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
- 6 Growth and early struggles
- 6.1 Food production
- 6.2 Early struggles at sea
- 6.3 Orphans and runaways
- 6.4 Regulation of fishing
- 6.5 Contact with STW
- 7 The Baywatch War
- 8 Raspara reaction
- 9 AlphaLeap enters the war
- 10 War with Dreamland
- 11 War in Dreamland
- 11.1 Counterinvasion of Dreamland
- 11.2 Play victory
- 12 Postwar reforms in Dreamland and Paba
- 12.1 Effects of feminist policies
- 12.2 Contact with Dreamer ideology
- 12.3 Political contacts with Dreamland
- 12.4 Education
- 12.5 Agriculture
- 12.6 Other postwar reforms
- 13 Raspara close in
- 14 Tidepool War
- 15 War of the Ferns
- 16 Conflicts and reforms at home
- 16.1 Flower Bees
- 16.2 Conflict with the Pearls
- 16.3 Play debates
- 16.4 Sanitary problems
- 16.5 Fern invasion
- 16.6 Players in Taryte
- 17 Filth War
- 18 Events in Tata
- 19 Conflicts in Creamland
- 20 Snake War
- 21 Party consolidation
- 22 Mallard Wars
- 23 Invasion of Nama
- 24 Cosmopolitan Age
- 25 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 Paba and its environs would allow them to invade Paba, 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 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 Paba, in the extreme south, in order to keep it close to their homeland, AlphaLeap. Paba had been a capital city before, but of a much smaller empire.
The Leapers 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 Paba, 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 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 government could mean disaster in the future", and decided to kill all of the surviving Tadpoles, surviving Leaper occupiers, and anyone else who they suspected of disloyalty. They thus declared war on the entire Anchor Empire, which they called Halasala. AlphaLeap sent about 40,000 soldiers into Halasala to murder the civilian population.
Even though Halasala's population was much larger than AlphaLeap's, AlphaLeap expected an easy victory because their soldiers had dangerous weapons and thick armor and their intended victims were underclothed and mostly weaponless. However, the Leaper occupiers stopped firefighting so they could fight instead the invading AlphaLeap army. Thus Leapers fought Leapers, and some of the Leaper governors of AlphaLeap fled into a new breakaway nation called Puap, which had broken away from Halasala early on when it was revealed that AlphaLeap believed it needed to torture Tadpole children in order to wield its power.
Puap actually also enslaved Tadpoles, but in Puap, the ruling Leapers adored and exalted the Tadpoles as fulfilling the ideal role that the ruling Leapers could only wish they could achieve. Leapers who did work, they said, were lazy and inefficient, whereas the Tadpoles held in place by whips and chains worked five times harder and never complained. Another important difference was t hat there was no ethnic division between master and slave in Puap; Puapian natives could be masters, and Leapers could be slaves (though this occurred only for criminals). Thus the Leapers fled into Puap, figuring the Puapians would welcome them in.
War against AlphaLeap
Although AlphaLeap had denounced the Leaper government's abuses of its slaves in Halasala, it was common in this era to believe that the best way to end slavery was to kill all of the slaves. Thus the Tadpole slaves and their abusive Leaper masters fought on the same side — against AlphaLeap — and together they eliminated AlphaLeap's soldiers one by one.
In 4127, the chaos of the war reached such a level that animals began preying on humans for the first time in 1400 years. 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 Bābākiam, 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.
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 Tadpoles' language (in English they can be called "rocs"), and claimed they weighed twenty tons each. 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, meaning "joker, jester" in Bābākiam and "guiding tree; landmark" in Andanese. 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.
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. Player ideology demanded that all able-bodied adult males serve in the military and be battle-ready at all times. These soldiers were also required to procure their own food, so much of the farmland in the lowland plains was turned over to the military, 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 Pabap 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. 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 the Players allowed 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, the vast majority of whom were living on the streets and rarely met adults.
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.
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, neither the many children nor most of the Player adults had had any education, and they chose to govern their nation based on their emotions. This soon led to problems that their predecessors had never faced.
For example, AlphaLeap had shut down the schools and forced all children to work in dangerous manual labor occupations in order to improve Halasala's economic output. The Play governors declared that child labor was cruel and therefore freed all children from their work, but 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 Player party immediately closed all restaurants and stores, saying that people would need to forage for food in the wild until the war was over and perhaps even afterwards.
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 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.
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; meanwhile, the only legal occupation for men was to serve in the military. 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 did not like the idea of giving the most undesirable jobs to the youngest children. Since neither children nor adults were willing to clean up their messes, Player-held territory soon became a pestilential maze of swarming insects and flames the Players refused to put out. Long-dormant diseases reappeared and spread to both the Players and the Leapers. Some desperate Leapers humiliated themselves by volunteering to clean up the Players' messes themselves, but there were so many Player children that the Leapers could not keep up, and most soon fled to their homelands by boat.
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 tānikia 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.
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. 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 (bāatup, 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 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. There were no adult employees in these stores, so the children were defenseless, and had to rely on customers to protect them from other customers. Since most of the customers were relatives of the children selling the fish, the customers closely watched each other, but isolated incidents continued to occur, mostly at night when the stores were nearly empty.
