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|Fallout: The Old World|
The map, circa 2175 AD
|Game Master|| Sobotnik|
|Total turns|| 5|
|Start date|| 2175 AD|
|Creation date|| 14th of February, 2015|
Fallout: The Old World is an RP made by Facepunch user Sobotnik. It is set in the Fallout universe, uniquely taking place in Europe, rather than North America. It began in 2175 AD, and advances 5 years every turn. Set a century after the war, in a similar fashion to how in North America we have the 40s/50s culture and music of Americana, here we have those of the 60s/70s. With the only state being a ruined papacy, players made their own factions and developed them and the characters connected with them, evaluated by the GM. It lasted for 5 turns before entering a hiatus. This RP has no relation to the Fallout 2300 series of RPs. Sobotnik had previous run the last Fallout RP, aptly called Fallout.For reasons similar to those related to Orbis, The Old World is dead as long as Sobotnik didn't want to make turns for it.
If you want to see any of the turns without going to Facepunch, use this link.
War, war never changes. Europe sits on the western end of a vast landmass, one subject to continual conflict. From the east came mounted warriors that sacked countless nation after nation, and from the west came the bitter conflicts between princes, popes, and the people. In the 21st century, the strain of maintaining advanced civilization became too much to bear for the European Commonwealth, with a counterculture developing in the 60s and 70s just before the war. The Commonwealth fractured apart much like the Roman Empire, before it turned on itself in a brutal and savage conflict that bleached the earth clean of life and nearly eradicated mankind. A silence descended upon the continent that had not been present for ten thousand years.
Unlike in the United States, there was no general provision for the construction of a vault system to save at least some people from the horrors of the dying world. Most people fled to wherever they could, hiding in mines or subway tunnels, drinking poisoned water and chewing the gristle of decayed bodies. In these years the darkness of death and decay descended upon Europe with the fallout. A lucky few clung on like limpets to a rock, and a few more preserved enough knowledge and technology that when the world was reborn it need not be condemned to eternal ignorance.
It is now the year 2175, and Europe is a hellish wasteland thinly populated, with the only polity of any worth being a petty city-state built atop the ruins of Rome, where happens to reside a much reduced and weakened papacy. You will begin as the leader of whatever tribe or vault you may find yourself in charge of throughout the rest of the wastes of Europe. It is up to you to see that your people survive through these dark times, and to do what is necessary for that survival. From founding new settlements to fighting wars or taking to great migrations, there are many options available for you. Remake or destroy the world as you see fit.
A Brief Histories of the Puebno dendes los Pertennése: Pre-2175
The Puebno dendes los Pertennése, or 'People of the Pyrenese' in the mother tongue, are a set of peoples who inhabit the lands in and around the Pyrenese mountains by the borders of old France and Spain. The ancestry, language and ethnic makeup of the Puebno dendes los Pertennése can be traced back to three distinct cultures- French, Spanish and Basque.
When the bombs fell, a great number of people from these cultures fled into the mountains with as many supplies that they could carry, hoping to outrun the bombs and shield themselves from radiation. A great number died over the first year, and a great many in the years after this. Those who lived, melded together, and formed the first semblance of what can be ably described as a tribe.
Over time, the stories that the elders told their children grew wilder, and contained many untruths that had been gleaned from the disgusting, mutated animals that lived in the mountains, and from the landscape now most familiar to them. The idea of a separated people quickly became blurred, as did the languages and customs of the Puebno dendes los Pertennése. Isolated from society, the separated languages corrupted into a nameless blend. Nameless, until a tribal member made first contact with a trader caravan, whom wrote the language down as Pertennése, and the people as the Puebno.
Over the last decade, traders flocked and swarmed en masse into Puebno lands. They reaffirmed the waning Latin alphabet, and began to translate the strange Pertennése language into their own tongues. The sixties to seventies music resurgence survived in the Puebno through a small number of recordings and a greater number of renditions, and led to new music hit on makeshift drums, lyrics carved into mountains, and singers to entertain through the hot days, and the cold mountain nights.
The names of the Puebno people are often practical. The forenames are personal, varying from family to family and are usually terms of endearment. the surnames are practical, but change based on the job taken on by the family patriarch; Rockbeater, Gunshooter, Orgasmmaker, etc; all translated into Pertennése.
Ryenne denda Pertonneguard (bodyguard in Pertennése) is a scion of this naming, and of this tribe. Growing up with a truely wild heart, he struck out at 17, disregarding the sound advice of the Puebno elders; do not wander from the mountain homes, or to far from the mountains all together. Armed with a gun, supplies, spears and a bow owned by his family, Ryenne ventured out... and made first contact with a trader caravan.
This changed the Puebno. With an impassioned plea from Ryenne, backed by hungry Jewish traders, they accepted the first of many merchants to come, and finally opened to the outside world. They formed a government, from elders whom supported this line of action and from the most influential of patriarchs. To Ryenne, they gave control of Puebno's first militia, and changed his family name to Leheberstejenekor (first general). For the first time, the Puebno looked outwards, and looked upon themselves as a united nation.
Though children of the first settlers still live, they number few, and have lost touch with Puebno society. They speak their own distinct languages first, and did much to assist the translations of the Pertennése language, though through much coercion. Those who chose not to embrace the new united identity, were largely ignored, and shunned from decision-making and the making of a nation.
