The Land of Mnar, one of Lovecraft's Dreamlands, placed in the West, described in the most detail in "The Doom that Came to Sarnath (fiction)". It is placed in the West.
Mnar is a desert region in the Dreamlands, along the River Ai. The city of Sarnath came to dominate Mnar, establishing a large kingdom. The Beings of Ib had their city established in the lands of Mnar, beside the Nameless Lake, but the people of Sarnath destroyed the race and their city and cast their bodies into a lake, the spoils of war including an altar of Chyrsalite depicting the god Bokrug, the Water Lizard. That night of conquest had been celebrated ever since, with all the nobles of Mnar and beyond traveling to Sarnath to celebrate. Afterwards, Mnar had many victories, both political and military, and became a great power. During one of the celebrations of the destruction of Ib, the high priest of Sarnath was found dead, with DOOM scrawled on the altar, after which the city was indeed destroyed by the resurrected Beings of Ib, causing all the lands of Mnar turned to worship of Bokrug.
"Along the River Ai, betwixt Sarnath and the city of Ilarnek arose a caravan route, and the precious metals from the earth were exchanged for other metals and rare cloths and jewels and books and tools for artificers and all things of luxury that are known to the people who dwell along the winding river Ai and beyond. So Sarnath waxed mighty and learned and beautiful, and sent forth conquering armies to subdue the neighbouring cities; and in time there sate upon a throne in Sarnath the kings of all the land of Mnar and of many lands adjacent." - Lovecraft, "The Doom that Came to Sarnath"
A shallow, slow moving stream in the land of Mnar. Its waters are dark and green, but safe to drink. Fish of many types dwell herein. As do most Dreamlands rivers, the River Ai starts as a spring in the plains. Only two Swim rolls are needed to cross it.
A black and nameless lake near Sarnath fed by the River Ai, beside which stand the cities of Ib and Sarnath. Akurion, a large gray rock in the lake near Sarnath, is a prominent landmark near the shore; at the anniversary of Sarnath's destruction, the rock is nearly submerged by the lake waters.
See Sarnath for more details; Sarnath is an ancient city that was destroyed long ago. Sarnath was built on a nameless lake near Ib. In its time it was famed as the most splendid in Mnar a region of the Dreamlands.
Sarnath was founded when dark skinned explorers ventured out past the Ai River and came to a quiet lake "fed by no stream and out of which no stream flows." The men of Mnar built Sarnath not far from Ib, hating the beings of Ib they marched on the city and destroyed it. Sarnath was by far the richest of the cities of Mnar, and traded precious metals and gems with Thraa, Ilarnek and Kadatheron. Ilarnek is the closest city to Sarnath.
The City of Ib features in the H.P. Lovecraft story "The Doom that came to Sarnath." The city was built by strange amphibian beings, who may have dwelt on the moon, in the land of Mnar, possibly located in the Dreamlands. The beings of Ib worshipped a Great Old One called Bokrug, a water lizard deity. The city was destroyed by the men of neighboring Sarnath some time after Ib was built. The Beings of Ib would have their revenge on the men of Sarnath years later. Today Ib is nothing but ruins.
The last of the city-states of Mnar is the furthest south along the Ai. Ilarnek is known for the quality of its jade, and the goblets which its masons produce are highly prized and sought after. Long ago, Ilarnek was the primary center for trade with the now destroyed city-state of Sarnath. When Sarnath was destroyed, ten thousand years ago, it was the men of Ilarnek who went to investigate. It was they who, upon seeing what had befallen the most powerful of the city-states of Mnar, took up the jade idol of Bokrug and bore it back to their city, enshrined it, and then spread the worship of the unwholesome water lizard throughout the land of Mnar. Since that time, Ilarnek has become the religious center of Mnar. In this regard, Ilarnek is somewhat like Inquanok. The men who inhabit this city know that a terrible fate might come upon them for offending one of the gods, so they are careful to observe all the rites of appeasement. The grandest temples of Mnar are located here, to gods both large and small. The chief god of Ilarnek is Bokrug, who is worshiped under a gibbous moon, and offered sacrifices upon that same doom-inscribed altar of chrysolite which Sarnath's priests once used. The great celebration of Bokrug comes upon the anniversary of Sarnath's destruction, which was once celebrated in Sarnath as the anniversary of Ib's destruction. Ilarnek is ruled by a high priest, the Patriarch of Bokrug.
Kadatheron is the oldest of the Mnar city-states. Here, on the famed Brick Cylinders, is kept the history of the land of Mnar. Kadatheron is also one of the sites of the Great Library of the Dreamlands. These two features help to make Kadatheron the center of learning for Mnar. It is here that Mnar's greatest sages and sorcerers make their homes, and here that one of the finest magic colleges in all the Dreamlands may be found. Situated as it is along the banks of the River Ai, Kadatheron is also the largest port in Mnar. Ships from across the Dreamlands come here to trade all manner of goods for local wares. From here barges then proceed up-river carrying goods and travelers to Thraa and Ilarnek. Kadatheron is ruled by King Menes who is very wise, but quick to anger.
This, the second of the city-states of Mnar, currently rests away from the banks of the river. The current site of the city is ots second — the original settlement, right along the banks of the Ai, was destroyed by the annual floods of the river each spring. Thraa has become the agricultural center for Mnar through a series of dikes and irrigation canals, through which the men of Thraa have turned the yearly flooding to their advantage, and they now enjoy the most fertile soil in the entire region. Consequently, Thraa is sometimes referred to as the City of Bakers, and Thraa is renowned throughout the Dreamlands for its filling bread, one loaf of which is said to be able to sustain a man for an entire week. The gold and silver jewelry of Thraa is also much sought in the Dreamlands, as is a peculiar four-foot long scarab beetle that is crafted there. Stone docks, fashioned from onyx brought from Inganok, have been built along the banks of the river for the loading and unloading of barges from both Kadatheron and Ilarnek, and are accessible even during the highest floods. Thraa is ruled over by the Grand High Priest of its gods, who ensures that each season’s harvest will be bountiful.
A dying city, in which the walls and buildings are made of a strange translucent substance that bends rather than breaks and accepts no paint. For the last fifty years, the city has gradually vanished—every month or two a house or section of wall melts away into nothingness. For this reason, the folk of Thorabon do not welcome newcomers, suspecting that some such stranger cursed the city in decades past. Hundreds flee the city each year for other lands. Thorabon's acting governor took over when the king fell from the top of his palace as the floor melted away. (Source? Lovecraft mentions Thorabonian sailors in a blink-and-miss-it passage from Dream Quest..., but does not seem to detail it there.)
Associated Mythos Elements
- setting: Dreamlands
- fiction: H.P. Lovecraft's "The Doom that Came to Sarnath (fiction)", "The Silver Key (fiction)", "The Other Gods (fiction)", "The Cats of Ulthar (fiction)", and others
- fiction: H.P. Lovecraft's Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath (fiction)
- fiction: H.P. Lovecraft and E. Hoffman Price's "Through The Gates of the Silver Key (fiction)"
- sourcebook: "H.P. Lovecraft's Dreamlands"