Dreamland

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Dreamland was a nation founded in the northwestern corner of the continent of Rilola by Lenian tribes, cooperating with immigrants from the islands of Laba.

Language

See Lenian languages and Dreamlandic languages .

Geography and climate

Climate

Dreamland is oriented primarily east-to-west, but with a slight tilt that puts the eastmost cities at higher latitudes than the west. As a whole, Dreamland stretches from 17°N to 35°N and from 32°W to 3°W.

Temperature

Latitude has little influence on temperature in Dreamland; the climate of any given city is determined primarily by its location with respect to the seas and mountain ranges that define the terrain of Dreamland.

Cities south of the peaks of the mountains experiences southerly winds year-round, with no significant wet season. The air is very humid because of the influence of the wide but shallow Sea of Baeba to the south, but rain is uncommon. Irregular tropical storms provide much of the rainfall to coastal areas. Temperatures are warm in winter and very hot in summer.

Inland summer temperatures are even hotter: as hot as those of deep-inland locations such as Lypelpyp, and considerably more humid, thus giving Dreamland a claim to the world's hottest summers, about level with those of inland areas in AlphaLeap, Taryte, and the desert of Dahàwu. The capital of Dreamland, Fakadàne, is founded on an inland lake surrounded by small mountains. Here, the summer temperatures are the same as Lypelpyp's, but the humidity is much higher; during winter, the temperatures are much warmer than Lypelpyp's and never fall below freezing.

Along the north coast, the wind can blow from any direction in any season, and the wind direction determines the type of weather experienced. Yet, frost is entirely unknown in winter even at the highest latitudes along the north coast. This is in sharp contrast to locations further east at the same latitude, where frost occurs on more than half of the winter nights and snow is common for several months of the year. During the summer, the temperatures equal or exceed those of deep-inland forested locations such as Blop, with maritime cooling being limited to offshore islands and a few scattered headlands with long west-facing shorelines. The temperatures along the north coast are not as hot as those in the desert locations mentioned above, but they are still fairly humid, so even the north coast of Dreamland is known for its oppressively hot summers.

Even in the highest mountains, winter temperatures are still mild, since there is no source of cold air nearby. However, summer temperatures are considerably cooler in the highlands than along the coasts due to the thick cloud cover and very frequent rainfall. Thus the coolest areas of Dreamland have the most vegetation and, often, the healthiest wildlife populations.

Rainfall

As above, the coastal areas of Dreamland never experience frost, even in the extreme north at 35° latitude. The far north experiences a short rainy season during the late winter, but for most of the year remains dry. There is no summer monsoon, so the rest of Dreamland is relatively arid all year long, despite a high relative humidity. However, rainfall is common along the south slopes of the mountains, and in winter, also some of the north slopes. Thus, lakes and rivers provide Dreamers plenty of water to build cities to live in, and tropical agriculture is possible.


Early history

Foundation and early philosophy

Dreamland was an explicitly political nation: rather than being founded on the basis of membership in a particular tribe or belief in a particular religion, people living in Dreamland were made to agree to certain political beliefs.

  1. Economic equality: The Dreamers believed that property should be owned communally, and while they did not abolish money, they used taxes to ensure that no citizen would ever be able to acquire enough wealth to command and control any other citizens.
  2. Austerity: Likewise, the Dreamers directed their economy towards the provision of food and medicine first, with all other economic activity being classified as luxury living and subject to high consumption taxes.
  3. Education: The Dreamers ensured that their people would be the world's smartest and best educated by eliminating child labor and opening schools in every town.
  4. Urbanism: The Dreamers believed that humans were strongest when they lived in compact habitats, and therefore directed people to live in cities rather than spreading out over the countryside. The climate in most of Dreamland was such that most food was taken from bodies of water, and most people tended gardens of their own rather than relying on large cooperative farms.
  5. Racial harmony: The Dreamers abolished tribal boundaries and declared that all citizens were members of the Dreamer tribe,[1] to which anyone could enter merely be declaring themselves a member. Thus, even though the founding Dreamer tribes were all subtribes of the blonde, blue-eyed Lenian confederation, they predicted that they would soon develop into a rainbow of many skin and hair colors.
  6. Centralization: The Dreamers believed that the best government was a centralized one, and that there should be only one Dreamer nation in the world.
  7. Territorial growth: Although the Dreamers lived in a tropical climate, it was fairly dry, and like many other empires in the past, they planned to conquer the tropical paradise of Baeba Swamp and make it the capital of the future enlarged Dreamland.


Shortly after its founding, the Dreamers divided their nation into six states. These corresponded loosely to six preexisting Crystal nations which they had taken over. Dreamland considered itself a single nation, but its constituent states had more independence than did the states of the nations of the other empires.


To achieve their goal of territorial growth, the Dreamers declared war on the Crystal Empire, which controlled Baeba Swamp. The president, a man named Usassa, announced that only with Baeba firmly in their control could they achieve all of their goals, and banished all Crystals from Dreamer-held territory. Since the Crystals were dark-skinned people, Usassa further announced that dark-skinned people would not be welcome in Dreamland, and that racial harmony would only come once the Dreamers had eliminated all of the foreign races from their midst.


Birth of the Nunabetari

A battalion of Dreamer soldiers moved south into Baeba Swamp and told the Baeban leaders that they were switching sides and would help the Baebans fight off the other Dreamers. These people called themselves Nunabetari. However, later generations of Nunabetari people said that what they really supported was interracial harmony, and that to achieve this, they needed to convince Baeba to endorse slavery of dark-skinned people so that the Nunabetari could be on top and have the Baebans muddle along in a position of servitude. When Baeba refused to convert its government to the Nunabetari's model, the Nunabetari seceded from Baeba and declared a permanent war against the people around them.

Baeba's government could not fight back against the Nunabetari without angering the racists in the Thunder Empire, and so they decided to tolerate the presence of their new parasitic minority. Likewise, the Nunabetari soon realized they could not fight a serious war against such an overwhelmingly more powerful enemy, and so they set up private properties within Baeba and declared them to be petty monarchies, within which all Baeban laws were suspended and all Baebans would be forcibly enslaved. The Nunabetari sent diplomats into the Thunder Empire, saying that Baeba was oppressing them and that in the name of racial unity the Thunderers should invade Baeba Swamp. But the Thunder Empire chose not to do this, as they were suspicious of the motives of the Nunabetari, who refused to move to anyplace with a cold climate.

The Nunabetari were much poorer than the native Baebans and lived very close to nature. They taught their children that they were excluded from Baeban society because of their racial background and therefore could only live in the areas of swampy wilderness that persisted within and around the city. Baeba's government made many attempts to adopt the Nunabetari children but the Nunabetari spoke their own language and within a few generations had abandoned all memories of their former allegiance to Dreamland in favor of a simple goal of staying within nature. They believed that the animals of the swamp were on their side and would not attack them because they respected the animals and the Baebans did not. They armed themselves with weapons and attacked any outsiders, even unarmed ones, who attempted to intrude. They had a high birthrate and quickly filled their habitat to its maximum capacity, whereupon they began to compete with Baebans for control of the sea.

