History of Kalgachia/The 220s
The 220s began with a phased drawdown of Kalgachi military forces in the Upland Confederation following the Slavegate Convention, only for part of them to be redeployed for border security duties in Northbloom and Northern Schlepogora after the government of West Amokolia announced a rehabilitation of the continentally-reviled Froyalanish people. The resultant political hazard to Kalgachia's trade route through Batavia (the latter's monarchy being in personal union with West Amokolia) was further exacerbated by the increasingly erratic behaviour of the House of Verion and its corporate possession, the Iron Company on whose logistical services Kalgachia's foreign trade was wholly reliant. Moves were duly commenced to diversify the country's trade links and were well underway by the time a plane crash in the Great Western Sea wiped out several key players of the Verion empire and reduced the family's global power to a shadow of its former extent. Within Kalgachia these events were interpreted by the deepest strata of government as evidence that the technocratic fulfilment layer of the Kalgachi state had succumbed excessively to pecuniary fixations and threatened the sublime insulation from global geopolitical tumult which distinguished Kalgachia favourably from the neighbouring post-Shirerithian Vulture States and underpinned the legitimacy of its leadership. The Council of Perfecti duly called an Extraordinary Grand Council of senior state figures - only the third in Kalgachia's history - to revise the strategic priorities and overall governance of the country in the following decades.
The Northern Pivot (220-221 AL)
For some years suspicions had existed that the King of Batavia and Amokolia, Arkadius IV, was being drawn into the orbit of the Storish élite; a group long shunned by most Micran powers on the consensus that they were little more than a manipulative sex cult operating under the pretence of a royal court. The means by which King Arkadius might have fallen under the spell of Harald Thorstein were unknown, although the relative youth and inattention of the former during the events leading up to the Auspicious Occasion had made him, from a Storish perspective, an exploitable weak point among the other eminent figures of Benacia whose shared disenfranchisement in the shadow of an uncaring Froyalanish hegemony had provoked them to systematically eject persons of Storish descent from the civil life of most of the continent.
In 220 AL elements within the Elwynnese intelligence community leaked the Pact of Reykjavík, a draft covenant between the royal houses of Amokolia and Stormark whereby the Storish colonial territory of Gascony, in Benacia's boreal northwest, would be merged with the Kingdom of Amokolia to form a revivicated Froyalanish state. Reaction among the other states of Benacia was instant and unanimously negative; the Guttuli Protectorate, Ransenar, Sanama, Sathrati, the rump regency of Shireroth, the Sovereign Confederation, the Unified Governorates and indeed Kalgachia took immediate measures to seal off Amokolia's eastern borders and suspend diplomatic relations. A number of parliamentarians in King Arkadius' other realm of Batavia voiced opposition to their sovereign's actions. Further afield, Natopia redoubled its post-Vanic reform efforts in Uppland whilst Talenore and Constancia sent armed volunteers to help the Konkordskaya Bratva and other formations of the Raspur Pact in securing Mishalan against Amokolian frontier provocations.
In the face of opposition from a dozen nations, the Chancellor of Amokolia assumed an attitude so unyielding that in the former's perspective, it all but confirmed his government and sovereign as compromised and fully controlled agents of the Storish ruling house with whom negotiation and reasoning would be futile. In a speech to the Amokolian legislature, the Chancellor committed Amokolia to a policy of unconditional rehabilitation for the Froyalanish people and explicitly identified Amokolia as their homeland. The declaration was followed by an appeal to Kalgachia in particular to repatriate to Amokolia those bonded Froyalanish labourers it had imported from Shireroth between 155 and 164 AL.
By this time Kalgachia's Froyalanish population, having been sterilised as a condition of entry, were all of elderly age and few remained in the workforce. The Lord Lieutenants' Council, the state organ responsible for settling questions of nationality in Kalgachia, recommended a programme of voluntary repatriation which was duly authorised by the Council of Perfecti in 221 AL. Uptake for the programme was, however, minimal - especially for those who arrived in Kalgachia after the abolition of Froyalanish bondage 161 AL, for whom the move across the frontier from Shireroth had improved their status from enyoked community servant to wage-earning citizen.
