History of the Lyran Commonwealth

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Crest of House Steiner

Founding[edit]

Map of The Founding States, 2341

The Lyran Commonwealth was founded in 2341 through the merger of three mercantile alliances, the Tamar Pact, Federation of Skye, and Protectorate of Donegal.[1][2] The three nations were trading partners whose respective specialties complemented each other well.[3]

The merchant princes realized the need for a larger nation and mutual defense because of the rise of large nations on their borders, the militaristic Draconis Combine, mercantile Free Worlds League, and powerful Terran Hegemony. Nonetheless, it was his nation's discovery of the Rim Worlds Republic that led Kevin Tamar to call a summit with his two neighboring leaders, Thomas McQuiston of Skye and Simon Marsden of Donegal in 2339.[4] They quickly agreed on the need to merge, but had trouble settling how to rule the nascent realm. It was Tamar's idea to model the government after classical Greek city-states, with a council of nine archons, including one Archon Basileus.[3]

The leaders also agreed to adopt the Greek lyre as their emblem. This crest inspired the name of their union, one which privileged none of the founding alliances over the others, Lyran Commonwealth.[4][3]

Crisis and Coup[edit]

The years after the Commonwealth's founding were not kind to the new nation or its people. It took five years to name the nine archons, but the council could not agree upon a leader. The Draconis Combine began a buildup of troops that threatened an invasion. The failure of the leadership to properly integrate the three separate economies created serious financial woes.[1] After twenty-five years of economic crisis and military uncertainty, the people had taken to the streets in protest. There was little trust in the new nation and there was tension to secede from all three founding alliances. Into this breach strode Robert Marsden. In August 2375, Marsden seized power in a populist coup, declaring himself Archon Basileus. He created a representative body made up of one person from each world, which swore him in. With the support of the military, Marsden brought resisting worlds to heel.[5]

Archon Marsden leaned on his strength and instituted a series of reforms in the financial sector, including the establishment of a new, nationwide currency and negotiating a trading relationship with the Terran Hegemony. It took fifteen years, but the Lyran economy recovered. Marsden poured the wealth of his nation into its military, giving it the strength to oppose the Combine.[6]

The military High Command launched an unprovoked assault on the Free Worlds planet of Promised Land in 2395. Weeks later, a heart attack killed Archon Marsden. The feared military takeover was averted when the High Command asked Marsden's brother, Alistair, to lead the Commonwealth. Though reluctant to do so, Alistair agreed. He became the second Archon of the Lyran Commonwealth.[7]

Age of War[edit]

The 2398 conflict between the Free Worlds League and Capellan Confederation that sparked the Age of War led Archon Alistair to order a buildup of the Lyran military. Years of peace dulled the Archon's efforts to keep the nation on alert, and no action was more at fault than his own marriage to Katherine Steiner in 2405. The entire nation was taken aback when the Draconis Combine led its first major offensive into the Commonwealth on 1 January 2407. The thrust surely seemed to be headed for the capital world, Arcturus.[8]

The Kurita invasion swept aside the ill-prepared Lyrans, and even the High Command's efforts to blunt the assault failed. Scorched-earth tactics barely slowed them down. Embarrassed and enraged, Alistair dismissed the High Command and took control of the national defense personally. He rallied his troops and was able to halt the Combine at Morningside, one jump away from Arcturus.[8]

With the seat of government in such a precarious position, Alistair invoked war powers to move the capital. Bureaucrats and representatives hustled to the now-centrally-located world of Tharkad. Alistair's wife Katherine Steiner, a professor at Tharkad University, oversaw the construction of the new capital.[9]

In 2408, Archon Alistair headed to the Skye region to oversee the defense there, hoping that his presence would also help heal the rift between Donegal and Skye. At the head of a large number of troops, a group split off to execute a heavy raid on Vega, which Alistair had learned was being used as a staging area. The raid was perhaps the most successful military endeavor in the Commonwealth's history; munitions stores, DropShips, and spaceports were in flames. Alistair traveled to Menkent to assist the defenders there against a Kurita raid. Three days after arriving on Menkent, Alistair was killed in combat.[10]

House Steiner[edit]

Alistair's widow Katherine pressed her claim to become Archon and, with the support of both Tamar and Skye, was confirmed by the Estates General in April 2408 over three other claimants. She reverted to using her maiden name, choosing to be called "Katherine Steiner", inaugurating the rule of House Steiner over the Lyran Commonwealth. She assigned Fatima's Duke Devon Reynolds (whom she would later marry) to lead the LCAF, allowing her to focus on domestic matters. She formed the Commonwealth Council, an advisory body, the Commonwealth Scout Corps to explore space, replaced the lyre with the Steiner fist as the emblem of the nation, and began instilling Germanic culture throughout the Commonwealth. Katherine created a new noble class with Teutonic titles, used German as the official language, and encouraged the kroner's establishment as the nation's currency. Katherine was a party to the Ares Conventions, and signed them in 2412.[11]

Katherine encouraged colonization of worlds within the Commonwealth's territory and spearheaded economic assistance plans to help the nation recover from war. These programs helped right the economic ship but also enriched House Steiner.[11]

In the meantime, the Commonwealth warred with the Free Worlds League. In 2416 the Commonwealth attempted to capture the world of Dieudonne; this prompted the Free Worlds League Parliament to recall Peter Marik to serve as Captain-General, and Peter's short but aggressive campaign saw the League capture several border worlds, including Rochelle and the semi-independent world of Amity. The war ended in an armistice in 2418, but in 2420 the Commonwealth attacked the League again, capturing Amity and Danais in part due to the appointment of General Joseph Stewart as Captain-General following Peter Marik's refusal to serve in the post while constrained by the League's War Powers Act.[12]

The 2420 campaign ended with the Lyran forces routing the Free Worlds League forces in the Concord system, in part because the bulk of the LCAF was occupied with fighting the Draconis Combine; if not for the campaign on the Combine border, the Commonwealth would likely have been able to seize a dozen more League worlds.[12] The lull only lasted until 2427, when Lyran forces landing on Bolan, as well as capturing Dixie and Kamenz while the League Parliament struggled to find someone suitable and willing to take up the post of Captain-General. Terrence Marik accepted the post after the War Powers Act was repealed and launched attacks to try and recapture the worlds, but despite campaigns in 2427 and 2432 that destroyed significant numbers of LCAF units, he couldn't recapture Bolan or Kamenz.[13]

With the appointment of Peter Marik II to the post of Captain-General in 2441 events turned in favour of the League, with Peter recapturing Bolan and Kamenz in 2441, followed by Halfway and Smolnik, potentially putting the League in a position to target Tharkad itself.[13] The powers traded worlds, but the League's seizure of the Bolan Thumb had put the Commonwealth at a strategic disadvantage.[11] Peter was able to build on this by passing laws that allowed the civilian population of worlds captured by the Free Worlds League to join the League as citizens, which prevented the predicted mass exodus of populations off captured Lyran worlds, and instead saw those worlds become productive members of the Free Worlds League.[13]

The BattleMech[edit]

In 2445, Katherine abdicated the throne after thirty-seven years as ruler. She was succeeded by her son, Alistair Steiner.[14] Alistair inherited a militarily-weak nation that was losing ground against both of its aggressive neighbors. Alistair tasked the LCAF with a mission that required them to succeed where the Lyran Intelligence Corps had failed for a decade: steal the specifications for the Terran Hegemony's new war machine, the BattleMech. A 2455 commando raid on the Hegemony's BattleMech production facility on Hesperus II, a world jointly-held by the Hegemony and the Commonwealth, got them what they needed. Alistair ordered secret facilities built on Alarion and Coventry to produce this fearsome new weapon.[15][16]

Lyran 'Mechs made their first appearance in battle in 2459, halting an advance by Captain-General Geralk Marik, literally crushing the man known as "the Bloodthirsty" under the heel of a Lyran 'Mech on Loric[15] - although not before he had already captured the worlds of Bella I and Alula Australis.[17] The battle showed off the might of the Lyran 'Mechs but also clued the Terrans in to the fact that their technology had been stolen. They hit the Lyrans with trade restrictions, but declined to take military action. Alistair's gamble had paid off. Before the other nations could field BattleMechs of their own, Alistair sent the LCAF on the offensive in 2463. Known as the Long March, the four-year offensive reversed many of the Commonwealth's territorial losses.[15] Lyran BattleMechs helped the Commonwealth recapture Bella I and Cavanaugh II, but the Lyran campaign against the League bogged down on Alula Australis, and in 2470 the League fielded its own BattleMechs on Alula Australis, turning the tide in favour of the League.[17]

