The Cataclysm

Telling the history of the cataclysm is a hard task. Especially as we have lost so much. What we do know is quite fragmented. About 40 years ago, they came. At first it was just large structures appearing in large cities all over the world. Over a period of a few days they popped into existence, grew out of the ground, or simply enhanced existing structures.

In Paris, the Eiffel tower changed colour becoming the darkest black you can imagine. According to eyewitnesses, all of Paris felt colder.

In New York, a structure grew in Central Park. A small, purplish-black mountain riddled with caves just pushed itself up through the ground. Tokyo experienced a 300x50x50 meter big block of what seemed like perfect, white marble pop up on the train tracks just ahead of one of their famous, but really ageing, bullet trains. No one survived the crash. The block was unharmed.

In our neighbouring Lyon, a cylinder grew up from the ground. According to reliable eyewitnesses, it appeared as the ground was just pushed up. The tiny house on the top just followed it up.

All over the world similar things happened. All densely populated areas experienced something similar. And people panicked. The news media covered it in all of their broadcasts. No expert could explain what had happened.

Time dragged on, and nothing else seemed to happen. A few sects formed worshipping this new phenomenon, while others said the apocalypse would come next. Most people did not know what to think, and when a week passed, most went back to their regular activities, though slightly distressed.

Politicians reacted as expected; they debated. The UN moved to an American aircraft carrier out on the Atlantic (the politicians disinclined to discuss this in the literal shadow of one of the objects) where the debates raged, and nothing really happened. Some nations wanted to destroy everything immediately, while others wanted to wait to see what happened. In the end, the waiters won.

What happened next is hard to puzzle together, but I will try my best.

A month after the appearance, life had mostly returned to an illusion of normality. Military had encamped at all of the locations keeping protesters and sects away, and every water-cooler conversation had the same topic, but people mostly went to work as normal, ate their food, and was generally as happy or miserable that they always had been.

To the day a month after the appearance, the apocalypse actually happened. Something seemingly activated all the portals at the same time. Lightning started ripping up and down the structures, and after a short while, something looking like portals opened. And from these portals, creatures poured out. All kinds of creatures. Scores of the them just appearing as out of thin air.

And then the attack started. Everywhere at once. They attacked! With what weapons, we do not know. All we know is that they eradicated the the military encampments in one quick swoop. The protesters and sects where next. Some say the fighting lasted minutes, some say months. No one seems to agree. What is sure is that the attack was ruthless, and it was quick.

What ended everything must have been the UN finally managing to agree. What happened elsewhere in the world, I have no way of knowing as the initial attack cut all communication with the rest of the world, but here in former Europe, someone launched nuclear missiles at every single portal.

The effects of the nukes were devastating. I have seen three myself, and can only conclude that there must have been enormous powers involved. Every location is different, but what is similar is that the structures are unscathed. The areas around them are uninviting. Our local one in Lyon is, as everyone knows, a hell locked in an forever raging storm which can melt the skin of an unprotected man. What we can see of the tower is just the black tip of the cylinder, with purple lightning raging under its skin.

Every few years the storm seems to die out, and the area sits in eerie calm for an hour or two. Then, without warning, the storm returns in a flash; it's intensity redoubled by the brief respite.

But what happened to the attackers, I hear you ask. I honestly do not know. Maybe they were not suitable for our climate; maybe some disease took them; maybe we just managed to kill them all after the initial shock of attack. All I know is that I have not seen one since a year AC (after cataclysm). There are always rumours of fighting both east and west, but no one can honestly confirm beyond doubt having seen a creature in at least 35 years.

But they may live on at other places of the planet. With the wasteland that forms a deadly belt from Le Havre via Paris, Luxembourg, southern parts of former Germany and stretching unknown further east, we do not have a full picture of what has happened elsewhere. We may very well be the only survivors. Fighting may rage elsewhere. They may live good lives believing us to all be dead in a wasteland they can not penetrate. All I know is that we have to make the best of our lives.

— The Archivist, 3.January 40 AC

Major Events

A list of major events since the cataclysm:

Year (AC) Global/Larger area events Local events
0 Cataclysm blocked us from most of the world Lyon and surrounding areas devastated
1 Scouts establish themselves as an organisation Small band of people gather up in The Fort
2 Bad winter and spring make it a bad year for growing anything. Much starvation The band starts farming the land, but due to climate only barely manage to survive.
3 First magic abilities reported Scouts reach Grenoble for the first time and explain about the devastation they have experienced.
4 Scouts perform first attempt at penetrating the wasteland to the north. They return within hours, and the returning survivors are heavily mutated. More people join The Fort, and a surplus of food is reached after efficient farming.
5 First band of raiders attempt to reach the cylinder in Lyon. Not heard from again.
6 The United Front is formally formed with The Fort as base.
8 The Cylinder Storm slows down over a three week period before stopping completely for 1 hour on 4.September
9 First major attack of The Fort.
16 The Cylinder Storm slows down over a four week period before stopping completely for 1 hour on 18.March
20 The Old Boss is thrust into command of the United Front when his predecessor is shot by a raider.
24 The Cylinder Storm slows down over a four week period before stopping completely for 2 hours on 7.July
32 The Cylinder Storm slows down over a two week period before stopping completely for 3 hours on 9.August
35 The Blitzers establish a base in west Lyon, just on the border of the Cylinder Storm

According to old time calendars, the structures appeared in year 2084. Exactly how long the war raged and how long after the cataclysm actually happened, no one knows. Some say a mere hours, some say years. If it is peoples memories that are scrambled, or time actually functioning differently, we will probably never know, so we have agreed to set year 0 as what we believe is the first 1. January after the cataclysm.

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