Thunder Empire

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The Thunder Empire was the successor state to the Lenian nation of Meromo. It was founded and led by the Thunder political party, which had overcome the rival Plume party in Meromo's two-party-dominated system. The Thunderers backdated their founding to the year 2371, saying that all of Meromo's history was theirs, and that because Meromo traced its founding to the Lazy Palms tribe, the Lazy Palms' history was also theirs.

Thunder Empire I: The Tendril Era

The ancestors of the Thunderers originated as an army from within the nation of Kava, which had been settled by a Lenian tribe calling itself the Lazy Palms. Nama had granted the Lazy Palms access to the upper class of Nama's colonies in the tropics, but did not grant them significant political power. The Palms felt no shame when in 2371 they invaded the very core of Nama to set up their new nation.

The name Thunder was not in use during this time, but later Thunder party members claimed that the Lazy Palms had been Thunderers and therefore referred to Kava as the First Thunder Empire.

Contact with Dreamland

In 3373, immigrants from the islands of Laba declared war on Baeba Swamp and launched an invasion of the coastal areas to its north. They quickly overwhelmed the native Crystal population, and many Thunderers joined the invasion. The invaders called themselves the Gâm people, and in this label, they included the Thunderers and any other converts they acquired. They named their new country Dreamland.

The official capital of Dreamland was Xʷakaràna, and a coastal city near it was named Gadanas. Both of these had been major Crystal cities, but neither was the capital. Xʷakaràna was chosen because the Dreamers had been unable to conquer Baeba Swamp itself as they conquered the territories around it.

Revolt of Peepa

In 3431, the governors of the city of Peepa revolted against their nation, Meromo, and proclaimed that Peepa was the new capital of Meromo.[1] They also declared war against Baeba Swamp, Dreamland, and all dark-skinned people in all nations.

War against Tarwas

Of the many nations of dark-skinned people on which the people of Peepa had declared war, they soon decided to focus on Tarwas. Tarwas at this time was calling itself Abilo and was led by the Abi people, a peaceful but reclusive tribe that had isolated Tarwas from all of its neighbors. The Peepans realized that Abilo had no military allies, and that even though its society was strong it would be easy to invade Abilo.

The Peepans quickly conquered the capital of Abilo, which was near the north end from which they had invaded, and pushed southward into Abilo's highlands. However, Abilo's people became stronger towards the south, and those Abis who had been able to flee into the south acquired weapons from the locals. The Abi began to push the Peepans back towards the north, and within a few years the Abi had reversed the invasion and began pursuing the Peepans into another nearby nation called Kakpoko. Abilo invaded Kakpoko, and proclaimed that the native Kakpewo people would not be allowed to join the Abi army but would be allowed to marry into Abi families and consider the children of such a marriage to be Abi. Kakpoko accepted this situation, and the leaders of Kakpoko joined Abilo in issuing a declaration of war against Peepa.

The next phase of the war began when Peepa's army once again gained ground and restarted its invasion of Abilo. This time they focused on occupying large land areas rather than attempting to subjugate the native people. Even though Abilo had been winning its war, the population density of the north had not recovered to its previous level, and the second invasion of Abilo's northern lowlands proceeded more quickly than the first.

The Peepans retook what had been the capital of Abilo and renamed it Sipalīš.[2] Abilo declared war on both Kakpoko and Baeba Swamp now, even though these nations had been helping them fight the Peepan invasion. They stated that the Abis and the Peepans would fight each other which of them had the right to rule Baeba, but that neither of them would care at all about the lives of the native Baebans. Abilo also declared war against all of the planet's aboriginal populations, saying that even if they lost their war against Peepa they would simply turn north and attack people too weak to fight back. (Repilia had already alienated Abilo in a previous conflict, even though the two nations had not actually been at war with each other.)

Evnetually, Abilo surrendered, and Abilo came under Peepan control. Many Abi civilians were living in the wilderness of the mountains, where Peepa could not easily control them, and had become satisfied with this way of life.[3] They announced the formation of the Thunder Empire, whose capital was Peepa but now included Tarwas as well as Meromo.

Growth towards the west

After Abilo was subdued, the Peepans began to expand westward. They moved the center of their population westward as they grew, gradually closing in on Baeba Swamp. Eventually, the capital was moved to a newly conquered city called Rasilisana. The Peepans began to call themselves Thunderers.

