by Timothy Toner (3 Feb 95)
Okay, there was this race, see. Really powerful. Real powerful. No one knows where they came from, but they found a bunch of monkeys rubbing sticks together, and set up shop. It was they that brought the secret of Magick to the World of Darkness, a power that none was to possess, and they wielded it like a bauble. Their only fault was that they could not create, only reshape (which explains why they couldn't find their own world). To create, they needed humans, and so they taught a select few the intonations of power. One, an ambitious fellow, escaped to pass this secret on to the rest of humanity. He was a dangerous creature, a lab rat crawling with plague escaped from a laboratory he didn't understand. The Race sniffed, and sent out four Revenants, humans they had twisted, to retrieve the nascent mage. He managed to elude them by never revealing his power, and he taught others how to use it. In time, the revenants caught up with him, but it was too late. Mankind had learned the hideous magicks, and cast their spells to remake the world. They stood in the heart of their power, the cradle of civilization. They stood in Atlantis.
Their spell was so potent that it created new rivers and ground mountains to dust. And despite its power, it had no effect on the Race. Indeed, the Race laughed, and moved to enslave the upstarts. Two Revenants survived the blast, and they moved in for the kill. However, one felt odd stirrings, desires of freedom, and slew his brother. This renegade helped a handful of the mages escape.
The race was angered by this defiance. It could not destroy its treacherous revenant, but it could change him. Oddly, when the curse of the Race descended upon the revenant, and forever denied him the sun, the magi realized the Race's strength and weakness. They could not create. They could not destroy. They could not be destroyed. Armed with this knowledge, one mage devised a terrible plan. He would twist the world slowly - so slowly, the race would not anticipate the end until it was too late. And, oddly, it worked. The world indeed turned, and the kingdom they had labored to build fell apart. Great sheets of ice froze the Race where they stood, and they have remained locked in eternal ice for millenia. The only sign of their presence is the existence of strange green ice found in the Antarctic. All who touch it die in a matter of days of wasting diseases. It evaporates in seconds, leaving no residue.
Back to the magi. The brilliant one realized that he was on to something, so he passed into the world, to test his theories. The surviving magi opened the schools, and made magick available to all. It was a golden time for humanity, but something dark loomed on the horizon.
The mage returned, and leveled a dire warning to his fellow magi. Abandon Magick. Too much use brings the great leveler, who would destroy them outright. The Race had lived in a careful balance, denying both Creation and Destruction, embracing only Change. The humans had no compunctions about creation and destruction, and soon frayed the world to the breaking point. Already, the species of creatures were becoming infected with humanism, the result being monstrous creatures which dwelt in the wilderness. He espoused regulation and control, a systematic, predictable system, much like the cause and effect of his Pr. The magi laughed at him. Sighing, the Great One stood unharmed in the midst of the magickal maelstrom they were creating, and spoke the words. They were simple words, words that reached the ears of all mages. They pointed out the contradictions in the design, how all seemed to be locked into a cycle of eternal domination, with no apparent victor. The mages regarded these words. He was right! Their dreams were being usurped by another. They pressed their point, redoubled their efforts, and soon the maelstrom trebled in fury.
As he planned, slowly and carefully, the magicks slammed into each other. Contrary effects ground together, shooting off sparks. Reality folded and froze. Paradox was born.
Atlantis, once man's greatest creation, faded slowly into memory. The constructs of magick were now gone, disappearing as if they had never existed. Only a handful of humans, magi, and the Genius survived, spreading out, and speaking the words of the Genius in huddled corners. Those words forbade the use of magick. Any who did would have to contend with paradox.
But the Genius knew humanity all too well. He sowed the seeds of civilization, a future of evolution, where magick occurred in a regular, predictable fashion. Then he left, to guard over the Land of Green Ice.
The Revenant ventured into the world, and created others like him. He knew that he was the only surviving bit of the Race's magick, and as such, could neither create nor destroy, neither be created, nor be destroyed. But he could change.
The Changing ones looked at the huddled mass of humanity, and swept down out of the hills, to punish them for what they had done. By invoking the Contradiction, reality was stiffening. The great Weaver had caught reality, and it was not changing as it should. The Changing Ones realized that humanity needed to be put in its place, to never grow this potent again.
Atlantis still exists, in a sense. It is the shards we call Avatars. Memories of that place, so wonderful, where anything could happen, haunt our dreams. When enough awaken, Atlantis will return. Or perhaps it has never truly left.