Downtown // by Lilly S. (October 2017)

All anyone remembers about that fateful day, aside from the screams and terror, was a traveler. No one remembers what they look like or what they wore, all they remember is the traveler, standing by. They were watching the destruction take place, as slowly, piece by piece, and building by building, the large town of Hollywell was pulled apart.

Children screamed, adults ran, and the traveler stood, safe out of range, just standing and watching. No one seemed to know of any significance of which the traveler had, but the traveler seemed to be the only thing of importance they remembered.

I know I am probably confusing you, so allow me to try and clear things up.

One fateful day, long ago in the world of Sybalvia, there was a town by the name of Hollywell, which was known for its export of holly, that was used by mages to make medicines. It was a fairly large town and had a great trading system. The people who lived there were full of pride, happy to be a part of the community they helped create. Little did the people know, that day would be the last day of existence for Hollywell.

Before the disaster, a traveler appeared. No one knew who they were or why they were there. All they knew was that it wouldn’t be long before it was time for lunch, so nobody really cared. All they wanted was food. Unfortunately for them, that was not going to happen.

You see, the town resided near a cave. But not just any cave, a nesting cave. This nesting cave was not filled with bats or dragons like most nesting caves. This nesting cave was home to giants. Baby giants. I know that sounds slightly ridiculous, but it’s true. And maybe if the cartographers were more careful when they made the maps to show where the construction of the town would take place, this wouldn’t have happened. But it did happen so the best we can do is to learn from it. Anyways, on with the lesson.

Giants, as you obviously know since you live in Sybalvia, are rather destructive creatures with the power to destroy everything as they know it. Over time, humans have managed to make alliances with these destructive creatures but that does not necessarily mean that their natural hunger for chaos had ended. It still exists and Giants often have to work hard to teach their young not to interfere with the smaller, less superior look-alikes they have such fun toying with. Which is why, as you can find in Sarah Spellbody’s book of magical creatures, you are warned to avoid Giant nests at all times, to avoid any interaction with Giant young because that oftentimes leave you squished into jelly. This is why they should not have built their city so close to a Giant nesting cave. Obviously.

Three minutes before the bell tower would ring for lunch, the ground began to shake. Most people considered it as a minor earthquake so they just continued on with their day, only slightly more aware of their surroundings. The more educated people, knew better. They knew the signs of Giant attacks and knew very well the effects of a Giant’s approach. These people began to run around the town, screaming and yelling, and informing everyone they could possibly find about the oncoming danger and of the phenomenon that was about to take place. It is thanks to these lucky people who were able to afford an education that there were so many survivors.

As people were gathering all their possessions and fleeing with as much of their valuables as they could carry, about two minutes later, they heard the laughter. This changed everything. This meant that there was no chance that these were peaceful and diplomatic Giants that were well-educated in the manners of civility and diplomacy. These were children. That was the most frightening thing of all.

The people began to run with more vigor, most of them dropping any dead weight they may have been carrying as they were desperate to escape the clutches of these pudgy child hands that would bring destruction to whatever they touched. This was survival of the fittest. However, to these people, it wasn’t a matter of if they were fast. It was a matter of being faster than the other people. Then, almost as though it was a sign, the bell tower chimed, signaling the best time of the day. And as that chime went off, the first home was crushed. The people screamed as crumbling debris fell upon them and feet as large as hills began stomping through their farms and factories. This was their Armageddon. This was their Doomsday. This was the end of everything they knew and most of what they held dear and it was most certainly an end to all of the hard work people had put into building their lives. Most people wept as they ran away from what would only mean certain doom.

That was when the first sightings of the traveler were announced. People noticed them as they ran away. There were no distinct features that described this traveler in any way. There was no way to know anything about them. All anyone knew was that the traveler had on a black cloak with the hood pulled over their head, obscuring every view of the traveler’s face.

That was the end of the town of Hollywell. The Giants stomped on and smashed almost everything they could find. And what they didn’t stomp, well, that was put into the Giant’s toy wagon to use later on as pieces for their collection of toys to use to build their miniature city. You know, those little wooden toy blocks children play with and build cities and castles with? Yeah, those. And included in that list of buildings and farms, was the bell tower, that instead of signifying the break of a long workday, instead signified the end of a town. A town that you may now know as Downtown.