Atlantis: the Honest Truth
(All text is selections from the more lucid chapters of Livre de Arâubon le Ordre Belle Ebullience (1801) by d'Astard and Carletan, translated by the proprietor, or, if so indicated, from a similarly deciphered copy of d'Éceit's Livre de Sous (1871). Those interested in the originals should contact Mr. Baise Moncul of the Manuscript Division of the Bibliothèque nationale de France, the Rue de Richelieu branch, the d'Artagnan desk.)
This is Atlantis.
It almost touches the island of Cuba in the west, leaving the strait of Voormung between Gilgan (which will be Cuba) and the mainland cape of Thursus.
Its north coast is a zig-zag of many deep harbors and vertiginous coastal cliffs, the fjords ripping through to lowlands of incomparable beauty beyond the coastal highlands.
In east, the Azores aren't an island chain; they are peaks of the Pnathic highland, brooding over the strait of Africay.
Curving southward, the strait continues for hundreds of miles, between western Atlantis and eastern Mauraca (Africa); and in a great archipelago-spotted bulge it curves westwards back to Voormung.
These are the cities of Atlantis.
Only two of them are harbors, and they are the youngest of the great cities of Atlantis; its people are introspective, not terribly interested in the world round them. Even the continent of Atlantis is not altogether civilized by them: in the highlands of eastern Pnath, and in the rugged lands that drive the long hundred-miles westward to Voormung, there are wild tribes with red swords, red altars, and abhorrent gods.
The civilization of Atlantis is a pearl in the heart of its continent: and on the north side that pearl touches the ocean, at Ilarnek and Lavu-Keraf.
The greater cities, the older cities, the cities whose foundations are all onyx and alabaster, whose towers are incomparable marble with every inch inscribed with spells and secrets ten thousand years old --- those cities lie inland, and are not concerned with the world. There is Kadatheron, and Bauzuzu, and Mulcifer, and Siragosa, Atlantis's capital, the city no outsider may enter for seeing it would break their hearts, and they would die, cheeks tear-wettened, eyes wide.
This is the empire of Atlantis.
The empire's capital is Rhamun. It is not an Atlantean city. Its walls are marble, and its towers are smooth and lovely; but it is not an Atlantean city. It has no temples to proper Atlantean gods, no places for the orgiastic gatherings of all men and women which are the proper and decent behavior of Atlantean high holy days. Rhamun is on the tip of the western peninsula of Voormung. It rules all the coasts of the continent of Atlantis, and many other coasts; its vaults are up-piled with gold and silver, with the skulls and crossbones of its crushed enemies, with the vialed tears and decanted blood of those it has conquered, with the bracelets and brooches that are their tribute, with the jeweled daggers and black swords that are its power (for in its dominions it is forbidden to make any weapon, or any bladed thing, or a coat of mail, unless one has Atlantean blood) --- that is Rhamun, wherefrom white-hulled azure-sailed ships come, to trade, conquer and rule.
Rhamun's empire --- which to all but the true people of Atlantis is, the Atlantean Empire --- is vast. In our words, it is an empire that rules every speck of land watered by the tributaries of the Amazon and the Mississippi, all the lands where now the Rhein and the Donau and the Nile stream. In the far north, the glaciers of Greenland and Iceland and Norway are not a part of the empire, but they all are carved with the sigils that tell any traveler they have reached the boundary of a domain where they must pay proper respects, or die.
The islands of England and Ireland and the third isle (our Lyonesse west of Ireland, and now beneath the waves) are domestic farms to Rhamun; their people are slaves, and till their fields for the empire, bleed their lives on the megalith altars for the empire; subject their children to terrors which make them the invincible legionnaires of the empire. Those three islands --- England, and Ireland, and Deoghan --- provide the corn of Rhamun, the soldiers of Rhamun, and the blood which is the mortar for Rhamun's hedonists and sorcerers.
It is the blood and flesh of the Three Islands that won Rhamun the Golden its victories against the vicious barbarians of Europe, and ground to dirt and under dirt the hordes of the Barostantii and the Kathulokii, and swept the Cimbri and the Picts to oblivion, or to lands of no consequence under the northern glaciers.
