Songaskian Civil War
|Songaskian Civil War|
|Event Name||Songaskian Civil War|
|Dates and Times||July 19th - November 19th, 305 AC|
|People Involved||Masaya of Farah’deen|
The Songaskian Civil War is a conflict that few beyond the bounds of the Songaskian Masaya know much about. In the wake of the Second Songaskian War, the Regalian Empire retreated en mass, leaving behind the young and overthrown Massya Musamansa Koné to battle his usurping uncle, Massya Kusamanu Koné. Their conflict lasted for several months before Kusamanu surrendered, with the news that the Sihai Empire would no longer provide their scholarly support to the Masaya in the formal alliance that had existed between the two powers and the Altalar Principalities. To this day, the Songaskian Masaya continues to rebuild and recover from this devastating conflict that, for the first time, saw the Songaskian Race truly split and come to blows.
The Second Songaskian War was the prelude conflict to the Songaskian Civil War. Under the order of Cedromar I, the Regalian Empire invaded and began a conquest of the Songaskian Masaya, seizing several notable Pearl Cities along the coast. However, their penetration into Farah’deen was dulled by military setbacks and political turmoil back in the Regalian Archipelago, which gutted the Regalian Military’s backbone of diverse troops and unity. But then, in July 305 AC, affairs within the Masaya rapidly changed. Several of the noble families supporting Kusamanu Koné switched sides to the loyalist faction, causing a series of skirmishes behind the Masaya’s lines as their soldiers, but also local populations, rose up to attack those that supported the usurping uncle. His taking of the throne had never been very popular, and he had long relied on staunch military families to help his coup succeed. However, those more mercantile inclined had long been neglected, and with three of the four Pearl Cities of the Baouele-Mbene Peninsula taken, their interests were rapidly fading.
In addition, the region had been suffering from a smart strategy on the part of the uncle, which was to begin scorched earth warfare. However, the local population of rural landowners and townsfolk saw their supplies and materials destroyed or taken by their own army in an effort to deprive them from the Regalian Empire. Finally, there was the realization that while the Songaskians were defending themselves, and while there had been victories, the Regalian Empire was not stopping, and so the concept of continuing a fight that might grind on for months, if not years, was greatly disliked by most normal Songaskians and their servant populations due to the mechanical might of the Regalians. Thus, on the morning of July 19th, 305 AC, the Regalian Emperor had Musamansa Koné in the region the Regalian Empire had taken while fires burned in the distance from the loyalist efforts to undermine his uncle’s troops. The Emperor and almost all of the army then rapidly pulled out, leaving the young Massya in charge of the regions they had taken, thus beginning the Songaskian Civil War.
Recapture and Reunification
Musamansa Koné rapidly took the reigns of leadership of the western Pearl Cities in the wake of the departure of the Regalian Military leadership. He soon had around him a cabal of Songaskian military officers, merchant families, and local leaders from the rural countryside. Musamansa Koné established his command post in Massoilangui, leveled by the artillery fire of the Regalian Empire during the Second War. In this, he proved himself quite humble and was commonly seen alongside the shambling remnants of the city’s population, who had largely been freed and returned to the city in the wake of the Regalian withdrawal. However, he was not a fool. The move was purely political, as militarily, it was suicide. But he was well aware he could afford to do it, given the chaos still being sown across the territory controlled by his uncle. He did have his eyes on one city in particular as a proper center of power, Shaqq-Turnaal. Recaptured by the Songaskian army, it was a thorn in the Regalian supply lines for weeks before the end of the war. Now, he sent envoys to the city and requested that they give it to him, for the good of their empire and for him, their rightful leader.
Soon after this, he received word of chaos in the city. While a large part of the common soldiery wished to side with him as did most of the city’s population, more elite units and the overall general did not. As a result, the city was yet again a battleground. He marshaled what forces he had and sent them to help his allies. Sakoura Dialliaman, the commander of this force, came into the city in a massive forward prong, a parade-style march as heralds called forth his role as Musamansa Koné’s chief military officer and the man who came to liberate the city. In the wake of some 30,000 troops joining the additional 20,000 soldiers loyal to the young Massya, those who followed the Usurper either surrendered for punishment or fled the city through an outlying gate. Sakoura allowed them to leave, and Musamansa soon arrived to announce the unification of all the Pearl Cities on the Baouele-Mbene Peninsula, and that the loyalist cause was just and right. The populace and soldiers cheered his announcement, and the news soon reached other regions: the agricultural heartland of the Masaya was now in the control of the loyalist faction.
