*Nathan, I'm sorry...*
If only I hadn't been so foolish, maybe things would have been different. Like a moth to a flame, I followed the destinations laid out in the journal, enamored by the thought of new discovery. From the night I found my brother lying dead on the beach and the narrow escape from the figures in black cloaks, I had sided with destiny to determine my fate and thrown precaution to the wind. And now, in a raging tempest in uncharted waters, hunted by those I eluded before, the journey is now over as our small ship sails directly into a mythical disc described in the journal. With nearly the entire ship lost behind this circular veil, I accepted my fate and closed my eyes as the ominous disc swept over me.
A breath... and then another. "Does one still draw breath in the afterlife?" I pondered.
Wherever I was, I could no longer feel the rain pouring down on me and to my surprise, a warm breeze began to brush across my face. I could sense I was still being supported by the same hard surface, although less turbulent than it was moments ago. I turned flat on my back, face toward the heavens, and listened to my breath as I slowly opened my eyes. The storm clouds had disappeared to reveal the night sky, stars twinkling brightly although in a different configuration than I previously remembered. The journal was true. Exhausted and relieved, I closed my eyes again and fell into a deep slumber.
And in that sleep, whether due to the extreme circumstances preceding or just coincidence, I had one of the most vivid dreams that I still remember to this day.
“Sand, heat, and the savage sun beat down on me as I crossed the shifting ground of this god forsaken island. Why anyone would build a structure here is beyond me, as humans would have a hard time living here. It’s so hot. Just as I stop to rest under the shade of a palm and have a sip of water, I notice that the light is beginning to dim. It is mid afternoon, it shouldn’t be getting dark yet. I look up to see if a cloud has blocked the sun, wouldn’t that be a gift from god...but am greeted by a sight I will never forget. The sun was being eclipsed as I watched. A dim shade of orange was all that was left to light the land.
I stumbled to my feet, intending to climb to the top of the nearest dune to get a better view of the island in this light. As I passed the crest of the dune a second sight took my breath away. I was looking down at a massive Pyramid. It had to be bigger than the great pyramids in Egypt! There was a smaller pyramid about the same size as one of the monumental temples the Cursed Pirates built, sitting at the base of the dune I was one. I approached cautiously, right up to the smaller pyramid. It had a large doorway that led to a stairway down into darkness. There didn’t seem to be anyone around, so I lit a torch and descended into the darkness.
I walked for what seemed like days in complete darkness, finally seeing light ahead I discarded the torch in favor of secrecy. The room I entered was massive. Large statues of pure gold lined the walls, a pool of crystal clear water in the center and a massive throne at one end. Doors led off of this room to the left and right, but before I could investigate them I heard a noise from behind the throne. Peering around it I found myself looking into another massive room filled with treasure. Moving around the treasure piles were cursed pirates! What are they doing here? My shock must have made me stumble, because I was suddenly on the ground coughing. Looking up, I found myself staring directly into the eyes of a pirate. I ran for it. I have never run that fast in my life, dropping everything I was carrying except for my journal!
I didn’t stop running until I had left the entry tunnel and made it back to the top of the sand dune. I looked back to marvel at the Wonder of this Great Pyramid, before turning back towards my Sloop and that safety and freedom only the horizon can bring.”
"Wakey wakey little thief!"
Jolted from my sleep, I was met by the contents of a large bucket of what I could only assume was seawater thrown in my face. I quickly scanned before me as I gasped my air from the shock. I had been sat up against the wall of the cabin, hands and feet shackled away unable to clear the generous welcome gift from my face. In front of me stood four figures, three of them in black cloaks and in the center, was a rather large figure in black jacket with his back turned toward me. Before I could muster a reply, a wave of nauseousness struck me and instinctively I turned to the side and began to vomit.
"Don't be embarrassed," the man in the black jacket stated as I continued to spill what little contents I had onto the deck. "That's just the portal sickness. Turns out the human body doesn't take too kindly to being disassembled and reassembled hundreds of miles away." As he spoke, he turned his head slightly back at me. "Vomiting, blurred vision, nasty runs... but it gets easier, ya know. Not like you'll be around much longer to find comfort in that, so you'll have to take my word for it." In a brief moment, although hidden behind a black bandana wrapped around to lower part of his head, I thought I saw a wily smile form from the side of his face.
"Who... are you?" I managed to cough out just before the heave in my stomach keeled me over, forcing me to regurgitate my insides one again.
"Who am I?" he repeated. "Why ask what you already know?" He then revealed the journal in his right hand and held it up for display. My eyes darted down to my chest to confirm what had been so close to me during my travels now belonged to him.
"You've made a lot of progress, deciphering most of the entries," he continued as he began sifting through the pages. "A commendable but wasted effort, especially to die here." He then snapped the journal shut. "I see you've read about my crew so I guess we no longer have to keep up the charade." With a motion of his hand, the three cloaked in black lowered their hoods. Horrified, three ghastly faces emerged, human but cold and void of any healthy color. In that moment, I realized the dream I had was actually an imagining of one of the entries of the journal and before me was the true incarnation of the cursed pirates. My heart sank with the realization that I had been chasing a fairy tail, dreams and delusions of grandeur but now it had very much become a living nightmare.
"Now," the black jacketed figure interrupted, breaking my mental spiral. "who you are is of little consequence to me but before I kill you I would like to know why. Why would anyone foolish enough to steal from me be willing to come back to its source?"
"My brother," I sighed, head bowed in resignation. "He had your journal in his possession when he died, that and this stupid red bandana."
"So you did all this for him?" he replied. "Risking your life and chasing ghost stories for what?"