Thunder Empire II: The Lantern Empire

The Lantern Empire

See Lantern Empire.

In 3565, the Thunderers signed a military treaty with the Crystals to their west. They developed Lantern government, a cooperative empire between the Crystals, who were based in Baeba Swamp, and the Thunderers, whose capital was a hilly city named Rasilisana. with neither side having a monopoly on power. Many people moved in both directions during this period, but there were no true cooperative nations; every nation within the combined Lantern Empire was either a Crystal nation or a Thunder nation, whatever the makeup of its people. All of the Crystal nations were contiguous with each other and were mostly in the south and west. All of the Thunder nations were contiguous with each other as well and were in the north and east. However, many Crystals lived in compact cities in Thunder territory, and the Thunder nation of Hōkī even had a major city, Garăga, where no Thunderers were allowed.

The Lantern Empire lasted from 3565 to 3785. Originally, the Thunderers had been clearly in control, and the Crystals had fought back as bravely as they had in so many earlier wars. However, early on it became clear to both sides that the Crystal Empire was still rapidly growing and getting richer whereas the Thunderers had used up all avilable land long ago. So the two groups did their best to work out a treaty that would be fair to both sides.

The Crystals and Thunderers had been allies before 3565. Both were carving out territory from Nama, and had agreed to respect each other's conquests. However, for over a thousand years, they grew independently and did not seriously consider formally unifying their territories into a single umbrella government because each side wanted to remain distinct, and was afraid of being dominated by the other. There was no capital, so each side was locally dominant.

For most of their history, the Thunder Empire had been stronger and richer than the Crystal Empire, but as the centuries passed, the Crystal Empire grew richer because it was warmer and had access to the sea whereas, despite ongoing global warming, the Thunder Empire was still very cold and its only sea access was walled in by ice most of the year. Thus the Thunderers could only use the sea to reach other parts of their own empire. The Thunderers were wary of every political idea championed by the Crystals, figuring they were growing tired of being considered the weaker partner in the alliance when it was clear that they were the only partner that was still growing.

Third Era

During the Third Thunder govt, they were conquered by the Crystals of Baeba Swamp. The Crystals had betrayed them as a militant faction within the Crystals had achieved dominance, saying that the invasion was humanitarian because the Crystals could govern the Thunderers better than the Thunderers could govern themselves. This gov't lasted about sixty years.

Fourth Era

The Thunderers declared independence from the Crystals in 3844, but it was because another foreign empire, Dreamland, had invaded and pushed out the Crystals. The much more numerous Thunderers actually contributed little to the war because their military had been almost destroyed during the Crystal govt.

The ruling party of Dreamland was called Baywatch. One Baywatch symbol was a road sign tilted at an angle, a symbol of the disorder they hoped to create all around the world. The Baywatchers wanted a world in which all of the traditional sources of power failed, and people could deflect spears and arrows with bed pillows.

The Baywatch party and others in Dreamland supported equalizing happiness for everyone. They spent their money only on food and medicine. According to their enemies in the Thunder party, Dreamer doctors would ignore patients with minor illnesses and focus on the impossible task of trying to heal incurable diseases such as cancer.[4]

Conversion

Many Thunderers converted to the Baywatch party after the occupation began, and came to consider themselves Baywatchers by choice and not merely for disguise. The Repilians also harbored Baywatch sympathies, but other ethnic minorities mostly sided with the Crystals and therefore opposed Baywatch.

Formation of the Soap Bubbles

Meanwhile, pro-Crystal Lenians formed a new party called the Soap Bubbles, but most Bubbles soon fled into the Crystal Empire to live among their former oppressors. The Bubbles were blonde people, like other Lenians, and had light skin which stood out ever more as they moved into the very hottest, sunniest areas of the Crystal Empire, as these were the areas furthest out of reach for the Baywatchers.

Party name and imagery

The party name had originally been Snow, but the founders changed the name immediately when the Baywatchers (including recent converts) produced imagery showing their people urinating into piles of snow. Later, some Crystals misunderstood the party name and thought that the Soap Bubbles were racists who believed that dark-skinned people were dirty and would expect a reward for wiping the Crystals clean. This, too, was a bad-faith rumor spread by the Soapies' enemies, when in fact the Soap Bubbles had been expecting to live at the bottom of Crystal society and were surprised when the Crystals welcomed them warmly. The party name was unrelated to the hostile Foam party of Dreamland, which used a separate word in their original language but had sometimes translated their name as "Soap". It was also not related to the much older Soap Bubble Societies of northern Tarwas.

