Thursday, July 27, 2023

Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #208

Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #208 

July 27th, 2023 

  • Number: 208 

  • Name:  Deep Dive on a Site of Interest: Ulono Atu – The Curse of Inescapable Lethargy 

  • Location:  Central Wastelands west of the Ulu Maug range 

  • Population (approx.): none inside, 30 outside 

  • Brief: The City of Fire, home to the Cathedral of Fire, was a bright, warm and energetic place full of excitement, color and activity. Streets were lined with bright lanterns with bonfires in every intersection. Everything was the color of fire and flames from bright yellows to deep reds, reflected in the color of materials or the dyes and paints used to transform them. Despite the battles across the countryside between Afi’s Firebrands and the forces of the other five Gods, morale was high, and the mood was firebright. Until one night a pall fell across the district, every fire and flame snuffed all at once as if by a giant hand or a great wind. Those awake could not relight the city, whether by tool or magic, and found themselves in the grip of a terrible lethargy, slowed, some unable to move, walk or soon even talk. Many perished that night. The physically or magically strong saved who they could before they too were overcome. Centuries later the district is empty, but for the brief visits of uniquely powerful individuals. 

  • Inari Alderdew, 15, Elf is the daughter of Aero, 65, and Torna, 58. Inari is a beautiful child with shoulder-length silver hair and vibrant violet eyes. Her parents are so proud of her and her accomplishments. Inari loves to run fast and has helped deliver messages for Aero and Torna's information service, Let's Hear it Now!, in Blackstone Fortress (capital of Taodeas) for several years. 

  • One day, an elder Elf, Nolan Bronzedew, arrives at the store and requests that Inari make a trip to the City of Fire and retrieve an essential casket. It contains pieces of bark that are extremely important components for a potion to keep a family member alive. The casket is in a small crawl space under his ancestral family home in the city. A child is required to retrieve it, and he heard Inari is fast enough to resist the Curse of Inescapable Lethargy.  

  • Inari is eager to make the journey. Aero and Torna are not too sure. They have faith in Inari, and Nolan has promised a commensurately hefty payment for her help. They are concerned about the curse and Inari's size but feel that she has time and energy on her side. Nolan has offered a potion of speed, and Inari has all but decided to go. 

  • Geography: The City of Fire occupies the northeastern district of Ulono Atu. The centuries of the Curse have left it devoid of life and activity. Everything remains where it was left or dropped in the great rush to escape. All flora shriveled and turned to dust. Animals and people lay where they fell, their bodies mummified husks. Just east of the city is a small chapel where priests of Afi keep watch over their holy place. Experiments have revealed, like elsewhere, the Curse is weakening. Fast or powerful entities can make short trips into the district before being forced to retreat before succumbing to the drain.  

  • Next Article: The City of Six Curses – The Fifth Curse 

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