Ancient Vikingr Tales: Pre-2175
Once, there was a scavenger, a member of a pack that survived in the old island of Zealand stumbled across a still functioning holotape, unedited since way before the Last Sunrise. He pocketed it, thinking he could turn it for a profit to some town that was wealthy enough to afford these things. Unfortunately, an incident involving a car known as a "Peento" and an old scientific basement had led him to be trapped underground. Food and water was fine, but his Geiger counter ticked in unison with the ever declining amount of days he had to live. Bored out of his skull, he tried to insert the holotape into an old computer, its screen dimly glowing in the dark lab. He read through it, and it told the ancient tales of mythology's dead since before maybe even the First Sunrise. He read. And read. And read. He read with vigor at one particular section, describing a religion of honour, of flawed gods and their pain sending shakes throughout the earth, and a promise for the eternal reward in exchange for the ultimate price.
His comrades, who knew for a fact he still held quite a few valuables on him managed to dig out the rubble, and brought out the man that would later be known as Asmund. They noticed him shake regularly and fiercely, but he seemed sane. Hell, he seemed rather pleased and calm, if you excused the vigorous shaking. He talked to them of the hanged god and the punishments delivered to a trickster, explaining the Great Shakes of old. Quite an active imagination he had while down there.
Eventually, they reached a rather poor trading town, but still eager to meet them all the same. The bartered their goods, Asmund having parted with his stuff so that his mates could do the job, all the while he went off, vibrating as he talked to the townsfolk about his discover of the true pantheon. Some humoured him, but nobody really took him seriously; the shakes just intimidated them enough that they didn't dare risk to anger him. After all, only a town of the most down trodden imbeciles would heed the words of a man speaking through clattering teeth of men form the skies striking lighting down to earth.
But heed they would.
It started with a single bullet, as the town watchman picked off an unsuccessful attempt to sneak up on a sleeping prey. But where one was felled, dozens rose, and the raid began. Like an old motor, Asmund rose awake with a mighty tremble. He knew what was happening, and he knew what he had to do. He took up his battered hunting rifle, few rounds chambered but a mighty bayonet mounted, and he ran outside, a single thought on his mind motivating him to rush to its defense. Not even the need to protect his life. The eternal echo of two words, reverberation through his skull, making him more zealous than any cornered beast.
At this point, many of the town folk had began to rush out in the opposite direction, hoping to escape the carnage for a while, and when the raiders had come and gone they pick up what they could and move further away. A few stuck back, ready to dig in to the roots they laid down, but one man stood out, with no roots to this town, but eager to rush to the battle like a hungry dog spotting a fat cow. If they had stood behind cover and took it careful, it'd just be a slow defeat, and running was out of the question. Surely, it was death to them all.
Asmund fired his rounds, and then charged.
The defenders of the town itself had to redirect their efforts as they heard the scream of their townsfolk. Only one stuck back to cover for the struggling stranger. He was the only witness to the miracle that he could only describe as "the birth of a god". The stranger fought literally tooth and nail, bayonet and butt of the gun, fist and foot against the raiders, taking one raider at a time and ensuring that they were dead. By the time the raiders flank had been repelled, they returned back to the front, only to find the raiders were running for good, one man barely standing alone. They took him in, and rushing to find the finest doctors they could, and tried their damnedest to save him. Every cap they could spare was spent to ensure his life went on.
On the ninth day, he woke back up after a long slumber to an eager crowd gathered around him. They were ecstatic to meet their saviour, and he was equally so to meet such eager fellows. He told them of how he managed to fight so hard against such fierce odds, and they ate it up. There was simply no alternative as to how a man can fight like a god. Once he had recovered, he rallied them under the same religion, and they marched to the raiders camp. They spared only the leader, trying futilely to be bombastic and intimidating. He was hanged for the night, and he was slowly strangled, and as if a true sign of the gods, two ravens swooped in on the morning to follow, and as they pecked out his eyeballs, and Zealand was christened as the holy land.
So begins a new aged of legends.
Royal Return: 2180-2185
Berlin, one of the seats of power within Europe, had been heavily bombed by the petty power struggle within Europe, and had already descended into chaos by the time the Oil Fields in the Middle East dried up. A once proud people, the Germans had fallen from grace to bitter squabbling amongst themselves. Squabbling turned to protesting, which turned to rioting, which turned into civil war. A civil war which although divided, the countries of the European Commonwealth took great advantage of, making massive gains within Germany, too busy shooting itself in the foot to care. However, when the bombs dropped, all of these gains were for naught.
After the bombs fell, any semblance of organization within Germany had been totally wiped out. The country was in disarray, what remained of the government or army had either fled to the Alps or the United States long before the bombs fell. With old habits dying hard, those who fled to the Alps had broken into another war with each other, and all perished, either from radiation or from the bullets, beams and blades of those they had once called brothers. Those who fled to the US, thinking themselves safe from war, were wiped out in the nuclear exchange between China and USA during the Great War of 2077.
The year is now 2160, in Berlin, almost a century after the Great War, A new nation is formed, vying for power within what is both a new world, and the old one. A man by the name of Willem, lucky enough to know how to read and write, a rare commodity within the wastes, stumbles upon an old, yet still surviving library with some of his friends and colleagues of a nearby caravan company. Within this library, he finds a book detailing the evils of National Socialism. Upon returning to his company, he reads it, and despite the books best efforts to dissuade those of following the ideology, he agrees with many points set out by the book. He then tells his friends and colleagues about the contents, and that they could be the chance for a "New, Greater Germany." Many believe him, and follow him onto his dream. Some, however, do not. These same few would be some of the first to work in the camps surrounding the Greater Berlin area.
