Chronicles of Rilim
ittle is known about the actual event now known as The Cataclysm, though its destructive power can still be seen on the landscape of Rilim. Stories handed down from the original survivors describe a massive explosion far south of Rilim. Though all the accounts vary, and have certainly been changed over the centuries, there are enough similarities to describe the events of that day and the months and years that followed.
Sometime in the early morning hours a great column of fire was seen far to the south, rising into the sky. The heat from the column was intense, and those unable to shield themselves received minor burns. Minutes later, while the fire was still in the sky, a strong noise was heard, as of large rocks falling or thunder. Then the ground shook so hard that the buildings and houses collapsed. This continued for several minutes, and then the sky darkened and pebbles and earth of varying size began to rain down.
All these events passed several minutes later. The earth quieted, the sky cleared, and the column of fire consumed itself. Then a rushing sound was heard and a mighty wind blew across the land. The few buildings that were still standing were swept aside, and all the trees were knocked down. Hours later a dark cloud could be seen moving up from the south. When it arrived, instead of rain it brought ash, and a black dust that covered everything.
The dead were too numerous to count, and the destruction so complete, that the survivors grabbed what they could and moved north hoping to get away from the catastrophe. They moved north as far as they could until they came to the Serpent’s Spine, where they could go no further.
The cloud remained, such that at the brightest time of day it was as if dusk. The temperature began to drop and the water became clouded with the black dust. Summer never came, and all but the hardiest of plants began to die. Of those who had survived the initial event more than half perished in the following months, dieing of sickness, starvation, and the evils of desperate men.
Eventually the sky began to clear and the first rays of sunlight in months reached the earth. Those who had survived joined together in small, nomadic bands, moving across the devastated land searching for food. Man, Dwarf, Elf, and Gnome working together to stay alive. Old hatreds were no longer important, only the capacity to provide had meaning. The weak or inform were simply left behind.
It took decades for the plants to take hold again, for the streams and rivers to clear, and another hundred years before the marks of The Cataclysm began to fade on the land.