The Ancient Ones inhabited the Isle of the Sacred Mountain perhaps as many as a thousand years ago.  At that time, it is likely that there was no "kingdom" and that the Ancient Ones existed alone in the sea, since no similarly aged records exist on any other island.

The Ancient Ones had an advanced, mysterious culture.  Their writings have been discovered on ancient tablets and scrolls buried beneath the current Winged Ones' city, and in the ancient catacombs on the Isle of the Sacred Mountain.  It is commonly believed that they possessed knowledge and mechanical acuity far surpassing anthing that exists today.  This belief is based on a few remaining artifacts such as their mysterious labyrinthine catacombs and the writings on the island's cliffs.  The artifacts of the Ancient Ones are fiercly guarded by the Winged Ones and are studied by scholars of that race who spend their whole lives trying to unravel their mysteries.  What is known about them is derived from these delicate and treasured written records.

The Ancient Ones were believers in the power of language.  They were fond of saying, "A master of languages will soar."  This, presumably, refers to intellectual heights rather than physical ones, but who can say?  It is also known that they were great lovers of symbols and had a complex theology which seemed to worship all things aerial, though only fragments of their belief system are understood today.  The Ancient Ones gave meaning to every creature, every colour, every element and mineral.  In addition, they studied the emotional states of being.  Every emotion, like every creature, colour and element, ranked high or low on their theological scale -- the lowest being "base" or "primitive," the highest being "pure."  At the top of this scale were the Sacred Four; the emotion "tranquility," the colour "azure," the creature "caterpillar," and the element "air."  The colour azure and the element air are obvious allusions to the sky.  Similarly, tranquility is reminiscent of the heavens above.  The caterpillar is the one surprise.  In their reasoning, however, it makes perfect sense.  After all, there are birds aplenty in the skies, but what glory is it to fly when one is born with wings?  Is it not more glorious still to be born to crawl upon the ground and build one's own wings?

It is a matter of much debate whether or not the Ancient Ones themselves possessed the power of flight.  Despite their theology, the remains of the Ancient Ones do not bear the wings that distinguish the Isle of the Sacred Mountain's current inhabitants.  The Winged Ones firmly believe that the Ancient Ones flew without wings, thus proving themselves superior even to the Winged Ones themselves.  Some scholars on the Isle of the Crown, however, believe that the Ancient Ones could not fly, and that their obsessive interest in flight and their secret knowledge enabled them to create a winged race, the descendants of whom are the Winged Ones.  Ah, but such things we will never know for certain, for true understanding was buried along with the last of that long-dead race.

I spent some time studying the language and culture of the Ancient Ones, and, in the interest of antiquity, I set forth here as much as is understood of their works.

The Ancient Ones' Alphabet:

What's this?  Looks to me like someone's lost their hat.  Does it look familiar to you?  Ah, King Graham must have dropped it when he visited for the wedding.  He's probably missing it; better return it to him (click on it).

The alphabet of the Ancient Ones consists of graphic symbols.  It is clear that their language and ours has the same root, for their writings are directly translatable by simply replacing the appropriate letter of our alphabet for its corresponding symbol in theirs.  It is probable that the Ancient Ones spoke in our language and used these symbols in their writings as a code for secrecy or for their ceremonial beauty.  Or, perhaps our own "letters" for the spoken language evolved as short-hand notations for the complex symbols used by the Ancient Ones.  In any case, there are twenty-six primary symbols in their alphabet.  There are other minor symbols, but those were used only for accent and as representations of complex philosophical ideals and are not included here.

In addition to their alphabetic function, each symbol also represents an emotion, a colour, a creature, and a natural or metaphysical element.

The Ancient Ones' Alphabet

The Logic Cliffs:

One of the most intriguing artifacts left by the Ancient Ones are the logic cliffs.  The cliffs are so named from a series of riddles written on the face of the cliffs leading from the beach of the Isle of the Sacred Mountain to the Winged Ones' city.  Chiseled painstakingly into solid rock, the viewer must question what purpose the words serve.  From the ancient scroll that references the cliffs, it can be determined that the riddles on the cliff were part of an elaborate mechanism designed to protect those who dwelt at the top of the cliffs from undesirables that might arrive from the sea below.  The mechanism may have served as some sort of calling device designed to alert those at the top of the cliffs that a brother required admittance, or perhaps led to secret chambers within the rock itself.  Whatever the cliffs' purpose was, it was obviously built to admit only those indoctrinated into the secrets of the Ancient Ones' culture and for that reason is, alas, as yet unsolved by those who live today.

The following translations from the cliffs of logic scroll may help the reader understand the mystique that surrounds this artifact.

The first challenge: "Only those pure of heart will be able to RISE the cliffs of logic."

The third challenge: "The Stones of Stealth," are associated with this riddle:
      Four men standing in a row,
      Third from the left and down you go,
      The rest, in order, move you on,
      The Youngest, the Oldest, and the Second Son.

The fifth challenge: "Only those of the highest order may ASCEND the cliffs of logic."

The Catacombs:

Another remnant of the Ancient Ones' culture, the catacombs, is tragically inaccessible to visitors today.  The catacombs held the burial chambers of the Ancient Ones, and are said to be designed as a giant labyrinth.  To protect their tombs from looters, the Ancient Ones built death traps into the catacombs and filled it with dead-end paths, maze-like corridors, and rooms where secret knowledge is needed to pass.

The Winged Ones were close to mastering the secrets of the catacombs some years ago, when a minotaur, taking an instant liking to the dark, funereal place, decided to take up residence.  At first, the kingdom attempted to regain the hostaged artifact, but, between the dangers of the catacombs itself and the minotaur's stealth and treachery, the losses became too grave to continue the struggle and the minotaur was left to his prize.  Since then, the catacombs have been bolted shut.  It is one of the great sorrows of the kingdom that each year the minotaur demands, and must be given, the living sacrifice of his choice lest he emerge from the catacombs and attack the city.

The catacombs are illustrative of the Ancient Ones' obsessive interest with death.  Indeed, it seems to be in the air in this part of the world, for the modern-day Green Islanders also have elaborate death traditions, as I will describe later.  The catacombs were obviously a place of high reverence for the Ancient Ones, as a message on an ancient tablet that one adorned the doors to the catacombs shows:
      Three roses laid upon the bower,
      A scythe for he who cuts the flower,
      A crown, a dove, most noble race!
      Thy bones make sacred this dread place.