Contact with STW
The Play government had made so many disastrous decisions in their first years in power that the leaders of the recently outlawed Save The World corporation accused them of inflicting deliberate harm in order to reduce the nation's population. The Players protested that they were doing their best, and that they could not trust outside parties since they had been so badly abused by AlphaLeap. The Play party had allowed STW's members to survive, even without converting to the Play party, and thus the STW "party" was still legal. As life for the Players spiralled further downwards every month, STW tried to contact children at sea and carry them to safety. But the Players outnumbered the STWers by such a wide margin by this point that STW's efforts were futile, and it took only a single Play battalion to sweep southwards and deliver the STWers to the same slave camps in which they had earlier entrapped the Leapers.
The Baywatch War
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 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 Paba, some Raspara men followed them in the intent to reach Paba 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 Paba.
The Raspara soldiers soon completed their journey downstream and reached the city gates of Paba. 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 Săla, 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 very small adult male population, 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 193,000 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, 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 Bābākiam. 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.
Thus the Player army of 15,000 soldiers completely routed the Dreamer army of about the same size, and forced the Dreamers to surrender unconditionally. The Players reclaimed all of the land towards Dreamland's border, and announced that they would begin enslaving Dreamers in Paba. However, some Dreamers were welcomed as citizens because they wanted to divide the prisoners of war against each other and also because they still held to their philosophy of the elimination of racial divisions through marriage, even if it was forced marriage.
The Play party promised to allow southern Dreamland to remain independent, but they installed an occupation government even there, and planned to steal natural resources and then hold up the resulting poverty to other nations as proof that the Dreamer economic philosophy was a failure.
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 4000 miles over the mountains and down the newly built road to Dreamland.
Postwar reforms in Dreamland and Paba
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 (Memnūu). 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.
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 Paba and the occupied Dreamer state of Tata.
New schools in Paba
In Paba, they began work on a series of buildings that they claimed were a single school, with every classroom a separate building, and every hallway a street. Thus a large section of Paba was turned over to the school, and the school's rules prevailed over other local laws within its territory. They had partly patterned this plan after STW, but the idea of giving a school a large section of the city to itself was new.
Citizens living within the school were automatically employed by it, and thus the schools' laws were also the company's code of conduct. This extended even to non-Players such as the Zeniths. However, all governing power was restricted to adult Play women, just as it had been before the war.
New schools in Tata
In Tata, there were not many children because the conquering soldiers had been largely adult males who had no wives or children to bring with them, 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. They ordered their Dreamer slaves to build schools for the Player children, but stayed with a traditional design involving a single large building for each neighborhood. Preexisting schools for the Dreamers were allowed to remain open, but some of their teachers were moved to the Player schools so they could teach young Player children while enslaved. Meanwhile, diplomats who had learned the Players' language, Bābākiam, were removed from their jobs so they could teach more advanced subjects. Some classrooms had both types of teachers in the same room. And to ensure that the enslaved Dreamer teachers did not stray from the Players' lesson plan, every Player classroom had an overseer who would instruct the teachers and could inflict painful punishments whenever the teachers did not perform as expected. Thus there were sometimes three adults in the same room: a low-level teacher who spoke only Dreamlandic, an advanced teacher who spoke Dreamlandic and Play, and a disciplinarian who kept a close watch on the teachers.
First Rainbow Revolt
The Players obtained written tests from the Dreamer schools and ordered the Dreamers to ensure that the Player students always outscored the Dreamers of the same age on each test. But the Player children soon revolted when the teachers attempted to assign classwork, and teachers walking to and from school found themselves dodging rocks and bricks thrown by angry students whom the police refused to arrest. In the First Rainbow Revolt, an alliance of students calling themselves the Rainbow (Žavabe) murdered 14 advanced teachers and ordered the school administration to replace them with new ones who would obey the students without protest.
The Players took the new teachers from ordinary Dreamer schools, meaning that they spoke only Dreamlandic and could not do the jobs of the teachers who had been murdered. The Players could not understand how a society as educated as Dreamland could have so many people who spoke only one language, while the Players' much poorer nation had been home to many bilingual people even when it had had no schools. The Dreamers explained that this was because Dreamland had been linguistically united since its early beginnings, whereas Play territory was so linguistically complex that people had to learn two languages just to communicate with people living in the next village.
Some Players began to question the need for schools at all, but their rigid government refused to walk down its promise to make Play children the smartest children in the world, and so the new teachers were forced into Play schools and instructed to teach the children in a language they did not understand, and study Play every night so they could achieve fluency within three months. Meanwhile, the Players gave their men jobs as classroom monitors to ensure that their children had even greater power over their teachers. They warned that if there were ever a Second Rainbow Revolt, the perpetrators would be adults and the death toll would be far higher than before.
The Dreamers hoped that they could survive by assigning unfairly low grades to Dreamer students, and convincing the Players that the Play children had legitimately outscored the Dreamers and were thus genuinely smarter. They did not want to sabotage Dreamer education even as the Players forced more and more teachers to move to the Play schools. Some Dreamers attempted to stir up a revolt, saying that the Players had finally pushed too hard, and that even losing another war would be preferable to obeying the Players.
