Második Atlantisz

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Prologue
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2011. szeptember 01. csütörtök, 17:42

Second Atlantis - The Magic of Ten Thousand Years

by Lilian H. AgiVega

 


 Prologue

 

 

Atlantis, 10,000 years ago

 

 

Obscured by the dark clouds massing in the sky, the sun had no chance to light up the golden plates of Poseidon's temple. The building that had once shone so brightly looked extraordinarily sombre in the thickening darkness, even though it was daytime, not much after noon.

Something is definitely amiss here thought the old man standing at the window of the royal palace, facing towards the temple. He had never seen such darkness in the daytime, though he had lived two hundred and fifty-six years. This could not be natural, nature herself would never have created such pitch-black clouds.

For a moment a lightning flash gave a ghastly light to the man's face and to the temple. The old man blinked – the sudden flash of light had almost blinded him.

There's magic in this. Evil, dark magic.

King Atlas’s eyes were distant. The day he had feared most had come: the fairies had risen in revolt. Atlas had long known that one day this would happen, but he had hoped beyond hope that it would not be in his reign. Even as a child he had been anxious about the long-gone power of the “slaves”, when his father – who was king at that time – had told him the tale of the enslavement of the fairies.

Thousands of years before, these strange creatures had settled in Atlantis. All of the fairies – who could fly with the swift fluttering of their wings – were able to cast spells, while magic among Atlanteans only ran in the male line of the royal family. Although the magic of the newcomers had not been able to compete with that of the ruler of Atlantis, it had still awoken fear in the people, because these strange creatures misused their magical powers with abandon.

No matter how advanced Atlantis had become technologically, technology had never been more than mere technology: explicable, tangible, mundane. Magic was different. Supernatural, intangible, strange; and like everything strange, it had awoken fear. More than ten thousand years before, magic had helped the rise of a family who could wield it: the people’s fear of magic and their respect for its wielders had made Atlas' family the rulers of the island. Over the millennia, the royal family had proved that they had no intention to use their power to oppress their subjects, but only for the good of the people.

Fairies, however, had been different: a playful, intemperate folk who used their magic to play jokes on the islanders, or more often than not, to scare them.

Seeing the fear of his people, the ancestor of Atlas who was king at the time had decided to force the settlers into slavery. He had magically stripped the fairies of their ability to cast spells and even the ability to fly. The subjugated fairies had sunk into such despondency that their wings – coloured by nature from birth – faded at once to grey, as if they had been mourning their lost abilities.

As the millennia passed, newer and newer and ever weaker and weaker kings ascended to the throne of Atlantis and the fairies slowly recovered their powers. Over the years, more and more of them had regained colour in their wings, raising suspicions in Atlas’ mind: something special must have happened to bring joy for the slaves. But he never managed to uncover the fairies’ well-kept secret, so that he had never an undisturbed night, nor a peaceful day. He suspected the slaves had safeguarded their secret with such determination to conceal their plans for rebellion, preventing their rulers from taking counter-measures.

 

 

A distant rumble could be heard, becoming gradually stronger and stronger. The walls of the palace were shaking.

The king no longer had any doubt that this was the work of the fairies. They had joined forces to take revenge and now they were destroying Atlantis. What will happen to the fairies once the island is destroyed? – he thought for a moment, but just a second later he knew the only possible answer. The slaves had regained their ability to fly. They could leave the island in the same manner they had come here all those thousands of years ago.

First he thought that his eyes were deceiving him when he saw strange little spots dancing in front of the dark clouds, then he recognised them: hundreds of fairies were flying northwards, their wings like fluttering petals in the daytime darkness: blue, green, gold, and pink...

They are happy because they are free. They are fleeing. Fleeing and leaving us to die.

The king shook his head. Deep in his heart, he understood the slave-folk. The fairies had lived as captives of the Atlanteans for millennia, revenge ripening in their hearts all the time. It was true that they shouldn’t have gone about scaring people after they settled here, but the punishment was far too great for the crime committed. Millennia of captivity and slavery for a bit of irresponsibility and exuberance? Surely not!

The king at that time had been sure that he was acting rightly when he had surprised his scared people with the gift of two hundred smart little slaves. But the small group of fairies had grown into a folk numbering two thousand – a population that seemed gigantic even compared to the Atlantean society of ten thousand people, a folk that was full to the brim with magic and had been gradually regaining its powers. By now this power had reached fruition, and Atlas had realized it too late to take counter-measures.

 

Screams were coming from the palace courtyards. Atlas’ eyes shifted back to Poseidon’s temple whose front supporting pillars were shaking dangerously. At that moment, the pediment was hit by a jet of flame, and a marble statue exploded with a shower of white sparks.

“My king, sire!”

The king slowly turned away from the window and didn’t even try to wipe away the tear drop running down his lined face.

