|Motto: Došman Došmanarijbijŋaŋ, Bjezneŋ Duslarijbijz|
(The Enemies Of Our Enemies Are Our Friends)
|Official language(s)||Laqi, Yehudi, Common Tongue|
|Official religion(s)||Pesakhnik (if any)|
|- Ataman||Varҳat Ҳazedinov|
|- Adjutants||The Iezauli|
|- Legislature||Congress of Džirgas|
|Establishment||214 Anno Libertatis|
|Currency||Kalgarrand, occasionally natopo|
|Time zone(s)||CMT -10|
The Upland Confederation (not to be confused with Uppland) is a portion of the moribund Republic of Inner Benacia populated by allied clans of the Black Laqi living alongside minority populations of Yehudim and Green Laqi. The relative impotence of the Inner Benacian Dolmen as an organ of governance, having sown the Kalirion Fracture and reaped the sustained military attentions of the Unified Governorates ever since, has led the Uplanders to consolidate their once-sprawling distribution along the foothills of the Octavian Mountains where they rely increasingly upon the support of neighbouring Kalgachia to maintain their security.
The Upland Confederation is located in the intermittently-wooded hill country which previously comprised the northern reaches of Whisperwood, a Minarborian province which was afforested and biomically engineered by the Deep Singers between 80 AL and 141 AL. The profusion of modified flora and fauna in the area, left to become thoroughly feral after Minarboria's demise, has combined with sporadic governance to retard its resettlement into a developed society; as was the case in neighbouring Lepidopterum during the immediate post-Minarborian years, the inhabitants of the Upland Confederation tend to reside in excavated cellars and fortified structures, supporting themselves by foraying in force around the surface.
Ashkenatza and Minarboria
The Upland Confederation straddles what was once the integral, if provincial Ashkenatzan regions of Porolia and Litovina. By the time the first Minarborian settlers arived in 80 AL, the area had been largely depopulated by the depredations of raiding Kossars from ruined population centres further north. The subsequent 'cultivation' of the area by the Deep Singers was thus met with negligible resistance; initially in the east and then, from 110 AL, in the west. There was, for a time, some social divergence between the eastern settlers (the migrants of the so-called 'First Great Replanting') and those in the west (from the 'Second Great Replanting') who had fled Shireroth at different intervals; combined with various other factors (most notably an epidemic of the 'Crystal Death' pathogen which devastated the Deep Singer population) this would go some way toward the breakdown in societal cohesion which accompanied the eventual collapse of the Minarborian Empire in 141 AL and precipitated a general migration north to the relative safety of the Octavian Mountains, a process which was accelerated after 175 AL by the arrival of Laqi and Yehudi warbands affiliated with the nascent Republic of Inner Benacia, until the area's last Deep Singers were driven away.
The Dolmen Years
Under Inner Benacian rule the area came under the general control of the Ś°ecehe Yśehe (Black Brothers), the predominant faction of a group known more generally as the Black Laqi who had migrated from the mountains of Karalakh some three thousand kilometres to the east. Their migration, having been from a Minarborian territory and initiated by the collapse of the Minarborian government, sought out remnants of the latter regime and found due affinity with the settlers of the Octavian Mountains who had established the state of Kalgachia. This marked the Black Laqi out from the other factions of the Republic of Inner Benacia's tribally-confederative government, whose own tenor toward the Kalgachi was more hostile on account of the latter state's tendency to raid neighbouring lowlands for resources during its infancy.
Initially viewed within the RIB as the questionably-loyal mercenaries of a foreign power, the Black Laqi were able to turn the sentiment to their advantage in 194 AL by feeding the wave of discontent against the RIB's invasion by Shireroth and its forced incorporation into the Raspur Pact; an arrangement which only lasted until 208 AL when the pro-Shirerithian puppet government was violently overthrown. The event did, however, result in a more general outbreak of factional warfare within the RIB as revolutionary and counter-revolutionary clans cast aside the pretences of civil discourse which had held together their ruling 'Dolmen' council and exploited the political schism of the moment to take up generations-old feuds against each other. Shireroth's inability to control the situation not only gave the warring parties a free rein in their mutual slaughter but ultimately triggered the tumults of the Kalirion Fracture in Shireroth itself.
The Upland Stand
The Black Brothers, although occupying a favourably-large segment of the RIB's western territory, now found themselves assailed on nearly all sides by forsaken units of Shireroth's Imperial Armed Forces who had placed their loyalties to the Shirekeep government in abeyance and rallied themselves as the Black Legions, an avowedly Nationalist-Humanist force whose designs for conquest of the entire Benacian continent were enlivened by the removal of a moderating Shirerithian hand and included, among other things, a decisive settlement of old military scores with the Laqi peoples.
It is the resolute will of our sovereign Perfecti that a common border between the Nationalist-Humanist menace and the Benefactor Races, entailing as it would a state of indefinite provocation, aggression and archonic fixation, cannot and shall not come to pass. Our cultural, scientific and genetic inheritance from the Deep Singers is of existential value to the entire Kalgachi nation and our debt of protection to them is outside all question. If, by our safeguarding actions in the southwest, we can atone for the ugly expediencies of our nation's birth in the eyes of the Inner Benacian Laqi then so much the better.