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 găya: a life of extreme poverty, close to nature, in order to produce an environment where only the hardiest people could prosper. The Players believed that 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 Paba realized that the Play soldiers were mostly not coming back, they set their sights on the female population of Paba. Since there were few Play men in Paba, the Raspara had few competent adversaries, and they prepared for a battle of men against women to secure control of Paba.
The Raspara declared themselves the enemy of all non-Raspara men, including the Zeniths and the tall, virile men who had recently immigrated from Baeba Swamp. They ignored the Play men entirely, seeing them as mere boys. This was not an insult to the Players' impressive military campaign in Dreamland, but merely an acknowledgement that Player men were short in stature and thus inferior suitors for even their own women. The Raspara had earlier promised to split control of the Play women with the rival Zenith tribes, but now declared that they wanted unchallenged control throughout all of Paba.
Play party ideology required men to obey women, and the Play men who had returned from Dreamland had reassumed their submissive lifestyle. But the Raspara argued that the Play men in Dreamland were almost certainly raping the native Dreamer women, and that everything the Raspara were planning to do to the Players would be mild in comparison to what the Players were doing in Dreamland.
However, the Raspara were not simply planning an all-out, hand-to-hand battle against the Player women, as they felt that, despite their pride, they would probably lose the war. It was not the Players they were afraid of — Player women were entirely untrained in combat and had made no preparations for a war — but rather the Zeniths and other tribes. The Zeniths had lived in Paba for thousands of years, and had abused the ancestors of the Players for much of that time, but the Raspara worried that the Players would unite with their abusers if they found a common enemy they felt to be even worse. Thus the Raspara promised to fight alone against not just the Players, but also the Zeniths, the Baebans, and the few Leapers still holding on in upland forest campsites.
Raspara plans for control
The Raspara leaders knew that the Dreamers' attempt to conquer the Players in a conventional war had been doomed from the start, and that the only way to defeat the Players was to outsmart them. The Raspara wanted to make their nation much like Vaamū, and did not want to destroy Vaamū, but only to overthrow the Play government and rule the nation themselves, rather as the Leapers had, a small parasitic minority ruling over a large submissive majority. Players outnumbered Rasparas by a vast ratio, and Rasparia itself had a Player majority, because many Players had fled into Rasparia to escape the Leapers, and then stayed there when they learned that their government had promised to hold that land.
Contact with students
Although the Play women outnumbered the Raspara men by a wide margin, they were themselves outnumbered by their children. Many of these children were growing frustrated at their difficult living situation, and though the construction of schools had only just begun, many young children had quickly come to question their parents' ideology. Raspara men encountered these children in daily life and hoped to tear them away from the Play party, but the Play children refused to listen to any advice from adult males, and told the Raspara that arguments didn't matter: the Play children were the masters of their own fates, and the truth was as accessible to an uneducated young child as to a lifelong scholar.
Frustrated with their attempts to approach children, the Raspara turned their attention to the women. 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 Paba.
Using logic, the Raspara men managed to convince the Player women in Rasparia that it would be wise to have Rasparas in control of the government, because they were better educated and otherwise more fit for leadership.
Rasparia thus rejoined Vaamū, and mostly took over the forts that the Players had built in Rasparia.
They began to influence Players even outside their base, and even though Players outnumbered them by a huge ratio, both the Rasparas and the Players began to feel that it was inevitable that the Rasparas would soon take over the government of all of Vaamū. Many Players began to feel extremely frustrated at this fact, saying they had just eliminated their only major enemy in the world and had thus effectively conquered the world. Now the Rasparas were asking them to give it all up and become slaves again simply because the Raspara were better educated.
Player women's conference
The Player women held a private conference in Paba, with no Raspara men invited to the event. They had done this many times in the past, and their conferences had long been notorious for their inability to change the rigid policies that had precipitated each conference. But this time, the Player women worked quickly and announced a new law that banned the Raspara party and called on the Player men to kill all of the Raspara men. Since their government was communitarian, they spoke for the entire female Play population, and Player men were required by law to obey their women.
However, most of the Play soldiers were still living in Dreamland; the male Play population in Paba 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
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 Play party did not allow minority parties within its territory, the Raspara declared that the children's fishing colonies could no longer be considered part of Player territory, and must thus be sovereign nations. And if the fishing colonies were sovereign nations, the Raspara said, the Players had no right to object to the Raspara's presence there.
One Raspara battalion marched onto an exposed sandbar, the Pavapašes Peninsula, and built a campsite between the two children's colonies that had been sharing that peninsula. They then declared independence from the two children's colonies, stating that they were a third nation, and would cooperate with the two young nations that now surrounded them. 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 peace treaties with the two children's nations 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 cliff nations or, in many cases, even the right to visit the other children's nations without Raspara permission. In effect, the Raspara claimed the right to control both the children's movements and their own.
The Raspara soon noticed 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.
Massacres on the beaches
The Raspara began to admit young Player children into the Raspara party, and then launched a war against the remnant Players. Even as they adopted children, they focused their attacks on young children, because they intended to make sure future generations of Players would be proportionately smaller even if most adult Players survived their attacks.
