Friday Lore Post: Thunderfall

In the year SC -411, thunder fell. In the ancient city of Thunder’s Falls, a peace summit was held between dozens of warring factions of gods and their companies, in order to bring about a cessation to a lengthy and costly era of conflict that otherwise had no end in sight. Hundreds of gods and hundreds of thousands of human soldiers gathered at the large city, population three million. 

Unfortunately for the humans living in the city and many of the gods who were invited to the peace summit, the meeting at Thunder’s Falls was not a peace summit at all, but an elaborate trap to capture, subdue and ultimately kill rogue god Nathen Jerrel De’Kerken, whose rampage had gone unchecked for nearly fifty years as he cut his way through his people one god or family at a time. A small number of gods had devised a powerful spell that was designed to nullify the immense power that Nathen had summoned from somewhere in order to revert him back to the person he’d been, with the ultimate purpose, at least for some of the gods involved, being to kill Nathen and end his threat once and for all. 

The Thunderfall plot was concocted by a group of concerned gods who called themselves the Conclave of Rivers, which had come together specifically to address the threat posed to their species by Nathen. At various points in the gods’ history, Conclaves had convened to handle events of large-scale importance, so this version of the Conclave had immediate respect from the other gods as a legitimate institution, even though the god who’d called it to order, Hadrina Nekit Ze’Milla, was very young. She was one of Nathen’s few survivors, having escaped the slaughter of her family roughly forty years before Thunderfall. 

Having become aware of the Conclave’s existence through his boyfriend Lyren Techen Le’Carden, Rawen Janaj He’Matke asked to be allowed to address the Conclave of Rivers, where he presented a spell he’d worked on that would suppress Nathen’s powers and return him to his normal harmless self. The Conclave agreed to allow him to cast the spell with their support, most critically that they would gather as many gods as necessary in one location to help power it. 

Thunder’s Falls was selected at the suggestion of Derel Haman Va’Rada, who pointed out that the city was home to a tall obelisk that predated the gods, but which his research had shown to have magically amplifying properties. Derel and his friend Keden Nesek De’Jeren helped Rawen refine and alter his spell to work better with the obelisk’s unique power structure, but they were instructed by Hadrina and the Conclave to ensure that the spell killed Nathen rather than saving him. 

The work Derel, Keden and Rawen did on the spell was masterful, drawing on Rawen’s natural talent and Derel and Keden’s knowledge of deep arcane lore from across the world. The Conclave knew that Nathen would be drawn by a large gathering of gods, so they called a peace summit—not hard since the Conclave’s actions had triggered the war in the first place—and made sure everyone everywhere knew it was happening. Gods and companies and humans and others from all over the world came to Thunder’s Falls for the summit, and so, as predicted, did Nathen Jerrel De’Kerken. 

Nathen’s every movement was watched from the moment he entered Thunder’s Falls. There was no need for this. As predicted, he ignored the armies outside the city, ignored the humans within the walls, and headed directly for the temple in the middle of the city, where the summit was being held. He stepped up to the temple, walking inside and preparing to kill the gods there. Upon entering the temple, Nathen crossed the circle that had been set up for him, and was trapped. Rawen’s spell triggered and the obelisk began to glow. 

The modifications Derel and Keden had made to Rawen’s spell immediately began to draw on the life energy of everyone in the city, pulling it towards the obelisk and powering the spell to strike at Nathen. Humans died in the hundreds of thousands in the initial five minutes. By the time Rawen realized the spell had been tampered with, it was too late and the attack had already been launched at Nathen. Unfortunately, the spell didn’t kill Nathen, though it did weaken him. He was able to break free from the spell circle and began slaughtering everyone he could see—god or human. The obelisk began taking further lives to power up for a second attempt, but Rawen fought back against it, siphoning and holding all its power within himself as he tried to break the spell, which had been designed to be irrevocable. Instead of allowing it to strike Nathen—and the city—Rawen redirected the power of the spell, striking the old mausoleum—where the gods were taking refuge to avoid the destruction. 

Most of the gods survived the blast, but they were also exposed to Nathen, who cut down every human in his path to get to them. Chaos broke out as fighting between many different factions erupted all over the city, and the obelisk continued taking lives, god and human alike. Rawen continued to fight with it as Thunder’s Falls continued to fight with itself, and did the only, desperate thing he could think to do as it prepared for its third strike. He directed the power of the spell internally, against the obelisk itself. 

It worked, and the obelisk shattered. Along with it, everything else shattered as well. The air around the obelisk cracked and broke open, and holes tore in the ground and the sky. Shards of the obelisk’s unknown material rained down on the city, erupting into flames and explosions everywhere. On three other planets, identical obelisks similarly exploded, causing massive damage. Across Nova, ziggurats began to shake, ancient writing on their sides lighting up. At the south pole, a statue’s eyes glowed briefly, then faded out. 

