The Newlanding Crisis

Most times are peaceful times. But one of the sacrifices the Emperor made in establishing the Council of the Crowned in the beginning of the era was enabling and legalizing conflict 'when it is in the best interest of the empire, and in the name of reflectivist wisdom and courageous will'. The founding of Hotonotochi was legal, even though it was bloody, but only on the condition that this blood and violence is controlled and order is maintained. This allowed intrepid individuals to follow their will and define grand projects, but forced them to do so diplomatically (with allies, legal justification, and more posturing than action).

A decade after the founding of the colony of West Demurgia, the naval powers were worried that no new lands to their west or the uncharted waters to the north-east would be discovered, and set their sights on a client island they named Isla de Torres, which was already host to the client and western-most town known as Newlanding, Valtoros. The settlement was quiet, but was peaceful.

At this time, the increasingly prophetic Hotonotochi was carrying out a far-reaching campaign to destablize fringes of the empire in hopes to build up legitimacy and an appetite for their Bone Church. 'In chaos, opportunities emerge', as the old adage goes from Mercurian Hotonotochians living in the high districts of Newtowne. A large network of roadside bombs were discovered, as part of a larger brutal and genocidal campaign to terrorize the troubled region. In Newlanding, not a soul was left standing. Most of the bodies were found in and around one exploded houses, suggesting citizens hid there or were locked in their and murdered collectively.

One fateful evening, a bomb ripped through the streets and caused panic and chaos. A few weeks later, more bombs spread, and half of the town's population was either killed or they fled. The Bone People quickly closed their borders in Hotonotochi, against the long-standing mobility rights that declared such actions illegal, which quickly made them the number one suspect.

Governor Amador, a successor and descendant to the original Amador the Intrepid, founder of West Demurgia and the FTC, wanted his realm to grow, but knew they needed access to the mainland to secure economic and diplomatic legitimacy. To the immediate south was the Isla de Torres in local tongue, or Island of Towers, but was mostly occupied by the Kingdom of Valtoros (although settlement was minimal). On the southwest tip hid Newlanding, a small Valyrian colony. Here Governor Amador planted the seeds for a future campaign. But it took intrigue, diplomacy and lucky timing.

After being framed unsuccessfully by the Bone Chief (as the blame and tensions were rising against the Bone People), it was at this time West Demurgia quickly set up a fort in the north part of town, and conspiracy theorists argued the 25th Regent of the Empire was aware and even visited this illegal holding before it was internationally recognized. Another round of bombs were discovered in Newlanding to the fort's south a week later, and the King of Valtoros personally visited the lands to observe the damage and to help uncover undetected ordinances. The 25th Regent of the Empire joined him, and witnessed the King entering the final house on a hill. Here was his account:

“There was a chest at the back of the house, one I did not recognize before. I yelled to the King, 'good ally, there is something fishy about this last house on the hill'. I finished defusing a bomb discovered just at the base of the hill and started to walk up it, when I heard a scream and yell from the King. He opened the chest, only to discover it was wired to explosives. He only had time to yell, 'Ruuuuun!' Suddenly, an explosion ripped the house apart, and by the time the firey inferno had subsided, the hill was gone and so to was my ally. I lost hair and received mild scars, for the explosion ended just at the base of my feet. This is a tragic day for the Empire and for the peace an tranquility of our lands”.

Another witness recorded these thoughts:

“In one case, a powerful bomb was still strapped to a house on a hill overlooking Newlanding. The King of Valtoros fatefully took his final steps, but honourably so, as he was personally investigating the crimes. But the explosion was feirce. The Regent and Governor Amador, assisting in the investigation, were injured, but perhaps their worst fate was witnessing the King's flesh fly into the air alongside debris and flames.”

Shortly after, The Regent ordered his forces to build arms, and sent readied troops from Solomonia to occupy a peninsula that overlooked Burning Hills.

