The Relic

December 28, 1947: In 1947 Mystique tried to raid Atlantean ruins. Here's what happened.

King Thakorr's Castle.

A massive Atlantean castle that was destroyed during the surprise attack on Atlantis.



  • Giant Fish

Mood Music:

Place: The Ruins of Atlantis

Time: Winter, 1947

Even after eight years, the once-great city of Atlantis is little more than a graveyard. Where once there were great structures of rock and coral, now there is only ruin and debris. Here and there, once can see places where attempts have been made at cleaning or rebuilding. But any such efforts were obviously abandoned as quickly as they had begun.

It's no longer safe for the people of Atlantis to live in the place where there ancestors dwelt for millenia. If the Nazis could find them, then so could any future invader. No, better to move on, roam the seas, and never fall victim to a tragedy of this magnitude ever again.

This is what Namor tells himself when he's in doubt. But he doesn't always believe it. Perhaps now that the War is over it is time to return and rebuild? Perhaps it's time for the Atlanteans to finally come home?

Any such thoughts are quickly dispelled from King Namor's mind as he swims over the ridge to the east of Atlantis, and surveys the entire city from the underwater equivalent of a bird's eye view. As far as his eyes can see, there's nothing but desolation.

Swimming fast and hard, he quickly reaches the spot where his grandfather's castle had once rested. For thousands of years, the Kings of Atlantis lived there, and now the roof has collapsed in and there are barnacles clinging to all of the walls.

Namor swims to what would have been the entrance when the building still had doors, taking in the ruins. At his feet, the metal armor of two of the Palace Guards sits rusting with lanternfish floating inside one of the helmets.


Mystique managed to acquire the exact coordinates of the ruined city from one of the Hydra operations she raided at the end of the war. While the bunker had yielded many interesting artifacts from that group that was busy trying to go to ground in the wake of Hitler's defeat, it also held records even more precious.

This fine Winter day finds the mutant very deep under the ocean, blue skinned as always, though right now she has subtly adopted the appearance and physique of an Atlantean warrioress. One hand free for the act of swimming, and the other holding one of the liberated artifacts, an energy scanner as she methodically swims in from the western edge of the city following a signal towards the center, and unsurprisingly the former location of the castle.

Things are going pretty darn well for her as she skirts one of the walls and then rounds a large section of rubble towards the entrance and spots an Atlantean. Damn. Not just any Atlantean either but their pale skinned Prince to boot.


Namor is a Man of Action, and doesn't indulge often in reveries. But on the rare occasions that he does feel like dwelling on the past, he expects his order for solitude to be obeyed. Which is why he's not even a little bit happy to hear the telltale signs of water churning off in the distance.

Like all Atlanteans, his sensory organs are specially adapted to work extremely well in his undersea environment, and he can easily differentiate the sound of a humanoid swimming from, say, any other oceanic creature. Company is not what he needed when he was planning to spend the day wallowing and moping.

Already cross, he kicks one of the rusting helmets, sending it flying into one of the walls of the palace. His displeasure expressed, he turns his head quickly in the direction of the noise, looking directly at the Atlantean Warrioress.

She looks the part, should be pretty easy for a skilled actor like Mystique to convince the Atlantean monarch that she belongs there. All she has to do is play the part.

Namor arches one of his already-dramatic eyebrows. "Litzglg npchorp hmwama?" he asks in the Atlantean Language.

Okay… she might be in trouble…


Mystique narrows her eyes, already thinking of the right thing to say as the monarch focuses on her. Right then play the part. Play the… ah by all the hells in history of course they have their own undersea language to go with their undersea shattered civilization. Potential venues collapse in on themselves in the decision tree that is life. Pretending to be a functional Atlantean, no longer an option. Deaf Atlantean.. no. Atlantean raised by humans… no. Atlantean…. Ah the hell with it then none of those are going to be sufficient.

"Greetings Your Highness. I am afraid I do not speak Atlantean yet." many languages yes, not that one. She is ready to shake a fin if she has to, though outswimming the Sub-Mariner would be … very difficult. Probably would take a heavier dose of misdirection. The device in her hand is still on and the screen on it glowing lightly.