The Thunderers were pleased when they heard what had happened. Even though the Nunabetari had abandoned their politics, they hoped that in a future war the Thunderers would be able to invade Baeba Swamp and immediately win the favor of the Nunabetari on racial sympathies alone. However, the hostile empire of Dreamland was also racially similar, and many of their military leaders had the very same plan.


Rise of the Neamaki

In western Dreamland, a new political group called the Neamaki soon appeared. These people were similar to the founding Dreamers, but considered themselves even more liberal and willing to fight to destroy traditional society. They, too, considered themselves a nation defined by politics rather than tribal identity, and stated that to join the Neamaki one must follow certain rules:

  1. Harmony with Nature: Humans are a part of nature, and are required to respect their role. Therefore:
    Dolphins are recognized as the rulers of the sea, and humans as the rulers of the land. Since humans need access to the sea, they must respect and obey the dolphins when they leave the shore.
    Clothes are forbidden except for those working dangerous jobs or in the military. Protection from the sun is also discouraged; people are encouraged to live in open-air buildings where the sun pours in from the top. (The Neamaki were founded in a sheltered valley, where they received little rain.)
  2. Invincibility: The empire of Laba has the right to attack any foreign nation for any reason without fear of a counterattack. All foreign nations are to be submissive to the will of Laba. Anyone claiming allegiance to Laba is part of Laba. The Neamaki are part of Laba.
  3. Freedom: Freedom is the most important goal to strive for, above even the goal of building a better state.
  4. Truth: False knowledge should be forbidden, and since the Neamaki philosophy is true, all ideologies opposed to Neamaki are forbidden.
  5. Militarism: Peace is a goal, but war is the only way there.
  6. Judicial pluralism: The best form of government has no single head of state, but rather a panel of unelected judges who interpret the will of the people. The Neamaki state began with eight judges.

As the Neamaki state grew, its leaders backed down on their beliefs in invincibility and the censorship of opposing ideas. They remained a single party, and therefore their leaders' decisions affected all Neamaki people, but they had many internal divisions where people who disagreed with each other on various ideas promised to cooperate with the other Neamaki people even so. Furthermore, despite their commitment to a pluralistic government, they soon submitted to the rule of a king, Isene.


Later history

Later contacts with the Nunabetari

In 3915, a revolution in the Thunder Empire forced the Thunderers to free all of their dark-skinned Crystal slaves. In response, some Thunderers fled into Baeba Swamp to live in the Crystal heartland. Here, they declared themselves to be as one with the Nunabetari and worked towards a common union of all Lenian peoples and the enslavement of all of their enemies.


Conquest of Baeba

Even as the Dolphin Riders were riding to power in Dreamland, the Baywatch party was invading Baeba Swamp while holding northeastern Dreamland (Sesēre) for itself. Thus, the new Baywatch territory, Lapea, was much smaller than their original homeland had been, but had a larger population.

Latiki War

In 4132, Dreamland's reigning Baywatch party declared war against the famine-struck empire of Halasala. Halasala claimed more than half of the habitable land on the planet, but had recently moved the capital of their empire from AlphaLeap to the ancient city of Paba, whose population consisted largely of young children whose parents had starved to death or been killed in recent wars and natural disasters. Paba had a traditional government run by the occupying Leaper party, but popular sentiment in Paba favored the indigenous Play party (Latiki), which was run by women because all of the able-bodied Player men were required to be battle-ready at all times and there were very few disabled people.

When the female Play leaders learned they were being invaded, they immediately surrendered the vast majority (about 85%) of their empire to the Dreamers, and promised they would not fight back unless the Dreamers decided to also invade the rump state, which contained Paba, Blop, and some other important cities. Because the Leaper government was unpopular in Paba, they could not overrule the women's surrender, and Halasala's soldiers obeyed the women's orders to retreat. The Leapers had a private army of their own, but knew that they could not defend their land claims without the much larger imperial army on their side. When Dreamer generals began quickly coursing through the territory the Player women had given them, the Leapers retreated, and most of the population submitted peacefully to the Dreamers. Thus it was now Dreamland that had the world's largest empire, and by a very wide margin. However, the Dreamers enacted new laws that confiscated the property of the rich, and therefore the upper class of the conquered people came to have pro-Leaper sympathies.

The Dreamer generals celebrated their easy victory over the Leapers, but could not overcome the temptation to invade the rump state of Paba. The Pabaps had been expecting this, however, and had learned of the continued invasion beforehand by communication from trade routes. For example, even though Baeba Swamp was within the territory that the Players had surrendered to Dreamer control, and Baeba Swamp had always tempted the Dreamers, the Dreamer army simply ignored Baeba as they rushed towards the southern part of Halasala, where Paba was.

The Play party evacuated most of the Pabap countryside, leaving the farms barren throughout the harvest season. Instead, farmers retreated to the southern coast, which still had a plentiful supply of fish so long as the people were willing to sail great distances out to sea. Paba itself remained settled, however, and the Pabaps expected that a great battle would soon take place there.

Pabap party politics

Decades of civil war and famine had made survival very difficult in Paba, and because Pabap culture favored protecting the lives of children even if it led to orphanhood, Paba's population had become very young, with children vastly outnumbering adults. AlphaLeap had shut down Paba's school system early on in order to impose forced labor, so children in Paba were used to working for a living and some could survive on their own. But there were so many orphans and so few adults now that Paba's ruling Leaper party decided to further increase the children's workload, with a focus on personal hygiene in order to reduce disease and dispose of waste. Earlier, hygiene had been abandoned, with Pabap nurses simply throwing waste products into a pile in the middle of each city, figuring that local animals would take care of the problem over time. The Leapers realized that burdening children with such a severe workload was cruel, but that it would be even more cruel to enlist children into the army, and that both the army and the civilian labor force were necessary to keep a nation's population alive and healthy.

But the Play party, which consisted entirely of women and children, disobeyed the Leapers' commands, and Paba collapsed into pestilential conditions. Plagues and diseases coursed through the population, killing many of the orphans who no longer had doctors to care for them. Meanwhile, with the adult male farmers gone, and most women occupied with childcare, farm labor was performed almost exclusively by young children. Furthermore, large farms in the interior plains had been abandoned for fear that they would be quickly taken by the advancing Dreamer army. With very little farmland still in use, the intensity of the famine increased even as the weather began to turn in their favor.

