Copyright A D Stewart 2015
Shakespir Edition, License Note
This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This eBook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Shakespir.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
This story I dedicate to all my friends that took time out of their busy lives to support me as a writer. I could never do this without you all. Thank you so much.
SANDS OF TIME: TBA
SERPENT’S REVENGE: TBA
―FREE SHORT STORIES―
―WISH HYBRID SERIES―
―FOR THE READERS OF THE FUTURE, PRESENT, AND PAST, IN THIS STORY (AND BASED ON RESEARCH), MY ATLANTIS IS LOCATED IN THE ATLANTIC OCEAN. BETWEEN WHAT WILL BE AMERICA AND THE EUROPEAN CONTINENT. THE REASON FOR THIS IS SIMPLE. THE ISLAND MOVES TO SECURE ITS CITIZENS AGAINST ALL THINGS EVIL…
PERHAPS PLATO IS CORRECT IN THAT ATLANTIS IS AN ISLAND― AN ISLAND HE BELIEVED SANK INTO THE OCEAN… IN MY REALITY ATLANTIS IS SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT. THE REMAINS OF A PLANET— AND MY CITY IS ALL THAT IS LEFT. A MECHANICAL, FLYING, METROPALITAN, TIME, MACHINE! ―
―IN THE PAST―
Myaten waited for the explosion of anger as Kiros dug two shallow lines into the red sand with the toes of his sandals. Resisting the urge to copy such childish behavior, Myaten remained calm while observing the other man’s antics.
Keeping a straight face while Kiros thrust his chest out like one of his proud falcons was no easy task.
Laughing will only increase the man’s foul temper.
Kiros turned to face him. His face livid, eyes glaring, jaw flexing.
“You know I hate time travel! Why must you pester me to follow in your steps, Myaten?” He watched as Kiros drew his foot back and gave a hard kick, sending a wave of sand in his direction.
Myaten didn’t bother responding to the stupid challenge. Instead, he shrugged one shoulder. Whatever answer he gave would make little difference to Kiros’s dark mood.
Sighing loudly, Myaten knew this man better than most. A bond that ran deeper than mere friendship with a debt he could never repay. Yes, he owed Kiros his life-blood many times over. They fought in battle together, ate together, slept back to back to defend one another and like most foster brothers, they argued, all the damn time.
Now, was no different.
Head bent while meticulously folding a strip of parchment into a thumb size square, Myaten slipped the coded message into a concealed place― a small slit on the underside of the leather belt across his chest.
Shaking his head before cutting a bored look at Kiros, Myaten replied with the same excuse as given three sunrises ago.
“Roris decrees this task not be taken too lightly. Our trip,” he paused long enough to make sure Kiros was paying attention, “…is more important than my previous visits, you know of this.”
Joining his friend long enough to slap his shoulder, Myaten continued with steady fast patience reserved for a younger sibling. “Besides, whenever I leave your side for any length of time you end up in trouble.” Teasing playfully, he hoped to set his brother’s mind and heart at peace.
He failed miserably. Once Kiros focused on something in his head, nobody could alter the man’s thinking.
“I do not cause trouble!” Kiros bellowed. His facial expressions full of hurt and obvious shock.
Looking around to find a suitable stretch of sand, Myaten started taking the measurements to quote to their King. There needed to be fifty-seven steps precisely to achieve the right distance to make the obelisk work correctly. Not an easy task to tackle on his own but he would give this quest everything he had.
The obelisk in this Time proved repeatedly to be the one and only true way back. Concentrating, he tried to tune Kiros out before answering. “Be that as it may, trouble finds you and I know this first hand,” he stopped measuring long enough to cut Kiros a meaningful look. “…because I usually end up defending you with my swords against the trouble in question.”
Kiros sputtered, “Surely fault is not with I, but with you!” Kiros accused in full swing of his leather clad arms that swayed like his blond shoulder length hair.
“Why are we discussing this again so soon?” Myaten flung his head back while slapping his face. The harsh sting against his cheeks turned his thoughts to strangling his brother.
Pacing in the dry, dusty earth, Kiros stopped long enough to stare at Myaten. “There is talk among the soldiers that we are lovers. Personally, if it were anyone else, I would be highly offended, but this needs to stop, Myaten!” Kiros pounded an invisible foe with his fists.
