The Great War: An Anthology

[center][size=175]BY MEMBERS OF FORUM ROLEPLAY[/size][/center]

Over a hundred years have passed since the Great War ended, and yet the impact and changes the war brought resonates through almost every aspect of the world today. The horror and chaos; its untold suffering; its lasting toxic effects? The world taught its children and grandchildren of the brutal nature of war; it told its descendants that ‘to repeat this chapter in our history would bring shame on remembering those who perished in this great war ’; and yet, the riddled world, ever on its endeavour to remain fluctuating forgot as quickly as turning to the next page of this anthology. The world today is reminded with thousands upon thousands of wind-swept memorials, dotting communities across our vast continents; asif like an observable sedimentary layer. Where society thought impossible; the Great War ended an era, and began a new one.

What no person can realise in the society of today is how tragic life was for those who lived and survived it; what peoples of one hundred years past would have sacrificed to bring food to the table, clean water to their lips and warmth to their houses; sacrifices that for us in the comfort of our modern homes could never fathom but which truly encumbered. Living with such unabating fear for seventeen years, uncertain as to whether you will make it from one day to the next, anxiously sweeping each days’ newspaper as impending attacks could render a family homeless by the next day; blindly and with no question that the news in front of them was the truth, and nothing but the truth.

It is so difficult to comprehend the fog which blanketed the world in which the war was fought, even more than a hundred years later. The telephone, one of Urth’s greatest technological inventions, was not in widespread use for another several decades. Radio communications, which was very much in its infancy; allowed generals and other military commanders to supply vital intelligence or orders with immediacy, rather than their being subject to the depressed and slow-moving use of written messages carried by runners, and cut off as soon as the latest bombardment severed the fragile field-telephone wires; what unmissable atrocities, slaughters and famines could have been avoided today.

Our means of communication in the present is efficient and instant, often with images or videos portraying what is the truth. But in 1904? When the storm clouds grew over Yasteria and Aurora, and later the rest of the world; when cataclysm erupted and information even days-old could take more than a day to arrive, it must have been terrifying. These instant news sources were still decades away and so daily newspapers became a lifeline in everyday life; the one source of war you received which itself had a slowly burning fire ring of hearsay, dread and prevarication.

With the continuing liberties the press gathered, newspapers became pillars of society. Today it would be considered such a feeble dogmatist view, but then, it was not in doubt; the tiny insight of the war that the average man, woman and child on the street received balanced entirely on what these editorials published.

Inside this anthology will include detailed accounts of key events in timeline order of the Great War. Please deliberate with the Roleplay Admin Dylan or Roleplay Moderator Acronis if you wish to partake in writing for this anthology.

OOC: Dylan let me post here. Just giving background and introducing characters.
At the border with Morstaybishlia
Roha was sixteen years old. He worked with his father in their little farm to grow vegetables like purple potatoes to sell at the market. He was ruddy but hardworking. His father, Wata, was an old man who owned a small plot of land. Most of his children and his wife were killed when the Morstaybishlian Empire invaded the Oan Isles and left his people with about two thirds of it. Their clans and tribes were separated. In most of the country, the Morsts took whole islands. One of the bigger islands was divided in half. There was a road that joined the two sides, separated by Morst soldiers and a big Morst-style castle. Today, Roha and Wata were taking their vegetables to sell in the market on the Morst side. The Morsts were fascinated by the animals and plants on the islands, so Oan people would sell them at higher prices on the other side.

They made good money from the trade compared to what they would have in their own country. It was clear from the native people living on the Morst side that living conditions were not great and being treated like second-class citizens was not a thrill either. But people got on with their lives and tried to adjust to the massive changes that the Oan defeat at the hands of the Morsts had brought. One of these changes was in the government. Until the 1870s, the Oan Isles had been run like a federation of largely autonomous islands with the Emperor ruling over Tokamotu and coordinating the affairs of the nation. When the Emperor’s armies failed to protect the country from the foreign invasion several years ago, it was humiliating and apparent that many things had to change. The old Emperor was overthrown and a new Emperor was instated,Rangitake. Rangitake believed that the best way to regain the country’s strength was to bring all of its islands under his control and modernise the way the country was run.

