Republic of Inner Benacia
| Refublik fun Iner Benasia|
Benašhek° G°yzeg°ym Ẑ°yġehek°
(Republic of Inner Benacia)
|Motto: Eyner far Ale, Ale far Eyn|
|Anthem: A Saduc amongst the Dolmens|
|Official language(s)||Yehudi, Mishalanski, Tellian, Laqi|
|Official religion(s)||Siyachism, Church of the Patriarchs, Qara'ut|
|Demonym||Inner Benacians, RIBs|
|- Adjective||RIB, Inner Benacian|
|- Dolmensaduc||Pśymyde Tyiim Teźśecaq°yhemće|
|- Active|| 180,173 Yehudi|
|National animal|| Black Eagle (Yehudi & Tellian)|
White Eagle (Laqi)
Brown Bear (Mishalanski)
|National food||Boiled sheep's head with dumplings|
|National drink||Pomace brandy|
The Republic of Inner Benacia (also known as RIB) is a country in the previously Green area between Kalgachia, Mishalan and Lywall. Established as a peace agreement by various ethnoreligious fractions in 1659, the new government hopes to establish a peace between the different ethnic groups of the troubled area, so as to allow them to better resist the repeated incursions of their rapacious neighbour. Peace between Shireroth and the Republic of Inner Benacia was achieved in 1667, after which the two countries entered the Raspur Pact alliance and began friendly relations with one another. The peace ended in 1670 after an anti-Shirerithian coup purged the pro-Shirerithians in the government. The Republic announced its leaving of the Raspur Pact.
The main ethnic groups in the Republic are the Yehudi (descendants of the Ashkenatzim), the Laqi, the Tellians, and the Mishalanski.
The capital is Bagegeniśort, previously known as Stonetree.
- 1 Geography
- 2 History
- 3 Politics and Government
- 4 Society
- 5 Culture
- 6 Economy
- 7 See Also
- Kalgachi razzias to secure heavy machinery and capital assets followed by brief occupation of Sansabury to secure international recognition.
- Three Shirerithian invasions, Lywall occupied.
- Defence of the last commune (Stonetree) by all the free peoples of Inner Benacia
- Confederal treaty
- Ruins of north Nackholm occupied by Batavian skirmishers. More Shirerithian air-raids in the western enclave. Yehudi resistance scattered and demoralised.
- Ceremonial spear thrower ignominiously shot by snipers at the Kalgachi border (his body was entombed in the Dolmen as a hero). Envoy charged with delineating the frontier returned after a misunderstanding at a border checkpoint resulted in temporary incarceration.
- A Shirerithian convoy of mixing lorries carrying wet cement was ambushed by persons unknown in Lywall on the road from Sansabury to Stonetree.
- Kalgachi agents dressed to pass as natives exchanged fire with hunting party of Red Laqs. Some horses and saddle bags taken. No casualties reported. Incursion unlikely to be an isolated incident.
- Kalgachi rotorcraft making sorties over RIB claimed air space. A great profusion of leaflets scattered to the four winds. Dolmen prohibits the literate from reading the contents to their brethren and to gather up all of this windfall to dispatch to Stonetree for pulping. Paper is too valuable to be wasted. The Defence League of Benacia sends word to the clans that bullets are not to be wasted on shooting at the whirdlebirdies as it only draws the ire of those flying the contraptions at a time when the means to knock them down effectively are not at hand.
- An exchange of corpses restores the semblance of peace between the Kalgachi and the Republic.
- Nackholm reoccupied by Imperials after the expulsion of the Batavii.
- Hightree reoccupied by Imperials.
- Repudiation of the Kitezhniks: Fighters from Kitezh break their oaths to the Dolmen and fled west to join forces with unaffiliated Kossars led by the Hanokh Clan.
- Laqi raids into Lywall.
- 'Nclavesci infiltration into the shadow economy of the Mandate of Tellia; leads to a series of armed conflicts with local organizations
- Active combat between Łe 'em Yśehe and unaffiliated Kossars in and around the ruins of Selz
- With increasing international recognition came an invitation for the Inner Benacians to participate in a form of great power coordination duelling known as foot-ball. Perplexed, delegates assembled at the Dolmen for an extraordinary meeting to discuss what it all meant.
- Disorder spreads through Lywall, Malarboria, and the Tellian Mandate as Coalition 1660, the N&H, and the Elwynnese Southern League increase pressure on crumbling regimes of southern Benacia.
- Increasing evidence that the ESB Group and the N&H are sponsoring the activities of the Mildura clan in return for support against the Daemon-Queen of Malarboria and in order to counter the growing influence of the RIB-aligned 'Nclavesci clan.
- Goldshire businessmen touring the western provinces are strongly encouraged by provincial governors with N&H sympathies to avoid selling their wares to clans and factions who have pledged themselves to the Dolmen. This advice goes largely unheeded.
- The severed and eyeless head of one such business traveller was recovered from a gore-splattered tradesman's bag delivered to Ketek's Inner Benacian showroom, a fortified settlement and bazaar set inside the ruins of an unknown Ashkenatzim town, optimistically renamed as Ketekgorod.
- Not entirely without coincidence, on the following day a fourscore band of Black Laqi arrived at Ketekgorod offering their services as guides and protectors against the "nameless and myriad misfortunes of the road". They were promptly hired and given a squadron of Scrags, renaming themselves Zyk°'eterem Fel'ek°e or "Lovers of the self-driving wagon".
- The severed and eyeless head of one such business traveller was recovered from a gore-splattered tradesman's bag delivered to Ketek's Inner Benacian showroom, a fortified settlement and bazaar set inside the ruins of an unknown Ashkenatzim town, optimistically renamed as Ketekgorod.
- The Defence League of Benacia acquires a Shirerithian Whirdlebird after an emergency landing and evacuation in Inner Benacian territory. Research begins immediately on how to refuel and activate the craft while the crew are ransomed back to Shireroth through Black Laqi and Kalgachi intermediaries.
- Stung by humiliating cross border raids, and angered by the support and sympathy offered by the RIB to Karalakhi rebels in eastern Modan, anywhere up to four thousand Horjin armoured vehicles reportedly began to mass in Lywall. Concurrently, the Joint Military Council of the Raspur Pact formally endorsed a proposal to "invite" the RIB to join the Pact and to accept allied troops onto its territories to assist in the suppression of brigandry and lawlessness.
