Lost Children of Atlantis
(c) 2006 Mychyl Kime (KimeNet Corp.)

This is a work of fiction. The people depicted in this story (to the best of the author's knowledge) do NOT exist. And these events are, for the most part, all the imagination of the author. More importantly, this is a work of science fiction (and, to a significant degree, fantasy), so while some of the situations may seem probable, and scientifically possible, that hardly means that this is to be taken as real. As for content... suffice it to say, eventually, this story may well turn explicit. I'm a stickler for a good storyline, though, so it might be a while til there's anything "offensive".

If you are under 18 years of age (or whatever the legal age in your area is) you must leave. Of course, I can't very well make you leave... but if you choose to stay, DON'T GET CAUGHT! It is neither my fault, nor the fault of this wonderful site, if you get caught running around here.

Also, if you are repulsed by the concept of homosexual romance and/or sex, please feel free to leave at any time. (In fact, now would be a good time.) But hey, it's your call, of course... I can't make you leave, either... but if you choose to stay, feel free... who knows, you might even change your mind! My only question is: why are you here if that's the case?

This is a new story, mostly independent of my older work; if you are interested in that, it's in HighSchool/Ukiah_Chronicles. I say mostly, because the main character (and perhaps an occasional "guest star") are based on the Ukiah Chronicles. The inspiration for this work is Symbiota Sapiens, written by the charismatic (if occasionally over-loquacious ;P) Dean. Feel free to go read. (It's an excellent story, really. Do go read it. ^^)

(As an aside, the song quoted in this chapter falls under Dean's intellectual copyright and is used by explicit written permission of the author.)

Please feel free to email me with your comments/suggestions at the address below. Or, if you'd prefer, you can IM me on the chance you catch me online. (I leave my IMs on 24/7, unless my computer crashes or gets force-rebooted for some reason.)

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And now, without further delay:

~*~ {{Recap}} ~*~

That same man was who stood before me, now, moving as gracefully as any ballroom dancer, but with a kind of implied strength that made me think of him as a protector, of sorts. He was dressed in bluejeans and a green button-down shirt, which was hanging open, showing his perfect chest and abs. He smiled, and for a second I forgot where I was, or even why that should concern me.

"Damien Avile... I have been waiting for this day for quite some time," he said in a musical voice, as though he was more inclined to sing than to speak. "Welcome, and well come thou art."

~*~ Chapter 2 ~*~

"And as Benito states quite clearly, we are the Guardians," he continued, with a slight nod and an ironic half-smile to the kid. "We seek, at the most basic level, to ensure mankind continues ever-evolving in mind and spirit, reaching eventually for a state not unlike the Utopia concept humanity is so taken with." He looked at the girl, suddenly all business and seriousness. "Allie, is he ready?"

The girl half-scowled at him. "Why do you always call me that ridiculous nickname, Chris? You know I hate it."

"Fine, fine," he demurred, "but I still say Alliesa sounds a bit pompous."

"And to answer your question," she continued, still a bit sullen-sounding, "yes, he is. I expect the Esseren will begin the process soon."

"Well and fine, then. Perhaps now is best for starting, before he's handed more than anyone can handle, no matter his intellect." With a mocking bow, he pulled a old-looking piece of rolled paper from his pocket, smashed quite a bit from being tucked into his jeans, as he stood facing me directly, all business suddenly. "This is the Guardian Song, and it is customary, as the name indicates, to sing it. However... I think you will agree, when I am done, that this method is far, far more informative."

Before I could ask what he meant by that, he started to sing... except perhaps sing would be the wrong word, since while I heard the words, and even a musical counterpoint unspoken but still present, it was almost like... seeing the events, living them, being present with the song...

Of the ancient Citadel we call
We of old blood sing to new
For of the City not one stone remains
but only blood and songs

For cities fall, their great walls crumble
Memories fade, the great myths fail
For Time is patient in its task
Of foiling men's plans of fame

Yet after the End when all stone is crushed
When fame is gone and knowledge lost
Remains the ancient blood and all
It gives to those who dare

For the old blood is immortal power
Forever may its wearer walk
Yet with this power the burden falls
Upon those few who take the blood

Let the Old Ones be the Guardians
Of myth, and fame, and crumbling wall
Lest Time rob man again of what he builds
And more mighty Citadels fall

Let the immortal guard what Immortal Time would steal
And the old blood seal them
The olden powers keep them
As they guard the Citadel

And with the last note, he fell silent and the vision of a crumbling Citadel, a wonder of perfect existence and perfect peace among all humanity, disappeared before me. He sat, quietly, as though he'd given his all... which, judging from the... visions wasn't quite the right term, but visions they were, and I felt that I'd actually been there, somehow... he might well have given more than any normal human could.

"What was that I just saw?" I asked, breaking the almost worshipful silence.

"That... was the great Citadel, the great and fabled city of Atlantis," Benito said solemnly. "Few survived the fall of the Citadel, and none of those few are still alive. Those few, as you might imagine, are the ones who realized we would need to find more individuals who are capable of insuring all of mankind is able to return to the peace which once embraced Atlantis." He bowed his head. "The last of the true Guardians... was my mentor."