Archon Alistair was assassinated in 2467, ushering in the era of Lyran history known as The Dark Years. Alistair was succeeded by his eldest son Michael. Hoping to improve the morale of the nation, Michael and his brother Steven were married in a double ceremony. Unfortunately, their goal was undermined by the suicide of their sister, Tatyana. An earthquake in Tharkad City killed Michael's bride and a number of Estate General representatives less than a month later. As the nation focused on disaster relief and grieving, the Draconis Combine struck at Nox. General Steven commanded the troops, but Michael raced to the front anyway. In his grief, he abdicated as Archon in favor of Steven and took command of troops on Nox. The Battle of Nox was the first major battle between BattleMechs and claimed the life of the former Archon four years after his abdication.[18]

Civil War[edit]

Margaret Olson

Steven Steiner was unprepared to be Archon. He was indecisive and inexperienced, and his wife Margaret Olson largely ruled in his stead. Unfortunately for the Lyrans, Olson relied heavily on mystics, gurus, omens, portents, and superstitions. The weak, ineffective leadership allowed the nobility to seize more power, so, when Steven died, Duke Samuel Natash of Tamar and Connor Gilderoy of Skye backed her for Archon. The Estates General refused to confirm Olson and convinced Robert Steiner, illegitimate son of the late Tatyana, to stand for the throne. The trio fled Tharkad to consolidate their power. In late 2503, the Estates General declared for Robert. Civil war was inevitable.[19]

Robert tried to capture Olson quickly, but she fled to Skye. Surging on a groundswell of public support, Robert captured Skye after a two-month battle, though Duke Natash's forces managed to spirit both Olson and Duke Gilderoy away to Tamar. Robert's troops caught up with them four months later. Tamar was ready for him, though, with fresh troops and well-prepared defenses. Robert's exhausted forces were no match. Now April 2505, a Terran Hegemony mediator arrived to negotiate a peaceful settlement. After only a day, the mediator gave up and left Tamar. As Robert's troops prepared for their final battle, Duke Nels Reynolds of Fatima arrived with fresh troops for Steiner. The combined might of Steiner and Reynolds spelled the end for Olson and the rebel Dukes. Finally confirmed as Archon in 2506, Robert Steiner stripped the holdings and titles of Tamar and Skye from their families and awarded them to two loyal families, the Kelswas and the Lestrades, respectively. Robert advocated for peace and shifted the LCAF to a defensive footing, though that didn't stop them from conquering Megrez in 2508.[20]

Robert abdicated in favor of his son and heir Craig in 2528. An assassination attempt in 2529 prompted him to modify the throne room to allow for two BattleMech guards. Craig largely continued his father's attempts to rule peacefully, going so far as to sign the Treaty of Megrez in 2531, which called for the Terrans to garrison peacekeepers on all worlds contested between the Commonwealth and the Free Worlds League. Archon Craig's business loan policy, coupled with migration from densely populated worlds in the Federation of Skye to newly-settled Protectorate of Donegal worlds, created an economic boom and increase in industrial output. Craig also created the Commonwealth Supreme Court, sharing some of his power with the judicial body. In 2554 Craig named his niece, Chief Justice Tracial Steiner, as his heir. He died in 2555. The Age of War officially ended the following year.[21]

Star League[edit]

Viola Steiner-Dinesen
The Lyran Commonwealth in 2571

On 25 May 2558, Tracial signed the Tharkan Accords, which pledged the Lyran Commonwealth to the nascent Star League. Tracial spent the rest of her reign advocating and preparing her nation for the creation of the League. She died on 6 January 2570, inaugurating the rule of her daughter, Viola Steiner-Dinesen. Viola signed the Star League Accords in Geneva along with the other House Lords on 9 July 2571.[22]

The growing pains of joining the League were apparent almost immediately. The Commonwealth spread the tax burden out to each planet equally. The increased taxation was not much of a burden to highly-populated and industrialized worlds, such as Skye, but was a serious problem for poorer or less well-developed systems. This culminated with the Main Street Tax Revolt of 2573, which saw rioting and strikes in several worlds on the Coventry Province Periphery border, centered on Main Street. Viola opted not to send in the military. Instead, she invited the leader of the "Rich Worlds Coalition", Duke Carlo Lestrade, to have a debate. The Archon's proposed reform carried the day and the Estates General, endearing her to the common person. With reform passed, the revolt ended.[23]

Reunification War[edit]

Main article: Reunification War

House Cameron had never been shy about their intention to unite all of humanity under their banner. It was no surprise when the Star League began to rattle their sabres in the direction of the Periphery, four nations who refused to join the League. A series of incidents led to First Lord Ian Cameron issuing the Pollux Proclamation in 2575, which threatened the Periphery states with war if they did not join the Star League peacefully. All four nations refused.[24]

The war against the Rim Worlds Republic was codenamed "Operation Mailed Fist". President Gregory Amaris was actually pro-Star League, but his administration had been toppled in late 2575 and replaced with a provisional government, which refused entry into the League. The Star League, already at war with the Taurian Concordat and Magistracy of Canopus, gathered eighteen Star League Defense Force units, nine from the Free Worlds League Military, and three from the LCAF. The SLDF planned a campaign they thought would take about five years and hinged on driving directly for the Rim Worlds capital of Apollo. Archon Viola, who did not support the invasion, convinced them to change the plan to include a broader offensive to reduce the number of Republic troops available to counterattack into the Commonwealth.[25]

When they entered the fight in 2584, Viola led the Lyrans personally, leaving her heir, Archon-designate Kevin Steiner-Dinesen, to rule with the assistance of the Dukes of Skye and Tamar, Aldo Lestrade and Selvin Kelswa, respectively. The career military officer saw the offensive bog down badly, with the coalition making virtually no progress after eight years. Poor worlds suffered under the strain of supporting the campaign.[25][26]

At home, Kevin attempted to lower taxes in 2589 to appease those who were suffering under the strain. Pressure from the Star League forced him to reverse his decision, which prompted criticism, especially from the Estates General Steering Committee. On 13 July 2591, Kevin was kidnapped. Suspicion immediately centered on Dukes Lestrade and Kelswa, especially after they fled Tharkad. When Viola received word on 10 September, she saw red. The Archon assaulted the Twenty-fifth Skye Rangers and Tamar Tigers. Her guard was drawn into the fight and over one hundred Lyrans were dead before SLDF troops could intervene and stop her "Day of Rage". Archon Viola was badly wounded and lay in a coma for a month.[27]

The SLDF released the Archon to deal with her internal crisis. She returned to Tharkad to find the LIC cleared the Dukes of all wrongdoing, instead fingering Speaker Graf Henry Gram. The Archon arrived at the Government House with LCAF and LIC operatives just as Gram was able to break the filibuster and pass a bill to secede from the Star League. The Archon and her Loyalist forces seized the Government House, crushed Gram under the foot of her Warhammer, and disbanded the legislative body. Viola attempted to make amends, but the rift between House Steiner and Skye and Tamar became irreparable.[27][28]

Viola reinstalled her son as her regent and returned to the front. On 24 March 2595, Archon Viola led her command into the inner defense of the provisional government on Apollo and was severely wounded. The Republic government surrendered on 3 September 2596.[27]

Star League Years[edit]

Archon Michael Steiner II at age 75 in 2750
Main article: Amaris Civil War

The 27th century was a golden age for mankind and the Commonwealth, which prospered under the free trade of the Star League thanks to its industrial and economic might.[29]

The beginning of the end came in 2741 when a "pirate" attack resulted in the massacre of five hundreds Lyrans on The Edge. The bandits, who used BattleMechs, were tracked back to Butte Hold and were determined to be mercenaries in the employ of House Kurita. On Terra, Archon Michael Steiner II confronted Coordinator Takiro Kurita, and both nations rattled sabres by shuffling around troops on their border. The supposed pirate raids continued for ten years, prompting First Lord Simon Cameron to embark on a Sphere-wide goodwill tour in 2750. Tragedy struck when an accident with a mining robot resulted in the First Lord's death.[30]

