by AB

Chapter 13


"Have there been any cultures in which death was not only death?" Andreas looked at his phone to see an IM from Triton.

"Sure, why?" He replied back.

"Dunno, just curious, what else can it be for?"

"lol, it can be change. Death can be change or it can the switch from one era to another, like the change between Rome and the dark ages or the herald of a calamity or various such things."

"Ok, ty." Came the reply.

"Which cultures were those?"

"Many different from ancient Sumerians and Greeks to Mayans and Incas. Why?"

"Told ya, just curious."

"You're not gonna tell me why are you?"

"Not rly no." Andreas rolled his eyes.

"I hate it when you do this and I feel it has something to do with me/my life." He wasn't really angry.

"You can't be the only one with secrets and teasing." Andreas could not see his face but he knew Triton was smiling and had probably giggled at this last line.

"I can't believe Christmas is nearly here. It's funny how days become months." Came Triton's reply.

"Funny is not the word I'd use but yes, I know what you mean." Andreas typed back.

Triton replied with a smiley, then a question.

"How are you? Still having the dreams?"

"Yes, ever increasing in frequency."

"Can't you do anything about it?"


"Dunno, therapy? Sedatives?"

Andreas had to laugh.

"It's not part of a mental illness or psychological problems. There is nothing to be done about them, it'll either happen or not."

"Happen? It?"

A few minutes of no reply later Triton sent another question. "You mean the Gathering? You're talking as if it's happened before?"

"It hasn't happened, but…"

"But? Come on already! Lol"

"lol, I've had the dreams four times in the past, but the Gathering must have failed because for one I'm still an Immortal, and the dreams only lasted days or weeks, not months."

"Changing the subject." Triton sent next. "What happened after Herculaneum? When were the Watchers instituted?"

"After that eruption. I do not know how or why but it happened in Rome in a secret meeting of men who took notice of…my kind."

"How did you find out? They can't have been shouting it on the streets."

"It's amazing what grown men will discuss when they think no one's around and I can be…persuasive. So, some talked completely ignoring me, what can a child do, right? After a while I got curious so I…conditioned them and they talked more."

"Conditioned them?" Came the question Andreas knew was coming.

"Ancient techniques long lost and forgotten by now but at some point, in my travels I came upon various different sites and people who taught me…stuff. One of them how to influence peoples' minds, how to make them believe what I want, how to make them do stuff and so on. Thinking of it now it's a glorified hypnotism but add the proper knowledge, herbs and years of practice and you can probably…influence most unsuspecting minds."

"Interesting. What other stuff you've learned?"

"Oh…potions, hunting techniques, tracking techniques, philosophy of life, afterlife and understanding of the natural world, ways of learning, mind palace techniques, dialects and languages, healing methods and salves. Fighting techniques, strategy and philosophy. The list goes on. A lot of that modern science and medicine has re-discovered, a lot it has not yet."

"Where did you learn the hypnosis stuff?"

"Not yet, but very soon." Andreas couldn't tell him, yet he wanted to but they were not there yet.

"I will tell you this though, I was not in the Holy Lands when the start of Christianity happened but I do know that "He" was not a god or the son of one. He was an Immortal who did not know what he was and around him and his charismatic personality and the social changes that were happening in the Roman Empire at the time a whole religion came to life."

"OMG!" Triton jumping out of his bed came as an image to Andreas' mind making him chuckle. "How do you know? You were there? No wait you said you weren't, did you…kill him?"

"No, lol I did not but I killed the Immortal who killed the Immortal who killed him…thus I have all their Quickenings, knowledge and memories."

"OMFG! Do you have any idea what that means?!"

"Yes, and no one else will ever know of this. I know you want to become an archaeologist and an author, but this will not be in anything you write. I am not going to be the cause of such an upheaval. Better to leave humans slowly drift away from religion as they have been the last few decades."

"Okay." Andreas knew when Triton typed "Okay" rather than "Ok" he would do as asked even though he did not like it. "But you will tell me of all of it?"