- 10.I.16661:An unidentified rocket detonated at low altitude over Stonetree, spreading a mysterious red powder over a large area and resulting in mass casualties on the ground. Victims appeared to suffer from symptoms - such as blood crystallisation and violent haemorrhaging - that appeared consistent with dreadnettle poisoning. The site of the Dolmen, as well as the nascent commercial district were amongst the areas contaminated. Survivors flee into the wilderness, disrupting the function of what little governance and military command and control existed.
- The Republic is formally welcomed into the Raspur Pact. Fresh elections were scheduled for the Spring Equinox. An exclusion zone remained in effect around Stonetree but the position of internally displaced persons were regularised and disputed clan territorial ranges were brought firmly under the control of the Republic by IBFOR punitive expeditions.
- Hit moderately by the White Plague - outbreak kept under control thanks to protective culling of persons in the affected regions. In an ironic reversal of the Red Mortality, southern Shireroth is decimated, with many Modanese following the example of the Prince of Modan and fleeing to Eura whilst Imperial Forces, particularly auxiliaries, were decimated. Command and control was, for a time, significantly impaired.
- Modanese levies begin to desert in appreciable numbers.
- Rigorous public health measures enforced by the Bureau of Public Safety begin to stabilise the situation in Lywall, Lachmeren, and Angularis.
- RIB began negotiations with Shireroth on the border disputes between the two. The two agreed as follows: Shireroth to have full sovereignty over the previously joint administered areas, RIB to have full sovereignty over its occupied territories in the Green.
- Shireroth installed a pro-Shirerithian government in Bagegenisort with Lady Cherokee as foreign minister. Cherokee-led reforms to "civilize", "bureaucratize", and "industrialize" the small Republic caused growing resentment in the Dolmen and other areas of the government.
- The chieftains around the Dolmen, daunted by the prospect of an election where they would face the consequences of supporting Imperial occupation, and increasingly aware, with the transfer of Nackholm to "Voortrekker" control, that the Shirerithians were no longer uncontested hegemons of the continent, quietly gave encouragement to agitators and pamphleteers to attribute blame upon Shireroth for bringing the white plague upon the people of RIB.
- Lady Cherokee calls for help in Shirekeep to control the rebellion in RIB. Shireroth responds that it is her duty to calm her own country.
- Decapitation strike against the leaders of the Brothers of the Blood Hand, Readers of Truth, and Shrub Watch, orchestrated by the Brothers of the Dawn and the Brothers Below the Mountain with additional assistance by betraying members of the targeted factions. Strike took place as leaders travelled to the Dolman so as to avoid tainting the site.
- The remaining factions of the Dolman, moved by the words of Łepśe Uyg°erlym Teuycožemće, agreed to a purging of the RIB and the seizing of assets.
- In late 1670, Lady Cherokee's severed head is delivered to the Shirerithian government by the RIB ambassador. RIB ambassador arrested.
- The assassination appeared to have been carried out covertly, seemingly resulting in a failure of anyone in the Shirerithian garrison, the bureaucracy established by Lady Cherokee, or the Shirerithian ambassadorial staff, raising the alarm until the Inner Benacian ambassador in Shirekeep had been in a position to gain admittance to the Golden Mango Throne and was only halted at practically the last moment.
- Once it became clear that what was effectively a coup by the Dolmen against the Shirerithian installed administration had taken place, the "Streïkrupp Kasha", comprised of four regiments drawn from S.W.O.R.D. and the Vigiles Arcani ought to have been in a position to stage an immediate counter-attack. Instead, in response to pleas for guidance passed up the chain of command, the ominous reply "Shirekeep is silent" was received. The Shirerithian forces remained in their cantonments and were gradually surrounded by mobs of protesters, bolstered by armed members of the Defence League who had judged that their moment to resurface had arrived.
- The Shirerithian garrison, seemingly forgotten about by the Elian-influenced government in Shirekeep, begins to disintegrate, with low morale and indiscipline spreading to garrisons in that portion of the Modanese lands that were now once again, apparently, known as Malarboria. Critics of the Imperial Government in the Folksraad would later attribute the failure to suppress the rising to "chronic failures of leadership induced by institutional paralysis, endemic corruption, and pathological liberalism".
- Emboldened by the singular failure of the Imperial Republic to respond, the Inner Benacians began to indulge in a vigorous purge of Shirerithian officials assigned to the administration as well as those collaborators who had not proven sufficiently adroit as to join the conspiracy ahead of its implementation.
- The Dolmen followed up upon the successful coup by declaring an end to Inner Benacia's membership of the Raspur Pact. The Shirerithian response, codified by Imperial Decree 1189 issued on 06.XI.1670, was astonishingly muted, similar in tone to the apathetic and defeatist response to the Verionist/Ice-Bear rising in Northern Elwynn, giving further evidence of the collective failure of will gripping the higher echelons and cadres of imperial governance. The frontier was closed to non-visa holders and Inner Benacian assets held in Shireirithian bank accounts were frozen. The Laqi reputedly hooted in derision at the news and began crossing the frontier in droves to help themselves to compensation by liberating anything of value and not nailed down found in the frontier towns of Lywall. Skirmishes with the Imperial Constabulary proliferated and abounded.
- A militia calling itself the People's Shomrim denounced the Inner Benacian Government as collaborators and raised the banner of rebellion.
- A relatively understated interest in events was taken in neighbouring Kalgachia, which had vehemently opposed the RIB's application to join the Micras Treaty Organisation on the grounds that Shirerithian influence had compromised its status as a sovereign power. Whilst not denying the suggestion that such a public exposition of the RIB's impotence had been the final impulse for its anti-Shirerithian elements to act, triumphal expressions from the Kalgachi government were muted; past experience had proven that the fall of an undesirable Inner Benacian regime did not necessarily entail desirable successors. Kalgachia duly called up thousands of military reservists to reinforce its border guards and prevent the imminent bloody adjustment of the Inner Benacian power balance from spilling over the Kalgachi frontier. Ironically the main occupation of this force was to deter cross-border sorties by renegade Laqi partisans from Kalgachia's own eastern province of Schlepogora, who sought to assist one or other of the warring Inner Benacian factions in the service of impenetrably complex and ancient clan politics dating back to the early Minarborian era. Inevitably a small number of these cossacks of fortune, exploiting an intimate knowledge of their homeland to find gaps in Kalgachia's government border screen, percolated through to Inner Benacia and an uncertain fate.