In this conflict, the Raspara killed a large fraction of the Player child population, but nevertheless, the children greatly outnumbered the Raspara men.
War of the Ferns
War in Tarwas
As the Raspara attacked Play children with iron beams, they directed the Play army to launch a new war against their traditional ally, Tarwas. The Players managed to conquer Tarwas and soon gave formal control of it to the Raspara. However, the citizens of Tarwas put up tougher resistance than those of Dreamland, and the Players were never able to secure a lasting peace.
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, and had been so weak early on that the Tarwastas had rescued their invaders from an attack by wild bears.
Note that Swamp Kids has the bear attack taking place around 4130, and states that the first Players in Tarwas were merely explorers. This suggests the Raspara did not start this conflict, though they may have influenced it.
War in Amade
Similarly, they had also invaded and conquered Amade. Both of these wars were with Raspara direction, as the Rasparas wanted to see more Players die in order to strengthen Raspara control over the survivors. The Players called the Amade-Tarwas victims' alliance the Ferns.
Restoration of child labor
Because of the high birthrate, the Play population soon again consisted mostly of children. The population was now growing so fast that Players living in some parts of the empire were not getting enough food, because they were eating it faster than it could be sent to them. There were no more slaves to capture, and the native Players now vastly outnumbered them anyway. The Rasparas decided to introduce child labor yet again. As soon as young Play children could tell yes from no, they left the nursery and went to work on plantations and in factory prisons where all of their food and clothing were made.
Although the Raspara overseers allowed the Players to play whenever they wished, there was still a lot of work that needed to be done. The Players were told that they were allowed to do anything they wished that would help themselves, but they were told that bad habits would cause them to be hurt and, if necessary, killed. By no means was the work given to the Players impossible to complete, except for those who were disabled, but Players who could not or would not do the work they were assigned lived in fear of the many frightening punishments for Players who played too much. Many of these involved crushing the children, as the Raspara knew that this type of punishment could not be turned back on them.
The Player economy was still low on resources and hungry for land despite the enormous size of their empire. The Raspara began sending Player explorers to Tarwas to settle the southern third of the nation.
But after this flurry of activity in the early 4140s, the Play party seemed to quiet down somewhat and go back to focusing on their own country. Their population growth had been stunted by the Massacre of 4141, which allowed their economic growth to speed up. Since their whole economy was directed toward the military, this meant that their military was rapidly becoming more powerful.
Minor revolts against the Raspara
Where other nations weren't helping to cut down the Empire's flowerlike growth, it was the Players' own misplaced leadership that ruined their ancestors' plans. It came to seem that AlphaLeap's parting words of hatred were correct after all. The Rasparas relied on a complicated political machine to keep their workers in line. Political battles over problems such as the increasing abuse of Players by their Raspara leaders gradually eroded the ability of the Rasparas to control their subjects, and at times they again lost control over small areas of the Anchor Empire (which included Tata at this time). The Rasparas were aware of these signs of decay in their nation, but they were already doing their best to prevent a total rupture of their government.
Adding to the problem was the fact that they were still overwhelmingly outnumbered by Players, and the fact that most of these Players were very stubborn and yet very gullible people, who would listen to and obey orders from people who promised to solve their many problems. Even some Rasparas began to defect from their party and form independent political organizations within the Empire intending to overthrow the mainstream Raspara government. But most of the new rebels were ex-Players, who were better at gaining trust from other Players than were Rasparas.
Conflicts and reforms at home
In 4143, a new political party arose in the Anchor Empire: the Flower Bees (Sui si). 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.
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.
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 the parents of any Bees who were not orphans or runaways. 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.
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. They 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, making it larger than Săla.
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.
The Play party was unprepared for the scale of the Bees' revolt, and the Bees' parents were shocked as their children attacked them, but the children's assault was well coordinated, showing a calculated precision uncommon in the Play party's history. The Bees did not kill their younger siblings, but warned the surviving non-Bee children that they would soon have to convert to the Bee party or face abandonment in the wilderness.
A party called the Rusted Pearls forged an alliance with the Bees, 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.
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.
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. They 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.
Approach towards the Players
The Play capital city was Săla, located on the Huhumi 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.
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 and the Purse, 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.
The Player provinces of Tanaanu and Thaoa, both part of the Slime Forest region in eastern Play territory, 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. Thus, their fight was unrelated to this particular matter of 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 Diaper 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, foreigners once again felt safe entering Play territory. The navy of Amade then invaded Play territory from the south, having just signed a pact with Tarwas promising to meet in the middle and squeeze the large but hazardously unstable Play Empire between them. 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 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 Sala, leaving the coastline exposed. The Raspara had no navy of their own to compensate for this. Thus, Amade dealt the Raspara a rare defeat. Even so, they killed more Players than Raspara as they moved quickly towards Sala. They freed only those slaves who promised to lead the fight against the Raspara, and the newly freed Flower Bees even restored a Bee battalion rather than help the Ferns against the Raspara.
The Ferns won this war, but realized that occupying the remainder of the Anchor Empire would be suicidal, 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.