Commanding General Aleksandr Kerensky ruled as Regent for Richard Cameron, who was eight years old when his father was killed. President Stefan Amaris of the Rim Worlds Republic ingratiated himself to the young heir. The Council Lords levied heavy taxes on the Territorial (Periphery) States and increased the sizes of their military forces, both edicts that were technically illegal because they lacked Kerensky's signature. For their part, the Lyrans raised thirteen new BattleMech regiments. When Cameron came of age in 2762, his first edict called for the disbanding of the House armies. The ridicule he earned for it isolated him further from everybody, save Amaris. The New Vandenberg Revolt signaled a full-scale rebellion in the Periphery (except for the Rim Worlds). Kerensky sent SLDF troops to quell the revolts, allowing Amaris to garrison Hegemony worlds with Republic troops. In 2766 Amaris' long plan came to fruition; he assassinated every Cameron he could find and took the Terran Hegemony in a coup, then declared himself Emperor of mankind.[31]

General Kerensky quickly extricated the SLDF from the rebellious Periphery states and converged on the Rim Worlds Republic. His troops conquered the nation and used its industry to rebuild. None of the House Lords openly supported Kerensky's offensive on the Hegemony, though a few, including Archon Robert Steiner II, allowed him to stage from their nations. Robert's decision not to openly support Kerensky made him very unpopular among his own people. Droves of Lyrans left to the Republic to pledge themselves to Kerensky's cause. At great cost, the SLDF troops were able to liberate the Hegemony and Terra.[32]

When Kerensky abandoned the Periphery in 2772 to liberate the Hegemony, House Steiner moved in to garrison the Rim Worlds Republic. They found pockets of resistance and some military forces still loyal to Amaris. Over one hundred LCAF regiments secured and pacified the Republic in an undeclared war.[33]

Following the liberation of Terra, the Council Lords assembled in 2780, but could not agree on which of them should accede as First Lord. They stripped Kerensky of his title of Protector of the Realm and appointed Jerome Blake to rebuild the shattered HPG network. The Lords declared the League disbanded in 2781. Shortly after this announcement, Archon Robert contracted pneumonia and died, leaving his sister Jennifer to succeed him. Each of the House Lords prepared for war, including by trying to hire SLDF and Rim Worlds troops on as mercenaries or House troops. In 2784, rather than wait for his forces to be bought away, Kerensky led eighty percent of the SLDF into exile, removing the last barrier to bloodshed.[34]

First Succession War[edit]

Map of the Lyran Commonwealth after the First Succession War
Main article: First Succession War

The Commonwealth went on the offensive to begin the First Succession War, so named because the House Lords were ostensibly fighting over which of them would become First Lord. In May 2785 LCAF troops attacked Bolan, then controlled by House Marik, in response to reports of a troop buildup there. The FWLM forces lost, but used nuclear weapons and scorched-earth tactics to deny the Lyrans any substantive advantage from their conquest. This signaled the beginning of a different kind of war, one that ignored the Ares Conventions in favor of total war.[35]

The Draconis Combine distracted House Steiner with a raid on Bone-Norman. Remembering their "bandit" raids of years past, the LCAF redeployed to the Periphery border to counter the threats. The DCMS then struck at Skondia in 2786, devastating the planet and running circles around the Lyran defenders. Coordinator Minoru Kurita decided that the Lyrans were too weak to even pose a challenge for his troops, so he turned them on the Federated Suns. The Lyrans matched their rivals in securing worlds of the collapsed Terran Hegemony. In December, Minoru declared himself First Lord. Though she believed that the Star League was dead and gone, Archon Jennifer Steiner made the same assertion.[35][36]

The Commonwealth traded worlds with the Combine and Free Worlds over the course of the war. Archon Jennifer Steiner was killed in action in 2791 on Styx. She was succeeded by her son Richard. In 2811, the Commonwealth defended against a Marik assault on Poulsbo. The Lyran victory forced the Mariks to abandon the Bolan Thumb. By 2812, commerce was at a standstill and the economy was in shambles. Even the Estates General found it too difficult to convene due to a lack of JumpShips, forcing Speaker Timothy Aths to disband the legislative body. The Commonwealth and League began peace talks in 2820, and those talks were formalized with the Bella Accords. No formal treaty was signed, but the conflict with the Combine ground to a halt in 2821, signaling the end of the First Succession War.[36]

Inter-War Period[edit]

After reigning for thirty years, Archon Richard Steiner's nation was broken. They had lost thirty star systems, a greatly reduced military that was barely operational, dozens of major industrial facilities wrecked, a mostly-destroyed navy, greatly-diminished capacity to produce JumpShips, and shipping that was so thoroughly disrupted that basic supplies that made worlds habitable were difficult to come by. Richard called the Estates General to session and presented them with a plan for reconstruction that focused on heavy industry first. To deal with the worlds conquered from the Rim Worlds Republic decades earlier, Richard created Archonettes. Each Archonette hailed from a world that was wealthier than those within one jump and had total authority over the nobility and bureaucracy of that region to coordinate the reconstruction of those worlds, ensuring that each receive a balanced number of supplies. Once each world in the region was able to at least provide for itself, the Archonette's job was done and he or she would be rewarded with a land grant and title on an interior world.[37]

Richard was succeeded by his son Marcus in June 2823. Marcus released all transports that had been conscripted for military service, though he required that each one deliver supplies to three needy worlds. Marcus opened up House Steiner's coffers to help industrial centers of national importance move from border systems to interior worlds, an opportunity few passed up on. Marcus's major error in rebuilding was a tax on ComStar. Then-Primus Conrad Toyama countered by shutting down the HPG on Tharkad. After a year of blackout, Marcus relented and rescinded the tax.[38]

Second Succession War[edit]

Map of the Lyran Commonwealth after the Second Succession War
Main article: Second Succession War

The Draconis Combine's first action of war after 2821 came in 2825 and became known as the Chain Gang raids. The Combine equipped criminals with poor BattleMechs to raid the Lyrans, intending to set back reconstruction. The Commonwealth waited for further assaults, but none came. The LCAF sent their own raids in 2826 and 2827, to which the DCMS responded. Tensions on the Free Worlds League front were increased after failed prisoner exchange talks broke down and the Commonwealth delegate was killed.[39]

The Combine launched an invasion on multiple fronts on 14 March 2830, and House Marik did the same later that year. The Second Succession War was just as brutal as the first, with total war the name of the game. In 2843, Archon Marcus contracted meningitis on Loric and returned to Tharkad. With no heir, his wife, Melissa Nin, declared her intention to become Archon. This claim was shortly followed by a similar one from Claudius Steiner, CO of the Second Lyran Guards. When Marcus passed away, the Estates General, led by Speaker Harlan Dinesen, declared Nin to be Archon in 2844. Five months later, the Second Lyran Guards and Claudius Steiner assaulted Tharkad City and defeated the defending forces. Both Nin and Dinesen were captured, charged with high treason, and executed. Claudius dismissed the Estates General and declared himself Archon, ruling with an ever-tighter grip. Claudius neglected the borders, allowing the Combine and League to launch assaults. The nation breathed a sigh of relief when he died in 2849.[40]

The Estates General met again and created a regency council for nine-year-old Elizabeth Steiner, Claudius's daughter. The council consisted of her mother Rebecca Morgan, Speaker Henry DeCalidore of Furillo, and Duchess Ilysa Aten of Skye. The Triumvirate ruled when the Lyrans successfully defended Hesperus II from the DCMS in 2853. Elizabeth became Archon in her own right in 2859, overseeing the end of the Second Succession War in 2863. Again, the Lyran state was damaged, its economy in downturn, and industries in need of repair.[41]

Third Succession War[edit]

Map of the Lyran Commonwealth after the Third Succession War
Main article: Third Succession War

The LCAF underwent a partial demobilization that was halted when the Combine invaded in March 2866. The unprepared Lyran military did not even attempt the relieve the defenders, instead setting a defensive line behind the worlds already occupied by the DCMS. The Lyrans declared war on the Free Worlds League after a failed assassination attempt on Archon Elizabeth.[42]

