by AB

Chapter 15

Heir of Atlati

"He did this to make you into an Immortal and we know at least of Vesuvius being the same sort of eruption. He has been grooming events since god knows when. He is behind it all."

An announcement sounded across the ship that in half an hour they'd be disembarking in the port of Santorini.

His face changing from denial to abyssal sorrow to enraged anger to cold shimmering fury in under a second as his mind processed Triton's idea.

"I…I…lost everything and everyone because some fuck wanted to make me into an Immortal sooner rather than later? Why? I'd have been one sooner or later, it was the fucking Bronze Age, it wasn't like I'd have reached past thirty anyways."

"I bet when I'll study what I've written so far I'll find he's been killing and leaving runes behind whenever you've started to settle in somewhere with someone, always when that's about to happen. The spirit doctor in Babylon? The family in Halicarnassus? The other family Athens? The Celt Warrior and his wife? The Byzantine sailor and his family? That…guy in Victorian Afrika? And finally…Maria's kids and George. Whenever you've had the possibility of settling down even for a few decades he's intervened. And it makes sense why he didn't let you become an adult."

"Why's that?"

"Because, it's tougher for a kid even a teenager to be an Immortal, everyone's looking you weird, everyone asks where your parents are, you can't settle down easy. As an adult everything would have been easier, and you'd be stronger…not that you've needed that apparently."

"I…don't know what to say. What does he want? He could have killed me ten times over so far."

"What if he doesn't want to kill you?"

"I don't know…look I've got to think this shit over, and we've got to go back to the others." Andreas walked off after another look at the approaching island.

"Can we not go to every ancient site in the island? We want some beach fun!" One of the girls in his class whined at the teacher after visiting the Acrotiri site.

"This is an educational trip, you have a day off tomorrow, you want to go to the beach? You can go then." The teacher replied. "For now, you guys are lucky. They are having a reenactment of a sport that was very popular back then, in bronze Age Greece and specifically Santorini and Minoan Crete."

"What's up? You know of what he's talking about?" Triton asked Andreas, seeing his head snap at the teacher.

Andreas nodded, a grim smirk on his lips. "Yeah…I've heard of it. Bull leaping or…"

"Who here can tell me, what the ancient name of bull leaping was? Anyone?" The teacher said aloud.

"Taurokathapsia, to honour the Gods. To honour Poseidon for calm seas, Ares so no one attacks us, Gaia for fertile soil and Hephaestus for keeping that mouth of his closed." Andreas said, in a calm yet sad tone. "And it was part of the rites of passage for boys and girls."

"Well, the name's correct but there's few if any sources of why they did it or to honour which god, or in which ceremony." The teacher dismissed him.

"Sure…no source whatsoever." Andreas whispered, making Triton giggle.

They entered the bus sitting in the seats.

Fifteen minutes later they arrived in an arena like structure outside of the island's capital, Fira. An attendant showed them to their seats.

"Triton, I need a favour from you." Andreas whispered leaning in.

"Sure, what's up?"

"I want you to distract the teacher and the attendant."

"You will catch hell for this, you know that, yeah?" Andreas nodded.

"I need to do this, I never got to do this for my come of age." Triton nodded, smiling.

Andreas sneaked out from behind the teacher.

Having all sat down, the attendant and trainer started telling them of the origins of the sport as well as the types and leaps the bull leapers would do and how difficult each of them were. A gate opened below them and a black bull with long horns entered the arena, a minute later one of the athletes entered the arena via another entrance. After him a second athlete entered the arena.

The crowd were expecting a third athlete after the second, and everyone gasped seeing who entered instead.

"Get him the hell out of there!" One of the teachers screamed at the trainer.

"No, it is too late, bull's about to charge. If he's clever he'll jump for the stands." The trainer replied, standing in front of the frantic teacher.

Triton stood at the edge of his seat, hands grasping at the back of the plastic seat in front of him.

Andreas closed his eyes, taking a deep breath, his face content and smiling.

Opening his eyes, he turned his attention to the bull, removing his shirt, throwing it aside.

Kneeling he took a fistful of sand speaking in a language no one understood, no one knew what it was except for Triton who could wager an educated guess.

"Come, beast. Come for I am ready to dance you for Poseidon and Ares, for I am a child and heir of Atlati. For I am ready to die to honour the Gods. For I am ready to be a man, of age and experience life and give honour to my family." He stood up extending his arm holding the sand to his right he let go of it. Releasing a roar and smashing his fists on his chest he charged at the bull who reciprocated with a growl of its own.

Triton felt the top of his head go numb, the hair on the back of it stand erect, electricity pass through his body as he stood at the edge of his seat tense, then at the last moment just as the bull was about to gore him, he saw Andreas smile and leap up in the air twisting his body sideways his knees coming up to his torso, his hands embracing them.

He landed behind the bull on his feet. Triton didn't even realise the yell of excitement, cheering Andreas came for him before the others joined in and the arena erupted in a chorus.

