(I hate that I have to say this, but this is a fictional account of the history of a fictional world. I do not believe these things, nor should you, as I am making them up. If I receive any comments that I did not do my research into these events, you will be mocked.)
In the Agent of Argyre series of books, there is an organization called the Alter Control Task Force. Though ostensibly an organization for policing activities of the Alter race, an attempt to prevent an eventual race war, they are actually representatives of a city-state on the ocean: The Republic of Argyre.
The Republic of Argyre, an artificial island anchored to an oceanic ridge in the pacific, is a city-state established by Alters for the sake of harboring their kind and establishing a relationship with the mainstream human population. Despite being an artificial island and attached to no primary landmass, the city’s structure is capable of potentially supporting all 12 to 15 million active Alters on the planet.
How did a race of people who’ve lived in hiding for centuries manage to construct such a city? Why would they build their city in the middle of the ocean? Where did they get the resources for such a task? In the Alterpedia Historia, we will answer these questions and discover the history of the Alters. Today we address…
The Great Exodus
After retaking his father’s throne from Set and re-establishing his line as the rightful rulers of the land that would come to be known as Egypt, Horus was faced with the ravages of the desert that the land had become in recent centuries. Seeking out new, more prosperous lands for his people, Horus began a world-wide network of trade, farming and fishing that employed the use of a massive fleet of primitive ships. With the need for controlling the flow of this fleet growing, he founded a grand city at the center of the trade routes, constructing the world’s first artificial island to act as a center of trade for his new empire: Atlantis.
The impact of Atlantis was felt by all nations which had seaports along the Atlantic ocean. Though they were far from having the technology we have today, their ships were advanced for their time and able to travel vast distances safely due to Horus’ creative use of techniques that allowed these craft to support a crew for much longer than others and could travel distances that were unfathomable to their contemporaries. The reach of Atlantis covered the entirety of the North Atlantic and a vast stretch of the South Atlantic as far south as the region now known as Rio de Janeiro.
Not everything went smoothly in Atlantis. Their far reaching trade routes meant they were often exposed to diseases few other cultures would encounter for centuries to come. In fact, according to the prevailing theories of Alter academics, one of the reasons for the diversification that changed The First Ones into modern Alters in the centuries to come was their exposure to different disease strains. This exposure is thought to have caused them to adapt to their particular illnesses rather than shared environments. This is often underscored by the fact that the first Alter sub-races to appear in the west all originated from Atlantis.
The first of these ancient sub-races to appear was possessed of incredible physical strength and an impressive immune system, sacrificing the majority of their ancestral shape-shifting for stability. Their immune system came at a cost, however, as many subjects were likely to react negatively to certain irritants in their environment. In rare but severe cases, these immune responses even made them break out into lesions on contact with things such as certain plants, metals, or even UV light. In addition to this immune response, this new race also presented a heavy metabolic intake requirement, to the point they needed to consume as much food as possible in as short a time as possible. For some, this evolved into a liquid diet.
Before long, these most extreme cases required Horus to adapt some of their civilization’s infrastructure to allow this new race to function normally. Under another leader, this sudden shift in his people may have created issues. But Horus was known for his ability to adapt and quickly made use of this new race to establish a night watch to ensure the safety of the city as the majority were to sleep. As other races of different conditions arose, he in turn created roles for them as well, providing everyone with a position within the community that best suited their talents and needs.
However, while Horus planned for many possibilities, the one he could not plan for was his own death. Though many First Ones were able to live far longer than any other human, it was clear over time that they could still die if the conditions were right. Though Alter scholars are unsure of the exact cause of his death, the prevailing theory is that Horus was poisoned by factions within the Atlantean government which wished to turn their fleet into a military force. To those who believe this theory, it is further believed this act was carried out by a member of the Atlantean Night Watch Guard, an early Alter by the name of Letum.
Over the course of the next century Horus’ chief advisers formed an oligarchy and began to address the desire to expand their empire. The formerly peaceful Atlantean fleet soon became a powerful military force that began to establish a larger empire dependent more on military operations than peaceful trade. Some seafaring civilizations resisted, slowing the spread of Atlantis for a period of time. But with their advancements and extensive resources, it was clear that there was little that could be done to stop their onslaught. That is, there was little that could be done by other nations – nature had no such problems.
