History of Kalgachia/The 210s
The 210s opened with Kalgachia's first foreign military deployment for 35 years, to the faraway Captive Sea in support of Hoenn. Nearer to home the development of resurgent Batavia continued and the functionality of Shireroth continued to decline, the latter resulting in the Kalirion Fracture. Nearer still, a re-emergence of unmongrelised Deep Singers from the caverns beneath Lepidopterum - including a lost Salvator of the Ketherist faith - rocked Kalgachia with a theological and esoteric hubbub unseen since Lord Toastypops had sprung a similar surprise in 187 AL.
The timing of that event with an adjacent territorial claim by the Nationalist-Humanist led Unified Governorates of Benacia resulted in Operation Broodmother III, a deployment of the KDF to assist the area's Black Laqi population in resisting and ultimately expelling the Gubernatorial Black Legions from lands adjoining the Kalgachi southwest, denying them the territorial leverage to institute a regime of interminable cross-border provocation against the Deep Singers and Nezeni. The resolute scale of the Kalgachi deployment, contrasted with the area's minimal strategic priority from the Gubernatorials' perspective, resulted in a negotiated peace in the form of the Slavegate Convention which formalised Kalgachi-UGB relations for the first time.
The Relief of Hoenn (210 AL)
The 200s had seen selective deliveries of Kalgachi state assets to the Captive Sea region in support of OIEC operations in Corcovado, mainly in the form of technicians and advisors to the Los Liberados government and the Iron Company. By 210 AL this relationship had expanded to assist markets that were emerging from Constancia, which in turn drew the attention of the Raspur Pact to certain technical and doctrinal capabilities of the Kalgachi state at a time when those of Natopia and Shireroth were undergoing stagnation and brain drain. As the Kalgachi government and expatriate business community were known to share the Raspur Pact's contempt for the Bassarid naval blockade of Hoenn which had grown out of the Haifan Civil War, the Kalgachi government was approached through intermediaries in Puerto Arcadio and appraised of an upcoming multinational Freedom of Navigation exercise, sailing from the island of Talenore to the Hoennese port of Niijima some two thousand kilometres east. The intimation of a certain Raspur Pact official that Kalgachia might wish to assist the endeavour was duly referred to Oktavyan for consideration.
The resulting deliberations caused something of a schism in the Kalgachi government which unusually fell perpendicular to institutional lines; the usually-prevalent assertion that the Garden must not waste its blood and treasure on the affairs of the irredeemable wastes beyond was too fragmented to contest the opposite view, that the blockade of an innocent nation going unopposed set a precedent that would only be repeated on Kalgachia's own border if it was ignored the first time around. Kalgachia's policy on the matter was effectively settled when Rubina Yastreb, the Lady Lieutenant of Oktavyan, expressed support for an intervention in a televised interview before her sovereign Council of Perfecti had ruled upon the matter, prompting her allies on the KDF General Staff to follow suit and effectively forcing the hand of Kalgachia's underground sovereigns to take up the Raspur Pact invitation.
Whilst the use of Kalgachi electronic intelligence assets in support of the Niijima cruise was assured, the deployment of combat troops in any large amount was prevented by Kalgachia's enclavement between Batavia, which held a strict position of neutrality, and Shireroth whose Elianist political elite had been in a state of bitter acrimony with Kalgachia for decades and were expected to seek intolerable concessions for the privilege of letting Kalgachi troops cross Shirerithian territory. After the Raspur Pact gave assurances to equip them in theatre, the KDF eventually deployed one hundred operators from its Special Purpose Regiment who crossed Batavia unarmed and joined an Iron Company passenger ship to Corcovado. From there they sailed on a different vessel to Talenore for training and briefings with allied forces.
In the following Operation Tropic Badger, the SPR were the first to land on the abandoned Gerenian colony of Zylenia; their objectives were to establish a covert signals intelligence and electronic warfare post, secure the derelict Gerenian airstrip outside the town of Mirran for re-activation by incoming Talenorean forces, and pacify the local Dromosker tribes prior to the establishment of a Constancian administration over the island. The first two objectives were attained within three days although the third proved to be more challenging; offers of human sacrifices, mainly prisoners of Constancian razzias in Eura with the occasional lost Storish fisherman, were recieved with varying degrees of enthusiasm by the local Dromosker who reacted to the bonanza of human meat by acquiring a more picky attitude.
