Categories > Cartoons > X-Men: Evolution > Cult of the X

The Epic of Xuthasius

by slickboy444 1 review

Category: X-Men: Evolution - Rating: PG-13 - Genres:  - Warnings: [!] - Published: 2007-08-13 - Updated: 2007-08-13 - 7592 words - Complete

Cult of the X
Chapter 4: The Epic of Xuthasius


It was official. The X-men were shocked. Having gone up against forces like Apocalypse and the Phoenix, it was no small feat to render them speechless. But after the mysterious priests of the aptly named Church of X revealed a large statue bearing a striking resemblance to Professor Xavier, all bets were off.

“Okay bub,” said Logan, “You’ve got our attention. Who is Xuthasius? And why are you people worshiping him?”

Brimming with excitement, Arion waved his hand over a light atop the podium. Suddenly, a large holographic image appeared above the bewildered team. It showed the planet Earth in all its beauty, only much bigger and more detailed than any one map. But there was something else that stood out. There were a few features they hadn’t seen anywhere else before.

“In order to answer that, we must go back to the beginning,” said the high priest, “26,000 years ago, the world was a much different place. History books would have you believe it was a savage time when man had barely emerged from the Stone Age. Yet through our studies, we have learned there were a great many civilizations scattered across the lands. Some were quite advanced. Most were loosely bound.”

“But that’s impossible,” said Beast, the key scientific mind of the team, “All archeological records indicate that early man couldn’t possibly organize into coherent civilizations. They just didn’t have the tools.”

“That, my lord, is what we call historical dogma,” said Ayla, “Before my husband and I made this fantastic discovery, we were simple Anthropology experts at Princeton. We weren’t keepers of any great knowledge. We were just Anita and Ryan Hansen, two more cogs in the vast machine of accepted scientific institution.”

“Yet we were always curious about the holes in human history,” continued Arion, “Haven’t you all wondered why civilization seemed to just sprout up randomly across the world around the same time? Haven’t you ever wondered why they all shared such common beliefs as polytheism, the sacred symbolism of pyramids, and stories of similar cataclysms like floods and the destruction of a great empire?”

“I can’t say the thought ever crossed my mind,” commented Jubilee.

“Well the answer seemed simple enough,” said Arion, “There had to be a parent civilization to which all those afterwards followed. Knowledge doesn’t just come out of thin air. There must be human minds to refine it. And much of that knowledge had roots in the history of Atlantis.”

Up on the hologram, the large globe zoomed in on a landmass in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

“You see, Atlantis, like all civilizations, came about during a time of great conflict,” explained Arion, “Older empires like Lemuria had succumbed to civil war and political infighting. The resulting chaos caused a period of bloodshed our chronicles refer to as the Turbulent Times. Societies constantly battled over resources. Knowledge and technology were the most valuable. The seeds of advanced understanding had already been planted. It was just a matter of tapping it.”

“Advanced knowledge in primitive man?” wondered Xavier, “How is that possible?”

Ayla and Arion just laughed.

“Oh come now, my lord. It took mankind only 200 years to go from agrarian autocracy to a liberal high tech urban bustle. And if it took just 200 years for us, just think of how vast such knowledge could have been given thousands of years to flourish. It was a matter of having the knowledge and the right social conditions. And that’s exactly the situation a man named Xuthasius was born into.”

Xavier and Hank exchanged impressed looks. Being key minds of science, much of this was flying in the face of what they had learned. But Arion and Ayla’s arguments were sound. So they listened on.

“Back then, there was a landmass in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, around what geologists call the North Atlantic Ridge. It was a fertile land that had largely escaped the chaos that ravaged the rest of the world. It was here where most of the knowledge of the older civilizations was collected. Much of the land was controlled by wealthy aristocrat families. And Xuthasius was from one of the wealthiest.”

Already there were parallels. Xavier was also from a wealthy family with roots to English nobility. It wasn’t proof enough he was the reincarnation of this historical figure, but it did get his attention.

“From an early age, Xuthasius had a passion for knowledge,” continued Ayla, “He would spend days on end in libraries absorbing information about every possible subject. In his teen years, he became a well known inventor, crafting technology for ships, travel, and energy that was very advanced for the time. Yet despite this success, there was something about Xuthasius that alienated him from the rest of the aristocratic society.”

“And what was that?” asked Ororo.

“He was ‘gifted’ as you say,” said Arion with a suggestive grin.

“Gifted? You mean he was a mutant?” said Jean.

“It would seem so, but our sources say it was a bit different,” said Arion, the hologram above changing into an image of a DNA molecule, “Believe it or not, human genetic makeup has changed a great deal over time. And during Xuthasius’s time, it was already more advanced than the DNA modern humans have. But Xuthasius was part of a new generation, not at all unlike the mutants of today.”

