A Sacrifice to Hera

Azeus could not be bothered to watch Eurystheus' theatrics as he cowered behind his men. Instead he ran his hands across the sword. This was a fine sword, where had Heracles gotten it? It wasn't one of Heracles' own. It had an inscription, specifically for Azeus. I do not need a sword bearer, bear your own blade. Who inscribes such a battle worthy blade? It was beautiful, but not the ornate kind for display. It simply glistened in the sunlight and the edge was a bright white, almost as if it were made of ice.

"Then the bull shall be sacrificed to Hera," Eurystheus screamed from atop the wall.

"I have no objections," Heracles didn't care. He only wanted to be done with these tasks.

"I do not agree," Her appeared outside the city wall staring at Heracles.

"How kind of you to join us Goddess," Heracles bowed on one knee. "So glad you could take time out of your busy day of forcing men to kill their families, thank you." Heracles would show a Goddess the respect she deserved, but neither of them would like it.

"Arise you poor retched soul," Hera sarcastically lifted Heracles by his chin. "I am sorry to hear of your family's loss. But you have no proof that I am guilty of these actions," Hera firmly stared at Heracles.

Hera was always the epitome of class, dignity and honor on the surface. She exuded grace while she radiated light and warmth around her. Despite Heracles being her namesake, she hated him. He was yet another sign of Zeus' infidelity, and the audacity to name the boy after Hera. She had tried to kill him as a child by sending snakes to attack him. Even as an infant he fended them off with ease. It was clear he had a portion of Zeus' might. Even if he passed these trials, she would know his limits and could kill him in the future. If he were to rise to Godhood, there would be no chance left to kill her.

"I could not allow you to sacrifice anything to me. It would prove nothing, and the sacrifice would be tainted with mutual hate," Hera stated.

"I did not always hate you. I only sought to understand why you hated me. I still do not know," Heracles looked at Hera with both pity and confusion in his eyes.

"Do not pity me. You, nor any other mortal is worthy of that," Hera furled her brow as she vanished.

"What now," Azeus asked calmly, as if he were no longer surprised when seeing a God.

"Free the bull away from here, and bring me the Mares of Diomedes," King Eursytheus treated the situation the same as Azeus.

Heracles remained calm on the outside as he cut free the bull and flung it into the ocean. It would swim away from here. Inside Heracles was enraged, disgusted, confused. He knew this whole thing was Hera's doing, but seeing her. That made it worse. He felt a great hole in heart. The loss of his family, the hate of Hera and the confusion of it all. Was this her plan from the start? How could she be so sick? What had he done to earn her ire?

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