It was the bright power of the Three Islands, and the Rhamunian general Garad nur-Falyon, that met the march of the Fenni, and stood firm against their maraudering hordes, and cut down their bear-pelt priests and bear-skull altars alike; it was he who cut the pelts open to reveal the mad beast-men sewn inside, and skinned them; he who had the altar-skulls ground to dust, and the dust used to chalk the privies of his soldiers; it was Garad nur-Falyon who so intimidated the survivors they fled to tunnels in the northern ice, to dark and deadly places under the endless glaciers; it was Garad nur-Falyon who had great boulders winched in to close those caves; and it was Garad nur-Falyon who had spells cast to contain the mad survivors of the bloody Fenni inside and under those glaciers, in eternal cold and darkness and madness, until the very world would break, or come to its end.
And it was on the shores of the Three Islands the exiles of Rhamun landed, after the very world had broken, and the tears of heaven and the spit of the deeps had washed over all of Atlantis.
It was Arad nur-Falyon, a distant and lesser descendant of the great general, that sat on a throne of black wood on one of those ships; and it was he that ruled the last spark of Atlantean glory, a shadow of Rhamun as Rhamun had been a shadow of Atlantis herself. But what the flint and screams of the straw-headed, corpse-skinned Europeans could not overthrow, what the slaves of the Three Islands dared not oppose, was done to death by death himself; the slow unstoppable march of time. The people of Arad fe-Rhamun grew less and less; and the cruelest portion was that Artad, being a man bathed by the lights of Siragosa, lived long enough to see his empire fall.
There were barbarians across the strait, and peasant revolts within; there were loss-maddened scions of now drowned houses who found their solace in wine and whoring and wild indiscriminate slaughter; and over all of it Arthadd Pheramun reigned, squatting on his wooden throne; and in the end he was the last Atlantean to fall, save one.
It was treachery that was Arthud Phenrhaugn's end: his own son by some chattel slave, one Blackthrone, went among the barbarian Celts and became their king; and it was his knowledge that betrayed Auncelo Tauntag, the last Champion of Atlantis, to his death along with the emperor's army; from the battle after that only Arthur Pendragon himself walked away, blade black with his own son's blood, and eyes as haunted as his realm's howling ruin: it is said he took a ship west, and perished sinking to the ruins of Atlantis, the crude Atl-Vallon of the Celts that ruled the Three Islands after him.
These then are the survivors of Atlantis.
On the northern isles, a little general and his confused soldiers, soon overcome by the rabble beneath and round them; in a few centuries they were no more.
On the southern shore, the impossibly old and wicked man who had founded the Outer Empire, and his train of savages and others that had not seen the light of Siragosa as he had, and did not have his longevity or vision. They went to the east of the Inland Sea, and built pyramids of stone in mockery of the golden pyramids of Atlantis.
In the westlands, on the isle of Ctuchen, the woman merchant Daina landed with a fleet of slaver-ships, and ruled a far-reaching and cruel empire in the west for a hundred years after the fall.
Daina's ships were the first to hazard the seas after the cataclysm subsided; but they brought swords and torches, not relief, to the western colonies of the Atlantean Empire. Those that would not bend knee to Daina were killed; in this way the west grew weaker, though it appeared stronger, being under the rule of one chieftain. Daina even sent ships east, over the ruin of Atlantis, and to the shores of Maraccay and Ireppa, the two eastern continents, separated by the chasm of the Inland Sea of Ægyptus.
Those ships stirred up a darkness in the deep ruins, and the dead of Atlantis crawled up and scoured the island of Ctuchen clean of all life. In this fashion Daina was killed, and the western empire relieved of its tyrant, and its linchpin; all the colonies that had yielded to Daina fell to bickering and confusion and perished, while those few that had resisted were too few to survive for long.
The isle of Ctuchen is now called the Isle of Pines; many pirates beach their ships there, because the sand is white as bone and excellent for the scraping of barnacles.
Why golden pyramids? Because gold is a noble metal. Metals are for the making of fetters, both in the physical and the spiritual sense, and gold is for the binding of kings. The paucity of gold in our time is a result of the enormity of the Atlantean use of it; they stripped the easy places of the earth clean of it to raise their fanes and places of containment.
