The Sins of Amuhlin (part one)

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An extract from an early draft of Darion’s ‘History of Janspar’, wherein he describes the Sins committed by Amuhlin and the events preceding the Sun’s Tears.

The Sins of Amuhlin is the name given by scholars to the crimes and blasphemies committed by Amuhlin, King of the Nehri, the Sun Tears that rained upon Selmya and much of northern Oisindo ending his reign, and often to the subsequent Long Winter that covered Janspar for many years.

Due to the nature of the Sins, and particularly due to the awesome destruction wrought by the Sun’s Tears, knowledge of the precise events of Amuhlin’s reign is impossible. What is known has been gathered from Aeskhonan records, the accounts of travellers, and the accounts of those who fled Selmya.

Amuhlin became a leader among the Nehri in approximately Ar1310. He was in early middle age, and is said to have been a distinguished military leader, with minor orders in the Solar Cult of Olanis. He was raised to a position of leadership by the support of the Nehri Convention, the ruling council of that nation, and became known for his powerful oratory and just rulings. A surviving letter from a Nehri Elder to a relative in Jufai describes Amuhlin as a having “passions for ambition and for justice, evenly matched.”

At this time, Selmya was inhabited primarily by two peoples: the Nehri, and their long time neighbours the Daohar. The Nehri had originally migrated into Selmya from southwestern Oisindo, and the Daohar had settled there from across the seas to the west, being perhaps related to the Pyrchoans and Arrekhoans now settled in northern Dutherim. After centuries of peaceful coexistence, the two tribes had begun to assimilate into one another, with intermarriage becoming common and a hybrid tongue formed of their two ancestral languages being commonly spoken across the region.

Amuhlin was at first a great friend to Daohar, and is said to have often ruled in favour of Daohari rather than his own people. After perhaps five or six years of leadership among his people, he unexpectedly decided against a Daohari when called upon to settle a local feud in the south of the country. Surviving records suggest that a Nehri landowner had quarreled with his Daohari neighbour over the ownership of a certain pasture and its attendant flocks, and in the course of the quarrel had struck and killed a member of the Daohari clan. Public opinion believed the Nehri had acted without provocation and had no claim to the pasture; nonetheless, Amuhlin’s ruling was to find his tribesman innocent of all wrongdoing and award him ownership of the pasture.

This surprising result aligned Amuhlin with a faction of Nehri purists, who wished to remain distinct from the Daohari. He began speaking only in a pure form of the Nehri speech, eschewing any influence from the Daohari, and would later yet refuse to speak even Aeskhonan. His rulings became more and biased in favour of his own people at a time when the two communities began to fracture. For what other reasons this fracture began, records do not tell us.

Around Ar1322, open violence broke out between the two tribes. Both sides of the conflict claimed the other struck first, giving a cassus belli of either a Nehri village burned by Daohari, or the sack of a Daohari temple and mausoleum by Nehri soldiers. In this sudden conflict, Amuhlin quickly became the leading general of the Nehri, organising punitive raids against Daohari towns and settlements. As well as fighting his neighbours militarily, Amuhlin faced resistance from a peace-seeking faction of the Nehri Convention. With violence and atrocities occurring on all sides of the conflict, his successful campaigns against the Daohari only increased his popularity, and he became the dominant member of the Convention.

His tactics became more brutal as his power increased. Entire villages were put to the sword or enslaved. Amuhlin reorganised the Nehri armies to outmaneuver the rigid formations used by the Daohari, and even employed civilian populations, or perhaps soldiers disguised as civilians, to carry out surprise attacks.
After several years of war, the Daohari had been all but defeated. Amuhlin granted them peace in a final attempt by their leaders to preserve their nation – but at great cost. The Daohari were no longer granted lands or rights within Selmya.

On the pretense of preventing a coup against his person, Amuhlin soon dissolved the Nehri Convention, executed several of its members, the victims including both political opponents and staunch supporters, and assumed all powers of rule. He thus became the first King of the Nehri.

Records of life under his rule are rare. His popularity among the Nehri seems to have remained high. Being enriched by their domination over the land, his people supported him through his increasingly tyrannical persecution of the Daohari. Within a few years, their entire nation had effectively been enslaved. Amuhlin’s next action in the pursuit of Nehri purism was to attack the Aeskhona colony-city of Emlas. This act was as unthinkable in Amuhlin’s time as it is in our own, yet the Nehri legions marched on the city, killing all those who resisted and enslaving those who did not. A relief fleet managed to save a portion of the city’s population, but the city itself was sacked, its wealth carried away, and one of the earliest sites of Aeskhona contact on the continent was destroyed forever.

A sizable number of Daohari refugees were living in Emlas and its surrounding area at this time. Those who escaped in the Aeskhona relief fleet provide some of our best accounts of Amuhlin’s atrocities at this time. By this time, all Daohari remaining in Selmya had been forced into slavery as property of the Nehri kingdom. They were used as labour for mining, farming, and grand projects of labour, and forced to live in prison-colonies.

In Ar1332, Amuhlin’s sins reached their peak. According to the last few accounts to come from Selmya before the Sun’s Tears, the Daohari in their prisons were executed unexpectedly and en-masse. This outraged many Nehri, who had relied on their enslaved former neighbours for their nation’s prosperity. A civil war broke out, but the fanatical loyalty Amuhlin inspired in much of the military prevented him from being deposed entirely.

In late Spring of that year, astronomers and Solar cultists all over Janspar began to notice a strange distortion in the shape of the Sun. Over the course of ensuing days, it was clear that a portion of the sun had separated from the heavenly body, and those tracking the motion of this morsel of solar material determined that it was approaching Janspar.

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