Many of the mythologies that influenced my depiction of this story are about human success, as well as suffering. They exist so we can understand our own nature, and most importantly our ability to rise above anything. It is not the pain of their struggle that grips us only as entertainment, but rather so we can find meaning in our suffering.
I need to add that I am truly grateful that such a number of people have enjoyed this story. Enjoy these wonderful illustrations and stay tuned for the next part of this series, The Chronicles of Atlantis: Dark Tides, coming very soon!
|Product dimensions:||8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.25(d)|
Read an Excerpt
The Age of Immortals
The Chronicles of Atlantis
By Chris Paras
AuthorHouse LLCCopyright © 2014 Chris Paras
All rights reserved.
STANDING ON A LOW SCAFFOLD at the side of the Great Sphinx, Dr. Steven Carning put his hand on the ancient monument. He closed his eyes and breathed deeply through his nose. The Sahara sun burned his face and heated his slim, marathon runner's physique. Standing before the half-man, half-lion had been Steven's dream since he began studying archaeology, and now he was here. Finally.
He gazed at the ridges under the sphinx's eyes. The cracks were visible on its chest and inner legs; thousands of years of sand, grit, and heat showed on the stone. The flaws were evident, and they all told a story.
What do you have to tell me?
Steven looked around at his newly arrived team of graduate students, each eager for the day's adventures. George, Leo, and Derrick. An amalgamation of completely different characters and personalities, they were each very talented in their respective disciplines. He'd seen to that before he accepted them for this crucial dig.
"See this?" Steven pointed to longitudinal grooves on the side of the monument.
"Yep, Dr. C. Damage through time," replied George Moreland. He was tall, broad, and good-looking. He had gained some weight since Steven had last interviewed him stateside, and now had the build of a football player who'd been off the field for a couple years. And he was bright. Damned bright.
"Not just time, George, but water. These grooves here, this is water damage, indicating the sphinx has been here for a very, very long time," Steven replied.
"Water damage in the Sahara? Come on!" George sounded surprised. He glanced at the other two graduate students standing around Steven in a semicircle. The desert wind blew dust into their faces. Everyone squinted at once, their faces crunched against the elements.
"Yes, water," Steven countered. "It's postulated that this entire region was a lush, productive land over ten thousand years ago. There were agricultural fields, trees, water sources; everything needed for human civilization. Desertification began more recently."
"How is that possible?" Leo Mikaels asked. He was a handsome young man, with glossy, black hair and interesting facial features. Steven saw a hint of Native American in his eyes and Mediterranean in his olive skin. Leo bounced a bit on his heels, always enthusiastic and ambitious. "I mean, we've all read the theories and journal articles about the sphinx as a structure being much older than traditional historians believe."
George leaned forward. "Dr. Carning is one of the biggest supporters of pre-diluvian theory. He's working on his book about it, and this dig is part of that research."
"Pre-diluvian theory proposes that this area was settled by humans and is much, much older than anything earlier historians were capable of time-dating. With technology and better dig techniques, we can find things never before possible," Steven answered. He stepped down off the scaffolding, onto a short ladder, and into a small dig pit. He and the students traversed the site at the base of the sphinx. The wind blew dust everywhere, relentlessly, even in a trench dug taller than their heads. Steven stopped at a small tent in the trench to gather the students together. He tugged up his hoodie with the university logo and still felt grit land beneath his bandana.
"Look, none of us are Indiana Jones. We're scientists; no one is going to shoot at us, chase us down with horses or tanks, and we're not going to 'save the world' from some ancient evil. What I hope we will do here is find solid evidence of pre-ancient history. Human civilization is older than standard history presents, and we are going to prove it. The gods of mythology had to have come from somewhere—"
"Dr. C, you don't really believe all that crap, do you? Zeus? Poseidon? Hippolyta?" George waved a gritty hand. "That's stuff for special effects in movies. Good for Spielberg or Lucas, but real archaeologists? Come on!"
Steven gazed at them evenly. Graduate students were chosen for their experience in field work, their passion for discovery, and their intellect, not their beliefs. He looked back to George. "I'm glad you're questioning me; always ask questions. Lack of questioning presumes you have all the answers, and, George, I know you're not that arrogant."
George shook his shaggy hair as the others laughed. "Well, I'm pretty arrogant."
"Remember this lesson: never be satisfied. Once you are, your intellect is destroyed. You're dead. However, answer me this. George, you've read some of the dissertations by some of the most revered archaeologists in the world regarding recently discovered underwater cities, such as the Yonaguni Monument in Japan, Dwarka off the coast of India, and the newly discovered underwater city next to Cuba?"
"Yes I have, boss. It's a long plane ride over here." George smiled and got smiles from everyone in return.
"Good. Now, based on those reports, either our ancestors had submarines and underwater gear," Derrick Peming snorted, and Steven nodded, "or more likely, these cities and monuments were built when the sea levels were lower; much lower, given the distance of these monuments from the modern shoreline."
"All right, I can buy that, Dr. C. That's not necessarily a farfetched theory."
