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.
- 1 Language
- 2 Background
- 3 First years under the Leapers
- 4 Independence
- 5 Play party platform
- 5.1 Naming and symbols
- 5.2 Gender issues
- 5.3 Demographics
- 5.4 Economic restructuring
- 5.5 Adoption and family planning
- 5.6 Hygiene
- 6 Growth and early struggles
- 7 Food and housing reforms
- 7.1 Children's responses
- 7.2 Early objections
- 7.3 Orphans and runaways
- 7.4 Regulation of fishing
- 7.5 Contact with STW
- 7.6 Abolition of homeownership
- 8 The Baywatch War
- 9 Raspara reaction
- 10 AlphaLeap enters the war
- 11 War with Dreamland
- 12 War in Dreamland
- 12.1 Counterinvasion of Dreamland
- 12.2 Play victory
- 13 Postwar reforms
- 14 Reforms in Dreamland
- 15 Further reforms in Dreamland
- 16 Raspara close in
- 17 Tidepool War
- 18 War of the Ferns
- 19 Flower Bee rebellion
- 19.1 Secession
- 19.2 Background
- 19.3 Formation of the Hive
- 19.4 Battle of Tayumīpī
- 19.5 Bee-Pearl relations
- 19.6 Battle of Ŋanačaip
- 19.7 Pāpaŋa Māp
- 19.8 Conflict with the Pearls
- 20 Raspara move east
- 21 Eggs reappear
- 22 Filth War
- 23 Cream War
- 24 Constitution of 4152
- 25 Growth of factions
- 26 Tribal conflicts
- 26.1 Creation of tribal boundaries
- 26.2 Absolutist position
- 26.3 Moderate position
- 26.4 Strict position
- 26.5 Summary of positions
- 26.6 Developments
- 26.7 Urban renewal
- 26.8 Dreamers in Tata
- 27 Rise of the Purse
- 28 Firestone war
- 29 Balance system
- 30 Diplomatic reactions to Play reforms
- 31 Play Federation
- 32 Snake War
- 32.1 Rider invasion
- 32.2 Swamp Kids invade Tata
- 32.3 Occupation of Tata
- 32.4 Secession
- 32.5 Treaty of Panatue
- 32.6 Two-front war
- 32.7 Second invasion
- 32.8 Further secessions
- 33 Party consolidation
- 34 First Mallard War
- 35 Expansion and new schools
- 36 Second Mallard War
- 36.1 STW invasion
- 36.2 New Cold treaties
- 36.3 Cold Men invade Memnumu
- 36.4 The Impossible Treaty
- 36.5 Continued fighting in the south
- 37 Role of Xema
- 38 Cash economy
- 39 Proposals for economic reform
- 40 Invasion of Tata
- 41 The Little Country
- 42 Counter War
- 43 Invasion of Nama
- 44 Rise of pacifism
- 45 New transnational school systems
- 46 Political developments in Nama
- 47 Resistance to pacifism
- 48 Weather War
- 48.1 Occupation of Thaoa
- 48.2 Challenges to minor parties
- 48.3 Battle of Ŋasupuniūa
- 48.4 Moonshine enters the war
- 48.5 Appeal to aboriginals
- 48.6 War against the Scorpions
- 48.7 Players push north
- 48.8 Weather symbolism
- 48.9 Contact with the Rash
- 49 Period of calm
- 50 Peace treaty
- 51 Orange War
- 52 Further northward expansion
- 53 Cosmopolitan Age
- 54 Notes
- See Play languages for languages that developed in later times.
The Players were unusually diverse linguistically, as they were a true political party united by ideology rather than a tribe whose members put aside ideology to seek their common interests. Nonetheless, the Players valued loyalty to their diverse nation, and foreign tribes associated with hostile nations could not join, regardless of their ideological beliefs.
Nonetheless, most Players spoke either Bābākiam, which came to simply be called the Play language, or Late Andanese. These languages belonged to separate lineages within the Play nation, and contact between the two was limited, yet many Players were fluent in both languages. The less widely spoken languages were associated with tribes living in compact geographical areas, and these tribes usually also learned to speak Play, but it was rare for a speaker of a tribal language to also learn Andanese.
The Players were fond of their linguistic talents. 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.
The Bābākiam language was simply called Play in diplomatic meetings, even though it soon became the language of other political parties, and even though most Players were bilingual with Late Andanese as their second language. This followed a longstanding planet-wide tradition of considering each language to belong to a specific tribe, and for each tribe to be a political party. However, the Players never found fault with other speakers of Bābākiam using their own political terms for their language.
In 4107, the Dolphin Rider party, which ruled the distant western empire of Dreamland, announced they had conquered the planet. Their claim was that because they had overthrown Adabawa, who had previously controlled all of Dreamland, and because Dreamland at its peak had indeed controlled much of the planet, all prior land claims made by Adabawa and his predecessors now passed to the Dolphin Riders, and the Dolphin Riders planned to expand on those already very broad territorial claims. The vast empire that Adabawa had inherited and passed to Dolphin Rider control was named the Anchor Empire.
However, outside powers knew that the Riders would be very weak outside their home territory of Dreamland. The Riders had overthrown Adabawa, whose rule over Dreamland had been unstable for many years, and the Dolphin Riders' control over Dreamland was firm. Yet the Rider army was based on domestic support, and their radical nationalism had no appeal to the many peoples of the Anchor Empire, who had earlier submitted to Adabawa's rule because Adabawa had promised an improvement in their quality of life, which in at least some areas, had come to fruition. The Dolphin Riders promised none of this, and as their leaders had never studied diplomacy, they did not realize that they were alienating the people they needed on their side.
Thus, the Dolphin Riders were much weaker than Adabawa had been at projecting influence outside their home territory, and could not enforce the treaties the other nations had signed with Adabawa. The rival empire of AlphaLeap had itself signed this treaty with Adabawa, and thus was nominally allied with the Dolphin Riders, but decided in 4108 to ignore the treaty and claim the southern parts of the Anchor Empire for AlphaLeap. They invaded the ancient city of Paba and planned to grow from there to encircle all land east of Baeba Swamp.
Unlike the Dolphin Riders, AlphaLeap's political elite was skilled in international diplomacy, and understood precisely how to win support from rivals and even enemies. However, they also understood that in many situations, a soft touch was not necessary, and that their superiority over the vulnerable peoples of Pubumaus and its environs would allow them to invade Pubumaus, describe in detail how they would soon abuse the natives, and then watch them tremble in fear before the powerful Leaper soldiers.
First years under the Leapers
Paba (a trade name for Pubumaus) had long been admired for its school system. Though they never produced world-renowned scholars, Paba's school system had remained independent for more than a thousand years, resisting invasions by outside powers, and hiring teachers from the local population, unlike some other school systems whose teachers were imported from foreign lands and thus required children to learn a second language just to attend school. Textbooks in Paba contained the knowledge of local scholars, rather than having been written by outside powers such as STW, the Baywatchers, or the Dolphin Riders.
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. All books would be written in the Leaper language only, and anyone, child or adult, caught reading a book not written or approved by the Leapers would be killed immediately.
Plans for expansion
The Leapers claimed the right to rule the entire Anchor Empire, but they located their capital in Pūpepas, in the extreme south, in order to keep it close to their homeland, AlphaLeap.
The Leapers knew that they had little chance of actually conquering the entire Anchor Empire, even as they understood that the Dolphin Riders' military prowess was vastly overestimated. They could not reliably estimate how many Anchor citizens would support the Riders, but the Leaper census could count only 3,000 trustworthy Leaper supporters among the many natives of Paba. They soon enslaved these people to ensure that they would be easy to control. They hoped that their economic strengths would make up for their weak military control, and that even politically hostile areas of the Empire would submit to AlphaLeap's rule once AlphaLeap had control of their basic material needs.
The Leapers had built their capital in Pūpepas, whose people had for centuries maintained the world's highest birthrate, leading it to be known as the Nursery of the Anchor Empire (Nuvāpaum Bābā) and the Pregnant Womb (Paip). The first of these names was not an official name for the city, but nonetheless was the source of the common trade name Paba, a name that came into popular use by foreigners both because of its meaning and because of its sound.
The population had been known for its high fertility primarily because it was an agricultural society dependent on child labor. In fact, in Paba's world-renowned school system, little academic education took place, and children spent most of their time in the fields. As above, what set Paba's school system apart from so many others was its tradition of handing down knowledge that only the locals had, so that farmers knew exactly what crops to plant in each field, when to harvest, and so on; this was knowledge that outsiders could not come across on their own. Fishing was also important, and at times contributed more to the local food supply than farming.
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 Hualahiha rescued many younger girls trapped in a room, and then went to rescue a woman, but then the younger girls turned against Hualahiha 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 project could lead to 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 Anchor Empire, which they called Halasala. AlphaLeap sent about 40,000 soldiers into Halasala to murder the civilian population.
Contact with Puap
Even though Halasala's population was much larger than AlphaLeap's, AlphaLeap expected an easy victory because their soldiers had dangerous weapons and thick 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 in 4108 when it was revealed that AlphaLeap believed it needed to torture Tadpole children in order to wield its power. Thus, the Leapers were seeking shelter in the very nation which had been the first to throw off the Leapers' yoke. Puap's ruling Daisy party was unable to stop this migration.
The Daisies also enslaved Tadpoles, but in Puap, the rulers adored and exalted the Tadpoles as fulfilling the ideal role that the 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 that there was no ethnic division between master and slave in Puap.
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. Many were starving because the wildfires had eliminated their traditional sources of food. The Tadpoles attempted to side with the animals, and guided them to kill AlphaLeap's soldiers because AlphaLeap was invading them. Because the Tadpoles had remembered local knowledge about animal training from the books that the Leapers had burned, they were able to guide the animals, and various animals attacked AlphaLeap's soldiers, biting even 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.
The Tadpoles threw off their manufactured ideology and formed a new political party, the Play party (named Pata in both Bābākiam and Late Andanese). The name was a pun: in the Players' language, it meant "play, fun, unstructured social activity" and in Late Andanese it meant "young child". These two words were not related, and the largely bilingual Players chose their name to show that they stood for children's rights, and that children were meant to have fun.
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.
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' small army avoided direct violence, and preferred to use forest fires and animals with sharp teeth for protection instead of spears and swords.
The Battle of Fingers and Claws
AlphaLeap responded by sending trained firebirds after the Players, specifically a species of firebirds that was much larger than average. The Leapers called these animals gʷùno in their language and papua in the Players' language (in English they can be called "rocs"), and claimed they weighed twenty tons each. The rocs soon killed 5,000 Player soldiers and many more civilians. Nevertheless, the Players quickly secured control of Paba, where most of the Leaper army had been concentrated.
Shortly after the Players defeated the Leapers, a rebel army calling itself the Jokers (Bābākiam Kanaa) asked to split the newly won territory with the Players, saying that since the Jokers had independently killed the rocs and other animals, the Players could not have won the war without them.
Like the Players', the Jokers' party name was meaningful in two languages. In their primary language, Bābākiam, it meaning "joker, jester"; in Andanese, it meant "guiding tree; landmark". However, they did not call attention to this, as the Joker leaders valued their linguistic talents, and considered their name a much weaker pun than the Players' pata. They did not want the Players to beat them at their own game and therefore considered their name to be a Bābākiam name only. Both groups also agreed to refer to their language as Play, recognizing that the Players were the larger party by far and had control of the capital territory from whence the language had spread.
The Players refused to split their territory. The Players admitted that the Jokers had indeed killed the rocs singlehandedly, but pointed out that the Player army was much larger than the Joker army had ever been, and that the Players could have easily won the war with no help.
The Players quickly imprisoned as many Jokers as they could capture. The Jokers then declared war, but they were vastly outnumbered, and soon were swallowed up by the Play army. Those Jokers who did not participate in the attack went into hiding and planned to convert to the Play party once their identities were forgotten, as they expected that both the Players and the Jokers would always be united by their strong opposition to the abusive Leaper army.
The Leapers soon learned what had happened, and many Leaper soldiers began to migrate southward towards AlphaLeap. But others held on to their territory in the north, knowing that the Players really only had control of the immediate vicinity of their capital city and could not project economic influence over the Anchor Empire the way AlphaLeap had. Thus the Players had Leapers both to the north and to the south of them. But because the two Leaper-controlled areas connected with each other only through high mountains, the Leapers did not consider their remaining territory to be a unified empire.
Play party platform
The Play party was run entirely by women. Men simply had no role in the Play party other than to obey women; indeed the Players' constitution stated that adult men could be imprisoned for disobeying their wives and other female relatives, and that this law would never be revoked, even if the entire female Parliament voted to overturn it, because the Play party constitution did not allow amendments of any kind.
Naming and symbols
Names of party and nation
The Play party was called Pata in both major languages of their nation: the Players' primary language, which they now simply called Play, and Andanese. This was a pun: in Play it meant "play; fun for all involved" and in Andanese it meant "young child". The Players were fond of word games and promised to provide many more such clever puns during their time in power.
The Players' new name for their nation was Memnumu, from the Play words mem "breast" and numu "to write", the latter a longstanding byword for a parliament or parliamentary republic. Thus, though they were the clear dominant political party in their nation, they did not claim to be a one-party state, and their nation's name reflected their feminist ideology but not their specific party. It also meant that, as a parliamentary republic, they had no single head of state. This was also the case in Moonshine and many other feminist nations.
Flag and shield designs
The Players created a new flag, mubuputu, whose symbol was a breast with four short diagonal lines surrounding it, forming an X shape.
The Players believed that men could not have the right to vote because it would create a conflict of interest when they were being sent to war. Furthermore, the Players demanded that men spend their entire adult lives 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, and adult men were not allowed in cities without permission from their commanders (usually to visit their families).
Meanwhile, the women at home found themselves vastly outnumbered by needy children. The Pubu society from which the Players had arisen had for more than a thousand years maintained the world's highest fertility rate, and yet had a low infant mortality rate due to the great importance their culture had traditionally placed on keeping babies indoors and safe from diseases and other dangers.
The ancestors of the Players had traditionally been proud of their nation's unstoppable population growth, and the resulting territorial expansion. But now, the combination of high fertility, low infant mortality, war deaths, and the expulsion of traitorous adults had left Play society with an extraordinary population structure.
Census of 4127
The Players soon took a census to determine how to allot representatives in their Parliament; members were offered free food and then stamped to ensure that they would not appear twice.
The census showed that more than 40% of enrolled Players were aged 5 years or younger, including throngs of orphans in the streets with no adults to watch or take care of them. Another 40% consisted of boys and girls up to around the age of 13, too young to marry but old enough to manage their own needs. Seventeen percent of the population were adolescent girls and young women, mostly of childbearing age, as few older women had survived the war.
A mere 3% of the population consisted of military-aged males, and these men were required to fulfill their military duties by remaining in camps far from the cities with only occasional visits to their families. Even the soldiers had many young trainees in their ranks, as they had enrolled after the peak of the war and been spared the worst battles.
Thus, even though Play culture supported polygamy, most women in the cities had no husbands, and those who did rarely saw them. And adults, taken as a whole, were outnumbered four to one by children, including nearly 100,000 orphans, almost a third of the nation's total population. The vast majority of orphans were living on the streets and rarely met adults; even though many women were willing to adopt them, they were tied down with other duties and could not reach the children roaming the streets and beaches.
Such an extreme population balance had never occurred in any other nation, not even in the STW school system that had at times considered itself an independent nation and demanded land of its own. Yet the Players believed their situation was normal, as it was all they had ever known in their short lives.
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 twenty years earlier, none of the children and few of the adults had ever had any education, so they chose to govern their nation based on their emotions.
The Players' vision of their nation's ideal economy was a polar opposite of the Leapers'. They blamed the Leapers for nearly everything that had gone wrong during the Leapers' nineteen years in power, and promised that they would make no compromises with the discredited Leaper ideas.
In the past, the Leapers had brought relative economic prosperity to their colonies, even in relationships where both the Leapers and their subjects agreed that the Leapers were exploiting their subjects and reaping disproportionate benefits. The Players, however, had seen none of this, because the Leapers had simply enslaved their subjects (whom they called Tadpoles) and ruled the nation by force.
The Players thus began their program of radical economic reorganization, again promising that they would make no compromises. Because AlphaLeap had never allowed the Players to attend school, none of the new Play leaders understood economics; they simply knew that they wanted to do the opposite of what the Leapers had done. This soon led to problems that their predecessors had never faced.
Abolition of child labor
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 did not realize the need 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 Play 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.
The circulating Play currency at this time was a coin called the pinupaba or more specifically fuešem pinupaba. The Players continued to recognize this currency, but warned those who held large sums of money that the government would soon be purposedly restricting the purchase and acquisition of items deemed unnecessary for survival, and while they would never confiscate the currency directly, nor would they cut off trade with foreign nations, they would do nothing to stop any unintended inflation or deflation caused by their new economic plans.
Construction of playgrounds
Likewise, the first Player governors declared that they would not only free young children from the need to do farm labor, but would convert every structure built by the Leapers and other previous occupiers into a playground so that Player children could spend all day every day enjoying their new lives.
The word translated as playground here was tāipa, meaning any place, natural or manmade, in which children were seen enjoying themselves. Thus, the Players already had many playgrounds: beaches, forests, and fields dominated their nation's environment, and due to a relative lack of large natural predators, children were safe even when left to themselves. (This is why AlphaLeap could not simply repeat their attack with more firebirds; they could only be bred in a different environment and thus needed to be handled by an actively occupying force.)
Nonetheless, the Players believed that both natural and manmade environments were equally habitable, and pledged to create many large manmade playgrounds through voluntary efforts so that children in cities could enjoy their free time as well. Because these playgrounds would be in civilian territory, they assigned the construction task to women, whom they called the masons (šaušaaa), which was also an obscure byname of the rival, male-led Zenith party, whose men had traditionally been skilled in masonry. Thus, the Players were creating a new nationwide team of female masons, which they considered a culturally important achievement.
Right to play
The right to play (patanūp) was extended to children up to about the age of 13, with the intent that graduation from the as yet unbuilt Play school system would replace the need for a chronological end to childhood in the future. But they realized that forcing children to construct playgrounds would in fact be work, and so made the project voluntary. Few children were skilled in carpentry, and so the young kids were left to play on dangerous rock walls and other structures that had been built primarily for the use of adults.
Definition of work
Within months, the Player leaders claimed that they had abolished labor even for adults, as the only legal occupations for women were childcare and government, and moreover, most women were expected to do both at once. The bricklayers were considered childcare workers because they helped children play; many other tasks far removed from sheltering and feeding children were also subsumed under childcare.
Meanwhile, the only legal occupation for men was to serve in the military. Here too, many jobs far removed from combat were considered part of the military, such as farming (with the intent that surplus crops would go to civilians), and maintenance of the natural environment. None of these jobs was considered work. Any other economic activity was made illegal.
Adoption and family planning
The Players' nation had so many orphans that vast areas of the capital city had been walled off from mainstream society and turned over to the orphans; many of these walls were previously existing physical barriers that had come to serve a new purpose. Here, in these enormous outdoor orphanages, the Players formed sheltered societies without adults, into which children were born and were required to leave when they entered the adult world.
These orphans were of all ages, from abandoned babies to thirteen-year-olds preparing for a life of work in the military or in government. The Players believed that it would be feasible for their existing female population, including existing mothers, to adopt the entire orphan population, pointing to the many existing households consisting of single mothers raising four or more children each. Their traditional economic system had strongly encouraged couples to reproduce, tying family size to basic necessities such as living quarters and access to well-paying jobs. Indeed, most of the childless women in Play society were teenagers who had merely never had the chance to marry. For this reason, the Player women were unable to agree on a law that would compel their women to adopt the orphans, although even the poorest women continuously adopted very young orphans out of pity.
Orphans were expected to take care of their own basic needs except for the acquisition of food, which was provided by the government through the few entrances into the walled-off neighborhoods. The promise of food aid extended even to orphans who refused to live in the private neighborhoods, and many orphans, especially older ones, preferred to live independently and take care of their own needs whenever possible.
Long-term environmental degradation and a primarily urban environment allowed these children to live in the open without the threat of predatory animals; also, they were unusually healthy for orphans in such a dire situation as few communicable diseases could take root in such an environment. Indeed, allowing the older, more mobile orphans to gather their own food reduced the burden on adults to provide for them, and the Players' promise that even these orphans could collect free food when needed provided the proof the Players needed to show that these orphans were not being forced into work.
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 waste each month. But the Players had abolished child labor, and adults kept busy with other tasks; cleaners 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 opposed 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.
Growth and early struggles
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. However they knew that it would take at least a year for edible fruit and grasses to appear, as summer was already partway over. Thus the vast land area held by the Players remained nearly barren of food.
As hunger turned to starvation, the Player children began to desert their playgrounds and form into small independent bands they called taānikia while they searched for a solution to their parents' problems. They knew that they were not allowed to work, but that their fathers were busy protecting the borders from the Leapers, while their mothers were busy gathering wild plants and caring for the children who were too young even to play.
One by one, the bands of roving children recognized their duty to violate their nation's prohibition on child labor. With most adults tied down, children assumed the role of procuring food for themselves and their parents. Because Paba's remaining farmland was out of reach of the cities where nearly all children now lived, and because the wilderness was still too barren to provide any substantial yield of wild plants and nuts, the children turned to their nation's traditionally most reliable source of food: the sea. The Players' fleet of fishing boats was nearly intact, as the fleeing Leapers had used their own, more seaworthy boats to return to their homeland, and the Players had eliminated all other opposing parties along the south coast where the most fish were found.
Early struggles at sea
The small, clumsy children were prone to accidents and injuries in their boats, which had been built for adults and were difficult to row. Furthermore, even these large boats could be overturned when heavy waves reached the shore, and the children were mostly unaware of how to predict when storms would stir up such strong waves.
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.
Food and housing reforms
Preexisting laws in Play territory restricted food distribution to families with children. These laws predated the Play party and were considered cultural norms. Traditionally, couples had married young because they were no longer able to collect food benefits after they turned thirteen, and reproduced quickly because they also could not collect food benefits until the birth of their first child. This had not been a problem because under the traditional way of life, adults were allowed to collect food on their own time, including from the sea, by far the most abundant food source. Because young childless couples had traditionally had the most free time, they had typically not had trouble feeding themselves. But 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 disciplined them and threatened to abandon them if they did not go to the sea. When these children ran to the city centers to complain, the all-female police force arrested the mothers and offered to house the children in an orphanage. The children screamed that they had not wanted the police to harm their mothers, and that their mothers were angry because they desperately needed help obtaining food. But the police refused to provide the women access to the sea, and most of these runaway children soon submitted to their assigned fishing duties so that their mothers would not die.
The Player children relied on each other for basic knowledge, and were untrained in navigation. Some children, particularly in the western counties of Subumpam, believed they could find easier food if they crossed the ocean to Amade, but none of them understood that Amade was more than a thousand miles away. 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.
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. Some mothers with existing children also took on more children. A lot of these were teenagers seeking to adopt children scarcely younger than themselves, knowing that they would thus be able to get the Play government's food allowance and also benefit from their adopted children's fish catches. The Play government prioritized the adoption of younger, more vulnerable children, but could not stop older children who pushed ahead of the others and found adoptive families on their own.
Within a month, 63,000 orphans had found homes, and the Players declared that their nation's orphanhood problem had been solved.
Nevertheless, the remaining 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 parents in 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, rumors spread that the adult males in the military had quickly pushed out the tiny Leaper army, and now faced no danger at all in their daily patrols; they merely pretended to patrol so that they would not have to solve the problems that had overcome their wives and children. 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. When the Players realized that their situation would not improve, young children began running away from their homes.
Child runaway surge
Soon, there were more than 140,000 child runaways (baatup, lit. "self-nurturing") in Play territory; a number vastly higher than at the peak of the orphanhood crisis. Indeed, more than half of all Play children now lived without any adult contact at all, including the overwhelming majority of boys and girls over 5 years old. These children were homeless of their own volition, and were not interested in seeking shelter in the old orphan neighborhoods where they knew they would now be put to work. Nearly all of them lived along the immediate seacoast and had no interest in seeing their parents or any other adults.
Most of the children who had chosen to remain at home were under 5 years old, and thus were unable to fish for their parents. This meant that neither the children, nor the women, nor the men living on land in Player territory had any significant access to food from the sea; the children who had run away ruled the entire seacoast.
Runaways fished only for themselves. Though they could have made great profits selling surplus catches in newly built fish stores, few were interested in money, and those who did venture into the cities ensured that any fish they brought with them would go only to their parents and not to the many other starving adults in Play territory.
The runaways docked their boats in sheltered areas surrounded by cliffs, accessible only by boat. They slept in these coves, exposed to the rains, and more vulnerable than the kids with homes, but safe from attack by land. These new sleeping areas were called žavapa, literally "sea dam", because the protection offered by the cliffs resembled the discontinuous habitats created by manmade dams. 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. The children outnumbered the adult trespassers by nearly 200 to 1, and both groups were armed with fishing spears. Thus the adults were not an organized threat, and the children could have simply killed them all. But the children were scarcely able to take care of their own needs, and few were willing to risk their lives in a fight against an adult knowing that they could not count on the other kids to back them up. Some runaways at Fanašasa Beach tried to form an alliance so they could work together and outnumber the adult trespassers, but they had little in common to unite around and decided to tolerate the outlaws.
Indeed, some Play children considered the outlaws to have a greater right to their existence than the Play men and women living on land, as the outlaws did not seek to push the children around, and although they sometimes bullied vulnerable children into giving up their fish catches, they did not do so every single day, as the adults onshore demanded. Most outlaws considered themselves Players, as they did not wish to wear out the already overburdened children by engaging them in political debates.
Some Play children considered their situation so dire that they admitted that they would prefer to be kidnapped by a hostile power and sold into slavery in a foreign land. Indeed, their shoreline was wide open, since the Players did not have a navy to protect it. But no foreign nations had yet learned of the existence of the 140,000 orphans fishing the seashore with no adult help, or the thousands of other children fishing the seashore with no adult help and then giving the food to their parents.
Second reform attempt
The mothers whose children had run away joined the Pillows, and met with the mainstream Player women, who now identified themselves as the Milk Bottle faction (Matušau), 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
Satisfied that their food supply was secure, the ruling Milk Bottle faction of the Player party 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 winter, more and more children docked their boats after sunset. Soon, illegal adults 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 offered no protection from these assaults. Instead, the Player police force told the children to forcibly arrest any men who attacked them, and then carry them inland to be dealt with in court.
Third reform attempt
As the situation at sea deteriorated even further, the Pillows promised to stall any government legislation unless the Milk Bottles 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
While flatly rejecting the Pillows' attempts to promote safety, the Players continually reformed their laws to solve problems they claimed were more important. For example, when the fish stores were first built, some children had lowered their prices in order to sell more fish and end the day early, but the Players soon passed a reform, over the objections of the Pillows who claimed it was irrelevant, that required the children to pool their daily catches and sell them indirectly. 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. These men were both non-Players; they were still legally present in Play territory because the Play party did not require non-Play men to enlist in the army. Some Play men were also present, as the Play army allowed soldiers to visit their wives and children frequently, but Players typically made better customers as they were buying from their own children and those of their close friends.
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 Players had outlawed the Save The World corporation very soon after taking power, but had not arrested STW employees for their membership. Thus, STW members continued to live in Play territory, and they included men, women, and children. STW was not a political party, and therefore, while they were not Players, they insisted that they were not Leapers either, nor members of any of the other small parties that the Players had come to oppose in their short time in power.
Accusations of malicious intent
Now, STW's leaders accused the Players of making consciously perverse decisions in order to stealthily reduce the nation's population. They argued that, whenever a new problem came up, the Players in Parliament seemed so often to not only choose the worst possible solution, but a solution so obviously improper that it could only have been authored by malice.
STW chose not to speculate further on the motives of the Players in power, leaving open the question of whether some Play leaders had secretly joined the Leaper party or whether the Play leaders had privately decided the best way to solve their nation's population problem was to kill their own supporters faster than new Players could be born.
STW reminded the Players that STW was not a political party, and assured the Players that STW had no plan to create a new government run by the corporation. Neither did STW claim any sympathy for the Leaper party, and they explained that their speculation that some Players might be secretly pro-Leaper was the proof of this.
Players' response to STW
The Players protested that they were doing their best, and that everything they had done had been a rational decision, grounded in the Play nation's best interests, even if not everything had turned out well in the end. The Players stated that it was natural for a nation surrounded by hostile powers to have problems with basic necessities, and that living standards would improve in time as the Play nation grew strong.
The Players acknowledged that they had made many mistakes, but stated they could not trust outside parties since they had been so badly abused by AlphaLeap.
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.
Abolition of homeownership
Next, the Players declared that housing would be controlled entirely by the government, with priority assigned to the youngest Players, arguing that if anyone must be homeless in Play territory, it should be adults who would be able to take care of themselves. Freestanding homes thus came to be considered extensions of the orphanage system, and many young teenage girls were thrown out of their homes to make room for the more numerous orphans. The teenage girls, in turn, were moved to homes previously occupied by their mothers and by other adults, which caused overcrowding as well. Lastly, the oldest adults were deprived of their housing and told to fend for themselves. The Players also abolished the concept of disability, saying that anyone still alive in such a difficult time was clearly not disabled. Therefore handicapped people were also pushed out of their homes.
The Baywatch War
In early 4132, Dreamland's Baywatch party heard that the Empire'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. Indeed, by this time, most soldiers in the Play army were boys in their early teen years, some of whom had lied about their age to enlist, figuring that the life of a soldier in peacetime was easier than the life of any civilian.
The Baywatch party was dominant in the state of Popa, the largest and richest state in Dreamland, and also the state sharing the longest border with the Anchor Empire. The Dolphin Riders still ruled much of the rest of Dreamland, but their attempt to control the Anchor Empire had failed miserably, and they had lost control in parts of Dreamland as well. 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.
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. These retreating soldiers joined the mainline Play army, adding more adults to their ranks and bringing their expertise with them; though few had seen combat, they had all participated in the previous war against AlphaLEAP by defending their own territories and passing supplies through to Paba. They also promised the boys that they would put themselves on the front lines of any future battle against Dreamland, as they felt they owed it to their nation, and would perform better in combat than the younger soldiers.
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.
The Player women 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 various demands, which ranged from simply allowing men to hold political office to a complete takeover of the government with no rights for Players. Figuring 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. However, men were still not allowed to hold office. Many men of the northern tribes had moved to Paba hoping to acquire power for themselves in the Players' radical and untested method of government, but when they arrived, the women pushed them back out of Paba and into menial jobs serving the boys in the southern flanks of the Play land army.
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 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. Some immigrants told them 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 Player 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 Players.
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.
The Raspara were a minority political party concentrated in the city of Tŏli (also called Blop), at the extreme northeast of the Anchor Empire, along the border with Tarwas. They had seceded from the Anchor Empire in 4108. There were only about 10,000 Raspara adults in Tŏli, and because some Players had fled into Tŏli, they were a minority even in their capital city.
The Raspara had long been among the tallest tribes in the world, and had maintained their body type even as demographic overflow fed by explosive population growth in Paba had led the tribes around them to evolve towards a smaller stature. The Raspara were aware of the situation, and aware that they had in the past won many concessions from other tribes based on pure physical intimidation; the surrounding tribes did not feel comfortable living with the Raspara and thus granted them territory all their own whereas other tribes were treated as political parties and expected to live in harmony.
Because the Raspara lived mostly in the extreme northeast of the Anchor Empire, and the Dreamers were invading from the west, the Players in Paba knew that the Raspara territory was not in danger of invasion. They therefore excluded Blop from the territory being surrendered to the Dreamers, and stated that because the Raspara were not losing their land, they would not be granted any compensation, nor would they be entitled to a stipend if they were to move south to Paba.
On the other hand, the Player women announced that they were formally surrendering control of Baeba Swamp to the Dreamers, and that any citizens of Baeba Swamp would be welcome in Paba and would receive stipends. They authored a bulletin stating that the Players were particularly seeking young single men to marry the many young Play women in Paba who had never married or whose husbands had been killed in battle. The Players did this fully aware that they had never controlled Baeba Swamp, and that in fact the Anchor Empire had lost its jurisdiction over Baeba Swamp more than 150 years before the Players assumed control of the Anchor Empire. Moreover, they knew that the Dreamers were not interested in conquering Baeba Swamp.
The Raspara privately conceded that men in Baeba were a better match for the Player women because of the great difference in stature between the Raspara and nearly everyone else, but argued nonetheless that the Players were hypocrites for inviting Baeban men to move in with them using a false rationale, and not extending the same welcome to the Raspara. They also argued that Baeban men were in fact quite tall and that even the rationale they suspected the women would not admit to was false. Baeba in fact was ethnically diverse, and had many tribes whose men were much taller than the Players, but the Players expected that these taller tribes would have less interest in making a dangerous journey to Paba.
Defense of Tŏli
Meanwhile, because the Players knew that the Dreamers had no interest in conquering Blop (which the Raspara called Tŏli), they classified Tŏli as a low-priority defense zone, and assigned a battalion consisting of young boys to guard the perimeter of the city. Adult Play soldiers were transferred out of Tŏli on the next cargo ship and redistributed to the expected front lines of battle near Paba.
When the boys arrived in Tŏli, their leaders announced the details of the Players' plan to keep Tŏli safe and out of the war. The boys were legally considered soldiers, but because the Players assumed they would never see combat, they were given duties such as farming, fishing, and hunting, as well as the shipment to Paba of any excess food that could survive the journey. Thus, the boys were told to spread well outside the city, and the Players turned over control of many Raspara farms to the boys. Raspara farmers were allowed to remain on their farms, but only in a supervised role, obeying the boys who themselves obeyed the commands coming from Paba.