Myaten waved off the ridiculous rumor. Soldiers talked shit, but nobody took any notice half the time. “I repeat we have no Time for this right now!”
“Make Time and listen to your brother! When all is said and done, I am master of the life I pursue!” Kiros continued to hammer the air with powerful fists while walking circles around Myaten. Then the kicking sand in every direction began again.
“You speak truth with your words brother, as do I.” Dragging his fingers down along his cheeks, Myaten watched Kiros closely. There was more to this and he would crush the seed of doubt festering inside Kiros― later, but now, he had responsibilities to uphold.
Kiros answered with a loud growl. “Tell me something I do not know.”
“Make this a matter we can discuss upon returning, Kiros. Now is not my Time, nor yours to debate this!” Muttering a spell, Myaten leapt from the ground and hovered. “Take your place over there.” Myaten indicated the stretch of red sand about twenty paces east.
Waving him away, Kiros shook his head viscously. “I refuse! Discuss this now or I leave! Better still, you be gone!”
Green and blue eyes locked horns.
Neither brother gave an inch.
Nothing new there either.
Dark brows dipped lower in anger at Kiros. Myaten was well aware of the conspiracy against his companion. In life there would always be events that one could not change no matter how much one desired it.
The devious man accountable for spreading such vile lies and deceit was one of many suitors vying for the princess and the throne.
“Fine, let us be done with this squabble. You are responsible for all, not I. Listen to your vile words about women. Most of the Kingdom’s forces think you are a lunatic for refusing the hand of Roris’s First daughter, Kirara. So listen with good faith, ignore false words, or stop igniting the flames of distrust by damning all women! Now silence your ravings, I speak with our King!”
Scrunching eyelids shut, he concentrated on spreading his thoughts out toward the north where his father waited in a secret location with SandWeavers.
Roris, we are ready to depart. Send the obelisk.
I sense agitation within you my son.
Kiros, my Father. I am accustomed to his wails on Time travel and I shall live.
Humor aside, I blame myself. Bespeak my apologies to young Kiros. The obelisk awaits you. Safe journey my sons.
Finishing the conversation, Myaten caught his friend yanking sweaty strands of hair out of his face. For as long as he’d known the young man, Myaten never fully understood the amount of hatred within one soul. Someone wronged him. One day he hoped Kiros would trust him or someone enough to confide those secrets, until then, Myaten stood with him.
“Time is upon us.” Myaten landed long enough to take Kiros forcibly by the arm and hit the obelisk at high speed.
“Ugh, boats, waves, I hate water― I feel dreadful!” Kiros retched seconds before shoving his face into an old bucket for that very reason.
Myaten glanced from Kiros to the wide expanse of beautiful sea green water. Inhaling the salty air, eyes rolled with appreciation of nature before filling with aggravation at his companion. “Kiros we’re still land bound and how long have you suffered with water sickness?”
Holding the bucket between white knuckles Kiros heaved again. “This is your fault! Don’t speak to me about anything right now. It’s not water sickness it’s a spell to keep me grounded.”
Another unsolved mystery. Myaten stomped his camel leather sandal against a splintering plank before throwing Kiros a spare bathing cloth. “You should forewarn me. Alterations to our method of travel would free your head of that bucket.” Digging at his friend, hoping to take his mind off the sickness― it didn’t work.
“As a rule,” Kiros wiped his mouth with the faint eucalyptus scented towel. “…Myaten, it’s not a subject I like to talk about.”
One dark eyebrow lifted in wonder. “There are many subjects you care not to discuss with me, period. Why make this one special?” At the gagging sounds, he felt remorse for teasing.
“Is there anything I can do to help?” Myaten asked while keeping track of everyone and everything going on around them. A soldier never lets his guard down. With a sick brother, extra diligence came as natural as breathing.
“Just promise me one thing,” Kiros managed to lift his sweaty head and held the rag to his mouth muffling a long belch.
“Anything, name it and it shall be done!” Myaten slammed his fist against his chest with a powerful thud.
