Stymphalian Birds

They Stymphalian Birds, more sacred animals for Heracles to capture or kill. These birds were blessed and beloved by Ares. He had never been one for birds, they lacked the brutality he found so refreshing in mankind. These birds were not so delicate. These birds were beautiful, bronze in color. Their beaks, were as strong as bronze, and their feathers could have been bronze themselves. Flinging the feathers at travelers, pecking them hard enough to break bones. They were after Ares own heart.

The birds had overtaken a swamp. No one had been able to make them leave, there was nothing they feared. But Heracles did not fear them as he made his way to the swamp that day. He had a plan ready. Small rocks, he had gathered dozens. He would pelt the birds with rocks until they were forced to leave.

"Heracles, your plan is smart, but you will need help," the voice of Athena called out.

"Athena, where are you," Heracles asked, not seeing her.

"I am here," she appeared behind the duo holding a rattle in her hands.

"How can I help you," Heracles asked.

"It is I who shall help you," Athena handed the rattle to Azeus.

"What is this," Heracles asked.

"A gift, from Hephaestus and I. We both have reasons to hate Hera. He was disfigured by her and she has sought to impede me at every step. It is only right that we help our brother," Athena smiled.

"Thank you sister, I shall repay the favor," Heracles thanked his sister.

"No need, just remember you have family and friends," and with that Athena was gone.

"Well, she seems nice," Azeus joked as he examined the rattle.

The rattle was more than Heracles could have asked for. He had planned to simply spot the birds and aim for them. Instead he had Azeus shake the rattle. A great roaring sound came from it. Enough to shake the ground, and cause the Stymphalian Birds to fly up in fear. As they flew Heracles was able to pelt each one with a rock. Another shake, more birds flew into the air, more rocks found their target. A simple enough task, with no blood shed. Soon the birds had all flown away in fear. If not of the rattle, then of the rocks.

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