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According to ancient legend among humans, a continent or very large island which sank in a great cataclysm many tens or even hundreds of thousands of years ago. Wikipedia's entry on Atlantis gives a good overview of the story in its many, many versions.

In DW, S'reee and Ed tell Nita and Kit something of the story as the whale-wizards (and other early participants) know it. Ed describes a "large island" with millions of human inhabitants, which S'reee confirms "was drowned" as a result of the cataclysms following the failure of a previous celebration of the Song of the Twelve, some one hundred thirty thousand months, or ten thousand years, before the twentieth century. The backlash of the failed spell, known to later ocean-going wizards as the Drowned Song, besides destroying the island, also caused profound changes on both land and sea -- provoking widespread volcanism on both sides of the Atlantic and in the Mediterranean basin. This in turn caused significant climatic cooling that lasted for many years. Over subsequent millennia, the slow movement of the Atlantic continental plates broke and (via subduction) buried beneath the magma underlying the Sohm Abyssal Plain whatever remained of the island's ancient foundations, so that no trace remains to be found by modern science.

S'reee tells Nita and Kit that there were a great many Senior and Master wizards present on the island, but that they were unable to stop the disaster. This is despite the fact that they had had considerable warning of what was likely to befall their island at some point in the future. The foundations of Atlantis were in fact the single largest seamount in the Earth's oceans, almost more a massive ridge or rise than a mountain, and the final promontory in the long undersea mountain chain which begins just south of what is now the coast of Nova Scotia. But Atlan Seamount was also, like many of its fellows, volcanic in origin -- actually, a whole complex or chain of dormant volcanic peaks, buried under a vast, jointly built-up lavadome. The island's wizards had for some time been divided as to what approach to take to this problem. Some insisted that all possible resources should be devoted to making the volcano permanently safe. Others held that this was impossible, and the island's inhabitants should start considering an "exit strategy" before it became too late to exit. Part of this strategy was the aphthonic intervention, a plan to export viable breeding colonies of all native Atlantean fauna and flora to other continents. But due to the continuing dormancy of the volcanoes under the island, too little attention was paid to the evacuation planning except by wizards for whom it was a personal passion.

Then the sudden and completely unexpected failure of that period's Song of the Twelve left the wizards of Atlantis no time for anything but a last desperate attempt to save their island. But in this too they failed, for the forces unleashed by the Singers' lost control over the Lone Power were far too terrible for any merely palliative wizardry to avert. Only a few hundred thousand of the Atlantean population could be saved before the reawakened volcanoes of Atlan Seamount blew themselves and the island's remaining inhabitants off the face of the Earth. The resultant tsunami and secondary quakes changed the shapes of coastlines on both sides of the Atlantic. And the trauma of the destruction itself, the long "nuclear autumn" that followed, and the damage to the hemisphere's ecology both from the Drowned Song and the wizardry that failed to save Atlantis, all sank deep into the collective psyche of the ancient human race.

Now there remains nothing of the Atlantean heritage except a few chance survivals -- creatures on various continents which (through the offices of a small number of Atlantean wizards willing to sacrifice their lives to this purpose) did make it out, and here and there an occasional mislabeled item -- a device, a piece of artwork -- buried in the collection of one or another museum. (DW)

See also: Disasters and wizardry: rafting.