Wata was one of the people who lost a lot from all this. Like many fathers, he knew that his son would be forced to join the army when he turned seventeen, part of an effort to strengthen the nation against a considerably larger rival. Thus he plodded quietly alongside the cart and watched his son who pulled the laden cart behind him, strong muscles and brown skin glistening in the tropical sun. Upon arriving at the border they had to pay tariffs on the goods they brought. The Morst guards were as mercurial as the monsoon rains. They raised and lowered the tariffs without warning. Today, they raised it. Wata and Roha knew that the money they would make from selling their goods over the border would be swallowed by the fees that they had to pay to get through it - forcing them to turn back and spend another day without an income. Although Rangitake was many kilometres away, these unfair trade policies made him angry. The Oan Isles was too tightly tethered the Morst economy to simply leave it, but they were treated too unfairly to benefit from the relationship. The country needed to find new markets, grow its population and get access to natural resources. This was not something that would arise by luck or hoping for Morst generosity. This called for the country to prepare… prepare to fight!
The Emperor of Polyensia, the Ruler of the Sea, Te Rangitake

Te Rangitake, Ruler of the Sea

August 1896

On the throne of the Morstaybishlian Empire on this fine year was perhaps a very well known name around the world. Rosamund the Second, or just Rosamund II as was stylized. She sat at the top of the food chain in her empire, and reigned her territories as Queen. She began and lived through the Morstaybishlian Empire at what most would say was its greatest ever territorial extent, spanning the globe on all continents but the south pole, from the northern Atiland and Rotantic to the southern Joralesia and Buzela, to the West Pacific Territories to Lunaria.

Apart from Kuthernburg’s uprising and independence forty eight years prior, Morstaybishlia was in its golden age. It dominated both land and sea - a homage to their victories by those that came before in the Posolic Wars and all those others. From an economic standpoint, production and productivity were at its best. It fueled the fires for how great nations turned and operated like a gush of wind on the naked wildfires in the Staynish interior; but these winds did not forge the fire, it was done so in the sanguinary of their enemies and the labour of those beneath them. Dozens of generations came before, this warrior-conquering style was bound in every young Stayne and Calth from the moment they were born - perhaps similarly on the other end of the spectrum how every young slave from as far and wide as the Oanese of the Pacific Ocean to the Salisians of Gondwana were bound in shackles. But from an outsiders perspective it would be imprudent to say that these men and women of Morstaybishlia bred like forsaken and ravaged wolves whom which given any chance would slice your throat and drink your blood - these were your average Berowalt, Samminel, Susary and Claudine from the factories in Aeternum and Redrugus, most of the population were labourers in some capacity themselves; they cared little for the conquests of their overlords in seas and lands far from them, more just that they wanted to throttle a plate of food on the table for all the hungry mouths they bore responsible for. Despite their country being the lead superpower, exerting their military and economic prowess around the globe, for the simple man and woman, these were, as always, trying times.

It was perhaps no better from the fact that slavery was still around in the empire. Whilst the rich and extravagant profited immensely it served no purpose of benefit for the common folk. Who in their right mind would hire a man to pay them a wage when they could buy a dozen slaves, only needing to feed and shelter them for the same price? It was for that exact reason these were indeed trying times. Beneath the surface the empire was ugly. There were schemes in place but there was no minimum wage, nor health and safety. There was nobody to represent the ordinary peoples interests; only those in power to represent their own vested corporate extortion. And so, coupled with only a few factors its quite easy to imagine how life was in this year. It would be quite hard not to believe that a few things would’ve shifted by now; the abolition of slavery or the monarchy (or both) and the representation of the people - when these things were becoming commonplace across the world. That is all well and dandy, but when you’re fed from the spoon the moment you came out of your mothers birth canal about how glorious your kings and queens are, how successful the nation is and how poor and peasant-like others are, and how ‘you would wish to burn at the stake before living elsewhere’, no, quite honestly nobody thinks outside of the box. It is exactly where those on top want the people - in a weird falsehood, living, working and dying to fuel the empire.

