Unified Governorates of Benacia
|Unified Governorates of Benacia|
|Motto: Faith and Endurance surpasses Might|
|Anthem: Hymn of Modan|
|16.5.0 – present|
|Largest city||Gloomburg, Sansabury|
|Official language(s)||Praeta, Istvanistani, Lach|
|Official religion(s)||Holodomatic Cedrozurvanism|
|Demonym||Benacians, Gubernatorials, Gubs (informal)|
|- Adjective||Benacian, Gubernatorial|
|Government||One-Party Humanist Corporate Realm within the Benacian Union|
|- Szodan||Daniyal ibn Daniyal|
|- Legislature||Chamber of Guilds and Corporations|
|Currency||Benacian sovereign (£)|
|Time zone(s)||CMT -10|
|National animal||Sarts Szuk|
|National food||Forager's Soup, Lywinderbrot, & Lythemsch'ighwnibe-Ch'ape libzchaxwe|
|National drink||Schleps Gin|
|National tree||Juniperus Litovinus|
The Unified Governorates of Benacia (UGB) is a realm that began as military governance system established following the Kalirion Fracture of 1671 AN, which now forms a constitutent part of the Benacian Union. Initially founded by Benacia Command in order to govern the civilian population of the Isle of Benacia, Lachmeren, Lywall, Litel, Gloomburg, Transelwynn, and New Blackstone. Alongside the formerly rival state of Kalgachia, the Unified Governorates controlled roughly two-thirds of the territory of the former empire of Minarboria. The governance of the territory is based upon a modified variant of Elwynnese, Imperial, and Modanese law, informed by Humanist political theory and syncretic religious practices. The UGB was a subject of the Raspur Pact and a member of the informal Natopian currency union which dominated the economic life of the Benacian continent in the aftermath of the Fracture.
Citizenship in the Unified Governorates was initially determined through the Charter of Coordination and is open to all Benacian nationals resident in a sovereign Benacian nation (Shireroth, Batavia, Inner Benacia, Kalgachia, Tellia) on the eve of the death of Kaiser Ayreon IV, generally considered to be the commencement of the Kalirion Fracture, or their descendants. This generous provision is subject to their registration with the civil authorities installed in the Governorates and the signing of the Covenant. Non-Benacians can be naturalised on the basis of a points system calculated through proven service, corporate bona fides, commendable piety, and ideological conformity.
The indigenous population of Cisamarrese, Lach, Lywallers, Mishalanski, Yehudi, and Tellians, therefore face the inward migration of Babkhi, Constancians,Norse, Talenorian Sani, Tapferites, and other stalwarts of the Raspur Pact, drawn by the decision of Benacia Command to relocate away from the lawless anarchy of Shirekeep and establish its cantonments in the heartland of the former Minarborian Empire.
Citizenship and residency rights were strictly limited to biological humans (Homo Sapiens) with the few remaining nests of rogue Dolorites located outside of the Kalgachi sanctuary territories being dug up and summarily extirpated wherever they are detected. The anomalous exception to this are the Nezeni who, partially on account of enjoying the protection of a recognised Benacian power and partially on account of some particularly niche perversions picked up by the negotiating team in Slavegate, are tolerated, if overly scrutinised, as guests of the Unified Governorates. The only stipulation to which they are subject is that they may not be seen abroad outside of the city of Sansabury during the hours of daylight. If daytime travel is required, Nezini visitors, whether pilgrims at Sansabury or participants in the burgeoning entertainments district of Merensk, may only travel in sealed compartments on trains, or in vehicles with heavily tinted windows. Consideration is presently being given to the creation of special Nezini-only rest stations along the route from Stonetree to Sansabury and from Sansabury to Merensk. If a Nezeni is caught in public during the daylight hours, whether by accident or misadventure, the subject is obliged to assume a posture of supplication until rescued by one of the specially appointed chaperones set to the task by the UGB Bureau of State Security. Unless authorised, civilians are not permitted to assist, acknowledge, or harm, a Nezeni whilst it remains in the supplication pose.
Following the removal of those Red Lach who refused to sign the Covenant to Lachdolor the only category of technically unfree humanity remaining within the territories of the Unified Governorate are the descendants of the Froyalanish survivors of the Auspicious Occasion who remain subject to the old imperial policies pioneered by the late Imperial Mother, namely reduction through miscegenation, whereby male Froyalaners in the Worker Colonies were gelded and given over to the Konkordskaya Bratva and the clans of Lachdolor to serve as thralls whilst the females were given over to the incessant requirements of domestic and recreational service, with Froyalanish blood being thus diluted by the perpetuation of this process with each succeeding generation.
The Siyachi, also known as the Yehudim, from amongst whose ranks the kossars are raised, are to be found primarily in the west of the Unified Governorates, in the Governorate of Siyachia and the westernmost portion of the Governorate of Lower Lywall. It was here in the core ancestral territories of Ashkenatza that the population endured in its faith and identity the least troubled by the interruptions of Minarborian settlement and Shirerithian colonial rule.
Tellians and the Cisamarrese are to be found in their greatest numbers in the eastern parts of the UGB, primarily in the Governorate of Austland, the Governorate of Lachmeren, and the Governorate of Litel, and as a minority population on the north coast of Florencia. In spite of persistent attempts at eradication, the 'Nclavesci clans still persist and exercise an outsized influence on the unregulated market sector within the economy of the Unified Governorates.
With the incorporation of the UGB into the Benacian Union the notion of citizenship was put aside in favour of individual subjection to the realm and the Union-State. Subjects could be either possessed or bereft of merit, conditional upon factors such as adherence to the Union Covenant, induction into the various guilds of Benacia, or recruitment by one the great corporations of the realm. Typically a subject without merit would be either a child, yet to complete their education prior to being called forward for auction. The far larger pool of protected persons included those municipal bondsmen who had found no other place in life except as disposable labour within their bailiwick of residence, or those condemned souls who had been assigned to the Benacian Labour Reserve.
In spite of rapid population growth in the Governorate of Lachmeren, driven by the explosive expansion of the city of Merensk, the UGB experienced a population decline in the period 1696 AN – 1712 AN that was fuelled primarily by the effects of conflict, famine, and emigration within the Benacian Union and Raspur Pact on the part of those with leave to travel internationally.
|Governorates||Circuit||Meritorious Subjects||Subjects Without Merit||Total|
|Florencia||Jadid Khaz Modan||808,728||2,505,177||625,517||3,939,422|
|Iridian Isles||Jadid Khaz Modan||1,680||672||183,368||185,720|
|Isle of Benacia||Jadid Khaz Modan||3,078,376||1,231,350||2,462,700||6,772,426|
|Naudia'Diva||Jadid Khaz Modan||22,594||9,037||2,464,823||2,496,454|
|Overseas Territories||Overseas Territories||305,150||962,903||123,273||1,391,326|
"I converse with my magisters in Praeta, my advisers in Istvanistani, and my lenders in Babkhi. The wife chides me in Elw, whilst my mistress whispers into my ears sweetly insincere nothings in the most beguiling Cisamarrese lilt. My dog responds to being told to 'fuck off' in Lach with a certain alacrity."
The culture of the Unified Governorates is, in large measure, determined by the nature of the peoples who comprise its society and the historical and material circumstances that have had, and continue to, acted upon them.
The Governorates, taken in an overview, are very much a colonial frontier society, being founded upon the successive ruination of Ashkenatza, Minarboria, and the fleeting moment of Shirerithian Imperial overreach into the region which has – with some justice – become known as the graveyard of empires.
The base population of the core territories of the Governorates, centred around the capital, Merensk, and comprising of the governorates of Lachmeren as well as Lower and Upper Lywall, consists of a substrata of Lywallers and Tellians, the near indigenous ethnicities of the region, alongside whom live the ever ubiquitous Lach, whose fractious clannishness bisects this invasive race, splitting them into Black and Red confederacies. In spite of persistent Imperial and now Gubernatorial efforts to suppress and reform the Lach through collective reprisal, selective incentives, and mass re-education, the legendary brigandry of the Lach remains endemic along the lesser patrolled minor roads of Upper Lywall.
Of Lywallers themselves there is little enough to say, their nature inclines them towards flippancy and contrariness. It was somewhat indicative of the scant regard in which Minarboria and Kalgachia held the rest of the world that these Lywallers, with their peculiar insistence upon forced 'jollity' at the most inappropriate of moments, were at one point put forward as candidates for diplomatic postings and service as regime mouthpieces. More than one serious international incident was triggered by a Lywaller with nominal authority “flying off the handle” at some routine activity, such as a military exercise in a neighbouring country. This tendency towards the histrionic may in some part have derived from the transfusion of migrants from the notoriously labile populace of Lunaris in Shireroth into the youthful body politic of Minarboria at the time of its foundation. For this reason those Lywallers still found within the bounds of the Unified Governorates tend to be rebuffed from state service and struggle to find guild accredited placements in all but the most menial of roles. A similar attitude eventually came to prevail in neighbouring Kalgachia when the armed forces there stepped in to end Lywaller maladroitness in the administrative and diplomatic spheres.
The Social Truce
The former Minarborian lands, depopulated by plagues, famines, and wars, that have come under the sway of the Black Legions, have embraced a no-nonsense form of morality, appropriate to the needs of peasant folk putting their lives back together in the midst of a shattered world. Villagers, the inhabitants of the clustered settlements cobbled together in the form of moats, palisades, and dugout bunkers, had become inward looking and clannish, speaking devolved dialects of Istvanistani and Praeta that would be incomprehensible even to their near-neighbours. Out of necessity the peasantry manage their own affairs, rather than relying upon the government which, whether ruling from Sansabury, Shirekeep, or Merensk, remains impossibly remote from the day to day existence of the common man. In spite of the abolition of feudalism, these settlements where the only surface structures are an observation tower – the only brick structure for miles around, livestock pens, and a votive blood-smeared shrine dedicated to the Cedrist god of death – Mors – in an effort to avert the malignant eyes of the Tee-al from falling upon them, retained their own rough and ready social hierarchy, led by the blacksmith, the carpenter, and the miller, and a moot council of those up-jumped yeoman who had exploited the chaos of the Fracture to secure title over the arable lands and pasturage enrounding the settlements.
By dint of their Lywaller ancestry, the peasantry might be seen by some as manifesting some form of “indefatigable jollity”, the reality behind the smiles of the yeoman is altogether less serene than their demeanour might otherwise suggest. The “outwardly-cheerful tenor” of the laughing, dancing, hard-drinking peasant who seems to have never let go of his childhood is a deceptive one, for the realities of village life do not allow for the illusions of youth of last for long. Right from the moment when the children are assembled in their age cohorts, under the watchful eyes of the village elders, to witness the bringing of the cow to the bull, through to the rustic fêtes, where boy and girl are paired off to dance their first jig under the influence of cider far stronger than the small beer they grew up drinking at the dugout table, the ruling moot guided the breeding of the next generation in such a way as to ensure that – for all but the most moonstruck simpleton of no further use save than as an amusing object for villagers to torment – childhood was over by the fifteenth year. In such circumstances mutual affection amongst the paired is not required, although boy and girl would be given the opportunity to find out whether they were suited to each other. In the common practice of “bundling” a young courting couple spent nights together before marriage, with clothing or a blanket between them to prevent physical contact, allowed to chat and get to know each other.
