"What happens here in Unta is going to rattle every nobleborn in the Empire"

The Cull, known elsewhere as the Purge,[1] took place during the Season of Rot in 1163 BS.[2] Empress Laseen brought a company of Seven Cities Red Blades (also known as Red Swords) to Unta to lead the purge. The Red Blades were cruel killers who could not be corrupted by the allure of noble coin.[3]

Nobles, academics, and malcontents of the Empire were arrested and enslaved. There were midnight arrests in which the doors to homes were broken down and the families dragged from their beds.[4] The nobles were shackled and presented before a drunken magistrate and a jury of beggars, thus making a mockery of justice. The suspects were accused of "treasonous scheming".

Captain Gamet, formerly a guard at House Paran, believed the Season of Rot was politically orchestrated by arousing the populace with rumor and innuendo.[5] Thus the Empress could veil the politically motivated Cull as a spontaneous religious phenomenon.[6] The thousands in the mob believed they were excising rot.[7]

Gamet recalled some of the rumors leading to the Season of Rot and the Cull:[8]

  • ‘The Empress is displeased.’
  • ‘Behind the rot of the imperial army’s incompetent command, you will find the face of the nobility.’
  • ‘The purchase of commissions is a plague threatening the entire empire. Is it any wonder the Empress is displeased.'

As a response, the populace flooded the streets and proclaimed their adoration for Laseen. There were "carefully triggered riots, looting, and slaughter"[9] in the Noble District. The accused who had not been arrested were hunted down to satiate the bloodlust of the mob, giving a face for their rage.

According to Heboric, Empress Laseen used "the opportunity to round up malcontents and unaligned academics, to close the fist of military presence on the capital, drumming the need for more troops, more recruits, more protection against the treasonous scheming of the noble class. The seized assets paid for this martial expansion."[9]

Among the victims in Unta were Felisin, Heboric, Baudin and Lady Gaesen.[10]

After the Cull, order was reinstated, the victims' assets were seized by the empire and the surviving victims were deported as slaves.[11]

Notes and referencesEdit

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