The League attacked in earnest in 2869, meeting with limited success because the Lyrans were distracted by the swift-moving Kurita war machine. The Mariks were unable to take full advantage because they were also distracted, but by the Capellan Confederation.[43]

The Third Succession War saw a major strategic shift in the way the war was prosecuted. The general decline of all of the Successor States resulted in a reduced overall technological level, including the inability to create the factories that produced BattleMechs. Rather than risk being unable to prosecute the war, the five powers unofficially returned to the Ares Conventions. Weapons of mass destruction were eschewed, JumpShips and factories were fought over instead of destroyed, and fresh water was as important as germanium.[44]

The Combine advanced steadily against the LCAF, taking world after world in the Isle of Skye. The DCMS drove towards Skye itself, taking Ryde and Skondia in the 2880s, then Freedom and Zebebelgenubi in the 2890s. In 2895, the Draconians invaded Skye. Though it took the use of a nuclear weapon, the Lyrans ejected the Kurita invaders, who changed their focus and drove for Tamar.[45]

Succeeding his late mother, Archon Eric Steiner expanded conscription and planned an offensive campaign.[46] In 2913, at the head of the Third Royal Guards on Freedom, Eric was killed in combat. He was succeeded by his daughter Tatyana Steiner. Throughout the 3rd War, the Lyrans continued Eric's strategy of attacking when they had the strength.[47]

Also in 2913, the Free Worlds invaded Loric, but were rebuffed by the LCAF. The Lyran counter-assaults failed until a traitor was exposed. A League sympathizer, Hauptmann Mikhail Tertren of the Strategy and Tactics Division hindered the LCAF's actions against the FWLM until he was ousted in 2937. The League again invaded Loric in 2971. It took intervention from a relief force organized by Archon Giovanni Steiner that included elements from the Eridani Light Horse to break the FWLM invasion force.[48]

Giovanni's death in 2980 cleared the way for Alessandro Steiner to take the throne. Steiner ordered deep raids against the Free Worlds on the Capellan border. The surprise strikes delivered a military success that was of questionable benefit to the Commonwealth. Alessandro stretched his military thin to strike back, primarily at the Combine, inviting the Free Worlds to invade Hesperus II twice in the late 2990s.[49]

Alessandro's plan to win back the hearts of his subjects was known as "Concentrated Weakness", which called for reserve troops massing on the Free Worlds border and advancing. The strategy was successful, but fueled dissent on interior worlds that had been stripped of protection, inviting deep raids. Calls to replace Alessandro focused on his niece Katrina Steiner as his replacement.[50] In 3004, Katrina disappeared, only to resurface on Tharkad two years later. The FWLM did indeed launch a series of deep raids on key Lyran worlds, who were unable to mount an effective defense because of their denuded garrisons. The Estates General voted no confidence in Alessandro, who stepped down on 22 July 3007, allowing Katrina to accede to the throne.[51]

Peace Proposal[edit]

As Archon, one of Katrina's first actions was to reverse Alessandro's "Concentrated Weakness" policy, rotating garrison units back to their posts. The LCAF had ground down after almost 140 years of constant warfare, reducing them to raids and defensive campaigns. Katrina took advantage of the slow military situation to reassign JumpShips to civilian activities, including humanitarian missions.[52]

Seeking to formalize the end of hostilities, Katrina sent her now-famous Peace Proposal to her four peers. They all rejected the document, but First Prince Hanse Davion of the Federated Suns was intrigued that she was willing to reach out at all. They began discussing an alliance, resulting in the Federated-Commonwealth Alliance Document, which was signed by Katrina and Hanse in May 3022. While this was public knowledge, a secret provision betrothed Hanse to Katrina's daughter, Archon-designate Melissa Steiner. In time, the two nations would be joined under Katrina's grandchild.[53] In response, the remaining three Great Houses joined together in a looser alliance known as the Concord of Kapteyn.[54]

Though Katrina's Peace Proposal was never accepted by any power, nor was any similar document signed, 3025 was acknowledged as the end of the Third Succession War.[55]

Alliance[edit]

Partly as a way of fostering union between allies and partly as a way of masking troop buildups, the LCAF and AFFS participated in joint military exercises, known as Operations Galahad and Thor. Though the Suns troops were clearly superior, the training benefited the Lyrans and laid bare the rationale behind Archon Katrina's efforts to rid the LCAF of "social generals" who attained their positions through contacts and influence rather than battlefield prowess.[54]

Fourth Succession War[edit]

Map of the Lyran Commonwealth after the Fourth Succession War (3025)
Main article: Fourth Succession War

On 20 August 3028 Archon-designate Melissa Steiner married Hanse Davion in a ceremony on Terra. The wedding was attended by the leaders of the five Great Houses and their entourages. It was at the reception that the other leaders learned they were at war. While Hanse presented Melissa with the traditional slice of cake, he informed her of his wedding gift when he said, "Wife, in honor of our marriage... I give you the Capellan Confederation!"[56][57]

Combine Front[edit]

The stage was set for the LCAF to invade the Draconis Combine. The AFFS launched a devastatingly successful assault on the Capellans. Wolf's Dragoons occupied Kurita attention in the Galedon Military District. The Free Worlds League was still recovering from the Marik Civil War. The DCMS was shuffling troops around, as had become routine for them after the end of the Third Succession War.[58][59]

The strength of the Lyran military advanced into the Draconis Combine under the command of General Nondi Steiner, Katrina's sister. Well over one hundred regiments of troops netted the Lyrans dozens of worlds, most of which the Combine had conquered in earlier decades and centuries. The Lyrans were forced to abandon the campaign when the Kuritans captured interior Isle of Skye worlds that threatened Skye itself, leading to internal dissension from Free Skye and their supporters. Unable to retake those border worlds, the Archon lacked the political support to continue the offensive.[58]

Operation Götterdämmerung was more than just a military invasion, however. The Lyrans utilized Rasalhagians who wanted to declare independence and form their own nation. The Archon recognized Tyr separatists as a legitimate government, and, in turn, these individuals provided vital local intelligence and worked behind Draconian lines to sabotage defenses.[59][60]

League Front[edit]

House Marik was initially content to sit out the fight, but pressure from their erstwhile allies, Houses Liao and Kurita, led to an invasion with no purpose or objective. The LCAF gave ground, but held the FWLM off from doing any serious damage. The League was caught off-guard when the fledgling Tikonov Free Republic launched an invasion of the Free Worlds. Woefully out of position to deal with this new development and fearful of a Lyran counter-assault, Captain-General Janos Marik ordered withdrawal.[61]

Aftermath[edit]

When the war ended on 10 January 3030, the Commonwealth had been enlarged by 171 inhabited star systems, 13 from the Free Worlds, 51 from the Combine, and 107 the Suns conquered from the Capellans that legally became part of the Lyran Commonwealth as Hanse Davion's wedding gift. The war created a corridor of worlds that linked the Lyran Commonwealth with the Federated Suns, allowing for the birth of the Federated Commonwealth.[62][63]

The way in which the Lyrans used the Rasalhagians to contribute to their successes against the Combine came at a price, however. No independent Rasalhagian nation had been created, in large part because Rasalhague itself was still under the Combine's control. Indeed, Tamar Pact Duke Selvin Kelswa tried to take control of the Rasalhagian worlds that were promised to Tyr, damaging Lyran relations with the freedom fighters. In an astute move, newly-promoted Gunji-no-Kanrei Theodore Kurita recognized the Free Rasalhague Republic in 3034, forcing Archon Katrina to do the same. This move swiftly deprived the Lyrans of much of their hard-fought conquests and created a buffer state between the Combine and the Commonwealth. Resentment of the decision led to public demonstrations, which led to AFFS units using heavy-handing measures to keep the piece, which led to resentment of Suns troops on Lyran worlds and, by extension, resentment of the alliance. The protests were especially concentrated in the Isle of Skye, which had a large number of AFFS units acting as garrisons. This "Skye Crisis" was only quelled by the direct intervention of Duke Ryan Steiner, an act that elevated his profile.[64][60]

War of 3039[edit]

Map of the Lyran Commonwealth after the War of 3039 (3040)
Main article: War of 3039