- The Ś°ecehe Yśehe achieve a string of territorial gains to the west of Bagegeniśort, along a route roughly following the remains of the Minarborian-era road between Sansabury and Lepidopterum. Their successes are assisted by an apparent glut of new weaponry and the periodic destruction of rival hamlets and encampments by sudden explosions, the latter reportedly caused by large projectiles descending from the northeast sky fast enough to impact far ahead of their own sound. In other areas the Ś°ecehe Yśehe engage in an accelerated settlement of outstanding debts with their neighbours, a gesture jarringly at odds with the tight-fisted reputation they had suffered since their tardy tributes to the Dolmen in 1660 and celebrated accordingly. Ś°ecehe Yśehe elders refuse to be drawn on where they obtained their new wealth, or indeed their luck.
- The Black Legions carved a swathe of destruction through the eastern portions of the Republic, striking at Laqi and insurgent camps and Tee-al nesting sites with a vindictive zeal. Although only a small portion of territory, around Ketekgorod, is actually occupied by the Black Legions, the raid proves to be a devastating experience for local forces. The Laqi in particular, long used to running rings around plodding Imperial troops and constabulary, found themselves on the receiving end of the attentions of an enemy that enjoyed a vast superiority in protection, firepower, mobility and overview. Of the two legions which passed into Inner Benacian territory each cohort was given complete freedom to pursue the enemy with no imposed limitations in time, space, or method. For the Black Legions this vast raid into Inner Benacia was an opportunity to expand their use of Laqi-hunting as a training method into a whole new way of waging war against hostile populations - the so-called vaszvaþnur. Ultimately the movements of airmobile and mechanised striking forces, supported by gravimetric tanks, artillery, and attack aircraft, disrupted but did not eliminate the so-called insurgent infrastructure of the native populations. As bandit hunting was manpower intensive, not something that Benacia Command intended to waste expensively trained and equipped legionaries on, and the projected land corridor linking Lywall to Mishalan passed to the east of the Inner Benacian frontier, the raid, although devastating, was not followed up by the imposition of a military occupation. There could however be few in Inner Benacia who doubted that this was merely a stay of execution rather than a reprieve.
- Under the cover of the eastern assault the long suffering garrisons marooned in cantonments around Bagegeniśort took the opportunity to violate the live and let live trucial arrangements they had put in place with the local forces and pushed towards southwards the frontier. The Streïkrupp “Kasha” would go on to reconstitute itself as a Combined Arms Corps, supported by naval and aviation assets, around the port of Klymdown where it was positioned to intervene against either the Ś°ecehe Yśehe in the interior or the Yardistanis ensconced in Port Benacia as circumstances required.
- Backed by continuing supplies of arms, and following the previous year's actions in those parts of the Western RIB lying north of the 46th parallel, the Ś°ecehe Yśehe begin to exhibit renewed territorial assertiveness in areas between the 155th meridian and the Lepidopteran frontier. Whether this is a result of their contracture by third parties, or a natural consequence of new weaponry allowing them to enforce a level of clan control to which they had long aspired, is unclear - although the uncanny adherence of their operations to the aforegiven grid lines, seemingly regardless of the local topography, does not pass without remark. This new surge of activity, under the general leadership of a charismatic Black Laqi ataman named Varҳat Ҳazedinov, is distinguished by assistance from disaffected Yehudi of the Kust Vakh who survived the Dolmen purges of 1670 and migrated toward the ruined city of Litkov as Shireroth's fleeting control of the area slipped away completely. Haunted by folk memories of the destruction of Nackholm along with more recent episodes of heavy-handed reconnaissance-in-force by the Black Legions, these elements actively collude with Ҳazedinov and the Ś°ecehe Yśehe in a campaign of territorial consolidation focused along the chain of derelict Kasterburgish forts facing Lepidopterum (St. Govert, St. Otto and St. Anna), which serve as command and supply rhizomes for the establishment of a forward line of control along the 155th meridian. The campaign is assisted by an unusual quality of command coordination and signs of an enhanced reconnaissance picture, the latter apparently related to low-level overflights of trouble spots by Buzzard fighter aircraft which occasionally develop into napalm strikes. From the old Kasterburgish forts are emitted infrequent and irregular radar sweeps from ground-based air defence systems, rumoured to be the work of Yehudi Kossars from "up country".
- 21.IX: First transmission of a hitherto unknown short-wave radio station broadcasting on the frequency 4625 kHz. Signal appears to emanate from a location outside of Klymhigh.
- XII: Ҳazedinov's command of the upland Ś°ecehe Yśehe is challenged by a small but vocal faction of iezauli, backed by hardline Yehudim, who dispute his strategy of measured consolidation and wish to sustain the westward momentum of the ongoing campaign all the way to the ruins of Litkov. As his more neutral commanders waver, Ҳazedinov restores coherence by issuing a challenge to the dissidents; to gather the warbands at their respective command and lead such a push themselves. If they are successful in gaining and holding the approaches to Litkov, Ҳazedinov promises, their martial ability will be proven beyond his and he will surrender his overall command to one of their number. In a theatrical illustration of this intention, he puts the commitment in writing and signs it in his own blood; a gesture celebrated by the wider Ś°ecehe Yśehe despite their illiteracy. The appropriate forces are duly gathered and move west, only for their 'enhanced command and support' to become conspicuously absent as they advance beyond the 155th meridian. After the promised follow-up forces fail to move off their start lines due to "last-minute supply problems", the raiding spearheads unwittingly find themselves alone when they encounter a sizeable portion of Afzælt Litkov engaged in a search-and-destroy operation to the southeast of that ruined city. The latter force responds to the initial hurried ambushes with a diligent counter-pursuit and annihilation of their unsupported assailants in detail, in accordance with their revamped post-Shirerithian tactical doctrine. From this bloodbath only one of the the dissident iezauli escapes alive; the subsequent discovery of his bludgeoned and mutilated corpse near Fort St. Anna shortly after he reported there is ascribed to a Tee-al attack. The death of so many commanders are a tragic loss to the brotherhood, remarks Ҳazedinov at the ensuing memorial ritual, adding that "their immortal sacrifice has shone an instructive and sobering light upon the true way ahead, which no brother can forget if he wishes to preserve his honour." Among the replacements to Ҳazedinov's depopulated command cadre are 'Green Laqi volunteers' from the eastern reaches of Kalgachia who share his particular talents and outlook, almost as if they had been taught by rote from a common source. Subsequent challenges to his authority are rare.
