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Saiph League charioteers drown as they pursue the people of Suhair to the island of Sukai.

Binah punished the invaders from the Saiph League who captured her temple with a series of plagues. The first plague was a heavy spill of rock oil which covered the lower reaches of the Sabik River with a brown syrupy layer, and many of the soldiers of Blackseed whispered that the goddess of the jan had turned the river to blood. It was bitter, and the invading army was forced to dig new wells far from the river to drink.

The second plague was a grass fungus that exterminated all the horses and food animals who foraged on the east side of the River Nanki (which meant all the animals owned or captured by Lord Telan Blackseed) while the animals on the west side remained healthy. And this fungus also caused a loathsome skin disease in many of the invading forces from the Republic.

The third plague seemed more like a miracle at first. Binah contrived the first tides in the Land We Know, such that there was exposed seabottom from the mainland to the isle of Sukai. Led personally by Countez Berek Moriz, a great multitude from Suhair fled on foot over this new land bridge with their children, goods, and all of their animals. Blackseed thought to use the new land bridge as a way to conquer both Sukai and the larger island of Elendal beyond, and ordered his forces to pursue the people with many chariots of iron. But while the mud flats were dry enough for those who went on two or four feet, those who went in wheeled carts had more trouble. The Saiph League cavalry became stuck in the mud, and they could not escape before Binah allowed the sea tide to flood the area once more.

The survivors trapped behind in Suhair were forced to pay a tribute to Lord Blackseed of thirty talents of gold, eight hundred talents of silver, gems, antimony, and many jewels. Also paid in tribute was carnelian, couches and chairs inlaid with ivory, elephant hides and tusks, boxwood, and other rich treasures, along with Count Moriz' daughters, hez wives, and his musicians. All of these things were sent by Lord Blackseed to Eniph.

After that, Lord Blackseed turned his sights on the Menkal capital of Akamar, with the goal of capturing or killing King Stronghammer, but first he had to get through Priam Stillstone. While Countez Moriz had executed hez primary responsibility by getting most of the population of Suhair to safety, Baron Stillstone's people were mostly trapped in Rynet Wood and were being methodically slaughtered, with no way for the Baron to save them. So the only thing that remained for hym was revenge.

But the power of the Kingdom of Menkal had been reduced to just fifty horsemen, ten chariots, and ten thousand foot soldiers. Lord Blackseed marched on the coast road and laid siege to Akamar. While King Stronghammer fled to the temporary safety of Alodra, Baron Stillstone set fire to the palace and let it burn around hym rather than be captured alive. Blackseed left no man or woman alive in Akamar. He put the people of that city under saws and harrows and axes of iron, made their dead bodies pass through a brick kiln, and salted the earth nigh to the city.

Following the massacre of the people, Binah sent upon the armies of Blackseed a great destruction of wind and fire, such a one as never had been known anywhere upon the face of the Land We Know. But Telan Blackseed attributed the disasters to a chance confluence of those natural misfortunes which are prone to happen everywhere from time to time. He said Binah was a figment, a mere jen styling hezself a goddez who deceived the people by playing to their ancient superstitions, for Belial was the sole eloah.

Thus it came to pass that the Saiph League occupied all of mainland Menkal, despite the plagues of Binah, leaving only a rump state on the islands of Elendal and Sukai. Blackseed deported all the surviving people, mostly jan, to the worst lands in the Republic, while assigning the most choice lands in Menkal to the officers of his army. King Brogan Stronghammer became little more than a refugee who survived only by the generosity of Queen Firegem in Atria. And Blackseed soon turned his eyes toward Nath.

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Strangers In Paradise