Players

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The Play party was a political organization founded in Paba in the year 4127 by women rebelling against the ruling Leaper party. They immediately abolished child labor and declared that any economic consequences they suffered would be preferable to sending their children back to work.

Contents

Language

Most Players spoke Bābākiam; some also spoke Late Andanese. The word for play they used in the name of their party was pata, which meant "dessert, play earned by work" in Bābākiam and "young child" in Late Andanese. Thus the name was a pun. The two words were not etymologically related.

Background

In 4107, the Dolphin Rider party, which ruled from western Dreamland, announced they had conquered the planet. However, outside powers knew that the Riders would be very weak outside their home territory of Dreamland. The Riders had overthrown Adabawa,[1] the leader of a different Dreamlandic army which had, at one point, indeed controlled much of the planet, but the Rider army was much weaker and could not enforce the treaties the other nations had signed with Adabawa. AlphaLeap had itself signed this treaty, and considered itself formally an ally of the Dolphin Riders, but decided in 4108 to claim an empire of its own. They invaded the ancient city of Paba and planned to grow from there to encircle all land east of Baeba Swamp.

First years under the Leapers

In 4108, AlphaLeap saw that Paba's people had become the world leaders in education for over a thousand years and had lots of knowledge to share with the world. AlphaLeap promised to erase that record, and immediately converted all of Paba's schools into detention centers. They said that under the Leaper government, Pabap children would be given no education at all. Anyone, child or adult, caught reading a book not written or approved by the Leapers would be killed immediately.

The Leapers had conquered a very large empire, but they moved the capital to Paba in the extreme south in order to keep it close to their homeland, AlphaLeap. Paba had been a capital city before, but of a much smaller empire.

The Leapers handled their slaves badly. Despite the high birth rate, so many people died each day that the population actually fell during some months. Most slaves who saw the Leapers executing rebellious slaves succumbed to fear and obeyed their masters, but when they saw even the most obedient slaves tortured and killed for mistakes that weren't their fault, more and more slaves risked their lives to oppose the Leapers' sadistic misleadership.

Creation of the Tadpoles

AlphaLeap created a new political party called the Tadpoles to gather the opinions of the dissenters into a single group. However, the Tadpoles' opinions were chosen by the Leapers, and one of those opinions was that individual Tadpoles were not permitted to dissent from the Tadpole party platform. Furthermore, any Tadpole who lost a debate over political policy against a Leaper was given the death penalty. Since all of the Tadpoles had the same opinions, the Leapers held frequent organized debates and executed the Tadpoles after the debate was over.

In the late 4110's, some loyal subjects who were given positions of authority by the Leapers began to make independent decisions on behalf of the enslaved Tadpoles. The Leapers considered these people to also be Tadpoles, and kidnapped and tortured them whenever they heard of a new incident. The Tadpoles and other nonpolitical slaves took this as a sign that the Leapers did not respect them, pointing out that many Leapers seemed to actually enjoy watching the unexplainable accidents that seemed so frequently to take the lives of Tadpole children.

For example, a young Tadpole girl named Yulutika rescued many younger girls trapped in a room, and then went to rescue a woman, but then the younger girls turned against Yulutika and strangled her in the belief that the woman was intending to torture them.


Revolt of 4123

In 4123, some Tadpoles set fire to the plantations in the far western area of Halasala. Thousands of Leapers died trying to stop the fire from spreading, even though thousands of Tadpoles also died. One third of the Leaper governors moved to the center of the fire to stop it from spreading, and one female slave decided to close the gap and entrap them entirely in fire. The Tadpoles were amused to see the Leapers struggling to carry water from area lakes and rivers to try to pour it on the fire, knowing that they could not ask the slaves to help because any slave would simply dump the water on the ground. The Leapers were so tied down that they could not even control their slaves, and many slaves simply fled, even knowing that they no longer had a home or any possessions.

When AlphaLeap found out what had happened, they disowned the Leaper government of Halasala and let Halasala become independent. Thus almost the entire Leaper population was dead and the Tadpoles were free from oppression after fifteen years of torture.

However, AlphaLeap also declared that "an unfinished Leaper government could mean disaster in the future", and decided to kill all of the surviving Tadpoles, surviving Leaper occupiers, and anyone else who they suspected of disloyalty. They thus declared war on the entire empire of Halasala. AlphaLeap sent about 40,000 soldiers into Halasala to murder the civilian population.

Even though Halasala's population was much larger than AlphaLeap's, AlphaLeap expected an easy victory because their soldiers had dangerous weapons and thick metal armor and their intended victims were underclothed and mostly weaponless. However, the Leaper occupiers stopped firefighting so they could fight instead the invading AlphaLeap army. Thus Leapers fought Leapers, and some of the Leaper governors of AlphaLeap fled into a new breakaway nation called Puap, which had broken away from Halasala early on when it was revealed that AlphaLeap believed it needed to torture Tadpole children in order to wield its power.

Puap actually also enslaved Tadpoles, but in Puap, the ruling Leapers adored and exalted the Tadpoles as fulfilling the ideal role that the ruling Leapers could only wish they could achieve. Leapers who did work, they said, were lazy and inefficient, whereas the Tadpoles held in place by whips and chains worked five times harder and never complained. Another important difference was t hat there was no ethnic division between master and slave in Puap; Puapian natives could be masters, and Leapers could be slaves (though this occurred only for criminals). Thus the Leapers fled into Puap, figuring the Puapians would welcome them in.

War against AlphaLeap

Although AlphaLeap had denounced the Leaper government's abuses of its slaves in Halasala, it was common in this era to believe that the best way to end slavery was to kill all of the slaves. Thus the Tadpole slaves and their abusive Leaper masters fought on the same side — against AlphaLeap — and together they eliminated AlphaLeap's soldiers one by one.

In 4127, the chaos of the war reached such a level that animals began preying on humans for the first time in 1400 years. The Tadpoles sided with the animals, and guided them to kill AlphaLeap's soldiers because AlphaLeap was invading them. The simple minded animals mostly obeyed, and many AlphaLeap soldiers were bitten and bled to death through their body armor. AlphaLeap admitted defeat, and the conflict returned to its original two-party state, in which the Tadpoles fought against the remaining Leaper governors.

Independence

The Tadpoles threw off their manufactured ideology and formed a new political party, the Play party (named Pata in both Bābākiam and Late Andanese), for the first time in their empire's history. The name was a pun: in Bābākiam, it meant "play, fun, unstructured social activity" and in Late Andanese it meant "young child". These two words were not related, and the Players chose their name to show that they stood for children's rights, and that children were meant to have fun.

A few Halasalans who were loyal to the Leaper governors moved into forts with them, expecting to face the 15,000 soldiers of the Player army soon. But the Players had sworn off direct violence, and preferred to use forest fires and animals with sharp teeth for proteection instead of spears and swords.

AlphaLeap responded by sending trained firebirds after the Players, specifically a species of firebirds that was much larger than average. These were called "20-ton rocs".

When the Play party declared independence, they enrolled over 343,000 citizens. However, there were only about 15,000 adult males among them; though women outnumbered men, the vast majority of the population consisted of children.

Play party platform

The new Play party was run entirely by women. Player ideology demanded that all able-bodied adult males serve in the military and be battle-ready at all times. These soldiers were also required to procure their own food, so much of the farmland in the lowland plains was turned over to the military. Meanwhile, the women at home found themselves vastly outnumbered by needy children. Thus, much of Play party policy revolved around children and children's needs. Since AlphaLeap had shut down Halasala's school system when they conquered the empire in 4108, neither the children nor most of the Player adults had had any education, and they governed largely based on their emotions. This soon led to problems that their predecessors had never faced.

For example, AlphaLeap had shut down the schools and forced all children to work in dangerous manual labor occupations in order to improve Halasala's economic output. The Play governors declared that child labor was cruel and therefore freed all children from their work, but refused to appoint adults to replace them. Thus, crucial occupations such as farming and clothes manufacturing that had previously been performed entirely by children were now entirely abandoned, and the Players simply stopped producing clothes and growing crops. The Player party immediately closed all restaurants and stores, saying that people would need to forage for food in the wild until the war was over and perhaps even afterwards.

Hygiene

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.

As the population of infants and toddlers grew, the Players rapidly ran short of diapers and warm clothes to protect them from the elements. Because they had abolished their textile industry, no new clothes could be produced. Furthermore, the growing child population generated more solid waste each month. But the Players had abolished child labor, and adults kept busy with other tasks; nurses simply threw waste products into a pile in the middle of each city, figuring that local animals would take care of the problem over time. Soon the problem of waste disposal became a crisis.

A committee of Leaper civilians, still nominally in control of the areas of the Anchor Empire north of Paba, recommended that the Play party reinstitute child labor and assign children the jobs of cleaning up human waste. The advisors said that the Players could not assign waste disposal jobs to adults because doing so would cost them valuable man-hours in every other industry. Only children, they said, should clean up waste products, because that was the only job they were capable of that adults could not do better. The Leapers admitted 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 Player women ignored the advice, as they realized that by obeying the Leapers they would become their own children's worst enemies. They especially did not like the idea of giving the most undesirable jobs to the youngest children. Since neither children nor adults were willing to clean up their messes, Player-held territory soon became a pestilential maze of swarming insects and flames the Players refused to put out. Long-dormant diseases reappeared and spread to both the Players and the Leapers. Some desperate Leapers humiliated themselves by volunteering to clean up the Players' messes themselves, but there were so many Player children that the Leapers could not keep up, and most soon fled to their homelands by boat.

Food production

Meanwhile, with the adult male farmers gone, and most women occupied with childcare, the only Players left with free time to gather food were the children. The Play party prohibited children from tending farms, saying the only legal foods were those ready to eat when found in the wild. Adults were allowed to farm, but women were required to remain in the cities, and men were required to remain in the military and most were deployed facing Leaper territories in the north. These outposts were mostly in areas of poor soil, and therefore adult male soldiers produced scarcely enough food to feed themselves, and could not send an ample surplus onto their wives and children. As the army pushed even further north, the intensity of the famine increased even as the weather began to turn in their favor.

The Players were all former slaves, and in the egalitarian society they set up, famine affected all people about equally, and they had no outside enemy to blame their hunger problems on. Therefore, they made no changes to their way of life, and the famine continued to deepen. The Play party soon burned all remaining farms in civilian territory in the hopes that wild plants would soon grow there.

But as hunger turned to starvation, the Player children began to violate the prohibition on child labor. With most adults tied down, children quickly assumed the role of procuring food for themselves and their parents, and most of this food was taken from the sea rather than the farms located in the remaining civilian regions of southern Paba.