- I: Beginning in areas west of Lepidopterum, The Black Laqi and Yehudi clans within Ҳazedinov's 'Upland Confederation' begin a coordinated excavation of defensive groundworks in their controlled territory; scattered constellations of fire positions on open ground augmented by camouflaged trenchworks in wooded areas, all arranged in a rough grid of layered defensive belts and communication routes extending in depth from the forward lines of control to the borders of Kalgachia and Lepidopterum. The unadorned simplicity and near-zero maintenance requirements of these groundworks, whose first examples assume the form of a broad skeleton to be filled in over time, allow their fast excavation to an extent far beyond the manning capacity of the local population. The utility of the 'surplus' fortifications as decoy targets, vectors for lateral mobility to evade heavy bombardment and blunt emergent schwerpunkte, prepared positions for larger allied forces and last-resort Tee-al shelters are cited by Ҳazedinov to motivate the labourers, most of whom hail from the non-combatant population and are ultimately more motivated by the respectable Kalgarrand wage offered out of indiscernable but apparently bottomless coffers for their services. Such is the volume of this cash flow that its circulation begins to displace the barter system and impenetrable blood feuding which had hitherto shaped the local economy.
- 20.I: Ҳazedinov issues a ukase forbidding the entry of Deep Singers or Nezeni to his territory, ostensibly for their own protection. "It is an outstandingly well-trained dog that comes to heel with the scent of blood in his nostrils", he muses in the preamble, "too much, for sure, to ever expect from the bastard spawn of Zinkgraven and Dravot."
- II–III: For the majority of the period during which the Xazedinov Bandit Group (to use the uninspired designation bestowed by Benacia Command) was establishing itself adjacent to the frontiers of Lepidopterum, in the process melting away the frontiers of Inner Benacia and Siyacha to congeal into existence this new Upland Confederation, the division of Inspectorate troops led by Waldemar Tarjeisson had neglected to follow up on their fortuitous early victory against the overconfident (and expendable) contingent of Black Lach whom they had encountered on their advance north from Klymhigh. Instead, Tarjeisson, perhaps still brooding over the total absence of any form of artillery support for his division, had elected to remain on the defensive - establishing three concentric lines of earthworks encompassing the ruins of Litkov so as to shield its northern, eastern, and southern approaches, preparing forward landing strips for the light attack aircraft which the Salbnan had received in lieu of his requested howitzers, and most importantly upon the continued improvement of the military road between Litkov and Klymhigh. The road and the fortifications between them, with their requirement for continuous patrolling and the provision of escorts for the fortnightly supply convoys, consumed a full two-thirds of the manpower available to Salbnan Tarjeisson. His requests for additional manpower went unheeded by Corps headquarters where, between the depredations of Tee-als and Black Lach in Upper Lywall, and the requirement to keep sizeable forces at the coastal ports of Lower Lywall as a reserve for anticipation operations in the Khaz Modan archipelago, Litkov was scarcely a priority at all. Not being entirely unsympathetic to the precarious situation Tarjeisson found himself in, Frainan Uihmanzis Scinde did however make representations to the Chiefs of Staff in Merensk to the effect that "something more ought be found for the Litkov business".
- 08.IV: Reinforcements, released by the General Staff, and now advancing along the Military Road from Klymhigh to Litkov, were promised to be a fresh division of Inspectorate troops. They transpired instead to be six regiments of recently raised and barely trained Mishalanski volunteers under the overall command of the Salbnan Gnaeus Vespasianus Pompeius, a dyed in the wool traditionalist, suspected by his colleagues of lingering Imperial sympathies, who had recently been quietly prised from command of the XXXIII Salb, lest his presence in Drak-Modan made life too easy for the Guttulin-Uihmanz. The General Staff, convinced that the primary threat posed by the "bandits" was that of raiding parties pushing into Lywall, commanded that the Lach be hemmed in at a location as close to their source of origin, in an overall uninteresting part of the Unified Governorates, as possible, and that this be done by the construction of a network of abatises and fortified observation posts running broadly parallel to the forward defensive positions established by the Lach. Again no artillery pieces were provided although the Commissariat had been notably generous in supplying anti-tank weapons, heavy machine guns, and mortars. Maintaining a static infantry division in prepared positions was felt to be a task that a hidebound officer like Pompeius could manage without destroying the strategic position of the Black Legions in central Benacia, provided that the Litkov division was available to take a hand if any appreciable number of Lach were to contrive to find their way around the obstacles emplaced before them.
- The garrison on the so-called Abatis Line is reduced to a third of the total force available to the Afzælt II Siyacha. The remainder, some 4,800 inspectorate troops, retired westwards to the far bank of the Nederlinge river, and entrenched along a line that ran from north to south from the abandoned settlement of Istenbruck, to the tastefully named town of Daschau, and finally to the fortress of St. Klaus. By moving the formation's centre of gravity westwards, Salbnan Pompeius had shortened the distance between his regimental formations and the depots established along the Military Road, easing his supply problems and shortening the reaction time needed for reinforcements to arrive from the Litkov Division. This change did however mean that, for the troops garrisoned in blockhouses along the Abatis Line, response times to bandit incursions were increased.
- Flying at tree-top levels, and relying on the light of the moon, four T-2 Saeqeh light attack aircraft set off on a direct easterly course from St. Elmo aerodrome. Their objective to conduct the first night-harassment attack against suspected Lach supply depots established at the ex-Kasterburger fort of St. Govert, whilst maintaining a sufficiently low level altitude so as to avoid triggering the air defences reportedly bequeathed by sympathetic parties in the "opposing force" and yet at the same time attempting to not plough directly into a heavily forested hillside - a daunting prospect. Each aircraft carried four unguided rockets for salvo launching against the intended target. Any pilot who survived was promised an extended furlough "back east".
