Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #209
July 28th, 2023
Name: Deep Dive on a Site of Interest: Ulono Atu – The Curse of the Inexorable Earthstorm
Location: Central Wastelands west of the Ulu Maug range
Population (approx.): 100-200 inside, 20 outside
Brief: The City of Light, dominated by the Cathedral of Malam, was a proud beacon, showcasing the wonder and beauty of the worship of the Six Gods. The district celebrated the day, buildings featured many windows and open rooftops to bathe the interiors with Malam’s blessing. The people were dignified and thought themselves upstanding, but many of the opposition found them haughty and arrogant. The conflict among the Six Churches turned into open warfare when Light’s priests brought down Malam’s vengeance upon the Water district (#205). In response, the ground of the district appeared to leap into the air and became a swirling mass that darkened the skies. The earthstorm roared through the streets and alleys; sand, dirt, stones and rocks smashed through doors and windows and poured into open roofs. People fled into their basements but found their homes slowly buried as the debris added to the strength of the storm. The Lightguard of Malam worked tirelessly to evacuate the city via tunnels hastily bored through the earth, as lesser structures collapsed above. Centuries have passed and the ruins join the rest of the six districts as a moment to hubris-driven conflict.
Mermin Truehare,85, Halfling, is a tour guide for the underground under the ruins of the city of Light as well as other sites of Ulono Atu. He is of average height and has a slight potbelly. Mermin has spiky black hair with white dyes at the tips. He wears a yellow hard hat and carries a pair of daggers. He loves to talk and has a friendly disposition.
Mermin has always been adventurous, even as a child. He explored the tunnels under the City of Light in his early twenties. There, he discovered a beautiful upside-down botanical garden, sealed off from the Earthstorm raging above, that lived on the ceiling. Mermin questioned some clerics of Light at Heliostat Citadel and wondered how these plants could grow upside down; they did not know. In his thirties, he started a business based on unusual locations around Ulono Atu; this is the highlight of his tours.
Mermin is the guardian of two young girls, Yenjen, 8, and Kelni, 5. They are his nieces, and their mother died three years ago in a carriage accident. He loves them, and they have a nanny, Theyrula Truepot, 56, with whom he has begun a quiet relationship. They all live in a tent city about a day's journey from the City of Light to Heliostat Citadel.
Geography: The City of Light occupies the northern district of Ulono Atu. The centuries of the Curse have left it buried in the constant blizzard of the Earthstorm. Only the strongest structures protrude through the dark dunes of dirt and stone. Nothing lives on the surface, but the tunnels and sublevels of the district continue to support life whether tunnelling creatures, visiting explorers like Mermin or cave dwellers. Just beyond the encircling highway there are some number of tunnel entrances to the undercity. Lightguards from Heliostat Citadel, camped where Mermin lives, keep watch on the openings to prevent less scrupulous explorers from attempting to scavenge the vaults and basements for treasures and sacred objects. Mermin has made a “donation” to Malam to allow his tours to continue.
Next Article: The City of Six Curses – The Sixth Curse