The bull turned around and charged at him again while Andreas remained perfectly still until when the bull was near, then taking a few steps front he arched his back avoiding the horned head. He repeated this, five to six times before gaining some distance from the bull and running towards it, again.

When he was a breath's distance away from the twin horns he somersaulted over the beast, his hands pushing off the animal's back. With a 360 flip he landed on his feet, behind the bull.

"Yeah!!" The arena erupted again.

The bull nearly fell off his feet turning, then charged again. "It's like he's dancing the bull to a tune he alone can hear." Triton thought as Andreas leaped time and time again over the animal.

Andreas saw the bull lower his head and increased his running speed, then as the bull shoved its head upwards Andreas caught on the horns and leaped.

He first landed on his feet on the bull's back then made a second leap off it rolling on the floor.

Walking away from the animal as it turned, he stood closer to the arena wall.

The bull charged at him, in the last second Andreas turned and run towards the wall running he made a leap back arching his body above the bull as it smashed on the arena wall.

Andreas landed behind the staggered bull, giving it a slap on his hind before running towards Triton, climbing up the wall and sitting next to his friend.

"I'll need a new t shirt, methinks." He stated simply, catching his breath.

"N…new tshirt? You're fucking insane!" Replied Triton, having regained his composure.

Andreas grinned. There was something different about him.

"Yes, I am ready now."

"Ready? Ready for what?" Triton furrowed his brows.

Andreas did not get to reply, as the teacher approached them, looking enraged.

"YOU! YOU ARE GROUNDED FOR THE REST OF THE TRIP AND I'LL BE ASKIN…" Andreas chuckled cutting him off.

"Look, do what you will, it really does not begin to matter to me, but consider this. I just bull leaped, you really think I'll not parkour my way out of a locked hotel room?" Triton thought a vein would pop in the teacher's forehead.

The teacher looked at Andreas, before turning around and leaving looking like he was about to explode.

"Hey kid, you ever become an adult…give me a call." The trainer winked at him. They were leaving the arena the show having ended.

"No, I did what I needed doing. My people's culture is dead, let it be so." Andreas walked out.

Later that day, after they had the rest of the afternoon off, walking on the streets of Oia, the island's second largest settlement. Andreas and Triton were in their room, Andreas taking a shower and Triton messaging with Nikos who was back in Athens.

"Hey." Triton smiled at him, he had been somber all day after the arena show.

"How's Nikos?" Andreas sat next to him, outside on the balcony, the sun setting beyond the caldera, painting the island and sky red and orange.

"How does it feel, then? Being back home after three and a half thousand years?" Triton set his phone down on the table in front of them.

"Coming home was not the problem, the manner in which I departed was. It feels…weird I must admit. Seeing something again, changed so much and at the same time being able to "see" what it was back then."

"Describe it to me, please?" Triton leaned back on his chair, placing his legs on the table.

"The inner island, sacred tribute to Poseidon and Ares extended almost all the way to the full circle of the caldera, with the top always fuming. On it from the sea level to the top were the Royal Palace, port, and temples to all the gods with the temple of Poseidon above all others. A statue of bronze and marble of the sacred bull on the courtyard of the temple, illuminated the island like a lighthouse. The architecture varied from what it is now called "Minoan" on the lower reaches near sea level, the oldest part of the settlement to more Mycenean up top. That architectural mixture was found throughout most of the main island as well, when I lived here." Andreas continued describing the island life and architecture until his phone started ringing.

"It'll probably be Kendra, teacher must have contacted her about your little…show earlier." Triton chuckled as Andreas picked up the phone.

"No, private number…we know who this is." Andreas put the call on speaker.

"What do you want? You destroyed everything I loved and cared about, tell me why I shouldn't kill you?" Andreas spoke before the other person on the call could.

"Ah, you finally understand? Are you ready to ascend to godhood? The Gathering is very near and unlike me you have the dreams for the first time, are you ready to succeed me?"

"You destroyed everything I loved, made me into an Immortal while I'm still a teenager thinking I'd be weak and maleable to your influence and you think you created me because you had two morons kill each other inside holy ground. I understand plenty and no I desire no godhood, I've had it. And what are you talking about? It is not the first time I've had the dreams. Not by a long shot." Andreas spat back.

There was a prolonged silence, with only deep, increasingly erratic, breathing coming from the other side. "You do not understand, I'll have to make you understand in a more clear fashion. Understand why you should not settle down, and what you become by fighting me, by accepting your destiny, I created you for a single purpose. The Fourth had the audacity to create the fifth and both had to be dealt with, so you are my finest creation and the one to inherit me. You just have to be made aware of it. You will come to Yellowstone and receive your final gift from me."

"Yellowstone? What the fuck are you smoking? Fuck off and don't call me again." Andreas terminated the call, throwing the phone on the table.

"Where are you going? It's lights out soon." Triton asked, seeing him stand up.

"Teacher will expect me to go down, so I'll go up. Can't possibly get into more trouble than I already am so I have one thing left to do in this island."

"You want me to come with?" Triton started to get up.