Homosexuality is commonly known as the “Sickness of Lords”, a legacy of the period of Imperial rule during which time the “privilege” of contracting same-sex unions was exclusively reserved to the nobility. Whilst homosexuality is not illegal in the Unified Governorates, a legacy of a certain Imperial edict of toleration allowed to continue in its effect, country people tend to disapprove of the manifestations of most forms of degeneracy or vice, known as “town living”, amongst their own. Expressions of displeasure concerning any individual's conduct, proven or suspected, can take the form of following the culprit around whilst beating pots and pans, tipping dung and manure into their dugout, or worse, escalating levels of social ostracism culminating either in the individual being cast out of the village or disappearing altogether with all concerned subsequently denying even the existence of such a person.
Hermaphrodites were once considered to be changelings deposited by the Hateful Ones in the place of human children snatched away for fiendish experiment and sacrifice, and for this reason those afflicted by mixed-attributes at birth were customarily taken to the edge of the nearest mire or other polluted place and either drowned out of pity or left at the mercy of the elements to die either from exposure or of the ravening attentions of wild beasts. This stern duty would fall to the father of the child, supported by the elders lest he falter in his resolve. The mother would remain in her dugout for ten days, shunning the light and all forms of human contact until the proper purification rituals could be performed. All births are attended by midwives and the elders for this reason, so that imperfections may be searched out at the earliest opportunity and that no time be wasted raising stunted off-spring. For the purpose of avoiding misunderstandings with the authorities, who might take a dim view of infanticide and the unnecessary destruction of future works, such tragic occurrences are duly recorded by the village notary, often the only literate person in the settlement, as a miscarriage. As the UGB does not presently desire to incur the cost and inconvenience of suppressing a peasant revolt merely for the sake of discouraging a disagreeable practice, its officials are for the most part content to pretend as though they are unaware of what the rustic constituents of the Governorates get up to. Nonetheless the Civil Executive could hardly condone the wanton murder of prospective tax-payers, and for this reason outreach workers assigned to the task by Commissioner of Services, operating under the guise of mendicant preachers of the Covenanted Faith, tour the backcountry freely disseminating, along with dispensing blessings, basic medicines and rudimentary advice concerning sanitation and hygiene, specially edited psalms and parables promoting the notion that hermaphrodites enjoy the especial protection of Tempestas, the incarnation of destructive fury, and should be brought to her temples lest her unwelcome attentions be brought to bear upon those who would have harmed, even unto death, the bearers of her mark. In the beginning it was necessary to dispense a couple of fuel-air bombs over remote villages with a reputation for above average miscarriage rates, but subsequently – by word of mouth, propagated by bundlesmen travelling the backroads and paid to talk up stories of divine retribution – the notion appears to be gaining some traction.
The urban communities of the UGB, enrolled into guilds, regimented by the demands of their workplaces, and supervised by the vigilant ministrations of the Party, the Church, and the Panopticon, were bound together in a further latticework of rites, traditions, and social institutions. There was temple on Hyre (derived from hye, "deity"), washday at the public laundrettes and bathing houses on Amnure (derived from amnu, "sun"). There were choirs in Lywaller communities, and there were dancing and duelling societies amongst the Lach.
The street was the hub of the community in urban bailiwicks, and there was a public house – 'the local' – on the corner of nearly every one, where it was becoming less unusual to see wives accompanying husbands to the pub on an evening with the last day of work for the week on Eljere (derived from eli, "star"). Working folks on their Hyre day of rest would – after temple – tend to sit outside their front doors and, beer in hand, gossip as they watched the world go by. Urban thoroughfares were noisy crowded places, populated with Bundies, tallymen (a kind of door-to-door salesman with a sideline in money lending and the fencing of 'lost' property), tinkers, and yegs. On streets not reserved for government or corporate vehicles, buskers and the hawkers of goods would throng, going door-to-door in residential areas, and swarming any private vehicle that tried to pass along the way – sometimes hauling out and beating any driver who failed to make at least one unnecessary purchase as his vehicle crawled through the crowd. Whilst this went on, children, when not subject to the ferocious discipline of their schooling, colonised the gutters in order to play hopscotch, marbles, tag, and “depose-the-kaiser” (which consisted of hauling a kid around on a cart singing his praises until a consensus was reached, seemingly at random, amongst those pulling the cart to throw the 'kaiser' down into the muck and put another on the cart in his place – and then repeat the process for another little while); improvised games of football would see children and apprentices from adjoining streets congregate for a ferocious session of shin-kicking in which efforts to gain possession of a ball could sometimes be discernible.
For these children, with fathers at the factory or office, and mothers out working or busy with babies and chores, school was not simply a place of learning; it was the safety net put in place to catch those who would otherwise be left to their own devices. The children enjoyed enhanced rations, given in the form of guaranteed free hot meals, and the school nurse would check for nits, ringworm, and fleas. Each school would have a cleansing station where children's heads were shaved and their bodies fumigated with chlorocarbon insecticides.
The straightened circumstances of the urban poor in the first generation after the Kalirion Fracture, was made bearable in the UGB for those families where the breadwinner was in work. Those men not employed, directly or indirectly, by the Black Legions or the Honourable Company found work in the new industries: building cars, assembling electrical goods, printing and packaging. The new companies, many of whom were subcontractors for the Honourable Company and other foreign multinationals, prided themselves on leaving behind the old working practices of the “backwards and feudal” Shirerithian era, and on being thoroughly modern in their methods. Machinery was housed in purpose built factories and operated by staff in clean overalls clearly marked with the company livery. Worker's safety and conditions assumed an unheard-of importance: in line with Civil Executive guidelines, factories had subsidised canteens, and even in one or two instances provided workplace sports facilities.
Work however was monotonous and strictly regulated, the subject of endless time and motion studies and rigid scheduling. Workers would wear biometric trackers whilst on shift, allowing supervisors to monitor their activity, location, and overall health. Pay was linked to output, and workers who could not keep up with daily production quotas could lose their jobs. All workers were mandatorily enrolled with one of the guilds that broadly oversaw their profession – these could arbitrate on their behalf, appeal dismissals, or try to arrange new employment opportunities on behalf of their members. But the capacity for any guild to oppose company policies was circumscribed by the membership of corporations in those same guilds and the reliance of the guilds upon the subscription contributions received from employers. Strikes and workplace go-slows were prohibited and could be subject to punishment by a military tribunal.
To lose one's job under these circumstances would be a disaster. The worker insurance schemes provided by the guilds gave some held, but payments would stop after eight weeks. There was then little choice but to got to the Bailiwick and apply for relief – this would entail being registered as one of the 'Lawful Poor', a holdover from the Shirerithian era that effectively was tantamount to being declared a community servant, one in vassaldom to the local authority and available to be employed at its direction and on terms of its own decision. Supplicants had to be means tested before being given tickets for exchange for supplements to the basic ration: rye bread, ersatz-butter, cheese, tea, and sugar. This involved a visit from a district inspector, whose job it was to poke into every corner of the supplicant's home, making sure that everything of value had already been pawned. Inspectors could also lift floorboards, and tap the walls for cavities in which cash or valuables might be concealed. The temple was also a welfare centre, helping to explain the survival of Cedrism. To belong to a congregation was to be in line for the handing out of second-hand clothing or small donative payments.
The truly indigent, those incapable of labour to off-set the cost of their upkeep by the Bailiwicks, especially the elderly and the sick, would be sent to the workhouse, where they had the wear baggy beige-grey uniforms of undyed cotton-hemp weave. By 1689 there were 12,328 workhouses established in the UGB. Nominally the responsibility of the districts into which the Bailiwicks were divided, the day-to-day running of workhouses were typically farmed out to contractors who were paid a head fee determined by the number of inmates. Accordingly, to make a return on investment, the workhouses were administered strictly with food beyond the basic ration restricted and distributed with economical care.
One duty of the local authorities was to make a diligent search for the unemployed, the homeless, and the idle, together categorised as the unlawful poor, on contrast to their lawful poor counterparts registered with the Bailiwicks. These individuals were to be collected by the means of random street searches, regular inspections of "low premises" suspected of sheltering characters of ill-repute, and the ever obliging anonymous denunciations provided by suspicious neighbours and disenchanted family members. Criminology in the UGB held that criminality had proliferated in the old eastern metropolises, such as Shirekeep and Musica, because of an indifference to and toleration of immorality and idleness. To the end of eradicating this phenomenon, the unlawful poor, having been apprehended, were brought to the magistrates of their Bailiwick at the end of each month. Each one was reviewed, and if the verdict of unlawful pauperism was confirmed, would be taken to chambers below the courtroom and branded on the palm of the right hand with the mark of "UP" (unlawfully poor), the same letters also being tattooed in smaller letters on the face immediately beneath the bottom right eyelid. The condemned are thereafter presented with a choice between the Biological Remediation Service or transportation to wherever in the UGB a Bailiwick's Labour Exchange has an unfilled works vacancy. Where a vacancy is filled by the transportation of a worker the wage is paid directly by the hiring company to the Labour Exchange which takes two-thirds of the transported worker's monthly salary to reimburse the Bureau of Unlawful Persons & Aliens for costs incurred.
Food and rationing
Whilst a Basic Ration of milk, eggs, meat, butter, margarine, edible oil, tea, cheese, sugar, jam was theoretically available to all citizens, most inhabitants of the rural bailiwicks of the Unified Governorates subsisted on a plain diet of bread, weak ale and pottage - a thick stew made largely with cereals and pulses along with whatever fish or fowl could be scared up for the cooking pot. For those inhabitants dwelling on the edge of forested areas this could be supplemented by Forager's Soup - sweet chestnuts, walnuts, mushrooms, onions, lovage, sage, & thyme. Canned foods, sometimes available in the markets or else bartered for with the nearest garrison of the Black Legions, would relieve the monotony of this fare but fresh meat was a rarity. Famine, caused by bad weather or failed harvests, was a constant threat which raised food prices to exorbitant levels and left the poor in the back-country to starve.
The urban poor, being more likely to be in receipt of the Government & Guild Service Ration and with access to the supplementary Field & Industrial Service Ration provided through canteens in their places of work and the guild halls to which they were affiliated, fared better, living on a diet that consisted of milk, bread, broiled bacon, tinned fish, and the occasional egg.
Those enrolled in the Black Legions, in government service, or on the payroll of the Honourable Company, in contrast, could afford to eat very frequently, often at times more than is suitable, and were particularly fond of young swans, rabbits, deer and sea birds. They would dine on mutton and beef, which they consider to be better here than anywhere else in the world - the vast teeming herds of Siyachia in particular enjoying rich pasturage. Those in Lower Lywall and Lachmeren enjoyed all kinds of fish in plenty and great quantities of oysters which are gathered up from the seashore - pickled oysters, sold in wax-sealed jars, being a speciality of the port of Rothaven. The drinking of strong beer and Schleps Gin - a distilled grain spirit flavoured with Litovine juniper berries - being ubiquitous in the cities giving rise to violent quarrels and notable accidents involving complex machinery was in and of itself a cause for great merriment and entertainment for the populace.
The wealthy, particularly the denizens of Merensk as well as the magisters of Benacia Command and their retinues, could choose from an astonishing array of dishes, both sweet and savoury, and banquets held by the Szodan of Benacia might run to hundreds of courses. Elaborate confections served on these occasions included peacock that had been skinned and roasted, then had its feathers and begilded beak and claws replaced to lifelike effect. Pork meatballs were coated in batter and coloured green with herbs so that they looked like apples. Dried dates, figs, prunes, and almonds - imported from the Honourable Company's plantations in the isles of Sathrati - were stuck on a skewer, covered in batter and roasted to look like the entrails of a wild boar, a hunter's delicacy. The rich enjoyed the best of everything, including Lywinderbrot - a crusty wholewheat bread filled with melted cheese and olives - and finest delicacies that Lach cooking could offer, such as skewered sheep's liver sausages and sheep's tail crackling, with pancakes and cream.