Players in Taryte
The Players considered Puap to border the 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. The Players had little support in this region, and were unable to use Taryte to help them against the rebellion in Puap or the invasion from Amade. Nonetheless, because Amade was further afield from the Play capital city than Taryte was, the Players considered Taryte part of their territory. Taryte in some sense continued to be relevant in politics as late as 4205.
In 4147, the Raspara declared war on all of the other political parties in the Empire, claiming no alliance to the Ferns, 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.
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 Tinks
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 Tinks 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 Tinks had originated in the Slime Forest region (Papā Temtūm) 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 Tinks 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 leaders of the Tinks, 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 Tinks 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.
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 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.
The Players considered themselves feminists, and restricted all political power to adult women. The Tinks did the precise opposite, as they blamed female power for their series of embarrassing military and political defeats. Since the Tinks ruled the capital city of Săla, their platform overruled the Players', and the Players were forced to fire all their female politicians and replace them with uneducated males who were accustomed to a life of outdoors activities such as fishing and hunting.
Repercussions in Tata
A majority of Tata's Player women agreed to recognize the decisions made by their newly empowered men, and a majority of Player men voted to set up a new opinions council composed of women who had served in the previous government, and then to do whatever those women told them to do. Dissenting males were stripped of power entirely, and the Players announced they had rescued their all-female government system from the Tinks in Săla. However, the new system restricted government power to a small cadre of women rather than the entire adult female population, as before. This reform had been proposed before, but had always failed.
By sending women home from their government jobs, the Players in Tata answered the long-standing complaint that their 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 Tinks in Anzan began attending schools run by the well-educated Raspara minority, their ideology rapidly changed, while the self-educated Players in Tata refused to make even slight changes.
In 4151, the Raspara-educated Tinks, mostly living in the northern reaches of their empire, launched a civil war against their party base in Paba, forcing the victims to declare themselves a new party, the Creamers (Žayu). This name Creamer here represents a native-language pun, not the name itself; they chose their new name to show that even allying with their age-old enemy, Dreamland, was preferable to mending relations with the Tinks who had attacked them. (One name for the Dreamers was Mayu.)
Foundation of Creamland
The Creamers called their new nation Memnumu, 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.
Creamland included most of Greater Paba, and the Creamers continued to also refer to their new nation as Paba, 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.
Events in Tata
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.
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.
Conflicts in Creamland
- Note: This section refers to the Creamers as Players for the sake of clarity, as the events overlap the change of name.
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 Tinks 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.
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. In spring 4160, the Players, then led by a faction calling itself the Purse of Choice (Vaiya Nuvi; also abbreviated as VYN) began actively discriminating against the various tribal parties, which led to an outbreak of violence. The Players, being physically small by comparison to enemy tribes such as the Raspara and Zeniths, were ill-prepared for combat in the streets, but they nevertheless by this time had such a strong majority that they were able to keep control of their own homelands even as outlying areas fell under control of the various rebel tribes.
Only the moderate faction of Players supported these new racist arguments against minorities; the hardline Player factions such as the Pillows and the even more extreme Milk Bottles believed that the Players were a nation that transcended tribe and race.
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.
Alienation of Thaoa
The Players also ruled that the inhabitants of the Player province of Thaoa, some of whom had their own language, were of Palli ancestry, and some Player factions 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.
Racist literature soon spread in which the inhabitants of Thaoa were described as being only barely human.
However, the Players 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 Swamp Kids who had invaded the Players.
Creation of tribal boundaries
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. 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.
However, some Players believed that the Players racially exclusive laws 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. The Player tribes, as they saw it, were short in stature, but physically hardy, and 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 have a faction of its own, since their interests were generally the same as the mainstream Players.
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 therefore unable to draw its own boundaries, and some members expelled each other.
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.
Probably in the 4160s, the Players in Creamland launched an urban renewal program, claiming it was the long-awaited realization of their plan to convert all adult-made structures into playgrounds for children; however, by this time the Players had moved away from their earlier 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. Doubters said that the common factor was not the urban environment but the presence of contaminated diapers, worn by small children and handled by adults, but of no use to fishing-age children.
Likewise, the Players targeted any area in which disease was spreading, not just cities.
Relations with Firestones
In 4162, a troop of Swamp Kids defected to Dreamland and renamed themselves the Firestone party. They 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 army took shelter in the Crystal territories of the western deserts, and then moved on to Creamland. Near the border, they received an invitation from the Crystals to move a fifth time, this time to the Crystal territory of Amade. These Crystals were eager to shelter the Firestones even though they knew the Firestones were politically hostile. The Firestones soon trapped the Crystals 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, but the navy of Wax blocked the Swamp Kids and the slaughter of Crystals continued.
In August 4167, the Players in Tata formally recognized the Play party in 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 Creamland. Tata considered itself to be a state within Anzan, and therefore Players in Tata stated 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, Creamland's Players had considered themselves self-sufficient, and did not seek relations with either Tata or the Swamp Kids in Anzan, but their very name made it clear that they supported the Players, and considered the Swamp Kids their enemies.
When Creamland's Players heard about the new declaration in Tata, they signed the agreement as well, and the Play Federation was born. 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.
Dolphin Riders move east
Dreamland's Dolphin Rider soon learned of the Players' new federation, and realized that it meant the Swamp Kids were no longer bound to defend Tata's Play party in a war. Previously, the Players 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 the Players had carefully avoided declaring independence from Anzan, they knew that the Swamp Kids would no longer be bound by their military defense treaty.
