The Doom That Came to Sarnath
The Fall of the Kings
The War of Tusks began with the death of Gispaire the Unbloomed, five days before his coronation. The next in line was his younger cousin, Juliann of Heyloon, only seven years old, but suspicion immediately fell on his parents. The whole household, in Sarnath for the coronation, were executed by the Dowager Queen, Jehanne the Ruiner. The Duke of Beyinac, cousin to Juliann and a decorated general, marshaled his troops, rallying for an end to the reign of the Dowager Queen. Meanwhile, the Prince of Kadateron, Sardaj the Learned, was fifth in line but far more well known and established politically than the other successors, and was popular with many nobles in Sarnath. A band of nobles fled Sarnath for Krishnagiri to support his claim for the throne. The next in line for the throne was a noble in the Hilterlands, the Duke of Jurun, who was assassinated upon his return from an expedition against the Kattu. His daughter married one of his most trusted lieutenants, Tomas de Friery, and the two declared the Hinterlands an independent kingdom, which broke trade on the River Ai for years to come.
The ensuing conflict was waged primarily between these forces; the Dowager Queen, the Duke of Beyinac, the Prince of Kadateron, and the Juruni Duchess. The conflict dragged on and the death toll among the people grew unbearable, giving rise to the First Verminite Revival. With their manpower reserved depleted by both religious uprisings and the intense fighting, the Republic’s troops were unable to maintain control of many of the outer colonies, which rose up and threw off Sarnathi rule. Many were the doomsayers that proclaimed these the end times for Sarnath, and for nearly a decade, no priest or supplicant could say they had felt the blessing of the city’s gods, who had turned their back on their squabbling people.
For nearly a decade, strife and chaos rocked the city and the Republic. Nearly the entire line of succession died or disappeared during that time; Sardaj the Learned died early in the war, leading a charge against the walls of Sarnath. With his death, the nobles divided and their loyalties bounced from one contender to the other. Jehanne was strangled in her sleep, some say by her lover, others say by the men of the Duke of Beyinac. He died of greenlung in an army camp in the southern ends of the Yawp, preparing a sneak attack against the Duchy of Jurun. The Duchess of Jurun was assassinated in broad daylight, shot by an archer as she gave a speech to her troops. Her consort, Tomas, was the only one of the principal actors of the War of Tusks to survive, and would go on to found the Arrows of the Ai.
The now demoralized and depleted factions with any sort of power came upon a compromise candiate; Faesel of Aseema, a nobleman of mixed Sarnathi and Punathi blood who had been vital in quelling the Punathi uprising. This compromise, so desperately sought when the fires were raging, came to taste bitter in the mouths of the nobles as order was restored, for it became apparent that Faesel was not only in the thrall of the Alchemists, but that he was an impious man who profane the gods of Sarnath and worshipped by moonlight the forbidden deity – Bokrug the Cursed.
To avoid bloodshed, the heretic king was given the choice to step down, but he refused, and this bit of mercy was used against the sons of Sarnath as their homes were burned and their families slaughtered by the foreign mercenaries that Haesel held, untouched by the long civil war that had weakened the garrison of Sarnath. The cousin of the Duke of Beyinac, General Yvan Sagnier, was in the field against one of the many Locust Gods that plagued the reign of Haesel the Impious. When he learned of his family’s death, he vowed vengeance, and rallied the entire countryside to his cause. They marched on Sarnath and liberated it, but only after much bloodshed and after much of the city had been burned by the fleeing mercenaries. They broke the walls of the Palace of the Kings, bringing low its golden towers and marble parapets. In the flowered courtyards of opal and beryl, they fought not only the now desperate Rokolian warmongers, but the great god Bih-Piru himself, driven mad by the dark sorceries of the alchemists and the blasphemous rituals of King Haesel. The god of the kings was slain, and Haesel, unable to face his judges, took his own life.
With no line of succession and no god of the old kings, the noblemen were without a clear direction. None wanted a repeat of the War of Tusks, and so to preserve peace, they formed the Senate, where all the old and loyal families of Sarnath would have a say in its governance. The Consulship has been shared among the four families of the four nobles who personally led the liberating army – the clans Sagnier, Dolvers, Chianndu, and Yath.