“Even as I spoke, an immense shape
Materialised in the night air,
Grotesque and enormous stature
With heavy jowls, and an unkempt beard
Scowling from shrunken, hollow eyes
Its complexion earthy and pale,
Its hair grizzled and matted with clay,
Its mouth coal black, teeth yellow with decay.” – Camoes, The Lusiads, Book V, describing Adamastor.
These lines are from the epic poem, The Lusiads Book V, by Camoes, describing the voyages of Vasco De Gama, around the tip of Africa, where the Portuguese explorer and his sailors ran into the horrifying visage of a primordial being.
This titan, emerging from the storms itself around what would soon come to be called the Cape of Storms. The poem continues:
“I am that vast, secret promontory
you Portuguese call the Cape of Storms
which neither Ptolemy, Pompey or Strabo,
Pliny, nor any authors knew of.
Here Africa ends. Here its coast
Concludes in this, my vast inviolate
Plateau, extending southwards towards the Pole
And, by your daring, struck to my very soul.”
In the epic poem, the sailors eventually convince the titan to let them pass, calming the storm. The poem forms part of what is often deemed one of the most important works of Portuguese literature but is also the best source of information we now have on the Titan Under the Mountain.
Adamastor. It is a name that all Hope Citizens know. After the Vortex opened and magic returned to the world in earnest, the titan under Table Mountain awoke with fury. While he had been calmed in the poem by reason, the sudden surge of energy sent Adamastor into a frenzy.
Storms and quakes wracked the country. Some could be felt as far as Johannesburg, where Goldfield insurgents fought bitterly with Zulu impi. The world went silent, as the apocalypse approached.
It was only by the quick intervention of hastily trained magi that the Titan was put to sleep, after a daring mission and ritual, where the surviving magi established an otherworldly black citadel on the crust of Table Mountain, using the structure to channel a powerful sleeping spell on the titan.
But how did Adamastor get here?
It is said that Adamastor, one of the original primordial titans. Cosmically powerful beings whose very presence shakes the earth, forming storms and fluctuations of intense magical energy. This has proven true, as after he was initially awakened by the Vortex’s magic, Adamastor has formed a pool of strong magical energy, snaking out into some of the best weylines in the world, making Hope City the envy of the region.
Adamastor is more than ancient, predating all human civilisation and perhaps even humanity itself. What we do know, at least we think we know, is that Adamastor was banished to the Cape by Tethys, the titan and mother of the Oceanids, for falling in love with Doris, a sea goddess.
As magic ebbed out of Earth, Adamastor fell dormant. Primordial titans require vast amounts of magic to function, and Earth’s magicless status quo gave Adamastor a restful sleep, with only the occasional awakening as the natural spark of new humans awoke him for short whiles.
Titans cannot die. And there is and was no way of killing Adamastor. This much was known. While he was still pulling himself from his stony sarcophagus, the city could see that he easily towered over the mountain when standing. Conventional munitions and elemental magic had no effect.
All we could do was put him to sleep, and keep the sorcerers and mages funded and safe so that they can keep the titan asleep.
The Titan Cult
The Titan Magi and the living memory of the titan almost destroying their city has bred the Titan Cult, a religion formed around the mercy of the titan and prayers that he remains asleep and merciful. The cult has developed from sincere belief and fear of the titan, but also as a political tool by the Titan Citadel to defend its interests.
Titan Cultists believe that the awakening of Adamastor is inevitable. They only pray that he remains asleep for as long as possible, granting humanity a reprieve. Their prayers are meant to grant good dreams to the titan, keeping him content in his trance.
The Titan Cult has formed its own funeral rites, with Titan Priests reciting the following at ceremonies:
“And it shall come to pass, that all of us shall be committed to the Earth. We shall be covered by rock, as is the merciful Titan, Adamastor, who spares us his wrath for another day. But his wrath shall not come to the fallen. This child of the Earth and dutiful servant of the Titan shall not breathe again or face the storms and quakes of the Titan’s inevitable awakening. They shall be committed to the earth and rock. And like the Titan, shall be covered in rock.”
While cremation has become increasingly popular due to the risk of necromancy in Hope City, Titan Cultists still insist on being buried. Their grave markers typically take the form of giant stone fists, reminiscent of the first sign of the titan, as he broke away the carapace of his mountainous tomb.
The typical epitaph on all Titan Cult graves reads: “Like the Titan, he sleeps. But forevermore.”
Life goes on…
Adamastor, the Titan Under the Mountain, remains a very present danger to the people of Hope City and the world, but also a bountiful source of magical energy. This presents risk and opportunity. For while we await the awakening of the titan, his magic fuels our day to day lives. Perhaps, the devastation he may soon wreak is a worthy price to pay for the wonders of a magical age.