Kiros coughed once before wildly falling to his knees. “Do not leave my side during this voyage. If a woman appears, leave at once! Do not engage her in battle. She will kill you if you interfere.”
Confusion followed by agitation settled across his face. Not the women subject again! “A woman, why did I not see that coming?” Myaten reached down to aid his friend. Arms intertwined to steady and support his dead weight if Kiros should lose consciousness.
“It is no teasing matter. Promise me! She will kill all who get in the way!” Kiros squeezed Myaten’s wrist. “This is no tale of my fancy. Once we make it to Atlantis, I will speak the truth between us.”
His vow made every ounce of agitation evaporate. Worry turned to anger at the look of dread in his friend’s blue eyes. Nobody should be that afraid.
“I vow with my life to keep you safe always brother. Once we step foot upon Atlantis, you may speak your mind. Be at peace. Now. Rest.”
“Thank you.” Kiros uttered before his eyelids lowered and his body slumped forward.
Forbidden to use magic in front of humans, Myaten glanced around searching for assistance. “You there!” he shouted, claiming the attention of servants carrying items bound for the ship docked at the end of the pier.
“We are weary travelers from distant lands.” Myaten spoke using a haughty tone, one he disliked, but served him well on occasion. Waving, Myaten made sure the man and woman saw how richly dressed he was before placing a small pouch of coins into the man’s dirty apron.
“Tis thy pleasure, me lord.”
Myaten gave a stern tilt of his head in acknowledge of the servant’s oath. “Lend your strength to aid my traveling companion. He is not accustomed to more water than he washes in.” Myaten teased as the man and woman laughed merrily at his joke.
The great ship with over two hundred oars would convey them midway across the vast water at great speeds. He would then take Kiros and Time it. By the end of the visit with the Royal family, Myaten would return to this place and carry on with their false story of travelers on a quest for a suitor fit for the King’s daughter.
With the aid of the servants, Kiros was unceremoniously dumped face down on a mattress of fresh straw. At least he hoped it was fresh. Travelling by ship left many luxuries to be desired and coveted by other passengers.
Leaving the cramped quarters, Myaten beckoned the pair out with another bag of coins. “I will send my regards to your master with appreciation. Leave the name of the House you work for…”
“Strathmore House, sir. Our master will approve. We shall eat tonight.” They smiled. Their fumbling bows and curtseys pained him. These two were not servants as he originally thought.
People should receive wages for a day’s honorable work, not treated as slaves. Not many shared his beliefs and Roris warned him to lead with his mind, not his heart.
Closing the door and locking it firmly with magic, he saw to Kiros’s needs.
A few minutes later Myaten left a sleeping Kiros to search out the captain. Manners and station dictate notifying him of his companion’s situation. Sickness on a ship would spread like wildfire and he refused to swim it home!
Snapping his fingers at an idea forming, he pumped the air with his fist! Thank you, Kiros! His brother’s sudden ailment bought the allotment of Time needed to complete his mission.
“Have you not found someone else to pester, Audis?” Kiros rolled his head to one side to look up at the woman standing across the small room. She was like a scorpion, sneaky and full of venom!
Oh, go away.
“I warned you once if you leave me, I will destroy everything you care about!”
The recited warning fired at him had long lost its luster. The thought of actually fearing Audis made him burst out laughing, until a sharp stabbing pain crossed his temples making his vision blurry for a second or two. Shaking his head, he watched her point a long finger down at him.
Obviously nobody taught you manners.
“It’s not nice to point at people, Audis.” He knew a storm was brewing without having to look at her glowing blue eyes. She hated him. Despised everything he stood for and yet without him, she would weaken and die. That part made him smile in spite of her irritating presence.
“I could end your miserable excuse of a life!”
“Please, do not embarrass yourself further…” He chuckled and waved her presence away. “Leave me be before I am sick over you.”
Furious at his display of humor, she lashed out with a sword of twisted metal and glass.
Lifting up, supported by one elbow, his fingers spread wide. A blast filled the room and Audis hit the wall and stayed there— pinned by his magic.
“Take what you came for and leave, now!”
He knew from previous encounters the volatile state of her mind and barricaded his thoughts. Burying emotions deep within him was the only shield he had. Making sure to protect the identities of those he cared for by focusing all his hatred toward her as she started siphoning energy from him without touching.