“So, like, what could he do?” asked Kitty.

“The specifics are uncertain. But from what we’ve gathered, we suspect he was psychic.”

It seemed obvious, but it further proved that Xuthasius and Xavier shared a lot of commonalities.

“Psychic, you say?” said the Professor with great intrigue.

“Indeed,” said Arion with a smile, “And he wasn’t alone. There was a growing breed of these new beings. New conditions from the cataclysm created a need for new survival skills. Any scientist will tell you that evolution does its best work during times of turmoil. Xuthasius understood this and worked to use his power for the greater good and consolidate all knowledge and technology.”

A new image of the man who was so revered on the island appeared, standing with a strong poise carrying a thick book. He looked noble, strong, and peaceful. It was almost like he truly was divine.

“So while the rest of the world fought and bickered, Xuthasius laid the groundwork for a new order that would bring peace to a chaotic world that was already weary of him and his kind. He spent over a decade refining his knowledge and unique talents, building his reputation throughout Atlantis. But he was not alone.”

New images of other figures came up. They surrounded Xuthasius, but around them were crowds of protesters crying out in anger at their presence. It was not unlike the experiences mutants faced. This parallel was not lost upon the X-men, but Arion continued.

“Like you, these beings were born into a growing group of those who were different. They had the advanced power in their blood and society was weary of them. Yet Xuthasius reached out and brought them together, forming his own center of learning in the middle of Atlantis where they learned and developed. He scoured the world, seeking out promising young beings. Over the years he amassed an elite core of students who loyally followed his ideals. And through struggle and strife, they fought to make peace in a world that didn’t accept them.”

The X-men exchanged looks. It sounded similar to how Xavier formed the institute. But there was no way they could be one in the same. Parallels or not, this was too fantastic even for them. However, the curiosity of the team of young mutants had been raised. And many questions lingered.

“Did they have the same powers as we do?” asked Amara.

“We don’t know for sure, but we know the circumstances were different,” explained Arion, “Like we said, human genetics were a bit more advanced. From what we’ve surmised, the advanced genes your predecessors carried gave them all powerful abilities. Some manifested in different ways. Yet they all faced the same threat.”

“And what threat was that?” asked Ororo.

A new image came up. This time, there wasn’t a noble figure that looked like one of them. Instead, it was an ominous, imposing man with a dark aura. And his face was eerily similar to one the X-men knew all too well.

“Magneto?!” exclaimed Logan.

“No…not quite,” said Ayla in a dark tone, “History knows him as Manthus.”

“Manthus?” said Xavier, dazed by what he saw, “Please, tell me more.”

“He was a tyrant with no equals, my lord,” continued Ayla, “For Xuthasisus, he was caught up in a global struggle over the new generation of advanced humans. On one hand, there were those like him who believed the new breed of humans should preach peace and work together to build a new order. On the other, there was Manthus. He believed in conquest. He saw his own endowments as a divine right to conquer the feuding lands and rule over them.”

“Sounds like Magneto alright,” commented Remy.

“But that’s not all,” said Arion ominously, “Despite their differences Xuthasius and Manthus were the best of friends. They studied, worked, and refined new technology together. They say the respect they bore for one another was unparalleled. But when their ideas became too different, Manthus struck out on his own to fulfill what he saw as his destiny.”

On the hologram, morbid images of scorched battlefields flashed before them. Some were forced to look away from such horrors while others remained fixated on them. At the center of all the carnage was this horrific Manthus character. It was truly gruesome, but the high priest and priestess were far from done.

“Xuthasius didn’t stand in his way,” said Ayla, “He stayed behind with his students, further refining their ideas while Manthus went out onto the battlefield. At first they numbered a mere 500. But Manthus proved to be a powerful leader and his ranks swelled to the millions. His tactics were ruthless, but effective. And slowly, he absorbed much of the civilized world.”

New images of Mathus standing triumphant before his soldiers emerged. The resemblance was undeniable. He shared the same distinctive white hair and the same bloodthirsty demeanor. Clips of endless battles filled the room. He showed no mercy against his enemies. Even the innocent were slaughtered under his command. It was an eerily similar situation. It was too disconcerting to ignore.

“Talk about déjà vu,” said Rogue, “That’s kind of what Magneto’s been up to lately with the whole taking over Genosha deal.”

“Perhaps, but Manthus took it many steps further,” said Arion, “He was a tyrant, ruling over his domain with brutal authoritarian law. The whole world could have been ruled by him. But there was one more land he had yet to conquer…Atlantis.”

