The Blade of the Raven Queen
The Flood Festival
As winter draws near, the citizens of Cauldron begin shoring up their homes and businesses in preparation for the flood season. Since the town is essentially built inside a large bowl, the rainy seasons of winter can be particularly dangerous. The mouth of the caldera catches falling rain with great efficiency, and the gutters and alleyways of Cauldron quickly become filled with turbulent rivers that more often than not overflow into the streets as they drain down the inner surface of the crater and into the central lake. This rain can sometimes overcome the lake’s drainage into the caverns below and nearby rivers. As a result, the water level slowly creeps up, flooding the lower buildings and forcing the inhabitants to flee to higher ground. Since the buildings along the lake shore tend to be poorly constructed, and their inhabitants poor, sick and destitute, the damage done by these yearly floods can be devastating.
After a particularly wet winter several decades ago, when the central lake’s waters reached Ash Avenue and completely submerged many of the lower buildings, the town’s leaders decided to do something about the recurring problem. Representatives of the Temple of Heracles and the Cathedral of Hades got together under the urging of the then-high-priestess of the Church of Athena, pooled their resources, and created several Wands of Control Water to combat the next flood season. That winter, clerics from these three temples patrolled the lower streets of Cauldron and fought back the flood using the wands. The citizens were grateful for the aid, and assisted with sandbagging and shoring of the buildings where they could; even with the magic wands, the flood waters could still do significant damage.
So successful were these measures that, after that flood season, the city erupted into a massive festival. This grew into a tradition beginning each new year after the first major downpour. And Each year, the clerics of the city created wands of water control to fight the floods, and the floods were controlled. For a few years, the clerics even dabbled with scrolls of control weather, but this option was abandoned before long because too many mishaps cropped up when lower-level clerics miscast these powerful spells.
Merchants begin to prepare their stalls and the morning after the first major downpour, the city collectively and spontaneously decides that it is opening day. Crowds of merchants and citizens start to collect at the beloved Lakeside Pavilion. By late morning practically the whole city has packed the streets around the pavilion and the citizens erupt in a rhythmic and deafening chant of “FLOOD FESTIVAL! FLOOD FESTIVAL! FLOOD FESTIVAL!” As the chant becomes louder and louder the city officials make their way to the pavilion for opening ceremonies and announce the beginning of The Flood Festival. The excited crowd dissolves faster than it collected as the people spread back into the city to participate in the much-loved annual festivities.
Over the past decade, the winters have been fairly mild, and it is doubtful that the lake would have flooded even if it’s waters weren’t controlled by magic. As the apparent need for protection faded, so did the city’s memories of the floods of decades past.
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