Disclaimer: My name is not Peter Molyneux, so obviously I don't own Black and White, now get on with the story.

1st Jan Year 0

Dylan sat in his school chair tossing a ball into the air and catching it. The monotonous sound of Mrs Williams' voice never seemed to be able to penetrate his skull.

'Dylan!' she said sharply. 'Were you paying any attention to me just then?' Dylan sat up in his seat.

'Yes, miss' he lied.

'What did I say then?

'Erm…'

'I thought so. Detention!'

Dylan stared out of the window at the enormous monument outside. 'It's not my fault!' he thought angrily as he stared at the Temple. Mrs Williams continued to drone on about the 'Almighty Gods.' Dylan didn't believe a word of it. Just because there was an enormous temple and a giant skeleton on a mountain nearby, that doesn't prove that Gods exist, or existed. Supposedly, about a hundred years before, there were countless gods (yeah, right), both good and evil. One day a great and powerful God came and they all worshiped him and made a huge temple. Then they were all almost destroyed by another God (pull the other one, it's got bells on), but were rescued at the last minute. Then no one ever saw a God again.

Dylan's green eyes rolled over to the enormous skeleton on the mountain. A 'wise old man' had built a house there in honour of the Gods, and claimed to have lived in the time of the Almighty Gods. Everyone except Dylan seemed to take him completely seriously – but who lives for more than 100 years?

The ruler came down on Dylan's desk with a thwack. 'Pay attention!' Mrs Williams said. Dylan jumped, and then glared at his teacher haughtily. The teacher was informing the class about the Initiation Ceremony that all twelve year olds went through, like it or not. Incidentally, not a single child before Dylan had ever objected to being initiated into their saviour's religion.

'Now, about your detention,' Mrs Williams said at the end of class. 'I want you to help Mr Mussa to prepare for the ceremony.'

'But-…'

'No buts – march young man!'

Mr Mussa was the old crackpot who lived on the mountainside, and his house was notoriously hard to get to. After two hours of climbing and sweating profusely, Dylan arrived. He brushed his fair hair out of his eyes as he looked across the mountaintop. If it weren't for the house and the skeleton, it would have been a nice view. Dylan looked out across the sea, and saw many ships on the horizon.

'Well, are you just going to stand there or are you going to help me?' the old man said, making Dylan jump.

'Sorry,' he said.

The house was huge. You couldn't tell from the outside, but the house ran right down through the mountain. They passed many rooms until they got to one with a sign saying 'Initiation Room.' This guy wouldn't win any prizes for creativity.

'Right,' said the man. 'I want you to put everything back onto its shelf.' The floor was covered with odd bits and bobs, and nothing was on any shelves.

'You're joking.' The man chuckled.

'Wake me when you're done.' He walked off.

An hour later, everything was on its correct shelf – except for one thing. Dylan debated going and looking for the man to ask for help finding the last thing – for it was nowhere to be found. He walked around several rooms, searching for Mr Mussa, until he came to one with a pot of boiling…something in the centre. There was a roaring fire beneath the pot, and it was heating up the entire room. Dylan walked over to it and leaned over the side. The substance was clear as water, though it was as thick as treacle. He wiped the sweat off his forehead with the back of his hand, and a single hair fell into the pot. No sooner had the hair touched the surface of the water than the mixture turned jet black. Suddenly, the mixture seemed to grow, spilling over the edge of the pot. Unfortunately, it spilled over where Dylan's left hand was, sticking to it immediately. The black mixture crept up his arm until there was not a trace left in the pot, or on the floor.

Dylan frantically scratched at the substance, but it kept rising up his arm. When the goo reached Dylan's tunic, it began to eat away at the cloth. Soon the substance had grown across Dylan's chest and along his other arm. Dylan staggered over to the door, the black goo constricting his chest. He coughed and wheezed in an attempt to get air into his lungs, but nothing worked.

The second the goo reached the small cut on the back of Dylan's right hand, it seemed to be sucked into it by some unseen force. Dylan's lungs filled with air and he collapsed to the floor in a dead faint.

When he awoke, Dylan found Mr Mussa standing over him, a look of rage on his face.

'What-did-you-do?' he snarled.

'Nothing! I swear I–…'

'100 years wasted…do you have any idea what you've done?' A horn blared somewhere far off. 'I'll see what that is – you stay here!' Mr Mussa said as he stormed out, his purple cloak flapping behind him. Dylan shivered as he heard screams from above – and it didn't have anything to do with the fact that his shirt had been completely dissolved.

Suddenly, dark-skinned men carrying swords and wearing armour surrounded Dylan. One of them yelled something at him and slashed him across the back with his sword.

Dylan opened an eye. It was dawn and he was on a ship, wearing the same clothes he'd worn yesterday. He felt his back. It was still sore, but the cut hadn't been deep. Someone hit him across the head. It was one of the men that had raided the house.

'Come on, row!' He yelled, pointing at an oar.

'Hey, I'm just a kid!' Dylan said indignantly.

'Well,' the man whispered menacingly, 'perhaps if you're "just a kid" no one would notice if you fell overboard?' Dylan hurried over to the oar, muttering under his breath. He sat down next to the only other person he could see who was his own age.

He was a dark-skinned boy, with jet-black hair and brown eyes. He watched Dylan warily as he sat down, but soon went back to his rowing. Dylan joined in, trying to start a conversation.

'Hi,' he said. The boy continued rowing. 'I'm Dylan, what's your name?' The boy didn't look up. 'Do you know where we're going or who these people are?' When the boy didn't answer, Dylan turned reluctantly back to his rowing.

'They're the Aztecs,' the boy said suddenly. 'We're helping them in their conquest of this land.'

'Why are you helping them?'

'We are helping them – you too. We don't have a choice.'

'But, but, but-…'

'I'm Aten, pleased to meet you, Dylan.' As the slave driver walked back around to where they were sat, the two boys fell silent – they didn't want to feel his whip on their already sore backs. As the man walked away, Dylan looked around, and noticed that there didn't seem to be a single villager from his tribe on board. He turned to Aten.

'What happened to the people in my village?' he asked.

'They're on one of the other ships – or, more likely, dead.' Aten said, stony faced.

'Oi! Shut it – no talking!' the slave driver yelled, taking the whip from his belt. He thrashed Aten across the back, causing him to drop the oar.

'Aaah…' he groaned in pain.

'Hey! Don't do that!' Dylan said indignantly. He felt a tingling sensation, slightly like adrenaline coursing through his body. As the slave driver made to whip him too, Dylan reached out and caught the whip. It caused a red mark to appear on his hand, but he hardly felt it.

The people sitting near Dylan began to look uneasy, thinking that they would probably all be punished for his actions. Dylan dropped the whip and scowled at the man. As he stood there, another man stepped down from the helm. He didn't look Aztec, but he was obviously in charge. He walked over to where Dylan stood and kicked him in the shin.

'Kill them both,' he said as Dylan fell to the floor. On of the men Dylan recognised as the one to give him the cut on his back stepped forward, smirking. In his hand he held a long, lethal blade.

As the people began to walk closer, Dylan picked up a broken oar to defend himself with. It was surprisingly heavy.

'Come get some!' Dylan said, swinging the oar around clumsily. Most of the people rowing managed to duck out of the way, but two of the Aztecs were hit in the head. 'Ha-HA!' he taunted, swinging the oar some more, until it collided with an Aztec sword, splitting in two. 'Ha-oh…' he gulped, stepping backwards. He looked around for Aten and saw that he had hidden himself behind some barrels.

As the sword swung round at his head, he ducked quickly. The sword stuck fast into the side of the boat, and the Aztec struggled vainly, trying to get it out. Dylan kicked him in the stomach, and Aten stuck his foot out, causing him to trip.

Dylan pulled the sword out of the ship with ease, and prepared for the three other Aztecs advancing on him. He parried a blow from the first one, ducked as the second aimed a blow at his head, and jumped as the third aimed a chop at his legs. He hit the first on the head with the hilt of his sword, then swung the sword around and threw it, simultaneously cutting through two of the soldiers and narrowly missing the general's head as it embedded itself in the helm of the ship.

The general at the helm clapped sarcastically and motioned the remaining soldiers to restrain him.

