Free Worlds League
|Commanders and leaders|
|Paula Aris||Casin Chandler|
Prelude to War
In 2304 the star systems of Palos and Wei rebelled against the Sarna Supremacy after years of economic exploitation and heavy-handed taxation and declared themselves to be independent. Despite the Hegemony worlds of St. Andre and Tsitsang being neighbors of both worlds, it took three weeks for the Hegemony to become aware of the rebellion due to the effective manner in which the Supremacy closed its borders to all outside traffic at the first sign of trouble.
The news prompted days of debate within the Capellan Agoropolis; the general consensus was that while war was inevitable at some point between the Hegemony and the Supremacy, prudence dictated that the Hegemony bide its time and work towards a negotiated solution. The Hegemony was ostensibly a democratic nation with high standards for individual rights, while the Supremacy was a dictatorship that prized efficiency and productivity at the expense of personal freedoms. Palos and Wei were mining worlds, major sources of metals. The Supremacy had already had three weeks to mobilize forces, could surely move troops around the relatively compact realm more easily than the Hegemony could draw on or move troops from all of its far-flung members, and the Hegemony lacked clear intelligence due to the block on movement into or out of the Supremacy.
Unfortunately, this view contrasted with that of Prime Magnate Paula Aris. An impatient ruler, Aris viewed the Supremacy as an "evil empire", a state diametrically opposed to all that the Hegemony stood for. Aris didn't want to follow the route suggested by the Agoropolis of calling in old favors and generating new ones to apply diplomatic pressure on the Supremacy. She instead saw the overthrow of the Sarn government as a triumph of democratic ideals over dictatorship, as well as an opportunity to increase the geographical union of the Hegemony and bring freedom to more worlds than just Palos and Wei. Overthrowing the Supremacy would also ensure that the Hegemony became the dominant military power in the region, of course...
Shortly before the final decision was due to be made by the Agoropolis, a personal message for the Prime Magnate from Premier Casin Chandler of the Supremacy arrived; condescending and dictatorial in tone, the letter not only alluded to the recent revolts as minor internal squabbling, it also warned the Hegemony to stay out of Sarn affairs or suffer enduring the same lesson at the hands of the Sarns that the Sarns were currently teaching their recalcitrant members. The letter provoked the Prime Magnate and the Senate into an immediate response. Opposition to assisting the rebels evaporated, and the Hegemony declared war on the Supremacy. The Strategios (the Capellan Military Command) issued mobilization orders, downplaying the problems involved in gathering forces from across the widely-dispersed nation and assuring the Hegemony that the war would end almost as soon as it had begun through a direct and rapid attack on Sarna, seat of the Supremacy government.
The opening stage of the war consisted of Capellan forces making repeated efforts to capture Sarna. Every effort was rebuffed; time after time, the Capellan ship captains attempted to breach the strategic defenses in the Sarna system, only to be turned back by unexpectedly heavy planetary defenses and a constant and seemingly endless stream of Supremacy reserves. Ground assaults against a dozen different border worlds fared no better; the Hegemony had never experienced the rapid reinforcement system employed by the Supremacy before, and the better-quality forces fielded by the Capellans were outmatched by lower-quality Supremacy troops that fought back with sheer fanaticism. As the Hegemony struggled to make any headway against the Supremacy capital or any of the contested border worlds the Supremacy forces reoccupied Palos, punishing the bitter resistance offered by the rebels by executing one in three of the male population of the planet.
October 2305-May 2306
The eight months between October 2305 and May 2306 became known as the Kluanian Period, after the pirate groups from Kluane recruited clandestinely by the Supremacy inflicted attacks against Hegemony worlds such as Bell, Daniels, Highspire, Lee and Redfield intended to inflict the most damage possible in the least time and to continually draw Capellan troops away to defend the Hegemony's exposed borders. Time and again, strikes against Sarna were postponed and troops redeployed to meet the pirate threat. While the Hegemony managed to successfully defend Wei and blockade Palos, it wasn't until the St. Ives Mercantile League and the Chesterton Trade League allied with the Hegemony and committed forces to the war in early 2306 that the pirate menace was finally countered. Having beaten the pirates at Alcyone and then crushed the remainder en route to Aosia, Capellan intelligence recovered from the Alcyone battle indicated that several of the pirate groups were not just being funded by the Supremacy, but also by influential members of the Davion family, setting the stage for later clashes.