"Hey, what's the big idea, see? What sort of Looney Tunes frail are you, swimming down in my neck of the woods with some kind of Buck Rogers machine?" Oh god. Maybe it was better when he spoke incomprehensible gibberish Atlantean. Here's hope he grows out of trying to use American slang…

Although his English is almost bad enough to be classified as a parody, he raises some valid points. And it's clear from the way he fold his arms over his chest and gives the blue-skinned woman a cold stare, that he expects a satisfactory answer.

"You know what? I don't really care. Maybe you oughta take a powder, right?"


Okay that was most certainly the last set of reactions that Mystique expected to have from the undersea prince. She just stares at him for a very long moment. "If that is what you wish Prince Namor." she pauses another beat. Trying to decide if she should play it utterly safe and just beat fin and try to come back another time or not. What the hell, she is curious more than looty right now. "This Buck Rogers machine is telling me there is a significant energy signature somewhere in the ruins of the palace, that is still functioning though. It could be useful to the Atlantean people.


Years from now, Namor will probably be completely embarrassed by that reaction as well. But at the moment, he's going his best to look and sound serious while also talking like a charcter from 'the pictures.'

He doesn't address the fact that all Atlanteans speak Atlantean. He doesn't ask why a blue-skinned woman who doesn't speak Atlantean would be able to survive under water. What he asks, instead, is this:

"Where'd you get that fancy gizmo then? Are you in cahoots with the Nazis?" Of course, most of the world thinks that the Nazis have been defeated. Namor knows better though, but he's not part of the strike team charged with assassinating Hitler's Clone.

"Either way, your machine has to be lying. There's nothing left here but the bones of Atlantean victims."


Mystique shakes her pretty blue head "You are wrong Your Majesty. There is something still of value and power in the ruins of the Castle." she pauses "The device was taken from dead Nazis. Dead followers of the Red Skull in Hydra, it tracks powerful energy sources." she indicates the palace from one hand. "I would not work with the Nazis or Hydra.." incredulous, though that is a lie.


One of Namor's eyebrows arches again, making him look for a moment like the child of The Rock and Spock. He has every reason to be suspicious, of course, because Mystique is super sketchy and her story practically begs for questions to be asked.

But Namor doesn't ask any of the obvious questions. His eyebrow relaxes as a broad smile spreads across his face. Whatever she said, all that Namor heard was 'potential adventure.'

"Energy sources? Keen! Let's go check it out then!" He starts swimming toward where the doors once stood, kicking his legs gracefully behind him.

"Last one to the treasure is a rotten egg!"


Mystique opens her mouth to say something else and then just closes it. She never said adventure but, well not having a huge fight at the front doors of the palace is a good thing right. She shakes her head and kicks off after Namor "Excellent your majesty." following him to the doors themselves "I figure it is probably down int he vaults, hopefully the structure is intact. Also the dungeons.. wonder if anything dangerous is down there."


"Oh, it's ridiculously dangerous down here." Namor shouts over his shoulder, while maintaining his lead. The King of Atlantis will not be the rotten egg this evening, if he can help it. "The rest of the castle is going to collapse at any minute, the mystics left all sorts of nutty spells to kill off invaders, and it's Kraken mating season."

Weaving his way through debris as he swims down the massive archway that leads from the entrance into the main hall, Namor nearly gets hit by a chunk of granite that unexpectedly falls from one of the arches. He apparently wasn't kidding about that part, but it remains to be seen if he was serious about the other dangers one can expect to find in Thakorr's ruined castle.

"By the way, if you hear some really high-pitched clicks, try your best to look as little like a Kraken as possible…"


Mystique does a very admirable job of keeping up with Namor and his swimming as she weaves along after him through the debris. "Sounds very interesting and entertaining your majesty. Do you know how to disarm the runes.. and do you really think we will have the opportunity to fight some krakens?" she tries to make it sound thrilling and exciting, slowly getting your number on Adventure! "Oh.. what makes clicking noises?" she asks as an after thought. <Re>


"To be honest, I never really worried about the runes before. I'm pretty much the toughest thing above the sand, but you might want to watch out for them." He brags in a very matter of fact way, as if he's used to his physical prowess being common knowledge.

