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Supplement to "AboraMana, the Goddess updated"
Work in progress, illustrations and maps available.
AtlantaCaldera is the capital city of AtlantaIsland, situated on the Southern hemisphere of our planet, between the equator and the tropic of Capricorn. The island is about 32 km wide and 45 km long.
The Caldera is a volcano crater at the South-Eastern end of the island, halfway submerged in the ocean. On the outside of the Eastern rim the volcano is still mildly active with crevasses and rifts that smoke endlessly.
The highest point of the rim above the FireQuarter with it's Research/Discovery Center (R/D-C) is about 1500 m high. In winter the Southern slopes are covered with snow.
The lower part of the inner crater rim is like a Swiss cheese with more holes than cheese, which are the caves we live in.
The city of AtlantaCaldera is built around the Harbor Pond; it is divided within the geological and geomantic parameters into Four Quarters, each for one of the Four Elemental Houses: Air, Fire, Water, and Stone.
The Harbor Pond is about 2 km diameter at the widest distance between the Fortress in the WaterQuarter and the stairs up to the R/D-C in the FireQuarter. We have about 5 km waterfront, but not all of it is covered with buildings. There is only one entrance from the open ocean into the Harbor Pond, between the Lighthouse Rock and the Heaven's Gates on the other side. It is about 500 m wide. A current of about two knots at incoming tide runs at the very foot of the Lighthouse Rock into the HarborPond, which forces the incoming ships very close to the Rock with it's defenses. Along the inside of the Heaven's Gates the current runs out to the open ocean. So we have a pretty strong current running clock wise around the HarborPond.
The Lighthouse Rock, ca 125 m high, crowned by a pentagon shaped, slightly conical tower, 15 m high, part of the old fortification - a watch tower - which today carries the big crystal of the light. The light is screened off to the side of the City, it shines out only over the open ocean. The Rock is connected to the crater rim by a saddle about 75 m high. Today still groups of three old men do their duty as sentinels as part of their communal service, each group serves for one month. In that month they live up there, having a good time with playing chess and drinking apple cider. Visitors welcome. And naturally they keep a sharp lookout for approaching ships.
The foot of the Rock is hollowed out as part of the bunkers, with 6 gun ports, each about 3 m wide and 1 m high, about 3 m above the high water line, covering the entrance to the port and the City.
Today most of our fortifications are kept in good order, not because we need them, but because they are part of our history, and our young people are still seriously trained in the use of our defense systems. That is part of their general education, and girls and boys are trained alike. The guns are actually giant crossbows which shoot salvoes of 12 arrows that explode at impact and set fire to attacking ships. The entrance to the bunkers is a tunnel that forks off at the entrance to Carlito's Sinkhole.
The Fisherman's Beach, or short "the Beach" because it is the longest of our beaches, is about 750 m long. It begins very narrow at the foot of the Lighthouse Rock with big rounded black boulders, it gradually becomes wider to about 300 m at the widest area and more sandy till it ends at the Fortress spillway and moat. The Beach and the caves above were settled first.
Above the high waterline the Beach has grass and trees like a park, even with picnic tables and fire pits, except that the fishermen beach their boats there and consider the Beach as their very own beach and all other citizens are just tolerated, (which is tolerated by all other citizens as one of the many quirks of the fishermen). In the foot of the rock face are caves where we stow the gear necessary for fishing like oars, masts and spars, sails, rods, etc. We don't use nets for fishing. The boats are the only items in our society that are passed on from father to son, all other possessions go from the mother to the daughter. This very old custom stems from the times when we were still a male-dominated society, and not one LilithYggdrasil was able to overcome the stubborn fishermen and adjust them to the modern times.