Releasing her, he waited for a smack across the face. Audis loved physical contact. Hitting happened to be her forte.
“I will take what is rightfully mine!”
Towering over him by a hand span, he despised the face she wore. The same blond hair hung past narrow hips along with pale skin and strange blue eyes that were not the only traits they shared.
“Who are you with?” She demanded in a shrieking voice as she stormed across the room. The loud clomp of her heels against the wood floor set off explosions inside his skull.
Refusing to show any discomfort he answered with his normal rancor. “I travel with no companion.” Holding his finger out to hers, he kept his face neutral as she clamped hold of his wrist, making the transfer extremely painful.
She sneered. “I do not believe you, especially since I know for a fact you hate being alone.”
Sneering back with a hint of fangs, he glared at her over the bridge of his nose. “Conversations are a bore with you. Take what you must, then leave. I have no desire to explain who or what you are to anyone!”
Withdrawing her hand to smooth the red fabric of her dress around her frame, she idly watched from under hooded eyes. “Sniffling pathetic—”
His hand went up. “Do you honestly believe that I care what you think of me?” He chuckled again. Waving bye, he wished her to oblivion with his thoughts.
Stomping her feet she followed up in a whiny voice. “Why you were granted the soul vassal of our race’s magic, I shall never understand.” Stepping back, her body contorted into a fine mist. “Remember, leave me and you shall feel the death of everyone you love.”
How could he forget, she never let him. Nothing new there― and on the anniversary of his inheritance, Audis visited him to claim feeding rights within their Breed. Her boasts of God like powers were not so god like if she had to use him to restore hers.
Feeling weak, he managed to roll onto his side and shut his eyes. Relief washed over him when he realized he was alone in the cabin. Giving Audis another pawn to keep him in line wasn’t what he needed. Sleep on the other hand is what he desired most. A few hours rest always restored him after one of her visits.
Myaten tossed a purse of silver coins into the Captain’s dirty palm. Landing with a jingle, he caught the look of greed within the man’s beady eyes. “This is a small token to assure privacy while travelling aboard your fine ship.” Myaten bowed from the waist and kept his eyes on the filthy short man in front of him. Wishing for a cold, Myaten caught the waft of stale sweat and ale followed by a wink and knew the message hit home.
“This voyage will see you hit land in a fortnight, Master Myaten. I will place my best guard at your door.” Nodding at the large man to his right, the captain gave a toothy smile.
Myaten knew what that meant. Trouble in the form of a tree trunk with arms and legs, well at least he could smell them coming.
Thanking the human, Myaten returned swiftly to his chambers. He trusted no one. The captain’s word meant nothing, and the silver coins would bring others to his door tonight.
Standing in the dark space that housed one straw mattress on the floor, he took up his swords and waited for the first drunken sailor to appear.
Two days roughing it at sea and Myaten began to feel Kiros’s merit in water sickness. The roll of the ship with the waves turned his mouth sour.
Using one of four water skins, he drank slowly and sparingly.
Food on this ship was nothing he wanted to sample, besides, Roris made sure the food supply he brought along would sustain him.
A unique power contained within their life’s blood would keep him going. That part of their existence was a secret each vowed to protect. To never let the humans know or gain evidence of their existence, for they are SandWalkers, one of the Ancient Breeds.
“Wake up Kiros! We must go now!” Myaten kicked the mattress after wasting more than ten minutes trying to wake the man from a death like sleep.
“Get your sick ass up!”
Groaning, Kiros squinted in the darkness before rolling onto the floor. “I’m up. I need to pee.”
“Pee later!” Myaten grabbed Kiros by his schenti. Teleporting them from the confined cabin before the man had a chance to use one of the buckets to relieve himself, he hoped Kiros had a strong bladder.
Outside the cold ocean wind blew around them in fierce gales. The massive ship groaned under the onslaught of Mother Nature and Myaten wondered if there would be a ship to return to. Capsizing would mean the end for the crew and passengers.
Lightning pierced the sky multiple times with dark clouds blotting out the heavens like a black curtain.
“IT’S TIME!” Myaten shouted telepathically.
Kiros nodded his understanding and held tight while offering a wrist.
