Pan Post 64 opens with King Stafford XLII lamenting his position as a figurehead king while the true ruler of Atlantis is The Ancient One with the blessing of the WriterGod. While Stafford attends audiences, The Ancient One holds a council where he reveals his plan to conquer the stars following the earlier advances into space by Oberon. The WriterGod releases himself as God of Earth and wills that The Ancient One is left to his own devises. No sooner has this happened than future forces of the NeSiverse arrive, led by the God of Time Chronos. With fate on their side, the future forces destroy the ships of Atlantis and a supermassive plothole appears to consume Atlantis and its people. The Ancient One escapes into The Dreamstate while King Stafford and his family survive by hiding within the library. When Stafford emerges, all that remains of Atlantis is a small island. With the WriterGod gone, Yahweh becomes God of Earth but he's told he cannot find worshippers by all the many other gods until he sets his sights on the Middle-East.
The Fall of Atlantis
One month after Helebon was defeated and his hellish armies repulsed, the damage to the city is almost completely repaired, thanks to advanced Atlantean magitech. In the palace - an estate near the heart of the city that spans twenty acres, with the palace alone taking up 7 of those acres, and reaching to the sky with all manner of towers and minarets that rise above most of the other buildings - King Stafford XLII sits on his throne in the royal audience chamber. He is seeing the customary line of nobles and peasants who have petitions. Normally his court vizier would be here, advising him and bringing order to the crowd.
But Magistarr, court wizard and archmage without peer, is busy with other, more important work. Work that does not include Stafford. Instead, Magistarr's most intelligent apprentice, Belshaggath, is in his place. His advice is sound and he keeps reasonable order, although he is not nearly as capable as the experienced Magistarr in political concerns. However, his inexperience is of no matter...given that all the important policies have long been made away from the throne.
Stafford raises an eyebrow, having never heard of this realm.
Stafford: Be ye welcome in Atlantis, good man. I am unfamiliar with your home.
Duke Squiremast: Discharding is another universe far beyond yours, your majesty. Our nobility have long been fond of Earth as a vacation spot.
Belshaggath: They are petitioning for rights to conduct a safari in the jungle on the southern coast, my king.
Stafford: I know of no reason we should not grant it. Belshaggath?
The apprentice vizier bows his head, indicating that he has no reservation either.
Stafford: Then it is done. A pleasure, Duke.
The Discharding Duke Squiremast bows from the waist, offering his thanks before exiting. Stafford suppresses a sigh as the next petitioner comes up. This is what he has been relegated to. A travel agent. King in name only. The throne has steadily lost influence since his father's assassination, and lost whatever shreds of real authority it had during the war with hell. He thinks briefly of the woman he has loved since they were children, who is even now with her husband, the true ruler (in all but name) of the realm.
It is in the war room at the secure heart of the sprawling palace, where the true business of government is run. Assembled here are Magistarr (archmage without peer), the 12 lords and ladies of the Illuminohqi, Count Desmond (the Hand of the Plot), the Champions of Atlantis (sans Highemperor, High Angel, and Britticus, who have left for adventures elsewhere), and the Ancient One. It is the Ancient One who holds the real power in Atlantis, and Magistarr is unofficially his vizier.
Lady Fay: Peace is wonderful, but I sense that many of you, like my husband, are restless.
The young woman, whose pregnancy is just starting to show, fills cups of tea with her tasseomantic abilities, and passes them around. The assembled lords murmur appreciatively as they sip.
Lord Simon: Indeed. We control the wealthiest, most advanced, and most populous continent in the world. Perhaps it is time to expand.
Ancient One: It is.
The lords swivel their heads to him. Expectation is in the air.
Ancient One: The stars.
The various lords and ladies are hushed into astonished silence. Their faces slowly break out into grins.
Ares: Ha! Now THAT is a war worth fighting!
Janitor Robertus: Is that... feasible?
Ancient One: Very. Magistarr?
Magistarr: We have had space-capable craft for centuries of course, but have held little interest in anything more than small explorations.
Lady Fay: Until my father.
Magistarr: Correct, my lady. Oberon and his followers ventured into the stars a generation ago, and have not been idle. During the war, they contacted us.
Lord Simon: What?! Why are we just now hearing this?