Between the Ironwood-like trees (5 - 7 m high), close to the rock face, grows a vicious cactus we call Killer Cactus. It is said that the scientists of the R&D Center on the other side of the Harbor Pond genetically manipulated an otherwise harmless cactus until it reached it's present day form. It is like columns, with dense 10 cm long barbed needles that break off very easily and who are slightly poisonous. This cactus was planted at all those places that were possibly open to enemy attack, and even today it is carefully pruned. Pruning is part of the communal service; the pruners are protected by a light insect like armor of some sort of plastic material invented by the boys of the R/D-C.
The BeachMoat is 30 m wide, crossed by a bridge and drawbridge (5 m wide); a gate (4 m high, 5 m wide) in the 12 m high and 3 m thick wall leads into the so-called Fortress. The BeachWall, as well all other part of the fortifications and waterfronts, are hexagon shaped basalt columns (between 1 and 2 m long) quarried above the Heaven's Gates on the other side of the Lighthouse Rock. They are stacked flat. The narrow seams are glassed, which is a process invented by the scientists in the R/D-C, so that the whole wall is one solid mass of basalt and glass. The glass is yellow-orange-red and when it rains the gleaming bluish black basalt is set off very nicely against the colored glass. It looks like fire veins of a volcano.
At the Rock-end of the Beach there is a narrow, very twisted stairway leading up to Carlito's "Fisherman's Sinkhole", a bar that caters mostly to the sailors of barbarian ships. The stairway continues up till the path splits to the right to the FisherGate and to the three galleries of the WaterQuarter; then it continues up till it splits again, left to the Lighthouse tower and right to crater rim path.
About 30 narrow steps lead down into the bar; inside of Carlito's Sinkhole at the end of a tunnel, is a sanctuary with the catacombs of the 7 early WarKings of AtlantaCaldera and their concubines. The catacombs were re-discovered as Carlito expanded his bar.
The FisherGate at the height of the second gallery of the WaterQuarter is the only way into the WaterQuarter from the beachside, the only other one is a 6 m wide staircase between the Cathedral and the Bunker inside the Fortress, but there are connections between the galleries of the other quarters to the WaterQuarter.
As the name says, the crater rim path leads all along the rim always following the highest elevation, until it tapers out at the hot wilderness of the fissures and craters of the volcano above the Heaven's Gates.
The Heaven's Gates have their name because: "Once you go there ain't no comin' back." They are sharp rocks beneath towering cliffs, with high breaking waves; here the coastline of about 10 km is inaccessible.
The three galleries of the WaterQuarter are actually only in part three galleries, because the uppermost gallery slopes down and merges with the second gallery and then after about 200 m it splits off up again. All the galleries are connected by staircases, some small, steep, and narrow, others wide and more easy to climb.
The lowest gallery runs at about 30 m to 50 m above the Beach, there is no natural way up or down. In peace times we have wooden ladders zigzagging down to the Beach so that we avoid the long way either through the FisherGate or down the staircase inside the Fortress and out through the BeachGate. The lowest, or first, gallery has a crenellated wall because it was used as defense against enemies attacking the BeachGate.
The waterfront of the Fortress, which is part of the WaterQuarter, is about 350 m long. It consists of a solid slab of concrete, set on top of a wall of glassed basalt columns, about 2 m above the high water line. The slab is about 75 m wide at it's widest area in front of AboraMana's Cathedral; it is called the OldHarborPlaza. Recently the concrete was partly covered by a big mosaic of a SunFish or octopus. The concrete was left visible in those parts that were not covered by the mosaic because it is part of our history. The BeachWall on the inside reaches out over the waterfront about 12 m; it ends in a round tower of 9 m diameter; but it is not really a tower because it has the same height as the wall. Here is a floating wooden pier about 3 m wide and 9 m long to tie up LilithYggdrasil's gondola. The pier floats on two thick drums, because we have a difference between high and low tide of about 2,5 m. A narrow iron ladder set into the wall of the waterfront leads down to the pier.