The Council of Perfecti had accompanied its ruling on repatriations with a rare direct appeal to King Arkadius to avoid ignoring the underlying causes behind the suppression of the Froyalanish, lest his own Amokolian subjects succumb to the same. This was dismissed by the king in a following speech where he implied the behaviour of the Froyalanish before Auspicious Occasion to be to be "natural right" against which the only available countermeasures of the time were eternally illegitimate, "regardless of the history or background". His assertion in the same speech that "different population groups, different customs and traditions illustrate the cultural diversity" was heavily quoted in the Kalgachi media and intercut with the archived works of Froyalanish bards advocating the expansion of their "ancient ways" to all corners of the globe along with footage of refugees fleeing King Noah's purges and forced land clearances in Mishalan.
The effect of King Arkadius' defiance upon Kalgachia's relations with other powers was profound. The perennial state of military tension with the Unified Governorates, already reduced by the Slavegate Convention, now seemed to evaporate almost entirely; efforts were made by the authorities of each side to reduce ideological invective against the other while Kalgachi troops on the Ҳazedinov Line met in no man's land with Black Legionaries from the opposing Abatis Line to play soccer. In Shirekeep, the Regent Li Naomiai - a figure reviled in Kalgachia for her emotive outbursts against the Garden - announced her resignation for the express purpose of improving Sxiro-Kalgachi relations and establishing a unified Benacian front against the new civilisational threat in the north.
Within Kalgachia, a scattered handful of maverick Deep Singer and Nezeni microbiologists who had been the subjects of varying levels of scrutiny and/or detention by the Prefects for expressing Doronist sentiments, suddenly found themselves with restored security clearances and new job oppurtunities within deniable unitary enterprises of the Directorate of Health and Public Welfare. The object of their new work was a large sample set of I-M253 genotypes, collected from the wilds of northeast Apollonia by Unit 666 and obtained in exchange for three pairs of newborn Tee-als at a military airbase in Wuqi.
The Merchants' Purge (222 AL)
in 222 AL the apparently steady trajectory of Benacian affairs set in motion from Amokolia was abruptly reversed by the Treaty of Concord and the simultaneous occupation of parts of Shirekeep by forces of the Verionist Republic, events which returned the focus of post-Shirerithian states to the east overnight and reaffirmed the perpetually capricious and unreliable character of Kalgachia's neighbours in the eyes of DTW officials who had been flirting with notions of a lasting continental consensus.
Although the events did negligible damage to Kalgachia's emergent détente with the UGB, the Directorate of Labour and Economic Planning was alarmed by other results - namely a coordinated round of sanctions against the Verionist Republic by multiple Benacian states and the following emergence of tensions from the USSO and Alduria against Los Liberados which inspired Operation Hugo Grotius. All of these developments had a common point of collateral damage in the form of the Iron Company, on whom Kalgachia was almost entirely dependent for connections to the global marketplace.
Reliance upon such a solitary point of failure, although something of a heresy against the Kalgachi philosophy of state which was noted from the outset, had nonetheless been tolerated by the DLEP and its fixers in the Octavian Import-Export Corporation due to the immense economic benefits obtained while geopolitical risks were judged to be low. Now that the future integrity of the Iron Company's shipping operations came into question, so too did the complacency and hubris of certain DLEP officials and OIEC executives amid the circumstances of their own personal enrichment; after a series of briefings from the Church of Kalgachia and the Troglodyti on the behavioural fingerprints of the Pecuniary Archon, the Prefects assessed that certain members of the Kalgachi business community had wilfully allowed the economic resilience of the Garden to slide toward the periphery of their priorities in exchange for personal riches beyond the comprehension of the ordinary Kalgachi who would be the first to suffer if imports of Liberadosan rum and recreational motor fuel from Eura were compromised by disregard for geopolitical events.
