CHAPTER 6: The Binding of the Blood

It was indescribable. The darkness seemed to settle, and Milo could feel weight again. All was still very vague to him. Through his eyelids the world reddened from its ebony state. The air seemed to refreshing. The king wondered where he was. It would feel so wonderful just to sleep here, for he felt so tired. There the scholar lay, trying just to feel.

Sluggishly, Milo lifted his head and opened his eyes. The world was hazy, discolored, still affected by a lack of air. Slowly the world sharpened, taking on proper hues. The world was bathed in a crimson light by something that would take much more effort to remember in addition to what was most important at the moment. A white, fluffy thing lay on his chest, one arm clad in fur, the other in chitin. And he knew. So easy it was to know this, to remember this.

He lifted his arm. It felt so heavy, but he did not care. Lovingly he stroked his wife's wet cheek. She placed a hand on his, as if wanting no more than such a simple caress. Kida paused, then raised herself off of him, the look of quiet disbelief apparent. Her face was so pale. Freed from her weight, he turned, his pain causing him to grimace.

".Milo.?"

"Uhh! Huh!" he gasped the syllables through the agony.

"MILO!" Tears of joy washed away her tears of anguish as color came back into her face. As he tried to sit up, clutching his ribs, the queen threw her arms around him.

"Ahhh! Ohh!" Milo's breathing was labored. "Sorry I worried you so much." He managed to smile, finding even that hurt. His words and burns were still quite serious.

"Moakh GAH-nesh-kik dakh!"

"I love you too, Kida. So much." It felt so wonderful to feel her beside him again. Milo weakly hacked out a laugh.

"Are you all right?"

"Yeah. It's funny."

"It is funny?!" Kida quickly began to examine his head with her hands.

"No." The scholar took his hands in hers. "It's like in those kid's stories. Like fairytales. How love is the greatest power? I always wondered if that were absolutely true."

His wife cocked her head. "What is a 'FAIR-ee-tale?'"

Milo coughed out another chuckle. "It's when people live happily ever after." With that statement he released her hands and reminded himself of the elation he could feel just by wrapping his arms around her.

The sound of many footsteps met their ears and they turned. There to greet them were the faces of those they loved and protected. Amongst the faces of so many Atlanteans Audrey, Sweet and Vinny stood. Mole and Cookie walked beside. Even Packard, taking a long inhalation through her cigarette, stepped up. All looked to the freed Mother Crystal, and a cheer could be felt in the air. The couple watched and laughed at the rest of the team's surprise when they were lifted into the air.

Quickly, however, the crowd swept toward them. Milo could hear Sweet's warnings not to pick either of them up, since they looked hurt, but that did not hinder the crowd. The couple found themselves being tossed into the air, soaring into the heavens, it seemed, before they were caught. The king was surprised by their care. Though painful, it was bearable somehow in the way they did it. Euphoria filled them all and the group found themselves cheering for one another and their fellow Atlanteans.

A young Atlantean, one who looked to be biologically in his teens to Milo, called forth, a few others cheering with him. "Let us forget this terrible time! May we erase all traces of these events!"

"NO!" Milo and Kida shouted together, stopping to smile at each other.

"There's a saying in my culture. 'Those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it.' Khobdesheh repeated history. Let's just make sure our descendants don't make the same mistakes we do. Just destroy the remains of the case and the blueprints so they can't be used again. Right, Kida? .Kida?"

Through the quieting shouts and whistled a silence came. The queen looked silently at the Crystal as it sent out its crimson beams.

"No," the king began, quietly shaking his head. "Kida, no.!"

".It wants to be moved. It must be moved." Her people lowered her.

"No!" She turned back to face him. "Kida." He reached out an aching hand. "I just got you back.!"

She looked back at him, a truly touched look on her face. "We both know I must do this. I am the only one. Be not afraid, Milo. I will return." The queen stepped close, and she stroked his cheek with gentle fingers. In soft, smooth tones she added, "No matter what, I will always be with you."

