|Event Name||Regalian Pessimism|
|Dates and Times||267 - 291 AC|
|Location||Regalian Archipelago, Territories of the Regalian Empire|
|People Involved||Regalian Empire|
The Regalian Pessimism temporarily put a stop to Regalian expansionism as the government was forced to consider whether or not it was equipped to subjugate and rule new territories effectively. It began as lingering dismay in the face of economic decline, sentiments of unhappiness and uncertainty within the Regalian empire, which were exacerbated by the leadership of Chancellor Norn Kade, have since been termed the Regalian Pessimism. For over a decade, the declining Regalian economy ground production to a slow, painful halt. It was eventually alleviated by the start of the Chrysant War.
During the decades leading up to the Pessimism, the Regalian economy experienced an unsustainable boom, brought on by a fervent conquest of Nordskag, Lusits and multiple smaller Daendroc states under Justinian I. Citizens of the Empire lead comfortable lives and enjoyed boons such as low taxes, and loans that were easy to acquire, as well as other trappings of prosperity. Nobles experienced even greater gains. Lusuits imports were cheap (especially liquor) and its subjugated nobility funded the Empire with tithes and the spoils of the war, in lieu of taxes that domestic nobility usually paid. Many aristocrats found themselves flush with gold and bought up swaths of land for enormous estates. Lavish parties were thrown with no expense spared. The illustrious corruption of the era was embodied by Chancellor Morgann Kade, a spectacularly hedonistic individual who lead the Empire during this time, and was a close, personal friend of Emperor Justinian I.
Beginning of the Pessimism
The common wisdom “What goes up must come down” is often used to describe the Pessimism. As the economic boom from Regalia’s conquests faded, new logistical problems reared their heads. The State was left scrambling to govern the territories which it had been extorting. As this wealth dried up, the economy ground to a halt and floundered in stagnation. Spend decreased, and productivity stagnated, and even parts of the military which previously had ample funding were forced to dismiss their soldiers to the reserves.
The economy quickly returned to its pre-boom state and continued, worryingly, to decline. Nobles and commoners alike, anticipating disaster, frantically hoarded their earnings. This mood of worry and lethargy was amply reflected in Norn Kade, who became Chancellor after the untimely demise of his father. The new Chancellor had experienced a slew of personal tragedies which greatly impaired his leadership abilities and fed his morose outlook. So, with a true pessimist at the helm, nobility began writing sordid proclamations of doom and gloom in their lands, sparking unrest from the common folk and local barons.
The Drachenwald Crisis
Ineffectual leadership and pessimistic attitude among high nobility sparked the Drachenwald Crisis, which is viewed by historians as a prime example of Pessimist destruction. Panicked by the sudden lack of funds which had previously been flowing in from trade with Nordskag, the Sherburne family of Drachenwald began taxing their peasantry for every conceivable action in order to keep the Lordship’s coffers full. Disgruntled barons and counts eventually formed an army in opposition to Sherburne leadership, which was met with brutality. Eventually, Sherburne sellswords captured and executed many members of the peerage, including Chancellor Norn Kade. Considered to be the most classic example of the destruction wrought by the Pessimism, the Drachenwald Crisis took over six months to resolve, only ending with Justinian II’s intervention, and threw the Empire further into debt.
Religious Tensions During the Pessimism
Infighting and unrest within the Unionist faith had begun to increase as the people searched for answers regarding the economic stagnation. Many began turning to the Tenth Creed, speculated to have been written by Justinian I toward the end of his life. The Creed, some thought, was a prediction of chaos and failure for the entire faith. Thus, small sects of Unionism began privately questioning the legitimacy of the divinity of Justinian I and therefore started to question the wisdom of his reign. Behind closed doors, he was accused of causing the Pessimism and railed against for appointing the morose Norn Kade as Chancellor. These first cracks in the façade of the religion seemed to herald disaster until the death of Justinian I, who was supplanted by his more capable and less controversial son, Justinian II. Justinian II made few, quiet changes to the faith. As Emperor he was far more focused on alleviating the impact of the Pessimism economically. With the start of the Chrysant War, this controversy faded to nothing.
Chrysant War and Recovery
The Chrysant War helped usher in an age of recovery for the Empire. After Norn Kade’s execution, his son, Moriarty Kade, assumed the mantle of Chancellor. Moriarty was a young man at the time he took power and due to this vulnerability, he developed a close, almost filial relationship with Justinian II, whom he worked with closely to reinvigorate the economy. Meanwhile, the Pessimism continued in the form of Senatorial turmoil and low civilian morale. As a result, the jingoist faction known as the Iron Bulwark seized control of the Senate and began calling for war. In order to pacify the Bulwark and achieve economic recovery, Moriarty and Justinian II devised a plan to declare war on the expansive, but relatively weak Essa Empire. The Chrysant War, as it was called, reinvigorated the Regalian populace. As of 286 AC, economic activity began morphing into economic growth as the Empire mobilized for an overseas war. With a new enemy to unify against, the mounting tension within Unionist groups was put on hold. By the end of the war in 291 AC, most scholars concur that the Pessimism was over.
The stunting of economic growth during the Pessimism had few long-term effects as after the Chrysant War, the economy recovered and began growing at a more sustainable pace. If anything, the Pessimism serves as a cautionary tale about leaders who spend too much and save too little, as well as the dangers of stopping conquest for too long. Its greatest legacy was its resolution. The ending of the Pessimism with a war further cemented Regalia’s status as an Empire built on its military. It was military dominance that got the Empire into the Pessimism, and military dominance that got them out of it.
- The Regalian Pessimism extended even to the fashion world. During that period, more muted colors were popular, especially among women.
- Most scholars agree that the Pessimism was caused mainly by the cyclical nature of the economy than any poor leadership but this mainly a deferral tactic away from blaming the Kade family and other nobility who definitely had a hand in starting the event.