Arion brought up new images of Xuthasius and his students. They stood together, not unlike the memorable pictures of the X-men when they stood against overwhelming odds in a hostile world. Each one of them was dressed in combative attire, which bore a striking similarity to their X-uniforms. It was eerie, but it showed the stories were not so different.

“They knew Manthus’s armies were great,” said Ayla, “They were outnumbered nearly five fold. Yet Xuthasius’s ideas had spread throughout the land and his support was strong in the face of such a threat. Even as a man of peace, he could not ignore the need for the world to be free from tyranny. And thus, he made the hardest decision of his life. He would fight his old friend on the field of battle.”

Like a high budget Hollywood movie, images of a vast battlefield formed on the circular hologram above them. The X-men watched in awe as the events of the distant past unfolded, revealing the defining moment for this epic tale.

“Manthus had all the advantages,” said Arion, “He poured every last resource into this final push for dominance. With his vast battled hardened troops nothing could stand in his way. He was supremely confident. He knew this battle would cement his power for the ages. And so, he launched his invasion of the mainland with ever bit of confidence he would succeed.”

On the hologram, soldiers stormed across the land led by Manthus and his supporters. They destroyed every village, farm, and city in their wake, drawing closer to the capital. But in the distance, his final confrontation awaited.

“With his loyal students by his side and the unquestioning support of the Atlantean people, Xuthasius led them into a battle the likes of which the world has never seen. Millions of soldiers from across the world clashed, struggling for dominance. Legends speak of Xuthasius confronting Manthus himself, engaging him in an epic struggle while his students took on his most loyal guards. It was truly a historic moment.”

“So much carnage…” said Laura, the images of war triggering memories of her experience with Hydra.

Logan gently gripped his daughter’s shoulder as they all watched the scene unfold.

“Indeed,” said Ayla sadly, “But in the end, Xuthasius had more loyal troops and better technology. It all came to a head on a hill overlooking the Atlantean capital, Xuthasius and Manthus fought their last battle. And after building such a vast army and conquering much of the world, Manthus finally lost.”

One final image of Xuthasius standing before a defeated Manthus flashed across the hologram. In the background, his soldiers and supporters were cheering as the tyrannical conqueror was on his knees, knowing all was lost.

“So what happened to him?” asked Xavier.

Arion smiled as he brought up a new image.

“That, my lord, is an act that proves just how compassionate Xuthasius was. Even though his friend had caused undue suffering, he was still his friend. And thus, he spared his life and sent him into exile to live out the rest of their days on a small island in the Mediterranean called Malta. The remains of which are still visible today.”

The X-men cast their mentor an admiring look. Even though this wasn’t technically him, it was still worthy of astonishment that he was capable of such mercy. Xuthasius showed he was a compassionate man. It was a trait Xavier valued a great deal, hinting they were very much alike.

“So Manthus vas defeated,” said Kurt, “Vhat happened to Xuthasisus after zhat?”

“In wake of slaying the greatest tyrant in history, the whole world hailed him as a savior,” said Ayla, showing images of parades and cheering people, “Manthus had caused a lot of destruction and civilization needed to be rebuilt from years of war. And everybody was unanimous. They wanted Xuthasisus to be their king. It was a role he was reluctant to accept. But he and his loyal followers took on the role with great passion.”

The hologram above them went into fast forward. Images of people rebuilding their cities, farms, and society coursed out over time. Cities grew, turning into sprawling metropolises. The once scorched battlefields were now lands of peace.

“The new Atlantean kingdom was set up on the mainland in a palace the Greek philosopher Plato called, the Temple of Poseidon,” explained Arion, “It was a wonder that dwarfed the Great Pyramids and it was where Xuthasisus set up an empire that would rule the world for 15,000 years.”

“Amazing…” said Beast, the scholar in him dazed with such a story, “But how?”

“With the knowledge, technology, and peaceful ideas that they had spent so much time refining,” said Ayla, “By making peace between different races, they worked to help the masses once enslaved by Manthus. Their technology and advanced abilities rebuilt cities, established infrastructure, and linked the world in a web of solid connections that would hold strong for millennia.”

The X-men were awed by what they saw. Images of just how advanced that technology was appeared on the hologram. It looked like a city out of both the ancient world and the future. The resemblance to the advanced technology Apocalypse used six years ago was uncanny. But it was clearly far in advance of anything in existence.

“They had flying machines, advanced electronics, and a power system that tapped clean, limitless energy from space through crystals.”

“You mean those things on top of all the buildings here?” commented Sam.

“Yes, only it was far more elaborate in Atlantis,” said Arion humbly, “There are even records of Atlanteans having space craft capable of traveling the stars. With this technology, Atlantis became free of disease, hunger, poverty, and ignorance. And for the new breed of human Xuthasius represented, they were free to thrive and flourish.”