There was no argument this time, no way to argue. All he could do was watch as she quickly removed her armor, a sign of respect, for clearly she did not need it under the protection of the Crystal. She looked down to her pendant, and a shocked expression went through her face, temporarily. Milo, too, was surprised to see the shard had been snapped off. Kida then looked to the ground and it seemed she knew exactly where it was, making the linguist wonder if the queen had already known it was broken. She snatched it up in a hurry. Kida then walked into the path of a beam, holding the crystal in an open palm. A soft smile appeared on her face as her eyes closed and her head rose, spreading her arms in readiness. The beam fell upon her, and the single shard floated upward, fusing with the remaining bits of crystal in her necklace to become whole once more. Her body notably relaxed as the beam changed the hue of her skin from that of fire to water. Her crystal hovered in front of her. The host paused, face expressionless, as if communicating or receiving orders. Like three years earlier, she turned to look at Milo, eyes illuminate by the Crystal itself. From her came the echoed, cryptic voice the man had heard but once before.

"GAHN SEH-kleh-nuhg MOH-kit WAH-neh-goh-nik. (I will watch you again long ago.)"

Milo blinked, confused. "What?" He wondered if the integration between the Crystal and Kida's body was flawed this time, somehow. Additionally, he mused as to which being said it, Kida or the Crystal.

Unresponding, Kida turned away mechanically like a living puppet. With rhythmic precision she made her way up the fallen monorail track, bathed in blue light in a world still scarlet. Standing precisely where Milo had been earlier, she stopped and turned toward the Heart of Atlantis. Even from there he could see Kida's shoulders rise with breath. From where she stood the horizontal beam intensified into a narrow shaft of brilliant light onto her crystal. As a cerulean halo surrounded her, Kida's hair flew back as her body took the full force of the energy.

Slowly Milo saw her form float, her feet limply sliding off the edge of the track, as she was pulled seemingly by her torso to the Mother Crystal. Initially, taken into the cool fires of the star, she appeared as a silhouette within. A burst of light melted into Kida's flesh, giving her an almost ghostly appearance. As before, the king and those around him had to shield their eyes as best they could as they watched, the spinning form without the King Stones to block the glare. A whirr and a wind came from the transformation, stirring the ash into small whirlwinds and driving it away. Milo remembered how Kida had described to him how she felt her muscles weaken and lose shape before, and she bent at the whim of its power, being unable, though not desiring, to protest with muscle or bone. He looked on as a great gravity seemed to pull everything inward into a brilliant, slender, and featureless shape

Soon, nevertheless, the form began to slow, a single, fluid shard taking the form of his wife. She appeared there as blue liquid glass, a brightness emanating from her in such a way Milo wondered if the greater intensity was his own imagination adding beauty to his love or the Crystal celebrating its freedom.

The entity spread its arms as its hair flowed, and the intricate design work of the track became canals for its energies. Thus did the Mother Crystal call for its "children."

In the distance appeared a procession, smoothly and swiftly moving toward the Crystal. The eleven King stones wrapped around the Heart of Atlantis, surrounding it as they always had. With their return, Kida's form rose, putting her arms at her sides and hair streaming downward. The Crystal reclaimed its place at the distant center of the city. With an even greater radiance Milo heard the falls roar louder, and the resulting steam clouds grew large.

To his astonishment and worry, the linguist watched search beams again search the city, without having first returned his wife. The blue beams would stop suddenly, narrow, and in their widening a glimmer would show itself traveling down the shaft.

"Please, let me down!" As great as his pain, Milo felt anxious enough he felt he needed to stand.

A great cluster of beams neared. The first hesitated briefly over the fallen body of Khobdesheh, then move on, as if in realization he had died. The beams slowly stopped on many members of the crowd. When one shone on the king, he looked to its source, amazed. Into his field of vision floated his own crystal. He felt a familiar presence, somehow.