Just before the Federated Commonwealth launched a new invasion in 3039, Katrina Steiner abdicated as Archon in favor of Melissa. The expected invasion of the Draconis Combine, delayed by internal problems that included the Skye Crisis, finally got off the ground. The creation of the Rasalhague nation meant that the allied nations had a narrow front to engage the Draconians on, so much of the invasion was initiated from the Suns half. Field Marshal Nondi Steiner again commanded the Lyran invasion. LCAF forces quickly found that Theodore Kurita had molded the DCMS into a more-effective fighting force than it had been during the 4th War, and the Kurita forces fielded advanced Star League-era technology (they later found out that the DCMS was gifted this tech by ComStar in exchange for recognizing Rasalhagian independence). The surprise, coupled with a counter-attack against the Suns and a commando raid that killed many members of the LCAF invasion command staff, was enough to convince Hanse and Melissa to halt the invasion in early 3040. The short war exposed the lack of cohesion between the two military formations, leading the rulers to further integrate their armed forces into one whole, which resulted in the creation of the Armed Forces of the Federated Commonwealth in 3042.[65]

Crest of the Federated Commonwealth

Clan Invasion[edit]

Map of the Lyran half of the Federated Commonwealth after the Clan Invasion (3052)

Unknown to the Inner Sphere, the descendants of Aleksandr Kerensky's created a society of their own, divided into twenty Clans. The Clans never suffered the technological degradation of the Succession Wars; in fact, they had even more advanced weaponry than the Star League fielded. When the ComStar Explorer Corps vessel Outbound Light was captured by Clan Smoke Jaguar, it gave the Crusader Clans the ammunition they needed to convince the Warden Clans to invade the Inner Sphere.[66][67]

In 3050, four Clans invaded the Lyran half of the Federated Commonwealth, the Free Rasalhague Republic, and the Draconis Combine. The Lyrans faced Clan Jade Falcon and Clan Wolf in the Tamar March. On Trell I, FedCom heir Victor Steiner-Davion had to be evacuated from the planet in advance of a Falcon invasion. He had his revenge, however, when he helped plan a counter-strike against the Falcon garrison on Twycross. Correctly guessing that the Clans were garrisoning their worlds with lower-quality commands, the assault nonetheless ran into the front-line Falcon Guards, which they were able to overcome thanks to a heroic stand by heir to the St. Ives Compact Kai Allard-Liao.[67][68]

The Inner Sphere gained a respite in 3051 when a Rasalhagian aerospace pilot Tyra Miraborg rammed her vessel into a Clan WarShip. Unknown to her, she struck the bridge of the Wolf flagship Dire Wolf with the leader of all the Clans, ilKhan Leo Showers aboard, resulting in his death. The leaders of the Clans had to return to Clan space to elect a new ilKhan, a process that took almost a year. During the so-called Year of Peace, the Inner Sphere leaders and their heirs met on Outreach at the invitation of Jaime Wolf of Wolf's Dragoons. There, he revealed that the Dragoons were not just a mercenary unit, but a scouting force dispatched by the Clans that had turned their backs on their origin. This made him uniquely positioned to provide intelligence on the invaders.[69][67]

On Outreach, Prince Hanse Davion struck a non-aggression pact with Gunji-no-Kanrei Theodore Kurita, freeing up the best AFFC units to move to the Clan front. Hanse also convinced Free Worlds League Captain-General Thomas Marik to produce and sell refit kits to the powers facing the Clans, which upgraded their BattleMechs with Star League-era technology. In order to convince Marik to do this, Hanse offered to treat Thomas's son and heir Joshua for his leukemia at the New Avalon Institute of Science.[70]

The Lyran half of the Federated Commonwealth lost dozens of worlds from Here to Orkney, including Tamar. The Tamar March was reduced to a thin strip of border worlds by the time the ComGuard forced the fifteen-year Truce of Tukayyid on the Clans in 3052. Hanse Davion died of a heart attack, leaving Melissa Steiner to rule the Commonwealth.[71][72]

Steiner-Davion[edit]

Victor Steiner-Davion in 3050

With the invasion suspended, the Isle of Skye again began agitating for independence, though Archon Melissa was able to keep her nation together. As part of her plot to rise to power, Katherine Steiner-Davion had her mother assassinated in 3055. Melissa's death meant the accession of Victor as Archon-Prince of the Federated Commonwealth, a role the war hero did not think he was ready for. Though she publicly supported him, behind the scenes, Katherine helped fuel the whispers that Victor had been responsible for his mother's death. He unwittingly lent credence to those voices when he ordered the assassination of Duke Ryan Steiner to cut of the head of Free Skye and end Skye's second full-on rebellion. With public sentiment turning against the Archon-Prince, his little sister's plan went into full swing.[73][71][74]

The Lyran Alliance[edit]

Crest of the Lyran Alliance

Genesis[edit]

The Lyran Alliance was created when Katherine Steiner-Davion (or Katrina Steiner, as she preferred to be called) invoked Emergency Powers and seceded the Lyran half from the Federated Commonwealth. She used her brother's apparent duplicity and the war that followed as her rationale. To prevent the Free Worlds League from discontinuing supplies for the war against the Clans to the rest of the Inner Sphere, Victor Ian Steiner-Davion had substituted a double in place of Thomas' son, Joshua Marik, since the boy had died of leukemia despite his treatment in the New Avalon Institute of Science. When Thomas was informed of the deception, he launched a war, allied with Sun-Tzu Liao and his Capellan Confederation, to retake worlds he lost to Victor's father, Hanse Davion, in the Fourth Succession War. Victor directly controlled the half of the Federated Commonwealth formerly known as the Federated Suns, while Kathrine was his regent in the half formerly known as the Lyran Commonwealth. Thomas sent a message to Kathrine reassuring her that he had no quarrel with her, and accordingly would not attack any of her worlds, though he would understand if she sided with her brother and would bear no ill-will. Instead, Kathrine decided to give Victor no support and to effectively sever her half of the realm and christen it the Lyran Alliance. Katherine recalled Lyran units garrisoning the Sarna March, resulting in the no-man's-land Chaos March.[75][76][77][74]

Almost immediately, however, there was opposition. Victor still had supporters in Lyran half of his realm, the most powerful of whom was Morgan Kell. Kell used his title as Duke of Arc-Royal and his position on the Clan Jade Falcon border to create what was effectively an independent state known as the Arc-Royal Defense Cordon. Grand Duke Morgan Kell paid lip service to Archon Katherine, but ran his affairs to his own liking. The ARDC became a haven for military units, House and mercenary alike, that did not approve of Katherine's secession and maintained loyalty to Archon-Prince Victor.[78][76]

Jade Falcon Incursion[edit]

The creation of the ARDC seemed fortuitous, because in 3058 Clan Jade Falcon launched an invasion. This invasion, however, was initially confused for a pirate raid as it came from a vector that originated in the Periphery, not the Clan Occupation Zones. This was compounded by the fact that Archon Katherine was on a secret diplomatic mission to the Clans, so her chief advisers, General of the Armies Nondi Steiner and Tormano Liao had to deal with the problem in her name while maintaining the secrecy of her absence.[78][76][79][80]

The invasion was led by Khan Marthe Pryde herself and, while the Lyran leaders did not know it at the time, her goal was simply to blood her warriors. Because life in the Inner Sphere was more peaceful than that of the Clan homeworlds, her warriors did not have the same battle-hardened edge of other Clan warriors. In addition, the tremendous losses of the Refusal War forced her to give warrior status to some sibko members before they were ready, as well as allowing more freebirth warriors in the Clan's touman than normal. Marthe also needed to make her Clan look powerful in the eyes of the other Clans so that they would not attack the Falcons or call for Absorption. Because of this, she decided to execute a series of raids that penetrated deeper and deeper into Lyran space, rather than initiating a more traditional offensive across a broad front.[78]

By the time the Falcon assault force landed on Coventry, most Inner Sphere observers were of the belief that the Falcons intended to cross the Tukayyid Truce line and reignite the Clan Invasion, with themselves already in possession of a hefty head start. With this in mind, the Lyrans decided to make a stand at the important industrial world of Coventry, a mere two jumps from Tharkad and barely above the truce line. In the meantime, Archon Katherine returned with news that she had signed a secret pact with Khan Vlad Ward of Clan Wolf. She had been captured by Vlad during a naval battle that her Lyran flotilla had happened upon, and the two leaders negotiated a mutual defense agreement aimed at Clan Jade Falcon, with whom they both shared a border. In order to improve the defense of Coventry, the Lyrans hired elements of Wolf's Dragoons as well as the Waco Rangers. The intense enmity between the two mercenary commands led to a lack of command cohesion that threatened the defenders.[78][80][81]