The Raspara greeted their new leaders with a mixture of pity and disgust. Many believed that the Players had deliberately sent children in order to humiliate the Raspara, while others believed the children had received orders to be as obnoxious as possible, knowing that eventually at least one Raspara man would throw a fit and physically assault a child, which would give the Players an excuse to categorize the Raspara party as a criminal organization. Neither group of Raspara realized that in fact the Players had simply run out of adults, as adults were a minority in the army and were needed to man the front lines.
Some Raspara felt that if they meekly obeyed the Players, they would soon convince their young leaders that a nation required adult leadership to run properly, and that the Play boys would hand power back to the Raspara in return for a promise that the Raspara would allow them to share power once they were old enough to become Raspara themselves.
But the Players, scarred by a life of abuse, saw the Raspara as less deserving of sympathy than animals, and had to be restrained by their own commanders from launching an all-out attack on the Raspara. For many Players, the towering figures of the Raspara men brought back memories of early childhood, where adult men had robbed and assaulted them on the beaches while they were too small to run away or fight back. Soon, wildfires engulfed the Raspara countryside, as the Play soldiers admitted they were ill suited for the jobs their commanders had assigned them and preferred to be sent into battle.
As the fire approached the ancient city of Tŏli, the Play commanders hurriedly evacuated as many soldiers as they could find, realizing the rest were now out of reach and would likely flee or die fighting the Raspara. They pled with the women in Paba to find a minor combat role for the children, knowing that the front lines that the children had asked to be sent to did not yet exist, as the Dreamer army was still well to the north of Paba, and that if the boys were sent after the Dreamers unprotected, they would be easily captured and brought into slavery.
The loss of their farmland gave the Raspara another chance to argue for compensation from the Player women. As the Play soldiers boarded ships headed towards their homeland, some Raspara men followed them in the intent to reach Pūpepas and argue their legal case for compensation, hoping to brush aside the fact that the Players and Raspara had nearly come to war.
When the Raspara reached the northern border of Play-held territory, they found another battalion of child soldiers who refused to let them in. To show their power, the Raspara soldiers simply shoved the boys aside and marched through the army's campsite as they searched for the river portage that would lead them downstream to Pūpepas.
The Raspara soldiers soon completed their journey downstream and reached the city gates of Pūpepas. Here they found yet more child soldiers guarding the gates; however, these children were spread so thinly that they had no reasonable means of preventing the Raspara's entry, and so they meekly stepped aside.
Once inside the city, the Raspara were greeted by terrified women who could not understand how the Raspara had found their way in, but nevertheless, they guided the Raspara to the mayoral palace so that they could argue their legal case directly to the Play party authorities.
The Play women welcomed the Raspara into the Parliament building in the Player capital city of Pūpepas near the south coast of Paba. Though the Raspara had initially planned to argue for reparations based on the Play boys' damage to their property in the north, they had been privately admitting for a long time that this was merely an excuse to get them legal access to an easy life in Paba where they would be able to dominate local politics based on their drive for power and the fact that they were among the only men in the territory, all while being excused from fighting the war against Dreamland.
However, as the Raspara had moved south, they had changed their minds about what to say to the women in Paba. Though the chief Raspara diplomat did mention the fires in the north at the beginning of his speech, he also mentioned that in their journey of nearly a thousand miles they had never met a single adult Play man, and that all three of the battalions who had tried to stop them from reaching Paba had been made up of young boys. The Raspara leader then asked the Play women whether, in the event that the Raspara were to declare war on the Play Empire, they would find themselves fighting an army of men or an army of children.
Though the Play women gave evasive answers, the Raspara soon learned that the Play nation had a surplus of young children and a work-shy adult population that had been so neglectful of their children's needs that they had driven nearly all of them to run away from their homes and live by the sea without adults. The Raspara abandoned their pursuit of monetary reparations and demanded that the Play women set up a power-sharing agreement in which the children would be allowed to decide whether they preferred to obey Player laws or Raspara laws. The Raspara were confident that they would win, as although they admitted they lived better lives than they deserved, they held to a strict code of honor that they promised would stop them from neglecting or abusing young children under their control.
The Play women were unmoved by the Rasparas' arguments. Although some Play women did admit that their nation had a severe problem with child neglect, and that the Raspara could indeed help out, they stuck firmly to their principle that in order to join a Play nation, one must become a Player, and because the Raspara were men, they would need to join the military and not remain in the cities or live with children along the south coast. (This is why the existing Zeniths were not able to vote in the Play parliament despite being indigenous; the Play laws simply didn't recognize them.)
Having made no progress, the Raspara diplomats pulled out of the debate, but warned the Players that they had no intent of leaving Paba and would continue to move through Player territory at their whims, knowing that the all-female Play police force would be helpless to stop them. They also warned that, although their code of conduct discouraged them from engaging in combat against women, they had no qualms about hurting women who were themselves hurting small children.
The Raspara left the building and pushed their way through a crowd of Play police officers. The police had been intending to arrest the men, but the Raspara were simply too big and strong to be stopped. The Raspara then announced they would head northward, surprising the Players who had expected them to move directly towards the children at the seashore. This is because the Raspara were intent on meeting up with another minor party, the Zenith. The Raspara nonetheless made it clear to the Play women that if the Raspara had intended to attack the children by the seashore, they could have done so with no resistance from the Players, just as they were pushing into Zenith territory with no resistance.
The Play women knew that they would not be able to get rid of the wandering troop of Raspara men, and would simply have to warn their entire nation of where the Raspara were at any one time so that the locals could prepare for what might befall them. The Play women were reluctant to call on the northern battalion of child soldiers to face off the Raspara, even though they knew these boys were eager for combat and had no other enemies in sight, because they knew that the Raspara were much stronger than these boys and would not only win the battle, but could potentially use the incident to claim that the Play women were deliberately throwing children in the path of harm.
The Raspara headed north from Paba towards the Zenith homeland. 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 immigrants 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.
Raspara move south
The Players had anticipated the Raspara's next move since the day of their meeting in Parliament: the drive to reach the children living on the beach. Having left the Zenith city, the Raspara leaders announced to the Play police force that they were headed to the beach, and that any attempt by the police to stop the Raspara would lead to a massacre of police with no apology. The Player women were terrified, but several Player police officers charged at the Raspara men even so, and this triggered the Raspara to unsheathe their swords and begin the slaughter of the women around them. In the Battle of Ŋiifuši, the Raspara quickly killed several dozen Play policewomen. The surviving women fled the scene in different directions. The Raspara continued to move southwards towards the beach, chasing a crowd of fleeing women, figuring that those women would know the fastest way to reach the beach and could lead the Raspara there. The Raspara allowed the women to stay ahead of them until they were able to smell the ocean water, at which point they overtook the women and slaughtered them as well.
Soon the Raspara reached a sandbar called Tamūapaus Beach. They spread out as they approached the shore so that they could surround the children on three sides, leaving them the choice of fleeing by boat or staying to listen to the Raspara.
Speaking in the Play language, the Raspara announced to the children the foundation of the new Raspara settlement of Tamūapaus, a democracy in which only adults could vote. Therefore, the Raspara men would have full control of the children's lives. They promised that their lives in Tamūapaus would be much safer than those of the children living in free Play territory, but that they would not have the right to disobey the Raspara, no matter what the Raspara commanded them to do. Their only remaining freedom would be the right to escape Tamūapaus by boat and dock in an adjacent Play beach colony. Because of the shape of the sandbar, escape from shore was easy, and the Raspara planned to claim that any children who did not escape were proof that the Raspara lifestyle was superior to the Players'.
AlphaLeap enters the war
AlphaLeap had remained neutral in this new 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 revived its earlier war and sent the Leaper 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 200,000 young Player children and only a tiny number of illegal, trespassing adults. (They did not know about the new Raspara colony of Tamūapaus, which occupied only a very small portion of the coastline.) 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 slingshots, their only available range weapons, 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 projectiles 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.
Situation at the beach
Though few outside powers knew about the vast orphan colonies along the south coast, their situation was so dire that even outlaws and pirates with originally hostile intentions were moved to pity upon realizing what they had come upon. The Dreamers, though intent on overthrowing the Play government, had instructed their soldiers to prepare to adopt enormous numbers of orphans, even if it depressed the Dreamers' chances of winning the war. Even the Raspara who had slaughtered Play police officers promised to protect the lives of the young Play children. But the Leapers had long been proud of their amoral politics, and they now financed pirates who openly admitted their plans to abuse the young Play children. The Leapers declared that the desperate, unloved Play children had cried so many tears in their short lives that they had turned the entire ocean salty, and that soon the water would turn red as well.
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 Šanuinu, the navy defeated a team of several hundred young boys and girls without sustaining any injuries or damage to their warships.
The Leapers' attack on the children took place far to the west of the Raspara colony of Tamūapaus, and neither group of invaders was aware of the other. Player women were aware of the Raspara colony but realized there was little they could do about it. It was only after children fleeing Šanuina reached the central government in Paba that the Players began to understand their children were being preyed upon by the armies of two foreign nations and had no means of protecting themselves or even fleeing to safety.
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 called the Bottles 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. Children near the city spread word of the new reforms to children further out, to ensure that orphans and runaways fishing in remote areas would not mistake the new Play battleships for Leaper ships, as the designs had been similar on purpose.
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. Some children never contacted the men in the ships and continued to believe that the ships were piloted by Leapers. As they had difficulty accepting that they were finally safe, these children requested that the Play navy patrol the coastline to prevent any Leaper ships from reaching the shore, unaware that the ships they saw were already doing just that.
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 the Anchor Empire became a one-party state led by the Players, and the Players were at war with both Dreamland and AlphaLeap, each of whom also claimed the entirety of the Anchor Empire but had few troops on the ground to enforce their claims.
The Leapers wanted total control of the Empire, and were unwilling to split the territory with Dreamland. Thus, Dreamland and AlphaLeap were also nominally at war with each other, making it a fully three-sided war. But their armies were nowhere in close proximity to each other; they would only meet each other by marching through Play territory.
The Players were by this time more hostile towards AlphaLeap than towards Dreamland, but they continued with their original plan to focus on actively defeating the Dreamers on land while passively fending off the Leapers at sea. No land invasion of AlphaLeap was planned, as the Players knew it would be very difficult.
Despite the Play party's restoration of their 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, the Players 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 be injured while fighting the 200,000 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.
War with Dreamland
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, which had been legally ceded to Dreamland by the previous treaty, as it was not part of the Play party's homeland. Thus, technically speaking, the Players had just invaded Dreamland, albeit an area of Dreamland that the Dreamers themselves had yet to reach.
Nama did not respond to the invasion, 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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. These children called themselves the Flower Bees (Pūya), and they developed a plan to run away from their homes so they could form a second army and fight their war independently.
Most Bees were fishing-age children — too old to stay at home, but too young to hold the land-based jobs reserved for adults — who saw their parents only when it was dark, or not at all. Soon, the Bee population grew, and boys and girls were both well represented. Many Bees believed that fishing was inefficient and wanted to be allowed to farm the interior, but were unwilling to disrupt their nation's agricultural system at the height of a major war.
Most of the Bee 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'. The Bees promised that they had not chosen their name specifically to annoy the Daisies, but the Bees nevertheless used flower imagery and stated that just as flowers attract bees, they would turn all pleasant things into hostile things until they had won their war.
The Bees were mostly children aged 6 to 10 years old, and communicated with children their own age rather than with adults. The adults soon learned of their existence, and knew that they would soon be old enough to serve in the military, and would even rise in the ranks and start leading battles. The currently serving adult military generals pressed on to invade Dreamland and Dreamland only, committing the entire Play military force to the campaign in Dreamland, believing it was the only winnable war, and promising the eager young boys back home that they would have time to destroy the rest of the planet once Dreamland had been subdued.
Play army moves north
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.
Players reach Dreamland
The Player army entered Dreamland and began its conventional war much more quickly than the Dreamers had earlier; they were there within months, whereas the Dreamers had taken three years to reach Paba and another three years to give up. The Dreamers were weak, but had regrouped, and had several advantages: they were fighting a defensive war in mountainous terrain, which they were well accustomed to; there was no significant dissent in Dreamland, whereas Vaamū was on the brink of civil war; and the Dreamer soldiers were better armed than the Players.
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 better educated than their soldiers, 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 Player army was about the same size as it had been during the war against AlphaLeap because new recruits had replaced the previous war's casualties at about an even measure. The Players also had a vast reserve of boys in their early teen years, with some even younger, but the commanders promised not to expose these boys to combat against the Dreamers unless their entire supply of adults was killed or captured.
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 Play. However, both readings were strained, and the meanings had to be explained even to the native speakers of both languages. 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 Popa and potentially control all of 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 the Players stole Dreamer boats and rowed up the river towards Eweti, as the fire raged around them. They planned 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.
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 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.
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.
Wartime contact with 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.
The Players estimated that they had killed about 6,000 Dreamer soldiers directly, and that any other deaths were due to plague, which had spread to the civilian population and therefore had killed women and children as well as men.
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 tribal divisions through marriage, even if it was forced marriage.
Extension of trade route
The Play party promised to allow southern Dreamland to remain independent, but they installed an occupation government even there. The Dreamers worried that the Players were planning to steal natural resources and then hold up the resulting poverty to other nations as proof that the Dreamer economic philosophy was a failure. Instead, the Players sent a detachment of soldiers into southern Dreamland, who forced the Dreamer men to work extending a trade route built in earlier times by the STW corporation. The Dreamer workers connected southern Dreamland with the Anchor Empire countryside, bypassing the route through Tata that the Players had used to invade Dreamland.
Previously, STW's trade route had been difficult to navigate towards its northern end because three mountain ranges came together in this region. STW had been unable to use the more convenient route through Dreamland because STW had always been hostile to Dreamland and thus had never been allowed in. The Players' new road crossed only one mountain range in this region and another mountain range in Nama, near the Players' original homeland.
Preparation for the new way of life
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.
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 strong men who could row all day steered 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 2,000 miles over the mountains and down the newly built road to Dreamland.
New schools in Paba
In Paba, the Players 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.
Effects of feminist policies
The Play women in Paba responded to their soldiers' declaration of victory 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. These women immediately ended the war, handed control of Tata back to the Dreamers, and voted their Play husbands 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.
Contact with Dreamer ideology
The Play women in Paba refused to change their ideology, but the Baywatch women in Tata also refused to change their ideology as they joined the Play party in Tata. They thus formed a new faction, the Corals (Play Memnūu, Baywatch Mpepēnto). When the men wrote back to Paba to explain that they were being overwhelmed, 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 the Coral women and also obey them, and therefore wrote a new clause detailing how rebellious territories such as Tata could be held down without violating the Play party's promise of universal voting rights for all adult women.
The mainline Play faction based in Paba created a new position for loyal Play women whose sole function was to cancel out the Corals' votes on all issues in which the mainline Players' position differed from the converts'. The Coral women had not lost their votes, but the Player representatives coming from Paba were granted the voting power of the entire female Coral population, plus one, in order to assure that they always won.
When they realized they would always be outvoted, many converts resigned from the government and threatened to torture their husbands if the men could not convince the Player women to grant the wives political autonomy. In response, the hardline Players in Paba ordered the men to find trustworthy Tataan women to share power with the women arriving from Paba.
Although the men still controlled Tata's weapon supply, they were worn out from the war and refused to take up arms against their wives. Finding no escape, the men declared themselves to be politically incompetent and claimed that they lacked the mental capacity to understand what the two groups of women were ordering them to do.
As the population in Paba swelled, more Player families began moving to Tata, hoping to tighten their control over the newly won territory. Many of these immigrants were single mothers whose husbands had fought in the war and never returned, while others were women who had never married.
When the women arrived in Tata, many discovered that their husbands had already married women in Tata. The women had been expecting this, and because Play ideology gave women vast authority over their husbands' behavior, some women forced their husbands to divorce their Tataan Coral wives and reenter their original marriages. Some of the Corals responded by claiming the same authority, and thus claimed they had forced their husbands into a trap in which both possible actions would be illegal. But the newly arrived hardline Play women claimed that only they had full knowledge of the Play party's laws, and said that their demands would always overrule the Corals' demands because the original Play voting bloc had secured a majority. The men again protested that they were unable to understand what was happening and could not simultaneously obey two women who gave contradictory commands.
Some Pabap women chose to sideline their husbands and fight against the Coral women, with no regard for their husbands' wishes, while others charmed their husbands by reminding them what life had been like before the war. Eventually, most men agreed to remarry their original wives, and even many soldiers who had been single before the war now married the incoming Pabap Player women, consigning their Coral wives to a second-tier status while their true wife controlled the house and belongings.
The Play women who had remained in Paba now 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 build roads to enable more men from foreign tribes into Paba to replace the Player men who had moved to Tata. Because almost all of these men were now married to Player women, they had no objection to this, but the route between Paba and Baeba Swamp was much more dangerous than the route between Paba and Tata, and transportation remained difficult.
Reforms in Dreamland
Political contacts with Dreamland
The Players' newly won 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 allowed to refer to its members simply 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. Most of these remained in the Coral faction, however, which retained some beliefs exclusive to the Baywatch party. The Player soldiers who had married Coral women typically considered both their wives and their children to have become Players and Players only, and the arrival of many hardline Play women from Paba prevented the Corals from achieving any significant political power.
The Corals considered themselves austere people who, in keeping with their inherited Baywatch education, preferred to spend money only on food and medicine, but the hardline Players believed that work was fit only for slaves, and preferred to let plagues cull the weak rather than produce and distribute medicine. Though the Players quickly began building schools for their children, the Corals wondered what went on inside since the Player adults seemed incapable of any tasks that required basic skills like counting beyond ten and spelling their own names.
Some Corals 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 Corals that the Players would never accept advice from an enemy.
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 Memnumu and the occupied Dreamer state of 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, and a baby gap had been created by the time the men had spent apart from the women in Paba.
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.
New Play schools
They ordered their Dreamer slaves to build schools for the Player children, with a traditional design involving a single large building for each neighborhood (unlike Paba).
Within six months, the Players slaughtered their Dreamer teachers in three separate incidents. First, angry young students threw rocks and bricks at their teachers, killing fourteen of them. Next, adults angry at the teachers' inability to learn the Play language slaughtered nearly 600 more. Lastly, the Players massacred all of the occupied territory's remaining Dreamer teachers for again being unable to properly learn the Play language. When word of the third massacre reached the Play central government in Pūpepas, the Players ordered them to stop, but it was too late.
Further reforms in Dreamland
Although the products of slave labor were distributed communally, the Player women expected that slave labor would be insufficient to support Tata's rapidly growing population, and that Play families would still need to acquire food on their own.
The early laws regarding control of the seacoast were still in effect, meaning that the only people allowed to see the sea were young children of the Play party. Thus, the Dreamers' fishing industry shut down immediately and the boats were given to the Players. Some Dreamer families submitted to the new system and declared their children to be Players, simply so they could continue to fish. The Players accepted this but reminded the parents that fishing would henceforth be a child's job, and that even adults of the Play party were not allowed to get on a fishing boat.
In Paba, Play children had been saddled with the job of fishing the sea because the adult males were entirely bound to the army and the adult females were required to stay in the cities. This had quickly produced throngs of runaway children, unwilling to risk their lives to feed 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.
Because the war had ended, the prohibition against adults gathering food was no longer in force, but Play men and women were both accustomed to a sedentary lifestyle supported by child labor. The Players worried that Tata's proportionately smaller child population would collapse from physical exhaustion if the adults chose to remain on land during the day and then force the children to gather food after they arrived home from school. Because the Players had fought their war using adult soldiers, most of the Player men in Tata were not former runaways or orphans, and had not experienced firsthand the unfair burden that their government had thrown on the shoulders of the small children in the Player homeland.
Once the war was over, the adult male Players took control of Dreamland's preexisting farms, and these farms 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.
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 žaipa: 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 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 in the northern half of Play territory, although before the war it had been northwest of the Players' holdings. Rasparia had seceded from the Anchor Empire and set up their own government after escaping the Leapers in 4108. There was a single capital city, Tŏli, and some countryside to the west.
When the Raspara men in Memnumu realized that the Play soldiers were mostly not coming back, they set their sights on the female population of Memnumu (Paba). Since there were few Play men in Memnumu, the Raspara had few competent adversaries, and they prepared for a battle of men against women to secure control of Memnumu.
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 Memnumu.
Play party ideology required men to obey women, and the Play men who had returned from Dreamland had resumed 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 Memnumu 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 the Play Empire, and did not want to destroy the Empire, 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. They organized a series of debates in their home territory of Rasparia where the native Raspara men would meet Player women in a building and challenge them to answer a long list of questions, and if they were able, reply with questions of their own for the men. At the end of the debate, each side would then judge for itself who had won the debate. Most Players in Rasparia were recent immigrants from Memnumu.
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. After one long debate session, the Play women conceded that their Empire's problems had been caused by Play misleadership, and that the Raspara deserved a chance to prove that they could solve those problems. The Players figured that the common people would be able to tell the difference and make the best choice on their own, without political pressure.
Rasparia thus rejoined the Anchor Empire, and mostly took over the forts that the Players had built in Rasparia. By accepting Rasparia's membership in the Empire, the Players were forced to legalize the Raspara party throughout the empire, and therefore the Play Empire now had two legal political parties: the Players, led by women, and the Raspara, led by men.
The Raspara 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 the entire Play Empire. 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 Memnumu, 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.
However, most of the Play soldiers were still living in Dreamland; the male Play population in Memnumu was a mere fraction of what it had been before the war. Though they still outnumbered the Raspara by a vast margin, some Play men were now converting to other parties, and even to the Raspara party, so they could avoid having to fight. The Player women's plans were thus constantly thwarted by Rasparas and frightened Players, and the Raspara men only continued expanding their disproportionate influence over the Anchor Empire. Within a year, Raspara men were making most of the important decisions in the Empire, 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
Persistence of the Crystals
When AlphaLeap had taken over the Empire, many Crystals had fled to ancient homelands such as the Oyster Coast. Thus, there were many Crystals living outside the Empire, 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 the Empire.
Demographics of the Player population
The Rasparas realized that they could not continue fighting wars forever, and that the Anchor Empire in its current state was not self-sufficient. They needed to improve the Play economic system, they realized, because the cost of raising so many children each year was putting a strain on the economy.
Despite the wars, the many defections, and the migration to Tata, the population of the Player party had tripled in just fourteen years to over 900,000 in the Anchor Empire with an additional 180,000 in Tata; combined, the two Player nations comprised more than one fifth of the human population in the world. Three quarters of these Players were children under the age of 13.
The Raspara 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.
Life along the coast
In 4141, the Raspara soldiers, many of whom had simply remained in Play territory since the earlier war, migrated towards the beaches so they could contact children returning from fishing trips. Having spent almost a decade in Play territory, many Raspara soldiers had abandoned their party's code of honor and had had intimate relations with young Play women, including many who were not willing partners for the Raspara men. New Raspara had arrived in the Play territory intermittently over the years, and these migrants held to the traditional code of honor; when they realized what had happened, the newcomers expelled the rapists into the Zenith party, the only party that never refused a member. They warned the rapists that they were no longer welcome in the Raspara's traditional homelands in the northern forests, but nevertheless, they did not execute the rapists, and continued to cooperate with them as allies against the Players. Meanwhile, the men who were expelled continued to define themselves as Raspara, each saying for one reason or another that they had not in fact broken their party's honor code. Some said that the children of these mixed marriages would be living better lives than the Play children around them, and that they had done these children a great favor.
By this time, even the youngest of the child runaways from the prewar era had reached the age of 13 and had thus left the beaches; males joined the new Play navy or the army, patrolling the Play nation's borders at land and at sea, while females continued to live in the cities, marry very young, and raise ever greater numbers of young Play children.
Daily life for the new generation of Play children was, nonetheless, very similar to the life their young parents had led. Though the Players had built schools for the children to attend, they continued to send children to fish the sea every day, and the children who chose to attend school were not excused from this. Many children rejected school, seeing it as yet another obstacle their nation's adults had thrown in their way, and ran away when they reached the age of 5 just as many of their parents had done. The younger siblings of the runaways typically ran away in turn, and due to the rapid population growth, Play beaches became even more crowded with children's colonies than they had been ten years prior.
Declaration of independence
The Raspara noted that the children living on the beach colonies were self-sufficient, and that most had little contact with adults even after the recent reforms the Play party had pushed through. Furthermore, despite the continuous population turnover, many children had been living on the beach for as much as three years, and some had reached the age of 13. Since the Players required both boys and girls to assume adult responsibilities when they reached this age, by remaining on the beach they were violating Play law, and thus could not legally be Players. Since the only legal parties in the empire were the Players and the Raspara, the Raspara declared that all of the children along the beach must therefore belong to the Raspara.
One Raspara battalion marched into a children's colony on an exposed sandbar, the Pavapašes Peninsula, and split the colony in half. They declared that because the children were legally Raspara, the Raspara leaders had the right to control them in all aspects of life. Thus, the Raspara had finally achieved what they had failed to do a decade earlier; rather than win children's heartfelt support by making sound logical arguments, the Raspara used brute force and the children obeyed them out of fear.
The Raspara at Pavapašes signed a peace treaty with the children's colonies that surrounded them, and set up a legally binding agreement that they said would raise the standard of life for children while also granting the Raspara rights that they would not have in their own homeland. Since the children had experienced crime waves in the past, the Raspara declared themselves a police force and stated that they had the right to enter the children's colonies at their pleasure, whereas the children were restricted to their own territories unless specifically carried elsewhere by a Raspara. They pointed out that the children in the colonies had sought adult protection in the past, and that by entering the beachside colonies, the Raspara were answering their earlier requests.
The Players had long since grown tired of the Raspara's fondness for using clever legal loopholes to cover up their drive to seize power, knowing that the Raspara soldiers were moving into the children's societies not because they were moved to tears by the children's suffering, but because the Raspara were simply too strong for the Players to control, and had free rein to do as they wished wherever they went.
Some Play women pointed out that the Raspara argument was incorrect since the Players had earlier assigned the task of handling interlopers to the children on the beaches; if the children accepted the presence of teenagers in their midst, then those teenagers were still within the law, and thus still Players, and therefore the children's colonies were still part of Play territory. But the majority of the Play female population figured that a war was coming, and that the Raspara did not believe their own arguments; they merely used logic to stall the Player women, known for their love of long debates, to give the Raspara more time to position their soldiers for the fast-approaching slaughter of the Play child population.
New rules for society
Because most children in the colonies were still rowing boats fit for adults, the Raspara felt comfortable rowing those boats as well, and the Raspara soldiers bullied their young neighbors out of the boats so that the Raspara could live like the children around them, fishing the sea for their own livelihood while also patrolling the seacoast, knowing that the Play navy would soon learn what they were doing. (By this time, there were many more children than boats, and so they had to take turns with each rowboat. The Raspara were different in that they simply picked a boat without regard for any Play children waiting for their turn with it.)
The Raspara paid close attention to hygiene, knowing that the Players' famously messy lifestyle had earlier spread a plague through Dreamland, and that that plague continued to thrive even though the war had ended three years earlier.
At this time, the small Play navy was still patrolling the south coast, and quickly discovered the new Raspara settlements. The Play sailors knew that they could not storm the beach because the Raspara would simply kill the small, vulnerable children as soon as they realized the sailors were intent on battle. Similarly, the female Play police and the small Play land army refused to enter the beach, knowing that the Raspara could kill large numbers of Play children in the time it would take the Play soldiers to beat only a small number of Raspara.
The Raspara along the beaches continued to govern their territories as small nations, and likewise treated the children's fishing colonies as small nations. The Raspara often built their colonies on high cliffs, difficult for the children to reach; these new settlements were thus not self-sufficient, and the Raspara needed to enter the children's nations in order to access the sea. Most Raspara declared that they were police officers or created other reasons for their presence among the kids, while denying the children access to the Raspara's clifftop colonies or, in many cases, even the right to visit the other children's colonies without Raspara permission. In effect, the Raspara claimed the right to control both the children's movements and their own.
The Raspara again brought to mind the poor hygiene habits of the Play children, and warned them that if they did not take better care of themselves, the increasingly crowded beach societies would soon be awash in plagues. They knew that the barren environment of the Play mainland had long kept the incidence of disease unusually low for such an impoverished and overcrowded society, but that plagues had broken out even so, such as during the war against Dreamland.
The Raspara mostly kept their colonies to themselves, but in their daily routines, they sometimes transported children from the fishing colonies to the cliffs as punishment for various misdeeds. The Raspara would typically release the children back to their homes after they had served their punishment.
Nevertheless, Play children soon fell victim to the Raspara's crimes of desire, and within months, the Raspara began abducting Play children in massively greater numbers to be kept in the Raspara colonies, out of sight of the remaining Play children. Since police did not have the right to arrest other police, the Raspara declared that these crimes were unpunishable, and therefore not crimes, although they pointed out that the Play parliament had earlier given children the right to arrest trespassing adults.
Soon, a plague called fīs spread through the Raspara population as the Raspara passed the kidnapped Play children from one abuser to another. The Players had been carrying these diseases all along, but the Raspara were taken by surprise and unable to hide what they had done.
Raspara civil war
When the true cause of the new plague became clear, the old-guard Raspara expelled the newcomers from the Raspara party, claiming they had committed a crime incomparably worse than that which the old-guard Raspara had been earlier expelled for by the newcomers. Thus the two groups of Raspara had expelled each other, and neither was any longer willing to cooperate with the other. The old guards declared war and attacked the newcomers, even as they knew that the Play children were unlikely to distinguish between the two groups and could not be counted on as allies in this new war. Thus the Raspara were at war with each other.
Even as they launched an all-out war, the old-guard Raspara admitted that they were fighting the plague and not fighting for the Play children's rights, as the old guards knew that, having lived in Player society for nine years, at least some among them had surely committed the same crime that the newcomers had given way to within their first months among the Players. Nevertheless, the old guard Raspara had not succumbed to the plague, and used this as proof of their innocence, at least relative to that of the newcomers, and therefore hoped to win the support of the mainline Raspara party once the wider world learned why the Raspara were fighting each other.
As the Raspara civil war spread across the entire Play seacoast, the small Play navy took notice. The old-guard Raspara contacted the Play sailors and made their case for a formal alliance between the Players and old guards, saying that their own original threat to massacre Play children if the sailors stormed the beach no longer stood, and that the newcomers' ongoing abuses of Play children had already far exceeded any threats that the old guards had intended to carry out.
The Play sailors suspected that the Raspara were not their friends, as the Raspara had turned to the Players for help only after it became clear that they could not defeat the newcomers so easily; indeed, many Play sailors were skeptical of the Raspara's claims of ongoing abuse, as they had by this time come to think of the Raspara as suspicious, untrustworthy, and clever, but not as physically abusive. One Raspara leader promised after a meeting that he would prove to the Players that the abuse was real by rescuing children from their cliffside prisons and having the children explain what was happening to them.
Between the plague, the Raspara civil war, and the revenge attacks by other parties, the Raspara population had declined to a mere 700 soldiers by this time.
War of the Ferns
In 4141, the Raspara began to admit young Player children into the Raspara party, figuring they could lessen the population ratio without the need for violence. Nevertheless, the Raspara military strategists, who had mostly not admitted former Players to their ranks, planned for a conventional war against the Play population in the near future. Raspara leaders who still had control of child slaves increased their use of discipline, including fatal punishments for minor misdeeds.
The Raspara party, which by this time had been accepted into Parliament as the Empire's second legal party, then directed the Play army to launch a new war against their traditional allies, Tarwas and Amade. The Rasparas wanted to see more Players die in order to strengthen Raspara control over the survivors. The Players called the Amade-Tarwas alliance the Ferns, because they had mistaken Amade for the ancient lost territory of Atlam, once located further west in the tropics, from which the ancestors of the Tarwastas had long ago come.
War in 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.
Tarwas showed sympathy for the Play soldiers, as the battalions who had invaded Tarwas were almost entirely young boys, forced into combat by the Raspara. Indeed, an early expedition of Players to Tarwas in 4130 had been so weak that the Tarwastas had rescued the explorers from an attack by wild bears.
By happenstance, the Play conquest of Tarwas came exactly 2,000 years after the founding of Tarwas, but both cultures had changed their calendars several times over the centuries, and although the Tarwastas were aware of their long history, neither side knew that the number of years elapsed had been precisely 2,000.
War in Amade
While the Play army invaded Tarwas, the young Play navy set sail for Amade, a seaside nation in the tropics which had traditionally had a very young demographic profile, similar to the Players'. Amade had originally been five nations that later joined together; they were by this time ruled by a faction of the Crystals calling themselves the Eggs (Puta).
The invading soldiers landed near the mouth of the Yābahom river, and found many young children playing under the palms on the beach. They promised to spare the lives of the children. The Play soldiers assumed the kids' language was similar to or identical to Palli, a minority language spoken in some eastern Play territories, and hoped they could find some among the soldiers who could speak to the locals and potentially take control of Amade without the need for a violent conflict.
Contacts with locals
When the Play soldiers located Amade's adult population, they heard the local language as it really was; children in Amade spoke with a different speech register among themselves, and this is why the Players mistook it for a language similar to their own. The disappointed Players thus realized that the local language was wholly unknown to them, and although the Players spoke many languages, neither the Players nor the locals could find one among their group who could understand the other side.
The young Play sailors, who had never been to school, still believed that they were in the equatorial region of Atlam, reasoning that Atlam's population must have been replaced by a different dark-skinned group since their last contact with the ancestors of the Players.
Nevertheless, the Players admired the locals and their society. They seemed in many ways similar to Players despite their lack of cultural contact. Like other Crystals, they had dark skin and a taller stature than the Play soldiers, and like other Crystals their women were taller than their men.
Players in Taryte
Once they settled Amade, the Players also defined the new Play state of Taryte, which had ceased to exist as a nation (let alone an empire) several hundred years earlier, but was still easily recognizable on a map as a desert location bounded by rivers and bordering the territories of Amade and AlphaLeap. They declared that Taryte extended eastward as far as the state of Puap and westward as far as Amade.