- The strike on Fort St.Govert kills six of the eight-man Kossar sentry detail atop its roof, destroys a single Dandelion surface-to-air missile unit which was unable to engage the aircraft in time and sets ablaze an adjoining store of supplementary horse feed. A single rocket succeeds in penetrating the interior of the fort through an embrasure into an empty room, the pressure wave of its detonation killing one Kossar billeted in the adjacent hallway by explosive prolapse of the lungs through the oral cavity. Five other Kossars suffer concussion injuries and hearing loss. On the attacking flight's return leg, flown upon a reciprocal course in open finger-four schwarm formation, it is engaged by two Sciarid MANPADS from a portion of the Laqi defensive line alerted by its initial eastward passing. The trailing aircraft of the schwarm is struck by one missile and observed to crash in a forested area in no man's land, having flown too low for the pilot to bail out. The ensuing conflagration, enlivened by the 'cooking off' of ammunition, burns until morning; a mounted Laqi reconnaissance party dispatched to the crash site is driven off by machine gun and light mortar fire from the Abatis Line.
- IX: Between 01.IX and 03.IX.1673, up to two hundred K°ešḥeble horsemen and machine-gunners were seen approaching the frontier of the Litel governorate, only to be driven back by the ESB-Brunïakis-Afzælt who pursued the raiders deep into the eastern portion of Inner Benacia. The pursuing ESB cuirassiers subsequently ran headlong into an ambush prepared by the wider Łe 'em Yśehe clan confederation along the ridge of a narrow defile and were obliged to retire in some disorder, pursued in turn by Lach horsemen southwards all the way to Upper Lywall, where only the intervention of Bandersnatch gravtanks ended the rout. Opinions amongst frontier officers coalesced around a majority view that the incident had been staged by the Red Lach in an attempt to draw forces aligned to the UGB across the border to the pre-prepared killing zone. In spite of this an investigation by the General Inspectorate concluded that the incident had probably been triggered by Cedrist Mishalanski in the service of the ESB interfering with Ketherist pilgrims and traders making their way to the annual fair at a shrine that marked one of the lesser routes of the Way of the Great Replanting. Attributing the incident to religious fervour and predatory inclinations, the investigators recommended moving ESB hired formations away from the frontier until discipline and tactical nous could be improved. In any event it was apparent that previous attempts to win the Red Lach to the cause of the Black Legions by financial incentives and appeals to their hatred of the Black Lach had enjoyed only limited success. A new policy towards the question of the Lach would have to be tried.
Politics and Government
The Republic was originally based upon the confederal unity of the three so-called free communes of Highbloom, Nackholm, and Stonetree, which had each endured the wretched circumstances of the years after the fall of the Minarborian Empire and the ever present threat of Shirerithian invasion. The tides of war strained that unity, with Nackholm - isolated in the western enclave - proving especially vulnerable to Shirerithian and Batavian attacks and well-nigh impossible to reinforce on account of the Kalgachi-Kasterburg land corridor.
Nonetheless the institutions that arose spoke to the fundamental pragmatism of these clannish peoples, bound together in their struggle for survival against the odds in a hostile environment and faced by overwhelmingly powerful neighbours.
The Dolmen, a ruling council composed of delegates from each of the major ethnic groups in the RIB, acts as a combined executive and legislative body. The number of delegates per group roughly corresponds with the proportional size of each faction.
The leader of the Dolmen, and thus the head of state for the Republic of Inner Benecia, is the Saduc. Each year, after the spring equinox, the Dolmen chooses one of their number to serve as a peacekeeper and arbitrator, called the Sasos.
The Dolmen received its name from the ruined mausoleum where the various factions first met and swore their oaths. The mausoleum has since been crudely rebuilt and used as a burial site for clan elders of the different ruling groups.
The names of the various institutions and offices of the Republic tend to reflect which ethnicity managed to stake their claim first during the carve up of the government.
The Minutes of the Dolmen meetings are published on a semi-regular basis and provides an indication of the Republic's policy as well as a source of droll commentary for those Inner Benacians blessed with the singular gift of literacy.
After pressure from its allies in the Raspur Pact, the Dolmen appointed in 1669 Karmen Joonai as foreign minister of the Republic of Inner Benacia. Her tenure however was only short as she was subsequently assassinated in mid-1670 at the instigation of the ruling council, fearing that if they did not take the step to expel the Shirerithian occupiers, they would be on the receiving end if another faction of their compatriots were instead to take the decisive action against a visibly weakening Imperial State.
Inner Benacia, a fractured polity, recovering after a brief period of Shirerithian occupation and enjoying, again perhaps only briefly, a period of liberation, does not enjoy the benefit of a formal unified military, but is beset by three resistance groups struggling against each other, as well as against the beleaguered Shirerithian garrison, to attain control of the Dolmen and thereby the right to install a new government.
Defence League of Benacia
"A disgusting drunken rabble of verminous half-starved mongrel curs. Mark my words, nought but three square meals is all that lies between this so-called army and a reversion back to outright banditry."—Yasin Bahadur Khoroushi, Frainan Hohmin of the III Corps of the Imperial Army, upon witnessing Laqi partisans in the field before Highbloom.
The Difens Lige fun Benasia (Defence League of Benacia), also known as the Ćyg°e X°ymenym pai Leg°ege (Association for the Home Defence) was formed by the confederal clans in the aftermath of the Shirerithian invasion and the occupation of Nackholm to support the surviving fighters loyal to the Stonetree Pact. Officers were primarily drawn from Yehudi community displaced from the western pocket, now falling under Batavian occupation, as they lacked territorial aspirations that might affect the eastern clans.
The Defence League was Janus-like in facing two ways simultaneously. Since the spear throwing incident many thirsted for a demonstration of martial prowess and revenge against the Kalgachi, whilst at the same time others, the Karalaq especially, harboured fanciful notions of beginning a national liberation struggle in old Lachmodan where the first rumblings of fresh discontent were being felt.
"The RIB folks? No I quite agree... certifiable idiots. They could have had an ally in us, or at least a tolerable neighbour as we are to the Kasterburgers and your estimable selves. But they choose to treat us as their personal dartboard instead. As long as they do, we'll keep killing them - that's all there is to it. If they want to spare their capital the fate of Nackholm, they'd do well to quit this lance-flinging pokazukha and come at us with a more civil head. Not that civility comes easily to their type, I know... in terms of sheer witless affrontery I'm reminded of the spoiled adolescent whose face hasn't yet known a fist - they'll get it from us or yourselves soon enough. More gin?"
