Skull and Shackles
History of Sasserine
Sasserine began not as a city but as a woman. About 600 years ago, a cleric of Nethys woke one night after a particularly vivid dream of a hidden cove, protected from the sea by vast cliffs and from the land by steaming swamps and jungle. In this vision, she beheld a thriving city and a glittering spire of scarlet stone, and knew Nethys had visited her with a prophecy. Sasserine lived in Cheliax and only recently had their explorers ventured to the lands near the Mwangi Expanse. The colony of Sargava was only just being set up. Sasserine called together her followers, including her lover Teraknian, a soldier and worshiper of Cayden Cailean, and set out to find this hidden cove. Diseases, accidents, and monsters took their toll, and near the end, despair gnawed at Sasserine’s pilgrims. Finally, their numbers reduced to less than a quartet of their initial strength, these pilgrims emerged into a bounteous stretch of land with fertile soil and fields of exotic plants sheltered by twin shoreline cliffs. Sasserine recognized the landscape at once but Nethys had not warned her of the black dragon that had taken the cove as his territory. Mere hours after the pilgrims had thankfully fed on the abundant plants and had only just begun to hope they had found their new home, the dragon Zelkarune struck. Enraged at this final trial,Sasserine stood her ground against the dragon and defeated it – but at a terrible cost. For in delivering the final strike, Sasserine had been forced to step between Zelkarune’s claw and Teraknian. The blow meant for him instead laid her low,just as she called down a bolt of fire from the sky to slay the dragon. In the days to follow, the survivors turned to Teraknian for leadership, who vowed to found a city in Sasserine’s name. Over the six centuries to follow, Sasserine would mature into one of the great hidden wonders of the south.
For 150 years after its foundation Sasserine experienced phenomenal growth. Over the next four centuries, Sasserine would be assaulted by the various Pirate Lords of the Shackles and local tribes of giants and bullywugs once or twice a decade, so tempting were the vast plantations of coffee and spices the city protected. Yet with each assault, the soldiers of Sasserine grew more adept at defending their city. Teraknian’s Arch, a large bridge spanning the bay, was destroyed and rebuilt nearly a dozen times. The final decision to abandon the bridge entirely and leave it in ruins marks the only remaining physical scar from years of warfare. Over the years, a line of lord-mayors descended from Teraknian ruled Sasserine in conjunction with advice from the churches of Nethys and Cayden Cailean. Finally Orren Teraknian ruled the city. For the first time in centuries, the church of Nethys was stripped of its power when fabricated charges of devilworship led to the arrest, imprisonment and even execution of its faithful. Just as Orren’s rule became unbearable, a great fleet of ships arrived, representatives of the Hold of the Free Pirate Lords of the Shackles. Promising an end to Orren’s crude rule, the invaders were aided in their assault on the city from within as the citizens rose up in rebellion. Orren Teraknian was overthrown and the pirate Lords claimed Sasserine as their own. Over the century to come, Sasserine’s resources were savaged. The Pirate Lords kept Sasserine a secret from the rest of the world, hoping to hide the valuable port from invaders by destroying any references they could find to it. Ship captains who knew the route to the city were bought off or murdered. Sasserine suffered in these 100 years, but the underlying spirit of her citizens did not die. Their prayers were finally answered when the Red Mantis assassins killed the pirate Lord in charge of the city. The Pirate Lord had not joined his brothers under the banner of the Hurricane king and they exacted revenge by having him killed. The resulting turmoil threw Sasserine into chaos. Without support from the pirates the leaders of the city were overthrown in a fortnight. The Hurricane King chose not to invade Sasserine but to establish an embassy in the city. In the decade since their emancipation, the people of Sasserine have rebuilt their city with astonishing alacrity, but they still work to restore their navy, to re-establish trade routes with Cheliax and Sargava, and to heal the rift of hatred between the churches of Nethys and Cayden Cailean.
The end of Sasserine:
20 years ago the free pirates decided they had had enough of Sasserine’s defiance. The city had grown too rich and powerful to remain outside of the pirates’ control. They launched an attack and although most people escaped, the city was sacked. Only haunted ruins remain now.