Magistarr: It was war. You know that. We had no time for matters beyond our world. Now, however, we have reached back out, and are flooded with reports of the wealth and resources and glory out there. We have star charts for this galaxy and several nearby ones as well.
Ancient One: In time, we could subjugate the entire Milky Way, before expanding our new empire to other galaxies...and then even beyond. Several of us are naturally immortal, but all of us here present are immortal as long as we remain on Earth, with the ultranexus. We will live to see this empire reach the furthest stars.
Ares: That's totally rockin'!
Count Desmond: If I may ask, my lord, does this favor the Story?
Lady Fay has the same question. Her husband the Ancient One's top priority is the formation and infinite perpetuity of what he calls a Neverending Story. But in recent years, with the power he has gained over Atlantean affairs, he has grown accustomed to wielding and accumulating more of it. But she would not have questioned him in front of others. Desmond, the Hand of the Plot, has no such compunctions.
Ancient One: There must be conflict to drive and perpetuate it. Our conquests will create that conflict. The repulsion of Helebon's invasion is only the first chapter of our saga.
Desmond nods thoughtfully, apparently satisfied. The other lords and ladies murmur excitedly about the possibilities.
Magistarr: Then if we are all agreed on this course... let the war plans begin!
Word sweeps through the realm. Atlantis will take its place among the stars! Young men and women eagerly sign up for the military, and spacecraft bristling with weaponry are produced in incredible numbers, as the continent pushes its magitech to the limit to manufacture a new imperial military in record time. Lady Fay gives birth to a healthy baby boy, and it is seen as a portent of fate: Atlantis was born to rule the stars.
After close to a year, the Illuminohqi deem their space military ready, and together they seek the blessing of the WriterGod at the Grand Temple in the heart of the great city.
Ancient One: Hear me, O WriterGod. You have greatly blessed me, granting me this world for a Neverending Story. Now continue to favor us, for we spread our story through the stars!
The green glyphs that constantly scroll along the surfaces of the hedron pillars - powerful Deus Ex Machines that are fitting for the inner sanctum of a narrative deity - stop, and briefly turn gold before disappearing. Puzzled, the Illuminohqi look all around, before a man is suddenly there in the room with them. His face cannot be clearly seen, as though they are looking at him through the corners of their eyes, despite looking directly at him. The others do not recognize him...but the Ancient One does. He drops to one knee.
Ancient One: My WriterGod!
Astonishment ripples through the other Illuminohqi, and they too kneel. The WriterGod smiles beatifically.
WriterGod: The story shall always continue. That was my blessing, and it remains so. But now you must achieve your destiny, whatever it may be, on your own. I am stepping down as Earth's head deity.
More ripples, this time of consternation.
Ancient One: But...why?
WriterGod: You have not consulted me in a long time, my beloved Writer. It is clear you do not feel you need me. And I cannot be your crutch always. You are free to write what you will.
This is a slight whisper, and the WriterGod is gone. The green glyphs appear on the hedrons again, and begin scrolling once more. The Ancient One rises to his feet.
Ancient One: He has given us the authority to seize the stars for ourselves! Our strength, our creativity, our story, shall prevail!
He rouses a cheer from the Illuminohqi, and they exit the temple, returning to the palace war room to begin their intergalactic war. The Ancient One speaks through a mystical horn that carries his words to every soldier and pilot.
Ancient One: All ships - launch. The Star Conquest has begun!
Cheers explode through the continent, fireworks spraying to celebrate as the swarms of silver ships rise into the sky. But then, new signals appear in space overhead, as tens of thousands of spaceships appear over the Earth, bristling with weaponry. The Atlantean ships number only in the thousands (for now), but are far more advanced - nevertheless, this event is disturbing. The Atlantean Grand Admiral hails the ships, demanding their intent. A human woman responds.
Chronos: I, the Earth God of Time, have summoned the fleets of the future to stop you. Atlantis is meant to perish. It is a fixed point in history. Its conquest of the stars can never happen. Therefore, meet the Imperials, the Jupiterians, the Yoshis, the Derkesthai, and more, all from the future of a free galaxy, to stop you from destroying their time.
Narrative weight follows Chronos' passage through time. The Neverending Story doesn't start until 1999 - this is also a fixed point in history, and the force of that fate crashes against the Atlantean continent, that would spawn it beforehand. A massive plothole opens in the sea beneath and around the continent, which quakes with terrible force as buildings begin collapsing, while future fleets fire on Atlantean ships in the sky.