"Initially, it was for me," I confessed as if airing my final sins on my deathbed. "When he sent me a letter of his promising new discovery, these Wonders, I was filled with a new excitement that I hadn't felt since I first ventured out to sea so many years ago. But when I saw him lying on that beach dead clutching to the pages that were supposed to bring us together, I realized what he had wanted all along. I was never the best brother. He would play pranks for my attention and when I left the sea originally, it was he who took my place. All he wanted was to go on an adventure together, like we would when we were kids. And so, for him, I hoped to take this journey and see it through." I buried my head further and began to weep.
The man in the black jacket turned around and slowly walked towards me. Under the brim of his cap, his eyes dead and skin as cold as the others. He kneeled down and looked me right in the eyes.
"Mother always said you were the sentimental type," he answered. "Shame I only got to see it after I died." With that he lowered the bandana from his upper lip and to my shock, it was my brother, Nathan. Stunned, I could not fathom the hundreds of thoughts I had in that moment and simply closed my eyes, my forehead on to his.
"It was very thoughtful of you to come all this way to return my stuff to me, Matthew," he spoke. "But you shouldn't have taken them in the first place."
"How?" I questioned.
"We are cursed, brother," he answered. "Me and my crew. We entered that Wonder I wrote of in my journal and took which was not ours. We had just returned with the spoils to La Noferia, unknowing of our affliction, when I sent for you. Within a week, the others had passed, yet I held on until a few days before you arrived. I set out to that secluded cabin, hoping you would be the only one to find me there. I died protecting this journal. The next thing I remember, I awoke in total darkness confined in a box, not knowing if the utter nothingness was truly hell." As he spoke, he unwrapped the bandana around my neck and began to fasten it around his face, covering his lips, mouth, and chin, almost like a red beard.
"Who knows how long I was in that coffin before they dug me out," he continued. "I was lucky, Perry was first and had to dig himself out." He pointed to one of the formerly cloaked pirates and he in turn replied with a nod. Nathan then helped me to my feet and began to undo the shackles.
"They told me of a person who had taken my belongings, including the journal and my bandana. We resolved to have them chase the thief while I attempted to return here and right our wrongs. I never thought it would be you to set off and make your way here, make your way to me. Alas, shortly before you arrived through the portal, we still are unable to find a solution." As I stood, no longer obstructed by my brother's crew, I finally laid my eyes on the giant monument, the wonder that he had written of. We were just off shore and yet it loomed large in the sky. A marvel of ingenuity and splendor, it was like nothing I had ever seen before.
"Well," as I began to rub my wrists, easing the previous strain of the shackles. "...come with me then. Surely, someone should be able to help us find you a remedy." With that said, I placed my hand on his shoulder and smiled, grateful to see my brother standing in front of me.
"It is not that easy," he responded as brushed my hand off his shoulder. "...our minds are becoming more dull by the second. Percy is already unable to speak anymore. I'm afraid we are slowly losing our abilities to speak, act, or even to think of our own free will. While our independence diminishes, the Wonder's calls to us grow louder. Instinctually, we are finding it harder and harder to resist the powers within the Wonder. We are soon to become the servants of the Wonder and bound to protec... ugh." Nathan winced and grabbed his head.
"You must go, I fear what might happen once we turn," he ordered as he signaled to his crew. "Wake your captain and use these to return through the portal." His crewmates present a few relics from their hands and offer them to me.
"No, I won't lose you again Nathan," I reply as I shove their offerings away. Nathan had already turned to disembark. Catching up to him as he grabbed the rope ladder to ascend to their ship, I grabbed him by the shoulder.
"You found me once Matthew," he stated. "There are other Wonders in these pages, maybe one has a solution to all this mess." With that, he handed me the journal to protect once again. "You were always better at hide and seek. Come find me again, just look for the stupid red bandana."
A sudden pain shot up from my gut as Nathan kicked me and sent me to the deck. He began to climb as I sat in pain, finally reaching the rail and disappearing over. The sails dropped and the ship began to sail off. And as it reached the horizon, I swore I saw brightly colored bandana being waved as it moved out of sight.
We are pleased to announce our Wonders patch will complete in two weeks with the introduction of the Great Pyramid as the first wonder for the season. We understand, due to various issues, that many have not had the best opportunities to get sufficiently prepared for the upcoming Wonder and so, we will be doing a full wipe when the patch drops in two weeks.
Public PTR Access
As an added bonus, we will be opening up the Public Test Realm (PTR) to the public starting today. This will be open to everyone with a Steam copy of the game until the patch drops.
- In your library in Steam, right-click Atlas and select “Properties”
- From the tabs on the left, select “BETAS”
- From the drop down in the center, select “test2021 - recruit testers”
- In the beta access code section, enter “PathfinderLifeForMe”
- You will then download the PTR build and will be able to access the game once that is completed.
Reminder: You will have to switch back to “None” in the BETAS tab to return back to the live servers.
We request you continue to help us make this the best release possible by reporting any PTR issues on our Discord channel. Please be sure to specify any issue you find is marked as “PTR Issue” when submitting.
Again, we would like to emphasize that ATLAS is still in Early Access, meaning many things can and will likely continue to drastically change - even in the middle of development. Anything discussed is only up to date as of the moment it is posted. Features and changes that ultimately make it to the next patch, as well as timing, may be different from what was previously discussed.
As always, we appreciate the suggestions and feedback from the community. Please keep them coming! Thank you for all of your support!
- ATLAS Crew
For the latest dispatch on #playATLAS keep yer one good eye trained on this here information
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