Added to this, the Yehudi seethed at the loss of Nackholm to a bunch of upstart Voortrekkers stepping through the rubble and crater filled wasteland left behind by Shirerithian obliteration bombing. They in particular could not decide whether they were in a more urgent hurry to slaughter Batavians, or the Imperials, whose miscalculations and brutality had made the advance of the wretched cattle-drovers possible.
The fighting force of the Defence League is an unwieldy amalgam of the surviving followers of Pachad ben Mavet and those Laqi, especially of the Black Brotherhood, who wished to faithfully recreate the asymmetric force with which they had once, briefly, opposed the might of Shireroth. Organisationally therefore it carried marks indicative of both the strength and the weaknesses of those traditions stamped firmly upon its own structure.
The command structure proved to be somewhat schizophrenic, worthy of the unwieldy ethnic coalition that the DLB sought to defend.
- Siyacher Militerischer Kraft (Yehudi)
- Gikh Atake Grupe (Rapid Assault Group) - armoured car company
- Laxija Aҳatkөrija Әrmija (Laqi)
- 1a Bagьapš Rjep'әdisma (1st Bagapsh "The Indestructables")
- 2a Bagьapš Rjep'lirөsma (2nd Bagapsh "The Indescribables")
- 3a Bagьapš Rjep'taҳarma (3rd Bagapsh "The Indefectables")
- Doppicomando (Tellian)
- 4th Rifle Corps (Mishalanski)
For the most part the DLB comprised of little better than a mishmash of drunken brigands grouped around the tattered banners of old refuseniks who disdained to bend the knee to the overbearing and soft-handed lordlings in Shirekeep nor the troglodytes of Oktavyan and the infernal realms below, and certainly not to the upjumped Batavian chicken-farmers of the west. Their disdain for the alternatives goes a long way towards covering over their lack of affection for each other. Coalitions have been built on flimsier grounds than these.
The Laqi name for a brigade - Bagapsh - is not a direct translation, and its origins are believed to be obscure and esoteric, known only to the sages.
"It has not been possible as of yet to put an accurate figure to their numbers. Certainly their profusion of exotically named brigades and corps is of no help. I am certain that they do not have the coin, nor even the food and fodder, to maintain a regular establishment. More likely there is a small cadre of officers and whatever passes for the non-commissioned amongst them; their numbers swelling only when they call out their kinsmen for a stand up fight or else they are able to draw in a following of bandits lured with the prospect of easy plunder. By no means a professional force, I dare say scarcely even a competent one."—Emett Gregory, Chief Marshal of the Redcoats
In spite of the ostentatiously racist invective and absolutely studied disdain for the Laqi and other ethnic militias grouped into the DLB a persistent fear, expressed only in whispers amongst Imperial officers and marshals over their port and sherry of an evening, is that these wretches of the green might yet establish contact with their kinsmen in the old country. Whilst the Minarborian Empire had long been scoured of all but the least viable weaponry by diligent Kalgachi scouting patrols, and any number of secreted arms caches had been dealt with by a controlled explosion overseen by disinterested professionals, there remained a veritable treasure trove of old and odd weapons systems that remained unaccounted for after the collapse of Lichbrook. Continuing administrative difficulties between the newly installed Imperial Lieutenants and the daemonic overseers of the Malarborian successor state had delayed any semblance of an effective inventorying and audit. Who knew how many sentient armoured vehicles, scourged of necrotic flesh, lied buried in forgotten burrows scattered across the southlands of Shireroth?
"It's a hard land, and a hard land breeds hard bastards. What fucking chance do you think we have going up against lads who've lived their whole lives under the shadow of the fucking Tee-als?"—Jared Norsjaldam, An Ahtaldan of the XXIX Legion, executed for propagating defeatism and heresy after making this remark to his commanding Cohort Tribune.
During the period of Shirerithian occupation (1666–1670) the Defence League was brutally suppressed and its scratch force of armoured cars and antiquated aircraft destroyed piecemeal by roving hunter-killer packs of Whirdlebirbs and Horjins while the survivors, scattered and demoralised by the biological warfare attack on Stonetree, had been rounded up and surrendered largely without a fight - excepting a few groups that were denied the opportunity to surrender so as to deliver a visible warning to any who might contemplate future resistance.
Although the occupation force was notionally successful in disarming and disbanding the Defence League, tallies carried out by Commissariat officers could not square the quantity of weapons captured with the amount observed in use against Kasterburg during the former's small border war with Inner Benacia. It was felt that most would either have been stolen by deserters or successfully destroyed by interdiction operations conducted by the Luchtmobiele Brigade. Insufficient thought had been given to the long-honed experience of Defence League fighters when it came to burying arms caches, discarding uniforms, and merging back into the indigent population of Inner Benacia. It was an oversight that was to have severe repercussions for IBFOR when the national uprising, that had been inevitable from the outset, in due course began.
The People's Shomrim began as a breakaway faction of the Defence League's Yehudi contingent, the Siyacher Militerischer Kraft. The ostensible cause of its rising was a long dissatisfaction with the failure of the Defence League's underground leadership to either take action against the Shirerithian installed Dolmen nor, more egregiously in there eyes, to prevent the occupation of the holy city of Nackholm and the Siyacha by a resurgent Voortrekker advance eastwards.
Days after the announcement by the Dolmen of the expulsion of Shirerithian administrators, crude placards purported to have been prepared by the People's Shomrim were plastered around Stonetree furiously denouncing the newly independent government as opportunistic betrayers and collaborators, the beneficiaries of Shirerithian perfidy, and the violators of the sacred oaths that had once bound the entire nation to the Dolmen. Following the Day of the Placards a series of mortar and rocket attacks on the city from the north-west announced the seriousness of the Shomrim's intent to occupy Stonetree and scour the Dolmen clean of the unrighteous.