From this, the self-appointed "Kaiser" Willem I led a band of only 20, where they initially set up camp near the Reichstag building, their ultimate goal. This grew to 30, 50, 100 even, before they dared take on the largest building in the city. However, after many years of building up, in 2168, they assaulted the lines of the raider-scum infested Reichstag. After a long, bloody battle, the Kaiser's men won, albeit with heavy casualties. The raiders who were not killed in the battle were enslaved, reduced to the torment they had subjected on so many others, even some of the Kaiser's own, over the past many years. Those who were enslaved by the Raiders were released, and allowed integration into the Kaiser's society. From this major victory, many flocked to see what appeared to be a benevolent state within the wasteland, and it rapidly grew. Some may have even considered it a small nation by the time of 2175, with a small, and poorly equipped military, that was still feared for their efficiency and brutality.
This "nation", while not as ostensibly racist as the much feared Third Reich that provided much of its foundations, still despises the very notion of communism, and still believes everyone should know their place within society. Enemies of the state are shot, a virtue when compared to those who are enslaved and put into work camps 'till the sweet release of death. It wishes to bring order to the shattered states of Germany and eventually bring the whole world under its belt into a new golden era.
Martial Reinvention: 2180-2185
With the fall of the United Nations in 2050 and the subsequent economic crash throughout Europe; Switzerland was hit hard. As dozens of other European states defaulted on their loans, there was a run on the banks, all of whom lacked liquidity and folded. The government mobilised the country’s militia to retain order, but it was largely members of this people’s militia that were resorting to banditry in order to prepare for the consequences of the economic crash. The country had largely fallen into anarchy when the bombs fell in 2077.
What little remained of the Swiss government only managed to fire some of their nuclear warheads, as the majority of the nuclear facilities were nestled in bandit heartland outside of the few cities that still clung to order. Switzerland itself remained largely untouched by nuclear bombardment, so its infrastructure remained intact, albeit occupied by local militias or damaged by an EMP effect from a warhead that was destroyed in the atmosphere.
The good state of the country, if you could still call it that, was a double edged sword, as the citizens of Switzerland now had to deal with refugee columns full of survivors whom had mistakenly thought the land over the Alps to be safe. These columns were protected by loyalist army groups at first, but as their numbers were whittled away by raider groups they melted away and left the helpless to their fate.
One such group retreated toward Zurich, where the remains of the Swiss government were busy strengthening their grip over the city. One issue that had become apparent was the supply of food to the city. The food reserves of the city were enough only for governmental officials, scientists and military personnel. As the people of the city starved, what would later be sadly referred to as the ‘Randalieren Hungern’ occurred. The military were forced to gun down an estimated 50,000 civilians as they rioted and tried to force their way into government compounds across the city. As the country provided a great deal of weaponry to the civilian population, military losses stood at 10,000.
By early 2175, what had been a city of close to 600,000 people had been reduced to a community of 40,000 due to frequent food shortages. The military had proved time and again unable to press outwards and secure footholds in the agricultural hinterland of the city. This occurrence had not been helped by the fragmentation of government rule in 2103, when the country’s leadership had finally dissolved into various power blocs vying for dominance. Food shipments from sister cities had gone from inter-governmental aid to an unaffordable trade.
As the situation now stands, Zurich is an enfeebled, starving city state ruled under martial law. A recent coup within the military has removed the civilian government from power and rule of the country is now held by military leadership. This has been legitimised by said leadership through an argument that the civilian government hadn’t held an election in almost 100 years. Naturally a new ‘democratic’ vote was conducted in the streets under the watchful (and persuasive) eyes of the military’s machine gunners.
The new leadership now intends to grow their influence outwards. The well-armed city will act like a porcupine no longer and, once food supplies are again established, will inherit its rightful place as the leader of this brave new world. You could say the state was hungry for an opportunity to make its mark.
Rising Eisen: Pre-2175
In 2110, the Swiss government bloc that held dominion over much of the Alps collapsed. In its place the bloc further fragmented into a series of trading towns scattered throughout its valleys and adjacent to the mountain ranges, with a population numbering in the tens of thousands, many of which are descendants of refugees. Following a long period of tension with the overlords that led government remnants to the south of the Alps, a force arrived to annex the region in 2118, but was fiercely resisted by an alliance of local militias, that with their knowledge of the terrain and inherent defensive advantage managed to survive successive attacks. Such was the strain on the remnant blocs caused by this conflict, their internal stability began to suffer greatly, and their forces were withdrawn to keep order.
For decades the towns in the region remained independent and secured peace by not interfering directly with outside affairs in neighbouring remnant blocs and new wasteland communities. Though petty conflicts and raider invasions occurred in the period leading up to 2175, without a common enemy to resist there was no purpose for the old alliance, and it fell apart. Not since 2173, upon which year the Eisen Coalition was founded, has the region seen any real semblance of lasting unity again.
