Chapter 1: Dawn
~To begin to appear or develop.~
The first three days...
Their private slumber within Riki's impenetrable walls had them enjoying the pristine world before the destruction. Their dreaming projected beautiful landscapes, as to what they wanted their current world to return to. So many were their thoughts, time just drifted by with each new idea. They slumbered in the warm sun, beneath the trees they planned to grow, and inhaled the many scents of the fields of flowers they hoped would return to their world. The skies were a beautiful blue background with the atmosphere change and the deserts receding if not completely disappearing. They walked hand in hand on the cool beaches, picking up starfish and bathing in clear waters. They flew above cities they would build anew, with room for all, and the end to poverty and suffering. Yes, the Clans were returning to their old, new world.
As they enjoyed a wonderful sunset, their night was filled with passion, as declarations of love where whispered sweetly between sensual kisses, and limbs intertwined in attempts to become closer within their tight embrace. Iason loved his prince eagerly, taking Riki to great heights, with heart pounding strokes, and unbridled ecstasy. Their bodies perspired, and only when their bodies came with ground trembling energy, did they stop to rest. The twin moons would forever be the only witness to their love, their hopes, and all their passion.
It was a beautiful dream, as their exhausted minds calmed down. Their energy radiated from their sleeping forms, and dimmed in the quiet of their room. So deep was their rest, they whispered to each other of their eagerness for the sun to rise, and with that, awaken to begin their work together. In the morning, they emerged from Riki's mental walls, expecting to see another delivery-bot in their room. The two had slept soundly thanks to the Royals, who knew just how depleted their inner core was, thanks to Lord Ahura. But it was not what they expected.
They opened their eyes to find themselves surrounded by jars of mineral lotions, and silence. Iason looked down to find Riki still waking as he stretched and yawned. He noticed the room's temperature had changed, expecting to find the damaged villa still drafty and broken. As he rose from the mountain of pillows, his stomach grumbled, breaking the silence.
Riki laughed through drowsy eyes. “It's refreshing to know that you, my dear Lord, are not perfect.” Riki spoke, his voice soft and raspy. He took in Iason's body, as his lover walked over to a chair that held clothing for them. Iason's lean body only made him wake up in other places.
“So early in the morning?” Iason's quiet laugh made Riki squirm.
“Am not.” Riki pulled one of the furs over his head.
Iason donned his silk robe, leaving it untied as he walked back. He knelt down and caressed Riki's body through the soft furs. “Hm, Naughty should be your middle name, Lord Oskuro.” Iason tugged on the furs, but Riki held tight as he laughed.
“Well, it's your fault.” Riki now mumbled. “You're too damn sexy. Maybe that should be your middle name.” Half expecting Iason to reply, no response came. This made Riki loosen his grip on the furs.
Iason then yanked the furs away to find Riki's body powered up. He was surprised by this, as his lover's transformation concerned him. “What is it?” He looked at his body, “You're glowing too, do you sense something?”
Riki gave him a questioning look, then noticed Iason's eyes. “You as well.” He pointed to Iason's eyes. When Iason's stomach grumbled, the serious atmosphere lightened up. “Maybe we're just famished. How long were we out?”
“Can't be more than a day. You know I'm not one to sleep in, though I can see that we were cared for.” Iason pointed to the jars of minerals and the clothing. The delivery-bot was no longer in the room, and the sun was rising. As they dressed themselves, they powered down and left the room to clean up. Of course the main bath-hall showed signs of been repaired. “I must commend the household for their efforts.” Iason spoke as he caught Riki sniffing the air. Someone was cooking.
“Three days?!” Iason's expression made everyone laugh as he sat in the patched up dining hall- stunned.
Riki was scarfing down food, as he looked around. “No way!” He mumbled, as he was given a glass of orange juice.
“Yes, three days!” Erin pointed at his food, and how quickly he was making it disappear. “And you blocked us out. I've been a nervous wreck since then.” Erin pushed a stack of pancakes toward Riki, who stabbed one with his fork, and added that to his plate.
Iason sat down to a cup of coffee. He looked at Riki's plate, and began to laugh, until his stomach rumbled again, and Kai pushed the plates of food toward them both. Iason began to nibble at his food, then took bigger bites, which soon turned to an eating contest, as Riki playfully took fruit from Iason's plate, and he took Riki's prized bacon. That was the gauntlet striking the ground. Riki sipped Iason's coffee, while Iason poked at Riki's pancake.
To Kai and Erin, this was unheard of. Iason, while prim and proper, never had syrup on his chin, or bacon sticking out of his mouth as he and Riki playfully ate all the food put before them.
Erin clapped her hands happily, “I can't wait to tell Yuri how much I've seen her little one eat!” Erin looked off to side, as if sending Yuri a mental message.
“Well, that's what happens when you let your body's power drain so low. I sure hope you can keep all that food down, Riki.” Kai laughed as he sat next to him and fed him like a child. Of course, being a doting father, Riki enjoyed it. His loud burp proved it. “Where are you putting it all?” Kai shook his head.
Iason looked to Kai, “How is the population doing?” He asked, knowing he and Erin would be able to pick up the pulse of the people.
