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Captain of the Guard: Cursed Places

October 24, 2019

Desestasu was the ruins of an old city state from ancient times, before the kingdoms around it had ever been formed. It was by reputation a cursed place. When travelers in the mountains disappeared, or caravans went missing it was blamed on this place more than any other.

Whether this was accurate was another story. There had never been a story of someone surviving whatever befell them in Desestasu; or being the sole survivor that somehow hid and made it out when no one else did. Not even the type of story about someone that knew someone else, that knew a guy that saw what happens in the place. Which is interesting, considering how much humans like a good yarn, tall tale or outright lie.

Large groups of people could travel through the area, with nothing overt happening, but there were more deserters or people that disappeared in its location, especially scouts and outriders. Those that did disappear where never seen again.

People that travelled through it in large numbers, spoke of feeling watched, if they slept nearby (with at least some of the attendant guards often going missing) spoke of strange dreams, usually of being reunited with missing or dead loved ones. The dreams weren’t nightmarish, but afterwards the feelings of loss were intensified.

There were stories about Desestasu, that even the lowest citizen had been capable of magic feats, that they had become arrogant on their power and the gods brought them low in a variety of strange and bizarre ways that included an undead apocalypse, ten plagues involving maggots, pus filled rivers, droughts, floods, and assorted nastiness and ending in cannibalism.

Among scholars it is generally understood that nothing of the sort happened, and that Destestasu collapsed as a result of agricultural techniques that caused environmental damage (like pus filled rivers, droughts), that led to various disruptions of the ecosphere that resulted in famine (and if pressed maybe cannibalism), disease and death.

It should be noted that none of these learned individuals spent any time in the area of Destestasu looking for proof of their ideas.  They just used events described in the histories and then looked for something similar that had happened recently and what the explanation for that was believed to be and then extrapolated from there.

It just “made more sense” then the intervention of the gods.  Despite being certain that they were right, the theories of how Destestasu fell were continually being adjusted and improved on, with certain facts being added while others removed.

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