With a start, I looked at Benito... really looked at him. He didn't look to be old enough to be in junior high even... but if what he'd just said was true, he'd have to be older than I could even imagine. "And how long ago was all this?" I asked, trying to find some fact to focus on.

"The song was written about four thousand years ago, shortly after the Citadel's destruction," Alliesa replied, very subdued. "This, and the legacy of the Guardians' protection, are all that remains of the knowledge of that time."

"And what about blood and power?" I said, the words coming back to me. "I mean, what are you, vampires?"

Chris snickered. "No, although if we were, Hollywood would have a few things right. There is one thing which survived, along with the song... one thing which makes it possible for the Guardians to live long enough to make a difference, and makes it possible for us to continue the work the ancient immortals began. The Esseren."

Remembering Alliesa's cryptic remark earlier, I turned to her. "What's the Esseren? You said something about it before." I felt like my head was spinning... here I was, waking up naked in a place I'd never seen before, seemingly abducted from my own bed, surrounded by people I didn't know. And one of them made it sound like they were some sort of blood-sucking immortals... it was all a bit too fiction for me.

She thought a moment. "I guess, the easiest way to explain it to you would be... you know what nanotechnology is?" I shrugged, and she continued, "Essentially, they're nanobots... robots on the microscopic scale... which live in the bloodstream of every Guardian. They keep us healthy, and unless they are somehow destroyed or deprogrammed, they also make us effectively immortal."

"And what's that got to do with me?" I asked, impatience returning with a vengence. "I wake up, taken from my own home... while I was unconscious, mind you... being injected with something while I lie on a table, naked and unable to move. How's what you did to me fit into all this?"

"Essentially, it is what we 'did to you'," Chris said, taking a seat on the couch directly next to the recliner I'd chosen. "We have cured your disease. Or rather, diseases, in your case, though yours is rather unique, I must admit." He paused a moment, buffing his nails on his shirt. "Normally, the only 'disease' we cure by the administration of Esseren is... well, dormis mortalis. The sleep of death." He paused again, fidgeting almost nervously. "In your case, that was inevitable. Your mind had slipped into a sort of self-willed catatonia, fueled by emotional shock and a strange sort of emotional defense mechanism that manifested itself quite physically."

I shivered, remembering the dreams of ice... and the dreams of turning to ice. "Exactly," he said softly. "Your body was, during this catatonic shock, driving your body temperature down to such an extreme cold that, had we not intervened, your dead body would have eventually been found, presumably of extreme frostbite. Not something anyone would be able to explain, in your bed in a temperate area like Ukiah. You would have literally froze yourself... and might I add, carbon-based lifeforms have an extremely low point at which they, while still living, are considered completely frozen... into solid ice. Which would have killed you. And caused you to thaw, thus muddying the waters further."

He dropped all pretense, leaned over to my chair and caught my right hand in his own. "We did not wish to see this occur. Furthermore, I did not wish to see this occur. And given that we are able to keep this from occuring... which is what the Esseren have to do with you, since their 'interference' in your body prevented you from dying... it did not seem foolhardy to move our choice into action, even if the haste would normally seem foolhardy." He glanced at Benito with a sardonic smile. "After all, haste is not limited in cause to this once... some have been 'cured' of mortality long before considered seemly."

Benito stood, but calmly, and gestured with his hand for me to join him. Standing in front of him, with his head coming just even to my chest, he reached out and caught my right hand in his, closing his eyes as if in concentration. "I, Benito Capuletti, of the old blood, give you, Damien Avile, initiate of the blood, this Charge. You, Damien, are now of the blood, and as such are appointed Guardian of mankind forever." He paused a moment, as though revising the next part in his mind. "Go, now, and see to your personal affairs. You will have two days to do so, before you will need to return, having severed all your familial and mortal ties, prepared to begin your service to humanity free of any loyalties save to mankind itself. After you are of the blood, you have no family save the Brotherhood, and you shall never again see the faces of those who know you now."

I thought a moment, rather than immediately following his command. "It is true, I have a family... parents, cousins, uncles and aunts... but I have no closeness, no emotional proximity." I paused, thinking how best to word the next part. "Aside from material posessions, which mean little to me as is, I have nothing to break off. And love..." I choked back tears, feeling a finality to my ending with Tyler, as there seemed to be no way out of this arrangement. "There is one I loved, who I believe loved me, but that has ended. I have no ties to prevent me."

I stepped back, taking all three of them in my gaze. "I don't know what I'm getting myself into, jumping onboard with this craziness, but I guess I might as well find out, huh?" I smirked at Benito's dumbfounded gape at my forwardness. "I guess I'm as ready as I get."

Chris walked over, until he was standing just before me, his hand closing on my shoulder. "Do not worry, Damien. You will not be alone. And we will teach you what you need to know, what we can teach, so you will not be impotent in the fight." He paused, his mood suddenly dark, almost deadly. "And although there are those who would like nothing more than to stop us and destroy everything we work for, we have not failed in four thousand years. And we will ensure you will be ready to face whatever you need to, before you even think about the work ahead of us." A gentle smile crossed his face. "Nor are we mere ruthless instructors and taskmasters; as Benito said, we are friend and family, and we don't believe in turning our backs on friends and family, no more than we could turn our backs on humanity."