The Doom That Came to Sarnath
The Gauntlet is organized along four different groups. The most influential group by far in the modern era are the Rangers, those aethernauts tasked with maintaining and operating the Reprievements. In the early days, the duty of the Rangers was to contain the Yawp and protect against raiding bands of Suga, the generic term the Sarnathi give for the many different tribes of godtouched barbarians who inhabit the vast wilderness and worship and follow the primordial wild gods.p. The Suga are generally tall and broadly built, with more hair than the Sarnathi. They have clan based structures and war frequently with each other and with the occasional and desperate bands of marauders, robbers and exiles who sometimes also make their home in the Yawp and raid the border villages and farmlands. The wild gods are enormous territorial beings resembling wild animals but… moreso. They require vast swaths of territory to roam in, randomly devouring some in their path and blessing others. When two wild gods meet, they will always fight to the death, a process that can last up to a week. The tribe of the fallen god will become the slaves of the conquering god, and sometimes, if a wild god conquers enough rivals, the following horde of Suga become a true threat to the frontier settlements.p. The Rangers today are less concerned with watching for threats from the barbarians than they are with filling the quotas prescribed by the Banque. Reprievements were traditionally manned by aethernauts and those whose crimes against the city were severe enough that their choice was exile or service to the city of a certain period of time. Today, there are more reprievements than ever and they are better manned than ever before; of every ten aethernauts who graduate from Blyckaert, six become Rangers. And the prisoners there are not simply murderers and rapists, but now also debtors whose responsibility to the Banque must be fulfilled. p. Reprievements are forts made of marata wood and stone, always within sight of the Great River Ai and the Windwall. They are placed so that each is roughly eight kilometers from the next by the most direct footpath, though due to the winding of the river, they can cover varying amounts of coast, and some are closer to others by boat. The footpaths are maintained by newer prisoners, as are the charcoal coatings on the marata wood. This system allows the new arrivals time to physically acclimate to the environs of the Yawp. This is seldom seen by the debtors as a kindness though. Every task performed in the reprievement has what is called a ‘restitution rate’, which contributes towards the prisoner’s eventual freedom. A day spent doing maintenance work on a trail is worth one half of a restitution point, for example, while a godseed weighing 40 grams is worth twenty. Considering that a ‘miner’ as they’re colloquially called, can harvest up to ten such godseeds on a good trip, it’s not difficult to find prisoners willing to take the physical risk involved with mining. Some miners can be out of the reprievement in less than a month. More die in the same span of time. p. An expedition is led by a team of three knights, with 9-10 roachhounds guarding anywhere from 10 to 20 prisoners. All, knights and prisoners, are girded in aethernaut armor, although the knights have much newer and better maintained suits. The knights are also equipped with godhewing lances, typically with a single-charge flame-lance. The prisoners are given no weapons. They are equipped with a godsensor, a device rather similar to a metronome. This, in combination with the roachhounds, provide a warning system in case of the approach of a wild god. Smaller hive gods, idiot gods, and scavenger gods can still be a danger, as their radiance is much harder to detect against the backdrop of the Yawp. Known hotspots, for example, a large hive god, are often sought out for the radiance they generate and the high yield of godseed that can thus be created. It goes without saying that such things can also be dangerous, and the Yawp claims its fair share of miners – though the knights always make sure to recover their armor for future use. p. A reprievement is expected to bring in about 6,000 kg of godseed per year, and there are currently 217 reprievements. Thus is the empire run. The godseeds float down by the Ai til they reach the Ylarneki port of Eildagne, where the airbarges of the Pilots’ League carry them to the capital, where they fuel the barges, the trains, the factories, the juggernauts and the dreadnaughts and the various machines of administration and war on which the Republic is built.