The Players had little support in this region, and had no significant cultural connections. Nonetheless, Amade was further afield from the Play capital city of Pūpepas than Taryte was, and the Players preferred to maintain a contiguous nation. So they considered Taryte part of their territory, figuring that if nothing else the annexation could antagonize AlphaLeap, which had historically controllled Taryte.
Flower Bee rebellion
In 4143, the Flower Bees (Pūya) seceded from the Play Empire. The Bees lived in the western counties of the historical region of Subumpam, and had originated from children's fishing associations along the south coast. Many were orphans; others were runaways. The Bees had been spent much of their short lives fishing at sea, but now 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 more sustainable catch of fish.
The Bees had chosen their name when they were even younger, and it contained no clever pun. The Play word pūya simply meant "bee", and was derived from Play pua "flower", hence the association of bees with flowers. Play had other words for bees and also other words for flowers, but the Flower Bees' name was understandable by all. They claimed that their name was not intended to harass the preexisting Daisy party (pīa) which had arisen in nearby territory which the Bees now claimed.
Emblems and signs
The Flower Bees' motto was Sayam ŋukupisam, sīmpubiptata. ("Where you look for pleasure, we will hurt you".) They promised a stinging bee in every flower and that they would have no sympathy for their enemies or even for those who tried to befriend them. True to their earlier dream of conquering the world, the Bees declared war against both the Raspara and the enemies of the Raspara. In Late Andanese, this motto was Nulata, niihana hakahai, nukala.
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. They had suppressed their desire to revolt for more than four years, but when the predatory Raspara army threw the Players out of power, the children soon learned that their parents had done little to resist this.
Because the Bees had originated several years earlier, they had enrolled more than 50,000 members. 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. They had been too young to participate in the Play army's decisive victory against Dreamland in 4139, but many had since reached military age.
The Bees believed that the Play army was the strongest army in the world, and that the Play women had betrayed them by submitting so quickly to the Raspara. Since the women in the government had full control of the men in the army, the Raspara now controlled the Play army as well. And since the Bee boys were now becoming teenagers, they were legally required to join the Play army and fight for the Raspara. To avoid the draft, they abandoned their families and camped in the forests. Seeing that their parents had done little to protect them from the Raspara, the Bees quickly declared war against both the Raspara and their own parents. Soon, the girls and the younger Bee children joined the boys and began preparations for an all-out assault on their nation's adult population.
The Bee leaders referred to themselves as boys and girls, as they believed they belonged to the younger generation, and would soon make enemies of their elders. They denied adults the right of conversion and said that anyone who converted during the Bees' planned revolt would be killed for insincerity. They were confident in their ability to run a nation entirely without adults largely because many Bees had previously been orphans or runaways who had lived entirely without adults even when they were much younger.
Bee battle plan
Because the Bees excluded adults from their new nation, and yet defined all foreign nations as enemies, the Bees planned to begin their war by slaughtering all of the adults around them, including their parents. On the other hand, the Bees defined anyone with descendants as an adult, and any adult who understood the world around them knew that the Bees were planning to kill all adults, and therefore these parents refused to allow their children to join the Bees. Thus, most converts were runaways, and since small children were physically incapable of running away, the only small children in the Bee army were converts, and the Bee military leaders felt that on balance their age would be an advantage in their war against the adults. They promised not to kill defenseless young children, but also promised that those children would be made to conform to the Bees' plans once they became old enough to handle weapons.
Bee party platform
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. The Bees expected to remain Bees all their lives and wrote laws intended for the future so that when they won their war they could keep close control of their future children.
Because the Bees declared themselves hostile to all outside parties, they had no interest in diplomacy with those outside powers. The Players wanted to meet with the Bees through intermediaries, ideally a distant neutral power such as the Crystals or even the hostile Dreamers, but no outside power was willing to hold a conference including the Players and the Bees. The Players believed that this was because the outside powers wanted to see the Players go to war against their own children and thus rip their nation apart from within.
Formation of the Hive
The Bees soon expanded their war to all other nations and political parties, saying that the Bees had the sole right to rule on their planet, and would fight foreign armies indiscriminately. Like other parts of the Play nation, their society was geographically separated, with children living along the coast, adult women in the cities further inland, and adult men patrolling the borders and hunting animals in the outlying wilderness. The youngest children lived with their mothers. The Bees lived along the coast, but were now claiming the territory their parents lived in.
Because children were responsible for feeding their parents, those Bees who were not orphans or runaways still saw their families every day or nearly so. The Bees considered planning a simultaneous massacre of their nation's adult population, which the adults would not see coming since the Bees were sure they would have no defectors.
The Bees swarmed through four counties in the fertile region of western Subumpam: Kutuabu, Yuša, Žeyefe, and Takueši. and declared the formation of 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; this was more people than lived at the time in Pūpepas.
The Bees abolished cities, and thus the 50000 Bees lived in a uniform pattern, each planning to tend small farms when the weather became favorable. In the meantime, they continued to draw most of their food from the sea.
Battle of Tayumīpī
The Play party was unprepared for the scale of the Bees' revolt. The Play army was still deployed in the wilderness to the north; thus, both sides of this war were entirely without adult males, and the war was highly asymmetric.
The Play mothers 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.
A party called the Rusted Pearls (Laaatilalatitiaa) forged an alliance with the Bees.
Meeting at Šau Plain
But when the party leaders met for a conference, the Bees slaughtered the Pearls who attended and then moved on to attack the rank-and-file Pearl membership as well.
Battle of Ŋanačaip
Soon, a split in the Bee party led to a massacre of many of their leaders.
But the group survived and soon launched an invasion of Rasparia. The Bees had fought three battles: against their parents, against the Pearls, and against their own dissenters, and now prepared to fight their first conventional war, as they attempted to liberate Pāpaŋa, a rural area of Play territory that the Raspara were now holding.
Play army involvement
Only at this time did the Play army enter the war. Previously they had only helped their wives escape the Bees, and had refused to engage the Bees in combat, and had remained mostly out of reach in the Bees because the Play army campsites were in high mountain areas difficult to reach. But to enter the war, the Play army needed to fight both the Bees and the Raspara, who were located to the south of the Play army campsites and thus better positioned to face the Bee army.
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 had learned that the Bees' new nation was large but entirely without adults, and figured they could score an easy victory. But they also knew that the reason there were no adults in the Hive was that the children had massacred them, and therefore the Raspara soldiers prepared for a tougher challenge. The Raspara still had only about 1,100 soldiers because the new converts from the Players had largely deserted the Raspara when the threat of war came, and because other soldiers had died. They thus were attacking an army fifty times the size of their own.
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 the Pearls
The Bee invasion thus failed, and the Raspara enslaved the Bees who survived. They declared the deserted city of Napania, which the Bees had ruined, to be the new capital of the Hive, and declared that the Hive had become a one-party state ruled by the Raspara.
Then the Raspara declared war on the Rusted Pearls (Laaatilalatitiaa), an army centered in the counties just east of where the Bees had been. Most of the 79,000 Pearls were children, but they placed their adult members firmly in control of their affairs. They were descendants of the ancient Oyster party, and their territory was at the eastern extreme of the Oysters' historical land claims. The Pearls spoke only Late Andanese and had adopted Andanese cultural traits.
Unlike most other parties, the Pearls rejected hereditary membership, and stated that the only way to join the Pearls was to pass a physical fitness test. The test was designed such that muscular strength was irrelevant, and most of the elements of the test were related to hardiness: for example, the Pearls scraped their skin with wooden beams, and rejected anyone who showed signs of injury.
The Pearls promised that anyone old enough to take the test who failed the test or refused to try would be killed immediately. Thus, shortly after their founding, the Pearls massacred all of their neighbors, and these people were often easy targets because they were too weak to defend themselves.
A split within the Pearls resulted in the assassination of many of their leaders, and the Raspara took over the Pearls the way they had taken over the Bees just months earlier. Thus the Raspara now owned over 100,000 slaves, mostly teenagers with some younger kids and several thousand adults. The Raspara thus ruled over a pool of slaves who outnumbered them by a ratio of 100 to 1.
Raspara move east
Approach towards the Players
The Play capital city was Pūpepas, located on the Pūpe River, just east of where the Pearls had ruled. This area was a singular territory with no counties or other internal divisions, even though the river split it into eastern and western regions. But the Raspara held back, figuring that their victories against the slave rebels were poor predictors of their chances of success against the battle-tested Play army.
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 needy children who had been too young to join the revolts. 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, who had founded a society 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.
Filth and Slime
Soon the Play leaders began to debate hygiene issues among themselves. Supporters of the primitive approach argued that the fīs plague, which the kidnapped Play children had passively spread to their Raspara abusers, had spared countless other lives by driving off the abusers, and that, had the children been required to keep themselves clean, many more Players would have been kidnapped, violently abused, and left to die. (This group was sometimes informally called Hupodas in a trade language based on Moonshine.)
On the other side of the debate, those favoring strict hygiene standards became popular in Thaoa and some other states, and said that the ancestors of the Players had not been so known for poor hygiene, and that their nation had always thrived in the past, and been free from outside abusers. There quickly arose two different groups arguing for stricter hygiene, the Wings (Ŋaapenuta) and the Purse (Vaiba Nuvi), because even these groups considered other issues to be more important and therefore defined themselves by those other issues; nevertheless, they cooperated on votes related to hygiene. The Wing faction also called themselves the Slime, saying that slime was clean by comparison to the filth that their people currently lived in. This name became popular in part because, though widely spread, they drew much of their support from the Slime Forest region (Pavipipeūm) towards the eastern edge of the Play nation.
The Play language had many words for slime, such as paviba, papāba, and tūuba; the Wing party hoped that their allies would also begin calling themselves Slime parties, but that each party in the rising Slime faction would choose a different word.
Notwithstanding, the Slime Forest states of Tanaanu and Thaoa nearly came to war in the year 4144. Tanaanu had been named after its pine trees, more abundant there than even in the rest of Memnumu, and had ample natural resources but a population of only about 20,000. It was known for moderate politics and a lower fertility rate than Player society as a whole. Nearby Thaoa was densely populated and had a high fertility rate, but its politics were also moderate and aligned closely with Tanaanu. Both states identified themselves with the color orange and had come to oppose other states which carried banners of other colors. Thus, the conflict between the two orange Play states was unrelated to ideology.
By this time, the Players had resumed the production of clothing made from animal skins and plant fibers, and improved their personal hygiene practices. Nonetheless, hygiene remained a low priority for most Play families, and Play settlements produced far more waste than did rival cities of comparable population. The Raspara argued that the Players were polluting their environment on purpose, knowing that their traditional military was weak, but that they could forestall invasions by erecting a wall of filth between their settlements and their enemies', knowing that even an enemy far superior on the battlefield would risk contracting a fatal disease by crossing the barrier into Play territory. The Players themselves knew this; Tanaanu and Thaoa were two states that had followed recent sanitary reforms more dutifully than most others, but still had serious problems with environmental pollution that prevented safe border crossings in all directions except by sea.
Thus, what began as an unrelated conflict between two states within the Play territory soon evolved into threats by each party to dump their waste products on the other, or into the sea, even knowing that polluting the sea would eventually harm both sides. Since the Raspara were at this time involved in Play party politics, and needed the Players to remain united in order to win wars, the Raspara took it upon themselves to stop what they euphemistically referred to as the Slime War by means of indirect diplomacy.
Arguing that the Players' hygiene problems were harming their own people more than their enemies, the Raspara reached out to the Players in the core territories, encouraging them to work out a solution between the two relatively minor states of Thaoa and Tanaanu. The two states agreed to put aside their differences and dispose of their waste more responsibly, though they did not clean up the preexisting barrier of filth, as the Raspara had wanted.
In 4145, as the Players' hygiene habits improved, the plague died down and foreigners once again felt safe entering Play territory. The navy of Amade then invaded the Players 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. They declared war on the entire empire, including both the Players and the enemies of the Players. Meanwhile Tarwas struggled to cross the mountains but soon invaded Player territory from their position along the northeast border.
Amade's Egg army started its invasion with the western counties where the Raspara had impounded most of their child slaves. This was because the Play navy had fled eastward towards Pūpepas, leaving the coastline exposed. The Raspara had no navy of their own to compensate for this. Thus, Amade dealt the Raspara a rare defeat.
As the Eggs fought their way eastward towards Pūpepas, they freed only those slaves who promised to lead the fight against the Raspara, and retained the others as slaves. Slaves who disobeyed the Egg laws were killed, and soon the Eggs had killed more Players than Raspara. Meanwhile, some slaves promised to fight and then disobeyed once they were free: the newly freed Flower Bees even restored a Bee battalion rather than help the Ferns against the Raspara.
Treaty of 4145
Eggs advance into Memnumu
The Eggs won the support of some locals in Subumpam by driving out the Raspara, which the young soldiers in the Bee and Pearl armies had been unable to do. They continued to grant freedom to slaves so long as they earned the trust of the Eggs. The Eggs nonetheless continued their war against the Players, however, demanding a new state for the Eggs and the promise that the Players would neither intrude into this new state nor seek to free the Eggs' remaining child slaves.
The Players realized that the Eggs were doing the greater Player nation no harm, since they were killing only those Players who fought back against the Eggs, and that even the slaves of the Eggs could win their freedom by proving their innocence.
The Play women thus met with the Egg women (both societies were feminist) and signed a peace treaty that provided a compromise: the Eggs would be admitted to the Play Empire as a legal political party, adopting the Play language name Puta, differing from the Play party's own name by just a single letter. The Play word for egg was properly putaba, but since the last morpheme was simply a classifier suffix, it was within tradition to omit it when describing people. Puta was also the Late Andanese word for pears and for toddlers (both things that tend to wobble).
The Eggs were given a new state, Yigàme, in which their party had nearly total control. The Crystals had always been a transnational party, and therefore the Crystal party leadership allowed the Eggs to secede and join the Play Empire without losing their Crystal citizenship.
The Eggs were allowed to keep their slaves with no conditions, and to punish their slaves for disobedience in any way they saw fit, even death.
The treaty annexed all of the Eggs' territories, not just Yigàme, into the Play Empire. The Eggs were allowed to travel freely between Yigàme and Amade, and all Crystals living in Amade were allowed to vote in the Play parliament by means of a proxy census without the need to move to the Play Empire. The Players agreed to this demand even admitting that they did not know the population of Amade and were thus not sure they were still a majority in their Empire.
Additionally, both parties agreed to also annex Taryte and AlphaLeap into the Empire so that the new Play Empire would have a fully contiguous land area. There was no significant population of Players in either of these territories, but Crystals had a strong presence in Taryte and had been slowly making progress in enfolding AlphaLeap. However, since neither the Players nor the Crystals had any respect for AlphaLeap, the Leaper party remained illegal in the newly expanded Empire.
The only limitation that the treaty placed on the Eggs was that the Egg military was bound to cooperate with, and consider itself a part of, the wider Play military, both on land and at sea.
Rehabilitation of discredited parties
The Flower Bees and Rusted Pearls became legal parties, as the Players insisted that the decisions of their runaway children be respected, even though these parties had both attacked the Player adults. These people wanted the runaways to be treated as criminals, but not as traitors, as the Players believed that they had been driven mad by their painful childhoods and would not have harmed the Players had they grown up with clear minds.
The Rusted Pearls retained their cryptic Late Andanese name, Laaatilalatitiaa, but now also assigned themselves a name in the Play language: Kanuap Pisui Taus, or Bear Keepers. This was not a translation of the Andanese name, which literally meant rusted pearls, but an entirely new name that the members had chosen to reshape their identity as a party of the new era rather than as a descendant of the ancient Oyster party. The word for bear also meant pig, as the habitats of bears and pigs did not overlap and the same word had come to be used for both early on.
As education had spread to the general population, the Rusted Pearls also identified themselves as a wing of the Soap Bubbles, based in the deserts of the far west, instead of the Players. Previously almost all Pearls had been young children with no knowledge of the world outside. Nonetheless, the Pearls were a very small party and did not plan to agitate against the Players from their newly restored party.
The Eggs, like other Crystals, had always thought of Amade not as a state, nor even a nation, but as a federation of five nations bound together by an agreement establishing common and indelible laws. By joining the Play Empire, they agreed to adopt the Players' classifications, meaning that Amade was reduced to a state, albeit one with a population far larger than any other Play state, and the constituent nations within it were reduced to counties.
Treaty with Tarwas
Meanwhile, Tarwas' army also won this war, but realized that occupying any large areas of Play territory would be dangerous, and instead focused on getting the Play refugees still living in Tarwas to accept a submissive lifestyle or move back to a Play-controlled area.
In 4147, the Raspara declared war on all of the other political parties in the Empire, claiming no alliance to the Eggs, the Flower Bees, Dreamland, or any other outside power. They promised that they would eliminate all of the dissenting armies in the Anchor Empire by themselves and therefore gain uncontested rule of the entire Empire.
This preconceived war was over in mere weeks with a clear Raspara victory. The Raspara set the calendar back to the year 0 and enslaved all surviving citizens who were not part of the Raspara army or a family member of a veteran.
Tribal conflicts arise
The Egg army was still in control of the western Play state of Yigàme, and continued to enslave people who had joined rebel groups as children and fought for freedom against the Raspara. Though the Eggs were just one of many groups who had fought the Players in recent years, they stood out from other groups because of their somewhat taller stature and dark skin.
Objections to the Eggs
Some Players argued that the Eggs could not be welcome in Play society because their height would lead them to a naturally dominant position, and their slaves would be afraid to rebel. Yet, the Players conceded that the Eggs had chosen to settle in the western Subumpam region, whose people were taller than most other Players, and therefore the Eggs did not stand tall over their slaves.
These Players, while conceding that their own party continued to hold a small number of captured slaves from Dreamland, also claimed that the Eggs were much more cruel to their own slaves, and that their slave pools included many who still were very young, as their slave pool consisted primarily of orphans and runaways, many of whom had been just six years old when the Eggs had invaded in 4145. Nonetheless, most of the Eggs' slaves were young adults, because the teenagers had been more resistant to Egg rule and thus less likely to be set free, and they had since reached adulthood.
The Players also claimed that the Eggs' lifestyle, being derived from a foreign country, was incompatible with the Play lifestyle. Here, they admitted that their own party had made many disastrous mistakes in recent years, and might even be able to hear good advice from the Eggs, but insisted that the Eggs must become Players and submit to the Play lifestyle.
In summary, the Players who opposed the Eggs admitted that their arguments were weak, and that the Eggs were greatly preferable to enemy groups such as the Raspara and Zeniths, but still argued that the Eggs were harmful to Play society as a whole, and should be no longer considered a legal party. They began to draw up plans for a land war against the Eggs to begin at the earliest opportunity, sensing they would not win a victory in the new two-party Parliament.
The Players who opposed the Eggs avoided mentioning the Eggs' language and skin color as reasons why they could not fit in; they knew that Play society had many linguistic minorities already, and that while Players typically had light skin, skin color had not in the past been a motivating factor for conflicts in previous wars.
Support for the Eggs
Other Players looked forward to a strong bipartisan alliance, in which the Eggs would live their lives according to their longstanding traditions, perhaps even helping the Players with basic issues such as hygiene and food supply, while the Players would nonetheless live mostly among their own kind to the east of the Eggs. They supported annexing all of Amade and Taryte into Memnumu, saying that even if the Players lost their majority status by doing this they would maintain power locally by various means. If the Eggs ever threatened Play rule in the Play capital city, Pūpepas, the Players would split the empire apart again and outlaw the Egg party in all Play-controlled areas. Strictly speaking, the Play constitution did not give minority territories the right to secede from the Empire, so the Players knew that if they really had become a minority in their own nation, the Eggs had the legal right to take control of the nation. However, they also believed that both sides of the potential conflict would prefer a peaceful split to yet another war.
The Eggs had not moved to Subumpam family by family; although there were some women and children, most of those who had made the journey were adult male soldiers. The Egg soldiers therefore planned to marry the women they had captured as slaves a few years earlier, who by now had various political affiliations. Most Players supported this, as the populations the Eggs were seeking to marry had lost most of their young males in the previous wars, and while the Play court system strictly regulated marriage among Players, they mostly did not feel it proper to rule against marriages between members of two minority parties (few of the slaves had rejoined the Play party).
Outbreak of conflict
In 4149, nonetheless, the Play home territory (Memnumu) broke up in its own civil war. The various Play armies now used human waste as a weapon against each other, and the Filth War left everyone worse off than they had been at the start. Aware of the danger of disease, the Raspara army once again fled northward out of Play territory, except for a few attempts to circle around and link up with Raspara colonies along the coast.
Foundation of the Lava party
At home, casualties far higher than in recent wars quickly mounted, affecting both children and adults. Afraid of both sides, a faction of Players calling themselves the Lava Handlers (Tūapana) departed from all regions of Play territory and met up in the forests to the north.
The Lava Handlers were veterans of the war against Dreamland who had learned how to heat and shape metal in order to manufacture swords and other powerful weapons; thus their name referred to their ability to handle hot metal, which the common people likened to lava. The Lava Handlers were fond of their accomplishments and their impressive party name, though they accepted that in other languages they would be referred to with ordinary words describing metalworking or something even more basic. They noted, for example, that the Play word for lava, tūu, also meant slime, and that many Handlers had originated in the Slime Forest region of eastern Play territory. Some of the names given to the Lava party can be represented in English by a name such as Tinkers or Tinks.
The Lava Handlers blamed the many problems of the Play Empire on AlphaLeap, saying that the Leapers had deprived generations of Players of even a basic education, and that the adults currently running the Play Empire were governing blindly, unaware of things that even children in foreign empires knew, such as the need for proper hygiene.
The Lava party leaders, therefore, were men who had grown up before AlphaLeap took over, and had been allowed to attend school as children. There were very few men still alive from this era; the Handlers knew that they could not rule for long, and realized the need to build schools for their children as quickly as possible, even though they were still at war.
In 4149, the Tinks overthrew the Raspara, who had also fled the plagues.
Note that the Tinks were not one of the two sides in the preexisting Play civil war; rather, they fled the fighting by moving to the north where, for a short time, they had full control of their own affairs. The Tinks were the men who had earlier fought Dreamland and then returned home; they were among the oldest people in their nation and claimed the right to rule based on their age and experience, which put them at odds with the youth-oriented Play party and the culture of their nation. Though these men had originated from areas throughout Play territory, their party got its start in the Slime Forest region that had come to be known for its rebellious politics.
In 4149, after having changed hands several times, the Tink army took control of Play territory and claimed the right to rule the entire Anchor Empire, which they renamed Anzan.
New Play constitution
The Players signed an agreement with the Tinks affirming that they recognized each other as part of the same party.
In 4150, the Play parliament (Play Pupumūs; Late Andanese Nuhutuhuku) passed a new constitution containing a clause requiring the Players to keep their habitat clean and assigning adult male soldiers to noncombative jobs involving environmental protection, so long as there was no foreign war to fight. Because the Players were still at war at the time of the resolution, they did not immediately change their behavior, but they taught young boys that the new law was real and that they would likely be sent to shovel up human waste before they were sent to face a foreign army in war.
Note that in 4150, the Play party had been submerged to the control of the Tinks in the north, but that they soon reemerged as an independent state.
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.
Play men agitate for power
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. The Players had just signed a treaty with the Tinks stating that they were the same party, leaving aside for the time the problem of how they would form a unified government where the men and women did not recognize each other's voting rights.
Because all men of the unified Play-Tink party were in the military, the men were able to move about their shared territory in a way the women were not. Because the army was united, they did not have discrete pro-Tink and pro-Play battalions. The Tink soldiers had mostly fled from their homeland, meaning that they had disobeyed the Play leadership, but many men in Play territory had also become friendly to the Tink platform and yet had remained in Play territory near the capital city.
Importantly, the Tink commanders stated that the military would recognize no authority in war outside itself, and therefore that a non-military official could not tell the army where to go or whether to fight a war. The only power over the military that the Tink commanders awarded to their planned new government was that the government could set the size of the army.
The men took control of the capital city, Pūpepas, and stated that they were liberating the population of Pūpepas — not just the men, but also the overworked children and the deluded women.
Because the Tinks had control of the capital city, the Play women conceded that the Tink male-led power structure overruled the Players' female power structure, 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.
Repercussions in Tata
Meanwhile, the Play-Tink government reforms also applied to the Play-occupied state of Tata far to the northwest. Here, there were no Tink soldiers to push the Players around, and therefore, while the Players agreed to follow the letter of the law in the Tinks' new reforms, they promised they would not submit so easily as had the Players in Pūpepas.
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. Since the Lava Handlers (that is, the Tinks) still required voting to be done by males only, the Players created a proxy organization called the Obedient Men's Club, which required men to vote in blocs according to the will of the female population.
Dissenting males were stripped of power entirely, and the Players announced they had rescued their all-female government system from the Lava Handlers in Pūpepas. 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 nation 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.
As the Lava Handlers in Anzan began attending schools run by the well-educated Raspara minority, their ideology rapidly changed, while the feminists in Tata refused to make even slight changes. The capital of the empire remained in Pūpepas, and the party leaders in Pūpepas signed a pledge of loyalty to the Lava Handlers of the north, but did not commit to the new ideology, saying that they did not trust the opinions of outside party members.
In 4151, despite the pledge of loyalty, the Raspara-educated Handlers, still calling themselves the Rebels (Yasiu), mostly living in the northern reaches of their empire, launched a civil war against the Handler party base in the capital city of Pūpepas.
Foundation of Creamland
The Rebel invasion forced the victims in Pūpepas to declare themselves a new party, the Creamers (Play Žayu, Andanese Pahupa). This name Creamer here represents a Play-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 Lava Handlers who had attacked them. (One name for the Dreamers was Mayu "Gold"; meanwhile the Play word žayu meant "loyal". The Andanese word was not a pun, but merely a translation of the Play, as the Andanese language could not provide a sufficiently clever pun with their own name for Dreamland.)
The Creamers restored the name Memnumu for their nation, a name that the Players had coined only a decade earlier, but also sometimes referred to it as Žayūas, just as Dreamland was sometimes called Mayūas. The Creamers among themselves also came to refer to themselves as Players once again, and promised that they would formally rejoin the Play party once they were able to connect with the Play occupiers in Tata to ensure their cooperation.
By seceding from the Lava party, the Creamers effectively made the Rebel faction synonymous with the Lava party, and therefore the Rebels returned to calling themselves Lava Handlers. Meanwhile, the Creamers restored most tenets of the Play party platform, including the restriction of government power to adult females only; though men had originally hoped to retain power, they knew that the male-led Lava Handlers would force them into a war against their own wives.
Battle of Pūpepas Memni
The Lava army moved westward within their own territory along the foothills of the Mountains of Wisdom, and then entered Nama, which was within their claimed territory as well. Then, they sailed down the Pūpeati River towards the Play capital city of Pūpepas.
This name is pretendential ("proper name" + port), and all mention of Tatūm above must be replaced with this name.
Here, surrounded by water on three sides, more than 155,000 children lived within the walls of the world's largest school, a castle (memni) merging indoors and outdoors. The proper name of the school was Puna Memni, "port castle", but it was often referred to as Pūpepas Memni after the name of the city it was in, or as Pūpepuna Memni.
The Play military strategists knew that the school would be difficult to invade, as its walls were sturdy, but that, once the barriers were breached, the battle would become a slaughter, as there were few Play adults to protect the children. They contemplated evacuating the children towards the beaches, even knowing that the beaches were already overcrowded with children.
Historically the location of so many children in one place had not been a problem because it was surrounded by water, and the upstream nation was Nama, which had long ago lost its ability to rouse a unified military force. Land invasions thus would have needed to cross water and then walls. However, the school population had increased markedly in recent years. The children thus realized that they were not safe.
Creamland included most of the Play party's earlier holdings, but they did not have control of their historical capital city or the area around it, and therefore had to select a new capital. They also had areas of weaker support, such as Thaoa, in part because the Tinks had not attacked the whole of Paba, and because remote areas in the far east preferred to isolate themselves from the politics of the wider world.
Since the Creamers 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.
When Tata's Players learned what had happened, most privately sided with the Creamers, and they realized that since the Tinks had invaded Creamer territory for no reason at all, they might soon invade Tata as well and claim that the Players deserved an invasion for being insufficiently loyal. But because there was no geographical connection between Creamland and the Player nation of Tata, Tata's Play leaders knew that they would need to feign loyalty to the Tinks for the time being.
In 4152, having taken much of Creamland away from the Players, the Tinks changed their name to the Swamp Kids and declared that they would soon conquer Baeba Swamp as well. Thus, the Players in Dreamland realized that they would be forced to occupy Dreamland with no help, and worried that the Swamp Kids would even force them to abandon Dreamland to help fight a war in the Swamp.
Translation of this name is flexible, since they also gave themselves a name in Late Andanese.
Furthermore, they also renamed Anzan to Čifuyama Miu, "Bounty Empire", which in Late Andanese was Mimakilamamana. The Play word for bounty, čifuyama, was a conscious choice, the Swamp Kids knowing that it was often used to mean having too much of something. The Swamp Kids thus promised to overpopulate their territory as the Players had and run out all of their enemies even if they could not overcome them with brute strength.
Constitution of 4152
Having formally rejoined the Play party, the Creamers in Memnumu formulated a new constitution from their new capital city, Tatūm, east of the land they had lost to the Handlers.
The Play constitution of 4152 affirmed the need of the Players to run a one-party state, saying that it was simply natural for a nation to be in charge of its own territory, as any outside party would have a conflict of interest. They allowed dissenting movements within their party platform, but all known foreign parties were banned and Play factions could not endorse tenets of these banned parties. Among the beliefs shared by all Play factions were:
- The Play party has the right and the need to rule uncontested in order to keep the Play nation safe from the influence of outside enemies; multiparty democracies are inherently unstable and doomed to failure.
- Play party membership is hereditary.
- Players must be loyal to their nation and not participate in conflicts between two foreign parties.
- Play supporters living in foreign nations are not Players until they move to the Play nation and acquire citizenship; Players are thus not obligated to defend foreigners who claim allegiance to the Play Empire.
- All adult female Players are allowed to vote. Men and children cannot vote. Political office is reserved for adult females.
- Men must dedicate their lives to the military; the military's duties in peacetime involve farming, fishing, and other noncombative tasks.
- The Play nation's extremely high birthrate prevented foreign powers such as the Leapers and the Raspara from conquering Play territory in the past. A high birthrate is necessary to preserve the Play nation's territorial integrity.
- Food production must be collectivized and food must be distributed according to family size.
- The early Players' poor hygiene practices helped Players win wars by spreading diseases into enemy territories well beyond the Play soldiers' furthest advance; nevertheless the Players' diseases also killed Players at home.
- All Players must attend school during childhood.
- Children must not be made to work; the definition of work, however, is a matter of debate. Children shall not be made to compete with adults in any type of labor, whether voluntary or forced.
- The Play party is sovereign over all of Play territory, including private property. The Play police force is responsible for rescuing children from abusive parents, and as such, can enter people's homes at will.
- Criticism of the Play party constitution is illegal; anyone criticizing the constitution shall lose their Play party membership, and with it, the right to live in Play society.
The Players retained the name Memnumu for their new, smaller nation, pledging that they would someday take back control of their capital and the areas to its west.
Control over Tata
The Players surrendered jurisdiction over Tata, declaring it a foreign nation, and therefore consciously alienating the Play party of Tata, their only true ally in the world. Speaking through diplomats, the Players in Memnumu explained that they believed Tata's Play party would actually be better off ruling independently, and would be free to make or break alliances with other parties and other nations, while holding a strong position militarily because Tata stood at the junction of Dreamland, Baeba, and the Anchor Empire.
Nevertheless, they allowed and encouraged Tata's Play women to participate in a legal fiction whereby they would claim to live in addresses in Lava-occupied cities such as Pūpepas, and state that they were part of Memnumu after all, and thereby gain the right to vote in the Play internal elections which would help determine the Players' course of action in gaining their territory back as well as resolving internal conflicts within their rump territory.
This was possible because the Players' new constitution allowed people to untether their voting district from their place of residence. This was called mupā ŋaupumi, "road voting", because Players' votes could be sent down the road any arbitrary distance before being counted. This contrasted with the Tinks' earlier system of ŋita ŋaupumi, "district voting", which could also be translated as "ring voting".
The intent of the road voting system was to encourage dynamic leadership and discourage the growth of regional factions, as every district in the nation would be available to each faction of the Play party. Because the Play government was strongly centralized, the Players felt there was no harm done in allowing a representative from a given district to be elected primarily by constituents from outside that district.
Because the Lava Handlers did not allow women to vote, the Players argued that the women in Tata may as well surrender their party membership and even citizenship, leaving their husbands to vote through the Obedient Men's Club, which would always advocate the wishes of the women in Tata, who were free to choose whether to align with the Players or start their own party.
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. The Players blamed their slaves and prioritized food distribution to Play families only. Tata's Players had been hoping to outsmart both the Handlers and the Players in Memnumu, but now realized that they needed to address their basic problems first.
Relations with the Eggs
The Lava Handlers had invaded the eastern extremity of the Egg territory during the Cream War, and the Eggs had cooperated with the Players during the war, but had mostly behaved defensively rather than trying to reconquer land that had been taken from the Players. Therefore, while the Players still considered the Eggs to be allies, there was no longer a direct connection by land or by sea, and the Players knew that that Eggs might soon decide they would be better off without their obligations to the Players. Therefore the new constitution made no mention of the Eggs, and the Players did not specifically state that the Eggs were their allies. They also knew that the Crystal party was prone to factional splits, just as the Play party had been, and therefore the Eggs themselves might divide or disappear within a few decades.
Nonetheless, the Players expressed their admiration for the Eggs by declaring that Memnumu was a tropical nation, the coldest in the world, and one which reached into the cold climates of the Mountains of Wisdom. By this, they meant that they envisioned the Play lifestyle as being forever closely tied to the land, as the Eggs and other Crystals had long been in Amade. Nonetheless, the Players at this time derived their food primarily from the sea, just like nations such as Moonshine that had cold climates and poor prospects for even the most primitive agriculture.