“We have search and recovery still out to the more damaged cities. Lord Khosi has finished his scans of the other side of the planet, but thankfully those cities are not as densely populated as Tanagura and the outlining cities of Midas and Ceres. There is no simple solution for all that needs to be done. But we've done it before on Yasuo, though I am relieved we don't have anyone shooting at us.” Kai tried to liven up his comments. “There are plenty of pockets that have yielded many survivors, this should be our first priority.”
Iason nodded, as he continued to eat. He was handed a hand-held pad by Ayuda, and he began to read all the data that Jupiter was processing.
“Good Morning, Lord Iason.” Jupiter's voice was heard, then a small holo-image of her rose from the screen. “I hope you and Lord Riki are feeling better?”
“Yes, my Lady.” Iason spoke, “I must apologize-”
“There is nothing to apologize for, my Lord. You both needed to rest, especially after everything that occurred. I was impressed by your household, in their effort to make you more comfortable.” Jupiter smiled, then continued. “It appears the topography of our world changed more than what was first reported.” Jupiter began to show Iason images of the new landscapes. Noticing a huge ship in the lower atmosphere. “Lord Khosi's ship has been treating survivors around the clock, and will be landing in Tanagura later today to off-load their patients. This was easier than using shuttles to bring them to the surface, as those in serious condition cannot be moved through the atmosphere and it's pressure. They've maintained a low orbit, and land when there are large numbers to move from the opposite side of the planet.”
“That big-ass ship is going to make the weaker buildings fall.” Riki spoke. “Galaxy-Class Battle Cruiser my ass...”
“His physician, Lieutenant Andre, has been quite helpful.” Lady Erin added.
Jupiter finished her report and faded. Iason and Riki finished their large meal, but became quiet suddenly. Erin poked inside Riki's head, but Kai cleared his throat as he was poured another cup of coffee by Toma.
After a few moments, Iason and Riki once again transformed, which startled everyone who now found them strangely detached to their surroundings. As if they were only tuned in to each other. Kai wondered as Erin's worries were loud and clear in his head. Then Riki turned to them and smiled, putting their mind at ease. At least for the moment. Because having parents that are both empaths, had them keenly aware that their son and Iason, were no longer the same men they were three days ago. They wondered if their journey beneath the surface had altered them.
Iason broke away from his thoughts, and was now speaking to Ayuda, impressed with his household's efforts to make the villa livable again. He gave Ayuda a nod, for restoring the master bedroom, grateful to see the large hole in the middle of the room gone. The villa still needed a lot of work to restore it, but Iason thanked him and told him this was far more than he expected. After a quick look around and plenty of food to power them up, the two left the villa without a word, off to give their new world a quick inspection after three days.
Riki looked over his shoulder at his father, “Begin in Midas and Ceres, father.” Riki flew off, and reaching out to Katze, spoke in his mind. "I believe in you, my friend..."
Katze, who was having a smoke on the beach looked up as Riki and Iason flew overhead. “Is that so?”
“Now, what did he mean by that?” Lady Erin spoke.
“I think I've come to accept the fact that he knows more than he lets on.” Kai spoke.
“I have an uneasy feeling. Riki and Iason transformed several times in the three days they were out. What do you think happened inside those walls? I hope it was not another echo.”
“We may never know.” Kai gave her a tender kiss, “Now, don't make that face, dear, you know what it's like to have empaths for parents. I'm just surprised that Riki can actually hide from us if he really wanted to.”
The villa became quiet, as Kai and everyone but Toma and Daryl left for Tanagura Medical to continue the cleanup and recovery. There were pockets of survivors still being pulled out of damaged buildings three days later, even though most of Jupiter's scanners had been restored. There were still many damaged buildings in the older areas of Midas, and Ceres, that were never upgraded with shields. Something that would come back to haunt them.
Amoi was divided into four regions once again, though some territories had very little population, since the wastelands were vast. But as the axis of the planet shifted, water was rerouted and new springs of fresh water bubbled to the surface. In some areas, hills became mountains, and dry cracked deserts were changed by the new water tables underground. This meant that far more land opened up for development, for both agriculture, and settlements. The topography of Amoi shifted more in some areas than others, and Iason and Riki were relieved that the densely populated cities were not left with deep chasms of destruction.
Riki knew that Midas and Ceres were leveled, with the exception of Omaki's tower, and the more modern buildings of Lords who could afford shields to cover their establishments. But the slums were gone. Riki knew rebuilding the two cities was a private project he and his father were looking forward to, but the loss of lives weighed heavily on his mind.
The lovers were rarely seen at one location twice, as they moved from place to place, listening to the population's needs, and together led the way for Kai's mobilization and recovery of all able-bodied men. The two princes were often seen flying overhead, and hover where survivors were detected beneath the rubble of buildings. Once men came to dig them out, they continued on to the next area.
“There will be more, if these survivors held on for three days.” Iason spoke, concerned that many remained trapped.
Riki became quiet, then hovered for a moment. “I feel like I'm being pulled in all directions again...” Riki's eyes darted from building to building. “I can feel them, but I can't reach them all.” Riki looked in the direction of Midas, “I want to let them know, Iason. If they're hanging on, I want to assure them we're coming. That we've not forgotten them.”
