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The Refusal War was a name given to the epic Trial of Refusal between Clan Jade Falcon and Clan Wolf in 3057 over a charge of genocide leveled against ilKhan Ulric Kerensky. It was unprecedented for its scale; Trials of Refusal were most often invoked by single warriors or small groups of warriors. Even the attempt to block Operation Revival by Clan Wolf in 3048 only involved Cluster-level units in combat.
This Trial of Refusal, however, pitted two entire Clans in a fight to the death with far reaching consequences, and therefore is referred to as the Refusal War or War of Refusal.
Among the results of the Refusal War:
- A several year delay to the plan to restart the Clan invasion, which gave the Successor States enough time to unite, assault, and defeat the Clans in Operation Bulldog.
- The permanent split of Clan Wolf into Crusader and Warden Clans. The 'Crusader' Clan Wolf, viewed by other Clans as rightful heir to the Wolf Clan, was founded by Vlad Ward. The 'Warden' Clan Wolf-in-Exile, led by Phelan Kell, removed to the Inner Sphere and together with the Kell Hounds mercenary unit formed the Arc-Royal Defense Cordon.
- The deaths of Clan Wolf Khans Ulric Kerensky and Natasha Kerensky and Jade Falcon Khans Elias Crichell and Vandervahn Chistu.
The reasons behind the Refusal War do not lie in the charges against Ulric Kerensky (which were simply a means to an end), but in the impassioned and often violent disagreement between the philosophical views of the Warden and Crusader factions in the Clans. To truly understand the depths of this disagreement, one must turn to the last 50 years of Clan history and the events that led to the invasion.
Clan Wolf, a strong Warden Clan, had opposed the invasion of the Inner Sphere from long before the final decision to commence Operation Revival took place. Decisions such as that to send Wolf's Dragoons into the Inner Sphere as a long term reconnaissance unit were ultimately attempts to delay and abort any invasions and as the Dragoons were ultimately ordered to start preparing the Inner Sphere to resist a Clan Invasion, it can be assumed little useful data to the Crusader cause came back from the mercenary unit, leaving the question of an invasion in the balance for almost the next half century.
However the debate was irrevocably tipped in the balance of the Crusaders when the ComStar Explorer Corps vessel Outbound Light arrived without warning at the Clan Smoke Jaguar Homeworld of Huntress. The Crusader Clan immediately seized the vessel and learned much of the truth about the current state of the Inner Sphere. Wildly exaggerating the threat of the Federated Commonwealth absorbing the other Successor States - declaring itself the Star League reborn and launching an invasion of Clan Space - the Crusaders swung the Council firmly behind launching an invasion of the Inner Sphere.
Clan Wolf was the only dissenter and immediately called a Trial of Refusal. Although the vote was astonishingly one sided at sixteen to one, pre-battle bidding reduced the odds against the Wolves to a 'mere' four to one. The Wardens fought like fanatics, taking many more Crusaders down than they lost, but in the end were unable to beat the odds; the way was now open for the invasion of the Inner Sphere. And as a fitting punishment for their defiance, the Grand Council ordered the Wolves to be included in the invasion; the Wardens now turned into Crusaders, sent to humiliate themselves by taking part in an invasion they had no wish to take part in. And a humiliation it might well have been, if not for the cunning, patience and leadership of Khan Ulric Kerensky.
Invasion and Basis of the Refusal War
In preparing for the invasion, the three other primary invading Clans made foolish mistakes. While Clan Wolf immediately set about preparing for a long term, long range campaign into the Inner Sphere, the Crusader Clans were convinced they would face minimal opposition; that their superior warriors and technology would annihilate any freebirth unit that dared to face them, anticipating little more than a long string of "trial"-like encounters, preparing their fleets of transports not to bring spare parts, but to haul away the riches of the Inner Sphere. Initially this view was vindicated when the Clans tore into the Inner Sphere, cutting a wide swath through the Successor States undefended coreward borders. However, as time passed, the Clans progress started to slow dramatically as resistance increased markedly, with the exception of Clan Wolf whose logistical network and willingness to work with conquered populations allowed a continuous series of attacks without pause. The rest of the Clans, annoyed by the Wardens outshining them so brightly, called a Grand Kurultai at Radstadt where the ilKhan would work to reign in the Wolves.
