Shadows of Atlantis: Awakening
by Mara Powers
Enter the legacy of the legend...
Brigitte has been chosen to renew the treaty between Atlantis and the ancient bloodline of Lemuria. As an emissary of nature, her betrothal would ensure the continued function of the Crystal Grid, the life source of the ten kingdoms of Atlantis. But as Brigitte prepares to leave from her home in the magical Dreamvale, her people are attacked by a storm of shadows. Now she is running for her life.
Upon her arrival in the ruling city of Atlantis, she meets D’Vinid, a dejected musician who lives the quintessential Atlantean lifestyle of revelry, escapism and apathy. Under the eclipse of a sacred festival, they are swept into an attraction they cannot resist. Their union may protect humanity from its worst enemy - the shadows of Atlantis. But there is one problem, this man is not her betrothed.
Brigitte soon discovers that the corruption of the Grid could very well be the Grid itself. Citizens have neglected to attend the rituals required to charge the crystals with their psychic emanations. Some have fallen prey to an epidemic called “the madness”, caused by shadowy parasites that feed off human suffering. But as nature always strives toward balance, the crystals have activated a genetic upgrade among the people. The youth have begun to express supernatural powers. Could it be that D’Vinid and Brigitte are meant to be leaders among the awakened? And if so, why does it seem impossible for them to be together?
A mysterious tale of romance, seduction and betrayal that reaches just enough into the modern mind to ask - will we learn the lessons of Atlantis?
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Evenings were always a masterpiece of color, the best time to behold the splendor of nature’s art. Clouds of rainbow prisms had the look of creatures billowing in the sky. But in the distance, a wall of storm opened like the jaws of a predator, drifting ever closer to the peaceful, green island.
“Brigitte.” A male voice echoed through her contemplation. She felt a pang of disappointment. Leaving would mean the beginning of a journey she had feared all her life. With one last lingering view of the panorama, she held her breath, reached out her arms and leapt from the cliff. As a mass of dancing particles, she bounced down the ragged rocks toward the village, one with the wind. Taking her time would be rude, so she kept moving until she filled the inside of her room.
Her brother Lukias was a dreamseer, finely tuned to the invisible. As usual, his hair was a shock of chaos that pointed in every direction. The amber of his eyes sparkled with gold flecks as he stood over her body with arms crossed. He looked right at her dream form. “The council has called us,” he said with a hint of impatience.
Brigitte sank back into her body and opened her eyes.
“I warned you not to dreamwalk too much.” He turned his back as she reached for her travel clothes. “You could separate from your body and forget how to return. Especially here in the Dreamvale.”
“It hardly matters anymore.” She watched the sun’s rays shoot dusty light through holes in the walls. She thought about the pattern it made every day at this time, the royal symbol of Atlantis. “In Atlantis we will be bound to our bodies.”
Lukias reached out a caring hand and patted her shoulder. “There will be ways to dreamwalk in the realms of matter. It will just be more… challenging.”
She smirked, knowing he always loved a challenge. He could always find humor even in the grimmest of circumstances. They exchanged a few moments of unfolding memories until, with the final boot in place, she stamped her feet and started for the door. “You coming?”
Together they walked to the center of the village where the council was gathered in a semi-circle facing a woman. She wore the leather of seafarers, her face shaded by a wide-brimmed hat. With one hip thrust to the side, her demeanor was unruffled with a twist of amusement.
Their father Denikon raised his booming voice for all to hear. “Captain Ofira Pazit of the Dreamship Vex Voyager, I give you my daughter Brigitte, emissary to Atlantis. She is the first true Moirae born into our dreamclan for seven generations.”
The captain wrinkled her chin. “Impressive. Embodied Watchers are rare, even among dreamclans.” Her chameleon eyes shifted in the fading light. “If you are ready, I think it wise that we set sail before that shadow storm arrives, don’t you?” Her eyes slid toward the horizon. “This storm has struck more than one dreamclan. All of them were to send emissaries for the renewal of the Telluric Treaty. None of them have been heard from.” She turned back to the council. “Are you certain you want to risk staying? It would be a tight fit, but we can evacuate the rest of you.”
Brigitte glanced at the grim face of her tutor Indrius. The mysterious Atlantean woman had always been a curiosity to the clan. Though she had spent many years among them, she was never one of them. She was riddled with tragedy from a past she never spoke of, a past born in Atlantis.
Denikon answered, “Those who remain have chosen to face the shadows.” His voice was steadfast though regret lingered in his eyes. He exchanged a nod with Indrius. “I am sending Lukias, my son and heir, to accompany his sister. If we fall, he will be the future of our clan. But trust me, we will not go down without a fight.”
The council had argued for many moon cycles, trying to decide the fate of their people. It was important for Brigitte to escape. Her path was evident. The first ships had already departed, taking women and children to places of refuge. The rest stayed, devising a strategy. Though they were hopeful, they worked with the solemnity of people who faced their demise.
