Sons of the Citadel
Kingdom of Sarnor
From the Essarian Steppes in the west to the Dothraki Sea to the east; from the Painted Mountains in the south to the Shivering Sea in the north; the Kingdom of Sarnor is one of the largest empires on the continent. Having begun in the city of Sarnath, the kingdom expanded through a combination of conquest, annexation, economic might, and colonization.
The lands surrounding Sarnath are rich in resources, and the rivers ripe for trade. Marble, alabaster, onyx, and limestone are all in great supply, as are silver, copper, iron, and tin. Quarries and mines pepper the landscape of eastern Sarnor. Meanwhile, fish and game are abundant in and around the rivers and the indigenous Sarnori clans were populous but primitive. Remulos, the first King of Sarnath, was wise enough to focus his early expansion efforts on trade and diplomacy. Already wealthy, he looked to expand the way of life his people had created into a larger area for reasons of security rather than ego. And thus began the first era of expansion and the beginning of the Kingdom of Sarnor.
By offering citizenship in the Kingdom, Remulos was giving clansmen who had little more than a subsistence lifestyle a chance at lives with some leisure and a measure of wealth. Concentrating on industry and trade, the new areas of the Kindom were surveyed for minerals and metal, livestock and lumber. Herdsmen, lumberjacks, stonemasons, metalworkers, and tradesmen of all varieties were taking on apprentices and assistants throughout the kingdom, and even miners and quarriers were paid well enough to afford them some comforts in their lives. In less than fifty years, the Kingdom had spread from a single city to claim nearly the entire Sarnori river valley all the way west to the Essarian Steppes.
The history of the Kingdom may have gone very differently had the Essarian people not suffered under the yoke of a despot at the time of Sarnathi expansion. As it was, Hunaba Dye was a man much hated by his people, and a strong faction of resistance already existed within the great city of Essaria. It took very little encouragement on the part of Remulos’ emissaries to inspire the dissident faction to overthrow Hunaba and join the Kingdom of Sarnor, solidifying her western border against the Steppes.
With a gateway to Qohor now established, and trade routes moving south to Ghis and the Valyrian Freehold, Remulos looked north and east, but he would not live to see the next chapter of his kingdom’s history. A mere two years after the absorption of Essaria, King Remulos the First died suddenly in his sleep, and his son Remulos II ascended the throne, changing the attitude of Sarnorian expansion almost immediately. The northern and eastern neighbors of the Kingdom were not so willing to subvert themselves to Sarnor, despite the fact that the demands of citizenship were few and the benefits many. But where Remulos I might have been content with the size and scope of his Kingdom, or patient enough to wait for his neighbors to consider the benefit of joining the Kingdom, Remulos II was ambitious and aggressive. He purchased three thousand Unsullied slaves from Astapor and spent an exhaustive eighty-five days meeting personally with each one of them. He offered each slave soldier his freedom in exchange for swearing a decade of service to the Kingdom of Sarnor as an officer in his army. Of the three thousand Unsullied offered this freedom, only half accepted, but Remulos II had the beginnings of the finest army of freedmen in all of Essos.
In his desire to expand his borders, Remulos II risked the Kingdom’s treasury, offering small salaries and rights of plunder to his citizens in order to raise the soldiers he desired to expand. And under the tutelage of the Fifteen Hundred Freedmen, as his former Unsullied officers came to be known, his volunteers became a formidable force indeed. In less than two years the army of Sarnor had marched on Kasath, and so handily did they defeat them that the cities of Sathar, Gornath, and Sallosh needed merely a formation of the lockstep legions of Sarnor to assemble before their gates before they, too, bent the knee. The terms of these cities were not so pleasant as those granted Essaria, but after a taking of hostages and a seizing of wealth to satisfy the soldiers, they became part of the Kingdom in truth. The western border of the Kingdom now reached the very fringe of the Dothraki sea.
Northern expansion was not so simple, but was eventually achieved. After the success of the Western campaign, Remulos wisely decided to gather the surviving Unsullied that remained from his first purchase and once again offer them their freedom in exchange for contracts of service. Having seen their former fellow slaves transform their lives into those of comfort and renown, all 1200 of them that remained accepted the second offer. These men formed officers of new legions formed to man the much wider northern front, and replaced men lost in the western campaign. In the end, it mattered not how impressive the Sarnori force appeared. The city-state of Sarys was resolved not to be bowed before the demands of Sarnor, and the city was besieged, eventually betrayed, and ultimately sacked. The men of the army were allowed three days and nights to plunder and pillage, and in the end the great city of Sarys was no more than a ruin. To this day, stones from the walls of Sarys are still removed for new structures built in the other northern great cities of the Kingdom. Saath and Morosh both met the Sarnori on the field of battle, and acquitted themselves well, but by now the training of the legions of Sarnor had honed their force into a military to rival even the Unsullied, and both forces were defeated handily and their cities joined into the Kingdom.
Most of the strength of the Sarnori Legions has been disbanded now, with former legionnaires finding employ as merchant guards for the vast array of trade caravans leaving for points south and west, and the remaining might of their armies guards the eastern border from Dothraki Khalasars and keeps the southern border safe from Ghiscari slavers. Some of the rest were rolled into the Sarnori navy, formed to keep the northern borders safe from Ibbenese and Andal pirates, but many naval matters are handled by the merchant fleets themselves.
The Kingdom of Sarnor remains an economic and military power in the center of Essos, if nothing else a strong center that offers political stability, as the bordering nations have little worry of further attempts at encroachment nor of internal unrest from within.