Friday, January 13, 2006

The Fall of Atlantis

A continuation of the Atlantean historical fiction a number of entries ago:

Archive CXII (Foundation Center for Antediluvian Research)

The Fall


11,000 years separate us from the Fall and it is no longer fully clear why it happened. What is certain however is that the destruction of Atlantis, mankind's first and most advanced civlization, was overwhelming and total. The best theories indicate some abuse of the Atlantean stones (see earlier entry). Indeed, it is known that after thousands of years, the 'mad mages', the successors of the great Melchis, lost at least 2-3 stones to the other mages by accident. And over time, the other Orders, while not knowing why or how these stones were created (indeed at one point even attributing them to aliens), started to appreciate just how powerful and useful these stones really were.

The events were fuzzy, but sometime before the Fall, there was a major conflict within the existing mage orders. One faction (correctly) asserted that the stones were in fact created by their ancestors to shape the evolution of the Atlantean race. These mages believed in the ancient tradition that attributed the remarkable qualities of the Atlanteans to the influence of the stones. They also believed that since the true nature and construction of the stones had perished together with the primordial Melchis, it was better to leave them alone.

However the majority of the Atlanteans and their mages rejected such qualms as being outmoded superstitions. To them, the stones in their possession were most likely products of nature. And even if the stones were created by the legendary Melchis, the Atlantean mages took great pride in their vast technical achievements, and could hardly believe they did not have both the power and right to unravel their secrets. Indeed, many of the mages openly wondered whether the Melchis were anything more than the primitive barbarians and superstitious mystics of a pre-scientific age. This was after all the age when the Atlantean religion had begun to fatally decline.

The age old Atlantean ideals of peace prevented this conflict from becoming violent. However the minority of faithful mages did not have the political influence to prevent the rest from carrying out radical new experiments on the 3 stones.

The 'Mad Mages'

Before this disastrous turn of events, the 'mad mages', the true (but eccentric) successors of the Melchis, were ignored and allowed to roam freely in the mountains of Atlantis. They were basically viewed to be half-insane hermits, though some of the people did revere them as being some kind of prophets. But once the mad mages realized that the other Orders were starting to use (or abuse) the 3 lost stones, they made a concerted attempt to retrieve them.

Their activities obviously led to conflicts with Atlantean society, and they became known as thieves and troublemakers. Worse yet, when some of their strange abilities (including their centuries old longevity) became widely known, the Atlantean populace began to view them with great fear. Thus there began a general persecution of the mad mages and dark violence began to poison the Atlantean psyche.

The beginning of the end

Despite the best efforts of the 'mad mages', the other Orders continued with their experiments. Thirsting for the waves of power and peace that emanated from the three stones, they recklessly tried various ways to extract their innermost secrets. In their pride, they simply could not admit that the technology and design of the stones were in fact far beyond them. Indeed, in the history of the world, there are few among the children of men who approached the wisdom attained by the forgers of the stones.

By tampering ignorantly with the 3 stones in their possession, they unknowingly damaged the field of beneficent energy that protected and nurtured Atlantis and its African colony. It took centuries before the Atlanteans began to suspect that something was amiss. The most obvious sign was that the each generation of the ubiquitious Atlantean cats were slowly shrinking in size. Also some physical and mental illnesses that had long since vanished suddenly started reappearing. And violent crime began multiplying in certain parts of the seven Atlantean nations.

Yet all these sinister signs were masked by the extraordinary burst of technological and economic development in the last centuries of Atlantis. Many of the technologies and sciences of our era--chemistry, electricity, steam engine, flight, an elementary laser etc.-- were in fact already discovered by the Atlanteans. In addition, the Atlanteans also advanced further than the modern world in the arts and sciences of the inner worlds.

But this 'golden age' was in fact Atlantis's final burst of glory. On an unknown but fateful date, an experiment with one of the stones went wrong, and a huge explosion ripped apart the stone and the entire laboratory. The small island where the lab was situated was completely destroyed and tidal waves devastated some parts of the northern coast.

Thousands of people were killed. The minority faction who had always opposed such experiments managed to temporarily halt the research into the remaining 2 stones. However the destruction of the one stone had severely disrupted the field around Atlantis.

The Tarasha

Filled with the power of the Atlantean Fire, one of the chief functions of the 100 Atlantean stones was to generate a gentle and yet implacable barrier that kept out the worse enemies of the Atlantean people--the demons and titans of hell. In the earliest days, when the Atlanteans were still a nomadic people (see earlier entry), generations of Melchis waged a quiet but unrelenting warfare against these dark forces. Empowered by the Atlantean Flame, they eradicated the touch of these forces in themselves and move on to exorcise every influence of these evil beings in others.