Players came to realize that the only reliable source of food was the sea. Though fish were as abundant as ever, the entire nation now depended on children to provide their food, and young sea captains had difficulty steering the ships and frequently suffered debilitating accidents and deaths. These children divided themselves into two groups: the keu paa šābā, who stayed within sight of the shore and caught only a few fish, and the bim pia, who went further out to sea, suffered many accidents, and caught many fish. Many of the children in the second group were orphans and also had no siblings. Some families had older children in the bim pia group and younger children in the keu paa šābā group.

The keu paa šābā survived by feeding their families first and selling extra catches to private markets; on days when they caught no fish, their mothers would go to these markets and buy the fish caught by other children. Meanwhile, the bim pia lived dangerously, but became rich by forming an alliance with each other and charging high prices to the private fish markets. Since there was little else that their money could buy, the children had little incentive to undercut each other on price.[2]

A small number of Leaper adults sympathized with the Player children, and offered to fish the sea and supplement the catches of those children who had caught the least each day, but the children believed that each fish caught by the Leapers meant one less fish for the Player kids, and banned all adults from the seashore. They told the Leapers that the best way to help the Play party would be to convert to the Play party themselves and then join the land army.

Dreamers move south

The Dreamer army felt they had a good chance of victory in Paba for several reasons:

  1. As the Dreamers had swept through the countryside, they noticed many adult males welcoming them. The Dreamers knew that Play party policy required all able-bodied adult males to serve in the military, and to obey the orders of the Player generals. Since the Player generals had ordered a full retreat, by law these men were required to leave their families and move to Paba in preparation for a war, but had not done so. The Dreamers took this to mean that Paba would have relatively few soldiers and that the soldiers in the conquered territory would not rebel against the Dreamers.
  2. A persistent famine in Halasala had stunted the growth of its lower classes, and therefore those soldiers who did resist the Dreamers would be weak and poorly nourished.
  3. Paba's adult male population was war-weary already, having been involved in a civil war for the last 24 years against the Leapers who now nominally controlled them.
  4. Paba had long been a pacifistic empire, and lacked many natural defenses such as walled cities. The Dreamers hoped that the Pabap soldiers would have poor strategy, and noted confidently the the traditionally violent tribes such as the Raspara were in the territory that had been ceded to them and had not rebelled.
  5. All of the political decisions in the capital city of Paba were being made by women, since the Play party had the most popular support in Paba, and the Players did not allow men to remain in civilian occupations during a war. Many of these women had lost husbands to the Leapers, and struggled to find enough food to keep their children healthy. The Dreamers hoped that, if they could quickly cut their way through the Player army, they could surround the women in Paba and present them a peaceful way to surrender that would help improve their lives.
  6. Many Player soldiers had been abused by the Leapers as children, and the Dreamers hoped that they could convince some soldiers, still fearful of the private Leaper army, to defect to Dreamland. Many Dreamers considered this an honorable strategy, and stated that by pursuing this goal the Dreamers could claim the moral high ground.
  7. Although the Dreamers had never seen the Player children's fishing colonies along the south coast, they knew that adult males were not allowed to work outside the military and that most Pabap women worked in the cities, leaving children the job of finding food for themselves and their parents. Furthermore they knew that the ocean was the most reliable food source. The Dreamers hoped that they could stumble upon a group of weak, hungry children, ideally orphans, who would submit to them without a struggle and then lead the Dreamers to other children they could also adopt. However the Dreamers knew that reaching the coast was very difficult, and that they would need to approach the children very cautiously, as the primary means of fishing was with spears.


AlphaLeap revolts

Meanwhile, some Leaper soldiers had chosen to leave Paba and return to their original home states of AlphaLeap and Wax rather than face the Dreamers. They informed the central government in AlphaLeap that the south coast of Paba was now populated entirely by children, who had ruled out all adults, even their own relatives. The Leapers saw this vulnerability as a potential path back to power, and therefore planned a conventional naval attack in which the Leapers would pilot warships and crush the children's boats, forcing them into the sea, either to drown or to be kidnapped by the Leaper navy. They also brought range weapons such as arrows and slingshots so they could hit the children without being hit back. The combination of murder, kidnapping, and the loss of their main food supply would drive Paba into a panic, they hoped, and lead Paba's female government to surrender to AlphaLeap before the Dreamer army even reached their borders.

Thus, both the Dreamers and the Leapers sought to control Paba's vulnerable children: the Dreamers wanted to adopt and embrace them, while the Leapers wanted to abduct and enslave them. The Leapers sailed a single warship to southwestern Paba and combined all three strategies: they shot children who were fishing for food, tore open their boats, and kidnapped any children who managed to stay afloat. However, some children managed to escape and quickly alerted the government, who promised to revive Paba's navy in order to patrol the sea, even though this meant a further reduction in the size of Paba's land army. AlphaLeap's pirates responded with a full naval assault, in which they killed children, stole their food, and also killed the adult sailors who had been sent in to stop them. Therefore Paba prepared to fight both AlphaLeap and Dreamland simultaneously.

Land battles

When the Dreamers approached Paba, the Player army put up stiff resistance, such that the Dreamers were unable to break through and reach Paba itself. More Pabaps than Dreamers were dying in this war, but most Pabap casualties were due to disease and continuing struggles with finding food, since the soldiers were required to procure their own food in order to spare the children and women at home.

After six years of war, the Dreamers still had not yet sieged Paba. Without formally admitting defeat, the Dreamer generals began to pull back their soldiers and focus on building new Dreamer settlements in the countryside that the pro-Play Pabaps had surrendered to them at the beginning of the war. But they also suspected a counterattack was coming, and that the target would be Dreamland itself rather than its colonies, since the Dreamer military had been largely excusedtypo?? through the six years of war.

Because AlphaLeap had declared war on the Pabap children fishing the south sea, the dominant Play party had fired the few remaining Leaper politicians from the government, and therefore Paba became a one-party state led by the Players. With their new power, the Play party rejected pacifism and stated that Paba was now a military champion and could seek its own interests rather than forever being subservient to other, more violent empires as they had throughout their history. They decided to launch a direct invasion of Dreamland, exactly mirroring Dreamland's invasion of Paba six years earlier. They restored Paba's claim to all of the land that they had earlier ceded, and claimed that they would reconquer it back for Paba after they had first defeated the home nation of Dreamland. They renamed their new empire Vaamū, abolishing the use of the name Halasala.

As the Player army roved towards the north, they faced some resistance, both from the Dreamers and a few citizens who had decided to side with the Dreamers. The strongest of these was the small nation of Puap (Pwâet), located in the region of Subumpam. However, the Puap army decided to spare Paba and instead attack the tail of the Play army that was heading towards Dreamland. They thus stated that they were not declaring war against Paba, but against the Play political party, and that Puap considered itself loyal to Paba.

Although the Play party was run by adult women, they taught their children about daily events to ensure the children stayed faithful to their people. As the children grew older, some formed opinions of their own. Now, some Play boys wanted to destroy not just Dreamland, but every other nation on the planet, and every other political party, including the Leapers who were still abducting children from the sea. But the wiser adult military generals still pressed on to invade Dreamland and Dreamland only, promising the eager young boys back home that they would have time to destroy the rest of the planet once Dreamland had been subdued.