The Prefects duly rounded up scores of DLEP officials and summoned certain Puerto Arcadio-based executives of the OIEC back to Kalgachia to account for their conduct; the majority of the latter, correctly surmising that they would be inducted into mandatory Church re-education programmes the moment they landed at Gravelbottom, instead chose to liberate such funds from the OIEC Expenses & Sundries account as they were able and fled into hiding. Although relations with the Iron Company were eventually stabilised by the Treaty of Lune Villa and assurances of maritime security given by the Raspur Pact, the DLEP was instructed by Kalgachia's ruling Council of Perfecti to commence an immediate diversification of its foreign logistics operation. To this end, discreet enquiries began to arrive at the offices of Kerularios & Co in Aqaba regarding the routing of non-perishable, recyclable and geopolitically-inert commodities to Kalgachia via the UGB in exchange for direct access to Kalgachi exports. The Iron Company wished the Kalgachi government "the best of luck" in their efforts to diversify their trading partners, but invoked its right to refuse goods shipments to or from competitor networks and maintain its monopoly over Batavian and Kasterburger trade routes which it had operated since the 170s AL - a move which, presuming Kerularios took up the slack elsewhere, would create seperate Batavian and Euran markets with their own exclusive shipping contractor and independent connections with the Kalgachi frontier.
The purge of the DLEP in Oktavyan was undertaken in parallel with another, directed mainly at Norestrian emigré bullion specialists within the Reserve Bank of Kalgachia who had been instrumental in establishing the metallurgical quality of the Kalgarrand. Whilst the loyalties of these diligent numismators had always been suspect, their record of service spared them the regime of ritualised penance imposed on the DLEP's foreign trade officials and generally took the form of early retirements with glowing references for onward employment among other Norestrians in emerging Benacian markets. Both house-cleaning efforts within the Directorate were coordinated on the Prefects' behalf by one Caustifer Yastreb: son of the Lady Lieutenant of Oktavyan and the Chairman of the Reserve Bank of Kalgachia, alleged nephew of the chairman of the Council of Perfecti and a noted currency speculator whose financial acumen had won him a private minority stake in the OIEC and now earned him an appointment to the Board of Governors of the Reserve Bank. Here he began to assist his aging father whose diminishing faculties and authority had necessitated the purge of the numismators in the first place, and whose senile deference to the incisive counsel of his red-haired wunderkind quickly marked the young man as the Reserve Bank's heir apparent.
The Protectorisation of the Uplanders (223 AL)
By 223 AL those KDF units in the Upland Confederation which had not been redeployed to help seal the Amokolian border were operating at a reduced alert state. The local Uplanders, modest of means but possessed with typical Laqi shrewdness, began to enlist the idle pool of military infrastructure, supplies and labour around them for the improvement of their own encampments and villages which had failed to advance appreciably beyond a state of tangled, Tee-al-ridden wilderness since the Minarborian collapse. In this they were actively aided and abetted by local KDF commanders who were all too keen to head off that universal scourge of deployed armies, the mischief of enlisted men with too much spare time. Static dwellings, irrigation works, Tee-al shelters and granaries began to proliferate throughout the Confederation's communities, as did upgrades of existing byways from hoof-churned horse tracks to roads of packed and graded soil suitable for light wheeled conveyances. This allowed a number of Kalgachi traders to arrive and market their wares from horse-drawn wagons or wood-gas trucks, the prevailing mode of entrepreneurship in their native mountains where private land ownership was forbidden.
The leaders of the clan Džirgas which composed the Confederation were naturally pleased at this economic injection, not least due to the KDF tolerating their 'taxation' of visiting traders in the Laqi fashion as a positive expression of cultural vibrancy and societal renewal. Through Ataman Ҳazedinov, they now petitioned Kalgachia's ruling Council of Perfecti to advance their Confederation to the same state of protection and esteem enjoyed by Lepidopterum, Northbloom and Lapivril, making the present arrangement permanent whilst maintaining an autonomous distance from the nannying rhizomes of Kalgachi central government who might demand their own cut of the proceeds.