Varn Klausner was born in southern Switzerland. Upon coming of age in his remote community he began a career of escorting caravans and guarding settlements as a contractor for a large local mercenary organisation. During his time as a contractor Varn survived where many other men were gradually killed off by the unpredictable dangers of the post-apocalypse with a mixture of luck and caution. Furthermore he made plenty of contacts in the local trading rings through fulfilling small favours and establishing friendships. In 2166, Varn became embroiled in a brutal skirmish when an unprecendented attack by a huge Raider party cut apart the caravan convoy he was a part of. Due to quick thinking and leadership, he managed to fight his way out with his section of the convoy, though his accompanying merchants were slain. At this point he was left with a handful of mercenaries and a group of unarmed travellers, but most importantly several brahmin carrying a considerable bounty in caps between them. He guided his group towards refuge in a local town, where his distinctly different party composition raised eyebrows. The mayor, upon discovering Varn's group had with them an eye-watering amount of money, attempted to seize it in typical wasteland style, at the end of the gun barrel.
Despite this, the town militia woefully underestimated the determined and well equipped men under his wing, and in a twist of fortune, were defeated and forced to surrender. Varn personally executed the mayor in front of the townsfolk. He was keen to let the new issue of management become unambigious when he realized the potential power he was now capable of. Using his experience, contacts and wealth, Varn continued to grow the town's trading interests, reforming the town militia into a well trained and well equipped force. After several years of exponential growth, the once unremarkable settlement began to be spoken of for many miles around it, and increasingly became a target for raider attacks. In addition, tensions sharply began to rise with rival towns at their newfound competitor's fortune. Varn received word that some of them planned to blockade his home which he now named "Eisenhollow"; in response he pro-actively gathered all of his resources and associates and planned a region wide act of covert sabotage.
Over a series of bloody nights, militia commanders and leadership from rival towns were at once assassinated, and heavily armed Eisenhollow militia patrols stormed each of their holdings, now in disarray, to established new government that answered directly to Varn. At this point he proclaimed himself Princeps of the Eisen Coalition. By 2175 the coalition is controlling several natural chokepoints between pre-war Italy and Switzerland, and in a position to dictate a large amount of the flow of trade and travel between the regions.
Exigent Irish: Pre-2175
In the last days of the European Commonwealth most of Ireland was still under the sway of the agrarian lifestyle that it had been following dutifully for the past several thousand years. Many Irishmen were content in their ways of farming the land and nurturing it for its bounty and going to Mass on Sundays.
This contentedness and the distance from the mainland of Europe spared Ireland from the brunt of the civil war that struck the commonwealth, which Ireland took advantage of to regain independence. However given the relative peace on the emerald isle refugees fleeing the crisis often showed up on the shores, so often in fact that fishing vessels were mobilized to turn away refugees that could not be housed. Those that were lived in shanty towns outside of the large port cities like Cork, Belfast, and Dublin.
This influx of refugees of course lead to an economic upheaval as the government struggled to keep the refugees fed and protected while the nation went through a recession. Not to mention this mass of Immigrants began searching for work throughout the island, many being forced to take up the residence on farms as tenants on rented land; a system that once killed millions of irishmen over 200 years ago.
This crisis led to a great anger amongst the more conservative people of Ireland, leading to the Free Éire Party taking over the government only a year after the refugees came in 2076. This sent the refugees reeling as police and native Irishmen began to turn their noses down on the refugees, it was around this time that the IRA gained prominence yet again on the island as refugee leaders were singled out and assassinated in an effort to scare the outsiders away. The mainlanders retaliated in response, lynching 7 members of the IRA at what would be commemorated as the “St.Patrick's day Killings”. This act was all the nationalist leaders needed for justification as they forced many of the refugees who remained in the shanty towns back into the sea and into England where the vast numbers of cities was enough to hold them. Or so the Irish people thought.
This act was seen as a declaration of war in the eyes of the English who promptly began skirmishes with the Irish in the sea and began fire bomb attacks on Irish coastal cities, destroying much of Cork, Limerick, and Galway; Decimating the Irish economy even more so that now the major trade ports of the nation were in ruins and Dublin besieged. With the British having invaded the west coast of Connachta and from the North, where the Scotch-Irish received them with open arms, all seemed lost for the Republic but it was during the beginning of fall in 2077 that the world was shaken and news came that it was the end of days. With news that the majority of their country was now in flames the British that were on the Isle fled like mad men to return across the sea where they were met with fallout. Those who weren’t able to leave took to looting Irish towns and cities, however were met with great resistance from the IRA and The Irish military.
However with the loss of the world's nation states the Republic soon died, the military having dwindled to the thousands after constantly fighting with British raiders and from a famine that set in after the refugees came. It was in these bleak times that the Republic died and Ireland was thrown into chaos. Landlords vied for power throughout the isle and Families began to bound together like the clans of old.
However this did no more than build up rivalries between clans who claimed land that was owned by another, leading to large scale feuds and skirmishes throughout the Isle as many land was burned and homes destroyed, many of the former inhabitants of cities had by this time fled to the country, desperate for food and security many became tenants like the refugees had become all those years ago. The great influx of people to clan lands would lead to the organization of warbands, raiding parties, and militias all over the once prosperous land.
However even in these most dire of times one aspect of life remained unchanged for the Irish, the Church. Though its influence had been dwindling over decades of not having a say in politics, with the disconnect from the rest of the world and bleakness of the world many flocked to the Church for comfort and protection, leaving the institution in a precarious state. Should it wait for a response from the Vatican and the Archbishop of Dublin for orders on what to do? Or should they do the Christian thing and take up the mantle to protect the poor and scared and bring the word of god to them? The latter was the choice many local priests and some bishops took as masses flocked in size and people throughout the land stopped working on sundays to go to mass and keep the sabbath holy. It was due to this Awakening of faith that Churches and Monasteries were one of the few things left untouched by raiding parties and warbands who saw such desecration as a mortal sin.