Sauces were also popular - particularly where the taste of tinned meat and fish had to be enlivened. Vert Ganamun was prepared from herbs, breadcrumbs, vinegar, pepper and ginger while Frumentaris consisted of wheat boiled in milk with herbs and spices. Mustard, grown in Litel, was however the most versatile condiment of all, which accompanied meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, creams, and puddings.
Imported wine was naturally the preserve of the rich while, as previously noted, ale was a poor man's staple, and was brewed and drunk in vast industrial quantities, with cider and mead, sweetened with honey, to relieve the monotony. Vodka meanwhile was most commonly encountered in the so-called potato-belt of Gloomburg and the Severnaya Gubernya.
The most coveted ration meanwhile was the Higher Government & Guild Service Ration a daily ration available to government, guild, political, and corporate management cadres - regimental officers or above. Available via workplace catering facilities, with its infamous set menus:– Breakfast - bacon and tomatoes, bread, jam, and cocoa. Lunch - wintergleam pudding, roast pork or lamb, potatoes, bread and jam. Tea - bread and jam. Supper - ox-tail soup, roast beef, whisky and soda, leeks, rice pudding, coffee.
On 23.I.1686 the Directorate of Logistics gave an order for all Governorates to set aside sufficient quantities of rendered animal fat, oatmeal, basil, sage, and thyme for the issuance of a daily Universal Welfare Ration Supplement consisting of 300-grams of the prepared substance made available to invalids, orphans, and the registered (or lawful) poor. Recipients of the Universal Welfare Ration Supplement were also entitled to draw one litre of fortified medicinal stout from any licensed establishment upon presenting a properly endorsed UGB ration card and a letter of temporary incapacity carrying the signature of their District Supervisor as well as the stamps of the guild and employer with whom they were last registered.
The free market continued to operate, with rice, potatoes, quinoa, soybeans, and soy products imported from Wechua, which was traded in kind for the export of prime Lywaller beef to the markets of Alduria-Wechua, to the resentment of many. The meat of slaughtered maritime leviathans, harvested by the SATCo corporation in the principality of Whales, was regularly exported northwards to the UGB and had the advantage of being unrationed. In spite of this, prolonged acquaintance had not made whale meat any more palatable when presented on the dining tables of the governorates, with complaints frequently highlighting the flavourless fatty texture and lingering persistent stench.
With the return of Sathrati to Shirerithian suzerainty tropical fruits ceased to be readily available except for those with deep pockets or connections with the Honourable Company. Nonetheless the Bureau of Health purchased orange juice concentrate in bulk to further a scheme to enrich the diets of mothers, babies, schoolchildren and factory workers, through the distribution of apfelsinegansurfruchtgetränk (developed by Superabundance Foods Inc), an orange squash drink enhanced with extra vitamins and four tablespoons of cod-liver oil blended into every five-hundred millilitre bottle.
As a consequence of the enduring shortages, women in lower class households learnt to be ingenious in the kitchen; making sausages from rolled oats and bacon fat, foraging in roadside bushes for the berries with which to make jam, bottling native fruits, salting beans, and gathering and drying herbs. For the little extras that could not be covered by the various rationing schemes or domestic ingenuity, a whole caste of entrepreneurs sprung up who specialised in foodstuffs that would, providentially, "fall off lorries". These gentlemen would in many areas be the exclusive means by which premium grades of coffee, whisky, wine, decent cuts of beef or lamb, cheeses, and delicate pastries, could find their way into less affluent households. The Black Legions and the Honourable Company, exasperated by the near epidemic of pilfering, looked to the State Guard and the Public Order Force to protect their shipments. This however merely led to the employees of the Commission for Public Order, under Bruno Rambert Strohkirch, becoming an integral part in the systemic corruption.
It would meanwhile be remiss to pass over without comment the street food of Merensk during the period of the UGB - almost any food imaginable could be found touted by vendors outside the walls of the Centrum district, and available too at a reasonable price, provided that the visitor was prepared to receive it in a fried form. Of particular note was deep fried balls of black pudding wrapped in bacon, which were thinly sliced and served with a fried egg and fried onions in a bagel with a side dish of pretzels.
The expansion of large-scale commercial trawler fleets, operating out of Rothaven, and casting drift nets in the Great Western Sea after the end of the Second Elwynnese Civil War, saw an influx of cheap fish brought ashore and fed into the salting houses and smoke huts of Lachmeren, and from thence to the breakfast dinner plates of Merensk and Sansabury. The public was encouraged to enjoy the Victory Breakfast, consisting of eggs, black pudding, mushrooms and tomatoes with toast.
The years after the Elwynnese conflict saw the phenomenon of the private market begin to appear in disused wasteland on the edge of Benacian cities. On select days, usually once a fortnight, peasants from the surrounding countryside would come into the cities to offer up their surplus fresh produce, or whatever they had foraged from the forests and hedgerows in exchange for the tinned food and preserved meats provided under the rationing system which the city dwellers might have to spare, factory and government employees being considerably better provided for in this regard that the inhabitants of rural bailiwicks.
As noted, the public house or "the local" was a mainstay of community life. One was to be found in every settlement in rural bailiwicks, and at the end of almost every street in their urban counterparts. The patriotic Benacian's beer was porter - flat, dark brown or black, and warm. Potent too. Beer, it was said, was the quickest way out of Merensk. The public house being one of the few ways for working men, for whom the entrance prices of the paradise districts were prohibitive, to escape the regimentation of daily life - and to get away from their womenfolk. Whether at the end of a row of ferroconcrete tenement buildings in a garrison town or half-buried amidst a cluster of dugouts on the edge of a Tee-als territorial range, the local was a place where men could express themselves in language as free and strong as they wished. Women and children were not banned from such establishments but, especially in rural establishments, were usually sequestered in the snug bar at the back.
Meanwhile in the front bar - characterised by a flagstone floor, a pair of wooden settles located by the fireplace, some benches, a simple wooden counter-bar - the adult male population of the community would gather every evening to sip from pewter tankards their stout, strong as barley wine, drop by drop, to make them last, whilst chewing miserably on the substantial chunk of rye bread which law proscribed be sold with every drink, and bemoan the inequities , wrangle over politics (whether N&H or ESB were the biggest parcel of rogues and whether any difference betwixt the two still remained), or to sing a few of the old songs from the before times, without fear of the censors of the Panopticon eavesdropping. Pubs, along with the paradises frequented by the rich, were covered by the informal conditions of the social truce between the state and the governed masses - that no-one would listen to what was said or went on in such places so long as nothing was remembered afterwards.
It would be common to see children carrying beer home in jugs, frequently it would be one of the duties pressed upon them after being dismissed from their schooling. Woe betide any child who neglected to stop at the pub to beer for mother whilst on the way home. The Bailiffs appointed by the Civil Executive to oversee the bailiwicks would look askance at such practices, but publicans continued to prosper by it regardless. Some enterprising fellows would go so far as to install an outside hatch with steps so that the young beer fetchers could reach the counter. Canny barmen usually ensured that a stock of candy was kept at hand include, gratis, with the purchase - something that the children would invariably consume on the way home, distracting their attention from the jug of beer they bore for their parents.
Sports and recreation
Popular sports played in the Governorates include shin kicking, Benacian pit fighting, and Association Football ("soccer"), in their approximate order of popularity. Stadiums in the Unified Governorates tend to be built with dual usage in mind, as football stadia in season and for use as fighting pits when the Benacian National League is resting its teams. Shin-kicking on the other hand can be found occurring on pretty much any street corner and, at its most organised, can become a mass event involving pub leagues at the bailiwick and governorate levels. A five aside shin-hacking contest, played out over the course of two half-hour sessions in a pub courtyard can become a rowdy affair that easily gives rise to a mass brawl for further merriment as the hosts set about battering the visitors to the delight of the spectators as they become drawn into the affray.
It has been suggested that the game of shin kicking has come to influence the singular tackling style of the Unified Governorates national football team.
Sport in the Unified Government was regulated by the UGB Bureau of Sports, a non-ministerial body represented on the Civil Executive, until it was superseded in this role by the Benacian Institute of Physical Culture in 1711 AN.
The Humanist doctrine of the Human Supremacy over all life on Micras finds its expression in the licence afforded to meritorious subjects that they may torment such animals as fall into their possession, to the fullest extent of their desire, for the purpose of their sport and pastimes. It would be a rare guild chapter in the UGB that lacked a fraternal association of "brothers of the chase". It was symptomatic of the ideology of "universal dominion", that these recreational hunters were entitled, indeed encouraged, to spent their day of rest in the pursuit of wild animals to run to ground and exterminate, even in the depths of their lairs. Regimental mess clubs, maintained by the officers of the BUDF in a preservation of the traditions of the Black Legions before them, were known to employ their subordinates as beaters to ruthlessly drive boars, feral Deep Singers, and deer into ambush sites enclosed by palisades, pits, and stakes, where they would be corralled. Whilst those hired or tasked to serve as beaters would maintain the perimeter of the enclosure, tormenting the animals penned within using shouts, the banging of drums, and thrown projectiles, to keep the confined animals terrified and savage, the huntsmen, their guests, and other persons of quality would assemble, accompanied by retainers bringing up their sticking-spears and baying packs of hounds. It would be customary for drinks and appetisers to be served before the assembled party would embark upon the main event. At a given command, a portion of the palisade would be thrown down and the baying hounds unleashed upon the fear-deranged creatures confined within, with the gentlemen following after them - spears in hand - to complete the wholesale massacre. Women and children, who might be invited to attend the entertainments, would not participate in the slaughter but once the hounds were brought to order and removed from the killing field they might be called forward by their menfolk to be daubed in blood and to partake in the butchering and rending of the flesh of the slain beasts. For those boys in attendance, to be bloodied by their fathers, to have their foreheads painted with the blood of a fallen animal, was in itself a ritual of initiation - another step along the road to an adulthood that would inevitably require an intimate familiarity with, and comfort in, the presence of bloodshed.
The sanguinary nature of finding pleasure in the rural parts of the UGB has its counterpart in the fighting pits of the urban districts, as previously mentioned. Whilst in the larger cities the fighting pits might be constructed as stadia able to serve double duty as a soccer pitch or athletics ground, in less favoured towns the sunken venue will be host less reputable activities such as animal baiting and the theatrical arts. As places of popular diversion, these fighting pits necessarily fall under the protection of the Guild of the Lotus, although on account of the stench of slaughtered flesh and the raucousness of the crowds, these lesser pits are necessarily situated at a remove from the walled Paradise Districts where an outward impression of decorous tranquillity is highly esteemed and inharmonious threats to that order regarded with abhorrence. The diversions of the fighting pits included bear and bull baiting, cockfights, fights between men and women, freak shows, prize-fights, and the aforementioned theatrical performances laid on by touring companies of thespians (a tribe of con artists, pickpockets, and prostitutes who presented themselves as actors) licenced by the Guild. In the rural bailiwicks badgers might also be baited, tied to poles by means of wire passed through their tails. The creatures were considered entertainingly ferocious for their size, and easily half-a-dozen dogs might be wasted upon the strong jaws of the animal before the savage beast was finally overwhelmed and torn to pieces by the blood-frenzied hounds. The quantities of freshly slaughtered carcasses issuing forth from the fighting pits made it only natural that they tended to be situated in proximity to the butcher's yards operated by the liveried companies of flesh-mongers. In many bailiwicks it became the custom for a newly appointed bailiff, upon assuming office, to present a bear or bull to the populace of his new jurisdiction to be baited as a demonstration of the munificence of the governorate whose interests he would represent.
