The world was torn apart. Giant tears shredded the land as quickly as a man could rip a parchment, and hellish beings poured out of them. Enormous, indescribable objects fell from the sky, crushing entire villages at once, and dragons dove from the clouds to feed on the fleeing. The living rose again as soon as they fell, and their hunger for flesh was insatiable. It was nothing but death and chaos.
That’s what they say, anyway. If anything like that ever happened, only the oldest of the old still tell the tales.
Our story starts in the small villages of Refuge and Castof. Their history is short. Refuge was founded on the bank of a river. More of an encampment, it grew slowly and quietly over the years out of the need for survival. More people would trickle in and settle down, and it became what it is today. The shelters are mostly built out of dried mud and clay from the nearby river, including the main hall, but there are a few that are pieced together with wood. Those are the homes of the well off residents.
Several years ago, some of the longer term residents of Refuge began speaking out against newcomers, arguing that a handful of people were carrying the weight of everyone. Perhaps they were right. The village was getting full, and many of the refugees were too sick, weak, lazy, or just inexperienced. Soon Refuge began turning away nomads. They wouldn’t even let them pass through or trade with them. Eventually, a team was assembled to use brute force and evict many of the less productive residents from the city.
Those who were forced out moved across and down the river. They tried to settle originally just a couple miles from Refuge, but were chased away again, so they moved many miles farther down the river again and settled, starting over as an encampment on the river bank as Refuge had. Now, when Refuge turns someone away, they send them down river, to the place they’ve begun to call Castof.