The decay was gradual and had gone unnoticed since the fall of Horus. While he was in charge he had devoted a portion of the fleet to the constant care and maintenance of their capital city situated on the sea. With the materials of the day being susceptible to the forces of nature in the region, constant maintenance was required to keep the massive artificial island afloat. If a section of the capital were to suffer severe damage, Horus knew the damage would soon spread to the rest of the city and begin to drag it beneath the waves. However, with all of their forces focused on the military campaign, the new ruling caste of Atlantis neglected the domestic infrastructure and soon found that several key structures in the city were beginning to collapse.
The call went out to the fleets to get back as many ships as possible for the sake of preventing the city from sinking. However, despite their advances, the Atlantean ships were still incapable of crossing such vast distances in under a month. While the civilian workers at the time did what they could without ships and external resources to slow the city’s fall, it was only a matter of time before a full collapse would occur. Stories of what happened in the time between the call going out and the first ships arriving differ from one account to the next, some even blaming the god Poseidon and claiming it had been his will for threatening his people. But what is known is that the first ships arrived to find the grand city in ruins, sinking beneath the waves, hundreds lost to the sea.
Not all went down with the city, however, and a great deal of the city’s population relocated to the nearby islands to seek refuge until the ships could return. These people, forced to the shores and left waiting at a time when most of their resources had been claimed by the ocean, were not found in the best of condition. There had been signs of fighting between the splintered camps of people scattered throughout the island chain and no sign was found of the original ruling party. According to at least one account made by a member of the Night Watch by the name of Lucian, the survivors saw fit to punish the council for their mistakes. Along with their followers, the ruling body of Atlantis had been either executed or exiled by unruly mobs in the chaotic days following the fall.
The returning ships were not quite the blessing the survivors had hoped, however. While the majority of the ruling caste in Atlantis were simple nobles with no military training, the ships that had been called for were manned with trained and armed loyalists. The returning warriors were quick to put the civilians to work at attempting to rebuild and reclaim the fallen city, those who resisted finding they had little choice in the matter. And, before long, as social stratification took hold, the military regime of predominantly Alters had begun to enslave mainstream humans and civilian Alters to do their bidding.
However, from early in the appearance of what came to be known as “Alters”, one group of the First Ones had dedicated themselves to an art of evolving their abilities through self discipline and meditation. It was believed that, if chemistry could alter the body of a First One, the body’s personal chemistry could be controlled and manipulated to do great feats. This order of First Ones, the Mes Horii or “Sons of Horus”, evolved into a unique form of Alter eventually to be known as the Empyreals. And, hearing of the city’s fall and the fate befalling the people, the Mes Horii returned to set the people free.
The ruling caste held firm, despite the seemingly supernatural powers presented by the Mes Horii, and refused their demands on multiple occasions. The Mes Horii were not easily discouraged however, and, using their impressive abilities, retaliated against the military generals with unconventional warfare including disasters and plagues invoking the figures of famous First Ones both as a means of offense and propaganda. Before long, the leaders of the city-state yielded to their demands and released the people to the hands of the Mes Horii.
The plan from there was simple. The Mes Horii, like the man they had modeled themselves after, were willing and able to transport the people out of a country no longer benefiting them and to safer, more welcoming shores far across the sea. Dividing the groups and taking them each to another shore, it was believed that, even if the leaders of the city-state were to go back on the agreement, they could not recapture all of the groups. And, as the Mes Horii expected, the military did strike once their backs were turned.
One group in particular was targeted before the rest, crossing a bridge connecting the ruined city to one of the nearby islands. However, following this group turned out to be a mistake. The Mes Horii in charge of this particular group had chosen the bridge for a specific purpose, and, upon crossing it and waiting for the army to begin following, used the decayed and still partially patched bridge to collapse it under them and allow the sea to swallow them.
This was no easy feat, existing in a time before the invention of explosives and with no apparent use of fire. Some were convinced that he had commanded the ocean itself to wash away the path in their wake. But, to this day, researchers have been unable to confirm how exactly he was able to do it. What is known is that modern Empyreals have the ability to manipulate fluids using bioelectric fields, a soft telekinesis working on malleable materials. However, no one has ever been witnessed moving enough water to cause structural damage to even older construction. Unfortunately, due to the passage of time, the mystery may never be solved.
Once the group had migrated back to Horus’ homeland, the land to be known as Egypt and the Middle East, the story of these events were soon colored by time, told and retold through generations with the impressive acts of the Mes Horii being exaggerated with each retelling. When the written word became common place among normal humans and the story was finally written down, many events in the times since, and the loss of details over the years, had changed some aspects to become much more grandiose than they once were. Locations were altered, names had translated slightly differently across new languages, and events retold from eye witness accounts…
Had become considerably more impressive with time.