The Shomrim has claimed to have the backing of at least a third of the Yehudi community in Inner Benacia, of whom a tenth are under arms at any given moment. Estimates reckon that the total force available to the Shomrim could be as few as 5,946 full-time fighters, but what they lack in numbers or equipment they more than make up for in commitment and fanaticism. The most feared amongst their number are a small band, barely a hundred strong, known as the siqari'im ("knifemen") - so named for their enthusiasm for using the knife to dispatch captives, political opponents, and the purported enemies of the holy law.
The funding of the Shomrim has not yet been readily identified but is suspected to derive mainly from remittances procured via a network of front charities from the Siyacher diaspora community across central and eastern Benacia. It has also been speculated that the Shomrim, in spite of their extremist brand of monotheism and undisguised aspirations for wider conquest, might be receiving discrete support from certain foreign parties interested in ensuring that Inner Benacia remains off balance and sufficiently at war at itself so as to be in no position to trouble its neighbours.
Inner Benacian Insurgent Forces
The Inner Benacian Insurgent Forces (IBIF) are distinct from the other factions under arms in Inner Benacia in that it has at no time sworn allegiance to the Dolmen in any form. Instead the IBIF was formed from a constellation of partisan and brigand groups, the distinction being a subjective and diminishing one, formed by those Modanese deserters from the IBFOR continent in Inner Benacia who, having ransacked the armouries formerly under their guard, felt disinclined or else unable to return home. As many as 39,000 of these deserters, blessed with more heavy machine-guns than they would necessarily know what to do with, have ensconced themselves in the Tee-al infested and densely forested foothills of north-eastern Inner Benacia, where they menace Mishalan, Angularis, and the vulnerable Goldshirian commercial colony of Ketekgorod which endured the misfortune of remaining on the wrong side of the inner-benacian frontier.
As noted the IBIF is one of the most formidably armed and notably better trained of the factions in Inner Benacia. It is fortunate for the other factions that these Modanese exiles are for the most part quite disinterested in the Dolmen, whose perceived legitimating effect is so desired by the other armed groups, and at the same time quite distracted by the Tee-als, against whom time and practice - enhanced by rigorous and ongoing natural selection - has sharpened a defined set of tactical doctrines, chiefly the use of sulphur trails and fire pits, to deter, distract, and repel the marauding apex-predators.
The arsenal available to the Modanese insurgents is a cause of particular concern for the planners of the neighbouring civilised powers.
|Armament||№ in Service|
|CP 60 "Cherry Picker" 7.62 mm sniper rifle||4,075|
|Florian Cocktail (Tar, sulphur, petrol, sand, & wick)||12,000|
|LTM 60 "Trouble Maker" 9 mm submachine gun||3,966|
|M1525 9 mm Pistol||71,617|
|Polybolos 12.7 mm HMG||36,860|
|Wren 7.62mm LMG||59,850|
|Waspsting Man-portable Air Defence System||100|
|82 mm Mortar||85|
|Pod Personnel Carrier||171|
Aside from the handful of light attack aircraft that disappeared from Shirerithian inventories, the most eye-watering concern was that one hundred short-range SAM launchers, along with an unspecified number of their "Waspsting" missiles intended for use against low-level aviation, disappeared into the foothills and backwoods of the wilderness.
See: Red Laqi Language
The confederal movement, born under the pressure of unrelenting Shirerithian aggression, brought together the four principal ethnic groups of Inner Benacia, hitherto rather antagonistic of one-another, and forced them into the rough semblance of an alliance in order to defend hearth and home against the gravimetric hordes of the Imperial Republic. Lacking the sophistication and capacity of their Kalgachia neighbours, the unity of the Inner-Benacians is of a rather more trucial nature. Quite a few suspect that if the Shirerithians ever eased off the pressure, these disparate groupings would quite happily forswear the oaths given by their leaders before the Dolmen and revert back to slaughtering each other with gleeful abandon.
It should be noted that Lywallers and Froyalaners tend not to feature very much in the society of Inner Benacia, mostly on account of the Laqi and Mishalanski propensity for slicing open the stomachs of strangers and rifling around in the spilled entrails whilst searching for swallowed coins and jewels.
"Of these Yehudi Kossars, their siches and their shtetlekh, pray do not tell me. I have seen for myself the mud and the lice. The filthy beggar children. The filthier beards of the men. The thought of their squalor alone is enough to make me bid the servants to run a fresh bath."
At the time of the swearing of the Dolmen Pact the Yehudim, particularly the Kossars formerly associated with the late Pachad ben Mavet, were the predominant force in Inner Benacia. This changed swiftly afterwards as Kalgachia and Kasterburg established their connective land corridor whilst what remained of Nackholm was devastated by the descent of Imperials and Transbataafsche Vrystaat in bewildering succession. Shorn of their homeland, now a miserable Imperial protectorate, and turned against themselves by vicious recriminations over the decision to ride to the defence of Stonetree which had left Nackholm virtually undefended, the Yehudim were shocked and demoralised by their own powerlessness and the sudden rise of the Laq to dominance within the newly founded Republic. Only the persistent disunity between Red and Black Laq allowed the Yehudi clans to continue to raise their voices on the Dolmen without sinking to the level of prestige of the Tellians or worse the Mishalanski.
In the ninety-three years since the collapse of the ephemeral Laqi Free Republic in southern Shireroth, the Laqi somehow went from being an obscure tribal grouping within Modan-Lach to the ubiquitous scourge of the steppes, forests, and foothills of central Benacia. The most succinct explanation is that, with the collapse of Ashkenatza, followed at an interval by the rise and fall of Minarboria, a vacuum opened up in the heart of the continent, and nature - abhorring a vacuum - had the Laqi ready at hand to step into the void. Laqi brigands, in the profit-motivated service of the so-called Perfecti, were instrumental in the foundation of Kalgachia whose mountain fastness was secured with armaments and workers snatched from the collapsing edifice of Minarboria by their roving bands. Other Laqi hosts, arriving late for the party, settled for despoiling columns of refugees, raiding into the tenuous Shirerithian occupation of Lywall, and living well on the mangled carcasses of Tee-als felled by Shirerithian airstrikes into the graveyard of empires.
Laqi clans are divided between the Red Laqs, who had made incursions into the Ashkenatzi frontier first, and the Black Laqs, who migrated into the area at the behest of their lich masters. Red Laqs see the Black Laqs as corrupted by influence from the undead, while they themselves continue an unadulterated form of the Laqi Tradition; some Red Laq clans have, however, adopted worship of The Name from their neighbors.