Rosamund had forged a cobweb of links across the world with her royal influence. First, foremost and the most prominent was the coming of her own marriage to secure the bloodline. By order of her father, King Frederick III, she married the younger Prince Ake of Asendavia whom she had ten children with, though by the effrontery of technology at the time four were stillborn. Their eldest, Prince Thadeus was naturally the first in line and would bring the House of Harstad on to two of the biggest thrones in the world. Through great disagreement, Rosamund asserted to her husband that their children would grow up as Thaerists, and in exchange sacrificing her surname and royal house with his. It was a fair deal in her eyes, for he was not destined to be Kaiser over in that far away land.

Though perhaps the most prominent and controversial at the time, it was soon to be replaced with a deeper, darker pit of controversy - far subverting the customs of the Thaerist Church whom were greatly disgruntled with the first, let alone the second marriage out of their faith and who protested to no avail. She had arranged for the coming of the new year the marriage of her eldest to the Sultana of Packilvania; perhaps a rival of power to her own for the Sultana ruled the vast desert regions and prosperous cities of Bingöl, Erdemli and Kemer. Though Packilvania and Asendavia had been rivals of past and though Prince Ake protested more violently than the Thaerist Church in the privacy of the palace, Rosamund refused any other alternative for marriage. She clearly had a vision in her head for something, and now it was obvious. The marriage between Morstaybishlia and Asendavia, and then her own son and the heir marrying Packilvania would form an all-powerful trinity between the three most powerful nations in the world. It had always been her dream to rule the world, but as she grew older she had her doubts whether she would see the day. At least not her, then her son. She firmly believed that he was the child chosen by the Saint Matilda herself.

Banks fight wars

The economy of the Oan Isles was ruined by the Morsto-Oan War. Firstly, the actual cost of the war, such as paying the soldiers, buying weapons and so on, was immense, especially since the Oan Isles was fighting a vastly larger and more powerful enemy. Secondly, the country lost about a third of its territory and a quarter of its population including all the labour potential and economic resources that lay there. Thirdly, it was stuck in an unfavorable economic position with Great Morstaybishlia whose unreliable export fees and corrupt navy, stymied Oan fishing and trade around the West Pacific.

One of the consequences of this was hyperinflation. Prior to and during the Morsto-Oan War of 1855, merchant guilds and the treasuries of island Chiefs acted like banks. They held gold and silver deposits in their vaults. In return, they would give depositers promissory notes and tokens (low value metal coins or wooden coin-shaped objects) upon presentation of which they promised to pay the bearer the value of the note or token in gold or silver. These guilds and treasuries would lend out the gold and silver deposits and pay the depositers in more promissory notes. This system was fraught with issues but they became more salient during the Morsto-Oan War.

Goods and Labour had to be redirected for the war effort, leading to high prices for goods and services. The merchant guilds and treasuries issued more promissory notes to Procure goods and services for themselves and to prevent their depositers from demanding their gold. Moreover, income from loan repayments fell sharply as people were unable to pay back their loans. Thus there was hyperinflation in the country.

To control this situation, the government in Tokapa placed a ban on using gold and silver in most sales transactions that is merchant guilds and treasuries were required to keep their gold stores in their vaults for the duration of the war. Unfortunately a black market emerged which redirected goods and gold from the war effort. This put a bandaid over a situation that was glaringly toxic. And the country struggled to recover - facing the worst inflation crisis in Oan history.