“Mestor?” he said as he turned attentively to the person who had addressed him.

The commander of the royal guard leaned against the door post, heaving.

“My king, we are sinking.”

“Sinking? Are you sure?”

“I am totally sure, Your Majesty. The whole island.” He was gasping for breath. “In a short time, the sea will flow over the mountains at the shoreline and if that happens, all the plains will be flooded completely.”

Atlas watched the destruction beyond the window, deep in thought. So this is the way the greatest civilization that ever existed will be wiped out ... This is the end of Atlantis.

“Do I presume correctly that our flying machines have been disabled?” he asked after some time.

“Unfortunately yes, Your Majesty. None of them is working and our ships have been sunk as well. They have been extremely thorough. They must have been planning this for some time.”

Exactly my thoughts the king nodded and turned back towards the devastation outside.

Minutes passed without either of them saying a word. The air was filled with the screams of people trying to flee and the sound of collapsing buildings.

For a while, Mestor tolerated the king's silence, but as the pillars supporting the pediment of Poseidon's temple finally collapsed, he wasn't able to hold back his words any more.

“You have to do something, sire!”

“I know that well, Mestor,” the king answered, “but I'm afraid that my power is insignificant compared to the collective destructive magic of the slaves. I cannot neutralize it.”

Mestor shook his head in despair.

“You cannot speak like that, my king! This is about your people! You have to save them!”

Atlas looked at his guard with a sad smile on his face.

“You believe what the people do, that your kings are as mighty as they once were. But you are mistaken! The balance of power has changed a lot since the fairies came to Atlantis. As the millennia have slowly brought back their power, so have we, the kings, lost ours. Generation after generation less and less magical power has remained in my family. I have less than my father had, and my son, Iolaus has less than I have. Maybe his son if he lives to have one will have no magical ability at all.”

Mestor was still shaking his head.

“You speak as if everything had been written in stone, my king, but that is not true! If you can't disable the fairies' magic or stop the sinking of the island, you still have to save the people! You are the only one who can! You are the king!”

That was the moment when the remaining walls of Poseidon's temple collapsed. Huge cracks were running and spreading through the ceiling of the royal palace as well.

Atlas reached his decision.

“You are right. I owe this much to the people of Atlantis. I will do what I can.”

“How, Your Majesty?”

The king's face finally showed some optimism.

“When the island sinks, it will pull everything and everybody into the depths... Nobody would survive... at least not as humans. But my magical powers are still sufficient to turn my people into merpeople. They will be able to survive underwater. And if they swim to the shore, wherever it may be, they will change back into humans. I see no other option, Mestor.”

 

 

The earthquakes shaking the palace were getting more and more devastating, but Atlas didn't even feel them. Cries for help penetrated the windows but he didn't hear them. He was in a dream-like trance as he laid his hands on a huge Oreikhalos crystal. The crystal illuminated the gradually collapsing room with a green light. The glow became stronger until a beam of light escaped through the window and enveloped the whole island with a mysterious, greenish-blue glimmer. From afar, it must have looked like a gigantic, transparent dome.

The old king shivered, his hands dropped to his sides and he would have collapsed if his loyal guard had not caught him.

“Your Majesty,” Mestor whispered.

In Atlas' narrowed eyes, the tears of happiness were gleaming.

“Su... success. My people... are saved. The only thing remaining is... to tell them... not to panic... when their legs turn into fish-tails ... and to... swim to the shore somewhere. We have to...”

The king's grey-haired head fell back.

“My king? Sire!” The guard gently shook the old man whose eyes were staring at the ceiling without the sign of any light or sense. That was when Mestor noticed a tiny arrow embedded in the king's back.

It was a silver arrow. A weapon forged by fairies.

As Mestor tore his eyes from the dead king's face, he saw a grimly smiling figure, leaning against one of the pillars. The tiny being was surrounded by some aura – the light of his own, red-glowing wings.

Red. The colour of revenge and hatred.

“Dagda!” said the commander gasping for breath. “How could you do this? He was always good to you!”

“Oh, of course! The king was no slave-driver at all, indeed not!” spat out the fairy named Dagda mockingly. “Should I be grateful for having been His Majesty’s personal slave?”

“He treated you better than any other person would have treated his slave, you foul little worm!” hissed Mestor, as his hand slowly edged closer and closer towards the dagger in his belt.

“Ah-ah, do you think that I don't see what you are up to?” Dagda taunted him. “Do you think that we all don't see it?

“We all?” The guard furrowed his brow. “You are alone!”

“Oh, really?” Dagda laughed meanly. “Don't bet on it! Show yourself, boys!”

In that very moment fairies appeared, armed to the teeth, and at Dagda's single wave of his hand, a dozen silver arrows were shot at Mestor.

“Now, how are you going to tell the people not to panic when they turn into fish?” the fairies’ leader grinned at the dying commander.