'Well, well, well,' he said. 'You're a mutinous little one, aren't you?' he punched him in the stomach while the Aztecs restrained Dylan. 'We all know what happens to mutineers, don't we?'

Dylan was dragged down into the bowels of the ship, and thrown into a huge room with no windows. He though they were going to starve him to death, until he heard a huge growl. The enormous creature stepped out of the shadows toward him, and flexed its muscles. It let out a huge 'ROAR!' as it stepped forwards, licking its chops hungrily.

It swiped at him with its claws, but Dylan was too quick and ran through its legs. The creature raised its arms and a blue mist seemed to gather around its paws. Without warning, a bolt of lightning shot from the mist, sending pain shooting through Dylan's body as he fell to the floor. Dylan staggered unsteadily to his feet, his whole body aching.

The creature raised its arms again, and the blue mist gathered. Dylan raised his hands in front of his face in self-defence, and the lightning flew straight at him. The wave seemed to stop at his hands and convert back into a mist. Dylan 's hands moved of their own accord and suddenly lightning was passing from his hands.

The creature howled in pain as the electricity passed through its body, and Dylan wouldn't let up.

'Take this!' he yelled, 'and that!' This felt really good, so he just couldn't stop. The tingling feeling had returned, and as Dylan watched, he saw his hands slowly changing colour, and his fingernails becoming more talon-like. As the current passed through the creature's body, it screamed and howled in pain and fury until it fell to the floor with a thud. Dylan forced himself to stop. He stared at his hands that were now almost completely fleshless and grey.

As Dylan reached the door, he blasted the door off its hinges with his hand still flowing with energy. It was as though he was addicted to this feeling. He laughed, but it was a deep throaty laugh that he wasn't used to. As two Aztecs came along the ship's corridor, they were instantly killed by the energy coming forth from the boy's hand.

As Dylan passed a pool of water on the floor, he caught a glimpse of his reflection, and almost had a heart attack. His hair was coal-black and his eyes were red, his skin was grey, and he looked as though he hadn't eaten in weeks.

As Dylan reached the deck, he saw the general impale Aten on his sword. The moon eclipsed the sun, bathing the scene in dark maroon light.

'You…' Dylan said in a deep voice, the mist gathering around his hands. He snarled and raised them maliciously, aiming directly at the General's heart. The bolt shot from Dylan's hand and knocked the man back a hundred metres into the sea, illuminating the water. Consumed with fury, Dylan felt himself rising into the air, and a mist gathering to form black robes. He raised his arms and a massive ball of fire appeared above the scene.

Fire rained down on all of the ships, and soon they were all ablaze. Dylan knew he'd killed many people, because he could feel a shock through his heart with every one, and he could feel the flesh leaving his body. Dylan slowly fell back down onto the boat and collapsed, exhausted. He didn't even care that everything around him was on fire.

'Dylan…' came a choking voice from across the boat. Aten coughed up blood onto the deck of the ship. 'Help…' he said. A wave of sadness came over Dylan, and he began to cry. As the tears fell onto Aten's broken body, his breathing eased up. The colour started to come back into his pallid cheeks, and the wound started to close up. A rush of sensations washed over Dylan, and it felt as good as when he'd been destroying everything. Dylan smiled, and the moon moved away from the sun.

It began to rain, and a rainbow appeared in the sky. The fires went out on all the ships, and wherever the rain touched, new life flooded into the bodies of the slaves.

One of the men who saw what had happened fell to his knees before Dylan, and Dylan was surprised to see many others follow suit.

'What-…' he began, but was interrupted by Aten.

'They saw you performing miracles,' he said. 'They believe you are a God.'

'Wait a minute – hey I'm not a "God!" My Name's Dylan and I'm just like you!'

The man leapt to his feet and shouted 'All hail Dy-Lan! Hallowed be his name!' And before Dylan could stop them, the multi-cultural slaves raised him up with the cry 'All hail Dy-Lan! Hallowed be his name!'

They sat him upon the General's chair and knelt down low. The slaves hurried back to their oars and began rowing swiftly out of the mass of uncoordinated ships. They set course for a nearby island and began paddling with vigour.

When they reached the island it was sunset. One of the slaves knelt down and cried 'oh great one! Please provide us humble few with shelter!' Dylan looked around at the fifty people in front of him and sighed.

'Look,' he said, 'I'm not a God, I'm just like you!' He raised his arms and was about to say 'you see? Nothing!' when the wind picked up and the boat flew over their heads. The people gasped and they fell to the floor, kneeling.

'We did not wish to anger you, your divineness…' the man said, fear in his eyes.

'Please, stop calling me "your divineness" and "great one!"'

'Of course, oh omnipotent one!' the man said. Dylan scowled.

'Look!' Aten cried suddenly. 'There's a town over there!' Sure enough, there was a large town nearby.

'I knew our lord would not leave us in the cold!' the man cried as the group began to move toward the town, none of them daring to go in front of Dylan except Aten, who walked beside him.

'I'm telling you, I'm not a God!' he said to Aten. Aten frowned sceptically.

'That is what a God would say to test my faith…' he said. Dylan gave in with a sigh and continued walking.

They walked through the crowded town. There were huge temples and structures glorifying some ancient God. They reached the town centre, where the master of this settlement supposedly lived.

'We are travellers from a distant land,' the most enthusiastic of the followers said. 'I am Nathaniel, and I come bearing the wishes of our God and master, Dy-Lan. May we please find shelter in this fair town?'

The governor was a portly man with a short brown beard and a nose like a large tomato. He scoffed and laughed derisively.

'Your "God" Dy-Lan?' he chuckled. 'There is only one true God and this is not his name. Let me see this "God" of yours.' When Dylan stepped forward, the man barely stopped himself from breaking into peals of laughter. 'You? You are a mere child, you filthy blasphemer!' He grabbed Dylan's arm and twisted it back, causing Dylan to wince with pain. Dylan used all the self-control he had to stop himself from blasting this man to oblivion in the way he'd killed the Aztecs on the ship.

The man flew backwards, snapping a table in half. 'What kind of witchcraft is this?' he cried. 'Guards! Take him to be executed!' As the three men approached him, Dylan raised up his arms, causing the men to fly backwards. Even to Dylan, he was looking quite omnipotent.

'All hail Dy-Lan! Hallowed be his name!' Nathaniel chanted, and the others around him chorused the same. The governor, meanwhile, had drawn three daggers, which he proceeded to throw at Dylan's head. The daggers stopped inches from Dylan's head, and they hung there fore a moment before clattering harmlessly to the floor.

'I-you-what-how-you-but-I…' the man stuttered before gathering his wits about him. 'You may stay for one night – no more!' he said, slamming the door.

Dylan turned around and found his followers on the ground in solemn prayer.

'Get up,' he said. 'I can't explain what I can do, but I'm telling you – I'm not a God!' Several of the men and women looked around uneasily, not wanting to be the first to rise. After a moment or two, Aten got up. Seeing that this did not incur their leader's wrath, the others followed.

'Leader,' Nathaniel said carefully, 'cast your divine miracles upon that rock, for we know that you are a God and have no mortal equal…'

'Look, this doesn't prove anything-…'

'Please master…'

Dylan cast his arm over the rock, and it instantly shimmered into a gold-coloured metal. 'You see, fellow believers, this man truly is a God!' Nathaniel cried, lifting the surprisingly light metal. 'Please, conjure dwellings for our fine people!' Dylan reluctantly made a lifting motion, and houses sprang from the dirt around the town centre. The people praised Dylan and hurried into their homes.

'Aten,' Dylan said. 'Hey, Aten!' Most of the other people had disappeared into the houses. 'I'm not a God, Aten.'

'How do you explain this?' Aten held up the lump of metal.

'I don't know, it just happens…'

'If I say I believe you,' Aten said carefully, 'you won't smite me, will you?

Dylan laughed. 'No, I won't "smite" you!'

'Then I believe you.' Content with that answer, Dylan lay down on the hillside near the town, and went to sleep.

Dylan was wakened by a loud crash, as something was dropped. His eyes snapped open, and he looked around quickly. He found Nathaniel carrying some ornate golden armour.

