A Chunk of Fantasy 2.09 – Eternus
“What the heck is a town doing in the middle of the desert? Where does it get its water?”
Sir Arthur Figgins, “Famous” Explorer on his 3rd expedition to map the interior of Slalal Desert
Just over 300 years ago, the Slalal Desert didn’t exist. Where it stood was an area of high fertility and grassland. It was out of the way, for the most part, and there were very few settlements in the area. Eternus was once such settlement. Founded on top of a deep spring, the settlement was given the name of Eternus, named after what was believed to be a god of the same name, who’s power was meant to be eternal and everlasting, the hope is that their name and the spring would allow the settlement to last for eternity.
Sadly, this was not to be. Not long after being officially recognised by the local king as a town, a disaster seemed to strike the world, or at the very least the area around Eternus. The sky lit up like a big explosion, yet there was no wind, no force pushing things away, just the eerie light, then utter darkness, with no stars or celestial bodies visible.
In the morning, people noticed a marked difference in the landscape. For tens of miles around, all the grass and plant life had died. What was once a land of lush greenery had now become a sickly yellow. In the next few days, these plants rotted away. There was no grass, no moss, nothing. Yet, Eternus survived. A sage who lived in the town noticed that the water from the spring that the town required to survived tasted off. This passed in a few days. Eventually, it was decided to mount an expedition to a nearby town, as they had seen no traders since the Explosion of Light. After taking less than 3 steps outside the town’s boundary, the explorers all fell over in tremendous pain. All but one managed to crawl back and the one that didn’t rot away before onlookers eyes, screaming as he turned into dust.
It didn’t take people long to realise they were trapped here. Their town, protected from the Light Explosion which was now turning the area into a desert, was a prison. Their water kept them fed, but they had no food except that which they had stored and that had run out. Yet, they had no hunger. Praying to their god for answers, they were rather shocked to get a direct reply “I have protected you, but you can’t leave. There is not much more I can do my children.He is coming!”. With that Eternus the god was never heard from again.
Those who were trapped in the town were, practically speaking, now immortal. Yet they had no food, their children would grow up and suffer their fate, yet not require food. All round the town the area started to become a desert, the grassland turning to parched earth, rocky and sandy. It should not have happened as quickly as it did, yet, over a year the once lush valley became what explorers now call the Slalal desert. Rumours suggest it keeps growing even to this day.
Eternus is now, for the most part, a prison full of old people. No children live or are born here. If anyone does find the place, they are all offered the same advice that is offered to travellers the world over…
Don’t drink the water…