Soap party platform

However, the Soap Bubbles made life difficult for their adherents. They insisted that all Soap Bubbles follow an additional set of laws, on top of the Crystals' laws, and that when their laws contradicted the Crystals', the Soap laws would prevail, even if they forced Soap Bubbles to commit crimes. They refused to acknowledge the connection between skin color and sunburn, saying that any Soap Bubbles who suffered peeling skin in their new desert homeland were in the wrong political party. If the sufferer was a young child, the Soap Bubbles then charged the parents with child neglect, saying that good parents would raise hardy children who would be immune to sunburn. The party leaders supported this because most had a distinct skin type which resisted sunburn despite being as pale as any other Lenians' skin.

Resistance to Baywatch occupation

Even as their own empire was under Baywatch control, some Thunderers invaded Dreamland and began abducting the locals to work on plantations in remote areas. The Crystals opposed slavery but did not try to stop the Thunderers from running slave camps on Crystal territory so long as the slaves were taken only from Dreamland. Some Thunderers even invaded western Dreamland, which was ruled by the Wild party and had not joined the Baywatch occupation.

In 3883, a Thunder army consisting largely of Repilians invaded Dreamland. Even though most Repilians were supportive of Dreamland, the Thunderers had found supporters even within those tribes.

Fifth Era

Uprising against Dreamland

The Dreamers were very unpopular occupiers. During Dreamland's occupation, the Thunderers quickly evolved from a tribe into a proper political party, opposing the Dreamers on ideological grounds rather than simply appealing to tribal loyalty. The Thunder leaders believed that they could convince the vast majority of the peasants to believe in their ideology, and that as a result, the Dreamers' promise of racial harmony would no longer tempt the Thunder peasants into defecting to Dreamland.


Revolution of 3884

The Dreamers were overthrown in 3884, after exactly 40 years. The new govt was the first to use the name Thunder since the pre-Crystal govt of t=he early 3700s. This was an ideological revolution, not a tribal one, and the insurgents held firm to their promise that the new government would be based on the Thunder party's ideology, not the Thunder tribal identity. In this, they considered themselves more advanced than the previous two occupation governments.

Having risen above racial loyalties, they stated, they had formed the world's first and only philosophical government, and their philosophers had realized that the Thunder government could best serve its people by acting in the name of loyalty to the Thunder race. The Thunderers announced the introduction of slavery for almost all Crystals, and put all Dreamers in a second type of slavery that was far more brutal than the slavery enforced on the Crystals.

Culture

Tribalism

The Thunderers explicitly promoted racial solidarity in their new constitution, saying that the beneficiaries of their Empire's government would be the blonde Lenian people who had founded the original nation of Meromo before they were twice invaded by foreign empires. The Thunderers opposed the dark-skinned Crystals simply for their identity, and said that no dark-skinned people would be allowed to convert to the Thunder party even if they otherwise agreed with the Thunder ideology. Instead, all dark-skinned people were enslaved.

But the Thunderers established an even worse life for the people of Dreamland, who were also Lenians, and were just as blonde as the Thunderers. This was because the Dreamers had occupied the Thunder Empire for forty years, and the Thunderers had said that any Lenian who abused Lenians had committed a crime worthy of a punishment even worse than the slave labor assigned to outsiders. Since the Thunderers supported hereditary punishment, the Dreamers could not buy their way out of slavery even as corporations within Dreamland considered themselves above politics and continued to trade with the Thunder Empire.

Economy and voting

The Thunder Empire was a pure democracy, and unlike other democracies, the people themselves voted rather than seeing the government appoint representatives who did not always represent their people's opinions. Each citizen needed to pay money to vote, and the government considered voting simply to be part of their tax system. There was no limit to the number of votes a person could cast on any one issue, and therefore people who cared deeply about a certain issue could vote thousands of times on it, spending much of their personal wealth to ensure that their opinions were heard. All children above the age of five could vote, and voting power was determined only by money. Since slaves could not legally own money, however, slaves could not vote, and nearly all Thunderers supported slavery.

