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The Hummingbird

The Black Rose

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Far to the West, a cliff overlooks an island that stretches far across the sea. From a distance, it looks line a thin line of black and gold, shimmering with a strangely bleak light when the sun sets behind it. Though beautiful at first glance, the tale behind it is one steeped in blood.

In ancient times a plague swept across the realm even as great wars were fought. Those who were struck with the sickness saw their skin rot from their bones. Their muscles atrophied and their bones decayed even as they still lived. Their deaths were slow and agonizing, and those who touched them flesh to flesh condemned themselves to the same fate. The plague grew with such speed and intensity that all those with it were flung into the sea from that cliff. In time, others who were sick, even those who did not truly have the plague, were cast out likewise.

Those who survived the fall made it to the island, but it was lifeless then, a piece of desert with only salt water to drink. No one was there to care for the survivors, and no help was sent. The people there lived out short lives, watching the bones of those who died wash up against the shore. The water between the island and cliff crowded with the corpses of men, women, and children. Even infants were not spared. The water and the island became a mass grave, and soon those who fell in war joined those of the plague.

The gods saw how the dead were forgotten and defiled, with their bodies collecting endlessly in the sea, and how many more rotted away on the island, screaming for salvation. They saw the war and plague finally end, and the last of the bodies cast again over the side of the cliff. With these last bodies, even the frail, the elderly, the insane, and the traumatized were sent to their death. The gods saw this and grew angry.

Throughout time Magestorms are said to only come from the east, traveling from the Great Mountain Range to shake the entire world from right to left. But this time, the storm came from the west, striking the island. It raged over cliff and all the lands beyond. The remains of all the bodies shattered. They turned to dust, cloaking the island in ash. The water darkened to dismal grey. A rainstorm followed, showering the island, causing the sea to rise and crash over the cliff. The rain lasted for months.

When the rain finally ceased to fall, all of the bodies and ashes were gone. No bones washed up on the shore of the island, which had itself changed.

Black roses grow on the island, covering its entire surface. They cluster so thick their stems merge and their thorns prick one another. They do not move in the wind. They do not die as the waves from the sea crash over those that grow on the edge. Each one seems to radiate a mix of sorrow, anger, despair, and fear, all the emotions felt by those represented by the black roses. All are black as ash, black as the swollen, decayed flesh of those condemned to die under fear and accusation.

The Tale of Umbridge Isle

To this day the Umbridge Isle is left in the shade of countless black petals, constantly in bloom regardless of season and weather. It serves as a reminder of what fear can do, how men can suffer and turn aside, and that however many die, someone is always watching.

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