Fate intervened, however, when a Rasalhague pilot whose name would become a legend to the Inner Sphere and Clans alike (Tyra Miraborg) rammed her crippled fighter into the Wolf Flagship Dire Wolf, killing the ilKhan and forcing a year-long delay to the invasion to elect a new ilKhan. Seeking to use the opportunity to control the Wolves, the Council elected Ulric to this position. As the ilKhan ruled in accordance with the wishes of the (Crusader dominated) Grand Council, it appeared to be the perfect solution to their problems.
Once again they failed as Ulric continued the invasion, his goal finally becoming clear. The Clan that took Terra, the Clans ultimate goal would become "ilClan", ruling over all others with total authority. The Wolves, in sprinting ahead, would get there first then, as the ilClan, be able to order a halt to the invasion.
And so the invasion continued and again the other Clans often badly overreached in their attempts to match the Wolves' progress, a situation intensified by bickering as Ulric activated reserve Clans who immediately started to fight as much with their invasion partners as the Inner Sphere forces, leading to crushing defeats such as the Smoke Jaguar / Nova Cat loss at The Battle of Luthien.
Finally, ComStar provided an opportunity and a trap for the Wardens and Crusaders respectively; a proxy battle for control of Terra. If the ComGuard lost, Terra would be theirs. If however ComStar won, the Clans would not advance any further into the Inner Sphere for 15 years. Although Ulric negotiated the terms, they were ratified and accepted by the Grand Council of the Clans who once again anticipated an easy battle and swift victory on the planet known as Tukayyid.
The outcome of that infamous battle was an ignominious defeat for the Crusaders. Clan Wolf was the only victor, the Jade Falcons and Ghost Bear managed a draw at high cost, and all the other Clans were defeated; some such as the Smoke Jaguars to such a level that they would never fully recover before their annihilation at the hands of the Star League a decade later. The Clans now were bound by a fifteen year truce with the Inner Sphere and the Crusaders swiftly went looking for someone to blame.
The Charges Against Ulric
The problem with the 15 year truce at its core was that unlike the Inner Sphere, the Clans cycle their warriors through at a very high rate. In 3067, when the truce ended, the Clans would be free to take up their crusade. But this was far beyond the service time of the warriors in the Clan Galaxies, they would be long retired by this time, disgraced older warriors who wouldn't see any action outside of suicidal solahma units. After a taste of all out war with the Inner Sphere, dissatisfaction rapidly started to grow with the state of peace they now found themselves in.
Clan Wolf was no exception. Ironically, it was Ulric's huge success as a general that doomed him. While most of the Crusader Clans had lost on Tukayyid, they had suffered huge losses in the process. This left plenty of open slots for the surviving warriors to compete for promotions, Bloodnames and advancement in their Clan, as well having fresh replacements arrive to fill out the lower level commands. Clan Wolf, with relatively few casualties from the battle and no prospect of a war that would kill warriors and let their subordinates advance, was in a difficult position. Crusader elements inside the Clan started to agitate the new hot blooded warriors over this very fact. Challenges mounted against the Wolf Leadership to the point that Khan Natasha Kerensky was 'doing wonders' in thinning out the ranks of Crusaders by killing those foolish enough to challenge her in personal combat. Ulric, however, saw the long term consequences. For every Crusader she killed, another would step into his or her place.
