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Alternate Alphatian timeline AC 101

by Geoff Gander

Spring, AC 1010: By this time some of the dust has fallen back to earth, but the damage has been done. Many agricultural fields are covered with a thick layer of dirt and ash, and the reduced sunlight has meant that crops will not grow as tall and healthy as in previous years. Imperial officials conclude that the empire could very well starve unless more food is brought from the colonies - not even the total magical power of the surviving wizards is enough to deal with the problem.

Elsewhere, the some Alphatian kingdoms on the Isle of Dawn begin instituting their own government policies, some of which openly contradicting Sundsvall's old ones, to deal with the social unrest, since the central government, what remains of it, is paralysed. This is also complicated by the fact that the kingdom of Thothia, seeing the power vacuum that has developed, has undertaken a policy of state-building. Envoys are sent to Trikelios and Ekto, urging them to look to Thothia for protection and guidance in the hard times ahead. Thothia portrays neighbouring Thyatis as a predatory empire, waiting to pounce upon the eastern colonies of the Isle of Dawn, now that the empire is in disarray. Reactionary, imperialistic elements have gained political influence in Thothia over the past months during the turmoil, to the extent that even the Pharaoh is partially sympathetic to their speeches in favour of a resurgent Thothia - a Thothia Mystarans will be forced to respect, and above a kingdom that will be able to live outside the Alphatian shadow.

The kingdoms of Bellissaria withdraw from the outer world, in an attempt to stabilise conditions within their own borders.

Summer, AC 1010: News of the great disaster, and the resulting unrest and disorder in Alphatia, has spread to the free Jennites living east of Esterhold. The great chieftains of the various tribes decide to hold a meeting to discuss the significance of this development. The consensus developed is that the hordes of the free people of the plains should assemble in readiness, but that they should wait for a sign from Rathanos before going west. One Jennite shaman, inspired by Rathanos, begins to spread the word of the impending wave of retribution against the Alphatians.

In Skyreach, which has now become the de facto new capital city of Alphatia, a proclamation is issued on the reformation of the Grand Council. Heralds travel throughout the empire, asking for news of any surviving Council members, and asking those who are found to come to Skyreach to help restore public order, and choose a new heir. Also, the continuing food shortage is discussed, and a draft measure is promulgated, to the effect that more food will be requisitioned from the outer colonies of the empire to help feed the motherland.

In the Alphatian Sea, skirmishes between Alphatian and foreign fishermen erupt. With the increasing instability on the mainland, many troops were recalled to restore order, and as a result, patrols of the territorial waters in the north, not deemed to be a priority, have slackened. Now, many fishermen from such places as Helskir, Ostland, Littonia, and Heldann have begun to encroach on Alphatian territorial waters, in search of bigger catches.

Fall, AC 1010: A Jennite shaman travels throughout free Jennite lands, preaching that the word of Rathanos will soon be heard, and that the mighty hordes of Jen may at last ride against the Alphatian heathens who have stolen their rightful lands. He then ventures into Esterhold, to preach to the free Jennites living in the interior of the peninsula, in the hopes of encouraging them to rise up against the Alphatians.

Elsewhere, a public demonstration takes place in Ydroyas, Frisland. Led by a small group known as the Sons of Argonath, the crowd marches to the town hall, and demands that the flag of Frisland be removed from the topmost spire of the building. They say that, since the Alphatian government has never looked after the needs of Frislanders, and since it seems impotent now, Frisland should go its own way, and not remain subservient to the symbols of the Alphatian empire. The mayor of the town refuses, saying that what the Sons are preaching is rank sedition, and that if they do not break up the demonstration, the Town Guard will be summoned. Immediately, a fight breaks out between the demonstrators and the town officials, which is broken up by the Guard. No one is killed, but there is injured pride on both sides.

In the kingdom of Eadrin, the continuing food shortage causes a riot among the populace. Granaries throughout the kingdom are ransacked, and town markets are plundered of whatever edible goods they have. Many Eadrin sailing ships face mutinies as the common sailors discover that many officers are still receiving normal food rations, while theirs have been cut to a subsistence level. Along the coast, several cargo vessels from the Bellissarian kingdom of Dawnrim are attacked by many of these ships, as the sailors quickly plunder them of whatever foodstuffs they are carrying.

News of the unrest in Eadrin spreads to Randel, and more troops are sent to its border with the kingdom to ensure that the instability, thus far contained, does not spread.

Winter, AC 1010: Queen Eadra XIII of Eadrin issues a proclamation denouncing the attacks on Dawnrim shipping, and on the rampant looting that is still plaguing the countryside. She apologises to the king of Dawnrim, and orders the capture of the most prominent mutineers. She also orders her soldiers to use "whatever means necessary" to bring order to the kingdom.

In Esterhold, Harumaz, the travelling shaman, preaches to a large gathering of free Jennites in the central badlands of the peninsula. He tells them that the blessings of Rathanos are coming, and that if the Jennite people are to prove themselves worthy of receiving His blessings, they must rise up against the Alphatian oppressors who continue to enslave and brutalise those around them, even in their moment of weakness. He portrays the Alphatians as heartless fiends, intent only on despoiling the land and oppressing all free peoples who stand in their way. Many of those present enthusiastically support Harmuaz, remembering their own suffering at the hands of their colonial overlords. Those who do not agree are cowed into silence.

In Skyreach, an official proclamation is issued, which states that all kingdoms in Bellissaria and on the Isle of Dawn must increase their agricultural exports to Greater Alphatia by 30% by the end of AC 1011 (AY 2011), in order to avert a food crisis. The response from some kingdoms is immediate. Those on the Isle of Dawn angrily denounce the proclamation, saying that they are too busy trying to maintain their independence in the face of increasing turmoil in the region. Thothia is especially cool to Skyreach, saying that Alphatia's time of dominance is at an end, and that it would be more suitable as a regional leader. Representatives from Norwold echo this response, saying that a large part of Norwold's best agricultural lands are now under the rule of the Heldannic Knights, and more are being lost every day. Both of these regions ask why Alphatia has not sent more troops to help them maintain their own borders. Several Grand Council members snort derisively, and say that they are too busy trying to restore order to the motherland; all available troops are trying to ensure that food is being distributed properly, and that no region tries to go its own way. The representatives from the Isle of Dawn break contact in disgust.

In Trikelios and Ekto, clashes erupt between Alphatian and Thothian residents - each blaming the other for the current hardships. Agitators from Thothia also make frequent public speeches in the two cities, claiming that only Thothia can provide the security needed in these tough times. Thothian diplomats have also been applying pressure to the rulers of the city-states, going as far as to threaten military action if they do not enter the Thothian sphere.

Elsewhere on the Isle of Dawn, the nations of Dunadale and Hillvale meet to discuss events in the south. Both nations are well aware of Thothia's recent aggressive stance, and they also know that Thothia has long had claims to a large portion of the Isle itself. In the interests of security, the two nations sign a mutual defence pact.

Bellissaria sends its own response to the proclamation, saying that while it supports the motion to increase imports of foodstuffs to Greater Alphatia in principle, it must contend with domestic unrest of its own before anything can be sent north.