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Selestor's Men of Atlantis, by Clara Iza von Ravn, [1937], at

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The navy of Atlantis. Minerals of the island and theories regarding them held by the mineralogists of that day and country.

The boat which bore the fishermen and maids unto the isle which smiled from out the sea was model for still others, builded slow for want of "adz" or tool to shape with grace the rounded contour of the cypress-built and steel-bound bark, which was the first attempt at ship for commerce or yet ship for war which long after followed.

"Steel," question ye? Aye, steel I think ye name the shining blade, the slab of metal welded to the hull, and thus had they this broadened band of "steel," that metal whose method of construction long was lost to science, industries, but was regained again, when centuries had flown by metal workers, "experts" in this thy land.

"Steel" known to Atlantians first as spoil from out the ocean, from galley vast that drifted smitten, storm-tossed. Rent in twain on reef which led to death all boats that through dire misfortune sought to make a landing on the northern shore. A reef whose stony teeth set fast in many a gallant ship.

A reef which still shoots upwards ’neath the waves, imperilling many a bark unto this day, so mountainous its bulk. And far in shore the rock did set, though hid by giant trees which once invited storm-tossed mariners a-starve for fruits and gurgling springs which forests deep enfolded.

The captain, a builder of the supple oar, a cook

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[paragraph continues] (and tyrant in his line was he) were cast ashore with one great galley's hulk and fell a prey to importuning of the kindly ones that peopled old Atlantis in its dawn as home of nation.

His a matchless mind, the captain's. Yielding knowledge not, but bartering for the leadership of fleet, if so ’twere builded by direction of his men who brought strong vessels for the journeys to far shores. And this was granted, but they did beswear him solemnly that of their race henceforth he would become on of the sons of their fair isle.

That there his dust should lie, did not the hungry sea, which cryeth for such fare, grasp ere he died with head in lap of slave, or wife who loved and mourned him, raised him high shaft of alabaster o’er the carven chest which held his ashes. Such the custom there.

And he, the foster child of that young nation, grew a man of might. The rudely fashioned craft first made was soon supplanted by the graceful barque that hands, grown skilful, through a tutoring brain, wrought wondrously. A barque whose sides bore gleaming gold with name inscribed and flowers carven, or yet a scene from nature drawn, of bird or graceful leopard.

Tusked creatures, too, shone forth in gold upon the well-spiked sides of galleys of the nobles of the state, as building of great barques progressed.

Yet through the years that first crude barque, part fashioned from the galley of the castaways, part from the fisher boat, held well its place—a boat of peace, which carried envoys to the darker land far up the sea, or yet to smiling islands set in southern seas; for stranger spices and such condiments as old Atlantis knew not till at last one, so skilled in foreign mixtures that his fame was great,

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came, well pleased to bide upon the island whose fame reached far.

And as the minds of men reached out to grasp the laws of other countries—other planets, a fleet was builded in whose strength and grace combined the cleverness of nations' round. Each boat a wonder for its strength and speed. Each boat, a marvel for its decoration, vied with other barques in richness.

Flashing gems indeed were set about the crown of some fair sea-nymph, graved in gold or metal that doth linger ’neath the waves yet rusts not, nor is marred by beating waves nor play of monsters. Slaves who plied great oars or stood by messengers of murderous mood were once of foreign galley, mayhap, bent on slaughter: or were criminals who, not condemned to death, might linger in the service of their king—their nation.

Pinned were they to seat by chains in early day and thus were given time to ponder of their deeds. The captain of the fleet, ye call—a fleet which challenged sun-rays shot with gold, which cast its sheen for miles over quiet sea, or fought the waves as valiantly as tiger meets its foe—the captain of this royal fleet was Wanandred—captain of the hosts of sea. The meaning of the name? "Atlantian not by birth, but of the galley broke upon the reef."

He came from far—from where pale faces met the pallid sun, the cold of icebergs. Skin-clad people, brave but cruel; knowing naught of guile but much of patience. Skilful with the oar, the spear, the mattock; not in arts nor crafts as southern nations. In that early day so wise the scattered people of the South they seemed to mock at God's creation, so complete the work turned from their hands.

Their brains seemed set to springs of Nature holden in the Hand that fashioned so completely

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that in time we gaze on growth, on color—on the changes wrought by atmosphere—on wave—play—toss of tide—almost on Time which creeps upon us! leaves us! on the clouds. On all that cometh from the One who doth create.

And those swart men did emulate so well the ether strong was chained to build and bring from far some message light or stern as one dictated. Men, were they, who past and left but meager trace; so meager that the world today turns coldly from such page as I have here embellished with this history and speak: "He doth pervert!"

Those galleys of Atlantis? Eighty feet the longest galley set to war. The wood of cypress, tulip; harder yet a stuff was made from fiber mixed with gum and shaped at will in giant mould of ribbed wood. Thongs, made from the creepers of the jungle, serpent skin and sinews of the bear, borne far with skins from Northern lands, were aids to make the galley strong. Those boats of gum and fiber of the palm were light—were strong—and to the salted water of the sea impervious; but the sweet lake or river pierced with damp and failed to hold to shape the pulpy mass which useless grew.

Each galley held its men in shackles in that early day, and no fierce revolt—no captain smitten by rebellious crew. Yet kindness reigned withal, and kings bestowed some token of their favor upon all on feast days—days when vast pavilions built were named and blessed and the fleet received a store of things deemed needful in that olden time of which ye dream today.

