The Doom That Came to Sarnath
Punath was once the queen of the Middle Ocean, a jeweled city of soaring towers and flowering gardens built into the red hills of Hazentaji. Lesser kingdoms, principalities, and city-states on both coasts paid her homage, for the amber sails of Punath guarded the trade routes for leagues in all directions, enriching the Punathi and all their neighbors.
In the years of the early republic, Sarnath counted Punath as a friend and ally, and trade between the two maritime powers was plentiful. Over time, however, as Sarnath’s power waxed, and its naval technology surpassed that of the Punathi, the Four Princes of Punath eyed the rich settlements of Sarnath greedily. Raiding escalated to a full scale war, and for a decade the two powers fought on sea, on the shores and islands of the Middle Ocean, and in the air. Eventually Punath was defeated, and much of its stolen territory given to Sarnath and its client states. Punath was allowed to retain its independence and many of its trade privileges. The Four Princes chafed under this restraint, and within forty years of the first treaty, Punath began another ill-fated war. Although the war was brief, lasting only seven months, it saw several pitched battles, and over 100,000 Sarnathi dead. When Sarnath won, there was a large political will to have the entire Punathi pantheon was put to the sword, along with much of the population of the capital of Weldihya. The growing tension at home from the heavy cost of the war led to the Verminite Uprisings in Sarnath, and in the aftermath – the decades of unrest, civil war, and ill fortune – the Governor of Punath, a Sarnathi veteran named Dorrienne, stepped up and brought the wayward principality of Punath into line.
Or so it was thought. In recent years, the now elderly Dorrienne has made overtures of friendship to the Republic’s most serious threat, the bloodthirsty Rokolian Empire. Rumor has it that he even plans to marry his favored grandson, presumed heir to his position, to a Rokolian princess. These rumors feel like a slap to the face to all true Sarnathi, who have not forgotten the many dead at the Battles of Seven Cedars or the Yemelk, nor the devastating chain of events that many felt began the day that Punath declared war. There is significant support for a punitive war that will not only teach Sarnath’s protectorates not to court its rivals, but perhaps also appease the sleeping god of war, Lobon.