The Despotate of Alusia is a former client state of the Shantine Empire. The Despotate was once a loose confederation of about a dozen worlds with a ruling diet of planetary and regional magnates.
The residents of Alusia primarily worship a collection of local gods as well as the major God Idolmar.
The Union of Alusia was colonized by the Knights of Adarnum a century after the Unification of Aeldrum. Following Bishant's imperial policy, Alusia's dukes, chieftains and other secular rulers were placed under the rulership of a Despot, at the time a cousin of the Emperor of Bishant.
Conversion to Idolmar Edit
Some forty years before the events of the Shantine-Fialta War, the incumbent Despot, Kiril II, entered into a standoff with the Kirvan Church over the Church's tithing of land and labor above and beyond what Kiril considered to be the Despotate's obligations to Bishant. A petition to the Shantine Emperor failed to elicit a satisfactory response, and in a stunning move, Kiril II threatened to renounce the Kirvan faith entirely and convert to the Church of Idolmar in protest. The Kirvan Church in turn demanded his abdication, and a local Church Matriarch called for his immolation as an apostate. Kiril responded by violently seizing the assets of the Church and, when the Church of Idolmar, fearful of reprisals on Bishant itself, did not endorse his grievances, Kiril instead created a new religious doctrine, the Adalnan Scripturalist Movement.
Following the collapse of the Mage Imperium, Adalna had largely become known as a dreg of the Great Pantheon, comparable to Baradun as a great divinity cast to the margins of power. Somewhat sardonically, she was referred to as the Silent Goddess for having abandoned her followers. To Kiril, whose position as Despot was predicated on religious legitimacy, Adalna's nonintervention was ideal. His court swiftly reinvented Adalna as a Promethean figure, a savior of mortals who actually sought their benefit rather than to dominate and enslave them]. The laws, rituals and traditions of the Mage Imperium were co-opted, creatively interpreted and, at times, completely invented to produce a new scripture which Kiril used as the foundation of a new state.
Independence from Bishant Edit
Alusia was valuable to the Shantine Empire as a captive market with several hundred million inhabitants. It was naturally also of great interest to the Aeldrum Trade Company and the Serene Duchy of Aeldrum, as the industrialization of Aeldrum's core protectorates (e.g. Ireland) was transforming the Duchy from a mere trade broker and resource extractor to the largest industrial economy in the cosmos, rivaling Bishant's manufacturing base. Unlike the other industrial powerhouses of the period (e.g. the Bavarian Confederacy in Deutschreich), which typically produced for their near neighbors, Aeldrum's tradition of empire building gave it the tools to compete with Bishant for mercantile opportunities. With Aeldrum's population burgeoning, its own colonies overflowing, and breadbaskets like Ireland agitating for greater political power, Alusia's control over key segments of the etheric Ley Lines and its large agricultural surplus made it a prime partner.
Citing its historic commitment to religious self-determination (a feature of Aeldrum's intervention in Ireland), the Serene Duchy convinced Kiril II to declare his independence from Bishant and the Kirvan Church and, in turn, guaranteed that independence. War swiftly ensued, and the Aeldrum Trade Company organized vast privateer fleets to disrupt Shantine trade. The Aeldmen had the distinct advantage of mostly supplying the Alusians with materiel and the services of their ships rather than large commitments of manpower (In a war of reconquest by the Shantine, the casualties would be Shantine and Alusian, not Aeldmen). The Emperor recognized this position, and while efforts to blockade the Alusians claimed hundreds of ships and tens of thousands of sailors, the war's principal ground component consisted of paramilitary operations by Kirvan guerrillas and private pilgrim-companies of the Knights of Adarnum.
As expenses mounted, the Bishant Trade Company and Bishant's merchants more widely pressured the Emperor to find a peaceful solution. The Kirvan Church was prepared to concede its initial demands if its properties in Alusia were returned and the Knights of Adarnum permitted to remain as protectors of Church lands. The Basilica Treaty was reached after three years of hostilities, in which Alusia received its independence from the Empire and both Bishant and Aeldrum renounced any debt-claims against the Alusian government, principles of free navigation and trade were generally adopted and merchant quarters for Aeldman and Shantine representantives were specially established. This resolution was a significant achievement from the prestige of the Serene Duchy of Aeldrum and its domestic economy, but it came as a significant financial blow to the Aeldrum Trade Company, which had contributed large numbers of ships and received a rather pitiful return on its investment. The ATC successfully lobbied to receive a right of first refusal for any transport contracts undertaken by the Aeldrum Government with Alusia, but the war remained a costly write-off.
Present Day Edit
At the time of the Shantine-Fialta War, Alusia had essentially transformed into a secular state, with the Adalnan Scripture morphing into a doctrine of the civil service rather than a traditional church. Alusia retained close ties with Aeldrum and had seen improvement in its relations with Bishant, although it chose to remain uninvolved in the Shantine-Fialta War itself, going so far as to explicitly deny passage to Shantine and Fialta ships outside of select ports, for fear of "provoking an incident." This was heavily condemned by both the Empire and various Fialta princes as an act of favoritism toward Aeldrum, which was nominally uninvolved in the war and therefore not subject to the arrangement. Alusia's government remains primarily human and in many respects culturally Shantine, but its worlds also include large indigenous halfling and orcish populations and a sizable community of elvish and dwarven expatriates (Alusia's worlds lie on an important trade route for exports of quicksilver from the dwarven holdings on Telrion, and several peace treaties between the ATC and the dwarven clans have involved Alusian intermediaries).
- ↑ Several humiliating incidents such as the Knights Mercantile's sabotage of Aeldrum's colonial ambitions in Russia had also led the Duchy's Serene Parliament to move away from the "customs house" strategy within its sphere of influence and to instead generalize the industrial development policy it had adopted toward the Irish Pale.