It wasn't every day that Iolaus had to fight off vicious attack boulders. He had not, for example, had to fight them off yesterday, nor the day before. He seemed to recall something from last week about large rocks headed towards him at alarming speeds, but the resulting concussion had obscured most of the memory.
"So who do we figure for this one?" He asked, diving to the right as Hercules pitched an inanimate rock at one headed right for them.
The demi god found time to shrug, and guessed, "Ares?" before having to roll out of the way himself.
"You only say that because it usually is." Iolaus looked around, trying to figure out some kind of cover. So far, they'd managed to dodge or destroy the rocks as they'd risen out of the meadow around them, but they seemed to be increasing in speed and number. He didn't think much of their chances if they stayed there. He knew there were caves in the cliff to the north, but given that the ground didn't seem to want to stay the ground, being surrounded by solid rock probably wouldn't end well. "I like the beach better than the river," he concluded, edging closer to his friend.
Hercules nodded. He had just picked up a boulder half his size and was using it as a shield against the others. "You go first," he said falling to one knee as two rocks struck the barrier at once. "Let me get rid of this, and I'll give you a boost."
"On three," Iolaus said, and dropped to the ground. "One."
Hercules spun around, knocking a rock out of the air where Iolaus had been standing.
Iolaus rolled to his back feet, and Hercules let his makeshift shield sail through the air, careening it off one approaching rock and into another, where they both shattered.
The hunter leaped towards an boulder that had picked up considerable speed rolling down the hillside. Both feet connected squarely, and he rebounded off it and flipped back towards Hercules, who snagged his feet out of the air, spun him in a half circle and slung him towards the edge of the field.
Iolaus tucked and rolled as he hit the ground, but still felt the impact jarring through his bones. After tumbling a good twenty paces into the forest, he fetched up against a tree, which fortunately wasn't moving. Dazed, he stared up at the pattern of leaves against the clear sky, not quite understanding why it all seemed to be spinning. Maybe the tree was moving after all.
"Iolaus!" Hercules' bellow brought him back to reality, and he clambered to his feet, heading for the beach at a dead run. He could just make out the pounding of his friend's feet as Hercules raced after him. He didn't look back, not needing to see what sounded like a small avalanche destroying all vegetation in its path.
Small branches slapped against his face and tugged at his clothing as they broke free of the undergrowth and onto the beach. Iolaus caught his friend's eye as he finally caught up, and jerked his head to the right. Needing no other signal, they split up, still heading for the water but on perpendicular trajectories.
Iolaus didn't hesitate as he splashed into the cool waves, nor when he dove in and started to paddle in the same smooth motion. Only when he had swum a good two-hundred paces into the Aegean did he pause to look back, trying to tread water, catch his breath and blow salt water out of his nose all at the same time.
The boulders had cleared a swath through the forest and now divided to tumble down the beach towards the warriors.
"What do we do if they can swim?" Hercules shouted from across the bay.
Iolaus shook his head. "Hope a sea monster eats us first, I guess," he replied.
However, it didn't seem like they would have to go quite that far; the boulders, now perhaps four score in number, came to a halt as they touched the water, standing in a motionless row in the golden sand.
Iolaus glared at them suspiciously, wondering if they had actually become inanimate again, or if they were just waiting for him to grow tired and get out of the water.
"I think we may be out of their jurisdiction," Hercules said, swimming over to him.
"So some kind of earth elemental then," he said, nodding. It made sense. "The whole island's probably cursed. Do you want to stay here, learn to fly, or set ourselves on fire?"
"If it is some kind of elemental, maybe it can't reach past the water." Hercules said. He looked at Iolaus and frowned, asking. "Think you could make it into that little island in the next bay?"
"No problem," Iolaus said blithely, though swimming really wasn't his best skill and his shoulder was really starting to ache.
Hercules apparently didn't believe him either. As they struck out, he noticed that, no matter how slow he went, his friend hung half a stroke behind him. Which irritated the hell out of him, but he couldn't quite bring himself to protest his friend's over protectiveness, instead focusing all his energy on maintaining a steady pace.
The demi god touched bottom first, of course, but they trudged up the beach together, standing back to back once they'd gotten a few paces above the waves.
"Maybe they're planning to ambush us," Iolaus suggested.
"Maybe," Hercules said non-committally.
Iolaus picked a small stone off the tide line and shied it into the nearest rock outcropping. It ricocheted off two others before landing in the sand, and staying there. Iolaus watched it intently, and eventually caught a flash of motion. Both warriors tensed, then relaxed, as a crow landed next to the stone and pecked at it for a moment before flapping away in disgust.
"I think we're probably safe," said Hercules, clearly tempting the gods in Iolaus' opinion. "I guess we'd better try flag down a fishing boat or something."
The hunter shook his head dubiously. "I don't think we're going to find anyone this far out. How about we catch some fish, and then you can swim to the mainland for help while I eat them?"
Which, in the end is what they did, though it took Hercules and Iolaus until well after the next boulder attack to wash the sand out of all the places the resulting brawl got it in.