Masses and Masterful Maneuvers
The Songaskians were now massing to attack each other properly. The loyalists from behind the Usurper’s lines retreated back into their newly secured territory and gave out their stolen (though also in most cases, recovered) supplies as well as their intelligence. Kusamanu Koné was massing his soldiers into three major army groups, intent on heading west, northwest, and southwest to seal off the loyalist stronghold, cutting off the Ivory Lines, the Songaskian term for the major roads of white stone that linked each of the Pearl Cities to each other and the capital. The young Massya acted quickly, as he chose to move forward and attack the largest army first before he could focus his attention on the two minor ones. Defensive positions at the edges of the Peninsula were fully manned while an army some 50,000 strong marched on an army nearly twice their size at 85,000.
The first battle happened at the foot of Beroto, the first of the three fortresses on the route to Korbamakora, and was emblematic of what was to follow: a brilliant series of troop movements and flanking efforts. First, Beroto was almost enveloped on all sides, which would have crushed the army to certain death in the rocky passes that made up its external defenses. Duuroofoo, the next fort, lay on the banks of a long dried river and was assaulted by three groups of Ancient Shift Songaskians to cover the arrival of the main force, which proceeded to cause a small landslide that collapsed one of the structure’s walls. The last fortress, Sosso’s Seat, was perhaps the most difficult to take. Long invested to the powerful family of mages known as the Sossos, a detachment of the loyalist army managed to trick the guards into opening the fort’s doors, and desperately held them open when they were discovered. The entire army then charged in from where they had been hiding out of cover, and the Sossos fled back to the capital. By the end of September, the road to the capital had been cleared, and there was fortunate news pouring in from other fronts.
The Final Months
From the south, there were new allies as, after careful deliberation, the cities of Kankagner and Dogono had now joined the loyalist cause. The two cities then joined forces and marched north along the Ivory Line toward Sikassaro, held by the local garrison and the army of 65,000 that the Usurper had sent there across the Desert of Khgargoro. However, they also brought with them Eronidas forces from Erothur, the Polon formed in Farah’deen in the wake of the conquest of the old Songaskian city of Shathur which had happened during the First Songaskian War. Remembering the massacre that had followed the seizing of Shathur, the Songaskian forces in Sikassaro ultimately turned loyalist themselves, though 10,000 of the army attempted to flee back to the capital and Kusamanu Koné. These cities then freely unleashed the Eronidas onto these enemy troops, and the Eronidas returned to their city sated after a victory that supposedly only left 200 troops alive limping back to the capital. As for the north, the cities of Kourimoptoi and Diabaleni were in fierce conflict with Moptoii, the two having turned into loyalist strongholds. However, just as the victory of Sosso’s Seat was had, the armies of the two cities conquered Toungo’s Point, the fortress at the crossroads of all three cities, and marched on Moptoii. Here, the city’s defenses fell, but the forces loyal to Kusamanu Koné retreated into the Crater Towers of Yitii and Outii, placed at opposite ends of a crater valley and guarding further advance down the Ivory Line.
In early September though, the young Massya moved to push forward toward the capital. From the south, the swell of Songaskian troops ballooned his force to some 130,000 strong, while in the north, some 40,000 soldiers bypassed the Crater Towers to cross regions of the Desert of Bouinaptoii and approached Korbamakora. However, the Usurper pulled a surprise move; he left the capital, and retreated to the heavily fortressed city of Kouriyasui. Musamansa Koné entered the capital to enormous public celebration, thousands in the streets and around the city. Two weeks later, fully bypassed and gradually being starved while coastal fire was occasionally launched by the dregs of the Songaskian navy, the Crater Towers gave away. Thus, only Kouriyasui and Timbardena, far to the north, remained in the uncle’s hands. And then, there was a stalemate. During the last two months of the Civil War, nothing happened beyond repeated scouting missions and tentative probes of peace. However, the Usurper was still in control of a vast army, at least 200,000 troops guarding the forts. Additionally, at his command, he had the Sunnia family, every one of them a mage and the most militaristic nobles in the whole of the Songaskian Masaya. They had held the city and its secrets for over a century, and they were not about to start surrendering them to a massive influx of outside troops.