Early struggles at sea

The small, clumsy children were prone to accidents and injuries in their boats, but when a group of experienced adult male sailors of the Leaper tribe offered to help them, the children accused the men of catching fish that would otherwise have been caught by the kids, and reported the incident to their parents. The Player government declared the entire coastline off-limits for all adults and all non-Players, and told the Leapers that if their wish to help the new Play nation was genuine, they should instead join the Play army in a supervised role.

Now that adults were not allowed to fish, children controlled the civilian food supply, and childless adults became helpless. However, most Play children saw this newly gained power as a burden, and when some children attempted to remain in their homes during the day instead of fishing the sea, their hungry mothers whipped them and threatened to abandon them if they did not go to the sea. When the beaten children ran to the city centers to seek shelter in the government's foster care buildings, the police dutifully whipped the mothers and offered to house the children in an orphanage. But they did not provide the women access to the sea, and most of the abused children soon joined the other children at the seashore so that their mothers would not die.

The Player children relied on each other for basic knowledge, and were untrained in navigation. Some children believed they could find easier food if they crossed the ocean to Amade, but none of them knew which way to row. Shipbuilding had been outlawed, so no new boats were built; the children had to travel in previously existing boats designed for use by strong, sturdy men.

Early objections

The Player women had never issued an order explicitly requiring children to gather food. Rather, the children were forced into the job because their fathers were bound to their military duties and their mothers had refused to react to the resulting shortage of food. The women thus needed to justify the situation they had created, or else give up and take to the sea themselves. To the children's dismay, the women chose the first option.

The women declared that the children's fishing trips were not work, because fish was a food that was ready to eat when first sighted. And because parents sheltered their children in their homes, parents could demand that children return the favor by providing food.

Orphans and runaways

Women who had been childless began adopting orphans because this was their only legal way to access food. Soon, nearly every orphan had a home, and the Players saw that it had taken them only a few weeks to entirely solve the problem of homeless orphans.

A small number of orphans, mostly boys, chose to remain independent rather than seeking an adoptive parent; they realized that Player parents were an economic drain on their young children, unlike all other societies. Some children realized that, despite their mothers promising to eliminate child labor, they had quickly devolved to a state in which children worked even harder than before while their mothers did seemingly no work at all. Meanwhile, adult males in the military had quickly pushed out the Leapers, and faced no danger at all in their daily patrols, but the women in the government would not allow the men to return to their homes or patrol the coast. Thus, the only Players with dangerous jobs were the young children who risked their lives every day to feed sedentary, ungrateful adults with much larger appetites than the kids who provided their food.

First reform attempt

Some mothers proposed reforming the food production laws so that women could protect their children by working alongside them, and allow children to stay closer to shore. They formed a new faction of the Play party called the Pillows (Tafimās). But the Pillow reform failed because the women could not agree on which women would be sent to the sea. Likewise, some women deeded their houses to their children, arguing then that the children were sheltering the parents, and that the parents should return the favor by fishing the sea. But the government refused to waive the prohibition against adults approaching the seashore.

Soon, there were almost as many runaways as there had once been orphans. Runaways (bāatup, lit. "self-nurturing") fished only for themselves, and never worried about money. They docked their boats in sheltered areas surrounded by cliffs, accessible only by boat, as they feared the other children would consider them to be like adults and thus unwelcome on the beach. They slept in these coves, exposed to the rains, and more vulnerable than the kids with homes, but safe from attack by land. The runaways traveled much further out to sea than the parented children, figuring they would take their chances with the rough waves to stay clear of the other kids. However, word soon spread of this, and adult male outlaws happily took shelter in the same coves the runaway children used, realizing they would have a clear advantage in a one-on-one battle away from the crowds. Some runaways tried to form an alliance so they could work together and outnumber the adult trespassers, but they had little in common to unite around other than their belief that their nation's adult population was the laziest in the history of the world.

Second reform attempt

The mothers whose children had run away joined the Pillows, and met with the mainstream Player women to again propose a reform of the system. But the only output of the meeting was a pledge by the women that they respected their children's decision to run away, and would not expect others to deliver their kids back home. Some Pillow women began foraging for food in the wild, while others sold property to exchange for surplus fish catches. Through their hard work and dedication to each other's wellbeing, the Pillows gathered just enough food each day to feed each other and thus assure the Play government that the Play economic system was a success.

Regulation of fishing

The Player women quickly prescribed strict rules for fishing so that the children would not harm each other. They divided the children into two groups: the sailors (keu paa šābā), who stayed within sight of the shore and caught only a few fish, and the pirates (bim pia), who went further out to sea, suffered many accidents, and caught many fish. Many of the children in the second group were recent runaways, but some families had older children in the pirate group and younger children in the sailor group. The names of the groups were deliberate embellishments, as both groups used rowboats and none of the children had sails.

Construction of fish markets

The sailors survived by feeding their families first and selling extra catches in newly built 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 pirates lived dangerously, but survived by forming an alliance with each other and charging high prices to all customers other than their friends and relatives.

The runaway children were allowed to keep their catches while the other pirate kids donated most of it to their relatives. Some pirates objected to this, but the mothers whose kids had run away had all earlier agreed to the law that gave the kids the right to stay away from their homes even if their parents starved. Thus, the people most hurt by the runaways now supported the runaways, and the other children realized they could not get help from adults at all.

The stores were set up just inland from the shore where the children would sell their fish and receive large sums of money to hold in the event they became sick or otherwise unable to catch fish for a period of time. The stores were open all day long, but most children returned with their fish only late in the day. Each fisher sold their own fish, set their own prices, and could offer different prices to different customers.

Interference from trespassers

As the season changed from summer to autumn, more and more children docked their boats after sunset. Soon, adults of diverse allegiances began storming the beach at night and tackling the children as they attempted to walk upward towards the stores. Because the Players prohibited their own adults from entering the coastal strips, they never officially recorded these assaults, and told the children to carry on as normal. Thus, children had to fight off these men on their own.

Third reform attempt

As the situation at sea deteriorated even further, the Pillows promised to stall any government legislation unless the mainstream Play women agreed to exempt women from the ban on seashore access so they could protect their children. But the Pillows still could not achieve a majority, and the female Play police force blockaded the areas shoreward of the stores to prevent angry women from protecting their children from assaults.

Fish market reform

When the stores were first built, some children lowered their prices in order to sell more fish, but a reform quickly eliminated this by anonymizing the transactions. Instead of each fisher selling their own fish, young children, mostly girls, were hired to run the stores and sell the fish to the customers. They promised the fishers that the entire catch of each day would be accepted, and there would be no incentive for children to compete with each other.

After the reform, children returning from a fishing trip dumped their fish at the receiving counter, where they were weighed, and then they were paid in the uyuŋa currency. Thus, each kid's catch was mixed with the others, and only weight mattered, so the uyunāā stores simply sold "fish" without further categorization, and there was no competition between the children.

The children hired to run the stores were very young, and mostly too small to row a boat. Early on, customers began spitting on the children when they felt they were being cheated, and when a girl asked a man to help her carry his large order of fish, he got angry and broke her left foot. Another impatient man knocked over several small children as he pushed his way through them to skip to the front of the line and grab his fish. There were no adult employees in these stores, so the children were defenseless, and had to rely on customers to protect them from other customers. Since most of the customers were relatives of the children selling the fish, the customers closely watched each other, but isolated incidents continued to occur, mostly at night when the stores were nearly empty.

Contact with STW

The Play government had made so many disastrous decisions in their first year in power that the leaders of the newly dissolved Save The World corporation accused them of inflicting deliberate harm in order to reduce the nation's population. The Players protested that they were doing their best, and that they could not trust outside parties since they had been so badly abused by AlphaLeap. The Play party had allowed STW's members to survive, even without converting to the Play party, and thus the STW "party" was still legal. As life for the Players spiralled further downwards every month, STW tried to contact children at sea and carry them to safety. But the Players outnumbered the STWers by such a wide margin by this point that STW's efforts were futile, and it took only a single Play battalion to sweep southwards and deliver the STWers to the same slave camps in which they had earlier entrapped the Leapers.

The Baywatch War

Background events

In early 4132, Dreamland's Baywatch party heard that Halasala's abusive Leaper government had been overthrown and replaced with an all-female party calling itself Play, and decided the time was ripe to invade. The Leapers had claimed more than half of the habitable land on the planet, but their capital was the ancient city of Paba, whose native population consisted entirely of women and small children.

The Baywatch party was dominant in the state of Popa, the largest and richest state in Dreamland, and also the state with the longest east-facing border. Dreamland's laws allowed political parties to have their own foreign policies, and each state could choose whether to participate in a war. The other Dreamer states supported the Baywatch plans for war, but because their troops had to march through Baywatch territory to participate, the Baywatch generals took full control of their plans. Therefore the Baywatchers contributed far more of their manpower to the war effort than did the other states.

Early diplomatic outreach

The Dreamers knew that the Play party was run entirely by women, and that their army was required to obey the women's decisions at all times. The general of the Dreamer army threatened the Player women with invasion in the hopes that fear might motivate them to surrender prematurely and prevent any significant bloodshed. They knew that, due to previous wars, there were many young widows among the Players, and hoped their soldiers could enter Play territory peacefully and marry the lonely Player women. The Dreamer soldiers also expected to find many hungry, desperate orphans on the streets, as they had not yet learned of the Players' decision to send all children to the seashore.

When the Player women learned they were at war, they immediately surrendered the vast majority of their empire to the Dreamer army, maintaining only their claim to the capital city of Paba and many cities connected to Paba by roads and rivers; these were the areas where Play party support was strongest. They promised their people that they would hold strong, and would not obey a foreign army that had yet to begin its war. Meanwhile, they offered people in the surrendered territories the right to move to Paba in order to stay safe, even though they knew this would put pressure on their food supply.

Although the Leaper party still controlled much of the territory north of Paba, they could not overrule the women's surrender, and the imperial army'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 some civilians moved to Paba, since Paba was the only territory that the Play army had promised to defend. However, 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: the combined area of Dreamland and its newly ceded gains comprised more than 80% of the habitable land on the planet. 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, but most people capable of violent resistance had already left for Paba.

Leaper reaction

The Player women also offered to return control of their empire to the Leapers, if only because they wanted to see a war between Dreamland and AlphaLeap rather than a war between Dreamland and the small, poorly equipped Play army. They knew that AlphaLeap had been maintaining a small private army, independent from the official imperial army of Halasala. But AlphaLeap quickly withdrew its soldiers from the territories that the women had granted to Dreamland, and told the women that Leaper soldiers would only fight in areas where the Play army was on the front lines and took most of the casualties. Since the imperial army was now loyal to the Play party, the Leapers refused to fight. Indeed, most Leaper soldiers were now moving back to their original home states, AlphaLeap and Wax, since they knew that the Dreamers were unlikely to push into that territory.

