Formation of Sob-Rooz
Evening of the 7th day of the 3rd moon of the 4513th year of the Noruz reckoning
Surah, the Sun God, is worshipped by many peoples, but the ancient kingdom of Sob held him as their patron deity. The Sob kings of old followed the wisdom of Surah for centuries leading to power and prosperity through the ages.
As Sob’s territory and influence grew, it came into conflict with other powers most notably the kingdom of Rooz which grew to prominence through a different path. While Sob built alliances and hegemony primarily through leadership and diplomacy, Rooz was built on conquest. You see, the ancient kingdom of Rooz placed Ahrima, Goddess of War, highest in their pantheon.
Surah is an assertive god and though he does not teach us to seek war, nor does he teach us to avoid it. Thus ensued centuries of conflict between Sob and Rooz as each sought to establish permanent dominance over the other. The period started oh five thousand years ago depending which historian you prefer and is known retrospectively as the Courtship. What a courtship is was, 3-5 centuries of contest repeated by each generation trying to accomplish what its sires could not.
The stalemate could not endure. Finally, the necessary components of a political resolution fell into place. The royal houses of Sob and Rooz were both left with a single heir. Male on the Sob side, female on the Rooz. The Sob had achieved a few critical victories leaving the priesthood of Ahrima in disarray. Meanwhile, neighboring kingdoms looked ready to intervene in the conflict for their own benefit.
The high priest of Surah siezed the opportunity to broker a marriage, hence the retroactive naming of the preceding period “the Courtship.” Sob subservience to Rooz was of course unacceptable for selfish reasons, but it was also unacceptable to those with a broader view. It would merely mean a future interminable conflict with another power. Dominance over Rooz could only be temporary as the passage of time would eventually lead to a change in the balance of power. The only solution was unification, complete absorption of the Rooz doctrine to be tempered by the influence of Surah. And it was a complete marriage, both in the heavens between Surah and Ahrima and on the prime material plane with the first imperial family.
Thus was born the Empire of Sob-Rooz, 4513 years ago, at first only two albeit two very powerful kingdoms. The history since then has been one of conquest and diplomacy combined to expand the empire. Three major kingdoms and countless smaller domains fell under the sway of the emperors of Sob-Rooz. Sob-Rooz was at the peak of its power when the Claacos emerged. Some say the Claacos are the punishment for the hubris of the Empire, a check on its seemingly inevitable incorporation of all lands and peoples.
To this day, there remains a tension within the Empire between the Sob and Rooz lineages which themselves merely reflect the uneasy alliance between Surah and Ahrima.
Make no mistake, those who worhip Ahrima worship war and all the pain, suffering, and death that go with it. At best, they seek to create a better world and view success in war as the manifestation of their progress. At worst, they revel in war’s mayhem and destruction. Those in the middle view war as pleasing to Ahrima, a kind of show in her honor. I do not know the priestess Xaphora, but it would be wise to know where she stands if you are to fight with her on behalf of the gnomes.