By the beginning of November, the stalemate had become solidified. The young Massya was unable to come to a decision on what to do, namely because all of the options being so poor. To attack would mean the deaths of perhaps 100,000 or more troops, and already, he had been thinking ahead to a future past this conflict. However, foreign news then reached Farah’deen. The distant Sihai Empire, still allied with the Usurper and feeding his faction a steady, if not small, drip of magical knowledge which they had rapidly been consuming and making use of in their training, ended their alliance. The efforts of the Regalian Empire to help the Sihai were overwhelmingly successful considering their actual goal: cutting apart the Magic Covenant. And like that, the Civil War came to an end as representatives of his uncle and the two cities came before Musamansa Koné and sued for peace.
The Songaskian Civil War came to an end with the Treaty of the Restored Sun. The two rival Massya’s met to sign this document, and to outsiders, it would appear to be a strange one. Kusamanu Koné essentially capitulated with a soft surrender, as he himself would not give up the claim to the throne. In truth, he had no reason to, as by blood he was still a Koné, and still of the sun-chosen family of the Masaya. His family was thus invested as the next in line to the throne if Musamansa’s line ever died out. He was also granted autonomous rule over Karruman, his old province, located far to the east around the city of Karru. Additionally, none of his allies in the war were to die for their choice to simply follow a different member of the Koné family. Instead, reparations were placed upon them, and extensive hostage exchanges took place, with a majority of the young and future leaders of both Kouriyasui and Timbardena being placed in positions of minor power elsewhere in the Masaya to help prove their loyalty to the new and rightful leadership. When the Treaty was signed, the Masaya then declared itself an internalized state and got to work rebuilding all that was destroyed in the recent conflicts, a task that is still carried out to this day.
However, the Civil War also saw the first divides in Songaskian society not based on Heritage lines or slave and freed, and instead focused on that of religion. A way that the Usurper justified his actions was that the first Koné was chosen by the Dragons because they were supposedly the eldest male out of all of the Dragon’s offspring. As a result, the Massya line had always gone for the eldest male heir first, and for more than a century and a half, this had worked well enough. However, it had broken down as technically speaking, the uncle’s actions had a religious justification as he was the eldest male family member. But, as the Civil War went on, disagreements over this interpretation were a major factor helping the loyalist cause to gain steam, and ultimately, when it ended, the issue was brushed under the rug. However, for a faith that had never before been riven by uncertainty, it was a major test that some say Shambala has failed. Indeed, despite the extensive unification efforts led by the young Massya, the rise of Dragons in the Regalian Empire of all places has greatly distressed the religion’s faithful. There are some whoever whisper that the Usurper was the right choice all along, and not their new, child Massya (Musamansa Koné turned 18 in 308 AC, by Ailor standards an adult but for Songaskians, still a child as they are considered mature at 25). Still, at least for now, the Songaskian Civil War has seared into the minds of many Songaskians the true horrors of war and the destruction that would be brought should their society ever become as divided as it was during that conflict.
- Despite the various armies rampaging across the Songaskian Masaya, the Qadir Hadrityas in the region survived completely unscathed. Declaring their neutrality to “an internal Songaskian affair”, their fortress libraries went unsacked and in the wake of the conflict, played critical roles in helping reconstruction efforts.
- The Polon of Erothur defeated the 10,000 Songaskian troops they were sent after by apparently launching bombs and explosives mocked up to have bird imagery from special slingshots, all as a form of “contest”.
- There exist cities and towns beyond the Pearl Cities of Farah’deen. However, the leadership of the Masaya is concentrated in the Pearl Cities, and at least during the Civil War, they were also heavily populated by retreating populations, who were leaving the countryside for the safety of the great cities.