“I hate this part!” Kiros barked back.
Myaten ignored the protests and bit down. Within two heartbeats, Myaten released his fangs from Kiros’s wrist and waited for the instant rush that would increase his strength.
One— Two— Three.
There it was. A tingle settled in the pit of his stomach like a rotating orb of energy. Extending, growing, and spreading through his organs, muscle and tissue. The surge of power would allow him to summon the Time Obelisk from the seabed.
Only a Time Guardian could control the ancient monuments. Lucky he passed his tests first time around.
The giant stone splashed free of the thrashing sea. Waves crashing, stretching to reclaim what belonged within the inky depths of a world he hoped one day to investigate. The vicious weather did nothing to impede the speed of the Time portal. Up, up it flew through the air, climbing higher and higher. Spearing the black clouds and leaving behind an arced funnel of water and air.
Myaten waited— bidding his time. Only one such as he knew instinctively the right fraction of minutes and seconds needed to Time it. Now as a Guardian, he could go where he wanted without fear of retribution by the Holy One.
The four-sided obelisk beckoned from above the clouds and within seconds, he swore he heard Roris speak.
Now my son!
Reaching within him, Myaten tightened his hold on Kiros. Up they flew. Like a pair of falcons, wings stretched, pumping to keep flight. Soaring higher and higher— toward the heavens where the portal lay in wait.
Breaking through the cloud cover, Myaten cursed at the loud hum coming from the spinning obelisk. No matter how many times he travelled in Time, this method always split his skull like a ripe melon.
Both men slammed into the rotating monument resulting in an explosion of light and sound that would kill any normal being.
The obelisk spit them out the other side into a world of calm and serenity. Pastel clouds with sparkling sunbeams a sharp contrast to the dark side of the storm separated by thousands of years into the future.
And with a muddled brain, Myaten managed to anchor the obelisk to their present time frame. No human had or ever would set foot upon the wondrous delight of Atlantis.
But that wasn’t the most pressing matter at hand. The fact that they were perilously falling from the sky hit home. If he didn’t stop their decent, they wouldn’t set foot on it either!
“Hey! Do you think we could go up now?”
Kiros’s fingers dug into his brother’s flesh.
“I am trying!”
“Try harder! I do not want to die this way!”
“You cannot die!” Myaten shouted back at him wishing to slap him upside the head.
“Let us not put that theory to the test today. So get us up there!” Kiros pointed up at the hovering mountain.
Myaten tried and nothing worked. “I am too weak, Kiros!”
“I will pretend you lie…”
Before their male argument could continue, a blinding skein of light appeared from a pinpoint off in the distance beneath them. The shimmering colors spread out like fishing net, capturing them.
“Am I supposed to be pleased about this?” Kiros asked as the sparkling strands pulled tight across his shoulders, depositing him on his head.
“This is not my doing!” Myaten’s muffled answer was barely audible with his face pressed hard against Kiros’s armpit.
Just as Kiros opened his mouth to shout at Myaten again, the net jerked and the upward tow forced him into the strong pouch. Were they the food for some higher being? He wasn’t about to wait and find out.
Queen Larissa stood silently gazing out the window. Turning with a questioning look within crystal eyes that perfectly matched the shade of her dark blue gown, she asked. “Yes, what is the matter?”
Not sure how to break the news of the capture of two ambassadors, the young man decided it best to answer honestly. “It would seem that our patrol accidentally caught Ambassador Myaten, Son of Roris and co-ruler of the desert lands.”
The frown that marred the perfect set of white shimmering eyebrows made the man take a few steps back.
Clasping hands behind her back, she spoke softly. “How pray tell did this happen? Are they unharmed? Please speak openly, there is nothing to fear.”
At the sound of footsteps, the guard paused to look over his shoulder, his face pale with obvious worry.
“Please pardon our interruptions, Larissa, but if not for this man,” Myaten pointed at the guy literally quaking in his boots, “Kiros and I would be two tasty morsels for the sea creatures below.”
Larissa tipped her head slightly in acknowledgement and waved the officer away. Walking with long strides, she met Myaten with arms outstretched. Palm to palm in a circle. Issuing the royal greeting meant that he could speak openly in her presence. “I am in your debt that I need not inform your father with news of your disappearance in Time.”