The Broodmother Surfaces (210 AL)
During the collapse of Minarboria most of the genetically self-modified race known as the Deep Singers had migrated deep underground at the urge of one of their rogue creations, an invasive mineral-based lifeform known as the Crystal Death from whose influence they would fight to free themselves over the following decades whilst an unaware Kalgachia was occupied with its own developmental struggles nearer the surface. Of those Deep Singers who had not succumbed completely to the 'Crystal Song' and disappeared into the depths, most had bred outside their iterational paths to become the Nezeni although a precious few of the original blood who were genetically blessed with indefinite longevity had remained in numbers small enough to become the stuff of folk myth. In 202 AL the Kalgachi government, seeking to create a reserve for this awkward minority and apply their talents in land stewardship, had given over the moribund Lieutenancy of Lepidopterum to the care of one of the more prominent specimens - one Prethil Nal - as an autonomous protectorate.
Being the ultimate destination of the Second Great Replanting - the final exodus of Deep Singers from Shireroth after the notorious Underkeep Massacre in Shirekeep - the forest city of Lepidopterum had a religious significance and it was here that the last stand had been made against the pull of the Crystal Death before the greater part of the city's Deep Singer occupants had resigned themselves to head underground and force a decisive battle with the rogue mineral entity. Upon the latter's defeat sometime in the late 200s, the surviving Deep Singers - led by none other than Celestine the Broodmother, the progenitor of their entire race - strove to return to their old haven of Lepidopterum through the maze of caverns they had excavated over the last half-century whilst pursuing or fleeing from the Crystal Death.
They finally emerged in late 210 AL, to the surprise of Prethil Nal's administration which was quickly joined by the commotion of her suzerains in Oktavyan. Whilst the Church of Kalgachia frenziedly deliberated upon the return of Celestine whom they had long canonised as a Salvator of Ketherism, elements of the Troglodyti smiled knowingly upon the timing of the event with Shireroth's ongoing Kalirion Fracture - a dramatic reversal of Kalgachia's fortunes since the turn of the century when it was nominally enclaved by a hostile military and economic alliance and had little recourse but to mourn its lost Minarborian benefactors; now, at the very moment when Kalgachia's archonic enemies stepped upon the threshold of total Endsieg, it seemed they had suddenly crumbled away in the face of some divine nemesis and the creatures of the Old Garden had risen from the depths as heralds of this cosmic reprieve.
This infusion of ancient beings gave Prethil Nal what she needed; a competent leadership cadre and an independent power base in the face of a Kalgachi government, the latter being officially committed to the mongrelisation of its contituent peoples into a single and distinct ethnos as arguably its most far-reaching and important objective. Now, to the consternation of those invested in the sancity of this ideal, talk emerged from Lepidopterum of reintegrating the Nezeni back into the Deep Singer iterations whence they had emerged, thereby reversing what the Deep Singers considered their abhorrent deracination. The dividing line between these irreconcilable viewpoints fell squarely among the Nezeni themselves, distributed as they were throughout the regions of Lepidopterum and Lithead. Some - invariably those in Lepidopterum - opted to resume the life of post-birth genetic infusions, extracorporeal gestation and denuclearised family relations which had been the lot of their venerated ancestors. Other Nezeni, usually in the uplands closer to Kalgachia's capital, rejected the Deep Singers' overtures as a denial of their heritage and an insult to their collective dignity; these tended to prevail within the halls of Kalgachi state where they held that the Deep Singers, by trailing their civilisational gifts with an assortment of unspeakable horrors, had generated an enantiodromic shadow dark enough to almost single-handedly sustain the Nationalist-Humanists as a political force on the Benacian continent among other unintended effects, and in doing so had forfeited part of their claim to supremacy among sentient beings. Only by assuming a form outwardly human enough to avoid triggering an amygdala response in their neighbouring peoples, it was said, could the Deep Singers ever hope to survive on the surface of Micras into the far future. In the service of this outcome, it was said, the Nezeni had an inherent value of their own.
To the relief of all interested parties, Lepidopterum's border with Kalgachia proper represented a means to safely segregate these opposed schools of thought whilst allowing both to be implemented within the same civilisational entity; indeed the schism had no appreciable effect upon the flow of Kalgachi funding for Lepidopterum's development, nor upon the sharing of recovered Deep Singer expertise with the Kalgachi medical and biomic engineering professions.
