Terminus I: The Closing of the Gates

This novel is a collection of short tales about the city of Terminus. Terminus is a large, walled city; nestled into a valley. The city is placed firmly in the lowest part of the valley basin, with the mountains so high on all sides that it blocks the horizon. Only one road connects Terminus to the outside world, and it is a treacherous path that winds and bends through the mountains. Terminus is a self sufficient city, with just enough farmland inside it’s walls to feed its people, and a steady supply of fresh water from a waterfall that flows over its walls, into a reservoir.

The Closing of the Gates

Not much is known about Terminus before the closing of the gates (or after for that matter). There are no surviving records of who was ruling Terminus at the time, or how many people lived there, or even what type of people inhabited the mysterious city. The only thing known about it before The Closing of the Gates is how wealthy it was. The Terminians sold a prized material called Poxfur. Poxfur was much like fox fur, but softer, warmer, and incredibly durable. Nobody knows what poxfur was made out of, but many people speculated that the Terminians were using some sort of magic to create fur so delightful. Regardless of how it was made, poxfur was so popular that people flocked from all over the world to buy some. Terminus was flooded with wealth for countless years, until finally, something went wrong.

Poxfur had become so popular that that the Terminians couldn’t produce the fur fast enough to meet demand. Tourists who had travelled from the far corners of the world became disgruntled when stores began turning them away. Mobs of people began to rise up and riot in the streets, demanding to be given some of the prized fur.

Around this time, dark things began happening in the idyllic city of Terminus. People began to disappear, in larger and larger numbers every day. Children would leave home in the morning for school, and never be seen again. Rumors of a devastating new plague began to circulate and widespread panic took over the people of Terminus. On every street corner there were stories of more and more people disappearing, of the riots ripping entire blocks of the city apart, of the government supposedly disposing of it’s own people in an attempt to curb the spread of the plague. The rising wave of fear caused people to emigrate from Terminus by the hundreds. Every day, more and more people were piling out of it’s front gates; until one day, the gates simply closed. Throngs of people were attempting to walk through the fifty foot tall gates, when they had to jump out of the way of the massive swinging doors. Families were split apart, parents had jumped out of the city to escape the doors, while children were left trapped inside. No official statement was made by the rulers of Terminus, the gates were just never opened again. Those inside when the walls closed for the last time, were never heard from again.

Most people assumed that the plague had become so rampant that the only solution was to quarantine the entire city. They assumed that all of the poor people of Terminus must have perished in their own disease. After two months of silence, however, thousands of wagons bearing the sigil of Terminus began to show up all over the world. Each wagon was loaded with hundreds of pounds of poxfur. The world was so happy to have its favorite textile back, that most people didn’t think to ask any questions. The gates of Terminus are still closed, but on the same day of every year a new, incredibly large, shipment of poxfur leaves the valley.

Some people have attempted to enter the valley to discover what’s really happening behind the walls of Terminus, but none have returned. Most people choose not to think about it; as long as they get their poxfur Terminus can do whatever the hell it wants in its corner of the world.