"That's great, George, we're on the same page, but riddle me this. How far back were the sea levels so low to allow the shoreline to be that far out?" Steven snagged another bandana from his pocket and wiped his face. Even in the shade of the tent, the heat made them sweat.
The group remained silent for a bit, brows furrowed, even George.
"Let me tell you," Steven turned and trudged on through the trench. He was always surprised by the variety of colors in the sand. It was more intricate than simply, with light brown, dark brown, dark green, and specked with grains of white. They walked on through the dig. "Over 13,000 years ago was the epoch of the last ice age. So if these structures were once on land, they were built so far in the past that it indicates human civilization is much, much older than mainstream archaeology and history believe it to be. Is that not so? Also, the story of the Great Flood has always intrigued me. It's consistent in every major ancient culture around the world, from the ancient Meso-American civilizations, the ancient Greeks, Egyptians, India, and famously, in the Bible. Why? Why would all these different cultures, separated by enormous distances, have the same basic story about a civilization-ending flood? There must be some relationship with the end or melting of the last ice age and these unknown, older civilizations."
"If evidence supports a flood theory, then that could tie into some of the evolutionary theory that biologists are working on," Derrick finally chimed in. He was more often quiet in groups, Steven had found, but his sharp mind was always working. He was ambitious as well.
"Exactly right," Steven said. "The ancient Greeks called this previous age the Age of Gold. An age when man was perfect and the gods ruled the earth. The Sumerians have a parallel story of a previous age of the gods. They called the gods the Annunaki, who created hybrid men called the Adamu. These gods were said to be roaming the Earth during this pre-ancient time, and to have enslaved man."
Derrick chimed in again, eager, apparently trying to show off. "Didn't the ancient Egyptians have the famous 'kings list,' Dr. C.? A list of their gods who were supposedly the first pharaohs?"
"That's right, Derrick," Steven answered with a touch of distaste; it was annoying that Derrick liked showing up his colleagues. Steven preferred that the team work together without rivalry, but that was probably impossible. You couldn't choose brilliant, questing minds and expect their owners not to have goals and ambitions of their own.
They climbed out of the trench surrounding the sphinx and trudged to the main tents where the crew leaders and Steven spent much of their days. Scruffy folding tables were laid out, covered with dig equipment, blueprints, scrawled notes, old computers, a dirty Mr. Coffee machine, and empty coffee cups. The foursome poured some coffee and sprawled at the various tables, sipping and sweating.
George grinned and shook his head. "You're like a kid in a candy store here. All of this digging and site work, you're having too much fun." He leaned over and punched Steven lightly on the arm. "You should be paying the foundation for this, not the other way around."
"Archaeology is fun," Steven admitted. He drained his cup and stood, back to professor mode, as if in a classroom once more. "Now, back to our pre-diluvian theory discussion. I'm convinced that many of the myths we learned as children and many of the ancient religions that existed in the past, and still exist today, are not just coincidence. We've inherited the history of this pre-diluvian world through oral tradition and mythology, and these stories probably have foundations in some reality. The stories of Zeus and Heracles told in the agora of Pericles's Athens were probably very different from the events they were originally based on from generations prior. Of course, they ended up being manipulated and altered through time, as all oral traditions are." Steven smoothed out one of the frayed blueprints.
"Your critics don't think so. The last Journal of World Archaeology and Social Comment had Levin's article; he refutes everything you're looking for." George bent over to re-tie a bootlace, his belly showing over his belt. Derrick fidgeted, and Leo sat back, eyebrows raised. The grad students were uncomfortable with the talk of Professor Levin and his well-known feud with Steven.
"His mind-set is too narrow," Steven said as he frowned. Levin seemed to hate his guts and had shown it at the last conference where they both gave papers. "You've got to look beyond the obvious and feel for the logical, what's beyond logical—" They heard the sound of running, and then a disheveled, heavyset man scrambled around the corner. Dust kicked up around all of them, and George waved a hand, coughing.
"Shane, what is it?" Steven asked.
"Dr. Carning, a new discovery!" Shane Dagert, the crew leader, barreled into the tent. His dirty blond hair was truly dirty now, filled with sand. He had tanned and thickened skin from the sun, having spent most of his career as a dig supervisor. Though attractive with hazel eyes, he also had a three-inch scar cutting across his forehead. He had told Steven it was from a dig accident years ago. He also always wore wristbands; Steven thought it a smart way to keep sweat off of delicate dig findings.
"It may be a room," Shane said as he gasped for air and put one hand on his substantial chest.
Steven looked him over, mind whirling. "What's the evidence?"
"A small fall-through and a hollow sound. The wall seems to have been deliberately hidden," Shane said in a heavy exhale of breath as he smiled with satisfaction. "Plus, the sonographs, of course."
Steven nodded and held back his own smile. He turned to his three students. "Well, team, it looks like your school days are over; time to suit up. Derrick, grab your laptop with the satellite geography program to translate the sonograph report. Leo, bring your tablet and, being that you're the youngest one here, make sure you don't undercut any of the material and context. We do not need false data."