In early 4168, the Dolphin Riders invaded Tata, claiming that the Play ideology was nearly identical to the Riders', and that the Rider army reserved the right to rule over all Rider supporters. The 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.
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 Creamland soon learned what was happening, and prepared for a two-front war, but the Swamp Kids announced that they had no intention of invading Creamland.
While the two armies fought each other, the Players realized that neither side cared much about the Players, and that many Players might die in a war that could only help their enemies. However, the Players refused to help Dreamland, as they reaffirmed their loyalty to their national heritage, and stated that nationality was more important than ideology.
The Dolphin Riders quickly retreated back to Dreamland, but the Swamp Kids refused to end the war, and continued to attack the Players. 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 their 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.
Also in 4172, the Swamp Kids shifted their invasion to Creamland, focusing on weak areas such as Thaoa, to capture Players to serve as slaves in Swampy cities of the north. 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 battalions invading Creamland 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 Player state
Meanwhile, Creamland 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 partiess 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 Creamland'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 Creamland was far to the southeast of Tata.
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 Thunderstorm Treaty
Nonetheless, the Raspara in Tata soon signed the Thunderstorm Treaty, which reduced their powers and assigned new powers to the Swamp Kids. The Raspara had done this for humanitarian reasons, as they had nothing to gain from it; they simply admitted, even as they whipped Swamp Kids every day, that their latest scheme had been cruel even by Raspara standards.
By signing the Thunderstorm Treaty, the Swamp Kids in Tata became slaveowners, and their slaves were the Players who had been earlier conquered by the Raspara. Thus, the Swamp Kids and the Raspara cooperated to oppress and abuse the Players. Even so, some Swamp Kids remained in slavery, as the Raspara wanted to make it clear that they still held the real power in Tata. This setup also humiliated the Swampy anti-slavery advocates, because they could not ask the Raspara to free the Swampy slaves when they knew that in Tata, the Swamp Kids had just as many slaves of their own.
The Thunderstorm Treaty annexed Tata back into Anzan as a kingdom, meaning that there would be no democracy in Tata. Their king, Yašapatu, was loyal to the Swamp Kids, and the Raspara did not mind being out of power because King Yašapatu's powers mostly concerned how Tata interacted with the rest of Anzan, rather than issues local to Tata that he was too weak to control.
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.
- NOTE: Source documents range from one year to seven on the duration of these wars. There seems no explanation for the details of the failed invasion in any source.
In 4179, the Swamp Kids launched a conventional war against the Players in Creamland, in the region of Ŋapata Fatu. The Players had a much larger population, and both armies had civilians in the line of battle, but the Players still had a much younger demographic profile, and therefore had more children at risk than the Swamp Kids did.
The Swamp Kids may have called their army the Cold Men since they were fighting a war that the Cold Men supported but the Pioneers may not have. (Since the Cold Men had by this time effectively folded into the Raspara, this may mean that the Raspara also fought in this war.) Note that this does not contradict the earlier factional divide, because even though it was the Pioneers who launched the 4172 war in order to expand their territory, the Cold Men considered Creamland to be part of the original Tinks' homeland, and therefore their war was not an attempt at expansion but at recovering lost original territory.
The Swamp Kids won control of western areas of Play territory in this war, but their control did not hold for long.
The Swamp Kids quickly lost control of Ŋapata Fatu, and they were forced to invade again in 4182. The commanders realized that they were falling into the same pattern as the Pioneers had roughly ten years earlier, when they had also conquered a sizable Play territory but had been unable to control the civilian population. The Cold Men had been sure that they would succeed where the Pioneers had failed because they considered their strategy superior, and because they were fighting for a much more compact area of land, but they found themselves struggling to control the more numerous Players.
In 4182 the Cold Men nonetheless declared victory again.
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.
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. The treaty did not start a war against Thaoa, but the Players encircled Thaoa by land and by sea so that Thaoa could not easily join with a foreign power to bring a new war to Memnumu. They planned for a conventional war against Nama, even though they admitted Nama was innocent of all crimes against the Players, solely because they would then have upland territory from which to later invade the Swamp Kids.
- This section may be reduced to a single paragraph as it is more relevant elsewhere.
King Yašapatu kept Tata out of the war that was raging in Anzan and spreading to Baeba Swamp, but to prevent revolt he had to make many concessions. Though a member of the Swamp Kids, he could not even free his own people, some of whom were still doing slave labor for the Matrixes.
By the late 4180s, Tata was divided among five parties. In order from strongest to weakest, these five parties were the Dolphin Riders, the Matrixes, the Raspara, the Swamp Kids, and the Players. The Riders had recently arrived from Dreamland but were strong because the whole of Dreamland was on their side rather than itself being divided among mutually hostile political parties.
The Players were the weakest party even though they had by far the most members. The Riders were the strongest because they controlled Dreamland.
