The Seven Baan of Rykkovaa

A Brief History

The state of Rykkovaa proper is a relatively recent political innovation. For most of history the territory encompassed by the modern nation has been controlled by a multitude of competing political entities. Though technically distinct and wholly separate polities from modern Rykkovaa their all too often bloody history is responsible for the character of the present day nation and its people, and as such cannot be overlooked.

The earliest history is greatly obscured by the lack of reliable written records. Archaeological evidence indicates that the lupine species who represent the greater part of the region’s present day population can date their presence as far back as 300 thousand to 200 thousand years ago. These early peoples were pastoral nomads living in a plethora of simple, individual tribal societies. This lifestyle persisted until the advent of agricultural practices. With them came permanent settlements and complex societies, an event dated to roughly six thousand years ago.

In time the most successful among this burst settlements grew into full fledged city-states capable of supporting many specialists not preoccupied with the production of food and of wielding substantial influence. For a time peace reigned. Land resources were still plentiful enough that separate settlements were content to trade with one another. When land and other valuables did begin to run scarce the peace still held between the largest of the city-states, who, rather than exercising their military power against one another instead began to forcible annex smaller and weaker villages and cities by conquest or the threat thereof. Over time these most powerful of city-states evolved into more powerful polities, termed “baan” in Arskovaa.* When no such settlements were left to victimize, the former city-states turned baan at last turned their attention to one another.

What followed was a protracted 300 years of bloodshed as each kingdom vied for dominance. With time the number of combatants shrunk while their individual size and power grew as weaker kingdoms were absorbed by their stronger neighbors. Eventually the conflict was brought to an end when a three way balance of power was established. The western half of the region was united as Tmajïryk by its first king Avo Omoskaja in 8. In response the two baan of Iivrejöt and Jandrak immediately west of the newly formed Tmajïryk joined together as Strovtyryk. Finally the remaining territory in the far west fell under the control of the baan of Rajjot.

What followed was a renewed period of relative peace marred only by the occasional border conflict between Tmajïryk and Strovtyryk and characterized by the former’s regional cultural hegemony, the effects of which have carried over into modern times. Avo was a fairly enlightened ruler, and took advantage of the cessation in hostilities to rebuild and develop what had been destroyed or overlooked during years of war. The era is often looked upon as a golden age of sorts during which the arts, sciences and trade flourished. Though many accounts may romanticize or exaggerate the accomplishments of period it was doubtlessly a huge step forward from the previous era of unceasing warfare.

With time the heavy appropriation of Tmajïryk’s culture by Strovtyryk eased tensions and alleviated ill will between the two nations somewhat. Rajjot by contrast appropriated relatively little and remained distant. All the same it was a fragile peace and balance of power that began to fall apart when in 479 the present ruler of Jandrak made an opportunistic, markedly clumsy and failed attempt to install a puppet of his own as the next ruler of Iivrejöt. The man who did obtain the position naturally frowned upon this and subsequently declared the union between the two baan void. The following civil war was brief and resulted in a formal dissolution.

Meanwhile Tmajïryk was suffering internal problems of its own. The progressive policies and competence of Avo Omoskaya and other early rulers had with time given away to self-serving decadence and corruption. Increasingly, real power was held by a nobility fractured by constant internal struggles for power. This gradual decline was hastened exponentially towards its inevitable conclusion when a disastrous drought struck in 512. Tmajïryk at last fell apart bloodlessly into four separate baan, Novajot, Kŕrytans, Sevexke and Ďaqtën.
With the region split between seven baan, with no clear regional superpower, the endemic warfare that had plagued the land for so long before reasserted itself on and off. The arts, sciences and trade which had done so well before now fared poorly. This would be the state of affairs for the next several centuries.

The beginning of an end of these sorry conditions came about in 1003 when the current ruler of Novajot Brask Ovokëja decided to step down in his old age. Brask’s own personal choice for his successor was one of his most trusted and talented advisers, a young man by the name of Sandyr Odovëra. However the choice was vehemently opposed by Brask’s top general, Garën Omratïkuja, believing that he instead was more qualified. When it became clear that Brask was adamant in his choice Garën proceeded to force Sandyr into exhile.
Once in power Garën launched an all out war against the neighboring baan of Kŕrytans. A competent general, he caught Kŕŕytans by surprise and advanced rapidly, prompting the ruler of Kŕrytans to march out in person. Garën slew him personally and Kŕrytans‘s army, Demoralized by the death of their leader, soon surrendered.

The sudden fall of Kŕrytans to Novajot ignited a panic in the neighboring baan of Sevexke, Daqtën and Jandrak. The three quickly banded together to organize a mutual defense. Unfortunately even together it seemed unlikely they could adequately defend themselves; their own armies were depleted from recent wars with one another while Garën’s had just obtained thousands of fresh recruits from the recently vanquished Kŕrytans. Any victory would come at a terrible cost.

Then an unexpected turn of events occurred. Sandyr returned from exhile and forced Garën from power, assuming the position of baan of Novajot. He then presented the three baan with a deal. He would call off the imminent military assault and allow them to retain some power over their dominions. In return the three baan would swear an oath of loyalty to Novajot and pay tribute and send soldiers whenever Sandyr desired. Otherwise he would would continue Garën’s assault and forcibly conquer them. After a great deal of consideration the three baan reluctantly accepted the deal as the best choice of several very poor options.

With strength of five entire baan behind him Sandyr now did not hesitate to turn his attention to the two remaining baan of Iivrejöt and Rajjot, generously presenting them the same opportunity to retain some of their own power in exchange for an oath of loyalty. Iivrejöt quickly accepted the terms of the ultimatum, but Rajjot defiantly refused, prompting an invasion. Severely outnumbered, Rajjot fell quickly.

