Ys is a mythical city of Brittany (France) now said to lay beneath the waters of Douarnenez Bay. In the most common version of the Ys legend (there are many variations), the city was constructed by Gradlon, King of Cornouaille, upon the request of his daughter Dahut (also called Ahès). Unfortunately, Dahut was wicked and, under her influence, the city became a place of sin. Saint Winwaloe decried the corruption of Ys and warned of God's wrath, but was ignored by Dahut and her people.
One day, a knight dressed in red came to Ys. Dahut asked him to come with her and one night, and he agreed. A strong storm broke out in the middle of the night, but Dahut said to the knight: "Let the storm rage, the gates of the city are strong and it is King Gradlon, my father, who owns the only key, attached to his neck". He replied: "Your father the king sleeps, you can now easily take his key." Dahut stole the key from her father and gave it to the knight, who was none other than the devil. The devil then opened the gate.
Because the gate was open during storm, a wave as high as a mountain collapsed on Ys, scuttling the city and forever submerging it beneath the sea. King Gradlon and his daughter climbed on Morvarc'h, his magical horse to escape, but Saint Winwaloe told the king to push his evil daughter into the ocean that she so loved. Gradlon initially refused, but he finally gave in and pushed his daughter into the water, where she was swallowed along with her city.
Game and Story Use
- The myth of Ys is based in fact and somewhere, in Douarnenez Bay, lay its ruins.
- A ship runs aground in the center of Douarnenez Bay, its bow caught upon a metal steeple.
- The PCs are hired to bid on items at an art auction that the seller claims are treasures from Ys.
- The PCs discover (perhaps by virtue of finding long-lost records, or - in a fantasy setting - a mournful ghost) that King Gradlon was the true villain of this story, but cast the blame onto Dahut after she was martyred trying to save her city.