In the rock face of the OldHarborPlaza, right next to wall and gate to the Beach, is a 30 m high and 12 m deep cave and within that cave is a cave that is AboraMana's Cathedral in the WaterQuarter. Three wide steps with an abstract mosaic pattern lead up the entrance; they are an often frequented meeting place.
LilithAboraMana's Cathedral is a natural cave but enlarged with smooth walls about 12 m high and 30 m deep and 30 m wide. In front of the main altar is a pond of unknown depth, reaching across from wall to wall , about 5 m wide. The pond is obviously connected to the open ocean because the waters rise and fall with the tide. Stairs lead down to the water for the sick and feeble to bathe. The cave is lit by some or the other artificial light, invented by the boys of the R/D-C; the only natural light comes in through the open door, and through a more or less round window above the door. The floor is shiny mosaic, but I could never figure out what is depicted. The main altar on the far wall of the sacred pond is 3 panels with paintings of AboraMana in three emanations; in front of the paintings on a rock ledge is an altar with sacred instruments, lights, and such like. I have no idea how the altar can be reached, except maybe by a small boat. Along the walls are small side chapels and an elevated seat for the HighPriestess. There she gives her lectures. There are no seats or pews, we sit on the ground. The door of the Cathedral is in a wall of cut stone with gun ports; the Cathedral was more than once the last stand of the citizens of AtlantaCaldera.
To the right (facing the rock face) of the Cathedral is the Hall of Justice, the entrance to the WomanSchools with the library of divine matters, and within that labyrinth of caves and tunnels I believe there are the living quarters of LilithYggdrasil.
Further to the right is a pinnacle of basalt columns reaching out towards the water for about 40 m, next to it is a wide, representative staircase and further on is the so-called Bunker, an old part of the fortress, nowadays the offices of the Tribune and the Central Library. Here the OldHarborPlaza is about 50 m wide. The Bunker reaches to the CityMoat and -spillway; in early times there was a wall similar to the BeachWall, but today only the foundations of the wall are visible. In the round end piece of the wall is a fountain-like opening connected to the HarborPond. In the fountain floats our TideMeter, a long pole with a golden shining ball at it's upper end, which can be seen even from nearly everywhere in the City. A 10 m wide bridge leads over the 30 m wide City moat to the NewHarborPlaza. In the moat two fire fight boats are moored, a third one is on constant patrol. These three boats are the only ones that have some sort of engine, invented by the boy in the R/D-C, so they don't need sails or oars.
In the middle of the waterfront of the Fortress is a big golden cleat with a thick gilded anchor chain hanging down into the HarborPond. The legend goes that to the chain is attached a giant SunFish living down there in the depths.
In front of the Bunker is a floating pier, rectangular to the wall of the waterfront, similar to the pier for Lilith's gondola, for the cutter of the Tribune, and two more floating piers for the ships of honored guests.
The NewHarborPlaza and the caves above are the AirQuarter of AtlantaCaldera. It was built when the war kings enlarged the fleet and needed more waterfront for their ships. It is a slab of concrete, average 30 m wide between the rock face and the water. Long wooden floating piers about 12 m wide are attached to the concrete for the traders to tie up their ships. The waterfront of the NewHarborPlaza is about 750 m long. It ends at the Shipyard spillway.
All along the rock face of the NewHarborPlaza are the ware houses built against the rock, most of them have deep caves in the back. The front is arcades with restaurants, cafes, and naturally shops. The facades of the warehouses are beautifully built in similar style, but all are slightly different. The four ware houses for the four Quarters of AtlantaCaldera have a distinct blue appearance, easy to pick out among the others. There are three wide stairways leading up to the galleries and the caves above, and to a promenade on the second storey of the ware houses. The AirQuarter has wider galleries and stairways than the WaterQuarter, which is much older and much more rugged and natural in it's appearance. The people of the AirQuarter love to adorn their galleries and stairways and little plazas with mosaics. Here you find the most artwork and statues in the whole City. The people of the WaterQuarter consider the people of the AirQuarter as slightly uppity and high browed.