This spiritual struggle and their triumph was embodied in a symbol almost as old as the chalice of 11 feathers--the Tarasha, the seven-rayed golden sunburst on a banner of white. When the Melchis began to fade after the Settlement (see earlier entry), one of their chief concerns was to ensure that their people would continue to be protected against the fierce forces of hell. Their first act was of course to forge the Atlantean stones. Their second complementary measure was to compile a spectacular series of hymns known as the Tarasha chants.

Composed in beautiful classical Atlantean, these sacred songs were empowered by the Atlantean Flame. Used in the right way, they could bind and drive out even the mightiest demons. In addition, these chants were meant to be used in conjunction with the stones to amplify their divine energy. Almost all the mage orders knew at least some of the Tarasha chants, though the spiritual power to use them eventually vanished from almost every order. Eventually only 'the mad mages' and the priests of Atlantis chanted the Tarasha hymns on a regular basis.

In the African colony, the Tarasha symbol was adopted as the martial emblem of their army. The chants were also widely known by the soldiers, though they lack the spiritual power to use them properly. It was apt that the Tarasha was the emblem of the African legions since their enemies, (the Akroti barbarians) in fact used the bloodiest rituals to draw liberally on the powers of demons to destroy their enemies. Before the great Return of the Atlanteans, the Akroti had in fact used their demonic magic to enslave neighboring peoples and build a vast empire.

Backed by the mad mages, the returning Atlanteans quickly defeated the Akroti in a rare and uncharacteristic feat of martial splendour. The demonic gods of Akroti were also crushed and banished back to the abyss. However enough Akroti tribes survived to trouble the Atlanteans till the very end.

The Madness of the Stones

Guarded by the stones and the Tarasha chants, Atlantis and its African colony were essentially fortresses of Light where the human race could live mostly free from the corrupting touch of the forces of evil. That was the main reason why the Atlanteans managed to build a harmonious and splendid civilization that lasted for an incredible 10,000 years.

But this was soon to end. With the field of energy disrupted, greed and delusion began to increase at all levels of Atlantean society. The forces of darkness slowly began to extend their fatal influence over the minds, hearts and bodies of the Atlanteans. And given the degeneration of the other mage orders, only the mad mages and the remaining priests of Atlantis could turn back this insidious invasion. Yet these two orders were precisely the ones who were increasingly rejected and marginalised.

The priests of the One God of Atlantis had fallen on hard times. Once the respected leaders of their society, they were now mostly seen as the purveyors of outmoded superstitions. The great holy city of Abra Lodesh and the vast temple complex of the Flame increasingly became overrun by commercial developments. The majority of visitors were no longer pilgrims but tourists drawn by fancy shopping opportunities, must-see sights and the aura of history. The priests themselves also became increasingly greedy and corrupted.

The mad mages were treated even worse. Hounded by hostile mages and crowds, they withdrew into their vast cave complexes where most of the Atlantean stones were stored. Some of them also began making preparations to leave Atlantis for good.

Without the help of these two orders, the Atlanteans continued their downward degeneration. Eventually in their increasing pride and ignorance, they rashly decided to continue with experiments on the remaining 2 stones. Increasingly influenced by the forces of darkness, the Atlanteans had begun to fear death like never before. Thus one of their main motivations was to find out how to tap the power of the stones to attain the longevity of the 'mad mages'.

What transpired was perhaps the worst calamity to afflict humanity since the fall of Adam. In a secret experiment, some of the mages unwittingly modified the functions of the 2 stones. Unknown to these ignorant mages, when suitably transformed, the stones had the potential to channel ANY form of energy, whether physical, divine or demonic. From being 'portals' that emanated the divine energies of the Atlantean Flame, they were transformed into the very gates of hell.

And worse still, these foolish mages lacked the knowledge to use the Tarasha chants. Thus as dark demonic energy poured forth through the twisted stones, the mages were helpless to do anything. Very quickly their minds became subverted and they were driven mad. Becoming worse than the worst Akroti warriors, this plague of possessed mages (which soon grew into the thousands) wrecked untold havoc in Atlantis with their demonic powers.

One must appreciate how complete and horrifying this disaster was. For 10,000 years Atlantis never had a single war (other than in the African colonies), but now a whole army of truly insane mages started roaming the cities and countryside of Atlantis, killing, burning and destroying all in their path. The Atlantean military were never well trained in the first place, and they never had to face this kind of horror. They were simply swept aside. Entire cities were burnt to the ground, while the 'mad mages' tried their best to fight and contain the really mad ones.

...Indeed the blame for the war was put on the 'mad mages' themselves and they find themselves fighting both the Atlantean armies and the marauding mages. At the same time they had to protect the stones...