However the Church was not the only entity that would have sway over the people as with every religious power there is always a secular one to compete with it. This would come in the form of the clans that now dotted the land trying to protect their own lands and feed their ambition to unite the fractured people of Éire. This was no more prevalent than in the town of Cavan in the interior of the island. When the refugees first came most of cavan was spared from the shanty towns given its small size however every so often mainlanders would appear in the area looking for work and protection, this would lead to many to become tenants under the landowners of the area. When the country itself collapsed, people from Meath and Ulster flocked to the small town looking for protection, this was when the family that had inhabited the land for centuries, the Ó Raghallaighs, to take up the mantle to protect their county and the area surrounding it. Cavan soon became occupied by the family who gave out rented land to the city folk and helped them build new homes around the town bringing more pressure onto the Cavanites who were struggling under the burden of having such a population explosion. In response to the growing need to maintain militias to keep the population safe and to occasionally engage in raids of neighboring clans to the north, the landlords saw need to officially bound the tenants to the land so that them and their descendants would be forever tied to the land unless given leave by their landlord. And while there was a small revolt in response, that was harshly crushed, the new serfs accepted their position, seeing a secure life better than none at all.
This new hierarchy of the Clan would lead to a great council to be convened in the old town hall of Cavan where the heads of the clan met amongst themselves to decide on what to do to govern their lands as clearly they could not rely on a tribal like system forever. However the answer soon appeared before them as one of the heads of the family, a fat red haired man by the name of Peter, brought to the attention of the council that their tenants were already bound to the land so the only sensibly response was to officially declare themselves bound as their overlords as well. Many of those in attendances nodded their heads happily at the prospect of becoming a pseudo-nobility with a notable amount of the landowners amongst them grumbling about maintaining the tradition of a republic.
From amongst them they elected Peter, the same man who proposed feudalism to them, to lead them. Given that the man had a vast library at his home in cavan and was known for his gardening skills and role as a historian he seemed to be the perfect candidate for the role. He graciously accepted and in the year 2143 assumed the title of “King of Cavan and Protector of the Realm” bringing him the ire of other more ambitious clans and an uproar from those who remembered the old republic . Resulting in a major uprising in the south of the county that saw a good amount of land taken and burned, it would take several years to fully suppress the rebels but the damage was done and many remained distant and untrusting of their “kingl”.
King Peter however remained ever ambitious, he soon ordered the dismantling of the old cabra castle in the east and began to have constructed a small keep of his own. However his plans soon fell short when he was only able to construct three towers before his own treasury began to go empty. In response to this he ordered the tearing down of an entire village to scavenge enough wood to construct a manor that surrounded the towers in an attempt to turn his failure to construct a castle into a succesful attempt to build a half castle.
“Castle Rovan” as it would become called was an impressive site considering everything around it was shit but nevertheless the construction drew the hatred of tenants who saw the king asa tyrant and false lord , thus he gained the nickname “the fat” and “the devil” by the people. However after the king executed a landlord who made the mistake of calling him by his title to his face the nobility soon joined the peasants in their hate for the king and in the year 2150 the king was deposed in favor of his son Brión.
Brión grew up in the shadow of his father, a quiet lad who took not only to history like his father, but also writing, football, accounting, and marksmanship he was deemed a true leader of the people by many of his subjects. And he soon proved to be all the people could hope for quickly into his reign by defeating several neighboring raider clans in open combat. And not long after the king gave generous donations of land to the church and gave them supplies to build new monasteries and chapels where they could. It was also under his reign that the old Gallic language rose back to prominence as many refugees from Galway brought with them the ancient language. Fascinated by it Brión soon took up learning the language and deemed it the language of the kingdom, instructing the clergy and schools to help the people learn this language. As well as some new radio programs to help teach the language . Under the watchful eye of Brión trade began to see light in Cavan as some brave caravans began to come into the town with goods from other settlements. Many small building projected would continue under the king who died from a fever in the year 2170 at the age of 50. He died being known as “The Chosen” by his people as the first king they were willing to accept.
Now the people look to their new king Peter II with the same distrust and suspicion as his namesake. Though this does not stop the young king as he tries to make his mark on the world. Whether for better or worse however is yet to be seen.
George Carnegie and the Stallholder: 2185-2190
An offensively bright line shone through the trees and onto a silent country road. This sunlight shining down was unlike any that came before it, as it burned fiercely on the skin. The figure staggering down the road was wearing a thick coat to block it out, and tinted dark goggles. It was hard to see through them, but they were necessary in this world. He wandered half-blind, listening intently with ears lightly used. This was George Carnegie was walking down this road, his footsteps disturbing a thin layer of leaves and sticks that had lain there since the autumn. An astronomer would tell you it was springtime, but nothing obvious could tell you this. There were no snowdrops or daffodils, nor buds on the trees. There were barely even any mushrooms or mosses, which were scattered about and clinging to the roots of dead trees. It was warm nonetheless, as the sun bore down fiercely on all before it. George had heard and seen little on his travel down this road, a road whose origin was unknown, and the destination an irradiated wreck.
He was using a staff to support his thin frame, slowly working through the debris and past the occasional car, trembling as he came across anything that looked vaguely dangerous. It had been long enough now that the cars lying on the roads were bleached clean of what colour they once had, with thick scales of rust eating away at the body. He would occasionally stop and peer into the wrecked machine to see if there was anything left. Even skeletons had been picked away by creatures long dead. Now there was nothing to suggest who the prior occupants had been.