The Guilds of Benacia, permitted to exercise control over all forms of trade within the bailiwick, had their origins in the fraternal associations of Elwynn that formed to ensure that the men and women practising a given craft enjoyed the protection of mutual assistance and charity, often expressed in the form of a quasi-religious benevolence. Over time these fraternities grew to have a regulatory role in the trade to which their membership pertained, that the standards of craftsmanship were upheld, that tools and materials remained available to all on a reciprocal basis, and that members were able to charge a fair price owing to the exclusion of competition by workers who did not hail from their guild in question.
What changed for the guilds was the evolution of Humanism in the decades and centuries after the Babkhan settlement of Elwynn by Ardashir Khan. What was recognised in the benevolent structures of the old guilds was a mechanism for societal control at the level of the community. Beginning with the Coordinated State of Elwynn, and continuing with ever greater intensity in the aftermath of the Kalirion Fracture, the guilds and corporations became the means by which an individual's basic ability to participate in the lawful economy could be controlled and regulated. If a person was not pledged to the military, the covenanted faiths, the N&H, or the Honourable Company, the only way to become a participant in the economic and civic life of their community, to attain the status of a subject with "merit", was to be apprenticed into one of the guilds operating within the bailiwick of their residence. As the Benacian Union consolidated its control over two-thirds of the continent, the system became formalised. Subjects without merit could not leave their bailiwick of residence without official authorisation, were kept on the minimum level of basic rations, and were vulnerable to the oversight of the local Cull Commission, ever in danger of being reassigned to the Benacian Labour Reserve - or worse, of coming to the notice of the Worshipful Guild of the Sacred Carnifices.
Subjects would, under the developing system, be inducted via auction into appropriate guilds as apprentices at the age of fifteen in the Unified Governorates, compared to thirteen in Elluenuueq, whilst those passed over at auction, if not swept up by the various recruiting teams of the Benacian Union Defence Force, would pass into the indentured labour reserve of the bailiwick. These indentured labourers, being available for hire to perform piecework and or manual labour in return for their subsistence rations, with notional wages paid to the municipal corporation of the bailiwick instead, were in an invidious position compared to their apprenticed fellows. The stages of an apprentice's progress from pupil to journeyman in their chosen profession could take up to six years. The inducted apprentices would be farmed out to the chartered corporations of the specific guilds, with the exact numbers allocated to each corporation per year being a matter of negotiation, as the coveted rank of master craftsmen - which would place a guild member who attained such at the pinnacle of the Honourable category of subjecthood.
Guilds, as institutions comprised of subjects who had sworn the Union Covenant, had a duty of care that concerned the moral, social, and spiritual welfare of their membership. This concern was not merely altruistic, but also reputational, especially if the guildhall of the local chapter of a given guild was to thereby receive the unwelcome attentions of the magisters-carnifex. Ordinances promulgated by guilds could the proper rites for the celebration of a chapter's deceased members, for the days of mandatory religious obligation pertaining to whichever covenanted faith the guild happened to be most aligned, the ostracism and punishment of those guilty of adultery and other sexual crimes, and the ways - generally - whereby their members were expected to live a temperate and respectable life in accordance with their designated role and societal status. The guilds also exercised a regulatory function upon those corporations which had received their charter and livery from the chapter in which their enterprise was first established. Customers were not to be overcharged, members were forbidden to withhold materials or services in the hope of inflating prices, and corporate officers were prohibited from discussing the affairs of the guild, especially matters deemed to be trade secrets, in public, or to conduct themselves in a manner contrary to the dignity of their employer or the wider guild. Offenders against their guild could be punished at the discretion of the Chapter Master and the Court of Aldermen. Punishments for breaches of the ordinances were severe and carried out in public, the offender being beaten, fined or obliged to stand in the commercial district, a placard indicating his offence placed around his neck, along with a suitable token of the infraction - such as the habit of the Gibbet Cove Chapter of the Worshipful Guild of Fishmongers, which would hang a rotting fish, tied under the chin of the condemned malefactor, to add to his indignity and shame.
Politically, the UGB was a stratocracy, that is to say the country was subject to the rule of the armed forces, moreover the armed forces in this instance were not a product of the nation but rather the nation was formed by the armed forces, known as the Black Legions.
Prior to the coup of 1691 AN the government had been able to maintain a surprising degree of internal stability. A unity of purpose, born out of professional class solidarity and marinated in Humanist and Livist ideology, along with discrete interventions by the internal security apparatus, had kept the worst aspects of factionalism at bay.
Four year term limits for Command Executive office holders were introduced in 1694 in an effort to ward off factionalism and continual in-fighting.
The ramifications of the Second Elwynnese Civil War, particularly the role played by Benacia Command in the event known as the Scouring (20.XIV.1695), and the ensuing destruction of seven heavily populated cities of Northern Benacia, precipitated the transfer of power from the Black Legions to a civilian government, albeit in the form of a one-party state headed by Constantine Loup, the former military ruler and founder of the UGB, in his new guise as Archon of the N&H national sector party in the country.
|Szodan of Benacia||Archon & Frainan Streïakeï||Daniyal ibn Daniyal||Head of State|
|Marshal||Salbnan||Lors Blomqvist||State Guard|
|Vice President of the Realm’s General Staff||Salbnan||Joachim Eckhart||Executive Bureau|
|Realm Commission for Internal Affairss||Ahmst Bræþstranin||Marius Hofmann|
|Realm Commission for Logistics||Ahmst Bræþstranin||Friedemann Beringer|
|Realm Commission for Public Instruction and Safety||Ahmst Bræþstranin||Johan van Melanchthon|
|Realm Commission for the Treasury||Ahmst Bræþstranin||Sigibert Behrends|
|Commissioner of the Circuit of Benacia||Ahmst Bræþstranin||Gunther Fulmar|
|Commissioner of the Circuit of Jadid Khaz Modan||Ahmst Bræþstranin||Heinz Raeder|
|Commissioner for the Overseas Territories||Ahmst Bræþstranin||Gustav Karl|
The Constitution of Drakorda stipulates that the State Assembly is to be elected by the Community of the Realm every five years. The manner and method of this election is to be determined by a Directive of Benacia Command. To date these elections have never been held. The continuing emergency is the usual explanation given for the failure of Benacia Command to issue a writ of summons.
In spite of this an institution calling itself the State Assembly regularly sits in Merensk, its sessions coinciding closely with the social season of the Szodan's imperial city. Attendance at the State Assembly being seemingly determined by social standing and a nomination, derived thereof, by the governor of a delegate's home governorate. The function and activities of this assembly are ill-defined and under reported but would appear to primarily focus on the duty of the State Assembly to scrutinise the institutions of the State, and to act as an arbiter should there be conflicts between them. This primarily appears to concern the relationship between the Civil Executive and the Governorates.
In theory the advice and consent of the State Assembly should be sought by the Board of the General Staff, as the Command Executive is formally known, before the adoption of legislation. However, owing to the ongoing emergency, the participation of the State Assembly in the legislative process is primarily focused upon the drafting of the Charter of Coordination (UGB) in cooperation with the Political Directorate of the Command Executive. Directives continue meanwhile to be issued by the various Directorates of Benacia Command, with the task of interpretation and implementation falling to the Civil Executive, responsible for non-military aspects of government and itself reporting to the Political Directorate, and the administrative apparatus of the Circuits and Governorates.
Administration & law
The State is administered in accordance with the Constitution of Drakorda and the Declaration of Merensk. Under Chapter Five of the Constitution all aspects of public and private life are to be regulated by a Charter of Coordination (UGB). The Charter itself comprises of eleven mandatory subjects pertaining to government and society whilst the scope of its ambition is best reflected in the wording of Article Three of Chapter Five, which states – "all aspects of civic and private shall be subject to Coordination in due course". This continuous and ongoing process gives rise to what is known as the Coordinated State.
The ultimate objective of the Coordinated State is the creation of the Harmonious Society wherein every citizen contentedly knows their correct place and can perform the tasks and functions to which they are assigned with maximum efficiency and enthusiasm. The nature of the Harmonious Society can best be described by quoting Article Four of Chapter Five in full: "The Charter of Coordination must be continuously expanded upon and enforced by all agencies of the Unified Governorates of Benacia so as to ensure the establishment of a Harmonious Society, where all citizens know, accept, and enjoy their respective societal and economic functions, and work together, with contentment and serenity, for the betterment of all."
With regards to the legal system it should be noted that, unless and until superseded by provisions in the Charter of Coordination, the Unified Governorates followed, for the most part, a modified version of inherited Shirerithian criminal law. The most notable difference is however is that emancipation has removed most categories of subject persons upon whom the previous judicial order might have liberally bestowed the supreme sanction.
In the majority of cases, while the death penalty remains on the statutes for a wide variety of offences - courtesy of the inheritance of Imperial Law, convictions that would otherwise have merited the ultimate sentence are instead commuted to a prolonged tour of duty with the Biological Remediation Service, although this may be said to constitute little more than an outsourcing of the execution to Benacia's own gene-spliced apex predator. Executions, when they do occur, are mostly for political offences such as treason, espionage, sedition, or the propagation of forbidden doctrines, to name the foremost examples, or in cases of mutiny or desertion amongst the Black Legions. Whilst serving personnel of the legions and their auxiliary forces may request a dignified death in the form of a firing squad drawn from amongst their peers, for the average condemned criminal whose death has been sanctioned by the Command Executive the method proscribed is altogether more demeaning. The condemned is obliged to fast for three days prior to the appointed date, upon which he is taken from his cell and strapped to a gurney, after which he is removed to an operating theatre in the prison medical facility and placed under heavy sedation. It is at this point that death is typically caused by exsanguination, so as to facilitate organ and tissue harvesting for the medical services, although this methodology may vary if the condemned has been reserved for an anatomist's class.
"Better to fear the School Master than to forget the lesson."—Popular saying, Attested in Lywall, 1676 AN
The Class of 1669, the generation of children born in that year, was the first to enter primary education under the full tutelage of the regime established in the territories now grouped together as the Unified Governorates without any prior experience of previous educational arrangements or the lack thereof. Education in the UGB was the responsibility of the Commissioner of Services, a member with portfolio of the Civil Executive, and the service in this instance provided to the children of Benacia was threefold, to impart the lore necessary and conducive to survival in a hostile environment; the honing of physical strength and intellect to the standards necessary for useful service in the Black Legions (later the BUDF); and finally, but by no means the least in consideration, schooling was required to indoctrinate pupils with the core tenets of Humanism and the faith, so as to become loyal and effective manifestations of the Coordinated State and its Harmonious Society in every aspect of their being.
Although not an official requirement it was commonly understood that enrolment in the Party was an essential prerequisite for appointment to even the most junior of salaried teaching posts in the preparatory gymnasia of the Benacian Academy or even a licence to establish a one-room Clout School out in the backwoods of the continental interior.
Gender segregation was normally practised in UGB controlled educational facilities. Boys and girls of the same age cohort would be assigned to separate classes in primary school between the ages of seven and twelve before transferring to single-sex preparatory gymnasia to continue their education up to the age of fifteen. Fifteen was the age at which mandatory selection would take place, and those chosen for further education would be enrolled into the Benacian Academy while those deemed unsuitable would be put out to the guilds and corporations to be auctioned for for apprenticeship. The Benacian Academy, along its satellite institutions, was organised along coeducational lines.
Reforms implemented throughout the 1680's aimed to provide a consistent level of education to children of all social classes throughout the Unified Governorates, especially as the number of emancipated households began to increase in the run up to the formal abolition of servitude in 1686. Because of the diverse, multi-ethnic population of the governorates, all teaching was to be conducted through the medium of Istvanistani. This caused some problems, particularly amongst Lach communities where children only spoke Red Laqi.
