Chapter 1.

It all started in the year 2045. Technology had grown by leaps and bounds. Cars ran on hydrogen and were fueled by water. Animals were genetically altered and cloned to meet the food demands of the ever growing population. And the first entirely undersea city had just been completed and was being inhabited by some of the top scientists on the planet. This sunken city was nicknamed Atlantis and it was the only place spared when the wars broke out.

It is unclear as to who fired first, but the end result was that the world had been changed forever. Ninety percent of the world's population had been killed in the first few years and another five percent died in the nuclear winter that followed. In the decades that preceded the war humanity itself changed. Many survivors tried to rebuild their lives in the ruins of the once great cities. Technology had all but become useless so they were forced to revert to long obsolete skills to survive. Without factories to make guns and bullets, blacksmiths became the main suppliers of weapons for protection or other reasons. There are a select few that know how to make a firearm and those gunsmiths are some of the wealthiest people in the world. In the absence of a stable government, the people of the cities treated those cities as their own countries and many battles have been fought over land and resources.

Many other survivors returned to nature to either live off the land or prey on the people that passed through their territory. Bandits inhabit the forests and gangs roam the highways pouncing on helpless travelers. Still there are those that live in the mountains that many say have gone mad over the years and even the deadliest of knaves avoid going there. The nuclear weapons had a strange effect on the planet itself, somehow a force long though to be forgotten and delegated to just be a myth had reemerged. That force was magic, real magic. Babies were being born with strange powers like the ability to see the future and the ability to control the forces of nature. Decades passed, and with each passing year more and more of the old world was forgotten. Only the oldest of the old still remember things like electricity and running water. Yes, you may still find a stray piece of technology here or there, but you'll be damned if you could find someone that could use it. But in spite of it all, the people are relatively happy. But there is an evil forming in the far west. A powerful warlord is forming an army, and he plans on moving across the land and claiming all for himself. He must be stopped before his plan can unfold and it is up to a group of heroes to do so. The only problem is they don't know it yet...

Leon Branch was summoned into the office of his father, Karl. Leon didn't like being summoned, he wasn't a child anymore. He was twenty-six years old, had a medium frame and short cropped reddish blond hair. He kept it short because, if he grew it out, it got real curly and he hated that. He wasn't exactly sure why he had been called to his dad's office, he hadn't done anything wrong lately and his father wasn't exactly the type that just wanted to chat. But as soon as he opened the door he knew that it was something major. Standing beside his father were six of the nine elders who were the leaders of Atlantis. When the Great War broke out, the undersea city of Atlantis was the only place spared from the bombs. Fortunately, the sunken city was completely self-sufficient and required no help from the surface. As far as they were concerned, there was no surface left to give them help even if they needed it. Panic spread quickly and the entire complex was almost destroyed from the inside. But a great man, named Thomas Redding, was able to step up and calm people down. He was elected Mayor of Atlantis and ran the city for years. As he was approaching his death bed, he appointed nine of his top young advisors as co-leaders of the city, and they in turn then chose their replacements on their respective death beds and so on. Over the years the outside world was vastly forgotten and people got used to living underwater and never seeing the sun.

Leon's father saw him enter and indicated that he should sit in the chair in front of the desk. The desk itself showed his father's great influence in the city as it was actually made of wood, a great commodity in the underwater world. Leon was very confused and a little scared, if even one elder was there it meant something big, to have six was all but unheard of.

His father got right into things without letting Leon speak, an annoying habit that Leon hated. Karl said, "The elders have come to me and said that you have been chosen to lead a mission to the surface."

Leon's eyes got wide with disbelief. "The surface? The surface? Nobody's been to the surface in years! Why me?"

Karl opened his mouth to answer, but one of the elders cut him off, "The Lady has had a vision. You are to lead a mission of great importance."

Leon nearly fell out of his chair. The Lady? The Lady had a vision about him? His head was spinning, he needed a moment to collect himself. About fifteen years prior, a young woman came out claiming that she could see the future. She was labeled a looney until she accurately predicted that there would be a crack in one of the protective domes. After that she was deemed a savior of the city and anything she said was to be taken in high regard.

When he was finally able to think strait, Leon asked, "W-What did The Lady have to say about me? And what is this mission?"

He knew if The Lady said it and it was backed up by the Elders, then there would be know way he could refuse it even if he wanted it to, but he still wanted to know what it was he was getting into.

A different Elder spoke to him now, "She has seen a man of great power and great evil building an army in the ruins of the city of Los Angeles. He is planning on leading this army across the land claiming all for his own and killing all that stand in his way."

He didn't want to sound rude but he had to ask one question, "Well what does that have to do with us? We're safely here beneath the ocean."

A third Elder answered his question, "Somehow he knows about our city and plans to come here and take our preserved technology and use it to take over the rest of the world."

Leon put his face in his hands. This was a lot to be thrust on him at one time. He really could use a cigarette. Strictly speaking, they weren't supposed to have them down there, but he knew a guy that grew the tobacco in a secret section of the hydroponic dome and he had a good hiding spot. It usually cost him about a weeks pay for one, but at this point it felt worth it. When he finally looked up he saw that everybody was staring at him. Again, he knew he couldn't refuse, but he had to ask one more question, "How exactly am I supposed to stop an entire army? Yes we have some tech down here, but no real weapons. And you said I'm supposed to lead the mission. Who else is going? Nobody really knows how to fight."

As Leon had guessed a fourth Elder spoke, "You are correct in that we do not have neither the resources nor the man power down here to take on even a forming army. However, The Lady has provided you a list of people that she has had visions of that might aid you in your quest."

Before Leon could say anything else a fifth Elder broke in, "Now, if you haven't any more questions you will need to be supplied, trained, and ready to go by the morning."

Leon did have one more question, "Trained in what exactly?"

The last elder finally had his turn to speak, "Why, in how to drive. You have a very long way to go."