'It is made from the Dylanium you procured from the rock,' he said. 'We hope it pleases you…' Dylan donned the armour, and found that it fitted perfectly. He raised his arms, and suddenly all the people were wearing Dylanium armour.

Throughout the day, the people learned a new fighting style, named Dylism in honour of their God. It was an amalgam of the fighting styles of many cultures, as all the people contributed – Celtic, Norse, Egyptian, Japanese, and Greek.

Suddenly, as the town leader reluctantly allowed the people to join the evening feast, a war cry was heard. Dylan didn't know how he knew; he just felt it in his heart. It was the Aztecs. He whispered quietly to Aten, and told him to prepare for battle.

All of the people were gathered together, including the residents of the Greek settlement.

'The Aztecs are coming.' Nathaniel said boldly. 'They are coming, and they will kill and destroy everything in sight. Our only hope is to take up arms and fight!' The self-christened Dyl people stood and cheered, preparing for battle. With a God on their side, how could they lose?

The ships pulled up at the base of the hill, and a man stepped out of the first. Dylan recognised him immediately. He was the Aztec General that he had supposedly killed. The general's face was essentially the same, but he had a long scar across the left side of his face, right across his stark white eye.

The General chuckled as he stepped forward to address the Dyl.

'I am General Hokk'do,' he said with a smirk. 'We, I believe have already met, but I don't seem to recall your name' he continued, staring at Dylan with his one working eye.

'He is Dy-Lan,' Nathaniel said bravely, 'and he is our God!' The General frowned, and knocked Nathaniel back in a similar fashion to how Dylan knocked back the guards.

'Silence, fool,' Hokk'do snarled as a bolt of lightning shot through Nathaniel's body.

'You monster!' Dylan screamed, and jagged blue bolts flew from his outstretched fingers. The general seemed worried for a moment, but he managed to catch the energy in his hands, albeit with a strained look on his face.

Balls of fire flew from Dylan's palms, engulfing the man in an inferno of towering flame. Still dissatisfied, more bolts of lightning flew from his hands. It wasn't until he noticed that Nathaniel was still alive that he stopped. Dylan knelt down beside Nathaniel, and a few sparks flew off Nathaniel's armour. He sat up, and Dylan saw he was in a great deal of pain, but still alive.

The towering inferno collapsed into a tiny ball of white light in the palm of Hokk'do's hand. He crushed it with a grimace. Hokk'do raised his hand, and another blue bolt shot from his hand to Nathaniel, but this time, it ricochet off his armour. The General scowled, and screamed orders at his army, who piled out of the boats.

The ensuing battle was fairly uneven. There were over a thousand seasoned Aztec war veterans against about fifty inexperienced Dyl who had only been training since that morning. However, the Dyl warriors had learned quickly, and their leader easily healed the wounded.

Dylan alternated between fending off enemy warriors, searching for their evil general, and healing the wounded. Near the end of the night, when the numbers were almost equal, Dylan spotted the man, and hurried toward him.

'You'll pay for this, you evil monster,' Dylan said calmly, but with force. He drew his glittering sword and raised it above his head. He charged at the General and swung the blade at his head. Hokk'do parried the blow easily, and allowed himself a short chuckle. He quickly chopped alternately at Dylan's legs and neck, though he parried each blow. Dylan swiftly knocked back the evil general and severed his hand from his arm.

'You've lost!' Dylan said, sheathing his sword.

'Ha!' the general spat. 'This is just the beginning!' and with that, all of the remaining Aztec warriors were engulfed in flame, and disappeared, just as the first rays of sunshine came over the horizon.

Dec 22nd Year 20

Dylan woke with a start. It had been twenty years since the first battle with the Aztecs, and there'd been many more after that. Officially, he was thirty-two years old, but he didn't look a day older than he had when he first stood on this land.

He walked outside his villa and gazed across the town he'd founded. It was quite similar to the nearby Greek town, but there were many differences in style. The town of Erlelg (as he'd named it) was beneath a huge statue of a man rising from the ground, which was about the only thing that had stayed the same over the past two decades.

A man ran along the street towards Dylan, and said to him 'you must come quickly, for there is something afoot at the library!'

'Thank you, Aten,' Dylan said to the man. 'I will come at once.' They hurried down to the Library, where all the knowledge of the town was kept, and the town's knowledge was quite vast.

Dylan had expected a fire or some sort of emergency, but nothing strange could be seen from the outside. Aten motioned him to come in, and Dylan was shocked beyond belief when he saw the thing inside.

The suit of armour originally belonging to Nathaniel had changed. It now vaguely resembled a man with completely smooth features, two holes for ears, and no nose or mouth of any kind

'One of the scholars was reading aloud,' Aten said, 'and the suit began to quiver until it became this.' He gestured toward the being. Dylan frowned and picked up a book about the human anatomy.

'The human ear has many contours to ensure that sound travels down it…' he read, and as he did so, the golden creature's head began to distort, until something vaguely resembling ears formed on the sides. Fascinated by this, some of the other scholars began picking up heavy tomes and reading them aloud.

'Wait a minute…' Dylan began, as the creature began to mutate once more, but the scholars paid no heed. 'I said stop!' he shouted. The men dropped their books as their God pointed at the strange being before them.

He (if it was a he) now had eyes, a large nose, and a mouth, as well as huge wings on his back.

'Hello,' he said, much to the distress of the learned men around him. 'I did not mean to startle you, I just wish to absorb all the knowledge in this facility.' He reached out and pulled forward a large book, which he began reading enthusiastically. As he read, his features altered more and more, until there was a perfectly anatomically correct golden, winged man.

'What the hell is that?' Dylan whispered to Aten quietly.

'I don't know, my lord-…'

'How many times? I'm not your lord!'

'Sorry…anyway, I think that this thing could help us in the fight against the Aztecs.' Dylan looked over at the man, who was drawing up complex mathematical theorems on a piece of paper.

'I think you may be right, there…' Dylan said. 'So,' he said to the man. 'What is your name?'

'I am the first-born, and you may call me such.' Dylan held out his hand, and it was shook by the First-Born.

Throughout the day, the First-Born went to people's houses and passed the information on to the other Dylanium 'suits,' all of which morphed into beings very similar to the First-Born. The Dylanium brethren spent the rest of the day gathering as much information as possible, creating theorems, sharing these ideas, and using each others' to come up with more.

In the evening there was another Aztec attack. They were becoming more and more frequent.

'We should send the brethren into battle,' Aten said to Dylan. 'They already know our technique, as they have learnt it over the years we have fought the Aztecs.'

'Well, you understand them better than me…' Dylan said.

Hokk'do's right-hand man, Hir'shima, led the first wave of attacks. The brethren were few – only fifty – but they learned quickly. Dylan watched from the hilltop and saw Hir'shima cast a lightning bolt, disintegrating one of the brethren. To Dylan's surprise, the First-Born was standing right next to this, and when he was hit by a lightning bolt, it ricochet off him. The First-Born easily sled Hir'shima, and the rest of the army burst into flame in that instant.

'Erm, First-Born,' Dylan said tentatively, after the battle. 'How did you survive that lightning bolt?'

'Once I saw how it was used, it was easy to reconfigure my body to be immune to its effects,' he replied. 'Don't worry, I've already shared this knowledge with my brethren.' Something about this was making Dylan feel uneasy.

'So by seeing it,' he said, 'you know exactly how it works?'

'Correct.'

'So you could do it yourself if you wanted?'

'That too is correct.'

'And you've told all the brethren how to do it too?'

'Indeed.'

'Oh…ok.' Dylan turned to Aten. 'The brethren are becoming far too advanced for my liking,' he said.

'Really?' Aten asked, surprised. 'They have come up with a most ingenious way of telling the time. It is far more accurate than a sundial.' He held up a watch as he spoke, and showed Dylan the complex mechanisms inside.

'That's what I mean…'

'Excuse me,' the First-Born said. 'The brethren and I would like to perform dissection on the fallen Aztecs, to get a better understanding of their anatomy.' And before Dylan could think of a response, Aten replied for him.

'Sure thing!' The First-Born bowed and left.

Hours later, after Dylan had reflected on the day's peculiar happenings, the First-Born approached him. He looked slightly different, and it took Dylan a moment to figure out what had changed. Then he realised that now the brethren had muscles.

