The Great Cataclysm
A recited journal reading from a survivor of old Summerport. As usual, I was bored while sitting against one of the remaining pillars of what was once the Thieves' Tankard drinking hall and decided to record this mad-elf's rantings. It tells an interesting tale, but who knows what's true and what's not any more. Certainly, this Gaia he keeps referring to is driving him insane. Nevertheless, this record shall remain in my notes, a collection of stories of The Travelled, the lone survivors of a great wave that crushed the city of Summerport.
There is one detail shared among many of us from numerous discussions since our awakening: that the mage who materialized in the sky that fateful day was able to awaken the Lone Obelisk, enveloping us in a sphere of energy, propelling us countless centuries into the future. Or to the present, as it were. That's one interpretation at least.
There are still people living here in the shambles of Summerport. According to the people of this time we are the only known living witnesses of, what they call, The Great Cataclysm…
- Gertrand, Scribe of The Travelled
Oh Gaia, why did you bring this storm upon me? Why did you bring it into this world? It has done nothing but brought pain, suffering, destruction, and death. What good has it done for us? What good has it done anyone?
I was happy on Abaza, the isle I call my home. We were all happy Gaia, all of your half-elf followers on this wonderful tropical paradise. We followed your teaching for hundreds of years and lived in peace and harmony for as long as we can remember. You were good to us Gaia, and we wanted to be good to you.
But when that storm made landfall everything changed. This storm of travelers, nay, storm of pirates, destroyed everything in their path with no regard for anyone or anything. Salazar, Onen, Dwain, and Thur’a’ugh. Just saying their names brings a bitter taste to my tongue. Gah!
Oh Gaia! Help me deal with them! When they became stranded on our beach we tried to help them, Gaia, we really did. We offered to bring them back to our village and provide them with food and supplies, and to teach them your lessons. But they can’t even take a walk right without messing that up! Along the way, one of them, a Half-Orc bard named Thur’a’ugh, decided to play his awful music all the way back to the village. Oh Gaia, it was an assault on the ears. The songs weren’t even about you! Why would anyone write a song that didn’t depict your wonder and grace. His musical instrument must be evil as a few of my tribesman have fallen under his spell and thought he was talented. I don’t trust this creature, and I wouldn’t trust anything within his songs.
Another one thought it would be a good idea to talk to a baby elephant. Salazar, a lizardfolk and the de facto leader of this dastardly group, walked up and approached the beast, after being explicitly warned that the elephants were very territorial and that you should keep your distance. This caused the mother of the baby elephant to charge right at us! My party of tribesmen and I were able to subdue the mother elephant non-violently, but while doing so Thur’a’ugh threw a rock at us and hit one of your followers! He broke your most sacred rule Gaia! Never cause physical harm to another living being! We had no choice. We had to detain Thur’a’ugh and take him in front of The Council right away!
For many years, Gaia, the Council have been the rightful judges of our culture; as to what actions disobey your teaching, and which do not; and they have always been highly respected by your followers. But their decisions did not make any sense to me this time. Debboh, the great leader of The Council, decided to let this Thur’a’ugh off without so much as a warning, a mere slap on the wrist, explaining he was not a follower of yours and does not know your teachings. This laughable sentence came with the condition that he perform a show for the village. This was at the request of the glamoured tribesmen. I honestly worry for my fellow Abazans, Gaia.
The following evening the musical show began with much excitement, with the stage being lit by a giant bonfire. But as soon as Thur’a’ugh started playing the rest of the village quickly began to realize how truly awful this bard was. Such an embarrassing sound to bear witness. It was only when he began to sing songs about you, Gaia, did his talents improve and the concert finally became tolerable.
When the concert was over Salazar decided to present a gift of a wooden bow to The Council for their hospitality. Poor Salazar, he didn’t know that bringing lethal weapons into the village was against your laws Gaia. The Council were none too pleased with this. They threw the bow into the fire and sentenced Salazar to become one with you!
Oh Gaia, becoming one with you is such a great honor. Having your soul become one with yours and leaving our mortal body behind, making it nothing but stone is what we all work for after a long life of serving you. But for those who have trouble following your laws, we have found a way to make the process instant. This is what Salazar was sentenced to. And as honorable as it may be, the decision still didn’t make sense to me. Salazar does not follow you Gaia, and his crime, while awful, was not as bad as Thur’a’ugh’s was the day before, and they let him off with a small warning. I’m not sure if I would have intervened if Onen hadn’t convinced me to do so. Something is every strange about Onen. He either seems very spooked or spooks everyone around him.