History commands us to act at this time and in this place. Within two decades the reanimated factories of Mishalan will have poured forth along our frontiers a force even greater than its Shirerithian predecessor in potency and hostile intent. Our Salvator the Empress Lyssansa did not hesitate to move on Nackolom when the Froyalanish hordes threatened Sansabury's flank, and with her blue-haired spectre as our witness we shall not dither in the Garden's defence today."
It was in 210 AL that one Varҳat Ҳazedinov, a Black Brother Iezaul of likeable yet violently decisive tenor, returned from the tour of Kalgachi military training schools and intelligence organs which he had inexplicable cause and clearance to visit over the preceding year and now stepped into the maw of the impending slaughter. Accompanying him were a cadre of learned men of 'Green Laqi' heritage from the Eastern Octavian Mountains, a wagon train full of arms including anti-tank munitions and MANPADS, contact details for purveyors of essential consumer goods on the border with Lepidopterum and several chests full of gold Kalgarrand coinage in varying denominations. As might be expected the bonanza won Ҳazedinov a great many friends among his fellow Iezauli who nonetheless found themselves unable to usurp or replicate his carefully-guarded status as sole legitimate intermediary with whatever Kalgachi contacts had donated the bounty; contacts who were, in Ҳazedinov's tantalising words, willing to provide an indefinite flow of similar 'humanitarian aid' on the condition that Ҳazedinov remain as their liaison and that his musings with regard to the wider governance and military strategy of the Black Brothers be respected for the imperative wisdom that they represented.
By 214 AL this had led to Ҳazedinov's installation as ruling Ataman of the entire Black Brotherhood, from which he decreed a systematic shift in their fighting emphasis from one of tactical manoeuvre toward one of operational positioning. This was backed by a seemingly-endless programme of trenchwork excavation in depth along the northern reaches of the Brotherhood's controlled territory which was now named the Upland Confederation, a suitably secular nod to the minority clans of Pesakhnik Yehudim and touring bands of Kalgachi partisans who had settled the area with their own diverse motivations. As news spread of Ҳazedinov's stand and the prosperity enjoyed by those who stood with him, Black Laqi clans from the unfortified south began migrating into the safer territory. The greater density of Ҳazedinov's forces were concentrated at the Confederation's western extent where the Black Legions' captive state apparatus, the Unified Governorates, had asserted a territorial claim all the way to the frontier of Lepidopterum. Here they were joined by an unknown number of well-equipped, presumably-Kalgachi special forces operators and at least one regiment of confirmable Kalgachi Kossars equipped with medium-range surface-to-air missiles, howitzers and anti-tank guns. The Black Legions' forays into these defences were iniitally limited to harrassment raids and the manning of an opposing defensive line intended to protect communications between their southern hinterland and the ruined city of Litkov.
The Kalgachi Occupation
In 218 AL as part of Unternehmen Dschingis, the Black Legions launched a massed air raid on the Upland Confederation whose casualties included several operational personnel of the Kalgachi Defence Force. The response from Oktavyan was swift, deploying over 300,000 KDF troops in an earnest occupation of the territory which vastly increased ground-based air defence cover and provided the manpower to accelerate Ҳazedinov's fortification programme by orders of magnitude. The Unified Governorates, preoccupied with other battlefronts and regarding the Upland Confederation with a fraction of the strategic value assigned to it by the Kalgachi, now sensed that its continued use as a venue for distraction raids in the face of a full KDF occupation would only result in an escalatory drain on manpower and resources for little tangible result beyond the inulgent oppurtunity to get within shelling distance of some Deep Singers, the prevention of which was the central objective of the Kalgachi campaign. The front line duly became even more static and assumed the form of an undeclared truce which consequently developed into a de facto ceasefire, culminating in formal negotiations and eventually a codified cessation of hostilities with the Slavegate Convention in 219 AL.
The military occupation and fortification programme nonetheless continued, albeit at a slower pace and increasingly accompanied by humanitarian works. KDF units rotating through the area were invariably better fed and equipped than the local population and the enlisted troops soon found themselves donating spare rations and bartering for local crafts. Commanders of idle units awaiting orders, seeking to keep their restive troops occupied, formed work parties to carry out structural repairs and agricultural improvements. These efforts did not go unnoticed by the local clan Džirgas who sought to prolong the arrangement wherever possible; Ҳazedinov, on hearing of this at one of their periodic congresses, remarked that the situation could be sustained indefinitely if the Congress accepted the nominal authority of Kalgachia's ruling Perfecti who in turn would allow them to retain a great degree of autonomy as they had in Northbloom, Lepidopterum and Lapivril. The Congress duly issued a resolution that Ҳazedinov should travel to Oktavyan and formally request just such a thing on the Džirgas behalf - he undertook this journey in 223 AL and his proposal was met with favour by Kalgachia's occluded sovereigns whom, he would later remark, seemed to have been awaiting the request and offered the faint implication that Ҳazedinov's entire cereer had been directly sponsored by them to achieve just such an outcome. Now, apparently satisfied with Ҳazedinov's proposal as the final piece in the jigsaw, the Perfecti formally declared the Upland Confederation a Kalgachi protectorate with immediate effect and appointed Ҳazedinov as Lord Protector.