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The overthrow of the Fourth Empire, by Suenno Ramestel.

November 14th was the anniversary of the coronation of the Emperor Sualofo Thildoyon in 750 – the beginning of the Fourth Empire, the tragic end of which we were about to witness. As was customary, a celebratory military display had been organised on a parade-ground on the outskirts of Cennatlantis, which would involve several units of the Army, as well as other people, all to be watched by crowds of onlookers. I was with Ciblon and the Emperor, and various members of the Government and royal Family on a low dais in front of a parade ground. Rathayan planned to use this occasion to massacre as many members of the government, royalty and commoners, men and women, as he could, using units which he knew were loyal to him and the Party. Other loyalists would seize control of Cennatlantis at the same time, and he and his Party would simultaneously take control of the Government.

Now Suenno Ciblon had heard rumours of such a plot, and suspected that the anniversary celebrations would be the occasion on which it would be put into action. He quietly warned the Emperor, as usual to no avail, so then made sure a loyal bodyguard stood near him. He then positioned himself in a relatively secure place, and ordered me not to attend the ceremony at all, under a pretext. Ciblon suspected many of the troops now massed about Cennatlantis were in fact loyal to the Brotherhood, but had ascertained the loyalty to the Emperor of some other units, with which he could try to fight back against a coup….. And so the terrible deed took place. In the middle of the military display, a unit of the troops, led by Rathayan, suddenly veered towards the dignitaries’ stand, and opened fire on them with their rifles. As Ciblon told me, he instantly ordered a small group of loyal troops there to fire back, and this temporarily surprised Rathayan’s forces. However, they soon regained control, and ruthlessly shot down as many people as they could. Many Ministers and members of the Government were wounded or killed, and the Emperor was able to escape with only minor wounds due to the self-sacrifice of his loyal bodyguards. Both Emperor Sualofo and Ciblon escaped.

I joined Ciblon in the centre of the city, where he was trying with some success to rally supporters against Rathayan. For the rest of the day, there ensued fierce fighting between the rebels and our loyal troops for the control of the government buildings in the city. The rebels fought with great cruelty, and many were the innocent or unarmed victims who they slaughtered in cold blood. The Emperor himself had taken refuge in the New Palace [the Imperial Palace and Court built after 750 to replace the older one in Cennatlantis destroyed in the fighting which overthrew the Third Empire. It was a few miles outside Cennatlantis itself, but much closer than the main Third Empire Palace, which was about 15 miles away, and now used as a museum]. The following morning the Palace was surrounded by rebels, who called on the Emperor and his supporters to surrender. They refused, and the Palace was then bombarded by cannon. The defenders could do little to protect themselves, and one of the first to be killed was the Emperor himself, who was crushed to death by falling masonry. Soon after, many others were killed or wounded in the same way, and in the afternoon, the remainder surrendered. Immediately afterwards, they were all, including several members of the Royal Family, shot down.

The full weight of Rathayan’s army was now concentrated on Cennatlantis itself, and Ciblon and I, with some supporters, realised that we had to move out to find support for our cause elsewhere. We fled by devious ways to Atlantis, many times only narrowly escaping capture. We were finding it increasingly difficult to rally support, as we discovered how widely Rathayan had made sure of the loyalty of armies throughout the Empire. Many on frontiers were uncontaminated by Brotherhood infiltration, but they were unwilling to intervene to support a frankly not very popular Emperor. As soon as they heard of his death, and the promises of Rathayan that he would treat the Army well, and raise its pay, they all decided to accept the change of government as a "fait accompli"….Ciblon found that Atlantis too was swarming with Brotherhood members. He attempted to rally supporters outside the old Council buildings there, but opposition forced him quickly to move again outside the city to the Algrunix hills to the south.

Here ha and I and some others rallied perhaps a couple of thousand supporters, about half of which belonged to the army. These loyalists cheered Ciblon and proposed him as the new Emperor, but Ciblon modestly refused. Later that day (November 25th), we saw masses of rebel troops approaching. Knowing he was sure to be defeated, Ciblon resolved to defend himself to the death. However, he told me to flee at once to Phonaria, in order to keep up the memory of the old Atlantis now being overthrown, and the chance of resistance against the rebels in the future. I tearfully asked to remain with him in the battle-line, but Ciblon was adamant that I should leave at once, with a small escort. And so I did, making a tortuous route to Atlantean Phonaria, and later into exile in the west of the island, in Noumandix territory. I have kept my promise to Ciblon by writing this history of the Fourth Empire, and its overthrow by the barbarians who are now running and ruining our dear Empire…. Ciblon meanwhile, as I heard from a survivor, was true to his word, and remained on the battlefield, fighting to the death. Most of his party was killed, many, as seems to be typical of these barbaric times, slaughtered in cold blood. Some were captured, and have been cruelly imprisoned ever since. Is there no limit to the depths to which this Tyrant can stoop?

[Ramestel was to become a victim of this very cruelty that he is here decrying – in fact, a far greater cruelty than that inflicted on Ciblon’s followers. He remained in Phonaria writing until 816, and then most unwisely decided to risk returning to Yciel Atlantis. He thought that the new ruler of the Empire, Borbar Measel, would have forgotten about him, or that he would be able to hide in Yciel Atlantis, on the borders of the Empire. But his descriptions of the end of the Fourth Empire, and his denunciations of the crimes of the Brotherhood Party in his books, had made him a marked figure. Within a few days of arriving in Atlantean territory, he was seized by Borbar’s secret police, imprisoned and tortured for days. Then, as a refinement of cruelty, he was put on public display with some other political "deviants", and following Borbar’s recent practice, was tortured to death in an arena in front of thousands of citizens. The only mitigation of his suffering was that the form and length of his torture was mild compared with what would be meted out in years to come. All that happened to him was that he was stripped naked, lashed, had his toenails pulled out, his fingers chopped off, his tongue pulled out, one eye gouged out, a fire set alight under his feet: he was then suspended by the arms just above the fire, which was gradually allowed to burn up higher and set him on fire. He died after some four hours of this.]

The terrible age of the Tyrants began.

 

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