“It took only a few generations with the help of advanced genetics technology,” continued Ayla, “Eventually, much of humanity evolved into a higher state. They were stronger, smarter, and more advanced than even the most powerful mutants today. And it was all because Xuthasius preached peaceful coexistence and acceptance. Once a controversial figure, the world now adored him and his students like gods.”

“So that’s why you guys worship him now?” surmised Jean.

“Indeed, but the story of Xuthaisus doesn’t end there,” said Arion with a mysterious grin, “You see, as great a king he was, Xuthasius knew he was still mortal. And in order to ensure peace would reign, he inscribed a collection of documents which came to be known as the Xuthasius doctrine and these parchments would maintain peace for centuries.”

“Sounds like a real forward-thinking guy,” laughed Ray.

“He was,” said Arion as he continued, “The closest comparison to the government Xuthasius set up would be a constitutional monarchy. The people of the world elected their own representatives for a senate while a king exercised shared power. Only their kings never came into royalty.”

“So then how did they become kings?” asked Amara, having already been a part of such a system in Nova Roma.

“Instead, men and women had to compete for the people’s approval,” explained Arion, “If they could show they embodied the ideas, knowledge, and character that Xuthasisus had, then the senate would appoint them to be king for a term of 50 years.”

“50 years?” asked Xavier, “Why 50?”

“For two reasons,” explained Ayla, “One, in order to ensure a peaceful transfer of power. Two, to honor the final wishes of the man who made this great civilization possible.”

The high priestess’s voice grew solemn as she brought up an image on the hologram that brought tears to her eyes. It depicted Xuthasisus’s loyal students gathering around a large bed. They all bore looks of great sorrow, watching as they hovered over the body of the man who had brought peace to the world. Yet he bore no sorrow on his face. If anything, he seemed happy.

“Xuthasisus lived to be over 100 years old,” said Ayla, “He ruled the world for 50 years, fulfilling the dream he worked so hard for. Yet his time had finally come and his students were there to see it through. And it is from here that the true seeds of our Church were sewn.”

Heartfelt tears were on every face of his loyal students in the image. They held hands, bowing their heads respectfully to their loving mentor. And as his students bowed in respect for their mentor, they all held hands as the man who saved the world passed away.

“What happened during this time is the defining act of our faith,” said Arion, “Lying on his death bed, Xuthasius proclaimed his undying pride for his students. And they all joined him in his final moments. And as Xuthasius succumbed to death, his place in history was sealed.”

In the hologram, a scene of epic proportions formed before them. Xuthaius’s body was carried through crowds of solemn mourners bowed before the man who brought such peace to the world. His students were all dressed in ceremonial robes, carrying his body into the heart of the central temple at the heart of the city. And as they entered, they gathered around for the last act of loyalty for their mentor.

“You see, no normal burial would be fit for a man like Xuthaisus. His students and the people of Atlantis believed he deserved better. So in the center temple, a sacred chamber was constructed for the sole purpose of honoring this great man. And in a symbolic show of undying love, Xuthasius’s students conjured a blessed flame in an altar that came to be known as the flames of the Phoenix.”

“The…the Phoenix?” said Jean, shuttering at the sound of that name.

“Yes, we figured that name would garner your attention, my lord,” said Ayla, “While we aren’t sure if there is a connection to the force you encountered, we speculate that the fire they conjured was special. No mere fires could accept the body of a man such as Xuthasius. And it is here where the faith of an entire civilization culminated.”

In the image, the students bowed their heads one last time to their mentor. And in a symbolic show of grace, the body of Xuthaisus was consumed by the flames. But these fires didn’t behave like normal embers. Fueled by the hearts of his students, the body erupted in an elegant glow of haunting beauty. From there, the fires rose in a column of heavenly proportions. In that fire the face of their mentor appeared, smiling down at the students that had followed him from the beginning. And a moment of sorrow turned to a moment of joy.

“That fire…” said Jean in a daze.

“Yes…” smiled Ayla, “We believe it was special. Even after it consumed Xuthasius, it continued burning. Over the years, the citizens of Atlantis prayed the flame. As each one of his students succumbed to death, their bodies were sent into the flame so they could be with their mentor in death. But after the last student died, the flame was snuffed. The passion that kept it burning ceased with the final breath of those fateful souls that fought in a world that treated them so unfairly.”

The hologram played out each touching moment. The death of each student was carried out with undying love by the people of Atlantis. It showed just how much these remarkable beings had touched the world. Then the image of the final death played out and it all changed. The fire dissipated and the people of Atlantis rose up and cheered in celebration of affection and gratitude.

“So what happened after that?” asked Scott.