Union with Dreamland
In 4188, the Matrixes betrayed a Swampy army that was attempting to topple the Dolphin Riders. The Matrixes abducted enormous numbers of Swamp Kids, and the Swamp Kids were forced to abandon their war. In return, the Dolphin Riders formally submitted all of their power to the Matrixes, admitted Tata to Dreamland, and moved the capital of Dreamland to Tata. The Riders then disbanded the Rider party in Tata only, and most Riders in Tata became Matrixes, sharing the spoils of a war that they had not fought in. The Matrixes accepted this, as they needed as many converts as they could find.
Though the Matrixes were just one of four parties remaining in Tata, with the Dreamers on their side, the Matrix army soon took full control of Tata.
Dreamland's total population was around 584,000, and therefore the Dreamers outnumbered the Matrixes by more than 100 to 1, and Dreamland was much more politically harmonious than Tata or Anzan. Even so, the Dolphin Riders knew their control over Dreamland was feeble and that not many of the Dreamers would be willing to fight a war to help only the Riders. Thus, the Dolphin Riders figured the best way to handle the Matrixes would be to admit them into Dreamland as simply another political party, and that if the Matrixes made moves towards conquering the rest of Dreamland, the other Dreamer parties would then have a strong motive to unite with the Riders and push out the Matrixes.
Not all of the Dolphin Riders supported the Matrixes' slavery programs, and therefore the Dolphin Riders allowed the Play party to exist and stand for elections in Dreamland proper.
The Swamp Kids invaded Creamland again in 4190, and declared that they had won, but by this time there was no way to enforce any treaty, and the Players ceded land to the Swamp Kids 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.
Battle of Napaatusā
By late 4190, STW's few remaining adult soldiers had mostly fled, and the rest had become disobedient, leaving STW with an army consisting entirely of children, some of whom were very young. They were forced to travel within the Swamp Kids' army, as the Swamp Kids were their sole remaining protector, and even the Swamp Kids no longer considered themselves an ally. Whenever the Swamp Kids lost territory, STW was forced to retreat as well.
STW realized they could no longer project their military influence in the region, but sent child soldiers out to fight adults in a desperate hope that they could still win by some unpredictable and nontraditional means.
In the town of Napaatusā, STW fought its last battle. Their child soldiers were trapped between two hostile armies: the Raspara advancing from the north, and Xema advancing from the south. Neither army had known that STW still had soldiers on the ground in the region; they had been expecting to fight each other. Instead, the two advancing armies signed a temporary truce and split the children between them. After this battle, STW disappeared from Play territory.
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.
Xema thus asked its enemies for mercy, saying that if the other armies stopped fighting Xema, Xema would continue fighting the Raspara and would rescue as many 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 also criticized the Players, as the Players had an army called Tee Vauva, consisting of children averaging around eight years old, and though their duties were noncombative they were working unprotected and thus were vulnerable to ambush.
Foundation of KST
In 4190, Tata's Raspara and Swamp Kids merged into the Cold Men. Thus, there were now only three parties in Tata: the Players, the Matrixes, and the Cold Men. The Cold Men and Matrixes both enslaved the Players, so the Players refused to side with one party over the other.
The Raspara had been upset at being locked out of power, and decided to unite with their victims so they could find a third party to abuse. However, this alliance only affected Tata; the Swamp Kids and Raspara continued to fight each other in Anzan. The mainline Swamp Kids considered KST treasonous, but nevertheless, they kept king Yašapatu on his throne and continued to govern Tata even though his rule was greatly weakened by the fact that nearly none of his subjects were members of his party.
The Matrixes soon captured slaves from other parties. In 4190, a large number of male Swamp Kids arrived and, at the Matrixes' direction, fathered children with the Player women who had not already been impregnated by the Matrixes. As their ideology mattered little when they were confined on a plantation, the Players and Swamp Kids put aside their differences and raised their children apolitically. The Matrixes called their slaves Dolls because they were easy to abuse and easy to replace when broken. The slaves soon came to accept this identity. The Dolls' common language was Bābākiam because that had been the language of both the Players and the Swamp Kids, the two largest sources of Doll slaves.
However, many slaves may have been freed when the Matrixes lost control of eastern Tata.
Free Swamp Kids arrived in 4191, and to the dismay of the Dolls, they joined in on the abuse and captured many of the Dolls who had only just managed to escape from plantations owned by the Matrixes. For three years, the Swamp Kids were the dominant army in Baeba Swamp, whereupon a coalition between STW and the Matrixes overthrew them.
The Matrixes freed all of their slaves in the mid-4190s, hoping that the freed slaves would help them against the Zenith. Most slaves refused to defend their former abusers, however, and the Zeniths took over Baeba Swamp for a few months in 4197. When the Matrix regained control, they reinstituted slavery and promised to be much crueler than before. Recapturing their former slaves was difficult because the Matrixes themselves had earlier provided the slaves with simple weapons, and because many of the other slaves had already joined other armies such as the Moonshines. In fall 4199, the Matrixes invaded Moonshine, expecting an easy victory.
Moonshine at first won this war, primarily due to outside parties that had previously remained neutral. But by January 4202, the Matrixes defeated Moonshine and concentrated their army in the state of Tata, north of Baeba. This had been their primary homeland when they had been founded 25 years earlier. Then they invaded and occupied the Moonshine state of Hōmoya, which had been established as a refugee safehouse.
