Colonisation of Arbor

When Marius Sura was being rowed to shore on the eastern coast of the landmass that was to become known as Arbor, he did not know what he would find. Even backed by a company of Pallasian Republic soldiers, he must have felt unease. It was a region known colloquially as Perdis Terrano, ‘the lost land’. Over two centuries before, many more than Sura and his army had landed on those shores ready to colonise the landmass for the glory of the, then Cerenerian, Empire. Landed they had, and settled they did; reports sent home were promising, with fresh water found, ample supply of game and no native population discovered. Then the reports stopped.

Months passed without communication. Ships sent to resupply the settlements were lost. Expeditions to uncover what had happened were stymied by bad weather at first, and then by civil unrest in Pallas and her colonies in Nektiri. After that, the Exile ensured Arbor would remain untouched by Pallas for centuries more. Then came Marius. A small time commander from a merchant family who wanted to make a name for himself. He’d spent years pushing further south on the Eastern continent, pressing into Kosh. He was part of the battalion that razed Oujla, but had to share that glory with the other officers and generals. However, it did give him an avenue for advancement. Thousands of captured Koshi slaves needing to be put to use. He convinced the triarchy of his plan; a bold settlement in a once-thought-lost land. The Pallasian government didn’t have much to lose; Sura had proven himself capable, but he was still expendable. The slaves needed to be used and, if things worked out, it would mean great new lands for the territory-hungry Republic. He was granted leave to found a settlement on Perdis Terrano, and a year later he sailed west with eleven ships full of slaves, soldiers (numbering 200) at his command, and a few hundred others (navigators, cooks, surveyors etc).

Sura had poured over what scant communications he could recover from the previous expedition, but it offered little in the way of information of what he was to encounter. Nothing indicated that there was a native population, disease or mutiny to upset those first colonial efforts. He’d planned for as many eventualities as he could, bringing extra provisions, beasts of burden, trading supplies etc. He needn’t have worried. Sura’s landing was without indecent, and the first colony was quickly established. Although originally named for the regional governor from Sura’s home prefecture, the city that sits on the site of that first landing now bears the name of its founder; Sura.

The human population was initially around 800, but that number grew exponentially with the arrival of new slaves (spoils from the Pallasian/Koshi Wars) and the coupling of those already present. A generation later, the conflict in Kosh came to an end and the Republic was expelled from the region. The tide of human slaves became a trickle. Some of the exiled Koshi, those who had allied with the Pallasian Republic, fled to the newly established colonies. They were not to be welcomed into Pallas proper, but they were more that welcome in the new world where it was thought they could help maintain control of the slave population. Only 200 soldiers had sailed with Sura, and their numbers did not grow nearly as quickly as the humans’ did. With few reinforcements made available from the Republic, the Koshi exiles (already being referred to as Arborians) were seen as a way to re-balance the power in the region. It did not go as the Republic had hoped. Granted parcels of land and wages, new Arborians quickly demonstrated little regard for their orders from the Pallasian triarchy. Pallas warned that insurrection would be met with resistance, but it did little to dissuade their independence. They even founded their own city, Kyberia, south of Sura. It wasn’t long before the human population outnumbered the elven settlers ten to one; in some places, such as Kyberia and some of the other more remote settlements, the difference was even more stark.

With further strife back in the Republic, the recall of some Pallasian forces, and the general weakening of Pallasian power after the Pallsian/Koshi Wars, the situation in Arbor was ripe for rebellion. Many free Arborians openly joined or even fanned the slave uprisings, blaming Pallas for their own exile from Kosh or seeing an opportunity for greater power. Events seemed to hold however, with neither faction making direct moves against the other. It wasn’t until thousands died at the Vetera riots in 357 that the true civil uprising began. Tavrus III was the newly named governor of the Vetera province, having been assigned the position on a promise that he would help bring the Arborians to heel. He convicted a young slave couple to hang after breaking the law that forbid them from unapproved liaisons. On the day of the hanging it seemed all of Veteera had packed in the hippodrome to watch. When the couple were raised up on the scaffolding however, the gallows snapped; the crowd erupted into cries for mercy, many seeing it as a sign the absent Gods disapproved of this injustice. Tavrus was not swayed however; mercy then would mean he would set a precedent of weakness for the remainder of his tenure. He ordered his guards in to form a cordon around the couple, keeping them separate from the mobs which threatened to swarm them. He approached them himself, and the crowds listened, hoping that he was going to grant clemency. It was not to be. After a short speech highlighting the importance of the rule of law and the sovereign powers of Pallas, Tavros himself executed the couple with his sword. It was the last decision he would make. The assembled crowd pushed forward and broke the cordon. Tavrus was killed; some reports say that he was hung on those same gallows, others that the crown tore him to pieces. The end result was the same; the entire city rose up against Pallas and Veteera was destroyed, wiped from the map, along with every Pallasian inhabitant. This caused other settlements to rise up as well, and many away from the population centres on the coats fell quickly. A protracted conflict between the Arborians settlers and Pallasian colonialists began. Still recovering from their failed war, the Pallasian government was keen to end the rebellion. Negotiations between the factions failed initially, with Pallas unwilling to make many concessions.

Eventually however, Pallas was losing more trying to hold onto their cities than they would have been generating from them. They had to try for peace. Talks were held at Kyberia in 362. Pallas held onto direct control of the three major coastal cities – Sura, Istrus and Pratorum – and would be granted governance of the surrounding territories. Most importantly, there was a one time amnesty for many slaves who were able to leave  and resettle in the free cities away from the coasts. What followed was decades of ‘glacial insurrection’ as more and more positions of power went to Arborians as fewer Pallasians were willing to come to the continent. Now, all major cities are outside of Sura Province are governed by Arborians.

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