Further through the main hall he swims, past destroyed pieces of Atlantean furniture and crumbled statuary. His mood gets progressively less cheerful the further he goes, but this is perhaps perfectly normal when one considers that this place is basically a mausoleum.

The occasional body can be seen here and there. The flesh has been stripped from them long ago, and the bones have been scattered around. But every now and then a skull turns up next to an old jewel-encrusted goblet or something.

"That's weird, right? You wouldn't think that the Krakens would have high-pitched voices, they're almost as big as Leviathans. But there's probably some sort of mystic nonsense involved." As he leaves the great hall, and heads into a passageway that leads downward, he passes an old piece of statuary. The statues head has fallen off, as has one of its arms. But for the briefest of seconds, it looks as if the statues good remaining arm is moving.


Mystique swims along kicking her feet and keeping up still. "I will be sure to be on the watch for Runes and Krakens, and other defenses. I am sure we are after the main Vault and the guardians may be riled up at this point your highness, if any of the mystic defenses remain after all this destruction." she swims a little harder though, keeping an eye out at the statues now "Did the vaults have mystic guards or just death runes and shieldings… I'm.. not certain I've ever seen a kraken in person either your highness."

Of course all of those things and more could be in the collapsing tunnels under the former Atlantean palace. "It's still beneath us." checking the readout on the monitor in her hand.


"Creepy mystics." It's pretty much all Namor has to say about that, the look on his face making his distaste for the arcane pretty evident. Or perhaps it's not the arcane that he finds so distasteful. Maybe it's just the mystics themselves.

"We'll keep going down, we should be out of here before the Marble Guard is able to wake up enough to pose a threat. They're all super crunched up, it's kind of pathetic."

Lower and lower they descend, down a corridor that grows twistier and narrower the further they go. The architecture appears to grow progressively more primitive, and the corridor is more overgrown with certain types of bio-luminescent moss the deeper they get.

But suddenly, the rough-hewn stone corridor gives way to sleek, futuristic-looking metal tubes. But though it looks more advanced than the rest of the castle, the infrastructure down here must surely predate all of it, possibly by many thousands of years.

"Your gizmo is probably picking up something from this thing. It's been inactive for thousands of years, but my grandfather always said he was sure that it was still operationally." Up in front of the swimming pair, shiny transparent doors separate the metal tube they're swimming through from whatever is on the other side.


Mystique kicks along "Marble Guard.. I'd heard stories of that too." she looks back over her very fine bare blue shoulder at where the statues were. "They were pretty crunched up." down down down she goes with the Prince of Atlantis. There is a definite gasp from her though as the stone gives way to futuristic technology, ancient, futuristic-looking technologies. "What…. is all of this." okay she hadn't heard stories of all of this, no sir, she had not. "How do we get it open… it is definitely still active." she shows you the screen and readings.


"I'm not really sure. The doors just kind of always opened for my grandfather." Namor swims toward the door, pausing a few feet from it. "Maybe if I…" he waves his hands in front of the door, only to look away disappointed when nothing happens.

Slowly, he turns around, his chance for an adventure suddenly crushed. "This thing has been underneath our castle since before Aristotle drank hamlock." So he doesn't know a lot about Ancient Greek history or about the names of poisonous surface world plants. This is what happens when you live in the ocean all the time. "So if the doors won't open, I'm certainly not going to try to…"

As he speaks, something behind the doors begins making a whirring noise, and the doors slowly slide apart with a great deal of effort.

"Oh boy! How neat! I think that means I'm the chosen one or something… let's go see what your gizmo's picking up."


Mystique is not at all disappointed about it not opening for Namor at first, she is already planning a return trip with some heavy duty ordinance and tools if need be. She will have whatever technology or weapons is in this vault….. and well would you look at that it is opening. Plan are already sliding back into Plan B, Plan A was Namor not being here. Plan C being the heavy duty tools and ordinance.

"You are the heir and savior of our people Namor.. of course you are the chosen one." ego stroke ego stroke. She kicks along letting you go in first, glancing to her sensor in her hand. "Do you think it is a weapon we could use against those who have wronged us?"