George slowly climbed to the top of a hill and finally gained his first view of the landscape that lay before him. He could see everything before him as the trees had no leaves, save for a few sickly clumps that had buds slowly emerging off their branches. A ruined manor house was also at the top of this hill, close by to some mounds with yellowed grass upon them. A river sat at the bottom of this hill, meandering into the distance and carrying undrinkable water within. There was a near-pristine town as well, although the passage of two decades since the war surely should have wrought their damage. A sign nearby the mounds said the words:
“Sutton Hoo Visitor Centre”
George was a fellow from somewhere up north, he was among the last born before the war, and among the first to experience a life solely composed of subsistence and wandering. He continued to walk down the road towards the only bridge around. It was thickly clotted with decades of mud and stained with moss and with patches of brown grass and shrubs covering it. The damage was slight however, her Victorian engineers had built it to last. The bridge was still holding steady after two long centuries, of which a tenth had been spent without human company. George walked over it and alongside a rusted railway line towards the town. Past what was once a dock, a nearby field lay witness to a storm that had devastated the area a few years prior. Flooded over and the embankments burst, fertile land had now become little more than a salt marsh. The boats were all embedded in the mud, quietly breaking down into their constituent parts. Soon enough they would be gone entirely, but their skeletons remained. His father (before his death) had been a worker in a factory in Manchester, and he remembered during his childhood working in that same factory until the machinery broke down and the army stopped guarding them. Some soldiers still prowled the country, looking for flesh. The rest were dead, or missing.
He suddenly felt something trembling under his feet. The wrought iron rails were vibrating softly. In the distance he could hear something he had never heard before. This was meant to be a silent world, and any sound was a cause enough for concern as his heart went into overtime and his brain screamed loudly to launch his body behind a car. A fraction of a second later and he was hiding behind a car and looking at the source of the sound. Before him a strange machine was limping along the rails in the same direction he had been going, a miserable device which was billowing smoke and groaning as it sauntered along towards the town – a machine unknown to George for he had never seen a steam locomotive. A piercing screech hit his ears and caused George to shout out as he grabbed his ears to block out the noise of rusted metal scraping. He continued watching as it dragged along a number of trucks which were full of sacks. After about a minute it had vanished into the distance and had left him again with nought but the sound of his own heavy breathing and the trickling of a lonely stream. Clearly somebody else was heading to the town too.
Another twenty minutes walk had proven him correct. A windmill was obviously in use, and a few houses had wisps of smoke issuing from their chimneys. But it was the soft and muffled sounds of human speech that gave him more hope than anything else. He staggered towards the town, where he hoped to find somebody that had something – anything that they were willing to part with. His bony hands were tightly clutching a small radio – something that people were now willing to trade for as many older ones had began falling to pieces. George now made his living by finding perfectly good working pieces of working technology out in the countryside (perhaps an old radio in a basement of a farmhouse, or a box of unused lightbulbs) and travelling around to swap them in return for food or clothes.
He passed by a sign that nobody could read, denoting a location that no longer existed, on a road nobody used. The town ahead of him had once possessed much more life than this – it was a major agricultural region a thousand years ago. A village had swollen into a bustling market town that exported grain. A few centuries passed before they built a bridge over the river, before a railway then snaked into the town and tied it to the wider world. Fibre optical cables tied it tighter, the town grew into a major tourist destination. The tourists stopped coming, the cables snapped, the railway became silent, and the bridge began sinking back into the mud. George was now standing in the middle of a street filled with barren shopfronts, many of them boarded up and then with the boards pried off. Similarly emaciated people were groping their way up and down the street, their heads wrapped in thick rags. They obviously had developed cataracts.
George finally found himself in a square in front of a clock that still tried to stay true to Greenwich time, although it was rare anybody could reliably correct it. A few boxes and benches with what could be charitably described as junk along with sacks and barrels were scattered about while the handful of watchful and suspicious stallholders kept a hungry eye over them. He wandered over to one and began to barter.
“It's a good radio, works well on batteries. You can listen to Beeb.” George fiddled about with the knob a bit and a loud buzzing was replaced with a dull monotone robotic voice.
“-dio 4, due to the lack of any input, the station will continue to repeat news from the last programming segment oF November 12th, 2077. In the news tod-”
Spinning the delicate little wheel once more, a new station blared into life.
“-have a point of view Knows not where he's going to Isn't he a bit like you and me?
Nowhere Man, please listen You don't know what you're missing Nowhere Man, the world is at your comm-”
The old stallholder was pleased by the surprising clarity of the sound. “Well, I have to say you had a good find here. You wanted this tin of spam too?”
“Those two please, thank you.” George said, pointing to the small pile of spam tins. He'd taught to say please and thank you constantly, perhaps to the detriment of many other important words and phrases. His generation had lost a few words from their vocabulary, and they tried to fill in the gaps whenever possible. The youngest children today were growing up without knowing what the word for cat was – probably because they didn't see any.
“Hard bargain, I'll give you kindling and a box of matches instead if you like.” said the vendor.
George looked down at the bundled books, which had been tied together with grass. On the top of them was a book with the title “Geometry for beginners”. The cover looked pretty nice to him. He didn't know much about mathematics, or even what “geometry” meant. His entire education in the matter was just figuring out the basics of addition and subtraction, and little else beyond that. In this world, an educated mind counted for nothing.
