Shahan’s heart skipped a beat as the ground beneath her feet trembled. This has been happening since the last 12 days. She made her way quickly to the Elixir Temple. She was one among the 15 Shikas who were serving at the temple from a very young age. Kept in seclusion, and away from their families, they were all chosen on the basis of one fact – the spiritual heritage of their parents.
From the age of five till they reached puberty, they served as the revered Shikas, the attendants to the goddess at the Elixir Temple. The goddess was worshipped as a stone, which some said had come from the core of the earth, while others claimed it fell from the sky. The task of these young girls was to go in a chariot and fetch fresh spring water in their little golden pitchers and pour it in the gigantic golden vat, within which the stone was kept. No one else was allowed to touch the water. Every 21st day the tap of the vat was opened to empty out the pale yellow liquid, which had now become the elixir – a divine potion which could give longevity to the inhabitants of the land and ultimately immortality. It had to be earned of course, only those who had been recognised for their great moral principles, valour or philanthropy, had the right to it. The high priestess of the temple and the council decided whom it should be given.
As Shahan stood outside the temple, carrying her pitcher, she could see the high waves approaching from a distance. She was terrified and wondered if she should give some elixir to her parents. She wanted to discuss this with her younger sister who was also a Shika. Shahan never got an opportunity though. That very night a massive earthquake wiped out the island from the face of the earth.
The vat of elixir, waiting to be consumed by some illustrious Atlanteans, fell at the bottom of the ocean, spilling its contents amidst some creatures of the deep, like jellyfish, lobsters, turtles and clams, mutating their DNA forever. If you wonder why the Turritopsis dohrnii is an immortal jellyfish that can reverse its aging or how lobsters, clams and turtles have such a long life, the answer is a stone still lying inside a golden vat, somewhere on the ocean bed, lost to man forever.