Ayla and Arion smiled proudly. This was the moment for which so much of their faith was derived from.

“From that day forward, it was said the fires carried the ashes of Xuthasius and his students into the heavens. They had attained a level of enlightenment no other mortal could dare achieve. And for this reason, the people of Atlantis believed they ascended beyond the realm of man and became the gods of Atlantis.”

The final image of Xuthasius and his students standing proud in a halo of golden fire illuminated the room. It captivated every last one of the X-men. It truly was a story of the ages and one that obviously meant a great deal to the Church of X.

“Gods…” said Xavier, gazing at his counterpart’s heavenly figure.

“Yes, it was a fitting end to their epic struggle,” continued Ayla, “Atlanteans everywhere revered and worshiped those fateful mortals who united a world that hated and feared them. The sons and daughters of the students carried on their legacy to honor the wishes of their champions. And we, the Church of X, continue that legacy.”

It was a story for the ages, unlike any that had ever been told. Arion and Ayla were proud to have such knowledge. But for the X-men, it left a far reaching impact.

“Wow…” said Jamie.

“So that’s why you guys think we’re gods?” said Rogue, humbled by such a feeling.

“Let’s not get too ahead of ourselves, Rogue,” said Scott, still finding it hard to believe.

“I don’t know, man,” said Roberto, shaking his head, “After what we’ve faced? Is it really so impossible?”

“No. It ain’t possible!” said Logan, impressed but not convinced, “This is crazy! This ain’t a religion! It’s a mental illness!”

“Logan stop!” yelled Jean, silencing the Wolverine, “It’s not crazy! Need I remind you I once touched something that was divine?”

“That was different, Jeannie,” said Logan, lowering his tone.

“Maybe so,” said Jean distantly, “Now I know better than most people that there are forces out there we can never understand. But that doesn’t make them impossible.”

Logan was silenced. Jean was right. The Phoenix was something that went well beyond their understanding. They all knew the mystical was very real. From Juggernaut to the Phoenix, it was out there, but they never imagined it being on a scale this grand. Scott embraced his wife, allowing her to take comfort in his warmth as she tried to recover from such confusion. The Phoenix had always been a touchy issue, but now it was taking on a new importance with this knowledge.

However, Ayla and Arion weren’t done yet.

“I’m afraid there’s more,” said Ayla with a saddened tone.

“More?” said Xavier with further intrigue.

“Yes,” affirmed Arion, sharing his wife’s sadness, “Because as great a tale as the founding of Atlantis was, it pales in comparison to how she was destroyed.”

A new image of the Earth came up. It was just like the one they saw earlier, only now the lands were dotted with the great cities of Atlantis.

“But how did it happen?” asked Hank, “How does such a great empire disappear without a trace?”

“Through a cataclysm like no other,” said Ayla, “One that would affect humanity in a way far greater than anything before or ever since.”

New diagrams came up, showing the planet in a more scientific manner.

“I’m sure you all know from high school geosystems that the Earth is surrounded in a magnetic field,” explained Arion.

“I always slept through that class,” muttered Tabitha.

“This field is what protects us from solar winds and makes compasses point north. It is a dynamic force that changes greatly over time. And it was present even in the days of Atlantis.”

“So what happened to it?” asked Kitty, “I’m guessing it was pretty big.”

“I can think of no way to overstate such horrors,” said Arion with a hint of great sorrow.

On the diagram, an illustration of the magnetic field came up. At first it showed the Earth with a healthy field, safe and secure for beings below. Then suddenly, it shifted.

“For reasons which we still can’t ascertain, the pole of the Earth shifted,” said Arion, the event playing out on the hologram, “North became south and south became north. Such a great change caused massive upheavals in the Earth’s major systems. Tectonic plates shifted. Volcanoes everywhere erupted all at once. Entire lands were jolted from their place, causing landslides and floods the likes of which humanity had never seen.”

Vivid images of entire cities crumbling and people being crushed beneath inundated the X-men. It was truly horrific, filled with death and destruction. On the planet, lands were flooded and entire sections of the Earth were set ablaze by the cataclysm.

“Unfortunately, the Atlantean mainland suffered the most,” said Arion with great sadness, “The shift in tectonics was so sudden that it shattered the continental shelf that held it above water and flooding from glaciers inundated the mainland. And thus, Atlantis in all her glory was consumed by the sea.”

The screen showed the entire landmass sinking, taking with it the vast metropolises and picturesque lands that once stood in such grandeur. It was clearly hard for Ayla and Arion to watch, but it was just as difficult for the X-men to see so much death.

“There’s no telling how many died that day,” said Ayla, “We’ve estimated that it was in the billions. But this cataclysm had far greater consequences than just the destruction of Atlantis.”