“Alright.” Iason transformed, as he and Riki powered up. They concentrated, and within their mind's eye they appeared in their royal robes. All of their energy went into reaching out to anyone who may be trapped.
“Lord Iason and I want to let you know, that we're coming for you.” Riki began. “We know some of you are in dark places, and some of you are injured. Please know that every effort is being made to find you, no matter where you might be.” Riki spoke.
Iason added, “Keep reaching out to us. Use your thoughts, as well as your voices. We won't leave you behind.”
As their message was sent out, they followed it with a large burst of energy that lit up the darkness of their mind's eye, and in that instant Iason and Riki saw hundreds of faces looking at them from the darkness. They were stunned, and in the next moment dug deep, as Lord Ahura taught them, sending their energy further away and as far as it could reach. But in the darkness the wind only carried the chill in the air, for winter would soon arrive. They stared at one another, waiting for their energy to return, wondering if they were heard. Riki and Iason soon got their answer.
Suddenly, and from every direction, Riki felt a rush, not of power, but of anxiety reaching for him, washing over his body as it spun him around like a leaf in the wind, to the point that he began to faint and fall out of the sky. Iason was quick to catch him, seeing the pained expression on his face. He could not feel what Riki felt as an empath, however, they were synchronized in their mind's eye. Iason saw hundreds of faces reaching to them both with bloody hands, and from every direction in the darkness. There was no doubt, that Iason now felt what Riki was feeling.
“Riki!” Lady Erin shouted, as she froze in place.
They were exiting their shuttle in Tanagura, when Riki and Iason's message was seen and heard in their mind. Kai began to run in their direction, when Omaki and Argent took a running start behind them and flew off with the worried parents. Kai's feet were still running when he was raised by Omaki.
“Just point in the right direction, my Lord!”
“Head south-east, towards Dana Burn!” Kai spoke.
“I've got him!” Iason's voice trembled. “He's fine, my Lord!” Iason looked in their direction, and spotted Omaki and Argent with Kai and Erin.
As they landed, Kai and Erin rushed to the unconscious Riki, quickly looking him over as if expecting to see him injured. Riki's eyes fluttered open, his eyes were black as night, as his body tried to power up. Kai noticed that Iason was also doing the same.
“Little one, you've startled us all!” Erin spoke. “There are many still sensitive to their new powers, and many saw you fall in our minds. Calm your heart, my love.”
“That's why they followed it up with that burst of energy, my love.” Kai spoke. “Though perhaps you two have not rested enough. Just make sure you don't forget to replenish your core, little one.”
“Maybe it's too soon.” Erin worried, “You two have been fluctuating your powers, like a candle dancing too close to the melted wax. We witnessed the same while you two were asleep.”
“I'm alright, mother.” Riki touched the ground, and small glowing particles appeared to be absorbed by him.
“I think Amoi is trying to feed you as well, my love.” Iason spoke.
Riki looked at his hand, noticing a light dusting of minerals. “I was just overwhelmed by the large number of survivors. Father, there are many, hundreds.”
“Yes, yes, Ceres, and Midas.” Kai looked into Riki's eyes. “Thanks to you two, we've all seen them as well.” Kai let out a harsh breath, giving his son a once-over. “You two will need to report to Lord Ahura for more lessons.” Kai spoke, as Riki made a face. “Now, listen, it's clear to us that you two have changed. I don't know the extent of your transformations, but as I told you before, you are men of flesh and bone. With one heart and mind, and very sensitive to what others feel, or suffer. Especially you, Riki. There has to be a way to keep your body in check, when such power hits you like a hurricane.”
Riki and Iason looked at him. “Hurricane...” Iason spoke. “Now that's a word I haven't heard in a long time.”
Omaki nodded, “Yes, I scarcely recall those...”
“Yes, this planet may have been bone dry in the present era, but it was once a world that had four seasons, and I expect it to return as the atmosphere becomes humid and saturated once again. But that's a talk for another time. Ceres and Midas it is, and you, my son, need to stay away from these two cities for a bit more, or I'll have your Sentinels at Arms shadowing you. I don't want to see you falling from the skies again.”
When they were satisfied that they were fine, and Riki smiled, he and Iason continued on their way to the next area. They looked toward Tanagura, feeling the power and hands-on strength of the awakened.
Kai was taken back to Tanagura, and used a shuttle to survey his area. He often had Omaki and Argent with him. This was for more than one reason, as the doting father could use them to fly off to wherever Riki might be...just in case. Where fires continued to pop up, Omaki and Argent could also be used for their gifts of fire and ice to manipulate rain, and in some cases snow, to cool down any hot spots. For those awakened ancients, the heavier loads were given in removing debris from the fallen buildings, and broken roads.
The grim task of recovering the hidden dead was overwhelming to the average citizen, who may have lived their entire life and never experienced such devastation. It had been three days, and the collection of the dead took on a serious turn as more were discovered. Were they too quick to judge the survivability of their own people? Jupiter was now concerned that disease may indeed make an appearance if this continued.