The Bows of Purgatory Gulch Plot in Legends of Elohey | World Anvil

The Bows of Purgatory Gulch

The seafaring barcos of Copan Shire mark their calendars from Midsummer Day through Warding for the Winter Witch as Hurricane Season. Each barco is constructed to survive wild tides and raging storms that might last up to thirteen days.
That is life on the sea.
That is life on the shore.
That is not supposed to be true of life here at Aquitaine, inland, on the eastern edge of the Longgrass Plains.
The storm came in as many storms do, thick and heavy on the western horizon, marching slowly and inexorably over the hills. It drove clouds of grass splinters before it. It rattled windows, howled down chimneys, scattered the posts of a half-built corral, and yanked linens off clotheslines.
Then it settled in to stay a while.
Aquitaine is no stranger to heavy summer rains. Its streets are built with good runoff drains. The buildings channel water away into deep cisterns. Crops are planted in mounded lines so that floods will not wash away young plants. Barns and coops are constructed on raised platforms, as are many of the homes around the edge of the city itself.
After several days of constant darkness, constant wind, constant rain, city leaders decide that this storm is something else!
Mayor Kendra Deverin organizes anyone she can find into three task forces.
  • Sheriff Belor Hemlock leads the effort to check on all citizens in the city, relocating any who need aid, drafting onto the other forces any who can be spared from household survival efforts. They also mark any buildings that are developing dangerous faults under the weight of the storm.
  • Ameiko Kaijitsu has converted her Rusty Dragon Inn into a centralized bulk meals location for everyone in the town who is able to leave their homes for a short stretch of time.
  • Madame Mayor's group works on physical repairs to storm-damaged buildings, sometimes able to do nothing more than help move chickens into a sturdier building or reinforce a wall with sandbags.
And Father Abstalar Zantus leads the very young, the senior citizens, and anyone who can't do any of the above community work in prayer. "Dawn" and "dusk" have become meaningless under the constant downpour. The congregation petitions Aquitaine's patron, Rhea the Lightgiver, for intervention. "Bring back the sun," they plead; "weaken this storm and let it pass away."
The Golden Lady has some on-the-spot help in the form of the SNAFU Guild, who fulfill their side of the guild house contract with Aquitaine by putting their talents to the city's defense.
  • Darly Quince, "minstrel", wound up on the Sheriff's team. She is rather good at spotting weakened walls before anything can collapse.
  • Jesse Devonshire does not like to spend much time within civilized walls. This kind of weather is only one of his many reasons. He checked in on Bruthazmus early in the storm, but Jesse and Wrong Way were forced to spend most of their time in the wild areas around Sog's Lake helping critters move to higher ground without fighting each other.
  • Lee Chung and Chef take shifts in the Rusty Dragon Inn so that Ameiko Kaijitsu can get some rest.
  • Miro Teague is a one-halfling task force against the hurricane. He seems to be everywhere: up the spire of the cathedral to search the storm's horizons (how did he not get hit by lightning?), hanging out a window to magically mend a gutter (how did he not DROWN?), teaching a group of adolescents how to quickly convert bedsheets into oilcloth that can be wrapped around the woodpile so the firewood stays dry, eating an entire pan of cornbread from Madhura that had literally just come out of the oven, appearing from nowhere to warn the Mayor's team that a more intense burst of the storm is about to begin on the south side (how did he sense it? and why does he smell like cornbread?).
  • Zhang Sephia does not like the twisty way the wind is behaving. She helps keep the domesticated animals calm in their unfamiliar shelters. She makes the dangerous, exhausting trek to outlying ranch houses around the northern and eastern sides of the city to help them manage when they can, or to persuade them to pack up and move inside Aquitaine's walls to a shelter if their home has suffered too much damage from the flooding. She helps Bruthazmus and Shalelu Adosana lay out sandbags or pin rain covers on the crops most likely to survive the storm, following guidelines from Master Ilsoari Gandethus who has been a veteran of Aquitaine's summer storms almost as long as he has been a master mage.
  • (But Master Gandethus is developing quite a nasty cough. The old man may not be able to keep going out into the weather for much longer.)
    The hours blur together until everyone has grown numb, even Miro.
    On the sixteenth day by the candles of the cathedral, something about the storm's nature seems to crumble.
    The hail stops as if a spell was snuffed out.
    Rain continues for a while, but no longer as if it seeks a weak spot in each wall. The wind no longer swivels back on its prior course. Thunder fades in the distance. The clouds smooth out, and lighten, and eventually part.
    Everyone who can spare a few minutes, finds a high point at which to look out of the city -- especially to look westward. Is the storm really passing? Are we really safe?
    Atop the cathedral spire, Miro fumes. No hurricane should happen this far inland. No hurricane should outlast the town's stores of yeast and baking soda!
    A little one-donkey merchant cart comes over the closest hill on the Longgrass Plains side of the Warden Road. It crosses the swampy road. It continues straight toward the gates of Aquitaine.
    It does not arrive.
    As the startled Aquitaine citizens watch, the lone occupant of the cart ... a young Goblin teenager ... slumps in his seat. He slowly falls to his right, out of the cart, into the mud. His donkey, equally past its endurance, thunks down to its knees while still in the traces.



    • Save this child before he drowns in the mud puddle!
    • Find out where his Caravan is! And what happened to them!
    • The SNAFU Guild is in agreement: This was no natural storm!
      We should find out what caused it!
    • And fix it so it does not happen again!
    • And make whoever caused it very, very sorry!



    • Special guest: Ranger Bruthazmus of Falcon's Rangers

    The SNAFU Guild:


    Absent guildmates:

    • Minstrel Darly Quince plans to stay here in town, actually, thanks muchly. Someone has to await the missing! And help recover goods from the sodden mess!
    • Chaliimriia has been absent for four months now, with no message or sign. By now, she may well be dead. (Darly would like the Samakarii priestess' room, if that's the case?)
    • Marcos Galvos has been absent for two months, although he does send home a letter just about every week. He departed on personal business after the Swallowtail Festival. No one would kill Marcos, he's such a nice Paladin! He will probably be back before autumn turns into winter.

    Articles under The Bows of Purgatory Gulch

    Cover image: by CB Ash