“What do ye mean?” asked Rahne, uncertain if she wanted to know.

Bringing up the image of the Earth, illustrations of space filled the area.

“Remember those solar winds?” said Arion, “When the field shifted, certain holes were created that bathed the planet in a unique mix of cosmic rays. Any animal affected by radiation could not escape, including humans.”

“You mean it affected their genetic makeup?” said Xavier.

Ayla and Arion smiled at their lord.

“You catch on quickly,” said Arion, “But it’s true. The radiation damaged human DNA to a great extent. All the advancements that Xuthasius’s generation began were unraveled within a few centuries. We were once strong, advanced, intelligent people blessed with innate gifts that Xuthasius taught us how to use. But after the pole shift, we became apes again. And that brings us to today.”

In one more show of images, the span of known history played out in all its glory, bringing home the true consequences of what happened to the greatest empire ever known.

“Like children, humanity had to start over,” continued Arion, “And so began the recorded history we accept today.”

The hologram above faded, leaving the attention solely on Arion and Ayla. They had told a great story. It was full of war, peace, and cataclysm. The history of Atlantis was more fantastic than any legend could ever tell. The X-men weren’t that versed in mythology, but this was truly epic.

“Astonishing…” said Beast, his great mind struck by such a revelation, “Truly astonishing.”

“I’ll say,” said Kurt, “Bet it would make a hell of a movie.”

“I know I’d see it!” grinned Jubilee, impressed by what she saw, “And you gotta admit, it is freakishly similar.”

“Yeah, that Xuthasius guy really sounds like you, Professor,” said Kitty.

“And don’t forget that Manthus,” said Piotr bitterly, “That man is the seed of Magneto if I ever saw one.”

“Sure had de nastiness down, dat’s for sure,” agreed Remy.

“But it doesn’t explain everything,” Scott went on, “It’s an amazing story. None of us will question that. But how does that make us Gods?”

“Yeah, did ya just wake up one day and come to some freaky conclusion about the world?” scoffed Logan.

Arion and Ayla laughed. Logan may have been suspicious, but he had valid questions. Xavier couldn’t help but wonder as well. No knowledge or faith came from nothing. The two priests knew this well and didn’t hesitate to appease their lords.

“Of course not,” said Arion, “Like all good scientists, my wife and I merely followed the evidence that led us to this grand revelation. Tales of Atlantis are all over the world. Every ancient civilization speaks of an advanced people that disappeared. We just had to piece it together.”

“And how did you do that?” asked Beast, ever the scientific one.

“It was a daunting challenge,” said Ayla, “We didn’t know that Atlantis was a global empire. It seemed as though it was everywhere. But we learned of two key sources that may confirm its existence. And ironically, they came from another psychic. His name was Edgar Cayce.”

“Cayce?” said Bobby, “Friend of yours, Professor?”

“Not to my knowledge,” said Xavier, “But I have heard of him.”

“Well what you probably didn’t know is that he too was a mutant,” revealed Ayla, “He could go into a trance and look into the past and future. It was through his archives that we learned of Atlantis’s magnificence. Of course, we were skeptical. But then he pointed out two key sources. They were what he called the hall of records.”

“Hall of records?” said Scott with further intrigue.

“You see, after Atlantis sank, there were a few survivors unaffected by the cataclysm,” explained Arion, “Some fled to Mexico. Others fled to Egypt. Thankfully, they were resourceful enough to gather as much data about their homeland as possible. They united primitive tribes, teaching them how to be civil once more. And before the last survivors died, they stored the records in two chambers and sealed them off until the world settled.”

“Must have been a pretty long wait,” muttered Rogue.

“8,000 years to be precise,” said Ayla, “My husband and I tracked down the first chamber in the Yucatan in an old Olmec temple. But unfortunately, it was in shambles. We suspected it was because of an earthquake, but there was enough to reveal the existence of the other chamber. And it turns out it was located underneath the paws of the Sphinx.”

The X-men all shuttered at the mention of that location. It had been where the ancient mutant Apocalypse rose. Memories of their epic battle with that monstrous beast still hung strong. And any mention of his origins was enough to send shivers down their spine.

“The Sphinx?” said Ororo, “But that’s where…”

“I know,” said Arion, “Apocalypse resided in that chamber as well. And there’s a reason for it. Haven’t you ever wondered where he got that technology he merged with?”

The X-men exchanged glances. The battle with Apocalypse had been one of their most difficult struggles to date, yet there had always been mysteries surrounding the ancient mutant. Now it seemed this tale was connected.

“Of course!” said Beast, putting it together, “It must have been Atlantean!”

“Exactly,” said Arion approvingly, “He thought it was alien. But he had no idea the kinds of forces he was dealing with. It was proof enough that the technology spoken of by the legends was real.”