Trade

Despite enslaving both the Crystals and the Dreamers, the Thunderers continued to trade with the Crystal Empire and with Dreamland. Trade with Dreamland was possible because some corporations in Dreamland ignored the will of their host empire and considered themselves above politics; and trade with the Crystal Empire was possible because many Crystals in Baeba considered those Crystals who had remained in the Thunder Empire to be undeserving of compassion and therefore did not object to the Thunderers' decision to enslave them.

Legal system

There were no courts in the Empire; all crimes were punished directly by the police, and therefore the same crime could be punished in two greatly different ways depending on time and circumstance.

Childhood

The Thunder Empire stood apart from surrounding societies by treating young children as if they were adults, even awarding voting rights and bank accounts to all children at the age of five, or by tradition when they no longer needed to wear diapers. Children were allowed to withdraw their money at any time and could buy any item from any government-owned store, with or without their parents' permission.

Furthermore, although the Thunderers stressed the importance of education in maintaining a well-ordered society, children were allowed to skip school whenever they wished, and could spend time outside the home and enter dangerous areas of town without providing any explanation to their parents. A trade-off for this, however, was that the Thunder Empire had early on promised to put no limits to parents' authority to punish their children, and severe corporal punishment was very common. Some children ran away from their homes, but there was no government-run orphanage system, and most runaways ended up working for men on the streets.

Because there was no legal distinction between a child and an adult, the Thunder government saw no problem in allowing parents to abuse their children, and reminded the children that they were legally allowed to hit back. This was of little comfort to most abused children, although many abused children in fact murdered their parents once they grew big enough to wield a weapon. Because there was no central court system, these murderers were sometimes murdered themselves, but others were accepted in society with the explanation that they had done the only logical thing and would not likely commit murder again.

Critics of the Thunder party claimed that both the prevalence of corporal punishment and the revenge murders showed a weakness in the Thunder ideology: treating an adult beating a small child and the child hitting back as legally equivalent denied that children have needs that adults do not, and that this was why Thunder children were so angry. The Thunderers' answer to this was that not all children live to become adults, and therefore focusing on children's rights was the best way to ensure that everyone had happy years in their life.

Nevertheless, the Thunderers were proud of their culture's attitude towards children, and each generation of children grew up promising to raise their future children in the same libertarian manner. The Thunderers considered themselves the heirs of the nation of Kava, and therefore claimed Kava's history as their own. Thus, they minted a coin commemorating an event that occurred in Kava over a thousand years earlier, when a troop of small children walking to school found it closed, and then walked three miles through the woods to find another school so they could complete their schoolwork. The Thunderers called these children the Tačes and claimed that the Thunder law allowing children to skip school proved that those who did attend were doing so voluntarily, and that their entire population thus consisted of Tačes.

Child labor

Children in the Empire often carried large sums of money, but they were not given it by the government. Instead, children were present in many sectors of the economy where surrounding empires used only adult laborers, such as farming and the manufacture of clothing and household effects. Parents could not take money away from their children because all wages were recorded in central banks and transactions at government-owned stores, where most children preferred to shop, were also recorded. However, many parents preferred to put their children to work in family-run businesses, and the transfer of money inside a privately owned business was governed by different laws that varied from place to place and from time to time.

Military

The Thunderers' attitude toward children also extended to the military: all boys enrolled in the army at the age of 5, and remained there until they became too old to be helpful. But in combat, the Thunderers' abandoned their idealism and ensured that children would be kept safe from the adult soldiers in the traditional armies of the enemy nations around them. Indeed, boys serving in the military lived at home and had lives nearly identical to those of the girls they grew up with; it was only as they approached adulthood that their military duties came to involve dangerous missions.

Foreign relations

Despite enslaving the dark-skinned Crystals, the Thunderers considered themselves an ally of the neighboring Crystal Empire. They explained that they were enslaving the Crystals for their ancestors' criminal occupation of the Thunder Empire in earlier years, but that they would be friendly to Crystals who were first friendly towards them. Because the Crystals also supported hereditary punishments, the Crystals made no attempt to convince the Thunderers to free their slaves.

Debate of 3904

In 3904, politicians from the Thunder Empire and Dreamland met in Paba for a debate. Dreamland won the debate after one of the Thunder debaters, who belonged to a western Dreamlandic tribe, found it increasingly difficult to defend the Thunderers' abuses of their Dreamer slaves; the Thunderers had originally brought him to the debate to show that even minorities supported the Thunderers, but the Dreamers pulled him over to their side. (The man was not enslaved because the Thunderers did not consider the war guilt to extend to tribes who had not participated in the war.)