The Player women also reached out to third-party nations for help, but these other nations rejected any alliance with the Players unless the Players agreed to allow a complete takeover of the government with no rights for Players. Realizing that this would be even worse than what the Dreamers wanted to do to them, the women rejected all of these potential alliances as well. (They were willing to let AlphaLeap abuse them, but not the other groups, because they figured only AlphaLeap would have an interest in fighting a total war against Dreamland to hold onto its conquest, since AlphaLeap's home territory was a desert, whereas the other major powers had little interest in protecting Paba.)

Dreamers plan for war

The Dreamer generals celebrated their easy conquest of the vast Leaper-held territory, but could not overcome the temptation to invade the Player women holding the capital city of Paba. The Players 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 women in Paba.

Since the Dreamers had invaded the northern part of the Empire first, it was mostly northern tribes such as the Leapers and Raspara that had fled into Paba. The Player women welcomed these people, even though some members of the northern tribes felt that the Players had betrayed them. They nevertheless signed a treaty of mutual assistance, in which the Play army promised to fight the war in Paba only, allowing Dreamland to consume as much as 85% of the land area of Halasala before even beginning to fight back. These were the approximate borders of Player settlement, meaning that they were willing to surrender all of the ethnic minorities' cities to the Dreamers. They were not abandoning these people, but merely felt that with the government and most of the land army concentrated in Paba, staging a defense of the wider territory was unrealistic. To compensate the other tribes for their loss of territory, the immigrants were given more power in the government than their population would normally have deserved. On the other hand, they had to work harder than most Players since they brought no possessions with them.

However, there were some settlements outside Play territory that the Players considered worthy of sending the army to defend. The largest was Blop, a Raspara-majority city at the mouth of a very important river. Moreover, the Players expected that the local people would at least try to slow down the invading Dreamers, as both the Crystals and the Thunderers had been blood enemies of the Dreamers for hundreds of years.

Treaty of Vaamū

The Player party renamed the Anchor Empire Vaamū now; the new name came from a language[2] spoken in the north. The Treaty of Vaamū was signed, stating that the northern tribes had all agreed that the imperial army would defend only Paba, leaving the northern tribes the choice of whether to remain in their homelands and face invasion or better their chances by moving to Paba. The treaty greatly reduced the amount of territory the Play army was responsible for; their army was very small for their land area, and they felt it would be easier to defend Paba than to defend the entire Anchor Empire, whose combined land area was more than half of the habitable land on the planet. The treaty also helped the civilians in the northern areas because it guaranteed that any battles fought in the war would be fought in or near Paba, thus sparing the northern states from having to fight the worst of the battles in the war. Although Dreamland was a large nation, the Players did not think that Dreamland had enough soldiers to attempt an occupation of the entire Anchor Empire. They were worried, however, that Dreamers would start attacking and enslaving civilians living in the northern states they were crossing through.

This treaty also thus stated that anyone living anywhere in the Anchor Empire could move to Paba as refugees and that the Players would use their own resources to house and shelter the refugees. Since the Anchor Empire had been a single political entity all along, the Players opening their doors to immigrants from the rest of the Empire was not new; indeed, Paba was the most diverse quarter of the empire.

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 Paba 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.

First Dreamer invasion

The Play generals were surprised when they saw the maps of the early conquests of the Dreamer army in northern and western Vaamū. It seemed that Paba really was their main target after all, even though they were making a journey several thousand miles long to get there. They considered that the Dreamer armies were probably expecting to be able to live off the land as they roamed, since a supply line coming from their home country would be an easy target for attack. Townspeople living in northern areas sent reports of Dreamer armies roaming through their countryside, but without committing violence against the locals. However, the Dreamers did force the northerners to supply them with food and clothing taken from the upper class of the northerners. The soldiers in the Dreamer army were thus happy and healthy, but their progress was extremely slow.

The Players were curious why the Dreamers didn't seem to be interested in conquering the territories held by their traditional enemies, but had decided instead to attack the Players who had never hurt them at all. One reason was that Dreamland had acquired an exaggerated picture of the differences in physical form between their people and their enemies: some Dreamers believed that the Players' tribes consisted of knee-high people who could fly short distances but could not wield weapons. Thus they planned to enter Paba and convince the Players to surrender based on sheer physical intimidation. Although the Dreamers were indeed taller than the Players on average, the difference was not nearly so great as the Dreamers believed.

Even though the northern tribes were happy to see that the Dreamers were not intending to kill them, many still figured they would be better off abandoning their possessions to live in Paba. Others moved to Paba simply to help out the war effort, as they felt they could defeat Dreamland by getting to Paba ahead of them and then starting an offensive. An unintended side effect of the treaty was that the many people fleeing into Paba to escape the invasion were disproportionately likely to agree to sign up for the Pabap military, as they were coming to Paba with few possessions and, even though the Play party was offering them welfare payments to offset their loss of property, still had less to lose than most other Pabaps. Thus the Players had partly recreated the old Pabap system where Paba paid ethnic minorities to move to Paba but required them to sign up for the military whereas native Pabaps were free.

Some of the northerners moving to Paba poisoned the earth as they retreated, even though they knew that this would make life impossible for those who had chosen to remain in their towns. When it became clear that Dreamland was not interested in a large-scale occupation of the northern regions of the empire, the northerners were urged to stop polluting their environment, although it was difficult for the Players to communicate their message to an area in which they had no soldiers. However, Dreamland's invasion was moving very slowly, and even the Dreamer generals seemed to expect that it would take them a full two years (autumn 4134) to reach Paba. The Play generals realized that this slowness was Dreamland's main weakness in the war, and that the Play army could surprise the Dreamers with an aggressive push northward and fight them in the towns they were occupying. But they still obeyed their treaty, and agreed to let the Dreamers move through Thunder territory and fight the war in Paba, not Pupompom.

Raspara settlement

Non-Player tribes were allowed to disobey the law drafting all adult males into the military, and the Play women had passed a law compensating non-Player tribes for the loss of their territory by providing them free property and a monthly stipend to make living in Paba easier. Furthermore, these minority tribes were given extra power in the government to overrule the Player majority on certain issues. They hoped this law would entice the tall, virile men of northern and western tribes to move into Paba and marry women who had no husbands because so many men were dying on the battlefield. However, this new law excluded the Raspara tribe of Blop, because the Raspara's land had not been surrendered to the Dreamers. The Raspara men were angry at this, and many Raspara men pushed their way through the Play army and asked the women in Paba why men from faraway places such as Baeba Swamp were treated as superiors whereas the Raspara were expected to live in the same conditions as the Players who had invited them in.

The women responded that other tribes were being compensated for their loss of land, whereas the Raspara ruled from the city of Blop, which had not been surrendered. The Raspara countered that they had built settlements far to the west of Blop, tending farms that they had been forced to hand over to the advancing Dreamer army. Even though the Dreamer army had passed through these rural Raspara settlements and done very little damage, the Raspara still protested that the Player women's invitation to the tribesmen of Baeba Swamp, where the Dreamer army had done no damage at all, proved that their law had no relation to property damage and that the women were simply choosing tribes with handsome men to absorb and settle down with.

Raspara-Zenith relations

As the Raspara moved into the Players' civilian territory, they encountered members of the Zenith tribe. Like the Raspara, the Zeniths had a tall, muscular body type and were eager to court the Player women whose husbands were fighting in the war against Dreamland. And like the Raspara, the Zeniths had been denied monthly stipends by the Play government because their territory had not been surrendered to Dreamland in the treaty. Since the Raspara and the Zeniths were both ethnic minorities, they were not required to join the military and thus roamed freely throughout civilian territory whose adult population was otherwise entirely female. Some Raspara proposed an alliance with the Zeniths whereby the two tribes would divide the women between them; the Zeniths would control most of the deep inland areas, while the Raspara, despite having come from the north, would control the southern areas and the coast. This was because the Zeniths had occupied the same areas of land for over 2000 years whereas the Raspara were recent immigrants.

Since all Player males were required to spend their entire adult life in the army, both tribes knew that any adult male they met on the street was an ethnic minority. They thus promised that all adult males would be considered friends, and that the Raspara-Zenith alliance would only make enemies of women who resisted their impulses. However, they knew that men from western areas such as Baeba Swamp were also moving to Paba, and that these men would be accorded a superior legal status because they would neither have to work nor serve in the army. However, the Raspara and the Zeniths believed that they could distinguish Baebans on sight due to their distinct body types.

The Raspara promised that they would never intrude into Zenith territory so long as the Zeniths never intruded into theirs. Though the Play government was run by women, the Raspara stated that within Raspara territory, the real power would be in the hands of Raspara men. The Raspara leaders believed the Zeniths were planning to commit mass rape of the Player women whose territory they would control, as the Zeniths had long been known for running illegal prostitution operations using non-Zenith women, and were physically strong enough to overpower even a crowd of Player women trying to escape. The Raspara hoped that the women under Zenith control would be in such pain that they would willingly flee into Raspara territory in order to submit to the firm but protective Raspara men. They did not reveal this part of their plan to the Zenith because they wanted to remain allies long enough to enforce the treaty and build walls in Paba to trap the Player women inside their territories.

Some Zeniths agreed to the Raspara plan, but they were unable to get the entire Zenith population to agree. The Zenith leaders pointed out that it was geometrically impossible for the two armies to delineate two contiguous territories, each containing their respective favorite areas, without crossing each other's borders. Either one or both of the groups would need to allow gaps in their territory, and this would mean that one had the right to trespass through the territory of the other.

The Raspara leaders assured the Zeniths that the Raspara would stay out of Zenith territory regardless of the borders on the map, and would treat those few Zeniths who lived in the Raspara's desired territory as equals, and not try to shut down their prostitution operations. The Raspara would portray themselves as superior by abstaining from prostitution. However, as they expected more minorities would soon arrive, the Raspara allowed an exception: any Raspara who abstained from intimate contact with an unwilling Player woman would be allowed to have full control over the throngs of newly arrived Baeban men.

AlphaLeap enters the war

AlphaLeap had remained neutral in this war, as they saw little hope of surviving a war against both Dreamland and the Players. But when returning sailors informed the Leaper government that the south coast of Paba was now inhabited entirely by children, AlphaLeap declared war and sent its navy to assault the children at sea. They figured that with the Dreamers fighting the conventional Play army in the northern borderlands, and the Raspara and Zeniths abusing the women in the city centers, the Leaper navy could make easy work of the children.