“Just the book there please? Can't carry them all.”
The vendor grinned widely and said “It was good trading with you”. He handed him a burlap sack with some tins and biscuits inside, in addition to the book and a matchbox.
“I don't need the matches thank you.” George said, picking them up and putting them back down on the table. He knew that it was a pretty hefty and heavy looking book, and that it would probably be a real hassle to carry around with him. But those intricate shapes on the cover – they did not deserve to curl up into soot and float away.
The vendor looked at George quizzically “How are you going to light it?”
“I know another way to make a light. More biscuits, please.” A few more of them passed into the sack.
He walked off out of the town back along the railway line. As he passed by the steam train, he noticed the engineer was desperately trying to patch it up a broken part with what looked like a rare and unblemished metal rod. The rest of the machine looked tired and worn out, an old workhorse being pushed to its limit. It was probably the only one left around here.
Turning over the bulky mass of paper in his hands, grimy fingers pulled the cover open and traced their way over the words – George could read (but slowly). He had a long journey ahead of him – perhaps he could find himself work here during the summer when the harvest came in? No radio to listen to, but he had the funny shapes in this book to admire at least.
The Stories of Patrick the Postman: 2190-2195
A river slithered down towards the sea, between her banks a clear water untouched ran. It flowed softly around twisted chunks of brown iron and through cracks in mossy masonry. Hopping over this river carefully atop rocks that poked out from under the surface was a peculiar man that bright morning.
His name was Patrick, and he was wearing a thick patchwork coat that was ragged and stained. On his head was a dented cap no longer made, around his chest a rough rope with a burlap sack. Emblazoned on his chest was the sole creative piece of art in living memory. It was an insignia of a pen and paper, designating that he was a postman. He slipped on a rock and bashed his shin, uttering a curse as it grew hot and bruised. For the first time in years somebody had again fallen into this river. The water seeped through his thick boots of hide and met with the blood trickling down his leg.
This river was no stranger to people of course. These waters had once flowed under broken trees and through the fingers of a Neanderthal washing his hands. Some of it had once been scooped up into the wine glasses of Romans in villas long ago buried. Further downstream it quietly passed by a site where once a watermill had stood a millennium prior. Some water splashed onto a Georgian red brick bridge on the verge of collapse after four centuries of long life, a bridge that Patrick did not dare use because of a couple nearby that robbed travellers.
Patrick took a few minutes to sit down and to clean his wound before continuing on his way. Here nobody really travelled, and there weren't really many people around in the first place. The sun bore down upon him, her attempts to give him skin cancer foiled by his cloak. His leathery hands held the burlap sack close to his body, for it contained a precious cargo. It contained books, sheets of paper, tablets of wood with scratchings inside them, pieces of animal skin, anything with the symbols of a language that each day fewer and fewer people spoke. It was precious not just because of the rarity of books, but because among the papers it contained some of the only words put to paper long after the deluge.
It wasn't so bad these days. People used to rush out of their fortified houses to scratch at the dead soil or to lay in ambush for a few hours at a time before they ran back inside for safety. Whenever somebody passed by in those days, it usually ended badly for either party as initially hot lead and then much later cold rock would strike bone and crack it in such confrontations. Patrick could walk confidently with a stride in his step as he made his way down the road – to his side were groups of people hunched over, wielding hoes and shovels that they prodded the earth with. They were aware of his presence and did not flee nor attack him, since he did a valuable service for the struggling hamlet of Greendale. Nestled away in Lancashire, the only reason that anybody bothered collecting the mail from here was because it happened to be on a relatively important road connecting several towns – they held maybe a few thousand residents between them.
A small old women prodding away in these fields saw Patrick and called him over, before she quickly pulled back her hood and hobbled over to the side of the road as she carried a bag filled with numerous small trinkets and some food. She began babbling to Patrick in the local dialect, and at great pain he asked her to speak slowly as he found her hard to understand. He was able to mentally translate roughly what she said into the older English now rarely heard.
“I've got a letter for you to take to my son, you'll write it down?”
At least he think he understand her, the second part of her message seemed difficult to understand. In her attempt to make up for her lack of vocabulary, she was stringing together all sorts of bizarre sounds and tacking them onto her words to the point that he was seriously considering whenever or not to write it down in her own words or in the language that nobody spoke anymore. Well, Patrick excluded (no matter how rusty his English was).
“I'm sorry Mrs Goggins but you're going to have to speak more slowly.” He pulled out a pen and began to transcribe the message before giving up halfway and then simply writing down everything phonetically. It looked an ugly mess, and some of the sounds had to be improvised – he made a note by adding little slashes through some of the letters to help him remember. Patrick then read it out loudly to Mrs Goggins.
“That's it, perfect. You're speaking like one of us now!” She then fumbled about in her bag and pulled out a loaf of dark bread and pressed it into his scarred hands.
“For you to be doing this is a real godsend to us, most of us durst not leave in case of the bandits or devils dwellling down the roads. He's a good boy, working out there and sending us back the little things we all need here.”
Patrick looked down at the loaf in his hands and held it closely. “Thanks Mrs Goggins, I'll be sure to get it to your boy.”
