Ground to Ashes

I, the Bibliothecary Kroonik Tuhka, at the behest of the Khagan Tian Kehan, Eternal Padishah of the Ember Throne, Great Khan of the Nadee Jheel, write this Chronicle of the Ash Dancer. Under the wings of Mergen Ukhaan, under the watchful gaze of Vistam, and with the flaming sword Viveka, I have traveled far and wide to gather the tales of the great healer.   Now these are the nations of Talamh who witnessed the shattering of the world: Alamannen, Prythain, Yangshao, Cishan  , Hemudu (which is now known as Sihir), Samara, Uruk, Qamar, Tudao , Taiyonoji, Nadirajya, and Jheelsaamraajy. All told, seventy nations arose from the land, and Uruk stood in the lands of the red and black earth.   Nations rose and fell in the ages passed, and generations came and went. The children of Talamh spread throughout the world and increased in their abundance, and filled ever corner of the land. They were strong.   The first breaches broke into the land of Qamar, and their king didn’t know their cause. He said to his people, “The children of Talamh have grown decadent threatening our righteousness. Let us not act falsely, lest this plague grow stronger and war steal the peace from our land. Our sins multiply and array against us feeding the powers to fight against us making the world itself our enemy.”   The world continued to rend itself apart. The violence of the first breaches shattered the kingdoms of the world. The city of Tyaga burned. Gisei drown.  Xisheng collapsed in a great earthquake.  The Van'ya jungle devoured Balidana. Ohver fell into captivity.  There was nothing any army could do.  How can a soldier fight off a storm?  Swords cannot harm the wind.   Yangshao on the Golden River, who controlled the seas, recorded the first maelstroms. These river, lake, and sea breaches filled the waters with sea monsters and merfolk. These breaches of metal and water disrupted trade and travel.   Cishan of the Green Cliff Mountains, who controlled the air, recorded the first squalls. These wood breaches broke out as storms, spewing demons into the air. Born of metal and wood, they crippled the unprepared air routes.   The great mages of the Hemudu, now known as Sihir of the coast and islands, tell of the first festering pits, where rot deformed and twisted the beast of the jungle and birthed many abominations. Samara of the early River Lake spoke of the first clefts where the earth spewed forth creatures of wood and dirt to reclaim the forests from the people.   None knew why the breaches tormented the people and the land, sea, and sky. Some said a child of light tore through barrier between their world and ours. How could any celestial being cause such a catastrophe?  If they are fragments of the world soul, they must have known the damage the breach would cause.  At the very least, they had to know the cycle of misery and suffering that single action would unleash upon the world.  How can a spirit be great if it is so blind?   So the nations afflicted their people along side the burdens that ravaged the world. They stored their riches in new cities to protect them from the growing storm. The harsher the law to prevent the breaches the more they broke upon the land and the further they spread. The children of Talamh grieved their losses.   The nations blamed everything they could and tormented the children of Talamh they served. Life lost its sweetness, and life grew harder in service of the many edicts to piety and cleanliness. They built and rebuilt their cities. Their work in the fields risked death every day just to bring in the meager crops.   Kings, emperors, priest, and mages gathered and prescribed various cures for the damaged world. They said, “Our duty is to the prosperity of the people and the land. The children born to us are yet more of a burden, and a threat to our salvation. Surely, they will die, and their is nothing we can do to help them.”   The Shamans of Uruk believed in the virtue of life, and did not fall into the despair of the ruling powers, but worked day and night to save the children of Talamh.   The Nations of the world called for the Shamans, and said to them, “Why do you lie to the people and preserve their hope when their is none to have?”   The Shamans said to the nations, “Because life is a precious thing. It is greater than wealth, or power, or even the cleanliness and purity you have called the people to.”   Providence stood with the Shamans, and the people flocked to them, and found peace of mind even if there was no peace in their lives. Since they never lost their faith, the spirits blessed them and aided their efforts to stave off the chaos.   The Nations decreed to all their people, saying, “All is lost, creation has turned against us, and we shall all surely fall before it. Choose your last days wisely, for the end has come.”


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