The Lost Continent



Of the Catastrophe,
Its Antecedents and
Presumed Causes.

In my remarks on Zro I gave a necessarily somewhat diffuse account of the properties of this remarkable substance. It must now be made clearer that the crude Zro in its nine stages produced by the serviles, and consumed in the 'houses' was in each stage of inferior quality to that of the same degree produced by the Atlanteans, and consumed by the High House. For example, the crude Zro was made in a labour-mill with all sorts of insulations. The first stage of the priest's Zro could be made anywhere and at any time, and naturally directed itself to the receptable for it without any precautions. It must, I think, be presumed that the Zro generated in the High House was again of far greater purity and potency. Very little of it can have been used in the experiments of the magicians, and it is therefore necessary to account for enormous quantities, produced during many centuries of uninterrupted labour. I have, however, no data of any kind for this investigation; the mysteries of the High House have ever been inscrutable, and were not wholly delivered to the Heirs of Atlas. They must be rediscovered by the magicians of the new race. It may be that in some form or other the Zro had been made stable, and used to impregnate the column which is alleged to have been driven "through the Earth"; perhaps, and less improbably, only to the depth of a few hundred miles. This column, however long it may have been, had certainly its top immediately beneath the reservoir of the High House. It had been completed about 70 years before the 'catastrophe' but apparently no effort was made to utilize it in any way. To me it appears probable that in some one mind the whole 'catastrophe' was brooding, that the column was part of the device, and that the event which I shall now describe was the other part.
This event was the birth of a child in the High House, a child without the distinguishing mark of the daughters of Atlas. That any child at all should have been born there is so incredible that I am inclined to suspect an improper use of the word 'born.' I think rather that a Magician brought Zro to its eleventh stage, when it takes human form, and lives! The alternative theory is that of the 'Angel of Venus' described in the chapter on the Underground Gardens of Atlas. The supporters of this theory hold that the child was not born of a priestess, but of the Living Atla.
In any case, the whole country gave itself up to unbridled rejoicing. Work was carried on at a greater speed than ever before: one might say a delirium of labour. For eleven years this continued without cessation, and then without warning came the order to repair to the High House — every man, woman and child of Atlas. What was then done, I know not, and dare not guess; that same day seven volunteers, heroic exiles from the reward of so many centuries of toil, voluntary maroons on the discarded planet, the Heirs of Atlas, turned their faces from the High House, and severally sought distant mountains, there each to guard his share of the Secrets of the Holy Race, and in due time to discover and train up fit children of other races of the earth so that one day another people might be founded to undertake another such task as that now ended.
Hardly had the pinnacle of Atlas melted into the sea behind them, than the 'catastrophe' occurred. The High House and the column beneath it, with all the inhabitants of Atlas, shot from the earth with the vehemence of a million lightnings, bound for that green blaze of glory that scintillated in the West above the sunset.
Instantly the Earth, its god departed, gave itself up to anguish. The sea rushed into the void of the column and in a thousand earthquakes Atlas, 'houses' and plains together were overwhelmed forever in the ocean. Tidal waves rolled round the world; everywhere great floods carried away villages and towns; earthquakes rocked and tempest roared; tumult was triumphant. For years after the catastrophe the dying tremors of the Event still shook mankind with fear.[1] And the eternal waves of the great mother rolled over Atlas, save where Earth in her agony thrust up gaunt pinnacles, bare masts of wreckage to mark the vanished continent. Save for its heirs, of whose successors it is my highest honour to be the youngest and the least worthy, oblivion fell, like one last night in which the Sun should be forever extinct, upon the land of Atlas and its people.
Shall such high purpose fail of emulation, such achievement and example not excite us to like striving? Then let earth fall indeed from her high place in heaven, and mankind be outcast for ever from the Sun! Men of Earth! Seek out the heirs of Atlas; let them order you into a phalanx, let them build you into a pyramid; that may pierce that appointed which awaits you, to establish a new dynasty of Atlanteans to be the mainstay and mainspring of the Earth, the pioneers of their own path to heaven, and to our lord and Father, the Sun! And he put his hand upon his thigh, and swore it.
By the ineffable _____, Tla, and the holy Zro, did he swear it, and entered into the body of the new Atla that is alive upon the Earth.

[1] The Legend of the Deluge is derived from this event.

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