Cleaning The Stables

Heracles meticulously lined the boulders along each side from the stables the nearby river. He affixed a rope to plow and begin to dig a path between the boulders, towards the river. This was not any ordinary river, this river was made up of the meeting place of two others. The river served as a connection between The Alpheus, the longest river in the land, and Peneus, a river that flowed rapidly from the peak of a mountain.

When Heracles finished he removed a boulder he had used to block his path. Water rushed through, roaring between the boulders. It quickly rushed into the stables clearing it of any filth and providing the cattle with a bath. When the stables were cleaned, Heracles replaced the boulder blocking his path. Inside the stables the smell was gone, the cattle were not the dirty mud color people believed but an assortment of rainbow colors with bright glows. A beautiful sight, and the cleanest the stables have been in decades.

When Heracles returned that evening the King could hardly believe it and rushed out to see. There Heracles sat dining in the King's Court alone as other's rushed to see what happened. Eating in silence had not bothered Heracles in the past. Since the death of his children, the silence had become deafening. The lack of joy, and laughter, he silenced it himself. This what what he deserved. Silence, just the sound of his food. He finished and made his way out to a balcony overlooking the city. Waiting to spot the King and his men returning.

He was soon joined by Azeus and Phyleus, shoulder to shoulder, hands tapping but wishing to be interlocked but separated. It was common for a young man to serve an older man without penetration, and often in reverse, in order to pay for training. It was common for the rich men to rape their male slaves, an act of power and depravity. Both were completely acceptable. Yet the idea of two adult men together and in love still bothered many people. Several of the Gods had no care. Poseidon enjoyed the power dynamic, Dionysus cared not when he was drunk enough. But Apollo, he was the leader in this area. He cared not for beauty or genitals, but personality. A cult of male lovers praised Apollo and they were his favorites. Still, Azeus and Phyleus would be separated. They would whisper about Phyleus, and Azeus would be an outcast. The world was not fair.

"Did you boys have fun," Heracles asked.

"So much fun," Phleus stated with a grin.

"And you," Heracles asked Azeus.

"A perfect ending to a perfect day," Azeus responded.

This, was a welcome silence for Heracles as the three sat overlooking the city. A silence filled with love and friendship. If only for one day, he was glad the boys had today to look back on. It filled him with thoughts of his wife, enough so that tears fell from his eyes. Azeus and Phyleus attempted to comfort him, but he waved them off. The tears were comforting, a sign that his soul had not been as twisted as he thought. He dried his tears and watched with a smile as The King entered the city, the light of torches cutting through the midnight blue night.

Heracles and the others met the King in his court, expecting praise. There were no praises. Simply threats, armed guard howling for blood. Heracles was not prepared for battle, drunken and full. If he could get one of the swords, he may have a chance. But what of Azeus? The boy could use a bow, but there was no bow here. He would be cut apart in this situation.

"Then we shall go to court," Azeus yelled out confidently.

"What," King Augeus asked.

"I said we shall go to court. There Heracles shall claim his pay," Azeus confidently repeated the words Phyleus had given him moments earlier.

"Then we shall attend court in two weeks time. For now, leave my castle," Augeus demanded.

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