The crew of each wore costume made at fancy of the captain-galley's lord, who yet dared show no unkind mood to men that stern misfortune bound. And smote he one in anger, unprovoked, a punishment was meted out severely by the senate, by the

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king, and in disgrace he sat and plied the oar, where once he reigned supreme, for days ye count one hundred.

If boat were named the "Vulture," of that early fleet (a name ye would not comprehend if it were spoken in the olden tongue) yet that same bird of foul portent, which drew its life from Nature's gifts and lived as now abhorred by men—if "vulture" were the name, the captain bravely decked, wore golden helm beat into shape of bird of carrion on his brow, and round each naked waist of toiling slave was wound a scarf embroidered with the symbol foul.

When storms beat on the casque, or cloak which wrapped each form, the crimsoned bird was stamped full plain. The prow showed boldly giant bird of prey.

The leopard, tiger, or yet lily, so at variance in its beauty pure to fiercer symbols, were the names employed. And all was writ so plain in symbols that the foeman read, and reading, shuddered as the fleet drew nigh; a menace to the "pirate," joy to them who loved Atlantis, gloried in her strength, her arts.

One barque that made the fleet to nations by the sea a horror was the funeral barge, begirt with ghastly trophies of the passed and valiant warriors. Set with staves, red-painted, golden streamers broidered with white urns fell languidly or fierce upon the breeze. In the cage upon the tower sat the great and skilled embalmer. None so brave he be might sully sea with corpse or feed the foul, fierce creatures of the deep, Atlantis willed.

Her sons were hers indeed, and on her breast must rest their ashes when the soul had fled. Thus to the shore they bore them, to great piles, the pyres that lit the night when Moon was dark and low

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[paragraph continues] Orion; and melted husk of them who fell in warfare. Slave or king, in death they equal shared the pomp and were the pride of people who as kin regarded every soul born on Atlantis’ shores.

When homeward bent, the galleys bearing dead did creep at rear of fleet. Low chanting smote the ears of warriors on the barques. A song of peace fell low. Soft sounds of sweet-toned instruments arose and split the curtain of the night or met the glancing sunbeams. Smote the strains fond ears all strained to catch a whispered word of love. Smote ears that drunk, but now, alas! would drink no more the voice of him beloved.

Great bands of priests whose white robes showed the mark that boded ill—the fleshless bones as form of man portrayed—walked slowly to the massive quays and greeted all with blessings; raised voice in murmured chants and promised good to souls that left their husk at call of duty, country's need, and passed each token of the men who died, to weeping sire, or son, or yet a friend. And in their chambers dark the women mourned.

The instruments for war were barbed missiles, shot from prow, from stern, from sides through missile-thrower simple, not complex. A wheel, a pulley, piles of seeming toys which opened jaws and crushed the bone or entered body with their barbed fangs. The spear three sided. The stave, the axe with biting blade, and fiery baubles peering from the box which gathered force from out the atmosphere, were later hung on every prow. And thus held war or struggle to maintain their right to merchandise.

In time of peace sweet strains the waves caressed and even slaves sang gaily, keeping time to rhythm of their blades; and garlands from fair hands were cast in showers when galley sailed afar. The banner

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of each boat showed name in symbol clear, or characters, and over every name was set the god each worshipped. Thus each captain's god was borne aloft; and as the sun shot up or sank beneath the water, seemingly, each man of all the fleet did lift his voice and cry:

"We laud thee; God of all the gods who doth protect and hold in bonds of safety us—and ours—our land, our captain and this noble barque." So clearly rang across the water loud this cry when stars denoted midnight, or great Orion swinging far in space, and in his language held the token of a storm, or Venus dipped her golden head and Mars swung boldly into sight.

And men upon the shore would shudder, or yet smile, according to their policy or nation. Thus they spake: "The dogs do prowl from fierce Atlantis’ shore!" Or thus: "We need protection, and it comes from dear Atlantis—sister in our need." And never greater or a braver fleet had borne the sun-light on its armoured sides since time began.

Yea, that navy of Atlantis was a fixed mark, from time when first they builded from the wrecked boats, which grew to beauty as the years advanced. The captains of the ships composing fleet were men of mark whose fathers held the state to ancient laws. All, men of wealth and minds superior were theirs.

Yea, the government advanced, or punished for an act of discipline betrayed. A form of service study had the priests maintained. A man must fit himself by deep attention to the navigation rules, and also laws that govern planets high; and waves, which bore the impress of the higher waters, held in check by state of active planetary movement towards the zenith, bearing water held in check of ice or mist that reaches far beyond the lower cloud

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mass, only loosened by agitation of the poles, or of the planets swirling far in space at certain periods.

Did the laws, so well contained in poise and in cohesion of the molecules of congealed force, but come astray through laxity of ether or electric band—which like a wall withholds one from its mate, the higher from the lower—all the seas might rise, submerge the world, or, tipping outwards, make world so dry that water force were known no more.

Thus learned they to so control all force which man is subject to, yet knows not his subjection. Thus they held control of nations less endowed with knowledge. War they sought not; but when thrust upon them they were not afraid to seek and conquered every foe.

Next: Chapter XI. Mining and minerals of Atlantis. The man who came to Atlantis from Spain to study its minerals