This page contains author's notes and biographical information for every story
Author's Note: Not much is known about the hero of Philoctetes outside of stories relating to Heracules and the Trojan war. He is best known for lighting the funeral pyre* of Heracules and being one of the attackers hidden inside the Trojan horse. The Shirt of Nessus was given to Heracules by his wife Deianeria who had been told by the centaur Nessus that the shirt would make Heracules be loyal to only her. He was in so much pain because of the shirt he built his own funeral pyre and had Philoctetes light it. In exchange, Philoctetes received the bow and arrows of Heracules. While Philoctetes may not have hated Heracules, the story of Heracules' demise told here shows his questionable relationship with his wife and how he made enemies in battle.
After Heracules died, Philoctetes also received advice from Heracules as a God. After receiving a nasty snake bite for helping Heracules, Philoctetes was left stranded on an island for ten years with his festering wound until Heracules appeared to him as a God to help him find someone who could heal him. From there, Philoctetes went on to be apart of the famous attack on Troy inside the Trojan horse.
In my story, Philoctetes is responsible for coming up with the idea but in tradition Greek mythology this feat is usually credited to Odysseus.
I thought it would be a good idea for Heracules to have an email from a frienemy of sorts. Philoctetes and Heracules help each other out in the stories they are both in but Philoctetes is not as well known. I figure this would probably make any hero jealous.
*A pyre is a traditional altar built to burn dead bodies on in Greek culture.
Author's Note: Megara was a princess of Thebes given to Heracules in marriage after driving out the Minyans from Thebes. She was Heracules' first wife and they had somewhere between three and eight children together depending on the story. There are multiple versions of how Heracules killed his family and my story borrows from a number of them. In most versions, Megara and her children were killed by Heracules after Hera sent him into a fit of madness. The madness either sent him on a general killing spree or as I depicted it in my story, the madness made Heracules believe his sons were actually sons of Lycus and Megara was Hera herself.
In some versions, Heracules receives his twelve labors after killing his family from the Oracle of Delphi but I chose to align the timeline of my story with a version that reports the killings happen after his labors. Supposedly why Heracules in off performing his labors a man named Lycus killed King Creon, Megara's father, and took control of Thebes. He also attempted to force Megara to marry him even though she was already married to Heracules. When Heraclues returned, he killed Lycus and took control of the city himself. It was soon after this that Heracules killed his family.
Megara is probably the most well-known of Heracules wives; but most modern tellings of Heracules leave out that he killed her and her children. I thought this was a great story for hate mail because I think anyone who has been murdered has the right to be at least a little peeved with their murderer, especially if the murder is your husband. I really just expanded on the idea that Heracules continued to be a rather poor family man after he killed off his first wife and kids.
Author's Note: Diomedes was the King of Thrace and was known for being a savage king. His horses were supposedly just as harsh as he as and lived off a diet of human flesh. The eight labor of Heracules was to steal the horses and return them to Eurystheus. In some version the horse are named Podargos (the swift), Lampon (the shining), Xanthos (the yellow) and Deinos (the terrible). Heracules ended up feeding Diomedes to the horses and his blood supposedly calmed the wild animals forever.
I wanted to rewrite this story in a way that humanized King Diomedes and made Heracules look like the bad guy. Given that history is usually told by the winners I thought my version of the story should try to explain where the misconceptions in the common narrative of the story come from. I took the details of the bronze manger and chains and the horses wild behavior from the original accounts and tried to hint how that may look worrisome to the outsider and fit the narrative that the horses were man-eaters but there was really a deeper explanation behind what was really happening. I also chose to have Diomedes refer to Heracules in the third person throughout the story to make him seem witty and humorous despite his seething rage.