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The lost city of Atlaua (Deep Below contest)

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avatar DinowCookie
Event Host
Level 38 : Artisan Dinosaur
Many scientists believe that the demise of the civilization that built the jungle temples was caused by a terrible illness, brought upon them when explorers set foot on their land.

This would disprove many theories and fables about how they suddenly vanished from existence. Yet, this common belief was no reason for Doctor Archaeologist Andréas Blue to discontinue his research. Doctor Blue has dedicated the entirety of his career digging deep into the secrets that lie in what little remains of the jungle civilization. He has always believed that they could never have been this advanced based on what we know; that there must've been another aspect, a "key" to the mysterious aura that surrounds their history.

The story of the city of Atlaua as told by Mabel.

Before I dive into this story, I should tell you about our team; we work for Doctor Blue to recover ancient artefacts. Our muscle is Gunther, he's here to make sure we are safe during our expeditions. Then we have Mister Frost; he doesn't talk much but he's an expert when it comes to ancient contraptions and technology. You could say he's quite the hacker. Doctor Doreen Waters is a brilliant biologist, she analyses the artefacts we recover. And finally, my name is Mabel. When I was little, Doctor Blue and my father were colleagues and the greatest of friends. Since my father.. disappeared, Doctor Blue raised me as his own. He taught me all about his research and he hired me to lead his team of experts to uncover evidence to support his theories.

A year ago, we retrieved a most important jungle artefact from a hidden underground jungle temple. A large, round stone tablet with writing and numbers inscribed. Since we brought it back, Doctor Blue spent his every day in his study room, attempting to decipher the tablet. He was convinced it would be the "key" he had been looking for during his 45 years of research. He was able to translate the following sentence; "our last ...???... will be our return to the realms of Atlaua". After translating this cryptic message it took him 8 months, with the help of Mister Frost, to decipher a set of coordinates from the tablet, based on ancient constellations.

The results were.. puzzling to say the least. The coordinates were pointing to a place in the middle of the ocean, where no island is known to be. What could possibly be there that this stone tablet refers to? Doctor Blue had a theory which many would call him a madman for; he suggested they might have built a city on the ocean floor! The team was very sceptic about the theory so the next expedition would be a tough one for me to manage, and a dangerous one as well! Doctor Blue hired a manned submarine and we set course for the place which the ancient tablet directed us towards.

After a journey of several days, we arrived at our destination. But upon arrival, there was nothing to be seen. The crew of the submarine didn't understand why we had asked them to navigate to an empty field of ocean floor. And to be fair, neither did I after a few hours of pondering what we might have overlooked. I had almost given up on the mission when Doreen noticed something.. peculiar. She pointed out that the ocean floor's shape at the given coordinates, didn't fit right in with what we had previously seen. It was like an unusual, unnatural hill which wouldn't normally come to be given the natural flow of ocean water. She suggested that if anything would be there at all, it would be under the sand.

Returning to Doctor Blue without any real results, everyone was somewhat disappointed about the mission. But the man himself was actually excited to hear about Doreen's remark of the ocean floor having an unusual shape at the given coordinates. Before we knew it, he had ordered a large-scale expedition go back and dig into the ocean floor to see what we could find. The team wasn't happy at this point. They didn't believe something would truly be there and I couldn't motivate them to go until Doctor Blue himself announced that he would be joining us on the expedition. He was passionate, as though he already knew he was right.

After a short few days of rest, we set sail again to once and for all find out if there was really something under the sand. We had an extensive team of scientists and engineers with us this time. A special piece of equipment had been constructed which would allow us to attach to the ocean floor and drill holes straight down. After a few days of scanning, planning and waiting, it was finally time for Gunther, Frost and I to descend and dig into the strange underwater hill we found. Our scans didn't show anything, like there was an interference with our equipment, which left digging as the only option. Even though none of us truly expected to find anything, except for Doctor Blue himself, there was a certain excitement among the team members. Would this really be our great discovery?

