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Republic of Inner Benacia

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Refublik fun Iner Benasia
Benašhek° G°yzeg°ym Ẑ°yġehek°
(Republic of Inner Benacia)
Flag of RIB
Flag
Coat of Arms of RIB
Coat of Arms
Motto: Eyner far Ale, Ale far Eyn
Anthem: A Saduc amongst the Dolmens
Location of RIB
Map versions -
Capital Bagegeniśort (Stonetree)
Largest city
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
Government confederal
 - Dolmensaduc Pśymyde Tyiim Teźśecaq°yhemće
 - Legislature Dolmen
Establishment 1659
 - Ranked  ?
Area
 - Ranked  ?
Population 445,921
 - Active 180,173 Yehudi
145,204 Laqi
58,369 Tellians
23,141 Mishalanski
39,034 Modanese
 - Ranked
Currency Dram
Abbreviation RIB
Time zone(s) CMT-10
National website
National forum TBE
National animal Black Eagle (Yehudi & Tellian)
White Eagle (Laqi)
Brown Bear (Mishalanski)
National food Boiled sheep's head with dumplings
National drink Pomace brandy
National tree

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.


Geography

History

  • Ashkenatza
  • Collapse
  • Minarboria
  • Collapse
  • 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

Late 1659:

  • 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.

1660

  • 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.

1661

1662

  • 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".

1663

  • 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.

1665

  • 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.[1]

1666

  • 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.[2]

1667

  • 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.

1668

  • 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.

1669

  • 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.

1670

  • 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.
  • In late 1670, Lady Cherokee's severed head is delivered to the Shirerithian government by the RIB ambassador. RIB ambassador arrested. Further purges in RIB of pro-Shirerithians.
  • 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.
  • RIB administration declares an end to RIB's Raspur membership.
  • A militia calling itself the People's Shomrim denounced the Inner Benacian Government as collaborators and raised the banner of rebellion.

Politics and Government

A sketch by Orek bi Łestkin, dated 05.VI.1660. Original caption read: The Dolmen, situated before Stonetree. A melancholy and foreboding place. The pact betwixt the clans was cemented by blood sacrifices officiated in the catacombs beneath the deliberation chambers where the Saduc and delegates now stand.

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.

Dolmen

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.

Faction Component Clans
Łe 'em Yśehe
Brothers of the Blood Hand
La 'am Iśaha.png
Ł'aġećyg°q°yhe
K°ešḥeble
Ḥek°yryne
צורים
Tsorim
Bandiere Onorate
Honoured Banners
BandiereOnorate.png
Sorvolesi
Luinali
Palmati
Q°yŝḥem ć'eġ Yśehe
Brothers below the Mountain
Labeśx°e
Teuycože
קוסט וואַך
Kust Vakh
Shrub Watch
KustVakh.png
נאמנים
Neemonim
The Faithful
ים‎מורד
Moir'dim
The Rebellious
 
קראים לאמת
Qara'im l'Emet
Readers of Truth

Qaraim l'Emet.png
לייענערס פון היימלאַנד‎
Leyeners fun Heymland
Iedźak°'ehe Łaqehe
Teźśecaq°yhe
Товарищество Mолота
Bear.png
Ś°ecehe Yśehe
Black Brothers
Star of the Black Laq.png
Eastern Brothers Il Mietitori
The Reapers
Karalakh Host
Saduc of the Dolmen
06.IV.1659 - 03.VI.1667 Pśymyde Tyiym Teźśecaq°yhe
 
Sasos of the Dolmen
IV.1659 - III.1660 Elior ben Oni Tzorim La 'am Iśaha.png
IV.1660 - III.1661 Heid ben M'rori Neemonim KustVakh.png
IV.1661 - 10.I.1666 Dzarfeis Serverem Labeśx°emć'e Labeśx°e
10.I.1666 - 03.VI.1667 Position vacant
Ethnicity
Red Laqi
Black Laqi
Yehudi
'Nclavesci
Mishalanski

Military

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?"
—Unnamed KDF adjutant, Sxiro-Kalgachi Military Coordination Council

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.

People's Shomrim

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

Society

A sketch by Orek bi Łestkin, dated 23.XII.1660. Original caption reads: A Lach maiden of the Red Blood Hand. Holding a long barrel M1591 rifle - clearly of Imperial, ergo illicit, provenance.
An engraving depicting two Black Laqs engaged in the act of looting the body of a slain Imperial Marshal.

See: Red Laqi Language

Many Mishalanski settled in the Green who were unreconciled to the end of communism in Imperial ruled Mishalan.

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.

Yehudim

"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."
—Lady Clarissa MoorImperial High Commissioner in the State of Lywall.

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.

Laqi

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.

Tellian

See: 'Nclavesci

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.

Mishalanski

"Если кто-то дает медведю молоток, он вдруг обнаруживает, что все надо растерзать."
—Mishalanski proverb

Culture

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.

Demaqen Benenyġ

"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.

Football

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.

Economy

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.

See Also