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12.2.3 Antioch

Antioch was founded 310 years after The Awakening. Early in that year, a group of pacifist Stavennites, led by Ardor Baely Natan and Yarl Din, grew quite uncomfortable with the aggressive stance of their City's leaders in the conflict to the north. They began to gather people in homes at night and talk to them about the need to change leadership. Stavenn had never been ruled by majority opinion but they hoped that if enough people were convinced that this might change. Over the course of a few months the number of supporters grew.

The rulers of Stavenn found this to be nothing more than a small nuisance until the 21st day of Tenebrae when Natan and Din organised a public gathering in the center of Stavenn to make known the will of the people. Depending upon the histories you read, either a tenth or nearly half of Stavenn was out in the square that day. The Stavennite rulers declared a curfew and declared Natan and Din enemies of the City. As the Stavenn army entered the square the crowd began to scatter. They found that most exits had been barricaded by the army and as they entered the rubble-filled alleys they were slaughtered. Natan and Din saw what was happening and headed towards the open door of a shop Din owned. Din opened the door and hurried Natan into the stock room. Just as he was about to enter himself a Stavenn guard entered the shop and beheaded Din with his sword. Din's body closed the stockroom door as it fell into the stockroom. The guards tried to pry it open but a key sigil had been attached.

Natan could hear the guards above trying to break through the door and yelling about fetching a mushroom sigil. He worked very fast and was able to dig through the stockroom wall into the sewer system under the city. Once in the sewer system he found that many others had similar ideas and were quite happy to see that he was still alive but very saddened to learn of Din's fate. As Natan worked his way through the sewers more and more people met up with him and joined the group. By the time he reached a point where the sewers spilled out into the river he was followed by some twelve dozen people. They waited until nightfall then hurried out of the sewers and crossed the river.

The Stavennites were waiting. Captured, the Stavennite soldiers marched their prisoners to the edge of the Shaahri desert and banished them to the sands. Determined to survive the rebels marched into the sands, leaving their captors behind them. During the day they would bury themselves in the sand to avoid being spotted and escape the desert sun. At night they joined hands and walked as to not leave any behind. Still, many people died in the hot sands from lack of water, the poisonous bites of snakes, and exposure.

Finally, after wandering for several days, it was Gelor Antioch who was the first to step on damp sands of the oasis. The yell went out to everyone down the line in either direction, "Antioch! Antioch!" As they gathered around and drank from the small puddle they knew they were now home. A small group began putting up tents while the others started to harvest the prickly pears of the cactus trees. Thus the city of Antioch was born.