The Leaper sailors estimated that the south coast of Paba held 130,000 young Player children and only a tiny number of illegal, trespassing adults. The Leapers saw this vulnerability as a potential path back to power, and therefore planned a conventional naval attack in which Leaper warships would ram the children's rowboats, 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. Since these children were required to spend their time fishing all day in order to feed their parents, the Leapers knew they could not retreat to shore, and the Leapers could shoot arrows from the safety of their warships while the children struggled to duck out of the way. The combination of murder, kidnapping, and the loss of their main food supply would drive the Players into a panic, they hoped, and lead the Play government to surrender to AlphaLeap before the Dreamer army even reached their borders.

Leapers' naval attack

Both the Dreamers and the Leapers sought to control the vulnerable Play children: the Dreamers wanted to adopt and embrace them, while the Leapers wanted to abduct and enslave them. Energized by their positive rhetoric, the Leapers sailed a single warship to southwestern Paba and they combined all three strategies: they shot children who were fishing for food, crushed their boats, and kidnapped any children who managed to stay afloat. Many of the victims were recent runaways, which the Leapers mistook for orphans.

The captain who had killed the kids quickly returned to AlphaLeap and called for a larger attack. Soon, more ships returned to Paba, and in the battle of Satĭxa, the navy defeated a team of several hundred young boys and girls without sustaining any injuries or damage to their warships.

Pillow reform

However, some children managed to escape and quickly alerted the government. For the fourth time, the Pillows pleaded to be allowed to reach the sea so that they could protect their children. Yet again, a stubborn bloc of Player women refused to change, but this time the number of casualties was so great that the Pillow faction of the party had finally achieved a majority. They thus set about a series of robust and well-planned reforms intended to solve their nation's severe problems.

The Play government, now led by the Pillow faction, promised to create a navy in order to patrol the sea, even though this meant a further reduction in the size of the Players' land army. They announced that shipbuilding would resume and that the new warships would be similar to AlphaLeap's. They also asserted the right of runaway children to live in shelters previously used for orphans, including those built by hostile powers, and that other children would no longer be allowed to force the runaways to fish from vulnerable areas where malicious interlopers could easily spot them. The vote on the question of allowing mothers to access the coastline still narrowly failed, but the new Play coalition promised that the new adult male naval force would be sufficient and that women could remain inland without worrying about their children's safety.

Effects of the Pillow reform

The reform immediately improved the situation at sea. Trespassing men were quickly arrested wherever they went, the Leapers retreated, and adults in the fish stores no longer beat up children who served their orders too slowly.

Life for Play children improved so drastically with so little effort that the Pillows began to repeat STW's earlier claims that the hardline Play faction had been deliberately harming their own children in order to reduce their nation's overcrowded population. But they had no positive evidence for this claim, and could only spread suspicions.

The Pillow reform had not overturned the effective prohibition on adults gathering food, and therefore the Play nation was still almost entirely dependent on small children to gather food. The adult male sailors caught some fish, but they could not convince the children that they were not merely depressing the children's own daily fish catches, and the Play government considered the men's contributions insignificant.

Formal declaration of war against AlphaLeap

Because AlphaLeap had committed a premeditated assault on the Player children fishing the south sea, the Play party declared war on AlphaLeap, and fired the few remaining Leaper politicians from the government. Therefore Vaamū became a one-party state led by the Players. With their new power, the Play party rejected pacifism and stated that their empire 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.

The Leapers wanted total control of Paba, and were unwilling to split the territory with Dreamland. Thus, despite the Play party's restoration of Paba's naval force, the Leaper navy decided to continue with their strategy of attacking small children at sea while they now also fought a more even battle against the adults in the Player navy. The Leapers knew that if they could stop the kids from harvesting fish, Paba would starve and surrender whether they had a navy or not.

However, when the Leaper pirates learned of the new battle plan, many objected and considered switching sides. They had entered the war because they knew they would not die or suffer severe injury while fighting the Player children. But now, the Player navy was threatening to send adults in conventional warships to protect the children in the smaller rowboats near the shore. Worrying that one of their sailors might get hurt while massacring the Play children, AlphaLeap withdrew most of its navy, keeping only a small irregular force in the southern harbors in order to keep the Players distracted.

Players enter Nama

After two years, there had been no attacks on the Players. Communications from townspeople in northern states had mostly stopped, and the Players figured that the Dreamers might have given up on their war either because they realized it was unwinnable or because they had split apart and attacked each other.

The Players decided to build a semi-circular front of soldiers about 250 miles out from Paba, facing north and west and touching the sea. Each soldier would camp out by himself, within earshot of the soldiers on either side of him, and with a good view of the slopes below in the assumption that Dreamland's army would be arriving in the daytime. Although the first few soldiers to face the Dreamers would be greatly outnumbered, the others would rush in to help them within minutes, and each soldier further along the chain on each side would hear the cries of the others and rush towards the center. Thus, the Players promised that no location was safe for the Dreamer army.

These camps were well outside of Player territory; in fact, the Play army was almost entirely in Nama now, but Nama did not mind this, as they had no army of their own to protect themselves. The Play soldiers had to spread themselves very thinly here because they were so far from home, and they knew that when the first Dreamers arrived, the Dreamers would punch right through the Play army because they would vastly outnumber the Players. But the Players maintained their widely spaced camps so they could hunt for food and because their camps were just north of the slopes of the Mountains of Wisdom, and therefore the Players would have the advantage of altitude, while the Dreamers would have to struggle uphill and would meet up with the Players at precisely the time where the hills turned into mountains.

Furthermore, the Players hoped to be able to receive communication from loyal villagers who had chosen to ride out the war by staying in Nama as the Dreamers passed through their territory without fighting the villagers. Then, they could move soldiers nearer to where they predicted the Dreamers would attempt to enter the core of Play territory. Some Play generals proposed to later explain this as telepathy in order to fool the Dreamers into believing that the Players had strong magic powers.

Domestic life

The Players had relocated their entire adult male population to a distance of 250 miles from the city center, meaning that nearly 40,000 square miles of Player-held territory was reserved for women and children, and most of the children were along the coast. The only adult males in the cities of this zone were those of the tall, muscular Raspara and Zenith tribes, who were exempt from the requirement of military service. In rural areas, there were Namans and others who simply chose to ignore the war in the belief that Dreamland would have no interest in fighting to conquer their homes.

Some Raspara planners saw an opportunity to seize power in the young Player state by overpowering the women in the cities and forcing them to build the walls of a new Raspara state. The Raspara would then use the women to raise a new generation of pro-Raspara children, but only a few of these children would be offered membership in the Raspara party.

The Raspara were unsure of the Players' chances at defeating the invading Dreamers, but figured that it meant little. If the Dreamers pushed the Play army back towards Paba, the Raspara would meet the defeated soldiers at the newly fortified border and force them to submit to Raspara rule; but if the Players were successful, the Raspara would have more time alone with the women to build their new state.

Dreamers arrive at Paba

First battles

By the time the first Dreamer battalions met up with the Play army in autumn 4135, their strength had collapsed so much that the Players easily crushed them while taking few casualties of their own. Many towns near Paba's capital had been preemptively evacuated, and where those towns had been, Players now had a bubble of soldiers ready to defend their capital city from a distance well outside it. The Dreamer armies had planned to trickle in along different paths and then surround the Players on at least two fronts (north and west). They achieved this, but they did not all meet the Players' bubble of soldiers at the same time, so when the bubble army defeated each Dreamer battalion, they prevented those Dreamers from alerting the others that they were vastly outmanned.

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 Players than Dreamers were dying in this war, but most Play 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.

Thus, Paba survived in a state of war until mid-4138 without any Dreamer soldiers ever actually reaching Paba. Furthermore, the number of invasions was slowing down, as it seemed that the Dreamers either were running out of men or were rethinking their war efforts. After six years of war, no soldiers had made it to Paba and then back to Dreamland in order to communicate with their homeland, so the Dreamers realized that they were probably losing the war. 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 Players 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 mostly consumed by the six years of war. When Dreamer soldiers stopped trying to pop Paba's bubble, in late 4138, the Players decided it was time to go on the offensive.

The Play generals decided to launch a direct invasion of Dreamland, exactly mirroring Dreamland's failed invasion of Paba. They restored their claim to all of the land that their wives had earlier ceded, and claimed that they would reconquer it back after they had first defeated the home nation of Dreamland.[3]

Daisy revolt

As the Player army roved towards the north, they faced some resistance, both from the remnants of the Dreamers and from a few citizens who had decided to side with the Dreamers. The strongest rebel group was the Daisies (Puap), located in the region of Subumpam. Daisy territory stretched across several counties. However, the Daisy 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 the Daisies considered themselves loyal to Paba.

Word of victory spreads home

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 Players learned of their military's success in repelling the Dreamers, some children felt happiness for the first time in their lives. Figuring more victories would make them even happier, some Play boys declared that they wanted to destroy not only 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.

War in Dreamland

When the Players launched an invasion of Dreamland, they coursed back northward through upland Nama and found little resistance. The Dreamer soldiers were completely gone. However, they did have a few uprisings in Subumpam, which they had not expected. In particular, the rebel Daisy army had decided to side with the Dreamers, and sent its own army northward into Nama to attack the Play army from behind. They were hoping to crush the Players between their own army and that of Dreamland, even though they knew Dreamland's army had been massively weakened by this point. The Players had told their soldiers that they were fighting for the Play party and not for Paba, and that they would be willing to kill Pabaps who opposed the war, but the Player commanders pushed northwards at their maximum speed in order to apply their full force on Dreamland even if it meant facing attacks on their rear.

The Players' homeland, Paba, had always been known for strong population growth. The very name Paba meant "maternity ward", as they thought of their homeland as a place where babies were the most important natural resource. During the six years of war, the Play population had more than doubled, partly in response to conversions but also because so many Player women had conceived babies when their husbands in the army visited them.

Counterinvasion of Dreamland

By 4138 the Dreamer population was in full-blown panic. Six years of their strongest men being sent out to attack Paba had, for all they knew, done no good at all, for they had never yet heard back from any one of them. They knew that the Players must have powerful military technology, since they were able to fight off so many powerful attacks. Meanwhile, a militant wing of the Play party, a group of small children calling themselves the Flower Bees, had begun plans to run away from their homes so they could form a second army and destroy all foreign nations, not just Dreamland. Most of these children lived in the western counties of Paba that had earlier given rise to the Daisy revolt, but their opinions were diametrically opposite to the Daisies'.

