V-Ger 3

V-Ger – Stars of EternityChapter 3 – The Continental City between Oceans

Chapter 3: The Continental City Between Oceans

Upon crossing the portal, I once again lost consciousness. When I awoke, my surroundings had changed radically.

I found myself within a large, damp rocky cavity filled with trees bearing pastel foliage, softly illuminated by strange luminescent photophores. The walls were adorned with frescoes depicting marine creatures and giant humanoid beings traversing vast expanses of water aboard flying vehicles. The stone arches of the portal that had allowed me to enter this world had lost their luminescence, and the portal was now closed.

I felt somewhat different. Deep down, I knew who I was, Azarion, native of Tais, but my mind now had access to new knowledge, new information about the world I now inhabited. I was also Urul, Imperial Mage of the Continental City Between Oceans, Atlantis.

Thus, the knowledge and powers of Azarion and those of Urul circulated within my entire being, and far from experiencing a split personality, I had achieved the perfect fusion of two distinct forms of life within a single entity. I felt particularly invigorated by this unique novelty!

Urul had prayed and performed incantations before the Portal, calling and hoping for the aid of Higher Forces, and his wish had been granted, in a way.

It was not a God who stood before Urul, but rather myself, incarnated in one of my multiple existences across time and space.

I was Urul, I was Azarion, I was multitude, all at once!

I knew I had to quickly leave this room and speak with the Emperor on a matter of utmost importance.

As I traversed the streets of the city, memories of Urul surged into my mind in staggering flashes.

Atlantis was a magnificent city. A circular city where authority was exerted in a centripetal and totalitarian manner, with commoners inhabiting the periphery and the imperial and priestly elite at the center. Vast canal systems connected the different parts of this gigantic city, and the means of communication and transportation were simply astonishing.

Majestic ships traversed the vast marine expanses, while graceful aircraft crossed the sky in perfect silence.

The city’s energy resources came from a strange crystal that, once processed and exposed to sunlight, provided colossal energy, which could be used to heat and illuminate buildings, move, transform, and transmute materials, propel vehicles, but unfortunately also serve as a weapon of unparalleled destruction.

No Centralized Intelligence in Atlantis, but rather absolute imperial power inherited from divine ancestors who came from the stars. The emperors of Atlantis had the « Blue Blood »; indeed, they were hybrids between creatures from other worlds and the indigenous population of the planet, artificially created through genetic engineering, and retained some marks and attributes, especially the high copper content in their blood, the mark of absolute nobility, as well as fabulous powers over matter and beings.

The Atlanteans worshipped the Sacred Bull and the God of the ocean depths, Ghatl, primordial entities also shaped by the ancestral creators. They had erected a vast system of interconnected pyramids for collecting and dispensing the energy from the Sacred Crystal as well as the psychic energy of the faithful.

The system of power exercise was particularly severe. At the top of the social ladder, the ruling caste: the Emperor, the legitimate heir of the ancestral lineage of the original creators, with absolute power; the empress, his divine wife, also descended from the creators, but whose mixed blood did not allow her to exercise power; finally, the Imperial Mage, selected from all created beings from generation to generation as the most adept at mastering the power of the Sacred Crystal.

If the powers of the Emperor and the Empress were unparalleled, those of the Imperial Mage had little to envy them.

Capable of mastering the power of the crystal, he could control the elements, distort time and space, mentally project himself to other worlds, physically move over great distances in a flash, and materialize at will whatever he desired.

I was Urul, the Imperial Mage, and I could do all these things!

I had already been compelled by the Emperor to unleash torrents of flames and devastating tsunamis upon our enemies, the Muens, to « definitively resolve » the conflict that opposed us, to my ineffable horror, thus killing millions of innocent beings.

Is it better to try to save those dear to us and bring about the demise of a civilization, or to resist the bloodthirsty blindness of a despot and thereby condemn our own and the entirety of our people?

Of course, this did not have the desired effect, and the conflict hardened irreversibly.

The cruelty, greed, and thirst for conquest of the Emperor knew no bounds.

As I traversed the city streets, I observed its inhabitants. They seemed downtrodden, and in each of their gestures, one could feel the weight of imperial authority paralyzing them a little more each day.

Rebellion simmered among the citizens, and some hoped to one day overthrow the central power, particularly by forming alliances with our enemies, the Muens. Many spies and traitors to the Emperor had established themselves at the imperial court, and one had to be very cautious in the exchanges one could have, even with those deemed « trustworthy. »

A consortium of conspirators had even requested an audience with me, imploring me to join their cause, which I refused, believing that domination by a foreign power was not a liberation solution for an oppressed people.

Furthermore, the enemy leader was no more protective of his people than our own emperor, blinded as he was by his thirst for power and domination.

The Muens dreamed of seizing our Sacred Crystal, the source of our power and prosperity, and for millennia had sought by all means to conquer us, fortunately without success.

My mental projections beyond the veil of reality indicated to me an imminent catastrophe, which would take the form of a massive and total conflict between peoples and would end in the eradication of all civilizations on the planet.

