BARON RISING FLAMES CONSUMING THE TOWER AFLAME
Fifth of Ninthmonth, 1492nd Year Since the Founding of Ka-Rone
The fundamental demographic issues of the Diamond Isle are as unseemly as they are inexorable. Ignoring, for the nonce, the illiterate ninety percent of the population (made up principally of humans, litorians, and sibeccai slaves), the problem is that of pressure. Every decade a new crop of student-adepts and faux-aristocrats reaches maturity, eager to claim a share of political power and a place in the Tower of Tongues. Most of these newcomers are giants, with mojh forming a sizable and growing minority and the balance made up of verrik and the other lesser races; if current trends continue, by 1600 fewer than one in three of burgeoning middle class will be giantish.
Contrast this with those whom these students hope to join, supplant, and displace: a cadre of Undying giantish darkbonds and runespeakers (with a handful of rememberers, mojh, even faen or human) that has generally held sway in the Tower of Tongues since its construction, and certainly since the consolidation of power in the hands of the Most High. Only violence or deliberate discorporation may create an empty seat, and these events are few and far between: the massacre at Nimble Gap during the Last War, the elemental arson of the Spice Wars, Borr Mortock’s Day.
The result, as was becoming obvious to even the most benighted of the aristocrats by 897, and some would say even 619, called the Fire Year. Ol-Rasta, today Her Grace the Silver Marquise, came to the fullness of power in 897, and could not be forestalled or denied. Faced with a slowly-growing population of self-absorbed, reactionary nobles, each possessing enough magical power to bend the spine of the world, the Most High created what no doubt seemed the best solution to the problem: a frontier.
Geography conspired against such a thing; the New Provinces were not located in some far-off and unknown land, but rather a remote corner of the Mother Countries, hitherto called the Parth by its inhabitants. The Parth, a long chain of islands rich in disease and jungle and light in mineral or material wealth, was at that time occupied by several affiliated nations of verrik. Conquest by the DIN happened in a matter of weeks; most of the Parthian verriks didn’t even notice. The outward flow of disgruntled, relatively young, not yet Undying wielders of Dark power began shortly thereafter, and for nearly six hundred years the plantations of the New Provinces have been the favored destination of potential dissidents and overeager aristos.
Far enough not to threaten, near enough not to rebel, and above all empty enough to accept emigrants: these were the New Provinces as the Most High envisioned them, and as they have been. Today, however, just as the Diamond Isle filled to capacity, so too it has begun to happen to the New Provinces. The once-empty Provincial Parliamentary Hall reached capacity in 1260 and again (after renovations) in 1388. Estates originally stretching for a hundred or more miles have been “reapportioned” into thirds, then ninths, then twenty-sevenths, as the number of candidate aristos continues to slowly rise. The Last War bought the Most High time, by culling one in four aristos, but such a solution is only temporary.
Either we must have another war, or we must reform the system, which would amount to an internal war. Shall you stand with us, or shall you perish in the storm along with the Most High and its cronies?
SEE ALSO: the Most High, the Tower of Tongues, the Spice Wars.