|THE ASSAULT ON MEISTING AND THE MASSACRE
OF THE SECOND RABARRAN GOVERNMENT
Until 810, the capital city of Rabarrieh had been Kharadis on the river Gosal. But the war with Atlantis had gradually "liberated" more and more towns in Th. Thiss. and in 808, Meisting, one of the largest Atlantean towns, came under Rabarran control. In 811, it was decided to move the Rabarran capital here to Meisting, full of imposing architecture and beautifully situated on its great bay. It was here that a new government took over after the massacre at Dohgash, and it was here that Borbar had long planned to make his second strike. This time he had to make use of part of the frontier Army, and the Navy, as well as his Security forces. On December 18th, 816, on a calm, cold night, commando forces landed on the north of the peninsula on which Meisting was situated. Other forces landed to the west, while the navy steamed into the bay itself, using a traitorous Rabarran pilot to guide the ships. The ships stayed well out to sea, avoiding minefields, and bombarded the town, at the same time watching out for the main Rabarran navy, much inferior to the Atlanteans, which lay in the bay some 120 miles to the south. Atlantean forces stormed into the outskirts of the city, ruthlessly shooting down anyone they met. The commandos made straight for the government quarters, and while a number of people escaped, many others were caught and shot – this time, no prisoners were taken. However, opposition from Rabarran forces to the east now strengthened, and the Atlanteans retreated northwards. The navy pulled out, but then met some of the Rabarran ships hurrying up from the south. In a straggling battle, most of the latter were sunk or forced to flee, though at some cost. Most of the Atlantean troops made it to the coast, where they were evacuated, but a few were wounded and captured, and then summarily killed by the enraged Rabarran civilians.
The raid was very largely a success – as much by luck as by planning, many of the new Rabarran government had indeed been killed, as Borbar intended. With the threat of more executions of the Rabarran prisoners, the Rabarrans now agreed to peace. They refused to attend any sort of ceremony, and the peace signing was a very subdued affair. But Rabarrieh was determined on revenge, and the chance came in a few years’ time.
As a result of these successes, Borbar now went on to increase the size and importance of the Internal Security Army, which, directly responsible to him, was to be used both as a police and internal security/terror force, and to enforce his policies against dissidents and other nationalities. It also supervised the interrogation, torture, punishment, and guarding of all "criminals".
THE EMPIRE FOR THE JURALICS
One of the creeds of the Brotherhood Faith was that Atlantis and its Empire should be chiefly for the benefit of the Juralic peoples. Borbar firmly agreed with this policy, far more than his predecessor, who had tried to regain former Atlantean possessions by force of arms. He wanted both to make the Empire "purely" Juralic, and to encourage or force its inhabitants to return to "traditional" Juralic customs and beliefs. He set about both these things in clear-sightedly and with complete ruthlessness, relying more and more on brute force and cruelty to carry out his will. We have seen above how the areas controlled by the Empire did shrink, to exclude the Southern Islanders and the territories south of the Helvengio (involving the loss of many Juralic Yallands). Similarly the island of Phonaria was abandoned by the Army, and formally handed over to Quendelieh by Brindor in 821.
In the east, the Army’s operations against Ughans were ultimately unsuccessful. Atlantean excursions across the Gestes failed, while he tried to eliminate the many Ughans west of the river (refugees from the civil wars in Ughrieh over the past twenty years), by persecuting them and driving them back across the Gestes. In addition to these expulsions and intermittent massacres, Borbar also began transporting masses of them back westwards, as far away from their homeland as possible, mostly to Nundatlantidieh, north of the Decanda Runix. By 815, the "Ughan problem" west of the Gestes had been solved – they had all been expelled, transported or exterminated, apart from small numbers of "model" citizens, who worked like slaves for the Army there. But after 818, there were further raids across the river from Ughans to the east, and finally, in the 820s, the Atlantean Army effectively abandoned control of this territory immediately west of the Gestes.
