Memories Of The Sundering

The Sundering was a time of terrible reckoning, when the Creator tried to unmake the world. Calling it hateful folly, and fearing that they too would be unmade with all that was, the other Divh managed to persuade the crafter of worlds to cease, but as they did great harm that would never heal was already befalling reality. Time broke in the sundering, it no longer passed, the world unravelled, the sky bled, the earth writhed and shrieked in pain, and the oceans boiled and smashed into the land, and half the world was drawn into a great and endless storm of nothingness that came to be in the heart of the world. But eventually, after a moment-eternity, it passed.

Still, things remained. These energies could never be entirely unmade, and these destructive remnants of the world's death are called the Memories of the Sundering. From the great Maelstrom itself, to the storms and waves the blow eternally around the rim of the world, and sometimes drift back to Allornus, to those things more strange and awful, these memories are devastating when they come, often claiming lives in the thousands, or more. They may be thousands of years apart in their visits, but so woeful are they that these memories are never forgotten. They are the focus of legend, fear, and dreadful recrimination.

The Maelstrom

At the centre of the world, where the Isle of Men once stood, where the Creator's touch began the unmaking of the world to curse the race of men for the sins of the Nofo, there is only sea. But in the sea, so the last of the Mhulak mariners told, is a great pit of endless and eternal nothingness, slowly, hungrily drawing all around into its maw. The tides and the currents of the oceans are all commanded by the Maelstrom, so claims their lore, and even the sky spirals down into this swirling fissure. Of course, many ask that, if the Maelstrom does exist, why would it not have already consumed the world?

The Gnawing Dark

The Gnawing Dark may not be a memory, but then it does behave like one. Now and then the sun will be blotted from the sky, for mere minutes, and when it returns it leaves a world far worse than it left. Some say this is merely a sign of divine displeasure, or a portent of great evil, or that the sun-divhi turns her back so as not to see one of her chosen struck down. What is true is that when the gnawing dark comes fortunes come crashing down. The sick and infirm die, gamblers lose, merchants become destitute, warriors break their swords, cows will not give milk, and the whole world is set to wrong for a time. In those moments, there is no blessing, and all men's fortunes are as the least of their number while the gnawing dark smiles upon them.

The Blood Tide

Sometimes, when the tides roll in, they are not the waters of the sea, but a terrible visitation known as the Blood Tide. They say that the waters of the blood tide are black, like an old wound, and its surface is hard, like an undulating scab. It rolls in over the sea, and creeps ashore like some awful carnivore fungus, choking the coastal lands in sticky red-brown tendrils until it finds victims. When the blood tide comes it brings rage and senseless brutality. It washes ashore, and entire communities explode in sadistic violence, brother murders brother, mother tortures child, and acts on cannibalism are common. The beasts of the lands and the fish of the seas turn upon each other, until the tide's thirst for blood is sated. Only then does it recede, to leave the survivors, those who could kill most or hide best, forever changed by their deeds. Some are lost forever in horror and regret. Others realize how much they liked those hours of true inhibition.

The Star-Rain

The Star-Rain has only struck mainland Allornus twice, both times in the north-east of the continent, though it has fallen at sea on the horizon perhaps a dozen times since. Cloaked in incandescent flame of a hue that does not exist, a star falls from the sky, leaving a hole, and a blazing trail in its wake, igniting the very sky, and where it lands it spawns desolation for untold miles with the force of its impact, and the awful fires that cannot be described, that incinerate the air and the earth. It is said that even fire burns. While the star-rain is over in an instant, where it strikes the seas it spawns killer waves, and in the Ironheads it left the desolate Starfall Basin, where it is said Kandar the Mad collected a core of iron so pure that it shone like the sun, that had been the heart of the star-rain (some say it struck him on the head, others say this was a metaphor for his presence in the desolated region). They say the colour-that-could-not-be alone drove him to madness, and that he forged the famed seven swords from the metal left by the starfall. Countless expeditions have been lost at sea seeking the metal of other star-rains, but to no avail.

The Killing Wind

One of these memories of the sundering, the Killing Wind, also known as the Pale Wind, the Poison Wind, or the Traitor Storm, is a wind that has blown across the southern ocean, around the Maelstrom, for thousands of years. The wind comes for a few days, sometimes only mere hours, once every few centuries. It heralds its arrival with a bank of sickly green cloud, before blowing across the lands of the southern coast. It is a cold wind, that whispers terrible and disturbing secrets as it blows. Amongst the legends, people claim that it turns living flesh to stone, brings madness, poisons wells, kills with a touch, seemingly all at random, perhaps blowing on three men and leaving one individual dead, another horribly mad, and a third completely untouched for its coming. The wind sows chaos and destruction, and in its wake brother turns on brother, and betrayal is everywhere.

The Crawling Blight

Wriggling and writhing from the very earth, the crawling blight comes unheralded and without habit or cause. One day the world is as it always was, and the next a putrid mustard ooze emerges slowly out of the very earth, like the corrupted pus of the very land. That which it touches it corrupts, sometimes their mind, their body, or even their soul. Whatever is most monstrous about an individual is made manifest in the most terrible way possible. Some have the bodies twisted into monstrous aspect, growing massive and becoming bloated with tumorous mounds, vestigial limbs sprouting slowly as if their changeling nature is re-awakened in terrible form. Others are plagued by nightmares, dreams, visions, paranoia or other monstrous maladies of the mind. And the most insidious change who they are, becoming driven by a desire or ambition beyond the restraints of morality, sense or loyalty. All are marked with sickly yellow-black markings that slowly suffuse the whole of their being as the transformation consumes them.

The crawling blight is said to have been responsible for some of the worst monsters in all of history, emerging in widespread regions for months on end, or affecting just a single individual and vanishing in a matter of moments. There is no sense to its appearances. There is no predicting its appearance. There is not cure.

The Desolation

Known in the west of Allornus, the Desolation is one of the more brutish and overt of the memories. Both the Battlewaite and Maldaakore have felt its touch, and it may have torn open the Nightmare Lands during the sundering itself. Perhaps it is proximity to that half-world whose twisted geography sits in eternal flux on the boarder of two worlds, that sustains the Desolation, or perhaps that is merely what attracts its energies. Whatever the case it seems to be called not at random but by great conflicts. It rises up over the most bloody and dogged of battles, when emotions are high, and lays waste to everything. It takes lives, creates deserts of ash and dust, and taints the earth forever. Violent phenomena, like rivers of poison, geysers of blood, forests of distorted bone, or screaming lakes of putrefied flesh are all signs that the land has been touched by the Desolation. But over time even these horrors wane, and the ruinous stillness of a perpetual grave is all that remains.