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The immolation of the Third Empire

There follows a contemporary description of the dramatic end of the rulers and regime of the Third Empire. This is taken from the memoirs of Sualopho (spelt "Sualofo" after the Spelling Reform in 760) Thildoyon himself. He was the leader of the rebels at this time, and soon after became the first Emperor of the new Fourth Empire of Atlantis. He wrote the memoirs in the late 750s, and they dealt with the period in the 740s, up to the time he became Emperor in 750. There is clearly a belated attempt at self-justification here, as Thildoyon was as shocked as many other people at the apocalyptic conclusion to the fighting in Cennatlantis).

Most of the fighting on the part of the rebels took place on October 11th-12th, and was carried out by my rebel army. Buentel still obviously wanted to negotiate with the tyrants now hemmed in their palaces and mansions – but my rebels and I would have no more of that. We wanted to rid the Empire of this class-ridden and despotic regime once and for all. We fought the Imperial army for two whole days in the streets of the capital, and in an endless series of bloody battles, we either killed them or forced them back to the centre of the city. Neither side was in the mood to take many prisoners. We had to winkle the enemy out of every building, and charge and overrun endless barricades. Finally, we had reached the central government area, which was virtually surrounded by us to the west and south, and Buentel’s army to the east.

Thus by October 13th we had trapped before us nearly the whole administration of the Third Empire - Emperor and Imperial Officers of State included. All were now cowering in Atlanicerex’s old Imperial Palace, defended by the remnants of Riuden’s army. This Palace had been used as the main centre of government throughout the War, and the Emperor had taken up his residence here, abandoning his peacetime country estates, which my rebels had not long before liberated. Although we had killed so many of Riuden’s troops, there still remained a number of die-hards, and they were holed up behind walls, which were immensely strong – too strong for us to storm without terrible casualties. But I was able to suggest a way round to my generals. The grounds of the Palace were large, and we were able to infiltrate men into parts of these grounds, bypassing the strongly defended walls. Thereby we were able to attack the defenders from inside.

Meanwhile the Emperor and two hundred of his supporters had by now retreated to the old council chamber. [This was a large room, built, unusually for its era, largely of wood]. We eventually forced the remains of the enemy army back inside this room as well, and so completely surrounded them. They were obviously now totally at our mercy, and although some of the more enthusiastic of my men were all for charging in on them, I felt that it behoved me as the forthcoming founder of a new Imperial line and dynasty to offer these miserable slaves of a corrupt and despotic regime – yes, even the so-called Emperor, Riuden, himself, who was after all, only a stopgap Emperor -, the chance to surrender. Their emissary indignantly rejected this offer. I considered conferring with Buentel, but decided that the decision should lie in my hands, as the new Emperor – and besides, my men would obviously brook no further delay at this hour of decision. They hurled flaming torches and incendiary bombshells at the Palace, which soon caught fire, and flames roared up into the sky. From walls surrounding the Palace, some of my men, as well as myself, were able to see inside the building through the large windows in the walls, and later through the roof, when it had caught fire and was collapsing. There we saw a sight, which will live with me, and most of the other onlookers, I am sure, for the rest of my life. The trapped inhabitants of the Palace, disdaining surrender or flight, and clearly realising that their deaths were now certain, calmly sat down, and awaited their imminent immolation. I could see in there, with my own eyes, at least two hundred people, including all the Officers of State, many administrators, some soldiers, and in the midst of them all, on his throne, the Emperor Riuden himself. They just sat there, silently and patiently, awaiting the dreadful fate, which was about to befall them all. Soon the whole building went up in flames. Some soldiers now tried to escape, and were forced back into the fire, but all agree, myself not least, that not one of the Squires moved from his seat, as the flames consumed the building and all its inhabitants. This was surely the finest hour of the Third Empire, and goes some small way to redeem the crimes committed by its minions since the accession of the first Emperor of that regime. As far as we know, only three injured people survived from this funeral pyre, and presumably escaped into hiding.

 

" Thaisonix thaisan tehen raiphaxa rota sayan".

"The Squires have robbed power from the people". (Sualopho Thildoyon, 750)

This terrible event virtually ended the brief civil war. Lingon, after a couple of days’ hesitation, realised he had lost, abandoned his army, and fled to seek and find sanctuary in Rabarrieh. All other opposition rapidly collapsed, and within days, the Third Empire was declared over, and Thildoyon took the throne of the Fourth Empire. But in the eyes of many workers, democrats and disaffected republicans, he was there on sufferance until he had proved his worth in their eyes.

 
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