“Only the Egyptian government wasn’t too keen on excavating the site,” said Ayla, a hint of frustration in her tone, “We tried for months after the ordeal to get permission, but they wouldn’t let us because of the chaos surrounding Apocalypse’s revival. In the end, we had to improvise.”

“So you broke the law,” surmised Logan.

“Yes,” said Arion, “But it was well worth it. We uncovered the hall of records. All the technology, legends, and history we’ve told you came from that room. It revealed to us the lost history of the planet and the destiny of our species. And after we deciphered the text, we uncovered a prophecy by which our church was founded upon. We call it the Orion Prophecy.”

“The Orion Prophecy?” wondered Xavier, his curiosity roused by the unmistakable enthusiasm in their tone.

“I know I’m gonna regret this, but what the hell is the Orion Prophecy?” muttered Logan.

Picking up a stone tablet from the podium, Arion showed the X-men an image of Xuthasius and his students. Alongside it, an image of Xavier and the X-men was shown side by side. The similarity was unmistakable.

“It is the prophecy that links the new generation of mutants to a coming change in civilization. It’s also what links you talented mortals to the gods of Atlantis,” explained Arion, “You see, before the last Atlantean king died, he had a vision. In that vision he foresaw a day when humanity would begin to evolve again and the same conflict faced by Atlantis would be relived. And from this turmoil, Xuthaisus shall be reborn again along with his students in the form of mortals with blessed blood.”

“Blessed blood? You mean mutants,” said Piotr.

“Not just mutants,” said Ayla ominously, “They would embody the spirit of the gods and fight once more at a time when humans were evolving. With the support of mutants and humans alike, they would unite a world coming apart with hatred and bring back the former peace and prosperity of the Atlantean Empire. And we, the humans and mutants of the Church of X, are the willing followers who will stand beside them.”

Setting the tablet down, Arion and Ayla approached their lords and offered them gestures of unyielding loyalty. This was their mission. This was their purpose. And in their eyes, the X-men were the faces behind the prophecy.

“And you believe we are these incarnated gods?” said Xavier.

“That is what we believe,” said Ayla with a warm smile, “After we uncovered the records, we began to see the parallels between the X-men and Xuthasius. It all seemed to fit together. The history of early Atlantis was playing out again. That is why we came to believe that you were indeed the gods from these legends. Over the years we watched you in your epic battles to stave off the forces of hatred and ignorance. And with each struggle, our beliefs are more and more affirmed.”

“Oh, so you were spyin’ on us?” said Rogue with a crocked look.

“I assure you we merely observed, my lady,” said Arion, “In fact, your exploits have become the stuff of legend in our community. The battle of Apocalypse, the fight for Genosha, and the struggle with the Phoenix all resonate strongly with our brethren. But as you can imagine, our radical beliefs are not very welcomed throughout the rest of the world. That is why we’ve created this community of loyal followers. Using the technology cache from the hall of records we smuggled through a network of caves underneath the pyramids, we created a small paradise under the teachings of Xuthasius. We traveled far and wide, recruiting oppressed mutants to live in a world where they were celebrated and not scorned. Like in Xuthasius’s time, they have a high place in our society and have contributed greatly to our community.”

“We have also recruited many humans,” added Ayla, “We find those who sought purpose in life. Many of them were normal people who didn’t want to be caught up in the conflict over mutants. And so they joined us in fulfilling the prophecy.”

“All within the span if six years?” said Xavier, finding it almost too fantastic to believe.

“We worked hard with every resource we had available to us,” grinned Ayla, “Plus, it helps when Atlantean technology is light-years ahead of the rest of the world. When we showed it to curious onlookers, they were quite impressed. Some were skeptical, but enough were intrigued to follow our movement and with the teachings of Xuthasius, we built our society. After that, they went on to tell others and before we knew it, our numbers were in the thousands.”

“With manpower and technology, we took refuge on this uninhabited island,” continued Arion, “Right now, we are in a small chain known as the Azores. We chose this place because parts of these islands were once part of Atlantis. Here, we built a wondrous society of peace where we celebrate the accomplishments of the X-men and await the day when we will stand together in the name of peace and justice.”

“At least someone appreciates us,” grinned Jamie.

Logan rolled his eyes. Everybody actually believed these two. Even the Professor seemed convinced. But there was still something about this place that didn’t sit right.

“Yeah, some society,” scoffed Logan, “So why do you have your own unit of commandos then?”

“Because like Xuthasius, we know that it is unwise to be complacent in a world of uncertainty,” explained Arion, “Our commandos operate under the same codes of honor once wielded by Atlantean troops. Their goal is to train the populous for the coming battles of this hate-filled world. The incident in New York was an example of just one of them.”