Gaia, I only tried to do what I thought was right. The Council was wrong in their decision to punish Salazar, and I tried to convince The Council and the villagers to stop it. I felt like I was making progress convincing people to change their minds, when out of nowhere Council Leader Debboh begins to attack Thur’a’ugh! Her eyes had turned bright red and her hair had turned into snakes! The gang of pirates called her a succubus, although I have no idea what that is. On herself Debboh had your ancient Bow and Quiver Gaia, the final weapon to ever be produced! How she was able to steal it out of your temple I will never know. But she had it now and I knew that her crimes couldn’t stand.
I charged the stage right for Debboh and tackled her to the ground. I had successfully subdued her and ended the hostilities, when out of nowhere Dwain, the half-brained dwarf, threw the both of us into the fire! Gaia, how could anyone think that that was a good idea? The pain was excruciating, and I lost consciousness.
Only through your mercy, Gaia, was I somehow pulled out of the fire and healed. I now tried to convince everyone, the pirates, the Council, and the villagers to stop this madness, but no one took heed to my words. Throughout all of this commotion, Salazar somehow ended up with your bow, Gaia, and started using it to attack Debboh. I didn’t have enough rope or nets to subdue all of them, to stop the violence Gaia; I could only do my best. I lassoed Debboh as she began to charge at Salazar, hoping to neutralize the strongest of them all. But in her incapacitated state the gang of pirates choose to disobey your laws Gaia, and kill her!!!
It was all over in a second. In the chaos I barely knew what happened. All I knew was that I was saddened and disappointed, in everyone. Disappointed in Debboh for being a fake leader and taking your laws into her own hands, in the storm of pirates for killing her, and in the Council and the villagers for not doing anything to stop the violence. We all failed you that day, Gaia, and that wasn’t acceptable to me. I took the stage and made a heartfelt plea with the citizens of Abaza to make me their leader. I had shown that I was willing to do whatever it took to stop violence, something that the Council was not willing to do.
Gaia, they should have listened to me! I tried to be the champion of your teachings and to show them the way! But in the end, none of the villagers decided to listen to me, and the Council decided to banish me and these pirates from Abaza forever.
Gaia, please help me in my time of need. I fear your teachings are being forgotten on this world. Oh Gaia, I am devastated. Abaza is my home, it’s inhabitants are my family. I don’t want to leave you Gaia! I don’t want to go where these pirates came from!
The day after the concert, the pirates and myself were forced to leave Abaza and travel to the mainland, our destination being the city of Summerport. We were given boats and supplies, which included a barrel of ale we call Gaia’s Gift. Joining us for the trip were a few of my tribesmen, the ones who are quite interested in Thur’a’ugh. Oh Gaia, they abandoned your teachings! They decided to abandon your teachings and follow Thur’a’ugh instead! They call themselves Thur’a’ughalos! Such a ridiculous name. These Thur’a’ughalos will have to be brought back into the fold. I have to help them remember who you are, Gaia, and all that you have given us. With this in mind, I taught Thur’a’ugh some of our songs that we sing about you, hoping that he would sing these songs, and that whoever heard them, Thur’a’ughalos and all, will want to follow you.
When we finally arrived at Summerport I was awestruck. I had never been away from Abaza before, so I had never heard or nor seen a city before in my life! There were so many people, so many structures, it was far too much to take in. I quickly became disorientated and, despite reasonable thinking, decided to stay with the gang of pirates, in order to stay alive.
We came upon a tavern call the Thieves' Tankard where we meet Ugmaz, a friend of Dwain’s and the owner of the tavern. We gave him some of Gaia’s Gift to try, and upon tasting it he enjoyed it so much, that he wanted to start making it for himself. I told him I could share the ingredients of it with him, but only if he allowed me to teach him about Gaia, whom the drink his named after. After hours of conversation and some tense moments, I was actually able to convince Ugmaz to follow your teachings! Oh Gaia, this is a blessed day! Maybe I can still serve you after all. I can teach everyone in this city all about you, and then convince them to follow you! Such a blessed day indeed.
Emboldened, I approached Salazar to talk about the bow he had brought back from Abaza. Oh Gaia, I tried to tell him how it was an ancient artifact of yours, and that only those who followed you should hold it. At first I tried asking him to give it back to me but he refused to give it up. I then tried to convince him to believe in you Gaia. If he insisted on holding on to the bow, then he should become a follower of you as well. However, this only enraged him. For a second I thought for sure that he was going to fight me, but instead he quickly ran into the streets. I lost sight of him in the crowds and was unable to follow him. That bow is very dangerous in the wrong hands. Salazar doesn’t know what he is getting himself into. I must find a way to get it back.