She squinted at Lukias as he and Indrius said their goodbyes. Theirs was always a close relationship. But everyone liked Lukias. Her time spent with Indrius was always strained at best. She offered him a gift. The sun flashed off a crystal dangling from a silver chain. Brigitte could feel the telluric consciousness radiating from the multi-faceted quartz. It pulsed with a longing that made her fidget.
After a whispered message to Lukias, the white-haired woman turned to look at Brigitte. Her green eyes were gray with emotion. She brushed Brigitte’s cheek with her fingertips. “You know your task,” she began. “Remember your Watcher powers. It has become exceedingly difficult to travel between realms on this planet. I fear this shadow storm will make it even more difficult. Atlantis is suffering from a disease. It will try and take you, too. Do not be attached to your human wishes and emotions. For humans, attachment can turn to weakness and suffering. This only serves to feed the shadows. Your path will not be easy.”
“I will do what it takes to find a cause and a cure for Atlantis. I will be mindful of your warnings.”
“Therein lies the trick. As you descend deeper into the Meridian Realm, you will forget my warnings. Take steps to hold them in your heart.” She lingered in Brigitte’s eyes for a few awkward moments. “I have prepared you as best I could, my child. I regret how I’ve treated you.” She faced Brigitte and held her shoulders. “Know that I loved you like my own daughter. My treatment toward you was an attempt to prepare you for the task you face. Atlantis will not be kind to you.”
“I understand, Indrius. You had no choice.” Brigitte wanted to cry. But her tears had long since dried up.
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“…there occurred violent earthquakes and floods; and in a single day and night of misfortune… the island of Atlantis disappeared in the depths of the sea.” -Plato Timaeus/Critius
The world over has been wondering why Hollywood keeps churning out the same stories. We seem to be trapped in the endless cycle of reboots. But let’s face it, Joseph Campbell had it right when he created his treatise on the “monomyth.” The point is, all stories are recycled over and over, and appear behind many facades. In my biased opinion, Atlantis is the most fascinating reboot of all. Just like all stories, it is transformed almost every time it is told. We all know the game of telephone. It’s when you start a statement and pass it to someone else, and they pass it on until eventually it changes as everyone uses their own words to communicate the statement. I think you catch my drift.
The basic premise of this myth lies in its precautionary tale. It is the story of paradise destroyed under the weight of man’s arrogance. Make sure and check out my previous post about Atlantis’s journey through time. In the beginning, Atlantis was an infallible Utopia that crumbled under the weight of its own hubris. Plato depicted a warlike naval power that explored and conquered far beyond its reaches. But the gods became angered at their arrogance and punished them, sending a massive flood to swallow them into the ocean. It’s been compared to the flood myths, Noah of the Bible being one of them, but that’s a huge tangent.
It has been argued whether Plato recorded fact or fiction. His account was a dialogue between his teacher, the philosopher Socrates, and an Athenian statesman named Solon who had discussed the myth with Egyptian priests. Some say he created the first science fiction, meant to illustrate the warnings of human advancement. Others say the account was true. There was a statesman named Solon who had been to Egypt. He had conversed with scholars from the Library of Alexandria, which was, at the time, somewhat like the internet, a cache of all human knowledge. But Murphy’s Law set in and the library was destroyed, along with all our history, and all our accumulated knowledge. D’oh! So, from then on, anyone’s guess was as good as… well, yours or mine.
Utopian fiction came from the writings of Plato, and as such, throughout the ages, Atlantis appeared to illustrate the potential of humanity, and how our darkness taints it. “Throughout the ages the Utopias reflect the anxieties and discontents amidst which they were produced. They are, so to speak, shadows of light thrown by darknesses. The more disturbed men's minds are, the more Utopias multiply.” This quote by H.G. Wells shows what I have set out to accomplish by resurrecting the art of Utopian Fiction. A Utopia creates a model that asks the question, “what if?” and then fills in the other half of the sentence with an aspect of society that could be missing or added to make it ideal.
My question is: what if Atlantis was real? And what if it was more advanced than we could possibly imagine? And what exactly was the arrogance that made it fall? Yes, I have boldly steered the myth back toward its origin. Popular fiction has transformed Atlanteans into an evolved race of fish people who live underwater in the ancient ruins of its above-water past.
Don’t get me wrong, I love what it has become. However, is a straight up fantasy more valuable than the moral allegory? Probably not. The new release of Aquaman is breathtaking, and its ultimate value, besides being great entertainment, is that it has brought Atlantis to the forefront of pop culture. Whereas before, Atlantis has been swimming in the waters of our collective subconscious, now it is everywhere. I would dare to postulate that Atlantis will be its own genre soon enough, just like zombies or vampires. But how did this vision of a populated underwater city come into being?