Growth of factions
- Note: See Swamp_Kids#Interactions_with_predators for the derivation of the years.
Further troubles at sea
In the early 4150s, overcrowding combined with difficult seas caused problems for the children fishing the sea: daily catches declined, more boats sunk in the waves as children moved further from shore, and a new disease, vanua pepis, began to spread among the fishing-age children, particularly boys, who had previously been mostly safe from diseases due to their isolation and the barrenness of their sandy habitat. One symptom of the new disease was a hoarse voice, so children with the disease kept their mouths shut when others came near.
Whereas fīs and the other early plagues had mostly affected mothers and children too young to leave their mother's care, this new disease spread among the children rowing their fishing boats, and left the remainder of the population mostly untouched, even those who bought the kids' fish catches. Most of those dying of the new disease were boys aged from 6 to 12, as that was the age group that was responsible for fishing; nonetheless, girls also fell victim to the disease.
Change in fishing duties
As Play parents watched their young children fall victim to a disease they could not understand, they again looked for a way to delegate fishing duties to adults, particularly men, that would not leave the Play nation without an army to protect itself. The Play navy was still guarding the shoreline, and they still did catch some fish, but their ships were much less efficient than those used by the children. Meanwhile the army was still intent on reconquering the land lost to the Lava Handlers, many believing that the new overcrowding was the true cause of the new plague.
Factionalization of the Play party
The orphanhood and child runaway crisis of the late 4130's had caused the Play party to split into two factions, the hardline Milk Bottles and the more moderate Pillow faction. As the children grew up, nearly all of them joined the Pillows, seeing them as the group that had rescued them from the increasingly dangerous lives they had lived on the beaches with no adult protection. At the time of this split, the Players had still tolerated the existence of the hostile Leaper party alongside the two Play factions, and the Players came to define a faction (peim) as a division of a party that is bound by a charter to cooperate with the other factions of that party, whereas a party is not. The Players soon banned the Leaper party from their empire; although the illegal Raspara briefly forced their way into the Play parliament, diseases caused by the Players' poor hygiene habits forced the Raspara to return to their homelands in the northern forests.
In the late 4140's, yet another new wing of the Play party known as the Lava Handlers asserted itself; these were the men who had fought in the earlier war against Dreamland and then, unlike most other soldiers, returned home to their families in the Play home territory instead of occupying and rebuilding Dreamland. Because the Tinks were led by men, the governing Play factions refused to acknowledge their existence as Players, but conceded that they otherwise obeyed the Play party's constitution and had close ties with the women running the Purse faction.
Bee invasion of 4156
In 4156, the Flower Bees invaded Dreamland, passing through Tata on the way. Some of the soldiers in this battalion were the same Bees who had fought the Raspara thirteen years earlier, while others were the children of these soldiers. There were also a small number of new converts. The Bees were quickly defeated, however, and they fought so poorly that the Dreamers suspected they had been intending to achieve martyrdom, either to start a new conventional war or to relieve their own consciences of misdeeds they had committed in Anzan.
When the Swamp Kids learned what had happened, they vowed to someday avenge the Bees by conquering and enslaving the whole of Dreamland. But the Swamp Kids were having such trouble controlling and even traveling through their own homeland that the Dreamers knew any such war would take place far in the future, if at all.
Creation of tribal boundaries
Though the Players identified as a political party rather than a tribe, many opposing parties were essentially monoethnic, and people of these tribes seldom joined the Play party.
A range of different opinions soon emerged.
The hardline Players were strict nationalists; they insisted that anyone within the Play nation could join the Play party provided they followed all of the Players' laws. They stated that the Players were a nation that transcended tribe and race. Thus, even converts from the Zeniths and Raspara, who had harmed the Players in the recent past, were welcome in the Play party, provided that they drop their weapons and (for men) take a low-ranking position in the army so that they could not endanger the other Players.
This position was most commonly adhered to by the Pillows and much smaller Milk Bottles, but was not a faction in and of itself.
However, some Players believed that the Players needed legally sanctioned tribal boundaries in order to prevent tribes such as the Zeniths and Raspara from flooding the Players' membership rolls, and then openly violating the Players' laws. They stated that while there were many different tribes of Players, they were nonetheless a closed group with tribal boundaries, and admission of new tribes would be detrimental to the rest.
Because the Players were feminists, this group argued, their women must be taller than their men, and therefore they excluded any tribes known to have men taller then their women. Since most Players were physically short, having lost their taller western tribes to invasions and defections, the Players came to identify with their short stature as well, saying that the Players needed to be physically hardy. Thus, with their hardiness, they could win a war against a taller opponent army by forcing the enemy to fight in an environment favorable to the Players, such as during cold weather, hot weather, with sharp thorn plants around, or during an outbreak of disease.
This group did not discriminate based on skin color or language. They promised they would not discriminate based on height, either, and most saw the western Egg tribe as their natural ally, despite knowing that the Eggs were dark-skinned people with a different language and a relatively tall stature. This was based largely on similiarities in lifestyle: the ancestors of the Eggs had been living in the same tropical rainforest for more than a thousand years, and had throughout all this time maintained a lifestyle close to nature.
This group did not have a faction of its own, since their other interests were generally the same as the absolutist Players, but the closed-coalition position was most common nonetheless among the Pillows and less common among the Milk Bottles.
Lastly the new factions of Players supported the idea that the only true Players were those of the Lenian tribes, with only the Lenians allowed to define which tribes did and did not belong. This group was spread over more than one faction, but the loudest voice for strict tribal boundaries came from the Purse of Choice (Vaiba Nuvi), also known as VBN.
Many Purses believed that visible traits such as skin and hair color defined personality and behavior traits, and that as such, people of different appearance were bound to have incompatible personalities and could not form a nation. The Purse believed that skin color and language were valid boundaries to define Play party membership, and therefore excluded all dark-skinned people from their group, but could not decide amongst each other where to draw boundaries based on other physical traits such as hair color and height; and likewise they disagreed with each other about where to draw linguistic boundaries. Many of the supporters of this strict position were themselves linguistic minorities who had imperfect knowledge of the Play language and whose parents had never been fully reached by the original founders of the Play party. Thus, while these people were considered reformists by the Play mainstream, in some cases they were continuing pre-Play cultural ideas that had never been extinguished in their local areas.
Influence from early history
Most Purses lived in the eastern and southeastern parts of Play territory, those areas south of Tarwas and mostly north of Thaoa. For more than 3,000 years, the people of this region, the Lenians, had considered themselves superior to other tribes simply because of their appearance, stating that their blonde hair and small body type made them more beautiful than other people, and that this alone made them most fit to rule a nation. These ideas had occasionally resulted in violent civil wars, but these had steadily decreased in frequency and severity over time as the nation became more pacifistic and also more united in its political relations towards the rest of the world.
After the disastrous Oyster War destroyed the natural environment of Pubumaus, the society became agricultural and most ethnic minorities such as the dark-skinned Ferns gradually fled to wealthier areas, leaving the Lenians behind. One minority who remained, however, were the Andanese. As the Lenian tribes became ever more tied to their farms, the Andanese became a merchant caste, dominating every occupation dealing with money or mathematics, but never working with food. The Lenian farmers for the most part accepted this, because they believed food was more important than money, and because the Lenians and Andanese still had shared enemies spread across the world living in the nations who had defeated them in the Oyster War. Thus, ethnic conflicts remained rare and violence almost nonexistent for the next 1,500 years. Gradually, the Andanese assimilated into the Lenian population, most noticeably near the capital city but to a lesser extent even in the farmlands of the east where the Purses now lived. Eventually, even nonviolent ethnic conflict disappeared from Pubumaus.
Here, almost exactly 2,000 years earlier, the dark-skinned Fern tribes had settled and pushed the native inhabitants off their land, financed by the national government (then called Pubumaus) but without compensation for the locals. Many locals were told that the Ferns would soon move northward into the recently founded colony of Tarwas, but the Ferns broke up into mutually hostile factions and most of them ended up staying in Pubumaus. Soon, deciding that owning their land was not enough, they declared war against the locals and won easily since the locals had been pacifists up until that time and were poorly equipped for war.About five hundred years later, Pubumaus once again became a unified state, and the locals were pushed into farming occupations, with agriculture collectivized and food distribution tied to family size. This immediately led to a very high birthrate among the locals, but not among the descendants of the Ferns, who were by this time part of an elite class whose food was provided free by the state on an individual level. Thus, the locals rapidly outgrew the Ferns and other minorities, and the hostility towards the Ferns disappeared over the centuries.
But the Purses were aware of their history, and many believed that the newly arrived Egg immigrants were descended from the Ferns and that they would again insist that they were superior and that the other Players needed to move aside for them. This was in part due to the Players' confusion between the ancient tropical empire of Atlam, from which the Ferns had come, and the Crystals' colonies in Amade, further east and with a drier climate. The Eggs had arrived in Play territory from Amade, not from Atlam.
Definition of membership
Because many of the Players wishing to exclude linguistic minorities were themselves linguistic minorities, this group was unable to draw its own boundaries, and some members expelled each other. Furthermore, there arose a dispute over hair color, where some members claimed that some Players' hair was too dark to be Lenian, while others argued that the people of Thaoa, with the blondest hair of all, were non-Play because many spoke the Palli language and must therefore have some non-Lenian ancestry just as the Andanese did. The Purses were aware of their own intermarriage with the Andanese tribes, but stated that because they were still predominantly blonde, they had attracted only the best among the Andanese. By contrast, most Players living in the capital city had dark hair, even those who spoke no Andanese.
After a long debate, the Purses declared that the inhabitants of the Player province of Thaoa were of Palli ancestry, and were out of place in the Play nation. The Purses avoided mentioning Andanese ancestry because they knew their own people also had Andanese ancestry, and in fact most likely had intermarried more with the Andanese than the people of Thaoa had. Some Purses thus supported disbarring the Thaoans from the Play party, even knowing that Thaoa was in a strategic position and could disrupt the integrity of the young Play nation. Nonetheless, the Play navy was confident that even if Thaoa were to secede, the coastline would remain firmly in control of the Players.
The Purses soon authored racist literature in which the inhabitants of Thaoa were described as being only barely human. However, even the Purses urged restraint here, and also produced literature arguing for the rejection of Thaoa on the grounds that they had been insufficiently loyal in recent conflicts, and had at times cooperated with the Lava Handlers who had invaded the Players.
The Purses insisted that tribalism was not the primary reason for their rejection of ethnic minorities. This was in part because the Purses worried they would lose their battle over tribalism, since almost no ethnic minorities would support them, and that Thaoa would then forge an alliance with the winning anti-tribalist coalition, and go on from there to promote an anti-Purse agenda, perhaps even expelling the Purses from the Play party. The Purses believed that if they were pushed out of the Play party, Thaoa's apolitical bloc vote would emerge as the leading faction, and then would be able to push a treasonous plan that would serve the interests of the Lava Handlers to their north, all while claiming to be Players. The Purses considered Thaoa a much greater enemy than the non-Lenian Play factions who mostly also opposed Thaoa, and were willing to make concessions even on important issues in order to win the support of the other factions and unite against Thaoa.
Another reason why the Purses consistently downplayed tribalism even while affirming that they supported it was their knowledge that defining a tribe by physical appearance alone, as they did, would leave the Purses vulnerable to accusations that they themselves were in league with Thaoa, whose people were even more blonde than the Purses, or with the hated Dreamer tribes far to the west, who had invaded the Players just decades earlier. The Purses conceded, somewhat grudgingly, that most of the people in the world known for having blonde hair were in fact their enemies, and so they looked for other ways to categorize these people, ruling out the Thaoans based on language and the Dreamers based on longstanding cultural stereotypes that were so universal among Players that the Purses knew they need not bring them up.
Summary of positions
None of the Players supported allowing foreigners to join the Play party. Thus, even though the ruling parties of Dreamland had superficially similar ideologies to that of the founding Play party, the hardline Players refused them the right to join. Likewise, even though the Dreamers were typically similar in appearance to the classic Lenian body type, the tribalist Players refused the Dreamers the right to join.
Notably, the Players also excluded the Swamp Kids from moving back, claiming that the civil war of 4151 had reduced the Swamp Kids to the same status as the invading tribes such as the Raspara.
The exclusion of the Swamp Kids required coordination between opposing factions of Players. To the Pillows and their allies, the expulsion was because of treason; to the tribalist factions, it was because of race. The tribalists' argument worked because the Players and Swamp Kids had no opportunities to meet on friendly terms, and many Players came to believe that the Swamp Kids had been mostly of a different tribe all along. The Purses used the Swamp Kids' choice of name as an insult, saying that they had chosen the name because they were physically frail, even if not physically small. The Purses prided themselves on their athletic skills and believed that a large body size was not necessary to win a war.
Purses tighten up
The Purses realized that they could not focus solely on Thaoa. An extremist subfaction within the Purses took charge here, endorsed strict personal hygiene, and produced explicit propaganda linking dark hair and skin colors to dirty sanitary habits, saying that their proof of this was that the recent plagues had originated in and had been most severe in the areas near the original Play capital city of Pūpepas. They said that even within the Purses there were people who did not belong and that they would be easy to spot.
The eastern Vukh river in Thaoa was associated with a longstanding plague that caused birth defects, and had been endemic to that river and nowhere else for thousands of years, but the Purses did not similarly consider the Thaoans to be unsanitary. Thus, the listeners knew that the Purses' new message was truly racist and not merely an attempt to promote proper hygiene.
The Purses knew it was dangerous to say such things about fellow Players, and that it could turn other factions against them much more than their anti-Thaoa propaganda ever could. But the Purses truly believed what they were saying, and therefore published the new propaganda to show their supporters that they would stand up for their beliefs even when they were very controversial, and even when they weakened the position of their faction relative to the rest.
Reaction among non-Purses
The Pillow and Bottle factions soon joined forces against the Purse, since they believed that the differences in their positions would mean little on the ground, and that their opposition to the growing and now openly racist Purse faction was paramount. Thus, the Pillows and Milk Bottles both contained a range of opinions on tribalism, rather than the Pillows adopting one position and the Bottles adopting the other.
The Pillow-Bottle coalition did not create an anti-Purse tribalist campaign to combat the Purses' own tribalist campaign, saying that it would be folly to use the Purses' arguments against the Purses. The Pillow-Bottle coalition assumed that they would win because they would have nearly unanimous support among Players with dark hair, while also having some support among those with lighter hair colors; since the Purses excluded people with dark hair and dark skin, they could not grow beyond their party base.
The Players began an urban renewal program in 4157, claiming it was the long-awaited realization of the founding Players' plan to convert all adult-made structures into playgrounds for children; however, they had moved away from the absolutist Play ideology, and stated instead that all cities would simply be destroyed and rebuilt from scratch.
In fact, the primary motivation by this time was not children's right to play, but the worry that the Players' growing cities were the source of the plagues which continued to affect adults and those children too small to leave their mothers' care, but had relatively little effect on children who spent their days on the beach, even though these beaches were just as crowded as the cities.
Dreamers in Tata
Around this time, Tata's Players, calling themselves the Clubs, legalized the Dolphin Rider party within Tata, though they required them to identify as Dreamers, meaning that they would be forced to share a party identity with the enslaved Baywatchers, who had also historically identified as Dreamers. The Clubs wanted to strengthen their position relative to the Players in Memnumu; they knew that if Memnumu decided to pursue territorial unification with Tata, they would be required to also legalize the Dreamer party in Memnumu, unless Memnumu's Players all united to vote against the Dreamer-Club alliance. And they believed that this would be unlikely because Memnumu's Players had by this time become sharply divided ideologically whereas Tata's Players belonged to a single party, the Clubs. Meanwhile, the Clubs did not feel threatened by the Dreamers because they knew that Tata's geopolitical situation meant that their democracy was a gesture of goodwill, and that the real power in Tata remained with the military. Thus, the Clubs understood that if the Dreamers ever outvoted them in Tata, the Clubs would simply revert to their original one-party military occupation government. This, however, relied on the Players' belief that they would forever be better soldiers than the Dreamers, even if outnumbered.
Rise of the Purse
In spring 4160, the Purse took power in the Play Parliament and began actively discriminating against the various tribal parties, including many people who had grown up thinking that they were Players.
The constitution did not allow the Purses to send the army against other Players, so they used their female police force to criminalize opposition to the Purses and arrest anyone who stood in their way. They thus stated that they were not launching a war, but rather cracking down on crime, and that the crime the western Player tribes were guilty of was the spreading of plagues to the rest of the Play population. The Purses could not find a clause in their constitution that allowed direct racial discrimination, and needed to reply on claims such as this to justify their discrimination program. The Players typically had not endorsed collective responsibility in the past, except when attacking enemy parties such as the Raspara. Thus, the Purses hoped that they could make life so difficult for the non-Purse Players in the western tribes that those people would voluntarily switch to a different party and therefore make themselves valid targets for not just discrimination but also war.
Likewise, the Play constitution of 4152 required all men to obey the orders of the female police force, and because all adult men were soldiers, the Purse-led Play police force had legal control of the Play army. However, the Purses knew that if they were to order the men of the western tribes to leave Play territory, the men could simply switch to a different party and launch a civil war against the Purses. Furthermore, since the Play military was racially integrated, the seceders could take the war to any pro-Purse soldiers immediately. Knowing this, the Purses assumed that the military would oppose the Purse agenda in general and could not be trusted to enforce the Purses' actions against the western Play tribes. Therefore, the Purses realized that they needed to limit their actions to those which would not provoke a coup from the military.
First violent attacks
The Purses' purges soon led to violent resistance. The Purses claimed that their own actions were legal but that the resistance was illegal. The perpetrators of the violence, on both sides, were women, and they targeted only women and children, since both sides' men were serving alongside each other in the military and could not be separated from each other.
Although the Purses discriminated against the western tribes on racial grounds, the western tribes never united to form an anti-Purse racial discrimination program. Rather, they supported racial unity and claimed that the Play ideology was more important than tribe and racial identity. Even so, the women of the western tribes who were fighting the Purse policewomen also attacked each other, and in some cases actually joined the Purse attacks. This was for various reasons, with each case unique, rather than any belief that the Purses would reward them.
Plans for civil war
The Purses also realized that they could in the future eliminate their enemies by calving off new parties from their own, which would fight wars against western Player tribes, and then immediately rejoin the Players once the war was over. Since the killings would therefore have been committed by non-Players, no Play laws would be violated, and the killers could not be legally prosecuted. And since the killers would regain their Play citizenship after their attacks, they could not be considered enemy soldiers either.
Creation of the Rain Police
The Purses announced the creation of the new Milky Rain party (Memnaumna), also known as the Maps. This party was all-female at its foundation because the Purses figured that they would be unable to peel male soldiers away from the unitary Play military, but the founders hoped to soon raise young boys to fill its ranks. The intent was that the Rain would be a wing of the police force dedicated to killing non-Purses, whose members could not be prosecuted because of the above loophole regarding party identification. However, the Rains knew that they did not have the full support of the Player police force, only of the commanders, and therefore the opposition within the police could switch parties as well and begin attacks against the Rain.
Continued urban renewal
The Purses also blamed the cities for spreading diseases. The Players' ruling Purse faction continued an urban renewal program begun in 4157. The Purses however targeted any area in which disease was spreading, not just cities.
Move to Pūpepas
The Swamp Kids to the north and west opposed the Purses' racial discrimination programs and offered to adopt Players who wanted to move north and help the Swamp Kids overcome their own problems. They even welcomed the Purses themselves, and some Purses moved north hoping to extend their party's rule, but they were generally pushed into areas where other Players were also moving, and most Players who moved were of the Pillows, Eggs, and other anti-Purse factions.
While the Eggs moved mostly into rural areas of Swampy territory, the Pillows moved further west to the city of Pūpepas, their former capital, which had been captured by the forerunners of the Swamp Kids in 4151, and had yet to recover its prewar population.
Struggles over hygiene
Immediately, the Pillows in Pūpepas began dumping their waste products into the streets of Pūpepas, primarily in neighborhoods dominated by the Swamp Kids, and refused to clean up their messes.
Because the Swamp Kids' government was centralized, there was no special prize to be won by becoming a majority in a particular geographic area; even if the Players were to win an outright majority in Pūpepas, their votes would simply be nullified by those of the surrounding areas. Thus the Pillows were moving to Pūpepas to win control of their city by driving out the Swamp Kids rather than by winning elections. Meanwhile, the Pillows planned a conventional assault as well, but knew that they could not mobilize their army while the rival Purse faction controlled the wider Play parliament.
The Swamp Kids had invited the Pillows into Pūpepas hoping that they would join the Swamp party and reduce the Players to just the Purse faction, but instead the Pillows demanded control of Pūpepas and warned that they would not stop spreading filth unless the Swamp Kids left Pūpepas.
The Swamp Kids were dismayed at the new Play immigrants' purposefully bad hygiene habits, knowing that the Players had in the past repulsed conventional armies simply by being so dirty that the soldiers fled for fear of plagues. The Swamp Kids had hoped that the Pillows would convert to the Swamp party, and therefore fall under Swampy laws, but because they had chosen to remain Players, the Swamp Kids could not force them to be clean. Even though the Play immigrants' husbands had formed a local branch of the Obedient Men's Club in order to vote in the Swamp Kids' elections, they had remained Players, and therefore were still not subject to the Swampies' internal laws.
Unwilling to surrender their city, the Swamp Kids dispatched a battalion of men to clean up the Players' waste products and dispose of them safely in rock-lined depressions that would not leak into the nearby lakes and streams. They promised these men that they would find a way to avenge the Players for their betrayal.
The Swamp Kids were so disgusted by the return of bad hygiene that they appealed specifically to the Purses to move into Pūpepas and drive out the Pillows with racist attacks, even though they knew that the Purses still had the Swamp Kids on their list of tribes who could never be welcome in Purse-held territory.
Birth of the Rays
The Purses were also dismayed at the Pillows' refusal to switch parties, since by remaining Players, they could vote in the Play Parliament even while living outside Play-controlled territory. The Purses knew that they could eliminate this problem by surrendering their claim of jurisdiction over Pūpepas, but also knew that such a move would be so unpopular even among the Purses that it could lead to the collapse of Purse rule at home.
As the Swamp Kids in Pūpepas began shoveling ever taller piles of human waste into ditches, they began enrolling their wives into the new Ray faction (Tavep) of the Play party. The Players in Memnumu could not refuse these new members without surrendering their claim over Pūpepas as a whole. The all-female Rays promised to always vote for the interests of their husbands in the Swamp party.
Although the Purses were pleased to see the rival factions of Players moving to Pūpepas, the Purses retained control of the military, and refused to mobilize the Play land army to defend the new settlements, knowing that it was the Pillow faction who stood to benefit the most if the Players were to regain Pūpepas, and that the Eggs could also profit from it.
Relations with Thaoa
Because the Purse power base was in the east (žasas), they bordered the historically rebellious state of Thaoa, whose people were physically similar to the Purses and also had similar ideological leanings. This was in part because the Purses had themselves grown from eastern tribes who had never been fully reached by the early Play propagandists. However, the Purses reaffirmed their commitment to Play nationalism, and stated that they would always side with rival Play tribes, regardless of their racial affinities, over non-Play tribes and traitors to the Play nation. (Thaoa had been one of the sources of the Lava Handlers who had later evolved into the Swamp Kids.)
Relations with Eggs
Beginning around 4160, Eggs began to flee the racial discrimination they were experiencing under Purse rule. Some renounced their party membership and joined the Swamp Kids, but found that the Swamp Kids, despite welcoming all tribes and races, had little interest in helping the Eggs escape the Purses. This was in part because the Swamp Kids who supported the Eggs were mostly in the lowlands of the north, whereas the highlands of the south bordering Egg territory were controlled by isolationists.
The Purses realized that if they were to launch a war against the Eggs, the Swamp Kids might therefore remain neutral, even though the Eggs were strongly supportive of the Swamp Kids.
In 4162, a troop of Swamp Kids defected to Dreamland and renamed themselves the Firestone party (Šanapa Šataau). The name here is a cultural loan, as the true name is difficult to translate; the first word means starfish but the second is a pun (šapaau means faction in Play).
The Firestones marched towards Tata and asked the Players, who had by this time distanced themselves from the Swamp Kids, to let them pass through Tata on their way to Dreamland. However, the Players declared that the Firestones were still their enemies, and promised to capture them if they approached Tata. Then, Dreamland itself also ruled out the Firestones, saying that the Firestones were too militant and would only serve to draw Dreamland into a war that would gain them nothing.
Frustrated at their rejections, the Firestone men took shelter in the Crystal territories of the western deserts. The Crystals did not attack them, even though they knew that the Firestones were hostile and had been planning to become Dreamers so they could lead Dreamland into a major war against the Swamp Kids. The Crystals knew that the Swamp Kids were their intended target, but that if victorious they could easily then turn against the Crystals.
The Firestones moved eastward through the Crystal deserts, across the highlands where sleep flowers grew, and then descended the mountains to reach the Egg state of Yigàme, located at the western edge of Play territory. Near the border, the Firestone men received an invitation from the Eggs, who still identified as a faction of the Crystals, to move yet again, this time to the all-female Egg homeland of Amade in the tropics. In Amade, the Eggs explained, they would no longer need to worry about the wars engulfing the colder areas of the world.
The Eggs were eager to shelter the Firestones even though they knew the Firestones were politically hostile. But the Firestones had formed their party with the intent to fight a war, and by now were growing frustrated at their long series of migrations. In early 4164, the Firestones trapped the Eggs on Amade's plantations and slaughtered those who resisted the Firestones. When word of this reached Anzan, the Swamp Kids declared war on the Firestones, and signed a treaty with the Eggs to their south and west, who still had overlapping Crystal and Player party membership. When the Players learned of this, they ejected Amade from their union so that the Eggs in Amade could not vote the Players into a war. They retained jurisdiction over the Eggs in Subumpam, who also claimed dual party membership, but the Eggs had no means of mobilizing either the Play or the Crystal military on their own.
Meanwhile, the Swamp Kids' only seacoast was the area around Pūpepas, which was closely watched by the Player navy. The Players had not allowed the Swamp Kids to develop a sizable naval force, and therefore the Swampy navy was poorly equipped for war. Knowing that a land invasion of Amade would be impossible, the Swamp Kids activated their navy even knowing that their mission was difficult. When the coalition navy arrived at the coast of Amade, the much larger navy of Wax blocked the rescue mission, and the slaughter of Eggs continued. Wax had long passed its peak as a military power but even Wax was stronger at sea than the Swamp Kids.
Firestone plans for the future
The Firestones rejected democracy and also stated that nations were not necessary for parties such as the Firestones who practiced a primitive lifestyle and were committed to self-rule. They stated that they were the poorest and hardiest people in the world and would outlast their enemies by resisting the temptations of luxury. They also promised to acquire an empire of their own at some point in the future.
Reactions to the Firestone war
Word of the ongoing massacres soon reached the Crystals in the upland territories, the western deserts, and in their former capital city, Baeba Swamp. But the Crystals voted not to intervene, saying the war was a lost cause, and so the Eggs in Amade surrendered their Crystal party membership and attempted to join the Swamp Kids, the only party who had even attempted to fight on their behalf, despite having been mostly shunned just two years earlier. This meant switching from feminine to masculine rule, a big change for a population that had been Crystals for hundreds of years. They nonetheless prioritized survival over pride, and appointed a king named Patitui to rule over them so that the invaders could not outvote them. The new king had no power, in any case, as the Firestones controlled all of Amade.
The Play language had two titles for monarchs: nenu and paus. The first of these was traditionally used by male-ruled societies, and the latter by female-ruled societies. Since even societies with strict gender roles sometimes came under the rule of opposite-gender monarchs, both terms were needed and they did not simply translate as "king" and "queen". Usage varied when discussing monarchs outside Play-speaking societies. The newly enrolled Swamp Kids therefore consciously chose the masculine nenu for their ruler, even though a paus could have also been a king.
The Swamp Kids in Anchor territory knew that, in the future, these new Swamp Kids could migrate to Anzan and then outvote the mainline Swamp Kids, but nonetheless they agreed to approve the new applicants, knowing that they were for all practical purposes trapped in Amade for the indefinite future. They then annexed Amade into the Anchor Empire, but as a kingdom, meaning that the new Swamp Kids could vote in the Swamp Kids' internal party leadership elections, but could not vote in the imperial elections.
Meanwhile, the Players' ruling Purse faction argued that because the Firestones had attacked the Eggs with no provocation, the Eggs must have been guilty of some prior crime, and therefore bore full responsibility for the war. The Purses wanted to offer the Firestones Play citizenship so that the Eggs' resistance to the invasion could be classified as a war crime, for which the Purses would demand reparations. They also argued that the Eggs' overlapping party membership should be terminated so that the Eggs could not turn the same claim around against the Purses. However, there was no law that allowed Players to expel other Players, even those who belonged simultaneously to a rival party; the most they could do was expel the territories on which such people lived.
Though the Firestones had gotten their start by pledging allegiance to Dreamland, they were Play speakers with no tribal connection to the Dreamers. Their support of Dreamland had been ideological, not tribal, and they therefore had much in common with the Players. However, unlike the Players, the Firestones considered themselves a transnational organization, and would only fight ideological wars.
Some Purses pushed for adopting the Firestones as Players even knowing that they would also need to accept the Firestones' Egg slaves as Players. The Firestones now greatly outnumbered the Eggs and so the Purses believed it would be a net benefit to them. However, the Firestones were more similar to the Pillow faction than to the Purses, and would thus not be reliable allies. Furthermore, Wax's navy still controlled the coastline of Amade, so attempting to link up with Amade would require the Players to sign a new treaty with Wax's Leaper party, which the Players were unwilling to do, or start yet another war.
Evidence soon appeared that the Firestones, a traditional male army, had begun sexually assaulting the Eggs almost immediately after arriving in Amade; the adult Egg population was entirely female because their men had been assigned to battles in the north along with the wider Crystal army. These adult male soldiers were not allowed to move back south to rescue the Eggs because the Crystal internal party vote had declared that the Firestone war was hopeless and that Crystals should not invest themselves in unwinnable wars.
As the children of the Firestone-Egg pairings were born, the Players' ruling Purse party distanced itself from its earlier plans to form an alliance with the Firestones, while also maintaining their distance from the Eggs. Earlier, the Purses had expected few converts from other Play parties because they clung to a racially exclusive power structure, but now Purses gave speeches promoting their commitment to feminism and to women's safety in general, whereas the Eggs seemed to have willingly given up their own women to an army of rapists.
Over the next few years, the Purse faction gradually ceded their parliamentary majority to the Pillows, who argued that racism was a foreign idea and therefore had no role in Play society. The Pillows announced they would be returning the Play nation to the ideology of the 4152 Constitution, and therefore rolled back all of the other changes the Purses had made.
The Pillows also authored a document, nonetheless, stating that the Purse faction would forever be legal, that all of the actions they had taken against the Eggs and other minorities would not be punished, nor would the Pillows seek to form an alliance with the now-hostile Egg party.
The Pillows also rehabilitated the discredited Milk Bottle faction, blamed for the deaths of many orphans and runaways in the early Play years. The Pillows explained that the Pillow platform was intermediate in many ways between those of the Purses and the Bottles, and that therefore the Purses and Bottles would work against each other and the Pillows would win. Thus began the Balance System (sitiūs bamna). Around this time, Play diplomats began to concede that what they had been calling factions of the Play party had evolved into entities comparable to other nations' political parties, even though they were still bound by the Play party charter; therefore, when speaking other languages such as Leaper, the Play diplomats began to speak of the Pillow party, the Bottle party, and so on, but did not change the words they used in the Play language.
Formal party identities
There was no change from the perspective of the Play Parliament's internal workings. The Play word for a faction, peim, continued to mean a faction of the Play party from the standpoint of the Players in Memnumu, who considered their nation a one-party state, but in diplomacy, it came to mean any Play-approved political party, a party that was allowed to compete in Memnumu because it obeyed the Play political charter. Therefore the word peim, standing alone, translated into "legal political party" and the term vap, which previously meant political party, came to be used for both the Play coalition of legal political parties and for all of the illegal parties such as the Raspara that the Players refused to recognize.
The Play coalition was dominated by the Purse, the Pillows, the Milk Bottles, and the Eggs. Although the Pillows had respected to the Purses by saying that the Eggs were to be their enemies, in fact they had no constitutional means of rejecting the Eggs without disclaiming their jurisdiction over the Egg territories in the western counties, known as Subumpam.
Other factions also claimed parties of their own. For example, the Play state of Thaoa had for decades been dominated by a local faction of the Play party, with nearly all of its supporters living within Thaoa, and they had chosen not to compete meaningfully outside their territory. Thaoa's faction became a party and continued to identify itself simply by its geographical name.
Promotion of the Bottles
The Milk Bottles were much weaker than the Pillows, the Eggs, and the Purse. Nevertheless, because of the Play constitution's unusual provision allowing Players to spend their vote in any district within the Play Federation, the weak, dispersed Bottles were encouraged to pool their votes into a desirable region within Play territory so they could have a territory of their own.
Exclusion of Tata
The Players disclaimed Tata, and stated that it was best for both Tata and Memnumu that the two Play nations retain separate parliaments, as their interests did not fully coincide. They had made a similar statement in 4152.
The Tataan Players had never split, and therefore were descended from the Pillows who had ruled Memnumu at the time. But because of their difficult military situation, they had been forced to identify themselves as part of the Swamp Kids' nation, Anzan, which they also referred to as the Anchor Empire (though strictly speaking, the latter name was used to imply wider land claims on the Swamp Kids' part, as it included vast areas of territory not under their control). Because the Swamp Kids restricted voting rights to adult men, and the Players restricted voting rights to adult women, Tata's Players were forced to vote through a decoy organization they called the Obedient Men's Club, and they had always voted strategically rather than voting for their honest ideological beliefs. Thus, Tata's Player party had never split, and while it was formally still part of the Pillow faction, they agreed to identify themselves as a separate wing of the Play party, called simply the Clubs because of their restricted method of voting. However, they had by this time created an alternative name for themselves, the Hips (Kašaas).