The swords of Atlantean armies were consecrated under the pyramids, and the wounds they made never stopped bleeding; the knives of the assassins of Kadatheron were forged in dim halls under the pyramid of Pharan-Kha, and for that reason their cuts did not bleed or appear until three days had passed and the assassin was far away.
In this fashion the Parliament of Chapra died behind closed and locked doors; it was a week before their servants forced the doors and found everyone inside slashed to death, with no means of escape for the killers. Chapra was the last city to resist the will of Amanra, the lord that made Atlantis one.
It was not that the Atlanteans made the pyramids for the sharpening of a few blades; no. The pyramids were for the sharpening of minds; and many priests lived in the dim halls and passages under the pyramids, lit by trapped fireflies and the light of the sun and the moon mirrored a thousand times through the pyramid's heart. And above the priests, in the heart of a pyramid, in the focus of its potency, in each pyramid sat an idol.
These then were the gods of Atlantis. They were worshipped in the old fashion, with no creeds nor orthodoxies. Sacrifices were given to them in public by the priests that tended their temples; but the priests did not minister to the common people, and the common people would not have desired such attentions or closeness. There were people that gave sacrifices and devotions on their own, but these were mistrusted by many, and some of their rites were unwelcome and unclean.
There was a temple with three towers in the middle of Siragosa, Atlantis's capital, a city of incomparable beauty and glory. Each of the towers held aloft a massive statue, each ten times the height of a man; and they were made of a sea-green stone flecked with gold, and had been found buried in the earth by the first builders of Siragosa, long before the name Atlantis was first breathed, or its dominion established. Those first builders had been men, in the Atlantean fashion; but the statues were much older. One of them depicted a naked woman, almost human; the other two were monsters awful to look at.
The almost-woman was called Illith; the offerings given to her were burned atop an altar of silver, and were bouquets of roses and fine silver goblets brim-full with wine. The monsters' fires were served with blood. These latter two the Atlanteans did not want to worship; but they could not ignore them. The priests of Illith were respected, though not liked; the priests of the monsters were universally distrusted and shunned. It is told there often rose a great clamor from behind the well-barred door of the two towers; and drunken and bloody debauchery was the least disturbing of the guesses for what was causing the noise.
Furthermore, it is said that when Atlantis fell, the three-towered temple fell also; but the towers fell down on themselves all alone, for the statues had disappeared the moment the red star of doom appeared in the skies. On the part of the monsters, the people of Siragosa were glad to see them gone, though their going was one more omen of doom.
Though the bodily aspect of the statue called Illith is impossible to describe, the Atlanteans having been curiously reluctant to describe it, the adornments the statue, otherwise naked, was holding have been recorded. She was crowned with a crown of swords, the blades fanning out to threat every direction round her. She held a chalice from which flames sprung; and in these flames the golden flecks were more abundant than in the rest of the sea-green stone of the statue; and seemed to slowly flow and turn. In her other hand she had a stone tablet with a million letters scrawled on it, over one another in a maddening chaos of lines and curves of a hundred different widths and depths.
It is said the sages of Kadatheron deciphered some of these letters, and it was for this reason their sect was outlawed. It is further said that the sages found the contents of the tablet so potent they could only be inscribed in stone, or a reasonable facsimile of stone, without the material being consumed by a green flame. For this reason their writings survive only in the infamous brick cylinders of Kadatheron. The surviving copies of these cylinders are usually so confused and wilfully mutilated they can be freely written on papyrus, parchment or paper; though the copyist is not safe, the writing material will suffer no harm.
D'Éceit's first note to the preceding
It has been brought to my attention the sculptor Bartholdi has recently [note: D'Éceit's book was published in 1871] exhibited designs for a statue frightfully similar to the surviving descriptions of the statue of Illith, though I understand he has been forced by decency and his friends to place a robe on it, hiding its nudity and the worst of its inhuman deformity. What is the origin of Bartholdi's monstrous inspiration remains unknown to me. Surely he cannot think we would ever worship such an idol, even if he fashioned it a hundred meters high and erected it atop the Arc de Triomphe!
D'Éceit's second note to the preceding
The idols of the Atlantean pyramids were not gods to the Atlanteans, and they would have recoiled in horror at the thought of them or us worshipping them as such. One does not call a dangling key Zeus though it attracts lightning through a Franklin-kite. Similarly with the idols, keys of an entirely different dimension.