Also around the same time, a large war-game was scheduled with participants from around the Inner Sphere at Tukayyid. When Prince Victor got wind of the Battle of Coventry, he decided to divert the massive force there in order to stop the Falcons. Katherine allowed the erstwhile Archon-Prince to come at the head of the expeditionary force because she hoped that he would be killed in the fighting and she could take over the Federated Commonwealth. In addition, while Khan Phelan Kell could not spare a detachment of his Wolves for the fight, he did lend Victor Star Captain Ragnar, the captured son of Rasalhague Prince Haakon Magnusson. Victor landed with his force amid reports that Clan Wolf had launched an invasion of the Falcon Occupation Zone. Though Khan Pryde recognized the need to defend her territory, Clan honor dictated that the Falcons stay until they won. On the advice of Ragnar, Victor and Caradoc Trevana (one of the few officers who had led a successful campaign against the Falcons) offered Khan Pryde hegira, the privilege of a defeated enemy to leave unmolested. Khan Pryde, eager to extricate her forces from the battle, accepted the offer. Archon Katherine was furious, however, as it denied her the opportunity to see Victor dead in battle.[82][76][79][83]

New Star League[edit]

Katherine Steiner-Davion in 3060

The cooperation fostered from this venture led the Inner Sphere leaders to desire further cooperation against the Clans. Archon Katherine, in the spirit of the Battle of Coventry, offered for Tharkad to be the site of the summit that came to be known as the Whitting Conference. The leaders of all the Inner Sphere powers were present at the Whitting Conference, and they decided to fight the Clans by giving them their objective: the resurrection of the Star League. The new Star League Council also decided to take the fight to the Clans by annihilating one of them. While Archon Katherine argued for that Clan to be the Jade Falcons, the decision was made to attack Clan Smoke Jaguar instead, because they were more powerful and a defector had provided ComStar with a route to the Smoke Jaguar capital of Huntress.[84][76][85][79]

Lyran units participated in Operation Bulldog. The 10th Lyran Guards also accompanied Prince Victor on his follow-up mission to help the Task Force Serpent forces that assaulted Huntress.[86][85]

FedCom Civil War[edit]

Map of the Lyran Alliance after the FedCom Civil War (3067)

Katherine took advantage of Victor's absence to usurp her sister's regency of the Federated Commonwealth, which necessitated her presence on New Avalon. She left Nondi Steiner as her regent on Tharkad in the meantime. When Arthur Steiner-Davion was presumed dead after the stadium he was giving a speech in was bombed in 3062, Victor decided that he could not stand idly by and placed the blame for Arthur's death on Katherine. He also called on anybody who resisted Katherine's rule to arms and began a bloody civil war. This conflict lasted until 3067.[76][85]

Damage to the LAAF was not as great as what occurred to the Armed Forces of the Federated Suns. This was mostly due to the fact that most Lyran units were united in their support of Katherine, and most of the units that did not support her moved to the ARDC. Despite this, major conflicts did break out on some worlds, such as Dalkeith. It would be three other events that caused damage to the Alliance.[87]

First, Victor was on Mogyorod at the time of his declaration. From the first, he planned to cut a swath through the Alliance, into Federated Commonwealth space, and ultimately to New Avalon. He quickly ran afoul of Adam Steiner on Newtown Square, then was harassed by General Maria Esteban. Victor did eventually break through to the FedSuns, but not before securing important worlds like Coventry and York for his cause. After he received news of the death of his lover, Omi Kurita, Victor retreated to Muphrid and mourned for her for a year before finally pushing on to Tikonov.

Secondly, Clan Jade Falcon launched an invasion in 3064. Khan Pryde sought to take advantage of Lyran distraction by actually making real gains for her Clan this time. The invasion unified elements of the Lyran people, and they came together to fight the Falcons. Loyalist General Adam Steiner and hero of the Allied cause General Archer Christifori jointly led the defense and counter-assault. While the Lyrans retook Blackjack (though its infamous private military academy had been dismantled), the Falcons were able to capture the theater headquarters of Pandora. History repeated itself as Clan Wolf launched an invasion of Falcon territory, and both Lyran and Falcons sought an end to the conflict. In a unique arrangement, the borders were left as they were occupied, and the world of Blair Atholl became a jointly-held world intended to be a sort of live-fire training ground for the Falcons. The Blair Atholl Agreement ended the invasion in 3065.[88][87]

Third, Skye Province attempted to secede from the Alliance. Skye Province (and the Isle of Skye before it) had been a hotbed of discontent, but, with Duke Robert Kelswa-Steiner imprisoned, his chief military adviser John Dundee attempted to formally break away. Maria Esteban went over to Free Skye and led a new unit known as the Skye Guard. Skye forces were able to secure the provincial capital of Skye and the theater headquarters of Freedom, but Esteban did not have sufficient forces to wrest the all-important industrial world of Hesperus II from the Lyrans. With that defeat, the rebellion collapsed and the Skye forces were vanquished.[89][87]

Even though the Alliance was relatively quiet, and the Loyalists were on the run in the Federated Commonwealth, Nondi Steiner still held power on Tharkad. Morgan Kell convinced Peter Steiner-Davion to come out of his self-imposed exile on Zaniah III and fight for the throne. Peter led a pan-Lyran coalition to Tharkad that was composed of national regiments, a Skye Ranger unit, mercenaries from the ARDC, and Phelan Kell with some of his Wolves. The Battle for Tharkad was hard-fought, but, after Peter secured his alma mater the Nagelring, he was able to take the fight to the capital itself and defeated his great-aunt Nondi in single combat amid the bitter street-to-street fighting. With her death, resistance collapsed and Peter was acclaimed Archon by the Estates General in 3067 after Victor officially abdicated in his favor.[90][85][87]

Word of Blake Jihad[edit]

Archon Peter Steiner-Davion in 3067

3067 saw the return of the Whitting Conference to Tharkad. Despite that, Peter announced his intention to pull out of the League, citing financial constraints. His sentiment was echoed by Prince-Regent Yvonne of the Federated Suns. Chancellor Sun-Tzu Liao was more scathing in his absentee remarks, but he also announced his intention to pull the Capellan Confederation out of the Star League. First Lord Christian Mansdotter admitted the provisional members, including the Taurian Concordat and Word of Blake, and called for a vote of no-confidence in the hope that such a vote would succeed and the other members could force them back in. The measure did have the required majority, however, and the Star League disbanded once more. The Word of Blake, however, was not content. A radical element placed a great deal of hope of their interpretation of a prophecy that included the Star League. They attempted to force the Lyrans and FedSuns back into the League with a show of force around their capital worlds.[91][92][93] This failed, however, and they lashed out in a brutal war that lasted for fourteen years and engulfed all of humankind.

The first shots of the Jihad were fired at Tharkad. The Word had salvaged and restored the LCS Invincible, a Tharkad-class WarShip. The Blakists had secretly brought the vessel as a gift to the Alliance but turned it on the Lyran capital when the Star League disbanded. The powerful WarShip bombarded Tharkad City from orbit on 5 December 3067, striking a nuclear power facility that catastrophically melted down. This was followed by a traditional ground invasion consisting of approximately a division of Word troops.[94][95]

The Blakists attacked the Lyrans savagely and repeatedly because they desired control of the Lyrans' massive industrial base. Worlds such as Tharkad, Coventry, Hesperus II, Donegal, and Alarion suffered tremendously. In the meantime, the Blakists sought to expand their Blake Protectorate at the expense of Lyran worlds including Thorin and New Earth. To keep the Lyrans off-balance, they manipulated the Sirian Concordance and Duke of Skye Robert Kelswa-Steiner to create a regional war between provinces of the Alliance and Free Worlds.[96][97][98]

On 27 September 3071, Archon Peter Steiner-Davion abdicated the throne in favor of Adam Steiner, seeking to deny the Blakists the symbolic victory of keeping the Archon bottled up on a capital under siege.[99][100] This seemed to be the incentive Adam needed to liberate Tharkad, doing so at the head of a force composed of LAAF troops, Kell Hounds, Wolf's Dragoons, Clan Wolf-in-Exile warriors, and a small Clan Jade Falcon contingent. After the liberation of the capital world in 12 January 3072, Adam transferred the Archonship back to Peter.[101][102]