The Pillows reaffirmed that Tata was their ally, but that allowing Tataans to vote in Memnumu's Milk Parliament would harm Memnumu's national interests, and that, because Memnumu still greatly outnumbered Tata, unifying the two nations would mean that the Milk Parliament would always outvote Tata, and therefore also harm Tata's national interests. Nonetheless, despite the Pillows' repeated claim that maintaining separation would be beneficial for both Play nations, by now many Tataans wanted to join the Players in Memnumu, and they began diplomatic outreach to establish Tata's monolithic Play party, the Clubs, as a fifth party in Memnumu's Milk Parliament even though they admitted that the four Milk parties had nothing to gain from admitting them.
The Clubs had never formally released their slaves, who had been captured from Dreamland's Baywatch party, but the descendants of these slaves had been disowned by the other Dreamers and therefore no longer formally identified themselves as a party. This was because they had been part of a rival Dreamer party all along, and the Players at the time had agreed not to move further west and enslave the other Dreamers. Later, for unrelated reasons, the Clubs had legalized the Dreamer party in Tata, and allowed the slaves to claim this identity, knowing that the slaves' votes would dilute the voting power of the free Dreamers and therefore keep Tata under the control of the Clubs.
The Pillows had hoped that the people signing up for the Bottle party would be from all of the other factions, and that the future votes in Parliament would come down to intermediate positions between the extremist Bottles and the other factions, which to the Pillows would be comparable to a Pillow monopoly. However, most new Bottles were former Pillows.
Diplomatic reactions to Play reforms
Reactions in Anzan
The Swamp Kids were dismayed by the Players' announcement of the balance system. Of the four main parties in Memnumu, three were associated with extremist ideas that the Swampies feared would threaten their own nation's stability, since many Players had been recently invited into Anzan. The Pillows and Bottles were especially feared. Meanwhile, the fourth party, the Purse, was the only one whose ideology came close to that of the Swamp Kids, and seemed less likely to disrupt Anzan for ideological reasons, but they were also the only racially exclusionary Play party, and therefore could disrupt Anzan by starting a tribal war in which the Swamp Kids would be forced to ally with the Play extremists which they had just recently invited into their nation. The Swamp Kids considered the idea of allying with the Play extremists likely to lead to the death of Anzan.
Previously, the Swamp Kids had considered the main problem with the Play Empire to be their poor hygiene habits, such that they were constantly spreading plagues throughout their own territory and the border regions of the Anchor Empire. They had believed the Pillows were the filthiest people in the world, having driven enemies out of their territory by making their territory so dirty that living there posed a threat to human health. Yet now the Swamp Kids heard about the promotion of the Milk Bottle party, whose opinions were even more extreme than the Pillows', and wondered if they had only so far seen the beginning of the many plagues that were about to sweep through the Anchor Empire.
Reactions in Dreamland
Dreamland was disappointed when they realized that none of the Play parties would be a reliable partner, as they were all nationalists and therefore excluded Dreamland by definition.
Pillow plans for future wars
By this time, the Pillows had achieved an outright majority in Parliament, and no longer needed to form an alliance with the Purses, the Eggs, or the Bottles. And yet they forged closer ties with the Purses even so, because they knew their next move would be unpopular: an attempt to frustrate the Eggs, making their lifestyle difficult, and encouraging them to leave Play territory. Because the Eggs had dual party membership, being both Crystals and Players, their presence in Play territory presented a potential conflict of interest in any planned war.
Recently, the Eggs had revealed themselves to be so committed to pacifism that they would not protect their own women from sexual assaults, and the Players came to realize that the Eggs would be a military liability. The wider Crystal party required the Eggs to send their adult male population northward to the Crystal capital territory (which had traditionally been in Baeba but had been recently pushed out into the deserts). Therefore the Eggs provided the Players no military support at all, and yet seemingly expected the Players to defend their interests. However, the Players believed that they were able to benefit from the alliance because the Eggs, and the Crystals broadly, were close allies of Moonshine, a stable feminist empire which controlled the sympathies of many outside powers, even those who had nothing to gain from an alliance with Moonshine.
The Pillows could not expel the Eggs from the Play party, and although they could eject the Egg territories from the union, they privately worried that even among the Pillows there would be enough opposition to this move to cause it to fail, and that subsequently the tide of popular opinion would turn against the Pillows and perhaps return control of Parliament to the Purses. Although the Purses had also supported action against the Eggs, they knew that because the Pillow strongholds were geographically in between those of the Eggs and the Purses, the Pillows would gain the most in any such war, while the Purses could gain nothing at all. Thus the Pillows had little confidence in Purse support.
Legal actions against the Eggs
Instead, the Pillows pushed forward with an agenda based on passing new laws designed to make the Egg lifestyle difficult so that they would be pressured into either joining the mainstream Play parties or leaving Play territory.
The Players figured their greatest weakness was that their constitution did not allow them to require military service from non-Play males, meaning that they had no means of forcing the Egg men to join the united Play military. Because the united Crystal military was based far to the north of the Players' territories in Memnumu, the Egg state of Yigàme consisted of women and children only and was militarily indefensible. (The Players also demanded that their army remain away from the cities most of the time, but the Play military campsites were much closer to the cities where women and children lived.)
In August 4167, the Players in Tata, the Clubs (Kašaas), formally recognized the Play party in Memnumu (Creamland) to be their partner, rather than the Swamp Kids.
It had been obvious for fifteen years that Tata's Players preferred to interface with other Players, but because the two Play nations were separated by thousands of miles, Tata had been dependent on the Swamp Kids for trade and supplies, and had maintained diplomatic relations with the Swamp Kids, who did not allow them to also keep up similar relations with the Players in Memnumu. Tata considered itself to be a state within Anzan, and therefore Players in Tata had been stating that they were simply one of the many political parties in Anzan, one that happened to be concentrated almost entirely into a single state at the westernmost extent of Anzan's territory.
Meanwhile, the Players in Memnumu had considered themselves self-sufficient, and did not seek relations with either Tata or the Swamp Kids in Anzan, but their use of the names "Creamland" and "Creamer" made it clear that they supported the Players, and considered the Swamp Kids their enemies.
When Memnumu 's Players heard about the new declaration in Tata, they signed the agreement as well, and the Play Federation (Pata Paīp) was born. Tata was dominated by just a single Play faction, whose native name referred to childbirth but was represented in other languages with names like "Clubs" because they were legally part of Anzan and therefore only their male population could vote, and these men were required by Play law to vote through the Obedient Men's Clubs, which required them to obey their wives and other women. (This was yet another pun, since the word for club they used was derived from the word for hips, which in turn was used in a word for childbirth.)
This restriction had contributed to the monolithic Play ideology in Tata, which had not broken up into mutually hostile parties as had Memnumu. Meanwhile, the Clubs in Tata had also legalized the Dreamer party.
The two Play nations agreed to establish formal ties, though nothing changed on the ground, as both sides acknowledged that they had no feasible way to set up a unified government with such a great distance between their two nations, and that neither side would likely be willing to give up their autonomy even if it were possible. The Creamers also agreed to return to calling themselves Players first and foremost, saying that their rivalry with the Swamp Kids was secondary to their friendship with Tata's Players.
4167 Play census
An informal Play census suggested that the Players now outnumbered the Swamp Kids despite having a much smaller territory. Both groups realized that building a unitary Play Empire would depend on one of two future conquests: either the Players could unite and overthrow the Anchor Empire that lay between them, or they could build a new connecting path further west through highland territories controlled mostly by the Crystals, who were equally hostile towards the Players but had by this time abandoned their highlands to focus on defending their capital, Baeba Swamp. The Players had only conceived of the latter idea after realizing that the militant Firestone army had used this route after being rejected by first the Swamp Kids, then the Players, and then the Dreamers in turn.
Dreamland's Dolphin Rider party soon learned of the Players' new federation.
Though the Dolphin Riders strongly opposed the new Play federation, knowing that it tied the relatively moderate Club party ruling Tata to the four nationalist Play parties ruling Memnumu, the Dolphin Riders also realized that the new pact meant that the Swamp Kids were no longer bound to defend Tata's Club party in a war. Previously, the Clubs had committed themselves to military cooperation with the Swamp Kids and no other army, saying that their ideological differences were secondary to their nationality. But now, even though Tata's Players had carefully avoided declaring independence from Anzan, they knew that the Swamp Kids would no longer be bound by their military defense treaty. Thus the Dolphin Riders planned an invasion of Tata.
The Dolphin Rider leaders understood that the Clubs would resist the invasion, because they had merely exchanged one national tie for another: rather than being responsible to the Swamp Kids in Anzan, they were responsible to the Players in Memnumu. But the Riders doubted that the Players in Memnumu would cross thousands of miles to defend the Clubs, particularly since they assumed the Swamp Kids would also join the war to stop the Riders from taking Tata. They then assumed that the Clubs would embrace their ideological ally, the Dolphin Riders, since neither the Players nor the Swamp Kids would be willing to protect them.
In early 4168, the Dolphin Riders invaded Tata, claiming that the Clubs' ideology was nearly identical to the Riders', and that the Rider army reserved the right to rule over all Rider supporters. The Riders promised to allow the Players to continue enslaving Dreamers, since the Players' slaves were almost all of the rival Baywatch party, and stated that their new war was entirely ideological. Their ideology stated that there should be only one Dreamer empire in the world, and that because the Play ideology was nearly the same as the Riders', the Players were violating their own principles and needed to hand over control of Tata to the Riders. (This was the same argument they had used to explain their lack of interest in the welfare of the Baywatchers.)
The Dolphin Riders were well aware of the strategic problems of fighting an ideological war against an ideological ally, but claimed that the Dreamers had proven themselves to be the world's best soldiers, and that the Riders were clearly the best among the Dreamers. The Riders knew that the Players were also very good soldiers, as they had quickly defeated the Baywatch army and had forced the Riders to sign a treaty that stopped the war. The Riders hoped that their invasion would trigger the Swamp Kids to also invade, and that the Players, caught in the middle, would side with the Riders and form a unified army stronger by far than any other army on the planet.
Some Players joined the Soap Bubble party here. This was the same party that had previously taken in new supporters from the Thunder party, about three hundred years earlier, when Dreamland had invaded under similar pretenses, claiming to be rescuing the Thunderers from the oppressive Crystal overclass. Unlike the Thunder-Soap alliance, the Players and the Soap Bubbles had little in common ideologically. Joining the Soap Bubbles allowed the converts to tie themselves to a nearby military power, and thus they held out hope that the Bubbles would soon rescue them from the Dolphin Riders, but most Players in Tata chose to remain in the Play party, saying that even though the Play army was thousands of miles away, they preferred to stay true to their ideology. Moreover, all sides in the conflict knew that the Play army was much stronger than the Soap army, and that the Soap Bubbles might not be able to rescue the converts either.
Swamp Kids invade Tata
The Swamp Kids learned of the invasion quickly and soon invaded Tata, as the Riders had hoped. The Swampy battalions assigned to Tata used an emblem depicting many snakes filling their field, and therefore the Snake War (Žana čifu yas) began. The Players in Memnumu soon learned what was happening, and prepared for a two-front war, but the Swamp Kids announced that they had no intention of invading Memnumu.
Hearing this, some Players wanted to sign a declaration that any invasion of Play territory required a response by the entire Play military, meaning that the Players in Memnumu would have the right to a preemptive invasion of Anzan, and any territory conquered from the Swamp Kids would be considered part of Memnumu regardless of whether it lay in the direction of Tata or not. The Players believed that the Swamp Kids were weakest in the east, particularly in Repilia, and therefore some Play leaders called for a Play invasion of the extreme eastern edge of Anzan, figuring that they could tie down the Swampy army in the eastern highlands in order to force them to abandon Tata. Other Players argued that it would be wrong for them to let the Swampies push into Tata, and assumed that the Swampies would happily abandon all of their eastern territories just to secure their hold over Tata, since the Swamp Kids had few other enemies in the east and could easily revive the fight against the Players in the east years later if they defeated the Players in Tata.
While the two armies fought each other, Tata's Players, still ruled by the Club faction, realized that neither side cared much about them, and that many Players might die in a war that could only help their enemies. The Clubs knew that they were unlikely to receive reinforcements from the Play homeland in Memnumu because the territory in between the two Play nations was both very wide and dominated by hostile armies. The Club military leaders figured that the best way to protect the most vulnerable people in their society would be to surrender to the Swamp Kids, and then let the homeland Players find a way to restore Tata to its proper status. But Tata had recently legalized the Dreamer party, and the Dreamers in Tata had begun to push for closer ties with Dreamland; now, although these Dreamers insisted they were a separate party from the ruling Dolphin Rider party of Dreamland, some of Tata' Dreamers wanted to annex Tata into Dreamland and let the Clubs become a minority.
When the Clubs understood the situation, they refused to help Dreamland. They reaffirmed their loyalty to their national heritage, and stated that nationality was more important than ideology. When the Dolphin Riders realized that they would not be let in peacefully, they quickly retreated back to Dreamland, but the Swamp Kids refused to end the war, and continued to attack the Players.
The Dreamer invasion discredited the few remaining Dreamer supporters in Play territory, who had by this time already disavowed the Firestones and thus been forced to assure the wider Play population that Dreamland was reliable. Yet, even here, Dreamer support did not die, as the people who supported the Dreamers understood that it was a transnational movement and as such was hostile to the new Play nation. They argued that nationalism was the reason why the Swamp Kids were attacking the Clubs, even knowing that the Clubs had done nothing to provoke them.
These people had more in common with the old Plume party, which had hit its peak nearly 800 years earlier, than with the contemporary rulers of Dreamland. They united behind their ideology rather than specifically claiming an alliance with Dreamland. Unusually, many supporters of this new movement were Andanese speakers, and called their movement kanimaki, based on the Late Andanese word for equality. The name Sleep also appeared, but there was no legal Sleep party since they were primarily organized in territories which had banned all Dreamer parties. The kanimaki supporters also used tilted road signs as a symbol of their presence, saying that it was much easier for a road sign to lean at an angle than for it to be perfectly straight.
Occupation of Tata
Though the Players had had a proud military history, their army was by this time mostly concerned with keeping slaves bound to their plantations, and their soldiers were poorly equipped for a war. By the summer of 4170, the Swamp Kids declared victory and set up an occupation government in Tata.
The Players outnumbered the Swamp Kids in Tata by an enormous margin, and despite the Players' inability to secure their borders, the Swamp Kids' victory in the war changed little in the daily lives of the Players. 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 with the Swamp army still occupying their territory. The Swamp Kids had no reaction to this, as they were tied down fighting many other civil wars. But the Players sent their own army to Tata's eastern border, and warned that they would no longer allow the Swamp Kids to resupply the soldiers still stationed in Tata. At this, many of the Swamp Kids in Tata surrendered to the Players, since they figured life in Tata would be much safer than life in Anzan. 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 inherited multiparty democracy to remain, nearly all people supported the Play party.
Treaty of Panatue
Despite promising never to invade Memnumu, in early 4172, the Raspara and the Swamp Kids signed the Treaty of Panatue, which awarded an area of Play-held beach land along Memnumu's south coast to the Raspara. The Raspara wanted a beach colony, as they had had in the early Play years, to control the movement of young Play children and to interrupt the Play navy's control of the coast. This area also had a minority population of Swamp Kids, many of whom had earlier belonged to the Egg party; thus, the Swamp Kids argued that they had not violated their promise to resist invading Memnumu.
The Players understood that the Raspara were more interested in controlling the Swamp Kids than in controlling the Players. Nevertheless, the treaty of Panatue violated the Play nation's territorial integrity, and because the Swamp Kids had signed the treaty, the Players considered it to be a declaration of war, meaning that the Swamp Kids had extended their war in Tata to Memnumu now, even though it was clear that it would benefit the Raspara. Some Raspara even brought their slaves with them aboard their ships as they approached Panatue.
Also in 4172, the Swamp Kids shifted their invasion to Memnumu, focusing on weak areas such as Thaoa, to capture Players to serve as slaves in Swampy cities of the north. Some Swamp Kids continued to insist that they were not invading, and thus had not violated their promise; this argument rested on the claim that Thaoa had invited the Swamp Kids into their territory but that in order to access Thaoa the Swamp Kids needed to also occupy other areas of Play land.
Even though the Swamp Kids opposed slavery, they had been unable to free their own people from the Raspara slaveholders, and felt that their people needed a class beneath them to exercise their frustrations on. The Swamp Kids focused their invasion on Thaoa even though Thaoa had been supportive of the Swamp Kids; this was because Thaoa was the easiest area of Play territory to invade, and because they knew the Players would do little to stop the invasion.
The battalions invading Memnumu were mostly allied with the Cold Men, a faction of the Swamp Kids favoring concentration in the southern homelands (which included mountains and thus cold climates), whereas the invasion of Tata had been sponsored and fought mostly by Swamp Kids belonging to the rival Pioneer faction, whose members supported population growth and expansion of Anzan over the greatest possible land extent. Although the Pioneers and Cold Men were both part of the Swamp Kids, and therefore shared the same military, this new two-front war brought the two factions into a diplomatic conflict that they had never seen before.
Pretext for war
In the preceding decade, many Players had moved from Creamland to Anzan, invited by the Pioneers who favored immigration even of people and tribes who had proven themselves hostile to the interests of the Swamp Kids. Some of these immigrants had come to consider themselves Pioneers as well, but others remained as Players and set up a small internal government with their women in charge. Even those who had remained Players nonetheless recognized that they were citizens of Anzan, not Creamland, and that they would be required to serve the military interests of Anzan's Swamp Kids.
The Cold Men opposed the immigration of known hostile groups but could do little to stop it since the Pioneers controlled most of the borderlands. Since there had been isolated incidents of Players attacking Swamp Kids of both factions, the Cold Men declared the Players an enemy party of just the same sort as the Zeniths and Raspara, and therefore stated that anything the Cold Men did in Player territory was justified.
Cold Men's military strategy
The Cold Men had been in a difficult position because their political platform aligned well with the interests of the Raspara party which was still at war with the Swamp Kids and had taken advantage of the Swampies' many weaknesses both in diplomacy and at war. Thus, although the Cold Men's new war was approved by the Pioneers, as they were reclaiming land earlier lost to the Players, the Cold Men were fighting their battles alone, and many planned to win a small amount of territory, call an end to the war, and secede with a new state, Vīyaa Fana, for Cold Men only. (This name was simply a preexisting Play state name.)
The Players often claimed that their army had never lost a war. They had lost to the Tinks in 4151, only two years after the Tinks' foundation, but at the time the Players had considered themselves part of the same party as the Tinks and had not expected to face them in war. Meanwhile, the Swamp Kids sometimes felt that they had never won a war, and could not reasonably expect to win against the Players on their own territory. To this, the Cold Men claimed that the Swamp Kids' embarrassing military record was due to their poor strategy, and that the Cold Men were superior because they were free-thinkers and had access to knowledge about Play culture that most of the Pioneers did not.
Invasion of Thaoa
Thaoa was dismayed at the new invasion, as they had historically been rebels among the Players in being one of the few areas of support for the Swamp Kids and their politics. The Swamp Kids argued that they were not fighting a war, but merely transporting people from the overcrowded Play homeland into rural areas of the vast forested north. They also claimed that even though these people would be slaves, living standards were so much higher in Anzan than in Creamland that it was, at worst, an even trade for those working as slaves.
The Swampy slave drivers took any slaves they could get, meaning they mostly abducted people from near the northern border of Play territory, which was the closest area to the Swampy territory. (In some areas, they bordered each other directly, but in other areas, there were mountain ranges in between.) Thus, most Play slaves were similar in appearance to the Swamp Kids.
The Swamp Kids promised that they would soon take back control of Tata and enslave Players on both sides of the divide.
Nonetheless, the Swamp Kids still afforded the Play slaves many rights that the Raspara did not grant to the Swamp Kids. Swamp Kids who realized this came to also realize that in some sense, the Players were still actually better off than the Swamp Kids in their society.
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 groups of traveling Players simply passed 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.
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.
Attempts to build a single Play state
Meanwhile, Memnumu forged diplomatic ties with Tata, and both sides signed an agreement stating that the two Play parties were one, their differences being due to their separation by thousands of miles of foreign territory. Both Player parties wanted to build a path through the Crystal highlands to connect the two great nations, though they also promised that neither side would try to rule over the other.
Nonetheless, even the most ambitious Play mapmakers realized their dream lay a long way off, at best, as Tata's easternmost point was nearly 3,000 miles away from Memnumu's westernmost point. Furthermore, while the Players in Tata appreciated the Swampies' generous land grants, the added land lay in the wrong direction to be useful for the planned unified Player nation, as the rivers from Tata all flowed northeast, whereas Memnumu was far to the southeast of Tata.
In 4174, the Players in Tata had enough power to override all the Dreamer votes, meaning that whenever the Dreamers voted on anything in Parliament, the Players cancelled their vote and used their remaining votes to pass a pro-Play agenda.
- This suggests that the Dreamers had managed to establish themselves as a legal party in Player-run Tata. Alternatively, the Players in Tata split into a pro- and an anti-Dreamer wing. Note that the Dreamers were militarily disjoint, so it would not be unrealistic for the Players to allow Dreamers in their nation even as they were fighting the Dreamers; it could be that just as the Baywatch party had been hostile to the Dolphin Riders, a new faction arose that was pro-Play.
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.
By 4175, many older Play adults in Tata 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 conservatives, even if they were single and had little to gain from a platform focused on children's interests.
Raspara enter Tata
The mostly older dissenters came to identify themselves as Raspara, as they considered themselves allies of the Raspara who lived in the remnant Anchor Empire. The Tataan Raspara were mostly nationalists who had been in the unified Tink-Play party during the early 4150s, had begun to drift away after the Bee invasion, and had become Players a few years later but then drifted away yet again after seeing the many problems that the Play leaders had brought upon them. The Tataan Raspara considered Dreamland their primary enemy, and felt they were continuing the work of the pre-Crystal Cold Men who had invaded and abused Dreamer citizens at their leisure. Although most of their support came from the elderly, many younger Tataans, who still made up most of the population, were considering allying themselves with these people.
The Raspara rejected calls for an all-Raspara nation both because Raspara philosophers preferred to rule over an alien people and because the Rasparists in Tata wanted to take advantage of the enormous land area of Anzan and figured that they could have this land available to them only if Tata and Anzan were run by the same people. They thus actually wished that Anzan would invade their nation, and promised the Swamp Kids that if they chose to invade, the Raspara would collaborate with the Swamp Kids and betray the Players, and even after that, would allow the Swamp Kids to rule over them.
At this time, after 25 years of attending schools run by the Raspara, most Swamp Kids in Anzan were blind to the idea that the Raspara party existed solely to abuse them, and considered the Tataan Raspara's offer of an alliance to be genuine, even though the Swamp Kids disliked the Raspara. Privately, however, the Tataan Raspara knew that they were in a weak position, since Tata's ruling Play party did not let openly pro-Raspara people own dangerous weapons. Some Raspara in Tata hoped that they could instead simply move to Anzan themselves and not need to fight a war.
Ultimately, only about 2% of Tata's 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.
- See talk for removed text.
By contrast, the Players who remained in the Play party believed that Tataans needed to accept their way of life, and make themselves more like Dreamers. Most Players were young, and thus the name of their party retained its original meaning as the Players increasingly oriented themselves against their elders. Some Players claimed that Tata's economic success proved that they were better at being Dreamers than the Dreamers themselves.
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 Snowstorm Treaty
Nonetheless, the Raspara in Tata soon signed the Snowstorm 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 Snowstorm 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 Snowstorm 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.
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.
First Mallard War
Invasion of Ŋapata Fatu
The Cold Men invaded the Play region of Ŋapata Fatu in 4182. The Cold Men had been sure that they would succeed because they were fighting for a compact area of land. The Pioneers did not support this new war, but were bound to it by their treaty with the Cold Men, and therefore the Pioneers also sent soldiers to battle.
The Cold Men considered Memnumu to be part of the original Tinks' homeland, and therefore in their mind, their war was not an attempt at expansion but at recovering lost original territory.
The Play population had grown since their last contact, so the Players roused an army of more than 90,000 soldiers to defend their territory against the invasion. However, at this time, the Players were still struggling with internal conflicts, and worried that some rebellious states within the Play empire could defect to the Cold Men.
In 4182 the Cold Men declared victory.
NOTE: Assuming that Ŋapata Fatu is near Ŋapata Ŋūa, this war included battles along the coast, and thus was not a simple north-south front.
- This section is intended to be greatly expanded. See Lava Handlers for details.
Over the next four years, the Players surrendered to the Cold Men.
Then, the Players saw the Cold Men also surrender to outside powers, encouraging the Players to sign a peace treaty with the Cold Men.
Then, the new Cold-Play alliance won their war, and the Players started planning out their next war against the Cold Men.
Appeal to Laba
After signing the treaty, the Players were wholly controlled by Xema, a naval power which had arrived from the icecapped regions of the far north. Despite the inconvenient location of their homeland, Xema wrested control of the entire Play coastline and maintained a self-sufficient occupation, such that they had no need to connect with Xema.
The Players knew of an even more distant naval power called Laba. This was actually a geographical region within Dreamland, but because Dreamland was a confederation, its constituent states were free to direct their own military affairs, and the area calling itself Laba had cycled back and forth through time between aligning with Dreamland and pursuing an independent military policy. Dreamland had recently lost several major wars on land, but the navy had remained strong. The Players hoped that they could pull Laba into the war so that the Dreamer-Play coalition could fend off the Xeman navy and restore control of Memnumu to the Players.
Laba agreed to send ships to Memnumu, and stated that because it was a humanitarian war, they expected nothing in return from the Players. Rather than sail eastward from Dreamland around the continent, they sailed westward from the oceanic islands. This meant that the Laban sailors spoke a language no Players knew; even those who had learned the Baywatch and Dolphin Rider languages were useless here. Nonetheless, the sailors understood their mission and promised to do their best to keep in contact with intermediates who could speak Play or Leaper, which some Play diplomats had learned.
Reconciliation of 4186
In late 4186, every Play army in Memnumu except that of Thaoa signed a treaty abolishing all interstate conflicts and ending all wars within Memnumu. Thaoa instead declared allegiance to the Cold Men. Thaoa had no land connection to the Cold territory, but the Cold Men had previously sent slave traders into Thaoa, so the Players knew that a unified Cold-Thaoa nation could easily be created through war. If this were to happen, the Play territory would be divided completely in half, with most of the population to the west of Thaoa, and those Players living east of Thaoa unable to communicate with the rest.
The treaty of 4186 did not start a war against Thaoa, but the Players encircled Thaoa by land and by sea so that Thaoa could not easily join the Cold Men to bring a new war to Memnumu.
The Players then planned a conventional war against Nama, even as they admitted Nama was innocent of all crimes against the Players, solely because the Players felt they needed upland territory from which to later invade the Cold Men and further isolate Thaoa.
By this time, the Players had fully lost contact with Tata, and the entire Play population in Tata was enslaved. Many Swamp Kids in Tata were slaveowners now, although the Players in Memnumu did not know this.
Expansion and new schools
Players move north
- This will be explained better soon. Note that this is why the Cold Men cannot have had control of Pūpepas in 4190.
Due to yet another outside war, the Players and Cold Men joined hands once more and fought a war that helped both sides repulse their invaders; Xema had invaded the Players, while the Raspara had invaded the Cold Men. After the war was over, the Cold Men invited the Players to move into Cold territory and establish the Play party as a new party competing democratically.
The Players agreed, and immediately sent tens of thousands of Players into Cold territory. A Play woman named Meŋumaa Paus ("the Happy Queen") set up a propaganda service in the new territory, trying to convince the Cold Men to defect to the Players. The Players realized that they could quickly become a majority in the areas they were settling and push out the Cold Men.
After the first general election, the Players won control of several high mountain towns in the areas that had once been part of Nama. Then, with their new homes secure, the Players drafted plans for a new war against the Cold Men to be fought in Nama.
Establishment of the Planters
In late 4187, the Players created a new wing of the army they called the Pine Tree Planters (Tee Vauva), for children aged five to ten years old. The Planters' job was just as it sounded: to plant pine trees throughout Play territory in order that the Players always have a ready supply of wood, and so that pine trees would come to dominate the forests and thus keep various useless understory plants from taking root. This idea was a continuation of the traditional idea that the military's duties in peacetime included environmental modification and cleanup operations, and that these operations would be supervised by the existing military structure rather than putting civilians in charge.
Use of small children
A census taken after the recent Cold-Play treaty had shown that more than two thirds of the Play population was aged 13 or younger, a ratio that had been common in the earliest years of the Play nation but which had fallen away and only reappeared in recent years as the birthrate increased and wars killed off many adults, especially men. The Players counted 308,000 children aged five to ten years old, who could potentially be drafted into the Planter army. They knew that to draft the entire child population would be a military disaster, as there would be no children left to fish the sea, but the Players also knew that the beaches were becoming overcrowded and that they needed to find other tasks for children to do.
The Play military strategists also figured it would be unwise to pull children from the upper end of the age group, knowing they would be Planters for mere months before being reassigned to other tasks. Therefore they decided to preferentially pull the youngest children, those just entering school, and to surround each troop of very young children with a ring of older children who would both plant trees and watch for dangers in the wilderness around them.
The Players had used child soldiers before, largely orphans, to spread plagues in foreign nations. The strategy of these operations was to rely on their enemies' unwillingness to kill the Play orphans, and then infect their enemies with easily spread diseases when they adopted the orphans. By contrast, the Planters were mostly parented children and were not burdened with dangerous and easily spread diseases.
By this time, the Play police force had become so strong that the children's parents could not object to their deployment, and because the school was officially a wing of the military, the women could not vote in Parliament on the vacation schedule that determined when they would be able to see their children.
The Planters were both boys and girls. The Players had used girls before to spread plagues, but Play culture had always prioritized the lives of women over those of men, and some Play mothers argued that since women were not required to serve in the military, neither should young girls be. The Play police force arrested the protestors, but promised the women that the Play leadership would respect existing Play laws. The police stated that because the law exempting females from military service only applied to territory under Play control, the Play military would answer the women's complaints by sending their daughters into enemy territory.
The Players did not give the Planters weapons or armor to defend themselves if attacked; thus, in essence, they were a children's version of the traditional peacetime environmental cleanup operations. The Players' reasoning here was that the adult males who would normally be planting trees during peacetime could not do so in the present time because the Players needed their entire adult male population for their upcoming war against Nama and the Cold Men. Therefore the job fell to the children.
All Planters graduated at the age of ten to take on more specialized tasks as they moved towards adolescence. The Play leaders intended to keep the Planters bound to the Play party, and promised to imprison any children who strayed from their missions in the wilderness.
Threats of imprisonment
Like Moonshine, and unlike all other nations, the Play police force had the authority to overrule parents, and therefore could legally punish children for actions that their parents did not consider worthy of punishment. This meant that the criminal justice system would try children as young as five years old, convict them against the wishes of their parents, and put them to work in prisons designed specially for children their age. Children were raised knowing this, and therefore the Planters being drafted knew that they would be punished severely if they did not obey their commanders.
Despite the Players' promise to deploy Planter children in remote areas of wilderness, and even in enemy territory, the Players knew that they would first need to establish a secure food supply in these areas, and therefore the Planters performed their assigned duties in the Play countryside. This meant that foreign nations did not know of their existence. Even the Cold Men, with whom the Players were pretending to cooperate, did not know of the new military school or even that the Players were reforming their school system. Therefore, no foreign armies made any plans to abduct the Planter children.
Treaty of 4188
In 4188, the Players signed another treaty of military cooperation with the Cold Men, committing their combined forces to lead a new land war against Dreamland.
Signatories to the treaty
This treaty involved many other outside powers as well; old enemies had put aside their differences to team up against the Dreamers. In fact, Dreamland's own navy, which had long pursued an independent foreign policy, also signed the declaration of war, meaning that Dreamland was at war with itself. The Dreamer sailors stated they signed the treaty because of their obligation to the Players; the Dreamer navy had rescued the Players from Xema just two years earlier, and the Dreamer sailors now decided that their allegiance to the Players was even greater than their allegiance to the Dreamers' land army.
Although the Cold Men had always been opposed to Dreamland, they had signed this new declaration of war only because they were bound by an earlier treaty with the Pioneers, who were legally part of the same party as the Cold Men (the wider party was called the Swamp Kids). Furthermore, the Pioneers were fighting the war as part of a coalition army led by the Matrix. Thus, if the Players wanted to participate in the war, they would be required to send their soldiers through Cold territory, and then through Pioneer territory, and then submit them to the Matrix commanders, all while trusting that the three foreign powers would not simply abduct the Play soldiers along the way.
Knowing this, and also reaffirming their plans to soon betray and invade both the Cold Men and Nama, the Players decided that they weren't interested in the new war. While they publically pledged a new loyalty to their rivals in the Cold party, they promised their generals that no Play soldiers would ever participate in the war. This meant that the Dreamer navy also would not participate.
One reason that the Players and the Cold Men were so eager to sign a treaty they had little interest in obeying was that they had been so weakened by their previous war that neither wanted to risk provoking an invasion of their own territory if the invading coalition were to quickly defeat Dreamland and then emerge ready for more conquests. Another reason was that, despite the Players' plans to betray the Cold Men, they ultimately wanted the Cold Men to be rivals rather than enemies, such that the two would team up against greater enemies such as the Dreamers and most nations not speaking the Play language. To do this, the Players knew that they needed to make at least a superficial commitment to helping the Cold Men at war, and that if necessary, the Players would even send a small army of their own to satisfy the Cold Men. However, they also knew from diplomatic contacts that the Cold Men were themselves not interested in the new war, and that the Cold Men would try to keep their soldiers home. Moreover, the Players suspected that the Cold Men also knew that the Players who were still flooding into the southern reaches of Cold territory presented a danger to Cold society and that a war was being planned.