With that Sandyr succeeded in being the first to unite the entirety of the traditional lupine homeland as a single nation, simply dubbed the Seven Baan, in 1010. Following the example of Avo of Tmajïryk centuries ago he made full use of the newly established peace to invest in the development of the new nation’s culture, civics and technology. In particular he embarked on an ambitious project to create a stable system of laws and government. Most evident among the many reforms enacted to this end was the creation of a comprehensive and unified code of laws for the whole of the Seven Baan and the legal, written formalization of the until then often de facto by tradition caste system of lupine society and methods of governance.

Despite some inevitable difficulties Sandyr’s drive for reform was largely a success and carried on by his successors after his death in 1039. A second golden age dawned for the land in which once again there was a proliferation of trade, art and science. This remarkable success earned Sandyr great fame and at times even near legendary status, both of which would be capitalized on by others in the 19th century.

Unfortunately Sandyr and his successors’ accomplishments were not enough to prevent the eventual dissolution of the nation. This time however the cause of the collapse was a foreign rather than domestic one. The baan of Rajjot and Jandrak had for quite some time traded with the neighboring nation of Vekaiyu and had even gone so far as to on occasion employ the services of mercenaries from it. The complacency that this cordial relationship had fostered proved disastrous when Vekaiyu invaded the two baan in 1429, beginning a war with the Seven Baan as a whole.

Unsuspecting as they were Rajjot and Jandrak both lost large portions of their territories and a complete catastrophe was only prevented by the timely arrival of reinforcements from the other five baan. What followed was several years of back and forth fighting. While the Seven Baan managed to stave off any further significant territorial losses they were unable to reclaim what they had lost. They finally formally recognized the loss when they signed away the territories as part of the truce which ended the war in 1437.

The peace was short lived. In 1441 Vekaiyu renewed its assault against the Seven Baan. For a second time the Seven Baan put up a spirited defense but ultimately to no avail. Slowly but surely the invading armies of Vekaiyu pushed the defending forces from Rajjot, Jandrak and Iivrejöt. All three were officially annexed by Vekaiyu when a second truce was finally signed in 1448. The three western baan would have to endure this Vekaiyan occupation for the next three decades

Meanwhile the war had also imposed a terrible cost on the four remaining baan. While the resulting grievances and complaints had been left unspoken for the sake of the war effort before, the new peace brought them abruptly to the surface. The arguments quickly escalated as the dearth left in the wake of the two successive wars prompted each baan to think first and foremost of its own interests. Kŕrytans renounced its oath of loyalty to Novajot in 1453. When Novajot requested that Daqtën and Sevexke commit soldiers to a campaign against the rogue baan the two refused and followed Kŕrytans by renouncing their own oaths of loyalty. Novajot’s solitary invasion of Kŕrytans was fought to a bloody stalemate. With that the Seven Baan as a single unified nation was dead.

In 1468 the tables were turned against the Vekaiyun empire when its eastern borders fell under attack. Capitalizing on the this Iivrejöt rose up in rebellion in 1470 and to the north Jandrak quickly followed suit. Two years later in 1472 the two were joined by Rajjot. The rebellion initially made little progress despite Vekaiyu’s problems elsewhere. However in 1475 the eastern baan were convinced to lend their direct support. At last, in 1478 Jandrak, Iivrejöt and Rajjot were restored to their forms after the truce of 1437 as independent nations. Jandrak and Rajjot were eventually restored in full following the partitioning of Listonia in 1659 after both baan intervened in the Vekaiyun Civil War. Rajjot in fact gained a portion of land which had historically been Vekaiyun territory proper as a result of the same partitioning.

The seven baan would remain individual nations for the next four centuries. Unlike previous periods of such separation there was little bloodshed between them this time, the occasional minor dispute notwithstanding. The time spent as a single nation had done much to spread a common culture among them and the Vekaiyun invasions of the 15th century had also done their part to promote a sense of unity.

The dawn of the 19th century saw the birth of a political philosophy and movement devoted to the promotion of such sentiments of brotherhood. First circulated among academic circles, pan-lupinism was a broad philosophy which advocated greater cooperation and integration between the seven baan in over a wide range of matters. It was not long before the philosophy caught the attention of the public at large thanks to the ceaseless work of its most visible and well spoken proponent, Brask Ovadïnna of Jandrak.

It was not long before the pan-lupine movement evolved into its logical conclusion: lupine nationalism. Just as its name suggested lupine nationalism advocated not just simply cooperation between the seven baan but an outright union between them to create a new single nation. Its advocates quickly seized upon Sandyr Odovëra, his original union of the seven baan and the golden age that he ushered in by doing so as a powerful image by which to promote their cause. Histories were liberally and shamelessly embellished as deemed necessary, and Sandyr himself was very nearly deified in pursuit of a common and above all unifying national mythos for the envisioned state.

The tactic proved a fantastically successful one. Support for a single lupine nation rapidly gained ground among the public, building upon the now pervasive acceptance of the earlier pan-lupine movement’s goals as well as a fear of falling behind the other nation’s of the world. In 1877 the dreams of the lupine nationalist movement were realized when the seven baan at last agreed to a common constitution for the new state of Rykkovaa.
*Most lupine academics insist upon the use of term “baan” to describe these entities in English as well, partly out of national pride, partly because options for translation such as “kingdom” do not correctly capture their political structure. This article will adopt this convention and use the term “baan” throughout. “Baan” in English may also refer to the ruler of such polities, as the inflections which indicates case and animacy in Arskovaa are typically not preserved when borrowing into English. The words for the state and for the ruler are inflected as inanimate and animate respectively in Arskovaa.