To dissuade children from speaking the barbarous tongue, the Lach Not was used as a punishment in some schools. It was a piece of wood, inscribed with the letters 'LN' which was hung around the neck of children who were overheard to speak in Laqi during the school day and passed on from child to child until the end of day, whereupon the wearer of the 'not' would be flogged at a punishment parade conducted immediately prior to evening reveille.
The UGB school day, intended to accustom children to the long hours expected of them as adults, began and ended with the reveille, a bell or bugle call sounded at six in the morning and six in the evening. In the morning children would have fifteen minutes from the sounding of the reveille to assemble in the school courtyard, with any stragglers being marked down for the evening punishment parade. The day would thus begin with ceremonies of propitiation, the sacrifice of a dove or rabbit (usually destined for the stew pot in the school canteen) at an outdoor altar before which imperial icons and a portrait of the current Szodan had been set. To these icons, upon which the blood of the sacrifice was smeared, the children, grouped in their class cohorts and led by their teachers, would render their "Observance of Respect" in the fifth degree by making a bow with both knees and both hands touching the ground. Upon the completion of this, all will rise to their feet, turn towards the national flag placed at the western end of the courtyard, and, whilst standing to attention, sing the national anthem. Upon the completion of the morning dedication the children would be dismissed to the canteen for breakfast - consisting usually of a portion of the child's Basic Ration (milk, eggs, meat, butter, margarine, edible oil, tea, cheese, sugar, jam) supplemented by porridge and kitchen scraps cooked up into a pottage.
At 7 am the children would reassemble in the courtyard for fitness parade under the supervision of the school's master of discipline for forty-five minutes of calisthenic training before being dismissed to the washrooms to prepare for the day ahead. At 8 am formal schooling would commence, with classes divided into troops of forty based on age and educational attainment. Classes would continue until 11 am when the fitness training parade, once again led by the school's master of discipline, would be carried out on the school playing fields. On a daily rotation the classes would spent forty-five minutes practising association football, running under the threat of the lash (he or she who comes last being lashed at punishment parade at the end of the day), or the déor-fýst form of martial arts. At the conclusion of the fitness training parade the children would once again be dismissed to the washrooms in preparation for lunch. The lunch period, lasting from 12 pm to 1 pm, would be conducted in silence in the school canteen. The meal would consider of rye bread, cheese, and weak ale, consumed to the accompaniment of a reading of one of the classics of Benacian or world literature, read usually by one of the children subjected to a lashing at the punishment parade held on the preceding school day.
Normal classes would resume between the hours of 1 pm and 3 pm, whereupon another fitness training parade conducted upon the school playing fields would occur. This forty-five minute training session would focus upon wrestling or cudgel practice depending on the mood or preference of the school's master of discipline. In some urban bailiwicks, particularly the more affluent ones, the preparatory gymnasia have been known to dedicate the training session to games of cricket instead. After the afternoon fitness training session oranges and mugs of tea are normally given to the children in the school canteen. From 4 pm onward until punishment parade at 5.30 pm the classes, once again divided into their troops based upon age and attainment, received patriotic education, usually featuring a discussion of Benacian history, humanist ideology, or Cedrozurvanite theology.
Punishment parade, held in the school courtyard at 5.30 pm daily, is a brisk affair for which attendance is mandatory, with punishments, usually lashings or a canning with the occasional flogging if the miscreant is a Lach. The parade will usually begin with a homily on the need to accept the blows of adversity with fortitude and concludes with an exhortation given by the School Master to learn the lessons of suffering and to strive ever harder to accomplish the sacred task of building a better tomorrow.
The day ends with the evening reveille at 6 pm. After the bugle call has finished the children, organised in their classes, salute the national flag and are dismissed in turn by the School Master, whereupon they disperse - back to their parents' home if at primary school, or to their boarding houses if at a preparatory gymnasia.
As befits an administration established by the Raspur Pact , the Unified Governorates engage with the international community primarily through the Political Directorate and subordinate agencies of the Pact's Benacia Command. While the long-term goal of the ruling Executive Command is to reunify the continent under the banner of Benacian Confederalism, the imperatives of the present moment lead it to lend its full support to those Pact members and sufficiently cooperative non-aligned neighbours who are judged to be best placed to support the restoration of public order and vital economic linkages in the aftermath of the Kalirion Fracture.
The foreign relations of the Unified Governorates of Benacia are accordingly driven by a pragmatic and incremental approach towards this ultimate strategic objective, mindful of its overall geopolitical situation.
The Unified Governorates economy relies heavily on the agriculture, defence, fishing, heavy industry, and mining sectors. The drive to secure an adequate industrial and resource base upon which to sustain the continental army inherited from Shireroth, impelled Benacia Command, the military governing authority, into invading Mishalan, Florencia and the Irridian Isles, and Inner Benacia in turn. During the first few years of its existence, the UGB was heavily reliant upon Natopian loans, brokered through corporate intermediaries, which it was then obliged to repay using the direct export of commodities, disassembled industrial machinery, and - to a certain extent - brazen plunder. It has since sought to diversify away from this over-reliance by building up Merensk as a worthy capital in its own right, with a service sector to match, and by establishing so-called "Financial Innovation Fusion Centres", the first of which was opened in Port Benacia during 1675, that would make financial instruments work for rather than against the national balance of payments. Aldurian companies and businesses were attracted by the financial services to nonresidents provided in Merensk. This project of diversification was however interrupted during the secession of the United Isles but the recovery of the Isle of Benacia ensured that the financial services sector would narrowly survive this brush with oblivion and continue its cautious and incremental growth.
The occupation of the Lachdolor natural gas fields offers up the promise of increased revenues for the Unified Governorates once the proper infrastructure to exploit these reserves have been put in place.
"By Our Faith! We Understand! We Only See as Zurvan Commands!"
The great disadvantage of Cedrozurvanism, aside from its basically inchoate nature, is the fact that its origins, derived from the melding of southern Benacian folklore with the theology and rituals of those Neo-Babkhan military cults which gained popularity in the Imperial Forces of Old Shireroth, are a matter of attested historical record. Were it not for the enjoyment of official patronage, Cedrozurvanism would rightly be regarded as a syncretic New Religious Movement. Certainly the temptation is there to consider the faith's emergence in the context of being a product of and answer to the traumas that beset a dying world, be they the seemingly endless procession of plagues and wars, civilisational die-back in the face of a hostile ecology, chronic levels of individual alienation, and on the more local level the ebbing and enfeeblement of the organised Cedrist "church" long before the Kalirion Fracture marked the termination of the Imperial Cult that had once laid at the heart of the Cedrist faith.
It was not until the Underkeeep Massacre of 1644 AN, when - at the behest of an Osmanid anti-kaiser - the populace of Shirekeep had risen up to righteously exterminate their inhuman neighbours, that the convergence and cooperation of the priestly castes and congregations of Cedrism and Zurvanism had first been noted. The killing of those competitor species termed as enemies of the "Human Supremacy" was in accordance with the notable ideological currents of the age.
The advantages of Cedrozurvanism, and the reason it enjoys the official patronage of the Unified Governorates lies in the very breadth of its appeal - the bull-slaughtering soldier cults of Tempus in the Black Legions enjoy a thread of fellowship with the bucolic fertility cults of Viviantia in the high dales of Mishalan, united in a pantheon of familiarly named deities emanating from the Highest Divinity of all.
The Command Executive of Benacia Command, the supreme authority governing the UGB during the early years of its foundation, certainly believed that religion was essential to the unity and well-being of the newly conquered state; this being less on account of spiritual consideration than out of a recognition of the political function played by religion and myth in a well-ordered and harmonious human society. The rulers of the Unified Governorates, finding themselves in command of a soldiery that was fiercely martial in its demeanour and outlook and ruling over a shocked and disorientated populace, considered the fostering of faith as a necessity for promoting the arts of peace - thereby reducing their charges to obedience and, thereafter, for the maintenance of civil policy. For this reason the Political Directorate and the subordinate Civil Executive were tasked to expound and promote a healthy and conspicuous fear of the Highest Divinity and its remorseless and unending capacity for harsh judgement, satiable only by blood propitiation and the utmost fidelity in thought and deed.
The challenge of minority faiths, such as the Nazarene and the Yehudi, was addressed by their assimilation into forms that were compliant with the basic requirements of the Covenant. The most notable example of this being the Covenanted Nazarene Church of Benacia, established in 1690 AN.
The wearing of phylacteries, a revival of a Minarborian custom, spread steadily across the UGB during the 1690s, as the country proved unable to isolate itself from the economic and societal impacts of the Second Elwynnese Civil War. The priesthood of the Siyachia, whose standing had already been enhanced by the protected status accorded to them in the Covenant, began to spread throughout the Governorates as every bailiwick sought to acquire a priestly scribe to write out the protective prayers contained within the worn phylacteries by the citizens who went about their daily lives waiting for some dreadful news from the factories or the frontlines concerning the fate of a loved one. The rise of the priesthood was made yet more noticeable by the unexpected decision of the Congress of Chryse to accept a recommendation of Adin ben Shmuel, the by now venerable High Priest and Prince of the Governorate of Siyacha, to implement the 613 Commandments as a new morality code for all citizens subject to the Covenant.
The history of the Unified Governorates can be traced back to the rise of Human Supremacist ideology in the backwards "3M region" in the wake of the collapse of successive attempts at establishing civilised governance in the area. The Kalirion Fracture would see the precarious settler communities become the base of operations for that portion of the Shirerithian Imperial Forces which remained loyal to the Raspur Pact after loosing faith in the ability of Shirekeep and the Kalirion Dynasty to restore control of the disintegrating empire.
- 1640-1644: Harvestfall Revolution in Minarboria draws attention to the deteriorating phylacteric field sustaining Liches (Revenants) in Lichbrook. Paralysis and disintegrations increase year on year by an order of magnitude.
- After the failure of the Lich-Queens could no longer be denied, Lichbrook was administered in their name by the Crown Council, established in the year 1644 by Decree of the Nobles of the Realm sealed by the Kaiser. The Council operated on the principle of the round table with the Countess of Amarr representing the Undead and The Dirigent of Musica representing the Living.
- 01.XII.1644: Underkeep Massacre shatters residual faith in Imperial Government. Deep Singer Mass Emigration to the unknown and subterranean portions of the West. Minority comprised of Biological Containment Corps and the Lifemesher and Wayfarer clades form an underground, in every sense, anti-human resistance movement in Shimmerspring.
- 1648: Final collapse of the phylacteric field. Virtually all Liches disintegrate over the course of the year. Surviving revenants scarcely number above triple digits. The loss of Liches and Deep-Singers within the same decade causes the population of Southern Benacia to be effectively halved.
- 1649–1651: Failure of the Crown Council sees Lichbrook demoted to Imperial Dominion. The Countess of Amarr stages an unsuccessful revolt. The ensuing Struggle for the South sees the State of Malarboria formed by Imperial interventions amidst the ruins of Lichbrook and Eastern Minarboria.
- 1651: Auspicious Occasion sees Elwynn purged of Vanic population and its peripheral territories dismembered. Most of Angularis is passed to Malarboria.
- 1651-1660: Reconstruction in Malarboria is hampered by poor relations between the Daemonically influenced “Coven of the Sun” and the Imperial Government. *The War of Lost Brothers (1653–1657) sees scarce capital resources diverted to sustaining the increasingly unpopular war effort.
- 1660: The Loyalist Legion, the mass participation party established to give the Coven of the Sun a vehicle for participation in imperial-level politics, suffers a humiliating defeat in the Folksraad election of that year to a coalition of humanist, separatist, and minority ethnic parties grouped together under the 'Coalition 1660' banner. The election signalled widespread and increasing dissatisfaction with the regime of the Daemon-Queen amongst denizens (free subjects of the state without Imperial citizenship).
