All has been quiet within the Converged World for some time now. Progress has been made, cities and towns rebuilt, alliances forged, cooperation undertaken. In Baron, an embassy to Vector has gone up and been occupied in symbol of the cooperation between the two nations. Peaceful towns like Rabanastre and Bodhum remain as steady as they always were, the citizenry hovering between thankfulness at the order returning to their lives and trepidation at the chilling thought of going back to the way things were.
MIMIR has long since gone quiet, but in the face of newfound prosperity and peace, is it so critical to study the Convergence? Nations across Gaea continue to watch for signs of instability ... and find nothing. Could the Converged World at last be reaching stability? Could it be that MIMIR itself was at least partly to blame? So run the whispers in inns and taverns across the globe.
And then, one afternoon ...
In the course of an ordinary day, in an ordinary week, in what the peoples of the Converged World were devoutly hoping would be another ordinary year, a crisp, chill wind blew through the summer air. The markets of Midgar rumbled quietly underground, a rumble which quickly grew louder...and far overhead the Upper City plates begin to shift. The highways and skyscrapers of mighty Zanarkand began to crumble as the skies above shifted to a sickly green, then a blazing, overpowering orange. Light objects in Lindblum began to hover, then slowly fall upwards. All in a matter of minutes, the peace of a stable Converged World was shattering into fragments around its denizens, like a mirror struck by a bullet.
Suddenly, without warning, the world goes sideways, the very earth rending in a massive split in the middle of the ocean -- first one place, then another. Then the Western Continent rips in half along the Moonflow, utterly destroying the massive paling wall to the southern edge of Baron like a hot knife through butter, exposing the bright, blinding blue-green swirl that some have called the Lifestream. Towns and cities and farms collapse and crumble into it, even as unspeakable fiends, set free from the branches of the Iifa Tree, take wing across the skies. Airships skid crazily into mountains, beaches, or other airships as the principles of magic or technology on which they depend ... stop working.
The disasters build moment by moment. Smaller villages and towns are abandoned or flattened in an instant. One beacon of safety for the hopeful denizens of the world: Midgar, perhaps the longest-standing city through all the Convergence. But even as the first waves of people arrive at the gates, the mako reactors begin to stall, and the Lifestream they depend on runs backwards. The city is plunged into complete darkness -- below the plate and above. Soon, the fractures in the earth betray the weakness of the machinations of man, as the great pillars holding the plates of the Upper City are sheared effortlessly by tectonic activity. Millions of tons of steel fall a piece at a time, taking the multitudes of horrified people with it. The reactors are left floating in pools of pure mako that burn like neon scars on the face of the earth.
News of Midgar's fate reaches Vector just fast enough for the first bottles of champagne to be uncorked. But a moment later the trees and bushes the city has come to take for granted start to wither and dissolve into ash. Miles of vines pull backwards and recede deep underground. From the hidden Earth Crystal in the catacombs, a sickly green-brown light flows. Earthquakes follow; trees come alive and batter down buildings; carnivorous flowers and hornets twice the size of a knight roam freely through the streets. With the underground completely choked off with brambles and poisonous weeds, the only path for the evacuation to take is across the Thunder Plains. But the skies above the Plains are stained red: Fire, not lightning, falls from overhead.
In the skies of Bhujerba, the citizens can only watch in horror from their front row seats to the apocalypse. Many are complacent, thinking that no matter what horrors befall the world below, Bhujerba will remain safe in the skies. And for a few brief moments of hope, it looks like they might be right. But their hopes are soon dashed by their beloved air crystal. There's a bright, blinding explosion of blue light from the crystal. Shortly afterwards, one by one, the skystones that keep Bhujerba afloat begin to simply...flicker out. Screams of terror erupt from the populace as the great island continent begins to fall, slowly at first, but growing faster with every dying Skystone. The blue expanse of the ocean grows ever closer, for some faster than others as they fall from the edge of the continent by the hundreds. There's a hellish cacophony of noise as the continent finally meets the ocean, stirring massive tsunamis in every direction.
And then ... nothing. Quiet.
You open your eyes to find yourself in the ruins of a city so ancient that only a shell of what was clearly once a grand and lively place remains. The skies are once again blue, the clouds white, objects falling downwards like they should ... but is that just the faintest of blue shimmers overhead? No airships are visible in the skies ... and the sweetness and thinness of the air, coupled with the high peaks around you, suggest a mountain valley remote indeed. Of the tens of thousands of people in the Converged World ... you see only a few handfuls that remain.
Where are you? And what happened?
Since then, folks have been gradually exploring the ruins in search of food, water, shelter, and a clue as to /just what happened/. Among the ruins there is evidence of technological know-how alongside signs of the Espers brought in from other places, like a chunk of the Eidolon Wall from Madain Sari and an Esper Glyph from Ivalice. Bits and snatches, though, not wholesale towns or cities or areas as has been true in the past.
Something has changed, and not in a nice way.