"I will tell you of all that has happened to me, I will not tell you of someone else's memories unless they impact my life."

"Booo! :P"

"This is not even the good stuff." Andreas teased him.

"Ohh…fu and your teasing already! :P." He knew Triton was not telling him to go fuck himself, the :P emoticon declared he was joking. "What could possibly beat what you just told me?"

"Oh, I don't know…having met Alexander the Great? Leonidas? Pericles? And the list goes on. I told you I was old and that my real age scares the living shit out of most mortals."

"Uhmmm….okay…hahaha you win! So before Herculaneum?"

"Before Herculaneum I had been roaming the southern provinces of the Roman Empire after returning from Asia, south east Asia and India. I was not part of it but I witnessed the fall of Carthage, such a beautiful city it was before the Romans besieged it and razed it to the ground, such an inventive people they were. In fact, I believe some of their cities have not yet been found. They too like the Vikings centuries later used the rivers to get much further in-land than they'd have been able to via foot."

"Whole cities? Undiscovered? In-land Afrika?"

"Yeah, I do not know in what condition they'll be anymore but yes, way south beyond the Sahara."

"Isn't Nile the only river?"

"It's the only now. The ancient Carthaginians used various oasis and rivers no longer in existence to travel inwards. Some of the rivers were accessible outside the Mediterranean Sea in the Atlantic coast of Afrika. The Greeks seldom if ever travelled outside it but the Carthaginians did. It is astonishing how little information was exchanged between civilizations back then and then at times it is impressive how much it was."

"Describe it to me, please. What was Carthage like? The life there?"

And so, their conversation online continued until Triton had to go to Nikos' and Andreas to meet his new girlfriend.

"We haven't been long enough together for you to not like me that much, what did I do to upset you?" She had just told him her desire to break up, a week later.

They were standing in front of the school's gate.

"Dunno, I just don't feel the same way anymore and I'm sure you just want me for sex."

"What are you talking about? We've been together for almost a month now and I have not once asked you for that." Andreas felt numb and confounded.

"You haven't said so, but you keep wanting to kiss and grope."

"We've been together for a month, is it that unreasonable that I want us to kiss and caress? You have never once told me to stop, if you don't like it tell me." Andreas, tired as he was, was losing control of his emotions.

"You wouldn't stop, that's what all boys want!" She pushed him away.

"You know what…fuck this shit. You want to break up? Fine, I'm off. We're done." He left walking towards the classroom. Triton joined him soon after.

"You okay?"

"No. But can't blame her, really. Sooner or later it'd end, teenage love does. And I will not grow up, will I? Ever the perpetual teenager, unable to grow past fucking fifteen."

"You look tired." Said Triton, trying to get Andreas to open up but Andreas was exhausted and he reacted violently pressing his hands against his temples before ejecting them outwards and up.

"Yes! Okay? I am fucking tired, what between that fucking fucktard calling me at all hours of the fucking day and night, the insane fucking dreams, and the others of my fucking kind after my fucking head having increased a hundred-fold the last month I have not had a single night's good fucking sleep! Okay?! Satisfied now?!"

He yelled before storming in the class.

Andreas was moody for the rest of the day, which ended with ancient Greek.

"And remember kids, next week start this year's educational trips to Historical Sites. We'll start with Athens' pride the Acropolis and the Parthenon. Second trip will be to the National archaeological museum and finally during Easter…Santorini." The teacher told them.

Triton did not miss how Andreas' head snapped to the teacher.

They were walking home. "Look, I'm sorry for before. I just…I'm losing it and I can't see an end…and…and I'll have to move again soon. And you and George have managed it, yes? You've made me not want to leave. You, your parents and brother, Mathew and Kendra…you've become the family I have not had for…" Triton's eyes were pleading him, and he knew for what. He let out a deep breath. "for…oh fuck it, it'll all end soon anyways. For three and a half thousand years. I was born in the bronze age. But back to this later. I joined Alexander's campaign and travelled all the way to the Hindu river. From there I made my way to…one of the Sites I told you about. You know it under a different name but I know it as Sa-gri' Lah. It was a temple to a god long forgotten but it was not mainly a temple dedicated to the worshipping of any one god. It was a place of learning and meditation. Of healing and discussion. After a few decades spent there I decided to travel further east than I ever had before, reaching what is today South-East Asia and Indonesia, the whole trip took two hundred years. I returned through India to Carthage."

