The First Siege

Over time, attitudes and divisions between the City proper and the outlying Farmlands began to diverge. The use of Outsider laborers, and their descendents, coupled with the rapid rise in the City’s population, began to worry prominent Farmlanders, who demanded greater political autonomy and bitterly resented the City’s interference in their affairs. In the City itself, opposition to the Farmlands’ labor practices became more widespread, while many in the Farmlands began to quietly stockpile arms and talk of a second revolution.

In 954, an abortive rebellion of Outsider laborers briefly seized control of a few small towns in the Farmlands. Although local militia and troops from the Citizen Army easily crushed the uprising, it quickly became a political issue. The Farmlanders demanded tighter laws on Outsider laborers and more freedom to create such laws at the local level, while the Mayor and City Council refused.

Enraged by this, a council of Farmlanders met in the spring of 955 and declared that the Farmlands would henceforth form a city to itself. The Mayor and City Council refused to recognize this, and both sides prepared for war. The Farmlanders moved first, cutting off all land routes into the City and capturing parts of the outskirts. They hoped to starve the Citizens at large into recognizing their independence; the Mayor responded by taking the unprecedented step of trading with Outsiders for food and desperately needed supplies.

In return for manufactured goods, as many Outsiders as the City’s ships could reach provided foodstuffs and raw materials. Even with this lifeline, the Siege was desperate; every inch of available space was dedicated to impromptu gardens, and heavy guns were rolled directly into battle from the Industrial District.

Eventually, the larger population of the City, coupled with its superior industrial productivity, and the Farmlanders’ refusal to trade with Outsiders, allowed the Citizens’ Army to break the siege. By 958, the war had turned to conquest of the Farmlands, and despite desperate defensive measures by the secessionists, the conflict ended by 959. A large portion of the Farmlanders chose to flee before the advancing Citizens’ Army, as did many of their surviving troops. As part of the armistice, they were allowed to leave the Farmlands for the Outlands, where after a long trek the refugees established the Second City. In the wake of their departure, the Outsider laborers were given farmland, and the current policy of admitting a select few Outsiders into the City each year was implemented.

The Second City

The Second City flourished, and conducted profitable trade with the City despite the animosity and destruction of the First Siege. Though always smaller than the City, the Second City soon developed a reputation for technological excellence that was matched only by its brutal labor policies—the practice of using Outsider labor as chattel continued under a slightly different name.

Then next fifty years saw a gradual reduction of tensions between the Cities, despite vocal minorities on both sides who clamored for revenge or renewed conflict. Despite the official trade and neutrality between the Cities, both quietly built up and modernized their armed forces; the rediscovery of heavier-than-air flight and efficient steam turbines led to an extension of this policy in the air and on the sea.

Eventually, the revaunchist party in the Second City gained power, while a weak administration and Mayor presided over the City. The Second Citizens began staging increasingly belligerent military demonstrations, and began making demands for favorable adjustments to trade and other agreements. The City’s government accede to these for a time, but growing public pressure eventually reached a boiling point, and a new Mayor and Council, hostile to the Second City, were installed.

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