Counterinvasion of Dreamland

The Player army entered Dreamland and began its conventional war much more quickly than the Dreamers had earlier; they were there within months, whereas the Dreamers had taken three years to reach Paba and another three years to give up. The Dreamers were weak, but had regrouped, and had several advantages: they were fighting a defensive war in mountainous terrain, which they were well accustomed to; there was no significant dissent in Dreamland, whereas Vaamū was on the brink of civil war; and the Dreamer soldiers were physically superior to the Players, both because they were taller and because they were better armed. This last difference was not due to Vaamū's young population, as even now the army still only allowed adult males, but because of a combination of the Vaamū people's naturally small stature and a persistent famine.

Against this, the Player soldiers had only intangibles: they were more obedient than the Dreamers, because they knew that the Dreamers would refuse to accept defectors; and they were mostly people who had left family back home and were fighting not just for Vaamū but for the possibility of returning home to their families and giving them the guarantee of safety. Even so, the Play generals motivated their soldiers by promising them control of Dreamland after the war, so that people who wanted to stay in Dreamland could gain power by doing so, and if they wanted, also bring their families.

The Play generals were well-educated, but had never fought an offensive war. They knew that Dreamland's strategy for invading Paba had failed, however, and sought to ensure they did not copy Dreamland's strategy. Rather than trying to force Dreamland into surrender by encircling the coast and causing a famine, they decided to attack the army head-on.

Despite the Dreamers' earlier humiliating defeat and their foreknowledge of their coming invasion, the Dreamers were ill-prepared for the next phase of the war. Both nations had a standing army of about 1 million adults, with the Dreamer army being physically more powerful and better armed, and having the advantage of occupying difficult terrain. But the Play army invaded from the north, and they quickly cornered the Dreamer battalion holding that stretch of land into a peninsula, where they were forced to surrender. This early victory was due to a quirk of Dreamland's geography: its northern border was easy to invade and difficult to defend.

The Play army conquered no major Dreamer cities during this battle, but the victory surprised the Dreamer generals, and the Dreamer civilians were horrified when they realized what was about to happen to them. They realized that during the Dreamers' six-year campaign to invade and conquer Paba, they had never reached any civilian territory at all, since the countryside had been evacuated and the people remaining in the cities were protected by a sturdy wall of soldiers who were ready to die to save their families living close behind them. Yet it had taken the Players only a few days to penetrate Dreamland and claim their first civilian casualties.

Animal symbolism

The Dreamer generals compared the Players to insects attacking a human: though its core, Paba, was small, their nation was protected by a sturdy outer wall of soldiers, and attacks against the Players did not affect the inner civilian population . By contrast, even though the Dreamers were larger and more prosperous, their civilians had settled the entire nation, and therefore even a minor invasion led quickly to high body counts for civilians. Furthermore, like blood-sucking parasites, the Play soldiers fed on the captured Dreamer people and sent them as slaves to their homeland.

Further battles in Dreamland

The easy conquest of the northeastern headlands had given the Play army 1/3 of the coastline of the Dreamer state of Tēyexīl, which contained the vast majority of Dreamland's population. From the enslaved Dreamer civilians, the Players learned that most of Dreamland's population was concentrated in two cities, Gadanas near the coast and Xʷakaràna, the imperial capital, further upstream.[3] By conquering these two cities, the Player army realized they could conquer Dreamland. They realized that the Dreamers had been fools to invade Paba several years earlier, when they had been given control of the vast majority of AlphaLeap's territory with no struggle at all. Though the Players knew that they would be fighting an uphill battle in difficult terrain, they believed that they would easily defeat the two Dreamer cities and force a total surrender.

When the Dreamers realized that the Player army was advancing on Gadanas, they relocated their entire military to the river just downstream from the city, leaving the rest of their territory, including Fakarana, undefended. Here they advanced towards the Players, intending to deny them as much territory as possible. The Player army was also traveling as a single unit, betting everything on the Battle of Gadanas, where they vowed to fight agaisnt the disadvantages of terrain, physical inferiority, and the civilian resistance. They realized that, though it had not been their intent, they were about to cut off both Dreamer cities from the sea, and knew that the Dreamers would starve if the battle ended in a stalemate.

The two armies met up several miles from the sea, where the Dreamers balanced their desire to fight on superior terrain with their need to prevent the Players from penetrating too far inland. The Dreamer civilians started fires that spread only downstream, intending to weaken the Play soldiers without weakening the Dreamers. Fire soon encircled the Players, meaning they could not retreat if they were to lose. However, the fires began to spread to villages along the coast, which the Players then claimed as theirs since they knew that neither army could easily reach them. THen they pressed up the river towards Gadanas to launch another conventional battle, figuring that their surprising early victory had gained them a numerical advantage that would counteract their other disadvantages.

In Gadanas the two armies fought the bloodiest battle yet, and both suffered body counts above 200,000, but in the end the Players pressed onward and upward over the corpses of the defeated Dreamer soldiers while those Dreamers who had survived the battle made a hasty retreat into the wilderness, realizing that if they surrendered they would become slaves. The Play army sieged the city of Gadanas and made the inhabitants their slaves, but here they stopped their invasion, and offered a peace treaty in which the Dreamers would be allowed to hold the upland capital city of Fakarana while the Players would take control of Gadanas and the entire northern coast. The Dreamers knew that without access to the sea, they would be helpless, but agreed to the treaty to save the lives of their soldiers. Thus the Play army was declared the winner of the war, de facto control of Dreamland was given to the Play party, and the Play party assumed control of the entirety of Vaamū.


Postwar reforms in Dreamland and Paba

The new Player-led government of Dreamland allowed the Dreamer party to persist and dominate power in Fakarana, but they moved the capital of Dreamland to Gadanas, which remained under Player martial law. They offered the inhabitants of Fakarana a choice: they could move to Paba as slaves, or wait until the Player army cut off the food supply and made slaves of them there. The enslaved Dreamers built a 400 mile road connecting Fakarana and the western edge of Vaamū, from which they could be transported to Paba to work as slaves. The Players divided the Dreamers being shipped into Paba into two groups: those who would be owned by the government, and those who would be owned by individual families.

With the return of the surviving Play soldiers to their homes, the economy of Paba rapidly improved. Farming was restored, and fishing yields increased, ending the famine in a single season. The leaders promised to enact a nationwide system of education for children. Hygiene standards improved with the restoration of clean water supplies, and the problem of dirty diapers in city centers, some which had lain there for more than ten years, was solved when the Player governors had their captured slaves gather up the diapers and carry them for 4000 miles over the mountains and down the newly built road to Dreamland.