Being well-regarded in this little community, Patrick was called into the settlement where the several families living were eagerly asking him to take this small item or that piece of paper, while he handed out a few things wrapped in cloth. Lighters were eagerly sought after, and a workshop down in the ruins of what was Manchester had made itself a profitable existence by selling lighters (along with needles and pins) to people throughout Lancashire. He left and went back to the river as he continued on his run. It was quiet, save for the occasional chirping of a bird. Recently he'd heard them here and there, but until now he had never actually seen one in the flesh. Looking over the river, he saw a tree entirely dead save for a branch which had grown out of the side and was now flowering. Perching on it was just one robin singing a song, a song so entrancing that Patrick couldn't help but stop and stare at it. So much so that he wished he could hear the singing of birds wherever he went in the world, and not just here. He was rudely interrupted when he heard the sound of thunder and a blow to the side of his head.
Coming back from a concussion later, Patrick found his arms bound behind his back and squashed against the ground as he lay slumped next to a tree. Hot and damp, his scalp was stuck together with bloodied mud and missing a cap. He could hear the little robin chirping away nearby while two figures sat nearby with their hunched backs turned to him. They were rummaging through his bag, evidently upset by the grunts they were making.
“Hell he doesn't have nothing on him, just this bunch of shit here!” said the hunched figure with long matted hair.
The other figure, with shorter hair and a deeper voice boomed “He's got bread on him and some lighters, those'll do us well”
“He's a postman, they're more valuable selling than eating these days.” spat out the companion of what Patrick believed to be a man (although both voices were hoarse and animalistic, one was definitely deeper and sounded like it belonged more to a bear than a man).
“Grab him, we'll see if we can sell him off.” Patrick wasn't sure about which of them said this, for he lay in a daze where his vision swapped between blurred images of a forest and a sharp focus on individual trees. He could hear the robin still singing, although he was unsure whenever or not he was the only one to hear it. After being forced to get up, his two attackers then dragged him along down the road towards the red brick bridge. On the way he stumbled over a manhole cover from Victorian Liverpool, and the rope leading him was tugged on.
“How the hell are we going to sell him? We haven't done this before, let's just eat him instead of going to this hassle.” complained what was once a man.
“Because we can get more this way, some people want live ones so they can put them to work”
They reached the bridge, where underneath was a small shack that had been built into the arch out of scrap metal and wood. The original core of their home had once been a car from the twenty first century, long since twisted and cannibalized out of recognition into the latest construction to grace this ancient river. It smelled strongly of sweat and burnt oak inside. Patrick was tied to a post outside of the bridge. The robin had followed him (or perhaps it was a different robin?) to this bridge, and it was chirping loudly.
“Will you do something about that flying shit that won't shut up?” squawked the crone to her accomplice. He grabbed a pole while his partner stooped into her squat dwelling, and began to whack the branches of the tree with it. The persistent robin merely flew into a higher branch and taunted him with a triumphant tweet.
“Stop arsing around and get rid of that bloody thing whatever it is!” came a shout from in the house.
The crook quickly stooped into the house as Patrick slowly came to his senses as he watched the bird. He tried to struggle against his restraint, with no reward save for ropeburn. Out of the house came the man, his arms thick and troll-like. Pulling back on a huge bow he took aim at the robin and shot it off its perch, the arrow not just going through it, but causing the poor creature to disintegrate entirely. Happy he had gotten rid of the problem, he went back into his home to argue with the closest thing to what a wife might be. Outside, Patrick saw another robin fly down and sit on the branch in the same spot as the previous one. It began singing.
More shouting from under the bridge was followed by another arrow shot, but this time it narrowly missed the robin. It immediately flew down and into the house whereupon the couple inside began arguing and then the sound of broken crockery and pans slamming against hard surfaces could be heard. The commotion got worse and as Patrick looked on he could see pebbles rolling off the bridge and the aged masonry starting to give way. This bridge was once the pride of the local brickworks, which had spent a considerable sum of money on it. It was money well-spent, because the bridge was built to last. While it survived the nuclear war, it did not survive the robin. The whole western section collapsed into the river, crushing pretty much everything underneath it (including the pole that Patrick was tied to). Dusting himself down and picking through the rubble he eventually found his bag with all of the papers safely inside. He got up and washed his head and hands in the river, his blood mixing with that of the bodies underneath the rubble. When the water came out of his ears and he could hear clearly once more, he could hear the singing of a little robin, and some other birds too. At that moment in time, Patrick felt that he was a really happy man.
The University of Zurich: 2195-2200
The following is a written entry by Florian Ravinci, as he spoke of his first day at the University of Zurich.
"It was with awe that I looked up at the building I was set to spend the next two years learning within. I had never seen such a large building- the university was even larger than the military castle near Ravensburg and in better repair! I am one of the second one hundred students to learn the secrets of the past, and with it, so we are told, learn how to build the future. Our lesson plans are mostly versed with maths, science and robotics. Some of our number are displeased with the lack of historical studies- yet Lord Protector Walliser, our lord and (when statesmen duties allow) occasional lecturer has said the stories of yesterday no longer matter, only the knowledge does.
I myself do not mind unlocking and discovering new applications for science. It is a well kept secret, but our society has discovered that the lights will not remain on forever, unlike what the petty peasantry surrounding Zurich thinks. As we entered the large hall we saw a small detachment of earlier students set off toward Aachen. The importance of which I am told cannot be understated. I wish the men set to undergo the journey godspeed and His protection on their travels.
I cannot wait to better our country, maybe even return home to Ravensburg and rebuild the town!
From the ashes of the old, we are reborn.
- Florian Ravinci"