The country of Bayen, had had a very turbulent and insecure history, full of civil war sparked by natural disasters. Nowhere in the country had suffered more than it's capital Port Cayaen, which had seen droughts, famines, earthquakes and hurricanes.
However it was the earthquake that hit the city about a hundred years before the birth of Amira that changed the landscape of the city forever.
The city walls used to be surrounded by houses and farms, stretching out for miles. When market day arrived, everyone would swarm into the city, some on carts, ready to sell goods they had produced, but most came to enjoy the day, dressed in their best and excited about spending a day in the city. It was on one such day that the biggest earthquake Port Cayaen had ever experienced hit.
It was the height of summer and as usual the crowds flocked to the city. Stalls were set up, bunting was hung up between houses and the streets were packed. There was an air of festivity in the square of the centre of the city as the day grew towards its end and music began to spill out from the nearby public houses and inns where a large number of people were still sitting, savouring the remainder of the day.
It was as the sun began to kiss the horizon that chaos descended. Everything began to shake and people began to scream. Things fell from shelves and glass smashed as everything hit the floor. There was no way anyone could run and even if they could make it as far as an open space, the ground wouldn't stop shaking.
Through the deafening screams and the rumble of moving earth, people were mumbling prayers, to the Gods, to their king, to anyone who would listen. Tears poured down people's faces as death approached in the form of splintering wood.
The buildings in the city weren't built to withstand such a severe earthquake and couldn't take the strain. It only took a matter of moments before buildings all over the city and in the villages surrounding it began to collapse, crushing people who couldn't escape from the falling building.
For those screaming and praying that they would survive, the earthquake felt like it lasted an eternity. In reality, it was over in a matter of minutes. But the aftermath is what really changed the face of the city.
Outside the city walls there wasn't a house left standing and those that were positioned too close to the high stone walls were crushed by falling rocks. Inside the city there was blood and dust covering the streets. Those who were lucky enough to have survived the direct carnage of the earthquake emerged from their state of shock to hear howls of pain and see people, their friends and relations, crushed under fallen buildings.
For days the city was a place of desperation. More people from over the country flocked to the city, some to help save the injured and dying, others searching to find relations who had been caught up in the disaster.
Hundreds of people died during the earthquake, thousands more passed on because of their injuries. There wasn't enough help to get many out of the collapsed buildings and not enough medicine to save everyone who could be removed from the rubble.
This was one of the blackest moments in the long history of Amina's country, but it also led to the regeneration of Port Cayaen, where over half the city was rebuilt, including the royal palace. Port Cayaen was transformed into a prosperous and beautiful city, the city that Amina fell in love with.