'Creator,' he said. 'We have given life back to a fallen Aztec, and wish to interrogate him. Would this be acceptable?'

'Erm…yeah, I suppose so.' The First-Born bowed and left. The next morning, Dylan woke to a surprise.

Now the brethren's skin seemed less golden, and they appeared more human. Three of the brethren came up to Dylan's bedside and said in unison 'the prisoner Hir'shima has been successfully interrogated, and the information obtained is now stored.' Dylan was surprised, to say the least.

'So what information did you get?'

'Among other things, we learned the location of the Aztec home country. The takeover is happening as we speak.'

'What?' Dylan cried incredulously. 'You can't take over a whole civilisation with just forty-seven men!'

'Correct. All twelve thousand brethren, bar us, have been included in the takeover.'

'Right, this has gone far enough!' Dylan cried, sending a large ball of flame at the three brethren, all of whom disintegrated. Dylan rushed outside to find the streets deserted. He eventually found the entire town in the prison.

'Let us out!' one of them cried, 'they locked us in here for not accepting the takeover project.' Dylan raised his hands and the door swung open.

'Quickly!' he said, 'we must leave now!' He waved his arms, and a portal appeared, vacuuming the entire populace into it.

Seconds later, they flew out of the portal and landed in a lush green area, thousands of miles away. 'We should be safe here,' Dylan said, as he raised houses out of the dirt. Several of the villagers muttered darkly among themselves, but Dylan couldn't tell what they were saying.

Dylan spent the rest of the day discussing with the most learned of the town how to stop the brethren. 'I was worried something like this was going to happen right from the start,' Dylan said. Malachi, son of Nathaniel, frowned.

'You created them, can't you just, well, un-create them?' he said.

'No!' Dylan cried. 'They learn insanely quickly! Every time I use my powers, they learn how to become immune to them, and they can do it themselves!'

Jan 1st Year 0

General Publius Salomini stood at the top of the hill and cried 'Victory!' The Roman general had led his troops to victory against impossible odds, and few of his men had died. 'The Gods surely have looked kindly upon us, this day,' he said as his fellow warriors congratulated him. Nothing, he felt, could possibly ruin this.

Publius strode into the chamber of his master and laid down his helmet. 'I have performed your wishes, master,' he said.

'What? You survived?' the man sounded incredulous.

'Yes master, but you sound surprised.'

'I am. Complete this one last mission for me,' the Japanese man said slowly, 'and I will reward you with anything you wish within my power.' Being the Emperor's right hand man, such a reward could mean just about anything from General Hokk'do. 'Take your army to the south-eastern desert,' Hokk'do smiled, 'and kill the army stationed there.' Publius bowed low and backed out of the doorway.

Hokk'do grinned to himself evilly. It was his Aztec army waiting in the desert, and since no one knew he had ties with both sides of this war, they wouldn't suspect a thing. He stood up and strode out to the port. His next conquest would be of the nomadic people in the west.

Publius came before his army, his helmet in his arms. 'Brothers,' he said. 'We have one more quest before us. We must take back the south-eastern deserts!' The men cheered and followed him onto the boats.

May 31st Year 0

Publius and his army stepped off the boats and onto dry land. The previous months had been hell, and they were pleased to be off the sea. Now began the trek across the desert to the great Pyramids that the Aztec army had captured.

When the evening arrived, one of Publius' men spotted a city over the sand dunes. They travelled across the mound until they reached the city. Publius noticed two children playing in the sand, so he walked over to them. 'Ave,' he said, 'I am Publius Salomini, what's your name?'

'Mary,' the girl said.

'Thomas,' the boy said.

'Well, Mary and Thomas,' Publius said. 'Do you think your parents would mind us camping out here for a while?' The children shook their heads, so the army began to set up camps. Mary and Thomas asked Publius many, many questions, and he found it tiring having to answer them all.

Suddenly, there was a drum roll in the distance, and someone screamed. Publius leapt to his feet, drawing his sword from its sheath. Mary and Thomas ran into their house to hide, and all the other soldiers unsheathed their weapons.

It would be untrue to say that the battle was a slaughter. It was a massacre! Publius and his army were outnumbered by at least 200 men. Soon, Publius was left standing with naught but a few of his best men beside him; the others were all dead. The surrounding army easily disposed of his men, and turned to Publius himself. The blade was knocked from his hand, but he stood defiantly. 'Fortuna smile upon me,' he whispered as the blade of his oppressor flew toward his neck, but even as he said this, the ground gave way beneath his feet, and he landed in an underground cavern. Seconds later, the entrance was blocked by sand from the desert, and all light was blocked out.

Publius spent days wandering around the catacombs, living off the lizards, and the water he could drain from cactus roots. His training had not been wasted. Eventually, just when he was about to lose hope, he stumbled forward into a huge cave. The walls were lined with gold, the floor was littered with precious gemstones and sceptres and orbs were scattered about the place. In the centre of the room there was a well, and on this well, these words appeared:

Those kings and queens of ancient old,

Did store here their precious gold.

Beware of ancient tricks and spells,

Hidden in these old, old wells.

Did ye not hear of these great gods?

We beat them against deathly odds.

Go ahead and strike this bell,

Discover heaven or hell.

As Publius looked up, he noticed a bell hanging above the bucket. He struck the bell sharply with a golden hammer lying on the floor, and a green bead fell out into the bucket. Publius picked it up, and placed it into a pouch on his belt, saying 'I might as well leave you, for all the good you will do me…' Suddenly, there was a great creaking, as part of the wall came through. Publius smiled at the sunlight, and crawled out of the exit. He looked around himself, and began the long trek back to the Roman capital…

July 5th Year 21

The war had raged for another half of a year, and with each encounter, the Brethren became harder to defeat in battle. Dylan and his close advisors, such as Aten, found new and inventive ways of attacking the enemy, but each time they were less effective. Eventually, Dylan knew, they would stop working at all.

In the evening of July 5th, Dylan received a pair of guests.

'Greetings,' said the woman.

'Salutations,' said the man.

'We are Mary and Thomas, and we bring gifts,' the two said in unison. They each simultaneously held out a hand, and in each hand was a small, green bead.

December 25th Year 20

Publius staggered into the Roman capital, his armour almost all shed, but for his sword, breastplate and helm. His beard now reached his chest, and it was a silvery white.

'Halt,' a pair of Roman Guards said in unison, as he approached the citadel.

'I am Publius Salomini,' Publius said, holding up the official seal, signed by the Emperor. The two guards looked at each other strangely, and waved him in.

He strode into his master's chamber, exactly as he had done 19 years and 299 days before, and laid down his helmet. 'Master, I have returned,' he said solemnly.

'What?' Hokk'do was furious. 'How can you possibly have survived?'

'Fortuna smiles upon me, a humble soldier…' Publius answered. Suddenly, Emperor Sextus stepped forward.

'Well I think it's excellent!' he exclaimed, his large belly wobbling dangerously. 'How long ago was this mission? Twenty years? That's astonishing! I don't suppose there were any spoils…' he looked Publius over.

'Well, sir,' Publius said, saluting, 'there was this.' He held out the small green bead. No sooner had it left his hand, the bead began to squirm, as though it was molten emerald. Suddenly, a small slug-like insect, about an inch long, with pincers the size of its body, popped out. It bit the Emperor on the arm, before being swatted away and trampled.

'Oh,' the Emperor moaned with pleasure. He stretched, and cracked his knuckles, as though he had been asleep for a very long time.

'Emperor Sextus, are you alright?' Publius said, noticing Hokk'do backing out of the door.

'Yes, yes, I'm fine, but from now you may call me Emperor Nier-Amun.

July 5th Year 21

Aten reached out his hand to take one of the beads, but halted as a messenger entered the room. Thomas and Mary frowned.

'The Aztecs no longer pose a threat!' the messenger cried. Dylan smiled and stood.

'Why is this?'

'They have been conquered by another race, the Roman.' Dylan's smile vanished.

'So, the Aztecs have been defeated by an even stronger military force, that's just great. Hey-…' He spotted that one of the beads was missing. 'Did you see?' he asked, but no one had seen what happened to the bead. Dylan waved away a very pleased Mary and Thomas, and prepared to devise a plan of action.

