Negotiating For A King’s Grace Or Imperial Hegemony? By Joshua Harper, Baja Stratics Reporter Sunday June 21st, 2009 “From this day onwards, I declare that all kingdom-states that have propped up within the boundaries of Britannia will dissolve. The leaders of these kingdoms will declare fealty to the throne. Let it Dawn upon you that rebellion will not be tolerated.” - King Casca of Britannia, Ascension Speech. January 17th Greetings, Britannians. As I’m sure many of you have already been made aware, last evening saw the gathered representatives of no less than four sovereign nations and six autonomous colonies come together to assert their right to independence and self-determination before the High Court of Pax Britannia. I must admit that despite the clever but arguably presumptuous game of smoke and mirrors performed by the Lord Emissary of Britannia, the negotiations were truly a sight to behold; for they were the culmination of more than six months of private confrontations and very public saber-rattling between our government and that of our economic and military rivals throughout the Five Worlds. Alas, not since the Second War of Darkness have so many of Sosaria’s governors and monarchs gathered together in one place united in a common cause; although this time it would not be the Queen of Darkness and her Undead General whom these free and self-reliant states would be faced with. No, this was an evening that for better or for worse, shall in all likelihood determine the future of our realm for many long and arduous years to come. Of course our story does not begin with last evening’s negotiations, but with the ascension of Lord Casca of Heartwood to the Throne of Our Lost King more than six months anon. In a widely unpopular move that has left even the most ardent loyalist factions with serious and very troubling questions, our new king’s first act as sitting monarch was not to declare war upon the draconian-led armies that continued to ravage our war-town cities, nor was it to order a long overdue investigation into the malady that plagued thousands of our helpless citizens. No, Casca’s first act as King was to demand that all independent kingdoms and self-governing statehoods immediately dissolve and swear fealty to the Kingdom of Britannia and its Reigning Monarch. The infamous proclamation speech continued to be held as a source of contention and controversy for the new monarch for months to come, and it would not end there. When confronted by the Grand Duchess and Acting Regent of the Kingdom of Dawn about his right to demand their loyalty and subservience, Lord Casca flew into a fit of rage and proclaimed that the blood of the Dawnites will be upon her hands for her failure to submit to his rule; and no amount of back-peddling or sweet talk by his emissaries could erase that from the mind of those in attendance. It was a troubling time for the Britannians and their neighbors. It led the Kingdom of Dawn, a nation that has historically aided the Britannian Kingdom in times of both war and famine, to begin fortifying their southern passes and formally cut economic ties to their once close friend and ally. It saw Heaven’s Forge, governed by Lady Oriana (who continues to wear the Sash of a Royal Britannian Guard proudly to this day), formally announce her town’s secession from our nation in disgust. It was even rumored to have forced ancient enemies and historic rivals to begin negotiating treaties of mutual aid in the event of an invasion by the Britannian Legions, in an event known as the Mage Tower Summit. Of course, the story behind these rumors has yet to be independently verified and therefore will not be further discussed at this time. The Crown has since made some feeble attempts to pacify the leaders of these shocked and enraged statehoods by offering to hear their claims of independence in an open court and determine if such claims have any merit based on historical precedent; or as was so keenly proven last evening, to determine what states would be most politically advantageous to Britannian Monarchy. Nevertheless, The Crown failed to host such a summit or to receive the ambassadors of any independent state or colony for almost five months following this formal announcement. That would all change a fortnight ago, when Lord Emissary Saius of the Kingdom of Britannia announced that the trial would be held shortly and that all independent states must submit their ambassadors if they wished to challenge Lord Casca’s Right to Govern. On Saturday Afternoon, the representatives of several nations and colonies gathered in the farming community of West Britanny for the Independent Kingdom’s Summit. In attendance was Grand Duchess WildStar the Benevolent, representing the Kingdom of Dawn and the Village of Avalon; Emissariat Lucic of the Ordo Malleus Maleficarum of Luna, representing Balsall Monastery and the Village of Ravenshire; Super Ken of the Cartel Faction, representing Horseshoe Island; Governess Oriana of the Almost Famous Knights, representing the Town of Heaven’s Forge; Heiress-Presumptive Magdalena of Queen Shieba’s Alliance, representing the Queendom Stronghold and its holdings within the Samlethe; Dark Lady Cymidei Fier of House Fier, to represent the Dark Tower, the Village of New Scythe, and the City of Wind; and Baron Sleath Von Darkmor of the Dark Tower, representing the Barony of Darkmor on the shores of Locke Lake. Anya, a well-respected member of the Gypsy Clan’s of Sosaria was also in attendance, but the High Court refused to hear their claims for independence. Lord Emissary Saius arrived shortly afterwards, and proclaimed that he had been given the authority to determine the ultimate standing of each independent state and colony in respect to the Kingdom of Britannia. It was a clever and presumptuous ruse, for if anyone spoke out in defiance of his claim could be painted as a troublemaker who sought nothing more than to stir up the sparks of war; while remaining quiet would concede his right to judge. As expected, Lord Casca was no where to be found. The summit proceeded as scheduled, with minimal interruptions until the very end of the trial, when the spectators began to riot within the tent. An underlying but little spoken theme that would prevail throughout the minds of many of the gathered representatives and their audience was not merely the question of independence and self-determination for the various political and economic entities in question – whether or not they had even been a part of Lord British’s Realm – but the question of Britannian Hegemony itself. One might wonder, what right does the Britannian Crown have to assert itself over the various political entities throughout the Five Worlds? Does technological and military superiority give the Britannian Kingdom a viable mandate to pursue what has become an increasingly expansionistic and imperial policy in regards to its neighboring states. As many of you have recently heard, Lord Casca has ordered that thousands of our soldiers and knights be deployed to the Empire of Zento in what is said to be an attempt to aid the overtaxed feudal shogunate. Britannian treasure hunters and thrill-seekers had already begun making preparations to venture to the realm, so why is Lord Casca sending so many of our warriors as well? Of course, one must really wonder, when you look about the streets and see Britannian faces upon the shopkeepers while the native Tokunonans are forced to wander the streets and back alleys behind Zento. Casca also seems to have designs on Malas, which has been independent since long before the Rise of Mondain. Will nothing satiate his lust for land and power? Below, I shall describe the nature of each kingdom and the verdict passed by Lord Emissary Saius of the Kingdom of Britannia. I caution that despite his verdict, many of these kingdoms have not changed their stance regarding their individual claims of independence.