Assistance to the Black Laqi (210 AL onwards)
"Gone was the faith of our fathers when the Empire of the Shrub washed away down the rivers, and when the mountain hosts sacked our treasuries. Who then could care for the Fifth Law of the Garden, for its commandments upon the repayment of debt? But see now, how the mountain hosts render us tribute in gold and arms alike. See how they remember the wrongs they have done unto us. See how they remember the law. Hold forth your palm, then, and receive what is yours, for you shall never know such repentance from the hand of a Gub."—Varҳat Ҳazedinov, Ukase upon Trade with the Uplandmost, 215 AL
Conspicuously absent from celebrations of the Deep Singers' return were the Directorate of the Tumultuous Wastes and the Kalgachi Defence Force. Amidst the religious euphoria their attention was drawn to the dissident Shirerithian military garrisons of Lywall which were unifying into a force known as the Black Legions, populated by the rump of Shireroth's Imperial martial cadre and overtly Nationalist-Humanist in their outlook - their state of rebellion, noted the DTW, had freed them from obstruction by moderates in Shirekeep whose cultivation had hitherto been foundational to Kalgachi foreign policy, and the emergence of unmongrelised Deep Singers in their vague proximity was in fact the opposite of good timing. Between these two populations were located various shifting clans of the Republic of Inner Benacia, and it was around this time that the most pro-Kalgachi of their number - a band of Laqi known as the Ś°ecehe Yśehe, or Black Brothers - began to enjoy a string of territorial gains in lands adjoining Lithead and Lepidopterum, backed by substantially improved arms supplies and alleged strike support from ballistic missiles and Whirdlebirbs of indeterminate origin. Among the hamlets and encampments west of Bagegeniśort a series of rhetorically-optimised anecdotes, theories and occasional photographic material from 'visiting traders' (noted for an irresistably wide range of wares, low prices and an apparent ability to manifest curses of fire from the sky upon communities which robbed or murdered them) began to percolate with varying levels of local support; the principal themes being that the Deep Singers and unmodified humans shared a long history of peaceful co-existence which disproved eschatological propaganda against the former, and that the Nationalist-Humanists' vision of reducing humanity to the status of tyrant or slave through an artificial creed of unquestioning obedience was fundamentally antithetical to the ancient Laqi way of life with its clan autonomy and mercenary oppurtunism.
By 214 AL Kalgachia's hand in the Black Brothers' successes was beyond doubt - of particular note was the emergence of one Varҳat Ҳazedinov, a known KDF officer with special forces affiliations, to the leadership of the Black Brothers' upland clans where he systematically reconfigured their armed element from a roving force of raiders to one of defenders-in-depth, incorporating old Kasterburgish forts with a web of new trenchworks whose greatest concentration was in territory claimed by the Black Legions' state veneer, the Unified Governorates, in the immediate vicinity of Lepidopterum - here the Black Brothers achieved an effective expulsion of the Black Legions whose own ambitions in the region were focused upon the city of Litkov further west. Ҳazedinov's acceptance of vast territorial losses further afield in exchange for a viable defence of tracts adjacent to Kalgachi territory suggested a strategic centre of gravity located somewhere well within Kalgachia; the apparent leisure with which the Unified Governorates tolerated the situation indicated some measure of bilateral collusion, most likely among elements affiliated with the moribund Sxiro-Kalgachi Military Coordination Council whose Shirerithian component had largely gone over to the service of the Black Legions as the Kalirion Fracture progressed. Initial skirmishes in the contested lands between Lepidopterum and Litkov involved units viewed as expendable, if not outright troublesome to both sides - in consolidating his own authority among the Black Brothers, Ҳazedinov in particular displayed methods of political manoeuvre uncannily reminiscent of the Prefects whose covert agents had long maintained the balance of Laqi clan rivalries within Kalgachia proper. In time this gained him the overall leadership of Black Laqi hosts along a swathe of territory from the Batavian frontier to the outer ruins of the Inner Benacian Dolmen at Bagegeniśort, who proclaimed themselves the Upland Confederation in 214 AL.
The Repose of the Troglodyti (216 AL)
By the back half of the decade it had become clear that the economic successes of the DLEP, the nominal blessing of the Church of Kalgachia by two Salvators of the faith, the diligence of the KDF and DTW in forestalling foreign provocations against Lepidopterum and the emergence of the Lord Lieutenants' Council as an approachable face of the national executive heralded a significant restoration of the bureaucratic competence which had been lost during the Modanian Wobble of the mid-180s. These achievements were notable as the product of technocratic and moral prudence by the institutions responsible, which increasingly eschewed the symbolism and crafted rhetoric of their embedded Troglodytes or at best, relegated the latter's arcane musings from the imperative to the merely advisory; throughout the trading floors, church vestries and garrison messes of Kalgachia the opinion began to prevail that the messy affairs of the surface world were no place for the deep initiate - "one does not work upon the root by plucking at leaves" in the words of one Abbot, the 'root' being implied as the sub-surface Lieutenancy of Lapivril in whose controlled conditions the Troglodyti had found their natural meditative home.
In these circumstances the constitutional primacy of the Troglodyti among other, more productive organs of the Kalgachi government had come increasingly into question, to the extent that the latter's combined discomfort eventually manifested itself in repeated bouts of open remonstrance at the Council of Perfecti itself. From the Church and the Prefects in particular came warnings that the Kalgachi population, now blessed with an education and living standard beyond the dreams of their impoverished forebears, were becoming increasingly intolerant of the deep executive's cryptocratic unaccountability and were frequently demanding reassurance of the latter's relevance in daily life along with some measure of comprehensibility.
