History of Wati
In -1608 AR, Pharaoh Djederet II ordered the construction of a grand city to mark the birthplace of the Osirion’s greatest natural resource: the River Sphinx, springing from the confluence of the Asp and the Crook. With its early foundations magically laid by the church of Nethys, the city sprang to life within just a year. Named Wati, the riverside town soon dominated trade across southern Osirion. Hardwoods and spices from Katapesh and the Mwangi Expanse bound for Sothis, and manufactured goods and luxuries from the nations surrounding the Inner Sea bound for Osirion’s southern territories, all paused long enough in Wati’s warehouses and markets to make its citizens famously wealthy. For centuries, Wati endured through political upheaval and the births and deaths of entire dynasties as it dominated its younger sister cities of An and Tephu.
But Wati’s destiny was forever warped in 2499 AR, when the cult of Lamashtu unleashed the Plague of Madness among the city’s thriving populace. Many of those whom the fever did not immediately kill were driven to murderous insanity, and within months, more than half the city had fallen in painful, anguished death. Most of the survivors fled Wati to make new homes elsewhere, but a stubborn minority remained behind, determined to reclaim their city. But even once the plague had run its course, their livelihoods collapsed as An and Tephu took over Wati’s once exclusive trade route s, and their floundering community struggled against recurring outbreaks of the undead from the city’s many abandoned buildings-turned-tombs.
It took almost half a millennium for Wati’s fortunes to reverse thanks to the church of Pharasma. With the tacit permission of Osirion’s Keleshite sultan, a Pharasmin priest named Nefru Shepses marched on Wati in 2953 AR with a small army of alchemists, masons, and morticians under his banner, intent on consecrating the entire city to the Lady of Graves, beginning with a new, monumental temple to Pharasma called the Grand Mausoleum.
Over the next 30 years, Nefru Shepses and his followers recovered the bodies of those slaughtered in the Plague of Madness from their hasty, makeshift graves and the Pharasmins walled off that portion of the city that had been abandoned, transforming it into a metropolis of makeshift tombs. Thousands of corpses were given formal burial rites and reinterred in this dead copy of the living city, which continues to serve as Wati’s necropolis today.
The consecration of the city and its necropolis revitalized Wati, and though it never reclaimed its dominance among the cities of the south, over the next 1,700 years Wati grew until it’s necropolis-once more than half of the city took up less than a quarter of the city’s total area. Today, long after the necropolis’s completion, Wati continues to produce a great variety of grave goods for Osirion’s honored dead. A steady stream of burial figures, canopic jars, embalming fluids, prayer books, and sarcophagi sail downstream on the Sphinx, outpacing Wati’s crop and textile exports. Even Wati’s criminal underworld revolves around death, as competing gangs regularly raid the necropolis for valuables and even human carrion.