When Emperor Rangatike took charge, he directed the Treasury of the Oan Isles to control the flow of gold. The government banned the use of gold and silver in daily transactions. Instead gold gold and silver could only be sold to and bought from the government. Then the government issued promissory notes and coins called the Tara (or Oan dollar) to be used as currency. The government then bought all the gold in the country using this new currency. This centralized control of gold and allowed the government to carefully manage balance of payments and stymie rampant inflation.

The government recognised that it had to modernise the financial sector and its financial systems. It established the Bank of the Oan Isles in 1891. The bank took over the monetary policy functions of the Treasury of the Oan Isles. The Bank was given the power to regulate banking institutions, act as the sole state banker and the sole issuer of legal tender in the country. This helped stabilized the national finances. The nation was also able to sell bonds at the markets in major financial centers such as Sani Bursil.

This helped the bank raise the gold to lend to banking institutions (which most merchant guilds and treasuries evolved into) and to the government. The banks kept the gold and were able to give out more loans (in the form of Taras issued by the Bank of the Oan Isles) to the people. This liquidity helped spur industry and helped the government pay for massive projects like building ports, castles, roads and warships.

An added side-effect of the restrictions on gold and silver transactions was that people deposited more and more of their gold and silver into banks. This helped the Oan people save their heavy metals and feed the cycle of the banking system. This might seem small and inconsequential, but in the Oan Isles, this made an incredible difference. For the first time the country had the soft tools needed to control its finances and redirect national resources behind a common cause, proving - in an indirect way - that banks fight wars.

January 1897

Queen Rosamund’s health had been rapidly deteriorating in recent months, and many questions flung around in the Royal Court whether or not she would live till the 20th century. Her public appearances waned more and more, and it all stemmed from a lifelong addiction to cigarettes - the trendier and more modern version of basically smoking tobacco out of a pipe. Her arteries and lungs had been forever tarnished, and yet smoking was very normal in high society. It was a symbol of status, regardless of how different it may be seen in another seventy or so years.

The wedding was imminent, and dignitaries were invited from across the world from all corners and walks of life. This was the most controversial of weddings, and so many had their say either in private or public, though public dissent and the likes were appropriately ‘managed’. It was to happen in Syllester Abbey, as was tradition, on the 16th January 1897; and when the day turned up, over a thousand honorary guests laid the halls and sat on the pews that laid the temple.

Outside was a roaring crowd of upper and middle class families, waving flags of the empire and triangle flags bearing the three important colours; red, blue and gold, that appeared alongside white. Reporters were a albon a dozen too from press on every continent, eager to record this ostentatious day.

Soon enough, the parade chariot made its way through the wider roads of the city. These roads were heavily guarded by specialised guard squadrons almost everywhere. The chariot itself was very heavy and required six horses to pull at a steady pace; it was encrusted in gemstones like sapphires, rubies and emeralds, and besides that was all gold. It was a show of might and a display of power - this is what riches an empire of this size yielded.

The ceremony itself was private, and reporters for the press were not allowed inside. It took over an hour before the wed couple left Syllester Abbey for the rest of their tour.

This was perhaps the biggest single event of the 19th century, and whilst it was highly anticipated and a much welcomed occasion here in Morstaybishlia, the world was reserved. If the rumours of a new world order type “First Urth Empire” were true, perhaps the Kings, Queens and democratically elected figures around the world should be scared. Two absolute monarchies, two of the last large slave kingdoms, two imperialist nations, and two superpowers - joined by the hip in political union.

Thaer’s above, what on Urth would come of this …

February 1896

The 27th of February 1896 is one that entire North Concordian Ocean will remember. The coronation of King Haakon III, the youngest son of King Varg the Great.

Haakon gave out a silent sigh, he really did not feel like he was not truly prepared to rule. Even wished that his older sister Ciri could be the one taking the coronation, but because of the succession laws in place it was him. As he stood on one knee waiting for the High Gothir of Norgsveldet to place the Norgsveltian Crown on his head, he could feel the eyes of thousands staring at his back. Still looking down he felt the hand of the High Gothir on his head.

