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Oblivion Hour

They burned...all of them... the cities and castles, man and animal, the earth, the water, the sky... they burned...they screamed. Vanishing to ashes...howling, raging, crying, begging.... the eye....that glowing eye...I saw it...felt it. It swallowed them, burned them.... scarred the world...brought us twilight, fire, ashes...oblivion...the burns....
— Master Gerion the raving Dreamer, describing his Vision of the Cataclysm
  It was the single defining moment. The end and beginning of an age. A cataclysm that would change the very face of the world. A disaster that would scar humanity for millennia to come.   The Age of Wrath   The time before was perhaps the most violent in all of history. The Five Great Realms of Man, long centres of unparalleled prosperity and peace, tore each other apart with a ferocity never seen before or after. Weapons, brought from the darkest parts of genius minds, unleashing godlike destruction. Entire nations wiped from the earth. Armies of unimaginable size, butchering each other without thought or mercy. Over 700 years' war followed war. In the ever-shifting alliance system one power could find itself the victor in one moment and utterly beaten in the next.   Broken, bloodied but not destroyed, for even the "victors" had paid an insane price, then too weak to strike a killing blow. Peace was made. The nations recovered. Than war reared its head again.   Oblivion Hour   At the height of the last war...the world was obliterated. For a second there was no sound, the world seemingly standing still. Than a soul shattering thunder. A roaring storm of fire. The earth was torn asunder, the Agean Sea boiled away, a thousand rivers evaporated.   The mighty torrent of flame that broke the earth, shot into the heavens, forming a maelstrom of red, orange, yellow and black. And around it day became night, the air turned putrid and poisonous as ash descended from the sky, covering all things living and dead in a shroud of grey.   How long exactly the cataclysm lasted is not known. Any thought some could have had about such matters drowned out by the howling, screaming earth, as it was reshapen. Darkness fell upon the land, from west to east, north to south, the only sight the roaring pillar of light and flame, in all its awe inspiring, soul tearing, terrifying glory.   After moments, hours, days, months, the pillar began to flutter and fade. Eventually disappearing, leaving the world in darkness and silence.   A World Reborn   As sudden as it had come, the apocalypse vanished, leaving the earth as a burned husk. The great continent spanning endlessly from west to east, had been broken in half. The titanic scar would be called The Great Divide, a canyon miles deep, running thousands of miles from north to south. A few stretches of land had been left standing, becoming islands as the sea that surrounds the world flooded in. On both sides of the canyon, two gigantic mountain chains rose into the sky, having been thrown up by an unimaginable force, dividing the new coastal lands from the interior.   In time Humanity found new names for them, The Walls of Dusk and Dawn, Tyanis the east and Scetia the west. The caldera that replaced the Agean Sea and tore into the eastern continent, would in time be known as Tyanis Wound.   That what, in the far future, would become known as the Oblivion Hour, gave way to the Time of Twilight. For seven centuries, ash clouds covered the sky and man woke up to a scarlet sun and slept under sickly green moon. In the shadows of the mountains, searing winds blasted ash covered plains. The air itself seemed out of control, weather changing without sense or order.   The few survivors hid among the mountains, hills or within the earth itself. Mankind had been divided. Those on the Divide isolated from those in the interior, cut entwine by an ocean that would take centuries to form.   In time nature recovered. The ash clouds thinned out, the winds cooled down, plants began to grow again, animals and following them humans, left the mountains and hills. Slowly life grew again. And when the calming winds finaly blew away the last shrouds of ash, man found itself under the sun's golden rays for the first time in centuries. It left them both in awe and ecstasy, for they knew, that a new age had just begun. The memory of that first dawn sitting in their conscious, they simply named it the Dawn Age.   And while mankind hasn't managed to reach the glory of ancient times, they still thrive. Cities rising, both old and new, kingdoms soaring and falling, culture, art and faith flourishing, Humanity is alive and well. But it has never forgotten...  
Over 1500 years since the first Dawn, before that 700 years of Twilight. For millennia Man has rebuilt, climbed from ashes into ever greater heights.... Yet the shadow remains. This primal feeling, this dread and fear that we keep from our first breath to our last. This shadow that follows wherever we go, that not even the suns golden rays can protect us from... The Oblivion Hour has long since passed.... but it left something. I mean not the Divide or the Wound, or even the Walls of east and west. It is something you can't see... Something within all of us...a scar...yes, a scar on Humanity's very Soul....
    - Baran the Bard, As I fade -
      The Odium Eye  
Ever trying to make sense of all that happens, man has created many explanations for the Oblivion Hour. And across most of them, across borders, oceans and faith, one element appears. A name older than even the Great Five, out of Humanity's earliest days. A name only spoken in hushed whisper. A name that instils fear into even the most battle-hardened of warriors. The Dark One. The Outsider. The Abyssal Warrior. Arrancar. A man who, in ancient time, committed atrocities so heinous, that even the worst of monsters blanched in revulsion. So dangerous and vicious that, after his death, he was thrown into the Void outside creation. But even there he did not perish.
  From the endless abyss he stares upon the world and where his Odium Eye falls, chaos follows.   The Vodarian Church believes that he was born outside creations plan, an anomaly born to wreak havoc before being thrown into the Void by the Father, the Mothers Shield barring him from returning. During the Age of Wrath however, Mankind's unleashed hate, anger, bloodlust and cruelty weakened the Mother, Arrancar striking down upon creation with all his might and causing the world changing cataclysm, before he was contained by the Father and thrown back into the Abyss. Could the followers of the Three-Pronged Star be right? After all, Gerion did mumble of an abhorrent eye during his last weeks....   While the Church goes out of its way in naming Arrancar, many cults and legends speak of this dark one. The cursed warrior that rode to earth, bringing fire and doom. And while similar cultures can have similar myths, the tale of the Abyssal Warrior remains the same, across continents and thousands of cultures and nations. It is older than even the oldest known civilizations and has survived even the worst of all catastrophes. And like the Oblivion Hour, it is a spectre that haunts humanity in both darkness and light.   And when the earth is again stained with blood, when man's cruelty reaches abhorrent heights, when slaughter and savagery abound, you can hear the whispers. Beyond creation an Eye has opened. Both land and man wither under the glow of red and black. And the Abyss echoes with the sound of maddening laughter....