"I don't even know where to begin…you've met Alexander the Great? Sa gri'lah? You mean Shangri-La? IT EXISTS? You've been to ancient Pela? You've met Pericles? For fucks sake you were there when he gave his Thucydides speech? Leonidas? My god…" Triton bordered on hyperventilating while Andreas tried to look neutral. He was in fact worried.

Triton observed his face, "don't worry, I'm not freaking out. I just don't think I realised up until now…you were there...really there, for all of it!"

"And what did you think I was telling you the past few months? A fairy tale?"

"No, but...things are starting to make sense and…my god 3.500 years old?"

"Give or take a century or two, yeah." Andreas nodded. "And if you think back on it, I have given you all the clues to my origin and my place of birth as well as my first death…"

"You're still afraid of it, aren't you? You don't want to face it, again." Triton stated.

"No, I really don't but…it doesn't matter anymore." He shrugged. "Alexander was…strange. He certainly had all the arrogance and greediness that is expected of any great leader but he also had compassion and vision and a military genius the world wasn't ready for. I fought with him in his battles and talked with him…" Triton cut him off.

"You know where he's buried, don't you?"

Andreas nodded. "And it is as impressive, majestic and ornate as you'd expect. Although it's not where you expect. The whole story about him being transferred and his body stolen by one of his generals to bury in Egypt, all of it is a lie. A lie conceptualised to keep his grave's location and Alexander's body safe."

"So, where is it?" Andreas winked at him. "Not yet, we'll get there."

It took the rest of the walk home and a further three hours for Triton to exhaust his questions, it would take the span of two weeks for Andras to tell him all the little details.

"Hey, babe." Mathew greeted his girlfriend. She greeted him back, kissing his cheek. Mathew though was ready for more so when she pulled back from his cheek he cupped her cheek in his hand bringing their lips together, tilting his head slightly and noses rubbing. As with all first kisses it lasted little in real time but a lifetime for the two involved.

Eventually, in need of breath Mathew pulled back grinning like a fool. She giggled toying with her curly black hair, her lips glistening with their combined saliva. She leaned in taking his hand in hers, fingers intertwining together.

They entered the multiplex, got their tickets entering the theatre. It was half way through the movie when she moved from under his arms placing a kiss on his lips which he reciprocated. His real surprise came after five or ten minutes of snogging and tongue-dancing when she unzipped his pants, and fished out his growing penis, and like many other boys before him he discovered the incredible difficulty of keeping silent in a room full of people while getting a blow-job.

He could not stop himself from placing his hands on her head or eliciting the faintest moans and it did not take long for him to release his load in her suckling mouth.

"Three more days and we can rest." Triton commented. They were in one of the school's buses heading to the Acropolis of Athens for stage one of their school year's educational trips with stage two after Christmas vacations and stage three during Easter vacations.

Half an hour later they stood at the lower entrance or Propirgia. The marble towers, white from age glimmered in the winter sun.

"It was much less magnificent before Pericles and Phidias, I'll tell you that." Andreas told Triton as they climbed the marble stairs.

"How was it? When it was fully built? I mean I can't even imagine it standing full."

"It wasn't white, oh no our ancestors loved colour and in hues which would easily be considered…kitsch nowadays. Everything was coloured, every column, wall, statue, and step. Coloured to resemble real life according to a much different perspective than ours. I am unsure if I can put into words, the magnificence of it when fully built and painted, with the golden statue of Athena outside and the gold-ivory one inside the Parthenon. The awe of it. I've heard the Athenians and other Greeks who would travel to Athens name the Acropolis as the "Land-Lighthouse" as the golden statue would reflect light off it."