The Retreat

The events were unclear, but what is known is that within just a decade or so, the 'mad mages' knew that their cause was lost. Many of the chief cities of Atlantis were either destroyed or had fallen into the hands of unscrupulous tyrants. The ancient republican governments of the seven nations were gone, and society had generally collapsed. The remnants of the different mage orders, once so dedicated to truth and harmony, had either defected to the tyrants or started their own empires. Meanwhile, the insane mages continue spreading death and destruction. Famine and disease began to devastate the land.

Worse yet, the portals opened up by the abused stones remained open, and dark forces began to touch the earth like never before. Mankind, already wounded by the first primordial Fall, plunged even deeper into the slavery of darkness. The most ancient enemies of the Atlantean people--the mighty demons and Titans crushed more than 10,000 years ago by the great Melchis--now subverted and used the fallen Atlanteans to spread their reign of evil. The old religion of Atlantis was persecuted, twisted or ignored, and new demonic cults in the garb of the divine spread quickly. Science, magic and art also became twisted to serve the purposes of hatred, violence and general perversity.

This madness and evil spread not merely in Atlantis, but in the African colony and the other civilizations.

World War

What happened after that was unclear. One legend is that one of the last Melchis in fact still lived (or 'came back' in some very mysterious manner--or else he would have to be 10,000 years old). This great Melchi led the 'mad mages' and faithful Atlanteans in their last days. Knowing that the Light had failed on the Atlantean mainland, the Melchi and his followers transported away about 90 Atlantean stones (7 more had been lost to the other mages) to build a new homeland in present day Israel.

Their main settlements were concentrated in the valley now inundated by the Dead Sea, while their main military fortress was built on the present site of Jerusalem. The new homeland was called Tarasha Lehe (roughly 'the triumph of the Light').

There, they constructed a weaker version of the Atlantean field, with the stones placed at strategic corners of the land, and with the headstones stored at their military headquarters. Thus Tarasha Lehe was mostly free of the swarming forces of darkness that had begun an unprecendented invasion of the minds and hearts of men.

Meanwhile on the Atlantean mainland, a horrific twist of events had taken place. Some of the strongest Atlantean mages had managed to tap and use the demonic energy pouring forth from the twisted stones. Instead of being driven mad, they used the stones to establish clear communications with the imperial Titans of hell. Forging a dark covenant with them, these mages harnessed the perverted Flame to fill themselves with demonic glory. Then by killing off any rivals, 6 of them became the cursed dark lords of Atlantis, willingly serving as the prophets of hell in return for superhuman powers.

Drawing on theses powers, the 6 unleashed a legion of demons on the violent and bloodthirsty barbarians of the Americas and the Sahara. Possessed by these demons, the barbarians became the slaves of the 6, who then used them to stamp out any remaining opposition in Atlantis and Africa. Thus did the ancient African colony and her valiant legions came to a heroic and bloody end. Only a few thousand managed to escape to Tarasha Lehe. The rest were killed or came to a worse end.

Meanwhile on the Atlantean mainland, the 6 gathered their infernal armies and laid siege to Abra Lodesh, the holy city, the bastion of the Atlantean Fire for 10,000 years. The last remaining Atlanteans faithful to the old religion gathered in desperate defence. But surrounded by huge armies and bombarded by cruel war machines (including mankind's first flying machines), their defeat was inevitable. The city fell, and swarms of barbarians desecrated the holy grounds with unthinkable bloodshed and horror. The sack went on for 1 month as the glorious temples and libraries of Atlantis, heir to 10 millennia of culture and spirituality, were ransacked and burnt to the ground.

The high priest of the order of Melchizedek (as the Atlantean priests called themselves) and his followers perished in the flames of the massive Great Temple. The ancient libraries and museums were ripped apart by the barbarians and their machines. Fires, smoke and the smell of burning flesh rose far above the mountains for many months as the great city and the soul of Atlantis were consumed by demonic fury.

To compound this horrific sin, a vast temple complex dedicated to the worship of demons was built on the very site of Atlantis' Great Temple. The dead were left in their heaps as an infernal decoration and sacrifice. Many thousands of Atlanteans were enslaved and forced to build this new infernal church. Many more were sacrificed in horrific ways to worship the forces of hell. Blood flowed endlessly and screams of anguish and pain tear across a land where the highest civilization had reigned for 10,000 years.

These crimes vastly increased the flood of darkness into the earth, enriching the 6 and bringing horror and madness to every nation. In southern India, the Ravani empire arose with the help of the 6 and nearly annihilated the 3 northern Indian kingdoms which followed the religion of Atlantis. The nascent Atlantean influenced kingdoms of China were wiped off the map--though a brave woman was empowered by the Atlantean Flame to lead a small band of survivors over to the nearby island of Japan. All across the world, barbarism, violence and evil reached new heights and countless people were martyred.