Protectorate status for the Confederation, being internationally recognised as something of a fait accompli since the KDF moved in, was duly declared by the Council of Perfecti with two conditions: the first was that the Confederation's prohibition of entry to Deep Singers and Nezeni be restricted to that battle-scarred portion adjoining the Gubernatorials' domain of Siyacha, maintaining the modified races' seperation from the Nationalist-Humanists whilst allowing them to travel in areas near the Inner Benacian Neutral Zone. The second condition was that most of the Confederation's territory adjoining Kalgachia proper be transferred to the Deep Singer administered protectorate of Lepidopterum, ostensibly to reduce the Confederation's administrative burden and recognise the demographic shift which had occurred since colonies of Deep Singers and Nezeni alike had begun to resettle the area.
Whilst not especially welcomed by the Džirgas, the conditions were accepted after persuasion, monetary gratuities and gentle threats from Ataman Ҳazedinov; the extent to which this favour suggested a strengthened Deep Singer hand in the bowels of Kalgachi state, pursuing an incremental Sixist agenda for the reconquest of their erstwhile Minarborian home, did not pass without remark.
The Third Extraordinary Grand Council (226 AL)
By 226 AL the DLEP was reporting a general contentment at the pluralisation of Kalgachia's foreign trade activity; the mood prevailing within its operational bureaux was one of optimism and even wry amusement at the enthusiasm with which the Iron Company had fulfilled its contract to build a railway linking Kalgachia to the Stonetree Neutral Zone. Now, along that same railway, commodities were being poured into Kalgachia from Eura via shipping entities which were entirely independent of the Iron Company and showed no hesitation in prising apart the latter's previous monopoly on goods movement across Kalgachi borders.
However the DLEP's vision of a balanced, self-correcting trade infrastructure divided equally between Batavia and the Unified Governorates was proven to be somewhat naive by the loss of Nakalma flight 731 over the Great Western Sea as it flew from Batavia to the Verionian Empire. Aboard the aircraft, along with members of the House of Verion and senior Iron Company figures, were none other than the Batavian Prime Minister Joachim Mackay and the Liberadosan president Jacobo Castrigo Álvarez who also served as Batavian foreign minister; it was upon these two individuals that Kalgachia had relied for the expeditious transit of goods through the Batavian Confederation without obstruction or molestation by those whose sympathies leant nearer to the court of the Batavian king and his habit, seemingly contracted from associates in Stormark, of meticulously enforcing regulatory small print et pereat mundus.
As the post-Verion power vacuum was filled in neighbouring states, such influential organs as the church and the armed forces began to emit rumbles of discontent that the direction of events, far from assuring the balance in foreign trade risk promised by the DLEP, now suggested an overswing of the pendulum which would merely substitute dependence on Batavia for dependence on the Unified Governorates. All achievements of the post-Slavegate détente considered, they still competed against a history of Nationalist-Humanist malevolence toward the Kalgachi people dating back to the Minarborian era and the notion of a Gubernatorial veto on Kalgachia's off-continent links, exercised in concert with that of Batavia, was compared by officials of Kalgachi security organs to the dark days of the early 200s when Shireroth had threatened to do similarly. That occasion had compelled none other than the Chairman of the Council of Perfecti to address the Kalgachi people by radio and implore them to prepare for their homeland's enforced isolation; now that the protection of the Verions was gone and Kalgachia's trade security was returned to the whimsical hands of geopolitical developments largely beyond its control, calls for similar leadership began to percolate through the senior strata of government.