Logan didn’t have a witty remark for that. He may not have believed them, but he didn’t deny their views about a world full of hate. The X-men had been trying hard to pursue their goals in such a world, but it was an uphill battle. And here was an entire society who embraced those ideas and did it successfully.

“So you knew about that,” said Xavier, the answers all falling into place.

“We are very careful when it comes to the safety of our lords,” said Arion with a bow, “The world needs you, Charles Xavier. Now more than ever, civilization needs the heart of Xuthasius to bring us out of this tortured state and back to a world of peace.”

“You and your X-men fight a truly worthy battle,” added Ayla, “That alone makes you divine in our eyes. Yet the Orion Prophecy is clear. The spirit of Xuthasius and his students are destined to rise again. We believe that time has come. And you, an astonishing team of mutants who protect a world that hates and fears them, embody those spirits.”

“So for our church, our faith, and our beliefs,” said Arion, “We pledge our undying loyalty to you and your cause until our last breath. So it is said in the Orion Prophecy.”

It was an amazing claim. They actually believed the X-men were gods. It was a strange feeling for the team of gifted humans. It seemed too fantastic to be real. But standing on this island of advanced technology with people everywhere worshiping them showed just how serious this was. And after having come from an anti-mutant rally in New York, it was a welcome feeling.

“The X-men…gods?” said Scott in a daze.

“Definitely a far cry from bein’ a menace, that’s for sure,” said Rogue.

“I’ll say,” said Bobby, “Being a mutant is tough, but knowing I’m a god sure helps.”

“Yeah, some god,” said Amara, “Who would worship a guy who makes popsicles out of soda?”

“So what? Does that make you the goddess of sarcasm?” quipped Bobby.

“Hey! What do you think I was god of?” asked Ray, getting excited about the notion of being divine.

“I’ll bet I was a fertility goddess,” said Tabitha, doing a mock heavenly pose.

“Yeah right, more like the goddess of mischief,” laughed Kitty.

“Oh? So what were you? Goddess of the mall?” made Rogue.

“Yeah, there’s a title for ancient deities,” quipped Roberto.

“I’ll bet Remy was a god dat de ladies revered,” grinned Gambit.

“You’ve been saying that for years, comrade,” said Piotr, rolling his eyes.

“I wonder what I was a god of?” wondered Sam.

“God of crashing head first into things?” grinned Jamie.


“Oh dear,” said Ororo, sensing this was getting out of hand.

“Knock if off!” scorned Logan, silencing everybody.

“God of killjoy,” muttered Rahne, earning a chuckle from the crowd.

But Logan ignored her comment. He didn’t like this. It was too strange, even by their standards. There was just too much for him to accept.

“Maybe the whole Atlantis bit is true, but you’re walkin’ a fine line between just bein’ out there and just plain crazy.”

“We are completely rational, I assure you,” said Arion, “And if you doubt us, maybe this will help.”

Then with one final act of true loyalty, Arion and Ayla knelt in a praying gesture. It was an overwhelming feeling for the X-men to be so revered, but the two high priests were determined to get their point across. And in a show of just how dedicated they were, Arion pushed a button on his watch, causing the walls around the church to rise up and reveal one last magnificent sight.

“Holy…” gasped Remy.

“I’ll say,” laughed Jubilee, “Holy indeed.”

All around the church, their statues stood proudly. They weren’t as big as Xavier’s, but they all bore inscriptions of who they were and what they embodied. It truly put the X-men in a divine form. Even some who weren’t there like Warren, Evan, and Alex were present. It was the final proof the X-men needed to affirm that the Church of X was serious.

“You know, I could get used to the idea of being a god,” said Ray.

“Me too!” said Kitty, looking around at each statue.

“Me three!” said Amara.

Even Logan seemed swayed when he laid eyes on his own statue. He didn’t want to believe it, but when a statue of himself was staring right back at him, it was hard to deny. Everybody felt the same grandeur, looking into the eyes of their monuments to their past selves. And for Charles Xavier, it opened a world of new possibilities and complications to their already chaotic lives.

“Well I’ll be…” said Logan, finally rendered speechless.

“I take it you’re convinced now, Father,” commented Laura.

“Never said I was,” quipped the Wolverine, “But I’m beginning to see how serious this stuff is.”

“I agree, old friend,” said Professor Xavier as he watched his students scatter and explore their statues, “And I have a feeling this is going to change things a great deal.”


AN: Just so you know, the Azores are a real place and so is Malta, Edgar Cayce was a real man, and so were those predictions. I took a few liberties, but the general ideas are the same.

Up next: The X-men settle into their new lives as gods
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