Across the Shipyard spillway is our shipyard with it's dry dock and ramps, storage rooms and workshops; it dead ends at the foot of a promontory that rises straight out of the water of the HarborPond, and carries above the cloister of the BlackMantilla sect and the Cathedral for AboraMana of the StoneQuarter. Shipyard and cloister and all the area further to the right are the StoneQuarter of AtlantaCaldera.
The spillway serves as harbor for the ships that transport the wood for the shipyard. The shipyard is communal property; it is run by skilled shipwrights, journeymen, and apprentices, they are helped out by men doing their yearly communal service.
At the right end of the AirQuarter is the so-called cloister stairway leading up. About 20 m above the shipyard a narrow bridge crosses the spillway, then it continues up to the cloister. About halfway up is a tunnel through the promontory that leads down to the baby beach on the other side of the promontory.
The baby beach is like all our beaches a black sand beach, it can get very hot in the sun. It is about 150 m long and runs pretty shallow into the water of the HarborPond. Here the current does not run close to the beach because it deflected by a rock formation called the jump stones, because here our children learn to climb sheer rock faces and to jump into the water from high elevations. The highest jump stone is about 30 m high. Against the rock face is a rugged beach bar, where you can have drinks and simple food. On the further side of the jump stones is another small beach, only about 50 m long, accessible only by swimming. This is the beach of our water battle school.
Above the baby beach is the Valley of the Hermits, which is part of the responsibilities of the BlackMantilla sect. It is a narrow valley that ends in a rift in the crater rim, about 200 m above the water. This narrow valley has so-called wild caves on both sides, it is densely grown over with Ironwood trees and other indigenous plants. At the lowest end of the valley, right above the baby beach is a dam that during rain catches the water and channels it through the cloister into the fresh water system of the City, or into the spillways. This dam also serves as catchments for the falling rocks that they don't fall on the baby beach.
At the entrance into the valley from the cloister there is some public space with compost toilets, a collecting area for gas bottles, and drinking water. Hermit can be every citizen of AtlantaCaldera, you just go up to the cloister, apply, and you'll be assigned to one of the caves. Everything you need you have to carry way up the steep valley to your cave.
Further along to the right is the jetty and the narrow twisting stairway up the Research/Discovery Center. Next to the stairs to the left is a perpendicular half open shaft carved into the rock for hoisting up supplies or lowering the things those crazy boy over there invented and constructed. At the jetty they have a little niche with a little painting of AboraMana, that is their Cathedral of the FireQuarter, because them guys are, generally speaking, atheists.
The scientists of the R/D-C study, research , and manipulate the materials and laws of physics, chemistry and biology, strongly encouraged by LilithYggdrasil and the Tribune, speaking for every citizen, "so as not to hamper the restless searching mind of humans!"
I don't know much about the R/D-C although my TimeMachine is sitting over there with my other body floating in it. I know that a wide twisted tunnel runs into the mountain until it comes very close to the hot core of the volcano. The doors to large and small chambers--the laboratories and living quarters, and entrances to secondary tunnels line the main tunnel, and a long stair case leads up and ends somewhere in the volcanic wilderness under the open sky, where the biologists have their biospheres to try out their newly constructed plants.
When I was recruited for this mission on planet Earth the Tribune mentioned that about 99% of the inventions are not permitted to be used, very especially not the poisons the chemists concoct. They have cooked up drugs to completely wipe out the human mind to create a perfectly functioning zombie, and drugs that are supposed to give instant but not lasting enlightenment, and drugs to influence every human emotion in between. And it is said that the boys are crazy enough to try out the drugs themselves and that there are true zombies and other psycho-wrecks running around in the R/D-C.
