3rd day of Secundus, 1669 AV
The week following Maria’s scathing letter upheld Siobhan’s insightful interpretation of the Castillian woman’s reaction. Although still far from cordial, the girl had been sharing some of her findings and thoughts with her male co-researcher, and they had several promising leads in ancient Numan texts. Occasionally, she would even forget her anger in the excitement of a discovery, only remembering later that she was still furious with him.
A sudden intake of breath from across the table causes the young man to glance up, only to find Maria staring at him with a look of revelation.
“Atlantea! What if all the references to the ‘lost continent’ are speaking about the New World?”
As she begins rifling through the spread of books on the table between them, Francisco contemplates the idea, trying to phrase his response carefully to avoid provoking more anger.
“Perhaps, but Colombo is clearly not a land that has sunk beneath the waves. And how would the Numans and Hellenes even have known about a location so far away?”
Maria drags out a copy of a text on the ancient Hellenic myths, flipping frantically through the pages. She slows and scans several columns of text before reading aloud, her voice quivering with energy and excitement.
“There are numerous mythic references to the sunken continent of Atlantea, with most agreeing that it was a land of advanced peoples, possessed of powerful magic that allowed them to travel great distances, build fantastic structures, and shake the very world with their desires. The first known literary reference to the myth was recorded in Platoneus’ Timaeon dialogue, wherein he uses the culture as a metaphor for decadence and corruption leading to a fall. The document references earlier works by Thales and Anaximander and it is likely that the great philosopher adapted the reference from even older oral traditions of a lost continent, a thematic construct found in many cultures, including much of Helleno-Numan Euros, the Crescent Empire, the Sidhe, and Cathay."
Looking up from the text, Maria’s eyes shine with enthusiasm. “Later Hellenic references to the Timaeon use the term koúfios to refer to Atlantea’s fate, while Numan references to Atlantea use the terms perditus or effugio. What if the later Hellenic interpretations of Platoneus’ work are flawed? Everyone agrees that the Timaeon must have been using allegory to make a philosophical point. What if the original work used chaménos to refer to somewhere they had lost contact with? Later writers might have assumed that for an entire continent to be ‘lost’ it must have sunk."
Francisco scratches his chin, contemplating the young woman’s conclusions. “But I’m certain of Numan references to a ‘sunken’ Atlantea as well. Simplicius and Philoponus both use the terms submergo and inundo, as do others prior to the Cathagrian Wars. It’s only after the 3rd century BP that you begin to see the less waterlogged references."
The young woman chews her bottom lip for a moment, staring at the page before her. She holds up her slender hand and begins counting off pieces of evidence for consideration. “We have seen both Hellenic and Numan architecture and artifacts in Colombo, with little reference to any expeditions or extended contact between the Eurosian empire and the lands across the sea. We know from the ancient sources that the Numans utilized powerful magic before the coming of the First Prophet, and again just prior to the fall of their empire centuries later. The Noyabento and Mabeniki speak dialects very similar to ancient Hellenic. The Hellenes and the Numans warred in the New World, presumably long after the Eurosian Hellenes had been absorbed into the Numan empire.” Maria looks across the table at Francisco, a frown of puzzlement replacing her usual scowl of disdain. “What else could it mean?”
Francisco stands and stretches, already compiling a list of books to find and scour. “I believe it means we finally have something meaningful to work with. Perhaps we should see what the hadjis of the Crescent, the scholars on the Sidhe, and the Vedic pundits of Kushmir might have to say on the matter.”