Mysterious fighters wielding unknown weapons appeared across Thunder’s Falls and began attacking everyone in sight. All former sides were forced to fight together against these mysterious enemies, whose armour rendered them nearly impervious to harm and whose weaponry was powerful enough to pierce anything. The space previously occupied by the obelisk continued to be occupied for several more minutes by a large flashing light that sent pulses of multicoloured fire out through the city before disappearing. Through one of the holes in the sky a human-shaped figure appeared and landed on the ground in Thunder’s Falls, shaking the city and the whole planet. 

This entity destroyed everything it touched. Everything that came too close to it simply unravelled into component parts after a time, including the gods, some of whom were able to fight it for several minutes before being killed. For nearly an hour, it appeared that the whole city would be destroyed, until Nathen Jerrel De’Kerken engaged the entity in combat. Seemingly immune to its power, Nathen fought the creature to a standstill, but even his defeat seemed assured when he was ultimately impaled on the entity’s claws. Nathen’s power exploded outward in waves of something nobody had ever seen, destroying the entity immediately, and Nathen’s body started to float above the city, reaching out with his right hand as if to sweep everything away. 

At that exact moment, Nathen was pierced by a spear that came from the ground, and he was the only one who saw who’d thrown it. Rawen Janaj He’Matke, having used the last of his spell to gather up all the power from all the deaths in Thunder’s Falls, had killed his best friend. The mysterious enemies had disappeared with the death of the alien entity, as had the holes in the sky and ground, and the cracks in the air. The survivors simply withdrew, wanting to be as far from the city as they possibly could. Nobody knew the full story of what had happened, but they all knew that a betrayal had shocked them, a betrayal so devastating that humans and gods alike may never be able to recover. 

The ultimate death toll for Thunderfall was three million, one hundred fifty-six thousand, six hundred and forty-nine dead, though nobody counted. The city was completely destroyed, and the area where it had once stood levelled and desolate, as it would remain for centuries afterwards. The Conclave of Rivers was utterly destroyed, Derel, Keden and Lyren the only survivors. Witnesses reported seeing Hadrina after the disaster, but she was never seen again, so these reports were dismissed. The disaster was the direct cause of the shattering of the Web, the conflicts that later became the Catechism Wars, and the creation of modern Nova. 

The Temporal Bureau lists Thunderfall as a class eleven temporal incursion with transdimensional alterity. Access to the hundred years leading up to the event is strictly forbidden, and all records on the event are classified to the highest level of security clearance. Temporal travel to the time of the event—anywhere on the planet—is impossible due to the disruption caused by the event and the entity that appeared. Attempts to observe the event from afar have met with failure, as have attempts to discover the other endpoint of the temporal incursion. 

Thunderfall is a defining moment in Nova’s history. No other event since has had the same impact, and no moment before was recorded to have had one. It is an event shrouded in mysteries. Nobody knows the whole of what really happened there, and even if they did, much of what happened after the obelisk was destroyed is too inexplicable to ever have answers. The historical implications of this event span the galaxy and most people affected by it have no idea what even caused it. Little do they know that most of the people who were there also have no idea. Whatever really happened there, the people there never forgot it, and it forever changed the face of Nova and several other planets. 

From “Nova: A Witnessed History,” by Razzgkrar’thengg-ysshrrmdj’znvya’gnkiia, updated SC 3777.

10 thoughts on “Friday Lore Post: Thunderfall

  1. Things to take away from this account:

    * Elves are bastards.
    * No, really. Elves are FUCKING BASTARDS.
    * The ziggurat-builders had (have?) a presence on multiple planets, and may have had a connection to the statue at Nova’s South Pole. (It is also possible that the obelisk’s destruction was simply That Big A Deal, and that no direct connection exists.) This has interesting implications into just how powerful they were (are?) and how much influence they’ve had on a galactic (possibly universal?) scale. Their constructs also respond to being damaged with extreme prejudice.
    * Relatedly, the empire is FUCKED.
    * The ziggurat-builders are clearly not the Escever or any of their peers, as even if they were capable of something like this, the Temporal Bureau would likely have recognized them. They also probably aren’t yaljen, as the beings that manifested during Thunderfall lacked the horrible sense of wrongness that seems inherent to higher demons. (And the Bureau would probably have recognized them. As would the gods.)
    * Rawen really is as innocent as he claims with regard to Thunderfall. He’s still a patricide and attempted matricide, but it really was someone else’s fault that his spell did what it did (fucking elves), and he did do as much as he possibly could to stop it when things started going off the rails. He may also have averted the destruction of the universe, given what Nathen appeared to be doing just before he killed him.
    * Hadrina is clearly going to be Very Important.

    Did I miss anything?


  2. I don’t know if it was Hadrina or the elves that sabotaged the spell, but whoever it was needs to be executed for war crimes.


    1. “War crimes” almost seems like too minor a charge for someone who got three million people killed AND almost destroyed the planet. But yes, failing a more serious charge, that sounds about right.



    1. The Temporal Bureau has actually been mentioned in-story once or twice, most notably in chapter 18 of the Other Boys anthology if you’re interested. 🙂

      But yes, Thunderfall was very much as bad as it sounded–worse, even.



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