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|Let an Atlantean tell you about his continent, its legal system and what happened when he collided with it.||
A perfect society?
My name is Diros. I am an Atlantan – and proud of it, since Atlantis is the best of all possible societies. We are living in peace and wealth. Our technological superiority is scaring off al would-be attackers and our people are protected from dangers from the inside by our hard but fair justice.
As far as I can remember this has always been the one perfect society I could imagine. No-one I know has ever suffered from hunger or has ever become victim of any crime. Everybody has a good job and enough free time to be creative, do sports or enjoy the many entertainment offers like theater, animal shows and political discussions. Our great houses shine in white lime and marble, each with a small comfortable garden. Wherever you go, you are accompanied by the laughing of children and the singing of birds. I cannot imagine a place where the people could be happier.
But then on the fourth day of the month of Gelon in the fifteenth year of regent Loros' government something happened that changed my life forever. I was on the way home from my job as a scribe, when I heard a strange sound from our neighbors house. I stopped and listened – when I heard the sound again it was certain: This was the mourning of a wounded person. Of course I ran into the house, if my neighbors had suffered from an accident it was my duty to help – I would have expected the same of them. But when I entered their main living-room my breath stood still – my neighbor lay in a pool of blood, the skull broken open with force and his wife beside him. She was the one still able to moan and I kneeled next to her to see, what I could do for her. But when I lifted her chest she only looked at me with pain in the eyes, her eyes faded and her body got limp. I was still sitting in the pool of blood with her in my arms when two men of the city guard entered the house. When they saw me – blood everywhere and the corpses next to me – they took me to the guardpost.
I was shocked, of course. But I was not afraid because I put trust into our justice. Nobody could be condemned before his guilt was proven. Before the court made its judgment, witnesses were questioned thoroughly, motives and evidence checked and the accused was given every possible chance to defend himself. So I was full of confidence when I went to court the next day. I was greeting all the neighbors, who were there as witnesses and look at me with a mixture of curiosity and uneasiness. But as the trial went on my confidence vanished . What my neighbors said was everything but what I expected:
„Yes, I saw him enter the house yesterday...“
„Well sometimes there was a little quarrel between neighbors – you know what I mean?“
„She was such a pretty girl, the poor woman...“
„I believe they had an affair...“
„She didn't want him anymore!“
„Perhaps he did it because of jealousy.“
„Whether I could imagine it – Well, I guess he would be strong enough...“
I got the impression they had much more interest in spreading rumors and unbelievable presumptions then in finding the truth. Of course I did not stand a chance in the end. I was condemned. I received the only punishment the people of Atlantis new: Exile in the mainland! My life seem to shatter like a glass falling to the ground.
Early the next morning I was at harbor. Two men of the city guard, that had been the guaranty for my safety all the years, pushed me into a nutshell of a rowing-boat and pointed their lances at the harbor's exit. Knowing that opposing the armored and well-trained guards was futile, I began rowing.
Soon the high walls of the harbor were far behind me. What had been a symbol of safety once appeared to be a threatening, repulsive barrier now, armed with catapults that would smash boat into small peaces should I ever try to come back. About one hour of roing later the last bit of my self-control vanished and I started crying, lost in a nutshell on an ocean.
One day and one nigth I was drifting on the waves, a mere toy for the water. I had long given up rowing or looking for land. When my boat arrived at the shore I was too weak and stunned to realize the wonder of my survival. But then my tired eye saw something that scared me. Along the beach a group of people approached me. They were wearing Atlantan clothing, but it was dirty and teared apart. And I had never seen Atlantans armed that heavy and showing such grim faces: the outcasts, the convicted criminal, the scum of Atlantis! Two of the terrible people, a strong man with only one eye and a woman in chain mail, dragged me out of my boat and brougth me to their leader. He look at me for one moment, gave me a sword and spoke to me: “Here, new one, take this and follow us – tonight the island will burn!”
Now it was that I saw the giant warships, their hulls pointing at the island of Atlantis at the far horizon...
© 1998/2003 Roland Gromes
|The last dusk||After the night|