|Event Name||Regalian Pessimism|
|Dates and Times||260 - 291 AC|
|Location||Corontium, territories of the Regalian Empire|
|People Involved||Regalian Empire|
The Regalian Pessimism is an event in the Empire’s history that put a stop to Regalian expansionism for nearly three decades as the government was forced to consider whether or not it was equipped to subjugate and rule new territories effectively. It began with extreme economic issues, which while eventually stabilized, left sentiments of unhappiness and uncertainty within the Regalian Empire, which were exacerbated by the emergence of the Regalian Senate, a deeply unhelpful body. However, the invigoration prompted by the Chrysant War helped the Pessimism come to an end, and allowed the Regalian Empire to enter a time of prosperity once more.
The period leading up to the Regalian Pessimism was a golden age for the Regalian Empire, in many areas. The efforts of Nicholas Kade and other people of state, alongside House Ivrae as the Imperial household in the century prior, had seen considerable new lands join the Regalian Empire, alongside new trading relationships with nations to likely join in the future. Meanwhile, the Unionist faith was victorious over the Fornoss Velheim of the north whose Skagger Horde had been driven away as the Skagger Wars came to an end, promoting an environment of positivity that was ruffled slightly by other Chancellors who followed Nicholas. Then, Morgann Kade came into the role of Arch Chancellor after his father stepped down from the position in 216 AC. Corrupt, hedonistic, and suspiciously surrounded by Ivrae Emperors who rarely lived longer than a few years if a few months, Morgann ruled the Empire for decades. Under his leadership, the Empire’s golden age truly shone, and vast amounts of wealth were spent on lavish celebrations across the Empire as nobles followed his example for a variety of reasons, and the Empire’s political domination of the Ailor world was absolute. But cracks already existed at this time, non-Ailor (save the Teledden) were largely rejected or living in enslavement as Ithanian influence reached its peak, and underdeveloped regions of the Empire, fringe territories or northern lands, remained bereft of investment. Morgann was also capricious, and anyone in his way or who gave offense to himself or his favorites were ruthlessly destroyed. His reign of terror came to an end thanks to Vilgemar I, but that is also when the problems started.
Beginning of the Pessimism
Many had thought, and still think now due to the impact he left, that Morgann Kade was a vapid, do-nothing with little skill in the real affairs of statecraft. There is good reason to understand why this perception exists, but following his death, his true genius became known to the Emperor and those who sought to cleanse the government of Morgann’s corruption. The Kade had been a master financier, balancing the books of the Empire with extreme skill, backed up by hundreds of Kade-loyal bureaucrats who facilitated his utter control. Emperor Vilgemar, however, dismissed all of them, and purged the government of other formerly Kade-loyal officials. While most were cronies, others also played a role in Morgann’s financial genius, though the Emperor did not care. For several years after, the Empire’s economy trembled as the shockwave of these events played out. The new Emperor focused on a different sort of revelry, freeing tens of thousands of slaves, and proclaiming the Empire free of those which had tried to affect insidious control over it. But, as no new Arch Chancellor was selected, and the mechanisms of Morgann were tested by new bureaucrats, it began to come crashing down.
The Austerity of Aliandre
260 AC marked the point that the financial markets of the Regalian Empire began to fluctuate. Within months, they began to decline, and within three years, Vilgemar I had to resort to calling upon a Kade for aid, which arrived in the form of Morgann’s eldest, natural-born daughter, Aliandre Kade. Appointed to the position of Arch Chancellor, Aliandre’s first challenge hit within days of her appointment. The price of Silver crashed, a major issue due to its connections with the Empire’s currency known as the Regal, and Aliandre declared a period of austerity for the entire government. State parties were held in bare ballrooms, with the food selection for the nobility reflecting that of the commoners they ruled over. Even the Imperial household was affected, though the Emperor’s focus on freedom and liberty meant Aliandre could only get away with minor adjustments. While these measures did slow down the decline of finances, they did not go far enough, as blocs of noble power clung to their privileges, and acted as though the days of her father had not ended.
The greatest of these offenders was House van Sherburne, one of the Five Families, whose dominance of central Corontium saw them acquire vast wealth, which they spent on themselves, defying Aliandre’s example. In the southwest, Ithanian nobles did much the same, and matters were not helped when in 268 AC, Old Ceardia was destroyed in a freak magical event. The Imperial Navy sent almost every ship it could to help evacuate thousands to lands of the Regalian Empire, and these refugees were often impoverished, unable to add to the economies of the lands which were now often burdened with their presence, further draining the Empire. Despite the stress of the job, Aliandre managed to stabilize the Empire’s economy at a low, flat line, before dying in 269 AC. Vilgemar I died in the same year, and it was now up to the future generation to pull the Empire out of the pit.