"An honourable man ignores the whispers that one makes to express their heart. Whisper your thoughts, shout your words."—Red Laq proverb, meaning unknown.
When Shireroth established unilateral control over the Mandate of Tellia following the fall of Minarboria, some Tellians instead fled west into the Green. During this chaotic period, a number of syndicates formed and established areas of control, each clustered around a core group of former officers of the disbanded Minarborian Doppicomando and what weapons that they could secure. These syndicates, referred to collectively as the 'Nclavesci, then proceeded to wage war on one another and upon the other ethnic groups within the Green.
An alliance between three 'Nclavesci clans, the Sorvolesi, the Luinali, and the Palmati, was successful in wiping out their rivals between the ruins of Stonetree and Noudolorsa and taking possession of their weapons and subjects. Other 'Nclavesci clans can be found in near the ruins of Vein.
A similar phenomenon to the 'Nclavesci is also seen within the Mandate of Tellia and the still-independent Tellian Confederation. These more urban syndicates have focused on constructing parallel power structures underneath the legitimate government to amass prestige and wealth for their members.
As part of the Memblini Venture, the 'Nclavesci clans aligned with the Dolmen have established footholds in and around Mamehblinij, both within city limits and in the Mandate around it. In both cases, this is being done using forged papers. The purpose of this venture is to secure funds and supplies for the Republic of Inner Benacia (and their own coffers). As a result, the Tellians of Inner Benacia have the most direct—and probably healthiest—connection to the outside world.
"Если кто-то дает медведю молоток, он вдруг обнаруживает, что все надо растерзать."—Mishalanski proverb
Due to the broad variety of ethnic groups within the region, the formation of the Republic of Inner Benacia has stimulated positive cross-cultural interaction and the development of traditions independent of any one ethnicity.
"If they were half as good at governing as they are with their feet, the Shirertits would be trampled under the rhythmically expressive boots of the Laqi within a generation."—Dr. Zakhar Slapagai, Emissary of the Garden of Kalgachia to the Republic of Inner Benacia .
The Demaqen Benenyġ (RL. "coordination duel") originated within Laqi Culture as a form of non-lethal dispute resolution for Laqs sworn to the same leader. The alternative, Łə Benenyġ (RL. "blood duel"), involved daggers and the shedding of an adequate quantity of blood, and thus would be limited to those outside of one's sworn retinue.
The prevalence of this art form necessitates that skill in a multitude of musical instruments is equally widespread. Among the most popular are jaw harps, harmonicas, tin pipes, lyres, and drums to name but a few. The instruments available on hand during a duel directly affects the style and pace of the dance, allowing the duelists yet another avenue through which to demonstrate their adaptability and mastery of the Demaqen Benenyġ.
A blood duel within a retinue would leave it weakened from injury and divided against itself, especially since Laqs are known to be jealous of their honour. Through the application of the coordination duel, retinues no longer tore apart from internal strife, but instead developed a new kind of camaraderie, since these duels typically elicited mutual admiration and a desire to achieve excellence to impress others.
The spread of the coordination duel beyond Laq culture and beyond membership to an individual retinue took place almost immediately after the swearing of the Dolmen Oath. During the festivities, a fight broke out between a Red Laq and a Black Laq, and each in turn from different factions. The encampment became quiet, because even non-Laqs were aware of the dangers of an enraged and dishonored Laq. The insulted Laq, duelling knife already unsheathed, instead laughed and threw the blade to the ground, declaring "with our oath, all of us sit under the leadership of the Dolmen", and instead made the sign for a coordination duel.
As the duel intensified, the rest of the camp encircled the two parties, watching as they did battle in dance and in song.
Since then, personal disputes between clans that have submitted to the Dolmen have been resolved through the coordination duel. The non-Laq clans in turn developed variations on their own culture's dances and songs that would be compatible with the coordination duel so that they could compete with excellence.
The custom appears to be spreading along trading and smuggling routes into the territories of Lywall and the Tellian Mandate, leading to increasing concern, amongst those junior Imperial administrators vaguely aware of the practice, that its increasing popularity either presaged growing allegiance to the Dolmen amongst the Laq or that what was ostensibly just a form of dance designed to resolve disputes and increase group solidarity was becoming a covert form of martial arts practised in anticipation of some future day.
The first that the Republic knew of its football team was on 08.XII.1660 when a delegation of WMFA representatives arrived to offer their congratulations to the Dolmen. Unfortunately this delegation encountered a paramount spear-chief of the K°ešḥeble clan. The Laqi pride themselves on speaking a particularly impenetrable language and misunderstandings inevitably arose, as was often the case when a group of Laqs set their minds to despoiling confused outsiders. Only the serendipitous arrival of Orek bi Łestkin, a traveller well versed in the ways of the Red Laq, prevented several notables of the Benacian footballing world from being sold into perpetual servitude. As it was, these luminaries of professional sport were dispatched under an armed guard unto the Dolmen in Bagegeniśort (Stonetree). There they were obliged to explain to a mildly incredulous Saduc the rules and purpose of association football.
The WMFA representatives were thereafter treated as the personal guests of the Saduc whilst the Dolmen assembled to discuss whether football was merely a different form of Demaqen Benenyġ (coordination duel) or something else entirely.
Football in the RIB is widely considered to be the last recourse for those who have failed at war, goat-wrestling, and competitive dancing. Either they learn to do well with kicking the ball up and down a muddy field or their next assignment will see them pegged out atop an ant-hill, glazed in honey, beneath the midday sun.
One of the unexpected mainstays of the Inner Benacian economy, in addition to subsistence agriculture, pastoralism, and good old fashioned banditry, is the butchering and harvesting of Tee-al carcasses left strewn in the Green whensoever the KDF and the Imperials feel sufficiently motivated to attempt a cull with various varieties of high-power ordnance.
The whiskers, spines, and subcutaneous armour plating of the Tee-als are especially prized - the sight of land cruisers covered in painted tee-al scales is an increasingly commonplace occurrence. The livers, spleens, and scent glands, of the harvested megacritters find their way into the dubious folk medicines of the region whilst the carcasses themselves, once stripped of any meat that the natives might be interested in slicing off and salting for the winter, tend to be sold to the enterprising representatives of large industrial ventures back east.