I had requested an audience with the Emperor to inform him of this prediction and thus headed towards the Palace.

Finally arrived, I entered the Judgment Hall where the Emperor resided.

The Emperor sat on his throne of crystal and gold, proud, haughty, his divine condition and origins having shaped his character over the centuries spent exercising absolute power.

He did not even listen to what I had to say, demanding ever more power from me to destroy cities, engulf warships, and destroy the resources of our enemies.

I could not reason with him. Indicating to him that his blindness would inexorably lead to our downfall, he threatened me directly and ordered me to obey him. Although he was the Emperor, he could not easily destroy me, as I controlled, through my will, knowledge, and powers, all the power of the city. But he could exert pressure on my entourage and torture and execute mine, as he had already done when I had tried to resist him; my wife and children had paid with their lives for my brief rebellion.

Disheartened, I left the Judgment Hall and requested an audience with the Empress, for her to try to reason with her divine husband.

The apartments of the Empress adjoined the Judgment Hall.

There, she sat on a throne of Lapis Lazuli and gold, surrounded by the glory of her divine ancestors.

She cared little for her husband’s concerns, preferring to indulge in cruel and perverse games with the population.

How many servants had perished for a simple oversight, a direct look, or for daring to address her. She was formidable and feared by all.

She delighted in contemplating the fear she inspired in others, pushing individuals to their limits, then punishing them severely to savor their suffering.

I had had little opportunity to associate with her and had never requested an audience, but the situation called for exceptional measures, and I had to make her understand the imminent danger looming for all the peoples of the planet.

She showed total indifference to the situation and to the future looming for all the peoples of the planet, arguing her divine essence and quasi-immortality.

She ordered me to leave the palace and to do what the emperor had asked of me.

When I left the palace, I was desperate and distraught. I went to meditate at the top of the Sacred Mountain, housing the source of the Sacred Crystal, and locked myself in.

My projections indicated that the apocalypse of our world was about to begin. I assessed the possibilities and the chances of success for a definitive solution: the assassination of the imperial couple, or the destruction of the source of Atlantean power, the Sacred Crystal.

It was not possible to attack the existence of the imperial couple, their quasi-« divine » nature preserving them from any destructive attack. As for the destruction of the Crystal, it would lead to the end of the conflict at the cost of the enslavement of the Atlantean people by the Muens and thus place another tyrant in power. None of these solutions seemed pertinent.

Action had to be taken, and quickly.

As I focused on possible futures, the sound of a vast explosion shook the walls of the cave in which I had taken refuge.

I understood, too late, that the Emperor and the Empress had decided to do without my services and had initiated Armageddon against the Muens.

The Empress was an Astral Mage, with colossal powers, much more developed than those of the Emperor himself. The Emperor, well aware of his wife’s perverse inclinations, had easily convinced her to emerge from her usual lethargy to unleash all her fury on the peoples of the other continent, making her the instrument of mass destruction he needed.

Having, like me, the ability to project her being wherever she desired, she targeted the cities of Mu and unleashed an ocean of flames that destroyed everything in its path.

The Muens’ counterattack was not long in coming, and they sent projectiles at the city, destroying the infrastructure and decimating the people. Only the sacred mountain was spared, as they wished to be able to recover the source of power, the Sacred Crystal.

I watched, horrified, this appalling spectacle.

Within the city, the losses were immeasurable. Men, women, and children of the people had perished. Some of the ruling caste and a few aristocrats found refuge in underground shelters, while others embarked on their personal vessels for permanent exile.

After this brief exodus, of our city, our majestic ships and aircraft, our communication routes, and our power pyramids, nothing remained.

The Emperor decided to counterattack using his ultimate weapon, inherited from his creator ancestors and dormant for eons, the God Gathl.

Ghatl was a monstrous deity that slumbered in the depths of the ocean between the continents. It had been fashioned by the ancients to control the minds of creatures designed to serve them by channeling their dreams and nightmares.

Only the Emperor had the power to invoke Gathl, and he did so.

A colossal and monstrous entity awakened and flew over the ocean, causing a titanic tidal wave that engulfed almost the entire planet in an instant. Then it seized the imperial couple, who admired it, and finally flew into the sky and disappeared.

The post-apocalyptic world that lay before my eyes froze me with horror.

No trace remained of our civilizations; no more Atlanteans, no more Muens. Water covered almost the entire planet. Here and there, one could still glimpse the peaks of the ancient Atlantean mountains, appearing as frail reefs within an endless ocean.

And the same was true for the Muen peaks.

Focusing my mind on the future, I knew that some nobles and leaders had survived and would be the founders of new civilizations to come. Some of them being hybrids, the « Blue Blood » should be able to endure for a little while longer.

I had not been able to prevent the cataclysm, so I had nothing more to do in this world.

Heading for the Portal room one last time, I invoked the power of the Crystal and opened a breach through space and time, into which I plunged, preparing to merge once again with another me, somewhere, at another time.

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