The beam narrowed and the flash blinded Milo. The sheer power forced the breath from his lungs, and, in order to try to stand it, his fists clenched, coiled fingers up, at his the waist. The surge was a feeling indescribably more intense than that of adrenaline. Breathing hard, he opened his eyes. He was suddenly aware of a floating sensation, and he looked down, finding his feet were, indeed, off the ground. Glancing around he saw others of his people experiencing the same phenomenon, save one detail. Whereas they simply hovered off the ground, Milo continued his accent upward, and the beam itself moved closer to the center of the city as he rose.

The view, as always, was breathtaking, but the king did not dwell on it for long, especially when he reached the clouds. Something was glittering down the shaft toward him. As it neared Milo saw they were actually crystal shards of varying sizes and shapes. A single one zipped almost excitedly ahead of the rest, speeding around the king as if in examination before floating to his face. It closed slowly in between his eyes in a curious manner. The others arrived and surrounded him in a cloud of crystal fragments. He felt tiny pressures and bursts of energy, flashes accompanying the healing of each wound. Intense, sharp pain in his torso caused him to shout. Milo looked down and saw where his scar had been, crystals squeezing the re-opened wound closed, and the first shard whizzing down to heal it properly.

Slowly the crystals began to return to their mother, but the one lingered, zooming around the man's head momentarily. It moved towards his face abruptly, causing him to jerk backwards. The sliver seemed to gesticulate, twirling a few seconds before coming to touch the side of his face, healing the insignificant scratch that remained on his cheek. Then in a spiraling upward motion it chased after the others. Milo watched it leave, wondering with affection about the playful shard.

He felt a slight breeze, and he realized he was being lowered to a new location through the steam, one he recognized as the plaza. Milo was set down lightly before the beam vanished and his crystal fell. He stumbled, feeling as if he had been swimming for hours and his form had somehow grown heavy.

Milo looked up to the clouds he descended from to see a new ray of blue light penetrate it, all the rest having already disappeared. His heart soared infinitely higher than he had just been as he saw a figure descend, white hair catching the wind like feathered wings. Asleep she came, and Milo stood ready with open arms, familiar with what to do. As Kida's toes brushed the ground, he held her by her shoulders, ready to brace her against himself when the crystal let go. Ever so gently the Heart of Atlantis released her, and the feeling of holding his wife in his arms was a treasure greater than any. She rested limply with her head tilted back against his arm.

Thus Milo looked at his wife. Her eyes tenderly closed, her soft layered hair, the pure blue markings adorning the features of her bronzed face were so much more precious than jewels to him. Then his eyes rested on her lips and he pressed his together, habitually moistening them. Slowly the king lowered his face toward hers in awe that he would be able to kiss her again. His heart met the heavens as he lovingly did so, and then pulled away to look at her again.

The queen's eyes fluttered open and she smiled, having been awakened in such a enjoyable way. Eyes half-closed, she gently said, "TREH-net MOH- kit THUH-rih-mikh. ('I told the truth to you,' or, in this context, 'I told you so.')" Kida straightened but put her head on his shoulder.

Softly Milo chuckled, but stopped as he remembered back. "Do. you remember what you said? Or did?"

"No. It took perhaps a year the last time--" She suddenly grew quiet, raising her head. A surprised expression was shone as her fingers went to her right ear, carefully touching the empty hole in her earlobe. Her eyes widened as she smiled warmly in joy. ".She accepted it."

Kida turned her eyes back to his fair face, and he smiled back in understanding as he embraced her. Like the earrings, they were together now.

. . .

Milo looked in the mirror, face covered again in blue markings. He dipped his hands in the sink and washed his face, putting his glasses back on immediately. He glanced back up before scratching his itching face, the markings still on them. "Why did I agree to that? I said I'd never have it done. Now look at yourself, Milo." The king took some salve and rubbed it into his skin to relieve the itching, something he could not avoid no matter how the tattoos were healed. He breathed a sigh of relief, thankful to Doctor Sweet for the cream.

"Milo!" There was a knock on the door to the bathroom. "Hurry! It is about to start!"