Foundation of STW

The STW corporation was founded in 3915. Its acronym stood for Save The World: STW believed that their world was in danger from Dreamland, and that STW urgently needed to kill all Dreamers in order to ensure a safe and happy future for STW and the citizens of their host empire. On STW's first day of business, they declared war on Dreamland.

Invasion of Dreamland

STW's membership consisted mostly of children. STW sent an army of toddlers into the Dreamer state of Popa, where they batted the knees of the locals with wooden toys. In response, Dreamland declared war on STW and mobilized their army to hunt down the perpetrators. STW's children realized they were no match for the traditional adult armies that they had invaded, and therefore fled back into the Empire. When the Dreamers reached the border, they could not find the children, so they attacked the imperial army instead. Thus the host empire was drawn into a war they had not started.

Power structure

STW was a business, but it had its own military and school system. STW's leadership consisted of women, and the children in its schools were considered employees, and were paid to study and taught to remain loyal to STW after graduation. Only the military had a traditional adult male power structure, and it was the military that had the least to gain and the most to lose. Nevertheless, most of STW's soldiers had links to power in STW through their wives and children, and because STW gave them the freedom to leave at any time, their loyalty was assured.

Most of STW's early members were illegal immigrants from the Crystal Empire. The Thunder Empire, having been founded about thirty years earlier, had declared that its territory was for members of the Thunder race only and that all outsiders would be killed or enslaved. The Thunderers were typically blonde, blue-eyed people, visibly distinct from the very dark-skinned Crystals.

In this era, the concept of tribe and race allowed for conversion by marriage. Further, mixed-race people did not exist; the children of a mixed marriage would need to choose one tribe or the other, with most choosing to align with whichever tribe was locally dominant. Thus, the presence of medium- and dark-skinned people in the Thunder Empire, the children of Crystals who had invaded many generations ago, did not bother the Thunderers, and they did not seek to relabel these people as Crystals and enslave them. But most of these people lived near the historical Thunder capital city of Blop, where STW had founded its first base in the Thunder city of Lypelpyp, which had no such people. Therefore disguise was impossible, and the STWers chose to violate the Thunder race laws openly.

Lypelpyp was in the extreme west of the Thunder Empire, near the Crystal border, and thus easily accessible from the Crystal Empire. It was very poor, and had not previously been attractive to the Crystals. But a road to Baeba had recently been built, and STW realized that if they could control Lypelpyp, they could control the majority of trade between the Thunder and Crystal Empires, and become very rich.

Illegal immigration and hostility against Dreamland

On its first day in business, STW declared war against the neighboring empire of Dreamland. At this point, STW's army consisted entirely of illegal immigrants from the Crystal Empire. The Crystals had hated Dreamland for more than 500 years because Dreamland included land won from the Crystals in a brutal war, and even though the war had long since stalled, the Crystals knew that the Dreamers were still interested in total conquest, since their original goal at the beginning of the war had been to conquer the tropical paradise of Baeba, the Crystal capital city, and that despite impressive conquests along the nearby warm and sunny north coast, Baeba and everything to its south had escaped their grasp.

But the Thunder Empire had also lost a war against Dreamland; indeed, the Thunderers considered the Dreamers to be beneath even the Crystals, and although they enslaved all racial minorities they ensured that the slavery assigned to the Dreamers was of the most abusive sort. Thus the founders of STW hoped that, by signaling aggression against their shared enemy, they could convince the Thunderers to overlook the invasion and accept the dark-skinned STW members as allies, and perhaps even citizens.

The Thunder government refused to act on this crisis; they reaffirmed that the proper position for all racial minorities in the Thunder Empire was lifelong slavery, but they did not send the army to Lypelpyp to stop the flow of immigrants from the Crystal Empire.

For unrelated reasons, STW had chosen to declare itself a nation shortly after its founding. By doing so, they gained several advantages: they were represented in Nama's Mirror Project, and given diplomatic independence from the foreign policies of both the Thunder and Crystal empires; they were able to raise an army of their own; and they reserved the right to formally secede in the future and become a traditional nation with territory of its own. They called this hypothetical future nation Lindasia, but held off on claiming land.