Spread of plagues

The Play party told its people that hygiene was a waste of time and resources, and therefore many Play soldiers had not bathed for years. When the Players set up slave operations in Dreamland, they maintained the same policy and told their slaves that hardy people could endure natural contaminants that would sicken and kill the weak. Thus, the occupying Players held to the traditional principle of găya: a life of extreme poverty, close to nature, in order to produce an environment where only the hardiest people could prosper. The Players believed that despite their small physical size, they were much hardier than the Dreamers, and could survive in an environment where the Dreamers could not. However, the Players exposed their slaves to more diseases than the Players themselves faced. For example, the Five-Year Flower Disease, which killed children slowly over the first five years of their lives, spread through Dreamland as the Dreamer slaves carried contaminated diapers and other waste products that the Player children had produced but quickly disposed of. Thus, even as the Five-Year plague spread through Vaamū, Dreamland experienced a much more severe version of the same plague.

Cut off from the sea, the combination of famine and pestilence drove the defeated Dreamer republic to the brink of extinction: now, even the animals were living better than the remaining Dreamer humans. Dreamland surrendered to the Dolphin Rider empire to the west, thus reviving the name Dreamland for the full extent of both empires. They had hoped that the Riders would respond by pushing the Play army back out of Dreamland, but the Riders announced they would not defend that territory.

Player occupation government

The Players were ideologically similar to the Dreamers they were attacking, although they had developed their ideology independently and felt no sympathy for their enemies. The Players were nationalists, and therefore refused to make transnational alliances based on ideology, but the Dreamers who fell under Player occupation hoped that they could assimilate and become accepted as Players themselves, even though the Players were forcing them to live in such poverty that more Dreamers were dying than being born.[4]

One of the few differences between Players and Dreamers was their attitude towards disease. The Dreamers were individualists, meaning that they cared for sick people even if curing their diseases was expensive or impossible. By contrast, the Players would only treat diseases they felt could be overcome, and ignored those they attributed to the sufferers' frailty. When the Players heard that their waste products were spreading plagues throughout the Dreamer population, they increased the workload of the Dreamer slaves assigned to dumping waste products and began to pour contaminants into the Dreamers' water wells. The Players reminded themselves that they did not need slaves to live; only weak, pampered peoples lived like that. Thus, driving the Dreamers to extinction through disease took priority over using the Dreamers for slave labor.

The death toll of the war and its associated plague soon surpassed 1 million, more than ten times higher than any other war in known history, and the plague began to spread into the Dolphin Riders' region of Dreamland. The Riders were better equipped to handle a plague because they had control of their government, but because the Five-Year plague could hop from one adult to another without any visible signs of infection, the child population of the Rider state soon began to suffer the plague as well.

Postwar contact with the Players

While the Player army was conquering Dreamland, they had also fighting a war against their traditional ally, Tarwas, and managed to conquer it as well. However, the citizens of Tarwas put up tougher resistance than those of Dreamland, and the Players were never able to secure a lasting peace.

Rise of the Bees

Four years after Vaamū's Play army had defeated and enslaved Dreamland, a new political party arose in Vaamū: the Flower Bees (Sui si). The Bees were only the third political party in Vaamū's entire history, the other two being the militant Players and the defeated, unloved Leapers.

The Bees launched a civil war against all other nations and political parties, saying that the Bees had the sole right to rule on their planet. Most Bees were teenagers who had grown up during the late years of AlphaLeap's rule and had never been allowed an education of any kind, but had been too young to participate in the wars that had preceded their rise. They remembered the promise of the early Play generals that once Dreamland was subdued, the rest of the planet would soon follow.

A split in the Bee party led to a massacre of many of their leaders early on, but the group survived and soon launched an invasion of the nation of Rasparia, a province of Vaamū which had recently declared independence.

The Bee invasion failed, however, and the Raspara enslaved the Bees who surrendered. Then the Raspara declared war on another new political party, the Laaatalalatataaa, an Andanese party which had no translated form of their name. However, a split within the Laaatalalatataaa resulted in the assassination of many of their leaders, and the Raspara took over the Laaatalalatataaa the way they had taken over the Bees just months easlier.

In 4145, a small tropical nation called Amade invaded Vaamū, having just signed a pact with Tarwas promising to meet in the middle and squeeze the huge but hazardously unstable Vaamūan Empire between them. They won this war, but realized that occupying the whole of Vaamū would be suicidal, and instead focused on getting the Vaamūans who were still living in Tarwas to accept a submissive lifestyle or move back to Vaamū.

At this point, the Raspara declared war on all of the other political parties in Vaamū, claiming no alliance to Tarwas, Amade, Dreamland, or any other outside power. They promised that they would eliminate all of the dissenting armies in Vaamū by themselves and therefore gain uncontested rule of all of Vaamū.

This war was over in a mere four days with a clear Raspara victory. The Raspara set the calendar back to the year 0 and enslaved all surviving Vaamūans who were not part of the Raspara army or a family member of a veteran.

Dreamland-Anzan relations

Raspara rule of Vaamū lasted about two years. In 4149, a group of slaves calling themselves the Tinks declared war on their Raspara masters. The Tinks were mostly elderly men who had control of the slave laborers in the weapons industries, despite being officially still slaves themselves. They were among the very few people in Vaamū who had ever been to a school of any kind.

The Tinks locked their masters out of the weapons supply and therefore had both the advantage of numbers and the advantage of better offensive power, and quickly defeated the Raspara in a single bloody battle. They renamed the country Anzan and enacted sweeping reforms: they killed all of the Dreamer slaves, they created a nationwide school system (a promise of the earlier Play party which had gone unfulfilled due to unrelenting civil war), and they created a new system of government based on democracy, unique in the world at the time. However, they also affirmed the right of their new empire, Anzan, to be an empire, and therefore to revoke democracy in areas of the empire they felt unfit for self-government. The name Anzan was chosen to honor the Andanese people, who had never had a nation of their own.

Within a few months, the Tinks declared war on their female population, alleging that they were largely disloyal to the imperial goals and needed to be forced out of power into a submissive position. Many females at this time had used their newfound democratic rights to join the Crystal party, and to declare that the Crystals were the enemies of the Tinks. The men fought the women for several months, and then turned against their children. Soon the Tinks had killed off so many of their own friends and family members that they were no longer the majority in their empire, and the empire came to fall under the control of six mutually hostile armies, each based in a different geographic region of the empire. These were the Crystals, the Tinks, the Repilians, the Zenith, the Raspara, and an allegiance of FILTER tribes living in Subumpam and Lobexon who protested the new form of government and preferred to identify as an alliance of ethnic groups rather than a political party.