There was also massive upheaval amongst the Kelts. Increased repression by the Atlanteans led in 814 to a serious revolt by the North Kelts, led by the guerilla leaders, Curralt Lengch and Varscad Mountainch, and the following year, an attempt on Borbar’s life was made by a Kelt. This led to a huge security operation throughout North Keltish areas, and many massacres of Kelts. Others were rounded up and placed into prison camps. Others again were transported to the Dravidieh frontier, where they were housed in miserable conditions in areas now emptied of Ughans. The rebellion was thus largely quelled by 817, although low-level guerilla warfare continued in the mountains, and spread to the West Kelt areas in Naokeltan. This Province was in fact renamed as "Keltanieh" in 815 as a transient sop to the Kelts. Finally in 818, Borbar made a secret agreement with Skallandieh. This effectively abandoned nearly all the Atlantean Empire’s remaining North Kelt territories to the Skallands, in return for the cession of a few islands in the Marossa Lirance. (An argument over the rightful possession of these was to start the Great Northern War in 844 – Skallandieh at that time denied the cession had taken place legally, because the agreement had been made secretly in 818). Both sides also agreed to try to finally eliminate the North Kelts once and for all. In this they were unfortunately all too successful.
AMORALITY AS A MEANS OF REPRESSION
Within his Empire, Borbar used the most barbaric means to ensure his personal hold on power. He knew his goal, and was prepared to use the most devious, seemingly contradictory, methods of reaching it. He believed in the need to hold and exercise power, and obviously also had a growing willingness in inflicting cruelty and spreading terror. Unlike his predecessor, who genuinely believed in the need for a strong Atlantis with traditional morals and values, Borbar was just as concerned with maintaining his power. He would quite readily preach traditional morality, without really caring much if the population lived up to it – indeed simultaneously encouraging it to be immoral. Much of society was in any case already wholly amoral, as all objective or traditional standards of behaviour and morality had been systematically debunked for the last few decades by philosophers, scientists, educationalists and of course the Nihilists. Sexual behaviour had become very licentious, and purely a personal matter. Similarly, other forms of traditionally "immoral" behaviour were now openly committed and condoned – fraud, deceit, theft and personal violence.
Borbar’s attitude to all this was deliberately and cunningly ambiguous. On the one hand, he continued to preach the necessity of returning to traditional codes of behaviour as supposedly characterised the Second, or even the early First Empire, and passed a number of laws against certain sexual practices, as well as against fraud at work, blackmail and impersonation. However he also decriminalised most other sexual activities, and repeatedly stated that the only crimes which should be considered as real crimes were theft and murder. He also made a deliberate exception for Brotherhood Party members vis-à-vis non-Brotherhood members. After 816, the prohibition on murder and theft was lifted for every Juralic citizen against non-Juralics, if they were sufficiently "provoked" – they were fair game for anything, and had no status at all before the law. Indeed he implicitly encouraged amoral behaviour in some areas, particularly informing on friends and neighbours who expressed criticisms of the regime. One of his reasons for this was to pander to the lowest instincts of the population, thereby keeping them faithful to the regime. The provision of public executions and entertainments was, as we shall see, also part of his attempt to give the people what they wanted, at the lowest levels.
Ultimately, then, the law was what Borbar and the Party said it was. He could terrorise the population both for committing crimes or indulging in immoral behaviour of various sorts, and also for behaving "virtuously", which could be construed as showing an unhealthy attachment to outdated behaviour or beliefs, which were by definition undermining the current regime.
Below is the text of this 1816 Code of Law, together with a translation into English. It will be noticed that the language is Classical Atlantean of the most conservative kind. This is because Borbar himself rejected the modernised spelling and grammar introduced during the Fourth Empire, and insisted that all published works should use Classical Atlantean. This continued from 1813 until the fall of the Tyrants in 829.
THE REIGN OF TERROR IN THE EMPIRE
Terror indeed was his primary method of cowing the population, and destroying any opposition to himself. The population was kept in line in several different ways. Firstly, the Government’s increasing support for Juralic values was combined with a growing condemnation of all other peoples, which spread downwards and led to much popular hatred and persecution by ordinary Atlantean citizens of anyone different. Secondly, Borbar persecuted anyone who continued to support the values of the Fourth Empire, or democracy, or indeed any ideals which were not consonant with the Brotherhood creed and Borbar’s own practices. Thirdly, as we have seen, Borbar was able to persecute whom he wanted by playing on the amorality of the times. Finally, he encouraged his secret police, along with local agents and gangs to terrorise the population at large, particularly those who were, or might be, antagonistic to his regime. This included non-Juralic peoples, as well as supporters of the Fifth Empire and almost any other traditionalists, who did not approve of the Tyrants’ ways. He happily tolerated "organised " violent demonstrations by Brotherhood supporters in areas occupied by potential opponents. The most terrifying of his initiatives was to start to billet Security forces or young Brotherhood supporters in camps in ethnic or traditionalist areas: and later even in their homes. They were encouraged not to physically harm their unwilling landlords, but to humiliate and embarrass them in as many ways as possible.
