Challenge Two

“The sun rose in a brilliant manner that morning, shining with all its fiery splendor and beauty towards the backs of the diligent farmers of the east. Nippon we know now is the epicenter of technology, many years ago it was a simple country. Generations of inventors, soldiers and even nobles can be traced down from the simplest and most humble of origins, farmers who worked the land for their food and shelter.

 Although they still exist, the labyrinths of bamboo forests and the unrivaled beauty of the cherry blossom trees have declined in large contrast to their past selves. Once upon a time these unique eastern trees spanned for miles across the untouched plains of Nippon, within them a variety of strange and exotic creatures like wild cougars with orange fur and stripes or great mammoths with gray skin instead of fur. Faced with all these awesome but potentially dangerous creatures and unimaginable monuments of nature, the humble Nipponese lived out their lives in the rice paddies and flocks of grazing creatures, only taking what they needed from nature lest they incur her wrath.

 The beginning of the harvest season was upon the farmers of Nippon. Over the course of the day, the thousands of rice paddies were covered with busy farmers and their beasts of burden, taking from the hands of the earth the fruits of their labor. The day was good it seemed, with serene weather that calmed the farmers and their animals, a cool breeze that came just as they felt they were in need of shade and puffy white clouds that smiled at them overhead, urging them to work with a smile on their faces.

 It was on that fateful day that a cataclysm would occur that would severely transform a country.

 It began quietly enough. The sun suddenly disappeared behind a heavy blanket of clouds, casting a shadow over most of the continent. In the arid lands of Drundar, with sparse plant and animal life was the first sight of rain for almost a thousand years. Caleon experienced a sudden shift in wind speed that made unattended papers and little children’s playthings fly in a chaotic manner. Northern and northwestern Remus folk experienced snow that fell in a manner much faster than previous winters and with a bit more ferocity. The people of southern Remus were surprised to see drops of rain during the dry season while sailors out at sea were shocked by the sudden violence of the sea. It would be in Nippon, however, that the most devastating weather of possibly magical nature would tear through the country much like a raccoon-bear cub, or “Bracoon” as we call it, tears into it’s first taste of meat.

 It is said that for every ten trees of all kinds that grew in Nippon, eight were flattened by an unseen shockwave from a source that to this day is unknown. Lumberjacks stared in horror as the trees lurched downwards quickly and violently, crushing anything that stood under them, man or animal. The result was a forest that was stripped bare of all it’s inhabitants, a graveyard in a way.

 The valleys were scarred beyond recognition, transformed into swamps of mud and drowned grass. Creatures that had no knowledge of swimming drowned instantly, accounting for approximately seventy-out-of-a-hundred dead among the valley folk of Nippon. This would be another reason why the valley folk have built towering cities over the relatively low plains, the first reason being the abundance of downed lumber from the forests.

 The diligent farmers were hit just as bad. Mother Nature herself, in their opinion, taking no consideration of the respect and care they had given her as the earth opened up and swallowed a large portion of the land. Countless generations of homes, farms, animals and people were brutally taken from the hands of those who worked so long and so hard to earn them. Not a family in Nippon can say that they didn’t lose an ancestor to the hands of the earth.

 As the cataclysm passed on, it left the shell of a once beautiful country. The earth was twisted and scarred violently while the massive expanse of trees were laid low to a measly thousand or so. Many animals had been wiped out or driven into hiding for countless generations, emerging in numbers thrice as small as they were before the disaster.

 The people had been changed as well. As they left the caves and holes from which they hid from the cataclysm they were driven with grief and anger to rebuild, although they were never the humble farmers of old anymore. Only a small population has gone back into toiling at the earth’s soil, the others holding their distrust of nature for centuries in the form of iron and coal. With these rocks from the core of the earth herself they created machines, weapons and buildings. They created things that would benefit not only themselves but the other nations as well, for they needed to repay their kindness in sending supplies in some way. However all the inventions of Nippon, from the common telescope to the more advanced cannons or coal trains, were sculpted with the knowledge that another thing could be done without the forces of Nature that turned against them despite all they did for her.”

 -Excerpt from “Nippon, a country that nature transformed” by the esteemed author, inventor, strategist, librarian, and current Dragon Emperor of Nippon, Sun Ichigo.

The End

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