STW copied the Thunderers' strict immigration policy with a policy of its own: any members of STW, even children, had to forswear their ancestral nationality and become citizens of STW. Thereby, the illegal Crystal immigrants became illegal STW immigrants (or Lindasians). Though this did not resolve the Thunder Empire's problem, the Thunderers justified their inaction by claiming that the immigrants were actually living in a separate nation, Lindasia, not the Thunder Empire. This meant that the Thunderers were effectively ceding Lypelpyp to STW, making it a city-state; however, the Thunderers secretly worked out a pact with STW and the Crystals in which STW would pay taxes to the Thunder Empire in exchange for the Thunderers' promise not to attack STW.

Criticism of STW

Criticism from outside parties

STW's membership consisted mostly of children, who were at once members, employees, and students. Children in STW worked hard and earned high wages, often higher than those of typical adults outside STW. Because the children were contract laborers, the high wages were awarded upon enrollment, even if the child was only five years old. Additionally, children in STW could travel anywhere they wanted, and could flee their parents for any arbitrary period of time and live entirely within STW's buildings. Children in STW ran stores, restaurants, and manufactured furniture for the society around them. STW even had its own newspaper. Children worked difficult jobs, and were often hurt at work, but they reliably showed up to work each day even when walking to their workplace was painful.

Long-time critics of the Thunder party reacted with horror at STW's child labor projects, saying that STW was a parody of the Thunderers' already disastrous attempt to radically re-define parenting. They pointed out that many of the children injured while working at STW could have been protected if STW had taken basic safety precautions, but that STW seemed never to run out of child laborers and therefore treated them as disposables, worth less than slaves.

STW's leaders answered this by saying that while the life of a child laborer in STW was indeed difficult, STW's adults shouldered even greater burdens because they relied on robbery and illegal slave operations to achieve their high financial status within STW. Meanwhile, STW's children had no interest in the non-STW adults claiming to want to rescue them. Furthermore, they pointed out that children from the mainline Thunder Empire often fled abusive parents to live at STW, and that STW did not employ corporal punishment of children.

Criticism from Thunderers

Many people in the Thunder party disliked STW for entirely different reasons. They supported STW's child-focused business operations but worried that STW was parasitizing the Thunder economy and that Thunderers were simply letting it happen, with power for ordinary citizens slipping away more and more each year. Furthermore, just Crystals considered STW a parody of the Thunder ideology, many Thunderers considered STW to be a gross distortion of Crystal ideology.

Firebreath-Treehouse split

STW's rapidly growing influence led to a split in the Thunder party. The conservative Firebreath faction (Hadilàmi) demanded action against STW and considered its members to be Crystals and thus worthy of enslavement. The liberal Treehouse faction (Haspàni) welcomed STW and wanted to free the Crystals. Crystals could not vote, but STW members could (because they were not enslaved, and thus could spend money freely). STW endorsed the Treehouses and began sending money to prominent Treehouses who pledged loyalty to STW.

The Firebreath's name broke with their ancestors' habit of associating themselves with cold weather; the Firebreaths stated that they were interested in forming an alliance with the tropical nations of western Dreamland, but not with Dreamland's Baywatch party, because the Baywatchers had invaded the Thunder Empire in 3844 while the western Dreamers had abstained from the conflict.

Revolution of 3919

In 3919, the Treehouse faction gained financial supremacy, and voted themselves into power. They repudiated racism and freed all of the dark-skinned Crystals. They promised that their government would never again enslave a rival nation based on racial animosity. The Soap Bubbles, a party closely related to the Thunderers, were invited back home and promised safety, but by this time the Bubbles had mostly chosen to make their home in the tropics, even though they would have no nation of their own. Thus few Soap Bubbles returned to the north.

By freeing the Crystal slaves, the Treehouses increased the workload of the enslaved Dreamers, who they retained as slaves because the Dreamers were not a race but an ideology. Because this ideology was inherited strictly along familial lines, its practitioners could not convert to another ideology, and thus the future supply of Dreamer slaves was ensured.

