"Like a wave of purple fire, it spread across the landscape, changing, altering the very fabric of that with which it came into contact with. Trees were left twisted, animals mutated...I can still hear the screams of the people as it turned its chaotic energies on them..."
Canticle of the Cascade
What is the Spell Cascade?
The Spell Cascade, often refereed to as the Cascade, was one of the most horrific and important events in Easthalens history. Although some might argue it started earlier, it hit its peak and was ended in 459 AB.
Essentially, The Cascade was a wave of magical energy that swept around the world, getting stronger and more potent with each cycle. To begin with, it was thought of as nothing but a visual phenomenon, but with each pass its energy grew, drawing in arcane power from the world itself. With each pass, the landscape, animals, people got affected. It mutated, twisted, killed, remade things in it path. And it was getting stronger until Corlak, land of the sentient items
made their sacrifice to deal with the problem.
The start of the Cascade
With Halen trapped behind the barrier over 400 years previous, the background level of magical energy had started to rise. For the most part, this was a gradual increase, with no major problems. The population and native animals were adapting, the magic being safely used, for the most part. Due to the fact it was subtle at first, even invisible, the exact date of the start of the Cascade is unknown, but several ideas have been published since then offering up some suggestions as to the cause. Most historians agree that it was not one particular thing that set up the Cascade, but a combination. The most popular idea, with the most evidence to support it, is called the Umbral Cascade Hypothesis (UCH).
The UCH was put forth when some evidence was found that an unknown party had placed within Terrex
, as close to the Great Barrier
as possible, what can best be described as variant of an Umbral Bomb
. When this evidence came to light after the Cascade, the rest of the Great Houses came close to wiping Terrex off the map until evidence from Biblios
showing it was a set up and the pleading of Corlak, land of the sentient items
restored a relative peace.
Essentially, the UCH says that an Umbral Bomb
was used to try and pierce the great barrier. It failed, obviously. However this was a metaphorical spark in a lake of flammable oil. As mentioned above this was subtle to begin and slow. A few scholars have pointed out that an umbral bomb on its own would not normally have the ability to do what it did, but it was a combination of things that started this off:
- The extremely high amount of untapped background magical energy
- The fact a umbral bomb was used
- Its proximity to the Great Barrier
- Some technology from another world was used (this last part is considered to be *tin foil hat* territory by many, but there is some evidence to suggest this is true)
The Dissolution & Transformation
As the Cascade grew more potent, it got faster. One small mercy is that it was quite small, only about a quarter of a mile across at its peak. But with each moment it grew faster and slightly larger, as far as it could be measured. As the threat grew and the Great-Houses, including the Archivers got together for the first time officially in history to fight against this, a group of mage-scholars in Corlak, land of the sentient items
made a horrible discovery. The Cascade, with all their power and knowledge, could not be negated, only contained and channeled somewhere.
In a move that astounded the world, in less than a month, they figured out, some believe with divine help, how to channel the magical energy into their own bodies, not knowing at the time what the effect would be, only that it would "drain" the cascade to the point of dissolution.
What it lead to was the rebirth or Transofrmation, a moment that would change Corlak and the world for ever. The details of that event are covered in the entry on Corlak, land of the sentient items
, but to cut a long story short, the nation was transformed into various sentient items.
The world was finally saved from runaway magical energy.
Apart from the Transformation, the biggest effect was felt at the Conclave of House-Nations
. The Cascade showed that the Great-Houses working together, even though Corlax made the biggest sacrifice, they acknowledged that they would not have been able to do what they did without the help of the others. This is turn, lead to a world of, relatively speaking peace.