Tudana, 12th Yassad 7844
“There were once two shepherds,” Uncle Kahaal whispered. “They were far from home, tending to their flock on the night the sky crashed to the earth and set the desert alight.”
Quin had listened to her Uncle tell this story many times, but she never failed to gasp at the thought of it. The image in her mind of burning rocks falling from the sky was terrible and incredible.
“The shepherds watched in confusion and awe as a terribly bright star appeared in the west where none should be and grew closer and closer in the night sky. The shepherds were simple folk, and naturally they were terrified. They sacrificed one of their flock to appease their Goddess and when their offering went unheeded they sacrificed another, using its spilled entrails to divine what they could.
“But, their Goddess is a fickle and cruel mistress and their prayers, pleas and auguries all passed unanswered as one could only expect. Not knowing what else to do and with the comet blazing in the sky above them, the shepherds fled. They abandoned their flock to fend for itself and made for the city-state of Yhakkoth to the north. If their Goddess would not answer them, they would place their hope in the City-Gods of Yhakkoth to protect them from harm. As you know, Quin, our Gods live among us and may be petitioned in times of need. Our Gods do not abandon us. They protect and care for us, unlike the Mother-Goddess who offers no succor in times of need or plenty.
Quin nodded quickly and fidgeted in the sand where she sat cross-legged in front of her Uncle. They were in their favorite spot in Uncle Kahaal’s yard, he sat on his bench in the shade of the huge cactus and she on the ground. It would not do to ask the wrong question here, her Uncle held no love for the ways of the Old Faith and could easily become derailed from the story.
“With the falling star now as large as the sun above them, fat and low in the sky, the frightened shepherds braved the dangers of the unforgiving desert. They had no time for preparation and the trackless desert between here and the north is dangerous place for the unwary. Can you imagine their journey, young Quin?”
Quin’s eyes widened at the horror of the thought and she shook her head wildly, as she always did at this part of the story.
“This is why you must always stay close to home Quin. We are safe here at the oasis. But beyond the berm?” Uncle Kahaal’s voice trailed off theatrically and he scratched the shaggy white fur covering his chest.
“Many an unwary pilgrim has vanished beneath the sands to drown in a hidden sand trap. Others have choked and poisoned themselves in an agonizing death simply because they cannot tell one cactus from another. The shepherds knew a thing or two about these dangers, and they had no choice but to face them and still they were sorely tested. They were attacked by scorpions as large as you are child, scuttling across the dunes with venom dripping from stingers sharper than any spear.
“The shepherds, in the growing shadow of that awful falling rock, faced all of these dangers and more as they raced northward across the desert. They could see a much smaller, sickly green star that seemed to have broken off from the massive comet. Can you imagine it, child? Do you think you can? You are so thirsty and exhausted that you cannot take another step, the shadows of vultures criss and cross your path as they circle impatiently above you; and you are so, so terrified that you cannot think. An abandoned tower, half-buried and forgotten in the sand offered their only hope.
“And, once there, the shepherds ran out of time.”
Quin shuffled closer to her Uncle and grabbed his gnarled hand, heavily tattooed with the runes of his magic. This was her favorite part of the story, but it was also the part that haunted her dreams at night.
“The smaller star exploded in the sky above them. Deafening thunder pealed across the desert shattering the ears of the poor shepherds. The comet was impossibly huge now and a beautiful vibrant green. It is said that it flashed with lightening, scintillating red and white and yellow, that it was so beautiful and so bright it pained the eyes to see.
“With wyverns darkening the skies above them, as even they fled in terror, the two shepherds sought shelter in the tower on a night that was as bright as any day. They did not know this, although it became apparent once they entered, but the tower was the home of a witch. A witch-bitch of the Mother-Goddess whose enchanted cauldron sprung into an arcane semblance of life and attacked the shepherds as if they had arrived to rob the witch’s home in her absence.”
“Where was the witch, Uncle?”
“None know for sure. None can say.” Uncle Kahaal said. “But she likely had fled in fear herself, to seek her own refuge from the comet’s promised destruction.”
“The cauldron flew about the tower, given life by the engraved runes upon its copper edges, bashing and battering the poor shepherds until they were bruised and bloody. Can you imagine it little Quin? How the shepherds must have fought for their very lives in the dim shadows of that evil place, whilst outside booms and explosions louder than the loudest thunder you have ever heard or could ever imagine burst across the sky! That dirty copper cauldron, wide enough and deep enough to cook a child of your size, certainly (and who can say that it hadn’t been put to such a use? not I), engraved with wicked runes among a relief of capering fiends and leering icons of the Goddess. It very nearly killed them both and it was all they could do, in the end, to shatter the angry cookware with the profane objects they found littering the witch’s home.”
“And that was how two lowly shepherds, the devout Balashi and ”/campaigns/the-world-of-llowellen/characters/ashassunu-the-sharp-eyed" class=“wiki-content-link”>the stubborn Ashasunnu were the only living witnesses to The Night the Sky Fell. Exhausted by the desert, bloody and beaten by the cauldron, thirsty and half starved from their ordeal they bore witness to a terrible, terrible event. The witch’s tower was in the foothills on the edge of the mountains and it’s vantage was such that they were able to behold the falling comet as it struck the desert in a massive explosion that utterly destroyed a desert village and vaporized all of its inhabitants.
“Only the Gods, and these two lonely and frightened shepherds watched as a fountain of rock, earth and sand mushroomed against the horizon and the air itself burned in a massive expanding heatwave. The rock that had fallen out of the night sky exploded with such fury that it scorched the surrounding deserts into a burnt desolation that was even more dangerous than ever before.
“None know whatever became of Balashi, but Ashasunnu returned to rebuild a new home among the ashes of her burned family. In time the crater left by the comet was filled by a fresh spring and the village of Muan’s Oasis was reborn; and here we live to this day, you and I, dear one. That was over two hundred years ago, and the brave Ashasunnu, who witnessed the sky fall, was your very own great, great, great, great, great, great, GrandMother.”
The Night The Sky Fell
Written by Ian Hewitt
Ashasunnu (Donna Hewitt)
Balashi (Doug Harris)
Game Master (Ian Hewitt)
Played at the tabletop in Laramie, Wyoming