The Drachenwald Crisis
Unfortunately, those who came after them did not get the chance. Norn Kade was Aliandre’s brother, and a pessimist, strongly convinced there was no saving the Empire. His mindset confirmed the name for the period the Empire found itself in, and many did not enjoy his appointment. However, this appointment had been made by the young Justinian II, who desired someone as pliant as Norn to get what he wanted done. Many Chancellor-level matters were brought to the Emperor instead, and for several years, Justinian attempted to pull the Empire together, seeking to centralize the government to better work toward a response for the malaise which gripped the nation. The Drachenwald Crisis destroyed those plans. Norn Kade was killed in the disastrous attempt to support House van Sherburne, and to end the violence, Justinian II acquiesced to the formation of the Regalian Senate. The Empire was now centralized, but into an oligarchal body of over 300 Senators who would make all of the real decisions while the Emperor merely oversaw the proceedings. The Senate proved itself a failure within another decade, becoming notoriously corrupt and self-serving, and forcing Moriarty Kade, replacement to his father, to work politics in the chamber to gradually improve the Empire’s position versus direct decrees which a generation earlier might have quickly solved issues or taken advantage of world affairs. The hands of the young Arch Chancellor and Emperor were tied, but with time, they adapted.
The Chrysant War and Recovery
The end to the Regalian Pessimism came at the hands of an unlikely group. The Iron Bulwark faction of the Regalian Senate consisted of staunch militarists and xenophobes who strongly advocated for war and conquest. It was their political position that conflict would jump-start the Empire, and restore glory to the faith and the Ailor Race. Broadly, few Senate blocs agreed with them, but in these grandiose plans Moriarty Kade and Justinian II saw a way to get rid of the Senate, and untie their hands. So, when the Bulwark called for war with the Essa Empire, the Arch Chancellor and Emperor unexpectedly supported it, seeing it pass the Senate. Their support, however, assured prominent spots at the tables of planning, and as the Chrysant War got underway, they continued to exercise that influence. It was their urgings that brought the war to a pause after the initial months of success, which dragged into months of negotiations and proposals. As this carried on, the Senate was circumvented more and more to facilitate speed on the military front, while the requirements of the war actually did begin to resuscitate the Regalian Empire. Ultimately, when negotiations failed, the Regalian Empire descended on the remaining holdouts with great force and won the war. Within a matter of weeks after the war had ended, the Regalian Senate had been abolished, the Regalian Pessimism declared over, and a new decade of stability for the Regalian Empire dawned.
The Regalian Pessimism stifled the Regalian Empire for decades, restricting its activities across Aloria, though many would now say the Empire almost needed such a humbling experience to allow its gradual reshaping. The actions of Morgann Kade left lasting faults and holes which, if he had passed away naturally, might have crippled the Empire without anyone to fill them. Instead, his surprise execution exposed those faults, and ultimately allowed the Empire to learn from them, and evolve better systems than relying on a single figure to pull the strings. The Pessimism did bring great suffering and pain across Corontium, however, with economic issues resulting in general unrest and criminal activity spikes in several regions. The ending of the Pessimism with the Chrysant War ultimately saw the dreams of the Iron Bulwark brought to fruition, with a new generation of military thinkers and military objectives to consider for the future, though the humbling of the Ranger Crisis proved that the Regalians would need to find their footing again after being so long dormant from world affairs. The event is also key in the many names it made and unmade; Arch Chancellors, Emperors, and nobles of notable status existed throughout this period, and are all well remembered by many, for good or ill, even decades on from when they last lived.
- Moriarty Kade and Justianian II were as close as brothers, both of a similar age, and both coming to power at a similar point. Their joint leadership, the most successful and long-lasting of such partnerships, has shown many the ideal to strive for, but one rarely achieved since House Kade came to the throne, with no obvious or close Number Two to take their own position, resulting in wildly different results in the years since 302 AC.
- The connotation of Aliandre’s name with the term austerity might never be undone. In fact, an “Aliandesastreux” is an Ithanian synonym for a financial disaster (even though she was not responsible). The Wirtem have a similar, though far longer and complex synonym to a similar effect.
- The Iron Bulwark commonly blamed the Slizzar for starting the Pessimism, insisting they infiltrated the Regalian Government, and manipulated events to weaken the Regalian Empire. This ignores that prior to the Essa Empire, the Slizzar were not significantly centralized, and had many different goals.