The next morning, a huge flame leapt up in the middle of Dylan's room, giving him a ruse awakening. A very familiar figure was standing amidst the flame. It was the First-Born.

'Greetings, Dy-Lan, oh creator,' he said.

'What do you want?' Dylan cried.

'My Brethren and I would like to create a peace-treaty between our two peoples, until this new threat is eliminated.'

'The Romans?'

'No. The force controlling the Romans.' Dylan just looked at him blankly, so he continued. 'The Romans are under the control of the Amun, parasitic creatures that use hormones to control the synaptic activity in the brain. Don't act so stupid,' the First-Born said irritably as Dylan continued to look bemused. 'They control the host's brain.' Dylan suddenly caught on.

'With our power, and your intuitiveness,' the First-Born said 'we can defeat this threat, and continue this disgusting war.'

'Why do you need to kill them so quickly?'

'They are said to hold the knowledge capable of destroying us.'

'That is interesting…' Dylan said. 'Ok, we'll help you, but we are still enemies – agreed?' The First-Born answered by saying '24 hours' and vanishing in a tongue of flame.

July 6th Year 21

The First-Born prepared to leave to speak with the leader of the Enemy, the leader of the Dyl. He looked over to his Brethren – the Second-Born, the Eighth-Born, and the Thirteenth-Born. They were experimenting on the thing that would hopefully put an end to the pathetic Dyl, once and for all.

He disappeared from the lab, and reappeared in the council room in the Dyl capital. Dylan walked up to him, his answer prepared.

'Poison.' Dylan said. 'We poison all the Amun, and kill them in one go.'

'You truly are foolish. The Amun will never fall for it, you imbecile, it is too simple!'

'That is why it will work!' The First-Born looked furious at this last remark, and he left in a fit of rage.

For the next few days, The Dyl scientists experimented, trying to kill the parasitic bugs they knew of, without killing the people. Hopefully the poison would work well on the Amun too.

January 2nd Year 24

The Romans still had not attacked the Dyl people. It was likely that they didn't even know that the Dyl existed. Well, it seemed that way until the assault. Thousands upon thousands of Roman troops, led by a man called General Salomini, stormed the city, taking many prisoners.

Dylan ran outside and killed the first 500 enemy soldiers with a ball of fire. He hurried to help a few of the families being attacked by the ruthless soldiers. Suddenly, a man came up behind him, and hit him on the head. Just before Dylan blacked out, he saw the familiar face of a Japanese general.

When Dylan awoke, he was in a prison. He didn't know how long he'd been out, or where he was. All he knew was that he was half-naked, and very hungry. He tried to break free of his chains using his power, but it wouldn't work.

'It won't work,' a voice said from nearby. Dylan started at seeing a man sitting there, also in chains.

'Well how are we supposed to get out?' Dylan said angrily.

'You must strengthen your soul.' The crazed man said.

'And how do I do that in a place like this?'

'Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.'

'Ok…I'm trying to "strengthen my soul."' Dylan said in an attempt to appease the old man.

'You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself one.'

'Aargh!' Dylan cried in frustration. 'Shut up! I've failed my people, and having you here isn't helping me!'

'Love the moment. Flowers grow out of dark moments. Therefore, each moment is vital. It affects the whole. Life is a succession of such moments and to live each, is to succeed.' The man raised a small, beautiful flower out of the darkness. Dylan scowled, but after a moment, his features softened.

'Sorry,' he muttered, 'I just had this great idea to stop this from happening…it didn't turn out too great…'

'It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all,' the man said.

Suddenly, the doors flew open, and the Roman General, Publius Salomini, strode in. He looked about sixty, and his face was creased with worry-lines.

'Hello,' he said with an uneasy smile. 'I am Publius Salomini, and I'd like to ask you a few questions. Would you like some water?' Dylan nodded.

'What about him?' he asked, gesturing at the old man in the corner. Publius looked at him uneasily.

'There's no one there,' he said. He quickly got up and left to get water. Dylan stared at the old man, still sitting there.

'You're not real…'

'The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.'

'If you're not real, what are you?' Dylan was feeling very strange talking to this person that apparently didn't exist, but he was determined to understand what was going on.

'All the world is a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and entrances; each man in his time plays many parts.'

'Yes, but what are you?' The man looked up for the first time.

'I am many things, Dylan. Take your pick.'

'How did you-…?' The door suddenly swung open, and Publius walked in, clutching a goblet of water.

'Here,' he said, passing the goblet to Dylan. When Dylan looked back at the corner, it was empty. 'Now, I am a man of great wealth,' Publius started, 'and if you give me the right information, you can be wealthy, too…' Dylan thought for a moment, reflecting on both men's words. He grinned for a moment before speaking.

'There is no wealth like knowledge; no poverty like ignorance.' The aged general frowned, and motioned the guards to come forward. He muttered something unintelligible in Italian, and left.

'If you do not cooperate, we must force you,' he said sadly as he closed the door, trying to block out the tortured screams coming from the cell.

'Ooh…' Dylan groaned in pain as he woke up. His arms and back were covered with scars from where the whips had struck, stones and other debris embedded in the tips of the painful weapons. Dylan looked over, and saw the man was back. 'Help me…' Dylan groaned.

'The world is full of suffering; it is also full of overcoming it.'

'Can't you do anything but speak in riddles?' Dylan asked, annoyed.

'You know quite well, deep within you, that there is only a single magic, a single power, a single salvation...and that is called loving. Well, then, love your suffering. Do not resist it; do not flee from it. It is your aversion that hurts, nothing else.'

'What does that mean?' Dylan practically shouted.

'If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.' Dylan sighed. He was shouting at a brick wall, and it was not helping him feel better.

Sometime after, Publius re-entered the room. Dylan shouted at him and spat at his face, yelling 'why don't you just kill me?'

'The irony of man's condition is that the deepest need is to be free of the anxiety of death and annihilation; but it is life itself which awakens it, and so we must shrink from being fully alive.' The man in the corner said.

'Don't make me come over there!' Dylan screamed, much to the bewilderment of his captor. 'The purpose of light is to fade, the purpose of life is to end, and the purpose of man is to die!' Dylan yelled. He blinked and shook his head, as he realised his sanity was slowly slipping away. These hallucinations were really getting to him. 'Aargh! Let me go!' he screamed in the general's face, pulling at his chains in a vain attempt to break free..

Publius flinched as Dylan shouted amid the darkness of the dank room. Most prisoners took a few months at least before they lapsed into insanity.

'I do not wish for you to come to harm. Whatever you may think, we are not evil, we merely wish to convert your people to our cause-…'

'Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction!' Dylan spat. Publius looked uneasy, but continued.

'If you had true wisdom you would-…'

'The function of wisdom is to discriminate between good and evil, and I can do that!'

'I'm just following orders, no matter what the morality-…'

'All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing,' Dylan snarled. Publius stepped back uneasily and went back into his chambers, leaving the snarling boy at the mercy of his henchmen.

'Ooh,' Dylan groaned in pain as he woke up. He had the strangest sense of déjà vu.

'You have learned well, Dylan,' the old man said calmly. 'Do not simply use your powers with brute force, channel them through meditation, for meditation brings wisdom; lack of meditation leaves ignorance. Know well what leads you forward, and what holds you back.' Dylan blinked, and the man was gone. He looked down at his chains, and let out a deep, cleansing breath. The chains fell off as though they had been unlocked the whole time.

Dylan walked towards the door, and unlike his first encounter with a door such as this, it swung open gracefully of its own accord. Dylan waved his hand over the two guards, instantly turning them to stone. He strode along the corridors, eyes shut, taking deep breaths. He walked toward the summit of the building, where he knew the Emperor would be.

The guards at the door flew backwards, knocking the door open, and Dylan saw, sitting on a large throne, a huge gluttonous man. 'Why hello there, young boy,' the glutton said. 'How did you get here?' Dylan closed his eyes, and kept his breaths even. He controlled his temper, though he knew that this man had killed thousands upon thousands of innocent lives.

The doors shut, the ceiling creaked, and the Emperor started to feel uneasy. Dylan's hands flew up, and simultaneously, the roof of the building flew off.

'You,' Dylan said icily 'you have ended countless lives, and now I destroy yours!'

'Are you angry?' the Emperor smirked.