Magistarr: Why? Why couldn't we foresee this?
The Archmage of Atlantis and his 12 apprentices are in the Arcanaeum, performing rituals to defend Atlantis from the future fleets, and now turn their attention to saving the kingdom from the gigantic plothole.
Count Desmond: Because she is a time god, beyond the flow of divinable history.
Magistarr whips around to see the NeSferatu count, who is holding a small jewelry box in his hands... except it is not jewelry that it contains.
Magistarr: Excellent idea! That spark will neutralize the plot hole and Chronos!
Desmond bares his fangs in a fierce smile.
Count Desmond: It might...but it will not.
To Magistarr's horror, Desmond cracks open the box, which he has taken from the most secure Atlantean vaults. Within it, is a single spark of anti-power, recovered from Helebon, who had used it as his secret weapon against the WriterGod in his invasion. Here, in the Arcanaeum, where the ultranexus is at its strongest next to the Grand Temple of the WriterGod, the magical supernode explodes at the touch of anti-power. Ley lines visibly burst into flame, as the entire planet shudders, magic being torn asunder. Desmond closes the box and retreats, as Magistarr struggles with mounting despair to save the kingdom.
Shinzallar: Master, did you not scry Desmond when you met him? How did you not see this coming?
Belshaggath: His scrying showed Desmond's unwavering loyalty to the Plot...little did we know he never intended the Plot to be born in our city.
Magistarr: Of course... a time traveler...he did not want to create a paradox and end his own existence. Didn't he know I could cast an anti-paradox charm on him?
The Arcanaeum begins crumbling around them, and in desperation, Magistarr begins terrible rituals with his greatest apprentices. All that he can do, all that the Atlantean champions and military can do, is ultimately futile. In the sky, Atlantean ships burn and explode, their flaming hulks crashing into the sinking continent. Everywhere, people scream in horror as they die. The Ancient One, Lady Fay, and their infant son flee to the Temple of the Writer God, into the inner sanctum.
Ancient One: Save us, O WriterGod! I see now that my hubris was wrong! I implore you!
But the WriterGod does not reply, and and the small family escapes into the dreamstate. Outside, King Stafford, his queen, and their own infant child are hurrying through the burning streets towards the Grand Temple. Perhaps the WriterGod can save them! Even as they reach the plaza of the Grand Temple, however, the edifice crumbles into ruin. Stafford cries out in dismay as his last surviving bodyguard is crushed by falling orichalcum.
Queen Stafford: The library, my husband. The only place said to be more sacred to the WriterGod than his temple.
King Stafford takes her hand, fleeing through the streets before huddling in the heart of the greatest library in human history.
The sky is on fire with the exploding debris of the last Atlantean ships, and the future fleets vanish back to their own times. The city crumbles. The continent is ripped apart by the plothole and sinks into the sea. Magistarr himself is swallowed up, staying behind to keep the ruptured magical ultranexus' death throes from destroying the Earth.
Finally, it is over. Atlantis is destroyed, by fate and time, in blood and fire. Only a single tiny island remains of a once great continent. A ruined edifice stands upon it, and Stafford, his queen, and their son exit it.
Queen Stafford: The whole kingdom... gone?!
Stafford takes her hand. He has never loved her as much as he did Lady Fay, but she is still his wife, and the mother of his child. He is no longer a king, having no kingdom remaining, but in truth he has not been a king for years.
Stafford: Though we be forgotten, we will endure. We will live together on this island, and raise our child, and be happy.
Meanwhile, the deity Yahweh has ascended to the WriterGod's former position as head god of Earth.
Yahweh: Excellent! Now the Atlanteans can worship me!
Ares: Good luck there, bro. They never worshipped me. They were devoted to the WriterGod.
Hermes: Besides, Atlantis just died. Didn't you notice?
Ares: It did? I was busy fighting those weird future fleets, before they chickened out and ran back to their own time.
Yahweh is dismayed.
Yahweh: No Atlantis??? But who shall worship me now?
Hermes: Well, you know, there is a whole planet of people here.
Yahweh: Grr...there must be somewhere I can exert my authority!