The Players therefore continued to assume that they would soon be at war with the Cold Men, and would be fighting in Cold territory, such that few Player civilians would be at risk, but many Cold Men would be captured and perhaps enslaved.
The Cold Men never formally asked the Players to send even a single troop of soldiers northwards to Dreamland. The Cold Men knew that the Players would gain nothing from the war, and that therefore their soldiers would have no incentive to obey the Cold commanders, and could instead simply desert the coalition army and move to the areas of Cold territory that were already being settled by Players.
The Cold Men sent a few thousand of their own soldiers to fight the war, but many Cold Men feigned disability. For most, this meant losing their jobs, because even sympathetic business owners could not hide their operations from the Cold police, but an illegal subsistence economy survived in Cold territory, where all jobs were officially now held by women, but in private they were being helped by supposedly disabled men.
With most of the nations in the invading coalition deciding not to participate, the coalition mobilized only 15,000 soldiers. Most of them did even not make it to Dreamland, and Dreamland thus won their war against the world. This was in part due to the small size of the coalition army, but more importantly because those few soldiers who did fight in a combat role had misgivings with each other and refused to cooperate. Only the Matrix and the Swamp Kids had sent a sizable number of men into Dreamland, and those Swamp Kids were mostly of the Pioneer faction. Then, at the height of the war, the Matrix army betrayed the Pioneers and signed a treaty with the Dreamers.
Second Mallard War
The Matrix betrayal in the First Mallard War had put the Matrix in charge of both Dreamland and Tata, with the capital in Tata. Here, they held nearly 100,000 slaves, mostly from the Players but also largely from the Pioneer Swamp Kids who had thought that the Matrixes would be their allies in the war against Dreamland. The Matrix army had been much smaller than the others, and the Matrixes claimed that they had won the war because they were much smarter than both their enemies and their allies.
Most Swamp Kids, of both the Cold Men and Pioneer factions, admitted that they had lost their war against the Matrix and had few adult male soldiers left with which to fight a second war. The Cold Men had mostly dodged the war, knowing that conquering Dreamland would do little to help the Cold Men, but nonetheless they had been required by their treaty with the Pioneers to help out in the war.
The Swamp Kids knew that if they were to regain their lost territory and free the slaves, they would need to pull in help from outside allies. One such ally was STW.
In 4190, the STW corporation sent a troop of small boys towards Tata, enveloped by a traditional Swampy army identifying itself with the Cold Men, the faction that had best weathered the recent defeat against the Matrix.
As in the last war, the Cold Men were required to participate because they were still a faction of the Swamp Kids, not an independent party, and therefore shared a military with the more militant Pioneer faction. They had not been eager to participate in the previous war, and many Cold Men had feigned disability to avoid the draft. But in that war, their own allies, the Matrixes, had betrayed them, and now the Cold Men were eager for revenge. Even so,the Cold Men knew that their border with the Players to the south was already weak, and any new war in the north would make it weaker.
The Matrixes were fully in control of Tata now, but from STW's standpoint, nothing had changed: one enemy had conquered another enemy, but an enemy they remained. STW told the boys that they were humanitarian relief workers, and that their job was to help cure the diseases that STW had earlier spread into Tata (which STW claimed had come to them from the Players). STW claimed that the adult Cold soldiers were merely there to protect the children and would not be allowed to act independently of STW.
Prisoners of war
The Matrix soldiers quickly captured both the Cold Men and the STW boys, and put them to work in slave camps. When STW learned of this, they demanded monetary compensation for the abductions, and sent a second troop of small boys to rescue the first. When the Players, in turn, learned of STW's reaction, they declared war against STW, and revived their war against the Cold Men. Thus began the Angel's Birth War, which the Players also referred to as the Second Mallard War. The Players had been wanting this new war all along, but had been unable to motivate their leaders to start a new war because most Players had seen the Cold Men as fellow victims of larger outside powers, and as an ideal ally. But now, the Players had an excuse for their new war.
Reactions to abductions
The Play women declared that STW's leadership had become delusional; by insisting on monetary compensation, STW proved both that they saw the so-called humanitarian war as a financial investment, not a moral obligation, and that they were so detached from reality that they had forgotten what it was like to lose a war. Furthermore, the Players argued that the Cold Men had sent their soldiers only after realizing the boys in STW needed help, not beforehand, and that this proved that STW did not understand how to protect child soldiers during war. Lastly, they argued that the Cold Men's secondary role proved that they were not in charge of their army, but rather taking orders from STW.
The Cold Men responded that they were fully in control of their own affairs, and were fighting the war against Tata using the best soldiers they had left: children surrounded by adult protectors. The Cold Men stated that the child soldiers were not attempting to engage in combat, but rather to help cure the diseases that the Players, acting through STW, had earlier spread through Tata. Lastly the Cold Men stated that since both Dreamland and Tata had prosperous economies, it was within reason for the Cold-STW coalition army to demand financial compensation for each military loss, something they would not do when facing a traditional enemy such as the Players.
By this time, the Players had fortified the frontier they shared with the Cold Men, and knew that the Cold Men could not simply invade Play territory the way they had invaded Tata. Since their invasion of Tata had failed, the Players predicted that any future invasion of Play territory would fare even worse.
The Players also launched a civil war inside Cold territory, using the land that the Cold Men had invited them to move into four years earlier. The Cold Men had seen this coming, and had originally stationed more of their own soldiers in this region, but these soldiers had been mostly sent to Tata where they were kidnapped by the Matrix.
By this time, STW still had tens of thousands of children on its membership rolls, but few adults, and those adults who had remained had proven unreliable. Adult male soldiers quickly began deserting STW as they realized they were at war with powerful enemies, but most did not take time to educate the younger members, so STW's young children remained at war with the world around them. Furthermore, most Raspara in Anzan had remained in their party rather than joining the Cold Men, and therefore they were not obligated to help STW in this war; indeed, the Raspara soon declared war on STW, and disorganized Raspara troops massacred STW's defenseless child soldiers. STW had no reaction to this because their charter did not allow them to demand monetary compensation from a group within their host nation.
Nonetheless, still in 4190, the Player state of Thaoa seceded and joined the war on the side of the Cold Men. The Players realized that there was no credible threat of invasion from the Cold Men to their north, so they immediately invaded Thaoa with the full force of their army, and blockaded the south coast to trap the Thaoans on shore. The Cold Men announced that Thaoa was strong enough to defend itself, and that the Cold Men did not need to send reinforcements. Thus, the Players quickly took control of Thaoa.
As STW realized it was about to lose its war, they signed a treaty with the Raspara, stating that they would surrender to the Raspara armies only, and would even sign themselves over to Raspara slavery after the war. Importantly, however, STW's treaty did not announce that STW was ending their war against the Players and Matrixes, nor that they were expecting the Raspara to help them in their war. They also continued to expect monetary compensation from the Matrixes in Tata, and now demanded an even higher total for the additional child soldiers that the Matrix had captured since STW's first demand.
The Players' reaction to this treaty was to again claim it proved that STW's leaders were insane, and that STW had somehow managed to take control of the Cold Men. The wording of the treaty showed that STW acknowledged they were badly losing their war, and that they would soon need to surrender, but yet they still continued to fight. The treaty also implied that STW expected the Raspara army to betray its allies at the end of the war, such that the Cold-STW coalition army would be able to surrender everything to the Raspara and nothing to the Players and the Matrix. Here, the Players urged caution, warning that even the seemingly deluded STWers might know something their enemies did not, as the Raspara had betrayed their allies in war before, and the Players had no way to connect with the Raspara leaders in the midst of the war.
New Cold treaties
As the Cold-STW alliance continued to lose battles, they announced they were dropping their demand for monetary compensation.
Immediately, the Raspara switched sides and endorsed STW's war against the Players and Matrixes. The emerging Raspara-Cold-STW coalition promised that, when the war was won, the winning side would enslave the losing side, and that the winning armies would divide their slaves proportionate to each army's share of participation in the war. Because the Players in Memnumu had joined the war, and vastly outnumbered the Matrixes, the signatory parties expected that nearly all of the slaves would be Players, and that they would be allotted mostly to the Cold Men, as the Cold Men were the ones fighting in Memnumu and Anzan, whereas the Raspara were focusing only on Tata and STW had so far contributed little to the war on either front.
Seeing the war suddenly turn around, Thaoa's soldiers pulled on their remaining strength to launch a civil war in Memnumu, taking the Players back out of Anzan.
STW's leaders assumed that they had effected these changes all on their own, and announced that they would conquer the Players once they were finished conquering the Matrixes in Tata.
Cold Men invade Memnumu
The Cold-STW coalition invaded Memnumu (Creamland) in 4190. They invaded through the region of Šafabapaa, named in honor of four pregnant angels. The Players were surprised, as they had judged the Cold army incompetent, but the Players had nonetheless prepared for the invasion and continued to fight with their full force.
The Impossible Treaty
The Cold Men declared that they had won. The Players signed a treaty surrendering their entire population to be slaves for the Cold Men. They also stated that this treaty applied to the Players in Tata who had only just recently been freed from their Matrix-owned slave camps.
The Play leaders' logic was much as the Cold Men's had been: although the winning side of this war was a coalition of the Cold Men, the Raspara, STW, and other small armies, the Players chose to surrender to the Cold Men only, figuring that the Cold Men would be the gentlest of all possible occupiers. The Players then stated that if the other members of the coalition wanted to share the spoils, they would need to send their own troops through the Cold territory and fight a new war, with the intent that in this new hypothetical war, the Cold Men would be siding with the Players in order to keep exclusive control of their new territory.
But by this time there was no way to enforce any treaty, and the Players ceded land to the Cold Men that the Play army was only pretending to have controlled, knowing it made no difference and might help tie up enemies in a fight against each other.
Just before signing the treaty, however, the Players and Cold Men agreed to an amendment such that STW would also have a role in occupying Play territory. They stated that STW's traditional structure, in which members were organized into numbered bases, would fit well with the Play nation's geographical division into states and counties within those states. Each Play state, they promised, would come under the control of an individual STW base, and the chief of that STW base would be the ruler of their particular Play state. Both sides agreed to this amendment because both sides agreed STW had contributed little to the war, and that STW's leadership continued to vastly overestimate the power of the STW mercenary army, which by now consisted mostly of child soldiers since adult males had found it easier to desert the army when the war was turning against them.
The amendment to the treaty deliberately left unresolved the question of how both the Cold Men and STW would be able to maintain absolute power in Play territory, because the Players knew that neither side was likely to concede to the other, and that the Cold Men would be far better able to project their power. Thus the Players hoped that STW would waste itself trying to enforce the contradictory treaty, while the Cold Men hoped that they would be able to force STW into submission even if they had to afford STW's leaders formal control over the Play territory. Thus the treaty came to be called the Impossible Treaty by both the Players and the Cold Men.
Role of the Raspara
The Raspara also signed the Impossible Treaty, stating that because they had fought only in Tata, they would enslave the Players and Matrixes in Tata (even though the Players had not fought back), but would forfeit the rights to any slaves of the Play or Matrix parties who lived in Memnumu or Anzan.
Details of enforcement
One clause in the treaty that the Cold Men insisted the Players follow with absolute obedience was the demand that the Players take all of their troops out of the territory they had won in the recent invasion, including those areas of Cold territory into which they had earlier been invited by mutual agreement. The Cold Men allowed Players to escape this clause by formally converting to the Cold party, but knew that very few Players — not even men — would be willing to surrender their feminist lifestyle, and figured that the Cold victory in the recent war was decisive enough that the Players in Memnumu would not revive the war in order to amplify Play resistance in Cold territory. The Cold-Play border was thus reset to what it had been before the start of the Second Mallard War.
Continued fighting in the south
Because the Players still had sympathy for the Cold Men and STW's younger members, they continued to obey the letter of the law in their recent treaty, which stated that the Players had surrendered their entire population to be slaves for the Cold-STW coalition, and that the Play army would make no attempt to defend any intrusion into their territory. The Play army remained solely to defend Play territory against attacks by other outside powers. However, the Cold Men allowed the Player military leaders to retain their rights to command their army, meaning that the Cold Men could not force the Players to fight for Cold interests that would not help the Players. The Cold Men hoped to coax the Players into a formal alliance by conceding this privilege, and that in the future, a Cold-Play alliance would form a unified state with secure, defined borders, and focus on defense rather than starting new wars in distant lands.
The Players' surrender treaty took them out of the war and allowed the Players to also make separate peace treaties with the other invading powers such as Xema and the Raspara. This meant that the Cold-STW coalition had to fight Xema without the Players' help, and that the Raspara were free to abandon their coalition, as the Players had been suspecting they would.
Indeed, the Raspara quickly backed out of the Impossible Treaty as well as a private treaty they had earlier signed with the Cold Men and STW. STW's leaders were insisting that both treaties afforded STW the right to control both Memnumu and Tata, and some STW leaders had even revived their demand for financial compensation. Raspara soldiers responded to this by raiding STW's schools, capturing children to be used as slaves, claiming sarcastically that the cost of sheltering and reeducating STW's miseducated children was greater than the financial compensation they had been asking for.
Cold advocacy for STW
By this point, even the Cold Men had admitted that STW's leadership was not qualified to lead a war, though they softened their words by arguing that STW's leaders were not insane; it was merely that STW was a corporation and not an army. The Cold Men argued that STW's only goal in this war had been to make money, and that their leaders, though expert financial advisors, simply did not understand the concept of war as it applied to the soldiers and civilians caught in the fighting. Indeed, STW had continued to operate its traditional trade route stretching over 3,000 miles from the southeast corner of Play territory to Tata in the extreme northwest, even though this route crossed through territories that were at war with each other.
The Cold Men realized that, by continuing to shelter STW, they would suffer the consequences of STW's misleadership, and that since the Raspara had revived their war against STW, they might also revive the war against the Cold Men. The Cold Men reaffirmed their obligation to protect STW, but realized that it would be unwise to let STW's leaders lead the Cold army into battle as they had months earlier at the outset of the war.
Role of Xema
The Players had made peace with the naval power of Xema, but suspected Xema would soon betray them. Xema's main political party was called the Ring (ZDE), but Xema's people preferred to identify themselves by the name of their homeland. Xema's land territory was an icecap far to the north, in an area so cold and difficult to live in that it was impossible to occupy. Therefore, on the icecap, all powers were safe from outside invasions and from each other.
But Xema was interested in claiming land in the more livable areas to the south, where the climate was warmer and there were people they could subjugate. After attempting to invade the Cold Men in 4182 and suffering many casualties, Xema realized that they could never became a land power because the icecap was an island and they would therefore always be dependent on sea travel to invade any foreign nation. They thus decided to become an exclusively naval power, and to attempt invasions of lands far away from their icecapped homeland, such that the invaders would have no means to communicate with their families on the icecap.
Xema had used this navy to invade Play territory, also in 4182, and by blockading the coast, Xema had forced the Players to surrender the whole of their territory to Xeman control early in 4186. Outside allies then rescued the Players; importantly, they had earned humanitarian support from Dreamland's navy, known as Laba, even though Dreamland had long been hostile to the Players and to the nations who had allied with the Players in this war. Laba continued to occupy Play coastline after the war, and the Players accepted this, feeling that they had no other means of repaying their debt to Laba's humanitarian sailors. Laba never asked for anything else in return; even though the Players had occupied Dreamland's choicest territory for nearly forty years, they had lost this territory to a third party, and had no means of getting the stolen territory back under Dreamer control.
Although they repulsed Xema's land-based occupation, the Play-Laba alliance was unable to defeat the Xeman navy. Instead, Xema's navy retreated to the east and west, hugging the coast of Nama and of territories far to the east that had long ago also been part of Nama. They thus left a gap where the Play navy was most powerful, but could still communicate with each other by sailing further out to sea. The Xeman ships moved from harbor to harbor, maintaining a self-sufficient life at sea without women or land to call their own. They thus became pirates, occasionally docking in settlements far up the coast, in land which the Players claimed as theirs but had yet to meaningfully settle. They had continued to practice this lifestyle for eight years, with most Xeman pirates never returning to Xema.
Renewed land invasion
Xema invaded the Players again in December 4190. They promised that their real targets were the Raspara and the Cold Men, but argued that they had no viable means to return to their homeland in the arctic, and that because the Players had regained control of the south coast, Xema could now only attack these enemies by first attacking the Players. Xema suspected that the Players would allow this invasion so long as the Xemans coursed quickly northward through Play territory, seeking to reach the Cold Men immediately, rather than attempting to subdue the Players before moving north.
Xeman diplomats asked to meet with the Players to establish a corridor through which the Xemans could invade, promising that they would allow the Play army to guard the corridor to ensure that the Xeman soldiers did not spill out into Play territory. The Cold capital city, Napaatusā, was to the northwest of the Play capital of Pūpepas, and therefore the Xemans requested a corridor in a western area of Play territory, perhaps Pāpaŋa, where relatively few Players lived.
But the Play women refused to meet, and therefore Xema had a choice between invading the Players and using a route further west, going entirely through Nama, which was much weaker than the Players but would require the Xemans to traverse a long path through the high mountains. Xema's navy was still occupying the Naman coastline, but in an area where the mountains extended all the way to the shore, meaning that the Naman route would be difficult from the very beginning.
Thus, Xema chose the first option, and declared war on the Players in addition to their other enemies. They docked their ships off the coast of Pāpaŋa, defeating for the moment the Player navy, and then abandoned their ships in the harbor to move quickly inland. The Play territory in this area was only about 80 miles wide, after which the Xemans would break into Cold territory. The Xeman generals instructed their soldiers to move quickly through the western area of Play territory, as originally planned, and to avoid harming Play civilians if at all possible. The Xemans figured that the Players would be unable to retaliate for the invasion, since the Xemans would have already abandoned their ships, and that if the Players chose to pursue the Xemans into Cold territory, they would run the risk of being considered invaders as well.
Battle of Napaatusā
Xemans move north
The Xeman army punched through Play territory quickly, as they had promised, and although they killed Play soldiers they did not attack civilians, nor did they encounter the militarized Planter schoolchildren. Xema's diplomats then declared that they had only attacked the Play soldiers in self-defense, and that their ultimate aim in this new war was to strengthen the Play nation by freeing the Players from their ties to allies such as the Cold Men.
The Cold capital city, Napaatusā, was near the Play border, and the Xemans chose to invade through the territory of Maimp, and the Play army did not pursue them into Cold territory despite their allegiance with the Cold Men. Instead, the Players instructed their soldiers to guard the Cold-Play border, trapping the Xemans in Cold territory, and to at least consider whether the Xemans had in fact been telling the truth about wanting to better the situation of the Players.
Xemans arrive at Napaatusā
The area of Cold territory immediately north of the Play border, called Maimp, was mountainous, and therefore difficult to access for the Cold Men as well. Also, the Cold Men were not expecting any invasion from Play territory, whether from the Players or from an outside party. Thus, few Cold soldiers were stationed at the border, and the Xemans even chose to build campsites there. But they moved quickly on to the capital within days.
The Xemans ordered their soldiers to prepare for a simultaneous battle against the Cold Men and the Raspara; the Xemans were in Cold territory, but knew that the Raspara army also claimed this territory and that neither party would be willing to share the land with Xema.
To their surprise, the Xemans found no Cold soldiers guarding the path towards the capital city. Finding it hard to believe that the Cold Men would abandon their own capital, the Xemans now believed that the Raspara must have recently defeated the Cold Men, and that the Raspara would therefore be occupying the city of Napaatusā.
Instead, the invading Xeman army met up with an army consisting of small children. This was STW's child army; the Xemans quickly recognized the children for who they were, and instructed their soldiers to abandon the battle, abduct the children, and flee back to the south, all the way through Play territory, and keep the children on board the Xeman naval ships.
The Raspara army soon converged on the STW children as well; when the Xemans met the Raspara soldiers, they signed a truce and agreed to split the STW children between them. Meanwhile, the hapless STW children obeyed their orders to attack both armies simultaneously, but were unable to injure, let alone kill, the soldiers of the two invading armies.
Xema attempts diplomacy
By invading Cold territory and reaching the capital without encountering Cold resistance, the Xemans argued that they had defeated the Cold Men. They maintained their campsites in the pocket of Cold territory that was difficult for all outside powers to reach, and stated that here, they would be safe even from the Raspara.
Xema did not intend to invade the Players a second time, knowing that the Xeman ships by this time had certainly been captured and integrated into the Play navy. Instead, the Xemans planned to move slowly westward through Nama, claiming humanitarian invincibility because they were carrying the many STW orphans, and reconnect with their ships still stationed off the coast of Nama.
Xema admitted its plan to enslave its captured children, but also promised to spare their lives, and argued that the children would be vastly better off under Xema's control than they had been under STW's. The Raspara, on the other hand, made no promises of any kind, so Xema claimed the moral high ground, saying that the Raspara party had long ago abandoned its traditional honor code, and that the Raspara soldiers were going to abuse the captured children until they succumbed to their injuries.
At this time, Xema was so unloved that their diplomats had shocked the world by claiming to be morally superior to the Raspara, even as outside powers knew that the Raspara were also abusive. One reason the outside powers had a difficult time respecting Xema was that for eight years the Xeman pirates had lived a life of piracy, without women, and without seeing the families they had left behind in Xema. Xema had earlier alienated all of its potential allies by invading the defenseless nation of Nama; the Players roundly criticized Xema for this even though the Players were also planning an invasion of Nama.
Xema had admitted that they were going to enslave the STW orphans because they knew that Xema's reputation was so bad that a claim such as this had a chance of being believed, whereas if they were to claim that they would protect the children and then find them adoptive homes, nobody would even consider taking Xema seriously.
Offer of secession
But Xema asked its enemies for mercy, saying that if the other armies stopped fighting Xema, Xema would hold the recently captured campsites in Maimp, and would fight off the Raspara from this territory, all while rescuing as many STW children as they could find. Knowing that the captured children likely had mere months left in their lives, if that, the Xemans pleaded for urgent action by the outside powers, most of which were still officially at war with Xema.
Xema's new plan required the Players to allow Xema to move through Play territory and also to have ships in at least one Play harbor, because, just as before, it was much more convenient for Xema to move from Maimp to the coast through the 80-mile area of adjacent Play territory than to take the much longer path through the mountains of Nama to reach Xema's naval occupation of Nama.
Criticism of Players
Xema's plan to earn the Players' support was not to warm their hearts, but to embarrass them in meetings with outside powers. Knowing that they had little chance of a formal diplomatic meeting, Xema produced propaganda criticizing the Players for creating the Planters, an army consisting of children aged between five and ten years old. The Planters were not combat troops, and the Players tried to keep them out of reach of the various traditional adult armies, but because the children were working unprotected, they were vulnerable to ambushes and kidnappings just as STW's children had been.
Until this time, the existence of the Players' child army was not widely known. Indeed, due to Xema's reputation, Xema's claims actually made people who had heard of the Planters more skeptical, and since Xema was not invited to diplomatic meetings, they could not produce proof of their claims.
- it is possible the 4179 war was real, if it referred to events in DSAS or earlier stories. See, for example, the greater detail in the Swamp Kids article, such as "STW debate team", etc.
- NOTE ON TIMING: The "close to original writeups" document has STW's child-soldiers war taking place well after the DSAS events, whereas in STRAWB it t akes place before.
New Cold Men
In 4190, Tata's Raspara and Swamp Kids formally merged into the Cold Men (KST). 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. 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.
This new Cold party existed only in Tata, and was thus not the same formal entity as the Cold Men who had invaded the Players many times and still controlled much of Play territory. The nebulous legal definition of the Raspara party had created overlapping membership before, and it was not clear to the Cold Men in Play territory whether the new Cold party in Tata was legally able to vote in Cold elections or not, or whether the Cold leaders in Play territory would even be able to determine that on their own, or whether the Raspara would decide it for them.
For much of their history, the Players had no currency at all, and the production of new goods such as clothes and furniture was outlawed, so that even bartering was rare.
International economic surveys had simply counted the gross domestic product, and thus the per capita income, of the Play-held territories as zero during these periods, making the Play Empire the poorest nation in the world.
The trade with STW brought luxury goods to Play families who had been living in pestilence for decades, and the Players realized the need to restore their nation's original currency, the pinupaba, which the Players had abolished within years of taking power. The Milk Bottle party opposed the introduction of a cash economy, stating that poverty had made the Players resilient and had kept the crime rate very low when the Players were at their most vulnerable. Thus, the Milk Bottles turned against wealth itself and argued that it was better to be poor, even if it meant missing out on handheld objects considered essential by others, rather than only missing out on luxuries.
At this time, the economy of Anzan was undergoing revolution.
Comparisons to other economies
The Cold Men undertook a series of economic surveys based on dividing the gross domestic product of a nation by its population, including men, women, and children, even if a given nation did not include the entire population in their census. (For example, the Matrixes only included adult men.) However, the surveys did not count slaves as part of a nation's population, since they were typically not citizens of such nations, and therefore nations using slavery had artificially high per capita incomes. In some cases, the population was only an estimate based on the official census.
Centuries earlier, the STW corporation had introduced an internal currency (Late Andanese mutuni) for its customers and employees that could only buy meals. Four of these tokens, here symbolized Ξ, would buy one standard-sized meal at an STW restaurant. STW's meals were typically very cheap, and therefore Ξ4 worth of a nation's currency would not necessarily buy a meal at a privately owned restaurant, or even raw fish at a fish market. This currency was never legal tender in any nation, and never circulated far outside the locations of the individual STW restaurants.
This currency had been created about three hundred years earlier by the STW corporation to simplify transactions in STW-owned restaurants. Per STW's orders, four tokens would buy one standard-sized meal, regardless of what the meal was, and regardless of when or where the tokens had been obtained from STW's local store. Therefore, the currency resisted inflation, and came to be used as a benchmark for other currencies. However, it was never legal tender, even in STW's retail stores, and rarely circulated far outside the STW restaurants.
Nonetheless, because the tokens could only buy food, the currency could not suffer from inflation, and therefore the currency came to be used as a benchmark for other currencies even as STW's economic power declined.
Note that the Moonshine mač currency which was used in price lists was worth about eight times as much as each Ξ token during this period, even though the Moonshine government considered 5 mač an ideal price for a meal. This is simply because no society was able to meet STW's recommended price without heavy government subsidies, and because Moonshine society was dispersed such that much of people's food requirement needed to be delivered.
The Cold Men estimated the true potential Play GDP, meaning the value of the land, its renewable resources, and the annual labor potential of the people, at around Ξ5 billion per year, for a per capita income of around Ξ5,000 per year.
- NOTE: Something may be off by a factor of two.
Meanwhile, in Tata, a land with a similar size to Memnumu, the GDP was calculated by both internal and external surveys at about Ξ3 billion per year. This meant that Memnumu taken as a nation was potentially richer than Tata, because the land was more fertile, although because Memnumu had a much higher population than Tata, it would still have been poorer than Tata when taken as a population even if the overall GDP was higher. Earlier, Tata's GDP had been higher, around Ξ4.4 billion, but wars had brought this down. But, the population also declined, so Tata's per capita GDP rose even as its overall total wealth declined.
Tata's population was much smaller than Memnumu's, so its per capita income was higher even though its GDP was lower. The population of Tata was very small for its land area. The Matrix censuses in the 4170s and 4180s had counted only about 3,000 citizens, because they did not consider non-Matrixes to be citizens, and also did not consider wives and young children of Matrixes to be Matrixes. The Matrix census did not include the slaves.
Tata's total annual GDP was around Ξ3 billion per year in the 4180s. The Matrix population at the time had been around 3,000 people. Therefore the Matrixes reported their per capita GDP as Ξ1 million, much higher than the estimated contemporary Play figure of about Ξ5,000. However, they held over 150,000 Play slaves, who were not counted in the census. If the unwilling Play captives were counted, the total per capita income of Tata in the late 4180s would measure in at about Ξ20,000. Nonetheless, the Cold surveyors' methodology, in keeping with international standards, was to multiply the Matrix census population of 3,000 by the total population ratio of adult males to all people in the nation, even though women and children could not be Matrixes. The result of this was about one fourth of the Matrix reported figure, and thus about Ξ250,000.
An earlier survey of Tata's economy, done when it was still controlled by the Players, had shown a per capita income of about Ξ30,000 per year, meaning that Play-run Tata was much richer than Play-run Memnumu.
Dreamland's annual total GDP in the early decades of the 4100's had been stable around Ξ30-35 billion, with a population also stable at around 500,000, for a per capita income between Ξ60-70,000. Most of this wealth was controlled by corporations based in the easternmost state, Popa, held by the Baywatch party, who did not allow the tax revenue to flow outside their state. The Baywatch per capita income in fact was consistently over Ξ200,000, while the poorer western states averaged about one tenth of that and did not receive benefits from the Dreamer umbrella organizations. Moreover, the price of food was high in Dreamland because many Dreamers lived in cities, or in rural areas far from sources of food and thus had to rely on others to transport the food to them. Corporations and state governments worked together to socialize the cost of this so that the burden of food transportation would not fall on only those living in difficult locations, knowing that depopulating the cities would end the Dreamer economic hegemony. This meant, however, that nobody in Dreamland was able to buy a meal for STW's recommended price of Ξ4 and that their disposable income was much less than a naive Player would expect.
Popa was the headquarters of many large corporations who did business both with other Dreamers and with foreign nations. The state of Popa taxed these companies and disbursed the benefits to the people, but the other Dreamer states did not benefit from this and the imperial Dreamer government did not have the power to tax the companies at the time (Dreamland was a confederation, meaning that the states were supreme).
After the Play invasion of Dreamland in 4138, Popa's economy collapsed and the corporations lost control of their property. Dreamland had nonetheless remained much richer than the Play territory even after their defeat. Much of the wealth ended up in Tata.
Baeba's population in the early 4190s was around 200,000, with a total GDP around Ξ12 billion. This gave a per capita income of Ξ60,000, but Baeba's economy was highly stratified, with slaves at the bottom and the world's richest people at the top. Baeba's upper class had a high cost of living, because Baeba was a compact territory and the rich needed to pay private security forces to protect their wealth and their people from attacks by the poorer classes. Nonetheless, even with this, Baeba's upper class was the richest in the world. The Leapers had recently conquered Baeba and become the ruling political class, though political power and wealth did not always coincide, and many of the richest men in Baeba were not Leapers and did not feel threatened by the Leapers.
The Cold Men's own economy was very poor, and they estimated their per capita income at only about Ξ10,000 per year, but said that their total wealth was high because they had a large area of land for their population, and controlled much of the mountains, and had recently seen their adult male population depart for Baeba, leaving much wealth in the hands of the smaller remaining population.
In its first century of operation, the STW corporation had paid child laborers what they called wages fit for adults, which varied greatly but were typically slightly above the average adult per capita income in each area of operation. (At the time, they had bases only in the Thunder Empire.) Because STW minted its own currency, the asala, it sometimes identified itself as a nation, but estimates of per capita income were difficult because STW paid its employees in this private currency and its exchange value was always fluctuating. An early STW charter recommended a minimum wage in asala that at the time was equivalent to about Ξ75,000 per year, even for young children, provided they work at least 900 hours in that year (including schoolwork). STW indeed kept this promise, but because the minimum wage was given in the asala currency, which was highly vulnerable to inflation, it soon became meaningless and had to be further increased.
In later years, therefore, STW counted its wealth in tangible products, in fact largely in the number of human slaves their army had taken control of. In wealthy nations, STW had routinely sold young adult slaves for Ξ100,000 or higher. But STW also traded in wine, clothing, weapons, and skilled labor such as their traditional mainstay, carpentry.
The Cold surveyors had found no nations in which the per capita income was lower than the Players', but comforted the Players by reminding them that they were all vastly better off than the slaves scattered about various nations. They also stated that in some nations, such as Amade, per capita income was high but artificial, as women in Amade were paid to give birth, but had little use for this money since Amade did not have a functional consumer economy.
The Players had typically ignored such surveys, saying that a nation could have a per capita income of Ξ50,000 but run short of food, and thus be forced to buy food from outside nations at much higher prices just to survive.
Proposals for economic reform
Potential for trade with STW
The Players had recently established trade with STW, but their program was irregular, and STW realized that a single Play parliamentary resolution could shut it all down. They looked for ways to firm their ties.
STW did not plan to open a store in Play territory, but offered to trade goods in bulk so that Players could choose whether to open their own stores or to distribute the items for free. STW's diplomats produced a price list in the Players' pinupaba currency, here represented nonetheless with the universal diplomatic currency Ξ in which the Players' average potential income if their economy was monetized was estimated at Ξ5,000 per year.
STW also refused to hire Play employees to the STW corporation. They explained that the Players were not only the world's poorest nation, but also underdeveloped, meaning that their potential labor costs were high. For example, because the Players mostly obtained food individually, almost all Play settlements were located near renewable food sources, mostly the ocean and rivers, and the cost to STW of obtaining natural resources from outlying areas of Play territory would be higher than in a rich nation even if the Play laborers offered to work for lower wages.
Selling to Players
- Bar of soap: Ξ14; intended to last for about a week.
STW's traders did not offer clothes, knowing that even with their slave labor, they could not produce clothes at affordable prices for the Players, and that because they were selling in bulk, any Play traders foolish enough to buy STW's clothes would be the ones saddled with the unpayable debt. Therefore, STW was recommending a Play society where people bathed with soap but had insufficient access to clothes, even diapers, and thus their arguments over hygiene were weak by their own admission.
Buying from Players
- Jug of wine: Ξ75; defined as the maximum amount an average adult could expect to drink at one time without throwing up.