"I don't think that's in any historical references."

"You call your brother "little tool" will it ever be in any historical reference?"

"No, I suppose not."

"Did you fight? In the Peloponnesian wars?"

Andreas nodded, "and in the Persian ones, and many more after."

"How were the Spartans?"

"Some of the best warriors ever to have existed but as equally racist, bigoted, fascist and small minded ruled by a few elders. Not that Athenians were much better regarding anyone not of Greek descent."

They reached the top of the Acropolis rock.

"I can't imagine having seen Greece transform so much from city states to today and having a living record of it in your head."

"Not just Greece. Much of Asia, north Afrika and large parts of Europe."

"Where does this journey end?" Triton eyed him with awe and fear. He was beginning to understand now, why Andreas was telling him everything.

"Where it begun." Andreas looked at the marbled temple, standing derelict yet proud. "I never tire looking at it."

"Immortal nearby?" Asked Triton, seeing his head snap left and right.

Andreas nodded.

"Do you remember me? God-Child? Horus!" Andreas blanched out. Triton saw a man looking to be in his mid-forties with a middle-eastern complexion, blue eyes and short black hair standing behind Andreas at what must have been 190 centimeters.

"I haven't been what you describe in a very long time. Should I remember you?" He spoke in barely above a whisper. "There are mortals nearby, where should I meet you?"

"I'll find you here, at night. I've been seeking you out for the better part of three thousand years. All I want before I die from another's blade is to have your head, daughter's rapist. Then I can die."

"Weird, all I want before I die is to be a mortal, to live a normal life." Replied Andreas. "I never raped anyone. Fine, then. Later." Triton eyed them worryingly. He did not think it possible, to meet another being almost as old as Andreas.

The Immortal man left.

"I guess you'll want an explanation for this?" Andreas did not dare look at his friend. Triton saw fear in his eyes. It was the first time.

"No, the…boy I have met all these months could never have hurt or raped another. When we reach that part of your life you will tell me what you must."

"I have not always been as I am now, but fair enough." Andreas' head hang low. "Thank you, for everything."

Triton hugged him. "Hey, at least Michael is behaving." Andreas turned his head to see Michael looking at them from a short distance.

Andreas was silent for most of the day, except for his narration and discussion of his life with Triton.

Even Mathew and Nikos noted mentally how resigned and weary he looked during their training session.

"I know."

Mathew and Nikos had left ahead, he was alone with Triton picking up their stuff from the grass.

"Hm? What do you know?"

"Why you decided to tell me of you and your life, why you want me to record it all, even if you have most of it recorded in your journals."

"You figured it out, then?" Triton nodded.

"It broke you, when George died, your best friend of 563 years."

Tears fell from Andreas' cheeks. "No, he was not my best friend…he was…he was…a second father. Do you know what it is like ? Can you even fathom it? What it is to find someone, a father-figure after 3137 fucking years? And to have him near you for most of 563 years? And then to lose him….no one should lose two fathers to death."

"So, you intend to tell me of your life and then commit suicide by Immortal?"

"If I can't be mortal? Fuck yes. I won't lose another loved one again as an Immortal. I won't spend another fucking year much less century lamenting not being able to grow old, to have kids and a proper relationship or more, friends to grow old with and companionship…I can't I just can't take it anymore. I'm done."

Triton felt a weight dragging him to the abyss from his heart, his stomach in a knot. "So…tonight…?"

"No, there's a few months to go. I don't expect dreams or Immortals to lessen until then but what more fitting…to end it where it begun.

"Now, if you'll excuse me I have to go kill someone." Andreas made his way to the center of Athens and to the Acropolis, beautifully lit yellow against the urban night sky. It was of course well-guarded but only at its base entrance. So, he made his way up the walls, parkouring them to the top.

"God-Child, you have come. I'd have preferred I kill you in the Palaces of Luxor but this will do." The man unsheathed a curved, Egyptian sword like a sickle.