"Yes, sir," Leo replied anxiously. He frowned and bit his lip.
"George, with me. Let's go!" Steven felt his pulse speed up, and he consciously held back his excitement. To put his critics to rest, and to be able to finally report to his sponsors after three months some success on the dig! To be so close after all these years.
The foursome scrambled after Shane, dodging ladders and workers clad in coverings that billowed and turbans, past small excavators and tents. When they arrived at the sphinx's right paw, an enclosed tent reinforced with dual layers of fabric had been set up in an attempt to keep the dust out. Derrick connected his laptop to the sonograph machine, both wrapped in clear vinyl to protect the delicate mechanisms.
Shane pointed to the laptop's screen. "Here are what we think are the borders of the room. It seems to extend over three hundred feet here and here," his thick fingers flicked around, "then narrowing down to here. Almost six thousand square feet from what we can tell." He nodded to Steven and George and let loose with a smile, something cold and triumphant in his gaze. Steven felt an unexplained touch of unease.
Shane gazed at the computer screen intently. "It's big, so whatever is down there is probably important as well."
A clatter at the stairs, and they all looked up to the tent flap.
Even in a desert, bombarded by wind, sand, and the harsh sun, she was still beautiful. One could imagine Cleopatra's beauty when looking at her. Jet-black hair was worn coiled and pinned up, olive skin indicated her Portuguese lineage, and she seemed to constantly try to hide her perfect figure under loose camo-fatigues. George and Derrick both raised their eyebrows, Leo bounced on the balls of his feet, and Shane straightened up to stand tall. Lee-Ann Brimm stepped into the circle of men, somehow sinuous, even while dusty.
"I just received this e-mail from Director Hull." She waved a printout. "The sponsor wants a report, and they want it now!"
"Not right this second, Lee-Ann," Steven said. "Here, meet George, Leo, and Derrick, the new dig team, my students that just arrived from the States." He did quick introductions between them. "Lee-Ann has been working with me for the past year on campus and has been on site here almost two months, so she knows her way around. She's my first assistant for this expedition, and she'll give you the layout and the schedules."
Steven kept his eyes on the screen deliberately, trying not to think about the night before last. Their fumbling kiss, the curve of her hips beneath his fingers ... He pushed his mind to focus on the dig. "Lee-Ann, I'll catch up with you later in the day. You can e-mail them and tell them we've had a breakthrough."
"On what?" she asked excitedly.
"Just tell them we'll have something exciting to report on later."
"Great! I'll come back after I send this and help with the dig." With a quick nod to the men, Lee-Ann turned and left the tent.
They spent the rest of the day digging, the crews meticulously bringing in equipment as needed for heavy work, hand-digging done by Shane's experienced crew for more delicate operations. But Steven and his graduate group couldn't stop themselves from getting in the fray as well, and Steven found George an asset. Despite his bulk and large frame, he was surprisingly careful when brushing away thousands of years of dirt and sand.
Just after four in the afternoon, Steven found a stairwell going down approximately two stories. It was sandy but clear, and after a quick sonograph to establish its safety, they all trooped down.
At the base of the stairs stood an odd door. Steven's fingers outlined the entryway with reverence. The group ran their hands over the crystalline material. The door was clear yet thick, almost like a glass block but much less transparent. Beyond the door, they could only discern darkness.
"This would be a sidewall of the sphinx," he said. "But what is this made of? It's almost like it's floating."
George shook his head. "I've never seen anything like this."
"Me neither," Steven said. "It reminds me of the questionable crystal skulls of Central and South America."
Excerpted from The Age of Immortals by Chris Paras. Copyright © 2014 Chris Paras. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
ContentsChapter 1, 1,
Chapter 2, 11,
Chapter 3, 24,
Chapter 4, 29,
Chapter 5, 38,
Chapter 6, 56,
Chapter 7, 68,
Chapter 8, 82,
Chapter 9, 91,
Chapter 10, 99,
Chapter 11, 103,
Chapter 12, 107,
Chapter 13, 115,
Chapter 14, 120,
Chapter 15, 126,
Chapter 16, 137,
Chapter 17, 146,
Chapter 18, 154,
Chapter 19, 160,
Chapter 20, 168,
Chapter 21, 178,
Chapter 22, 186,
Chapter 23, 195,
Chapter 24, 201,
Chapter 25, 205,
Chapter 26, 215,
Chapter 27, 223,
Chapter 28, 233,
Chapter 29, 239,
Chapter 30, 248,
Chapter 31, 255,
Chapter 32, 260,
Chapter 33, 270,
Chapter 34, 274,
Chapter 35, 280,
Chapter 36, 288,
Chapter 37, 294,
Chapter 38, 304,
Chapter 39, 310,
Chapter 40, 316,
Chapter 41, 321,
Chapter 42, 330,
Chapter 43, 336,
Chapter 44, 343,
Chapter 45, 350,
Chapter 46, 354,
Chapter 47, 361,
Chapter 48, 364,