While most of the Wolves' senior officers remained Wardens, the young new warriors cycling into the Clan over the years were far more in line with the Crusader sentiment, chaffing under the truce. As they had undergone their final training, reveling in the glowing stories of their Clan's awesome progress in the invasion, it had seemed they would arrive in the Inner Sphere just in time for the final glorious battles in the liberation of Terra. Instead, they arrived to peace, and they would be cycled out of the warrior caste in that peace as they grew old. Even worse, as Natasha herself proved, the Wolves were not inclined to remove their older warriors from command as fast as the other Clans did, meaning they would be stuck at the bottom of the rank ladder their entire lives.
Finally, the pressure exploded.
The Crusader Loremaster of Clan Wolf Dalk Carns, along with the future Khan and saKhan of the Wolves, Vlad Ward and Marialle Radick, launched an investigation against Ulric and charged him with treason. He accused Ulric of deliberately entering the Truce of Tukayyid for the express purpose of letting the Clans lose to the ComGuard, and that he had worked to raise Khan Phelan Ward—whom Carns claimed was an Inner Sphere agent—to his rank to spy on the Clans for the Inner Sphere.
Ulric took on the challenge. The Battle for Tukayyid, after all, had been in fact ratified by the Grand Council, Ulric had only presented the terms. It was not his fault that the other Clans had horribly underestimated the ComGuard's abilities and indeed the fact that Ulric's own Clan had won showed he had not been trying to lose, just that the other Khans had repeatedly ignored his advice in the campaign when he attempted to offer it. Such a claim of conspiracy with ComStar had been leveled at him in the Grand Council after the battle and he had been exonerated.
At the same time, Ulric pointed out that Khan Ward had been made a Bondsman of Clan Wolf as many of the Grand Council had been, he had fought his Trial of Position, he had earned his Bloodname against eligible opponents and he had been elected to the office of saKhan by the unanimous vote of the Clan Council. Then in a final humiliation after ridiculing their logic, Ulric pointed out that as the ilKhan of the Clans, he had (and did indeed invoke) the ilKhan's authority to dismiss the charges out of hand.
Then the Loremaster made an unexpected move by introducing a third charge against the ilKhan on the spot, claiming it had been on the charge list and mistakenly left out: the charge of conspiracy to destroy a Clan's genetic heritage.
The charge shocked the Grand Council, even hardcore Crusaders such as Vlad were dumbfounded. The most serious possible charge in the history of the Clans, it had only been leveled against one Clan in the history of the Clans, when Clan Wolverine (supposedly) destroyed another Clan's genetic repository with a nuclear weapon and had been exterminated to the last man, woman, and child in retaliation (or so Nicholas Kerensky had led the Clans to believe). The charge was on the equal of accusing Ulric to be on the same level as Stefan Amaris and was expected by nobody.
The logic was direct, if flawed; Ulric had entered the Truce in an attempt to populate the Wolves with warriors who would be inexperienced and untested when the Truce ended. They would be going up against a now-ready Inner Sphere, which would mate their far superior numbers with equivalent technology and seasoned warriors, resulting in the destruction of the Clans.
Although the charges were farcical, the Loremaster had inadvertently found a successful avenue of attack for the Crusaders against Ulric. Ulric could not simply dismiss this charge as he had the others. Ulric was as always however, a master of strategy. He refused to battle the charge out in his own Clan, fearing it would tear the Wolves apart along Warden and Crusader lines and even if he did win, the serious charge would simply moved to the Crusader-dominated Grand Council at any rate.
He directed the charges to be forwarded to the Grand Council. In this way, it would be Clan Wolf being pressured from outside rather then from within which would help unite them behind Natasha and Phelan (who followed Ulric's orders without hesitation despite his position as ilKhan rather then a Wolf Khan) when the charges were laid against him. Ulric knew how this final battle would end, but he did not shy away from his fate, planning as carefully as any other of his other military campaigns as he prepared his final battle with the Crusaders. The Smoke Jaguars were fervent in their beliefs of the Crusader philosophy, but had been severely weakened in the invasion. The Ghost Bears, although they had participated in the invasion, retained strong Warden sentiments and were long-time allies of the Wolves. The Jade Falcons however, long time enemies of the Wolves, were the strongest of the Crusader Clans. The 'Red Corsair' incident also proved that the Jade Falcons were aggressively trying to find a way to break the Truce and were the greatest danger to the Inner Sphere, leading the Crusader movement. It was this Clan that was to be the ilKhan's final target.