As the doors finish opening, the lights inside the place start to flicker, and then slowly turn on. They activate one by one, illuminating the place in a haphazard way that draws the eye from one spot to the next, gradually taking in the entire room.

Put simply, it's enormous. Three or four Helicarriers could probably be stacked end to end within the giant space, with room to spare at either end. But there are no Helicarriers here, nor is there much of anything of use in the place. Instead, it appears to be more like an art gallery, complete with engraved designs etched in metal on all of the walls. The metal has still not succumbed to rust, even after millenia of being constantly submerged in salt water. Clearly the technology used to construct this place far outstrips anything available on Earth. Especially given that humanity's biggest achievement so far has been the television.

"Wow. I haven't actually been inside here since I was really little. I'd kind of forgotten what it looked like." Namor is a bit slack-jawed at the moment, and seems to barely able to register Mystique's presence, much less answer her questions. But he snaps out of it quickly.

"Huh? Oh… right. It looks like your gizmo is pointing to that pyramid-shaped thing in the center. But this doesn't really look like the sort of place that would have weapons." He begins swimming toward the fairly large pyramid, not even remotely interested in waiting for Mystique.


Mystique swims a ways in while Namor is staring around the place slack-jawed with wonder at his childhood vaults, or whatever this place is. "This is amazing my Prince…." she looks around at all the engravings and designs. When he points out that it is probably the object, that pyramid she checks her device "Indeed I think it is your majesty. Looks can be deceiving as well." about more than just the weapon, or the vault. Oh her little inside jokes. It might be a vault in a vault." she points out now swimming after Namor to the pyramid "We should hurry before you have to fight the guardians."


It doesn't take Namor long to cover the distance from the door to the center of the huge, mostly empty space. He swims around the pyramid a few times, but doesn't seem to be able to figure out what the thing actually does. "These engravings…. how is your Ancient Atlantean? Mine's a little bit rusty, unfortunately."

He reaches a hand out, and runs his fingers along some of the pre-cuneiform letters. "Quake… Blue… Poseidon… Four?" He frowns and swims to another side of the pyramid. "… Leviathan Slumbers. Spear. Underpants." It's very likely he's translating some or all of these words incorrectly.

"Let me guess, you've got no idea how to work this thing either?"


Mystique circles around the other way looking at the text "I speak a lot of languages your majesty, but not ancient Atlantean." Hell if he dwells he will remember her Atlantean is crap too, though she speaks English which he has been kind to do in return. "Underpants seems wrong.. but Spear.. Leviathan.. those seem good. Maybe it is Poseidon's Trident… or something …" she touches the back of it now and then finishes her circling "Whatever is giving off these readings is inside it.

Not knowing exactly why, Namor has been touching the object. He's not really a feely guy normally, but something about the object has drawn his interest since he first entered the ancient…. whatever this place is.

The object just sits there, completely inert despite the energy readings to the contrary. With no access panel anywhere, it appears as if there is no way to activate it, if it even CAN be activated. Perhaps it really is just a piece of sculpture?

But as soon as Mystique touches the other side a violent flash of light is emitted in all directions. The sensation is very much like being struck across the face with a baseball bat, and there is no room in the brain for anything other than the sensation of a shock to the head. All senses are completely turned off, causing the pair to lose any frame of reference.

There is, therefore, no way to know how long the sensation of getting struck in the face actually lasts, but it eventually gives way to a disorienting buzzing feeling in the brain, as trans-differentiation of stem cells in the brain occurs, causing new neurons to suddenly form. It shouldn't hurt. But it does. A lot.

When the feelings fade away, Namor tries to stagger back into some semblance of floating upright. But as the room has gone completely dark, it's difficult for him to orient himself. But as suddenly as the lights went out, they come back on. And when they do, it takes every bit of Namor's famously steely will for him to keep from either screaming or soiling himself.

The enormous room that was empty when they came in is now almost completely filled with a creature that is so large that it could swallow a skyscraper whole.


Mystique really does hate it when she touches occult objects or alien ones, whatever this one may be, and gets hit in the head with a baseball bat of energy like that. "Fmrnlf" she manages to articulate and just pain and darkness and more pain. She does find the experience somewhat fascinating oh the whole control over her whole body sense.