At first the Player soldiers being sent into Dreamland and the other countries encountered great difficulty, because now they were fighting an offensive war, instead of a defensive one, and the pro-Dreamer rebels (Daisies and others that had earlier been independent) were all protected by the same types of natural barriers that had protected the Players. But the Players did not give up; they fought battle after bloody battle with courage and a perfect obedience to their commanders that frightened the others.

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 Players' 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 the Play party 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 made few preparations for the next phase of the war. Dreamland's army had fully retreated to its home territory rather than keeping a front line of soldiers in the thinly populated Vaamūan states where the Players had few supporters. They made no attempt to recruit civilians from these areas to join the Dreamer army, as they figured that given any choice, most of the citizens would side with the Players.

Political reactions in Dreamland

Dreamland's ruling Dolphin Rider party allowed the states of Dreamland to declare neutrality in times of war. The Riders ruled the governments of all but one state, which was the Baywatch state of Popa. Although all of the states had contributed to the attack on Paba, when the Riders realized they were going to lose the war, all of the Riders' states voted themselves out of the war and told the Baywatchers to face the invasion by themselves. Popa was the easternmost state, so they had no means of forcing the Rider states to back them up. Thus the Dreamer army disengaged and the responsibility of defense was assigned to the much smaller Baywatch army.

However, the Play party faced a similar situation: in their vast empire, the Players were just one of many political parties, and although they controlled the imperial capital, many people in the countryside had never even heard of them, and saw no reason to help them in a war. Therefore both armies came to battle with a force of about 15,000 men, with the Dreamer army being physically more powerful and better armed, and having the advantage of occupying difficult terrain.

The Play army moved into the far north, even though this area was inhabited primarily by Lenian tribes with pro-Dreamer sympathies. They knew that these people would have nothing to gain by siding with Dreamland or even with Baywatch, and therefore they were able to invade Dreamland from the north even though Paba was to the south of Dreamland. The Dreamers had not expected this, and the Play army quickly cornered the Dreamer battalion holding the border 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.

Expansion of Tata

The easy conquest of the northeastern headlands had given the Play army 1/3 of the coastline of the Dreamer state of Popa, the only state that had bound itself to the war. They added this territory to the adjacent Anchor state of Tata which had served as the primary invasion route for the Play army.

The Players coined the name Mipatatatatai to signify the union of Tata and Popa. They claimed this was another pun along the lines of their party name, and said that it meant "land of the ruling children of Tata" in Late Andanese and "playful visionary children of Tata" in Bābākiam. However, both readings were strained. The Players considered the new state to be a continuation of Tata, and thus also retained the simple name Tata for use in diplomacy.

Further battles in Dreamland

From the enslaved Dreamer civilians, the Players learned that most of Popa's population was concentrated in two cities, Ew̃eti near the coast and Posẽseẽ, the imperial capital, further upstream.< 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 Eweti, they relocated their entire military to the river just downstream from the city, leaving the rest of their territory, including Posesee, 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 Eweti, where they vowed to fight against 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 downstream with the winds, 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 Eweti to launch another conventional battle, figuring that their surprising early victory had gained them a numerical advantage that would counteract their other disadvantages.

In Eweti the two armies fought the bloodiest battle yet, and both suffered body counts above 3,000, 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 Eweti 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 Posesee while the Players would take control of Eweti 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.

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.

Diplomacy

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]

Thus the Player army of 15,000 soldiers completely routed the Dreamer army of about the same size, and forced the Dreamers to surrender unconditionally. The Players reclaimed all of the land towards Dreamland's border, and announced that they would begin enslaving Dreamers in Paba. However, some Dreamers were welcomed as citizens because they wanted to divide the prisoners of war against each other and also because they still held to their philosophy of the elimination of racial divisions through marriage, even if it was forced marriage.

The Play party promised to allow Dreamland to remain a country, but it was governed partly by the Players, who planned to steal natural resources and then hold up the resulting poverty to other nations as proof that the Dreamer economic philosophy was a failure.

As the Play party had eliminated luxury industries such as restaurants, they were accustomed to living in extreme poverty. Still, Dreamers living under Player occupation hoped that the Play party's command economy would soon collapse due to the abuses it laid upon its people. Moreover, the Dreamers were surprised when they realized that the Players had walled off the entire seacoast to their own adult population, restricting access solely to children in order that they be able to fish the sea safely. Some sympathetic Dreamers warned the children that Dreamland's coastline might not be as bountiful as Paba's had been, but the children refused to listen.

Postwar reforms in Dreamland and Paba

The Play soldiers realized they were likely to win their war. They sent a message to the women back home in Paba announcing that they had defeated Dreamland and were preparing to set up an occupation government. They gave their best estimate of their own body count, the Dreamers' body count, and the surviving population of Dreamers that they had control over.

Effects of feminist policies

The Play women in Paba answered the soldiers' message by writing the Treaty of Eluãte and sending it to the Play generals in Popa. The treaty recognized the soldiers' territory as the new state of Tata, and stated that Tata would have direct access to the Players' imperial government. Thus, women in Tata could vote on all of the same issues that women in Paba could. However, just as in Paba, men were excluded from political power, and the Play party platform stated that it would never refuse converts. Thus, the Dreamer women had a strong incentive to join the Play party, and the conquering soldiers realized that they would soon be required to obey their conquered women in day-to-day life.

The Treaty of Eluate did not formally call an end to the war because the Play women suspected there would still be scattered resistance from the Dreamers, and that male Dreamers would have little to gain by joining the Play party, and thus young Dreamer men would never surrender even if most Dreamer women had.

As predicted, thousands of Dreamer women soon surrendered to the Play army, and by doing so they became Players themselves. The Tataan Player women immediately ended the war and voted their men into eternal slavery. However, even though the men had earlier promised to obey these women, they continued the war, and warned that they would be willing to kill even women who had sworn allegiance to the Play party. They claimed that the much larger female population in Paba overruled the women in Tata, and that therefore, anything the Play men did in Tata was done in service to the women in Paba. Furthermore, even though most of the Play men were single, they soon claimed to be married to women in Paba, because Player ideology allowed a man's wife to overrule any demands that other women placed upon him.

When the men wrote back to Paba to explain what had happened, the women quickly sent back another document detailing new reforms they had placed, and stated that they would continue to send communications to the men in Tata until they were convinced that Tata's government would be stable. The women in Paba accepted the men's claim that they had been unable to simultaneously subdue Tata's women and also obey them, and therefore wrote a new clause stating that rebellious territories such as Tata could be governed directly by Paba instead of allowing the local women to prolong the resistance. Therefore the women in Tata were fired from the government. However, the Players in Paba still refused to allow men to wield political power, and said that they would instead send women from Paba to Tata to help keep control. They also ordered their men to find trustworthy women among the locals, however, to share power with the women arriving from Paba.



Population transfers

The Play women in Paba also used their power to greatly increase the rate of population transfer between the various corners of their Empire. Previously, they had invited tribesmen from areas such as Baeba Swamp to move to Paba, but due to the dangers of the war, few had been able to complete the journey. Now that the war was over, the Player women instructed their soldiers to bring more men from foreign tribes into Paba to replace the Player men who had died in the war.

Political contacts with Dreamland

The Players' land was within the Dreamer state of Popa, and they respected the other Dreamlandic states' pledges of neutrality. (Dreamland allowed states within its empire to declare neutrality during a war.) Most of the defeated population of Popa had supported the Baywatch party, which had been the original founding party of Dreamland 800 years earlier and was the only party that referred to its members as Dreamers. Thus, by conquering Popa's capital city and ruling the rest of the state through slavery, the Players claimed that they had conquered the whole of Dreamland. Some Baywatchers fled into the other states of Dreamland, where they found shelter among the other parties, but all of the other Dreamlandic states remained neutral even as the body count from the Players' invasion exceeded 10,000.

Some Baywatchers submitted to the Players in the hopes that, since their ideologies were very similar, the Players would release their hold on the Baywatcher population after a generation of mixed-marriage children grew up with a single identity. However, the Player fathers who married Dreamer women considered both their wives and their children to have become Players and Players only, as they considered themselves a party, not a tribe.

The Baywatchers had always considered themselves austere people who spent their money only on food and medicine, but the Players believed that work was immoral and refused to perform basic tasks like planting seeds on a farm, saying that the only legal foods were those that took no work to produce. Though the Players quickly began building schools for their children, the Baywatchers wondered what went on inside since the Player adults seemed incapable of any tasks that required basic skills like counting to higher numbers and writing letters.

Some Baywatchers tried to explain to the Players that they need not push their ideology to such an extreme as to cause mass starvation, but when the Players heard this, they thought of their long history of abuse by AlphaLeap and reminded the Baywatchers that the Players would never accept advice from an enemy.

Education

Players now also encouraged all their children to become as educated as possible, as they knew that they would soon be putting real government power in the hands of teenagers, as there were not enough adult women to go around.

The Player party platform demanded that new schools be built immediately as soon as the nation was no longer at war. This applied to both Paba and the occupied Dreamer state of Tata.

New schools in Paba

In Paba, they began work on a series of buildings that they claimed were a single school, with every classroom a separate building, and every hallway a street. Thus a large section of Paba was turned over to the school, and the school's rules prevailed over other local laws within its territory. They had partly patterned this plan after STW, but the idea of giving a school a large section of the city to itself was new.

Citizens living within the school were automatically employed by it, and thus the schools' laws were also the company's code of conduct. This extended even to non-Players such as the Zeniths. However, all governing power was restricted to adult Play women, just as it had been before the war.

New schools in Tata

In Tata, there were not many children because the conquering soldiers had been largely adult males who had no wives or children to bring with them. Nevertheless, the Players demolished what they considered to be Tata's unnecessary luxuries, and directed the entire economy towards the provision of food and creation of large families full of children who would both feed and be fed by their parents. They ordered their Dreamer slaves to build schools for the Player children, but stayed with a traditional design involving a single large building for each neighborhood. Preexisting schools for the Dreamers were allowed to remain open, but some of their teachers were moved to the Player schools so they could teach young Player children while enslaved. Meanwhile, diplomats who had learned the Players' language, Bābākiam, were removed from their jobs so they could teach more advanced subjects. Some classrooms had both types of teachers in the same room. And to ensure that the enslaved Dreamer teachers did not stray from the Players' lesson plan, every Player classroom had an overseer who would instruct the teachers and could inflict painful punishments whenever the teachers did not perform as expected. Thus there were sometimes three adults in the same room: a low-level teacher who spoke only Dreamlandic, an advanced teacher who spoke Dreamlandic and Play, and a disciplinarian who kept a close watch on the teachers.