Meanwhile other matters were coming to a head. A collective malaise was afflicting the Deep Singers of Lepidopterum who struggled with the physical and psychological scars of their sub-surface battle with the Crystal Death whilst their aspirations to reclaim their Minarborian-era social supremacy in Kalgachia had been gently rebuffed by the government, citing in roundabout terms that their previous authority had been progressively forfeited by the megalomania of Doron Se and his surviving acolytes, the proliferation of the Tee-al, the creation of the Crystal Death and countless other manifestations of biomic overreach. In Kalgachia's high central mountains, reports emerged that Lord Toastypops had found insufficient jollity levels to keep him fully animated and that he had retired to bed. Across Kalgachia, the tolerated cult of Vascarina Goldcluck - a late Minarborian-era necromantic anomaly whose folk apotheosis was not fully recognised by the church - had largely given up on their demands for canonisation and were coalescing into a parallel movement whose rhizomatic leadership and well-attended meetings were beginning to compete with the church for spiritual authority.
Sensing that the amount of national issues insurmountable by the usual managerial mechanisms had reached a critical mass, the Council of Perfecti convened Kalgachia's third Extraordinary Grand Council - a conclave of themselves, the Lords Lieutenant, the Holy Synod of the Church, the General Staff of the KDF and the Lords Protector. Unlike the first two Councils, the third was held in a public venue - the Cathedral of Heaven's Conquest in the Kalgachi capital of Oktavyan - where despite the closed nature of the proceedings, the arrival of all participants except the Perfecti was televised. Of the stream of uniformed and robed personages scurrying from their limousines into the cathedral only the Lady Lieutenant of Oktavyan, Rubina Yastreb, stopped to engage with reporters; she evaded questions about the web of archonic entaglements spun by the foreign financial dealings of her son Caustifer and instead stated that "we have a lot to get through. Our deliberations will be long and their results will be incrementally applied. One cannot hurry a Garden. No, this is not a national emergency... failure to hold this council would eventually entail a national emergency, which is why we are holding it now. National emergencies are for other countries. Some countries have nothing but national emergencies. But this is Kalgachia."
The Council Decides (227 AL)
It was widely anticipated that the Third Extraordinary Grand Council would seek to correct the slide into reactivity which was forced upon Kalgachia by the tumults of the Kalirion Fracture and restore it to a more assertive positionality - effectively resuming the Temporal Secessionist reform programme of the late 190s. The manner in which it did, however, took much of the nation by surprise - the anticipated upheavals of foreign policy mostly failed to materialise with the Council committing to retain Kalgachia's existing trade arrangements at more modest volumes, ostensibly for their diplomatic value although the impending bounty of cheap scrap metal arising from Raspur Pact internment of the Iron Company's merchant shipping assets was said to have been a factor in the decision.
That windfall aside, the Council also announced the maturation of Kalgachia's stockpiling programme for non-native raw materials which had been operating since the first territorial abutment of Lepidopterum and Kasterburg in the mid-170s. For the sake of controlling storage and maintenance costs the Council ruled that these stockpiles, accumulated over the course of half a century, would be maintained at their existing level and treated as a strategic reserve with contributions made only to offset withdrawals. The Octavian Import-Export Corporation, already occupied with the jurisdictional transfer of its offshore headquarters to the Florian Republic, now found itself compelled to lay off large numbers of staff in anticipation of sharply reduced trading volumes (with inevitable accusations that this was merely cover for pre-planned cost saving measures).
These decisions were ultimately overshadowed in popular attention by the Council's religious rulings, which penetrated to the core of dogmas established since before the Minarborian era and in some cases swept them completely aside. As if to sweeten a bitter pill, the Council formally canonised Vascarina Goldcluck as a Salvator of the Ketherist faith, effectively allowing the Church of Kalgachia to absorb the renegade sect which had emerged in her name. Although Vascarina's history as a prematurely-necrofied lich was nominally compliant with the established requirement for Ketherist Salvators to be either undead or Deep Singers (the so-called "Benefactor Races"), the legend of her miraculous restoration to a living, unmodified human as the last worldly act of the Shrub Minarbor indicated an inversion of the established orthodoxy, inherited from the undead realms of the House of Rossheim and the Deep Singers alike, which held the Benefactor Races to be manifestations of linear progress toward a righteous state of "posthumanity".