The Chairman of the Council, himself a Troglodyte by legal convention and sensing a looming crisis of legitimacy, travelled to the depths of Lapivril for a conclave with his occluded brethren upon the matter and returned with a prospective settlement: the Troglodyti would relinquish their automatic right to the Chairmanship of the Prefecti in return for Lapivril's autonomy as a Kalgachi protectorate under Troglodyte leadership. The Council assented to the proposal and decreed the relevant amendments of the Oktavyan Code in 216 AL; their Troglodyte chairman, in a gesture of grace, was permitted to remain in his seat at the Council's leisure.
Occupation of the Upland Confederation (218 AL)
In late 218 AL as part of Unternehmen Dschingis, the Central Tactical Air Force of the Black Legions launched a massed air raid against the western Upland Confederation; ostensibly a precautionary measure to keep Kalgachi attention away from a simultaneous ground offensive against the Republic of Inner Benacia's eastern reaches. The air attacks fell mainly on rear-echelon communication and supply nodes occupied by tactical air defence and advisory units of the Kalgachi Defence Force, a fact of which the Black Legions' intelligence organs had been appraised for some time.
That a foreign power had directly targeted Kalgachi forces in this fashion was interpreted by the Directorate of the Tumultuous Wastes as bait for an overwhelming KDF response beyond the Upland Confederation which could then be cited as an act of unilateral aggression to draw the entirety of the Raspur Pact against Kalgachia and, most critically, pressure Batavia to dismantle its trade relationship with Kalgachia by leveraging Natopian and Elwynnese influences at the court of King Arkadius IV. Unusually for such a junior state organ, the DTW position gained traction among Kalgachia's ruling Council of Perfecti and a KDF proposal for massed ballistic missile strikes in the Black Legions' operational depth was voted down (due in part to opposition from the KDF's own intelligence staff, who assessed that the hazard of revealing the strategic-mode flight characteristics and non-decoy launch locations of the missiles outweighed their strike effect in any scenario less dangerous than a ground invasion of the Kalgachi heartland).
The now-proven ability of the Black Legions' air arm to range at will through the Upland Confederation's territory was, however, considered intolerable and the Council of Perfecti authorised the KDF to scale up their presence in the area, known as Operation Broodmother III, from semi-covert assistance to overt occupation. In accordance with long-established battle plans this feat was accomplished in good order by four line divisions and one air assault division, supported by one of the KDF's three reserve armies; this was the largest military deployment yet seen in Kalgachi history and increased the population of the Upland Confederation by 135% overnight, a manpower infusion which greatly accelerated Ҳazedinov's fortification programme and most critically gave the territory a layered surface-to-air missile coverage which rivalled that of Kalgachi proper.
The Slavegate Convention (219 AL)
Unlike the Kalgachi position which considered control of the Upland Confederation to be a matter of existential importance, designs for conquest of the territory by the UGB competed against the simultaneous and vastly greater priorities of securing the industrialised regions of Mishalan and pacifying the Inner Benacian Red Laqi nearer to the Gubernatorial heartland. Being utterly uninterested in an offensive against the depths of the Siyacha Free State, Kalgachi forces spent the year 219 AL digging in along the lower frontiers of the Upland Confederation and offered no substantial opposition to the fortification of an opposing line by the Black Legions. Sensing that the stasis of the conflict along the line of control thus established was in the interest of both sides, the UGB approached the Kalgachi government through the moribund Sxiro-Kalgachi Military Coordination Council, whose Shirerithian component had largely gone over to the Black Legions as the Kalirion Fracture progressed. At the Council's meeting place in the Kalgachi border town of Slavegate (adjoining previously Shirerithian but more latterly Batavian territory), discussions commenced toward a formalised peace between Kalgachia and the UGB.
The resulting agreement, named the Slavegate Convention, provided for a winding down of the Upland conflict by a coordinated ceasefire followed by a programme of prisoner exchanges. The Convention also repurposed the old Military Coordination Council into an operational and diplomatic communication node between Kalgachia and the wider Raspur Pact. The timing of the Convention's signing was considered by those on the Kalgachi side to be an auspicious close to the decade; none other than the Perfectus for the Church of Kalgachia addressed the nation on the event's salvational character. The Perfectus went to far as to proclaim, on the alleged advice of a Troglodyte counsel with a sense of humour, that the event had secured "peace in our time".
- ^ The mobilisation of so many part-time reservists, along with a momentary bar on civilian use of western Kalgachia's transport network to facilitate the deployment, did have an appreciable economic dampening effect on Kalgachia's western and northern reaches - efforts to remedy the situation by the DLEP Labour Corps were belated and only partially successful.