First Rainbow Revolt

The Players obtained written tests from the Dreamer schools and ordered the Dreamers to ensure that the Player students always outscored the Dreamers of the same age on each test. But the Player children soon revolted when the teachers attempted to assign classwork, and teachers walking to and from school found themselves dodging rocks and bricks thrown by angry students whom the police refused to arrest. In the First Rainbow Revolt, an alliance of students calling themselves the Rainbow (Ževabe) murdered 14 advanced teachers and ordered the school administration to replace them with new ones who would obey the students without protest.

The new teachers were taken from ordinary Dreamer schools, meaning that they spoke only Dreamlandic and could not do the jobs of the teachers who had been murdered. The Players could not understand how a society as educated as Dreamland could have so many people who spoke only one language, while the Players' much poorer nation had been home to many bilingual people even when it had no schools. Some Players began to question the need for schools at all, but their conservative government refused to dial back its promise to make their children the smartest in the world, and so the new teachers were forced into Play schools and instructed to teach the children in a language they did not understand, and study Play every night so they could achieve fluency within three months.

Agriculture

Fishing had been seen as a child's task in Paba because the adult males were entirely bound to the army and the adult females were required to stay in the cities. But the invading Player soldiers had taken no children with them, and therefore the only Play children in Tata were those of the Dreamer women whom the Players had taken as theirs. The Player soldiers raised these children as Players, and Play party law prohibited civilian agriculture during a war, so they soon turned to the sea as well.

The Player soldiers knew that in Paba, their laws had forced children to do all of the work gathering fish to feed their families while their parents sat idle and claimed to be too busy to fish. This had quickly produced throngs of runaway children, tired of risking their lives for adults who gave nothing back except a place to sleep. The children were nonetheless able to complete their tasks because Paba's birthrate was so high that children vastly outnumbered adults. But in Tata, there were more adults than children, and the Play soldiers worried that their adopted children would collapse as they attempted to feed adults who were much larger than the children in both physical size and in number.

Farms

However, once the war was over, the ban was lifted, and farms run by the Dreamers were assigned to Player families, with the labor being shared between the Players and their Dreamer slaves.

Player farmers worked alongside their slaves and performed similar tasks. The only difference was that the Players could end their workday anytime they felt like it, and the slaves would have to make up the difference. Some farmers did no work at all. This was their right, as the total food produced was the same whether the Play farmers helped or not.

Other postwar reforms

Other new construction in Dreamland

The new Player-led government of Dreamland allowed the Dreamer party to persist and dominate power in Posesee, but they moved the capital of Dreamland to Eweti, which remained under Player martial law. They offered the inhabitants of Posesee 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 Posesee 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.

Soldiers return home

Most Play soldiers chose to remain in Dreamland to run the new country, but some returned. Those who returned were mostly those with wives and children at home. When they returned, the economy of Paba rapidly improved. Farming was restored through slave labor. Fishing yields increased when stronger, more endurant adults rowed the boats, 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 human waste in city centers was solved when the Player governors had their captured slaves shovel up the messes into wheelbarrows and push 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.

Treatment of disease

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 20000, more than any other war in recent 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.

The birthrate in Tata was lower than it had been in Paba because the Player parents wanted to spoil the children and because children in Tata were less important for farm and fishing labor. Even so, the child mortality rate was also lower, and the population swelled rapidly after the war ended.

Raspara close in

When the Players had gone westward and northward during the war, they had failed to conquer the nation of Rasparia, which was now located in northern Vaamū, although before the war it had been northwest of Vaamū. Rasparia was a breakaway nation from Vaamū, whose people had set up their own government after escaping the Leapers in 4108. There was a single capital city, Blop, and some countryside to the west.

When the Raspara men in Paba realized that the Play soldiers were mostly not coming back, they set their sights on the female population of Paba. Since there were few Play men in Paba, the Raspara had few competent adversaries, and they prepared for a battle of men against women to secure control of Paba.

The Raspara declared themselves the enemy of all non-Raspara men, including the Zeniths and the tall, virile men who had recently immigrated from Baeba Swamp. They ignored the Play men entirely, seeing them as mere boys. This was not an insult to the Players' impressive military campaign in Dreamland, but merely an acknowledgement that Player men were short in stature and thus inferior suitors for even their own women. The Raspara had earlier promised to split control of the Play women with the rival Zenith tribes, but now declared that they wanted unchallenged control throughout all of Paba.

Play party ideology required men to obey women, and the Play men who had returned from Dreamland had reassumed their submissive lifestyle. But the Raspara argued that the Play men in Dreamland were almost certainly raping the native Dreamer women, and that everything the Raspara were planning to do to the Players would be mild in comparison to what the Players were doing in Dreamland.

However, the Raspara were not simply planning an all-out, hand-to-hand battle against the Player women, as they felt that, despite their pride, they would probably lose the war. It was not the Players they were afraid of — Player women were entirely untrained in combat and had made no preparations for a war — but rather the Zeniths and other tribes. The Zeniths had lived in Paba for thousands of years, and had abused the ancestors of the Players for much of that time, but the Raspara worried that the Players would unite with their abusers if they found a common enemy they felt to be even worse. Thus the Raspara promised to fight alone against not just the Players, but also the Zeniths, the Baebans, and the few Leapers still holding on in upland forest campsites.

Raspara plans for control

The Raspara leaders knew that the Dreamers' attempt to conquer the Players in a conventional war had been doomed from the start, and that the only way to defeat the Players was to outsmart them. The Raspara wanted to make their nation much like Vaamū, and did not want to destroy Vaamū, but only to overthrow the Play government and rule the nation themselves, rather as the Leapers had, a small parasitic minority ruling over a large submissive majority. Players outnumbered Rasparas by a vast ratio, and Rasparia itself had a Player majority, because many Players had fled into Rasparia to escape the Leapers, and then stayed there when they learned that their government had promised to hold that land.

Contact with students

Although the Play women outnumbered the Raspara men by a wide margin, they were themselves outnumbered by their children. Many of these children were growing frustrated at their difficult living situation, and though the construction of schools had only just begun, many young children had quickly come to question their parents' ideology. Raspara men encountered these children in daily life and hoped to tear them away from the Play party, but the Play children refused to listen to any advice from adult males, and told the Raspara that arguments didn't matter: the Play children were the masters of their own fates, and the truth was as accessible to an uneducated young child as to a lifelong scholar.

Frustrated with their attempts to approach children, the Raspara turned their attention to the women. Using logic, the Raspara men managed to convince the Player women in Rasparia that it would be wise to have Rasparas in control of the government, because they were better educated and otherwise more fit for leadership. Rasparia thus rejoined Vaamū, and mostly took over the forts that the Players had built in Rasparia. They began to influence Players even outside their base, and even though Players outnumbered them by a huge ratio, both the Rasparas and the Players began to feel that it was inevitable that the Rasparas would soon take over the government of all of Vaamū. Many Players began to feel extremely frustrated at this fact, saying they had just eliminated their only major enemy in the world and had thus effectively conquered the world. Now the Rasparas were asking them to give it all up and become slaves again simply because the Raspara were better educated.

Player women's conference

The Player women held a private conference in Paba, with no Raspara men invited to the event. They had done this many times in the past, and their conferences had long been notorious for their inability to change the rigid policies that had precipitated each conference. But this time, the Player women worked quickly and announced a new law that banned the Raspara party and called on the Player men to kill all of the Raspara men. Since their government was communitarian, they spoke for the entire female Play population, and Player men were required by law to obey their women.

But their plans were constantly thwarted by Rasparas and pro-Raspara Players, and the Raspara men only continued expanding their disproportionate influence over Vaamū. Within a year, Raspara men were making most of the important decisions in Vaamū, and whenever Players tried to do something to upset them, the Rasparas would threaten to massacre the Players, and the Players often backed down in order to appease the Rasparas.

Threats to Raspara power

When AlphaLeap had taken over Vaamū, many Crystals had fled to ancient homelands such as the Oyster Coast. Thus, there were many Crystals living outside Vaamū, and though all of the various Crystal groups were known for their radical political ideas, they all frequently disagreed with each other even on core issues. There were even underground movements of Crystal dissent within Vaamū.

The Rasparas realized that they could not continue fighting wars forever, and that Vaamū in its current state was not self-sufficient. They needed to improve Vaamū's economic system, they realized, because the cost of raising so many children each year was putting a strain on the economy. They began to plan a way to trick the Players into killing each other to the point where the Players would only outnumber the Raspara by a ratio of about 5:1, which to the Rasparas was low enough to allay their fears of a revolt.

Massacre of 4141

In 4141, the Raspara began to admit young Player children into the Raspara party, and then launched a war against the remnant Players. Even as they adopted children, they focused their attacks on young children, because they intended to make sure future generations of Players would be proportionately smaller even if most adult Players survived their attacks. In this war, they killed a large fraction of the Player child population, but nevertheless, the children greatly outnumbered the Raspara men.

War in Tarwas

As the Raspara attacked Play children with iron beams, they directed the Play army to launch a new war against their traditional ally, Tarwas. The Players managed to conquer Tarwas and soon gave formal control of it to the Raspara. However, the citizens of Tarwas put up tougher resistance than those of Dreamland, and the Players were never able to secure a lasting peace.

War in Amade

Similarly, they had also invaded and conquered Amade. Both of these wars were with Raspara direction, as the Rasparas wanted to see more Players die in order to strengthen Raspara control over the survivors.

Restoration of child labor

Because of the high birthrate, the Play population soon again consisted mostly of children. The population was now growing so fast that Players living in some parts of the empire were not getting enough food, because they were eating it faster than it could be sent to them. There were no more slaves to capture, and the native Players now vastly outnumbered them anyway. The Rasparas decided to introduce child labor yet again. Soon, those Players who were old enough to work led a much harder life than non-Vaamūans just to break even with their own need for survival. As soon as they could tell yes from no, Player children left the nursery and went to work on plantations and in factory prisons where all of their food and clothing were made.

But the Raspara still felt some sympathy for the Player workers, as they saw themselves as on the same side in a fight against their common enemy, the Dreamers. [5]

Although the Raspara overseers allowed the Players to play whenever they wished, there was still a lot of work that needed to be done. The Players were told that they were allowed to do anything they wished that would help themselves, but they were told that bad habits would cause them to be hurt and, if necessary, killed. By no means was the work given to the Players impossible to complete, except for those who were disabled, but Players who could not or would not do the work they were assigned lived in fear of the many frightening punishments for Players who played too much. Many of these involved crushing the children, as the Raspara knew that this type of punishment could not be turned back on them.

The Player economy was still low on resources and hungry for land despite the enormous size of their empire. The Raspara began sending Player explorers to Tarwas to settle the southern third of the nation.

