Centuries ago, something happened that destroyed many of Matroma’s great cities, killed the overwhelming majority of her population, and set technology back by millennia. The land itself was changed, creating the Fractured Lands and leaving the eastern third of the kingdom a desolate wasteland.
Despite the enormity of the destruction, the exact cause and nature of the Cataclysm have been forgotten. Matroman scholars, therefore, fiercely debate three issues regarding the Cataclysm:
- What precipitated the Cataclysm?
- What form did the Cataclysm take?
- How did it happen that no one now living remembers the answers to the previous two questions?
As might be expected, many answers to these questions have arisen.
The scholarly consensus is that the Cataclysm was a natural occurrence, possibly a result of some great, planetary realignment. It is known that the climate following the Cataclysm was significantly colder than in the years prior. Heavy snowfall was common, even as far south as the Fractured Lands, and many hundreds of Matromans who had survived the initial devastation died from the cold.
According to this view, then, the Cataclysm was a cosmological event that caused widespread earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding, and other natural phenomena on an unprecedented scale, resulting in the near-annihilation of the Matroman kingdom. This, the scholars say, also answers the third question: the nature of the Cataclysm was forgotten in the desperate efforts to survive in the years following. No records were kept, and people were too concerned with keeping warm and fed to take the time to compare stories and try to piece together what had happened.