- 1661: The Nationalist and Humanist Party lends its support to an uprising by Coalition 1660 activists by staging two simultaneous invasions; first consisting of Elwynnese rebels from the Army of the Southern League attacking via Angularis and Highpass, and secondly by an amphibious landing of troops from the islands of Jadid Khaz Modan in Amarr.
- 11.X.1662: Convention of Drakorda permits Kizzy Drakland, her daughter, and her daemonic familiars to evacuate from the country of what was now proclaimed as Modan, in return for surrendering the Sword of Fire to Daniyal ibn Daniyal Simrani-Kalirion.
- 07.XII.1662: Constitution of Drakorda is promulgated. Daniyal Simrani-Kalirion proclaimed Prince of Modan. State of Modan established.
- 10.XIII.1662: The State of Lywall, a protectorate established in the former Minarborian Empire, along with the islands of Amity, Miriroth, and So-Sara, are formally ceded by the Imperial Government to the State of Modan. Yardistan meanwhile is ceded to Brookshire.
- 13.V.1671 - Establishment of Benacian Stabilisation Force
- 05.VII.1671 - Fall Luikur
- 11.VIII.1671 - Death of Kaiser Ayreon IV
- 06.XI.1671 - Merensk Command Conference
- 15.XI.1671 - Declaration of Merensk
- 24.XI.1671 - Celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the Auspicious Occasion held in Merensk. Protected persons of mixed-ancestry fathered in the camps who have come of age are distributed, along with grants of land in Lywall, to veteran ex-Imperials, on the occasion of their honourable discharge from the Black Legions. Festival concludes with the veterans re-enlisting as officers at the invitation of the Commander-in-Chief. The tradition is begun that all veterans of the Black Legions will receive land and wives on the Auspicious Day in the year of their discharge from service.
- 18.XIV–06.XV.1671: Phase II of Fall Luikur sees the occupation of the "Gloomburg Corridor" linking Lywall with the disputed industrial heartland of Mishalan. Two legions pass over the Republic of Inner Benacia, sowing death and destruction in their wake, as an abject lesson to the emergent Black Lach confederacy of the futility of continuing incursions into territories incorporated into the Unified Governorates.
- 25.XIV.1671–03.VIII.1672: Operation Massive Wedge - Black Legions return to MoMA Station Sabatini and completes the Occupation of Port Benacia.
- Ahmst Mairstranin Bardaisan Porphyry received a crimson banner from the Frumst Frainan and a commission to recruit amongst those Red Lach whose chieftains had signed the covenant issued in former times by the Prince of Modan. An ESB Purser with sufficient bullion and Natopian script to cover expenses, as well as a regiment of Inspectorate Troops to protect the strong boxes, would accompany him.
- Waldemar Tarjeisson is brought out of retirement to lead the Litkov Expedition with the triple objectives of repelling Black Lach incursions into the Litkov Salient, securing the assets of the Imperial Mission in Kasterburg for the Black Legions, and re-establishing contact with the surviving followers of Adin ben Shmuel, the former leader of a puppet state in Nackholm. Waldemar's request for the support of a legion is refused - with a shortage of available fuel cells cited as the cause. Instead he was instructed to assemble such forces as he could muster and to depart for Litkov by no later than the 1st day of the twelfth month of 1672. A meeting with the Board of the General Staff held on the following day only secured a token release of manpower and equipment in return for the ESB Group agreeing to underwrite costs.
- Southern Mishalan is occupied by the Black Legions in conduction with the forces of West Amokolia in the west and Elwynn in the north. The Imperial Regency is obliged to acknowledge the fait accompli.
- During the year to date, Tyrannocricetus aliger attacks in Upper Lywall had resulted in 14,000+ deaths. As a consequence, an entire legion is assigned to the task of ensuring their complete extermination in the territories of the UGB.
- 9: Constancian delegation to the Permanent Commission proposes joint Constancian-Natopian declaration recognising the Elwynnese Republic, Imperial Regency, Sovereign Confederation, and Unified Governorates of Benacia as successors to the Imperial Republic of Shireroth and inheritors of its membership. The delegate was quoted as saying "Rules and regulations have no weight next to the avowed will of nations, and it is our will that these states, who have remained true to the Pact, even in the midst of adversity, shall be granted seats on the Permanent Commission and Joint Military Council. So let it be said, so let it be done." Proposals were also mooted with regards to offering a "Partnership for Peace" security arrangement, with economic benefits, to Amokolia and Sanama. The discussions come at a time when the potential for overhauling the foundational treaty of the alliance is being investigated - with a view to realigning the text to better reflect the institutions and practices which have actually taken hold.
- Sixteen aldermen in Merensk, convicted of appropriating the infrastructure maintenance budget of their district for personal gain, are hung - the Commissioner of Works waiving his rights to receive the condemned for labour service - from gallows erected in the city's Zitadelle. A selected audience drawn from corporate, military, and political cadres are obliged to attend so that the lesson is fully imparted and absorbed.
- Following the customary exchange of guarantees and hostages, a delegation headed by Herlot bi Merensk, the Director of Military Intelligence of Benacia Command, arrived in Shirekeep for the first time since 1671. Meeting with the Steward of the Imperial Regency, Soraya Octavius-Parini, and the Magister of the Palatini Corps, Justin Guadalim, in the Steward's Tower of Raynor's Keep, the discussion proved to be a broadly positive one. Although Benacia Command refused - politely - to reintegrate the Black Legions into the Imperial Forces (at this point limited to the Palatini Corps, Shirekeep Garrison, and a few loyalist patrol boats on the upper stretches of the Red Elwynn), the delegation did agree to dispatch a force to assist with the reassertion Imperial power over a wider area - so as to secure the position of Shirekeep and restore its lines of communication to the outside world. Discussion turned to the situation along the course of the Red Elwynn, particularly to the bandit groups operating on the upper portion of the river and the activities of the Guttuli Protectorate along its lower reaches. Agreement was reached that the Palatini Corps would advance southwards through Monty Crisco, whilst the Southern Banner Group of Benacia Command would enter the estuary of the Red Elwynn and advance northwards along the river's course through the county of Kralizec with the two converging forces intending upon a meeting at Alexandretta. The occupation of Lichport by the Guttuli Corps, and the potential for reversing this, was also discussed.
- 20: Officers of the Central Banner Group greatly upset to learn that the confrontation with Inner Benacia has been postponed in order to prioritise the forthcoming resource needs of the Southern Banner Group over the course of the year. Warnings that this decision will pass the initiative to insurgent forces in the "Litkov salient" go unheeded.
- Following consultations with representatives of the Imperial Regency, a one-hundred and twenty man observation force drawn from veteran operatives who had previously served with Streïkrupp Kasha on the Inner Benacian mission were inserted on the outskirts of The Lodge by twenty GAV-4 Jackalopes accompanied by an eight-man team from the Political Relations Bureau of the General Staff's Political Directorate.
- The crews of the Medusa and the four Leviathan mobile command bases set about securing the dilapidated ex-Imperial naval station at Sagittarius. Five Zephyrs remained at Sagittarius whilst the remainder continued on their long-range patrol towards New Blackstone.
- 11: Benacia Command recognises the protection of the Sovereign Confederation over the territory of Goldshire, including those portions presently occupied by the Guttuli Protectorate in Lunaris, as being necessary for the stability of eastern Benacia until such time as the Imperial Regency is sufficiently stabilised as to be able to reassert authority in the region.
- 24: Amidst ongoing investigations into reports of piracy in the Iridian Isles, two Logistic Support Vessels entered the harbour of Acarid City flying the flags of the Raspur Pact, the Black Legions, and the Imperial Republic. The vessels disembarked and put ashore a mixed force of military officers, diplomats, and reconstruction subject matter experts, supported by a security detachment of 120 personnel drafted from the General Inspectorate of the Black Legions and the constabulary of Shireroth. Representative detachments from the island's militia were mustered for a special parade on the quayside during which the officers received new standards and arrears of pay for their regiments. Those present on parade are led by their officers in rendering their salaams and ritualised adoration to the icons of Kaïsarin Salome and the Szodan, Constantine Loup. Administrators from the Unified Governorates installed themselves in the Palazzo Vecchio, from the balcony of which the standard of the Black Legions was hung whilst an edict was read out to a gathering of curious populace in the name of the Commissioner of the Circuit of Jadid Khaz Modan. The edict detailed that, until such time as order was restored, the newly appointed Chief Administrator of Florencia and the Iridian Isles would exercise the authority of Viceroy and Lieutenant of the Isles on behalf of the Regent. The Chief Administrator would however be reporting directly to the Commissioner, an appointee of the Commander-in-Chief of Benacia Command - the Szodan.
- 5: Attacking at the onset of the Benacian winter, four legions cross from Litel into Inner Benacia, assaulting Novodolorsk and Benacia Hamlet, whilst a large scale air raid against the Upland Confederation unfolds as part of an effort to secure air supremacy over Inner Benacia.
- 5–9: Kalgachia and Benacia Command mobilise significant forces in order to assert effective control over their respective zones of exclusive interest in Inner Benacia. Benacia Command additionally sends out an appeal to fellow members of the Raspur Pact and the international coalition of N&H parties for volunteers to assist in the defence of Benacia against the "... swarming hordes of transhuman nightmare creatures descending upon the lowlands from their mountain lairs".
- 13–24: Foundational cadres of the Siyacha Corps of the Black Legions have their standing-up parades in Litkov and Daschau. Established to defend the Siyacha Free State in the aftermath of the KDF occupation of the Upland Confederation. Critics aver that these new legions, formed from N&H zealots, Babkhi mercenaries, unemployed naval ratings, and Mishalanski conscripts will have a long journey to travel before they can be considered an even remotely credible force and that, for the foreseeable future, the defence and security of Siyacha remains in the hands of those same third-rate inspectorate troops as were initially dispatched by Benacia Command.
- 5: Negotiations begin on a treaty between West Amokolia, Elwynn and the Unified Governorates. The idea of the treaty is to make a final recognition of the Amokolian nation as shared between the three states and establish common institutions for Amokolian culture and cooperation.
- 12: Demonstrations, organized by the Amokolian Freedom Front, against West Amokolian renamings of traditional Amokolian placenames simultaneously take place in Anun, La Terre, Malexander, Mishalan, and outside the West Amokolian representation in Eliria.
- 15: Ten days into the negotiations between West Amokolia, Elwynn and the Unified Governorates on a treaty between them, the Parties have tentatively agreed on a free-trade regime for most products and services between them, as well as a free movement of people of Amokolian ethnicity across the borders for the purposes of family reunification, work, visit and study.
- 20: With dispute on exceptions to the free-trade regime between West Amokolia, Elwynn and the Unified Governorates, the parties suspend negotiations pending political conversations at home.
- 6: The representatives of the CID of Elwynn and the Military Intelligence Directorate of Benacia Command met in a small tea house built under the archway of the Zendan-e Aurangzeb (Kaiser Aurangzeb’s prison) in the Alalehzamini city of Ardashirshahr where, over several cups of tea and innumerable crunched pistachios, they compared notes on the present situation in inner Benacia and, aside from obvious conclusions regarding the Lach and Kalgachi, arrived at the understanding that it is Batavian–West Amokolian King Arkadius's ultimate ambition to attain hegemony over all of Benacia via a campaign of subversion, culminating in his ascension to the Kaisership of a restored Shireroth.
- 10: Somehow the conclusions of the discrete meeting held on the 6th of the month, pertaining to the character and desires of King Arkadius, found their way into newspapers in Elwynnese Amokolia and the Severnaya Gubernya. Privately representatives of Benacia Command rebuked their Elwynnese counterparts for their poor information discipline.