When the room comes back into focus she adjusts her eyes to darkness, then quickly light once more. "By the Gods What is that." then pauses a beat "A Whale.. it held a Whale?" she seems incredulous and disappointed by this development.


"One of Water. One of Earth. Good."

Not only is the enormous whale creature, well, enormous. But he's also speaking to them in a voice that is far more gentle than one would expect from a creature that can basically swallow a skyscraper whole. The voice has a song-like quality to it. Almost like a lullaby.

This might not be the most prominent thought on either of the pair's minds, but the Giant Whale is speaking to them in Ancient Atlantean. And they're understanding it.

"Hmm… you are of Land, yet you appear to be of Water. You are of Water, but also of Land. This is unexpected, but it means the hour is late." It's unclear which one the Giant Whale is referring to at which point, because he doesn't exactly have fingers to point, and his head is so large that it's impossible to tell which of the two tiny specs he's looking at. But as he's speaking in easily-deciphered riddles, there's really no need to put much thought into who he's speaking to.

"One must die. One must live. The centre cannot hold. Seven days until the end."


Namor looks good and thoroughly confused. "This… is in our minds. Men cannot talk to fish. Such things are impossible." Confusion has caused him to forget all of his Hollywood gangster slang, so perhaps this entire adventure has been worth it, even if nothing else comes of it. But, then, it's probably very hard to translate slang from the pictures into Ancient Atlantean…


Mystique swims around, though once the whale is done she stops keeping her distance from Namor. She doesn't have warm butterflies about this whole One Must Die One Must Live bullshit really. "Right then. Telepathy." her mind is almost impossible to read in though, no matter how big a whale you may be. "Seven days until the end of what. What are you Whale?" she looks to Namor "It's telepathy… and I don't think it is any ordinary fish." or really a fish at all, ocean mammals and all that.


"End Leviathan's torment. A canker in a hedge. The New Men awaken. Surprise and Fear. They will inherit. He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

The whale continues to ramble, floating nearly motionless aside from the slightest flickers from his fins. But even a slight flicker churns the current in the room violently, and the water begins to become treacherous.

"Cease this witchcraft! Whatever trickster is causing this witchery, I will have his head. So Namor swears!" Namor shouts his oath as if he expects it to cause the illusion to disappear in front of him. However, this does not happen. Namor's hair begins to whip around as the water around him churns. But, practiced swimmer that he is, he pretty much stays in one spot.

"I have delivered my message. I must return. The Earth belongs to your people now. Choose wisely." A bit more coherent, but the fish is still annoyingly vague.

But he's no longer their problem. He begins to glow, illuminating the entire area with painfully-bright white light. And then he is gone, as is the pyramid that seemed so immovable just a few short moments ago.


Mystique treads water harder, she has little fins on her forearms and extra webbing between fingers now as she manages to not get slammed up into a wall there. Then the whale is gone. Well hell. Maybe new men refer to all the new metahumans popping up into existence. "What.. .. no." she looks around "All of this for a prophetic herald Whale… what was this… what did it mean Namor." the fins are gone now. She swims around looking through the room then pulls out the device and looks at it "The energy is gone.. nothing here in the palace now."


"This is why I hate our mystics. They're the worst kind of dicks." Namor is speaking English again, but whether he can still speak the ancient tongue remains to be seen. "They leave bait like this, bring in a bunch of desperate treasure hunters like yourself, and then do a Wizard of Oz magic show to try to mess with your brain. I didn't fall for it obviously, but I can see how a naive visitor like yourself might fall prey to their illusions."

Namor folds his arms across his chest, and looks around. For someone who claims not to believe what he just saw, he sure looks paranoid right now.

"It was a joke. The mystics are probably laughing about it as we speak. I suggest you forget all about it."

"Come on, let's go back outside, and find a whale to stab. It'll make you feel much better."


Mystique treads some water "new men and leviathan." she mutters and then nods to Namor "Sure whales… or something.. maybe we should go fight a Kraken…" she seems not paranoid, no more angry about it all. Maybe they speak ancient atlantean now or perhaps not but she is sticking with English as she converses. She swims to Namor "Lead the way my prince." she will be game for whatever Namor is until she can give him the slip at this rate.

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