“Well it would not be the first, Larissa.” He bowed and returned the circle of palms―one rotation to the right and two to the left.
Larissa stood on tiptoe to see over Myaten. Beaming a most enchanting smile, she motioned the other man closer. “Please, introductions Myaten.”
Coughing to clear his throat and hoping that Kiros did not upset the delicate balance between their Breeds, he waited to see how Kiros handled himself. “This is Kiros. Foster brother and son of Roris and Keeper of the Falcons.” He stepped aside to allow Kiros to take his place.
Myaten watched as Kiros waited for Larissa to look straight at him.
With a nod of acceptance, Kiros stopped and placed both palms facing the Queen. “I ask your Highness to forgive my state of dress.” Kiros cut Myaten a heated look. “I was not prepared for this trip, nor was I informed of meeting with you personally.” He bowed from the waist, keeping his back ramrod straight as he bent forward.
“There is no need for apologies, Kiros. And I am honored to meet with you…” She paused as if in thought before continuing. “Kiros, correct me if you feel obliged to, but Myaten announced you as his foster brother. Are you not of the Alicorn Breed?”
Kiros nodded slowly unsure at first and returned to Myaten’s side. “I have no recollection of my Breed, your Highness, and I know very little of my past.”
“Yes, I know this to be true, Kiros. I can see your true form, hazy, but it is there. Forgive me. It has been a long time since my breed enjoyed the company of an Alicorn.” Turning in a florish of swirling sapphire blue, Larissa floated into an adjacent room clapping her hands with what the men hoped was delight.
Myaten smacked Kiros on the shoulder. “What is this Alicorn business? You never spoke of this before?”
“That is in part due to the fact that Larissa’s touch opened a memory within my mind. I have no prior knowledge.” Stopping long enough to place his palm against Myaten’s chest he began to feel antsy. “Do you remember the woman I told you about back on the docks?”
“Yeah, how could one not remember? Your head in a bucket is not something anyone tends to forget quickly.”
“You are not amusing, Myaten. Listen. I confess to you now that the woman is but a distant relative. She visits once each year on the day of my rebirth to drain the energy within me.”
“Can we speak of this later? Larissa is waiting. You do not keep the Ruler of Atlantis standing alone waiting while we bicker about your fantasies!”
“I knew you would not believe me!” Kiros snarled and pushed past Myaten. Coming to a standstill, Kiros rolled his shoulders back. Flattening the hem of his crushed kilt, he quickly straightened his cloak, letting it fall over his right shoulder before entering the room with the air of a prince.
Myaten stood with his mouth slightly ajar before glancing down at his own attire. How it was Kiros always managed to astound him? There were things no man could rationalize and now, he had no logical reason to doubt Kiros. But why would this woman, attack him in this fashion? Deep down, the truth stared him in the face.
Everyone attacked Kiros.
Glancing down, he grunted. Rumpled with a day’s growth of beard why should he worry of Kiros offending Larissa when he looked like a goat. “Why does lady luck screw with me even in different Time Zones?” Shaking his head, Myaten tried to resurrect his royal finery before joining the others.
Larissa spread her arms wide in invitation. “Please take refreshments,” she indicated the oval, sapphire table laden with crystal pitchers and platters of food. “…and stop with the nonsense. I hear your unspoken thoughts and it is entertaining, but pains me that the both of you wish to impress. There is no need,” she glanced straight at Kiros and continued speaking, “…to worry about who you are Kiros.”
Looking at Myaten with fondness she explained in more detail. “Kiros is from a different race entirely. Much older than any one Breed and I know this because only my Breed can see you. His memories have been locked.”
Kiros looked shocked and opened his mouth to speak.
“I am unable to undo what has been done to you dear friend. Although, saying that, you have the magic to unlock your past. When the time is right, you will.”
Clearing her throat her face turned serious. “Now speak candidly, Myaten.”
“We appreciate your courtesies.” Myaten took his customary spot to the left of Kiros.
Kiros sniffed and took three steps the other way. “Speak for one’s self. I did not want to come. I told you I…” He stopped at the charming laugh from Larissa.