"Coming, Kida!" The linguist closed the small container and slipped it into the sash intricate formal garb after giving Fluffy a quick pet goodbye. He grabbed his truncheon and stepped out, only to find his arm grabbed by his delighted wife, cloth flowing from her arms.

"We must not miss this!"

Had Milo not been paying more attention to the placement of his feet, he would have tripped when he agreed whole-heartedly. Together they sped out of the palace. The crowd did not mind the couple slipping through to the front where they were expected by the rest of the crew, waiting the great procession with expectant smiles.

The morning was quiet for the most part and gently lit by the Mother Crystal above. The air was fresh, clean, and damp from the recent rains, the smell of damp earth and plant life a perfume that came with the mists. Even then the sound of laughter of children could be heard, playing with joy and hope for their futures. The laughter caused Milo's grin to broaden, for it reminded him of when he was a young boy, and the jubilant memories of the past filled his heart.

Through it all began the beat of a drum, the continuously faster rhythm awakening the day. Looking down the wet street, the procession started in a grand display of music, color and dance.

Not since the celebration he saw three years ago had he seen such intricacy in everyone's garb, though his outfit was quite different from the tunic he wore then.

Flowing garments, especially ones with capes, were the staple of the parade. Every dancer was a music maker, for strung on their wrists, ankles, and to the bottoms of any gangling cloth were shells, chimes, and bells. The most common pattern in the clothing was naturally that of crystal design.

Even animals made themselves known. Bahodmoks, stepping like horses, made their way under the playful eyes of their owners. Young children rode the ostich-like wemots in a whimsical fashion. Most magnificent were the "Regal Yeragos," a specially bread species. With broad wings that had membrane protrusions resembling flimsy feathers but short, unspiked tails, they made awkward fliers, but as displays they were the grandest creatures with wings in Atlantis. Their wings were cape like, and they held their heads high and proud with their long necks, adorned with four crests rather than the one flowing back from the head. Golden, amber and topaz in color, they perched with one foot on each shoulder of their owner and spread their wings, looking as if they would take off with them. They certainly seemed large enough to do so.

As the procession came through, Milo found himself like the rest of the crowd, clapping, chanting and stamping to the jovial song, his enthusiastic crooked grin bright upon his face.

A sound of surprise beside him turned the cartographer's head, and he saw one of the dancers pull Audrey into the parade. He laughed, only to find it reoccurring to other members of the team. Kida was quickly grabbed, and giggling, she in turn grabbed Milo. The dancers quickly organized them into lines, the act awkward in being impromptu. The scholar watched, a little uncoordinated in trying to copy their moves. Utter excitement overtook him as he joined in. He looked to his wife. Smiling, she held her head high, not in pride, but in complete exhilaration. They glowed like the sun's fire, the world a prism to catch their light and create rainbows of joy. Faces shining, they all sang in celebration.

The procession hit a grand finale and stopped in front of the palace. Kida was the first to break the remarkable silence.

"Milo, are you ready?"

The erudite man swallowed hard. "I. I guess."

"You do know what to do, do you not?"

"I, well."

"You did not read about it?!"

".No, I was reading about the hydro-farming techniques used by ancient Atlanteans. I thought it would be more useful."

The queen shook her head, a smile replacing the look of surprise. "You put the people before a ceremony involving yourself." She put her hand on his arm. "You will make a very good king. Now, follow me."

Milo was used to his wife grabbing him by the wrist, but was surprised to find it thrust into the air.

"The time has come!" she cried to all, punctuating it by tapping her staff on the ground. To the man's amazement, the crowd exploded into cheer. Even they knew more than he.

A small boy cut through the crowd to them both and held out a large bowl containing crystal dust and small, shining slivers in a watery solution. The linguist watched carefully, seeing his wife coat her right palm in the water-crystal solution, shards sticking up like ice crystals. Milo began to do the same, only to find his hands manipulated by his wife, who indicated he should coat the left palm. The man found the mixture cool and somehow soothing. Kida took some extra, indicating her husband should not.

