Collapse of Stormark

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The total collapse of the High Realm of Stormark occurred as a surprise to most observers in 1685 AN, but had been preceded by international isolation of Stormark.

The collapse brought with it the deaths of tens of millions of people across the former High Realm, but saw also the fruition of new countries, such as Hurmu (1689–1690), Lac Glacei, Ashinthael, Angsax, and the Mondosphere.

Background

After losing dynastic territories in Shireroth (Auspicious Occasion) and Natopia (Uppheaval), Harald, the High King of Stormark sunk ever further into a dependency upon Idunn's Apples, a potent drug that enabled their users to feel rejuvenated and invincible whilst feeding their own sense of grandiosity and megalomania, and an incurable, indeed insatiable, satyriasis.

The death and collapse of Alexandria and the end of support from Natopia over the years led to Stormark slowly reaching "pariah status".

With Harald, along with his favoured grandson Noah, sinking into mead-sodden dependency and self-indulgence, extolling their being seated at the high table in the finest banqueting hall in Haraldsborg as being proof of their continued fitness to rule and favour in the eyes of the goddesses, whilst the High-Realm decayed around them, power increasingly came to be exercised by Esther, Harald's great granddaughter begotten by Noor, Kaiseress of Shireroth, and her husband Noah. Taken into exile following the Auspicious Occasion, Esther was to grow into adulthood with an abiding hatred for those responsible for the deposition of her father - whom she would continue to term the "Livvist hordes" long after Liv Dravot's departure from office and eventual death.

Under Esther's guidance the foreign policy of Stormark briefly regained some sense of purpose and direction. She noted in Arkadius IV, the King of Amokolia and Batavia, a kindred spirit and a personality type quite similar to that of her beloved great grandfather. She also noted the estrangement that Arkadius felt towards the Raspur Pact after the rebuffing of his ambitions towards the Golden Mango Throne by Elwynn and the Unified Governorates of Benacia. The Kalirion Fracture had been met with some grim satisfaction in Haraldsborg when it had happened, being taken by many there as proof that it had been their steadying hand which had been required to hold the Imperial Republic together. Now Esther saw the conditions created by the fall of Shireroth as providing the opening that would allow for the restoration of her father's patrimony - as a true Froyalan. The seduction was easily accomplished, with Arkadius more than willingly falling into the role of eager suitor and thus doing the majority of the requisite legwork, and the couple married in 1681.

The fruits of the marriage were manifold. In addition to the four offspring born from their union was also the Empire of Francia, a strategic alliance between itself and Stormark, and the establishment of the Froyalan Tribunal. The influence of Esther upon the Froyalan Tribunal in particular was observable in its fixation upon the marital status and dynastic rights of the House of Ettlingar Freyu over and above the fate of the millions of individual Froyalaners uprooted from Elwynn after the Auspicious Occasion.

This dynastic alliance between the Descendants of Freya and the House of Vinandy committed Stormark yet further to rendering material and financial aid to Francia - a process that had begun even before the consummation of the marriage in view of the generous aid rendered by Stormark during the Second Amokolian War (1678–1679) which had made possible and sustained the Frankish war effort.

What was not apparent at the time, in view of the way in which they presented their society to the outside world as the pinnacle of post-scarcity superabundance, was the strain that this aid had placed upon Stormark's economy. Although a global colonial power, Stormark had minimised its exposure to the remainder of Micras, considering the greater part of humanity (with the possible exception of Senya) to be accursed and with nothing worthy to offer in exchange for the good graces of the High-Realm. As such Stormark had operated as an autarchic political and economic system. In this it had achieved a good measure of self-sufficiency, albeit often times through more inefficient means than might have been realised through direct trading with foreign powers.

Nonetheless the material surplus that was generated found itself eaten away at in order to sustain the standards of luxury, pomp, and courtly ceremonial expected in the court of the High King and amidst a myriad of Jarls and lesser notables. It has been observed by some that the dispensation of "royal boons", along with obligations of open house hospitality in Stormark's innumerable feasting halls, fulfilled the role provided by welfare states in more conventionally organised countries. On top of this wasteful and ever expanding munificence was then placed the burden of supporting a client state with revanchist ambitions directed against one of the more heavily militarised alliances operating upon the world at that time.

Stormark had become largely dependent on Senya as a trading partner due to a combination of their diplomatic isolation and Svorgas International Airport's relative geographic centrality to Stormark's many far-flung territories, with Stormark's main airline, Loftleiðir using the airport as a hub, meaning much of Stormark's internal trade was passing through Senyan customs. As such, by 1685 AN, Stormark had racked up a significant trade deficit to Senya. In addition to this, overspending in Francia had placed economic hardship on the empire, and when Senya raised import taxes in early 1685 AN, the Storish economy effectively collapsed. It was under these circumstances that the gleaming edifice of Vanic kingship would suddenly buckle, crack, and have completely collapsed by the end of 1685 AN.