The Stones of Fire

The last hopes of humanity rested on the defenders of Tarasha Lehe and the survivors of the Indian and Chinese kingdoms. And determined to snuff out even this flickering flame, the 6 had gathered their vast armies and were fast closing in on Tarasha Lehe.

A small Indian army had arrived to help the defenders of Tarasha Lehe. But their united armies were hardly one tenth of that of the dark Atlanteans'. In addition, the 6 had used their demonic legions to animate newly invented automata and to possess wild beasts like the mammoth. Countless war machines were also deployed. Worst of all, the 6 had used the combined force generated by their human sacrifices to allow one of the most powerful lords of hell to influence the earth directly through a 20 storey high infernal Statue. This was the being that later generations will know as Moloch, the bloodthirsty 'god' of human sacrifice.

None of the 6, nor all together could in fact defeat the mighty Melchi who led Tarasha Lehe. Nor could they hope to exert their dark powers properly given the holy field that surrounded the land. But with Moloch behind them, it was a different story. Even the Melchi could not spiritually defeat and banish a being who once ranked among the highest of angels.

The Melchi now had to make a fateful choice. He possessed the knowledge of the ancient Atlantean Melchis. If he wished, he could transform some of the stones into terrible weapons. Yet, a victory attained by violence was an empty one, since bloodshed could only further add to the sins of men and possibly prevent Atlantis from ever rising again. Yet the Statue of Moloch had tipped the balance. If this Statue was not destroyed, and if Tarasha Lehe was to perish, it was certain that the kingdom of hell would soon conquer the earth.

Thus with his closest associates, the Melchi transformed 3 of the stones into the most powerful weapons mankind ever created--the Stones of Fire. Through these stones, the Melchi could reach and channel an almost infinite amount of light and heat. Thus as the armies of the 6 and the Moloch statue approached the outskirts of present day Jerusalem, columns of fire, each brighter than the sun, plunged into their ranks from the sky and began sweeping across the plain like lightning. As the firestorm tore up the army, so great was the heat that the very ground melted and the deafening roar could be heard even in Mesopotamia. The infernal Statue was struck directly by one of the columns, while the 6 justly perished in flame. Beast, men and machine were totally consumed in a storm of light. Nothing was left but a vast plain of molten glass.

The defeat of the 6 was total. But the fate of Atlantis was sealed. This mass murder committed in Tarasha Lehe and the very existence of the Fire Stones meant that the smooth rebuilding envisaged by the Melchi could no longer take place. The sins of humanity now weigh too heavily for Atlantean civlization to be restored. Mankind no longer deserved anything like the peace and glory of Atlantis. And the existence of the Fire Stones meant that any attempted restoration of Atlantis might mean the eventual spread and use of such weapons.

As if to confirm this judgment, the remaining cronies of the 6 now started experimenting on the 7 stones surviving on the mainland (the 2 demonic stones were destroyed together with the 6 dark lords). It was possible that they were trying to build Fire Stones of their own. It is not known what exactly happened, but in the end, the whole land of Atlantis was utterly destroyed, an effect almost certainly caused by the abuse of the stones. As Atlantis died beneath the waves of the Atlantic Ocean, tidal waves devastated the coastlands of the world and the climate changed. The ice caps melted and floods inundated much of the earth. Almost all that remained of the old civilization was lost in this final disaster.

It is not known how much of Tarasha Lehe survived this catastrophe. But what is known for certain is that a number of the stones survived the destruction of Atlantis, together with a supposed cache of texts and records. It is also clear that some of these stones reached what is later known as Mesopotamia. Some were supposedly also stored near the river Nile.

After the stones and probable records were deposited, the mad mages disappeared from history. It is uncertain whether this is because they were too weakened to continue or because it was a deliberate move. The ultimate fate of the heroic Melchi also remained unknown. Some even believe that he could still be around!

The whole world however remained broken and twisted by the final days of darkness, and it was many thousands of years before even primitive civilization could be rebuilt. Even then civilization was never again as peaceful and harmonious. The glorious Atlantean race was also--for all intents and purpose--extinct. After all, the Atlanteans were the children of the stones, and when the matrix created by the stones was destroyed, their race degenerated and eventually disappeared.

Yet Atlantis did not really die. For the deepest dreams of Atlantean literature, magic and religion, were of a world free from the touch of evil, of a new humanity renewed by the fire of God. That was ultimately the reason why the Melchis forged the stones, for they had hoped that their descendants would finish this mission to divinise the earth. The Atlanteans failed and humanity was further crucified by sin. But in the fullness of time, their hopes were to be fulfilled, though in a way even the wisest Melchi could not have foreseen.