The queen stood and held her palm out, and Milo paused, thinking she meant to stop. She motioned with her head, and he realized he was to put his hand to hers. The huntress raised her hand to her face, and the linguist did the same, making sure to keep his palm pressed to hers. In the process of this, they took a step toward each other. When she pressed harder, he pushed back, feeling the shards poke quite uncomfortably into his skin.

With an abrupt motion Kida pressed forward and down, he hand sliding away with painful consequences. "Ahh!" Milo cried out, cradling his hand. Though he could not tell through the faint glow of the crystal solution, he knew it had cut him like course sandpaper. The man could feel the flow of blood underneath. He looked to his wife, who held her wrist and bit her lip while staring at her hand. It had clearly hurt her too. When Kida noticed his gaze she looked up to smile, a relief to Milo that something had not just gone wrong.

The crowd moved aside as the queen sprinted the short distance to the vine-riddled walls of the palace. She looked up in such a way Milo knew she meant they would climb it, and he gulped at the height, much taller than any Stone Giant he had ever climbed.

The linguist clenched a fist and spoke to himself. "Okay, Milo, this is it. Just do it."

His wife began to climb as he paced toward her, his heart beating powerfully. Milo took hold of the vines and found his first foothold. So he began to climb, looking down to nervously watch each step. He looked up to see his wife smiling back at him, urging him to go further. The climb was difficult and slow, especially carrying his staff. When Milo neared the top, Kida stood there, offering a hand that he eagerly took, injured palm to injured palm. Gritting his teeth he pulled himself up and was awestruck with the sheer altitude. Glancing skyward, the Heart of Atlantis seemed frightfully near. As he stood beside her, the queen once again reclaimed his cut hand and held it with her right, and he interlocked his fingers with hers. Kida sprinkled the drying extra crystals at their feet, the stone now glittering. In the wind Kida indicated for Milo to raise his staff. He blinked, wondering, but did so.

A pure blue beam from the Mother Crystal fell on him, the crystals in his staff drawn to it. Once again Milo saw his crystal float before him as a roar of excitement went through the crowds below. After a few seconds, the queen did the same, and thus two beams fell on two hearts.

The beams narrowed and flashed but nothing seemed to happen. His hand was pulsing uncomfortably now, and he felt it necessary to move it slightly, only to find he was unable to without moving Kida's as well. Milo looked down quickly in disbelief, finding an even melding between fair skin and bronzed. Suddenly he realized the pulse in his hand did not match his heartbeat. The man looked to his wife, who was looking up from it as well, an elated smile on her face as she continued to hold up her staff.

The beams narrowed a second time and a sharp sensation went through him, and he felt an extremely uncomfortable feeling in his chest as nothing moved within for but a second or so. It was then the pulsing in his hand seemed normal and matched his own. It was thus royal blood flowed through him and his heart beat in harmony with hers, true king and queen hovering an inch above the ground.

With one last flash their skin was freed, the crystal powder blowing off their hands in the breeze. A brilliant explosion of sparks shone from the Mother Crystal, harmlessly showering down upon the city. As claps, shouts, whistles and stamps echoed through the air, one turned to the other in the cerulean beam. The king and queen put their free arms around each other, feet once again on stone.

"Do you remember what you said to me shortly after we were married, Milo? You were right in saying it was all still a wonderful dream."

"Yeah. A dream come true." The king bent closer to her and they kissed, a feeling of relief flowing as soothing as water over them. The dried solution at their feet was finally caught by the wind, and, influenced by the crystal's beam still shining on them, swirled and glittered around them in the breeze.

The peace of their love could be felt over the entire palace. The winds heightened and spread it throughout the "hill" of Atlantis and to its coast. It surged outward to the final rings. The feeling powered itself further on the thermals from the lava moat and steam from the falls, spreading to the mouths of caves. It thus echoed through the earth.

