|"The Festival of Dionysus"|
|Hercules: The Legendary Journeys episode|
|Episode no.|| Season 1|
|Written by||Steve Roberts|
|Directed by||Harley Cokeliss|
|Guest stars||Taungaroa Emile (Ximenos)|
Peter Malloch (Titus)
Mark Newnham (Ares)
Callum Stembridge (Aurelius)
|Original airdate||February 13, 1995|
Ares plans to form an army of children as part of his bid to cover the world in war without end. Naturally, it falls to Hercules to stop his evil half-brother.
Hercules walks through a battlefield with dead soldiers on the ground. He comes to a soldier, Gregor, who is badly wounded. Gregor tells Hercules to kill him now. Hercules says he is not there to harm him. When Hercules introduces himself, Gregor asks him if he will grant him his dying wish. He gives Hercules his medallion to give to his wife and son, Janista and Titus, and ask Hercules to tell his son, "The art of a warrior is not to kill, but to fight against the forces of evil." With this request made, he dies as Hercules promises that he will do as he asks. Elsewhere Titus and his friend are out hunting. In the forest they try to kill a deer, but are unable to even get anywhere near it. They meet a soldier who gives them weapons, as they hold them a wind blows about them and in the temple of Ares, we hear him laughing. The soldier says they need to prove they deserve the power of being a warrior and to prove it they should kill each other. They look at each other, and strike at each other with their new weapons.
As the two boys fight, the soldier encourages them. As the other boy strikes, Titus dodges the blow and manages to escape. Later, Hercules arrives at the town where Janista and Titus live, he tells her about her husband. She thanks him for coming so far to tell her and offers him a place to rest and some food to eat. While resting at their home, Hercules offers to help out, as all the town's men are away at war. Hercules sets off to the local blacksmith, where he meets Atalanta. She ask him who he is and when he tells her he is Hercules, she challenges him to an arm wrestling match as she says, "you're big and you look fit, but there's only one way to tell for sure." Hercules asks Atalanta if she can tell him where he can find Titus and his friend Ximenos. Elsewhere the soldier, Aurelius, asks Ximenos if he is ready to join Ares' army, he says he is, and the soldier brands him with Ares' mark, in the night sky, the moon turns red and a skull appears as Ares laughs. Back at the forge, Atalanta is possessed by Ares, and begins forging swords for his army.
Hercules finds Titus, who has been searching for Ximenos. Hercules says he will help Titus look. Later, Hercules takes Titus home and begins work on the roof as he had promised. Ximoenos tries to convince Titus to join Ares' army with him, but Titus is unsure. While Hercules is repairing the roof, Atalanta comes and explains that she had been possessed by something, but had no idea what. Hercules wonders if Hera is involved. He breaks into an old temple of Hera's, and sees that a sacrifice has been made recently and deduces that recent events have been the work of Ares. Ximenos takes Titus to Aurelius and they ask him if he wants to join Ares' army, but he says he has to help Hercules fix the roof and runs off. Aurelius goes to the altar he has set up in honor of Ares and asks him for his presence. He tells Ares about Hercules' involvement.
Hercules walk into the house to find Janista reading the letter that Hercules had given her from her husband. Aurelius deceives Titus, telling him that Hercules killed his father and that he will take advantage of his mother. Titus runs to get Hercules, telling him he knows where the swords Atalanta made went. Hercules wonders how he knew about the swords, then notices the brand of Ares of his arm. Titus then runs off and Hercules follows, running into a trap. Hercules is then ambushed by Ares' child army. Hercules fights them off, but is then trapped when some of the army push a pile of boulders on top of him.
Janista sees Atalanta and asks her if she has seen Titus or Hercules, she says he has not seen Titus. They find Hercules under the rubble and dig him out, he tells the two women that Titus lead him into the trap, as he is now under Ares' control. Back at home, Titus takes his father's sword. Janista asks if he will kill her too, he replies, "Warriors of Ares don't kill women." She asks for the sword back and he defies her. She tells him Hercules is still alive and he runs off to go after him. Atalanta and Hercules go after the army of boys. At the altar, Ares tells Aurelius that Hercules is not dead and that Aurelius must use Ares' blood to kill Hercules. As Hercules and Atalanta are walking along looking for the army of children, Atalanta is possessed by Ares again and she and Hercules fight. Hercules is able to defeat Atalanta and Ares vacates her body. Hercules, Janista and Atalanta arrive at the army's camp and Hercules says their time is up.
At this point Ares causes vines to grow and they wrap themselves around Hercules, Janista and Atalanta. With the three now bound, Titus and Ximenos approach to kill Hercules. Hercules tells Titus and Ximenos to think about their fathers, who fought against the very evil Ares stands for. Hercules manages to break free from the vines and asks the boys which side they are on. They side with Hercules and he fights with Aurelius. Aurelius begs Ares for his help against Hercules, at his request Ares makes himself present. He and Hercules fight and as he is fighting, Titus gives Hercules his father's sword, which he thrusts into the chest of Ares. Ares falls to the ground and his body explodes while a disembodied voice cries, "Next time, Hercules. Next time." With the God of War, now defeated, Hercules tells the boys to return to their villages and that they should fight for peace and not war. Hercules says goodbye to Janista, Titus and Ximenos. Hercules tells Titus that his father had told him about fighting against the forces of evil. He tells Titus, "Then you'll grow up to be the man your father wanted you to be." Atalanta says goodbye by kissing Hercules, telling him to "come back and see me sometime."
- Mark Newnham plays Ares, with a giant and rather monstrous appearance in this episode, but he was later replaced by Kevin Smith, with a more human look, in the second season.