The history of Banditown is as fascinating as any we have yet heard. Wudan’s grandmother joined us again this evening and told us much of it. An old woman, she’s been here since its formation, which sounded impressive until she told me that Banditown was founded roughly thirty years ago.
The darkness, the name everyone here seems to use when referring to Daedra, had spread throughout the jungle for decades. They hunted for special men and women to bring back to Matasten. As the populations of those special people thinned, the darkness slowly retracted, condensing in Matasten until their incursions into the expanse of the Great Recess grew rare.
It was not to last. A few decades passed and they began to expand out from Matasten.
The general assumption we run into here is that the abductions are to swell the ranks of the darkness – something I don’t think I’ve encountered anywhere else. Daedra are prone to sacrifice those they steal, not attempt to convert them. Whether the Nantese assumption to the contrary is due to special knowledge, some cultural difference, or the result of simple ignorance, I do not know. In either case, the Daedra grew their claim.
Towns and villages were pressed steadily away from the center of the jungle until, eventually, they were forced to run for their lives. The old woman said her family had come straight south to Motasta with thousands of others. But the Sondu would not permit them to enter the city.
Motasta could not handle the population spike, they were told when they arrived. They needed to continue south and find somewhere else. But most refused to carry on. In the Sondu they saw their best chance at safety, and though Motasta was closed off to them they knew that one day they would be permitted in. Years passed, and the Sondu kept the refugees as far from the city as possible. A guard was set along the northern border of Motasta at all times.
If the refugees tried to join nearby villages, they were turned away. When they moved to clear trees and form their own they were run off. Eventually, the people grew sick of being homeless. Then one day their opportunity to alter their circumstances was handed to them.
During a particularly violent rainy season, a torrent unlike any they had ever seen rolled through the region. It collapsed a few buildings and washed massive amounts of debris north. Without exception the guard took shelter, assuming no one would move in the deluge.
The people were ready. In the refuse of the flood they found everything they needed. As the water receded in the night, small houses were raised. There was no time to clear trees or lay foundations, they just built what they could where they were able.
When the morning finally broke through the clouds over Motasta, the guards were greeted with a sight they had never expected. A town had sprung up to the north where nothing but trees had stood the day before. Not just a small village, but a city unto itself. They claimed only bandits and thieves lived there, but no one was confident enough to move against them. By the time action was attempted, Banditown had been born. The sheer mass of the population stood like a rock against the crashing of any wave.
Still, the people are not protected, she said. They are now seen as the buffer between Motasta and the darkness. She asked that we do something, anything to bring about an end to the darkness that plagues them.
Her faith in us, blind as it was, left me somewhat speechless. For a long moment I forgot my sworn place in the world. Forgot that if anyone were to have a chance of upending the Daedric Society here in the Nanten, it was me. I just looked at her, wondering how someone could survive what she had. How anyone could live under the rule of such callous people.
I came to myself and assured her we would do everything we could, but I was left astounded. How can she even hope we are any different when everyone who could have helped her in the past failed to do so? Wasn’t she just warning me against thinking too highly of myself the day before?
Perhaps she doesn’t see us in the same light. Where we might not be so different as rulers, we could serve as fellow outcasts. Let us hope we are not dragged down equally instead.