The Citizens’ Revolution

By 802 CE, the rule of the Sejanian dynasty had become increasingly decadent and corrupt. Huge portions of the imperial treasury were spent on luxury items, and the imperial army was regularly sent on raids into the Outland to enrich the emperor’s coffers. This tense situation led to a series of serious Oustsider invasions, as the scattered groups temporarily united under strong leaders. The incursion of 799 reached nearly to the City itself before being repulsed, and much of the Farmlands was laid waste in reprisal.

This led to a critical food shortage; importing foodstuffs from Outsiders was impossible thanks to the border raids, and the large imperial army needed an immense supply to continue its campaigns. Though gunpowder and musketry had been rediscovered, this technological advantage was offset by increasingly inept military leadership. For instance, the Battle of Stedman’s Farm in 799 resulted in the annihilation of an entire army after the emperor’s brother led it into a trap, but the reins of the armies remained firmly in imperial hands.

802 saw food riots in the city and fresh Outsider incursions along the frontier. Emperor Marcian II ineptly left the situation in the hands of his family members, and the result was the Canal Street Massacre, in which nearly 200 unarmed and starving citizens were gunned down by troops from the Citadel. Two days later, news arrived in the capital of imperial defeats at Marcus’ Mill and Caleb’s Ford. Though these defeats were nowhere near as serious as Stedman’s Farm, the effect was to galvanize the City into open revolt. Many members of the imperial army joined the citizens as they stormed the Citadel under heavy fire, and Marcian was forced to flee the City.

A council of citizens formed a provisional government, seizing imperial weapons and supplies while accepting the allegiance of many units bound for the front lines. Marcian and his court retreated to the imperial army encampment in the Farmlands, and immediately began planning an assault to retake the City. The resulting fighting, which pitted royalists against revolutionaries, lasted until 808, and was utterly ruinous, with opportunistic Outside invasions and bitter campaigning in and around the City itself. The last imperial forces surrendered after the decisive Battle of the Bay, and Marcian was executed by a kangaroo court along with most of the remaining nobility.

The Citizens’ Republic

Taking inspiration from then-radical political philosophy, the new provisional government declared itself a democracy, and elected the first Mayor in late 809. Mayor Quinn, a veteran of the Citizens’ Revolution, moved vigorously to restore order. The remaining Outsiders were expelled, and the imperial treasury was emptied in reconstruction efforts. By 815, when Quinn left office, the Citizens’ Republic was secure.

The Farmlands were the site of one of the new government’s most controversial programs. Outsider prisoners of war were forced to labor on the farms, whose native population had been decimated by the fighting. Eventually, the manpower shortage–coupled with the recovering City’s growing needs–forced regular, government sanctioned raids for more laborers. Though, according to the City Charter, the Outlanders were eligible for citizenship, in practice local laws and hardened attitudes left over from the Revolution meant that the laborers were little more than chattel.

Despite this, the young Citizens’ Republic underwent a cultural and technological renaissance, with many works of art and new ideas forming a potent and diverse cultural mélange. The stagnation that had dogged the city in the last years of the monarchy had finally been dispelled.

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