In the Clarkwoods Literary Universe, the Calamity is the event to end all events. It is what happens when a time traveler succeeds in changing the past, and The River Without End is compelled to reboot the universe to its next iteration.
Call it Ragnarok, the Apocalypse, the Big Crunch, or whatever else you might want. It is quite simply the end of the world.
It begins with a wind blowing in from all sides, a wind stronger than any ever felt. The rain comes next, great torrents of it as the River Without End floods. The oceans swell, the natural rivers of our world overflow their banks, and man-made structures begin to crumble. Then the mountains begin to fall. Those who have some inkling of what is to come, some twinkle of memory from a past self, they run for the doors of The Strumpet’s Sister if they can find it. They know it will be a shelter from the storm.
For a little while, at least.
Eventually, there is nothing left in all of existence but that old tavern, the people crowded within its walls, and those clutching to whatever part of the building’s exterior they can. They watch the River push the Strumpet’s Sister toward what appears to be an immense waterfall and hope against hope for some kind of savior.
All the saviors are dead.
Next comes the River’s final push, the final collapse of the universe. Everything that’s left—the Sister, its regulars, and the people holding on to its shingles with everything they’ve got left—everything is torn apart piece by piece. Molecule by molecule, atom by atom, existence is rent asunder—every bit of it—until the River can push everything that used to be into a single point of infinite density.
The River goes still, with nothing left to fight against, and hopes the pieces of the universe will figure out a way to live in harmony this time around—or at least learn to live within the confines of the course the River has charted out for them. And then, after a time spent in what amounts to a new Eden, the new universe begins to push outward against the River to begin the next iteration.
Within the walls of The Strumpet’s Sister, patrons are safe from the effects of The Calamity until the final moments. The Barkeep, who seems to have an innate sense of how things are progressing outside, typically announces that drinks are on the house just before everything comes to an end—the theory being, of course, that the cessation of existence will be easier to bear while ferschnickered.