Of the six groups, only the Raspara had received any significant formal education, and they were the smallest of the six armies. Although the Tinks had been founded by learned elderly men, these had been quickly eliminated in war and had handed control to an alliance of young boys and young girls who had promised not to declare war on each other. Thus the vast empire of Anzan was engulfed in a civil war directed by generals who could not read any language or count beyond 10. The Dreamers realized their attempt to conquer AlphaLeap had been a horrible mistake: had they merely waited another fifteen years, AlphaLeap would have destroyed itself. Some Dreamers now wanted to revive the war and invade Anzan as a seventh power, but the majority in Dreamland wanted to wait long enough to see whether it might be more prudent to ally with the likeliest among the six armies to be the ultimate victor.

Further contact with Anzan

The Tinks soon renamed themselves to the Swamp Kids and pledged to one day conquer and settle their people in Baeba Swamp, a tropical paradise protected from invasion by water and tall mountains. Baeba Swamp was near Dreamland, but Dreamland had given up trying to conquer Baeba Swamp hundreds of years earlier. They predicted that the Swamp Kids would fail miserably given the pathetic state of their empire at the current time, but were aware that, in the future, the Swamp Kids might be able to unify their empire again and become as strong as they had been when they had invaded and conquered Dreamland less than twenty years earlier.

In February 4156, an unauthorized army claiming allegiance to the Swamp Kids invaded Dreamland and quickly lost, showing the Dreamers that the Swamp Kids had hit yet another new low, as the invading Swampy soldiers had failed to even injure the Dreamers, let alone kill or make captives of them. As prisoners of war, the Swampy soldiers lived better under the Dreamers than they had in their own country.

When news of the catastrophic defeat reached the civilian Swamp Kids, many Swamp Kids considered defecting to the Dreamers. The Swamp Kids still believed in democracy, and allowed a Dreamer party to exist in Anzan, but the other side of the Swamp Kids had reacted to the defeat by vowing to invade and enslave Dreamland, taking a million Dreamers captive to avenge the thousand that the Dreamers had taken of them. Thus the Dreamer party remained underground and did not advertise its existence to the mainline Swamp Kids. This caused the mainline Swamp Kids to gravitate towards the more militant wing of the party that wanted to add a war against Dreamland to the many civil wars the Swamp Kids were already dealing with in their own territory.

In 4162, the Dreamer party in Anzan sought refuge in the tropical nation of Amade, which at the time was run by the Crystals. Dreamland had denied these Dreamers the right to move to Dreamland, saying that they were too militant and would cause more problems for Dreamland than they would solve. After about eighteen months in Amade, the Dreamer refugees declared war on their rescuers and slaughtered many Crystal civilians. In response, the Swamp Kids added the Amadean Dreamers to the list of nations they were at war with, and the Swampy generals promised to do their best to restore power to the Crystals in Amade even as they fought battles against the Crystals in Anzan. In response, the tropical nation of Wax, formerly a part of AlphaLeap, joined the invasion on the side of the Dreamers and promised to keep the Swamp Kids out.

Contact with the Baywatchers

In August 4167, a second pro-Dreamer wing of the Swamp Kids emerged and by early 4168 became concentrated in northwestern Anzan, near the border with Dreamland itself. They named themsleves the Baywatch party, the same name as one of the political parties in Dreamland. The Baywatchers signed a pact of peaceful coexistence with the mainline Swamp Kids, and promised that, unlike the earlier Dreamers, they would seek no war and would prefer to live in Anzan than in Dreamland. They strengthened their claim by pointing out that, regretting the tragic mistake that had happened in Atlam, Dreamland had invited the Baywatchers to move to Dreamland, and that many had chosen to remain in Anzan.

Baywatch War I

In early 4168, Dreamland invaded the Baywatch region of Anzan, claiming that there should be only one pro-Dreamer nation in the world, and that pro-Dreamer colonies in other nations belonged under Dreamland's control. The Swamp Kids joined the war, seeing the Dreamer invasion as proof that the Baywatchers had been lying about preferring to live in Anzan. When the Swampy army approached the Dreamer army, the Dreamers retreated in terror, as they had until then still believed the Swamp Kids incapable of patrolling their own territory, let alone fighting a war against a foreign power. The Swamp Kids finished defeating the Baywatchers by the summer of 4170.

Baywatch War II

After the war, however, the Swampies were unable to control the citizenry of Baywatch, and Baywatch decided to declare independence in January 4172. They named their new nation Tata. Tata promised it would avoid seeking unification with Dreamland, and also would not reunite with Anzan. Tata allowed democracy, and permitted multiple parties. The ruling party retained the name Baywatch despite their disillusionment with Dreamland.

In the summer of 4172, the Swamp Kids invaded Tata in an attempt to finish what they had failed to do two years earlier. They defeated Tata by early 4173. However, by this time, the citizens of Tata were growing annoyed at the constant harassment by the Swamp Kids, and many chose to settle in the Swamp Kids' territory in order to escape the Swamp Kids. This perverse logic worked in their favor because, in Anzan, there were so many insurrections that the Swamp Kids were forced to side with one enemy against another, and had to be careful in battle to avoid accidentally killing an ally. By contrast, in Tata, nearly the entire population supported the Baywatchers and there was no incentive for the Swamp Kids to seek defectors among their enemies, nor to be cautious about whom they killed.

Dreamland-Raspara relations

In the autumn of 4175, the Swamp Kids surrounded the parasitic colony of Sikel, which had been founded by Raspara several years earlier and survived by capturing and enslaving Swamp Kids who wandered within their range. Dreamland immediately invaded the Swamp Kids, having signed a secret pact with the Raspara just months earlier. Within just a few months, the Raspara-Dreamer alliance conquered the Swamp Kids and forced them to surrender.

Faced with an unexpected defeat, the Swamp Kids declared war on Repilia, a weak power in the far north that had been neutral in the war. They blamed Repilia for not helping the Swamp Kids, saying that because the Swamp Kids had conquered Repilia, Repilia owed the Swamp Kids a promise of complete military allegiance. But the other nations joined the war to protect Repilia, and the Swamp Kids were defeated even more quickly and profoundly than before. Dreamland invaded Tata now in order to gain easier access to Anzan, since Tata was now the only lowland connection between Dreamland and Anzan. By this time, although the Baywatch party was still the dominant power in Tata's democratic government, power was rapidly shifting to the insurgent Raspara party. Both parties were united in their support of Dreamland's recent invasion, but the Dreamers were uncomfortable allying with a nation in which power might change hands from one year to the next, and made it known that they preferred the Baywatchers to the Raspara.

Raspara regroup

As the invasion of Anzan progressed, the Dreamers began to take over the government of Tata. Tata's two political parties had both endorsed the invasion, because both stood to benefit from it: the Baywatch party was aligned with Dreamland, and the Raspara party was aligned with the Raspara party of Anzan. But Dreamland was suspicious of the Raspara, who had been blood enemies of Dreamland for hundreds of years, and the Dreamers suspected that the Raspara were planning to suddenly switch sides near the end of the invasion in order to steal territory gained by the Baywatchers and transfer it to the Raspara.