“Through the wisdom of Odin, the strength of Thor and willpower of Tyr might your reign be one of peace and prosperity for all of Norgsveldet. Might you now, Haakon the third of Norgsveldet and its crown realm stand.” As so Haakon did slowly. “Do you, Haakon son of Varg, promise to protect the realm and its people?”

“I shall protect the realm with all that I have.” Haakon stated as according to the ritual.

“Do you, King Haakon the third of Norgsveldet, as such as your duty as king, promise to protect our faith of Asatru and every temple built by its name?” The High Gothir continued on.

“I shall, might the wisdom of Odin and the strength of Thor give me the power to protect all of our faith.” Haakon once more replied.

The High Gothir smiled, as he continued on. "As such Son of Odin and all the gods and Son of Varg, you might now rise.”
In which Haakon did as commanded as the High Gothir put his hand away from Haakon’s head. With now the two men putting hands on eachother shoulders.
“Let the lights of the gods give us all strenght, let Odin show the way to Valhalla for all of us who is fighting and let the fertility of our land be kept through the blessing of Freya.” The two men stated at the same time, before two nodded towards eachother and High Gothir went to on one knee as to show loyalty to Haakon. As Haakon put two hands on the High Gothir’s shoulder and praise was given to the man’s loyalty. As Haakon then turned around he looked towards the rest of the members in the temple he saw all who was gathered.

In there he saw Prime Minister Ivar Stang, and rest of his cabinet, varying members of nobility all across the Norgsveltian Empire, members of high Norgsveltian society, High Gothirs from across Norgsveldet, but as well royalty from other nations as well. Some local such as that Kaldrbuth Royalty. But also that of the Asendavian Royalty, such as his cousin Kaiser Terje XIII. Once more a silent sigh left Haakon’s lips.

Might my reign be one of peace. Was all Haakon thought as the applause from the crowd could be heard.

A New Emperor

On 28 April 1907, Emperor Rangitake’s ashes were scattered across the sea. All that remained was the legacy he built and the memories of those who knew him. His eldest son, Mikaere, felt the wind on his face as he saw the breeze carry his father’s ashes into the sea. He was mentally transported to a day when he was a child, holding his father’s hand. But now, he was not a child. He was hardened by fighting and discipline. His muscular body was marked with the scars of his struggles and the tattoos of his victories. Today, he was to be crown the new Emperor of Polynesia.

Although, surrounded by the cheering crowd, Mikaere only saw that chair - that massive stone-cold chair: the Ocean Throne, the marble seat of every Emperor before him. “I will make you proud, father”, he whispered to himself as he ascended the steps and sat on the throne. The Priests said something about the Blessed Prophet Matilda, Lord Maui and the Creator, Atea, but he heard nothing. The difficult work of political reform was before him.

It was 12 June 1907.

“You look great, my lord”, his wife said. Serene Consort Kiri, the daughter of the Great Chief of Koroi, was an obedient, delicate, beautiful woman, who typified everything his society expected a wife to be. She rubbed her belly, a large bulge silhouetted by the voluminous gown she wore for today’s Speech-from-Throne. He went to her and gave her a kiss on the cheek. He grabbed his mace and held her by the hand as they walked out of the antechamber leading to the Throne Room.

The Great Chiefs and their retinue cheered for their Emperor, some geuinely happy, while others disdainful of the path that the nation was headed (their profits with it). Mikaere, looked at them, picking a few allies and in some case enemies from the crowd. Overall, the nobility of the Oan Isles had begrudgingly complied with the tides wading against them: the age of feudalism was over. In this speech, Mikaere would place on nobles, their lands and their privileges under his power, leaving them with the duty of legislating beside the commoners, who sat in the galleries like innocuous guests - a prospect that most Lords and Ladies resented.

The age of democracy was born.