But after this flurry of activity in the early 4140s, the Play party seemed to quiet down somewhat and go back to focusing on their own country. Their population growth had been stunted by the Massacre of 4141, which allowed their economic growth to speed up. Since their whole economy was directed toward the military, this meant that their military was rapidly becoming more powerful.

Minor revolts against the Raspara

Where other nations weren't helping to cut down Vaamū's flowerlike growth, it was the Players' own misplaced leadership that ruined their ancestors' plans. It came to seem that AlphaLeap's parting words of hatred were correct after all. The Rasparas relied on a complicated political machine to keep their workers in line. Political battles over problems such as the increasing abuse of Players by their Raspara leaders gradually eroded the ability of the Rasparas to control their subjects, and at times they again lost control over small areas of Vaamū (which included Tata at this time). The Rasparas were aware of these signs of decay in their nation, but they were already doing their best to prevent a total rupture of their government.

Adding to the problem was the fact that they were still overwhelmingly outnumbered by Players, and the fact that most of these Players were very stubborn and yet very gullible people, who would listen to and obey orders from people who promised to solve their many problems. Even some Rasparas began to defect from their party and form independent political organizations within Vaamū intending to overthrow the mainstream Raspara government. But most of the new rebels were ex-Players, who were better at gaining trust from other Players than were Rasparas.

New parties in Paba

Flower Bees

In 4143, a new political party arose in Vaamū: the Flower Bees (Sui si). The Bees lived in the western counties of the region of Subumpam, and had originated from children's fishing associations along the south coast. They believed that fishing was inefficient, and wished to regain control of the fallow farms in the interior that their parents had earlier abandoned. But they also planned on holding the coast, both to control sea traffic and to harvest a relatively small catch of fish.

They had begun their plans to rebel against their parents when they realized that the mainline Play party was satisfied with conquering Dreamland and would not go on to invade the rest of the world. The Bees remembered the promise of the early Play generals that once Dreamland was subdued, the rest of the planet would soon follow. Since their parents refused to start a new war, the Bees made plans to run away from their homes and form a nation of their own. However, they had suppressed their desire to revolt for more than four years. However, when the predatory Raspara army threw the Players out of power, the children soon learned that their parents had done little to resist this, and so the Bees formally declared war against their parents.

Because the Bees had originated several years earlier, they had enrolled more than 50,000 members, and yet they were entirely without adult members, and the Bees promised to kill any adults who attempted to reach their territory, which they called the Hive.

The Bee leaders were teenagers who had been born during the last few years of AlphaLeap's rule (4108 — 4127) and had never been allowed an education of any kind, but yet had been too young to participate in the Play army's decisive victory against Dreamland in 4139. They believed that the Play was the strongest army in the world, and that their nation's adults had betrayed them by submitting so quickly to the Raspara. Thus, the Bee leaders were on the verge of adulthood themselves, but refused to join their nation's army, and thus referred to themselves as boys and girls. However, many Bees were much younger than this, and had joined the Bees after hearing encouraging advice from their older siblings.

The Bees denied adults the right of conversion and said that anyone who converted during the Bees' planned revolt would be insincere. Thus the Bee children planned to fight a war against their nation's entire adult population, and then after that to go on to fight wars against foreign nations. Some Bees were frightened of their leaders' plans, and pled for the Bees to wait until they grew into adults themselves. However, because the Bees were too young to have started their own families, they had very few young children among their ranks, and the Bee military leaders felt that on balance their age would be no handicap. The Bees claimed that teenagers were in fact the prime age for fighting a war, and that the younger members would be teenagers by the time the older ones became adults.

Bee party platform

The Bees were not a children's rights party, as such was meaningless in a society without adults; but they expected to remain Bees all their lives and wrote laws intended for the future so that when they became adults they could keep close control of their future children.

The Bees rejected the feminist Play party platform, and said that boys would have the right to attend and speak during the girls' meetings, just as girls would have the right to offer military advice to the boys.

Bees revolt

The Bees launched a civil war against their parents, but soon extended this to all other nations and political parties, saying that the Bees had the sole right to rule on their planet. They swarmed through four counties in the fertile region of western Subumpam and called their new nation the Hive. All non-Bees were pushed out of the Hive, and the borders were closely guarded. Soon, there were more than 50,000 Bees living in the Hive, making it larger than Paba.

The Play party was unprepared for the scale of the Bees' revolt, and the Bees' parents were shocked as their children attacked them, but the children's assault was well coordinated, showing a calculated precision uncommon in the Play party's history. The Bees did not kill their younger siblings, but warned the surviving non-Bee children that they would soon have to convert to the Bee party or face abandonment in the wilderness.

Internal dissent

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 Rasparia.

Raspara counterattack

Though the Bees were well-armed, and typically strong for their age, they were poorly organized, with no natural leaders. The boys had invaded Rasparia hoping to catch the Raspara off guard, but the Raspara soldiers quickly overpowered the boys and chased them back towards the Hive. Here, the Raspara took on the entire Bee population in an all-out war, and made no promise of amnesty for Bees who surrendered.

The Raspara wore thick armor and could not outrun the fleeing Bee boys, but the boys had no similar armor to wear, and so their strategy relied on ambushing the Raspara when they met up inside the Hive. The Raspara invaded the boys from the north and moved toward the center of the Hive, expecting to find a capital city. There was no capital, however, so the Raspara attacked the Bees as they spread throughout the entire Hive, confident that they could defeat the children who surrounded and outnumbered them.

The Raspara soon formed an east-west front that split the Hive in two, trapping the kids on the north side of the front against the mountains that bordered other Raspara claims. They figured these kids would soon starve because they could not get to the sea. Meanwhile, they left the southern half of the Hive alone, hoping the Bee boys would launch a futile attempt to break through the Raspara barrier so the Raspara could defeat both groups quickly.

Conflict with Laaatalalatataaa

The Bee invasion thus failed, and the Raspara enslaved the Bees who survived. Then the Raspara declared war on another new political party, the Laaatalalatataaa, an Andanese party which had no translated form of their name. Most members were children, and the Laaatalalatataaa were even larger than the Bees had been, with an initial membership count of 79,000. However, there were some adults, both male and female.

The Laaatalalatataaa ruled just east of where the Bees had been.

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 earlier. Thus the Raspara now owned over 100,000 slaves, mostly teens with some younger kids and a few thousand adults.

The Play capital city was Săla, located just east of where the Laaatalalatataaa had ruled. But the Raspara held back, figuring that their victories against the child rebels were poor predictors of their chances of success against the small but battle-proven Play army.

Play debates

The massive rebellions in the western counties had cost the Players many of their strongest soldiers. The Play party now consisted mostly of enslaved women and young, needy children. Some Player women considered simply admitting defeat, as they realized how vulnerable they and their children were now that they had no men to protect them. The Players had always held firmly to their political beliefs, but even the hardline Players now contemplated submitting to the Raspara in the hopes that their children would be among those few to be accepted as Raspara themselves.

But rather than pursue the Play women, the Raspara slavemasters once again approached young Play children, hoping to enroll the smartest of them into the Raspara party and leave others behind. They challenged their child slaves to organized debates, promising them that, unlike the Leapers, they would not kill children who lost a debate.

In the past, the Player kids had entirely rejected the Raspara, saying that any opinion held by an adult should be ignored even if it was correct, and that the children's inborn intuition would always guide them to the truth. Now that they were slaves, they were even more hostile than before. But the Raspara felt they could convince the children even though they had failed in the past. The Raspara pointed out how the Flower Bees, a society entirely without adults, had made life dangerous for their supporters and worse for their enemies. They promised that if the children formally submitted to Raspara rule and gave up their struggles to escape the labor camps, they would be safe and happy because they would have competent adult male leaders.

Nevertheless, the Play children retained their tendency to reject all adult advice, and a mere handful of them joined the Raspara; those who did fled from the others because the Players considered traitors to be even worse than the other Raspara.

War of the Ferns

In 4145, a small tropical nation called Amade invaded Play territory from the south, having just signed a pact with Tarwas promising to meet in the middle and squeeze the large but hazardously unstable Play Empire between them. The Players called the Amade-Tarwas alliance the Ferns. The Ferns won this war, but realized that occupying the remainder 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.

Amade had started its invasion by taking over the newly conquered Raspara territories where they had impounded most of their child slaves. This was because the Play navy had fled eastward towards Sala, leaving the coastline exposed. Thus, Amade dealt the Raspara a rare defeat. Even so, they killed more Players than Raspara as they moved quickly towards Sala.

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.

In 4149, the Raspara were overthrown by a wing of the Play party known as the Tinks.

Union with Anzan

In 4138, the victorious Play army had added their newly conquered Dreamer land to the preexisting border state of Tata, and set up an all-female government replicating the original government in Paba.

In 4149, after having changed hands several times, the Tink army took control of Paba and claimed the right to rule the entire empire of Vaamū, which they renamed Anzan. The Players signed an agreement with the Tinks affirming that they recognized each other as part of the same party.

Both parties rejected child labor and stated that adults should serve children rather than the converse. Though the Players had early on forced young children to fish the sea to feed their parents, they abolished this practice once they began enslaving Dreamers.

Feminism

The Players considered themselves feminists, and restricted all political power to adult women. The Tinks did the precise opposite, as they blamed female power for their series of embarrassing military and political defeats. Since the Tinks ruled the capital city of Săla, their platform overruled the Players', and the Players were forced to fire all their female politicians and replace them with uneducated males who were accustomed to a life of outdoors activities such as fishing and hunting.

A majority of Tata's Player women agreed to recognize the decisions made by their newly empowered men, and a majority of Player men voted to set up a new opinions council composed of women who had served in the previous government, and then to do whatever those women told them to do. Dissenting males were stripped of power entirely, and the Players announced they had rescued their all-female government system from the Tinks in Săla. However, the new system restricted government power to a small cadre of women rather than the entire adult female population, as before. This reform had been proposed before, but had always failed.

By sending women home from their government jobs, the Players in Tata answered the long-standing complaint that their empire was still run by child labor, with small children fishing the sea to feed women who stayed indoors all day and men who stalked the wilderness claiming to be fighting a war that had ended in 4139, ten years earlier. However, this reform was no check on the power of men.

Later political evolution

As the Tinks in Anzan began attending schools run by the well-educated Raspara minority, their ideology rapidly changed, while the self-educated supporters in Dreamland refused to make even slight changes.