- 8: Operation Vigilant Resolve initiated by Benacia Command with the support of member nations of the Raspur Pact, a defensive operation aimed at increasing frontier security following the Kalgachi occupation of the Upland Confederation and the relevation, from Elwynnese sources, of the extent of the dynastic and hegemonic ambitions of the King of Amokolia & Batavia.
- 10: Appraised by military and economic organs of the logistical headache of maintaining five field divisions and an entire reserve army at indefinite combat readiness, the Kalgachi Directorate of the Tumultuous Wastes responds cordially to Benacia Command's truce proposal by suggesting an immediate ceasefire and the cessation of all ground and air raiding across the line of control, followed by a withdrawal of artillery to distances that preclude cross-boundary shelling - the Sovereign Confederation is proposed as an intermediate observer to monitor compliance on both sides.
- 11: News of the purported alliance between King Arkadius and Stormark further galvanised the Raspur Pact, and the Vulture States especially, with a new resolve to put aside their differences and maintain a united front against the possible resurgence of the threat posed by an alien theocracy to Benacian civilisation. Ransenar, the Sovereign Confederation, and Talenore each pledged to increase their national contributions to the multinational force assembled in Mishalan. Moreover the numbers were swelled still further by the arrival of volunteer fighters from Alalehzamin but also from further afield.
- 20: The Sovereign Confederation, in coordination with Ketek, formally begins it's occupation of Bagegenisort as the stipulated observer-party of the Slavegate Convention. The Dolmen is converted into a base of operations for the government of the occupation zone and refugee-filled slums are reorganized into housing districts by Ketek as construction begins on renovating antiquated Minarborian warehouses and factories to employ local populations.
- Declaring Amokolia under the leadership of Arkadius to be a "diseased limb, one in urgent need of excision", Benacia Command and the Unified Governorates repudiate all hitherto established agreements and understandings with the Kingdom. Klaes Schultheiss, the Gubernatorial Commissioner of Information, would later direct allied and affiliated media outlets to observe that "If Amokolia wishes to assume the mantle of the Froyalanish, then its present situation - forever confined to the barren tundra that once housed the gelding camps of the Froyalan National Reservation - could not be more appropriate. If the King of Amokolia desires to motivate Benacian patriots to work tirelessly for his destruction, and the effacement of his name and seed from the face of Micras, then he is certainly succeeding."
- New directions issued to the press in the Unified Governorates stipulate that hostile commentaries concerning any aspect of the Garden, the Heavenly Light, and Deep Singers, must cease from midnight on the 23rd of the month and until further notice. Similar instructions are disseminated to the Black Legions and political cadres via the various offices of Benacia Command's Political Directorate.
- 21: The Command Executive of Benacia Command endorses the Treaty of Mutual Defence between the Raspur Pact and Sanama on behalf of the Unified Governorates. Concurrently the ESB appointed government of Sathrati confirmed its adherence to the treaty.
- 28: Benacia Command, citing the recent conduct of West Amokolia and the increasingly Vanic tone of its government, gave notice that the Unified Governorates of Benacia had repudiated the Treaty of Concord as of seven a.m. that morning. In an official communique broadcast over Radio Merensk at 8 a.m. the same day, the announcer concluded with the words "Let Brandenburg be called Haraldsborg, and let the ersatz-Amokolia it rules now be called Froyalan, for we will treat both as such and in the manner they deserve". Henceforth, with immediate effect, all West Amokolian nationals would be regarded as Froyalaners and subjected to the historically mandated regime of protection for such persons.
- 11: The Commissioner of New Blackstone, Jeremiah Avon-El, is sent to Kalgachia on a five-day furlough, at the personal direction of the Szodan, to investigate what experiences and amenities are afforded to notable personages utilising the newly promulgated "Pachadsberg Visa".
- 12: Upon arrival in Pachadsberg, Commissioner Avon-El - being the highest UGB official to have set foot in the Garden since the Slavegate Convention negotiations - is received by Caustifer Yastreb, chair of the Pachadsberg Development Committee who leads him on a guided tour of the resort's completed and ongoing works. This is followed by a meeting with a Mr. Waller at the Puckadobey Savings Bank, where initial discussion of mutual acquaintances leads to an illuminating conversation about the jurisdictional hedging of personal capital for purposes of audit reconciliation and insulation from failures thereof. A numbered PSB account is opened for Avon-El's "casino winnings" and he is left to experience the full delights of Pachadsberg at his own initiative.
- 12: The Directive on Marriage, Reproductive Function, and Societal Obligation is published by Benacia Command, taking effect across the territories of the Unified Governorates. Its aim is to increase the birth rate by a system of state-imposed arranged marriages.
- 23: First reformatory opens in Laikum's Wald, a model settlement established in the Litel Governorate (UGB).
- 13: The Permanent Committee of the Raspur Pact announced that, with immediate effect, denizens, contractually obligated "loyal subjects", and unfree "community servants" (excluding certain categories of "Protected Persons") in Shireroth and Sathrati would be granted manumission and full-citizenship rights if they voluntarily registered for transportation to underpopulated regions of the Raspur Pact such as the Unified Governorates, Constancia, and Natopian-administered Normark. The surprise registered by the Shirerithian regency and the Council of Sathrati at this new policy initiative was mollified somewhat by the proposal that each emigrant would be represented on the balance sheet as an interest bearing loan repayable by the receiving nation at a 2.3% rate of compound interest.
- 7: To date 262,144 denizens and loyal subjects of Sathrati have received manumission upon emigration to the Unified Governorates.
- 14: A Directive of the Command Executive authorising the full mobilisation of civil society in the UGB is endorsed by the State Assembly.
- 18: The UGB, Elwynn, Ransenar, and the Sovereign Confederation commence a combined internal security operation to identify and detain West Amokolian, Batavian, and Kasterburger nationals resident in their respective territories. Once verified and bio-metrically catalogued, the individuals are then to be transferred to the tastefully named spa-resort and garrison town of Daschau in the Siyacha Free State - there to remain as guests of the UGB or else to accept a free, albeit one-way, autobus transfer to the border crossing with Kasterburg.
- 13: After consultations with the Permanent Commission of the Raspur Pact, Shireroth decides to quit the shared-sovereignty arrangement over Florencia and the Iridian Isles. The Unified Governorates of Benacia will, accordingly, have total sovereignty over the Iridian Isles and Florencia. The change to the arrangement will enter force upon 1.I.1679.
- 14: The disappearance of Constantine Loup from public life after this date becomes a matter of conjecture, some of which is downright fanciful.
- 13: Elwynn, and Benacia Command, on behalf of Sathrati and the UGB, issue a travel advisory notice covering citizens resident in or visiting Sanama advising against all but essential travel to the country during the present time. The advisory notice further directed all citizens currently within the territory of Sanama to remain indoors at their primary domiciles and to register with their embassy or nearest consulate at the earliest opportunity. Separately Benacia Command notified all allied governments that any of their nationals stranded without means or recourse to their own nation's consular services would be free to avail themselves of those of the UGB.
- 17: The Investiture of Jeremiah Avon-El, conducted in Merensk and followed by the combined weddings of father and son to their respective brides - culminating in large-scale parade of the Black Legions and the issuing of new regimental standards, marks the formal transfer of power from the outgoing regime of Constantine Loup to that of his successor.
- 21: Legate Rofolo Nur Pinito Kasha arrived in Niyi to address the Council of National Reconstruction with the concerns of the UGB - of particular note was the request, formally conveyed, to end the prohibition that had been placed upon the operations of the Nationalist & Humanist movement in Sanama. The situation in Highpass, Shimmerspring, and northern Tellia, was also up for discussion.
- 22: The UGB downgrades its Embassy in Niyi to that of a Representative Office. Legate Rofolo Nur Pinito Kasha received letters of credence from the Command Executive in Merensk and a mandate to coordinate the activities of the Benacia Command liaison offices and support missions in Sanama.
- 19: Directed by the Internal Security Bureau of Benacia Command, police and militia in Elwynn, Drak-Modan, Sathrati, the Sovereign Confederation, and the Unified Governorates launched a wave of arrests across a number of Benacian ports and in the UGB capital Merensk. Around half a dozen members of the Krasnocorian diaspora community were identified and detained. A senior police officer, speaking on condition of anonymity to the Daily Mail & Telegraph of Eliria admitted that a further 250 persons of interest, suspected of association, collusion or familiarity, with the detained, were taken into protective custody to assist authorities in relation to building charges of espionage and racketeering against the Krasnocorian detainees. The preparatory work for the morning's dawn raids had begun weeks earlier following the introduction of racial profiling at airports, port terminals, and border checkpoints, and the intensive debriefing of any Corians, Ocians, and Mishalacians, apprehended in this manner. From these interrogations, a picture of the social, familial, and business networks of the Krasnocorian community in Benacia was assembled over thousands of man-hours and logged into the Panopticon database - an effort reliant upon the expertise and resources of the Central Intelligence Department of Elwynn. Financial auditors from the Shirerithian Office of Bounties and Factorage were then brought in to investigate the personal wealth and income of the winnowed list of suspects. From these audits and based and the testimony volunteered by other detainees, a list of six prominent names was drawn up to form the basis of the kill or capture list issued to public authorities throughout the Pact aligned states of Benacia.
- 17: The government of the Unified Governorates recognizes the Elwynnese annexation of Northern Tellia.
- 23: The Unified Governorates and Elwynn agree to jointly explore the iron ore deposits in Northern Tellia, establish a joint-stock company with 60% of shares for Elwynn and 40% for the Unified Governorates. Name of company as of yet unannounced.
- 29: The Tellian–Elwynnese negotiations on the situation of Northern Tellia reach a breaking point, the parties decide to invite the Unified Governorates of Benacia to the negotiations to resolve the situation of Tellian exercise of sovereignty in Mamehblinij and Fiorecittà.
- 35: Tellia, the Unified Governorates, and Elwynn conclude a tentative agreement on Northern Tellia, called the Northern Tellia Agreement.
The polity that would become the Unified Governorates began as the Benacian Stabilisation Force, a subordinate formation of Benacia Command's Central Banner Group. Initially formed to relieve IBFOR elements trapped in Republic of Inner Benacia after a revolution there directed against Shireroth and the Raspur Pact. However, as the contagion of revolution spread rapidly across Benacia, causing a fatal unravelling of the institutions and authority of the Imperial Republic, the Benacian Stabilisation Force was forced to widen its remit to include the pacification of the rearwards sectors of its zone of operations and with the implementation of the Fall Luikur directive by Benacia Command assumed responsibility for the seizure of as many of the facilities and depots of the Imperial Forces as it could secure. In practice only those officers formerly affiliated with N&H cadres, the ESB Group or the former Modanese regime rallied to the cause. As the officer corps of the Imperial Army and the Western Armada of the Imperial Navy had already been substantially purged during the administrations of Steward Soraya II of Octavius-Parini the legions and the banner fleets could not, for the most part, be relied upon.
As it was, the support of the air force, in-shore forces, and the auxiliaries, facilitated an attack on the MoMA Stations of Sabatini and Sagittarius in the so-called "First Island Chain" of Khaz Modan. This action, taken against confused and demoralised comrades-in-arms, however presaged the collapse of the Imperialist forces throughout the Khaz Modan archipelago, as a Yardistani led insurgency swept across the islands.
Because the Benacian Stabilisation Force lacked the strength to restore order across the entire continent its present priority comprises of establishing and preserving itself as a force in being, able to exert influence in the calculations of others by virtue of its existence. Where it has not been able to establish firm territorial control, which is to say everywhere outside of the Merensk-Smoxala bridgehead, one possibility under consideration was the "hiring out" of the Black Legions to the residual Imperial Republic as well as to those other "Vulture States" in need of shock troops in return for access to the necessary provisions and hard currency required to sustain its operations.
