The Rotting of Nature

Marked by celebrations in many an organisation, the festive and monumental year 400 CoE culminated in the arrival of the Solstice season, which was made even more joyous by the reappearance of the quite content Crumkane, Lord of Epicurean Delights. In the spirit of the holiday, Jolly Bundy and his entourage of red-clad gnomes brought joy, laughter, and presents for everyone – the perfect way to usher the Basin into a new century. As the festivities continued, the distinct smell of rot wafting upon the air went unnoticed at first. In fact, many dismissed it and connected it with the seasons, for it was late autumn that the stench began to befoul the air. When an infestation of worm-bearing mushrooms began to litter the highways, however, even the city-dwellers knew something was afoot with Nature.

In the Wilde, Albion, the First of the Crones, was consulted, while the Wyrden Forest sought answers from Lhiannan Shee-Slaugh in a blood-soaked ritual. Both voiced warnings about the nature of this infestation, urging for the spread to be curbed before it got out of control. Even Queen Maeve, though dismissive and unconcerned at first, reluctantly surmised it a danger after Butter Sweetpease fell ill – proof that the effect had been rippling throughout creation. Indeed, Brennan Stormcrow and the Maiden Miakoda showed signs of weakness not too long after.

The city-dwellers, though less concerned about the matters of Nature, proceeded to investigate as the mushrooms began spreading along their streets, sprouting worms that assaulted the unwary. News from the communes had been on everyone’s lips, their tongues spreading dire warnings about the foul nature of this fungal plague. Scientists were consulted, experiments were performed; the consensus everywhere was unilateral – the mushrooms are a threat, and luckily, the essence found upon the Ethereal and Elemental planes proved to be a way to remove them.

Squabbles erupted everywhere at this discovery. What if the mushrooms are sentient? What if they appear to be crumbling beneath the power of the essence but in fact were gaining in strength? Who are they gathering this power for? Was it just a passing malady or was there a mastermind behind this plague of mushrooms? Each nation discussed the matter at length, and most did in fact proceed to destroy the mushrooms in this manner.

Throughout that first month, when the danger has been finally recognised, each nation turned to prophecy to shed light upon the unfolding events. Unknowingly, Xaldrin Somnius and Kalliste McCloud were the first to hear the prophecies spoken, even before the necessity has been recognised. Then, as the dwellers of the Basin set about to work, it was Selenity Siar’luin who heard the first prophecy as spoken by Chuchip, the Great Spirit of the Seren.

Then, Tremula n’Lochli witnessed the Necromentate’s words, Lleuke Zayah was wise to seek out the words of the Lake Spirit, young Aruin was privy to the warning from the Matrix Core, and Arcanis De’Unnero sought out the words of Grandmother Scorpion. The words of Mother Night were spoken to Ssaliss Shee-Slaugh when the phase of the Moon was favourable to such a summoning, and finally the Templar Azaghal heard the mighty Drachou’s words.

Confusion reigned as the enigmatic pieces of prophecy were shared with the others, each word parsed for for its meaning, and yet the truth eluded them still. When the mushrooms turned into mounds of their kind, birthing hideous worms that put the lives of the peoples of the Basin in true danger, the Silver Goddess, fierce in Her protection of the Wilde, took to the heavens. Wrath in Her storm-coloured eyes, She combined Her strength with the purest energy of the natural world – the fae – and rained volleys of moonfire against the infestation that plagues the Seal of Nature even now.

The battle was a powerful one, and although the the most fearsome manifestation of the Argent Lady’s strength, the Silver Trinity, appeared on the horizon to weave its terrible wrath, the forces at play were beyond only one Elder’s might. Exhausted, weakened, and stricken sick, as if She, too, were suffering from the same illnesses that had already gripped the natural world, the Silver Goddess returned to Serenwilde, where She was then taken into the guarded custody of Darvellan, the Navigator.

Seemingly in connection with the battle, brownies started appearing throughout the land. Emaciated, their minds rattled, they sought help from the people they encountered in the cities and communes. Some gave into madness before they could convey their pleas and those toppled to the ground beneath eager swords as the nations, wary of all intruders, feared for their nexii of power. Others were empowered with words of encouragement and, murmuring of home and danger, returning from whence they came.

The madness continued until the benevolent Estarra, the Eternal turned Her attention to the struggle and, perceiving Soulless energies woven into the make of this foul infestation, engaged the enemy Herself. Calling upon the Elders to assist Her in reinforcing the Seal of Nature, She channeled Her cosmic power into it, thus cleansing it of the rotten influence and destroying all the mushrooms plaguing the land in one fell swoop. Before She departed, She paused at the Seal as if concerned for its future, leaving the Basin to wonder whether the brief spell of peace will continue for long.

It didn’t.

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