King Eurystheus

King Eurystheus was a powerful man with many riches. He could acquire nearly anything he wished, and the people who served him were loyal to a fault. Despite that, the man was frail and cowardly. No matter his royal blood no one could see him as a true man in any sense of the word. A terrible father, warriors, mentor, no skills. He only survived through the grace of his crown. Any true man despised Eurystheus if they had any level of skill.

Heracles was not a smith, nor financier, nor cook, but he was a warrior. Something Eurystheus had never been, not even in their childhoods. For this Heracles despised the man and would never willingly work for him. Unfortunately for Heracles there was another force pulling the strings behind the scenes. The Goddess Hera had set these plans in play, from the murder of his sons to the Oracle to this meeting here with King Eurystheus.

"Dear cousin Heracles, it is good to see you," Eurystheus showered Heracles with greetings and praises as a good host would do. "What has brought you here?"

"The Oracle of Delphi says to gain forgiveness, I shall work in your service for ten years."

"What is it that you have done," Eurystheus asked pretending as if news had not reached him yet.

"I murdered my sons in cold blood," It was the firs time Heracles had said it out loud.

He still felt the guilt of each word, and he did not say it proudly. Still he would not allow Eurystheus to see him in pain no matter how heavy the pressure placed on his heart. Hera lurked in those halls, unbeknown to those in attendance when Heracles pledged his loyalty to King Eurystheus, fully expecting to be raiding lands in his name.

"Ten years is much too long for me," King Eurystheus. "We are family after all. How about 10 tasks to complete for me. Then all shall be forgiven. I shall go to the Gods myself if I must."

"Ten tasks it shall be. I will complete them in quick fashion and will not bring shame to your name," Heracles fell to a single knee and bowed his head. "What is my first task king?"

King Eurystheus stared into the sky and stroked his hairless chin, contemplating the task. Hera had already given him the first task. She predicted this all and had planned for every eventual out come. But Eurystheus was a showman, if nothing else, and he had to make it seem as if he thought deeply on the task at hand.

"It should be no trouble for a warriors such as yourself to slay the Nemean Lion," King Eurystheus proposed to Heracles.

"If you command it, it shall be done," Heracles promised.

"Then rise, and go slay the lion."

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