An address by Atos to the Council of the Tarasha
The last Tower falls.
For four hundred years the Towers have stood, their eleven-hued Fires flaming firm against evil's menace. For four hundred years Tarasha Lehe has flourished--our new homeland, the fortress haven of new Spring. Now, dark winds break down our last defenses, and the rot of the dead West , storms of blood, magic and machine--death's legions--have reached us at last.
The Council speaks of hope. For a century now, a few of our Order have labored in secret to transform three of our holy Stones into weapons of flame. They are to be used when all else have failed, when the choice is between extinction and something worse; they are meant to rouse the burning heart of our world, the winds of stars, the force of life to purge the world; and allow what remains of humanity to begin anew--but without us.
To send the fallen continent, our motherland, into forgotten dreams. To completely cleanse the world of our tortured demon-twisted brethrens is in fact to destroy ourselves that the world may live. That is our 'hope'. For once the Art has been turned to warfare and murder--for however pure and holy the purpose, we can no longer turn back. Even self-defense, over the last four centuries, has darkened the souls of many and poisoned our civilisation. Both deep and superficial wisdom speaks with one voice: the sword once unsheathed, will remain unsheathed. The mark of a weapon like this, once completed, once used, cannot be eradicated. To heal the world, we must hide the Stones once more--all the Stones, not just the three. The field of Light that has nourished our people for 10,000 years will be no more. And the Guardians and our Art must disappear from the view of most. And even with this, the mark of the day of Fire shall remain in the deepest memory of man. And one day, in the far distant future, mankind, even without the Art but goaded by restless memories, may rediscover his doom.
And know this well: the use of the Stones of fire means the Flame itself shall withdraw. Our children will live in despair. For they shall call in the halls of the Eleven-hued Fire, and there shall be silence. The songs of our ancestors shall be emptiness; and the past a taunting scourge, a canopy of unreachable stars disturbing the growing night--not the stars of our forebears, when they, stirred by star-fire skies and hearts, set out on their ancient journeys upwards into fiery secrecies of wisdom and power. But the stars of our children will be old light, unreachable and dead, remnants of fading shadows echoing black space.
Our children will beg to forget. And mercifully, they will.
For they shall look at their neighbors with envy, young races crude and inexperienced and weak perhaps, but free from an enormous burden of guit, the guilt of a people who has broken the world--unburdened with memories that cannot be recovered, with no need to curse one's past for the terrors of the present. Our children will yearn for that freedom. And thus slowly, gradually, they shall stop believing in the old ways in a harsh new world bereft of the Flame and the Art. Plagued and weakened and growing fewer, they will unite with the freedom they seek.
And all that remains of us will be whispers and dreams.
I was born in the last years of Atlantis, and saw its beauty before it fell. Elders of Tarasha Lehe, all of you here, save one, could not fully mourn what you did not know. My heart is still there in the land of my youth, though centuries have passed since I left. I remember the voyage of the Stones, the raising of the Towers of Flame, the birth of Tarasha Lehe. I saw the new Spring and the triumph of the Light--the years of joy. And now, it seems, I would see the work of centuries, the prayer of ten thousand years, fade away. I have seen Atlantis die. And now I must see it die again.
Senate of the Tarasha, Leaders of the last Atlanteans, no one here has more to mourn, more to lose, or more memories, than I, the forger of the 3 Stones. Who mourns the loss of the Art more than one who has spent his long life teaching and refining it? Yet, with darkness nearing Salem itself, I know there can only be one right way.
It is the will of the Flame that our Order obey the will of the Council. Your word will decide the fate of the world.
And there is hope for mankind--even after this. Yes, some things are beyond healing. Thousands of years of blood-lust and violence shall reverberate from the closing days of our age. A thousand burning cities will echo the screams and fires of Abra Lodesh, the holy city of the Flame. The visions and weapons of our fallen brethrens will haunt the wars of future generations. And the demons unleashed unto the minds and bodies of men will remain, though they will be much weakened. But then there is hope. For hell is yet at bay, and earth, though fallen and bloodied, will still be earth; and humans, though crushed, short-lived, miserable, weak, would still be human.
And the Guardians of the Flame, dispersed from here, may awaken new springs in some of the younger races. And therein lies our greatest hope. For then the Flame will remain, though no longer Eleven-hued. If humanity can still remember the dream held by our forebears in the desert of our wanderings--that of immortality and truth, that of transfiguration, that of burning flame--then our songs will still be sung, in different tongues but still one in essence one-pointed towards the Love that broods over this earth. And one day, perhaps, Mercy will fall.