STW urged the Players to revive their grape wine industry, knowing that it was in demand elsewhere in the world and could help the Players pay the high prices that they would need to join the world economy. At this time, STW was selling palm wine for Ξ250 per jug in Tata and other places; they explained the discrepancy to the Players by saying that since most of the territories between Memnumu and Tata had outlawed alcohol, the transportation costs were high. But STW also promised that if they ever achieved a monopoly on alcohol in any territory, they would raise their sale prices and return the difference to the Players.
The Players had typically resisted this, knowing that every jug of wine they produced meant less food for their people, and that their young and constantly growing population needed all the food they could get. STW could not easily sell food to the Players because any foods capable of surviving the journey would have required high prices to pay for the preservation and transportation costs.
Trade with the Cold Men
The Cold Men worried that if STW took control of the Play economy, the Players would become rich but would only be able to spend their newfound wealth by trading even more with STW, which could simply raise its prices once it achieved monopoly status. Their diplomats told the Players that nations were best when they traded with other nations instead of with companies like STW which could give nothing back.
The Cold Men were hoping to fool the Players into signing a trade agreement with the Cold Men, saying that they would in fact improve the living standards within Play territory, but that the Cold Men would benefit richly from the agreement because they would be able to lock STW out of the deal by controlling the trade routes, and then, because the Play nation was on the south coast, the Cold Men would have them nearly surrounded, and could put tariffs on all goods that passed through Cold territory in both directions. Thus, if the Players wanted to ship wine to Baeba Swamp, the Cold Men would do it, but would profit more from the transportation of the wine than would the buyers, sellers, or producers of the wine.
Moonshine economic advice
There was no land border between Moonshine and the Play Empire; the only intersection was a high mountain region in northern Play territory from which a long river flowed north into Moonshine territory. Thus, it was easier for the Players to reach Moonshine than the other way around. Even this river, however, flowed through several foreign nations before reaching Moonshine. It was historically part of Nama.
Moonshine wanted the Players to immediately remodel their economy after Moonshine's. They stated that the Moonshine economic model was based on the ancient Crystal economic system, and thus had proven its merit for thousands of years. By following their advice, the Moonshine diplomats said, the Players would remain poor, just like the Crystals and Moonshines, but the people's basic needs would be met and corporations could not compete with the government for power.
Moonshine corporate law
The Moonshines categorized corporations in several ways.
First, they were defined by ownership: either private, government-owned, or party-owned. The latter two types were different, because the Moonshine political party was not the same entity as the government of Moonshine even though Moonshine was a one-party state. A Moonshine government-owned corporation was supported entirely by tax money, and most often produced items of little tangible value, such that a private corporation doing the same thing would be unprofitable. Government-owned corporations were exempt from taxes because they were supported by taxes. By contrast, a party-owned corporation was a volunteer enterprise with no tax subsidies, whose entire business model, salary structure, and agenda was set by votes in the Moonshine Parliament. (In Moonshine, these were limited to single states.) They derived their profits from other votes in the Moonshine Parliament. For example, the Parliament could vote to force customers to buy their clothes at a party-owned clothing store in order to achieve a monopoly on their otherwise unprofitable business.
Next, they were defined by their extent. Corporations could either be confined to a single location, allowed to expand nationwide, or transnational. Moonshine had no transnational corporations, and recommended that the Players also avoid doing business with transnational corporations, but Moonshine law did not actually prohibit their existence; it was merely that the Moonshine government made it unprofitable to trade across its borders.
Also, they were defined by labor type. The Moonshines recognized three basic forms of wealth generation: capitalism, slavery, and piracy. Piracy was illegal in Moonshine, so the only distinction was between companies that enslaved their employees and those that did not. For example, at some Moonshine companies, all of the employees were young children, and the Moonshine government had early on legally defined most such workplaces as schools because they did not pay their employees, claiming protection from the world around them was all the pay their young workers deserved. Most Moonshine companies relied on adult labor, but these companies were still allowed to enslave their employees if they could keep the workers captive.
In Moonshine, a private corporation was run by a single person, regardless of size. If the corporation was not of the type that was restricted to a single location, it could either have a labor union or no labor union. Labor unions were confined to operating within a single company, meaning that if there were two companies competing in the same industry, and both were unionized, there would be two labor unions who were also competing. If present, the union controlled the people's wages, even that of the business owner. If there was no labor union, the boss set all of the employees' salaries herself, again including her own. This is the means by which some Moonshine corporations were said to enslave their employees; in non-union companies, a boss could simply refuse to pay her employees for an arbitrary period of time, typically promising that salaries would return when revenue improved.
Thus, although the Moonshines categorized their businesses across multiple categories, some categories were complementary. There were no unionized family businesses, for example, nor unionized businesses with slavery.
Moonshines' ideal Play economy
The Moonshines described the STW corporation as being simultaneously a transnational private business and a party-owned nationalized one, since STW was a corporation that identified itself as a sovereign nation and, when required, also as a political party.
The Moonshines bluntly argued that the Players were not intelligent enough to do what STW did, and that, by rejecting scholastic education, they never would be. The Moonshines had not created an STW-like corporation either, but stated that they did not want one. They went on to say that STW's model had merits, but again recommended that the Players prohibit or greatly restrict transnational corporations which would see the Players as cheap labor and give nothing back.
The Moonshines offered to help the Players set up either one or four new party-owned corporations, depending on whether they chose to identify their Play party coalition as a single party (as they had early on) or as a coalition of four independent parties, as they had in recent decades. They promised that these businesses would always defeat private businesses in the same trade, because party-owned businesses could simply vote themselves more customers, and if needed, even direct transfers of cash to prop them up.
The Moonshines recommended that, since the Players had little interest in education, they could reinstitute child labor and use their large child population to increase their total economic output. But they also acknowledged that the very founding principle of the Play party had been to avoid child labor, and that their use of child labor in their early decades had been due to government misleadership.
Results of diplomatic contacts
The Play diplomats had little background in economics, and listened intently to the Moonshines explain all of the details of their plan. But when the Play diplomats realized that the Moonshines were purposefully describing the Players as stupid by nature, and expecting the Players to take it as merely an unpleasant truth, they lost their enthusiasm for the Moonshine economic model and stopped listening to the diplomats. They thus rejected all of the Moonshines' proposals, even those that seemed to fit neatly into the existing Play economy.
Invasion of Tata
In the Play district of Vanuaampu, part of the state of Šanaampu, a military leader named Šasuasa prepared to lead her army of 6,335 young children into Tata, furthering a long and notorious Player tradition of spreading filth and plagues instead of using traditional weapons. Šanaampu was east of Thaoa, and thus at the eastern extremity of the Play party's holdings. Nonetheless the distance to Tata was so great that Šasuasa felt her location mattered little in such a war.
The STW corporation provided transportation for the kids, and paid Šasuasa Ξ87 million for releasing the kids to STW. This was roughly equivalent to STW's estimate of the entire Play economic output in one week, meaning that for a week, the Play GDP had been doubled simply by sending child soldiers on a mission to Tata. The currency STW paid to Šasuasa was only redeemable through STW, however, as STW did not have the ability to force the Players to mint more pinupaba coins.
Šasuasa was unusual among the Players both in that she had accumulated power on her own, becoming almost as strong as a head of state (though she was not formally one), and because she was a female military leader; though the Players reserved political power exclusively for women, including power over the military, decisions on the ground had traditionally been made by men. Šasuasa was also very young, even by Play standards, having been born in 4178. Though some early Play leaders had been teenagers or, rarely, even younger, this had become rare as the Players' access to education had improved over the years. All of these new changes were due to influence from Laba, whose navy had docked in Šanaampu in 4186 to help the Players repel a Xeman invasion.
Because the Players did not allow the appointment of a single head of state, the terms they used for other nations' kings and queens referred to local rulers within the Play Empire, all of whom were female. For example, the queens organized councils of women to advise pregnant women on whether to seek an abortion or put their baby up for adoption, and by Play tradition these councils had nearly always advised women to carry their babies to term. But Šasuasa was a nontraditional leader, too young to advise women on abortion, and yet very adept with military strategy. The Players thus looked for a new title to address their youngest leader.
Šasuasa's soldiers were called ŋāaa, and like previous adventurers, they expected to perform well based partly on their enemies' reluctance to directly attack small children, and partly from the enemies' fears of contracting one of the plagues if they were to approach too closely. The adventurers carried whips with them, but they saw them as toys rather than weapons. Unusually, many of the ŋāaa soldiers were girls, as they carried a plague that would prevent them from being mothers. Some Players claimed this meant that Šasuasa was a traditional queen after all, since she would be responsible for causing thousands of abortions (paus) among her enemies.
Treaty with STW
STW, traditionally an enemy of the Play party, provided transport for the kids since they had no means of getting to Tata on their own. In return, STW turned over much of their remaining stock of manufactured goods to Šasuasa, figuring that she would distribute the goods to the Play party and improve their standard of living.
Šasuasa explained to the wider Play party membership that STW's leaders, mostly still the same people who had invaded Tata a few months earlier, were as insane as they had been in their last war, and could not see that they had signed a very unfair treaty: STW was forced to transport the young, plague-ridden children thousands of miles away to Tata, and instead of the Players paying STW for their help, STW paid the Players. Meanwhile, Šasuasa expected that the children's plagues would quickly spread to STW and its leadership, making them weaker than ever and potentially causing mass infertility as many of STW's transport personnel were female.
The Little Country
Cold Men follow Pioneers
Because the Cold Men were part of the same party as the Pioneers, their adult males were forced to invade as well, even though the Cold Men had no interest in conquering Baeba Swamp. Several thousand Cold Men defected to a new party, the Counters, whose ideology was the same as the Cold Men's but did not support the war and declared that they were not bound by the decisions of any other party. Some Cold Men feigned disability, but by so doing they mostly lost their jobs.
The Impossible Treaty was still in effect, and Cold Men were still patrolling Play territory, but the Pioneers' new war required the entire adult male Cold population to decamp. So the Players knew that any Cold Men still in Play territory were present illegally even according to the Cold Men, and could not call on their wider army to protect them from the Players.
Meanwhile, some Cold Men had remained in Nama as well, defying their party's leaders, but because these were disabled or pretending to be so, the Cold Men had effectively lost their entire adult male population. The Players realized that this greatly enhanced their odds of winning a new war against the Cold Men, and this time, public sentiment among the Players was high because the Cold Men had just invaded and taken control of much of Play territory.
Foundation of the Little Country
STW financed the Pioneers' invasion of Baeba Swamp, providing the Pioneer soldiers nearly everything they needed except their weapons and armor. The Pioneers were descended from the Tinkers and had retained their inherited knowledge of metalworking. Thus the Pioneer soldiers were very strong. The Raspara army was also strong, and the Raspara actually managed to stop some Pioneer battalions from escaping, meaning that the Pioneers were trapped in their own country by an enemy party. But most Pioneers circled around the Raspara front and reached Baeba Swamp, where they attacked hideouts of escaped Lenian slaves. They won their war quickly, but they had not conquered any actual Baeban territory; their new land was in southern Tata. Nevertheless, the Pioneers declared the foundation of the Little Country.
The Little Country consisted of the newly won land in southern Tata, which they called Pavaitaapu, and any areas of Nama which their army could maintain control of. (STW's trade route passed through Nama, and they hoped to continue trade with the land they had left behind.) The Pioneers then renamed themselves the Slime party. They had not wanted to do this, but for legal reasons they were forced to rename to establish diplomacy with Baeba. The new name was not so insulting in the Play language as in some others, however, as the word for slime also meant lava.
To soothe their soldiers' desires, the Slimes petitioned the government of Baeba Swamp, at the time run by the Leapers, to formally annex the newly won territory (but not Nama) into Baeba Swamp as the new Baeban district of Pavaitaapu. Thus Pavaitaapu would be part of two countries at the same time. The Leapers agreed, and the Slimes thus claimed that they had finally conquered Baeba Swamp.
New form of government
The Slimes abolished democracy in their new territory, knowing that their Lenian slaves could simply join the Slime party, vote themselves into freedom, and then vote their masters into slavery. This was because the slaves were far more numerous than their conquerors. The Slime party constitution stated that troublesome territories could be governed by a king instead of through parliamentary democracy. To their surprise, however, the STW corporation which had financed their war demanded that STW choose the king, rather than the Slimes choosing a king from among their leaders. The Slimes knew that they had to obey, because STW was a transnational corporation, and could call on neighboring nations to invade and crush the Little Country if the Slimes refused to pay their debts or obey STW's orders.
STW chose a 13-year-old boy named Pipunapa to be the king of the Little Country. He called himself the Golden Sun. The boy was the son of the very rich shipbuilder Naipatepa, who had not directly helped the Slimes win the war. Almost immediately, slaves owned by Naipatepa, by his son, and by STW at large appeared in the Little Country and built a new castle for the boy king to live in. Dozens of his classmates came to live with him in the castle, and he delegated some of his powers to them so that he could more easily handle his tasks as king. These kids came to be called Clovers although they did not choose that name.
Within weeks, hundreds of other kids, mostly orphans, also moved into the Castle, making it so overcrowded that most of them had to sleep on the stone floor. Over the coming months, STW discharged thousands more orphans into the territory around the Castle, which was a hill called Mutanapana. STW had recently been forced to close all of its orphanages, and they now stated that they were bringing the kids to Mutanapana so that they could find homes. They also stated that the 5,000 orphans now living on Mutanapana Hill were only the beginning, but that they would do their best to find homes for the kids who had already arrived before they brought in even more.
All of the children in this area were protected by adult bodyguards who were bound to the children and not to STW. Thus, STW surrendered its control over the Castle even though some officials within STW were preparing an internal legal case against the other STW members, saying that STW did still have control over the kids. STW had divided the orphans into groups destined to rule and destined to become ordinary citizens after adoption. The kids destined to rule were considered self-sufficient, despite their young age, and had accepted this role rather than seeking to find a new family. Thus the children in the Clover Castle controlled their own affairs, since their slaves and bodyguards were required to obey them.
Between the orphans, the Clovers, the slaves, and the bodyguards, the tiny hill of Mutanapana had nearly one third of the population of the district of Pavaitaapu. (Although slaves were not otherwise counted in the census, meaning that the true population of Pavaitaapu in fact was over 90,000.) There were scarcely any women among them, and the men were mostly busy with other tasks. STW said that the Slimes owed STW large sums of money for the help STW had given them during the war, and needed to pay it back by having their women adopt STW's orphans. The Slime army had consisted entirely of men, and only a minority of the soldiers had taken their families with them. Therefore there were very few female Slimes. However, the Slimes did have control of a large number of female slaves. Thus, STW demanded that the Slimes dedicate their female slaves to parenting duties so that the orphans could find homes.
Most of the orphans STW had dropped off were too young to find food, let alone cook or take care of their needs. STW stressed the need for immediate adoption but could not force their way into the wider areas of the Little Country to bring women to where the orphans were. They had slaves helping them, but STW insisted that the slaves should not be made to do such tasks, and that they would charge the Slimes ever higher amounts of money if they did not adopt the orphans, because the slaves were supposed to be busy building another Castle so that the first crop of kids would not need to sleep on the floor.
Developments in the Little Country
The Slimes did not like their new child rulers. Many believed that STW had deliberately chosen young children so that they would be easy to control, meaning that the Slimes had fought their war in order to give STW a physical nation to rule over, which was something STW had wanted for a long time. They noted that STW was also involved in the Play state of Šanaampu, where they were helping a 13-year-old girl named Šasuasa trade goods, and she had recently accompanied a troop of even younger children into Tata to fight a different war. But STW produced evidence that they did not have control over the kids and that they merely wanted to continue their trade route between the Little Country and the Play territories thousands of miles away.
The Slimes came to believe that STW was telling the truth, as their young king and his classmates proved themselves to be incompetent rulers. Early the next year, the Slime parliament voted to strip the king, his classmates, and many adults who had declared themselves loyal to him, of power. They offered these people the choice of surrendering, fleeing, or facing execution. In return, the boy king banned the Slimes from the Little Country, making them stateless, and his best friend sent the Clovers' adult bodyguards after certain Slime politicians who had helped start the conflict.
The Little Country was not yet at war. But the Slimes realized that the kids had the sympathy of the wider world, and that if war did break out, the Slimes would need allies to preserve their newly won nation. They wanted the Cold Men to reassure them that they were still part of the same party, and were bound to defend each other in war, even though they knew most of the Cold Men had defected to other parties or were claiming to be disabled. When word of this reached the Players, the Players realized that the Cold-Slime alliance was even weaker than before.
Meanwhile, the Counter party, comprised of Cold Men who had formed a new party in order to avoid having to fight the Pioneer War in Baeba, had turned against the disabled and elderly Cold Men who had remained in the Cold party. They argued that some of them were pretending to be disabled, and then using their Cold party membership to overrule the Counters in parliament. The Cold Men were able to do this because they had earlier received a promise from the Slimes (then known as Pioneers) that the Slime population could be added to the Cold population in order to amplify their votes in Parliament, since the Slimes were moving to a non-democratic area of the country.
The Counters were frustrated at being outvoted, and the disabled Cold Men soon began passing laws that discriminated against the Counters. The Counters responded by seceding from their nation and setting up a parallel nation with the same borders in which the Counters were the only legal army. Since the Cold Men had no army, there was nobody to stop the Counters. Then, the Counters launched an "invasion" of the Cold Men's country, declaring victory immediately because the nations had the same borders. They renamed their territory Counterland, but promised that they would soon wrest the rights to the name Cold Men back from the handicapped people and the pretenders, and then change the name of the country back to Anzan.
The Counters soon built labor camps for the Cold Men, forcing them to work simple tasks, and stating that anyone, even if legitimately handicapped, who could not complete their work would be killed. The intent of this was to find workers who had lied about their disability to avoid the war, who would then admit to being able-bodied when facing execution. Then they would use this to prove the Cold party was a sham, even as they admitted that there were surely some genuinely disabled people among them. The Counters were divided internally as to whether they would actually carry out executions of people who were genuinely handicapped or only remove them from public view to make it seem that they had been killed.
Cold Men surrender
The Cold Men surrendered en masse rather than watch the Counters separate them and pick them off one by one. They returned control of the name Cold Men to the Counters, and the Counters forced them to join the illegal Tadpole party, making them all criminals. Thus the Counters, who henceforth called themselves Cold Men again, ensured that even after their surrender, their victims' legal existence would be tenuous and that they could be arrested at the first sign of disobedience.
As the Slimes in the Little Country hurled insults at the children who ruled over them, the Cold Men in Anzan realized that they might soon be facing a similar problem. The Cold Men, like their parent parties, restricted voting rights to adult men, which they defined as any enrolled male party member who had reached the age of 13. This was also the age of the draft. The Cold Men had a large adult female population, but these women could not vote. This meant that the boys in the Cold Men's schools would soon greatly outnumber the adult Cold Men, and would crush the adults immediately in the first elections held after their graduation. In fact the eighth graders alone outnumbered the adults by almost 8 to 1, because this was the age group most likely to flee from their parents' homes in the runup to the war. Many of these had relatives who had been impounded in the labor camps earlier. The Cold Men realized that the graduating students would likely abolish the Tadpole party, restore voting rights to the ex-Tadpoles, and then disenfranchise the Cold Men as punishment. Then, even with the newly enfranchised ex-Tadpoles, their nation would be effectively ruled by the eighth-grade graduating class since even with the ex-Tadpoles the adults would be greatly outnumbered, in fact by an even greater ratio than 8 to 1.
The Cold Men now pondered granting voting rights to women, breaking a long tradition, even though the word Men in their own party name proudly showed their commitment to masculine power. The argument for this was that it was better for men to be ruled by women than for men to be ruled by children.
Other Cold Men now wanted to suspend democracy even knowing their child population would just as likely rise up in revolt physically if they could not outvote the adults. They passed a legal resolution stating that they were innocent of the attacks in the labor camps, and that the handicapped adults in fact had attacked each other. The Cold Men's situation was so dire that some were considering defecting to the Players, even if the Play army soon arrived in Cold territory and attacked people indiscriminately.
Trapped by demographics, the Cold Men signed a power-sharing agreement with their children, who now referred to themselves as the Cooks. The Cooks then forced the adult Cold Men to re-adopt the name Counters, and to admit that the Cooks were largely in control of the new government, although they did not claim absolute power. The Cooks abolished voting and promised to appoint representatives according to the census, which would ask the party identification of all citizens, including all men, women, and children. Thus men and women gained equal status, but children, including the very young, were also counted as equals of adults.
Importantly, the Cooks and Counters agreed that the greatest threat to the Cold government's stability was not the Cook-Counter generation gap, but rather the even younger children still in school, who were liable to start a third party opposed to both the Counters and the Cooks, and potentially opposed to the very existence of the Cold nation.
Most Counters privately admitted that they trusted their children more than they trusted their wives, and that they would rather be ruled over by the very young Cooks, even though some of them were girls, than by women who might seek to hand over control of the Cold nation to the feminist Play Empire to the south.
Invasion of Nama
The Players managed to capture some of the hunting bees (šipapi) that Xema had earlier released into Play territory.
By this time, the Play navy had pushed the Xeman navy off of Nama's coast, and the Namans living in this area supported this, knowing they were too weak to raise a navy of their own and that the Players had shown their support for Nama in the past. And yet, in 4192, the Player generals Vavatabūa and Mibas began a two-pronged invasion of Nama, starting with the territory of Ihhai.
As before, the Players admitted that Nama was no threat to the Play nation, but stated that they needed to control at least the uplands of Nama in order to guarantee their invincibility in a hypothetical war against the Cold Men. They continued to use this rationale even though the Cold military had mostly joined the Pioneer faction's invasion of Baeba Swamp, and the Cold soldiers who had chosen to remain were few, young, and poorly trained for battle.
To strengthen their invading force, the Players told the sailors guarding the Naman coastline to dock their ships in central Play territory and sail up the Pūpe River so that their ships could not be taken by enemy powers. Thus they abandoned their naval occupation of Nama. In doing so, the Players had betrayed Nama in two ways. First, they had exposed the Naman coastline to attack, abandoning the very Namans who most strongly supported the Players. And at the same time, the Play army moved northwards into the Naman hill country to subdue those Namans who did not support the Players.
Participation of Xema
By this time, Xema had switched sides again, and thus come to support the Players' invasion of Nama. The Players distrusted Xema but worked out a deal whereby the Players would transfer Nama's south coast to Xeman control so that the Players could work on pushing their army even further into Nama, and if possible, beyond Nama and into the territory of the Cold Men and Pioneers.
The land that the Players ceded to Xema was the most economically valuable area of Nama. The Players figured that Xema's strong navy would push their way into the territory whether the Players wanted them or not, and so by sacrificing coastal Nama, they were losing only what they could not have kept. Meanwhile, since this coastal territory was bounded by a tall mountain range, it was difficult to access the rest of Nama from the coast, meaning that the mountain range would stop Xema from invading northern Nama if Xema were to switch sides yet again and start fighting for Nama. The Players figured that if the whole of Nama were to fall to the combined forces of the Play and Xeman militaries, Xema could then declare that they were the successor state to Nama as a whole and start a war against the Players to win control of the territory they would then claim the Players had taken from them.
- This may be part of the Third Mallard War, but if so, it means that HTN was also founded during the war.
The Players' invasion of Nama led the Cold Men to invade Nama as well, claiming that they would repulse the Players, fortify the border with Play territory, and then allow the Namans to live in freedom. Namans living in this region were in general more pro-Cold than pro-Play, and knowing that they had no army of their own, they welcomed the Cold occupation as they knew that the Play army was fast approaching. Nonetheless, the Cold Men and Players were not officially at war, and many Players still lived peaceably in Cold territory.
Because the Play party was legal in Cold territory, Players were free to go about their lives. In the city of Čumfunua, in the Cold Men's northern Needle region (Natamšīa), a group of Play civilians gathered up weapons and then attacked the city, taking it over by pure force and thus turning it into a Play stronghold outside the control of the Cold Men. Čumfunua was an important waypoint on STW's trade route that stretched across the continent and linked the Play capital city of Pūpepas with Tata and Baeba Swamp thousands miles down the road. By taking over Čumfunua, the Players realized that they could disrupt trade and travel along the road.
The Play army had been ruled out of Cold territory by the recent Impossible Treaty, and this was one of the few points of the treaty for which the Cold Men demanded strict compliance. But the Cold party constitution did not allow them to ban the Play party itself, and there was no support within Cold territory for a civil war against the legal Play civilians who had chosen to remain. These Players manufactured their own weapons, largely made from the wood of the pine trees that grew in and around the city of Čumfunua.
The Players were not formally at war with the Cold Men, and so the Cold Men considered the attackers to be criminals rather than enemy soldiers. Cold law did not allow the Cold police force to retaliate against civilians, so the Cold Men were forced to arrest the Play militants and shelter them in prison. The Cold Men threatened to deport the Players back into Play territory, but knew that even this would be a great inconvenience for the Cold Men, and that the Players were causing even more distress for the Cold Men than they had intended to.
The Players' response, nonetheless, angered the Cold Men. The Players in Memnumu said that because the attack had taken place in Cold territory, it was the responsibility of the Cold military and police forces to prevent such attacks, and therefore the Players in Memnumu would not accept blame. The Cold Men knew that they could not easily launch such attacks in Play territory because the Play police force was much more strict and did not allow the Cold party, nor any other party with a male leadership structure.
At this point, the new Seed party (Čiaa) formed in Nama. They had no army, but declared that they would win battles against the Planters, who according to the Seeds were not an army either. They considered it a fair fight because although the Seeds were adults, the Players would surely also send adults to protect the Planter children when they realized what was happening. If the Players did not do so, the Seeds argued that the Players had no right to protest the Seeds' abductions of their children and that the children would be better off in Nama under Seed guardianship.
The Seeds, however, also argued that the Players were merely the largest nation that was bringing children to combat, and not the worst. They thus promised to also conduct operations against the Cold Men, who had protested their nation's war in Baeba Swamp by feigning disability and then raising a new army consisting of young boys.
Most Seeds were former Players or emigrants from other nearby nations of Play stock; few belonged to the aboriginal Naman tribes. The Seeds supported Nama, but could not criticize the recent invasions of Nama by the Play and Cold parties because the Seeds themselves were invading Nama. Despite their promises to protect the interests of Naman villagers, Nama knew that the Seeds' very presence there could entice the Players, the Cold Men, or both to invade Seed territory and that the Seeds would likely flee further into Nama to escape this, drawing the invasion further inward as well.
The Seeds were primarily men, saying that they could peel away enlisted Play soldiers more easily than they could convince Play women to abandon their families. The Seeds built campsites in Naman states like Maimp, Litila, and Galà, figuring that they could find Naman women to marry once they had made it clear that the Naman villagers could not get rid of the Seeds. However, they preferred to abdupt children from the Planters and other child "armies" and then embarrass the powers to the east by showing that the Seeds were taking better care of the children than their own parents were.
Rise of pacifism
In the midst of this new war, popular support for world peace began to rise, both among the Players and the Cold Men. Support for pacifism was strongest in Nama, where the two groups overlapped, and therefore where they had the greatest opportunity to fight each other.
The Cold Men (Pupa), despite their trade name, were at this time a party with very few adult men and no proper standing army. Indeed, the Cold army, by definition, was comprised of those soldiers who had specifically stated that they did not claim Baeba Swamp and would not move there even if the militant Pioneer faction were to win an easy victory. The Cold Men were therefore not eager for war. The Cold Men maintained their claim to certain areas of land that were at the time still occupied by the Players, but did not seek to reignite the conflict, despite knowing that the Players' invasion of Nama was a strain on the Play military and would likely weaken the Players' ability to defend their homeland.
The Players had remained an all-female government, just as the Cold Men had remained all-male. All debates between the two groups therefore were strictly contests of men against women, and both parties came to refer to each other by their sex; nonetheless, they retained their official party names.
Gestures of goodwill
The Players and Cold Men both admitted that they were invading historically Naman territory, and though the Cold Men were more guilty of this than the Players were, the Players did not try to position themselves as morally superior. Rather, they agreed to respect the rights of those few people left in Nama who were neither Players nor Cold Men.
Both the Cold Men and the Players spoke the Play language, and both parties agreed to refer to their language as Play. Working together, they created many new names for local landmarks, cities, and even states. For example, they began to refer to their region of Nama as Numai, honoring a local tribe whose name by happenstance sounded similar, and by other names mostly featuring the consonant n, such as Nanunā, meaning "egg farm", honoring the Egg party; the Eggs had no connection to Nama, but both groups agreed they had suffered wrongly in the past and deserved to be remembered. Thus the Players and Cold Men acknowledged, even as they fought each other, that they had wronged both each other and their outside enemies, and by coining these new placenames they symbolically reassigned territories to these enemies.
Likewise, they appropriated the symbols of long-defeated enemies as their own, and these appeared on both sides of the war.
The parties also coined new Play-language words for political concepts, including some names that one side accepted as biased. For example, the Cold Men, who called themselves Pupa, accepted the name Pupasupa, a rhyming epithet ending with the Play word supa "work", which had come to specifically refer to child labor. Thus, the Cold Men admitted that, by opposing the Play party, they had become the Work party. Most derogatory names for the Players referred to their traditionally poor hygiene habits, but there was no clever rhyming epithet.
New pacifist party
Following the precedent of STW, the transnational peace movement declared itself a new political party, called simply the Pacifists (Žibiyabu). Forming a new party was the Pacifists' only means of escaping the mutually exclusive gender laws of the Cold Men and Players, which excluded women and men, respectively, from the government, and therefore could not coexist. Because the Pacifists supported voting rights for men, the Play parliament immediately banned the Pacifist party and all of its schools, and the Player police force stated that they would arrest both adults and children as young as five years old if they were heard supporting the Pacifist party or reading its literature. This brought the Players into conflict with Moonshine, the only other nation claiming the right to arrest small children, which was also the main supporter of the new Pacifist movement because Moonshine was itself pacifist.
The Pacifists knew that promoting pacifism among two warlike cultures would be controversial. The Play government had a much stronger hold over its media and its people than the Cold government did, and so the Cold Men came to believe that the Pacifists were, whether they intended it or not, merely part of the Players' propaganda outreach program, intended to weaken the Cold Men without weakening the Players, all while claiming to be neutral or even pro-Cold.
Rather than explicitly promote peace, the Pacifists promoted open love (šapabi tufu), saying that they supported helping others in need, even if those people were enemies. However, this was not the name of the Pacifist party, because the Pacifists knew it would be disingenuous to claim the moral high ground, and that longstanding diplomatic traditions discouraged and sometimes disallowed party names of this type. Unable to use the words for peace or love in their party name, the Pacifists searched for something else.
The official name of the party, Žibiyabu, came from a verb meaning to comfort a stranger, and thus could also be translated with a name such Hospitality. Another word the Pacifists used was Žitua, cognate to the above and best translated as "liberal". This did not have a sense opposite to conservatism, but rather of willingness to embrace enemies in the face of shared misfortune.
Comparison to the Dolls
The Pacifists knew that popular support for pacifism was weak, and avoided the masochistic imagery used by pacifists in the northwestern regions of the continent, where the concept of pacifism was linked to being unarmed and vulnerable to attack by both human soldiers and wild animals.
For example, pacifists in Tata's new Doll party were taught that humans were pacifistic by nature, lacking sharp claws and teeth, and that anyone who was not a pacifist was in denial about their body identity. (Doll propaganda often featured murals with slogans such as "Remember what you are.") Both the Players and the Cold Men had always rejected this idea, and the Pacifists did not try to convince them otherwise.
New transnational school systems
Within the Play party, much of the support for pacifism came from young children, especially boys, who realized that in a war they would be the first to die, while the women who controlled the government risked very little with each new war they started. The Play party had always restricted voting rights to adult women, but in the past, men and even boys had always been eager to serve their nation in war, and many had seen the life of a soldier as easier than life at home in the chaotic Play nation. But now, living conditions for civilians had improved, and the only significant enemy of the Play nation was the Cold Men, who had many traits in common with the Players.
Two years earlier, STW had contacted some very young Play children and convinced them to defect to Nama. STW had hoped to trigger more defections of Play children by sending their own children into Play-held territory, but this soon became far too dangerous, and STW soon abolished its child army and decamped with their traditional army to Baeba. The Swamp Kids' army had also moved to Baeba, but many women and children had stayed behind; these people called themselves Cold Men even as their nation, for the time being, had very few men. Thus the Players and the Cold Men had similar demographics: both populations were young and vulnerable, but had the potential to rapidly grow.
With STW's departure, several ephemeral, informal, and yet politically influential children's societies rose up in the midst of the war, as children living in Anzan, Nama, and Memnumu all recognized each other as friends, unable to understand the war fought between their adult populations. These came to be called Hygiene Societies. They considered themselves to be private schools, following the model of STW. Like STW, they understood that to survive, they needed to appeal to both children and their parents, so that graduates would be eager to enroll their own children into the same school.
Humane Teenagers of Nama
One new organization calling itself the Humane Teenagers of Nama (HTN; Play Namas Vīpanubem Yatu Vačap) appeared here; it was funded by the Cold Men and the Players rather than the Pacifists. HTN specifically refused to accept money from the Pacifists because they believed it would weaken the Pacifists and strengthen the militarist parties. Therefore, HTN's mission was to pacify the militarists while allowing the formally identified Pacifists to accumulate wealth and power.
HTN was similar to STW in that it provided education for children but also required the children to perform work duties outside their normal school hours as a means to recover some of the cost of their education. HTN's labor was mild, however, because they needed the approval of both the children and their parents to keep their schools in business. This is why they depended on funds from the Cold Men and Players.
HTN had been founded in the wake of an unprovoked attack by the Players deep within Cold territory. The Players had not traditionally been known for this, and some HTN supporters said that HTN would help bring the Players back towards traditional war tactics even if they could not bring the Players to make peace. Critics, however, said that HTN would make the Cold Men weak and expose their civilian population to more unfair attacks from the Players. (The Players' much higher population density made it difficult for the Cold Men to retaliate in kind, although they did overlap significantly within the territory that had been Nama.)