June 2306-November 2307
The third phase of the war began with an attempt by the Hegemony to bring greater numbers to bear on the Supremacy. The Hegemony entered into an agreement with the Free Worlds League that had been negotiated in secret, promising Capellan support for League territorial claims in exchange for troops to assist in the Hegemony campaign. The secret agreement, named the Ryerson Conventions, backfired badly on the Hegemony; the troops provided by the League turned out to be little more than newly trained militia, and when the combined Capellan-Free Worlds troops "liberated" a world, they found themselves instead hated as invaders, with civilian population rising up to kill hundreds of Capellan soldiers. Adding the Hegemony's problems and to the political embarrassment of Prime Magnate Aris was the second front opened by the Free Worlds League, intended to retrieve the Berenson and Wasat systems for the League.
November 2307-December 2309
The heavy casualties inflicted on the Hegemony forces at the hands of the civilian population of various Supremacy worlds triggered the fourth phase of the war, which was driven by the belief that the only way the various Supremacy holdings would be pacified was through the imposition of draconian measures within the Hegemony to ensure that the necessary soldiers and matériel were supplied to the armed forces. A series of emergency legislative measures was fast-tracked into law by the Agoropolis, and for the third time in five years the Hegemony came to the verge of economic ruin as the various Hegemony worlds funneled resources into the war effort. These resources allowed the Hegemony to occupy seventeen Sarn worlds between December 2307 and September 2308, but on every world the Capellans were viewed as butchers and invaders; far from receiving the welcome as liberators the Hegemony troops expected, they instead found civilian populations continually rising up against them. Even on those worlds considered to be pacified and in the rear of the campaign saw the locals massacring garrisons, particularly Free Worlds League garrisons, with entire battalions of troops vanishing in the night.
It was in December 2308 at this point that things went from bad to worse for the Hegemony; the latest in a series of emergency draft and tax legislation pushed out by the Agoropolis sparked off a city-wide riot in the capital city on Arboris, the most coreward of the Hegemony worlds. Arboris had been bled white by debilitating troop drafts and tax assessments, the citizens of Arboris were no longer willing to participate in what was viewed as a foreign and plutocratic war. The Prefecture of Arboris announced that it was withdrawing from the Hegemony with immediate effect to save its own people from misery and starvation.
The decision made by Arboris rocked the Hegemony; never before had a world or client state attempted to secede from the Hegemony, but suddenly the threat that the Hegemony might dissolve overnight as and when other worlds joined Arboris in leaving the Hegemony loomed large. Forced to choose between preserving the Hegemony or her government, Prime Magnate Aris chose the Hegemony. Aris dispatched a considerable sum of Capellan currency along with secret orders to Admiral Ishidai and the 2nd Andurien Reserve Fleet, stationed at Zion for refitting at the time. The orders instructed Ishidai to deploy to Arboris, seize key installations on the planet and levy the most recent tax demands by any means necessary.
Ishidai attempted to follow orders, but his route to Arboris took him through the Liao system, where he discovered a flotilla of hastily-armed merchant vessels awaiting him. The fleet belonged to President Emile Falkner Liao of the Liao Republic, who stated that Arboris had applied for, and been granted, the status of a protectorate under the neutrality laws of the Liao Republic, and that any move against Arboris would be considered an act of war. Ishidai immediately attacked the Liao vessels, only to be ambushed by a second hidden flotilla of Liao ships; the resulting conflict saw the Liao vessels driven off and the 2nd Andurien Reserve Fleet badly mauled and left incapable of completing their mission.
The defeat at Liao signaled the end of the war and the end of the Hegemony in short order. The Free Worlds League withdrew its support when it learned of Ishidai's defeat; antigovernment protests were breaking out on a daily basis, and the cost of continuing to prosecute a war against the Supremacy would be economically crippling for the Hegemony. Prime Magnate Aris seized on a Capellan Navy victory near Sakhalin in April 2309 to conclude an armistice in May 2309, and in December a representative from the Tikonov Grand Union handed both sides an arbitrated peace agreement. Signed in silence, the agreement ended the war.
A week after the peace agreement was signed, Paula Aris committed suicide. The terms of the agreement mandated the disbandment of the Capellan Hegemony in favor of a more representative, republican state to replace the plutocratic realm the Hegemony had become. Aris' death led to a bloodless revolution and the creation of a new realm, the Capellan Commonality, in which anyone—even non-native-born Capellan candidates—could seek public office.
- Handbook: House Liao, p. 12: "Timeline: Capellan Zone"
- House Liao (The Capellan Confederation), pp. 14–15: "Blood and Gold"
- House Liao (The Capellan Confederation), p. 15: "A Condescending Ultimatum"
- House Liao (The Capellan Confederation), pp. 14–15: "The Capellan-Supremacy War"
- House Liao (The Capellan Confederation), p. 16: "Enter Marik"
- House Liao (The Capellan Confederation), pp. 16–17: "Arboris Secedes"
- House Liao (The Capellan Confederation), p. 17: "Loosening Up"