But first, two notes. First, compared to most of the stories I have to tell, at my first glance at the main outline this story looks quite brief—only a handful of items prescribed by the original sketch and my “Outline of History”, rather than the more extensive set of pieces to fit together for even the other stories in this first arc. In my per-book notes and outline I’ve expanded the plan significantly, but it’s still somewhat shorter than my usual ideas.
And second, given recent (the last decade and a bit, or since the turn of the century and millennium) political events in our own world, I would like to clearly note in passing that this idea, the most basic outline, and the important events of much of the early part of the story described below (but not the details of the arc that will probably take up the bulk of the story), came to me when I was producing what became the “Outline of History” back in the fall of 2000 at the latest.
Our stage has shifted from the Utter West—Vaynaheim—to one of the two easternmost countries in the two continents: the Sunshine Kingdom. (If you look at the map, do note that it is oriented with south at the top, “upside down” from our point of view.) And for once the Dragon Empire is not involved; Tashere has not yet turned his attention that far east.
The Sunshine Kingdom has formally existed for less than a decade as our story begins, and this is only the third year of the reign of its first King. But some … shall we say … idealists, reactionaries, and hotheads of various stripes put their heads together and decide (probably over a great deal too much alcohol, the use of which in large quantities is not yet so frowned-upon as it will become later in the society’s development) that they’d prefer no government at all to the one over them, and that they’re not too particular about what means they’d have to take to reach that end, and so they form what they call the Anarchist or Revolutionary League.
Somehow, these self-titled Anarchists attract an initial small but significant following, and (more importantly) enough capital and matériel to turn their plans from daydreams to action. After considering various possibilities, they discard the idea of assassinating the King—as they think (somewhat reasonably) that he’s mainly a figurehead, the King’s Residence is a better guarded building than they trust themselves to attempt, and (primarily) that wouldn’t be flashy enough—they hit upon the idea of bombing the Parliament building while the legislature is in session.
Somehow, their plan manages to come off without a major hitch. I have not yet decided whether to have the building be mostly evacuated after a premonition (which would be reasonable given the background of applied metaphysics, but would either provide a nice echo in or be too much of a coincidence with a later book including a similar circumstance so averted) or not. But in any case, the plot doesn’t fizzle like Guy Fawkes’; this very conspicuous introduction somehow causes even larger numbers of people to flock to the Anarchist banner. Though no states, provinces, regions, or even municipalities go over to them as a whole.
Parliament reconvenes, and quickly declares the organization illegal. (Though this won’t stand muster with the Charter as given, something that will be corrected by the end of the story.) It then organizes an army for the first time in the young nation’s history, selecting two talented and capable (if untried) young men to lead it. Volunteers, from a core of veterans of the Second War of the Dragon (the second half of the previous book) who had emigrated from the western countries to the Sunshine Kingdom to starry-eyed young tenderfoots, swell the army’s ranks significantly. (Unfortunately, there are far more of the latter than of the former. But fortunately, the Anarchists are in even worse shape with their recruits.)
After several months of planning and training by both sides, the two Parliamentary generals take to the field with their armies, searching the countryside for the strongholds where the Anarchists are rumored to be hiding and training, and using the time to continue drilling their troops. Soon thereafter, flush with their initial success, conviction as to the rightness of their cause, and the confidence of naivete, and wishing to avoid discovery of their hideouts, the Anarchists take the field to challenge them.
I don’t know yet how these campaigns go, other than not as quickly as either side would like. But after nearly a year of intermittent battles that are for the most part neither entirely conclusive nor entirely decisive, chases ’round the countryside, and so on, each Anarchist army is either soundly defeated and broken in the field (in the east, this is after they threatened to sack the capital) or brought to ground in their headquarters and besieged there.
After a somewhat lengthy and increasingly bitter siege in their headquarters, the Anarchists’ troops become increasingly disillusioned and begin to desert in large numbers. Eventually a cease-fire is signed, the ring-leaders are brought to trial (and most of the rest are given a general amnesty), and the story ends with an amendment to the Charter to outlaw the organization (not that this permanently eliminates it … but more on that much later, if I remember when the time comes) and the army disbanded and sent home in triumph (until … but that’s another story, which I’ll write about next.)
Our principal characters are the leaders of both sides and some of the lesser commanders of the Parliamentary armies. None of whom have names just yet. I could conceivably use this to introduce some of the characters who will be more senior and seasoned figures in Sunshine Civil War, but I’m not sure that’s entirely wise.
Any questions? Any suggestions? Any thoughts?