Invasion of Nama
Players invade Nama
In 4192, the Players began their planned coordinated invasion of Nama. As before, they 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 Swamp Kids. They continued to use this rationale even though the Swamp Kids had by this time mostly been pushed out of not only Nama but the vast forests to its north.
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.
Nevertheless, several ephemeral, informal, and yet expensive 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. By this time, the Swamp Kids' army had mostly left for Baeba, and most remaining Swamp Kids were women and children, meaning that their population was much as the Players' had been: vulnerable but with the potential to rapidly grow.
Since both the Players and the Swamp Kids 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.
Loss of Tata
The Play party of Baeba and Tata was finally disbanded in 4206 when their sole protector, Baeba Swamp, passed legislation recognizing the Dolls as the only legal party for slaves. Although the Play party continued to enjoy uncontested rule in their original homeland of Creamland, also known as Memnumu, they were unable to meaningfully participate in events surrounding the new center of world affairs, Baeba Swamp.
Baeba's Doll party soon split into three daughter parties called the Cupbearers, the Bottoms, and the United Pacifist League. These three divisions were only loosely correlated with their supporters' prior membership, and in just fifteen years, an entire new generation of slaves had been born.
The newly restored Gold party then claimed to be an ideological successor to the Play party, but they had little in common with the Players. Soon, the Gold leaders betrayed the converts and trapped them on plantations.
In 4206, the Swamp Kids regained control of a small piece of land in northern Baeba, called Tahalmana, near the border with Tata. As was the case fifteen years earlier, the Swamp Kids knew they were weak and could only defeat enemies who were even weaker, and so they chose to invade the territory of the Cupbearers, a party consisting mostly of newly freed slaves with no combat experience and, for many, a deep fear of violence instilled in them by their abusive Slope overseers. However, unlike their first invasion, the Swamp Kids did not enslave the Cupbearers, but simply pushed them out of Tahalmana and back into the core of Baeba Swamp. Even though many Cupbearers were former Swamp Kids or the children of mixed Player/Swamp marriages, the Swamp Kids showed little interest in adopting converts from the Cupbearers, as they suspected the slaves had been so broken by their abuse that they would simply flee into the arms of their enemies at the first threat of danger.
Despite impressive tactical superiority, the Swamp Kids soon lost control of Tahalmana to the much stronger army of STW, which then forged an alliance with the Slopes. The Slopes were very abusive. But even so, around 4207, the Slopes and others allowed the enslaved Dolls to themselves enslave and abuse the Matrixes who now made up the majority of the population of Tata. Inside STW, these Dolls were known as Players and, though not a party, STW created a subsidiary organization for those Dolls and named it Play. (They had also begun referring to many of their other Doll slaves as Bubbles, taking the name of another recently abolished party.)
Developments in Creamland
Meanwhile, the Cream party still controlled greater Paba, and the Creamers had earlier signed an agreement that affirmed that the Creamers were a wing of the Play party, and that they would restore the name Play when they felt they no longer needed to set themselves apart from the Swamp Kids. Thus, the Play party still formally controlled Paba. But the Creamers had no interest in entering Baeba's politics, and soon sought to withdraw from partisan politics entirely.
- See Memnumu.
Paba entered the Cosmopolitan Age still firmly under control of the Cream party, which had restored the earlier name Play as promised. They were still at war with Nama, which had arisen from a long dark age to become the world's foremost military power. Yet, the focus of civilization had shifted to Baeba Swamp, and Nama paid little attention to the Play army's occupation of Nama's extreme southern fringe.
In 4268, long after the other armies had worn themselves out, the Players in Paba finally signed a peace treaty with Nama and stopped their invasion. But with their other enemies gone, the Players no longer worried about child labor and children's issues, and increasingly came to think of themselves as a tribe, the Paaapa, rather than a political party. Nonetheless, politics continued as the construction of schools led to ideological debates.
Thus began the period of time when Creamland came to be referred to as Memnumu, and factions of the Play party arose. One of these favored strict laws like those of Moonshine (Moonshine had no common border with Memnumu, but their philosophy had spread far and wide). The ancient name Aboa was also used, but for the geographical region rather than the political entity.
- 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!
- Not Gabaw
- 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.
- assumes the capital did not move or change names; note that this is not a Play name
- 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.
- this word is cognate to the word for a cliffside ocean habitat
- 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.
- defined as translating the hu(p) in the loaned name "Hupodas"
- The Players believed that only God could make someone completely happy, and that God could break through any emotions caused by the physical world. But they knew that God had never promised to make the Play workers completely happy all the time, so they had to rely partly on other sources of good emotions.
- 6696, 7556
- remember "they didnt even have a chance to get started", but also note that this refers to a Baeba-centric event, so the Taryte in this writeup may have been just the northern fringe of the Tarise's old conquests, perhaps in historically Crystal territory, such that it would be no more than a coincidence that the Players also settled "Taryte". Remember also that the Players were referring to Amade with a name historically applied to Atlam.
- originally wrote "at some point between 4144 and 4152"
- Possibly by 4158
- This might be around 4157
- This assumes that they had an outlet to the sea, and thus that the Play party did not control the entire south coast