The Treehouses allowed the Firebreath party to maintain majority status only in the region of Xema (Sopato), ironically the coldest land on the entire planet.[5]

The Firebreaths noticed that the Treehouses had freed all of the dark-skinned slaves, but kept the Dreamers, who were fellow Lenians, in slavery and had in fact made their position even worse than before. This frustrated the Firebreaths, who soon came to think of themselves as Lenians first and politicians second. But, in an internal conference, the Firebreaths nonetheless voted to endorse the continued slavery of the Dreamers because the Dreamers living in their Empire were descended from the earlier conquerors, who the Firebreaths considered to be criminals. Thus, continued slavery was their way of paying the hereditary penalty for their ancestors' crimes.

Dispute over party names

The Thunder government used a party registration system similar to the ancient Gold Empire. When the Treehouse faction achieved its financial majority, they voted to claim exclusive rights over the name "Thunder", and stated that the losing faction, which called itself the Firebreath, would need to rebrand itself as the Firebreath party, and could no longer claim to be a faction of the Thunder party.

For legal reasons, both parties were forced to immediately rename themselves in order to continue to interact with Nama. Nama's Gold party's rules for diplomacy had for thousands of years stated that whenever a party split in two, the conservative side would retain priority over the original party name. Thus, the Treehouses could not refer to themselves as Thunderers when they interacted with Nama. However, Nama's diplomats had also promised to respect the internal party politics of the nations they interacted with, and so, even though Nama was sympathetic to the Firebreath faction, they were forced to recognize the Treehouses as the legitimate heirs of the Thunder party's seat in their Parliament, and stated that the Firebreath faction had no rights to the name Thunder either.

Evolution of ideology

Treehouse reforms

The victorious Treehouse party did nothing to reform the empire's unique and highly controversial approach to children's issues. Indeed, the situation soon became even more dire as the police force claimed that they had no responsibility to protect children from robbery and kidnapping, and yet that children could not complain if their parents, schools, or employers forced them out into public to perform basic tasks such as buying and transporting items from a store to their home. The Treehouses had continued the earlier Thunderers' practice of employing children in paid labor once they reached the age of five, while also expecting children to meet their own needs, and therefore young children often carried large sums of money with them. Thus, most adults who robbed children were nonviolent, and simply sought to acquire the children's money. These nonviolent attackers created informal local organizations, promising that they would make up for their crimes by protecting the kids from the even worse criminals who sought to kidnap the children as well, and also promising to refrain from violence against each other.

Legal processes

The Treehouses soon abolished the police entirely and declared that there were no longer any supreme laws in the Empire. They recommended that bands of armed citizens create their own laws and enforce them as they saw fit. They instructed anyone who feared living under such a system to move to the icebound island of Xema, the only place in the Empire that remained under Firebreath control.[6]

Taxation

Sales and value transfer taxes well into the thousands of percent were soon established even as the central government cut away most of the departments that consumed its annual budget. The rulers claimed that they needed this money in order to repay children who had had their money and belongings stolen by adults, but also because they were planning to radically increase the size and power of the military in order to protect the Empire from invasion.

However, within a few years, inflation grew beyond control of the imperial bank, and the gangs that had earlier supplanted the police force now came to also control the flow of goods and money. In some areas, the gangs declared the imperial currency obsolete and either switched to STW's indasi or created their own. This, in turn, destroyed the Empire's democracy, since voting power was based entirely on the amount of money each voter spent. The gang leaders stopped robbing small children and most transformed their organizations into traditional local government entities, some of which were democratic as well. Particularly in western areas of the Empire, some gangs also created corporations under their name, and did their best to imitate STW even though they lacked STW's control of external trade routes.

Firebreath reforms

The Firebreaths were much more conservative. They watched from afar as hyperinflation and gang warfare erupted in the Empire that had once been their home, and pledged to never let such things happen in Xema. They disarmed their population[7] and said that staying alive in the world's coldest climate was such a challenge that humans needed to stick together and put aside ideological and financial conflicts.

The Firebreaths maintained their idealistic belief that legal differences between children and adults should be abolished, but without a functioning economy, they felt it meant little. They also admitted that they could no longer be a democracy, as this too had relied on a cash economy. Nevertheless, voting was retained at the local level.

Establishment of toparchies

The Firebreaths set up no internal geographical boundaries on the vast barren island of Xema. Instead, each city would be ruled by a mayor, referred to by a term that also meant "hero", who had absolute power in that town. Complex laws were established to control the election of mayors and to prevent factions of people banding together to produce slight majorities who would then vote for corrupt mayors over the objections of the remaining population. Citizens were also allowed to forgo voting entirely and think of their mayors as kings, but the central government warned that they would not send in the army to depose a ruler who became abusive after being elevated to such a status; people would instead need to flee to another town.