It did not matter how far beneath the planet's surface Milo was. He was on top of the world. He could touch the sky.

In a world were peace was restored, in a world were longevity was once again granted to all, in a world where love proved to be the cure, there was Atlantis.

TEAM ATLANTIS: SHARDS OF CHAOS





Credits: Meant to be read to "Where My Heart May Take Me" from Star Trek "Enterprise." (Such a Milo-type song!)

Starting my little obsession:

Walt Disney & Everyone Involved in Making the Movie Including: Don Hahn Gary Trousdale Kirk Wise Michael J. Fox Cree Summer James Newton Howard To Name a Few

Special Thanks to Those Who Took Part in the Experiment (Even Just by Reading): Kathleen Goblinqueeen Malkavien Samgirl Cherukim Julie (Did I leave anyone out?)

Encouragers/Plot Hole Searchers (to name a few again) Goblinqueeen Kathleen Samgirl Malkavien

My Help in Editing (Thank you!) Goblinqueeen Shahnahkehm



Fellow Fans (To name a few, and in no particular order:) From the Search for Atlantis RPG and the Destination Atlantis Forum: Lisa Mahteim Mu Shahnahkehm Karen Julie Sarah Jodotha Cali Goblinqueeen Princesszeldabelle Mollydove Dawn Roaming_Tigress Bitsy Lieutenant Starlite Vegakeep Malkavien Bubble_gum_grl Jarofpaintbrushes Meg_Servo Sáhtibakósh/Jinjue DareDelvil Cacomixl Fuse Syren Roaklin Kat isolde_scheurer jozedxyqk Samgirl Kathleen



Those Who Introduced Me to Fan Fiction:

Everyone in the Atlantis_the_Movie Yahoo! Group Including, but not exclusive to: Zudomon Grim=20Stripper Kida Grath Raymond Chuang Ruggaphile Dibsdib Freakhybrid The Snow Grygon Jjvo

Lisa

Karen

Julie

"Fuzz" breaks: "Smokey" Charcoal Briquette (Smokey) the Hamster



Fun with Margin Doodles (Cooler "Put-This-Here" Arrows): Amanda and Kim

Group Allowing You to Read This Right Now: Fanfiction.net

Base Story Inspiration/Khobdesheh Character Development: Brave New World by Aldous Huxely 1984 by George Orwell And especially Anthem by Ayn Rand

Movie Inspiration: Final Fantasy: the Spirits Within Stewart Little (1 & 2) The Lion King Lord of the Rings Treasure Planet The Frighteners

Music Inspiration: Dinosaur ("Inner Sanctum/The Nesting Grounds") The Lion King ("King of Pride Rock") Atlantis: the Lost Empire ("Atlantis") Waterworld ("Swimming," "Dry Land") Tapestry of Dreams Soundtrack, a WDW parade The Lion King on Broadway ("Shadowland")

Music influence (Chapter Writing Aids/Enhancers):

Dinosaur ("They're All Gone") Waterworld ("Helen saves the Mariner") Treasure Planet ("Jim Saves the Crew") The Lion King: Rhythms of the Pridelands ("It's Time") Enterprise ("Where My Heart May Take Me")

Further Inspiration: God The Movie and All Those Involved James Newton Howard, Whose Music Made Me a Fan Whatever that place is where my mind wanders to and doesn't come back



And of course, the ultimate inspiration source? Atlantis: the Lost Empire, or else this fan fiction would be about something else!

Well, I notice you're still reading. I hope you enjoyed my story! Sorry fot the little roller-coaster there. PAH-geh-sheh-nekh





Based off the Disney Picture "Atlantis: the Lost Empire." The Name "Shards of Chaos" is property of Disney. The characters, "MUH-suh MIH-kee" and Khohbdesheh are my property, and I acknowledge I do not own the names. Fan fiction storyline also my property. Milo Thatch, Kidagakash, Bendoh, Rourke and other characters, names, concepts, and all Atlantean in this story are property of the Walt Disney Company.