Hell on Earth: Gimme Shelter
Ezekiah Grimme was a humble but well-loved reverend in the city of Los Angeles. When that city was destroyed in the Great Quake of ’68, he lead a group of survivors to shore in the land that had become the Great Maze. He offered comfort and guidance to the growing bands of refugees, and worked to ensure that they had access to both food and fresh water during their arduous escape, coming to call them his "Lost Angels". The group founded a settlement where they came ashore, and Grimme named it for his beloved flock—the City of Lost Angels was born.
After founding the city, Reverend Grimme became a bit more stern. He had the city’s co-founders build its streets in a circular pattern with the cathedral of his new Church of Lost Angels at the center. He claimed he was inspired by a divine dream that told him to create the “Celestial City” that way.
It wasn’t long before the city became the center of Ghost Rock trade between the isolated boomtowns of the maze and the rest of the world. Grimme maintained his leadership for one simple reason: food was incredibly scarce in the city. The high desert on the landward side of Lost Angels was arid and poorly suited for crops, and the few herds kept there were ravaged by a variety of natural diseases. Starvation was a constant threat in the early years of the Maze… or it would have been, if not for Reverend Grimme.
Every Sunday, following his sermon, those who attended would join the congregation in a great feast. Fruit, vegetables, and especially meat (which was exceedingly scarce and expensive at nthe time) were all free for the taking.
Even in a normal city, Grimme’s free feasts would have made him a popular man. In the Maze, in the years following the Quake when a loaf of bread sometimes cost as much as a week's wages in a week, Grimme was considered but one step lower than the Almighty Himself.
In late 1877, while the Civil War raged on, Grimme took firmer control of the city and declared it a sovereign state, citing the existence of the Vatican as all the precedent he needed.
In his famous “Edict of ‘77”, Grimme proclaimed that only true believers of the Church of Lost Angels could live in the city. Those who did not recognize the Church’s sovereignty were not only exiled but considered enemies of the state as well. This had the side effect of placing the City of Lost Angels in control of the flow of the world’s largest supply of ghost rock. The USA, CSA, the Republic of Deseret, and a host of other nations condemned the move and called Grimme a despot. In response, and to convince "foreigners" that the Church of Lost Angels was acting in everyone’s best interests, Grimme began to send small bands of missionaries out across the West to proselytize and recruit new followers.
Grimme disappeared under mysterious circumstances in the 1880s. Even without his presence, however, his church, his city, and his legacy flourished and persisted for centuries longer, until Judgment Day.