"No, this I have to do alone, besides I won't be gone long."

"Usually, funerals require many people."

"You're right, but they are all dead, so I have to do this alone." Andreas smiled, jumping up to the balcony above them from the ledge.

"The fourth and fifth had to be dealt with…he killed them? He is the second and Andreas is the third? Who was the first? Santorini, Vesuvius…" Triton pondered alone in the dark. Then, in a moment of excitement he got his mobile out, opening the internet browser he started searching for Volcanic eruptions, past, present, and future. "Phlegrean fields, Mount Toba, Santorini…which are the Five? Five Volcanoes, Five Adams, the first one, could it be who started this? The Immortals? Where it all begun…the dreams! They…" Sounds coming from the floor below interrupted his thoughts. Realising he had paid no attention to the time, he saw it was near midnight.

The sounds he understood to be muffled voices and screams coming closer. A few moments later the door to his room burst open and a very wet, very excited-looking Andreas entered the room, followed by the teacher who looked besides himself.

"I don't need you, stay out." Andreas told the teacher shutting the door before he could come in, locking it.

They looked each other straight in the eyes, Andreas drenched from head to toe, Triton in his pyjamas.

"I know where I must go to become a mortal!"

"I know why he's calling you his creation!"

They said simultaneously, almost too loud.

"You first." Said Andreas.

"Santorini, Vesuvius, thunders before the eruptions. He somehow had an Immortal kill another in Holy Ground near or in those two locations. Vesuvius was a holy place to the Romans, beloved place of Vulcan, god of fire. Jupiter, all-father and Hercules. Santorini…well we both know that one. So, he caused the eruption of Santorini to be a thousand-fold more powerful than it would have, by having an Immortal kill another within the sacred island, he did the same with Vesuvius, it must have been where the forth Adam came to be. And I'm guessing that Krakatoa must have been where the forth "created" the fifth, that or Mount St. Helen's, they are by far two of the most powerful eruptions since Vesuvius. I don't think he wants to kill you. I think he wants you to kill him. Kill him, become him by taking his Quickening, knowledge, and memories as well as whatever evil he has become and have two Immortals kill one another in Holy Ground near or in Yellowstone. Can you imagine the eruption of a super volcano magnified by this? You would be a god, god of destruction and god of creation. In one action you would doom humanity and you would likely create what would come next." Triton said in nearly one breath. "Your turn."

"I came to the same conclusion and I know the previous two eruptions. He must have been "created" by the first Adam and likely the first Immortal, in Mt. Toba. That eruption nearly did exactly that. Humanity came close to extinction then. That was seventy thousand years ago. Where it ALL begun! Not where I began, not here in Santorini, the arrogance of it, to think it would happen where I begun, it all begun in Afrika, humanity begun in Afrika and I'm guessing the first Adam did as well, Kilimanjaro erupted a hundred fifty thousand years ago, roughly. That is where I must go, that's where the Gather…" Andreas spoke fast until clutching his head to his head he kneeled in pain, releasing a scream of pure agony.

Triton ran to him, holding him from his shoulders. "I…I see it! The mountain tall, engulfed in fire and snow, below it the plains of Afrika, jungle, and savannah. I am running towards the peak, the farseer awaits me there." Andreas coughed, his eyes gone white. "I must ask her of my tribe's fate, for I have ordered them to invade a neighbor tribe's lands and take them! Take them all! All the females, slay the men and male children, take all their possessions! My tribe will conquer the plains and move outwards. No animal shall eat us, no human shall conquer us!" Andreas heaved a breath.

"I reach Ur'uhu, home of the Gods and their prophet in this world, the farseer. I pay her the tribute and ask for her prophesy. She has the audacity to tell me it will all end in fire and death should my tribe invade, that we should migrate to the north beyond the new sea." Triton did not dare move Andreas, barely dared touch him.

"In outrage, I unsheathe my weapon and strike her to the ground and she looks so tasty, so pleasing." Triton needed no translation as to what happened next, Andreas' grunts and groans were enough to paint a picture. "As I lay off her, ready to end her life she looks at me, bloody eyes and black lips. "I curse you Ulagh! I curse you and all your tribe, your offspring, everyone! Everyone who is of arrogant, greedy heart. Everyone of your line to forever wonder the Earth, never to find rest, unless another of your kind takes your head. You had no respect for this shrine, for this Holy Ground so until the time of the Gathering, in Holy Grounds you are unable to slay another, under the pain of permanent death. When Five of your kind who feel remorse for their arrogance and greed know this, then the Gathering shall happen." Andreas fell back, silent and panting.

"Come, come to where it all begun." Andreas heard her voice in his mind.

Some minutes later their phones rang. In chorus.

"Who is it?" Andreas answered his as Triton went outside on the balcony to answer his.

"I told you. I told you, you would understand. If you want to see Mathew again, you WILL come to Yellowstone." It was the second Adam's voice. He hung up instantly leaving no time for Andreas to reply.

Triton came in, his face white.

"Mathew has been kidnapped." They said at the same time.

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