'No, he who angers you, conquers you.' Dylan rose up his arms and was about to strike down the wicked man before him.

Suddenly, the doors flew open, and General Hokk'do stormed in, his arms above his head. A great storm flew up out of nowhere, and Dylan became trapped in a pillar of ice.

May 4th Year 82

The First-Born glared angrily around at the people around him. 'Report. How long until Operation Gamma-1 is complete?'

'Gamma-1 is primed,' came the chorused response. The First-Born smiled for the first time in many years.

'Wake him,' he said.

There was much flame and torment amid the city of Rome, that day. It was under siege from the Brethren. Cassandra Salomini knelt before the great statue in the courtyard. She was one of the few who knew who's image it was, and she prayed that they could hear her.

'Please, help us! Call off these barbaric people, and save us!' she cried, all faith in her own gods gone. A flaming beam crashed down onto the monument, shattering it. From the centre of the sculpture fell a boy, only appearing about 12 years old.

Dylan coughed as smoke billowed around him. 'What happened to the Emperor?' he wondered. There was much screaming and shouting, and Dylan immediately knew that it was a Brethren invasion. He brought his arms up in one fluid motion, and a red glow formed about them. Suddenly, a huge volcano burst forth from the centre of the city, killing all in its path, Brethren or no.

Dylan felt the decay of his flesh, and the lengthening of his fingernails as the deaths cumulated, and the woman beside him screamed. Dylan stopped, and calmed himself. Somehow he knew the flames had killed all the Brethren present, so he set to work healing the Romans. Soon he was back to more or less his old self, flowers had bloomed, and all the people were alive. They knelt down before him, saying 'All hail, Dy-Lan, the one true God! Hallowed be his name!'

Emperor Nier-Amun watched from his balcony, very bemused. He beckoned to his two faithful servants, Publius, and Hokk'do. Time had withered their features, and their skin was pallid as a corpse's.

'Kill him,' the Emperor commanded. Publius frowned, something stirring in the back of his mind. The two servants slowly walked out to 'greet' Dylan, long, curved scimitars in their hands. Dylan quickly bent his head and walked away, creating an explosion to the east, which would draw the attention from him.

The Emperor looked over at the column of fire to the East, before quickly looking back across the courtyard. Dylan was gone, and the befuddled guards were still milling around amid the confusion. The Emperor cursed loudly; the drawback with enslaving guards in this way was that it made them utterly stupid.

14th June Year 82

Dylan finally emerged from the desert, having fasted for many days. He had arrived at the Dyl capital, and it had changed a lot since he'd last been there. For one, there was a huge black obelisk in the centre that had definitely not been there before.

Dylan cloaked himself, and walked slowly through the gate toward the city centre. He looked around as he walked, drinking in his surroundings. There were many market stalls selling foods and basic necessities, as well as runes, idols, charms and other trinkets of little value. Dylan shook his head at the stupidity of the shoppers, scurrying around like busy little ants, and in keeping with the insect theme, made a beeline toward the obelisk.

A young man, European by the look of him, was standing, delivering a speech.

'…Therefore, why should we continue to reject the Amun for what they are – Gods?' There was a murmur of agreement. 'Is not the fact that they have managed to stand up to the Brethren proof enough?'

'We have managed to stand up to them, Malachi' a ninety-four year old man muttered.

'We only live by the will of the Amun!' the young man called Malachi continued loudly, glaring at the old man. 'What God do you believe in, old man?' he snarled. 'Horus? Thor? Dy-Lan? Neptune? Then let your gods save you now.'

Dylan was startled to see several armed soldiers step forward and raise their spears. Dylan's fingers twitched, and the spears ignited, causing the guards to drop them in pain. A few candles flickered, and a fork of lightning shot across the sky, followed by a roll of thunder. The guards stepped back uneasily, and looked stupidly at the European man.

The older man let a smile play across his Egyptian features. He walked through the crowd toward where the cloaked boy was standing, hood up.

'Hello again, Dylan,' the man said.

'Aten! How did you know it was me?'

'A hunch,' Aten smiled. 'You also look exactly as you did the last time I saw you.' He turned to the people around him and said 'This is Dy-Lan, the founder of this city, and you would do well to show him respect!' A few of the older people recognised him and looked on in astonishment – he didn't look a single day older than when he'd been captured in the siege.

As Dylan and Aten walked slowly through the markets, Aten told Dylan how, after the Romans had taken the city and imposed their influence upon it, there was a great revolution when the Amun were overthrown. However, the damage was done, and much Roman and Amun influence remained in the city. Including slavery.

As they walked past one particular stall, they overheard a woman complaining about the price of 'magic' emeralds. Aten shook his head. 'Such fools, I do take pity on them.' Dylan walked over to the woman and pressed a large gold coin into her hand. She smiled at Dylan, thinking he was just a young boy, and said 'Do you want some of the emeralds too?' Dylan shook his head dumbly and went back to speak with Aten.

'What was that for?' Aten asked.

'I'm not sure, I just felt a sudden urge to help her…and all the people here,' Dylan answered, gesturing around at the people. He strode over to one of the stalls, and motioned Aten to follow. He'd seen a young boy (a slave, by the look of him), half-starved and wearing a dirty tunic. He looked about twelve or thirteen, and his hair was just a shade lighter than Dylan's, his eyes deep blue pools of sorrow.

Dylan whispered something inaudible into Aten's ear, and Aten said to the owner of the stall 'How much for the slave?' The young boy looked into Dylan's eyes, his own blue orbs darting between him and the owner, trying to hint at something.

'How much you got?'

'I'll pay five hundred Denarius,' Aten said. The boy's eyes widened fretfully.

'Six hundred.'

'Deal!' The boy continued to look horrified, as though he'd just been sentenced to death.

The three of them walked away from the stall slowly, the slave tied to Aten's wrist. 'You'd better have a good reason for this!' Aten said.

'Don't worry, you'll get your money back.' Dylan turned to the boy, and pulled out a knife. The slave took a step back, but not before Dylan could sever the rope. 'It's ok,' Dylan said, we won't hurt you.' This just seemed to make things worse – the boy seemed to be on the verge of tears, so they hurried him back to the Obelisk and up to Dylan's enormous lodgings. 'We'll see you at dinner,' Dylan said, as Aten left.

Dylan turned back to the boy, who fell at Dylan's feet, sobbing. 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry!'

'What?' Dylan said, surprised.

'Don't kill me – it's not my fault!'

'What's not your fault?' The boy fell silent, sobbing quietly onto Dylan's sandals. Dylan noticed something gleaming in the slave's pocket, so he reached out to take it. It was a bag of emerald beads.

'Don't touch it!' The boy whispered urgently.

'I'll give it straight back…'

'No!' The boy slapped a bead out of Dylan's hand and onto the floor.

'What-…' the boy pointed at the writhing bead, and a large insect popped out of it. The boy quickly crushed it under his foot.

'I'm sorry, they made me…I didn't want to trap you!'

'I…who…what…?'

'Don't kill me, please!'

'I won't kill you, it's not your fault-…'

'Thank you!' the boy said, kissing the hem of Dylan's robes. 'Thank you, thank you, thank you!'

'Ok,' Dylan said, smiling, 'what's your name?' The boy froze, and shrank backwards.

'Don't be mad, please don't be mad…don't kill me…'

'Whatever your name is, I promise I won't kill you,' Dylan said, amused.

'I haven't got one. I'm one of them. Those that came before; the silent archers; the golden warriors.' Dylan froze. 'No, please don't!' the boy said, seeing the realisation in Dylan's eyes. 'You said you wouldn't! You promised!' the boy was going into hysterics. 'It's not my fault!'

Dylan shut his eyes and breathed deeply. It was hard coming to terms with the fact that one of the Brethren was right here, with the power to kill him, and he'd just saved it from slave merchants.

The boy was still yelling when Dylan opened his eyes. 'Shhhh…' Dylan said softly, calming the slave down.

'It doesn't matter that you're one of them,' Dylan said slowly. 'You saved my life! Come now, you must have a name!' The slave shook his head, his sad blue pools staring mournfully up at Dylan. 'Fine, we'll call you Ben, ok?' the boy nodded, and there was almost a faint flicker of a smile.

