Thursday, September 3, 2015

Catafalque: A Breif History (Part One)

The origins of the city of Catafalque began with the frontier settlement of Trewyggol.  Kaldian explorers claimed the land from its native inhabitants through coercion and bloodshed. Once subjugated, the ruling Kaldians convinced the native's druidic leaders to consecrate the fledgling village. Superficially, the blessing was an affirmation of the community's perseverance and prosperity. In truth, however, the act was designed by their Kaldian rulers to be an acknowledgement of the natives' submission. The blessing, however, was also a cleverly constructed curse.

The hamlet’s first boon was its proximity to valuable natural resources, including an abundance of lumber and ore deposits. In time, after the trees had been cleared and the ore veins ran dry, the town turned to raising livestock, becoming a hub for textiles and trade goods. Within its first 200 years, the quaint hamlet developed into a bustling city. Several more generations would pass as the city continued to prosper; becoming a major center of trade and its nobility playing important roles in imperial politics. The wealth and power of Trewyggol’s nobility, however, came at the price of its lesser citizens. Increasing taxes and even harsher living condition only grew worse from one sovereign to the next. The peasants protested and riots would occasionally erupt in opposition of their torment, but these were dealt with swiftly.

Eventually, a charismatic leader among the peasants organized a concerted revolt against the aristocracy. As an organized force, the disproportionate number of commoners quickly threatened both the wellbeing and empowerment of the ruling class until the city was in a state of all-out civil war. Although the rebels were far more numerous, the city militia and house guards were superiorly equipped. Each side struggled to achieve a permanent dominance. When rumors began to circulate of outside assistance arriving for the rebels, the nobles began to panic.

bdeath1Gossip mongering and flights of fancy accuse the ruling family of striking pacts with a demon, granting their mages the power to definitively quell the uprising. Supposedly, they used their demonically enhanced magic to create a plague that caused the peasants of Trewyggol to rapidly grow ill and die. Indeed, there are many unusual details about the plague that cannot easily be explained, although no proof of demon worship has ever been unearthed either. Although the revolt quickly subsided, the plague continued on unchecked, afflicting nobles and commoner alike. The pestilence, whether of infernal origins or not, decimated the city’s population and eventually the city gates were ordered sealed in an effort to quarantine the city. This triggered a second series of riots. This time, the chaos was embraced by all social classes as peasant, merchant, and noble alike fought to flee the infected city. Portions of the city that escaped initial destruction wrought by the peasant's uprising were subjected to the renewed chaos; and the body count climbed even higher.

The highest lords and ladies of Trewyggol refused to abandon their kingdom, however. Most historians presume their stubbornness was a result of an irrationally engorged sense of entitlement commonly bred into the ruling class. Others speculate that this was somehow the druids’ curse binding them to the land that their ancestors once took through blood and steel. Regardless, many of the noble families still residing within the inner city insisted on remaining with their holdings. To protect themselves from the death and pestilence that ravaged the rest of their city, the gates to the wealthy, less populated, inner city district were also closed. Those that had retreated to the inner city found refuge while those that did not found themselves trapped in a city tearing itself apart. This was the end of Trewyggol as the world knew it.

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