Collapse

As the Storish economy crumbled, the veneer of grandeur and prosperity that had long masked the rot beneath was finally stripped away, revealing a society in the grip of widespread poverty and unrest. The drug-addled and self-indulgent Harald, along with his son Hallbjörn and grandson Noah, were completely unable to respond to the crisis, and as the streets filled with angry and desperate citizens, a sense of hopelessness began to set in.

The aristocracy and royalty, who had grown decadent and corrupt, saw the revolution as a threat to their power and wealth.

This only fueled the flames of revolution, as the people of Stormark were pushed to their limits by the cruelty and greed of their rulers. The Amokolian and Batavian revolutions, which had been inspired by the events in Francia, soon spread to Stormark, engulfing the entire nation in a massive and bloody uprising.

As the revolution raged on, the death toll rose to staggering levels. Millions of people were killed in the fighting, as the rebels and the aristocracy clashed in brutal and bloody battles. The cities of Stormark became war zones, as the once-peaceful streets were transformed into fields of battle. The buildings were reduced to rubble, and the once-thriving economy was left in ruins.

The overthrown of the nobility and royalty was just the beginning of Stormark's troubles, as the revolutionaries soon found themselves divided and unable to govern the shattered nation. Infighting and corruption took hold, as factions battled for control and power. The country descended into chaos, as lawlessness and violence took over.

The dream of a better Stormark, which had once seemed so close, was now a distant memory. The people of Stormark were left to pick up the pieces of their shattered nation, as they struggled to rebuild their lives amidst the ruins of their once-great country. The legacy of the revolution was one of tragedy and loss, as the hopes and dreams of a generation were dashed in the chaos and bloodshed

The downfall of the Stormarkian ruling class was not only caused by their political corruption and decadence, but also by their sexual debauchery. The nobility and royalty had become notorious for their hedonistic and depraved lifestyles, indulging in all manner of vices and carnal desires with little regard for morality or the welfare of the people. This moral decay became a symbol of the corrupt and rotten state of the government, and further fueled the anger and frustration of the masses.

The collapse of Francia in the Amokolian and Batavian revolution had a profound impact on the situation in Stormark. The reform movement, which had been slowly gathering momentum, was prematurely terminated as the country was plunged into chaos. The absence of a stable and influential ally meant that the forces of reaction and counter-revolution were able to assert themselves with greater ease. The result was a brutal civil war, as rival factions fought for control of the government and the country.

The conflict lasted for several years and caused the deaths of millions of people. The violence and destruction wrought by the war left the country in ruins, and the once proud and powerful nation of Stormark was reduced to a shadow of its former self. The sexually corrupt nobility and royalty were eventually overthrown, but the cost was immense. The legacy of the decadence and depravity of the ruling class lived on, serving as a grim reminder of the dangers of unchecked power and moral decay.

Picking up the pieces

Lyrica

On 22.XV.1723, records from the Order of the Holy Lakes were leaked to the press, indicating that Harald's body was found by scavengers in the ruins of Haraldsborg. The body was sold to the Order of the Holy Lakes, who confirmed through DNA testing and dental records that the body was indeed Harald. The Order updated its records, and then incinerated the body. The ashes were spread in the sea before the end of the year, to avoid making a shrine out of a potential grave. The Order of the Holy Lakes managed to secure and incinerate the corpses of Aoife the Celt, Hallbjörn Haraldsson, Æsileif Haraldsdóttir, Fjǫrleif Hallbjörnsdóttir, Noah Hallbjörnsson, Sigrid Magnusdóttir, Inga Hallbjörnsdottir, and Ærinndís Ettlingar Freyu in a similar fashion, in the weeks before and after the discovery of Harald's corpse. The Order of the Holy Lakes also found and took charge of the bodies of Ærinndís-Máel and Eochaid-Jonathan, the nine-year old twins born to the extramarital relationship between Hallbjörn Haraldsson and Aoife, as well as the bodies of Ristina Marmai, Vilhjálm Daniel Gudrödar, giving them simple but dignified funerals, by cremation on Lake Anset, with their ashes joined in that lake devoted the dead. The Commander of the Order of the Holy Lakes issued a statement that all documents that had been leaked were, indeed, true.

Keltia

The collapse of the Vanic state on North Feanoria was lauded in by the formation of an alliance of subjugated peoples. The Nidarosi, together with the followers of the Church of Nidaros in Riskai and the descendants of the Menalmacari and other people living in the coastal areas, united under the leadership of the Steward of Celebarad formed a union that sought to overthrow the Vanic oppression. A period of strife ensued, eventually proving to be pivotal in the collapse of Stormark on Feanoria.

Out of the ashes of the Vanics, the Kingdoms of Celebarad, Nidaros and Riskai rose, uniting eventually in 1723 as the Three Kingdoms.

Apollonia

Cibola

Eura

See also