”They sought to become greater than themselves, believing that it was their birthright to go beyond. A trail of saplings would lead them into the abyss, and so they would reach new heights by sailing across an ocean of darkness. How ironic, then, that it was neither their pride nor their greed which spelled a tragic end. Instead, they made themselves a meal for the monsters of the deep. “ Bardic tale concerning the fate of Calamity’s Edge
I could scarcely believe it when I first heard that verse many years ago, but the mythical city, Calamity’s Edge, is real. I thought it was surely the imaginings of a man far removed from reality, that no one had succeeded in a large scale Void settlement throughout the history of Revaliir; yet the evidence brought back by my friend Odylus is overwhelming. He took a very powerful psionic crystal with him on his last expedition into that murky abyss to document the journey, and by happenstance he found it: a city, more than any city before, that stood on the edge of a midnight frontier.
The first thing to note about the mythical city is that there are several access points scattered throughout the closer levels of the Void. The one Odylus used was in fact in the Midnight Mines, suggesting that they had been used at one point to fuel Calamity’s incessant need for materials. Actually, we’re quite certain of that assumption, because the portal that my friend used leads directly into what appears to be a massive foundry. Odylus found metallic bowls the size of galleons running along tracks in that high ceiling area, along with what looked like magically enhanced carts for hauling ore. They reminded him of Baltil craftsmanship, but the kind that the dwarves had only produced while the Great Smith was still alive.
He found other portals of this sort as well, scattered throughout the city confines. All of them were of the same design: gnarled twigs of metal forming the boundaries that enclosed the colorful pools of mana and a gem of grisial to form their apex. Not just any grisial either, highly refined grisial. These crystals are the purest we have ever located in Revaliir, and they no doubt needed to be that way in order to survive the Void’s harsh climate when it comes to magic.
Odylus spent many months mapping out the city after he found those portals. It was not an easy journey either, seeing as the place was infested with abominations we had never seen before. Either way, though, we eventually came up with a general map.
Calamity’s Edge is a massive landscape filled with buildings tightly clustered together. There are no small houses there: only towers. And each section of the city is apparently cordoned off by walls of iridescent metal that are surprisingly easy on the eyes.
As for key locations, first, there’s the foundry, which we’ve already discussed, but then there’s also the manufacturing district around that foundry. Odylus found large swathes of evidence to suggest this massive district is where all of the city’s goods and building materials were made. There were arrays of enchanted sewing needles long since devoid of magic, colossal forges the size of small mountains, anvils and molds fit for a god. With enough manpower, you could have built anything in that place, but it has long since fallen into disrepair.
Outside of the manufacturing district is the smaller marketing district. Stores were so tightly packed together in that place that there was likely nary an area without some type of advert or advertiser trying to get your attention. Despite the judicious use of space, though, the marketing district is still a significant chunk of the city. Actually, when Odylus visited this place, it was like taking a trip backward in time. It’s eerily silent there, and most of the non-perishable good remain. It’s as if everyone just up and left without a moment’s notice, leaving behind all their precious goods to escape some sort of calamity.
There are more districts beyond these two, but, unfortunately, most of those were residential, political or academic: places where people would have gathered. We can no longer call them by words you might expect of a normal city, however, for they have been twisted into nightmarish landscapes. They could only be referred to now as nests.
I will be creating a bestiary for a more in depth analysis on the creatures my late friend encountered in this place, but, for now, I will explain what the nests are.
Whatever assaulted Calamity’s Edge during its prime turned the vast majority of its population centers into nests for various broods of abominations. Many of those look human in some way, which begs the question of whether the original inhabitants were killed or assimilated. They “sleep” in every nook and cranny of the districts outside marketing and manufacturing, and come out at regular intervals to hunt actual Void creatures. Odylus recorded some “chompers” eating a pack of Void Stalkers alive after they had wandered too close; and despite their inhuman appearance, it was a horrible sight to behold.
The Nests, as we collectively call them now, are dangerous. Unfortunately, they’re also where the most valuable pieces of technology are. The people of Calamity’s Edge horded items of various usefulness; and the nobles, especially, held onto prizes that were custom made, never to be put up in the open market. I pity any poor, greedy fool who tries to go after them, though. Odylus lost one of his men in that place, and later found a “chomper” with his exact likeness. Suffice to say, death may not be the worst thing you can suffer in that place.
I mentioned that Odylus was no longer among the living at the time of this writing in the last section, but I did not say why. Unfortunately, I had to put him down for mercy’s sake.
Odylus went beyond the nests during his last visit to Calamity’s Edge. He always was a fool too crazy for his own good, but, this time, he bit off more than he could chew. The trip was hazardous. He sacrificed everyone in his expedition to reach the center; all of his apprentices suffering thanks to his unquenchable thirst for knowledge. As he came closer to the center, though, he grew mad – madder than usual, at least. He recorded the last of his voyage inside of the crystal that has provided me all this insight, and, in those last glimpses of the settlement, I saw what looked like a great tree in the middle of everything: but if it was a tree, it was no longer one that we would recognize.
A giant eye sat upon that trunk, pulsating, writhing along with the roots that looked more like fleshy tentacles than wood. It took one look at Odylus, and then suddenly the feed on the orb cut. Somehow, my friend found his way back to me on a visit to Iria after that. He still had the orb in one hand, but the rest of him was twisted into a half man, half monster abomination. He was just conscious enough to spout nonsense and things that sounded like names before he attacked.
Azhizheth, Dagron, Gol-Sleysh. He said these and more whilst lashing out against me and everyone around him. I had to duel my own friend in public and end him to save the bystanders. This orb was my horrible reward.
I don’t know that I can ever forget the madness this city of ancients has brought me, but, at the very least, I will document what my friend sacrificed his life for, starting with this.