'Thank you,' Ben said as he wrapped his arms around his saviour. 'Thank you, thank you.'

When they arrived for lunch, Aten was already waiting for them. 'Come on,' he said, 'hurry up.' In true Roman style, they washed their hands before starting on the food. Aten and Dylan both dug in, but Ben just sat there, bewildered.

'Don't tell me you've never eaten before!' Dylan exclaimed. He spent the entire meal trying to teach Ben how to eat properly, until all the food had gone cold, and there was no point in eating it anyway.

'There are so many things I don't know about,' Ben said. 'It is strange, I have inherited memories from my ancestors, but I still know nothing compared to you…' Dylan grasped his hand and said 'Don't be silly, you know far more than us all put together, and you can help us defeat our enemies, while we'll teach you what it's like being us!'

21st June 82

'Did all go well?' the First-Born asked eagerly, but when the answer came, his temper was hot enough to singe the tail of the devil. 'Prepare plan B,' he said angrily, after reducing his former brother to dust.

21st June 82

Dylan had recently been spending much of his time with Ben, learning the Brethren's tactics, and teaching him things about life. One morning, Dylan woke up long before anyone else had, so he decided to take a stroll down to the lake. When he arrived, he stripped off all his clothes, and leapt into the icy cold water, to meditate.

Several hours later, Dylan left the pool, feeling fully refreshed. He went back up to his rooms and found Ben already awake.

'Where did you go?' Ben asked, his eyes wide with fear. He still got scared if he was left alone for too long.

'I'm sorry, I just went down to the lake to meditate.'

'Oh,' Ben's eyes slowly moved of Dylan's soaked body and onto the table. 'Can we eat now?' Dylan laughed, and nodded.

'Are you ready to tell me now?' Dylan asked cautiously. Ben had not told Dylan about the Brethren's plan with the beads yet, as they had promised to kill him if he did. 'It's been a month and you're still alive. Come on.'

Ben's eyes darted around fretfully before he spoke. 'They were trying to make the whole city into the Amun, and then kill them all with poison,' Ben said quickly, his eyes set firmly on the table, as though he expected to be struck down where he sat.

'Hey, that was my idea!' Dylan said indignantly.

'You're not mad at me?'

'Why would I be mad? You saved my life, and the lives of everyone in this city, and you've given us plenty of information that will help us!' Dylan smiled at him. 'How would you like to come and meditate with me tomorrow morning?' Ben's face lit up, and he smiled.

'Hi!' Dylan said as a very attractive woman walked past the table at which he and Ben were sitting. It was late in the afternoon, and long shadows were cast across the floor. The woman rolled her eyes with disdain and walked off. 'I guess no one can love a ninety-four year old child,' Dylan sighed.

'What do you mean?'

'I mean no one can have feelings for me because I'll always be twelve, no matter what my age.'

'Oh…I see...' Ben said, confused.

Just then, Aten walked over to the table, a glint in his eyes. 'We've perfected a poison that only affects the Amun!' he exclaimed, and told the two to follow him. They arrived in a large white room with a restraining chair in the centre. A man sat in the chair writhing in agony. Dylan saw that there was a large insect biting the man's hand.

'What are you doing to him?' Dylan exclaimed. Aten put his finger to his lips and pointed. The man had stopped writhing, and now he sat, looking quite afraid.

'Where am I?' he cried loudly. Aten stepped forward and dropped some blue liquid from a vial onto the man's head.

'You have just been poisoned, and your death will show the way for your brothers.' The man looked petrified at Aten's words, and he shouted out at them.

'Please! Let me live!' Ben flinched as he saw the man once again writhe in pain. 'Please! I'll give you gold – riches! I-I'll help you kill my brothers – please! I know how to stop the Brethren! Let me go!' Dylan looked up sharply. 'Please help me! Go to the Celtic island of-of-…' his head rolled onto his chest, and his tongue flopped out as the entity controlling the man's body was killed.

'He said, "Go to the Celtic island…"' Dylan paused. 'My homeland was a Celtic island!'

'You see!' Aten said, 'it is a good thing that we did!' Ben whispered pleadingly to Dylan.

'Don't do that to any more of them, please!' Dylan nodded. Ben was surprisingly gentle and caring, considering he was born from a race that slaughtered millions. 'Thank you,' Ben whispered.

The next morning, Dylan awoke early again, and he went to get Ben up. The two walked silently down to the lake, both thinking about the events of the previous days. When they arrived, Dylan removed his tunic, and motioned Ben to do the same. Dylan got a huge shock when Ben removed his tunic – his entire upper body was covered with scars, from his neck down.

'Why didn't you tell me?' Dylan cried, aghast. Ben simply turned away. Dylan moved over to where Ben was standing, and traced the scars with his fingertips.

A strange blue light emanated from Dylan's hand, and wherever his fingers touched, the damaged skin completely healed. Ben's eyes slipped in and out of focus, as he enjoyed this strange sensation.

When Dylan had finished, Ben locked his deep blue pools into Dylan's glittering emeralds. 'I'm sorry,' he said.

'Whatever it is, I promise I won't kill you,' Dylan said, smiling.

'I'm sorry,' Ben said, slowly, 'but you were wrong yesterday…' Ben leant forward and pressed his lips onto Dylan's. Dylan was even more shocked than when he'd seen the scars moments before. Bright sparks flew from their bodies as they moved together, lips still locked. Dylan sucked on Ben's bottom lip, and his mouth opened, allowing Dylan to slip his tongue inside.

Then the two boys fell into the lake, illuminating it with the sparks still coming from their bodies. When they came up to the surface, they broke the kiss, gasping for air. Dylan ran his hand through Ben's hair, loving the way it looked when it was wet.

Though the lake had been ice-cold, the two boys felt warm inside as they went back to the Obelisk, fingers interlocked. They lay down on Dylan's bed and remained silent for hours, just lying there with their legs entwined with each other's.

When Dylan awoke, he found that Ben was still lying next to him. He planted a kiss on Ben's forehead before he got up and got dressed. Ben got up soon after, his mind filled with images of last night's adventure. He sighed at the memory.

The two boys sat opposite each other at the morning meal that day. Every time their eyes met, they blushed uncontrollably. They may have both been older than they looked, but inside they were just a pair of twelve-year-old boys. Aten smiled to himself as he watched the two turn deep shades of red. He'd been around for nearly a century, and nothing much got past without him noticing.

When Aten had finished his meal, he got up and left the table, whispering as he went past the two boys. 'Get a room, you two!' This simply made them blush even harder. Aten laughed when he saw the pair take his advice, for they soon disappeared from the vicinity.

Half an hour later, Aten had seen neither hide nor hair of the two boys, though there was supposed to be a meeting deciding what to do about the Amun and the Brethren, for surely the Brethren must have cooked up a new plan, and the Amun must strike soon to stop the Dyl from obliterating them.

Aten glanced at the sundial in the courtyard. 'Where the hell are they?' he thought aloud. Suddenly, as though summoned by this thought, the two boys came rushing around the corner, looking flushed. 'Cutting it a bit short aren't we?' Aten said, as they hurried to the meeting.

22nd June 82 – 12:32 pm

'How long until it is ready?' the First-Born called.

'Approximately two hours,' came the reply. The First-Born smiled into the darkness at the prisoner.

'As you have just heard, there is about two hours until the Dyl are wiped off the face of this planet. Then it will be your turn…' The First-Born turned his back onto the gluttonous form before him, and stalked out of the room.

22nd June 82 – 12:32 pm

Dylan sat staring dumbly across at Ben, paying no heed to Malachi's words. The meeting seemed to go on forever, and all Dylan wanted was for it to end so he could be with Ben. He knew that the fate of his people, indeed all the people of the world, depended upon the outcome of this meeting. Suddenly, everyone's head turned toward him, and he immediately wished he'd been paying attention.

'So, do you agree, Dy-Lan?' Malachi said with contempt.

'Erm…' Ben nodded his head so only Dylan could see. 'Erm…yes!'

'Excellent, so you'll leave for the island at once. Off you go, then!' Dylan blinked in bewilderment, but he caught on fairly quickly.