“Sorry.” Both men spoke in unison.
One eyebrow rose as she looked at them. “I believe Roris sent a message of great importance?”
Myaten immediately removed the leather belt, recovered the papyrus and passed it to her. “Father wishes to warn the good citizens of Atlantis of the impending threat. I offer myself to your services in good will. Father would also deem this a necessary political tool in which both Breeds can defend everyone against this evil.”
Larissa held the small piece of reed paper in the palm of her hand as if it were a delicate butterfly. “Evil has a purpose as does good, young Myaten. Without each, a delicate cord snaps and the scales of life ultimately ruining the laws of the universe.”
“True, but it would be an honor to stand by your side in battle—”
He broke off mid sentence as she shushed him to silence and threw the piece of paper into the air.
The edges unfolded before their eyes as she spoke. “Allow me to digest the written words of your father and then you shall have your chance to speak.”
The men watched as Larissa paced around the large circular room, reading silently.
A dome of frosted glass kept the harsh sunlight out and as they inspected the contents of the area, sections of glass cleared to allow them to see outside.
The Palace was made up of magic, science, machinery and nature. Waterfalls glisten with colorful ribbons of reflected light making it hard to stare outside for too long. Columns of ivory stood like trees in a forest in amongst lush green foliage where colorful birds nested.
Myaten could count on one hand how much he knew about the ancient city. The last of their ships that conveyed their Breeds from one dying world to Earth at least that is what the records showed in the Great Library.
“Roris is a fine leader and I value his opinions, Myaten. However, I cannot without justification join a war that is not of this Time. There are rules that I must follow. And above all, I protect my people before anyone else.”
Myaten started to argue the point of his father when Kiros stomped on his toes. Emotions high and feeling a failure, he was ready to return the personal attack and stopped the minute Kiros’s jaw move.
He didn’t have to lip read to understand the message.
“Be that as it may, I will not stand aside and let innocent people die. So explain to me how the BloodSeekers came to be? Are they a breed we know nothing about? Did they exist on Earth before we came?” As she fired question after question, the floating paper ignited into a ball of blue flames leaving nothing behind.
“Father wishes an audience with your Highness. Perhaps the answers you seek can be obtained through diligent talks.” Myaten bowed and recovered his composure.
Sighing, she pursed her lips. “I see, very well. Perhaps that can be arranged at another Time. For now, you must remain as my esteemed guests. Come. I will introduce you to the Royal family, Kiros. Myaten has met my husband, although last we spoke, I have born a child. Master Tilkise is nine months old and today is his trial.”
At the looks of confusion, Larissa chuckled before explaining. “As you know every Breed has magical energy that on Earth is an untapped source. We keep to our own to enforce the power within our rare blood. This is the First Breed Law that none shall break. And the Trial tests every citizen of Atlantis for this rare magic.”
“And I thought teething, crying and changing were bad enough.” Kiros teased.
“Yes, well, that too can be a real challenge. Tilkise has a powerful set of lungs…”
“Your Grace, the Trial awaits you.”
The men turned to stare at a figure dressed in royal blue robes of her Highness’s court. Since most Atlantians boast a height from six feet and taller, he was exceptionally tall.
Myaten smacked Kiros’s hand away after he measured the space above his head. “Behave,” he mouthed from the corner of his lips.
“Thank you, Nortis.” Larissa kept her back to him.
“My pleasure to serve,” he said and backed out of the domed room with head bowed and eyes averted.
“Let us make way to the heart of the city.” Larissa spread her arms wide. The silky fabric swished with her graceful movements. The soft sound of bells and the three of them blinked out of sight.
The second the group popped back into view, Myaten and Kiros looked up at the loud voice.
“Ah! Greetings, SandWalkers! What gifts do you bring for our exalted Queen?”
“Mind your manners, Orssolyn!” Larissa ordered. The disgust laid her words hard and sure so that Orssolyn nearly fell down the steps they landed on. “These men are My guests and shall be treated with dignity.”
Orssolyn bowed over offering his apologies. “Please, have my station while visiting.” Orssolyn waved his bejeweled hand over a row of crystal pedestals with arm rests covered in blue fabric.