In January 3073, a meeting of delegates from many Inner Sphere powers took place on Arc-Royal. The assembled delegates argued over who to blame for the Jihad, with some pointing the blame and ComStar and even Victor Steiner-Davion personally. The summit was cut short when liberated POW and former commander of the Circinus Federation's Black Warriors, Colonel Fritz Donner exploded, killing and wounding several delegates, including aide to General Adam Steiner, Leutnant-General Sabine Steiner. The bombing stalled efforts to coordinate a response to the Word's Jihad.[103][104][105]

Archon Adam Steiner in 3076

Archon Peter traveled to Tukayyid in the fall of 3073 to meet with Devlin Stone and other Inner Sphere leaders and envoys to coordinate efforts against the Blakists.[106] In the process of leaving Tukayyid, Peter was fatally wounded by a Blakist assassin. On his deathbed, Peter named Adam as his heir. Within two weeks, the Estates General confirmed Adam Steiner as Archon. In his first act, Adam promised to maintain Peter's commitment to Stone's alliance.[107][108]

Following the fall of Terra in 3078, Devlin Stone created the Republic of the Sphere. Like the Combine and Suns, the Lyran Alliance allowed Stone to retain the worlds of the Blake Protectorate for his nation, and even ceded some border worlds to the nascent nation, including Skye (though the Lyrans retained Hesperus).[109]

Free Worlds Front[edit]
Main article: Operation Broken Fist

On 24 December 3067, the leader of the Sirian Concordance, General Helen Thrall was assassinated. Early reports placed the blame on Lyran agents from Skye.[110][111] Less than two months later, on 4 February 3068, a Free Worlds League WarShip appeared in the Skye system and launched an assault, including ground forces in the colors of the Sirian Lancers. They were ejected two days later. This action prompted Duke Robert Kelswa-Steiner to declare war on the Free Worlds League.[112] Three weeks later, Margrave Caesar Steiner, commander of the Cavanaugh II Theater was assassinated with early reports pointing to agents from the League. On 1 March, Bolan Province joined Duke Robert in declaring war.[113][114]

The first Lyran units made landfall in Free Worlds space on 10 March 3068.[112] The League forces counter-attacked under Marshall Jeremy Brett beginning in July 3068.[115] League forces invaded the Alliance, but Captain-General Thomas Marik recalled forces loyal to him, giving Skye the opportunity to reclaim their occupied systems. On 25 October 3069 Marshall Brett called for a cease-fire, which was accepted by Duke Umayr of Bolan on 2 December. Bolan forces pulled off of occupied League worlds by the end of the month.[116] Skye never formally signed a cease-fire agreement, though combat operations ground to a halt by 3071.[114]

Clan Jade Falcon Front[edit]

With the LAAF distracted by the League and the Blakists, Clan Jade Falcon again sought to exploit the situation. They invaded Graus in October 3068.[117][118][119] When the Falcons saw just how weakened the Lyrans were, they invaded in force.[120][121] By 3070, even one-time allies Clan Wolf joined in attacking Lyran worlds.[122][123][124]

The Lyrans first succeeded in slowing the Falcon advance on Zanderij in the summer of 3070.[125][126] In April 3071, the Falcons (under assault by Clan Ice Hellion) sued for peace.[127][128][129]

Word of Blake[edit]

In February 3068, the Word of Blake reinforced their invasion force on Tharkad, signalling their intent to take and hold the Lyran capital. In mid-March, the Blakists launched invasions of the important industrial worlds of Donegal, Coventry, and Hesperus II. In June, the Blakists conquered Solaris VII.[130]

In March 3069, Lyran forces attempted to run the blockade of Tharkad, but failed. The following month, Blakists naval forces attacked Alarion, defeating the defenders of the Lyran naval yards. Word forces captured what vessels they could, though the LAS Fylgia escaped, and unleashed a biological agent that poisoned the biosphere of the planet, eventually rendering it uninhabitable.[131] In September, Blakist forces raided Summer, destroying the planetary capital with a thermonuclear weapon. They continued on to Skye, attacking in early October. The Skye forces are able to eject the invaders, thanks in no small part to the presence of the Fylgia.[132] In December, the Word attacked Glengarry.[133]

In February 3070, the Word finally wore down the Lyran defenders and took possession of Hesperus II and Donegal. The Word failed to assassinate General of the Armies Adam Steiner.[134]

In December 3071, the Blakists abandoned their campaign for Solaris VII.[135] Following the liberation of Tharkad in January 3072, Precentor Martial Victor Steiner-Davion led a coalition of LAAF, Com Guards, and Clan Wolf-in-Exile forces in the liberation of Donegal in February.[102] Word forces responded by attacking Arc-Royal in March, though they were defeated both in space and on the planet's surface.[136]

In February 3074, Blakist troops attacked the provincial capital of Bolan. They annihilated the capital city, sending the ruling family into flight. In March, a coalition of LAAF and Clan Jade Falcon forces liberated Coventry.[137] The Word again assaulted Skye in June. They also returned to Bolan in July, occupying a portion of the planet. In mid-July, coalition forces under the command of Devlin Stone ejected the Word of Blake troops. In September the Word withdrew from Bolan, though they took thousands of people with them.[138] Devlin led coalition forces to liberate Hesperus II from November-December 3074.[139]

In June 3075, a joint force of LAAF-FWLM troops liberated Poulsbo and Khon Kaen from Circinian forces under the command of Word of Blake.[140]

In July 3076, coalition forces under the command of Devlin Stone invade the Blake Protectorate. Operation SCOUR, the plan to militarily dismantle the nation built by the Word begins in 3077. The Lyran front, under the command of Duke Robert Kelswa-Steiner, sees its first liberated systems in late January. In early May, many Lyran officers are assassinated by Manei Domini, resulting in Leutenant-General Thomas Hogarth ascending to command of Group III. A January 3078 assault on Phecda left Duke Robert wounded, who names his son Gregory as commander.[141]

The invasion of Terra started in the summer of 3078 direct command of Stone.[142] Eight LAAF 'Mech regiments contributed to the assault, and both Duke Robert Kelswa-Steiner and General Thomas Hogarth commanded battlegroups.[143] Terra was formally surrendered to Stone's Coalition on 26 December 3078.[144]

Homefront[edit]

With Tharkad occupied and Skye going its own way, many Lyran worlds were left to fend for themselves. In some places, pro-democracy movements began and led to violent insurrection.[145] Democracy Now, led by Kalvin Strauss advocated for true democracy in Alarion beginning in 3071, after Alarion was devastated by the Blakists. The organization was headquartered on Novara.[146][147] A faction of Democracy Now led by Lindon Ashley turned violent in March, when the organization led an open rebellion on Enzesfled.[148] The nobles on Enzesfled put out an urgent call for help, to which the planetary guard on Kaumberg responded. Even as the Kaumberg Planetary Guard landed in May, Batajnica and Calafell were beset by revolts, with more systems falling under unrest into the summer.[149] On 21 December, assassins killed Kalvin Strauss, though an attack on Lindon Ashley failed.[135] Ashley returned in March 3072 to take up the reins of Democarcy Now on Novara.[102] In May, Ashley called for the secession of Alarion Province from the Lyran Alliance, then publicly contracted Eriksson's Einherjar as his private army in June.[150]

To sidestep the lack of central leadership in the event that national authorities again became incapacitated, Archon Peter brought back Archonettes from the reign of Richard Steiner in the early 29th century. To foster rebuilding, in August 3072 Peter established Archonettes around Arcturus, Inarcs, Halfway, and Kaumberg. He named General of the Armies Adam Steiner the Archonette of Tharkad and himself the Archonette of Arcturus.[151][152]

Kaumberg Archonette Erich Sheridan put his new powers to use quickly, all but declaring war on Democracy Now ten days later.[153] The Kaumberg Planetary Guard attacked the Democratic People's Army on Novara in August 3072, though Ashley escaped.[152] Following the battle, the KPG began training other forces to improve the defenses of the Kaumberg Archonette.[138]

