn't likely to be the last. So why pull any punches? But since you're asking, I'd like to see them get theirs for exactly the same reason – murdering Herc's family.

If I had to pick the greater of the two evils, I'd go with Hera. See, Strife, he's just an underling. Kind of Ares' yes-man. He killed Herc's second wife, Serena, and tried to frame him for the murder. It wasn't about punishing Serena or even hurting the big guy. Essentially, he was just kissing Ares' butt by trying to discredit Herc. End result was the same. Herc's wife was still dead. But Hera . . . the so-called "queen of the gods" . . . she knew exactly what she was doing and why. She can't exactly take her anger out on Zeus for sewing a few wild oats, so why not go after the offspring? But why Herc specifically? That I never got. I guess it doesn't matter now, does it? What matters is she not only slaughtered his first wife, Deanara, but his three little kids, too. Kids! Aeson couldn't have been older than 9! What did they ever do to her? I'll tell you what they did. They were born. Because Hercules was happy and had a family that adored him. And what does Hera have? Nothing.

So yeah, I'd like to see Hera and Strife get theirs. I'd like them to feel what Hercules felt, completely helpless while he watched his family die, burned alive by one of Hera's fireballs. But then, that would suppose either Hera and Strife had a heart. I don't think they could scrape one up between them if they tried.

Iolaus of Thebes
Hercules/Xena
327 words
iolaus_dw: (Default)
No question there. That would be the day I came back from the dead. No, not the first time. Not the second or third, either. I mean the last time I came back. You know, after I nearly destroyed the world with that whole Dahak business? After I got accepted by the Light? I kind of bypassed the Elysian Fields that go around. Not that I'm surprised. I mean, Hades and Charon are probably pretty sick of seeing my face down there every time they turn around. That last time, though, I was pretty sure I'd finally cashed out. Toast.

Until Michael got his wings in a bunch and decided Mankind needed to be wiped out. He broke a bunch of Seals and sicced the Four Horsemen on the world. Okay, so maybe the World is a pretty screwed up place at times, but as long as there's one good man in it, it's worth fighting for, isn't it? And that one good man is Hercules. No way he was going to let a couple of homicidal pony-boys bring on the apocalypse. To be honest, I kind of went against the rules to give him a hand. You know . . . .clue him in on a few things about the Light and Michael to give him a bit of an advantage?

Ever piss of an Archangel by promising to do one thing and then turning around and doing another? Even if it is in the best interest of the world? I don't recommend it. But see, because I broke the rules and helped Herc defeat the Horsemen, Michael kicked me out of the Light. Right back to Earth. To be by Hercules' side. Right where I belong. Where I still am today.

I know it sounds odd, but really! Getting kicked out of heaven was the best 24 hours of my life. Hands down.

Iolaus of Thebes
Hercules/Xena
314 Words
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