It was Jules Verne who brought Atlantis into the new science fiction genre of the late 1800s. From there it evolved. While Verne depicted it as underwater ruins, this vision of a lost civilization captured the rising modern mind, and Atlantis began to tumble through various incarnations.
The next fiction book to become world famous was entitled Atlantis. Written by Gerhart Hauptmann, it was released in 1912. The author subsequently received the Nobel prize for literature that same year. It was essentially the story of the Titanic. Oddly, the actual tragedy of the Titanic happened that same year. This was said to be a coincidence.
In 1913 a Danish silent film of the same title was released based on the book. Like the Titanic of our time directed by James Cameron, it was the most expensive production ever made. It was criticized because it used the Titanic tragedy as entertainment, but after that, the name of Atlantis was associated with the Titanic for a number of decades. I believe the reasoning for this lies in the foundation of the myth itself. Hauptmann’s book was named Atlantis for philosophical reasons. The title was based on a dream sequence in the book which was the only reference to it.
But there is a real correlation between Atlantis and the Titanic. That being, the arrogance of man thinking he is greater than nature. When they built the Titanic, they said she was unsinkable. It was that very arrogance which actually caused her to sink. The same is true of Atlantis. When man reached the pinnacle of existence, it was their overblown confidence in the pinnacle that would be his downfall.
L’Atlantide by Pierre Benoit was published in 1920. This transformed Atlantis into a civilization hidden in the Sahara Desert. Several films were made based on this book, the first in 1921. This same story was rebooted in America in 1932 under the title Queen of Atlantis. Both were shot in the Sahara and made a huge wave among cinema fans of the times.
The Sahara Desert is of perennial importance to the Atlantis myth, which is why I believe they put it in Aquaman. Kudos to the screenwriter if that’s the case. It’s important to do ones’ research. But this subject is worthy of its own post. I started a small discussion about it here where I just brush the surface of the African Atlantis theory. The other interesting theory lies in the Richat Structure in the Sahara being the site of the original mother city.
The next transformation of Atlantis came about in 1936 when Hollywood based Republic Pictures put out a serial called The Undersea Kingdom. This series starred a Flash Gordon knock off called Crash Corrigan. It was released again in 1950, and then cut into a feature length film in 1966 under the title Sharad of Atlantis. While Crash didn’t remain in the collective consciousness, the Undersea Kingdom did. Here Atlantis was depicted as a thriving civilization at the bottom of the ocean, and here it has remained in the public eye ever since.
1941 saw the introduction of Aquaman in the DC comic books. He would carry on the undersea legacy of Atlantis until this very day. In fact, this post is dedicated to the reboot of Aquaman as it is released on the big screen. Starring Jason Momoa, who also starred in Stargate Atlantis, the DC universe has unleashed Atlantis on the world, depicting a powerful undersea kingdom with dazzling technology. The telephone game has transformed Atlantis into a world that exists alongside our own, hidden in the depths of an unconquerable terrain. The liquid inner space of our own planet holds a depth of mystery as to warrant such imaginings. And the moral of the story does carry on one of the most important aspects of the original Atlantis myth: The vast power of the ocean is not to be trifled with or ignored.
The other more famous depictions of Atlantis in modern pop culture have been few. The 1961 Atlantis: The Lost Continent, Disney’s 2001 Atlantis: The Lost Empire. The 2004- 2009 TV series Stargate Atlantis, and now the 2018 release of Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey video game features an Atlantean quest. Each have had their own pocket of fans, but none but Aquaman have remained widely spoken of.
The 1961 Atlantis was a science fiction made by director George Pal who also did War of the Worlds and The Time Machine. Though the movie is widely made fun of and could easily appear on Mystery Science Theater 3000 just because of its silly costumes, it has an Edgar Cayce type of story. It’s complete with crystals and submarines, half man half animal creations, and ray guns that would eventually destroy Atlantis while the hero rescues the princess, of course.
The Disney version of Atlantis brought it to the hollow earth, and also included crystal technology. It captured the heart of an entire generation with its quirky characters and stunning animation. The mechanical leviathan of Jules Verne, and his book Journey to the Center of the Earth were paid homage, as well as the works of Ignatius Donnelley, Cayce, and the spiritualist movement of the late 1800s that resurrected Atlantis as a mystical land of advanced technology.
Despite the wandering nature of the myth, there is always a throughline. It is always a warning to be careful with great power. As the saying goes, not all who wander are lost. The time will come for Atlantis to rise to the surface once again, like the scene at the start of Stargate Atlantis when the city rises to the surface. It is symbolic of bringing the denial of our own dysfunction from the depths of self-inflicted repression.
What better way to remember Atlantis than to travel back through time and experience what it may have been like to live there? Check out my book for a journey into the legend. The word has been spreading, and its time has come.
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