The toparchy system was very similar to the setup found in parts of the Crystal Empire, and the Firebreaths acknowledged that they had borrowed the idea from the Crystal government that had invaded their empire in 3785.[8]

Foreign policy

The Treehouses allowed the Firebreaths to remain autonomous, and therefore Xema was still considered part of the Empire, and as their democracy broke down, the Firebreaths became more assertive in what remained of the internal debate processes. They found allies among the slaveowners in the tropics[9] who supported Dreamland even though they had abducted slaves from Dreamland.

War with Dreamland

Contacts with Moonshine

In 3948, the Moonshine people left the plantations of far southern Lobexon[10] and entered Paba. The climate of Paba was tropical, similar to their earlier homeland but with a much weaker rainy season.

Moonshines look north

However, the Moonshines soon pushed northwards into Treehouse country, as they were seeking to escape the curses of life in the tropics, not overcome them. The Treehouse Empire was also easy to invade, despite its powerful military, because the land area claimed by the Treehouses was so vast in comparison to its population, particularly in the mountainous western areas, that the Moonshines could enter and pass through it completely undetected.

The Moonshines did not consider their migration to be an invasion, and the Moonshine leaders promised their followers that if they were attacked, they would quickly surrender and look for a way to make peace rather than risking their lives in a war. They believed that a life of oppression in the Arctic was superior to a life of oppression in the tropics, and that any potential oppressors would soon make peace as they came to face their shared enemies in nature. Therefore, even though the Moonshines acknowledged that the Treehouse Empire had a powerful military, they believed the Treehouse army would pose no threat to them as they pushed further north.

Furthermore, the Moonshines had deliberately chosen to migrate into the Treehouse Empire because their parent organization, the Crystals, had just a few generations earlier been occupying the Treehouse Empire, and still claimed that most of the Treehouse Empire properly belonged to the Crystals. Thus the Moonshines hoped that should a conflict arise between the Treehouses and the Moonshines, the Crystals would make amends with the Moonshines in order to revive their fight against the Treehouses.

The Treehouses considered the Moonshines to still be members of the rival Crystal tribe, and therefore potential enemies, but they did not seek to expel the Moonshines.

Xema

The Moonshines established toparchies in the territory they settled, in which every town was ruled by a woman or coalition of women, each of which had absolute power in that town and had no fear of the central government; their only obligations to the capital were to pay taxes and remain in military alliance. This was very similar to the system the Firebreaths had set up on the island of Xema, whose natural environment was even more extreme than Moonshine's.

The Feminine War Council

In 3952, a coalition of female diplomats convened to discuss how best to handle the ongoing war against Laba. Even though the Treehouse Empire was winning the war, the women approached the representatives of other nations to seek their approval before the war progressed any further.

Soon the women voted to suspend their war effort, but Laba continued to invade, and Laba soon won the war.

The Revolution of 3958

In 3958, there was a revolution.[11]

Notes

  1. I am interpreting what I wrote long ago as best as I can.
  2. search dictionary for "Tipalais", the Gold form of the name.
  3. in STRAWB.doc, it says "[The Crystals] believed in Kaxa, the religion that the people of Tarwas had believed in before they were destroyed by the Thunderers."
  4. Although they did not understand the mechanism of cancer, they understood the concept of a growing tumor, and understood that tumors could occur in different body parts, and thus had a word for "cancer" in general.
  5. page 221 in complete.doc has this and more information about how the two parties differed. complete.doc says "Even STW" supported the Treehouses, as if they had not originally intended to.
  6. see p 225 of complete.doc for details on Hukuku's new laws
  7. p 225
  8. Any document showing 3765 is likely corrupt.
  9. complete.doc labels this area as Amade, but it is likely not; it could even be AlphaLeap, even though AlphaLeap was pro-Treehouse. Rather than Amade, which by this time was wholly under Crystal control, the territory is instead geographically part of Taryte, and contains the area from which the Star rebels had poured out 200 years earlier.
  10. "across from Atlam". This territory may be one of the various still-unnamed but clearly defined territories along the Tropical Rim of Rilola.
  11. I remember this date being important, but I dont remember why.