"There's a storm coming…clouds have gathered. Have you not had the dreams, yet?" Andreas replied. "Fitting indeed. You with your Khopesh and I with my Xiphos times two."

Andreas released his blades.

"Tell me, please, before we do battle. What did I do? I have not been God-Child or Horus incarnate since…well the late middle Kingdom of Egypt's antiquity. Is it not a long time to hold a grudge?" Asked Andreas bringing one sword in front and one behind him.

"You raped my daughter, the child I had raised as mine from babe."

"No, I did not, society was different, girls…and boys pleasured the Pharaohs and the living god, there was no rape involved. It was as much part of the society as is now…talking to phones. I remember every day of my life and I have never had sex with anyone who said no."

"You fucked a child and then your priests did before sacrificing her to "your" Immortal part in the heavens. Same thing, I was killed trying to protect her. Back then you were too heavily guarded even for an Immortal to reach you then I lost your tracks across the continents."

Andreas scoffed. "If you only knew…an Immortal did manage to reach me. But this is not for you to care. Let's end this. There's nothing I can tell you to change your mind, of the person I am now, of the…man I've become so, let's end this."

It was a rough battle, with the both inflicting wounds on each other until Andreas feigned an attack before rolling on the floor behind his opponent slicing at the joints behind his knees.

The man kneeled in pain with Andreas taking hold of his hair from behind. "You have not even told me of your name."

"It matters not, I have forgotten it after so long....end it."

Andreas sliced at the air, his blades arching and decapitating the man's head.

A Quickening later he stood up heading for the wall to make his way down, when someone grabbed him from behind turning him around in a short, violent motion. Had he not been as tired after the Quickening his reactions would have been different.

As his mind calculated his unknown assailant could not be an Immortal he felt a quick stabbing pain on his abdomen.

"I told you I'd kill you for breaking my hand did I not? Oh wait...I did not." Michael's voice whispered in his ear. "Now you get to die here, next to the guy you just killed, the police will find you like this." The whisper continued as did the increasing pain above his belly button.

"Not by you." Andreas had just enough strength left to push Michael back and drop himself from atop the cliff to the rocks below.

When he came to, seconds later, he made his way home where he dropped, as if dead, asleep.

"Why are you smiling?" Triton met him the next day, last day of school before Christmas break, a block away from school. "Not that I mind you smiling."

"After my battle was done last night atop the Acropolis, Michael was there. He stabbed me dead. Well I had enough strength to push him back and jump down to my death. It'll be funny when he sees me now. His mind can't comprehend it. Wait here, this is mine to do."

"Hello, Michael." He said in a calm, pleasant voice. Michael froze. Andreas spun him around pressing his empty fist against Michael's stomach, without force.

Michael's face was white and bloodless, his jaws wide open, his pupils fully dilated in complete disbelief.

"I…but I! I!..how? What is this…you – you fell! I saw you fall from…"

Andreas just smiled.

"What are you!" Michael demanded becoming frantic, shaking his shoulders to remove Andreas' hands as if touched by a ghost.

"What am I? You can't comprehend it." Andreas stated simply.

"What are you! I saw you die! I saw you fall from the Acropolis and die! I saw you…I saw you!"

"What do you think I am?"

"A…are you an angel? A demon? What are you?!" Michael demanded on the verge of tears.

Andreas leaned in whispering in his ear. "Who knows? You shall never know." Before making his way inside the school building.

It was an otherwise uneventful day. In the week that followed Triton's hope of Andreas getting any rest faded fast.

They were finishing Christmas day lunch in Triton's home with both his and Kendra's families as well as Andreas when Andreas' phone rang.

"Yes, what is it? Who is it?" He demanded forcefully, walking to the balcony.

"Hello, Third Adam, my finest creation. I have left a gift for you in your bed in your room. You should have them all now, to understand the dreams."

"What the fuck do you know of my dreams? What gift?"

"You will soon understand and take your final gift from me. Soon. The Gathering is near, Aranare, my creation." He hung up before Andreas could reply.

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