“What the hell is going on?” Bruton wondered. “It feels like the world is falling apart at the seams!” he said to himself.
Now as he approached his 60th winter, Bruton Fretbridge was flabbergasted by all that had occurred in the last few years. He had been born during the Spellplague—a time when Mystra, the goddess who was associated with the Weave of Magic—was dead and stories told that mages, arcanists, and wizards had to learn whole new ways of using their mystic powers.
There were wars and wonders and strange tales coming from all over the Sword Coast every year, but then nine years ago things really began to get strange. First, in 1479 Mystra returned and tales said the Spellplague had ended.
As a simple craftsman, Bruton could tell little difference between one caster and another, let alone changes in the way the Weave worked. But the street performers, professional musicians, and adventuring bards who bought his lutes told him all about the happenings. Mystra was not the only goddess who had reappeared that year. Several more popped up again who had been dead for a century or more.
Some of the folk down at The Yawning Portal claimed that the gods had spent a hundred years dead avoiding the taxes from Lord Dagon Neverember. Bruton had smiled and grinned at those tales, but he never let a bad word about the Open Lord pass his lips. His customers had told him tales of what happened to victims of the Spellplague and the utter destruction wrought on the City of Neverwinter where Lord Dagon’s family had once been all but royalty. Yes, taxes had been higher during the Spellplague, and Waterdeep herself had suffered damage.
Lord Neverember saw to it that the taxes collected were used to rebuild Waterdeep’s walls and homes and infrastructure, and what’s more he had pity on those poor spellplague victims in Neverwinter, and the tales told how he had been helping New Neverwinter to be established and grow and how he was providing gold and more to care for those wretches most afflicted by the spellplague.
Bruton never counted himself as particularly wise or smart about the ways of the world, but he knew the simple laws of commerce. And to his way of thinking, if New Neverwinter grew prosperous, it would mean they could buy more from Waterdeep, and Waterdavians would have opportunities to buy more from New Neverwinter.
Over a few years, folk got used to Mystra and some of the other gods being returned. Then in 1484 came the War on the Silver Marches. Orc hordes flooded in from across the Spine of the World and would have overrun the Silver Marches and pushed south if that stubborn dwarf king Battlehammer hadn’t rallied all the clans of his folk to push them back.
And that same year there were disasters and earthquakes and storms and volcanoes like Bruton had never heard tell when the Sundering began. The adventuring bards told Bruton that somehow Toril had become fused with another world called Abeir, and that now the gods were cracking the two worlds apart and causing all the ruckus. Bruton heard more of it than he cared to remember, but he focused on what dangers he could see with his own eyes. Bruton’s own shop sat in the shadow of the God Catcher, one of the wondrous Walking Statues that had not moved since The Griffon appeared in ‘79. But every time the earth rumbled or the winds howled, Bruton looked nervously up at the God Catcher, hoping that the statue wouldn’t come toppling down across the neighborhood and crush his shop with him inside.
Of course it never did, and when Bruton shared his concerns with some of his adventuring customers, they reassured him it wouldn’t. That was easy for them to say because they didn’t stay around under the shadow of that looming giant construct. They went off across the Sword Coast hunting giants and dragons and snarks and grue. It wasn’t until one of Dagult Neverember’s own court musicians told Bruton that Lord Dagult himself had said that the Walking Statues were impervious to damage from mundane forces like earthquakes and sea squalls that the lutier felt more at ease. After all if Lord Dagult said it, it had to be true, didn’t it?
And now in the fall of 1488 there was the most crazy thing of all. Just the other day in the first round of the Sword Coast Association of Football Clubs opening round playoff matches, the halfling team had defeated the half orcs. Gods dying and returning, the Weave causing magical plagues to arcane casters who meddled in too much magic, and worlds splitting apart—that was all one thing. But halflings besting half orcs in athletic competition? That was almost too much to believe. “What the hell is going on?” Bruton asked himself again.