Fireborn: Dark Phoenix
[Map: Purple borders; Allies are NUMBERED, Provinces have a ‘C’]
The International Revolutionary Working People’s Republic (or more simply, the Cyraean Republic) is a recent arrival on the global scene, having overthrown the Cyraean Duchies and established a Collectivist ‘workers utopia’ in its wake only 67 years ago, since when they have actively and rapidly expanded their territories, inciting revolutions and actively invading weaker nations in their pursuit of eliminating the parasitic ‘Ducal Classes’. Unlike most other nations, they are officially non-theist – their official policy is that the acknowledged Deities have supported autocrats and Dukes and Kings and maintained the status quo, and have no place in the Workers’ Utopia unless they are willing to unconditionally support their social policies. Thus far, none have done so – though Kitantha, the Ocean Goddess, has drifted towards sympathy. The Church of Talras, the God of Wealth, is utterly anathaema to the Republicans, and his worship is banned throughout the Cyraean provinces.
It’s over a century since the first working steam engine was commercialised by Encyronian inventors in 1797; and 50 years later the economic upheaval was causing increasing poverty amongst the least-skilled workers, particularly in agriculture. Slaves – in many regions, obsolete and with owners refusing to feed or house them – were freed en masse by industrialists who didn’t want the financial burden of them any more. Destitute and starving, major revolts began; and the Dukes agreed to make it illegal to free slaves for any reason, and to make it legal to have unwanted slaves ‘put to rest’ at government expense – terminating them to ensure they would not cause problems later. The slave revolts merely intensified, causing significant destruction in some nations and deepening social divisions.
It was into this social landscape that Yedevan Galos, a poor classicist scholar from a now-vanquished nation called the Duchy of Nirata, began espousing his theories that the lowest-ranked and poorest in society are responsible for the greatest wealth creation, and should be rewarded appropriately. This rapidly became a call for change; then, when the ruling Dukes of Cyronia began actively (indeed, desperately) suppressing the movement, a call for uprising; shrillest amongst the new movement’s demands was that productive land be taken into state hands rather than being owned by a few super-wealthy landowners, and held for the collective good – hence their rise to fame as the Collectivist movement.
It was not long before the call spread and became endemic; and finally, after a volcanic eruption caused a widespread regional famine in the eastern regions of the Cyraean Duchies, active rebellion broke out in 1867. Within 3 years the Revolution had spread across more than half the Duchies, and all had active rebels operating in their territories; they and their colonies fell quickly, unified under the banner of the elderly Professor Galos’ International Revolutionary Council, soon to be rebranded as the Working People’s Republic.
By 1873 the revolution was as good as over, having succeeded beyond the wildest dreams of the early rebels; and the Republic was officially founded, to the consternation of the Empire who had initially rejoiced and even supported the rebels, hoping only to weaken their enemies on the key trade routes they’d been eyeing for many decades. Instead, the freshly unified Republic present an aggressive, rabidly anti-Imperial and anti-mercantile foe along those same trade routes.
The Republic needed to find employment for millions of dispossessed workers – having promised stability and work for them, it was essential to maintain its legitimacy. Seizing the assets of the rich helped bolster their treasury; and the obvious answer was to find government work for them. Massive programs of infrastructure development were undertaken – city building, rail lines, mining, communal farms, and more – and of course, the army and navy were expanded hugely. Ongoing and endemic slave revolts were crushed brutally in the new military police state, and mass ‘disposals’ of seized slaves were conducted. Their new populist ethos was that slavery was a way for the wealthy to bypass paying the workers a fair wage, and slavery must be curtailed – with tensions between slaves and the poor but free at an all time high, they had to take a side.
The newly-expanded armies marched on; wars were found, revolutions spread, and the Cyraean Republic has now achieved command over a surprisingly large proportion of the world’s inhabited landmasses. Their technologies are advanced – they have always been innovators at the forefront of new ideas – and even the Empire thinks twice about opposing them militarily.
The modern republic as of 1932 is all but an Empire, powered by steam and ruled by elitists no less privileged than the Dukes of old – but they are at least committed to reforms. Despite the brutalities against Dragonborn only 40 years earlier, reforms now in place are allowing Dragonborn who are genuine freedmen to receive more rights and privileges than in almost all other Uruk-dominated nations – there is even rumour that slavery itself is to be abolished, perhaps in belated recognition that slaves are also workers and deserving of a place in Utopia.