No criticism of the Emperor or his Government’s policies was permitted, and artistic and literary freedoms were drastically reduced. Most creative artists fell silent or emigrated, or simply produced works supporting the Government’s line. Some continued to work in secret and were sometimes caught by the police. The only favoured arts now were painting and the drama. Their subject-matter had to be heroic themes of contemporary or historic times. Architecture became grandiose and pseudo-militaristic, exaggerating all the traditional features of the Second Empire. Borbar himself had little interest in the arts, unlike his successor, and barely tolerated artists.
Borbar followed, and indeed helped to create, the amorality and increasing brutalisation of the times, in his methods of punishing criminals, opponents of the regime, or anyone else he wanted to terrorise. He also made public shows out of these things, thereby simultaneously frightening and pandering to the lowest appetites of the population. The Tyrants had already started this, when, in 809, Thoun had reintroduced public gladiatorial fights. After 812, full-scale public war-shows were staged. These were degraded versions of the wargames of the early Second Empire, wherein enemy or non-Juralic prisoners were attacked and massacred by Atlanteans. Soon after, executions of criminals, terrorists, rebels, prisoners-of-war, and ultimately any political enemies, were made public shows. The ultimate degradation came after 815, when public torture was instituted to precede executions. This began with the unsuccessful Keltish assassin of the Emperor, then the treacherous torture and execution of Suenno Ramestel, as described above at the end of the history of the Fourth Empire. Thereafter, such public degradation and torture could be inflicted on any prisoner or criminal that took the authorities’ fancy.
THE ASSASSINATION OF BORBAR MEASEL
Not all opposition to Borbar was crushed, however, and there developed a number of secret traditionalist societies which wanted to overthrow Borbar and restore traditional Atlantean liberties. These were periodically penetrated by Security Army agents, and their amateurishness could not survive the power of Borbar’s police. Much more dangerous was the threat from Army personnel, especially the Security Army itself. However, Borbar’s ultimate demise was brought about through a rare moment of personal weakness, or lapse of concern for his own security. Borbar had been born and bred in Helvrieh, and his family was still there. He had had many Helvran companions, who had kept with him as he and they advanced in the Brotherhood society, and also up the ladder of promotion in thew Regular Army. When he came to power in 812, these Helvrans expected favours, but Borbar ignored them, and indeed, as we have seen, deliberately reduced the size and importance of the regular Army in favour of the Internal Security Army. This upset the Helvrans, and by 819 they were ready to strike against him. The problems was how and when.
The answer came when they learned from one of their number, who was in the Security Army in Helvrieh, that Borbar was to visit his home town of Borfierp in Helvrieh to see his parents. This was kept fairly secret, for the sake of security, but not secret enough. On the other hand, the conspirators only had three days’ notice, and were not able to form any large-scale plot, let alone work out what should happen to the government of the Empire after they had killed Borbar. They seem to have been primarily concerned with their personal feud with Borbar, and hoped that they would somehow be able to take over the country themselves. They also made very little provision for their own safety.
When he arrived in Borfierp, Borbar was deliberately engaged in conversation by some of these trusted Helvran officers outside his parents’ house, where there were only a small bodyguard about, which was deliberately done so as not to draw attention to the visit.. He was then simply shot. A small retinue held off his bodyguard while the four main conspirators escaped, although they were captured and killed within a day or two. The conspirators had made some attempt to call on the public and the army to restore lost liberties, but everyone was too cowed and unprepared to act. One person was prepared, however. Brindor Credhos, the head of the security Army in Cennatlantis, immediately seized control and declared himself not Emperor, but "Great Leader" ("Bour Pouto") of what, shortly after, was renamed the "Brotherhood-Federation of Atlantis".
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