When the charges were presented in the Clan Grand Council (by the Jade Falcons), Ulric was narrowly voted guilty despite a strong Warden opposition and an impassioned speech by Khan Phelan Ward that debunked the thin argument's logic effortlessly. Once again, however, the Crusaders underestimated the now-deposed ilKhan. Their vote deposed him as ilKhan, but the Crusaders had never had any interest in truly pressing the charges of genocide. They had expected that the truce would simply be repudiated legally, Ulric would return to a lesser position in the Wolves and the Clans would return to the attack, and with the Jade Falcons having stockpiled and prepared in the last weeks for a running restart to the invasion, were well prepared to copy the Wolves' earlier success and charge hard towards Terra.
Instead, Ulric initiated a Trial of Refusal against his guilty verdict.
Not of himself against a proxy warrior, or warriors from the Grand Council. Not of a unit of Wolves against units representing the Grand Council. Ulric bid the entire Clan Wolf in his defense.
This was something the Jade Falcons, with their occupation zone adjoining the Wolves, had never anticipated. The former ilKhan, now officially reduced in rank to a Star Colonel (but still followed unquestioningly by the two Wolf Khans) had all but declared a Trial of Annihilation against the Jade Falcons.
Ulric would simultaneously cripple or kill the strongest Crusader Clan and by sending the Warden elements of the Wolves into exile and safety into the Inner Sphere, he ensured his Clan would survive. By then placing all the Crusader Wolves into his own personal Galaxy, he would force Crusader Wolf to fight Crusader Jade Falcon in a war of mutual annihilation. With the Smoke Jaguars still crippled and their strength kept low by constant raids by House Kurita, the Clans would be in no shape to resume the invasion even if the Truce was repudiated.
Nonetheless, Ulric and Natasha prepared to fight their final battle, sending Phelan (against his emphatic protests) to the Inner Sphere with a Galaxy of Warden troops and enough supplies and personnel to establish a safe haven in the Inner Sphere.
The Refusal War was hard-fought and Ulric's plan to keep the Falcons from restarting the invasion by weakening them proved its merit. In order to ensure that the Falcons believed the Wolves were coming with all they had, Phelan launched a couple of assaults with his Alpha Galaxy before running to the Inner Sphere.
The Wolf Touman won victory after victory, smashing through the Falcon units, though often at great cost. Little did Ulric and Natasha realize that this was part of the Falcon plan. saKhan Vandervahn Chistu placed the less-experienced Falcon units in the way of the Wolf assault so that they could wear the bulk of the Wolf forces down. The plan worked effectively enough. On Twycross, Khan Natasha Kerensky found herself unable to rout the Falcon garrison force that included mostly second-line troops but also the rebuilt Falcon Guards. She ordered her troops off-planet to join Ulric's task force, personally serving as rear guard by challenging Falcon warriors to single combat. Star Commander Joanna ultimately slew Natasha when Khan Kerensky's cockpit was destroyed. Her Dire Wolf remains there, in mute testament to the Black Widow.
Star Colonel Ulric Kerensky finally reached Wotan, the Falcon Occupation Zone capital, in early December 3057. As his forces battled those of saKhan Chistu, their respective command Stars sought each other out. Ulric eagerly engaged Vandervahn, but, unbeknown to him, Chistu had hidden two Stars of missile boats and converted his ER Small Laser to act as a spotting laser. When Ulric entered the field, Chistu rained missiles on the former ilKhan and killed him and most of his Star.
With Natasha and Ulric dead, the Falcons attempted to chase Phelan Ward down, but Phelan's Wolves united with the Kell Hounds to fight back, soundly defeating the pursuing Jade Falcon force on Morges.