Royalty never lowered themselves to sitting in front of their subjects. Standing was an important part of their etiquette while in public.
“We humbly accept.” Myaten placed his fist over his heart and tipped his head. The echoing thud told him Kiros repeated the salute.
The Queen waited for everyone to take their places before facing the crowd of millions. The chanting of Trial could be heard as a child was carried up a long steep set of white sparking stairs.
“My son!” her voice boomed.
Magnified to reach every citizen of Atlantis, Myaten wondered how they did that. He smiled at the cooing sounds that instantly were heard by all the second Larissa cradled him in her arms.
Kiros washed in a separate smaller pool before stepping into the clearest, darkest, blue water he had ever seen.
What is it with blue in this place?
It was everywhere! The tiles to the paintings, even the fixtures and candles were a shade of blue. Not that he cared, the effect was stimulating to say the least.
Resting his head against the silver rim of the heated pool that ran the entire length of the room— adjusting his rear to get more comfy— his eyelids drifted shut for the first time for, well, ever.
After Audis’s visit earlier, he could only assume she couldn’t Time travel― thus allowing himself the luxury of having a bath without her planting a dagger between his shoulder blades for fun.
For some reason the dumb bitch couldn’t distinguish the difference between bath water and ocean water.
However, I could get to like this.
On the verge of falling asleep, a soft rapping at the door brought Kiros up out of the bath in an instant. Water went everywhere, droplets up the walls and over the edge of the bath.
“Who is it?” Rubbing water out of his eyes, he heard a loud cough, then silence.
“It is I, Tilkise. May I be permitted to enter?”
Kiros wiggled a finger in each ear. I must have water in there. “Are you the namesake of Queen Larissa’s child?”
Reaching up, Kiros exited the bath and patted his chest dry. Standing there with the towel hovering near his face, he waited for a reasonable reply.
“Mother sent me to speak with you…”
Raising one eyebrow in speculation, he opened his mouth to ask another question when the door opened.
A young man stood before him.
“There is only one Tilkise, and you could not possibly be that one.” Kiros turned and left the stranger staring at him as if he suffered with mind sickness.
“I have two cycles before I can be considered a man.” Tilkise nodded with that elegance exhibited by his mother.
“Have you never seen a full grown man before?” Teasing the lad about women came to mind until the kid looked down at the floor. He didn’t need confirmation, the body language told him all.
“As heir to Atlantis I am not privileged to mix with others. You are an exception. Mother said your Breed is knowledgeable in most things. Shape shifting happens to be one that none have mastered.”
Kiros threw the towel to the floor. Reaching for clean clothes, he dressed quickly. Taking note of the conversation, but deep inside, he was angry and bitter.
He had always wondered who he was. Never fitting in with the sand dwellers, Kiros became a loner until he met Myaten.
“I must interrupt you.” The young boy held his cupped hands up. “I have little Time as Mother informs me that I must stand Trial.” Turning to leave, Kiros reached out and took hold of the prince by his elbow.
“Did you not attend a Trial a few hours ago and you have grown, fast?” Kiros admired the lanky boy with shoulder length white hair and crystal blue eyes.
Tipping his head in acknowledgment Tilkise offered a shy smile. “Our ways are strange to other Breeds. The first Trial is acceptance from our People. Gifts are received. Magic, strength, courage, intelligence, wisdom and humility―the second Trial if accepted, my People will gift me with the title of Heir. The third Trial my People will gift my body with protection, health, virility, and then after I reach my manhood. I stand my final Trial.”
Kiros saw the flash of heat travel the young boys face and knew sex was part of it.
“So why again do you need me to teach you something I cannot remember?”
Walking together Tilkise answered matter of fact. “If I am to fight with you against the BloodSeekers, I must blend in.”
“Your mother has decided so soon? But only moments ago she spoke of uncertainty?”
“Come. As Brothers, it would be an honor to have an Alicorn witnessing my Trials into adulthood.”
Bowing, Kiros clapped the young boy on the shoulders. “Then I accept. Now Tilkise, explain to me why everything is blue in this place.”
Giving a short chuckle, the young lad tapped the side of his nose. “Let us not keep Mother waiting and I will divulge the answer but rest assured it is nothing more than magical.”