This seismic doctrinal shift was confirmed by the Council's conclusions upon Kalgachia's long-term viability as a coherent civilisational entity, which held that "any lasting advancement of Minarboreal modes of thought or existence beyond Kalgachia's frontiers will depend heavily upon a recontextualisation of the undead and Deep Singer races - those Benefactors whose legacy is rejected by every successor nation except Kalgachia" and that the spiritual foundation of Kalgachi society needed to "move beyond its Caverdenian origins of gratuitous, spine-chilling otherness and find beneficient relevance in the lives of ordinary Benacians." Among many of the Kalgachi faithful, the Council's conclusions - the direction of which alone had indicated the absence of the inanimate Lord Toastypops and the malaise-stricken Lady Protector of Lepidopterum from proceedings - were interpreted as a near-damnation of the alternative sentient entities whose struggle for existence was entwined with Kalgachia's own and whose worldview had shaped generations of societal norms. Many people, especially Deep Singers and conservative Nezeni in Lepidopterum and Lithead, were seen to openly weep at the news.
In other quarters the Council's conclusions met with support - academics and esotericists especially welcomed the Council's statement of intent to seperate the societal holism of the Deep Singers and the Rossheim Dynasty's philosophy of state - ideals whose implementation had strengthened the Kalgachi nation beyond all doubt - from the manifest deficiencies of those races in trusting critical state functions to unreliable arcane phenomena and an apparent inability to prevent the periodic spread of invasive lifeforms.
The Kalgachi media were quick to circulate reassurances to the populations of the genetically-modified south, as well as the devotees of Lord Toastypops, that Kalgachia's debt of historical gratitude and the future societal value of the undead and modified living was assured, but that that same history could no longer justify the outright apotheosis of present specimens as "Benefactors" on the grounds of their physical composition alone; that was a privilege reserved for their ancestors whose succession had been relegated from the divine to the merely genetic, a process heralded in stages by the Harvestfall Revolution, the dematerialisation of Minarbor, the impure circumstances of the Salvator Vascarina's existence (redeemed only by her deeds) and the emergence of the halfbreed Nezeni. The Resector of Oktavyan, Kalgachia's most senior publically-appearing cleric, summarised that "the mysterious work of the Ketheric Host, being only partially governed by material laws, is by definition traumatic and confusing. The history of the Benefactors has been the story of this work, and many of their descendants cannot readily accept that their care has now been given over to a lesser authority. That it has been given over to the beneficient bosom of the Kalgachi nation, however, might well be considered the parting gift of their divine ancestors - to them and to all Kalgachia alike."
A National Revolution? (229 AL)
The unsatisfactory conclusions and inadequate implementation of the Extraordinary Grand Council were eventually to do for the House of Yastreb what decades and centuries of machinations by hostile external powers could not and signalled its near-complete and perhaps timely demise as a political force in the Garden. Whilst the ouster of Caustifer from the Chairmanship of the Council had been a collective and cross-party effort, the divergent visions for the future of Kalgachia were too irreconcilable for a way forward to be agreed upon by amicable means, and an inevitable amount of unavoidable unpleasantness duly ensued. The Kalgachi themselves do not acknowledge the occurrence of what external sources refer to as the 1677 National Revolution but, be that as it may, all are obliged to concur in the observation that the fate of the Garden was decided by a three-way tussle between between the Commercialists, the Cryptocrats, and the Hypernationalists, of whom the latter, under the leadership of Witold "Berry" Pommerovsky, would eventually emerge in the ascendant, setting the Kalgachi on a path of Benacian chauvinism and an unexpected alignment with those forces opposed to the rise of the "Neo-Vanic State" on their northern frontier.
- ^ the subsequent appearance of such individuals on the ESB payroll under assumed identities was denied by the latter and largely obscured by the periodic reassignment of suspect individuals around the Honourable Company's worldwide operating locations. The formation of a Pursuit and Liquidation Cell by the DTW Field Research Office to bring these individuals to final account before the Garden was neither confirmed nor denied.