The war concluded with a pyrrhic victory for the Jade Falcons. Ulric's death rendered the charges of genocide leveled at him moot and the remaining Warden Clans argued eloquently in favor of not disregarding the Truce. Regardless, the Jade Falcons were in no position to resume their invasion. They took the drastic step of turning the Trial of Refusal into one of Absorption.
Bereft of leadership, no Wolf warriors dissented with Khan Elias Crichell's assessment that they needed to band together to stave off the predations of other Clans. That changed when Vlad, who had been in Ulric's Star, emerged from his downed Timber Wolf with the help of Marialle. He knew the affair of what had happened to Ulric and was the sole witness of Chistu's machinations. Vlad initiated a Trial of Refusal and was able to defeat Vandervahn Chistu, killing him in the process. Khan Crichell released the Wolves and named them Clan Jade Wolf, since the entirety Clan Wolf became responsible for Ulric's crimes by defending him. Vlad won the Ward Bloodname that had been denied him by Phelan after the Grand Council Abjured Phelan's Clan Wolf-in-Exile. He then became the Clan's Khan and killed Elias Crichell after the Falcon was elected ilKhan. He capitalized on this victory by renaming his Jade Wolves "Wolf," though denying that they were the same Wolf Clan that defended Ulric. Vlad's Wolves have survived through this technicality, though they remain the heirs to the Wolf traditions, but with a strong Crusader bent.
Phelan's Wolves made a deal with Morgan Kell to erect an enclave on his world, Arc-Royal. Clan Wolf-in-Exile managed to number three Galaxies: Alpha Galaxy that formed the nucleus, a second front-line Galaxy composed of Wolf warriors who fled to Phelan, and a garrison Galaxy that Ulric had sent to ensure the Wolves' survival. Phelan also received a gift: Ulric postdated an order as ilKhan that created a new Bloodname, Kell, so that Phelan could continue to serve as Khan under Clan law.
- Ulric Kerensky Taskforce:
- Zoetermeer => 10th Garrison Cluster (JF) vs. 11th Wolf Regulars (Red Keshik)
- Evclier => 73rd Striker Cluster + 6th PGC + 51st Garrison Cluster + 9th Garrison Cluster vs. 1st Wolf Cavalry
- Natasha Kerensky
- Colmar => 352nd Assault Cluster (The Silver Wolves) vs. 12th Jade Falcon Regulars 
- Sudeten => 8th Falcon Regulars + Gyrfalcon Eyrie Cluster vs. 4th Wolf Guards (The Cyclops Cluster) + 16th Battle Cluster (The Golden Hags) 
- Baker 3 => Jade Eyrie Cluster vs. 341st Assault Cluster (The Silver Blizzards) 
- Devin => 2nd Falcon Jaegers vs. 3rd Battle Cluster (W) 
- Phelan Ward
Jade Falcon Losses
The war cost the Falcons dearly. 19 clusters suffered horrendous losses and 10 clusters were beyond rebuilding. The following units were disbanded :
- 4th Falcon Velites
- 89th Striker Cluster
- 94th Striker Cluster
- Peregrine Eyrie Cluster
- Peregrine Solahma Cluster
- Bravo Naval Reserve
- Star Commodore Nihsen Shaw
- Jumpships: 7
- Tau Galaxy (The Shadow Wolves}
- Command Trinary
- Mechs: 15
- Aerospace: 10
- Elemental: 50
- Command Trinary
- JumpShips: 1
- Mechs: 15
- Gurbeng Garrison Cluster
- CO: Star Colonel Graham
- Mechs: 35
- Aerospace: 30
- Elemental: 100
- Falcon and Wolf p.12
- Malicious Intent, Michael A. Stackpole, 1996
- Falcon and Wolf p.16
- Falcon and Wolf p.19
- Falcon and Wolf p.23
- Falcon and Wolf p.26
- Crusader Clans p. 94
- Falcon and Wolf 44-48