- 19: The UGB announces its departure, effective as of 01.I.1680, from the Natopo standard with the introduction of an independent currency - the Benacian Sovereign.
- 18: Regiments of the Konkordskaya Bratva, now dedicated and pledged to the person of the Szodan, were commanded to resume patrols in Lachdolor and the Severnaya Gubernya, in the quarantined zone along the closed frontier with Francia. Any man discovered travelling in the quarantine zone without official sanction was to be summarily put to death, his chattels to be disposed of amongst the Bratva, and the severed head of the slaughtered man to be brought before the nearest tribune, along with proofs of identity, for verification and the payment of a cash reward.
- 7: Verionian–Raspur War commenced.
- 24: A three-pronged offensive launched on a massive scale by the Military of Kalgachia into the territories of Siyachia, Inner Benacia, and Lachdolor achieved an overwhelming strategic success and operational surprise, in the first two of the three main thrusts, capturing the important settlements of Litkov and Stonetree in the face of minimally effective resistance by the local garrisons of the Black Legions. Only in the east, in Lachdolor, did the infiltration tactics practised by the attacking Kalgachi partisan columns fail against legionaries firmly ensconced in prepared positions, resulting in the onset of a bitter war of attrition. A salvo of several hundred Ludd ballistic missiles bracketed the primary aerodromes of the Central Banner Air Force in Merensk, Sansabury, and &zeter, resulting in the destruction of 137+ airframes and causing vast disruption to air operations during the crucial early hours and days of the new war.
- 1: 43 ballistic missiles launched from the vast ferroconcrete bastions of the Slomxala Arsenal during the course of the day hammered Gravelbottom Airport, the primary Kalgachi connection to the outside world, a critical military-logistical hub, and the primary site of the KDF's nascent air-detachment. Direct hits and or proximity strikes were recorded by satellite reconnaissance as being made against the airport's tower and control centre, the passenger terminal (destroying the Faedertellus United Airways Office outright), and the primary runway. Although the damage to the runway was quickly filled in and made good, allowing KDF operations to resume, and control of flight operations seamlessly passed to the Octavian Centre, the airport was subsequently closed to commercial aviation.
- 2: (Inner-Benacian Conflict) Mobilisation of the Varþataræn in UGB as scale of Kalgachi offensive into Inner Benacia becomes apparent.
- 2: (Inner-Benacian Conflict) With the easement of the worst of the winter weather, and in the face of increasing aerial activity by the Black Legions, the KDF curtailed offensive operations outside of Inner Benacia proper.
- 4: (Inner-Benacian Conflict) Drak-Modani, Elwynnese, and Sanaman reinforcements begin to arrive in appreciable numbers, establishing a forward operating base for allied forces outside Sansabury.
- 9: Inner Benacian Conflict – The build up of forces along both sides of the Inner Benacian Line of Control indicated that both the Black Legions and the KDF were preparing for the renewal of hostilities with the coming of spring.
- 7: Coup in Merensk and Sansabury conducted by the I, IV, and VI Combined Arms Corps of the Black Legions. Mutinying forces targeted the headquarters of the Central Banner Group of Benacia Command, and the security agencies of the Civil Executive and the Military Intelligence Directorate.
- 8: Three senior officers within the Command Executive and Civil Executive, who had been detained after the previous day's fighting, were executed outside the Panopticon Citadel for conspiring with Coalition 1660 and elements of the former nobility to seize power in Merensk and to stage a revolt in the governorates, ultimately with a view to restoring Imperial Shirerithian authority. The three executed officers were:
- Frainan Streïakeï Bruno Rambert Strohkirch, Officer Commanding of the Central Banner Group, Commissioner of Public Order, Deputy-Director for Internal Security - executed by the breaking of his back;
- Frainan Streïakeï Aurel Dietrich, Steward & Marshal of the Civil Executive - executed by trampling to death by horses;
- Ahmst Bræþstranin Hieronymus Brantley, Commissioner of the Circuit of Benacia - Hanged, Drawn & Quartered.
- 9: Executions were broadcast globally via the Benacian Data Network, accompanied by looped martial music and a scrolling list of proscriptions, detailing the names of persons deemed traitors to the state whose wealth and property were forfeit to whoever might present the severed heads of the condemned to their local governor.
- Frainan Hohmin Mihrzād Gushnasp, officer commanding of the Northern Banner Group, and Frainan Hohmin Selardi Jen Daniyal, officer commanding of the Eastern Banner Group, both refused urgent summonses to Merensk.
- Reports published in Tellian newspapers, citing an unnamed "insider source", speculated that the cause of the bout of internecine fighting between the Black Legions and the internal security apparatus of Benacia Command/the UGB had been occasioned by an attempt on the part of Bruno Rambert Strohkirch to usurp the privileged position enjoyed by Jeremiah Avon-El, former Szodan of Benacia in regards to determining diplomatic, economic, military, and political policy with regards to Kalgachia and the joint protectorate over the Upland Confederation.
- 11: Manfred Selerensk, Director of Military Intelligence, perished in a car-bomb attack staged outside L'Hotel des Alexandriens. Bulletins published on the Benacian Data Network by the Bureau of Media Coordination attributed the attack, in which eleven passers-by and a half-dozen of the Director's security detail also perished, to Coalition 1660. In spite of this, inter-service rivalry and military factionalism related to the recent coup was strongly suspected to be the true motivation behind the assassination.
- 12: Two requests for information are sent through channels from Sanama. One is from the political level through the Chancellor's office to her counterpart in the UGB. The second is a top secret request from the MISD, a military security agency, to the corresponding agency in Benacia Command. Both are primarily concerned with the exact extent of C60's involvement.
- 10: The efforts of Jeremiah Avon-El to secure nomination to the Council of Archons (N&H) was met with such disfavour by the Command Executive that he was detained and faced the very real prospect of execution. Vuqar Rugahi, well aware of Jeremiah's ambitions to regain the office of Szodan, had been able to use his rival's canvasing for appointment to leadership over the N&H in the UGB as proof of his dangerous ambition.
- 11: Alerted to the detention of Jeremiah Avon-El, his subordinates in the Central Banner Group - Bivarhins Frainan Rofolo Nur Pinito Kasha, commander of the 16th Army, and Frainan Uihmanz Akbar Jalal Alinejad, commander of the VI Uihmanz Corps - attempted to force his release. With the majority of their forces absent on deployment or at least two days distant from the capital, the plotters were forced to gather together a motley collection of flak gunners, Varþataræn supply troops, cadets from the Basic Training Establishment, and ground crews gathered up from Łoïdhafen Merensk. Against these the Command Executive could rally officers from the Internal Security Bureau, Commissariat troops from the General Inspectorate, a regiment of the Corps of Invalids, and such staff officers and administrators as were to be found within the Panopticon Zitadelle. After a brisk exchange of gunfire, the putschists were able to force their way into the Centrum district of Merensk. After fighting their way street by street to the Panopticon Zitadelle the rebels were able to force an entry into the building after setting off an M1656 Demolition Kit against the main entrance. Panic and demoralisation swiftly set in amongst the defenders, with only the Internal Security officers continuing to put up any spirit resistance, whilst the invalids and the admin clerks were swift to throw down their rifles and be led out into captivity. In desperation the remaining defenders resorted to dropping stick grenades and Florian Cocktails down onto the floors captured by the rebels, forcing them to flee in some disorder albeit at the cost of setting a conflagration that soon began to burn out of control. Admitting defeat at last, the remaining defenders threw down their arms and surrendered after evacuating the building. The tables were now turned and Vuqar passed into the captivity from which Jeremiah was now released.
- 12: Conceding to the inevitable, Vuqar signed the instrument of abdication put before him and, in return for guarantees concerning his life and freedom, relinquished the title of Szodan to Jeremiah once more. The UGB nodes of the Benacian Data Network were suspended for 24 hours.
- 13: All told, 255 men and women had perished over the course of a day of fighting, all so that Jeremiah could reclaim that title which incapacity had obliged him to forfeit. BDN services resumed, carrying the news that a reorganisation of the Command Executive would see Jeremiah Avon-El returning to supreme command for a new four year tenure whilst Vuqar Rugahi had been thanked for his services and appointed to the Legateship in Sanama. Although the news reports had not said as much, it was plainly apparent to everyone that the introduction of a term limit was a concession demanded by the Commanders of the other Banner Groups in an attempt to curb any attempt by Jeremiah to translate his restoration into an attempt to introduce monarchical rule. The thorny question of the N&H leadership in the UGB was meanwhile deferred for the moment by bringing Constantine Loup out of retirement to be acclaimed as Archon - an honour that he was quite vocal in not welcoming at the age of 80.
- 21: News of the Scouring in Elwynn, the sheer scale and horror of the orbital bombardment and thermonuclear retaliation which had broken the rebellion in neighbouring Elwynn had proven impossible to censor. The revulsion and fear engendered by the use of weapons of mass destruction on such a scale had been nearly universal, proving more than what even a highly indoctrinated and regimented society would be willing to stomach. A wave of strikes and protests swept the country, especially pronounced in Merensk and the Trans-Elwynn region. In Merensk in particular students and workers from the poorer districts made a rare show of unity in calling for the downfall of the regime. Sixteen days of protests and rioting ensued, with the loyalty of indigenous public order troops becoming increasingly suspect following a spate of small-scale mutinies and individual defections. The protests were finally quashed by the deployment of the Black Legions from their cantonments. Crowds were dispersed with area effect munitions after which the legionaries, clad in their black ballistic armour body-suits waded through the gore splattered scenes of horror executing the wounded survivors wherever they were found. The massacre continued for four nights until the legionaries were called off and bestowed with gifts of cash, booze and captured female protestors in reward for their superlative efforts.
- V.1704 AN: The 1704 Assize of Florencia commenced.
- 12: Bread riots in Sansabury were dispersed by use of flechette-dispensing rounds. Armoured vehicles from 7 Pansarfördelningen deployed out of the cantonments and onto the streets after local public order forces lost control of the situation.
- VI.1704 AN
- 3: Chocolate and tobacco rationing introduced as a temporary measure following supply chain disruptions.
- 14: Over the objections of the Guild of Factors, nine merchants are publicly garrotted in Merensk after conviction on charges of hoarding foodstuffs and engaging in "price gouging".
- 16: Liveried companies were instructed to pay overseas creditors via accounts denominated in Benacian sovereigns. A temporary measure that continued until 1707 AN.
- 22: Forty-eight democracy activists, convicted of membership of Coalition 1660 and activities contrary to the Union Covenant, were sent into internal exile at Stonetree to serve out ten-year sentences with the Benacian Labour Reserve. One was subsequently recalled for execution after being discovered to be a donor match for a senior employee of the Honourable Company.
- VII.1704 AN:
- 8: A protected person employed in the Paradise District of Rothaven, having been referred to the Guild of the Lotus by her employer, was surrendered to the civil authorities for execution after being discovered in the act of conducting ritual Vanic observances. An appeal for clemency was rejected immediately at the point of transfer and the sentence, death by burning, was carried out by the carnifex on the same day.
List of Participants
- User:Continuator (founder)
- ^ Conforming to the historic pattern whereby those who became dissatisfied with the state of affairs in the old Imperial Republic headed west to start anew.
- ^ Not to be confused with the Internal Security Bureau which reports to the Command Executive rather than it's civil counterpart.
- ^ So named for school master's propensity to clout any indigent yokel boy deemed to be tardy in his rote learning of Humanist homilies.