Ashley returned to the limelight over two years later, leading a Democracy Now contingent on Virtue.[138] The re-formed DPA attacked Akfata and Vermezzo in February 3075, toppling both ruling families. The beginning of the end for Ashley came when Democracy Now supporters killed thousands in a bomb attack on Ferihegy in March, sparking a public backlash. The scattered KPG came together to hunt down DPA forces on Akfata and Vermezzo in April. Akfata was liberated in May, though the forces on Vermezzo impacted thousands using scorched-earth tactics to keep the KPG at bay. The KPG attacked Virtue in August 3075, supported by the mercenary unit Kirkpatrick's Invaders. DPA forces held out for two weeks, after which Lindon Ashley was finally taken prisoner.[154] In early 3076, Ashley his top five lieutenants are tried and summarily executed for crimes against the Alliance.[155]

As a result of the destruction waged against the Lyran military industrial base by the Word of Blake during the Jihad, the Lyran armed forces had turned to the civilian sector to pick up as much of the supply shortfall as possible; this had resulted in a number of civilian industries retooling to produce defense material, including RetroTech BattleMechs. These industries began to return to civilian manufacturing in the post-Jihad era, although a number kept their militarized lines going, primarily so that they could sell their products to groups outside the Alliance, or to mercenary bands. There was much speculation that the damage wrought on the war efforts of the LAAF as a result of incompetent Social Generals interfering in the distribution of materiel during the first half of the Jihad would result in a long-needed internal reform of the Alliance military; learning the lessons taught by a military which had been forced to rely increasingly on mid-level officers to lead for so much of the war.[156]

In August 3077, forces from the Buena Archonette assaulted Free Worlds League planets, sparking rebuke from Tharkad and Tamarind. In January 3078, Duchy of Tamarind ruler Duchess Therese Marik demanded that Archon Adam Steiner intervene in the Buena Archonette's assault so that Tamarind can contribute forces to SCOUR.[157] In late summer 3079, the Lyran forces seized seven worlds, prompting Adam to forbid any further attacks.[158]

The Arcturus and Buena Archonettes were dissolved in February 3081, with Buena becoming the new capital of what had been Alarion Province. Inarcs and Kaumberg Archonettes initially refused to stand down.[159][160] This was symptomatic of the dispersal of authority caused by the loss of central control during the Jihad. In addition to the Archonettes, the Estates General took on more day-to-day authority, acting more like the Free Worlds League Parliament and less like an advisory body. Even secret societies such as the Brotherhood of Cincinnatus wielded power behind the scenes.[161]

By 3083, Archon Adam Steiner had had enough. A fleet that included the powerful LAS Yggdrasil WarShip jumped into the Inarcs system, demanding the surrender of Duchess Tamari LaRue. A quick but decisive battle resulted in the capture of Duchess LaRue. She was put on trial and executed for treason. Though their angered simmered, no Archonette again refused the Archon's call to stand down.[162]

Lyran Commonwealth once again[edit]

On 5 January 3084, Archon Adam Steiner announced that the Lyran Alliance was renamed "Lyran Commonwealth" since the Federated Commonwealth reverted to its usage of Federated Suns.[163][164][165]

Blackout[edit]

In 3132 unknown agents sabotaged or destroyed enough hyperpulse generator stations to take down interplanetary communications, forcing the people of the Inner Sphere to communicate by JumpShip courier. This instability set off an era of strife, especially within the Republic of the Sphere. Landgrave Jasek Kelswa-Steiner, heir to Skye, formed the Stormhammers around a group of Republic militia loyal to him with the goal of returning the Isle of Skye to the Lyran Commonwealth.[166][167] The Stormhammers became part of the Lyran Commonwealth Armed Forces.[168][169]

On the Offensive[edit]

Archon Melissa Steiner II had other things on her mind, however. She was worried that the Free Worlds League successor states would turn a greedy eye to the Commonwealth. She dispatched her cousin Trillian Steiner (granddaughter of Peter Steiner-Davion) to Clan Wolf-in-Exile to have them negotiate with Clan Wolf to have them move to the border with the former League states.[170] When Wolf Khan Seth Ward agreed to the plan,[171] Alaric Wolf countered by proposing an invasion of the remnants of Prefecture IX of the Republic of the Sphere, which they hit in January 3137, to distract from their real objective.[172][173]

The Commonwealth launched preemptive invasions of the Marik-Stewart Commonwealth and Duchy of Tamarind-Abbey in July 3137 under the command of Duke Vedet Brewster of Hesperus II.[174] by December, LCAF forces under the command of Roderick Frost, the grandson of Adam Steiner, had captured Tamarind. The two nations signed a cease-fire, though Captain-General Fontaine Marik refused a peace agreement.[175] The invasion of Marik-Stewart went much more slowly, in part because Captain-General Anson Marik resurrected the Silver Hawk Irregulars, who frustrated the invasion force with guerrilla tactics.[176][177]

By February 3138 Clan Wolf had joined the invasion of the Marik-Stewart Commonwealth.[178] Communication issues between the LCAF and Wolf forces slowed the advance, but a joint operation conquered Stewart and Captain-General Anson Marik was killed in the final battle for the world.[179][180]

On the Defensive[edit]

As a check against the Wolves, Archon Melissa Steiner ensured that Lyrans transports were responsible for ferrying lower-caste Wolves to their new homes. When a Watch agent uncovered the plot, the Wolves realized they had been tricked, signed a truce with the reborn Free Worlds League, and launched an assault against the Commonwealth in 3140.[181] An attempt on the archon's life on 22 February 3141 showed how unpopular Melissa's rule had become. A military coup installed Vedet Brewster as the new archon a month later. The new ruler was only able to turn the tide against the Wolves when he installed mercenary Anastasia Kerensky as the commander of the Wolf front. In January 3142, the Wolves established the Wolf Empire and declared an end to combat operations.[182][183]

The LCAF shuffled troops around, intent on reinforcing their new border. In doing so, however, Archon Brewster refused to shore up the nation's border with the Falcons. In June 3142, Clan Jade Falcon launched an assault, along with their Clan Hell's Horses allies, aimed at joining their Occupation Zone with a swath of worlds they claimed in what had been The Republic. The Falcons utilized three main thrusts aimed at Melissia, Coventry, and The Republic. The efforts of the Kell Hounds and Clan Wolf-in-Exile barely slowed them down. The Falcons skipped over Coventry and struck at their real target, Tharkad.[184][185]

Seeing self-proclaimed "Chingis Khan" Malvina Hazen as an abomination who was destroying the ways of the Clan, and fearful that they might be powerful enough to conquer Terra, the Wolves resumed assaults on the Commonwealth to blunt the Falcon drive for Tharkad beginning in early 3143. On Smolnik in February, Galaxy Commander Alaric Wolf defeated Anastasia Kerensky and captured her. The combined might of the LCAF, Clan Wolf-in-Exile, and the Kell Hounds was not enough to stave off full-scale invasion by three Clans. Alaric Wolf's task force jumped into the Tharkad system on 2 July 3143, precipitating the restoration of Melissa Steiner to the position of archon. Battle began on 17 July with the Wolves under Alaric's command engaging the defenders near Tharkad City even as Jade Falcons dropped onto other areas of the planet. The Wolves bottled up the defenders in the crowded city, opening the way for Elemental forces to kill Archon Melissa Steiner. Nonetheless, Wolf forces did not attempt to hold the Lyran capital, which forced the Falcons to also abandon the fight. Alaric returned to the Wolf Empire, secured a bloodname, and was acclaimed Khan of Clan Wolf. After these events, he publicly revealed that he is actually the child of Katherine Steiner-Davion and announced his claim to the throne.[186][187]

Despite Alaric's claim, Trillian Steiner was confirmed as archon. As she directed the rebuilding of the LCAF, mercenary units raided the Falcons, not allowing them to get comfortable on their conquered worlds. Forced into action, Khan Hazen invaded Hesperus II. Warned of the invasion, Lyran forces pulled off-world and gathered for a counter-attack while the Wolves jumped in to deny their enemies the important factory world. The seeming abandonment of Defiance Industries almost prompted another military coup, but it was headed off by General of the Armies Roderick Steiner. The LCAF forces waited for the Clan troops to exhaust themselves against each other, then returned to liberate the planet.[188]

Bibliography[edit]

References[edit]

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