Turtledove
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Cathaly was a prosperous mercantile city. One of Cathaly's cultural quirks was the annual Festival Night, when licentiousness ruled, and anything went.[1] The High Haruspex was the chief priest of the city.[2]

On one Festival Night, Ricold Botron, scion of the Cathaly's grandest trading house, had a chance encounter with the young maiden Ellene Caffilos. They determined that they would wed, a prospect pleasing to their families, who foresaw a union of grand clans. High Haruspex Hilarion was soon consulted.[3]

Hilarion foretold that the marriage would be a boon to both houses, and that its failure to occur would be their ruination. Thus, the houses determined that the young heirs should wed. But Hilarion told them that the marriage would not take place.[4] This stipulation was tragically fulfilled when the young, unmarried Ellene died of a fever, shortly before the next Festival Night.[5] About the same time, Hilarion privately determined a prophecy which gave him incentive to step down as High Haruspex, flee Cathaly, and settle in Gosra.[6]

The distraught Ricold violated the tomb of his intended, and committed necrophilia with her fresh corpse.[7] Nine months later, a flying creature was born from this union. The creature traveled through Cathaly, broadcasting the story of its conception to the two houses.[8]

A feud began between houses Botron and Caffilos, which made Cathaly's streets run red with blood. Then, a fortuitously timed earthquake leveled every building in the once-proud city, and killed every person who remained in it.[9]

References[]

  1. Spells of Wonder, pgs. 126-128.
  2. Ibid., pgs. 134-135.
  3. Ibid., pgs. 131-134.
  4. Ibid., pgs. 134-136.
  5. Ibid., pgs. 142-143.
  6. Ibid., p. 150.
  7. Ibid., pgs. 145-146.
  8. Ibid., pgs. 150-152.
  9. Ibid., p. 152.
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