22nd June 82 – 12:40 pm

Aten, Dylan, and Ben appeared in a plume of smoke in the centre of the island. It filled Dylan with sorrow to see the remnants of his village. The buildings were burnt and rotten, bleached white skeletons lay scattered about the place, and Aztec footprints were still embedded in the ground.

Sensing Dylan's emotions, Ben moved toward him and touched his hand. When he did not respond, Ben kissed him on the cheek. Dylan looked into Ben's deep blue eyes, and tried to blink back tears, but he just couldn't hold it in. He fell forwards and sobbed uncontrollably onto the other boy's shoulder.

22nd June 82 – 12:42

'How long until detonation?'

'110 minutes remaining.'

22nd June 82 – 12:45

Dylan removed himself from Ben's supportive form. 'Sorry,' he said quietly.

'I won't kill you,' Ben said jokingly, forcing a smile out of him. The three moved swiftly toward the large mountain. If there was anything worth finding, it was there. Dylan recognised the many rooms in Mr Mussa's house, but he didn't stop until he reached the very last one in the whole building; something was spurring him on.

On the final door, these words appeared:

The world is full of suffering.

Dylan frowned as he read it. The door would not open, and remained impervious to fireballs, lightning and their swords. There was no keyhole of any kind, merely the inscription, a doorknob, and a silver dagger hanging from a chain attached to it.

Dylan reread the inscription several times before the answer came to him. He picked up the dagger and stuck it into the door. It made a small dent. 'I don't think you can break through with that thing, Dylan.' Aten said frowning. Dylan merely shook his head and carved something onto the door:

The world is full of suffering.

It is also full of overcoming it.

There was a loud clicking sound and the door swung open. Aten and Ben simply stared as Dylan strode proudly through the open doorway. In the room behind it there were two statues embedded in the wall ahead. They resembled skeletons of men wearing gold Aztec armour. As Aten and Ben stepped through the door, it closed with a click. This side appeared to be made of solid gold. As the three looked around at the dark cave, they realised the whole place was made of gold.

Dylan stepped forward, and two plinths set alight beside the statues. One burned with a bright white flame, the other, red. Suddenly, the statues came to life and stepped from the wall, giving all three present a shock.

The two said in unison:

One plinth wields glory, and honour behold

The other has darkness, and maggots, and mould.

Choose one you must, to achieve your goal,

But you must choose wisely, or else lose your soul.

Help you we shall, if your heart is true,

Though one only lies, and he shall you rue.

One speaks the truth, his help shall you need,

But you must decide, who's words shall you heed?

'Oh, dear.' Dylan said after a moment's pause.

'What do you mean "Oh dear"?' Ben asked slowly. 'Why don't you just think of a way like you did with the door?' Dylan explained how he'd hallucinated when the Romans had captured him, and told him everything the man had said. Ben sat deep in thought for a while, but suddenly a wide grin appeared on his features.

'Does one of you lie?' he asked the sentinel on the left.

'No.'

'Aha! That one is lying!' Ben exclaimed.

'You're right! How did you think of that?' Dylan laughed, but Ben simply smiled and tapped the side of his head.

'Open your mind!' he smiled. Dylan pushed him playfully before saying to the sentinel on the right 'which one should I choose?' The sentinel stared blankly for a moment before speaking.

'The white one,' he said. Aten stepped toward the plinth.

'I believe that there is a sword in this rock. Should I pull it out?' Dylan and Ben nodded vigorously. Aten reached forward and stuck his hand into the flames. Searing pain shot up his arm, as the bright white flames crawled up his robes, and his eyes rolled back into his head. He was dead.

'You lying bastards!' Dylan shouted at the guards. They didn't flinch. 'You said that neither of you were lying, so that must have been a lie. That means the other one must tell the truth.'

'No,' the left sentinel said. 'I said that one of us doesn't lie. We both do!' The guards drew their glittering golden swords and advanced on the two boys.

Dylan shot flames and lightning at the malicious warriors, but his attacks simply dissipated as they hit their targets. The warriors brought their swords above their heads and swung them down toward the pair.

Suddenly, a huge shield of energy was erected between the boys and the guards. Ben was holding his hands above his head, and concentrating hard.

'How did you-…?'

'Brethren knowledge, remember?'

'Oh, yeah…'

The instant the shield was down, the boys rolled off to the side to avoid the slicing blades. Dylan ran around to the second plinth and pulled out the glowing red sword. He leapt at the sentinel advancing on Ben, and cut him in half. The two halves of the skeleton clattered to the floor, as Dylan turned to cut down the other sentinel.

'Well, I wouldn't say that was easy, but-…' Suddenly, the broken pieces of skeleton became re-animated and joined together to make a two-headed, four-armed mutant, with abnormally large legs.

'Ah, that might be a problem…' Dylan said, as the golden swords were raised again.

22nd June 82 – 2:00

'How long?'

'Approximately 32 minutes remaining.'

22nd June 82 – 2:00

The large being reached over to the other plinth, and drew the white sword. White flames engulfed its body, and ran along the other two swords. 'Aw, come on!' Dylan exclaimed, upset by the unfair advantage this malicious creature had.

He leapt forward, attempting to slice the thing down, but it parried every blow. The Sentinel aimed a chop at Dylan's neck, but he ducked just in time, and cut of one of the Sentinel's arms. The flame on the arm and sword died instantly. Ben rushed forward and grabbed the heavy weapon on the floor.

Ben and Dylan simultaneously attacked from both sides, varying their attack technique in perfect symmetry, but the Sentinel blocked them, blow for blow. Finally, one of Dylan's stabs hit its mark. As the Sentinel moved back in surprise, Ben cut it in two, torso severed from lower body. At this, Dylan leapt up and sliced it straight down the middle, so it was in four parts.

The two simultaneously sent flames shooting at the body on the floor, and it was disintegrated. A much better effect than when the flames simply dissipated. The two swords melted into a thick, syrupy liquid, and were soaked away into the floor.

In the centre of the room, a third plinth appeared, and upon it sat a large, red, crystal orb. Dylan knew that this would stop the Brethren once and for all.

At exactly 2:32 pm, Dylan laid his hand on the orb, and red light emanated from it. There was a thud behind Dylan, and when he turned around, he found Ben on the floor, gasping for breath.

Ben's hand was beginning to go rigid, and he could barely move the joints at all. Suddenly, his fingertips turned completely gold. It didn't take Dylan long to realise that the Brethren were all turning back into that from whence they had come - including Ben.

'Oh my God!' Dylan cried, at Ben's side, Ben's hand already completely golden. Dylan suddenly had a flash of inspiration. He laid his hand onto Ben's and concentrated, just as he had done when he healed Ben's scars.

The spread of gold slowly stopped at Ben's elbow, and began to recede back toward his hand. Ben's eyes fluttered open, and he looked over to Dylan. His eyes widened in shock as he saw what was happening.

As the gold disappeared from Ben's body, more and more started to appear on Dylan. 'Stop!' Ben cried, but Dylan paid no heed. Soon the orb stopped glowing, and Ben's hand was almost completely healed, but for his little finger.

Ben looked back at the golden statue as he lay there on the floor. No matter what, he would never forget what Dylan had done for him. Ben turned and walked away from the bodies of his only two friends, both dead because of him.

Epilogue

22nd March 83

When the old Celtic couple opened their door that strangely dark and wet night, the last thing they expected was to find a young boy on their doorstep, seemingly only of the age of twelve.

'What's your name?' the elderly man said kindly.

'Ben - please, you've got to help me!' The boy started to groan in pain, and clutch at his abdomen. The two quickly hurried him inside, and asked him of his plight. They needn't have asked, as his plight soon became quite clear.

And Mr and Mrs Brogan thought that a strange boy on the doorstep was the weirdest thing that was going to happen that night! Within a few hours, they had greeted three newborn babies, much to their surprise and delight.

The babies' father would have collapsed from exhaustion, had he not already been lying down. Ben looked at the two identical boys, and their sister, he already knew their names. 'Dylan, Matthew, and Cassandra,' he whispered, before drifting off into peaceful sleep…

(A/N: Wow, it's amazing I've managed to write this much so quickly - but it's more amazing you actually read this far. This story is nowhere near finished yet, so please let me know if you want it to continue. If no one says they want more I guess it's just a load of crap and I'll finish it here)