The Fate of the Five   Of the great realms of Man, only one survived. Lantea sank into the abyss, to be covered by waves. Leng was broken, the high plateau ripped apart. Ascalon shattered among the mountains and Teacal vanished in flames. Only Rhomeia survived, broken and battered, its seven hills now seven islands.   Ruins of Rhomeia by Master Gerion     Gerion the Raving Dreamer (1125-1157 DA)   One of the world's greatest artists, Gerion was both a blessed and cursed figure. His talent already showing at a young age, he crafted paintings, that have been coveted by even the richest of kings. This however came at the cost of his mind, the symptoms ranging from odd behaviour to outright madness. As he aged, his condition would worsen, with him falling into nightmarish fever dreams. While a harrowing experience for both himself and those around him, it resulted in, what is wildly considered, his best work. Even outside his visions as he called them, the painter was not the most social of people. At times he wouldn't leave his quarters for weeks, only coming out to eat on occasion.   In the summer of 1157 DA, Gerion suffered from his worst episode. For weeks he was confined to his bed, raging, screaming, whimpering. After four weeks he finally rose from his dreams. A walking corpse, his face hollow, his eyes unfocused and haunted. He would speak to no one, only whispering of the horrors he had witnessed. He locked himself in his room for the last time. The door remained closed for seven weeks. When concerned servants finally broke down the door, they found him lying dead on the floor. His face looking upon his final work: The Odium Eye.   Land under Twilight by Master Gerion     Baran the Bard   A man full of oddities. One of the most learned men of his time, instead of becoming a scholar, he choose the life of a bard, traveling the world and telling both kings and peasants of the legends of the past. Charming and energetic, his rousing tales drew crowds of thousands. Several cities had to throw him out, for the simple reason that his shows brought life and work to a standstill. It remains a mystery how this vagabond earned his wisdom. Time and time again he proved more knowledgeable than most scholars of his time. And while he would embellish his tales, he could give an entirely accurate and factual account of said events, if he choose so. When asked he simply smiled and said "Every man has his secrets. And I'm pretty good at keeping mine.".   He would keep them until his disappearance in 1432 DA.   A few years later a series of notes titled As I fade appeared. Written by someone claiming to be Baran, it consisted of several text fragments containing various topics, rather than a coherent narrative. Of a more somber and contemplative nature, these texts have fascinated many hoping to gain a glimpse behind the grinning facade, although it has led some to doubt the authenticity of these papers.  
Baran the Bard

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Cover image: by Chris Cold


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2 Feb, 2019 14:59

I have really enjoyed this read. The mysterious veil surrounding the event, how unthinkably powerful was the is all very well portrayed, I enjoyed reading it and it made me curious. Congratulations for the article

Master Redclaw123
Elias Redclaw
2 Feb, 2019 16:38

Beautiful article! I was just simply struck with how you managed to evoke my emotions with this article and how you managed to portray the events of the Oblivion hour. The description and sidebar content was extremely surreal, More so than most of the worlds i have seen on world anvil. The beginning quote immediately hooks the reader in with tis surrealness and makes the reader interested to read more about the article. Your skills in describing an apocalyptic situation is unprecedented as seen in this article and this allows for an incredibly detailed , interested and memorable article to read. The sidebar content is also very useful and clears up a lot of questions that otherwise would have been left unanswered. I am definitely keen to see more of this world and what comes next. Congratulations and keep up the great work!