Governor Amador used the confusion opportunistically. He denounced the attacks outright, but argued the terrorist attacks showed that Valtoros could not control all of the island, as his resources were stretched thin (seeing as how the western tip of the island is far from Bogtown). Governor Amador set up illegal settlements in the north of the island, including a hidden jungle fort, in the event of a war, but took the steps required to legalize his claims. He annoucned his ambitions on the island to the new King following the death of his senior, and said, 'new attacks could continue, or under me, I can promise the island will be safe.' The King of Valyria was ready to pounce, to defend his holdings, but Amador's frank and open claims were stark contrast to the secretive terrorist campaign initiated by Hotonotochi.

It took the brave actions of the 26th Regent of the Empire to reverse the course of history, which was marching towards war, and took the humbling actions of the new King of Valtoros to pursue a diplomatic course despite his people demanding revenge, by helping all of the parties sign the Treaty of Falkirk, which awarded land to West Demurgia in return for them rebuilding Newlanding, and building a powerful bridge for Valtoros. It was also agreed the young nation would never again pressure Valtoran coasts for their own expansion, an agreement they upheld in its entirety from that point on. This was also the beginning stages of the recognition of the young colony as a government and eventually a Kingdom. This treaty also reversed the invasion of Hotonotochi (the bellicose terrorist nation) and allowed the Bone People to take back lands occupied by the 25th Regent. It was agreed upon that in return for the construction of a great bridge connecting mainland Valtoros to Isla de Torres, the King would agree to transfer control of the western portion, including Newlanding, which fell victim to total genocide and was free of Valtorians by this point anyway.

The 25th Regent, thinking himself a protected puppet of the elites, found himself ambushed and murdered, by either ghasts, or something more nefarious, along a nether trip.

The untimely death of the 25th Regent in a nether trip led to many speculations that he was murdered by the Bone People as punishment for breaking initial hidden agreements about an exchange of tension that was supposed to benefit both parties. Mysteriously, an internal investigation by Minervan Officers of the Peace was looking into the possibility that the death was actually caused by violence and a sneak attack by Bone People in the nether. Strangely though, this investigation was silenced from the top, presumably by the cabal itself. Even though the cabal was losing a 'puppet', as many in the populist called him, conspiracy theorists claimed the cabal was happy to hide the involvement of the Bone People and of the possibility it was murder so as to a) allow his death to silence the Regent's involvement with the Newlanding crisis as a whole, and b) to appease the secret deals made with Honotochi earlier. They presumably thought by appointing an old retired police chief as a replacement that they could get away with installing another puppet, but their influence was already waning and their ability to pull off another public relations campaign to control the process seemed to fail outright.

Shortly later, the 27th Regent of the Empire, continued in the progressive footsteps of the 26th Regent, and Minerva even sacrificed much of their land to their allies in Valtoros (who lost land in the Treaty of Falkirk to West Demurgia) as a way to ensure the peace. Minerva became the only nation to have a 'net loss' in the Newlanding Crisis, despite not being been involved directly. This also led to the birth of truly progressive internationalism, and a few mercannum later, this very Regent, now seeomg the value of personal sacrifice and helping neighbours, as well as silencing the old political elites who had by this point disappeared from influence forever, founded the Imperial Project.

All and all, this experience shows the difference between legal claims and illegal ones under the Settler Policy. International attention quickly moved away from Amador, even though he was waging a claims war on half of Isla de Torres, because he did so openly and frankly. He built allies, and established a peace treaty with his opponent. The perpetrator responsible for the genocide on the other hand refused to completely acknowledge their crimes (although they did so informally), and so the Empire cobbled together an alliance to wage war on the trouble-maker. This resulted in the second phase of the Newlanding Crisis, also known as the TnT Crisis. As part of their pressure against Hotonotochi, a global ban on holding more than 2 stacks of TnT was issued after Hototonochi threatened the world with his 'stockpile of 1000 TnT'. The law was passed, and most conflict was avoided, but Hotonotochi suffered minor trade sanctions and their brand was again tarnished. Again, this showcases the difference between legal claim wars (which must be acknowledged, and must have explicit political goals), versus open-ended attacks that have wishy-washy goals and are therefore potentially just senseless crimes against humanity. This debate surfaced again during the 'Loyalton Crisis' when another unannounced attack was discovered. Reminder to those reading this passage. Claims wars can be done right, but if kings consider your attacks unjustified, be careful. That is, build alliances and practice the art of diplomacy.