The last of the Atimidi was brought, in chains, before the Emperor of the Pale City as a curiosity. While it was kept there, it learned to speak Imperial and spoke at length with both the Emperor himself and with many of his retinue. Unlike the conception of the Atimidi as mindless beasts, it seems that the very last of their number was a skilled and sarcastic orator, despite his imposing frame and enormous claws.

Once, during a feast, the Emperor of the Pale City asked the Atimidi what would happen if the last of their number should die. The Atimidi replied that, while his people had never been beloved of the gods, their disappearance would nevertheless be mourned. They would weep for a thousand years to assuage the guilt of an infinite future cut short. The Atimidi followed this with an offer–and a request–to be allowed to leave, and to die far away from the Pale City and to spare it the gods’ wrath when he, inevitably, perished. The Emperor, unamused, did not comply.

Soon, a conspiracy against the Emperor was uncovered, seeking to murder him in order to place his nephew on the throne. The Atimidi had gone along with the conspirators, hoping to slay his captor and gain his freedom. In exchange, the Emperor had him executed by beheading, along with his nephew and the other conspirators.

At the moment the axe fell, the sky clouded over and a light rain, little more than a drizzle, began. The Emperor picked up the severed head of his onetime captive and mocked it, for having summoned so feeble a storm.

The Pale City did not see sunshine again for a millennium.

At first the steady rain was bearable, but soon the land reached its ability to absorb the water and the ground began to grow sodden and flooded. The great canals and sewers silted up. Buildings sank into the mushy morass. The glittering Imperial Palace buckled and collapsed as parts of its foundation gradually liquefied and ran away and others were worn into submission by the unceasing rain. The collapse killed the Emperor himself as well as all three of his sons; leaderless, the Empire of the Pale City soon splintered.

By the time the final raindrops fell, the Pale City had become a swampland, with only a few structures remaining above the morass, anchored to living rock.

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