Serranthro M'Lethet

This twin capitoled country stretches from the Tern River, in the north, over one hundred and fifty leagues south to the F'Tlit Plain and its shared border with the Ar'Ethmet Imperium. Of the countries affected by the recent turbulent events in the Crescent Lands, the Serranthro M'lethet has suffered harshly. Not only did the Plague devastate its population, but its five year civil war, and Minh's failed invasion added to the suffering. Before its reversal of fortunes, it was peopled with over 6 million souls; 60% of whom lived in the southern half of the country, ruled from Numer, and the remainder in the wealthier northern half governed from the port city of Tekel.

Its population has been reduced by up to 50%, with the southern half bearing a disproportionate loss. Large tracts of rich farmland in the F'Tlit Plain have gone to seed, transportation systems have collapsed, and much social, political, and even religious order are in disorder. What disease, invasion, and civil war have spared, starvation, hoarding, lawlessness, and fear have wasted.

Most of the country's problems can be traced to the Serranthro M'lethet's unique (and many would say foolhardy) system of government and the rigid hand the Church of Thoem. The Empire was formed one hundred and twenty one years ago (3.28.5659 PBD) by the joining of the two ruling families of the city states of Numer and Tekel. During these years, these two city states found themselves increasingly beleaguered economically and militarily. Minh was putting pressure on Numer's southern border and trying to annex rich areas of the F'Tlit Plain, while Aereolus dry docks were taking much of the shipbuilding trade from Tekel.

Under these external pressures and with the common bond of the Church of Thoem, the city states were joined. Since, nobility is not know for their willingness to let slip the reins of power, the two royal families agreed that each lineage would retain authority over their respective halves of the country and only in matters of international import trade, war, colonization, proselytizing was it required that the heads of each dynasty come to a mutual agreement. Thus, the lineage of Halbros Serranthro retained control of the northern portion of the country with Tekel as capitol and the descendants of Arlo M'lethet reigned from Numer and had sway over the southern half. As might be gathered (by any whose wits have not become addled as a Tarimite's on New Years Day), this system of government by committee is an apothecary's potion for disaster. As any who have studied the theory of government know, only government by those of suitable blood and with absolute power can justly, effectively, and truly rule.

The one former unifying factor, worship of Thoem, was the cause behind the internecine warfare which drained the country for five long years. The violence has been primarily between two sects—the Dualist, and Monolithics. The Dualists believe that a minor deity, Ar Nar the Hand, is a minor aspect of Thoem, while the Monolithics deny this believing that, since Thoem encompasses all, He needs no separate aspects. Over such weighty matters is blood spilt.

The worship of Thoem rules all aspects of life in the Serranthro M'lethet—law, social behavior, diet, art, music, literature and dress. Clothing is restricted to tones which the Church has defined as "obedient" colors—browns, black, grey, and tan. Further, since women are judged to be the source of all discontent, baser feelings, and unorthodoxy (savants of human nature suggest that Aerea worshippers who might be considering the Empire on their next vacation choose a more congenial local—the great whorehouse of Ma Cab, the Slipper, comes to mind). Women must demonstrate recognition of their sinful nature by clothing themselves in modesty. Thus they wear voluminous garments which cover the legs to the ankle, arms to the wrist, and the bodice in totality. Even in the warmest weather, woman must wear high collared dresses and a head covering with full veil (to obscure her features from any but her rightful male). Women keep their locks closely shorn and jewelry, except that which does praise to Thoem, can not be worn.

Until the recent problems, the merchant fleets of the Serranthro M'lethet were beginning to challenge the ubiquity and supremacy of Aereolus'. It exports seafood, kelp biscuits (popular among sailors), pottery, coal, marble, parchment, copper, lead, elven products (of course, the death of all elves during the Plague has put a damper on this), and ships.

Minh and the Serranthro M'lethet are historical enemies. Minh's recent invasion has not helped matters. On 1.2.5765 the forces of Ar'Ethmet invaded the Empire and, during the next three years of war, its forces swept north to the besiege the northern capitol, Tekel. After years of conflict, a combined elven, dwarven, and Serranthronian army managed to force the invaders out of the country. After the Ar'Ethmet forces retreated, the unity shown by the citizens of the Empire quickly lapsed back to its natural condition with the Dualists and Monolithists eagerly slaughtering each other (and anyone else stumbling into their crossfire).

Along with its many other inviting features, citizens of the Empire (encouraged by the Church of Thoem) view all foreigners as bearers of the contagion of unorthodoxy. Interestingly, there seems to be an unusually high number of foreigners listed in the statistics of those who have accidentally been crossfired by the two conflicted sects.

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