Dreamland knew that occupying Anzanan territory without the cooperation of Tata was impossible, since the only road between Dreamland and Anzan that did not pass through Tata was the one that had been laid by slaves and passed through cold, rugged terrain that was easily occupied by rebellious Raspara, but made difficult travel for the Dreamers. Although Tata was a democracy, and supporters of both parties were scattered throughout its territory, the Raspara had made military preparations only in the cold, rugged interior, and felt at home there. Likewise, although many supporters of the Baywatch party lived in the interior, the Baywatchers had stationed their military mostly along the coast, which was easily invaded but far more valuable to civilians than the interior. Thus the distribution of the two armies' powers reflected their traditional association with climate: the Baywatchers were strong along the warm west coast, while the Raspara, who had earlier called themselves Cold Men, controlled the cold, dry interior.

Dreamland realized that this bipartisan division could lead to a civil war in Tata, and ordered the two parties to merge their battalions and for both to submit to Dreamer supervision. The Dreamers promised that any territory won by the combined army would go to Tata's control, and not Dreamland's. The Raspara agreed to this plan, promising their soldiers that they would ensure that any land occupied by a Raspara army would be controlled by Raspara only regardless of its formal political definition. The Baywatchers also agreed, but many Baywatchers were suspicious of the Dreamers, who had earlier claimed that all Baywatch territory (not yet called Tata at the time) belonged to Dreamland. This earlier botched invasion also motivated the Raspara, who saw it as proof that even a pro-Dreamer party would be seen as an enemy by the Dreamers, and that allying with Dreamland was futile.

As the war progressed, other armies within Anzan joined the fight on the side of the invaders: the Crystal colony of Ekinakia seceded and fought battles against the Swamp Kids living within Ekinakia; and some Repilians joined the fight without issuing a formal declaration of war or secession.

Eaten up from all sides, the Swamp Kids rapidly began to lose ground. But they took note of the fact that, of their five invaders, Dreamland was having the most difficulty in occupying territory, and seemed to be entirely reliant on cooperation from Tata, which was unreliable because its two political parties had both recently fought wars against Dreamland.

Reaction in Anzan

As the Raspara army pushed deeper into Anzan and tortured more captured Swamp Kids every day, some Swamp Kids began defecting to the Raspara. Their reasons for this were complex, and the Raspara voted narrowly to allow the defectors to remain neutral in the war, even though the Raspara generals predicted that they would be worse off with the converts on their side than they would have been had the converts remained enemies, as they tended to make easy prey for the invading Raspara. The difficult situation caused Anzan's Raspara party to split into two hostile wings; however, news of the split did not reach Tata, and the Raspara in Tata continued to see themselves as a single entity, meaning that decisions made by the party leaders were obeyed by all. The Raspara leaders in Anzan declared that this meant there were actually three Raspara parties: the Blonde and Blue parties, based in Anzan; and the Green party, confined to Tata and largely ignorant of the internal struggles of the much larger Raspara parties in Anzan. The Raspara leadership believed that Tata's Raspara would likely choose to remain united, and if forced, would vote to side with the Blonde wing rather than the Blue, as the Blondes were more militant against Dreamland and less interested in controlling Anzan.

Reaction in Tata

Tata's Raspara party was much younger and less organized than the parent party in Anzan, and its leaders pled to the Anzanan Raspara for help in maintaining order, even at the risk of alienating their own members. By tradition, the Raspara never expelled members for any reason, even treason: Raspara had to leave of their own will. But now the Raspara party had split into two factions who supported opposite sides of the war between Dreamland and the Swamp Kids.

The Raspara parent party came to decide that the Tataan Raspara were struggling because they were much poorer than the Raspara in Anzan. Rasparas living in Anzan had major ideological differences as well, but they diapered up their problems by sharing their gains, particularly their still-growing pool of slaves, and pursuing their common goal of self-sufficiency. Thus the Raspara voted to help the Raspara in Tata gain control of slaves as well, and the Blondes and Blues agreed to let the Tataans pick which wing to ally with, and to allow them to remain as a third "Green" wing if they chose to ally with neither.

By this time, the Swamp Kids had definitively lost their war against their many invaders, but had refused to sign a surrender treaty; instead, they persisted in their fight, taking the battle to Repilia, which had been mostly neutral in the war but had proven very weak in the past. As the Swamp Kids focused on Repilia, the Raspara army penetrated even deeper into Anzan, and the Raspara were able to lock the other invaders out of the newly gained Raspara territory. On this land, the Raspara enslaved all of the Swamp Kids they could capture and distributed the slaves among the Raspara colonies. The Raspara figured that they had gained enough land in this most recent advance that they could afford to send slaves into Tata to help satisfy the desires of the Raspara living there for a large pool of helpless and easily abused slaves.

After being visited by a delegation of Raspara from Anzan, the Tataan Raspara party announced yet another new war, this time against both Dreamland and the Swamp Kids. Their long-term plan was to conquer and enslave the Swamp Kids, and then use them to conquer and enslave Dreamland. In this, they united the goals of the Blonde and Blue Raspara, with the Blues' war taking first priority and the Blondes feeding on their successes. The Dreamer army was aware of the new war but, despite having just won a clear victory over the Swamp Kids, was unwilling to invade the upland areas of Tata where most Raspara now lived. Instead they fortified their strongholds along Tata's coast and promised the civilians there that their cities would be safe from both the Raspara and any potential attempt at reconquest by the Swamp Kids.

The Honeypot War

In 4177, the Raspara party announced the Honeypot War (Gapeyes), an invasion of Anzan to be launched from Tata. The Tataan Raspara sent a very small battalion of soldiers into Anzan, hoping to provoke the Swamp Kids into reviving their war yet again. The Raspara announced that they were fighting in the name of Tata, not the Raspara party, and that they had put aside their differences with the Baywatch party of Tata. The Raspara battalion deliberately attacked a much larger Swampy army, and then quickly retreated, taking with them as many prisoners of war as they could hold. The Raspara were happy when they realized that they had indeed triggered the Swamp Kids to counterattack, and that the Swamp Kids had launched an invasion of Tata.

The Swamp Kids were unaware that they had been tricked, and as they entered Tata they focused their attacks on the Baywatch strongholds along the coast rather than the mountainous terrain of the Raspara. To do this, they invaded through the Anzanan border state of Puba, which had been conquered by the Dreamer-Raspara coalition and assigned to Tata, but whose civilian population consisted mostly of pro-Swamp resistance and pro-Raspara rebels. The Raspara here ordered their supporters to hold back and let the Swamp Kids invade their territory, promising the Raspara that all territory involved in the fighting would be under Raspara control when the war was over. Some Raspara, however, pulled yet another trick: they disguised themselves as Baywatchers (who mostly had the same language), and claimed to be rebelling against Baywatch control. Many of these rebels had covert sympathy for the Swampies, and wanted to see the Swamp Kids win their war against Tata even if it produced no benefits for the Raspara watching from the sidelines. They thus effectively became Swamp Kids, but for the fact that without formal secession from the Raspara party, the mainline Raspara were not allowed to attack or enslave them.

