The Gathering

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Chapter 38

The heroes cautiously entered the throne room. They soon began to spread, watching him closely.

“Your reign is over, my lord,” said Richard. Kairos chuckled at the mercenary.

“Over my boy? No, just a setback.” His arrogant smile was starting to irritated Amyntas. The spartan pointed his sword at the clocked ruler.

" I have never met a more arrogant man who cannot fathom their defeat. It pathetic.” Kairos looks at the young man.

“And I have never met a more naive child, who thinks that waving a sword makes him a man. What do you think my death will accomplish for you? For all of you?”

“We fight to free the people,” said Cynbel.

“The people?” Kairos then began to laugh. His laughter echoed throughout the room. “Those superstitious idolaters? They are not worth freeing. Not after what I learned about them. Their...secret.”

“What are you talking about?” said Decimus. Kairos rested his scepter over his shoulder. He then removed his hood and showed his Corinthian helmet.

“What did they tell you about my helmet? I’m curious to know?” said Kairos. Tyra spoke up.

“They said that the helmet is powerful and that it took control over you.” Kairos raised a finger at the shield-maiden.

“First off, I control the helmet, not the other way around. Secondly, this helmet is more than just powerful. It brings clarity. When I put it on, it showed me the harsh truth.” Amyntas started to grow curious.

“What truth did it show you?”

“I can never go back home. And neither can all of you.” The tension in the room suddenly went cold. Kairos then points to the mage. “Ask him; he’ll verify. He knows I’m right.” All the heroes turn to the mage, but he remained silent. He darted his eyes away from everyone. Kairos snickers.

“Taking the silent treatment, old friend? Very well, I will tell them.” He clears his throat before continuing. “The thing about this place, its ties to the magical and realities of time, are off the charts. You can take something from another dimension, another world, and bring it here, but sending it back is the problem.”

“What the hell are you talking?” said Mori.

“You cannot send something back from the moment it was taken without changing history. In doing so, you create an alternate timeline.”

“An alternate timeline?” said Cynbel. Kairos explains that if one uses the stone’s power to go back to the moment of one’s summoning, they create an alternate timeline that splinters off from the original and exists in that reality. The memories that once had, they will be replaced by new ones to fit the timeline. Amyntas could not believe what he was hearing.

“Your lying,” said the Spartan. Kairos then slammed his hand onto the ground, and out came a bluish glow that soon wrapped itself around the heroes. He then uses the power of the scepter to show each of them their memories.

“Visual learning, as I always say, helps the mind understand more. Now let us see, who do we look at first?” Kairos uses the scepter’s power and brings forward Amyntas.

“Spartan, thank you so very much for volunteering. Now class, watch and observe.” Using the scepter’s power, Kairos shows Amyntas what his life would be like if he went back home.

“Let’s see....Oh...how fascinating. It seems Leonidas bends the knee to Xerxes. His forces join the Persian king in destroying Athens. Sparta becomes a wealthy province and rules all of Greece. Her soldiers are indoctrinated into the Persian military, and, haha, you become the king’s bodyguard and leader of the Immortals. You are suppressing all forms of freedom in Europa. Ironic. Your kind fought against the Persians, and yet, if you go back home, they become allies with the Persians.”

Amyntas did not want to believe it, yet the images shown to his were clear as day. This would be his life if he went back home. He was horrified. Decimus struggled against the magic.

“Damn you, you heartless bastard,” said the Roman. Kairos looks at the older soldier and shakes his head.

“Tst. Tst. I do not tolerate foul language. Punishment is needed.” He then turns his staff on Decimus and shows him his future.

“Well, know, you came from the battle of Canne,” said Kairos. “During Rome’s infant years. Let’s see what happens to your little republic.” Kairos began exploring Rome’s alternate future. He then let out a bewildered laugh.

“I’ll be damn, Hannibal does it. He captures and burns Rome to the ground. He enslaves its people and forces them to work back home in Carthage.” The images then turn to a small village in southern Italy. Decimus eyes widen with horror.