On the other side, for example: They know how to distill gas that burns very hot and how to fill it in bottles so that we can carry it home and cook with it, and they invented the light balls that seemingly float free over the HarborPlazas to give light in the moonless nights, and they invented our compost toilet and systems. And, best of all, the invented the glassing of the defense walls of the City, and those rock faces that are brittle and constantly drop eroded stones and rocks on innocent citizens heads. The scientists, as they like to call themselves, live in their Center and seldom visit the City, they are considered as being completely nuts, although some things they invented, as said before, are pretty useful.
Further along to the right, in a small bay surrounded by sheer cliffs, close to the Heaven's Gates, are the barges that process our waste before it is shipped to the farmers in the flatlands of AtlantaIsland. The citizens carry their waste down to the compost boats moored at the NewHarborPlaza. When the are full they are driven over to the compost processing barges. Work on the boats and barges is part of our communal service system, reserved for boys from 14 to 16 years old, under the supervision of an officer of the Tribune naturally.
Some remarks about the economical, social, and political system, including some history
The whole economic system of AtlantaCaldera is based on principles of FairDeal. The main stay of trading goods and services is bartering, money is used to even out big discrepancies in the value of the goods traded, until both parties are satisfied the FairDeal. On the other hand: The Barbarians have to be satisfied with a fair deal that leans slightly to the advantage of the trading citizen, which is generally considered as good policy. Restaurants and bars, bakeries and coffee shops, and such like, have to be paid in cash.
The currency is coins minted of bronze, silver and gold, all coins are the same size, about one thumb across and fairly thick, with a square hole in the middle. The one side has four pictograms, for Prosperity on top, for Good Luck and Industry on the sides, and for FairDeal at the bottom. The other side is blank except an elevated ridge around the coin itself and around the square hole in the middle. Ten bronze coins equal one silver coin, and ten silver coins equal one gold coin.
All metals need to be imported because AtlantaIsland has no metal in it's grounds. And no precious stones either, except red Garnet stones to the size of pigeon eggs found in the ash fields of the volcano. The metals are brought in as ores by Barbarian ships and traded for goods the City offers. The ore goes to the R/D-C to be smelted and cleansed. The ingots of bronze, silver and gold are communal property to be minted. The surplus of those precious metals goes to artists and artisans in exchange for the work they created with it. And the communal shipyard needs a lot of bronze and iron for the fastenings of the ships, too. The same is true for precious stones: They are brought in raw, the members of the Stonecutters Guild cut and polish the gems and pass them on to artists and artisans. The work of the artists and artisans are stored in warehouses and sold to the Barbarians, or brought over to the farmers. And every citizen can pick up a piece of art of his liking, and when he does not want it anymore he brings it back to the warehouse.
The essential food stuffs, basic clothing and household goods, and the bottled gas for cooking and lightening are free for every citizen, to be picked up at the public warehouses with their decoration in brilliant blue along the rock face of the NewHarborPlaza, under the arcades. The citizen bring the contents of their compost toilets down to the collecting boats moored in the port. Good fresh water runs everywhere in the City through canals, short pieces of pipe, and fountains.
Because all women of the City are members of the GreatCouncil and are busy to run the society they don't pay taxes, but every male citizen has to pay a tax of ten percent of his income, no matter how high that income might be. The is a big box carved out of block of basalt on the top stair of the Bunker. There the citizens drop their taxes in form of coins. And every man from the age of 14 years has to work one month in the year in communal service. This communal service is work to maintain the City, on the compost boats for one example, and many young men are sent over to the farmland to work there. Some of them work longer than required on the farms because they like it more than the sophisticated intellectual life in the City or because they don't sailing that much. Often those young men, with the consensus of LilithYggdrasil and the Office for Genomics, marry one of the daughters of the farmer and are adopted into the family.
