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The great strange experiment of Teleios was coming to end. Even though, Riodan had no prior experience with magic or the multiverse, the defeat of Loki, like many conflicts, did give a sense of closure. Although Teleios was full of surprises, with the sense of closure after battling Loki, he found that when the Two announced that this great game was ending, for once he wasn't surprised. What <em>had</em> taken him aback was the offer of passage to Utopia, and the fact that if they went home they wouldn't remember their time in Teleios.

This infuriated him, he didn't understand why but it did. <em>It wasn't their right to take from his mind, his being like that!</em> It might seem strange that a young man who'd had the sense of self ground right out of him and seeing himself in shame, if at all, would be upset not to forget a time when he'd been captive and toyed with, but he couldn't help the feeling although he tried. Deep in his heart he, in a place he couldn't see or reach, the answer was there. With so much taken from him, and with who he was and what he wanted totally undermined, his experiences were important to him in a way that anchored him in the world. His memories were one of the few things he had that he could hold onto, and he <em>needed</em> them especially when someone had cared for him.

His memories of Nagihiko and Nadeshiko were precious to him, they had befriended him. Nagihiko had become angry on his behalf when he confessed he'd been a slave. Only the people who cared the most for him had had that reaction. They'd played together, that was really rare in his life just pure levity, and they'd worked toward something. It hadn't come to fruition, but it felt good it felt important. And they had both taken turns teaching him to read! Reading was for the important, those that could make changes and had futures, not the shadows of men with status. For the first time he'd felt like he could nurture, he'd felt like a big brother and had grown to love them even in the short time they'd had. When the Two said he could go home, he was relieved, but gutted he'd forget-- forget this amazing experience and forget two friends that had made their mark on him, like he'd never met. Death was common place in his experience, personally and in his world, but this was a loss on a level he didn't want to tolerate, for once he wanted to rail against the Two.

But he'd never had the chance. When he asked to go home, they seemed to sense his impending argument to keep his memories, and magically sent him packing before he could even get started.

Now...  

Riodan felt a texture against his cheek and the soft sweet scent of... grass... He opened his eyesand saw his hand laid out before him and he strained to focus on the fuzzy green-ness all around him and the light of the sun in the mild spring day. Once he got things into focus he pushed himself up to kneeling. He flexed his hands they seemed fine and his limbs. He wasn't shaking, and his head or belly didn't hurt, so maybe there was no immediate danger. He touched his chest and found he was still wearing his scale mail and his helmet had sprawled a few feet away. He got to his feet, wiping at the dampness on the knees of his trousers heading over to helmet both absently, when the monumental building finally registered to him. It was a truly massive splendid building stone or brick with a white facade and some many arched windows. The larger section of the building was a good four stories with a massive arched doorway. Above was a smaller portion of another two stories and the whole building was crowned with several steeples glinting in the sunshine. Riodan couldn't help himself and gaped, the largest building he he was in with any regularity was the fortress, but that was easily two times smaller. The architecture and general splendor reminded him of a cathedral, but he hadn't seen even a cathedral this size. He licked his lips and gave an awed.

"Wow!..." At the same time, though a sense of dread settled like a cloud over his heart and bit into his stomach. Teleios hadn't sent him home. Riodan started a little as a small, but friendly and bright voice piped up just off to his right.

At first there was a stream of words of Riodan couldn't understand, a language he'd never heard, or even heard anything like. There was a odd sense of his perception being like water sloshed around in a bowl and he bit his lip and tried to focus, breathing in deeply. Then the words started to make sense...

"Hello there, welcome to Seiyo Academy! A-are you alright? You look lost." Said the little boy, who Riodan guessed was around 8 years old, with big dark eyes and dark brown to black hair he wore something that was strange and yet gave Riodan a sense of careful thought. A white shirt and trousers and a sort of blue closure sash around his neck.

"Uhh,--- Y-yes I'm alright, but um- I do seem to be <em>quite</em> lost. Can you take me to someone who can help me find my way?" He asked feeling both a bit sheepish and shy. But his heart lifted as the boy seemed to have a plan right away.

"Mmm-hmm! I can take you to the Guardians. They can help you, they help everyone!" The boy said as absolute fact. Riodan smiled.

"Thank-you so much." 

"This way." The boy prompted starting off. They walked briskly across the expansive lawn and up a manicure pea-graveled walk way. It felt a little odd under his boots and he followed closely on the boy's heels. This place seemed safe, but it was was kempt and <em> ornate </em> in a way that was really alien to him. He gave yet another "Wow" as the boy lead him into a to a great glass house! It shone in the sunshine it was tall and was filled with lush plants. He blinked for a moment, then quickly realized the his guide was talking him.

"Pardon, I-- uh didn't hear that." He said softly.

"No problem, I said the Guardians are probably taking tea together at the moment, but they're very kind and dedicated I'm sure they'll help you right a way. Just go inside." Riodan turned to face the boy and gave him a soft smile.

"Thank-you again, I would have wandered around the grounds for ages if it were for you." The little boy's bid dark eyes lit up with the thanks.

"You're welcome, it's what the Guardians would do, and I hope to become one when I'm older." He explained with pride. Riodan nodded.

"I'm certain you'll be a fine Guardian, you're off to a good start already." He gave a the boy a little wink. The boy beamed and urged him on with a hand wave to the door. Riodan opened the arched glass door and stepped through. The scent of greenery and soil was strong, but nice and the warmth of the glass house was like a caress. He continued into the glass house.

"--- Hello?-- Um pardon for the interruption, I seem to be quite lost and was told that I should seek the Guardians for help?"
 


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Riodan

January 2017

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