Even the harshest critics of HTN agreed that it was a much better place to send children than STW had been. However, they still argued that HTN was not good enough, and that their name was a double euphemism: they considered Nama their home, but had very few students from aboriginal tribes; likewise, though their name promised that students would remain in the school throughout adolescence, they had few teenagers among the many small children.
Several years earlier, the Play women had created a new wing of the army they called the Pine Tree Planters (Tee Vauva), for children aged five to ten years old. By this time, the first crop of children had mostly graduated and new children had replaced them.
Political developments in Nama
Defeat of the Raspara
When the Cold Men split from the Pioneers, they had immediately taken a much harsher attitude towards the Raspara minority. Typically, the Raspara had been the upper class, and despite being greatly outnumbered they had managed to win many battles against the Cold-Pioneer coalition (called the Swamp Kids for most of its existence). Early on, the Cold Men had been strongly anti-Raspara even as they conceded that some of their own members were converting to the Raspara. But they were tied by a shared party charter to the Pioneers and, because the Raspara mostly controlled the Pioneers, the Cold Men were forced into a subservient position as well.
When the Cold Men formally broke free of their treaty with the Pioneers around 4191, they put their anti-Raspara program into action. The Raspara were excluded from jobs requiring education and a new tax was enacted that applied only to the Raspara. The Cold Men had no military with which to enforce these new laws, but the Raspara had become a tiny minority by this time.
Most Cold Men had favorable impressions of the aboriginal tribes of Nama, with whom the Cold Men and their ancestors had intermarried. But now, some Namans interpreted these new laws as being aimed at them, as the aboriginals, if taken as a group, were the largest minority in Cold territory. Therefore, some Naman tribespeople questioned their allegiance to the Cold Men, and considered joining the Pacifists, or even the Players.
The Cold Men's new discrimination laws strongly resembled those of the Players' Purse faction, which had hit the peak of its power some decades earlier. Racial discrimination was no longer common in Play territory, but it had never been outlawed either, and therefore the Players did not attack the Cold Men's racial discrimination laws.
Resistance to pacifism
Traditionally, the Players had always been a warlike people, buoyed in large part by their young male population. This trait had remained constant while the world around them changed. Though the Players had signed many peace treaties, their intent was always to build a larger Play army, and they never supported peace for the sake of peace. The Play language did not even have a word for pacifism as a concept, and its supporters at first could not decide on which words best described their philosophy.
Moreover, most Players worried that pacifism would lead to their empire being invaded by tall and physically strong tribes such as the Raspara and Zeniths, who had in the past pushed around the Players and their ancestors. But the pacifists answered this by pointing out that the Raspara and Zenith tribes had been whittled down through war and mass defections to tiny numbers, and the Raspara at least had bred with the peoples around them and become physically smaller. Furthermore, since the Players had long made much of their claim to be more physically hardy than the Cold Men and other tribes around them, the pacifists claimed that it would be the Players who would have the opportunity to gain the upper hand in a pacifist society, as they would be allowed to settle in lands controlled by foreign powers and intimidate the locals without ever lifting a hand.
Play control over schools
The Play government required strict oversight of all schools, whereas the Cold Men did not. Thus, the schools came to identify with the Cold Men even as they submitted to Player government control. Because the Play party did not allow free speech, these schools were not allowed to teach the lessons their founders had intended; the Play police force arrested both teachers and students at the schools.
Since both the Players and the Cold Men were more vulnerable at this time than they had been in the past, Nama's tribes were able to assert their own interests, and one Naman tribe known for women singing in a raspy voice took over some upland territory in 4192.
The Players began producing anti-pacifist propaganda now, criticizing the Moonshine state of Hōki, which encouraged the migration of refugees from all across the world, even those who came armed and eager to kill refugees from opposing parties. Hōki did not have any means to stop this violence, and the Moonshines did not acknowledge the situation as a problem, saying that any continued arrivals of refugees into Hōki proved that living conditions there were at least superior to those in the nations the refugees had fled from. But the Players claimed that Hōki was now out of Moonshine's control, and that some groups within Hōki were planning a war against Moonshine itself, and would destroy the entire empire.
Some Cold Men also opposed pacifism. Their kupukapukipa movement, glorifying war for the sake of war, told Cold Men that while the Players could still be their friends, they would need to bend to the Cold Men rather than meeting in the middle.
Rise of the Scorpions
Within months, the Kupukapukipa broke away from the Cold Men, and declared themselves an independent political party. By this time, an unrelated anti-pacifist movement calling itself the Leash (Tamaba nuu) had also declared itself a party, and the Kupukapukipa realized they needed to organize quickly to prevent the Leash supporters from taking root.
Because the name Kupukapukipa, shorn of its classifiers as by tradition, could be read in many ways, they did not ask for a standard trade name when meeting with foreign language diplomats; they identified themselves by their flag and by their native-language party name. They sometimes answered to the name Scorpions, as kipa was the Play word for scorpion, and they were fond of imagery depicting scorpions injuring humans' bare feet.
The Scorpions, also called Needles, described their philosophy as a middle position between the Cold and Play philosophies, taking what was right from each side and leaving what was wrong. Therefore, the Scorpions were not compromising between the Cold Men and Players, and would not change their philosophy simply because the Cold Men and Players changed theirs.
The Scorpions stated that because they supported war itself and not merely one particular war in a given time or place, their philosophy was eternal, and they could never be defeated except by similarly absolute pacifists. The Scorpions thus oriented themselves against the rising pacifist movement and prepared for an all-out war against their unarmed opponents.
The Scorpions published a political charter detailing their beliefs:
- War is natural, and war is good in and of itself.
- Adult leadership is not necessary in a war; boys and men can both find their way to sites of battle.
- The weak and stupid deserve to be abused, even if their morals are perfectly clean. Unworthy people seeking to join the Scorpions will be assigned the position they deserve.
- Pacifists and anyone showing compassion for the weak also deserve to be abused.
- Individual humans have no rights; rights follow from loyal service to a community.
- Authority must be earned, and anyone falsely acting as if they are in charge will be demoted to the bottom of the hierarchy.
- Filth is natural, and will protect humans from disease while yet allowing soldiers to spread plagues far beyond their campsites.
- Identification with elements of the natural world, such as cold weather, drives off potential supporters. The Scorpions shall have no geographical or tribal boundaries.
- The Scorpions do not need allies, but should always fight wars strategically rather than relying on national pride to deliver improbable victories.
- A strong nation needs a single head of state; it matters not whether the leader is male or female, but they must be very intelligent and not simply guided by a brash personality.
The Scorpions admired STW's longstanding practice of traumatizing young recruits to ensure they were hardy enough to benefit the organization, but argued that to truly serve its purpose, the pain should be inflicted on the enemies, not the supporters, of the Scorpions.
Comparison with the Matrixes
The Scorpions took power in an upland area of Nama well out of reach of Tata's Matrix army, which had recently captured over 100,000 slaves and now boasted of being the world's cruelest soldiers. The Scorpions announced the Matrixes were mere pretenders, and warned that if the Matrix and Scorpion forces ever clashed, the Scorpions would quickly turn the Matrix soldiers into meat. But the Scorpions also announced they felt no sympathy for the slaves of the Matrixes, and would not send a Scorpion force to rescue them.
Comparison with the Zenith
The Scorpions also rejected comparisons with the Zenith, an ancient alliance of criminals which had long been associated with amoral politics during those times when its members engaged in politics at all. The Zeniths had no central government, and were the only political party that allowed treason (meaning Zeniths could kill other Zeniths and face no penalty), whereas the Scorpions embraced authoritarianism and, unlike societies around them, demanded that power be concentrated in a single head of state.
The Scorpion movement filled the power vacuum left by the departure of the adult male Pioneer army. Therefore, their membership consisted almost entirely of children, and they could not meaningfully participate in a war at the time of their founding, much less win one. Their dedication to warfare was thus based on emotion, not reason. Nonetheless, the leaders of the Scorpions were adults who had defected from the small remnant adult population as they grew opposed to both the mainstream Cold philosophy and the rising pacifist movement. These adult leaders focused on protecting their large child population while attracting recruits from the young children who belonged to other movements.
Plans for war
The Scorpions' president, Navuŋīyā, planned to launch a conventional war around the year 4206, fourteen years after their founding, expecting that by then all of their founding members would be adults and that a new generation of Scorpion children would by then have arisen to replace the founders, and if necessary, also help them win their war.
Likewise, the Scorpions opposed the philosophically similar Leash party in public, but privately planned to declare their support for the Leash within a few years in order to form a military alliance, and then betray them at the last moment so that the Leashes would be forced into a war in which they would gain nothing. Since the Leash was a traditional adult political party, the Scorpions hoped that they could stir up sympathy for their own members while they were still children and then give nothing back when the Scorpions reached adulthood.
The Players banned the Scorpion party immediately, stating that nearly every point in its charter violated the Play constitution, and that any party with even one such violation would be unwelcome in Play territory. Many Play leaders wanted to beat the Scorpions at their own game, saying that since the Scorpions valued intelligent leaders so much, the new, well-educated Players could outsmart them all and win their praise. Other Players believed that the Scorpions would burn off all of their hatred within a generation, as the violent children turned into adults and raised children of their own.
By contrast, the Cold Men began to argue that both the Scorpion and Leash parties were simply factions of Cold Men, and would return to their parent party at the next outbreak of war regardless of who the enemy was. The Cold Men began to consider that strengthening their nation's control over minority parties might be more important for the foreseeable future than strengthening their small remaining conventional army.
By this point, population shifts and slightly lower fertility rates among the Players had reversed the longstanding demographic situation: while Play children still outnumbered adults, the balance was not so extreme as it had been during the Players' first few decades, while the Cold Men had recently lost most of their adult male population.
The Players had just invaded Nama, and the Cold Men had joined the war to protect Nama from the Players. Thus the Weather War began; it was also known as the Third Mallard War by the Players.
The Cold Men had just committed themselves to a new war against the Players, partly as revenge for the Players' invasion of Nama, and partly to more easily take control of Nama for the Cold party. But without a sizable army to fight their war, the Cold Men realized that they would either need to send child soldiers, as the Players had often done, or admit that they could not help Nama in this new war. This in turn relied on the assumption that the Play army preferred to attack Nama rather than the Cold Men.
The Players had always considered the Cold Men the strongest army in the region, while Nama had no standing army at all, having been reduced to ungovernable wilderness hundreds of years earlier. The Players had admitted publicly that the only reason that the Players had ever invaded Nama was because the Play population had outgrown its seaside habitat and needed more land to live on. A recent Play census showed that the total population was similar to what it had been fifty years earlier — slightly over one million — but the Players were now confined to a much smaller area of land, as they had lost territory in wars against the Cold Men, the Eggs, and Xema, and had only recently reconquered the rebels in Thaoa.
The Players had always apologized for attacking Nama, which had never attacked the Players, but now the Players had an opportunity to fight the Cold Men, which they hoped would draw third parties into the war on the side of the Players. Nonetheless, because the Play army admitted that they had begun the war by attacking a defenseless third party, they realized that they might still be fighting alone.
The Players thus escalated their conventional war against the Cold Men, saying that their adult army would defeat the Cold children without the need for great bloodshed, and would then isolate the much more violent Scorpions by physically trapping them between the strongholds set up by the Scorpion adult guardians, such that the guardians would appear to have taken the children prisoner. Against the Leash army and the villagers of Nama, the only adult armies in the region, the Players expected to face a more even battle, but the Play military strategists doubted that even in the whole of Nama there could be 90,000 adult male soldiers left, and that the Leash army was small as well. Lastly, the Players expected that the Pacifists would submit to the Players once they realized the inevitability of defeat.
Occupation of Thaoa
The Cold Men's declaration of war ended the Players' willingness to incorporate Thaoa back into the Play Empire with full citizenship rights. Thaoa was small, having been originally home to just a tiny fraction of the Play population, but the Players had lost so much land and sea that they realized the need to assert full control over Thaoa.
The Players assumed that they would be immune to Thaoa's mysterious plague which affected newborns with mental retardation. It had been apparent from the very earliest days of settlement that Thaoa's central river, the Vukh, was associated with birth defects, including one which caused lifelong mental retardation. The aboriginal population density had been very low for this reason. Thaoa was able to build a nation-state only by forcing families to leave the river banks before and during their pregnancies, and criminalizing pregnancy for both the woman and her husband if they chose not to leave. This is one reason why the forerunners of the Players had shown little interest in conquering Thaoa even after holding the seacoast around it for most of the previous 1,500 years.
Indeed, the Players themselves had shown little interest in settling Thaoa, at least along the river, but some had come to believe their enemies' propaganda blaming the Players for starting nearly all known plagues while yet being themselves somehow immune to them.
Challenges to minor parties
As the war spread, both the Pacifist party and the two new militarist parties realized they would be inevitably drawn into the conflict and had already alienated both sides. The Players realized that this could help them in their war, as despite their recent territorial losses, they had succeeded in maintaining the Play party's monopoly on power in their territory, and the new schools had only reached children living in the conflict zones of Nama.
The Players hoped that they could push the Pacifists into Cold territory, weakening the Cold defense, while sparing the lives of Pacifists so that they would not give up pacifism and fight the Play invasion.
Battle of Ŋasupuniūa
The Cold Men invaded the territory of the Eggs, Subumpam, which by this time was ethnically mixed because the Eggs and their slaves had mostly both remained in the area, while the Eggs had lost control of the western territories from which they had earlier come. One territory they invaded was called Ŋasupuniūa or Ŋasupunikuu.
The Players also invaded, but claimed that their invasion was friendly whereas the Cold Men would exploit them. Nonetheless, some Eggs had converted to the Swamp Kids a few generations earlier, and many among these had then moved on to join the Cold Men, as that was the locally dominant faction of the Swamp Kids. This is why the Cold Men in this immediate region were racially mixed and no longer thought of themselves as a tribe. Other Eggs had joined the Players, while still others had remained Eggs. There were also the descendants of child slaves who had joined none of the above parties, though most had eventually chosen one of the above three.
The Cold Men had the support of some locals, but sought to push the locals into the front lines of battle and thus had to compete with the local pacifists who provided shelter for people who saw no reason to join the war. The Stargazer movement took root here, bringing pacifism to the Cold Men just when they needed to rally their troops to war; however, the Stargazers also pulled soldiers away from the Players. Previously, support for pacifism had been mostly confined to Nama, where the war had been two-sided and conventional, but now pacifists in Subumpam appealed to members of parties who endorsed neither the Cold Men nor the Players, as well as deserters from the two larger armies who felt that the Cold and Play parties had too much in common to fight a war.
The Players thus regained control of the Egg territories in this battle, and did not seek to push out the Eggs, because they believed that the Eggs would voluntarily convert to the Play party. Nonetheless, those who refused were given no power in the government. The Eggs also did not get control of their original territory back, as it was lost to both the Players and the Eggs by this time (still being ruled by the Firestones with the support of Wax).
Moonshine enters the war
Moonshine then declared war on the Players, stating that Moonshine was also an ally of Nama, and that they would be fighting a humanitarian war in order to protect Nama's people from the unjust Player invasion.
In fact, Moonshine had always sympathized with the Players, since they were fellow feminists, but the recent diplomatic meeting in which the Moonshine diplomats had repeatedly referred to the Players as stupid by nature had killed the Players' interest in forming an alliance, whether economic or military, and the Players had immediately become hostile to Moonshine and its allies.
The Hamatap tribe of far northeastern Nama, known for their primitive lifestyle, then rebelled from Moonshine and joined the Play army. They were also known as the Bap people. They did not speak the Play language, but most spoke Moonshine. Since Moonshine was pacifist but the Hamatap tribe was not, the Players realized that their alienation of Moonshine may have actually helped them in the war, since they now had the Hamatap nation as their ally rather than as a potential enemy. The Players had not intended this, and neither had the Moonshines.
The Hamatap rebellion took away the Moonshines' river access to the original Play territory. The Hamataps announced that they were now Players, however, and not merely allies of the Players, and that should the Moonshines wish to restore friendly relations with the Play Empire, it would now be easier than ever before.
However, there was still not a true land connection between the Play and Hamatap territories; the Players wanted to push northward even further, into the remaining Cold territory, in order to link up with the Hamataps and create a new Play state that controlled the river access all the way to the sea where the Moonshine ships docked.
Appeal to aboriginals
The Cold Men had expected the aboriginals to support or at least be neutral towards their new racial discrimination program, as they were targeting the Raspara and various groups which the Cold Men intended to create along political boundaries (that is, the "Play tribes" who were defined by ideology and not family ties), and elevating the status of the Cold Men. The Cold Men considered themselves to be close kin of the Naman aboriginals, particularly the mountain tribes who spoke Andanic languages.
Indeed, they were closely related because of thousands of years of intermarriage between the aboriginals and the ancestors of the Players and Cold Men, and the Cold Men had won the support of most Naman tribes. But these tribes had become culturally similar to Nama, and the Cold Men's new laws against racial minorities in general bothered the aboriginals, who saw that the people they admired were being targeted by the new laws. This led the aboriginals to divide their opinions on the issue, with some of them supporting the laws, but unwilling to become Cold Men to show their support because the Cold Men still supported a masculine power structure, while others declared themselves neutral, and others converting to the Play party. Many of the people who declared themselves neutral actually supported the Players but were unwilling to submit to feminine rule just as they were unwilling to submit to masculine rule.
The result of this was not merely a breakup of the aboriginal tribal coalition, but a breakup of the support networks within each tribe, meaning that people identifying themselves as aboriginals wanted to break out of the tribalistic voting system in which every tribe was made to vote unanimously because elections were run through the census. They thus wanted to vote along ideological lines instead of tribal lines. They could only do this by resigning their tribal membership, however, because the leaders of all of the tribes each claimed the right to rule over their people and speak for them and their opinions. The Pacifists again saw an opening here, saying that they would satisfy all of the aboriginals' complaints, by allowing both men and women to vote, and allowing them to disagree with each other, even with their own family members, in order to assure that all opinions would be represented.
Moonshine was still supporting the Cold Men, and the Cold Men promised not to add the Moonshines to the list of ethnic minorities they sought to push out, and indeed they had not added the Naman aboriginal tribes either, but the aboriginals were wary of the Cold Men's new laws and saw that they were potential victims after all.
The aboriginals' love for the Players was difficult, as the Play party leaders made no compromises, and warned the tribespeople that once the Players had control of their territory, anyone who did not join the Play party would have no civil rights, not even the right to life, and that anyone who did join would need to immediately submit to the Players' centralized feminine power structure, meaning that their votes would be overwhelmed by the much larger Play population further south.
War against the Scorpions
The Players decided to take on the Scorpion military force after all, figuring that they could impress upon the small children in the Scorpion army that their fantasies were not real, and that true power belonged to the Play conventional army. They planned to be as nonviolent as possible, hoping that the Scorpion children would grow into Play adults as they realized that the Players had rescued them from their doom.
Players push north
The Players sent tens of thousands of adult male soldiers into Nama now, beginning their largest-ever conventional military invasion. Led by generals like Vavatabūa, the Players rapidly pushed the Cold Men entirely out of Nama (though the Players did not conquer all of Nama, the areas they left behind were out of reach of the Cold army). Thus, the Players controlled their own lowlands, the mountains of Nama, and the lowlands on the far side of Nama. This had been their main goal in the previous wars, but they had only just now achieved it.
Because of the treaty with the Hamatap tribe, the northern border of the Play nation now lay just a few miles from the old Raspara city of Tŏli. The Raspara were still roaming around the wilderness, but most had fled towards Baeba along with the other armies such as the Pioneers.
The young, uneducated Cold population had recently heard a rumor that the Play people were able to draw energy from the sun. This rumor had originated in Dreamland. Now some Cold Men came to believe that the Players were going to launch an attack of Cold territory in the summer, and that they would be able to bring hot weather with them, such that the Cold Men would not be able to bear the temperatures and would collapse due to the heat. The Cold Men figured that if the Players drew their strength from the sun, they must therefore be weak during winter, and the Cold generals drew up plans for an attack on Play territory during the onset of winter.
Contact with the Rash
Two young Cold boys, Lamb and Mint, were involved in this war. The Cold Men had been largely depleted of adult soldiers and had come to rely on young people for military advice and for support in combat operations, although the Cold Men had been careful never to go so far as STW had by throwing small children deliberately into the thick of battle.
These two boys called themselves the Rash (Šaŋašīs), saying that they would defend the Cold nation from the Play invaders and then move on to conquer the Players. The Rash boys stated that their enemy was not the Players as a whole, but rather the Warm Men, an enemy they defined as any adult male Players who were unwilling to form an alliance with the Cold Men. By referring to the Player male population, the Rash boys entirely ignored the all-female Play government. The boys stated that they preferred to interface with the Play soldiers who were actually responsible for leading the fights into Cold territory.
The Rash boys believed the new rumor that Play soldiers were strengthened by the sun and that the Players could defeat the Cold Men by attacking during summer and bringing the warm weather with them over the hills. The Rash boys wanted to preempt this attack by leading the Cold Men into Play territory during winter, and physically carrying the cold weather with them, so that they could bury the Players under snow and declare an easy victory. The boys admitted that they did not know how to transport weather across a land invasion route, but hoped that the Cold army could solve the problem in time to launch the invasion.
In late 4192, the boys visited Play territory on their own, despite the war, and met a young girl who called herself Stargazer. They befriended her, but warned her that the war was real and that her homeland might soon be uninhabitable because of the coming winter storms. This visit was possible because Stargazer lived in Pāpaŋa, and the boys had actually met her in August while spying on the Seeds (Ŋašaa).
Period of calm
Like their relatives, the Slime, the Players experienced a period of relatively uneventful happenings after around the year 4194. When events did gear up again, it was because events in the distant northwest region of the continent, near Baeba Swamp, had begun to pull the Players into the conflicts.
Expansion of Tapimuū
The eastern Play state of Tapimuū, a traditional Purse stronghold but with other parties also represented, expanded northwards into Repilia beginning around 4194. The Play army was still unitary, and therefore the expansion had required the approval of the entire Play Parliament. By this time, some Play states, including Tapimuū, had become noticeably wealthier than others. Here, the Purses and others in Tapimuū had embraced trade with STW and a cash economy while the hardline Milk Bottles rejected the concept of money and stated that divisions in wealth would lead people to be angrier and more prone to crime than they would be if everyone were poor and without money.
Although the Players sent their army into Repilia, they told the soldiers to expect only limited resistance, and that their duty was to prevent the outbreak of a full-scale war in Repilia. The Players did not know the details of daily life in Repilia but assumed that Repilia's diverse population would be unlikely to present a unified force against the Play settlers. The Players' goal was to bring Repilia into an alliance with the Players, and to geographically encircle the territories of the Cold Men, Moonshine, and Tarwas (which was still independent, and internally diverse as well).
The Players' northward expansion into Repilia was similar to the northward expansion into Nama taking place further west. The Repilians indeed offered little resistance, and there was no Cold army to hold them back, so the Players progressed northward into Repilia very quickly. They realized the strategic importance of this land. Some Play generals even stated that it would be worth retreating from Nama if they could make even further gains in Repilia.
When the Slime party, the descendant of the Swamp Kids which had left a few years earlier to conquer Baeba Swamp, learned that some Play states were now wealthier than the Slimes' own state, they declared war against the Players and stated that they would soon take their wealth away. This war was symbolic, however, as the Slimes were not only far away from the Players but also trapped in their current location by other hostile powers.
Eventually,probably in 4206 but can't find date on this wiki the Players signed a peace treaty with Nama, but continued invading even so, knowing that no third party could enforce the peace treaty. This is when the Cold Men created Šapei Napabapei.
Shortly thereafter, the Cold Men banned the Leash party, even though the Leashes had been helping them in their war. The Scorpion army had matured into adults while remaining intact, but they had grown less than they'd expected and thus still refrained from starting their long-planned war.
Connections with Tata
Loss of Tata
In 4206, Baeba Swamp's ruling Leaper party passed legislation recognizing the Dolls as the only legal party for slaves. Since all Players in this area were enslaved, the Leapers announced that they were disbanding the Play party effective immediately in all nations that recognized Baeba as their center of diplomacy.
Speaking through diplomats, the Leapers assured the Players in Memnumu that the Leapers still recognized them as a legitimate party, but stated that since the Players had never sent a traditional army to rescue the slaves in Tata and Baeba, the Players could no longer credibly claim that the slaves were part of the Play population.
Soon, yet another plague, kimta, spread through Tata and Baeba. The name of the plague came from the Galà language, as some people believed the source of the plague was the small, distant state of Gàla, nominally part of Nama but existing as a de facto independent nation due to its inaccessibility. Galà had been originally pro-Cold but had come to embrace the Players as the Cold Men became hostile towards ethnic minorities living in their territory. Galà had little to contribute, and its people never actually joined the Play party, as they did not wish to submit to an all-female government, but they had publically affirmed that they supported the Players.
The new disease was spread through animals biting each other and animals biting humans; it caused changes in animals' teeth, allowing sharp bites in animals such as rabbits not otherwise associated with aggressive biting. In predators, the bite was weakened instead, as their already sharp teeth became too narrow and lost their thrusting power. This caused predators to bite their prey less efficiently, meaning that in many cases the victim animal survived the attack and then developed the disease.
Meanwhile, in humans, the teeth became loose from their sockets, soon falling out altogether and leaving the human bite victim with no bite of their own, such that they could no longer eat food. In part, the name kimta became popular as locals thought of it as describing the feeling of attempting to bite something but with one's lips more prominent than one's teeth. The angry victims of the disease came to refer to themselves as toothless vampires. Humans could nonetheless still spread the disease through kissing and other forms of close body contact. It was not clear whether the disease could also spread in reverse, as from a bite victim to their predator, but this question was of little importance to the locals, as all human victims of the disease faced grave difficulties.
Theories about the spread of the plague
As before, the locals quickly noticed that traditional hygiene habits were no help, and people with dirty habits seemed to in fact be doing better than those who were clean.
Some locals believed that the Players still ruling in Memnumu, whose leaders had openly admitted spreading three other plagues, had also spread this new plague. They argued that a troop of young Play children (ŋāaa) may have arrived in Tata and spread the disease among each other as much as fifteen years earlier, concealing the symptoms as the children regrew their teeth as normal, assuming that the disease must resolve itself and not also destroy the new teeth. Alternatively, the Players may have simply been immune to this disease as they were seemingly immune to so many others.
Most locals objected to this idea, pointing out that many Players had been captured as slaves, and were now showing clear signs of tooth loss and quickly wasting away. Furthermore, there was no evidence that the disease could manifest only partially, leaving the victim with only a few missing teeth, as common in healthy children, but with still enough teeth to bite and chew their food. Since the disease was known to affect both children and adults, these people argued, all Play children with the disease should have starved to death long ago and been unable to spread it to the locals.
Those blaming the Players argued that the Players who had been captured as slaves were being prevented from living their traditional lifestyle, which must have afforded them some unknown protection to the disease, even in their poverty, or that the disease could spread more easily among adults than among children.
Nonetheless, most people believed that the new disease had come to them from wild animals such as rabbits and could only be defeated by driving off those animals.
Contact with Xideri
Soon, the enslaved Dolls were given slaves of their own: the Matrixes, who had fallen beneath even the Dolls on the social status hierarchy used by the Leapers and STW.
The Players oriented themselves against STW and mounted an invasion in order to free the Matrixes, even though the Matrixes had been the party that was guilty of by far the worst abuses against the Players throughout their history. Yet, through all this, STW continued to trade with the Play party, seeing economics as more important than war. The Players accepted this situation, stating that STW was by this time at war with itself, since STW's female-led traders were independent from their male soldiers, whereas the Players in this territory were united among themselves.
Nama paid little attention to the Play army's continued occupation of Nama's southern fringe, as Nama's government had effectively been subsumed to Baeba Swamp. Thus, when the Players sought to revive their claims to Tata and areas around it, they invaded through Nama, treating it as if it had been Play territory all along. This new invasion was, nonetheless, merely another army of child soldiers expecting to spread plagues and be spared the worst of the violence even if captured by their enemies.
Yet in July 4209, Šasuasa signed a treaty with Xidêri, an STW leader who most outside parties believed was the source of most of the abuse of slaves in Tata. Šasuasa had by now been in power for 22 years, having taken power from her parents in 4187, at the age of eight, and becoming fully independent in early 4191.
In 4221, Šasuasa fell from power due to the continuing long-reaching war she was waging in the Baeba region; she had by this time become effectively independent from the Players. Nonetheless, in 4223, the armies of Šanaampu launched an attack against Sagʷùpa, near Baeba Swamp. This was where the Dolls had been enslaved. This was Šanaampu's first sizable conventional attack, in which adult men invaded carrying weapons; previously they had sent young children, and they thus continued Šasuasa's attacks even after she had been dethroned.
- See Memnumu#Orange_War.
Further northward expansion
Having eliminated the Cold Men, the Players now pushed unstoppably northward into and through what had once been Nama. Most tribes in Nama had originally been siding with the Cold Men, but the Cold Men passed laws discriminating against the Naman aboriginal tribes at precisely the time when they most needed the aboriginals on their side, and this led many Naman soldiers to join the Play army or declare themselves neutral (the Pacifist movement helped protect the neutral sides).
Restoration of lost science
The Players had always protected minority languages in Play territory, believing that the Play language was too widespread to serve as a means of hiding knowledge from their enemies. By conquering Nama, the Players gained the territory of dozens of minority languages, many belonging to the same Andanic family that had given rise to the extinct language the Players now called Late Andanese. The Andanese had given the Players much important knowledge about mathematics and science. One mountain tribe in particular, the Galà, was rumored to be also very knowledgeable about science, and the Players now wanted to gain their knowledge by learning their languages, without translating the books into Play, and thus hiding them from others.
In 4268, long after the other armies had worn themselves out, the Players in Memnumu finally signed a peace treaty with Nama and stopped their invasion.
- See Memnumu.
- WHOOPS! It was /puta/ in Late Andanese, because kʷo > pu, not pa. But not to worry, I will have a replacement etymology up soon and it may even end up having the same meaning, since after all the first syllable was just a classifier!
- The Andanese is incorrect and will be fixed soon.
- Note that the warmest temperatures occur in the second month of the year, but this statement was added in based on an Earthlike setup. This is no matter, as it simply means that they were already shading into winter.
- Whereas above, the less common tā "child; offspring" was used, here the morpheme is taā "child; young person" because it is from the children's point of view instead of the parents'.
- in STRAWB.DOC, the language is called Keyapayaqa, and is attributed to the men who had wanted to "get their hands dirty" by joining the women's government.
- "maybe cupbearers" document claims Dreamland now had a population of 7 million, but this might include many other areas, since it states that the Dreamers had most of the world on their side.
- They renamed their new empire Vaamū, abolishing the use of the name Halasala.
- /pata/ does not mean child, and giving it any other meaning will be difficult because /pi/ and /pu/ are retained but not */pa/. most likely it is an article of clothing, since /pa-/ is a classifier prefix for clothes. Alternatively, there is a variant prefix p- which could appear in a variant form of /vata/ "hammer".
- 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.
- If the Players' annexation of Popa into Tata (Mipatatatatai) is permanent, it means that during the Cosmopolitan Age, events that took place just to the west of Tata would therefore be taking place in traditional Dolphin Rider territory, not Baywatch territory. But it is possible that the Players' defeat in 4177 restored the old border between Popa and Tata.
- This is united with FILTER in one writeup. It also seems to be pro-Nama, anti-Cold, and overall a disliked entity with which the other Crystals did not want to associate. It is possible that these are the Eggs, but also possible that the Eggs were just a local sect; in either case, this cannot be Phoenix territory.
- defined as translating the hu(p) in the loaned name "Hupodas"
- Properly, this postdates the Raspara attacks on Players, in which the Raspara poisoned the Players.
- See deleted history; this conflict may have been preexisting, but the all-out invasion came with Raspara help.
- or Leaper Ehanto
- 6696, 7556
- originally wrote "at some point between 4144 and 4152"
- Possibly by 4158
- I believe I came up with this name during a period where I was on mobile-only Internet and didn't bother to write down any etymology. It may in fact be no more than a pun based on a word that looked like it could mean "tire, heavy wheel", and thus will need to be changed. The Play name given here is entirely new and unrelated, based on the word for starfish.
- For simplicity's sake, variant stems are ignored.
- Though it is possible that they chose the name Sleepers at this point.
- cupbeearer document has this in 4165. possible typo
- This really is Săla, because by this time the Players had gained control of Pūpepas back. Nonetheless, this city still needs a proper Play language name.
- Remember, though, that this is separate from the Baeba war that took place two years later, which the Cold Men also dodged. The event here was smaller and that is why the new Counter party is not mentioned here.
- or rappe in a trade language. note that this is not *ŋākaa because the morpheme boundary is different from that in the word ŋāka. Nonetheless, the two words are cognates.
- Note that Play distinguishes trees' seeds (/či/) that have casings from other seeds like /ŋas/. This name however needs to be amplified.
- But this name really came into fashion in the Cosmopolitan Age, not in the 4190s.
- Note that the similar trade name Popasopa is not po + pa + so + pa (with the B and D syllables identical) but rather po + pas + po + pa (with the A and C syllables identical). This is because /sp/ was always read as /s/.
- Though this figure is a repetition of the previous war's figure, and should probably be changed, note that the Players could not have expected the Thaoans to switch sides, and so Thaoa's population cannot be added back into the Play soldier pool.
- The Play name is Pup, and is not related to the Pūpe river further west; the Thaoa name is retained here for clarity.
- This is contemporary with, but unrelated to, the assassination of the young Crystal leader Žametus in the Baeban region.
- This event has no connection to the other timelines, however, and could be off by as much as decades.