One very important side line of trade is the purchasing of good stones and woods for up to life sized sculptures, like marble and sandalwood, to be shipped by a few privileged traders to the island of Gea where the raw materials are exchanged for the sculptures of nude women, called OurLovlyOne, the Gea-men carve. Naturally, to achieve a FairDeal, the traders throw in tools for the carving of stone and wood. On special orders they also import concrete to for bigger than life sized statues. And as a sort of trade tax the OldMothers demand bronze ingots of a certain mixture for the gamelan-like instruments the Gea-men make and play during temple festivals.
Generally speaking AtlantaCaldera, as the whole empire, could be described as a low tech society with a high sophistication in all arts and crafts, and all philosophies and spiritual speculations. Maybe it would be better to say: A consciously and voluntarily low tech society, because over there at the R/D-C are gadgets gathering dust in the shelves that are definitely very high tech, but they are not used by the public, with a few exceptions like the engines of the Firefighter ships-all other ships are restricted to the use of oars and sails, or the free floating globes of light illuminating the waterfront of the City-but no private citizen has floating light balls in his home, or the big crystal of light on the Lighthouse rock.
And here is another example: Except for the one in the Office of the Tribune there are no printing presses in the City, on the island, not one in the whole empire, "that the people don't forget their art in writing and calligraphy and to keep them occupied by doing something nice!" as LilithYggdrasil reasoned. The Tribune prints the Basic Law of the City in all Barbarian languages, dialects and scripts on the left side and the translation in the HighScript of AtlantaCaldera on the right side of a booklet, naturally esthetically very pleasing to the eye, and that little booklet is presented to every foreign sailor of every foreign ship that comes to rest in the port of AtlantaCaldera. This way the Barbarians feel extremely honored, they learn to read their own and the City's language, and they get indoctrinated with what the City thinks is right and wrong. And furthermore: At transgressions against the Law the Tribune always can point to the appropriate line in the booklet and order the ship to leave and not to come back sooner than 1 to 5 years, depending on the gravity of the offense. If there is trouble created by the stubborn Barbarians the Tribune always can call the city watch in their brilliant orange uniforms, which is reinforced by an unruly mob of fishermen in their boats around the offending Barbarian ship or on the pier uncomfortably close to it.
There is some sort of public address system that is part of the Office of the Tribune. This is actually a big gong, placed on the steps of the Bunker which is sounded by two officers with a wooden mallet in each hand, in certain rhythms and sound colors in the language of the message gong which was developed during the planetary war to call the citizens at arms. Nowadays it is mainly used to announce events on Holy Days and to call for big public partying.
In early times there were seven WarKings who hammered the island and the caldera, and the Inner Islands into what it is today: The City and the Empire of AtlantaCaldera. Or, as Gallia expressed herself in one of her songs: "She was given to as a raw stone by the mercy of God, and we ground and polished the stone to a diamond that reflects the Light far out to the horizon."
The WarKings were numbered, not all their names came down to us through the times. The Kings were elected by acclamation by those fighting forces, who were to attack by ship and invade the other islands. Beside the King was a HighCommander of the defense forces for the Island and the City, including a fleet of small coast sailing ships.
In times of peace and no immediate threat of war the King and the Commander resigned their posts and returned as teachers in the different martial art schools. Then a civil administrator took over to run the affairs of the City and the Empire. And this developed into the office of the Tribune, which is really no more than a change of names.
Since the Peace of the City reigns the Empire there is no need for WarKings anymore, so these positions went into hibernation, but can be re-activated at a moments notice because all fighting forces and all defense systems are kept shipshape at all times.
So since nearly 300 years the Tribune is the figure head of the State, equal to LilithYggdrasil, but subordinated in spiritual matters.
The third WarKing, called The Traitor, attempted to become Emperor with absolute power, but in a week long fierce civil war he was defeated by the women under the leadership of LilithYggdrasil and the loyal citizens, mainly from the WaterQuarter, under the leadership of the Tribune.
The office of Lilith as HighPriestess has it's roots in prehistoric times, stemming probably from a rural community with matriarchic tendencies and with a believe system that revolved around a Great MotherGoddess.
To be continued …