And yes, yes it would. When we reached the ocean floor, Gunther immediately started drilling at the determined point. At first it went well; we found that we had hit a hollow structure, much like an underwater chamber of air, when small bubbles started to rise from where we were drilling. In all of our excitement we continued to dig, not giving thought to the possibility that this could be a fragile structure... And then it happened; a gigantic area started to collapse, and an enormous amount of air escaped from what we later discovered was a large underwater dome.

We had found it, a city hidden under the ocean, beneath the ocean floor even! But it was the worst thing we had ever done...

I cannot describe the horror and guilt we felt when we realized that the city was alive, thriving! The underwater dome was full of odd looking people, who were suddenly met with a large body of water when our drill broke their dome... Turns out that the last of the jungle civilization was somehow able to survive in this place for centuries. How they got there, and how they built it, remains a mystery to date. And now we may never know. As far as we know, no-one from the city survived this horrible event. And neither did my father whose lifeless body we discovered within the city when we were looking for any survivors. He must've found the "key" Doctor Blue had been looking for all his life..

This tragedy is one I will never be able to find peace with. And for that, I don't seem to have much time. The entire mission was top-secret. Nobody except the people who joined in the expedition knows about what happened, until today. We kept it a secret because we were afraid. But we likely don't have long to live. After the disaster, we were struck with a terrible illness. Not just my team, but every single person who knew about the expedition. An illness with no remedy it turns out. The guilt of what happened is unbearable, and if this sickness somehow is the price to pay for our terrible deed, I am accepting of that.

So many questions remain unanswered and I wish things hadn't gone the way they did. Maybe we should not have been so curious, but have let them live in peace instead. Once we realized the ocean would soon be devouring most of the cities ruins, we collected as much information as we could in what short time we had. It is collected and organized in Doctor Blue's study room, and we now trust it to you. Please be careful with this information, use it wisely. Don't be a fool like we were.

I guess, that concludes the story of how the city of Atlaua was lost.

The continuation of the story as told by Marie, 8 years later.

The illness which fell upon my parents and their team indeed did not allow them to live much longer. Doctor Blue was the first to pass away, since at his old age he had the hardest time combating it. Within a period of three years after the expedition, everyone who had taken part in it lost their life. Our theory about the mysterious illness is that it was purposely put in place in one of the layers of the dome, as a defense mechanism against explorers. But we haven't found proof to confirm this theory.

My name is Marie, I am the daughter to Mabel and Mister Frost. They entrusted me and a small group of experts with the information about the expedition. Most of us were afraid to continue research, since the illness had people believe that the demise of the city had laid a curse upon any retrieved artefacts. I did not let it scare me away however, and recently we found hints that there might be more to this tragedy than Doctor Blue and his team could ever have imagined. If our hypothesis is correct, then there should several more cities like the one of Atlaua that are still hidden below the sand.

Little remains of the city of Atlaua today. What is left of some structures can now be seen uncovered on the ocean floor. They're stone ruins and rubble. We haven't returned there, but instead we made images using camera equipment. Nobody dares to enter the ruins out of fear for the illness. From all the artefacts and images we retreived, we were able to decipher the names of what we believe are at least four more underwater cities. And that is all we have, names. We don't know if they are still inhabited, we don't know where they are and we don't know how big they are. We'll be conducting further research to learn more details.

If we may ever find out where the other cities are located, we will have to contain our curiosity and leave them live in peace. We must learn from the mistakes my parents and their team made at the city of Atlaua, and carefully consider the dangers. Maybe Doctor Blue was not wrong about a possible "key" after all. The fact that my grandfather's body was found within the city of Atlaua suggests that there is a way to enter these cities without opening their dome. Even if we might never find out, there is still a possibility that part of this civilization remains alive and well.

The end

Count: 1786 words
Cover image is free stock by tursiart on deviantart

Comments : 4

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Wow, this is really good!!
  • DinowCookie
  • Event Host
  • Level 38
  • Artisan Dinosaur
  • July 19, 2018, 2:53 pm
Thank you :D glad you enjoyed reading this story.
Holy cow yours is like over 800 words longer than mine!

Good job, very good story!
  • DinowCookie
  • Event Host
  • Level 38
  • Artisan Dinosaur
  • July 11, 2018, 8:41 am
Length of a story doesn't make it better per say.

Glad you liked my story, thanks! :D

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