Thur’a’ugh was preparing to put on a show at the Thieves' Tankard. I can’t say that I enjoy his music, but I was optimistic for this show since he now knew some songs that we sang about you. I decided to stick around and wait for the show to start. When it finally did Thur’a’ugh began with one of the songs that I had taught him on the boat! I was ecstatic! But this excitement quickly turned to anger when I realized that he changed all the words about you into himself! Oh Gaia, I had never been so angry in my life! How could this mediocre bard take credit for all that great things that you have done for us! I tried to tell the audience members that these songs weren’t really about Thur’a’ugh, but they were about you Gaia. Some of them were more receptive to the idea than others, but many of them just wanted to enjoy the show.
The show had been going on for a few hours when all of the sudden a commotion happened in the audience. From what I could see, Dwain was running towards the doors, but attacked one of the audience members! I quickly rushed to the injured patron to heal them; as I did I began to notice some mysterious looking figures in dark robes in the Tavern...
There were several of them, and they were attacking Onen, Thur’a’ugh, and Dwain. I don’t know why they were after them Gaia, but I knew that I had to stop the violence. I charged the one closest to me. He was attacking Dwain and I tried to protect him, but the attacker was too strong. I tried to stop him Gaia, I really did, but he almost killed me! I had no choice Gaia, I had to run. I couldn’t stop it. I found a stairwell to go upstairs and ran for it. I hid on the second floor, and prayed to you Gaia to make the fighting stop.
The next few minutes were the longest minutes of my life. I didn’t know what was happening down stairs. The noise did eventually subside, and that was when Salazar came rushing up the stairs demanding my rope. I quickly gave it to him and followed him downstairs. When I did I saw the four of them drag one of the hooded attackers whom they had tied up into the back room. I tried to enter the backroom with them, but Salazar refused to let me enter. Something about "interrogation", whatever that is. Ultimately, I didn’t want to have another confrontation with Salazar as I was currently gravely injured, so I did not object.
I sat in the barroom among the dead bodies waiting to find out what was happening in the other room. I tried to listen but the words were too muffled. When the doors finally opened the four of them came out they revealed that they had decapitated their captor! Oh Gaia! These pirates are horrible people. They break all of your laws. They cause chaos and destruction wherever they go!
“You didn’t have to kill him! He was no longer a threat!” But my words fell on deaf ears, as they were more interested in looting the dead bodies. These pirates don’t care about anything except for money. They don’t care what they have to destroy to get it.
While this was going on there was a commotion outside of the tankard. We rushed out to hear people yelling “Wave! Waaaaaaaaaavveeee!” We looked to the sea to see a giant wave coming right for the city! It was enormous, Gaia! It was bigger than anything I had ever seen in my life. Everyone was frightened. We ran towards the highest elevation in the city.
When we reached the highest cliff, we came upon an obelisk at the top. We tried to climb to the top of it, but we had no climbing equipment with us. The wave was bearing down on us. It had covered such a large distance in such a small amount of time. Oh Gaia, I thought we were done for. I prayed to you to help us live.
And then you did! You sent a human wizard named Bosphoramus to save us! Somehow he knew the pirates, and decided to save us, and everyone else possible. We yelled to anyone who would hear to come to the obelisk. Some people did, although many more did not.
Just as the wave was about to crash down on us, Bosphoramus enclosed all of us in a magical sphere emanating from the obelisk. It was impenetrable as we were frozen, unable to do anything as we saw and heard the destruction going on outside of the sphere. In order to cast this spell, Bosphoramus had to sacrifice himself and his body turned to ash. Another casualty due to these pirates. Gaia, how many more must die due to these four?
We remained on that cliff for a long time, too long to recount. The landscape around us changed dramatically during our time in that sphere. The city was gone and had washed away, and before our very eyes we saw it built up and torn down once more, again and again, like watching ripples get lost in the churn of the river. As time began to slow down there was not but ruins everywhere, and the few structures that did survive did not look like they have been maintained in ages.
Something as big and powerful as that wave could only have come from you, Gaia. I don’t know why you wanted the city to be destroyed, but if that is what you wanted then it must have been for the best.
But my thoughts were not with Summerport. My only thoughts were of Abaza. Did this wave come from home, way out in the ocean? Or did it destroy it as well? My heart became heavy with worry. I have to find out. One way or another Gaia, I will return home, back to the place where your love and kindness reign, to see if the people I know and love are still standing, and to make sure that all that there is of Gaia wasn’t destroyed.
May you bless me and all of your creations with good fortune, Gaia.
- Bryn Naikaho
The journal entries here are provided by the active player characters participating in the Detroit Marches.
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