“Interesting, now why would he go there?” Kairos sees the Roman’s eyes begin to tear. “Oh...I see now ... this is your home ... shall we check in on your family...”

“Please...make it stop,” Decimus said softly.

“Too late,” replied Kairos. Decimus is then shown horrific images of his village being raised to the ground, people he has known his life killed, then the worst came.

The fate of his family. He tried looking away, but the magic restrained his head, forcing him to watch helplessly as his sons were slain, defending their mother, only for her to become the wife of Hannibal. The Roman was shaking uncontrollably. Kairos had a smug look on his face.

“Always such a proud day, when sons come of age, don’t you agree?” Decimus said nothing and glared at the tyrant with his angry tear ridden eyes.

“Anyone else?” said Kairos. He then looks over at Cynbel. The young female Celt hissed at him, making him get a surprising look.

“Oh, you’re hostile. You are going to be fun to crack.”

“You’re talking pretty tough to a person restrained, but that is probably good for you,” said Cynbel, trying to act tough.

“Is it now?” asked Kairos.

“Why don’t you cut me loose, and I’ll show you your own heart,” she replied. Kairos chuckled. He always did love those with a bit of fire in them. As he repeated the process on Cynbel, the young Celt saw her future and revealed that she and Queen Boudica repel the Romans. Cynbel laughs at Kairos.

“Seems your magic is waning. How is this future bad?”

“Story’s not over; watch.” As Cynbel continued watching her future, she saw that for a brief moment, there was peace. But soon, the Romans came back with a vengeance and began to slaughter every Brition on the isle. Hoping to save her people from extinction, Boudica asks for a parlay with the Romans. Knowing that the emperor needed another wife, the queen offers Cynbel as a tribute to the Roman.

The memories then flash forward to her new life as the emperor’s mistress and live out the rest of her day as the last of her kind as all of Britannia were wiped out. The memories finish, and Cynbel was speechless.

“You see, my dear, everyone has a price, even your beloved queen.” With three of the four down, he makes his way to Tyra.

“And then there was one. I would be lying if I said I was not curious about your history.”

“Do you worst,” she growled at him.

“My pleasure, dear,” he said, getting his face closer to hers. As he used his magic, he was surprised to see nothing. No new memories, no significant alteration to history. Nothing. He then gave off a chuckle.

“My, my, this is sad. You make no impact on history. Not even a minor change. You don’t mean anything to history, hell, to even anyone. You are... nothing.” Tyra said nothing, but Kairos could easily see that she was bothered by the news.

He then snaps his fingers and releases them from the magic bindings. The heroes regained their footing and said not a word. They were still recovering from what had transpired. Kairos walked back to his throne and sat back down.

“Now, do you see,” he said to the humans. “You can never reclaim the lives you lost back home. You are stuck here forever, like me. It is your destiny.”

“Screw destiny,′ said Amyntas. “Nothing is set in stone. We make our own choices, not you, not the stone, not anyone! Our lives are our own.” Kairos placed a hand over his mouth, trying to suppress his laughter.

“Incredible, you still cling to hope. Even after everything I have shown you.”

“Yeah, that’s us; we’re all kinds of stubborn,” said Richard.

“I admire that. Reminds me of myself.” He paused for a moment. “When I first realized my purpose, I thought I could still rule over these people and achieve my goals. In the beginning, I saw this as my destiny, but then you said screw destiny, which then caused me to reflect on my work. So...here is what I plan to do.” The tyrant slowly got up from his throne.

“I’m going to kill every one of you, your allies included, slowly and in the most painful of ways. Then, I will deal with the Chroni and finally rid myself of those irritating pests. Then, with the moonstones you have acquired, I will tear their world apart and go back in time and shape in its infancy and return to a world that has traded freedom for security and order. My perfect utopia.”

“Born out of blood,” said Decimus.

“They will never know the truth because none of you will be alive to tell them.” Amyntas and his allies unsheathed their weapons, and Kairos channels in all of his power.

Neither side could predict the outcome, but they all knew the same thing.

One way or another, this ends today.

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