The Swamp Kids soon pushed through Puba and advanced towards Tata's capital city, Pĭdu.[5] The Swamp Kids were still unaware that they had been tricked, as were the Baywatchers whom they were now attacking. The Swamp Kids thus had the advantage of surprise, as the Baywatchers had considered an attack from the Raspara more likely than an attack from the Swamp Kids.

As the Baywatchers fought the Swamp Kids, the Raspara army prepared to mobilize from their campsites in upper Tata. They waited patiently as the battles raged along the coast, with the Swamp Kids making slow progress as they took control of one city at a time. When the Swamp Kids had control of 1/3 of northern Tata, the Raspara army cut through the forests and pulsed downwards to the capital city of Pĭdu. The Raspara were much more efficient soldiers than the Swamp Kids, and had the advantage of facing a mostly-civilian population, as the soldiers were mostly preoccupied fighting the Swamp Kids. Thus the Raspara soldiers obtained a body count ratio of more than 20:1 as they fought their way towards the coast, and they conquered the capital city within less than a month. The Raspara abolished democracy and forced the Baywatchers into slavery, where they built fortifications around Pĭdu to prevent any other army from seizing control.

Thus, when the Swamp Kids reached Pĭdu, they found Raspara guards stationed outside the city who refused to let the Swampy soldiers in. Faced with the prospect of defeat after an extremely deadly war, the Swamp Kids signed a power-sharing agreement with the Raspara establishing joint control of Tata's government: the Raspara would rule without democracy from the capital city of Pĭdu, and the Swamp Kids would hold monthly referendums where their people would vote on how best they could serve their Raspara masters in their new labor camps.

Dreamland in the Cosmopolitan Age

Modern Dreamers still exhibit the blonde, light-skinned body type of the Lenian settlers. They are a blend of two distinct Lenian types, one adapted for cold weather and the other for warm. As Dreamland's climate is warm, the modern Dreamers resemble this phenotype more than the other, but many cold-adapted traits remain.

Dreamland's climate is ideal for human habitation. However, it is among the least densely populated areas of the planet for humans because it is also the ideal climate for many species that prey on humans.

Firebirds

Chief among these is the firebird, a close relative of the seagull which in recent evolutionary history evolved from a fish-based diet to a diet consisting almost entirely of land animals, including humans.

Firebirds cannot digest hair, so their choice of land prey is limited to humans, preferably those wearing loose,skimpy clothes. Pigs have sharp teeth here and thus do not make easy prey. Humans have ounterattcked the firebirds by building large cities, in whi b the humans can fight the firebirds by swarming, but the success rAte is still very low. These cities are most on the coast where easy prey in the form of fish is also available for both humAns and firebirds.

Firebirds are ambush predators, preferring to remain out of sight, hidden by shelter or other natural formations, and then swoop on a human from behind. They prefer to dive on a human from above at maximum speed, push the human to the ground, and then incapacitate the human by biting off a hand or other vulnerable body part. By this time, in most cases, the human has already suffered rapid blood loss from the impact of the bird's beak cutting into their body at high speed, and further resistance from the human tends to be weak.

Because their first attack is almost invariably to bite off the human's right hand, humans' defense is limited to small, one-handed weapons that are little threat to firebirds. In most cases, the human will bleed to death from their rapidly accumulated wounds without effectively fighting back against the firebird, but if the human is able to counterattack, or strong enough to stand up and flee, the firebird can quickly retreat to safety and attempt a second attack when its human prey is further weakened by blood loss and other injuries.

Other land predators

Firebirds mostly stay close to the seacoast despite their diet, as the high temperatures of the interior in summer will quickly exhaust them. But humans are not safe inland either because the interior of Dreamland is home to several other predators who hunt humans, such as pigs, desert wolves, and wildcats. There are also eagles, who hunt humans in a very similar manner to the firebirds near the coast, but humans are not their preferred prey.

Animal attacks at sea

Off the north coast of Dreamland, humans are even more vulnerable, because they are preyed upon by sharks and other fish, as well as, to a lesser extent, by seals and other aquatic mammals. Firebirds are also known to travel miles out to sea, using their keen eyesight to spot humans on their watercraft from the distant shore. However, the ocean is also the primary food source for humans in Dreamland, even those living far inland, and therefore humans on boats are keenly aware of their predators and will put up a ferocious struggle to survive an attack by any of the aforementioned animals. Dreamers generally build themselves large boats with sheltered areas into which they can retreat should they be attacked by a firebird. Seals generally hunt by ramming their bodies through the lower deck of the humans' boats, to which the human response is to use their fishing spears to fight back against the seal.

Humans as prey of pack animals

Most of the predators of humans are solitary hunters, and will attack humans at their most vulnerable: when they are alone, and generally when they are unarmed. However, firebirds have been known to attack in flocks as well, in which dozens or even hundreds of firebirds will simultaneously descend on a human city and carry out the same types of attacks they use when they attack one-on-one. Generally, each bird will alternate between stages of actively attacking and resting on top of buildings, out of humans' reach. A mass firebird attack can last for an entire day. The birds on the buildings keep watch for the others, and will attack any humans attempting to flee. Because a human attempting to flee has a reduced ability to defend themselves, these people are the most vulnerable and the most likely to die in a mass attack. Humans who stick together have a better survival rate in these battles, even though they are likely to face multiple firebirds attacking them from all directions. Humans always cluster together in circles where each individual faces outward, meaning that firebirds can only attack them from the front, where they are stronger and better able to protect themselves. Here, sometimes two birds will attack the same human, usually with one biting off the arms or hands and the other attempting to break or otherwise disable their legs and feet. When this happens, the humans who are free for the moment will attempt to grab onto the wings of each bird and pull them off of the other human. Since this requires the use of both hands, this leaves the humans open to attack from behind from another bird, and in some cases chains of birds and humans biting and grasping each other will form long lines or even loops as each animal tries to get the better of the other.

To-do

  1. Explanation for why Tata quickly fell to Matrix control, despite the Matrixes failing to gain any significant ground in Anzan.
  2. Cut down paragraphs that are mostly about Tata, and copy the longer versions to Tata.

Notes

  1. Native name Gâm, but they promised a name in every language.
  2. it's possible they *did* undercut each other on price, but this would lead to deflation and since there was only one product, it wouldn't matter.
  3. These are Khulls names; need to change to Dreamlandic later.
  4. This may mean that all later mentions of Tata are in fact for this part of Dreamland, and that mentions of Dreamland refer to the Rider state.
  5. Gold-era name; fix this.