In 4151, the Raspara-educated Tinks, mostly living in the northern reaches of their empire, launched a civil war against their party base in Paba, forcing the victims to declare themselves a new party, the Creamers (Žayu). This name translated a native-language pun, not the name itself; they chose their new name to show that even allying with their age-old enemy, Dreamland, was preferable to mending relations with the Tinks who had attacked them. Since they stated that they preferred Dreamland to the Tinks, the Creamers also declared opposition to the Player occupation of Dreamland, but most Creamers believed that the Players could be brought back into the fold since they were not being exposed to Raspara propaganda.

In 4152, the Tinks changed their name to the Swamp Kids and declared that they would soon conquer Baeba Swamp. Thus, the Players in Dreamland realized that they would be forced to occupy Dreamland with no help.

Famine of 4152

Famine struck Tata in 4152, as the Players' traditional fish-based economy failed in the less fertile oceans off the coast of Dreamland.

Further wars in Tata

First Dolphin Rider war

In early 4168, Dreamland's Dolphin Rider party invaded the Players in Tata, claiming that the Play ideology was nearly identical to the Riders', and that the Rider army reserved the right to rule over all Rider supporters. The Swamp Kids learned of the invasion quickly and then also invaded Tata. While the two armies fought each other, the Players realized that neither side cared much about the Players, and that many Players might die in a war that could only help their enemies.

The Dolphin Riders quickly surrendered, as they had been expecting the Players to support them against the Swamp Kids. But the Players were now very weak, as they had let their military decay over the years. By the summer of 4170, the Swamp Kids declared victory and set up an occupation government in Tata.

Secession

The Players outnumbered the Swamp Kids in Tata by an enormous margin, and therefore the Swamp Kids' victory in the war meant little in daily life. The Players reformed their government by removing all of the practices that they had established solely to win the cooperation of the Swamp Kids. They fired all males from the non-military sectors of the government and declared their female parliament to have supreme power. They warned parents that the government might soon close schools, and that children would once again have to fish the sea to provide food for their families. But while they prepared to take these actions, they held off, as they hoped that the Swamp Kids would be too weak to pursue a second war.

Confident they would be safe, the Players seceded in early January 4172. The Swamp Kids had no reaction to this, as they were tied down fighting many other civil wars. Thus Tata became an independent nation, free from both Dreamland and Anzan. More than 150,000 people lived in Tata, and although the Players had allowed the Tinks' multiparty democracy to remain, nearly all people supported the Play party.

Second invasion

In mid-4172, a wing of the Swamp Kids called the Pioneers (Baumiata) invaded Tata again, planning to conquer the Players and set them up as a pro-Pioneer province of Anzan. This war ended in early 4173, but this time, the Players outnumbered the invaders by an even greater ratio than before, and many Players simply pushed their way through Pioneer army outposts as though nothing had happened. Some Players even settled in Anzan, knowing that neither the Pioneers nor the other Swamp Kids could stop them.

Further secessions

When the Swamp Kids' central government in Săla heard that the Players were violating their surrender treaty so blatantly, they not only granted Tata independence but also ceded them more of Anzan's land to settle in. The governors tried to get their military leaders to back off their quest for ever more land and focus on defending their home territory, which was under attack by several hostile armies.

When news spread that the Players had lost two wars and then seceded anyway, many other parties also seceded, forming new republics in undesirable territories such as the new Crystal state in Hukuku and the Repilians in the icecapped mountains. None of these seceding armies compared to Tata in size or economic power, however.

Meanwhile, Creamland forged diplomatic ties with the Players, and came to consider the Cream party a branch of the Play party rather than a branch of the Swamp Kids. But Tata was thousands of miles away from Creamland, so there were no attempts at formal unification.

War with Dreamland

In 4175, Dreamland invaded Tata once more, but this time they left the Players alone and headed further east to fight the Swamp Kids. They had signed a secret treaty with their enemy, the Raspara, promising to put aside their differences so they could crush the Swamp Kids between them. The Swamp Kids quickly surrendered, but noted that the Raspara army had caused far more damage to them than had the Dreamers. Creamland did not participate in this war.

In the runup to this war, many Swamp Kids had defected to the Raspara, and even though the Swamp Kids had often been poor soldiers, the converts learned Raspara strategies and generally outperformed the Swamp Kids. Some Swamp Kids realized that this meant the Swampy generals were incompetent, but they had no feasible way to replace their leadership. This led to another wave of conversion.

Generational divide

By 4175, many elder Players were looking to join new parties, but the younger generation was much more conservative. The Play party had stayed true to its roots in representing the interests of children and parents of large households, whereas the dissenters were often people who had no children or had children who were hostile to their interests. Young adults tended to side with the children, even if they were single.

Ultimately, only about 2% of the Play population converted to the Raspara party. Thus, the Raspara were about 2% of the population of Tata, with Players comprising most of the rest.

Gapeyes

In 4177, the Raspara party of Tata declared war on the Swamp Kids and launched an invasion of Anzan. They claimed they were invading at the behest of the Play party, and they wore Play party battle uniforms. The Rasparas focused mostly on kidnapping and quickly retreated to Tata. The Swamp Kids declared war on the Players and told their soldiers to expect an easy war.

The Rasparas forced their newly captured slaves to set up a wall around Tata's capital city of Pindu and remain in slave camps there. While the Swampies fought the Players in the eastern half of Tata, the Raspara solidified their control over the capital and points west. Even though there were only 3,000 Raspara in Tata, they managed to conquer and control the 160,000 Players using the same strategies that Anzan's Raspara had used to control the Swamp Kids.

When the Swamp Kids' army reached Pindu, they found the Raspara guards awaiting them at the newly built city walls. Visible through gaps in the walls, however, were the newly built slave camps in which Swamp Kids were toiling away for their Raspara masters. The Swamp Kids could not understand how they had been tricked, but they knew that they had been tricked many times before and that nothing they did seemed to help them. The Swamp Kids thus surrendered to the Raspara and Tata became a Raspara-controlled state.

The Thunderstorm Treaty

Nonetheless, the Raspara in Tata soon signed the Thunderstorm Treaty, which reduced their powers and assigned new powers to the Swamp Kids. The Raspara had done this for humanitarian reasons, as they had nothing to gain from it; they simply admitted, even as they whipped Swamp Kids every day, that their latest scheme had been cruel even by Raspara standards.

By signing the Thunderstorm Treaty, the Swamp Kids in Tata became slaveowners, and their slaves were the Players who had been earlier conquered by the Raspara. Thus, the Swamp Kids and the Raspara cooperated to oppress and abuse the Players. Even so, some Swamp Kids remained in slavery, as the Raspara wanted to make it clear that they still held the real power in Tata. This setup also humiliated the Swampy anti-slavery advocates, because they could not ask the Raspara to free the Swampy slaves when they knew that in Tata, the Swamp Kids had just as many slaves of their own.

The Thunderstorm Treaty annexed Tata back into Anzan as a kingdom, meaning that there would be no democracy in Tata. Their king, Yašapatu, was loyal to the Swamp Kids, and the Raspara did not mind being out of power because King Yašapatu's powers mostly concerned how Tata interacted with the rest of Anzan, rather than issues local to Tata that he was too weak to control.

Matrix secession

Within months, most of Tata's Raspara changed parties yet again, this time to a non-ideological party calling itself the Matrixes. The Matrixes promised to win every war by aligning themselves with the winning side, and claimed that, because they had no ideology, they could always be welcome on any side in a war.

Royal leadership

King Yašapatu kept Tata out of the war that was raging in Anzan and spreading to Baeba Swamp, but to prevent revolt he had to make many concessions. Though a member of the Swamp Kids, he could not even free his own people, some of whom were still doing slave labor for the Matrixes.

By the late 4180s, Tata was divided among five parties. In order from strongest to weakest, these five parties were the Dolphin Riders, the Matrixes, the Raspara, the Swamp Kids, and the Players. The Riders had recently arrived from Dreamland but were strong because the whole of Dreamland was on their side rather than itself being divided among mutually hostile political parties.

The Players were the weakest party even though they had by far the most members. The Riders were the strongest because they controlled Dreamland.

Union with Dreamland

In 4188, the Matrixes betrayed a Swampy army that was attempting to topple the Dolphin Riders. The Matrixes abducted enormous numbers of Swamp Kids, and the Swamp Kids were forced to abandon their war. In return, the Dolphin Riders formally submitted all of their power to the Matrixes, admitted Tata to Dreamland, and moved the capital of Dreamland to Tata. The Riders then disbanded the Rider party in Tata only, and most Riders in Tata became Matrixes, sharing the spoils of a war that they had not fought in. The Matrixes accepted this, as they needed as many converts as they could find.

Though the Matrixes were just one of four parties remaining in Tata, with the Dreamers on their side, the Matrix army soon took full control of Tata.

Dreamland's total population was around 584,000, and therefore the Dreamers outnumbered the Matrixes by more than 100 to 1, and Dreamland was much more politically harmonious than Tata or Anzan. Even so, the Dolphin Riders knew their control over Dreamland was feeble and that not many of the Dreamers would be willing to fight a war to help only the Riders. Thus, the Dolphin Riders figured the best way to handle the Matrixes would be to admit them into Dreamland as simply another political party, and that if the Matrixes made moves towards conquering the rest of Dreamland, the other Dreamer parties would then have a strong motive to unite with the Riders and push out the Matrixes.

Not all of the Dolphin Riders supported the Matrixes' slavery programs, and therefore the Dolphin Riders allowed the Play party to exist and stand for elections in Dreamland proper.

Foundation of KST

In 4190, Tata's Raspara and Swamp Kids merged into the Cold Men. Thus, there were now only three parties in Tata: the Players, the Matrixes, and the Cold Men. The Cold Men and Matrixes both enslaved the Players, so the Players refused to side with one party over the other.

The Raspara had been upset at being locked out of power, and decided to unite with their victims so they could find a third party to abuse. However, this alliance only affected Tata; the Swamp Kids and Raspara continued to fight each other in Anzan. The mainline Swamp Kids considered KST treasonous, but nevertheless, they kept king Yašapatu on his throne and continued to govern Tata even though his rule was greatly weakened by the fact that nearly none of his subjects were members of his party.

Wall of Tata

Around 4207,[6] the Zeniths and others allowed the enslaved Dolls to themselves enslave and abuse the Matrixes who now made up the majority of the population of Tata.

Notes

  1. Not Gabaw
  2. in STRAWB.DOC, the language is called "Keyapayaqa", not Bābākiam.
  3. They renamed their new empire Vaamū, abolishing the use of the name Halasala.
  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. The Players believed that only God could make someone completely happy, and that God could break through any emotions caused by the physical world. But they knew that God had never promised to make the Play workers completely happy all the time, so they had to rely partly on other sources of good emotions.
  6. See Zenith